The Necessity of Judas

We were created for relationships. Our need for one another is the design of the Father. In order to even be created, we need our mothers and fathers to come together. Then we need our mothers to feed us in her womb. Once born, we need our caregivers to provide love, clothing, food, and shelter. This does not end once we hit that magical and adult age of 18. The need for others just shift…

We are wired to need love, care and compassion in our adulthood. Oh, not to mention the food, clothing, and shelter. Somewhere as we journey throughout life, we will need another person, simply because God wired us that way.

No matter what, relationships with others are necessary. Great caregivers, good friends, and loved ones make for an enriching life experience. Its not the number of people, its the quality.

Peter, John, and James were all keyplayers in the life of Jesus. They were not perfect, but they demonstrate how necessary good people are to our life’s story.

However, our enemies also eqiup us with an enriching life experience. They teach us how to overcome adversity and how to endure trials. They teach us how to suffer. Suffering is a necessary part of the human experience! In the list of promises God gives, suffering is one of them (2 Timothy 3:12)! Without pain and difficulties, how would we know that the Lord heals, that the Holy Spirit comforts, and God restores?

So just like Peter, James, and John, Judas was necessary. His betrayal sent Jesus to the cross. Without His sacrifice on the cross, our sins would not be forgiven and the battle would not be won. Without Judas, our relationship with the Father would be restrictive.

Our enemies are necessary. Our personal “Judas” is necessary. Without them, we wouldn’t have a personal testimony of restoration and healing. Without them, how would we know that we are more than conquerors? Without them, how would we know the fruit that suffering produces?

Appreciate your Johnathan and John. Their love, compassion, and friendship are necessary! Also, appreciate your Judas. Their hurt, pain, and betrayal helps you understand just how close the Lord is to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18). They, too, are necessary.

Peace and Blessings

Safety of Submission…

For some, this word is almost like a curse word. Have you ever uttered: “I’m not submitting to anyone!”? Or maybe you’ve heard how degrading, derogatory, or disrespectful submission is suppose to be. Or you’ve heard this phrase: “only dogs submit”.

Maybe people aren’t aware of what submission is or perhaps they are simply echoing the beliefs that others have articulated. Perhaps submission has been used in the improper context. Either way, submission gets a bad rap!

Recently on a podcast about marriage, submission was defined as “being under (sub) the mission of your spouse” (Melissa Fredericks). Whoa! What an simplified, yet powerful definition! That makes the concept of submission just a little more acceptable.

This understanding of submission applies to our relationship with God. Matter of fact, with Him is where submission starts! Before we can think about submitting to our husbands, we must begin with God.

Scripture makes this truth very clear.

Ladies, please do not let the world taint your perception of submission! In it’s proper context, it’s so beautiful! Its not about being a dog or being trampled over by someone. It’s about being under the mission, will, and protection of our Father. There is no other safest place to be!

When you are submitted to Him, you are victorious over the enemy. When you are in agreement with the mission of the Father, you understand why its important to submit to your husband and other authority figures (check out Titus 3:1, 1 Peter 2:13-14, Ephesians 5:21-25). There are promises for you as you submit to God (1 Peter 5:6, Job 22:21). Most importantly, submission is the Father’s design for us!

So submit, therefore, yourselves to God. Let’s not allow the world to distort a concept that was handcrafted by the Creator Himself. Let’s not forget that Jesus, perfect in every way, submitted Himself to the Father. He’s the model, He’s the standard. Cry out that you are under the mission of God!

Say yes to the mission, will and purpose of the Father! Trust that His plan is perfect! Trust that He will protect you and keep you safe. Find safety in submission.

Peace and Blessings

And if not…

It goes without saying, God answers prayers. Those who are followers of Christ can probably give an account of the numerous times God has heard their cry, whether it was verbal or not. He has healed, He has saved, He has delivered! Hallelujah! We absolutely serve a great God! Rest assured, if He hasn’t given you a reason to shout, He most definitely will!

But let’s consider this:

Daniel 3 has us looking at the dilemma of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They were being forced to bow down to an idol. They were not having it. Here is their powerful message to King Nebuchadnezzar in verses 17 and 18:

“If you throw us into the hot furnace, the God we serve can save us. And if he wants to, he can save us from your power. But even if God does not save us, we want you to know, King, that we refuse to serve your gods. We will not worship the gold idol you have set up.”
Daniel 3:17‭-‬18

What if God didn’t save them? What if He didnt restore your finances in the way you desired? What if He doesn’t heal that family member in the way you want? What if you don’t get married? Or have the baby? Is He still good?

Yes, He is still good!

We must have the level of boldness, trust and faith in our God as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Although we may declare it with fear and trembling, hoping, praying, and believing that God that will answer our prayer, we must be willing to shout that if God doesnt do it, whatever “it” may be for you, He is still good.

Our Father isnt a genie that only works when we are satisfied. A full belly and a full bank account does not shape God’s character and identity. He is more than the blessings He freely extends. He is bigger than the victory.

