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How To Pray

After Jesus prayed, the disciples asked, “how do we pray?” Jesus gave them an example to use:

“So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.””
‭‭Luke‬ ‭11:2-4‬ ‭

When looking at this example you can see there are 5 basic parts to the prayer:

1. The adoration of God: who he is and what he has done

2. Our needs

3. Confession of our sins, shortcomings and weaknesses

4. Our prayer for others

5. Direction and protection

When we pray within this pattern that the Lord has laid out for us, we can begin to gear our mind toward his. We must first place our thoughts on who God is and what he has done and praise him for it. We then can come to him with our needs and he will supply them. Next, we confess where we have sinned and ask for forgiveness. We take that grace and we pray for others especially those who have hurt us. Our hearts and minds begin to become clearer so that we can ask for direction and protection and be able to hear his response.

Prayer is our communication with Holy God. It is a critical and vital aspect of our life as much the air we breathe. Prayer is not difficult but the enemy can cause discouragement and confusion. He can make us think we need fancy words and long drawn out monologues. But in truth, God is looking at the heart of the person praying. He knows everything before our lips speak it and even things that our lips do not even know what to speak. He gives us this pattern to help our minds and hearts align with his. He shows us the necessary communication to commune with him.

The lord tells us ASK, SEEK, KNOCK. Ask and it will be given. Seek, and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened. This is done in prayer. Prayer is the opportunity for us to align our desires with Him and for Him to give what he has already set apart for us.

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Freedom

Freedom

What it means to me:

Freedom means salvation in Christ. It means that I am no longer bound to this dying world but free to serve and love God. Freedom is peace in my heart. I can live life and forgive those who hurt me because I have been forgiven. Freedom is knowing my worth in the sight of God. When I am persecuted and hated, it does not diminish who I am in the sight of God. Freedom means a fulfilled life. I don’t have to look for validation from others or perform a certain way to be successful. God is in charge of my success.

Freedom means that I’m no longer a slave to sin. Christ has already conquered the flesh.

Freedom means that I do not have to worry about tomorrow. It means an all knowing God leads me on straight paths. He is never taken by surprise and prepares His children for what lies ahead.

True freedom is found in Christ.

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A Call to Repent

The Lord has placed a burden upon my heart for years about the spiritual state our church body. He has shown me time and time again that we have become weak. The Holy Spirit gifted me with the gift of prophecy to speak to the body of believers about such things. Although, it is easier to speak words that encourage it is difficult to speak words that admonish. My flesh fights to remain comfortable and not to cause wakes but the spirit does not relent. I am not content to remain silent when I have been shown the truth. I pray each person who reads this message tests it. Look in the scripture and allow God to reveal to you the truth.

Gift of Prophecy

A letter to the Church,

God’s word has been watered down. We do not teach how to search for truth and we do not teach how to discern from lies. We have given into comfort and we have given into abusing the Lords grace. We have become a relic in Society something of the past that cannot relate with people today. We have enjoyed blessings and we have enjoyed the gift of forgiveness but we have turned from reproof. We sit and listen to messages after messages but then turn around and ignore the words.

Our younger generations leave us because they bear witness to the hypocrisy in our hearts. We check off our lists of bodily attendance but our hearts are far from surrender and worship. We do not speak up for the hurting and the oppressed we turn a blind for fear of the discomfort we might experience. Oh church, we have strayed. We no longer hold up truth and boldly proclaim it and those who do are viewed as eccentric or radical.

Church we have chosen to hide our light. We have chosen to blend into the crowd. What distinguishes us from the unbeliever? What is proof in our lives that we boldly live for Christ? We have given up being beacons of light. We have given up our saltiness. We have traded our voice for silence. We traded our zeal for complacency.

Church we are lukewarm.

Drop to your knees oh Church and ask God to search your heart and reveal the sin living in you and repent. Let him do his cleaning work upon you.

““To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.””

