“You f…… B…..!” Is the epithet he hurled at me. Did I get your attention? As people who faithfully follow Jesus we are not excluded from our share of anger, vitriol and harassment; if not even more. Christ believers are supposed to share the gospel of Christ and fulfill the call of The Great Commission by telling others about our redeeming Savior. Preachers admonish parishioners at church services worldwide on Sunday mornings to “tell others about Jesus!” I often think: What about those who do not want to be told about God? In today’s climate, I cannot tell you how many times telling others about the goodness of God met me with indifference, hatred and disdain. People are either atheist, agnostic, apatheist or new agers. Hey, different people follow different religions — I get that — and are as passionate about their beliefs as I am about mine. In a few instances, some people I spoke to even tried to get me to convert to their religion. More, other people that I spoke to were deeply hurt by “religious” people and ran as fast as they could away from anyone who uttered the name God. Then there are those who like to challenge your beliefs, undermine your knowledge in God, and corner you into a debate about religion. I’ve learned long ago not to debate God’s word. And then there are those whom I believe are actually tired, miserable, broken and overtaken by their sins but refuse to submit to God out of distrust and/or rebellion. Thus, they attack the “God” in you!
The person who made the offensive comment to me was someone I loved dearly. He was like a brother to me. You know the type of person that is very judgmental, condescending, rude, aggressive and confrontational? This describes my dear friend. He had practically driven away every one in his family and our circle of friends because of his behavior, but I refused to give up on him. “I will love him like Christ loved, and continue telling him about God,” is what I told myself. Nonetheless, at every meeting, dinner, get together with him I left feeling drained, insulted, berated, picked apart and belittled.
But this last meeting was on a whole nother level. It’s as if he came with an agenda to provoke me to respond to his antics. The cheerful person that I am, he began to attack my happiness asking me “Why are you smiling so much? There’s nothing to smile about!” Can you believe it? Someone’s mad at you for smiling! I quickly told him what’s inside reflects on the outside and would he rather I be miserable like him? I know … I know I probably shouldn’t have said that but I just could not believe what I was hearing. He criticized everything from God, my natural hair and character, to my joyful personality. Then it dawned on me how far God had brought me from a few years ago; He took away all my pain and replaced it with His joy! I then began sharing with my friend details of my background and the things God had brought me through, and telling him that’s where my joy comes from. Telling him about the goodness of God in my life seemed to make him even more confrontational. He started badgering religion, religious people and Jesus. I told him that I’m sorry that he feels that way but God is a redeemer and if he would just open up and try to get to know God his life could change too. He said he doesn’t need God and his life is fine without him.
I had to go there! … Albeit nicely. I told him the truth. I told him that his communication with others comes off as negative, aggressive and rude. Sure, we all have our bad days, but to live in a place of perpetual rudeness is a reflective character trait. I reminded him of a couple of people we know that he personally hurt deeply. He took no responsibility and shifted blame on everyone else. He then said that he was a good person and “does good” for others. I told him good works does not make up for the hurt and pain he leaves in his aftermath. I invited him to invite God into his life. I was then met with anger, harsh words, and berating. So much so, I had to walk away from this person whom I considered a dear friend. What truly has the world come to? If you’re smiling it’s fake. If you’re nice you have an ulterior motive. If you’re a Christian you’re hateful because you believe what the Bible says. It’s hard out here in these streets! The Bible forewarned of times such as these.
In Isaiah 5:20, the Bible warns of calling good evil and evil good.
By the time I got home I was in tears and had a pow-wow with God. “God, how could he talk to me like that? Why would he curse me out like that?” It was then God began to pour into my spirit how His Son Jesus was cursed, beaten, and murdered because He shared the good news. It was as if He asked me “Was I more important than His son? Was I better than His son?” If Jesus had to suffer persecution so will you, my child! Wow! It was a wake up call! I had to apologize for my own entitlement and shortsightedness.
