Saturday, December 28, 2013
16And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."
We know that Adam was the first human son of God however he was not born of woman and the Holy Spirit as Jesus. Jesus was begotten because he was produced as an effect or outgrowth and was fathered by the Holy Spirit. Adam was created from dust and dirt which is what we shed each day.
Adam was given a directive by God in the Garden of Eden to stay away from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But as Neo said to the Source in the film, The Matrix, "The problem is choice." The problem was choice but so was the solution. The problem here wasn't that the serpent approached Eve as many would like to believe. The problem was choice. How so? God gave specific instructions for Adam and Eve not to touch that particular tree. Yes, the serpent provided conflicting information than what Adam and Eve had received. However, the problem was they allowed doubt to creep in and they chose to ignore the directive given by God though He already presented them with the consequence of making the wrong choice. The serpent, who is the enemy of our souls, doesn't stop there, he makes the obviously wrong choice look appealing. But the fact remains, as the NKJ Study Bible states, "Both the man and woman sinned through listening to another created being rather than to God." What is choice? Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines it as 1)the act of choosing: selection 2) the power or opportunity of choosing: option 3) the best part 4) a person or thing selected 5) a variety offered for selection. We are the only living creatures God gave the ability to think and reason. We are the only ones to whom God gave the power of choice. For every choice there are rewards or consequences. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines rewards as 1)something given in return for good or evil done or received for some service or attainment 2) a stimulus that is administered to an organism after a response and that increases the probability of occurrence of the response. Our society refers to rewards as something good. So a reward for doing something right. But a consequence is often seen as something bad. Consequence as defined by Merriam-Webster's Dictionary is a 1) result 2)importance, effect, outcome or aftermath.
The question for you, "Have you been listening to God or to a created being?" Yes, God can speak through others but God speaks to you directly just as much but do you pay attention? Has God spoken to you directly on what to do or not to do? Did you make a choice to not listen to Him? Did you make a choice regardless of the consequences presented to you? Did you think you would be rewarded positively for your choice? Have you suffered negative consequences from your choices? What have you learned as a result? Or do you still not see the problem? Sometimes options are nothing more than diversions from God's truth? Sometimes the question of "did God really say that," is nothing more than the enemy creating doubt in your mind so you will be conflicted enough that you will cheat yourself out of your rewards and blessings just as Satan did. His main objective is to cheat you out of your inheritance as he lost his. Lucifer was once an angel of the Lord. He was the chief angel. He lost his inheritance to be in the kingdom of God and all God's glorious riches all because he wanted to show he was equal to or better than God. So if Satan can assist in opening the door so you will cheat yourself out of your inheritance the way he lost his, then he will have gained what he desired which is misery loves company or the crab in the barrel mentality. As you end the year, think about the choices you have made. Did you listen to God or did you make the choice to be influenced by someone else? How's that working for you? Jesus is giving you another opportunity to move in the correct direction if you haven't previously because of His shed blood. Is it time for you to reconsider how you make choices? The solution is also your choice.
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
21If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; 22For so you will heap coals of fire on his head, and the Lord will reward you.
What does it mean to give and provide for someone who has not been kind to you or has tried to harm you? It means that you will show God's love even if they refuse to do so. Showing God's love is how the common world will know He exists. We are to be examples of God's love to the world by how we treat one another. But if one doesn't treat the other well, is it all bets off? No. Often God will put those who have harmed you in a position where they will have to ask you for assistance or they may need assistance whether they ask or not. And if GOD says you are to meet that need, you do so with His love in mind. Remember, it is God who will give the directive on what you are to do. Your hurt feelings must be put in the proper context. But what about if they are not so nice to you? Does it mean you won't be angry and hurt? No. It is normal to feel those feelings. You are to acknowledge them but then you are to ask God to remove them from you. Having the anger is not a sin but acting on the anger is. Keeping the anger leads to bitterness and that is why you have to let it go. So before you give or do anything, it still has to be done with the correct intention or motive that lines up with God. Your well treatment of someone who has not been good to you is to show them that God's love in you outweighs the anger and bitterness of their heart. It is supposed to cause them to reflect and to feel a level of guilt for their less than stellar behavior toward you. It is supposed to cause them shame now rather than judgment later as the NKJ Study Bible notes. The shame is to lead them to repent and be remorseful of their behavior then God will forgive them. God gets the glory because His love shown through you is supposed to bring about change in others and bring them closer to Him. Your reward from God will come for your obedience. What if they still do not get it? You cannot control them. All you can do is your part and God will handle the rest whether good or bad. God is the God who sees or Jehovah Roi and He will handle it according to His time.