‭‭Revelation‬ ‭3:14-22‬ ‭NIV‬‬

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Heavy Hearted Mother

My heart is heavy for this world. If I could, I would open the minds of so many and dump the truths I have learned from Gods word into their minds but I cannot. To be honest, my flesh just desires for everyone to just get along and treat people the way you want to be treated. I would like warm and fuzzy and comfortable. But, this warm and fuzzy life of no conflict does not move forward. The conflict free life does not grow. A life of complacency or apathy does not breed life it breeds death.

My heart is heavy for my children and my grandchildren. What type of world will they grow up in? What type of persecution will they see? And yes, if they believe in Christ persecution is promised. As we approach the end of times and continue on in the last days they will be hated and reviled. It will be worse than any persecution we have seen to date. This world hates the truth and that is evident by our actions. We try to remove God from every aspect of our lives and then wonder why things are in chaos.

This world doesn’t value human life. The ones we value the least are children. Thousands around the world are kidnapped and trafficked and used for the most devious and evil actions. They are murdered in the womb and it is celebrated. My heart hurts. My heart hurts for those children and my heart hurts for those so devoid of truth to believe that it’s ok to do these things. These things cause me to want to just hide and pray that Jesus would return quickly.

The fact is, my flesh, my protective mothering heart says, “halt having anymore children.” No more, this world is too scary to grow children in this environment. Everything in me wants to say it’s time to quit but it goes in direct conflict with the call God placed on my life, that is, to leave the number of children I have to him. But, my heart hurts and my courage wains. It is only Christ that sustains me.

I pray earnestly for them and for this world. My heart is just broken. Jesus! I can’t quit having children and I can’t quit teaching them about Christ. All I can think about is what He might use them for. My oldest already believes he has been called to be a missionary and I know the others will have their individual callings upon their lives. One day Christ might use them to bring the news of salvation and hope to people who are hopeless. Maybe, they will lead remnants of Christs people in hope and faith. I do not know what the future holds for them or for myself.

But despite all of the pain and feelings of fear that well up I have to rely on truth. The truth is, God is patient and he is waiting on many more souls to turn to him to be saved. The truth is, that this world must go even further into depravity before he returns. The truth is, God sees every tear everything thing that is done in darkness and he will bring justice to the oppressed. The truth is, that his plans have not been thwarted by the evil in this world. The truth is, he has great plans for myself and for my children to spread his word and bring hope to a hurting world. The truth is, he knows all the days that are before each one of us and lovingly guides us through when we surrender to him. The truth is, no matter how awful the storm gets there can be peace within me. The truth is, that the enemy would love for me to quit having children. He would love for me to give into fear and hide away.

But Christ gives me courage to keep going on. He places a restlessness in my heart that keeps drawing me to him and to keep teaching my children his word. A restlessness that causes a stirring in my spirit to speak truth even when it is difficult for others to hear. He puts callings upon me that are more than I can bear within myself but he works in me and through me to accomplish his will.

A day will come where I will have to give an account for how I lived on this earth. All will have to give an account. And when I stand before the throne I pray that the Lord of Lords addresses me as “My faithful servant.” A servant not giving into to fear of today nor stopping because it is uncomfortable or there is too many unknowns.

My heart is overwhelmed, but each day I see him preparing our family for a life separate from this world. I see him creating the contrast from mainstream ways of thinking and sanctifying us. I see where he plans to draw us to a life dependent on him rather than the world. He does this to teach us how to live during times of trouble so that we can stand in the days to come.

Brothers and sisters, I pray that you seek out Gods wisdom for your family. I pray that you seek out truth. I pray that you do not desire comfort in this world and in the worlds ways but choose Christ and begin to be truly set apart from this world. I pray that you have courage to move forward in the hope of Christ not hope in humanity. Christ alone is our only hope.

“Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time. “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather. “Immediately after the distress of those days “ ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭24:4-35‬ ‭

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A Call to Take Hard Look in the Mirror

Over the last few weeks I have been trying figure out how to respond to all of the pain that the Black community has been feeling and my role.

A few things I’m sure of:

– they don’t need anyone telling them to calm down. In no situation when someone is in pain and is yelling out that telling that person to calm down is ever effective. That’s a sure fire way to stoke the flame.

– they don’t need anyone to say I understand and or try to compare their situation to yours.

– they don’t need anyone telling them this is what you should do. And try to fix it for them.

– hard reactions are from pint up hurt and anger and generally that hurt and anger is from a continual feeling of being unheard and marginalized.

– what is being fought against is not a simple injustice to the Black community it is a mindset toward the black community.

I don’t believe a governmental bandaid can fix this. Because even with laws and oversight it does not mean that the hate in people’s heart will be changed. But it can be a forward step.

This fight is against a generational sin. A sin of prejudice and pride. The only remedy to such a thorn is Christ himself.

If we want real change we need to get in the habit of looking in a mirror. We need to look deep into our hearts and start identifying the sin that fuels this hate and ugliness toward one another.

I am a privileged person but my greatest privilege that I have is that Christ has rescued me. He has given me the privilege of seeing my wrong thinking and replacing them with truth to transform my mind and my heart. He has given me the privilege to speak to others about this amazing restoration. My biggest role I can play in this lifetime is to teach my children to have a right mindset toward all individuals. To celebrate Gods diversity in humans and to love them well. I can explain to them the atrocities of today and condemn this mindset and remind them the Lord values and loves these people and we are to do the same.

So here is a challenge to the most privileged community, that is the community of believers, how as a nation of people holding the truth in our hearts fight for the least of these? How can our actions speak louder than our statuses and and sentiments? How do we become the hands and feet of Jesus to this hurting community? Let us pray for a revival in this country. A revival of hearts willing to lay down our complacency and look into the mirror and allow the Lord to change us. Let us get in the posture of humility, let’s bow our heads to hear the Lord and ask for ears to hear the hurting hearts.

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Oh dirt, cry out!

In ground that is hard and compacted a seed cannot grow. There is no room for roots no room to grow. Packed with potential, it lies there dormant.

Oh ground how unforgiving you are! There is no life within you. You produce nothing but weeds, your soil blows away in the wind. You are lifeless and dead. You cannot stand a storm for it whips and tosses you. Torrents of rain washes your foundation away. You are trampled on by beasts.

Cry out to me oh dirt of this earth! Cry out for life!

I will come and I will turn you! I will lay down a new foundation upon you. . I will remove every briar and weed. I will place a covering over your stripped and bare body. I will give you rest. I will plant seeds within you! Within you fruit will be produced.

You will no longer be dry and parched but have a spring of everlasting water. No longer will you be called barren. You will be given a new name a land of milk and honey, a chosen and priceless land.

My chosen land, I bought you while you were still dead, but if you yield to me trust that you are in my hands, let me work in you and through you will be a land of plenty.

“That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.” The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “ ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it. “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.””

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭13:1-23‬ ‭

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The Journey Inward, The Blessings that came from Depression. Part 1 “The Journey downward”

For a long time, the word depression came with a lot of negative thoughts. It felt like a taboo word in Christian circles. It brought up feelings of guilt, failure, and shame. I had a hard time even thinking or saying the word out loud and even more difficult time considering it might be my state of mind. I would define depression as disappointment with myself. A state of mind that critically judges my actions based upon preconceived expectations or standards.

It was after my third child was born that I began to slip into this depressive state. We had recently moved from one home to another. My best friend had recently moved away and I had gained a ton of weight from being put on bed rest during my pregnancy. My newborn daughter was a very challenging baby. She needed constant touch from me and would rarely go to her father without screaming and crying. She cried a lot. I mean a whole lot! It was hard. I had a 4 and 2 year old to care for on top of the newborn. My house was still in disarray from the move and every time I looked in the mirror I wanted to cry.