We cannot wait until He moves. We must rejoice, praise and shout right now. We pray our BIG prayers and operate with even BIGGER faith.

Because if not–if He doesnt move, if He doesnt answer, if He doesnt say “yes”–He is still good.

Peace and Blessings

The Other “g”…

“You shall have no other gods before Me.” Exodus 20:3 NKJV

This scripture is pretty cut and dry right? And we can imagine what other gods the Lord was speaking of right? Cars, clothes, money, and other material possessions that only have temporary value. We probably are hitting all of the checkmarks there, giving ourselves a good ole pat on the back for not falling for those material things. And we should! So many people fall on their knees for these things, especially that money god.

How about the not so material possessions? How about the spouse we prayed for? How about that child we prayed for? Our parents? Our siblings? Or what about that due date for that bill? Or what about that biological clock that you are reminded of every time you interact with children? How about that medical diagnosis?

Have we given those people and situations “god” status? Are they the object of our worship? Will the world end if we lose those things? Do we, with our actions, thoughts, and words, ask God to bow down to the spouse, kids and biological clock?

An honest and direct introspection by the Holy Spirit may be eye-opening relevation for us all. Perhaps, at one point or another, we have all fallen for one of those other gods. We are suppose to honor marriage. We must honor our parents. We have to care for our children. That medical diagnosis is important cause we want to live and not die. Is it wrong to desire a spouse, a child, or to have our bills paid on time? Absolutely not! God desires to freely to give us all things:

However, those things, people, and situations cannot become the objects of our worship. They do not deserve the place of our Heavenly Father. Love your babies, love your spouse, pursue healing, pursue financial freedom–the Lord wants for us to receive the desires of our hearts! However, He must be at the center of it all. Everything and everyone must rest under Him.

Give your marriage, children, and career to the Lord. Your healing is first found in Him alone. He is the Healer. Medical professions are here to confirm what He does by faith and in the supernatural. Give every obstacle to the One who overcame the world.

Let us be intentional about ensuring that our cares, concerns, calendars, and clocks all bow to Him.

Peace and Blessings

Guard Your Heart.

One cannot minimize the significance of the human heart. Live Science (2016) notes that the heart is the organ that pumps blood to the entire body. The organization notes that its roughly the size of a large fist. This is quite a function for such a small part of the human body! If the heart stops, blood stops flowing, oxygen cannot get to where it needs to be, and essentially life stops. Wow! Our Creator is truly amazing!

So it’s no wonder why believers receive this directive from the Word of God:

This exhortation stands true from the natural perspective AND the supernatural! The heart is delicate and strong in power. If left unattended and unguarded, it stops life-naturally and supernaturally!

Different versions of scripture articulate the power of the heart: The Christian Standard Bible says “Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.” The New King James Version says “Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.”

Do you want to know how well your heart is guarded? Check the issues of life that are flowing from you! Life can get rough and tough, no doubt about that. The issues of life are not always the issues itself, sometimes all about our response. Are you becoming easily angered? Do you find yourself envious? Are you coveting your neighbor’s things? Your heart is probably unguarded.

Sometimes its what we are feeding ourselves. Just in the natural, where our heart can get destroyed by the things we put into our body, the exact same stands for the supernatural. Who are you connected to? What are you feeding your spirit? What’s going into your eye gates? All must be considered as we think about our hearts.

The command of guarding the heart, cannot be minimized either. Our heart is the source of our spiritual life as well! The heart is where the Lord looks (1 Samuel 16:7) and we are commanded to love the Lord with all our heart (Mark 12:30). Our actions and words all began with the heart.

So dear friends, guard this delicate organ, protect this powerhouse at all costs–your very life depends upon it.

Peace and Blessings

Arise!

Life has a tendency to knock us down every once in a while. Sometimes its our actions, other times, its just simply the hardships that come along with being in this world. Being a child of God does not exempt us from falling and suffering. Matter of fact, being a child of God is a guarantee of adversity and suffering.

Even with God directly by their side, the children of Israel encountered the same trials. Much of their troubles came from their choices and we are no different. How many times have your choices gotten you in trouble? But thank God for grace and mercy! His redemptive nature is always available to us!

Have you fallen lately? Take heed to the directive found in Isaiah 60:1!

We will all stumble and we will all fall, but the important thing to consider is what will you do after you fall? Will you stay down and defeated? God forbid! The scripture tells us to arise! This scripture comes after the children of Israel sinned against God (check out Isaiah 59). After being chastised by the Lord, He tells them to arise and shine!

My friend, the same applies to YOU! This is not an outdated directive! The Lord knew we are prone to falling and sinning. He knows we have a tendency to fall to the snares of the enemy. And He knows that we are just plain silly and foolish at times.

However, because of His grace, mercy, and unconditional love, we, too, can arise and shine! The light of the world, which is Jesus Christ, has come! The glory of the Lord has risen upon us which is the Holy Spirit!

