Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Date With My Father

So I needed to keep a record of what happened last night that I just think was really cool. I spent the evening allowing God to just speak to me though Youtube. Crazy huh?!

Well, Aiden went to spend the weekend with his grandmother so I figured I would find something to do with my semi child free evening. I had actually made plans to go see Takers with Diana, Clarissa and Snono but God kinda changed all that. I was actually down to my last $15 and knew I would be getting paid today, but still decided to do the right thing and not spend my last on a movie.

So I was sitting on the couch watching TV and decided to check out some Youtube videos from the P4CM channel. I listened to the poetry and heard the testimonies of teens who turned away from secular music, turned away from sinful lives. I was so moved from the poetry testimony of an ex-stud that I was near tears. God is so power and amazing and can literally do ANYTHING. The ex stud, Jackie, kept saying that she "chose to choose" that lifestyle. She wasn't born gay but had always been attracted to girls and chose to give into those desires instead of presenting her sin to God. POWERFUL stuff.

People don't ever admit that they are simply giving into their own carnal desires. God didn't die on the cross to free us from those sins for us to choose to live those very sins out daily. The two teens that denounced secular music explained how they both realized that they were accepting sins that God hates by listening to music like Jay-Z and Kanye. Beyonce isn't edifying or glorifying God in any of her songs, but she dresses provocatively and does talk about pre-marital sex and greed, all sins that Christ died for. Why make His Crucifixion in vain when we decide to continue on with this Jezebel spirit of living. No amount of justification can make it right. Just like in 2 Kings, Jezebel made herself pretty before she was thrown out of the window. I, too, have given into sin thinking it wasn't really hurting anyone or anything. But it was. Every time I had sex outside of marriage,it hurt Jesus. Every time I watched sex on TV or listened to sexual lyrics, I hurt Jesus. Every time I am more focused on money that on serving the Kingdom of Heaven, I am hurting Jesus. Every lie I told, thing I stole, prideful act I committed, it hurt Jesus. Every time I justify sin or become accepting of sin in my life or others, I am hurting Jesus.

The body of Christ is full of lukewarm Christians. Plenty of people pray and attend church, serve, do outreaches, etc but still are accepting of the sinful nature. They still watch sex on TV and in movies. They still listen to music by artist that denounce Christ and promote the sinful lifestyle. They still hit the club every Saturday and make it to church on Sunday. They still drink past moderation and shout His praises when in need. That is not pleasing to God! Matthew 6:24 says “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other." Can't say you are devoted to Christ and still have one foot in the world. God is a jealous God, an all or nothing God. Real talk.

Last night was a night that was meant to play out like it did. I was supposed to be smart and save my last few dollars and let God pour into my heart and renew my waning spirit. I literally sat up until 3 AM listening to Trip Lee, Lacrae, Sho Baraka and watching the P4CM poetry. I was loving it and the messages pierced my heart. Even today, I felt different. I spent the day watching Sister, Sister and the 3 Left Behind movies. Didn't want to pollute my mind and eyes with filth and foolishness. A shift is happening in me. My spirit is being renewed and my sinful desires cast down. I know I have to continually be cautious of my surroundings but I am so thankful my awakening last night. One of the best dates I've had in years!

Day 6: Praying Through the Pain

"Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty. But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and we fly away." Psalm 90:10

This devotional is a pretty simple one. I think I have mastered praying through the pain. I have had my share of pain in the last couple of years and since I finally surrendered to Christ a year ago, I am learning to be faithful in the midst of the storm. I have learned that God is not going to over burden me and every stormy season is a test in endurance. I have to pray for strength during the tough times and keep being faithful in knowing that God will bring me out of a bad situation.

He has renewed my faith in my issues with Ryan simply by the awesome works He has done in other areas of my life. It's almost like I get so consumed with that situation, that I forget that He is still present in everything else. He has to show me that He is still God and I should keep my focus where He is moving and not on what I deem important. I have to stop majoring in the minors.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Day 5: A New Season

Forget about what's happened; don't keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I'm about to do something brand-new. It's bursting out! Don't you see it?
There it is! I'm making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands. Isaiah 43:18-19

Man, God is so right on time. For a while, I have been feeling kind of disconnected and restless. I've been needed something new, a new challenge, a change of scenery, something new because I feel like I'm almost in a rut. Stagnant. Unfulfilled. I am definitely not a fan of idle time and thoughts so this is killing me.

