Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

To every reader and bystander whose eyes grace the screen,

It's by faith that one finds purpose and healing.

We wish you and your family a very wonderful New Year! May you grow in your faith and love of Christ in 2015 and may you understand the beautiful gifts God placed inside of you to use for His glory. And as the Word says, "your gifts will make room for you and place you among great men."

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Get to Work

Genesis 41:44
44Pharoah also said to Joseph, "I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no man may lift his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt."
How did Joseph get to be second in command only to Pharaoh over a vast and wealthy land? The answer. God gave Joseph a dream. The dream God gave Joseph was back in chapter 37. Joseph believed in his dream. He just didn't know how he was going to get there. God took Joseph through so many steps, including adversity, to shape and mold him to the leader God needed him to be in order to rule a land. Joseph had many practice runs of being "faithful over a few things." And then just as Jesus said in the parable of the Talents, "I will make you ruler over many things."  But how did Joseph get there? He kept his dream in the forefront of his mind, he worked hard, and with each opportunity God blessed him with he remained grateful and faithful.
How many of you did God give a dream to? Have you kept it in the forefront of your mind? Have you gone to work on it? When God has given you the opportunity to move forward with your dream, are you faithful? Sometimes God presents opportunities at "uncomfortable" or "inconvenient" times to see how you will respond. Have you taken seriously the dream and vision He entrusted you with? We are coming up on New Year's. So many people create resolutions of what they plan to do but often fail to follow through. How many times have you bypassed the dreams and visions God gave you? Why?
Do you know that each place where you spend money or each product you purchase started as someone else's dream and vision? Do you know that each time you spend money at Starbucks, hair/nail salons, clothes, stores, they are all someone else's dream and vision actualized. So you walk around with and wear someone else's vision yet you do not see the value in moving forward with the dreams and visions God gave you. Does it make any sense? Whether that dream God gave you is a business, service, book, etc, you only have a finite amount of time to get it actualized. You just don't know how long that is. Wouldn't it make more sense to sacrifice those Starbucks visits for a month or two to start working toward what God gave you? But you don't know how you say? If you ask God to open doors, show you where to go and who to talk to in order to move forward, He will do it. But when He presents it to you, do not grumble. If you are not willing to invest in you, why should anyone else?
I am holding a teleconference in January. It will be the last one for quite some time. Visit www.getyourjoyinthemorning.com for details. If what is being offered relates to what God has given you to do, then register. If not, and God has given you something else to do, stop devaluing your dream and vision and get to work.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

It Is Still Christmas

Luke 2:11-12
 
11For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12And there will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.
 
In Genesis 1 Jesus' presence with God is acknowledged. For His place was always alongside God, the Father, creator of Heaven and Earth. Jesus willingly left His place alongside God and left the wealth of Heaven described in Revelation 21 and what Jesus describes to the disciples in Matthew. Jesus came to earth through the womb of a woman and to one who was very poor. His birth was of the lowliest of circumstances. All so He could identify with the daily struggle of humanity yet redeem you and I. For someone to leave all they have for the sake of saving anyone who will receive them is a sacrifice that not even the most humble would take on. The love of God has no bounds. Jesus has no limit on the love He gives. And so this is why we celebrate His birth not just His death and resurrection. The greatest gift ever given is love. Love is expressed in many ways. The most visible forms of it is through caring, sacrifice and service. The life of Jesus is about love, sacrifice and service. Whatever you may be doing this Christmas day, love, sacrifice and service represent who Jesus is. If you will not love, sacrifice and serve in some way, then is it really Christmas? Gifts under a tree are empty if they are not given in love. Even if there is no tree and no gifts to give, it is still Christmas because Jesus was born for you and I. It is still Christmas as long as you demonstrate love.
 
Merry Christmas to you and your family from Get Your JOY In The Morning!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Refuge in an Unlikely Place

1Samuel 27:1
 
1And David said in his heart, "Now I shall perish someday by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape to the land of the Philistines, and Saul will despair of me, to seek me anymore in any part of Israel. So I shall escape out of his hand."
 
David was not yet king but because his destiny was already determined by God, King Saul was furious. David was faithful in his service to King Saul, not wavering nor faltering in his loyalty. Yet, because God determined and established David's destiny, Saul was jealous and to the point of rage that he would lose his place to the young warrior, musician David. Saul thought that if he killed David, he could keep his throne. But throne was not his, it belonged to God who had the final say on who would lead His people. David's destiny was not what he planned but what God planned. And for it David had to flee continuously to keep from being killed. David was tired of running, especially knowing he did nothing wrong. But to seek refuge in the camp of a known enemy of Israel?! Do you remember David defeating Goliath? Did you know Goliath was a Philistine? David not only sought refuge in an unlikely place but he was there for one year and four months as the Word says. That is a long time. David figured that Saul would grow tired of looking for him in Israel. Saul knew where David was but he dared not to enter his enemy's camp just retrieve David to kill him. That would've been a suicide mission. God had already turned His hand from Saul. David was able to live in this unlikely place to the point that he went to war with other lands on behalf of the Philistine king. It was not until the princes of the land were overcome with jealousy that the king of Philistine had to send David on his way to keep the peace in his own land.
 
What can you learn from this? You may find yourself in an unlikely place seeking refuge. And God's hand can still be with you. God has already determined your destiny but like Saul, there may be people around you not happy about it. Their intent may be to harm you but God is your refuge, no matter where you are, even in an unlikely place. You may even find that God has extended favor upon you through one who by the world's standards should be against you. But God!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Even in Laughter

Proverbs 14:13
 
13Even in laughter the heart may sorrow, and the end of mirth may be grief.
 
