Lord fill me each morning with your constant love so that I will continuously have a song in my heart and be joyful all my life. Lord you awaken me each morning, you awaken my ear to hear as the learned. Give me as much happiness as the sadness you gave me during all my years of misery.
What is life but a vapor that dissipates and is carried off by the wind! We are like weeds that sprout in the morning, that grow and burst into bloom, then dry up and die in the evening! A few years on this earth is all we have, maybe more if we are strong.Yet they bring trouble and sorrow, then life is soon over then we are gone!
Teach us how short our lives are so we will not waste any time! Direct me in that which I am called to do so that it glorifies and honors your name! Lord my God, let me see your blessing on my life! Give me success in alI I do!
Therefore I remind you that you stir up the gift of God, which is in you by the laying on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
People often quote 2 Timothy 1:7, and exclude verse 6, I believe they go hand in hand. When we define stir it means to disturb, shake, ruffle, move, shift. If we look at the Greek text, it means“to rouse oneself up!”
In Paul’s letter to Timothy, he is telling him that God has given him a gift, but it is useless if it is lying dormant and not being exercised or used. Paul is admonishing Timothy to find the gift within himself, ignite it and use it as God commands. Paul reminds Timothy that by the laying on of his hands that he has already touched and agreed with Timothy’s gift, now he must go forth and use it!
This is where the two verses coincide; God has given all of us a spiritual gift, but all too many are deathly afraid to operate in their gift because of fear! God has called some to walk away from jobs but the enticement of a cushiony salary keeps them in an unfulfilling career. God has called some to start their own business but because of a lack of faith or fear of failure, they continue living in mediocrity. Some divorcees fear getting married again; some fear a person or people, some fear change or some may have a fear of the future. More, some have debilitating phobias that have crippled them from moving forward in life. Some people fear simply how they are going to survive day-to-day.
Beloved, when you think of a gift you may think in terms of a talent. Your gift could simply be being a good mother and raising morally upright, compassionate, and loving children. Maybe your gift is being a support system to a handicapped spouse or sick family member, taking care of the elderly, being a greeter at your church, being a listening ear to the downtrodden or you may be an encourager at your workplace. The list could very well go on and on. But my point is that your gift is whatever it is that God has called you to do, whether on a grand scale or on a minuscule one; whether you touch one life or thousands! But if you are bound by fear beloved, no matter what area you are called to serve in you will be ineffective! Your gift will be like a beautifully wrapped box that has never been opened for the receiver to enjoy!
I believe if one has not studied and mastered the area of faith, it will be nearly impossible to conquer fear! Faith and fear are conjoined and you cannot defeat the one without the other! But I would like to deflect a bit further if I may. As I was reading in 2 Timothy today, it occurred to me that faith is my birthright! In chapter 1:5, Paul tells Timothy that he is reminded of the faith “that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.” That tells me we, like Timothy, come from a lineage of courageous, tenacious and faith filled people! More, Hebrews 11:1-11 gives an account of those before us who over came adversity by standing on the shoulders of faith! But I like how Hebrews 11:12, goes on to say,
Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.
Beloved! We are the descendants of faith! Amen! Faith is inherent within our bloodline, all we have to do is revisit our history and claim what rightfully belongs to us and reclaim the inheritance that our forefathers left us! Oftentimes, we feel like we have to go looking outside ourselves for an answer, no God is telling us we already have the gift within us, we just have to tap into its power and use it! Hebrews 11:13, wraps it up by saying:
These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.
Even though as Christians we are exiles on the earth and face persecution, rejection, and opposition, the Bible tells us that we can change how we choose to react to life’s challenges by having a mind that believes in the unseen, supernatural power of the Living God and Savior Jesus Christ; and like those before us, we can pull our hopes, dreams and desires out of the spirit realm, and make them tangible in our lives by exercising our God given faith!
