When we surrender to God, He begins the process of healing our heart and soul. Some of us have built walls in our lives that hinder those around us to enter, including God. The wall was built one brick at a time representing our hurt, disappointment, anger, etc. We think we are protecting ourselves from our past, but instead, we are isolating ourselves to be an easy target for satan to tear us down. With no support from family, friends, and church, life becomes lonely. The only way to remove the wall is to hammer out each brick and deal with what it represents. It was a process to build the wall; it is a process to tear it down brick-by-brick. Each time a brick is removed, a light will shine through where there used to be darkness. God is the light in the darkness!
We humans tend to complicate every aspect of our lives, especially God. We want the best worship experience and an emotional message on Sundays. We overthink God by our works. All our lives most of us are told that you must be in church and studies to have God in our lives, which in fact, is not true. Hear me out, I am not saying that church is not important. I am saying God is more than a church service and group studies. He is simply about relationship. He does not want us so busy trying to figure out who He is that we have no time to personally have a relationship with Him.
For the last year, I have been going to one church to another trying to find the perfect setting — is the worship spiritual enough or is the message convicting to bring me to the altar. I was looking for emotion rather than God Himself. I was so insecure that I needed to be convicted to speak to God for forgiveness. And when restlessness and discontentment came over me, I moved on to another church. Through all the confusion, I caused more chaos in my life. I caused more disappointment of what the church should be — to my preference.
A few months ago, I decided to temporarily stop attending church and have church at home. Every Sunday morning and Wednesday night I would listen to a podcast from my iPad and worship God in my own living room. I spent daily in prayer. In just a month, God showed Himself to me with simplicity and love. It is not required to do works to find God’s love; He is love, and He only desires relationship with me. When I complicated God, I was miserable. The standards I put on myself only made me feel more inadequate. It was only when I simplified the way I approached God is when I found the true God. A God who is not demanding but unconditionally loving. A God who is all comfort not judgmental. A God who makes me whole when I feel incomplete. God is complex in so many ways, but when it comes to a relationship with Him, it’s simple: Love God with all her heart and live a life abundantly in His love. Love God and be a Disciple. Simple as that.
We need to stop representing a demanding God who is false and scary. We need to start showing others that God is all about the heart. He is all about love. We do not need an emotional message on Sunday to convict us of our sin, but a message of truth. We do not need to a worship service to sound like a professional concert, but to worship God in purity. We don’t need an in-depth message every week to tell us who God is; we need to experience God ourselves through group Bible Studies and an individual prayer life. If we want a relationship with God, we need to pursue Him at church, at home, in our workplace, and with our family and friends. God is everywhere!
When you seek God in simplicity, you will find His joy and His peace. When you pursue Him with all your heart, you will find the true God that you have been looking for. It starts with you — not the church or others — YOU!
It’s necessary for growth.
It allows the old to pass away, and the new to come.
There is beauty where it once was dead.
Life is all about going through a storm so we can see the rainbow on the other side. Imagine yourself in a garden with plants wilted and weeds grown up in the beds. The caretaker failed to remove the weeds and water the garden. It is overgrown and little by little the plants die away. What once was a beautiful garden turned into shriveled brown leaves falling lifeless to the ground with no hope for renewal.
The only way to grow is to work through the weeds in our lives and to remove what hinders us from God. As we toil through the soil to determine what to remove and what to keep, we dig up the truths of our lives. When we reach the root and see it had potential for growth, we just sit there quietly in defeat and wonder why we did not see the potential sooner. Why didn’t we just go through the painful process of pulling the weeds so we could see our potential? Why didn’t we water the plants to see them grow and bloom into something beautiful? Instead of facing the storm and waiting for growth, we ran in fear because of the unknown. We missed seeing the rainbow, because we never walked through the rain.
Ten years ago I ran from a difficult situation. I never properly allowed God to heal my heart, and I still struggle today with those insecurities and emotions from my past. The weeds in my life became overgrown and never tended to in a decade. New life was never planted. I tried to bury my past by laying more soil on top of the hurt–the root of the problem. Recently, I have had to remove the soil to get to the root. I had to expose the most shameful part of my life to eventually find healing through God. I am currently vulnerable and transparent for all to see.
As the plant grows bigger and stronger, the root spans in all directions as it goes deeper into the soil. Imagine the root being every situation you have not dealt with in your life. It has twists and turns. The root intertwines with each other. It becomes so powerful that you cannot uproot the plant without force. It is embedded so deep that it is a struggle to rip it out of the ground. Life is painful when we grab something by it’s roots and force it to the surface. But there is good news — when we finally deal with the root of our problems and let the root of destruction die, we will see new growth happening in our lives. We blossom into something beautiful.
