Friday, January 31, 2014
Thursday, January 30, 2014
I have been in an attitude of praise and worship today. I am just resting in the Spirit of Peace I feel.
As I sat down to write, I decided to put on Pandora. The station that popped on was the Shekinnah Glory Station. This station primary consists of mostly worship songs and some praise songs. While the songs ministered to me, I began to feel an overwhelming sense of peace. I embraced issues flowing from my heart onto this blank slate.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Monday, January 27, 2014
"Look! There is a river whose streams make the city of God rejoice, even the Holy Place of the Most High." Psalms 46:4, International Standard Version
As I thought about what to write today, my thoughts were directed to my journal response to this particular daily devotional by Joel Osteen, Daily Readings from Your Best Life Now.
Psalms 46:4 speaks of a river flowing, referring to God's presence and blessings. This devotional continues to encourage me to change the way I think about my circumstance in life. It informs me that the more I dwell on God's Word and start seeing the best in situations, the more I change the flow of my river. Romans 12:2 "be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind" is also a supporting scripture. It tells us that "we should experience a progressive transformation of life by the renewing of our mind. Our minds are changed by payer, by reading and reflection on God's Word, by worship and by meditation on God's acts as the Holy Spirit works in us," KJV Study Bible. Just as any change, we must make a conscious, continuous effort to reject the old way of thinking and replace that thinking with God's Word and positive affirmations.
I am aware that for far too long, I allowed negative thinking to dominate my mind. It became almost as natural as breathing that my thoughts flowed in a negative direction. This became some of that "weight" that silently added to my increasing frame. Although I usually presented myself with confidence and optimism, deep down inside I was doubting and obsessed with preparing myself for the worst case scenario.
Changing the flow serves as a reinforcement of what I need to continue doing. Currently, I make a conscious effort to bind that stronghold I have been delivered from. I am embracing what God has truly said about me and the life He wants for me. I vow to continue changing the flow of my thoughts until that old, negative stream is completely dried up.
If you have noticed that your river is flowing in a negative, undesired direction, you have the power to change that flow today. Make a choice to align your thinking with God's Word! Immediately begin to reject any negative, self-defeating thought that attempts to rise. Trust me, in spite of your choice to change your thinking for the better, those negative thoughts will still try to persist for a while. Get in the habit of looking in the mirror and making positive affirmations to yourself daily. This will not only allow you to meditate on positive thoughts, it will also allow you to hear those positive thoughts as you look at yourself. See yourself as you begin to walk into that positive light!
Saturday, January 25, 2014
"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up". Thomas Edison
Push TyRenee; push! You can do this! Push! You're not pushing hard enough. But, I am. I'm trying. This is too tiring and painful. These... contractions.. are.. ex cru ci ating! Uggghhh
Why does it seem like that last push is often times, the most difficult?
I've been in labor for seven years and it's finally time for me to give birth! I've been pushing for the past month, but I still have one last push to give before this baby is born. I am exhausted! I am also in pain. Although I know they need the air to completely heal, I am in pain from pulling the bandages off my covered wounds.
I have made a choice to give my all to this birth. There's a well-known comedian I enjoy listening to by the name of Steve Harvey. I recall hearing Steve Harvey talk about his climb to success. He encouraged those who were pursuing their dreams to put their all into achieving that particular dream. Instead of other advice to not "put all your eggs into one basket", Mr. Harvey encouraged the opposite. The rationale behind his advice was if one is busy putting his or her energy into Game Plan A, B, C and D, he or she is not able to give the full attention required for Game Plan A. He further explained often times, our lack of full attention to the goal we are desiring to achieve prevents us from achieving that goal.
In the past, I was one of those who believed it to be wise to have a plan B, C and D; just in case plan A did not work out. However, as I grow in my faith and trust in God, I am more comfortable adhering to Mr. Harvey's advice to stick to only one plan and give that plan my undivided attention and effort. Just recently, I had the opportunity to become involved with a business opportunity. The opportunity was one of much interest and benefit to me. Immediately after signing up to become a member, I began to see that it was already competing for a lot of my attention. With the advice and support from my mentor, I withdrew from my involvement with the business adventure so that I can have all the strength I need to give this one last push.
As I pause to catch my breath, I'm again reminded of one of my favorite, inspirational scriptures Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me." My breathing is beginning to regulate again. I'm going to inhale all the air I can and push this baby out!