So sister, arise and shine! “You are the light that shines for the world to see…” (Matthew 5:14 ERV). Shine so that you can point others to Christ! Shine and reflect the glory of the Lord that rests upon you because of your decision to choose Christ. Arise and demonstrate the faithfulness and forgiveness of the Father! Arise and show the world what perseverance and strength looks like. Arise and stand victorious! Shine and illuminate the beauty and vitaliy of God!

Sis, get up and shine!

Peace and Blessings

The Weight of Words

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” Who has said that before? And now that you are older and wiser, who knows that is not true at all?

Words are designed to have power. God, the designer of every thing good and perfect, which includes this vast Earth, used words to create. Genesis 1:3 tells us that “God said, “Let there be light!” And light began to shine.” Light and life happened because God said so! Scripture also states that there is life and death in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21).

So, dear friends, while words may not break bones, words can absolutely break hearts, spirits, and relationships. Ephesians 4:29 stands as an important exhortation:

Let everything you say be good and helpful, even the words you say to yourself. Not only the words you say but the words you think to yourself. Self-destructive thoughts will hinder your progress. Self-defeating words will give room to the enemy to come in and encourage the lies you are speaking over yourself.

A wise man once said “you have what you say”. This can be true for you if you aren’t careful for you. The weight of our words extend beyond the physical. Its truly a spiritual matter. Our faith and words are connected. If we are struggling with the words we say, do we struggle with what the Father says?

Are you a hot mess or are you blessed by the best?

Are you a victim or victor?

Are you broke or are you whole?

Are you sick or are you healed?

Before you speak another word over yourself, filter it through Ephesians 4:29. Is it good and helpful? Are your words worshipping the God of all creation or the god you created?

Words bear weight. Choose wisely.

Peace and Blessings

Who Am I?

An article from the ACT for Youth Center of Excellence argues that the age old question of “Who Am I?” appears for most in adolescence. What a powerful question to consider at a time when hormones are in flux! And when does that important question get answered? At 18? 21? 23? Or does it take a lifetime to figure out who you are?

If we let the world answer that question for us, it will be based off of our socioeconomic status, ethnicity, or income. And while those aforementioned characteristics may have shaped our experiences, they have not formed our identity. We must look to Christ to find out who we are.

Your gender, skin color, and upbringing are indicators of how He has etched you in His likeness and image. Your favorite color, food, and hobbies are indicators of your uniqueness. The origin of your family’s background speaks to versatility of God.

If we proclaim God is our Father, He, alone, has to define who we are. Let’s consider His Word:

You are made in God’s image: Genesis 1:27.

You are a new creation: 2 Corinthians 5:17

You are chosen: 1 Peter 2:9.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made: Psalm 139:14.

You are more than a conqueror: Romans 8:37.

This list is by no means exhaustive, as it is just a small picture of the wonderful, forgiven, being you are! Sisters, plant those seeds into your heart. God did not make a mistake as He was forming you in your mother’s womb. He was well aware of your path as that was already formed in eternity. What better Person to define who we are than the One who created us?

Perhaps the most important answer to the question of who we are can be found here:

You are His child. That is His declared answer to that pressing question. Place your identity in this amazing truth.

Peace and Blessings

Rejoice Evermore.

This King James Version of 1 Thessalonians 5:16 packs a powerful punch.

Rejoice evermore. Notice, there is nothing after the period. No comma, no semicolon, no “but”, it simply says “Rejoice evermore”.

Rejoice means to feel joy or great delight. Evermore simply means always. So scripture is exhorting believers to feel joy or great delight always.

Perhaps there a million reasons why we cannot feel joy or great delight always. Life, finances, relationships, family and a ton of other worries fill our minds and hearts and it is just hard to rejoice evermore. Being in this world makes rejoicing difficult. However, the scripture doesnt create room for our tons of “buts”. It appears as if this command is just impossible to meet.

Be encouraged! We have a Father who is very aware of the trials we experience. He knows that rejoicing in this world can be quite the challenge. He knows that we can get distracted by the cares of the world and that we struggle with submitting those cares to Him.

In order to rejoice evermore, we must take our eyes off of the million and one reasons not to and focus on the One reason to rejoice, and that reason is Jesus.

This encouragement from Colossians tells us to focus on the things of heaven, which we now have access to because of the finished work of Jesus Christ! As believers of Christ, heaven is our promise! Heaven will be our final resting place. Focusing on Jesus should cause us to rejoice evermore! He is the fulfilled promise! He surpasses all of these earthly matters. Because of Him, we have God as our Father and the Holy Spirit as our Comforter. We can rejoice evermore because of Jesus Christ, our Lord.

We do not have to neglect the earthly matters because they are our reality. However, we cannot make them our idols. They can no longer be the reason why we are unable to rejoice evermore. We must always be full of joy and delight which extends beyond our circumstances.

Take your sights off the million and one and focus on the One.

Peace and Blessings