How many times have we asked God to “use us” for His kingdom and the assignment does not come as we expect? Truthfully, many do as the aforementioned: question God and walk away from the gospel completely when they are deeply hurt. And truthfully speaking, it is not the person attacking you but the spirit in them. It is often because many people do not want to turn away from their sins, they have been hurt and are afraid to trust God, or they need to test the “God in you” because they need to know He’s real. They are really looking for something to believe in and need to know that this God you speak so highly of is really a redeemer. If we, who proclaim this Christ, buckle at every insult then it gives opposers the finger to mock God and question His power in our lives. I have had it happen time and time again. But what I felt God was speaking to me in this situation is that he used me to plant a seed of salvation. Many hurting people put on a tough exterior but deep down they are yearning for help. God is so loving, he hears their inward cries. When someone touches God’s heart, He usually sends many people to speak into their life.
Life is hard. Sin has hardened people, but our hearts must not become hardened.
This situation with my friend is what I call a ‘Come to Jesus moment.’ We who serve Christ often too have to come to Him and lay at his feet and cry as a little baby. Life is hard. Sin has hardened people, but our hearts must not become hardened. We must do as Paul admonishes,”fight the good fight of faith” and finish our race — bruises, scars, wounds and all!
Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you. Isaiah 35:4
While meditating on Isaiah 35 this morning, my heart was quickened and renewed with the assurance that we will see God’s glory in the midst of our dry desert, and the excellency of our God in every situation that we go through.
In Isaiah 35:1, it says your wilderness and dry land shall be glad and your desert will rejoice and blossom like a rose. It goes on to say your desert will blossom abundantly! If you understand it in its natural context it seems like an oxymoron. When one thinks of a desert they attribute it to barrenness, dryness, emptiness, and isolation. But when we go back and read in Isaiah 35: 1, it says “the Solitary place shall be glad for them.” It is saying this solitary place is good for you because it is teaching you how to be strong, it is equipping you with spiritual armor, and forcing you to rely on and trust God even though your situation looks dismal in the physical. More, the solitary place is where your faith is being developed, and where your praise is born. Calling down prayer rain is to send praise up to heaven.
In Isaiah 35:6, it says in the desert the tongue of the dumb will sing. It says upon this singing waters shall break out and streams shall flow in the desert. I believe it is saying the tongue of the ‘unlearned’ will learn how to praise and worship their God, and upon doing so rivers of blessings shall flow into their barren places and dry lands.
The desert is where you learn how to praise God before the victory. The desert is where you learn to thank Him for the many blessings He has already bestowed upon you. The desert is where you praise Him for the trials in your life because you know according to “His excellency,” everything will work out for your good. It is where you thank Him for your desert experience because it is truly a blessing in disguise. And lastly, the desert is where you learn how to praise God in advance for answers still to come.
In speaking to different people about their prayer habits and prayer life, I noticed a common theme: Their prayer life is a direct reflection of their daily life. What I notice is a lot of people do not persevere until they get results. Many people with dire needs and circumstances may go to God in prayer but when their needs aren’t met in their timeframe they give up and stop praying. They do not push through until the end. It is the same method they use in their daily lives. They may start a project, task or goal but when they do not see satisfactory results they easily give up. The problem is this pattern of behavior becomes habitual. The person’s thinking is more focused on the task not working as opposed to their own belief system, stamina and endurance. They do not realize that the fault lies in their perseverance instead of the task.
First, before pursuing any assignment or goal one must be passionate about it. If you’re not passionate about it it’s not going to propel you to stick with it long enough to see the desired end. As well, prayer; one cannot go to God half-heartedly and expect results. No you must pray passionately about what you are expecting God to do for you. You must pray with intent and strong will, and earnestly believe that your situation will change. Now here comes the hard part: It’s easy to believe in prayer when a request is answered quickly or in a relatively short period of time, but it’s those prayer requests that may take months or years that you need perseverance for. Beloved, I have continually prayed for things that literally took y-e-a-r-s to come to pass. But nonetheless I kept praying because God promises us in Matthew 21:22, that “…whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” I hold onto that and other verses like that because God is a God who does not lie!
