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Monday, December 30, 2013

Clarity and Courage; Manifest in 2014 - 12/30/13

When I look at myself in the mirror, I don’t generally say, hey scaredy-cat. That’s an odd way to start off today, but it strikes me that I don’t think of myself as one who lives in fear, but as one who is more like fearless. I’ll say anything and do just about anything. The truth of the matter, though, is that I’m far from fearless. Matter of fact, I started off as a coward in my childhood.

From my earliest memories, I have been shades of afraid of the sensation of going down. That moment when you’re on a roller coaster and your stomach drops, that is what I have never liked. I was the baby who starts crying when an adult throws them up in the air. I was the toddler who got left at the top of the escalator while my mom went down, thinking I was right behind her. I was the kid who wanted to swing on the swings by myself, but if someone gave me an underdog, I was through. I was the tween who didn’t want to ride any of the rides that went up in the air like the Paratrooper at Kennywood, because they looked too scary. But eventually, as I encountered each fear, I conquered it and slayed the dragon (as my Aunt Kathy used to say). I went from fearing escalators to loving them, from barely swinging to jumping off of swings mid-air in middle school,  from not riding any big rides to eventually conquering the entire park (except for the Phantom… I never did ride it, I probably never will.)
Now when it’s time to conquer a fear, my heart may pound, my brow may sweat, but for the most part, I get through it. Who would have thought that little terrified 3-year old would one day ride in an airplane?
Anyway, while I’ve conquered that fear, I still have a few to go.

I’m still partially afraid of the sound of someone vomiting and/or vomiting myself.
I’m still afraid of any kind of rodent loose in my house.
I’m still afraid of singing a solo or duet or trio (more than 4, I’m cool)
I’m afraid that I’ll never be married.
I’m afraid of dying by myself
I’m afraid of rejection
I’m afraid of being 100% transparent.
Most of all, I’m afraid of the unknown. And that is exactly the best description for “wherever” God is taking me and whatever He wants me to do when I get “there”.

Yesterday, I prayed for clarity so that I could see and understand what God needs me to see and understand, so that I’ll know without a shadow of a doubt what His will is…  but I also prayed for the courage to follow through with what I’ve been told to do.

So while 2013 comes to an end, this is what I’m taking with me into 2014: peace, financial stability, clarity, and courage.  

Y’all know I don’t have a lot of focus when I post at night. I just kinda have to put it out there. Here’s some scriptures related to fear and courage…

 Deuteronomy 31:6
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you…”

Psalm 27:1
“The Lord if my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?”

Psalm 91:9-13
“If you make the Most High your dwelling – even the Lord, who is my refuge – then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.  You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent…”

1 John 4:16b-18
“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

Today’s video is “Manifest” by T.D. Jakes et al.

 This song jumped in my head yesterday during church because of an adlib in it that comes from yesterday’s scripture. (Methinks that will be our theme for 2014) and I think it’s appropriate for today’s post. We mimed to this song some years ago. Typing the lyrics by hand so the message sticks with me...

Verse 1:
Pregnant possibilities
Now birthed anew
Travailing to obtain it
For it must come to pass

I’ve decreed it, declared it, and called it in the Spirit
To become what God’s designed me to be

Repeat Verse 1

Repeat Vamp

Verse 2:
Your future, your promises
Shall be fulfilled
Yes, you shall obtain it
For it must come to pass

Repeat Vamp

Repeat Verse 2

Vamp Part 1:
I’ve decreed it, declared it, and called it in the Spirit
I’ve decreed it, declared it, and called it in the Spirit
I’ve decreed it, declared it, and called it in the Spirit

Manifest! Manifest! Manifest! Manifest!
(Repeat 3x)

Vamp Part 2:
Become what God’s designed you to be
Become what God’s designed you to be
Become what God’s designed you to be