My problem is that I seem to be searching an outlet for this pent up energy when I should be asking God what it is that He would have me do. I tend to try to make myself busy with other things to keep from having so much idle time. Almost like a way to keep me distracted, yet, I am still feeling unfulfilled. I can write a million blogs, post a million articles, and do a million outreaches in the name of Jesus, but if I am not getting His green light first, it can all be unfulfilling. I realize I am not walking out God's purpose for me.

The scripture Isaiah 43:18-19 just resounds in me today because I want to see what new and amazing thing God is going to birth in me. I have let go of my past, died to myself in order to follow Christ, so now I have to prepare to do what it is that God has specifically designed for me to do. I also need to be more focused and diligent about the duties He has placed before me right now. I have the writing for the Sunday to Sunday blog, helping to develop the intake forms for any newly rescued girls from the street, developing ideas to expand the scope of the welcome team at Fusion. It's funny that I already have plenty to do but, get so distracted that I lose focus on those areas. I think this weekend is going to be a weekend of organization and focus. Getting ideas flushed out and asking God to just show me what it is that He would have me do. If I am obedient in the little things that He gives me, He will bless me with Thanks for that awesome revelation just then!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day 4: What's On Your Mind

James 4:8: Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.

What's on my mind? My Father in Heaven who is absolutely romancing me today! I went to bed last night in thought about how I was going to handle a situation but God took over and gave me the best sleep ever. I even slept in longer because I was so at peace. I dropped off Aiden and listened to Livingston and just smiled the whole way to work because I felt like God was just smiling at me and delighting over me. I missed Fusion last night because I had to serve so its like He carved out this day to just have me spend time in His presence. I love this romantic, loving, smiling, delighting in me feeling I get when it's just me and my beloved Father. He is giving me peace and joy in Him. He is so worthy to be praised!

Truthfully, I don't always have days like this. I wish I did though because things would be so much better if I did. Yet, I cherish these moments. I think I would have more times like this if I made time for times like this. I do tend to get bogged down with worthless stuff like Facebook, Internet, TV, the phone, friends, whatever. But I am glad that I am taking on this assignment to purposely spend some time reading this devotional and really examining my heart and mind. I am becoming aware of things that I need to work on in order to cleanse my mind, body and spirit of all this junk that has been collected.

I need to make a greater effort to carve out this consistent and dedicated time with God to hear Him and have Him hear me. I love my sleep but, getting up an extra hour earlier to pray and read my Bible would be an ideal way to spend some time with Him. I have been reading my Bible at night, but it's something about giving God those first few minutes of my day that makes things so much better. Revelation 3:16 says "But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!" I don't want to be lukewarm with my faith and devotion to God because He is constantly faithful and devoted to me. He is showing me His faithfulness in this very moment, with each breath that I take and this awesome time of praise to Him.

I like the 3 scriptures that were in this devotional to mediate on as I seek God's purity in my life.

2 Cor. 7:1 Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.

Titus 2:14 He offered himself as a sacrifice to free us from a dark, rebellious life into this good, pure life, making us a people he can be proud of, energetic in goodness.

Hebrews 9:13-15 If that animal blood and the other rituals of purification were effective in cleaning up certain matters of our religion and behavior, think how much more the blood of Christ cleans up our whole lives, inside and out. Through the Spirit, Christ offered himself as an unblemished sacrifice, freeing us from all those dead-end efforts to make ourselves respectable, so that we can live all out for God.

He desires for me to seek Him out and spend time with Him. It's time to make Him my first thoughts and be constant with making time for Him. No lukewarm praises for my Savior who sacrificed His life just to have precious moments with me through out the day. I want to watch Him transform my mind because of my devotion to Him.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Day 3: Faithful Followers

Psalm 95:6-7: "Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our maker, for he is our God. We are the people he watches over, the flock under his care. If only you would listen to his voice today!"

Faithful I? Not always. I try to be though. I mean I use common sense and don't always follow the crowd but, I do tend to react out of fear or frustration and may not make the best decisions. The devotional used sheep as an analogy. Sheep aren't the smartest animals in the world but they follow their Shepard, the one who feeds and protects them. Yet, they can run crazy if they are startled by a loud sound or trying to escape harm. I can see myself running around a pasture during a lightening storm, which I can equate to financial trouble or family trouble. I'm sure even if their Shepard is trying to get them under control, the fear consumes them and they do their own thing.

Sounds like me. Or at least me a year ago.