Sunday, December 8, 2013
15This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.
The scripture brings a whole new meaning to 1Corinthians 14:33 which states, "For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints." Many of us have heard the first part of 1Corinithans 14:33 but without giving thought to what it really means. The word has stated there are two types of wisdom, God's wisdom and the world. The wisdom reflected by God is from the Greek word "Sophia" as said in the NKJ Study Bible. The wisdom from the world in simple terms is demonic. And this is why the spiritual gift of discernment is necessary. God is wisdom but not all wisdom is of God. As a matter of fact, the word says in Proverbs to seek wise council. The apostle Paul speaks of godly council but if you are not surrounded by men and women of God who conduct themselves as such, what wisdom do you think you will receive? The world teaches you to do things for self-seeking reasons while the wisdom of God ALWAYS teaches and communicates the concern and well-being of others as brought up in the Study Bible. How so? The self-seeking wisdom of the world is focused on doing whatever you can the easy way; whatever requires the least amount of sacrifice. But God teaches you, "no pain no gain or "No cross, no crown." The greatest reward will come from the sacrifice you make to do things in accordance to God's plan for your life, His direction, which means no shortcuts. For example, God gave you a means or money to support not only your family but also the kingdom of God from which you have greatly benefited but you would rather use the help or dollars He gave you to play the lottery because the jackpot is big. You were not being a wise steward of the talents/money He gave you. Another example, "God gave you a command to teach His people to prepare them for greater works of service but you listened to "your boy or your girl" who said let's go to the club and get our drink on which you know means you won't get up Sunday morning and be prepared to teach God's people the Word that they may be ready and mature in Christ for His service and not being tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine as said in Ephesians 4. Whose wisdom are you adhering to? The path you take is directly related to the wisdom you receive and the choice you make to act on it. If you are confused about anything, know that God didn't confuse you. God makes Himself very clear and is ALWAYS mindful of your future as said in Jeremiah 29:11 as well as the future of those around you and keeping His reputation in tact. Whose wisdom has dictated your life? Hint, if you have no peace and contentment about anything and have that sick feeling in your stomach that hits every time you think about the choice you made, then chances are you followed the wrong wisdom. Seek God and He will answer as the Word says in Matthew 7. Seek God and His kingdom and those HE shows you to be of His name and not perpetrators attempting to imitate being an angel of light but are really of darkness as is described of Satan.
Friday, December 6, 2013
8Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.
The law means the Ten Commandments. The Lord talks continuously in His word about the "motive" or reason for someone saying or doing something is important. It is mentioned in Proverbs repeatedly but also Jesus spoke about what comes out of the mouth is what is in the heart and people claiming to do things in the name of the Lord but being turned away at judgment. And the apostle Paul spoke about love being the greatest no matter what gift you have to give to the world in 1Corinthians 13. Why? Precisely the question. Why? Why are you doing what you are doing? Jesus spoke about the Pharisees loving the place of honor yet they had no regard for the people they were supposed to teach and lead. Do you realize that by Jesus talking about people who gave to the needy and claimed to be prophesying in His name He was saying that doing something just for the sake of doing something or to receive your own recognition is no better than not doing it at all? Why? Because God wants you to be motivated by love. "What's love got to do with it?" EVERYTHING!! The Word says in 1John 4:8-9 that God is love and anyone who does not love does not know God. And His demonstration of love was by sending His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. And Jesus demonstrated His love by sacrificing His blood and life on the cross for you and I. So your motivation is important. If you are not motivated by love first and foremost, then it means nothing. If you are not giving, teaching, leading or doing anything else with love for others as your motivation, then why do it?
"Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do but how much love we put in that action" ~ Mother Theresa
What is your motivation? Are you doing it for the love of God? For the love you have for others? If not, then it's as empty as not doing it all.
P.S. My sincerest condolences to the Mandela family and to all in South Africa in the passing of a great icon. Dr. Nelson Mandela demonstrated his love at the price of giving up 27 years of his life. A clear demonstration of love. He demonstrated like the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks and many others, that the suppression of a group of people because of the color of their skin does not have to be tolerated. He also showed the modern world that a Black man could be president of a country and lead it. Thank you God for the 95 years you gave to Dr. Nelson Mandela.