Did not Abigail have faith after David gave a decree to kill her husband Nabal upon refusing hospitality to David and his servants, by bringing David a peace offering even though he could have still killed her and taken whatever he wanted? What about the Centurion who came to Jesus because of his paralyzed servant. The man told Jesus, “just say the word and my servant will be healed.” How many of us have that type of faith to command a blessing from God and believe that it will come to pass? More, how many of us have enough faith to believe God’s word that He will heal? We read it in the Bible, and sometimes God specifically tells us He is going to do it, yet we still doubt and do not believe!
Jesus was so amazed he said to those following Him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith!” Jesus was teaching throughout the land, and although he had gained a mass following, here He has found a man that actually put His teaching into practice, as opposed to His very own followers!
How many of us are following Christ and can’t even believe Him for small things, let alone moving the mountains of fear in our lives? We just go through the motions desperately hoping everything will work out instead of speaking to the mountain and commanding it, in Jesus’ name to move!
Matthew 17:20, tells us that if we have the faith of a mustard seed, nothing will be impossible for us!
Then Jesus said to the centurion,“Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would. And his servant was healed at that moment.”
What I am hearing is that as we believe so will it be! Whatever the mind anticipates, it follows through. Have you ever had to wake up really early in the morning and throughout the night you keep waking up on the hour, in panic wondering if you’ve overslept? The mind is simply carrying out orders in which you have pre-programmed into it the day before! It is expecting the outcome of your thoughts!
Beloved, you must first program your mind to speak to the behemoths in your life and to stand on faith; only then will you be able to put on your spiritual armor found in Ephesians 6:10-18, and go to battle and conquer your fears! It is a battle because once you make up your mind to fight the enemy of fear, the devil will do everything he can to side track you, undermine you, put you in situations that exacerbate your fear, and tell you that you will never be delivered from this problem! It will be very frustrating. And, can I tell you, God will allow it because it is exactly what you need to go through to be delivered from its grips! It’s called tough love! You are going to have to be broken to get a breakthrough! It will involve tears, embarrassment, patience and suffering until God works your fears out of you! Beloved, that’s why you must faith it till you make it! I don’t know what your fears or phobias are: flying, closed spaces, driving, heights, public speaking, driving over water, leadership, or even death. Whatever it is, won’t you grab onto the hand of God to go before you, and the hand of faith to walk beside you? One day at a time. Be determined to be a conqueror. Don’t let the devil pigeonhole your life! God wants to use you and He can’t do that if you are operating in a spirit of fear!
Most importantly, you will never be able to live the best life God has for you if you are sidelined by fear. Live fearlessly and abundantly; but most of all live victoriously!
And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. “
Jeremiah 18: 4
Oh how this verse speaks to our human nature! As beings living in this flesh, we are indeed marred! God made us perfect in His own image (Gen. 1:27), but we are marred beloved, by sin, hurt, pain, and rejection. Each entity slowly chipping away at the perfect creation God made us to be! Some of you have been so badly damaged by parents, family, friends, spouses, jobs, that you have become bitter, angry, despondant, broken; even suicidal!
I know, I have been there! It has been a long process to see myself as the beautiful masterpiece that God designed me to be! To achieve that, you need the Peace of the Master — Jesus Christ! The Bible says that Jesus intercedes to the Father for us. (Romans 8:34). I love that! Even though Christ has left this physical earth, He loves us so much that He is still petitioning for us in spirit! So when we know that Beloved, we can be rest assured that God is changing us from glory to glory! (2 Corinthians 3:18).
I love when Jeremiah 18:6 says, “Oh house of Isreal, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the Lord. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel! God wants to use all of your disappointments, anger, frustrations, setbacks and strongholds to make you into a new vessel! Amen! He wants it all — your past, wrong thinking about yourself, a life that you deemed a failure; don’t hold onto it, let it go and put it in God’s hands! He wants to remake you, remold you, clean up your image, and make you new! He wants to give you beauty for ashes. And just like clay after it is formed, it has to dry into its mold; so too this Christian life is a process. You’re still being molded, you are not yet complete.