I desire to only follow God's voice. Sometimes, discerning His voice from my own is the hard part. I get bogged down with influences around me and sometimes wonder if I am making a decision based on what I think God is telling me or if it's my own emotions or thoughts that's leading. I have already decided to take the road less traveled by trying to live according to God's word. No more sex till marriage, watching what I put before my eyes and in my ears, having a heart for others, serving, sharing my faith, walking in love (even when I don't want to), forgiving instead of combating, etc. Taking the focus off of me and putting it on others is definitely going against the grain of the popular mainstream.

I like the verse mentioned in the devotional from Colossians 3:1-2 "So if you're serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don't shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that's where the action is. See things from his perspective." I do have a new life and I must live this life out according to His word, His voice. I can no longer worry about what the world thinks, or what friends think, or give in to my own selfish desires. I need to see things from His perspective, not my own.

Are there areas in my life right now in which I have not been faithful in following the Lord's voice? Sure. Finances, my trust in Him, and probably some other areas too. I am used to taking matters into my own hands out of impatience so I am learning to be patient. That's definitely a work in progress. I am a signs and wonders kind of girl so, I am learning to just trust in faith even when I may not get that obvious green light to go. I want to only hear My Father's voice and only follow His lead. Tuning out all the other noise and distractions...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Day 2: Who Determines Your Worth

Matthew 10:29-31: "What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows."

Who determines my worth? The answer should be easy. My Father in Heaven determines my worth. He sees me as His righteous and glorious daughter whom He desires and loves. Anyone with that type of admiration should always feel secure and worthy. But, my honest answer...part of me still struggles with the world determining my worth. To the world, I am a single mother. I am a statistic. I am average. I could stand to loose weight. I could stand to dress better. I should probably wear makeup more often to hide my flaws. I should probably go back to straightening my hair because the short, natural look isn't all that appealing. That is a far cry from the way God sees me. But whose measuring stick do I focus on more?

My small group has been embarking on this 28 Days of Beauty devotional and today's devotional awesomely coincides with this devotional. Isaiah 62:5 says "as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you." God calls me His beloved bride, a woman He made beautiful. Sure, I can try to think about what that signifies with my head but, sometimes it does not always pierce my heart. There are days when I look in the mirror and do not like what I see. I sometimes compare myself to other people. I think that I will never have a husband if I don't loose weight, dress prettier and make myself be who they want me to be. This is me being honest. The devotional hit the nail on the head: "This hidden shame is rooted in fear that we don't measure up, despite God's affirmation."

2nd Timothy 1:7 says: "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." Fear is not of God. It is my job to reject any lies that the enemy or the world tells me that do not line up with what my Father says about me. He delights in me and calls me beautiful, stains and all, so I should not allow myself to think any differently. He cares enough to know all the hairs on my head, so why not allow His love to constantly be poured into my heart? The world will always compare me to everyone else in the world but, I don't have too. I already know my worth in my Father's eyes, the only person whose opinion I should be worried about. Each time I look in the mirror, I should see God's beautiful masterpiece, His beloved bride, His treasure, the daughter of the King.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Day 1: In Tune With God's Purpose

I have decided to embark on a 90 day mind, body, and spirit purity journey. Yesterday's small group meeting left me wanting to give thanks for God always been faithful and always keeping His covenant with me. I know there are areas of my life than need to be fine tuned, but I must first get into alignment with him. Matthew 5:8 says "Blessed are the pure at heart, for they will see God." If I want to truly connect with the Father, I need to make sure my mind, body, and spirit are pure. I bought this 90 day devotional about 7 months ago called Pure: A 90 day devotional for the Mind, the Body and the Spirit by Rebecca St. James. I figured that there is no better time to really start digging into this journey than with this process of transformation and renewal.

Day 1: In Tune with God's Purpose

"Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. O LORD, you preserve both man and beast." Psalm 36:5-6

Am I in tune with God's purpose for my life? Absolutely not. This is me being honest. As of today, I truly have no idea what God is calling me to do. I know what I kinda want to do with my life which is counseling, but I am not sure if that is what God has called me to do. I like writing, but is that what I am supposed to do? I used to think that God was leading me towards a life of working with and counseling women, sex abuse survivors. But, when I look back, I don't think God ever gave me that green light. Maybe it was more of a personal desire of mine to undertake. For the longest I have asked God to reveal His plan for me and I really think He has been kinda silent about it. Or maybe I was too busy and distracted to hear Him. Maybe I was more consumed with what I wanted to do and didn't adhere to what He wanted me to do. I don't know.