Monday, December 2, 2013
12Then I perceived that God had not sent him at all, but that he pronounced this prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.
God moved on Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and to rebuild the city. While God was moving on the heart of Nehemiah to take the lead in rebuilding the holy city, God was also moving on the heart of King Artaxerxes to financially plant a seed and provide whatever was needed for the rebuilding. Now Nehemiah had been serving King Artaxerxes and was faithful in doing so. Tobiah and Sanballat were upset when they learned that the walls of Jerusalem were being rebuilt. And from that point on, they decided to plot to stop the building. Tobiah and Sanballat came at Nehemiah from every angle they knew how. They had already devised slander in writing. However, when that did not work, Tobiah and Sanballat sent someone from the house of Shemaiah who they paid as a secret informer to "prophecy" or prophe-lie as is often said in the kingdom of God when someone gives a false prophecy and are not sent by God himself. Prophets are to be the mouthpieces of God. They are to speak what God is saying, to give encouragement, God's direction and rebuke when necessary. So if God didn't send them, whose mouthpiece are they? Just something to think about. Now why would someone go to great lengths to do such a thing? These people were actually enemies of the Jews as a whole who had tried many times to destroy the Jews. Rebuilding the wall and the city was representation of the strengthening of the Jews and their reuniting after their captivity which the enemies did not want. Nehemiah did not allow himself to be distracted, paid off or scared into aborting the plans God gave him. The prophe-lie given to Nehemiah was that people were coming to kill him if he didn't stop rebuilding.
So what does this mean to you? Hmmm... Did you know the enemy of your soul uses these same tactics? Did you know there are people that the enemy uses just like Tobiah and Sanballat used someone from the house of Shemaiah to be a secret informer? Remember the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. So if you are moving in the direction God has for you and the enemy is upset, he will send threats and even scare tactics. He may even send someone to prophe-lie to get you so wound up that you stop moving with God's plans. Like Nehemiah, you have to "perceive" or use the spiritual gift of discernment to understand the spirit of the person and more importantly, the motive behind what is being said to you. For that is what the gift of discernment does, it divides between good and evil. It divides truth from lie and shows the motive behind whatever words are said and what spirit they are said in and the heart of the person saying them. God sometimes allows you to see the plans of the wicked and gives you strategies to combat. 1Corinithians 2:13-16 and 1Corinthians 12 which gives insight to how God uses the spiritual gift of discernment. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines discern as 1) to detect with the eyes: distinguish 2) discriminate 3) to come to know or recognize mentally. So in essence God teaches you to use your spiritual eyes to see what the natural man cannot see. If you need help to see so as not to get tripped up by the enemy, ask God to show you and He will for the sake of His plans. Sanballat kept inviting Nehemiah to sit down and discuss as a means to get the full plan but also to distract Nehemiah away from the time he was to spend doing what God told him. You cannot entertain everyone when God tells you to do something. You cannot give away the plans God has given you. You cannot give your attention to people who do not mean you well. If God shows you that someone is off and has intention to hinder the plans of God, BELIEVE HIM! God's Word is always true and He is a man that cannot tell a lie in a world where so many do.
Friday, November 29, 2013
18Oh, that you had heeded My commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.
The prophet Isaiah received a stern word of correction from the Lord for the people of Israel. Israel had become idol worshippers and rebellious but wanted to "give the appearance of being religious" as the NKJ Study Bible notes. But to think that God could not see was very bold and not bright at all. Yet, the Lord deferred His anger as the word says. The people of Israel brought on their own drama and turmoil because of their refusal to obedient. God allowed the lack of peace.
If you ever want less drama and more peace in your heart and life, the best way is to be obedient to God and continue to seek Him and sit before His face. Psalm 119:2 says, "Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, Who seek Him with the whole heart! Many do not seek God and wonder why there is no peace. What is peace? Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines peace as 1) a state of calm and quiet; esp: public security under law 2) freedom from disturbing thoughts or emotions 3) a state of concord (as between persons or governments); also an agreement to end hostilities. In other words, if you want to keep things agreeable between you and God and everything in your life, just lovingly follow His direction for your life. When you don't, you upset your own balance of emotions because stubbornness is the doorway for the drama to take over the peace in your life. Yes, God will allow situations to work together for your good as said in Romans 8:28 meaning He will use the drama to teach you. Some drama is not of your doing but is a storm for God to show His glory. The condition is that you have to be willing to learn. Either way, submission to God at some point will bring about greater peace. Taking hold of the peace and keeping it requires seeking God. Whether it's now or later, is up to you.