Picasso’s artwork didn’t become famous by his first painting! If you feel like you are marred and broken, hold on … God is changing you into a new vessel!
Couture meets charity was the ongoing theme Saturday night at NYBridal Week Fashion Show 2015, held at the Holy Apostles Ballroom in downtown Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood in New York City.
April 25, was an evening of style, elegance and advocacy as Irina Shabayeva, Project Runway season 6 winner and human trafficking awareness organization, Freedom Ladder, teamed up to showcase beauty and the beast: Shabayeva’s beautiful bridal collection and the beast of modern-day slavery.
The Church of the Holy Apostles, designated a NYC landmark in 1966, and added to the National Register of HistoricPlaces, juxtaposed perfectly with the event adding just the right touch of grandiose with its high ceilings, geometric stained glass windows and Romanesque Revival architecture.
Guests were in full fashion and benevolent mode looking fresh off the runway stylish, while generously contributing to a raffle held by Freedom Ladder. Participants stood a chance to win swag from: Tyeakia Designs, VU Hair Designs, and Charlotte Jones Opticians among other prizes.
Did you know that the average age of child sex trafficking victims in the United States is 12-14 years-old?
Thomas Estler, founder of Freedom Ladder; a nonprofit sex trafficking awareness organization, says this is exactly why he is so passionate about spreading this message because many people are in the dark about the sex trade industry within the U.S. I got a chance to talk to Mr. Estler about Freedom Ladder’s imprint in the community and the harrowing statistics of this growing pandemic. Mr. Estler stated that “this is not just an international problem,” but one that is vastly encroaching American soil. According to the U.S. Department of State, between 14,500 to 17, 500 human beings are trafficked into the U.S. annually.
I was very shocked by these statistics as this is a cause that I am very vocal about as I too am a victim of sex crimes. Asked what inspired Estler to found Freedom Ladder, he responded, “I was in my 40’s and had asked myself what do I care about?” And the answer that lie strongly on his heart was commercial sex exploitation. Although, he said it wasn’t until after speaking with a trafficking rescue agent who informed him that rescued teens read a lot of comic books that, “a light went off,” and he put two and two together and thus the birth of the comic book, Abolitionista! was born! The irony is that these trafficked children are forced into an adult lifestyle, but their affinity for comics is a stark reminder that they are merely kids. There is no rose without a thorne; out of something that causes so many pain, came something that will prevent this evil from happening to other children!
The artistry, detail and craftsmanship of Abolitionista! is superb! It is terse with fluid pictorials and a realistic story line, with artwork created by Delilah Buckle and Lizbeth R. Jimenez. What better way to engage children in the sex trafficking discussion.
Mr. Estler informed me that anyone who wants to read the book or purchase copies for their loved ones can download it for free on his website: http://www.Abolitionista.com. A hard copy can also be purchased online for $7.50.
Moreover, Estler says his mission is to teach children how to protect themselves against sex traffickers. He spreads this message by hosting workshops at “schools, churches, events, homeless shelters and any other organization that would like me to come and speak!” He stated that the workshops teach kids preventive measures; to be aware of their surroundings, learning the signs and language of a sex trafficker, and what to do if they encounter a sex trafficker, among other topics. Mr. Estler is based in New York City. If you would like him to speak at your school, company or event, please contact him at: email@example.com.
In tandem with the bridal runway shows were a surfeit of wedding themed companies on display! Ladies, if you are getting married soon, you may want to take notes!
In attendance were:
Janet M. Florindo Designer Origami Owl Custom Jewelryjanettf.origamiowl.com
Laura Marie Wedding, creative and fine art photography www. Laura-Marie-weddings.com
Jane Noriega Fashion Stylist and costume designer JaneNoriegaphoto@gmail.com @JaneNoriegastyles