In prayer and in life you have to learn how to be a closer — complete what you start until you get a finished result. God will not always give you exactly what you pray for because He knows what is best for you. Sometimes people pray for things that are not in God’s will for their life. God does not grant many prayer requests because He knows it will harm you or it is not in your best interests. In the above mentioned times, God will reveal to you why He chose not to answer specific prayers but you must have a personal relationship with Him and spend time in His presence to receive these revelations. Prayer requires reciprocity. Before you say prayer does not work, are you asking and then spending enough time with the Father to receive His answer, and not the answer you want to hear? It is hard to ask for something not knowing when or if you will ever get it. But if you do not at least keep asking and persevering in prayer, you will give in to failure and defeat. You will stop praying and allow despair and sorrow to overtake your mind. Beloved, be determined, be persistent, and persevere in prayer until you get an answer from God!
Beloved, I would like to talk to you today about a topic that many people are experiencing today: Dream defilement. What is dream defilement? It is a scheme sent by Satan, demonic spirits, ancestral spirits, or workers of witchcraft to pollute and defile your dream life. Many manifestations in the physical realm are a direct result of dream pollution.
Dream defilement mostly occurs through familiar spirits and necromancy. Familiar spirits are spirit bodies masquerading as a friend, relative, family member, or loved ones. Familiar spirits are assigned to you from the day of your birth. They know every intricate detail of your life. Hence the term ‘familiar.’ Necromancy is when the dead is summoned to appear to you for an assigned task. They are usually summoned up by workers of darkness. That’s why it is so vital to refrain from visiting palm readers, mediums, fortune tellers and the like because they operate in these realms of darkness. When you go to these places you are giving these powers permission and authority to rule in your life! What you are seeking help for may come to pass but eventually you will soon experience grave loss because these spirits are now attached to your life and will impose themselves on you to do their will on earth. As well, these spirits can be sent to unassuming persons to destroy their life.
I was talking with a young lady whom said she’d seen a relative come to her in a dream. She said she was so happy to see this relative but soon after she had a nightmare. People she did not know was trying to steal her soul in the dream. Satan comes as a spirit of light. You will know the truth because where God is there is light, peace, love and freedom. There is no variation or shadow of turning in God and His presence. Meaning: God does not present Himself one way and then turn into something different. Light does not turn into darkness. That’s how you will know that a dream is of God or of the devil. This person is a seasoned Christian but because of her deep love for her relative, the enemy tried to use that as a gateway to steal her soul! God admonishes us to put no man before Him.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in humans.
The truth of the matter is we really don’t know what kind of life people live privately. Who knows what sacrifices they make to other deities or gods, and sadly, who knows what side of eternity they may end up on.
Anytime you dream of a ‘familiar’ person, don’t take it at face value. Take it to God in prayer. Pray for revelation and wait for God to reveal the source of the dream. Keep your lights lit. Amen!
After you graduate from school all of your classmates may have gone on in different directions in their lives.
Some are pursing higher degrees: Masters, PHD, etc. Some have completed degrees at universities and are now: doctors, engineers, teachers, pilots, lawyers, or whatever their choosen profession may be. Sadly, some can’t afford admission into an institution and may NEVER be able to go to college.
More, some may be married, some have given birth, and some are still searching and waiting on the Lord. Some are on their sick bed and some are, sadly, dead.
Some own companies, some are now CEO’s, directors and major shareholders in global companies.
But how do you feel when you run into your former classmates, and it seems like he/she has accomplished their dreams and you’re not yet close to yours?
So many thoughts run through your mind, right? You may be inclined to think that God has not been fair to you because you are still struggling.
Contrarily, how do you compare yourself to people whom you encounter on the street who are homeless, disheveled, and are struggling for survival?
What are your thoughts now that you have balanced the scales? It’s easy to judge life from the middle ground, but truthfully we could have been in the valley of life if it were not for God.
Somehow it feels natural to have a feeling of jealousy towards those who have seemed to have excelled us; who seem better off, but we must travel our own road.
There is no room for regrets; we are all different and our paths to greatness are also not the same in distance.
Some might have arrived earlier before you and some after you, but at whatever level you find yourself in life, please keep trying to break limitations and excel higher.
Celebrate the success of others, it’s an indication that yours too shall surely come. If your friend buys a car, home, gets married, be happy for him/ her.
Remember when you buy yours, theirs might not be the latest. If their marriage isn’t founded in God it won’t last. Rest asssured, God has the right person for you. What God has for you is for you and nothing can take it away! There’s no prototype for purpose, but everyone will find their purpose if they look for it, not in success, but in the trials of their lives.