Jeremiah 29:11 says that God knows the plan that He has for me, so I kinda wish He would let me in on the secret. I am glad that this is the issue to ponder on the first day. Not knowing your purpose is like a boat floating in the sea with no direction in mind. I don't like not knowing but I really don't like not being sure of what my Father would have me to do. It's past time to really seek Him and have Him reveal to me what He has in store for me. I pray that no matter what path He puts me on, I have the good sense to be obedient and the courage to follow through. No one ever said this journey would be easy, but the reward in Heaven is worth the trial.

I am a work in progress.

He IS Faithful...

Last night was awesome. We had our regular Beauty For Ashes small group, but this meeting just did something to my heart. We met at the cross at Victory and spent some time in prayer and meditation as Angie called each one of us to the walking path. When she called my name, I really didn't know what to expect, but I knew this was going to be an evening of reflection and discovery. Angie explained that we have to learn to be faithful to God everyday because He is always faithful to us. As we walked, she quote the scripture Matthew 25:29-30: "For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him."

It's funny because I had read that very scripture the night before. I took that as confirmation that I need to be faithful to God in the little things that He gives me, so that I can live in abundance. Funny cause, that was the message Jeff Hidden gave this morning. Kingdom Thinking. I'm listening.

When I got to the end of the path, Nesha was waiting with an index card with the scripture Psalm 86:15: "But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness." Again, the message was faithfulness. She gave me a letter to read with instructions and also the letter that I wrote to Jesus 7 months ago at the start of our small group. As I read my letter, I was amazed at where was I was then and where I am now. I asked for healing for forgiveness for denying Him and doubting Him. I asked to encounter Him and to know His love for me. I asked Him to challenge me, to encourage me, to break me out of my shell, to give me boldness, baptism in the Holy Spirit. I asked Him to pour out His love and grace on my family and to strength the Godly relationships with the women He had placed in my life. When I tell you He was absolutely faithful in everything I desired, I was in awe. God did everything I asked of Him. He is faithful beyond understanding. He is in covenant with me and will give what my heart desires according to His will for me. He is faithful even when I am not.

In my letter, I promised to always have a burning passion for Him. To always be devoted to praising and worshiping Him. To continually die to myself and follow Him. I don't feel like I held up my end of the bargain. There are days when I am not sure He will come through for me. There are days when I pray and I can't hear Him, so I get discouraged and wonder if He cares. Sure I have my days, when I am just immersed in Him love and grace. Yet, there are days when I feel so disconnected from Him that I don't know how to fix it. I've felt that way lately. Very disconnected, faith kinda waning, fear and worry consuming me. But He was faithful to me, even when I was not to Him. That's how much He absolutely adores me. I am the daughter of a King and He treats me as such each and everyday. I just have to be faithful and return that same devotion.

I desire to be faithful and trusting in God in every area of my life. Every area. From finances, friendships, relationships, decisions, career, time. Every area. When I am faithful and good with the little things that God entrusts in me, He will pour out an abundance of blessing to me. I should be faithful because He is faithful. Now, I know I wont be perfect and there will be times of doubt and trouble. Yet, I have to always remember that my Father has proven to be a provider, a healer, a protector, a loving Father and many other things, so I know that I will always stand tall and stand in His victory.

I know that being faithful does not happen over night. I know this will be a process, a transformation. I know I need to renew my mind, body and spirit and become aligned with Him. Learn to trust Him and have dark areas of my heart revealed and fixed so that I can carry on. I bought a 90 day devotional back in late January, early February when I took the courtship class. I read it for a few days, and it was good, but I didn't stick with it. My letter that proved God is always faithful was written 7 months ago, around the time I purchased this book. Figured God had every intention of me getting that book, seriously. So, I have decided to embark on a 90 day assignment of purifying my mind, body and spirit. Each day, I will read my devotional and seriously think about what it is that is being revealed to me. My thoughts and revelations will be documented here so that I can go back and look at Day 1 three months from now and look at what God had done. I am excited and hopeful and ready for Him to reveal His purpose and love for me.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Brightening Days One Smiile At A Time

Have you ever had a bad day? I mean a day that just progressively goes from bad to worse. You wake up to find that you have overslept. As you rush out of bed, you stub your toe on the dresser. You finally head to work only to get stuck in the worse traffic jam. By the time, you make it to the office, you are in no mood to hear that your boss noticed your absence in the mandatory meeting and wants to meet with you later. Your phone is ringing off the hook and everyone seems to have a complaint. You make it to lunch, only to realize you forgot your wallet in your haste to get out of the door. By 5PM, you are ready to explode with frustration and anger. You make it home to finally unwind and prepare a quick dinner only to realize you forgot a few ingredients. You rush to the store, grab your short list of items and stand in what seems like to longest line ever for the express checkout. You make it to the cashier, who greets you with the warmest smile and asks how your day had been. You manage a semi-friendly smile and respond. As the cashier is bagging your groceries, you pull out your wallet to pay. The cashier smiles and says "Don't worry about the total. It's already been taken care of for you. The lady in front of you asked to pay for your groceries, just because. Hope you have a great day."

