True Love

We are all pursuing true love. God created us as social beings, yes even those of us who don’t enjoy being around people. The reality is that those who don’t enjoy being around people,  are just protecting themselves from being hurt, if you look deep down. As loving creatures we crave love, just as much or more than we crave food or water.

But as we pursue love, are we willing to give love, real love? At the end of the day, what is love? The word of God tells us in  1 Corinthians 13:4-8 “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never ends.”

So having that as a base, are we patient with the ones we love?

I know that this is a hard one. We all have expectations for ourselves and for those around us. Sometimes we know the potential of our loved ones, but they may not be ready, don’t realize it or  simply don’t want to. Are we patient enough  to support them through their journey?

Do we always want to get our way?

Ask yourself this, do you rather be at peace or right all the time? Sometimes we have to compromise in all kinds of relationships. Yes, we obviously think that our way and our thoughts are the best ideas, but when we love someone we need to take a step back and give grace and allow others to go at their own pace, their way and support them and love them through the process.

Do we really believe in them?

In spite of the faults and weaknesses that we see in the ones we love, do we truly believe in the best for them? If we love someone we can’t show our love being critical of them. Instead we should encourage their dreams, their desires and their hopes.

 Do we hope for all things?

When things are at their darkest point we need to place our trust in God and not necessarily on the other person. At the same time, do we allow the Lord to work the situation or do we just give up at the first sign of being uncomfortable?  Let’s not forget that “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who has been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

So we know everything will be alright even on the darkest of nights. Remember, when Jesus came to earth, the worst that could happen to the apostles was to lose him and he died…but then he was resurrected. In every dead area of our lives we need to hold on to the hope that he will either will be resurrected or make it brand new.

Can we endure all things?

Life and relationships are not easy. Even identical twins are different human beings. We need to learn to accept people for who they are. When we are committed to love somebody, we need to be prepared for trouble to come, not because we want to, but because it’s life. Sometimes issues happen because a situation happens or because there’s a disagreement. When we truly love, regardless of the type of relationship, we need to be prepared to work through our issues instead of disregard the relationship. If we decide to love like Jesus did, let’s do the right thing and express true love.

Until next time… Be blessed.

Allowing your joy to be stolen

happy-women1The other day,, a coworker and I went for our early morning workout. When we made it back to the office we were happy, energized and giggling. We were talking about our lives and about the things we had to do that day. The day was sunny; we had just brewed the perfect pot of coffee. It was a good day.
As we sat to work, we started talking about a common challenge. As we discussed the issue, we both started painting the possibilities of the worst case scenarios and how we could handle those. The conversation continued for a little while, and all of the sudden there was silence.
Now, bear in mind we are both very chatty people and we continued almost until noonsad women working quietly, which is a very rare instance. All of the sudden I turned to her and asked her, “What did we just do? Did we just depress ourselves? Her answer was yes.
We had started the day energized and happy, but we had allowed negative thinking to enter into our lives. Even at that point when we had both agreed that even if worst case scenario played out we both believed that God would make everything work for what was best, we didn’t regain our joyful demeanor.
The truth is that in general we all have the tendency to do that. . We allow the enemy to enter our minds and guide us to the landfill of doubt and discouragement. We allow the fear, anxieties and doubt to take the place of faith and trust in God, leaving us hopeless.I had to go to the Word and remind myself that I need to stand in God’s promises. That just like Jeremiah 29:11 says, ” For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

I also had to tell myself that if I put my trust in God I have to know that  “we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28 (NLT)

What lie is the enemy feeding your mind today? What is making you look at your circumstances instead of the face of God?
Cast all your fears and doubts at the feet of Jesus. Remember, he already paid the price. He always loves you.

Everything-Will-Be-Alright

1 Peter 5:7

Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.

John 14:27

I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

Until next time, be blessed

Hurry, I Have a Plank in My Eye

The other day I was talking to a friend whom I appreciate but who complaints a lot about other people. Some days she tells me all about how good this person is with her. A few days later she tells me how terrible this same person is towards her. Now if we allow ourselves to be honest with ourselves we all have those same moments with people in our relationships. Everyone has its good days and their bad days. The reality is that we don’t feel the same way about people all the time.