You too have it in you to give one last push! Just like a trainer encourages you to breathe and squat that last one of fifteen reps, I'm encouraging you to go the extra mile to achieve your established goal or make your dream a reality. You can do it and so can I. Push!
Friday, January 24, 2014
"This may involve me, but it's not about me".
Pastor Walter R. Tucker III
I'm a member of Truth and Love Christian Church, a Bible-teaching, Bible-believing Church. In addition to our Pastor being a dynamic, anointed leader; he is an awesome teacher. It is impossible to be a faithful member of this Ministry and remain the same. Our theme last year was "God's New Thing Is Now!" One of the things he taught us through his teachings under this theme was "This may involve me, but it's not about me!"
When I began writing this blog, I dedicated it back to the One who inspired it, my Heavenly Father. I knew then that this blog does not belong to me. I am simply being used as a vessel to encourage others, to uplift and prayerfully, motivate others to tap into the power and good that resides in them.
For most of my professional career, I have worked in the Mental Health and Social Work Fields. I know all too well the outstanding number of people who are hurting daily. I have witnessed the despair, the hopelessness, and the mentality of utter defeat! I have seen poverty and homelessness at its worst. When I was pursuing my Bachelors Degree in Psychology and Sociology, I volunteered at one of the homeless shelters in my city. As I humbly served the homeless, my heart ached for them. Although I didn't possess the power to change their conditions, I vowed to help in ways I could. When time came for me to serve, I made sure to leave my small problems and negative energy outside on the doorsteps of my home. I made sure to enter into the shelter smiling and willing to help as much as I could during my shift. I developed a good rapport with the residents and were privileged to hear some of their stories. I was amazed to learn many of us are only one pay check from being poor and very close to being homeless should unfortunate events occur. As a result of my volunteer experience with the homeless, I wrote a paper highlighting the homeless population. My paper received recognition from my school and was chosen to be presented at an undergraduate symposium. Through this experience, focus was brought to this often overlooked population.
Through working in both fields, I am aware of the need for inspirational and motivational tools. With so much in society to tear us down, we can all use tools that will build us up. I can't stress how important it is for us to continuously eat food that will edify and strengthen us. Deuteronomy 31:6, NKJV tells us "Be strong and of a good courageous, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the one who goes with you. He will not leave your nor forsake you". Some of us are right at the break of our breakthrough! Those matters of the heart that you are praying about are being heard. Those dreams you may have had to put on hold are now ready to be birthed. Situations in which every door have seemed to be closed are about to yield to opened doors. Get up and get ready to walk through your door. God's new thing is Now! Our expierences and God's Will for our lives may involve us, but it really isn't about us!
I leave you with this song today. Meditate on the words and may they encourage you.
Thursday, January 23, 2014
“You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching,
Love like you'll never be hurt,
Sing like there's nobody listening,
And live like it's heaven on earth.”
― William W. Purkey
Love like you'll never be hurt,
Sing like there's nobody listening,
And live like it's heaven on earth.”
― William W. Purkey
Do you hear that wonderful sound of music? My feet are tapping. My hips are shaking. My shoulders are swaying. And, my hands are clapping. Yes, I am dancing!
As a child raised in a Pentecostal religious- based home, I was forbidden to listen to secular music and forbidden to dance. So, I didn't really learn how to dance until graduating from high school. Up until then, I can remember watching family members or friends dance when I wasn't around my parents and secretly copying their moves when I was alone. I thought for someone who couldn't dance, I didn't do too bad of a job. That was until I really learned how to dance.
In addition to writing, music is my other passion. I love music! I learned how to sing and play the drums at a very young age. Unfortunately, I didn't get the dancing part down until later. However, when I did, there was no stopping me. I like the way dancing makes me feel. I feel beautiful, confident and alive! Although I'm usually somewhat shy, my shyness disappears when I become lost in dancing.
Before I was married, knowing how to dance was a must for someone I dated. In fact, I took for granted having to even ask the guy if he knew how to dance. I hate to admit it, but I did stereotype all African-American men and assumed they all knew how to dance. Imagine my shock when God blessed me with my husband and I found out (yes, you guessed it) dancing was not one of the things he did well. My baby did not have an ounce of rhythm! Yet he would get out there and dance as if someone had told him he was the best dancer on this planet earth. Bless his heart; he knew I liked dancing so much, sometimes he would attempt to encourage me to dance with others who knew how to dance. However; by then, I was so in love with him that it didn't matter he didn't know how to dance. I respected and was happy for his willingness to at least try to learn to dance with me. Today, we are actually now able to keep a steady groove with one another while dancing!