Soloist’s Ad libs throughout repetition of Verse 2 into Chorus:
Your future ha, your promises
The devil can’t stop it
They shall be, every one of them
It says in the word that every promise in the Word is mine, yes
You will obtain it
For it must…
I’ve decreed it! Declared it! And called it, called it, called it, heyyy
I’ve decreed it! Declared it! And I called it, I called it, I called it in the spirit
The word of God says “Eyes have not seen. Ears have not heard. Neither has it entered into the hearts of men
Lord speak, Lord speak, it shall be
My destiny, my destiny
My fulfillment
Life and death is in the power of the tongue.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,
Can I get a witness?
IF you can believe in God for something,
Tell the devil
I’m going to push right now
Come on and push
Come on and push
Come on and push
You’re pregnant with possibilities
C’mon and push
Gimme my husband back
You need to tell the devil I’m coming after my child, Yes I am , yes I am
To become what God’s designed you to be!
Somebody oughta move

Somebody oughta push
Somebody oughta push
Come on and push


If I don't post again tomorrow, see you in 2014!


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Being humble - the hike

I’m struggling this morning y’all. Not enough sleep!
*Yawn* *Stretch* Help me, Lord!

My car (Silverfox) has been a source of joy in my life over the past 18 months. Bu
t she has also been a burden. All this year, I have struggled to pay the car note.  I was torn on making a decision about what I wanted to do. Having to serve a 3-month vehicle suspension definitely firmed my decision. There’s no way I was going to pay almost $750 a month for 3 months while I couldn’t even drive the car and had to pay for other means of transportation. Nope, naw, uh uh. So, yesterday, while singing “Saying Goodbye” from the Muppets Take Manhattan, I cleaned her out and locked her up and they are scheduled to pick her up today. And while I am a little bit sad about it, I am mostly relieved. I pray she gets a good price at auction so I don’t owe the car company that much. But even if I do, well, at least I won’t be paying $600 a month anymore! And that, my friends, is the praise report!

Ooh, but the prayer request though? If you have been paying attention to my statuses, I have been struggling with taking the bus to work and everywhere else I go. This was unexpected because I take the bus/trolley more than most as it saves me money on parking downtown, so I thought it would be fine. Ha! Transit is easy when you can drive your car to the bus stop. Having to walk to the bus stop though? As Ja Rule used to say, “It’s Murder!” (LOL). Seriously though, Google Maps tells me that it takes .1 miles to walk to Wal-Mart. And that said .1 mile only takes 4 minutes to walk. *sounds of scoffing* What Google doesn’t know (but soon will because I have reported a problem with the route) is that the numbering convention on my lane does not match up with the buildings and I live in a freakin’ valley of valleys so the entire trip is uphill and steep ones at that. After I leave my building, I walk the steepness of my driveway (aka my lane) then I have to walk up the steep street up to the main drag. Once I get to the top, it is actually flat. I feel like that’s the 4 minute walk they’re talking about. 2 days of doing this and my body was like, um… what is this? My calves feel like they’re going to pop open, my hamstrings are also tight, and my lower back is just downright achy.

So on Sunday night, I “researched” the back of the buildings. I thought I remembered kids coming down from the pool through the woods by my house so I figured I would try that out. Monday morning, I hiked through the woods and it cut 10 minutes off of my walk. Was it easy? Hecks no. Am I going to do it again? Probably not! It was a little reckless to be hiking up the side of the mountain with a big stick on snow and ice. But who knows, maybe when my legs stop hurting, I’ll try it again.
*insert picture of shortcut hill*
So, doing this level of exercise in the snow and ice has been quite interesting.
But I’ve found that for the most part, I’m good with the walking and the riding. I make sure my phone is super-charged because even when I’m feeling some kind of way, as soon as I start walking or riding, I have my gospel music playing and that keeps me focused and grounded.
My only issue is the bus I have to take during non-peak times. The 59 Mon Valley has to be the kookiest, most nonsensical bus route I have ever been on! Buses used to operate with logic. Buses used to take a route in one direction, then coming back use the same route, just the opposite side of the street….
Honey, those days are gone. They must have cut 5 or 6 routes and combined them into this monstrosity. This bus twists and turns through every hill and dale, crosses back over itself, and then has the nerve to have stops that are on different streets.
And me, the poor uninformed rider, is just supposed to know. I’ve said it all week and I’ll say it again, thank God for Google Maps, who interprets Port Authority’s schedule and puts it in a format that is easy to understand!  Needless to say, this has been craziness, but God is good and I know it’s only for a little while (maybe even just until tomorrow *looks to heaven*?)