It is very na├»ve to think that one who laughs and smiles has no grief. Laughter may even be how someone handles the most uncomfortable or hurtful situations because they dare not cry or simply may be tired of shedding tears. Mirth is defined by Merriam-Webster's Dictionary as gladness accompanied with laughter.  We are in the holiday season where many gather in celebration. They put on a smile and laugh. But do you know their sorrow? Do you know their grief? Do you know their pain? Many have lost loved one and the holiday season is a reminder of the ones they lost. For some, their homes are not as happy as they used to be. And for others, it could be yet another grief. Do you really know the people with whom you gather? Do you really know the pains they have endured? Have you been there during their grief or do you only their laughter? Can you be trusted to share in their sorrow as well as their laughter? Jesus is one with whom you can trust both your sorrow and your laughter. He was born in the most unpleasant of circumstances during this season. And He died in the most unpleasant of circumstances, yet He lives. And He, as our Heavenly Father, has a great sense of humor. Laughter in spite of sorrow and grief shows signs of strength, resilience and perseverance not in oneself but in Christ to carry them through.
P.S. You can purchase books for the holiday season at www.getyourjoyinthemorning.com or wherever books are sold.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Partnering in Your Own Downfall

Proverbs 29:24
 
Whoever is a partner with a thief hates his own life, he swears to tell the truth, but reveals nothing.
 
What's the problem with a thief? They can't be trusted. No matter how many promises are made, no matter how many guarantees they provide, the thief will ALWAYS look out for their own best interest. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines a thief as someone who steals, especially secretly. Thieves take what doesn't belong to them. Anyone who knows me knows I love mystery films and shows. One of my favorite mystery sleuths growing up was the fictional character, Charlie Chan. God brought to my remembrance an episode of Charlie Chan I saw a few months ago. There was a thief who was angry with Charlie Chan because he had been caught stealing a lot of money. He escaped during his trial and became a fugitive. He made his way to a man who owned a wax museum as a cover but really specialized in remaking/surgically changing faces of criminals so they could hide in broad daylight. This particular infamous fugitive made all kinds of promises to the doctor/wax museum owner. The doctor/wax museum owner conspired with the thief to murder Charlie Chan. Essentially the thief "turned" on the doctor at an opportune time.
 
What's the point? Just as King Solomon said, anyone who partners with a thief hates his own life. The thief doesn't care about you and the fact that you partner with the thief says you don't care about you either. The thief will never give you their motives, their strategies and their ultimate goal.  You are simply a pawn in their game and whatever happens to you is of no consequence to them. The thief will sell you down the river to the highest bidder. So again, why partner with a thief? You are not just a partner in crime but in your own downfall often left to take the fall. Have you heard the saying, "there is no honor among thieves?" It's true, there isn't.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Let it Be

Proverbs 20:3
 
It is honorable for a man to stop striving since any fool can start a quarrel.
 
As many family and friends are gathering this day to give thanks, celebrate and be filled with great food and even the tradition of football for those in the U.S., many personalities will mingle. In doing so, not all have the same ideas and views. Please remember that your desire to "be right" or have the "most correct view" at the dinner table ought not be so excessive and self-seeking. Your age, your lifestyle and experience need not be presented in an offensive way but rather be conscious of your words. Please remember that you must be respectful of everyone's opinion and feelings when expressed. Please remember that the word says that pride goes before the fall. You may prove to be correct in an idea but at the point that it causes strife and/or leaves a bad taste in the mouths of many in the room means being wrong in how you have stirred confusion and discord. The word says that God is not the author of confusion. Thanksgiving is to be a peaceful, happy and joyous time. Let it be so.
 
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Working it Out

1Timothy 5:24-25
 
The apostle Paul cautioned the young minister Timothy, who was his son in the ministry to be careful about receiving accusations of any kind against the elders or leaders. With that being said, Paul also made it known that the "sins of some are clearly evident...but those of some men follow later." We have learned a lot in the public eye about those considered to be icons both in the church and in Hollywood over the last years. I am not saying it is not true nor am I saying it is true. The word says that what is done in the dark shall be brought to light. So just because no one sees doesn't mean God can't see. Just because no one else hears doesn't mean God doesn't hear. I saw a segment about a documentary this week of some of the young men of Hollywood who had been sexually abused throughout their early careers. The self-destruction that I speak of in my book, "Shh Don't Tell" followed some of these young men who are now no longer. Living with the intolerable pain without help bears an unyielding weight.  It was like a secret society of "that's what we do." One thing is clear, the young man who was responsible for the documentary said like many childhood survivors, he felt like he had no voice. It is a horrible thing for something of that nature to be committed and to feel, believe and know that no one will believe or hear you because of another's "status."  One of the Hollywood abusers served time for his offenses as a case was launched against him. Other men from Hollywood who had survived gave their interviews as well.
 