We allow God to mend our hearts as he continues to water the new seeds in our lives. As the seeds grow in the soil, God enriches it with nutrients. He sprinkles miracle grow over the plant for a better chance at life. He brings the rain so we can stand strong and tall. We have to endure heartache through the rain so we can become a beautiful flower for all to see. Our roots have to be strong and healthy so we can withstand the winds. And, after the rain, there is a rainbow full of promises. The promises of another day. The promises for what’s to come.
A rainbow represents new life.
It represents a hopeful future.
It represents a testimony of what was.
It represents the new you!
If you want a renewal in your life, uproot what you have not dealt with and find your rainbow. If you want a life full of promises, remove the weeds. If you want to see growth in your life, be consumed in God’s enrichment.
As we begin a new year, we look back on what we accomplished in the previous year. We go down our bucket list and realize that we did not accomplish everything that we hoped we would. We beat ourselves up for what we lacked rather than what we accomplished. The truth is, what we accomplish on earth will one day fade away. It is not permanent. Yes, we have desires and goals that were not met and will carry over into the new year, but it is not worth stressing over, because God already knows our needs and wants. We lack nothing in Him. Let me say that again: We lack nothing in Him. God is our everything!
I recently heard a song called, My Everything, by Gateway Worship. It is a beautiful song that captures who God is in our lives. The lyrics are a love song to God. When you hear this song sung over you, you cannot help but fall to your knees and praise God in full surrender. The chorus says that,
You’re more than just a song
You’re more than just a whim
You’re more than just a passing fantasy
You’re My Every Way
You’re My Everything
Take a few minutes to read these lyrics slowly aloud. God is more than just rescuing us from our troubles. He is more than granting our every wish. He wants a relationship with us, no matter what is happening in our lives. As the song continues, it declares that,
I want to be with You
I need to be with You
I long to be with You, precious King
So with every day, Lord, in every way
You’re My Everything
This song cries out to God for an intimate relationship with Him. The lyrics express the wants and needs to be with God. We feel the yearning and passion as we read these words above. In this song, we are saying, “You are My number one in my life. God, You are important to me, and I want to experience You completely.”
In another song called, “So Will I (100 Billion X), written by Joel Houston Benjamin Hastings and Michael Fatkin, it declares everything God created by speaking it into existence. The lyrics begin with,
God of creation
There at the start
Before the beginning of time
With no point of reference
You spoke to the dark
And fleshed out the wonder of light
And as You speak
A hundred billion galaxies are born
In the vapor of Your breath the planets form
If the stars were made to worship so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You’ve made
Every burning star
A signal fire of grace
If creation sings Your praise so will I
In this song, we proclaim who God is by His creation. We are His creation, and because He created us, we lack nothing. We may be waiting for a prayer to be answered, but, in Him, we lack nothing. God provides our every need. If He can speak anything into existence, then He is choosing to wait for His perfect timing to answer our prayer. In Ecclesiastes 3:1, it states that “there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 declares that, “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” BUT, “do not grow weary” while waiting, because “those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31).
Year 2017 may not have brought you everything you wanted and desired, but, remember what you accomplished and praise God for your successes. I encourage you to never get discouraged while waiting, because God is preparing you for what’s to come. In Year 2018, continue to believe in miracles. Never lose the desire to dream big!
Many people think a blessed person is someone who has it all — lives in a big house, drives an expensive car, has the best job, and so forth. This way of thinking is distorted. If we see a blessing just as material things then we miss a blessing in our lives, because we compare our lives to others.
The word “blessing” means “a favor or gift bestowed by God or the invoking of God’s favor upon a person.” It also is defined as “approval” and “good wishes” (www.dictionary.com/browse/blessing). A blessing comes in many forms. It can come directly from God. Or a blessing can come from family members, friends, or complete strangers through God working in them.
Before Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, the world was full of chaos and hate. After the hurricane, we saw people working together. Complete strangers risking their lives to save others. As Christians, we need to be watchful on how we say we are blessed. I am guilty of this as well. I said, “I was blessed to have minor damage in my home. A home I can still live in after the storm.” But, we all have to understand those who have lost everything due to the storm, they are still blessed. God protected their family, and, in the past three weeks, people have seen complete strangers help them rebuild their home. In Philippians 4:19 declares that “MY God will supply every need to yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” In Isaiah 41:10, God says “fear no, for I am with you; be no dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” “And from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace” (John 1:16). I encourage everyone who is going through hardship to declare these Scriptures over your life.