You walk away in amazement, still wondering what just happened. A complete stranger paid for his groceries, just because. No strings attached. No gimmick. Just a random act of kindness. You drive home rewinding your day in your head and laugh to yourself. Despite how bad the day started out, someone took it upon themselves to try to make someone's day a bit brighter.

As we go about our day, we never really know what impact we have on the people we encounter. Asking a stranger if they need prayer, inviting a co-worker to lunch, or simply giving a warm, friendly smile can make a huge difference in someone's day. Every day is an opportunity to change someone's day or life for the better. That very co-worker you invited to lunch may be in need of a listening ear because of a personal crisis. You sharing God's love by buying a meal and having a good conversation could be exactly what they needed to know that life will get better. Asking that stranger if they need prayer maybe that very confirmation they need to know that God does still hear their prayers and they have not been forgotten.

Monday, August 16, 2010


It's a hard reality when it hits you that you really can't save the world. For many people, saving the world isn't even on their radar. Most people are living for themselves and their own happiness. But for me, being a Christian who wants to be a doer of the Word and not just a hearer, wanting to save the world is usually at the forefront of my mind. Maybe not saving the world as a whole, but bringing change to the people around me. Yet, over the past couple of weeks, I've found it hard to "be Jesus" when my faith isn't as strong as it should be. Yes, even Christians struggle with faith and all that comes with it.

I have been plagued with one distraction after another lately. Usually it has someone thing to do with money lately, or the lack there of. I've noticed that the more I serve and try to live out God's will for me, something throws me off balance financially and my focus shifts. As a single mom, making sure we stay above water is a constant thought in the back of my mind. God has ALWAYS been a provider so we have never gone without. He has proven to me time and time again that as long as I have faith in Him, He's got the rest. But it's the distraction that gets the best of me. I've been giving so many opportunities to do God's will in different areas but the distractions of life shift my focus, gets me off my purpose driven path. If I am worrying about paying bills or dealing with a sick kid, it's hard to come up with an s2s blog or even a personal blog. It's hard to counsel friends when I have my own stuff going on. I start to feel like the older son in the prodigal son story. I want someone to notice me and my dealings with life. Selfish of me, I know, but it happens.

But that's the enemy's plan. Spiritual attacks. John 10:10 says the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. He attacks us in our area of weakness to keep us from God's purpose for us. Any little distraction from God is all he wants and needs to shake our faith. His distractions makes us wonder if we are even equipped to handle this life, this calling to follow God. It makes us wonder if we are equip to be that light of Jesus that hurting people need, even when we are hurting.

Right now, I have sickness, death, depressions, financial trouble, broken families and relationships all around me and everyone needs faith that things will get better. I visited a 10 week old baby in the ICU on Saturday who is dying. I met his 16 year old mother at the s2s block party at the Covenant House in June. He was brought to the hospital on Monday and by Tuesday, the circulation in his legs had stopped and his feet and legs started dying. He has blood clots in his brain as well as brain damage. I prayed for his healing because I know God can do anything, but I left feeling a little helpless. Will God really heal him or is it His will from this baby to die? Will the marriages of my friends be healed and restored because I pray for them? Will any of my prayers make a difference? Will people really be touched by the words that I say or write? While I am praying for a revival in this city, in this country, in marriages and families, in my church, who prays for me?

Jesus never promised that we would be without troubles in life. Anyone that follows Him are surely going to endure trials and tribulations all in the name of Christ. But it's our faith that sustains us. It our ability to recognize the tricks of the enemy and tackle him head on. It's the Word of God that gives us direction and wisdom on how to deal with life when troubles come. It's the Holy Spirit that gives us peace in the midst of the story that carries us through. Even when I start doubting my ability to help and God's ability to just be miraculous, I have to stop and discern my state of mind. If I am not focused on God and spending time with Him in prayer, I come out of alignment with Him, leaving the door open to the enemy's deception and distractions. The re-bound back into alignment isn't always instant but just knowing that He is my focus is enough to strengthen my resolve. He has already given me the power to heal the sick and to speak life over people. Sometimes I just have to be reminded of the gifts and power He has entrusted me with. When the distractions finally fall by the way side, I'm able to get a clearer vision of God's intent for me. I'm able to be that shining light for others in the midst of their darkness.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Price of Love

For a while now, I have had families on my mind. I noticed that families around me were crumbling, foundations shook loose, marriages tested. I know I have experienced attacks in my own family but my troubles seem to pale in comparison to the troubles others are experiencing. I thank God for His favor over my household, but I pray for His holy anointing on those around me.