The word also says in Matthew 5 that if you are making an offering to Christ and know someone has something against you, then you ought to address it with that person. Going before God as with clean hands without a clean heart is not right. And to the other, keeping silent about offenses without it being addressed can harbor a spirit of bitterness. And bitterness is not of God. Bitterness can become as a wrath against others when not addressed. It may not even be done consciously but sub-consciously. Whether it was committed against you or you are the offender, address the issue, apologize, forgive and work on not continuing in the offenses so that you may live in peace. Forgiveness is a difficult thing to do as my dear pastor has preached on but is necessary. So is admitting that you have committed the offense. There is humility in admitting as my dear sister has spoken of in class in church.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Greatest Miracle



Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 1-2:7, 1Peter 2:21-24, 1John 4:7-11
 
 
One of the sure signs of Christmas is the Christmas tree. Many get excited about Christmas with song, food, and gifts under the tree. But some gifts are too big for the Christmas tree and require a miracle. One of my favorite Christmas films of all time is Miracle on 34th Street. The film stars the late Natalie Wood as Suzie. Suzie is a lovely child who unfortunately doesn't take much pleasure in being a child because her mother, Ms. Walker, is doused with the wall of bitterness over love and a marriage gone wrong. Teaching Suzie to see things from the "adult" point of view is Ms. Walker's way of protecting Suzie from ever being hurt. Meanwhile a man, Mr. Galey, who is smitten over Ms. Walker spends the movie trying to find the key to unlock Ms. Walker's heart. He figures Suzie is the key. He enlists help from Kris Kringle (Santa Claus) to do it. Suzie spends more time with Kris Kringle as well. To make a long story short, Suzie wants to believe that Kris Kringle is Santa Claus but the only way she will believe is if a big gift is under the tree. It's a gift that not even Ms. Walker knows about. Just when Suzie gives up hope, she finds out that hope is not lost. And her gift was delivered. It was just too big to fit under the tree. By this time, Mr. Galey had unlocked the door to Ms. Walker's heart by being there for her when she needed him. She needed to believe in love again and Suzie needed to be able to be free from the constraints of her mother's anguish in order to be a child.
 
What's the point of this story and what does it have to do with the scripture references? Santa Claus is not real but Jesus is. The miracle of His birth set us on a path. Jesus died on the tree and rose again so you and I can experience many big miracles. The greatest miracle is that of love. Truthfully, it's the real point of Miracle on 34th Street. Love and good will. People give gifts during this holiday season but the greatest gift ever is love, good will and your time. Jesus suffered so you and I can experience God's everlasting love, healing and power all under the tree also known as the cross. The greatest miracle you're in need of really isn't under the Christmas tree. The greatest gift is a miracle that can't be bought in a store because there is no price tag that would ever be enough. The greatest gift and miracle is Christ and through Him is love. The word says that love never fails. It doesn't. What are you giving this Christmas? What will you receive? Is it the miracle of love?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

At the Table

Proverbs 15:17
 
17Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a fatted calf with hatred.
 
The custom of "breaking bread" or eating with someone was indeed a big deal. Once you broke bread with someone it was seen as a sign of friendship. Often, when followers of Christ pray over food in the company of others they "thank God" for "the time of fellowship." Fellowship as defined in Merriam-Webster's Dictionary is 1) the condition of friendly relationship existing among persons 2) a community of interest or feeling 3) a group with similar interests. But to King Solomon's point, everyone does not share your similar interests, feelings or friendliness. Do you know why the disciples were so appalled when Jesus said the one who would betray Him dipped their bread from the same bowl? Because dining with someone and then doing evil against them was indeed seen as an ultimate betrayal. With whom are you dining with at the table? Someone eating from the same table with you may not mean you well. Just because the meal is big and looks to be done with graciousness may not be so. The NKJV Study Bible states, "Lavish hospitality is not necessarily an indication of goodwill. Behind the stimulating conversation of a good hostess may lie ulterior motives. A simple meal with love, honesty, and true fellowship is far better..."
 
"Let's go eat,"  "let's do lunch" or "let's do dinner" are common phrases used in our times now. However, have you considered with whom you are dining? Do you know whether the person with whom you dine cares about your well-being? Do you know whether with whom you dine supports you? Do you know whether with whom you dine sees you as a friend or simply an opportunity? Hospitality is to be a gift. Providing a meal is to be a way of making someone feel loved, welcomed and cared for. Ask God to show you if someone is perverting the gift of hospitality in order to plot against you or simply does not truly care about you. We are unfortunately living in a time period as the word says where men are lovers of themselves and are self-seeking. True hospitality is always done with the spirit of love. And we know the word says that God is love. And to know love is to know God.
 
P.S. You can purchase books for the holiday season at www.getyourjoyinthemorning.com or wherever books are sold.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

What's the Real Problem?

Ecclesiastes 8:2-3
 
This year's election in the United States has brought surprise to many. There have been upsets of great proportions to those who share the same party as our current leader, President Obama. The United States is blessed to have such liberties to vote, voice opinions and openly disagree with leadership. If you are so unhappy with government leadership in this country, then you either vote, accept it or relocate. You have the choice to be in the country considered to be "the leader of the free world." Not every country has the same liberties. In some countries, if you speak out against the leader, there is punishment. However, the word of God states that you are to obey your leadership. The word also says it is for the sake of your oath to God. God appoints leadership. You may have the privilege to openly disagree with your leader but do not do so to the level that it is disrespectful. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines disrespect as discourtesy and discourtesy is defined as rudeness or rude act. And how many rude acts have you witnessed? If you disrespect the leadership God placed over you, then it is the same as disrespecting God, the one whom you claim to love. The NKJV Study Bible states, "Wisdom involves submission to authorities. People employed in the service of the government wisely obey even when a task is personally unpleasant." So if you refuse to obey the authority figure that has been placed over this country, then you can always relocate somewhere else and obey the authority there. Lack of respect in any situation is often a symptom of another problem. What's the real problem?
 