I remember long time ago I was working with this lady who had been married for a long time. I asked her what her secret was. She told me that in love, in any kind of love, you have to love someone everyday and that doesn’t mean you like them every day. I’ve thought about that statement and it’s very true. We are called to love one another, not to like one another. We may not approve of someone else’s behavior, but we are still called to love them. That is exactly what God does with us, that’s the expression of unconditional love, to love people in spite of how they think, act or behave.

But this is not a post about unconditional love. It’s about searching our souls for what it is that annoys us about the other people around us. I’ve learned through my journey to become closer to Christ is to become the 4yr old and ask why, why, why? I don’t do that to annoy my Heavenly Father. I do that to learn a lot about myself.

As someone who works in the behavioral health field, I understand that some of our thoughts and behaviors are not always conscious and mostly are a result of our heritage and life experiences. So when something happens, before jumping to a decision on how to deal with the situation, I want to know, why it bothers me so much? Most of the times I’ve had to discover that there’s a part of me that acts exactly the way of whatever it is that annoys me.

How is it possible that something that really bothers me in others, is also a behavior that I display? I have come to the conclusion that God presents us with those situations, so that we can see ourselves in the mirror and know how annoying we can be to others. I know that I complain about that same person that I was talking about at the beginning of this post. I complain about the way some days she’s very negative and complaints about others. But some days I talk about how much of an instrumental key she’s in my life. You see… I do the same thing that she does and that annoys me.

The bottom line is that I can’t change anyone, but I can change me. I appreciate every opportunity the Lord gives me to show me who I am to perfect me into a closer image of Jesus Christ.

Until then, be blessed

WF: Your Love Never Fails

The thing we should never forget about being a Christian is that our walk doesn’t come without pain and sorrows. Actually Jesus tells us in Matthew 10:34 that he didn’t come to abolish the pain. So what’s the difference between living a life for Christ and not, HIS LOVE…

Those of us who have chosen to believe in the Lord of Glory have discovered the peace that reaches all understanding. We know that even in the darkest of nights, we are not alone. There’s always a light inside of us that will show us the way out. Each of our tears will be held and comforted. We know, because he has said so, that even when we walk in the shadow of the valley of death HE will be with us.

On our loneliest day, we are not alone; we are always comforted by the Holy Spirit. The world can’t understand why we can smile in the middle of tragedy. They can’t understand how we can forgive the most awful of transgressions. How it is possible that we can let go of shame, humiliation and fear? Because Jesus took that all to the cross and that burden is not for us to carry anymore.

My friends, I don’t know where you are today. I don’t know what you’re feeling, but I do know that the God of Glory will lift those ashes and bring you through and every promise will be fulfilled. When you are so weary that you can’t even stand, kneel.

Lamentations 3:22-23

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.

 Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.

Romans 8:28

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,

who have been called according to his purpose.

A House Divided

For the most part, we tend to believe that those around us have a similar mindset as ours. Isn’t that the reason why they are our friends, family or who we chose as spouses? But that is not true all the time. There are times in our walk were we are exposed to other ideas and personalities and they do not conform to our ways of thinking.

It is harder for us to deal with those situations when the person having the different mindset is someone very close to us. The reasons for this are endless. Sometimes someone in the equation is wrong. Someone may not be listening well. Someone may just have a different opinion.

The Word of God tells us clearly in Mark 3:25 that “A house divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”  This is something that we don’t want. We want our relationships to grow and flourish. We want them to be peaceful and loving. So what are we to do?

Stop and Listen- Maybe there are some valid points to the other point of view.

Ask questions-Sometimes we get stuck in our positions due to not understanding what is being presented to us. If we get clarification we will be more equipped to form a different position.

Be Loving and Graceful- Even when we disagree, we will not be able to keep the lines of communication open if we present ourselves in a hostile manner.

Remember Ephesians 4:15 “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”

Consider if any position goes against the Word of God-If the position of the other person goes against the will and Word of God you can explain that. Not by hitting them on the head with a bible, but once again telling the truth in love. From that point it would be the other person’s responsibility to either continue on the wrong path or make changes. Always remember to love the person and not the sin.  But what if it’s you who are wrong (*gasp*) then maybe it’s you who needs some alone time with God, set aside your pride and decide to either follow God’s will or your own.

Agree to disagree- You can still love a person and have a harmonious relationship knowing that you don’t agree about something but still love and respect each other. It is too boring to agree on everything sometimes. LOL

Until next time, be blessed.