LOVE. It's what everyone in the world is searching for. Single people are looking for someone to love them. Married people are looking for someone new to love. Children are crying out for attention and love from their parents. But God is love. So what's the problem?

I have realized that people are searching for a tangible love. Sure many of us know that God loves us like crazy but we still desire that tangible, here on Earth kind of love to keep us warm at night. The kind of love that makes us laugh, takes us out on the town, shares a meal or coffee with, make plans for the future type of love. We go to great lengths to find that love and even greater lengths to hold on to that love.

I sit and swap stories and ideas with my single friends about love and relationships and we are all usually on the same page. We are looking for godly men who are strong in their faith and walking out their purpose. I always quote Meredith Grey and say I want a man who is already "whole and healed." I envision God providing me with a leader, not a leader in training. Someone who can balance life and the church, while keeping God in the center of everything. Someone that will challenge me and keep me going after God. It amazes me how my criteria for men has changed over the years. It has gone from superficial non sense to character, personality, faith and purpose requirement. God has removed the veil to show me the traits that should mean the most, traits that don't lose value over time.

So why don't other people search for the traits that define a person instead of what they get at face value? Why do so many people pay such a high price for the sake of love?

If I haven't learned anything else of value over the past year of my journey with Christ, I've learned that you cannot love someone without understand how God loves each of us. God's love for us is the blue print, the standard. The longing feelings and desires for love that we feel are usually a void that is in our hearts that needs to be filled. Many of us go from man to man or woman to woman trying to fill that void that only God can fill. He is our living water, He is love. When I finally stop looking for love and allowed God's love to fill that empty space, my thirst was finally satisfied. My longing ended. But for some that's not enough.

Too many people are still searching for love, still trying desperately to hold on to what they think is love, sacrificing so much of themselves to maintain love. It's sad and it's not what God intended for us. Usually when my longings appear, that means I am not spending enough time having God pour out His love into my heart. I am not aligned with God, who is love. When I get my walk with God back on track, I no longer have that desire to seek out something that is already there. When relationships or marriages get rocky, people turn to someone else to fulfill that need that is missing. They are not in alignment with God and the enemy finds his way in. Marriages fail everyday because someone is longing for love. People stay in unhealthy relationships because they holding on so tight. People are so afraid of being alone, they compromise God's word for the sake of love. They trade God's truth with their own personal agenda. Such a high price to pay for love.

1 John 4:8 says "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." If God is not your main source of love, the you don't know love and you don't know God like you should. If you are compromising your morals and the Bible's instructions in order to get or maintain love, you've already lost. God's love heals, redeems, transforms, sustains. Anything outside of Him is just like trying to catch air in a net; it will always slip through the cracks. Let God's love be your first love. Let His love be your main source of love and understanding. Let everything else be an addition to the love that He firmly plants in your heart.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Trip of a Lifetime

It's hard to believe that it's already August. School is back in, the days are still long and hot, and most people are getting back into their normal routine. Yet, in just a few days, a group of people will have their eyes opened and their lives changed right here in their own city. A group of young Christians will be pounding the pavement for 7 nights under the hot summer heat, bringing the Gospel to the homeless, the broken, the prodigal sons and daughters of God, lost in the streets of Atlanta. The August Sunday to Sunday team is gearing up for a life changing and spiritually awakening experience, all in the name of Jesus.

I can say with all confidence that the August Sunday to Sunday team, or s2s, will be in for a great experience. I was apart of the team that was on tour in June and since that time, my life has not been the same. I have never been more aware of the sin and pain of this city, nor have I been more on fire and desperate for a revival. In the days leading up to the tour, I asked God to reveal to me to what breaks His heart about this city. Almost two months later, He is still breaking my heart.