Life is not about competition, do not be in a race with anyone but yourself! Remember, we may seem to be reading the same book but we read different chapters at different times.
Don’t let the passion in you kill the desire in you, keep it burning!
What you are going through today; write it down because one day the world will be ready to read it, they’ll become part of your success story.
There’s no height you cannot attain, believe in yourself, define your goals, recognize distractions and don’t stop striving.
Spend time teaching yourself, because those things that mainly take people to the top are the things they devoted their time to develop.
Don’t be intimidated by your friend’s success, the sky is wide enough for birds to fly without touching one another. Value every little thing that God brings into your life, love God and obey Him.
For with God, all things are possible. Now to those who are on top, never forget to give a helping hand to those who are down.
Because life is full of uncertainties; the one you pull up today, may be the one to hold your hands and prevent you from falling tomorrow.
God has a purpose for your life!
May God bless you!
Wow! What an amazing finish to this year! God so blessed me to finish “His” book: Don’t just breakthrough, BREAK FREE! I say His book because I had totally different intentions when I started writing the tome. But beloved, God had to bring me through various trials and deliver me from some things in order for me to understand the gist of what I was writing about! Including: stubborness, unforgiveness, pride, homelessness, joblessness and debilitating sickness. I payed the price with blood, sweat and tears! It took me nearly 7 years to finish this book!
I now realize if it had been published when I first started writing it, it would have been verbiage and not experience. It would have been words but no substance. It reminds me of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego when they were thrown into the fiery furnace. God had to allow me to be thrown into the fiery furnace to test this word that I was proclaiming; He had to test my faith by fire! Luke 22:31-32 says, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you Simon, that your faith may not fail! So like clay, instead of being burned up, my faith has been refined into a beautiful vessel! Hallelujah! A vessel for salvation, a vessel of hope, a vessel of light to the lost, depressed, and those that are struggling to live another day!
Many of you may know I’ve recently lost a dear loved one. You never really realize the magnitude of death until it knocks on your door. When I was writing this book, for some reason God put on my heart to write: “From time to time, God will send you a travel companion to help you along your way [on life’s journey]. Although you may be tempted to get upset when they leave, don’t!” Page 237. I could not understand at the time why I had written that as I never really lost anyone close to me to death. While editing the final chapters of the book, when I reread that sentence, I wept. Beloved, God knows the trials we will endure before we can ever conceive of them. Surely, we can never understand why God allows good people to die violently, but oh how He loves us and protects and keeps us in the midst of life’s storms. I love you and God bless you!
When a rescue boat arrived at a canal in Beaumont Texas, there they saw 3-yr-old Jordyn floating atop torrent waters wearing her little back pack; which would turn out to be be her life-saving device that kept her afloat as she clung tightly to her mother. Fearing for her little life, I could only imagine, as her mother, 41-year-old Collete Sulcer lay dead, face down in the canal having tried to save her infant daughter from flooding waters. Upon reading this harrowing account of one of the most heart-wrenching casualties of Hurricane Harvey, if not the worst, I sobbed profusely. The reality of a child losing a mother at such a young age and now having to navigate the harsh waters of life — alone.
Watching newscast reports of haunting stories of Harvey victims, I felt guilty and helpless. And now with Irma having touched down in the Caribbean and threatening her wrath across the Southeast US by Thursday, and hurricane Jose and Katia following close behind, it brings fear and anxiety for the fate of our Southern neighbors and perhaps even us in New York if Irma extends her reach far north. As we sit by and watch haplessly news reports of its looming destruction, you may feel helpless or despondent. “What can I do?” You may ask yourself. Simply: Pray! There are people called to go support on the front lines and there are others that are called to fight behind the scenes! This is where I need your help! I’m asking that if you are reading this post, if you can pray and spread the word to pray against Irma in your immediate circles and dedicate a day or two to fast. Who knows? Maybe we can pray Irma away from its deadly path of destruction or lessen its impact. The Bible says in Matthew 18:20, that where two or three are gathered together in my name I’m there in the midst of them. Let’s call on God’s infinite power to intervene. Let’s stand in proxy for our SE neighbors. And, moreso, with pressing events happening around the world, now is not the time to be apathetic. It’s time to pray!