Monday, November 25, 2013
38But Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?"
The brothers James and John asked Jesus if they could sit at His right hand. They admired the power and authority Jesus had as the Son of God. Jesus made a point to share with them that they really didn't know what they were asking for. Jesus' entire 33 years was about service and sacrifice. Jesus traded His riches in Heaven with the Heavenly Father to become the sacrificial lamb for you and I. His entire existence on earth was about serving just as He serves even now by interceding on our behalf each time we sin. His blood is remembered and as long as you and I grab hold of it, our full judgment is spared.
There are so many who say they want to lead or be a leader. Real leadership means serving. Real leadership means putting others before yourself. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines serve as 1)to work as a servant 2)to render obedience and worship God 3)to comply with the commands or demands 4) to work through or perform a term of service (as in the army) 5)Put In (served five years in jail) 6)to be of use: answer 7)Benefit 8)to prove adequate or satisfactory for 9)to make ready and pass out 10)to furnish or supply with something 11)to wait on ~a customer 12)to treat or act toward in a specified way 13) to put the ball in play. Two of the thirteen definitions are about doing or performing something for someone other than yourself. Many want a seat of honor like the disciples James and John. A seat of honor in the eyes of Jesus has nothing to do with your title or ranking but has everything to do with are you willing to serve someone other than yourself? The NKJ Study Bible notes, "He illustrated genuine greatness and spiritual ranking in His own life as He served others rather expecting other to wait upon Him. He covered His glory for a time and assumed the humble role of a lowly servant." It takes humility to serve. Jesus had every right to be served based on who He is alone but His purpose for coming to earth was not about Him being served. His mission was to be a servant so that you and I could have a relationship with God the Father so He could look upon us again. If your mission in life and in Christ is to sit at a seat of honor or to receive special treatment, yet you do not wish to serve, you missed the point and have shown you are not worthy of a title. God does not care about titles if you cannot serve. Revelation 3:1 says "And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, 'These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: "I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead." The NKJ Study Bible notes, "Its citizens zealously promoted emperor worship and were known for their luxurious, indulgent lifestyles." But it doesn't say they were willing to serve. A title with no desire to serve is the same as having a name that you are alive but you are dead. The Word of God said it.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
22So King Solomon surpassed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom. 23And all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart.
King Solomon's kingdom at the time of his reign was from the Euphrates River to the border of Egypt. And for anyone who is not aware, Egypt is in Africa. King Solomon was given the throne by God himself. God told King David who was going to take his place. Before David made the public announcement of what God shared with him, Solomon's older brother, Adonijah, attempted to exalt himself and make himself king. Adonijah even held a banquet to this effect but God did not appoint him. Jesus said himself that one ought not invite himself to the seat of honor. David recounted God's revelation to him about Solomon in 1Chronicles 22. When God first revealed to David who would succeed him, Solomon had not yet been born. Just as God told Jeremiah in the first chapter, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you," so He knew Solomon. King Solomon did not appoint himself. God exalted him to the place where he sat. God told King David that his son's name would be Solomon, but more importantly would also be His son and that Solomon would call Him Father. Solomon was already predestined to know God. And because He sought God with a willing heart, so God gave him wisdom and exalted him. Solomon did not obtain the wisdom himself, if it were not for God, Solomon would know nothing nor have nothing. Not only did Solomon inherit the wealth of the kingdom God handed over to him through his father David, the wisdom of God was so powerful that he was sought out. And for every visit, the earthly kings shared their wealth. So it was what Solomon obtained from God that led to his increased wealth.
What does this mean to you? 1)God truly does know who you are even if you don't. He's waiting for you to seek Him out so He can show you who you are. He knew you before your parents knew you. 2)God gives the wisdom, knowledge and power to get wealth. The wisdom from God created the greater wealth. So again, apart from God, no one knows anything nor has anything no matter how many degrees are behind your name or what is in the bank account. God made you. 3)God is the one who exalts you at the time He deems. And if you appoint yourself to something He didn't say was yours, God will reveal otherwise at the time He deems which may not be a convenient time for you.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Like many who have saw #The Best Man upon its release in 1999, I was excited to see #Best Man Holiday last Friday, November 15th. I planned for the laughter; what I didn't plan for was the tears and the lesson on how a woman's love could inspire a man, her children and all the friends she adored. The central characters were still the same with a few additions that stirred a pot of gossip and jealousy but the love of God prevailed which is what the character, Mia, always displayed. Overall, it was an awesome movie that I highly recommend. There's a reason for this today.