The insurmountable stress of life left me feeling tired and defeated. Most would say why didn’t I take time away? Well, that is exactly where the the depression started. Every time I tried to take time away to care for myself there was this guilt that set in. It was a little voice in the back of my head that yelled, ” you should feel ashamed for being so selfish!” And “your real problem is that you don’t pray enough or study your bible enough.” So I would desperately try to clean or do house work to “earn” that time away but failed because house work never ends with three kids. I then would take that pent up stress and failures and try to to eat them away. I tried to press down all the the negative feelings I had. Then I would look at myself and feel even more ashamed and feel like a failure. I believed at one point that the solution to my problem was contentment. That I just needed to be content in my circumstances. Looking back contentment was not the problem. I loved being a mother but the pressure was hard and even Jesus took time to be alone and I needed to do the same but no…the real problem was the way I viewed myself. It was so poor that I could not give myself a break.

I eventually became accustom to that depressive feeling that familiar inner voice. It was a constant reminder of I’m not enough and I can’t do enough. I prayed and prayed for change. I wanted God to change me because obviously something was wrong with me. I was a deeply flawed individual that needed to be changed completely. I looked to God for him to change the way I acted towards others but those deep dark feelings I had about myself I pushed those way down. I put them in a closet and I slapped a fake smile on. But the fruit of such a practice left a bitterness in my mouth, a sharpness on my tongue and anger in my heart. I was pretty good about distracting myself from the feelings that I had. I masked it well enough so most people probably would not guess that such darkness lies on the inside. I just kept on ever pursing how to change my outward actions without truly acknowledging that inner voice was not a help or a friend.

I got to the point that I just could not deal with the feelings anymore. My dark thoughts led me to want to be absent from life. I didn’t want to commit suicide physically but I wanted to emotionally and mentally. I wanted to numb out and check out from the pain I kept feeling. Silly as it sounds, I literally asked God if I could just check out knowing full well he would say no.

But it was the turning point.I would love to say, “oh I became happy and joyful.” Nope, it was a turning point inward. God was about to carry me through a very dark valley within myself.

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Where Is The Joyful Mother of Children?

I’ve gotten caught up in the throws of Motherhood and the smile that once was on my face has turned into a sullen expression. I love my children and I love being a mother and I know it is what God has called me to do but where is the joyful mother?

Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. It cannot be manufactured through my own sheer will but only produced by the Spirit.

So what hinders me from being a joyful mother? Stress? Unmet expectations? Or is it an idolizing of Motherhood?

An idol…is something that is set above God and worshipped…but I don’t worship motherhood!…but do our actions reflect that? Am I so consumed by my position as a mother that I have no time to rest? Are my children and motherly duties set so high that I have no time to talk to God? Has my work become who I am instead of letting God define who I am? Jesus gave us the example through his life here on earth. If he took time to be alone and to step away then how much more important is it for me to do the same? His work was unending but He had enough time to slow down. He knew he had a limited time of earth to do the work that He was sent to do. But he did not stress and run around totally frustrated that he could not heal everyone so why do I? Is my work greater than the Son of God?

Jesus was a teacher he was a prophet but most importantly He was the Son of God and He never forgot that. He never forgot who He was and He never let his work override who He was. It was the fact that He was the Son of God that made it possible for him to full fill the work God the father had for him.

So why is it that I have let my work that God has called me to do be the defining factor of who I am? No, I’m not just a mother, I am the daughter of Christ. If I allow my work to consume me and define me then a bad day indicates I did not do enough or I was not enough. If I have a good day then maybe I am a cut above. If motherhood defines me then the results of my grown children determine whether I was a good mother or not. If motherhood defines me then when my children leave the house, then who am I now? What do I do then? Or do I try to hold on to my children trying to control their lives because I am there mother and that’s who I am and what I do?