Throughout this year, I have been working on building my relationship with God and have asked Him to help me clean up those things within me that are keeping me apart from Him. This entire situation has made one issue come to the forefront, Pride or maybe it’s better said as a Lack of Humility.
I love to help others, but hate to ask for help.
I love to pick people up and take people home (i.e. the jitney ministry), but I don’t want to burden anyone with taking me anywhere.
I hate crying in front of other people.
I don’t like sharing my true needs in the prayer circle and I often rely on humor to get it across.

Doesn’t make any sense, right? Yup, I know. On Monday night, I kept it real in the prayer circle, but I must have said something funny, because one lady who knows me was chuckling. Meanwhile, I’m thinking, here I am laying it on the line and she is laughing. She even laughed while Rev was praying… I think she felt bad when she saw my tears afterward though. Humor is one of my coping skills, I guess.
And I’ve just never been a woe is me type of person. I can’t stay down in the doldrums, I have to keep pushing and keep a smile on my face. That’s the only way to get through it….  I got totally side tracked. Anyway, I had two offers of a ride home and I declined them both. 75% of the people who attend my church live right on the Northside and I wasn’t comfortable taking them 15 miles away to my house at 9:30 at night. My soror offered me a ride but she lives even farther away and I turned her down. Then I got “scolded” by someone else for not taking either offer. I did get a ride downtown though. I may be stubborn, but I ain’t foolish. It was almost like, I needed to do it. I needed to know what it was like to take the bus home from downtown late at night. It was borderline horrible in that my connecting buses were like 22 minutes apart and it was freezing, but what really took the cake was that I almost missed the bus because of the different stops, as I discussed earlier. Then, as I’m on the final leg, and walking home from Wal-Mart, a complete stranger stops and asks if I needed a ride home. I blessed her and declined and kept walking. As I walked, I realized that was the 3rd offer and it kinda made me pay attention because of the biblical/spiritual significance of the number 3. I resolved then that I have gotta stop being so prideful and be more humble!
Here are some scriptures because time is ticking and even though the bus runs every 10 minutes, I really like catching the 7:32 which is always late LOL.
Isaiah 66:2
“...’This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.’”

Ephesians 4:1-3
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

1 Peter 5:5b-7
“…All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

Thursday, December 12, 2013

I'm Grateful That It's Working for My Good - 12/12/13

Romans 8:24-32
“For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. Likewise, the Spirit also helps us in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? “

There are so many discussion points in this text. I should probably just stay in this text and keep posting about it until I get done with it. This post, however, is focused on verse 28 – the fact that ALL things work together for my good and God’s glory! As per usual, I have written different paragraphs out of order, and then tried to pull them together in a layout that makes sense...

Tithing has been something I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to do for a while now, but I couldn’t afford to. Even taking the money out first would result in a major bill bouncing, so it really wasn’t working. But a couple of months ago, maybe October, Pastor preached about tithing and how important it is. And how, the most important part is to give and give consistently. She also acknowledged that not everyone can give 10% yet, but you should at least start with 1% and work your way up. I have to say that I’ve been doing that and I think I’ve finally got the hang of it. I’m not at 10% yet though. *pulls out paystubs, does math, checks numbers* Ok, apparently, I’ve been giving around 1 ½ % of my gross paycheck. I thought it was 2% but I never look at my paystubs LOL. I’ve also started giving 10% of my data entry stipend.

I am most likely going to give up my most major bill, that burdensome friend of mine - my car Silverfox. I say most likely, because things are still up in the air and there’s nothing I can do about it. I’ve truly given it to God because I’m tired of worrying about it. I was over 60 days behind on my car note, which made me eligible for an assistance program, but now that I’m over 90 days, I might not be eligible. So, who knows what they’re going to do? Then, regardless of that situation, my car is sitting in timeout for 3 months as a penalty for going without insurance for more than 30 days last December/January. I tried to appeal it, but all it did was delay it. So I’m car-less right through here.