We are officially in the Holiday season and not because the commercial ads are talking about Black Friday. We are in this season because you see the Christmas decorations up and people are preparing their homes for guests. Since the passing of my late Dad, this season was the hardest for me. His birthday is December 14th. When December would hit I would be full of tears, crying everyday because I missed him and it was his favorite time of year, not just because of his birthday either. My late Dad was a loving and giving person. For a few years I stopped decorating my house and even putting up a Christmas tree. After my own near death, which I talk about in my book, Get Your JOY In The Morning!, I had a change of heart. I stopped looking at what I lost as such a bad thing. I remembered the second chance God gave me because He didn't have to give it. The Lord could've taken me in March 2008 like he took my late Dad in March 2005, sudden and during the same period of time. I was reminded and decided it was time to be grateful and give thanks. Like King Hezekiah who pleaded for his life in Isaiah 38, I pleaded in tears for mine and God answered. I realized through God's Word that obedience and thanksgiving is the way to show gratefulness to Him. When you are grateful for what someone has done for you, you show them as much as you can and you respect them, thank them and show them. Showing isn't just in words, showing is action. The apostle Paul said that love is an act. So it brought new meaning to what Jesus said in John 14:21 "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me." Obedience to God ought not to be out of some ritualistic belief. But ought to be out of love. God wants our love because He is love and first loved us as said in 1John 4. I am understanding at a new level that obedience is my reasonable sacrifice for one who has saved my life not just spiritually but physically when He didn't have to. I am grateful.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
13He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.
The translation of this verse in the NKJ Study Bible uses King David as the example. Did you know King David tried to cover his sin of sleeping with Bathsheba knowing she did not belong to him? When she turned up pregnant he devised a plan to have her husband brought back from the war and sleep with her so it would look like she conceived with him. David thought he could sleep with Bathsheba one time and get away with it but the pregnancy was the result of God bringing forth the truth. When Bathsheba's husband refused to sleep with her because he wanted to continue fighting the war, King David had her husband killed on the battlefield. David thought he covered his tracks but God saw it and revealed it to the prophet assigned to him. The NKJ Study Bible notes that David's attempt of not admitting his sin "led to negative physical, emotional and spiritual consequences." The sin showed in his physical appearance. It also created havoc with him emotionally. Have you ever seen what happens to a person who attempts to cover a sin? Have you ever watched what happens to them emotionally and physically? Pride keeps many from admitting sin but the apostle Paul says we are to confess our sins to one another. If to no one else, confess it to God. Not admitting guilt does not help a situation because God will expose the error to many if need be to get your attention. Our Bible Study conference call last week talked about humility. Lack of humility is what causes many from admitting a mistake. You cannot pretend or think you can hide something when God knows more than you and He is the God who sees or Jehovah Roi and will know that you blundered. He will humble you however He has to at the time He deems. God may even allow you to prosper for a time but the Word is the Word and He will bring to light what is done in the dark. But confessing your sins to God allows the blood of Jesus Christ to work in your favor and obtain mercy when you do not deserve it and forgiveness is what you receive.
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Monday, November 18, 2013
1Blessed be the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, And my fingers for battle-
David wrote this Psalm after the Lord brought him and the people of Israel through another battle with victory. David did not go to war without consulting God. He was well aware that it was God who would determine his victory not the strength and number of people. God is the trainer for any warrior He sends into battle. He gives strategies that the enemy is not aware of. He gives strategies based on His mighty right hand not yours or mine. As David said, He trains your hands. If you do not consult God before you take up any matter, victory is not guaranteed to be yours. God should be the one who gives you direction as to whether you ought to fight or walk away. If you are following the instructions of God then when your enemies attack you, they are also attacking God. And you know that God will defend His name, His works, His people who He sent in His name. He will allow your enemies to stumble and fall as said in Psalm 27. They will not be able to fight against God and win. They may attempt to plot against you but God will strike them. The battle truly is not yours if you are operating according to God's direction. Let God direct your steps always and you shall be a victorious warrior in His sight.
Friday, November 15, 2013
2Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?