Many who have lost their homes have asked, “What shall we eat?” “What shall we drink?” What shall we wear?” (Matthew 6:30-33). They have lost all their belongs. They have lost all their food. They only have the clothes on their back. But, be encouraged today. God clothes you every day with His blessings and righteousness. Churches and business have opened their doors to give food, clothes, furniture, and toiletries to those in need. God put it on their hearts to bless you with items that you have lost. It may be heartbreaking and difficult to ask for help, but never turn down a blessing.
There may be some who are too broken to see God’s blessing in their lives. And, that is okay. Having any kind of loss is devastating and finding hope again may take time. Sometimes all we can do is get on our knees and cry out to God for help. Through prayer we all will find “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). Psalm 144:2 is a prayer of declaration in time of need: “He is My steadfast love and My fortress, My stronghold and My deliverer, My shield and He in whom I take refuge.” This Scripture not only gives you hope again, but it also gives you renewed strength through Christ. Matthew 5:4 states the “blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Let these words wash over you and remind you that you are not alone. God is ALWAYS with you.
And, always remember that a blessing is not all about material things. A blessing is simply God loving on us through a prayer being answered. His continuous protection over your life and family. A blessing is helping people in need. We are blessed every day through Christ.
In the past few years, I have written about the importance of change, and how we must embrace it. Over a year ago, I made many changes in my life. I changed churches after being committed to one for over three years. I lost my friends due to this change. My pastor’s moved after serving under them for several years. I lost all my leadership roles at the church once I stepped out from being a member. You see, church was my life. Besides working, I stayed busy helping the pastors in various projects. It became my identity. What I did became who I was.
One Sunday God told me this is your last Sunday here at this church. In that moment, I was overwhelmed with the change. I did what I was told and attended church that day for the very last time. I seemed lost for many months trying to fit in and find my place to serve in a new church. Even when I was discouraged, I found myself not wanting to give up. Once I found a church that God led me to, I still mourned over my previous church I attend. I struggled with my emotions and my thoughts.
Eventually, as I continued to attend the new church on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights, I began to feel like I belonged. I took two months off from serving to find myself again. Little by little I took steps into serving in the church as a greeter once-a-month. In September 2017, I had the opportunity to serve beside another church to help those throughout our community. In November 2017, I started to help with the youth group on Wednesdays. I have participated in many Bible and book studies throughout the year. I am now part of a church that I love and feel honored to serve in. I have realized that church is not just about works, but it is all about having a relationship with God and being in fellowship with other Christians. My identity is in Christ and not in what I do.
Change can bring many hardships, but, in the end, we are rewarded for not quitting. Since this change, I have had to adjust to being in new leadership roles in the church, meeting new people, making new friends, working with a new boss, and financial changes. My life looks completely different from a year ago, but I am thankful for the changes in my life. It has helped me to grow personally as well as Spiritually. I have realized I am a stronger person than I thought, and I can do anything with Christ by my side.
If you are struggling with changes in your life, always remember God is on your side every step of the way. The journey might not always be easy, but the reward is always worth it.
Today, I will be talking to the single women who are longing for their soul mate.
Imagine setting the date for your wedding. You are in anticipation as you make arrangements and plan for the perfect day. The cake and food has to be prepared, several dress fittings, guest lists, and all the other details required to make your wedding day special. This is the moment you have been waiting for all your life. It has finally come!
Now, imagine it looking a little different. Instead of man standing there, God is standing as your groom. In Isaiah 54:5 it states God is your husband: “for your Creator will be your husband; the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name! He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth.” Close your eyes and visualize you walking down the aisle with your hair down and full of curls, make up is perfect, and wearing a beautiful white gown. Your emotions are everywhere, because you are walking into the unknown, but, at the same time, you are filled with excitement. You can barely hold back the tears with every step you take towards your Heavenly Father. It is a magical moment as you walk closer to God and take His hand in marriage. You give Him your all, and you allow Him to have control of every aspect of your life.
Just like any marriage, there are things that will be asked of you. God is asking you today if He has made you single the rest of your life and just be with Him, can you accept His offer? Do you trust Him enough to be His bride? Is He enough in your life to feel complete? Can you give up your own desires to be with Him, and Him alone? Do you feel worthy enough to be His bride?