 P.S. You can purchase books for the holiday season at www.getyourjoyinthemorning.com or wherever books are sold.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

It's the Holiday Season

Good Evening Everyone,

We are coming up on the holiday season. Some of you like to start your holiday shopping early. Give a gift that can uplift and help a person grow leaps and bounds. Give a gift that will free their mind and soul. Have you purchased "Get Your JOY In The Morning?" The book is a good accompaniment for spiritual and personal growth to the Holy Bible. Have you purchased "Shh Don't Tell" to help free someone's spirit from shackles and to help your family and friends to protect future generations? You can purchase them both at www.getyourjoyinthemorning.com
 
 
and wherever books are sold.
 
P.S. If you have been fed, uplifted and encouraged over the past five years with the Get Your JOY In The Morning email, blog, twitter account and/or Facebook postings, how are you sowing?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Get Back on Track

1Timothy 6:6-10
 
Many of you have seen a portion of this scripture before. But God reminded me about a testimony I saw on Facebook from a young lady I did not know in a group I subscribed to. In her testimony, she noted how Satan stirred her heart so with the love of money that it totally distracted her from Jesus. It wasn't until God inflicted severe correction on her did she repent and turn from her ways and seek after God. And then a friend posted a magazine article about knowing if your dreams are of God.
 
The apostle Paul instructed the young minister Timothy in how to continue to walk uprightly. He did so by reminding Timothy that each of us, you and I, came into this world with nothing and shall leave with nothing. Job said the same when all he had was taken from him. But the apostle Paul also admonished about what the love of money can do. Again, let it be made clear, money is neither good or evil. It is simply a tool. How and why it is obtained, its use and your attitude with it are what matters. Many of you may recall the devotional earlier this year about the song written by the OJays, "For the Love of Money" written in the 70s that came from scripture. But what many miss is as long as the money is the focus, not only do you miss Jesus, you miss the purpose God created you for. The enemy is banking on your obsession over money to the point that you abandon all reason which is exactly what greed is based from. You can read Matthew 6. God knows every need but you cannot serve two masters. Why? The word says that the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. As long as you focus on the love of money, Satan can steal the dreams God provided to you, your destiny can be destroyed and your spirit can be murdered with sin. Proverbs 18:16 says that your gifts will make room for you and put you before great men. Some of you are relying on money to put you before great men and not the gifts God has freely given to you. The word says to trust not in riches because they will sprout wings. Remember the parable about the talents? What has God given you? The word talent was in the context was a form of money but it is also gift. Some of you have one talent. Others of you have multiple. When God comes to collect to see your stewardship over what He has given you, what will you say? Have you knowingly gone off the track to follow the love of money? What about the assignment God gave you? Does that not matter? Has your love of money been so rooted that you have gambled via casinos, lottery, etc that which you were supposed to be a good steward of? You say you want God to bless you with more? How can He if as the word says you have not been faithful with the little you have received? You have actually received much. You have something God wants you to do and He gave you tools needed to complete the assignment. That is not little. That is a great honor. For example, some of you know God has told you to write a book. Have you done it? Some of you, God told you start a specific business. Have you done it yet? Some of you have gifts that can be utilized in the body of Christ. Have you done it yet? Get back on track.  
 
P.S. The opening scripture wasn't written out on purpose.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Reversal of Circumstances

Isaiah 38:4-5
 
4And the word of the Lord came to Isaiah, saying, 5"Go and tell Hezekiah, 'Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: "I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will add to your days fifteen years.
 
Has God ever reversed something to you that was taken away or about to be taken away? King Hezekiah was faithful to God in that he tore down the high places where people worshiped false gods. His intent was that the people of Jerusalem would serve the Lord. King Hezekiah fell ill and was near death as the word says. The prophet assigned by God to King Hezekiah informed him that his time on earth was about to be done and to get his house in order. Have you ever received word that something precious to you, including your life, was about to come to a close? Have you ever been told that you were about to lose something? King Hezekiah then turned his face to the wall and began to cry out to the Lord. He reminded the Lord of his faithfulness to him. And because the Lord heard his cry, He restored him. The miracle God used to prove it was the reverse of the sundial. At the University of Maryland College Park, where I went to school, there sits a sundial on McKeldin Mall. The sundial was used to tell the time of day before there were clocks and watches. God did a reversal of the shadow that tells time to show that He would reverse King Hezekiah's dire circumstances. Has God ever reversed anything for you? Have you ever lost something then God did a reverse and gave it back to you? What does reverse mean? The Merriam-Webster's Dictionary gives the first definition of reverse as 1)  opposite to previous or normal condition, 2) acting or working in a manner opposite than usual 3) bringing about reverse movement. I used to hear my assistant pastor speak about God being the keeper of time all the time but then directed us to where it exists in the Word. For Hezekiah, God reversed the time of death and added fifteen years to his life. WOW! Jesus said in the word that worry can take away years but God also shows in His word where He can add or give back years. He can add life. He can give back what seemed lost or hopeless. Only God can give back what seemed lost. What has God reversed in your life? What you do with the reversal of circumstances that God gifts to you will show your gratefulness. Always be faithful and show God your gratefulness.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Do You Know the Meaning of Love?