I’m just amazed at God’s love for me and how He is truly taking care of me. On this business trip to Central PA, I’m so grateful to be in sitting in a hotel room that I didn’t have to pay for out of my pocket and that I was able to use a car from the county fleet to get here!  When I get back to Pittsburgh, I’ll feel the full effect of being carless, but everything will be okay. Buses are all around me. There are quite a few places in Allegheny County that are poor in transit. Yet, I’m grateful that I live, work, and worship in places that don’t have that problem. I can get just about anywhere I need to go. I now have a job where a car is not necessarily required. And for times when I do need one, I will be able to rent a car.  There is a small issue that is called the mountain/valley in which my apartment is located and to get to the bus, I have to climb it. It’s pretty steep, but even in that, God is looking out for me. Forced exercise is a good thing and will help me transition back into purposefully working out!

All that to say, I’m grateful to God for all He has done and all He continues to do. I have faith that everything will be okay!  

Here’s four five songs that I love and lean on in times like this:

Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir – More Than Enough

“Jehovah Jireh, my provider, you are more than enough for me…”

Kirk Franklin – He Will Supply

“Though your vessel be empty, He will supply…”

Richard Smallwood – It’s Working (Romans 8:28)

“It’s working, It’s working, it’s working, it’s working, I know!...”

Hezekiah Walker  - Grateful

“Flowing from my heart are the issues of my heart and gratefulness…”

Walter Hawkins – Be Grateful

“Be grateful. Because there’s someone else that’s worse off than you… “

Thanks for all of the encouragement everyone!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Praise Ye the Lord - The Sacrifice of Praise - 12/10/13

*Note - I have been all over the place this morning with this post. I started somewhere in the middle then finished it, then went back to the beginning. Forgive my non-linear thinking this morning!*

Psalm 150
"Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty heavens. Praise Him for his acts of power; praise Him for His surpassing greatness. Praise Him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise Him with the harp and lyre, praise Him with tambourine and dancing, praise Him with the strings and flute, praise Him with the clash of cymbals, praise Him with the resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord."

I want to sing. No, scratch that, I already sing. I’m in the choir (Alto4Life) and I love that.
But I think I want to be a lounge singer or something. I know this sounds weird, bear with me J
Whenever I’m around live music (gospel and secular), there’s something in me that awakens, a desire to ad lib and vocalize and just go for it. There’s an obstacle, though. ..

Psalm 95:1-2
"Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song."

Singing isn’t one of my “latent” gifts. Matter of fact, I didn’t even start to recognize that I could carry a tune until late high school and even then, I just did what I was told. I didn’t have a voice.  College was the place I found my voice, figuratively and literally. In college, I learned how to speak my mind. College made me a leader`. College is where I stretched musically while singing in gospel choir. I learned how to breathe and how to posture myself. I learned how to reach crazy high notes.  I was assigned solos so I had to literally find my voice. After graduation, I came back home and eventually made my way back to my home church. I played around with the idea of joining the choir, but at the time, it wasn’t a good fit for me. I started helping out with the youth choir and before you know it, I was singing again. I was stretching again and it felt awesome. Then youth choir went away. It wasn’t until last year that I finally joined the adult choir, in a way, taking my mom’s place and I’m so glad I did. There’s just something about singing that calls to me,  but as much as I love to sing, the very thought of singing a solo brings me to my knees….

"Psalm 34:1-3
I will extol the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His name together."

Singing by myself in front of other people terrifies me. Singing a solo literally makes my heart pound and my teeth chatter and my legs shake. Last week, we were practicing a song where pastor wanted us to just vocalize individually in the breaks while we sang. We were all doing it at the same time. We were all worshipping and it was awesome, but that didn’t stop my body from physiologically freaking out.

Psalm 146:1-2
"Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, O my soul. I will praise the Lord all my life. I will sing praise to my God as long as I live."

So, if my mind is afraid of it and my body reacts negatively to it, then what is it in me that actually wants to do it? I think it’s my soul and that while my kneejerk response in worship is movement and miming, my other response is to sing. It builds up inside of me until I release it and I believe that singing may be my sacrificial praise, because it costs me something to do it.

Hebrews 13:15
"Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that confess His name."

Alas, it is time to shower etc… Got a bus to catch!
Have a wonderful day everyone!

And just for the fun of it, here's a cartoon song that I used to love.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Date Night…. 12/6/13

Oy, I don’t even have words. It wasn't a bad date, and I’m grateful for the experiences that God allows me to have. I’m also grateful for my growth. 4 years ago, and I could have gotten caught up in the foolishness. But instead, at the end of the date, my faith was assured that God’s got me and He knows the plans He has for me.  I’m not sad, angry, depressed or disappointed. Because it just confirms that when I do meet my husband, it will be clear to me and our reward will be ever so much sweeter!