Coming Home

As many of you know I took the summer “off”. I say that in quotations because I was still working my 9-5 and doing ministry work.  My dog and the house didn’t get the memo, so off is a relative term. I was still  writing blogs during my vacation, I just wasn’t posting them. What can I say? I did take some time off to get away from home; some personal and some ministry related and although I had a fantastic time, I was yearning for home. During my trip I got to spend great time with awesome friends, make some new ones, learn new things, see new places, but at the end of the day I missed home. As I think about it when we are home we are always looking for a place to go because we are tired of seeing the same things. As soon as we cross the door, something in us realizes that we don’t belong outside of those walls, we always belong home. You know how it is, that cup that you keep rinsing and using because it fits the right amount. You want to experience the curve in that sofa that you have made from sitting in the same corner every day. The joy of embracing your pillow that is used to the unique way that you curve your head at night. Even the dog that you step on when you go to the bathroom in the dark, it’s all a part of you. Ironically one of the central themes at the church conference was “Coming Home”. It was based on the Parable of the Prodigal Son; which is no different than what I’m talking about. How many times do we get annoyed with our church home and leave because someone said or did something we didn’t like? Did you find yourself complaining about the music, the message…Then we left God looking for something better. As you’re sitting away looking back, you know you miss it. You miss that spiritual food that you received. You missed the message of hope inside your spirit. You even miss the sister screaming “hallelujah” right behind you, because you knew you were home. You knew that every time you crossed those lobby doors someone welcomed you with a smile. You knew that being in the presence of God was the best place to be and were you found true happiness. This was the place where you found peace. And by place I don’t mean XYZ particular building. I’m talking about returning to God. I’m talking about that place inside of you that you have abandoned for whatever reason: habits, addictions, relationships, laziness, lack of commitment, unforgiveness, pain. Yes, we call the church the house of God, so once our spirit has come home we need to assemble, to keep supporting each other and grow in our purpose. Pray about it. God has assigned you a particular place of worship. An imperfect place that is perfect for you. This is a place filled with imperfect people, just like you, to be in his perfect presence, receiving his perfect love. How long have you been away from home? C’mon, we’re all waiting for you.

First Encounter with Faith

I grew up in church. I heard about God all my life, but the God that was portrayed to me was not a loving God. To me he was this big eye in the sky waiting for me to make a mistake and pulverize me at any minute. I was quite involved in church growing up, but it was out of the sense that I needed to keep that God happy to avoid the pits of hell.

I had gone to a retreat and I was pulled to the side and asked if I would take Jesus as my Lord and Savior. In my mind I remember saying: Lady what kind of question is that, are you trying to get me killed?  So obviously I said yes, but nothing changed in my life. A few years later I felt the calling from God and I did give my life to Christ, but I was attending a church that didn’t explain about the journey of a born again Christian or the love of God; it was all about his wrath.

So as a human I sinned and I thought that I was already condemned for life, so instead of running to the arms of Christ, I ran to the arms of the world. I found more sorrow and pain than before. Eight years later (you can’t deny that God is patient) I came back home. I came just like the Prodigal Son, telling my father that I didn’t deserve to be back and that I knew I needed to sit in the back, that I was not worthy of serving him, but if he would only have mercy I would appreciate it.

He sent a young lady in my life to tell me that all those thoughts were claims from the enemy. She told me that God and the angels were rejoicing to have me home. From that point on I felt like I had met God for the first time. I was finally truly born again. God has never left me and has loved me more than I could ever imagine.

“I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there.’ And it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. ” Matt 17:20

Share with us, What was your first encounter with faith? I’m glad to hear it.

If you are looking for a good read, The Road Home is for you. Find out what was Desiree’s first encounter with faith and see if you can identify with her.

Until next time, be blessed.

The Road Home 

TheRoadHomeFinal-2.jpg

 This book certainly held my interest straight through to the very emotional ending. Mary Anne Benedetto

 “With the ever-constant presence of her closest friend, Aimee, Desiree slowly makes her way to God and learns the greatness of His power and love. Cynthia

A very engaging story about faith, love, and friendship, and the trials and tribulations that life can bring you. Jersey Gina

 

WF: East to West

I think one of the things Christians, especially new Christians struggle the most is condemnation. We live in the world of “forgive and not forget” and we have the tendency to look at God in the same light.

I have said many times that understanding God’s mercy was hard for me. How could he forgive the things I had done when his Word said that those things were against his will? Then I discovered Grace. That favor that God gives us that covers all our sins. That which brings to life the sacrifice of the cross.