1John 4:7-8
 
7Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
 
This scripture has been visited before. But what is different this time? Do you know the meaning of Love? Many equate it to "large quantities of chocolate" as stated in the film, The Devil's Advocate. Some say love=sex. Sex is one way to express one's love because you become one with a person in body and spirit as the Word says . There are many different versions of love. Ultimately, the premise is still the same. Love involves thinking of someone else other than you. Love involves the willingness to sacrifice. Love involves moving from selfishness. Love involves wanting to give and not just take. We are called to love in the body of Christ. But do you know the meaning of love? God is love. God created you and I in His image. He then decided that because He loves us so much, that He wanted to rectify Adam's mistake by allowing Jesus to be born so He would suffer and shed His blood for the remission of our sins that we may be reconciled back to Him. He loves us so much that He has delayed Christ's second coming so we have enough time to get right with Him. He loves us so much that He provides for every need. He loves us so much that He wants to give us guidance through His Word and the Holy Spirit and desires our friendship. God is willing to do anything to get your attention. Someone who loves you wants your attention, your time, your friendship. Many people fear saying, "I love you." The Word says that perfect love casts out fear because fear involves torment. The Word also says that he who fears has not been made perfect in love. In other words, there is nothing to fear in love originated from God. If you fear it, it is because you have not known it before. There are some who say "I love you," at the drop of a dime but love is an action. Where is your action? Love involves giving in some way. Love involves sacrifice. Love originating from God is never empty. There is always proof of love. Do you know the meaning of love? One of the definitions of love as defined by Merriam-Webster's Dictionary says unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for others. It also says to feel a passion, devotion or tenderness for. In these cases, they require action. God's love for you has and is expressed through action. God wants you to display your love for Him through action. He also wants you display your love for others through action. Again, do you know the meaning of love?

Sunday, October 5, 2014

No One Comes Between You and God

1Samuel 2:29
 
29Why do you kick at My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling place, and honor your sons more than Me, to make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel My people?
 
The Lord sent a man of God to the priest Eli to rebuke him for knowing the wrong his sons' were doing yet not properly punishing them. This was after God used the young prophet Samuel to announce the judgment. So again, Eli was warned. Eli's sons were not only harming the people of Israel, they continued to practice the ways of the Canaanites with sacred prostitution as the NKJV Study Bible states. Eli did address his sons but he did not remove them from the house of the Lord for their deeds. By not doing so, Eli blatantly decided his sons were more important than upholding God's ordinances for His people. As a leader, Eli decided that his sons were more important than all of God's people who were being tainted by their acts. The NKJV Study Bible says that our sins do affect others. It is natural to want to side with or protect one's family. But to God, you are to uphold Him first, whether you are in a ministry position or not. Samuel's mother, Hannah, could've chosen to hang on to her son but she remembered the promise she made to God and therefore gave her son back to God to use as His instrument in the world.
 
Abraham was tested to see if he would love God more or value his son Isaac more. Isaac was the son from his wife Sarah's barren womb. Abraham was told that he would be the father of many nations. But Abraham had to be willing to give that up all to keep his relationship with God. When Abraham took Isaac up to the mountain, he believed in his heart that God would provide another sacrifice. He passed the test and this is why you and I know God as Jehovah Jireh, the Lord who provides. God provided a ram in the bush. Abraham's heart was pained again because Sarah, his true wife, recognized by God, was told to send Hagar and Ishmael away. God told Abraham to obey his wife's wishes. God also told Abraham that Ishmael would be provided for and He would still make a nation out of Ishmael because he was also Abraham's seed.
 
When God says you have to make the choice to obey him over your heart's desire, it is a difficult choice indeed. True believers in Christ have carried and are still carrying that cross. But because He knows the outcome, He knows the end, His will is always better than our own. His will always sees what you and I cannot see. His will always knows what the end result will be. For Abraham, Ishmael was still provided for and Isaac lived. But Eli refused the choice to obey God. And his entire household died. Even years later when Saul became king, the NKJV Study Bible records that the slaughtering of all the priests in Nob was extended to the entire city which ended more lives from the house of Eli.
 
No one is to come between you and God. Abraham, whom you and I belong to because of the blood of Christ, had to remember to love God with all his heart and so shall you and I.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Bullying

2Timothy 1:7

7For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Young Timothy was being encouraged by the Apostle Paul to stand strong and remember who he was called to be as he was young heading a ministry and often became the subject of persecution as the NKJV Study Bible explains. The spirit of fear has been talked about in past messages. But G...od has been moving on my heart today to address the spirit of fear created through bullying. Many do not know but I was subject to bullying, especially during my middle school years when I spent time back in my home town. Bullying is a very serious issue that has plagued many preteens and teens in the last few years. The situation has become so grave that anti-bullying laws are being created and enforced in some places around the country. What is a bully? The Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines bully as a person habitually cruel to others who are weaker. The behavior usually starts verbally but then progresses to physical violence. What is the purpose? The bully often creates a spirit of fear and terror so as to dominate or get what it is they desire from others and/or to feel superior themselves.