The people of Israel were God's special people, set apart from the rest. God made to them promises that He did not make to others. But as the NKJ Study Bible states with covenant promises there are covenant responsibilities. As said in worship service repeatedly, "there are conditions." The people of Israel assumed that because they were God's special people they were excluded from judgment for their misdeeds or didn't have to pay a price. But God said, "I will punish you for all your iniquities." To walk with God is a covenant relationship. But to stay with God you have to uphold your part. God is always in the same place as He was when you left Him. The key is, "you walked away." You cannot walk together if you walk away. And you cannot walk away from God and think you will not incur difficulty when you were the one who initially agreed to be part of His set apart people, His special people. To walk together you have to be in agreement. It's like teamwork. The people of Israel were collectively off because of their choice to disregard the agreement. So they were not in sync and God had to call them out.
When I was in high school we had a performing dance group called Modern Dance Theatre or MDT. It was a six period class followed by two to three hour rehearsals. Performances were done at half time for basketball and football games, the school talent show and we put on our own full length school concert in the spring. We often had six weeks or less to learn a full dance routine for half time shows. But everyone had to learn it which meant you had to know every step, every slight movement of the arm, neck, shoulder, hip, etc. You had to learn how to step together, turn together, stop together. Everything had to be in complete sync. Any deviation by anyone from the routine could easily throw off the dance. We were even in the same costume. We made an agreement even in auditions that you had to work as a team. In other words, it wasn't just about you. If you did not step right, Mrs. Feinberg had permission to call you out. I learned not only to see my own strengths and weaknesses in a routine but my teammates could see them as well and vice versa. We had to learn how to show one another the right way so the dance routine would be right in front of hundreds of people. To be in a spotlight and set apart, it had to be right. It is the same when you are one of God's people. You are in the spotlight whether for the right reason or not both individually and collectively.
Thursday, November 14, 2013
16No king is saved by the multitude of an army; A mighty man is not delivered by great strength.
The psalmist spoke of the Lord's sovereignty or the Lord's absolute authority to make anything happen whether it is winning a war or deliverance from any situation. No man can do what God does. Samson thought his strength was in his hair. Yes, his hair was to be a reflection of the relationship and call with God but ultimately his strength came from the Lord. No enemy can take anything from those who are redeemed by the Lord unless given permission as shown in the book of Job. No one can pull themselves up by their own bootstraps no matter what the world tells them. Any success, any achievement, any blessing, any healing, any deliverance is from the Lord himself. The Lord can use instruments such as His people but it is He who does it. Anyone who says that the Lord had nothing to do with what they have is foolish indeed. The Word of God says in James 1:16-17 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. The apostle James was talking about loving God under trials. We are not to just love God in the good times but to love Him when things are not so good.
Nearly two weeks ago something happened. And every tear I cried, I cried out not because I was upset but because I was thanking God. I was made aware yet again of His saving grace, His mercy and His deliverance from the hand of the enemy. I was made aware once again that it is by His hand that I am here. I am fully reminded that it is because of God that I have anything, even to those who believe it is less than what they have achieved. But as we went over in our Bible study conference call Tuesday night, John 15:5 "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me, you can do nothing." So no matter what you have possessed; knowledge, wisdom, skills or physical possessions, what you have achieved, what journey you are on, what you have been healed, delivered and set free from, know this, that it is only by God's mighty hand that you even stand. So give Him thanks in all things as the Word of God says.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Song of Solomon 1:5
Friday, November 8, 2013
God Blessed my heart yesterday with a testimony! I was on the metro and ran into someone who attended my book signing and panel discussion on child abuse. The mother has been reading the book. In the process, her teenage daughter remembered the sudden changes that are often present when someone has been abused. Her daughter came to her with the concern of the sudden changes and she prompted her daughter to talk to the young lady. Now I am not proud that there are sudden changes in any child, but it is proof that awareness is starting the conversation. Our panel addressed the older children as well about signs to look for in their friends. Awareness is important because early detection can help a friend or loved one get help before a situation gets worse. The mother expressed to me that she wished I would host the same type of panel discussion in schools with parents and children old enough to comprehend. God is working!
P.S. I hope to see you this Sunday, November 10th at Barnes & Noble at the Avenue in White Marsh in Maryland from 4pm-8pm.