It reminds me in Isaiah 1:17, when Isaiah commanded the rain to cease from falling.
Now Elijah the Tishbite was a prophet from the settlers in Gilead. “I serve the Lord, the God of Israel,” Elijah said to Ahab. “As surely as the Lord lives, no rain or dew will fall during the next few years unless I command it.”
In this context, Isaiah commanded the rain to cease because at the time Israel was under the rule of wicked King Ahab and many in Israel were worshipping false gods. Idol worshippers in Israel believed Baal to be the god of agriculture and seasons. When Isaiah commanded it to stop raining, it did for 3 long years, those complicit in worshipping Baal soon realized they were worshipping a false god.
Beloved, when we are faithless, God remains faithful and He answers prayers! But, first we must ask!
First off, HAPPY NEW YEAR! This past year the enemy may have taken away a job, home, dream, loved ones or material possessions. But the one thing that you are in control of that he can’t take away is your joy! But it depends on you. You have to make up your mind; make up you mind to succeed, to push on, to fight every step of the way this new year. Even though some days it may have looked like you were down for the count, wounded in the battle of life, or are still trying to recover from a crash landing.
It’s disconcerting that people take addictions seriously but often take emotional well being for granted. The same rule must apply: ONE DAY AT A TIME! The fight starts and begins in your mind before it ever reaches your will and your flesh. As children of the Most high God, we all are given different tasks, assignments, and jobs to do in this life. Many will be assigned a visible platform, but most often, the hardest assisgnments are the ones that are being fought behind the scenes; in our families, on our jobs, and in our communities. That’s where the real work takes place: face to face, hand to hand, and heart to heart. But we must and can only do what we are equipped to do at any given time in life. When we think we have so much to give is often the time we most fall. But we mustn’t remain, we must get back up learn more about ourselves, behavior, character and strive to improve…to do better, be better. We must allow ourselves to make mistakes, mess up, fail. Beloved, that’s the only way a child of God truly moves more towards God’s light. Most, we must allow others that same right to learn as they go and make mistakes without holding them in judgement or unforgiveness. For we all have fought a grave battle, and some are striving daily to heal severe wounds.
We are all on life’s rollercoaster, gallantly reaching high points but yet falling as fast at the same time because we live in this frail body called flesh. We must find out what God has called us to do and do it to the best of our abilities, though we are like mere babes learning how to walk this life while constantly falling…learning as we go. ln 2017, allow yourself to fall without criticism, harsh words, judgment or guilt, but with patience with yourself, encouraging yourself, and most importantly, loving you every step of the way.
I don’t know about you but I’m so glad God is so gentle and loving through each trial that He teaches me valuable lessons that I’m more than willing to learn while being patient with myself and finding the strength to keep going, to keep fighting the good fight of faith…likewise we all should grant the same right to everyone else who may cause us offense. Sometimes we forget who the real enemy is. Though Christians, we aren’t excluded from spiritual skirmishes. God is teaching me that the real victory comes from choosing to choose love in spite of…not letting life’s situations cause us to become bitter or unforgiving. For I believe everything, every situation and even every heartache has a purpose though the finite mind can hardly understand. This new year, take the time to mend combat wounds then go into your prayer closet and await further instructions.
We are all in this confusing, twisting, binding enigma called life that will never be fully explained perhaps until we go to our final resting home. So with that I leave you…love, laugh, forgive, celebrate and most importantly, cherish family. And as goes that old Southern hymn…hold on old soldier…You can make it…You can win!
The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand.
I am so excited that God’s book: Don’t just breakthrough, BREAK FREE! is gaining a lot of traction! With the precarious times that we are living in today, many people need to hear that Jesus Christ still sits on the throne, and as His servants nothing can happen to His sheep outside of His control! This is not about me at all, but about doing my part by being a conduit to spread the word of Jesus Christ!
You can check out the interview here: http://j.mp/2ffhSDC
God bless you all and have a blessed Thanksgiving! If you look at your life with eyes of gratitude, we have so much to be thankful for! Amen!