In my home town, I was bullied so much that even until this day, I remember the name of the young lady, even the smell of the perfume she wore. It used to sicken me so. The bullying began because I would not allow her to cheat off my paper during an exam. First of all, the middle school I attended was designated for "smart kids" or those with averages of 80% and above. To top things off, our class was considered the "smartest team" in the school. In order to be placed in a team you had to be tested. While your grades were a factor, the tests determined your level. So I knew that everyone in the class had the same capability and aptitude to learn just as I did. I knew that the cheating was just out of laziness. Now, the young lady was already smoking illegal drugs, skipping school, etc. I knew she wasn't stupid but lazy so I was not going to enable her laziness. If I had to study and work, so did she. And that pissed her off. Most of the class seemed to fear her and she used that fear and popularity to create havoc that I became the subject of scorn based on the color of my skin and my clothes. Though they were still bewildered how a dark skin girl could have long hair. When she saw that she could not stir me enough, she then got classmates to participate with her in stealing and hiding my personal belongings, to the point that the teacher punished everyone since no one would come clean as to who took my things. And for that I paid a greater price. When she found out that I was friends with someone taller and bigger than her and was warned not to touch me, she backed off from starting a fight. I had dreams about fighting her to the point I knocked her slam out. (For real) Instead, she used the students in the class to physically start fights with me, especially those taller than me. It was to the point that I had to get the school involved. When certain administrators were told who my mom was, they remembered her as she worked for the school at one point in time. They vowed to chastise anyone who laid a finger on me from that point on. The threats continued from multiple young ladies that I would be "jumped" at the end of the school year. I recall talking to an aunt and she told me of her days dealing with fighting. A young Latina lady that I befriended on the school bus had heard of my dilemmas as I was often talked about and offered to utilize her knifing skills if necessary. She was at the middle school next door. A young man that I knew was arrested because he brought a gun to school to counteract anyone messing with him. The fighting was so bad between the students at both schools that a new ordinance had been decreed and announced that anyone caught fighting would be handcuffed and hauled away by police. Teachers were done trying to break up fights as they became more vicious. I knew another young lady whose relative was friends with a relative of mine. She didn't speak to me much while in school but when I overheard that they were planning to jump her, I spoke to my relative and asked if I could call her friend and warn them both about the beat down coming. It was too late. She was jumped by multiple girls on the way on from school. Their plan was to put her in the hospital. My time at the school was temporary. I was grateful when I returned back to where I belonged. See, where I was prior, I was liked for who I was and often protected.

What is the point of sharing this with you? If this was what it was like for me more than twenty years ago, what do you think things are like for those being bullied now? Often bullies are covering up for their own inadequacies whether self-imposed or brought on from an environment. In either case, young people are in real danger. If you suspect bullying, get the school involved before a child ends up seriously injured or dead at the hands of another. If you have to get authorities involved and get them in counseling, then do so. It is better to do it before your children take matters into their own hands by taking their own life and/or the lives of others.

Those of you who know me, now understand why I don't let a person's size frighten me into doing what I do not want to do. I will not return to a spirit of fear for anyone, now that I know who I am in Christ.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Author of "Shh Don't Tell" Hosts Coffee for Kids at Safe Shores DC

You are aware of my passion for helping abused children, as I was, and to spread awareness on the effects of abuse and signs to look for through my book, "Shh Don't Tell" and volunteer efforts. Many of you recall my interview on NBC4 Washington in August. Below is the article from Safe Shores DC that references the interview as well as what you can do to help prevent child abuse.  I will be the ambassador for the Coffee for Kids Information session and tour on Thursday, October 23rd from 8:30am-9:30am. I know many of you are typically scheduled to work. I am asking that you sacrifice an hour of your time for the life of a child you are connected to. That child needs your protection and your guidance with awareness on the subject matter and resources available in the DC area. DC has the highest rate of child abuse in the country.  Please let me know if you are willing to attend on Thursday, October 23rd. The address is 429 O Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001. There is parking in the front and if necessary in the back of the building. The closest metro station is Mt. Vernon Square on the Green/Yellow Line. Please go to my contact page on www.getyourjoyinthemorning.com  if you are willing to attend and provide a phone number where you can be reached.
 
Thank you,
 
-Joy
 
 
"CHANGING MINDS" ABOUT CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE
 
 
 
 
Safe Shores' Clinical Services Director Cindy Bridgman as well as Safe Shores’ supporter and child abuse survivor, Joy Riley, were featured on NBC-4 Washington’s "Changing Minds" series, which focuses on mental health awareness. Click here to see the full segment
 
 
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO PREVENT CHILD ABUSE
 
Stewards of Children Training – Safe Shores has trained over 250 individuals in Stewards of Children Sexual Abuse Prevention Training this year! Join us for this interactive training that teaches adults how to recognize, respond to and prevent child sexual abuse. Upcoming trainings are on October 21, November 20 and December 17. Did we mention that it’s FREE?  Click here for more information and to sign up!
 
 
 
“Coffee for Kids” Tours – Every other Thursday, Safe Shores offers a tour of our mission and an opportunity to learn firsthand from Safe Shores staff. Click here for a list of upcoming dates.
 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Counteraction

1Samuel 15:9
 
9But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and was unwilling to utterly destroy them. But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed.
 
King Saul was given a directive. He did not obey that directive obviously. As a matter of fact, he kept what seemed good and useful to him. The Amalekites did attack the Israelites when they left Egypt. The word says that the Lord swore to have war with Amalek from generation to generation. What Saul didn't know was not only would God reject him for not completing the task he was assigned, but God would have to send someone else to clean up what he was unwilling to do. Samuel finished off Agag but five hundred years later, those associated with Amalekites still existed. So someone else had to be sent. That person was Queen Esther or Hadassah (her Jewish name). Saul had disobeyed God many times but the last straw was sparing King Agag of the Amalekites and taking all the plunder from a people who did not worship God and made sacrifices to other gods. Five hundred years later, Agag's associates resided in Babylon. Babylon is the place of captivity that God sent the people of Israel to for their continued disobedience. It was there that an associate of Agag was in a position of leadership with a plan to execute vengeance upon the people of Israel. I love Queen Esther because she is the embodiment of courage, my favorite woman of the Bible. She was willing to lose her position as queen, her reputation and even her life, for the sake of her people. Had Saul obeyed, there would've been no need for the Festival of Purim (casting of the lots) which is celebrated every year in the Jewish month of Adar or March on our calendar.
 