Watching my husband dance opened me up more. Although he wasn't the greatest dancer, he immersed himself in dancing to and feeling the words of the song that was playing. He would often tell me that he danced to the lyrics. The day I finally grasped what he was saying was the day I was freed in my own dancing. No longer was I a child forbidden to dance. No longer did I have to copy the style of others or limit myself to one type of dance. I became free to fully feel the music and express myself in my own dance!
As I am embracing all of me, I am beginning to freely dance again. I'm dancing to the challenges I'm overcoming. I'm dancing to becoming a Victor and no longer being a Victim! I'm dancing to the reigniting of this fire that is fervently burning inside of me. I'm dancing to finally starting to see some of my dreams come into fruition. I'm dancing to breathing again and no longer gasping. Most of all, I'm dancing to the benefits of loving God and being His child!
Yes, my feet are tapping. My hips are shaking. My shoulders are swaying. And, my hands are clapping. Yes, I am dancing. I only switched partners. Now, would you care to join us?
And, to my adorable husband, "I will dance with you anytime!"
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
"Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof".
Speak: To convey thoughts, opinions or emotions orally. (www.thefreedictionary/speak.com)
Life: The physical, mental, and spiritual experiences that constitutes existence. (www.thefreedictionary/life.com)
Something happened one day last week that clearly illustrated this proverb. My God sister had just gotten her hair styled. The style was a new one for her and she was trying to adapt to it. When we arrived home, she asked me to take some pictures of her. I proceeded to take pictures of her and I thought they were nice. However, my God sister began to criticize them and point out what she felt were her flaws. Finally, I told her she was beautiful and suggested she stop speaking negative things about herself. She considered my feedback and replied, "I am beautifully created in God's image". As soon as she made that affirmation, a glowing smile graced her eyes and face. Her warming dimples were also accentuated. I quickly snapped some of what turned out to be the most beautiful pictures I've seen of her lately. Although the pictures I had taken of her prior were nice, the pictures she took after affirming her beauty far more displayed her true beauty.
As I embrace all of me, I too am seeing how powerful my words are in my own life. I have gotten into the habit of encouraging myself, as well as others, daily! Because I have chosen to live, I want to speak those things that will produce life. I was in the store last week and the cashier complimented me by exclaiming, "O my, look at you! I love your style, your complete look". As I thanked her, I also replied, "I am so happy"! She then told me that she could see it and wished me continued happiness.
With so much in the world today to tear us down, it is imperative for us to be mindful of what we are speaking into existence. We have the power to speak life or death. Which will you choose to speak?
Monday, January 20, 2014
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us”. Hebrew 12:1, NIV
For the past six months, I have been reading a very inspirational devotional book titled “Your Best Life Now”, by Joel Osteen. This powerful book has been instrumental in the renewing of my mind and spirit. As I read this book during my devotional time, I journal to each devotional. From time to time, I will be sharing with you some of the devotionals and journal entries that have really encouraged and motivated me. Today, I share with you my feedback on this particular devotional.
1Corinthians 9:24-27 and Hebrews 12:1-2 were the foundation scripture readings. Galatians 6:4 and Proverbs 24:6 were given as supporting scriptures. These scriptures speak about us running our own race, fighting our own fight. Scripture also tell us there’s “safety in multitude of wise counselors”, Proverbs 24:6.
This devotional encourages us to run our own race; instead of running and being too involved in others’ race. So often, we get caught up in doing what everyone else does. In the past, I was guilty of being over-involved in what others were doing. Because I have such a heart for people, they usually find it easy to confide in me. Always wanting to help, I found myself focusing on everyone else and losing focus of my own race! I had began trying to run my race the way others were running their own or at times, running the way they felt I should. I had lost complete focus on the race God had already set for me.
Thru this devotional, I was informed I can run my own race and God will be pleased. I was also encouraged to seek counsel from those whom I respect. Seeking and obtaining wise counsel has helped me at times when I was faced with challenges and was unsure of the direction God wanted me to go in. Today, I am reminded and encouraged to continue running my own race with diligence and courage.
If by any chance you have gotten caught up in trying to keep up with others, it is not too late to refocus your attention to what you are suppose to be doing. “God has an individual plan for each of our lives”. Joel Osteen
Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray that you continue to empower and grant me courage to take the path You have chosen for me. Help me to endure this race and know that it is indeed the one You have marked out for me! Amen.