Thursday, November 7, 2013
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Monday, November 4, 2013
Good Morning Everyone,Did you know that "1 in 10 children will be sexually abused or molested before or upon their 18th birthday?" And that is only of the reported cases. Many cases of child abuse go unreported. That was a statistic uttered by an expert during a session I attended. As I have mentioned to you previously, I have been talking with a child advocacy group in Washington, DC that works with abused children. Many of you know that I am passionate about this cause because I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. The group I am communicating with is called Safe Shores. It is a one stop shop that works with multiple agencies and attorneys while keeping a child safe. I had the honor of touring their facility less than two weeks ago. I was taken through the facility as a child would be who is in the middle of a crisis. They have a clothes closet with anything a child might need. Often, when a child is abused, especially in an environment where they reside, they are often removed with only the clothes on their back depending on the severity of the situation. Then the child is observed in a room before talking with a counselor who obtains their story. The room has video cameras and audio so their story can be recorded to keep from telling it over and over again. It is immediately recorded and handed over to the attorneys. The child then goes through therapy. Safe Shores attempts to have the child placed with other safe family members if at all possible before using the last resort which is foster care. There is no cost to the parents or caregivers who are bringing the child for treatment. Even after months of treatment, the director of the Ambassador program alerted me to the fact that they have often brought children back in months after their therapy has ended because the children are showing signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which I speak about in my new book. The children are still treated free of charge. How awesome is that? The facility has treated 450 children this year to date. The director of the Ambassador program also explained of a very common occurrence. Safe Shores offers a two hour workshop to parents and adults about how to recognize the signs abuse. She said that it is far too common that during those sessions, the adults themselves have episodes of memories where they themselves had been abused and also multi-generational abuse, where each generation of a family has abuse the next. Again I talk about all of these types of situations in my new book. I also speak on how to recognize the signs and what NOT to do. And just as the director said, how other signs of trauma show up later. If you have children, grandchildren, work with children, know a survivor of abuse or just want to be informed, I highly encourage to you to come out this coming Sunday, November 10th from 4-8pm to join me at Barnes & Noble at the Avenue at White Marsh. Support a cause to educate others on awareness. Support a cause of one who knows intimately about what abuse can do but also how people can overcome and be a survivor not a victim. I look forward to seeing you!
Baltimore Book Signing Event
You are invited to attend a Book Signing for author
Joy T.J. Riley:
Sunday, November 10th at Barnes & Noble (White Marsh)
8123 Honeygo Blvd
Baltimore, MD 21236
Join Joy for this special event and invite a friend!
Looking forward to seeing you there!
Please RSVP by Nov 5th to author, Joy T.J. Riley at getyourjoyinthemorning@gmail.
Can’t make the event? Click www.getyourjoyinthemorning.com to order a copy
Friday, November 1, 2013
P.S. We are one week out from the Sunday, November 10th event at Barnes & Noble in White Marsh. Please RSVP either through email or on the fan page via Facebook.
Thursday, October 31, 2013
7And he preached, saying, "There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. 8I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
Have you met Jesus? John the Baptist gave an introduction to many about who Jesus is. But do you know Jesus? When you are introduced to Jesus, you are also introduced to God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a person just as Jesus is a person and just as God the Father is a person. In Luke chapter 1 the Word tells of how John met Jesus while they were both in the womb. What did John do when he sensed the presence of Jesus through Mary? He leaped for joy. The presence of Jesus and God the Father is available to you and I through the Holy Spirit. He is the one Jesus promised to leave with His disciples on the day of Pentecost. The presence of Jesus goes beyond that submerging in the pool. It's just the beginning. The presence of Jesus and God the Father are found in the Holy Spirit. When you are carrying the Holy Spirit within you, you are different. The Word says in 1John 4 that God is love. When you come to know Jesus you will understand that He too is love. And the Holy Spirit is your reminder of His love. If Jesus has called you by name, then call the Holy Spirit by His name when He speaks to you. No longer shall you refer to Him as "something told me." He is a someone. The Holy Trinity is three persons not two persons and a thing. If Jesus knows you by name and God knows the very number of hairs on your head as the Word says then give proper acknowledgement and respect out of love because of their love for you. He, the Holy Spirit, has taken the time to speak to you and give you direction on where to go and what to do. But none of this will make sense to you if you don't know Jesus. If you don't know Jesus, do you want to know Him? You can. You can know Him through God's Holy Word and through prayer. If you want to know Jesus repeat after me: "God, I don't know that I have met Jesus but I want to know Him. Introduce me to Him please. Let me see who He is." When you meet Jesus, you too will say as the soldiers said on Calvary, "surely He is the Son of God." And at that point you will confess with your mouth and believe in your heart.