What is the moral of all of this? Who will God need to send to counteract your disobedience and unwillingness to do what God said for you to do? Who has to be sent who will be willing to lose their position, reputation or even their life for something greater than them? If you don't do it, will God send someone else in your bloodline later? Will God raise up a group of people from somewhere else? God's people were put in danger certainly not just physically but spiritually. There are consequences to not following what God said. You just don't know who those consequences will fall upon. In Saul's case, it fell on the people he was to lead, God's people hundreds of years later though his consequences were immediate.  Saul's consequences resulted in God rejecting him as king and picking David as the new king, sending an evil spirit upon him. His disobedience continued to the point that no one in his family would remain. Has God told you to do something? Are you willing to do it? If not, who will suffer or feel the sting for it beyond you? And who has to be sent in your place?  

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The First Directive

Mark 1:17
 
17Then Jesus said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men."
 
What was the first directive Jesus gave to Simon Peter and his brother Andrew? He said to Follow Him. So why is that people want to become fishers of men without first following Jesus? There are too many who want to start things tagging Jesus' name to it yet have no intention on truly following Him. How so? If you never bother to 'hear' from God then how can you say He is leading you to do something? Many want to lead but in order to lead, the first command is follow. The disciples didn't just become apostles overnight. They had to learn from Jesus how to carry on His ministry. First thing's first. My pastor just recently preached on going your own way instead of God's way.
 
I remember when I received a recommendation from my pastor when I desired to enter seminary. He had a conversation with me as well as my assistant pastor. They both continually said to me that going for the piece of paper is great but without learning to listen to the Holy Spirit, what you receive is simply a piece of paper. Do you remember the first time Samuel heard God audibly call his name? Samuel thought it was the Priest Eli whose leadership he was under. Eli finally discovered that Samuel was hearing from God and it was rare in those days as the word says. Well I heard God audibly call my name one morning. I felt so special and loved that He would call my name. There was absolutely nothing like it. When you can hear God whether audibly or through the Holy Spirit, it is a beautiful experience because it means He knows you and you know Him.
 
So why attempt to lead, attaching Jesus' name to anything without first following His direction? Two words: pride and greed. Pride because you want your name in lights and greed because you are unsatisfied with what the Lord has already provided. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines greed as acquisitive or selfish desire beyond reason. It's no longer about God but about you. I love when my pastor says, "It's all about God and not about you."  How do you expect Him to give you much if you are unfaithful with little? Satan or Lucifer as he was called, already carried the name of the Lord with him as the chief choir director. But it was not enough for him. He desired to have his name equal with God's as the star. He was not satisfied with what the Lord gave him to do. And therefore he lost the assignment he did have as well as his place in heaven. That's a hefty price just because you want to be the star. It's something to think about.
 
P.S. This message was written in the wee hours of the night and suddenly lost. But I PRAISE GOD because He gave it again. Without the Lord's direction, there is no Get Your (J)esus (O)n (Y)ou In The Morning, that's a fact.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Whatever You Give

Proverbs 19:17
 
17He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, And He will pay back what he has given.
 
Jesus said in the Word that when you give to the least of these you give to Him. Remember, Jesus gave up His heavenly wealth and riches and became poor on earth for our sakes. So Jesus has a special understanding and compassion for those who are poor. Remember, Jesus would occupy the home of those who lived in the town where He was traveling to. It is not always about giving money if you do not have money to give. It may be about opening your home or utilizing car for their needs or maybe even a word of encouragement, prayer or healing. When Peter and John were going to the temple a lame man was there begging. Peter turned to him and said, "silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you" and then Peter proceeded to proclaim the man's healing in the name of Jesus and the Lord restored his ability to walk.
 
One morning a couple of months ago I was on my way somewhere. I wanted to stand but God said to go sit where a man was. I was listening to my music on my headphones. I spoke and the man spoke. Shortly thereafter, he turned and asked what I was listening to. He was of a different color but I didn't expect or assume that he would know the artist but I said CeCe Winans. He said he had never heard of the artist. Then he asked if it was gospel. When I said yes, he said, "I could sure use some right now. Can I listen?" So I took my earphones out and I sang along getting my praise on. Before I knew it, tears were rolling down his face. I learned the man had just been released from jail the night before, with no where to go and had lost a lot as a result of being falsely accused. He had just been exonerated for a crime he didn't commit but it took a while. He shared how he was a believer in Christ but when God didn't come right away, he lost heart. What God enabled me to give was some encouraging words about enduring and continuing to praise God no matter the circumstance. The songs and atmosphere of praise was needed.
 
Whatever you give with sincerity, God will return it to you. One day you may be in need of whatever it is you may have given.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Much is Required

1Samuel 16:14
 
14But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the Lord troubled him.
 