Now, let me keep it real, I haven’t always been this content with life. Matter of fact, just look at my blog posts from 1-22 years ago and you will see the angst. If I had a journal 4-5 years ago, you would have seen me being disappointed time and time again at the men who I have gone on dates with. Because I would build myself up, wishing he might be the one, but not even knowing what the one was supposed to look like, feel like, act like, etc… So ultimately, I would end up feeling sad, angry, depressed, disappointed, or any combination of those. 

Tonight was a lot like those nights in that the man I went out with was so similar to other guys. It was seriously a repeat of my life. Except now, I’m wiser, I’m secure in who I am and who I’m called to be, so tonight I could just laugh at the ridiculosity that was coming out of his mouth as he tried to convince me I was the one for him. I literally cracked up because he was super entertaining. He had it all worked out as how my virgin status clearly meant that God ordained for us to be together and how I just need to get out of God’s way and accept that fact…. O_o  Then he tried to convince me why I should be willing to have premarital sex with him…  Dude, seriously? I’m going to break my promise to God now, after all these years, and sleep with you so that we can be sure that this so-called “God-sent” relationship will work out???

So you know what I did? I challenged him to come to church on Sunday and then afterward, see if he still feels this way. He agreed, but he said that I couldn’t tell my pastor about him because you know, then “he’ll be trying to talk to me.” I shook my head and said, don’t worry I won’t mention you to HER at all. IF he shows up (and I doubt he will), the Holy Spirit will take care of it.
Smh, it's time for bed, but here are some moments that I found hilarious as a child of God in a silly situation. Just little hints that God was right there with me, probably chuckling b/c this dude was hilarious!
  • The Bible on his coffee table that he said I clearly don’t read or else I would know when God was trying to bless me
  • When he tried to tell me the story, you know the one, about the man who was drowning and God sent a boat and a helicopter and he declined because he was waiting for God. Me, being th3e jerk I am, said “So, you’re my helicopter?” and he said “Yes, baby girl, I am your helicopter!”
  • When he started singing “Maybe God Is Trying to Tell You Something” from Color Purple in the most awesome tone-deaf voice I have heard in a long time
  • The faith-based decorations on his wall that he made sure to point out to me as signs that he is a good man
  • When it was time for me to go and his phone started randomly playing gospel on Pandora – Stand by Donnie McClurkin and For Every Mountain by Kurt Carr. (Two of my personal faves) And he was like, whoa, I don’t even know how that happened. Accidental or not, funny either way!

Okay, enough with the jokey-jokes. Time to pray.

Dear Lord, my father and my best friend. I love you. Thank you for keeping your arms around me, to shield me and protect me. Thank you for letting me have these dating experiences and for equipping me with the knowledge of how to deal with them. Lord, while I think about how good you’ve been to me, I’m going to pray for the man I went out with tonight. Because while it was nice to go out on a date, that wasn’t tonight’s purpose. He needs you. Right now, he thinks he wants me, but I can’t do a thing for him. Only you can. You’re the one who can cure his loneliness. You’re the one who can give him joy. Help him to see that Lord. Use me as you see fit. Amen

Morning approaches. Let me catch a couple of winks! Good night all and happy Friday!!!  

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

What You Talkin' Bout Jesus? - 12/4/13

I wrote a post last night, but I’m not uploading it, as it was more of a remedy to the mind-arrhea that was happening yesterday. It was like my mind had imploded and the staff in my brain were trying to put it all back together.

What brought this on? None of your business LOL! It just made two things explicitly clear – 1) The word of God from Pastor’s 11/24/13 sermon is still out here kicking butt and taking names and 2) God is DEFINITELY up to something!

Pastor and I had talked about how this restlessness that I’ve been feeling lately is normal before a call. I’m still not sure what that is, but I’m wondering if there is a spiritual gift attached with it….