Saturday, January 18, 2014
"Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live".
In respects to this piece of wisdom, I am turning in early tonight. After a week of productive, edifying and fun-filled activities, my body is now screaming for rest. So, I will be wise and grant my body's demand.
May you too adhere to this small piece of advice and enjoy the rest of your weekend!
Friday, January 17, 2014
"Chance made us sisters; hearts made us friends".
Today is a special day. Today is the birthday of a dear friend, my sister Akiba!
Affectionately called "Kiba", has been my side kick since we were little kids. She always did whatever I wanted to do; which sometimes led to us both getting into trouble. I recall one day we were sent to bed for a nap. I wasn't sleepy, so I suggested we play "hair salon". Now, for those of you who are unaware of how we played this game, I will tell you. Basically, we took turns modeling the role of a client and the role of the hairstylist. Sounds harmless, right? Well, one of the conditions of this game was permitting the person portraying the hairstylist to cut and style hair. My sister attempted to cut and style my hair and I attempted to cut and style her hair. I ended up shortening the game and took a nap because I didn't think her hair was cutting. I didn't see it falling off. When my mom awakened us from our nap and started to comb my sister's hair, my mom almost fainted! My sister's long hair began falling into my mom's lap. I'm sure I don't have to tell you the world of trouble I got into from both my parents. My sister was lightly scolded for allowing me to cut her hair.
As we grew up, Kiba became somewhat of a rock for me. Although a couple of years younger, she had an unshakeable sense of stability in hard times we both experienced. No matter what was gon, she remained optimistic that we would get through it. She was such a nurturer; she would hug and hold me close to her until she felt me relax.
Today, Kiba continues to be a stabling force in my life; though the relationship is now more reciprocal. She is my trusted confidant; I don't have to worry about my personal concerns or issues being broadcast to the world. She is one of my biggest cheerleaders; excitedly cheering me on when I'm pursuing new goals. Kiba is one of my "play" buddies; we enjoy and participate in some of the same leisure activities (Karaoke). Most of all, she is a compassionate woman of God who loves me unconditionally!
Sis, I'm wishing you a beautiful birthday weekend! May God continues to grant you great health, infinite agape love and true prosperity! While some people wait until a person has died to express their appreciation and love for that person, I prefer to express mines while I still physically have that person here with me. From the bottom of my heart, I love you! And, I thank God for choosing to bless me by giving you to me as my beloved sister. In honor of your birthday, I celebrate you!
For those of you who have someone or some people who are special in your life, I encourage you to celebrate that person while the day is young. Tomorrow is promised to no man.
Thursday, January 16, 2014
11 "And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake":
12 "And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice".
When was the last time you put yourself first and consented to being "quiet"? When was the last time you were able to hear God's still, small voice? If you had to ponder those questions, it may be time for you to stop and listen to what God may be saying to you.
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
"And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it". Habakkuk 2:2, KJV
Write: To form (letters, words, or symbols) on a surface such as paper with an instrument such as a pen. (www.thefreedictionary.com)
Vision: A vivid, imaginative anticipation. (www.thefreedictionary.com)
Vision: A vivid, imaginative anticipation. (www.thefreedictionary.com)
It's that time of the year again when that famous question is asked, "What are your resolutions for the year"?
After pondering what areas of my life I want to work on this year, I was finally able to write the blueprint for my life this year. This tedious task turned out to actually be fun for me this year because I had the company of my God sister. She and I carefully considered areas of our lives that could use improvement and we put the pen to the paper. I went a step further and included how I purposed to achieve each goal. For example, one of my resolutions this year is to continue fostering and nurturing my spiritual relationship with Christ. So, one of the steps I will take towards this goal is continuing to engage in my daily devotional time (consisting of completing my church's daily scripture reading, reading an inspirational daily devotional followed by prayer). After we finished writing our identified resolutions, we read them to each other. We actively listened to one another, asked questions and provided feedback. Also, in effort to hold one another accountable; we vowed to exchange our resolutions and frequently check in to see how we are progressing.
Later, as I reread my resolutions, I felt the difference it made in having these goals in mind and actually seeing them written. Not only did I feel like I now had a concrete road map to navigate my journey this year, I also felt like I now have to be accountable. Now that I can visually see clearer, I am excited and motivated to make this year one of my most successful years! Look out; I'm about to soar to unknown heights!