Since I am currently single, God has been asking me the same tough questions. Is He enough in my life that I will give Him my all? My desires, my heart, my love, and my worship! Will I accept His offer no matter what my future holds? Am I ready to walk down the aisle and take God’s hand in matrimony with these terms? I am praying God’s will be done in my life no matter the outcome. I am praying that He will always be my husband, my first love!
I am reminded of a song by King and Country called, “Priceless.” The chorus is powerful. God is saying to you today:
I see you dressed in white
Every wrong made right
I see a rose in bloom
At the sight of you
Oh, so priceless
Darling, it’s beautiful
I see it all in you!
God sees you whole! He sees you dressed in purity and righteousness! He sees you as PRICELESS! He sees you “more than all the money or the diamonds and pearls [because] this is who you are” (“Priceless” lyrics).
As you walk down the aisle to become the Bride of Christ, remind yourself you have worth in Him, not in man. Being single is not a curse but a blessing. You are never alone when God is in your life. He sees you, and He says you are beautiful in His sight!
Lately, I have felt that I’m not good enough in many areas of my life. But God says, “you are good enough”. “You are good enough for Me to let My Son die on the cross. You are good enough even when someone bullies you or misjudges you for who you are.”
God sees value in you! He sees beauty in you! God loves you every day of every moment of your life. Own it!!! Because God has always called you His Child! You are good enough for Him!
Please take a moment and watch this video:
A few weeks ago I posted on Facebook asking my family and friends to describe Jesus in one word. The responses I received were overwhelming. Here are some of the ways they described Jesus:
- (My) Rock
- (My) Everything
Wow! That’s breathtaking! If you could make a list of who Jesus is to you, what would you write down? Would it describe Jesus for who He really is? He is a one-of-a-kind God who died for our sin. He is a miracle-worker, all-powerful God!
The one I love the most is: He is our TREE. Jesus is what keeps us standing strong when we are weak. He keeps us rooted when we are falling apart. He helps us withstand the winds when life hits us the wrong way. He is our Tree….
Jesus is our EVERYTHING! He is an INFINITE being who gives us LIFE. He is our SAVIOR and COMFORTER in time of need. He is our ADVISOR when we need someone to talk to. And, last but not least, Jesus is our SHEPHERD leading us in His ways.
Now that is powerful! Who does not want to follow a God who is all these things and much more?! We need to live a life that describes Jesus in a mighty way. We do not need to serve a God who looks puny, but a God who is omnipotent. A God who has unlimited power and is able to do anything.
For me, Jesus is:
- Physician (Healer)
FRIDAY CHALLENGE: Take a minute to write down who God is to you. I encourage you to put in your Bible for safe keeping. The next time you feel disappointed or unloved, pull it out of your Bible and read what you wrote about Jesus. Let those words encourage you through prayer and/or meditation.
We all face challenges in life. It could be mental, emotional, or physical. Hardship sometimes causes us to have unhealthy emotions. When we face challenges, the devil tries to convince us that it is impossible to overcome it. We begin to doubt ourselves and feel defeated. Satan wants us to lose the power and authority we have with God. But the Lord wants us to feel empowered to overcome any obstacle that comes our way. In Isaiah 41:13 says, “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear; I will help you.’” We are not alone in our battles! God is with us every step of the way.
The decisions we make during hardships are crucial. Our choices determine our future. Our emotions can get in the way of making good decisions. We can easily become impatient and angry. We have to learn how to control our emotions to have a clear mind. We must always be in prayer with every step we take to be an overcomer through Christ. When we feel overwhelmed with our emotions, we need to “cast all [our] anxiety on [God]” (1 Peter 5:7). We need to go to God in prayer so He can remind us He has already given us peace. We just need to declare His peace over our lives! In John 14:27, Jesus says, “I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”
Philippians 4:13 is a powerful Scripture that is well known and often misunderstood. It states, “I can do all this through Him [, God,] who gives me strength.” We cannot be overcomers through our own strength. The only way we can overcome obstacles is through God. We cannot do it alone! We need God!
When we face challenges, God promises us rewards. James 1:12 tells us “blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” The Bible says “that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4). We not only get rewarded, but we build our character through hardship. We grow in our faith and learn who we are as an individual.
The Bible promises us “that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). I encourage you to persevere “so you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:4). I pray you stay strong in your faith. Do not let the devil get you down. God is on your side and will always be there for you!
Declaration: You are a conqueror through Christ!