It strikes me that this writing thing is so necessary for my life because it helps me process! When I process new information that fits within the context, I process it just fine. I might only lag behind like 10-15 seconds. But when I hear/see something new and unexpected? I immediately respond, but it’s very kneejerk. I haven’t actually figured out what I’ve heard or read. I need to just start saying, “Hold on. Gimme 2 minutes and I’ll get right back to you.” Because I literally can’t even process the information, figure out how I feel about it, and then respond quickly. Now, as humans do, I have learned to pretend that I get it. It’s only afterward, that I start trying to break it down into what I heard or saw, the external non-verbal cues that may have come along with it, and then how I feel about it.   

In the context of work, when we wear our business analyst hats, this particular skill usually leads to me being the one who finds an issue that was previously overlooked. It’s real life application though? I’ve never been sure. Other than, if God had given me a quick processor to go with this tongue, my life would surely be worse off. In middle/high school, I always wanted to have the witty retort, the oooh snap snap response… smh, I’m  the one who plays the conversation over and over again until I come up with the perfect response and by then it’s like 2 hours later, and I’m like man, why didn’t I say that??

This morning, I’m going to dig into the Word and see if I can find the scripture about spiritual gifts.

Romans 12:6-8
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”

1 Corinthians 12:4-11
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these re the work of one and the same Spirit, and He gives them to each one, just as He determines.”

I Corinthians 14:1, 3,4b,12b
“Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy…” “…everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort…” “… he who prophesies edifies the church…” “Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church.”

Mmm, I’m not sure I’ve ever encountered that one before, where Paul is saying speaking in tongues is great, but it doesn’t help everybody. Prophecy helps everyone and I would rather you all have that gift….

1 Peter 4:10-11a
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in it’s various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praises through Jesus Christ.”

As I end this post, I don’t think I’m any closer to an answer, but the scriptural foundation has been laid. No matter what gifts I currently have and those that are in the works, I need to use them to the glory of God.


Today's Song:
No One Else by Kurt Carr


Every man must use the gift he's given
Every man must do the will of God
You were created for a reason and chosen for a season
So never feel your gift is just too small
Never feel that what you have is least of all

For no one else can preach your sermon
No one else can sing your song
No one else could ever do what God has chosen you to do
Your gift was given from above
A blessing from the Father's love
So use your gift to the glory of God

No one God created is quite like you
No one earth is quite the same
In the body of Christ there's a need for your life
There's a work, there's an assignment just for you
There's a purpose for that gift that lies in you

(Repeat Chorus)

Never feel like you're not good enough
Never feel your gifts are too small

(Repeat Chorus)

I'll go, I'll go Lord for You glory
I'll sing, I'll sing Lord for Your glory
Use me, use me Lord for Your glory
Testify, testify Lord for Your glory

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Meditation: I Want to Be Holy! - 12/3/13

When I was younger, I used to sit on the porch whenever I wanted to think and it was so peaceful to commune with God in the outdoors. Yesterday, being car-less (by choice) and phone-less (not by choice), I joked that it felt like the 90s all over again – me on a bus, no cell phone, no internet in the palm of your hand, etc. This created an interesting phenomenon of quiet and meditation. As I walked home from the bus stop after work, I actually enjoyed myself and it reminded me of those good times on the porch. It occurred to me that this time of phonelessness could be by design so that I could spend some more in-depth time talking to God. I could have easily walked in my house and continued my meditation time. I could even have finished cleaning my living room and putting up my Christmas tree. So many productive and good things I could have done…
 I didn’t.
Instead, I finished my book on my Kindle PC app. I watched DVDs. I did all kinds of unnecessary stuff.
This morning, I feel guilty for squandering my time with the Lord. So, I started reading about forgiveness. I found a passage in Psalms and expanded it.
Psalm 19:7-14

“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.

The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.

The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart.

The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever.

The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous.