But if I choose to not let motherhood consume me, then despite of the results I will know who I am. If I let God define who I am then I can find joy in today regardless of how the day went. I can move into the next stage of life without feeling a loss of identity. If I let the Lord define me then I can walk in grace and show grace.

Motherhood is a beautiful work the Lord has allowed women to participate in but it was never meant to consume us and rob us of joy. No, it was meant to draw us closer to Christ not to consume our life. This my friends is a hard line not to cross.

If you are feeling less than joyful in the work God has called you into, ask the Lord to reveal what is in the way of that joy.

“He gives children to the woman who doesn’t have any children. He makes her a happy mother in her own home. Praise the LORD.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭113:9‬ ‭

“Will women be saved by having children? Only if they keep on believing, loving, and leading a holy life in a proper way.”

‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭2:15‬ ‭

“Jesus replied, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your mind.’ ( Deuteronomy 6:5 ) This is the first and most important commandment. And the second is like it. ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ ( Leviticus 19:18 )”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭22:37-39‬

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An Unquenchable Fire

I can’t explain it. There is a yearning in my soul it is in every fiber of my being and draws me. I have never felt such a pull. It’s a pull that I know God has placed in me because it is drawing me to a life I would have never seen myself in.

This pull that truly I have no real words to describe is like a pull to the intended. A pull to the meant to be. There is a calmness a stillness that lies within it. It is unhurried. It is is acutely aware of details. All the sense are alive and firing. It is as though I have been awakened and set free. It is humbling.

When I step outside, it’s as if I can hear and tell that all of nature is praising him and it just makes me want to sit and listen to it’s song. I can’t explain this except an awakening of a part of my soul that had been asleep.

I believe my soul has been set on fire.

A believe a fire has been set to consume that which draws me away from the stillness and calm. A fire set to purify and refine. A fire that that consumes. A fire that drives me to a place that I have never been but long to be with the Lord.

I believe a revival is happening and I’m being sanctified.

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Transforming Through Motherhood

Motherhood is like the chrysalis of a caterpillar to a butterfly. When we are young women, we desire to be full of grace and beauty like the butterfly. But before we can get to that point we must go through the chrysalis of transformation. It’s during that time of who am I anymore? Am I still the caterpillar I use to be? No, but I’m not the graceful butterfly I hope be either. Instead, I look at myself and I’m in the hard place. Unsure of who I am anymore…the days seem long and tiresome. But through that long period of transformation I slowly turn from the young caterpillar with so much potential and future ahead of me to the butterfly I had hope to be.

Motherhood is also like a fruit bearing tree. All women start off as seeds with great potential to bear fruit (children and character) but the tree must grow before it bears its fruit. We desire to bear wonderful ripe fruit but the ripening takes time. The tree cannot will itself to ripen a fruit faster. It’s maturity must be made complete. The tree must also go through seasons of pruning so that it can produce an abundance of healthy good fruit. So it is with motherhood. We cannot expect to be the mother and woman we want to be overnight. No, it takes time. It takes a ripening of fruit. It takes seasons of pruning. A time in which God removes things in our life physical or a mindset that prevents us from producing the wonderful fruit.

Developing into a Proverbs 31 woman is a life long pursuit. It doesn’t happen overnight. It is a transformation God does through us and especially through motherhood. The hardness of motherhood transforms who we are as women. I think for myself and maybe for others it is difficult to figure out who we are in this season. We know we are no longer the woman we use to be and to hold too tightly to the “use to be” is dangerous and we aren’t quite where we want to be either. So we might “lose” ourself and possibly forget who we are. But who we are, is in Christ. We are in a transformation period and it cannot be hurried or bypassed. When we learn to rest in the fact that God is in the process of transforming you day by day and that you can learn to have satisfaction where you are in that process joy can be found. God is creating a new woman defined by himself and made into a new creation. The work will be made complete.