Friday, October 11, 2013

The Good Steward

Romans 12:6-8

6Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy. let us prophecy in proportion to our faith; 7or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8he who exhorts in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

The apostle Paul was addressing the church in Rome about serving God with spiritual gifts. God has placed within each person gifts to be used. Paul spoke of this while talking about the body of Christ and equated the body of Christ to a physical body of a person. Each person has an important role just like each body part you possess. Along with each person having an important role, the gifts God has placed within you have a role as well. Paul specifically talks about serving God with the gifts. Giving back to the one who gave to you shows appreciation. Many equate giving to God with just giving God money. But when God says to serve Him, it goes beyond money. Giving to God means with your time and talent as well. When you love someone, you give. When you appreciate someone you often want to give to them. The parable of the talents which Jesus talked about is often used to display being a good steward of what is given to you. Most only consider the talents as money but if you look deeper and understand that the word talent was used as a lovely play on words demonstrated by Jesus. What is talent? Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines talent as 1)an ancient unit of weight and value 2)the natural endowments of a person 3) a special often creative or artistic aptitude 4)mental power: ability 5) a person of talent. It list synonyms as genius, gift and faculty. Notice most of the definitions do not refer to money. God wants all of you but He wants you with a glad heart. He wants you to enjoy serving Him.

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

Consult the Counselor

Proverbs 12:25

25Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad.

The Word of God literally addresses every human and  heart condition that man can experience.  The wise King Solomon was assured by God in Ecclesiastes that "there is nothing new under the sun." Though the Bible is old, God's word still stands and is always timely. Right now many are suffering. God's word says that anxiety causes depression. So for any one facing depression, here is the root. But what is anxiety? Merriam-Webster defines anxiety as 1)painful uneasiness of mind over an anticipated ill 2)abnormal apprehension and fear often accompanied by physiological signs (as sweating and increased pulse), by doubt about the nature and reality of the threat itself and by self-doubt.

There are key words stated in the definition: mind, fear and doubt. So when you have anxiety you are playing over and over in the mind whatever you think can go wrong because of doubt in a situation and in yourself. So your mind refuses to rest because you keep playing in your head what you think can happen,  usually focusing on what can possibly go wrong and therefore you become tense and send your mind into a downward spiral. The uneasiness leads to lack of sleep but after a while the body is forced to sleep as the sadness sets in. The apostle Paul stating what he did in Philippians 4:6-7 makes even more sense. It says "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." So basically, a person with anxiety attempts to control a situation but in reality, because they are not God, they will NEVER have all the answers. So the only way to have any peace of mind and not to fall into a depression is to go to the source, which is God since He is the only one who knows what WILL happen. Going to the source means thanking God in advance believing that He will answer and reinforce with good words.

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

The Victory Song

Matthew 27:46

46And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli lama sabachthani?" That is, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?"

When I first understood these words to be part of the "last seven words" of Jesus on the cross, I thought, "how awful!" Oh But I thank God for His revelatory word!! Before I get into why it doesn't mean what the average person thinks, I have a background of how God gave me the revelation.

Many of you know I lost my late dad a little more than 8yrs ago. We lost him to complications from a hereditary brain aneurysm. The same crippling head trauma would also hit my stepbrother within two years but Praise God he has survived two brain surgeries since! The entire year prior to my late dad's death, he was unknowingly preparing my mom. Within that time he told her his favorite Psalm, which translates to song, and he said he would want it recited at his memorial. His favorite was Psalm 23. Well my favorite is Psalm 27. When you read it, you will understand why. It the Psalm I would want recited at my memorial whenever that day comes whether it be days or decades away. For It is a Psalm of faith.

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.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Choose Life

Deuteronomy 30:19-20a

19I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may life; 20that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him,

Moses, the man God chose to deliver His people, reminded them of the covenant agreement that would restore them to a loving relationship with God that they may enjoy the land and blessing God was ready to present to them. Moses called on all of heaven and earth because no one can escape the eyes of God no matter where they go. Love the Lord your God and obey His voice. Sounds simple enough right? But do you really love God? Is He really close to your heart? When you think about all He has sacrificed for you do you weep? When you know you have turned your back on Him do you drop to your knees with tears? Do you obey His voice? Or do you spend your time listening to everyone else? Obeying His voice may mean the opposite of what your friends and family think and say. Do you cling to God or are you clinging to what you think will cause everyone to like you?

Moses spoke what God gave him and the words were to "choose life".  What is life? Merriam-Webster's Dictionary states life as 1)the quality that distinguishes a vital and functioning being from a dead body or inanimate being 2) the physical and mental experiences of an individual 3)biography 4) a specific phase or period 5) the period from birth to death 6)a way of living 7)person 8) animation, spirit 9) living beings 10)animate activity 11)one providing interest and vigor. So if you are living and breathing have you chosen life? But breathing alone simply does not mean you are alive. There are many people breathing who are spiritually dead. Jesus said Himself that He is, the Truth, the Way and the Life. He is the living water. He is the bread of life. Which means you are alive if you have chosen God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit the Counselor. Remember when Jesus called the first disciples in Matthew 8? When the one said, "I will follow you but first let me bury my father." Jesus replied, "Follow me and let the dead bury their own dead." Yes, those that are dead physically are indeed dead. But there are some who are breathing that are also dead. Dead meaning their spirit is dead. So to revert back to what God gave Moses, choosing life means choosing Christ. Choosing life means choosing to obey the voice of God and no other. Choosing life means loving God first and remembering what Jesus did for you. Choose life!! Again I say, choose life!!!

Monday, October 7, 2013

 Baltimore Book Signing Event

You are invited to attend a Book Signing for author
Joy T.J. Riley:

For her newest book: Shh Don't Tell

Sunday, November 10th at Barnes & Noble (White Marsh)
8123 Honeygo Blvd
Baltimore, MD 21236
4pm-8pm ET
 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
 Can’t make the event? Click to order a copy


Thank you to everyone who attended the DC Community Book Signing and Q&A Panel! A HUGE THANK YOU to our Panelists Rev. Melvinia Williams who was the Liaison Consultant for U.S. Districts Superior Court, Family Courts Division and Case Aide/DC Specialized Therapeutic Foster Care Program and to Mrs. Teria Powell of Good Life Radio who is a foster parent and administrator at a DC Public Charter School. I was also fortunate to meet a woman who was on the Congressional Committee for Child Abuse before the event started...we're staying in contact!! THANK YOU GOD FOR THE DIVINE CONNECTIONS TO HELP FIGHT CHILD ABUSE!!!

P.S. Details on the November Book Signing Event at Barnes & Noble Coming Soon!