7And he preached, saying, "There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. 8I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Monday, October 28, 2013
Thursday, October 24, 2013
As I was driving home, God kept giving me this beautiful imagery of Sheila taking a tour of Heaven and sitting in the face of Jesus. I can only imagine her being ready to continue in Heaven what she has done here on earth, reporting the good news to the saints of the many choirs singing and worshiping God and all of the wonderful activities going on amongst the other saints who have gone home to glory. Though my heart is sad, it is still joyous to know that even in Heaven, Sheila is still, "Ms. DC's Community." You will be missed Sheila and thank you! I do not take lightly the opportunity to have been encouraged by one such as you.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Friday, October 18, 2013
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Proverbs 19:2222What is desired in a man is kindness, And a poor man is better than a liar.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Genesis 37:55Now Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers, and they hated him even more.
Not everyone is happy about what God does in your life. Some of the people who surround you are fine with you as long as you don't advance in life. Some are fine with you as long as you do not move forward with what God has given you. For Joseph, it was his own family. It can be family, friends or associates. It does not matter. God revealed to Joseph his purpose in the form of a dream. The word says that you are not to cast your pearls before swine. Meaning that there are some you cannot tell what God has planned for you. Those that are around you may not truly care for you and the opportunity to do away with you and/or attempts to block what God has for you can be made. God worked it out for Joseph's good anyway but it would've helped if Joseph had kept his mouth shut. Everyone that smiles in your face and says, "hey friend" is not a friend. Everyone does not wish you well. When the favor of God is on you, like Joseph, you need to understand that you have enemies. You may not even know who they are but they exist. Discernment of when to speak and when to be quiet is necessary.
Monday, October 14, 2013
The once blind men had already heard of Jesus, heard about His teaching and about the miracles He performed. So by them hearing and seeing what Jesus did for others increased their belief. The blind men sought Jesus because they had faith. The blind men believed in the promise that by Jesus, they could be healed. And so it was according to their faith.
Friday, October 11, 2013
For example, I write, teach, lead, sing, dance, help, exhort( encourage/inspire), etc. I am doing all these things for the Lord either within the walls of the church specifically or doing so to edify the Lord wherever He allows me to go whether it is in your inbox, speaking engagements to encourage others to grow in Him to understand their purpose or on radio, etc, encourage co-workers, people in the elevator, etc . This is not to boast but to show when God blesses you, He wants you to bless Him by sharing with others and making Him the focal point as much as possible. As my pastor says, "It's not about you or me but it's about Him." Many people say, "you have a lot of gifts." The more God gives you, the more you are expected to give out. And if you understand the parable Jesus gave on the talents in Matthew 25, then you will understand that God gives even more gifts to the one who makes good use of what He has already distributed. Are you a good steward? Are you using your gifts or did you bury them in the ground? Are you serving God with your gifts?
P.S. You should already have your invite for the November 10th book signing event at Barnes & Noble in Baltimore, MD for my newest book, Shh Don't Tell.
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Yes, anxiety and depression are real conditions and it is not being said that they should not be treated professionally. Just remember, Jesus said in His word that He was leaving to us a wonderful counselor, the Holy Spirit which searches all things and knows all things. Consulting God is a medicine that should not be overlooked.
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Remember, Jesus prepared the disciples for His death long before that time arrived. God revealed to me through tears in these wee hours that Jesus recited his victory Psalm, Psalm 22 before His last breath during that excruciating time. Many wonder how could those words be words of victory right? Jesus said himself that He came as the fulfillment of the Law that exists in the Old Testament. So often, Jesus taught and lived the law but He did so with love and taught with love and in a new way from the traditional teachers and those in high ranking, the Pharisees. But if you read Psalm 22, it is a Psalm of suffering praise and victory. The Psalm was written by his earthly lineage, King David. David wrote the Psalm about triumphant faith even in the face of suffering. When many who stood around Jesus on the cross heard Him call "Eli, Eli..., "they assumed He was calling the prophet Elijah but they were not aware of one of the names of God which is Jehovah Eli, which means Lord my God. Jesus was reciting Psalm 22 because His faith made Him triumphant for you and I and over the enemy of our souls. His faith and love for God led Him to suffer with each nail in His hand, feet and the thorns in His head. His faith made Him triumphant so that you and I could have everlasting life and God's promise to King David that his line would sit on the throne forever. So the next time you come across Jesus' last words, do not think or believe He spoke them in pity but understand He spoke victory. He was reciting His victory song.