Even after salvation we are not perfect, and there are times when we life in this fear of when will be the day when he will say enough, you’ve crossed the line of unforgiveness. But lucky for us that day will not arrive. As long as we repent we will be covered once again by the blood of the lamb, because Jesus died for ALL our sins. The ones we did and the ones to be done.

 1 Peter 1:18-20

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.  He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.

Let’s Praise God for that!

WF: Lord I need you

If there’s something that we can’t say enough is how much we need God in our lives. We wouldn’t even have a life without him. We wouldn’t have a future if it wasn’t for his Grace and Mercy.

Let’s rest in his bosom, just like a newborn child; in total abandonment and filled with peace. Only in the presence of the Lord we can find happiness .

Be blessed.

God’s Love and Forgiveness As Seen in the Romance Novel Desires of the Heart

By Steve Biddison

How far does God’s love and forgiveness extend? We all know the theological answer that tells us God forgives even our gravest sins and that there is nothing that can separate us from His love. And that is true. However, often times, in our own shame and guilt, we do not feel God’s love and we our subconscious does not allow us to accept His forgiveness. We either wallow in our own mire of disparity or we completely turn our back on God, believing that we do not deserve what He can give us.

That theme of God’s love and forgiveness is a big part of my recent fictional romance book, Desires of the Heart. Both the Eric and Lacey are in dire need of God’s forgiveness for things they had done in the past. Though the book is a romance between two people, at its core we see how God works in their hearts, through a variety of means, to show His love and forgiveness.

I want to share with you an excerpt from the book that not only started Lacey’s conviction of needing to return to the God of her childhood, but also has a message for anyone today who might feel they have gone too far for God to still want them.

Lacey again reached over to lay her hand on top of Eric’s. She needed the strength he gave her when she held his hand. The preacher’s words were stinging her. As hard as she tried, she could not ignore them. God can’t really use me, she told herself. I have blown it so many times, there is no chance that I could be of any use to God!!! I can’t be anything. God, don’t you understand the family I came from? Don’t you know what I have done? How could I amount to anything after having been such a loser?

“You might be thinking that your past is too bad for God to use you,” the preacher said. “But the reality is that God loves using people who are not supposed to succeed. In fact, sometimes the more of a loser the person is, the greater God uses him.” Lacey squeezed Eric’s hand tighter and leaned her head against his shoulder. She needed his strength to keep the tears from flowing freely.

“The book of Matthew opens the New Testament with the same type of genealogy as we read about in the Gospel of Luke.” The preacher continued. “Only this time we see the line from Abraham to Joseph, who was Jesus’ adoptive father on earth. We see several great people of God like King David and Abraham. But we also see people who were not so great in history. King Manasseh, one of the very wicked kings in Jewish history is in that line. We see Gentiles who were considered to be unclean by Jewish standards and we see women who unfortunately in that society were not usually deemed important enough to mention. Perhaps most interesting is that we even see a prostitute in the line of Jesus.” Lacey had never realized that before. God had used a prostitute to carry out His plan. Could God really still use her?

Lacey closed her eyes, trying to shut out the flood of guilt that had begun to flood over her. She opened them again when she heard keyboard and guitar music sounding in the background. The preacher was still speaking. “If you have had some trouble in your past that you think might be keeping you from fully experiencing God, then I invite you to come to the front and meet with God. We have prayer counselors waiting for you up here or you can pray alone.”

Within seconds, Lacey watched as scores of people flooded the isles heading to the front of the auditorium. Could so many people have such serious problems? Everyone stood to their feet as the music continued to play and the guy who had been introduced as the worship leader at the beginning of the service began to lead them all in another song.

****

But then the memories of college began to announce themselves firmly in her mind. That was the period in her life when her downward spiral intensified. No, she had been no worse than most other college students. In fact, probably better than most. But she knew that she had fully turned her back on God and admittedly refused to have anything to do with Him or a church. But now, as she watched the line of people marching forward, she wondered if she needed to join that group.

But what would Eric think of her? She tilted her head upwards to try to read his face. His eyes were lost in his own trance of thought. Maybe God was dealing with him too? She continued to watch his face, looking for any twitch or thought that might give him an inkling to step towards the isle and make his way to the front. If he goes up, I’ll go up, she promised herself. But Eric never moved.