When the s2s tour dates were announced this past April, I knew that God wanted me to be apart of one of the mission teams. My very first Sunday at Victory World Church was this time last year. Pastor Dennis had just come back from Africa and gave an update on the wells that the church had paid to build. Something tugged at my heart strings with just the mere mention of people in the church going out into the world, changing the lives of complete strangers, all with the love of God. Taking part in an s2s missions trip would allow me the opportunity to change lives, right in my own backyard. I had the desire to participate, but was wondering how I was going to manage 7 nights of mission work and find a sitter for my 3 year old. But as quickly as I began to talk myself out of what God had intended for me, I remembered a quote from Mike Turner, found of LifeLink International. He said, "When the passion inside of you is greater than the circumstances around you, the stage is now set for greatness." God had something great in store for me and I knew that He would set the path for me to be where I was called to be. With one simple phone call, God made a way for my little one to be out of town visiting relatives and I was signed up for the June tour. The first night of the tour fell on June 20th, my 29th birthday. Couldn't think of a better way to spend my birthday than sharing God's love and friendly conversations with those that the city had forgotten.

I had no idea what to expect from s2s. I had heard stories from s2s alumni but nothing that prepared me for the heart transformation that I would experience. From the first night, I was forced out of my comfort zone. When Avery and Dede gave the word, I was to grab a buddy and strike up a conversation with a complete stranger, a stranger who also happened to be homeless. I was nervous because I had never spoken to a homeless person, let alone ask details about their lives. I expected them to be short with me, standoffish almost because I assumed they didn't want to be bothered by some young missionaries asking them about their day. But to my absolute amazement, they were welcoming, engaging, and open. They were regular people, just like me. They were no longer homeless people. They were Melanie and Darren who laughed and joked about movies with me. They had more life and joy in their smiles than people I encountered on a regular basis. Yet, all they possessed was their entire life in a bag and their unshakable faith in God.

For the rest of the week, God slowly removed the veil from my eyes to see life for what it was. He slowly reshaped my heart to pour out love to those I once over looked along with the rest of the world. He taught me that the smallest act of kindness can make every difference in someone's day. He taught me that taking a moment to pray for a stranger can transform a life. He taught me that asking a person their name can help reclaim an identity that was stripped away because we have been too busy to care. He taught me that a simple rose can show a girl how much God loves her, even when she believe she is unworthy of His love. God taught me to still have faith in Him even when my heartfelt prayers went unanswered in that moment. He taught me that He is still moving to reclaim this city for His Kingdom, one Princess at a time.

For anyone that has ever gone on an s2s tour, there are so many stories that can be shared, so many memories that will be embedded in our hearts and minds forever. For those waiting on their opportunity to experience God move in this city, be prepared to have your eyes opened and your heart changed. Jesus did not die on the cross for the sins of the world for us to just go to church each week to hear a message. He intended for His followers to carry on the work that He did while He walked the Earth. He intended for us to continue to heal the sick, cast out demons, take care of the poor and share the Gospel from Atlanta until the ends of the Earth. We have all been given the power and authority to do God's will but, we have to be willing to step out of our comfort zone for His glory. Be prepared to be the hands and feet of Jesus to help heal this dying city during the trip of a lifetime.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Fusion Is Back!!

Last night was AMAZING!!! I mean seriously. Last night was the relaunch of Fusion, the young adult ministry at my church that has literally become my family. Since coming to Fusion about a year ago, I have met some of the most amazing and inspiring sisters and brothers in Christ. God truly knew what He was doing when He pointed me in Fusion's direction. A building full of 300+ 20 something people who are seriously on fire for God, is something I had never seen before, but now, they are my family.

Coming back to Fusion after being on tour for six weeks was like coming home. I had already been stressed by the turn of events from the past weekend and other things but I was determined to enjoy my night. Met up with Carrie, Zoe and Sheka for our pre-Fusion dinner and I was immediately at peace about the stress and distractions in my life. God was already on the move before I had even gotten to church. I walked into the building pre-service and it was already full of energy, laughter, hugs, prayer circles, fellowship and fun. Some people had not seen each other in six weeks and spent that time catching up, while new comers came in droves. I was home, ready to encounter my Daddy!

Being that I was super excited, relaxed, and ready to handle my leadership duties, I didn't know that God was going to do some awesome moving on my behalf that night. While checking in the kids for Fusion Kidz, my fellow Fusionite, s2s alum and true brother in Christ, Nate stopped me at the table to share some amazing news. For the past few weeks, he had been keeping me up to speed with some ideas about doing Princess Night with s2s on a bigger scale. I'm all for helping in anyway to help rescue girls from sex slavery. He asked me to be apart of a planning committee that he is heading up with s2s and I couldn't be more thrilled. I love the vision and mission of s2s, already writing for their blog, so I am game for anything s2s! My night was looking brighter!