They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
So poetic, yet basic and simple. I love the book of Psalms.
1 Corinthians 6:9-12

“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God. Do not be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greed nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And this is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. ‘Everything is permissible for me’ – but not everything is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible for me’ – but I will not be mastered by anything…”
Just when we were feeling all flowery and good, here comes Paul, reminding the believers in Corinth that they need to get themselves together! There’s a lot in here. I’m just a scribe, being transparent (yet purposefully vague) about my struggles. Take from it what you will. It’s so easy to get caught up in the lie of permissible sin. “God I know I’m not supposed to do this, but I’m going to.” And it’s a daily (sometimes hourly) struggle that we have to fight.
1 Corinthians 6:19

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”
Ouch! This Word is hurting this morning.
And it makes perfect sense. How or why would the Spirit dwell within an unholy place? Just like there’s a custodian to keep the physical church building clean, we need to be custodians for our body and keep that clean too. Then those addictive sins, you know the ones that can be okay in moderation or within the law, but not okay if you cross that line (i.e. alcohol, sex, food, etc)? Whew, those are the hardest ones. Lord, have mercy on us! I’m out of words. It’s time to pray and seek God’s help.
Lord, I want to be holy. While many may falsely view me as “good”, we both know that I’m human like everyone else. Please forgive me for the sins I knowingly AND unknowingly commit. Help me to stop committing them. Take away the power they have over me. Thank you for your grace and mercy that covers me and my sins. You are awesome God and you amaze me daily with your love. Thank you for loving even me! Amen
Today’s hymn - I Am Thine O Lord/Draw Me Nearer
I am Thine, O Lord, I have heard Thy voice,
And it told Thy love to me;
But I long to rise in the arms of faith
And be closer drawn to Thee.
Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord,
To the cross where Thou hast died.
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer blessed Lord,
To Thy precious, bleeding side.
Consecrate me now to Thy service, Lord,
By the power of grace divine;
Let my soul look up with a steadfast hope,
And my will be lost in Thine.
O the pure delight of a single hour
That before Thy throne I spend,
When I kneel in prayer, and with Thee, my God
I commune as friend with friend!
There are depths of love that I cannot know
Till I cross the narrow sea;
There are heights of joy that I may not reach
Till I rest in peace with Thee.

Hugs, kisses, and Neosporin for everybody! This word was out here slicing and dicing this a.m.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Confirmation – God’s Got Me! - 12/2/13

I’m taking the bus to work today…. My car (Silverfox) is going to sit in the driveway. I thought I was turning her in, but now I’m not sure what I’m doing. Maybe the lesson was/is in my willingness to obey…

Proverbs 3:5
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

So, taking it back to last week, well over the past couple of weeks, I had been praying about my car situation. It had become clear to me that I needed to turn her back in (voluntarily repossess is such a yucky phrase…).  As I was still wobbling on that, I went to a women’s group and TRUST was the word du’jour and I said okay, Lord, I trust you. I began to tell people what was going on. For me, it’s not real, until I tell a few people. I told the women’s group last Saturday. I told my Dad on Thanksgiving. I told my blog readers. This Saturday, I started walking it out in my mind. I said okay Lord, I’m on board with what you’re asking me to do and I have to invest in this so I put $50 on a connect card to take the bus. Saturday night into Sunday morning, I kept walking it out in my mind and it occurs to me, that I could be getting home at 9:30, 10:00 at night. Which is okay with me, but I realized that I’m going to be that person I almost hit every night coming down my steep, dark street. Thus began the shopping list of things I “need” to start taking the bus (safety vest, bookbag, thermals), and I almost decided to defer this until I could purchase those items...

Yesterday was Youth Sunday at church and Pastor John Robinson from Greater Destiny was our guest preacher. I was running around with the mimes and after we finished up, I was going to grab something to eat and take my antibiotic, but something (i.e. the Holy Spirit) told me No, go in to service. So I did, and as I’m walking in, the sermon had already started and the pastor was talking about how God can’t increase our territory until we decrease ourselves! And I thought to myself, that’s exactly what I had been thinking about. In my tarrying the night before, I was thinking about one of the theme R words – Reduce! And that letting this car go will make room for more blessing in my life. The pastor also said that we have to give thanks. And I was like yessss, I’m on the right track. Go God! Then he said, you gotta open your mouth and sing about it. Boom. The title of the sermon, by the way, was “He’s Got You, Baby!”. So, confirmation was just flowing in my spirit. God got this! Stop worrying about the little stuff. Just be obedient and do it. Right then and there, I decided, okay, the shopping list is just a delay tactic. I’m cleaning this car out tonight and I’m calling these people and telling them to come get her in the morning. I started driving home and called the company. ..