Will you be joining me?
Monday, January 13, 2014
"Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature"?
(In Loving Memory of my Mom, Alice)
This is a bittersweet moment as I write this particular post. Today, I'm reminded of the last message my mother imparted to me before God called her home.
My mom was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure at the age of 33. For twenty-one years, my mother was in and out of the hospital fighting against failure of her heart. In spite of advice from her doctors to discontinue working and her continued failing health, she continued to work. She was determined to do as much as she could to provide for her family. Working to take care of her family was all she knew how to do. She too worked while attending high school and took care of her mother.
Throughout my mother's illness, my mother's number one prayer request to God was for Him to grant her health to raise all of her kids to adults. She was extremely concerned about our care and felt no one else would care for her children the way she knew she would. My youngest sister by both of my parents turned 21 years of age three weeks after my mom was called Home. Mercifully, God answered my mother's prayer!
It was the Sunday before her demise; she passed away two days later on Tuesday. My mom had been readmitted to the hospital and was under critical care. I had gone to the hospital to visit with her. I was expecting to find her weak and in bed. Instead, amazingly I found her sitting in a chair, happy and ready to share news with me. She began to tell me she had a revelation! She read Matthew 6:26-34 to me and begin to share with me what God had revealed to her. She finally realized that she no longer had to worry about her care, nor her children's care. She finally understood just as God takes care of the birds of the air and animals of the earth, God will take care of us. She asked me had I ever just watched people feeding birds? She told me to note how the birds are fed, without having concern of how and where the food will come from. She told me we are much more valuable and God will also provide for us. Watching my mom dance around the room and call family members to share this news, I later realized two things. God had completely healed my mom and she was finally free to peacefully rest!
As I pray about my future, I am reminded of this precious gift my mom passed on to me after giving me back to the same God who had given me to her. Philippians 4:6 tells me "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God". I am instructed not to worry about my future or anything else for that matter. I can rest in peace knowing God is my Jehovah-Jireh; He will provide for me!
You too can rest in that same peace!
Saturday, January 11, 2014
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
John 10:10, KJV
survive: To continue existing, in spite of danger or hardship. (www.freeonline.com/survive)
live: To remain alive. To have an exciting or fulfilling life. (www.freeonline.com/live)
"I don't want to survive; I want to live". When I heard this statement as I was watching "Twelve Years of Slavery", my focus on the movie completely dissipated. In my mind, I kept hearing that statement over and over.
This powerful statement resonated with my spirit so much because it voiced exactly what I have now chosen to do; live! One of my most devastating, life-changing events occurred seven years ago. I lost my dearest friend, my mother. Though there may be words in the vocabulary to describe my feelings of this significant loss, the words will never adequately convey the magnitude of what I truly felt. For seven years, I survived. For seven years, I gasped for air to maintain my existence. Finally, the pain of holding on to the things I had latched onto to "help" me to "survive", became more than the pain of letting go. I cried out to God that I was finally ready to live once again! As soon as I let go, He reached down and began pulling me up.
As God continues to pull me up, my heart opens more and more to the beauty of life. I now thirst for water only He can supply. I'm beginning to use each day as another opportunity to plant seeds of goodness. My passion that had died out has been reignited. My heart is being purged and my mind is being renewed. I am breathing and no longer, gasping!
Whatever you may be going through that may be causing you to only survive, please know you don't have to settle. There is hope and you can begin living. God's Word, John 10:10 tells us that Christ came so that we could have life and more abundantly. That means that we do not to have to be content with just surviving. You can make a choice today that you will no longer just survive, you will live!
Thursday, January 9, 2014
"Friends are angels who lift our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly".
I am looking forward to receiving a treat this evening. A very close friend, my God sister will be flying in to visit with me for a couple of weeks. I'm especially happy because I have not seen her in almost four years!
My friend, who's coming this evening, has been a God send. She has been a rock during some of the most challenging times of my life. She has encouraged me in my faith when I thought I would never again see a glimpse of light. Besides all of the fun I know we will have, I'm anticipating what will spiritually result in her visit here. With God involved, the results are endless!
When was the last time you spent quality time with a very close, uplifting, earthly friend? When was the last time you joyfully honored the youth in you and "played" with your friend? If it has been a while, maybe it's time to pick up the phone and make a date with that earthly angel God has placed in your life. What are you waiting for?