Worship was amazing. Service was a recap of some of the stories from Fusion on Tour and the various missions trips. I was so filled with the joy and praise for the work that Fusion did for the community that by the time we closed with the Fusion Band doing "Sing, Sing, Sing" I was jumping and shouting to the top of my lungs. God's power will do that to you. Service ended and we kicked off Fusion after Dark! More time for fellowship, grubbing with friends, prayer circles, watching Avatar, games, laughter, meeting new people, small group sign ups, Rock Paper Scissors contest, healings, everything. First time I got to enjoy Fusion After Dark because I live minutes from the church and didn't have to worry about driving 30 mins back to Cobb. I was loving it!

But, yet again, God decided to show His purpose for me yet again! Another fellow Fusionite and brother in Christ, Keith Hall stopped me at the small group sign up tables. He asked me about leadership and I reminded him that I was on the service team side. He gave me a look that I had seen many times before from various people. That "when are you getting a small group" look. He cast his vision about wanting to start a small group for single parents and my heart leap. For the longest, I have felt a tug to go into small group leadership but I never think I am prepared for it. So many people have asked why I'm not apprenticing a small group yet so its like they keep speaking that over me. Also, I had thoughts about a small group for single parents so they to can be more involved. Being a single mom myself, I know how it is to want to get involved in small group but have to worry about child care. It breaks my heart that we have so many parents that want to be involved but cant or just don't feel like they fit in. When Keith cast his vision, I knew God was putting His stamp on what had been in my heart anyway. Another AMAZING opportunity to serve Him with my whole life.

Yesterday started off with me being beyond stressed about finances, my future, work, home, you name it. But my Almighty Father has so many plans for me that I don't have time to be distracted with life. Jeremiah 29:11 says "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." So many times we get so distracted with life's circumstances and stress, that we get distracted from our purpose. We are unable to see what God wants us to do. We get consumed with US, that we take our focus off of HIM. Such a scheme of the enemy. My Father wants to use me to change the world and to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Earth. My eyes and ears are open. I am so excited about what He has in store and how my own life will be transformed by walking out my purpose.

Thank you Fusion for being filled with a generation of visionaries and laborers. Thank you Father for your grace and mercy to do Your will.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Life As I Know It

I am bouncing back from a rather nerve wrecking turned numbing weekend. I knew things would be rather tense after a tough decision I made, but Victory's THIRST service helped release my pent up stress. Nothing like 2 hours of singing, dancing and praying for a revival and renewing of spirits. I needed that time to connect with my Father, to give Him honor and allow the Holy Spirit to completely wreck me. The Holy Spirit came down on me and my heart wept and I prayed for families and marriages. I shook uncontrollably as the words spilled from my tongue, crying out for God to restore marriages, chains to be released, families to be made whole again.

I drove 4 hours to Mississippi on auto-pilot right after service. I let my mind wander and allowed God to kinda sift through everything and hone in on what He felt I should. Family. Restoring families, praying for reconciliations, for fathers to come home, for mothers to love their children like crazy, for marriages to be covered to withstand attacks. A lot of friends have marriages that are crumbling, both inside the faith and outside. Families are being broken, children neglected, selfish needs overshadowing God's purpose. My heart was breaking and I knew that this was just the tip of the iceberg. I knew God was preparing me for battle. The attacks were coming and I needed to be full dressed in His armor.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Ephesians 6:10-18

I knew that God was doing a work in my heart because for the first time in forever, I didn't want to leave Mississippi. I didn't want to leave my family. I didn't want to leave the comfort and safety of the 4 walls of my aunt's house where I could tune out the rest of the world. I wasn't in the mood to deal with attacks on my family and families close to me. I just wanted to rest, mentally, physically and spiritually. But of course, Jesus Christ did not promise that we would be problem free in this life, even after we accept the gift of salvation.

Life will be hard, trials are sure to come, but how you prepare for them is key. God has given us authority and the power to heal the sick and to defend the name of Jesus Christ. Battling enemies that are not in the flesh tests your loyality and your resilience. When the chips are down, do you fold? Or do you run back to the Creator and give Him your all? Does your faith remain or is it shaken? When your marriage is on the rocks, do you both come together in agreement to pray against any schemes of the enemy or do you ignore the problems and exist in a house divided? A house that is divided is an open door for the enemy to set up shop and wreak havoc. There is strength in numbers, power in agreement.