When I finally got a human on the phone, I explained what I wanted to do. The service rep asked me questions,  like, well have you thought about this? Have you thought about that? Yup, yup and my mind is made up. I’m doing this ma’am  and I probably had an attitude at first, because I’m like, hey stop trying to talk me out of this hard thing I’ve finally decided to go through with! Then she said, well, we have to hire someone to come get your car and that’s going to take a few days… Uh oh. Then she asked what if my note was reduced for six months, would that help? Because later this week, I will be eligible to apply for assistance and maybe that would help. She reminded me of how detrimental a repo can be, in that you still owe the balance of the loan minus the price they will get for it at auction, so I would still be paying on a car that I no longer own (been there, still doing it on my very first car smh). She said, at least see if you qualify for assistance later this week before you make the final decision…

So, here I sit. Unsure of what to do, but I’m going to take it one step at a time. I’m taking the bus to work today while Silverfox stays in my driveway. At this point, I am so tired of pondering this entire thing so I am finally doing what I should have done in the beginning – trusting God to work out the details. God’s got me!

Psalms 20:1-8
“May the Lord answer you when are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you. May He send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion. May He remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings. May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests. Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed, He answers him from His holy heaven with the saving power of his right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.”

P.S. Did you see how this Word just smacked me upside the head again?!  Thank you Lord!

P.P.S.   I typed this post at home, saved it on my jump drive, and posted after I got to work. Due to phone issues, I will be off the grid for a couple of evenings - I went to Best Buy yesterday to discuss my slowly charging phone and they ordered a replacement. Hallelujah! Then I got home and my phone stopped charging altogether! 8% left at 5am this morning, yikes! Looks like I’ll be back to the 90’s at home until the replacement phone gets here, no internet, no TV, no games, no GPS, no calendar, no text messages, no phone calls at all because I don’t have a house phone... But I’ll be okay! (right?)

P.P.P.S (ok this is getting ridiculous!) - but I made it to work early! Only a ten minute ride in. And regardless of what decision I come to, did I mention that my car has to serve a 3 month time-out for dropping insurance coverage more than 30 days... yeah, that starts December 11th so... either way I'll be bussing it, but c'est la vie - God's Got It!
Found a video!  This is my jam! God's Got It by J Moss

I woke up this morning and I told myself
Not gon' worry about what I cannot help
People dying innocently, haters spreading rapidly
I'm not talking nepathy but some things God's gotta (work)
Woah oh
(He's gotta work) yeah ha
(He's gotta work) woah oh
(He's gotta work) yeah ha
Check it out

I ain't gonna worry bout' the money in the bank, I ain't worried bout it
I ain't gonna worry bout' the gas in the tank, fill me up, fill me up, I ain't worried bout' it
I ain't gonna worry bout' the things I can't control, it is, what it is
I ain't gonna worry bout' it, all I do is pray about it, hold up, why?
God's's got it...

I look around and my hearts a little hithered
The money scream fast and I'm looking for a blessing
People looking for jobs
No one looking for God
I know that your hurt but in time God's really gonna (work)
Woah oh
(He's gotta work) yeah ha
(He's gotta work) woah-oh
(He's gotta work) yeahah
I'm a let him do it cause...

I ain't gonna worry bout' the money in the bank, I ain't gon' worry bout' it, I can't worry bout' it
I ain't gonna worry bout' the gas in the tank, I know who supplies my neeedds
I ain't gonna worry bout' the things I can't control, God's is in control
I ain't gonna worry bout' it, all I do is pray about it, hold up, why?
God's got it...

When your loosing strength and your confidence
God's got it (God's got it) oh-ah (oh-ah)
When your money spent, can't pay the rent
God's got it (God's got it) oh-ah (oh-ah)
Oh, when a storm is passing over, don't loose your composure
God's got it (God's got it) oh-ah (oh-ah)
When your down for a while, wanna throw in the towel
God's got it (God's got it) oh-ah (oh-ah)

I ain't gonna worry bout' the money in the bank, seen it over and over again
I ain't gonna worry bout' the gas in the tank, I ain't gon' worry about it cause he cares for me
I ain't gonna worry bout' the things I can't control, can I hold
I ain't gonna worry bout' it, all I do is pray about it, oh oh yeah
God's got it...