Saul took for granted the Spirit of the Lord that was upon him. He delighted in disobedience and half truths. Eventually, the Lord showed Saul just how displeased He was. He not only took His Spirit from Saul, but the Lord anointed someone else to be king that would be willing to serve God's people and not just himself. The man to be king was David. Saul, took for granted the presence of the Lord in his life. Saul took for granted the favor of the Lord in his life. Saul took for granted the blessings he was given. And then, the Lord took them away. Saul was so angry that he even murdered those who were called to be priests. Poor David had to endure under the misdirected anger of Saul. Saul was angry with God but also with himself. He couldn't stand that he lost the favor of God and it being given to another. Saul had favor but at the time he had it, it didn't mean much to him. But as the Word says, God uses everything for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. God used the situation as a training ground for David. It taught David to go deeper into the presence of God. David kept his poise under pressure by the grace of God because he sought God. Saul unfortunately didn't understand how much he lost until the end. He struggled to hold onto the kingdom and lead God's people without the Spirit of the Lord. But God had already blessed David, it just hadn't been formally announced to the entire kingdom. When Saul truly considered all he lost, it was the night before battle when his death had been prophesied by the Prophet Samuel's spirit which was awakened by a witch through divination. Saul was not to trust in anyone but God. However, the entire downfall of Saul was because he trusted in everything but God. Saul had so much. As the Word says, to whom much is given, much is required.
 
What has God given you? Have you lost anything God gave you because you took it for granted? Have you watched the Lord transfer blessings to someone else? Have you delighted yourself in half truths for the sake of pleasing yourself?  Have you received much but given God little?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

No Constraints

Acts 10:44
 
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.
 
The people who 'heard' and 'received' the Word of God while Peter was preaching had not yet been baptized by water. But God released the Holy Spirit to descend upon them. How so? God can do anything. And His purpose was to show those who were circumcised that they could not put constraints on God and who He will give His spirit to. And how He should orchestrate a service. For those who question whether the Holy Spirit can descend while one is preaching, the Word gives proof. The Word says it is a sin to deny the Holy Spirit. But as a body of Christ, the Holy Spirit is denied each time we limit what we are willing to give God. He is denied each time we make doing something else more important then giving God His praise and the Word He desires for us to receive.
 
This morning, God was showing me all the times that there were no constraints on the preached word and how the Holy Spirit worked throughout the service. We call my Pastor at City of Restoration Christian Center (CRCC) "superman" because when the Holy Spirit gets hold of him during his preaching he leaps not just in the Spirit but physically as well like superman "he leaps in a single bound."  I remember when we fellowshipped with another church because he was asked to preach at their men's day. That church wasn't used to seeing freedom in the Holy Spirit. And when my pastor jumped from behind the pulpit, the congregation was astonished, yet it was normal for us. We started out breaking up the ground with worship and praise. We went in as a body of Christ with no constraints and the Lord had His way in that place. The motto at CRCC is "the order of service is subject to change by the Holy Spirit." 
 
When the ladies of God's Chosen Vessels (GCV) went to Action Chapel Virginia we saw there were no constraints on God. And therefore the Holy Spirit fell upon the people during the preached word. They started out breaking up the ground and ushering in the Spirit through the music ministry. The Holy Spirit was so in that place that when we looked up and the service was over, it was about the midnight hour. The same happened on our recent Tea & Talk with Minister Tanya Matthews. There were no constraints. And when we were done, it was the 23rd hour.
 
When I had my first visit to a Kenyan church years ago when Samuel Yego was asked to preach, I was in for a new experience. At that time, Samuel was the deacon assigned to me by the church we were members of at that time.  I had heard Samuel preach before and even that sermon before. But myself, the young lady present and his wife, Hellen, noticed that something was different. See, the church broke up the ground and they had no constraints on them with their worship and praises to the Lord. And that day, I saw no constraints on Samuel and the preached word was received. When we looked up, it was later in the day.
 
Putting constraints on what you will give to God or how you think God should operate during a worship service puts constraints on the receiving end too. Maybe not for everyone but certainly for you.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Are You On Top?

Psalm 30:6-7
 
 
6Now in my prosperity I said, "I shall never be moved." 7Lord, by Your favor You have made my mountain stand strong; You hid Your face, and I was troubled.
 
Psalm 30 is called "The Blessedness of Answered Prayer." The NKJV Study Bible says it is a dedication of the house of David. It cannot be taken for granted that God answers prayer. What if God didn't answer you? Where would you be? David specifically said  "now in my prosperity I said I shall never be moved." When you are top you profess a lot of things. When you have it all, you profess a lot of things. But what about when the storm comes? In Proverbs the Word says that one who trusts in his riches will fall. Why? Number one because the Word says riches are fleeting and like a bird, they sprout wings and fly away. You can't always buy your way out of something.  Only God has the power and authority to save. God determines how long your days shall last. And the Word talks about the one who is strong until adversity comes has little faith. Again, when you are on top, it is easy to say how much faith you have. But where is your faith when trouble arises? David admitted that whatever he had, God did it. And he also admitted that the moment trouble came, he was troubled because it felt as though the Lord hid his face. David fell very ill but when his prayer was answered he was grateful. Many know of the last portion of verse 5. "Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning." Get Your JOY In The Morning is actually based from Psalm 30. But the entirety of verse 5 is what is important. His anger is but for a moment. And yes, God can get angry. Favor is mentioned twice between verses 5-7. Anything you and I have is because of the Lord's favor. And for me, verse 5 is personal. Because I wept a lot during my near death experience. I cried out before the Lord on my knees begging and pleading for my life. But just like David, I knew that I had not done right before the Lord and wanted a second chance and needed Him not to turn His face from me. See, the JOY in the title of the devotionals stands for Jesus On You because it is He and only He that brought me through. And it was His desire for the Word to go forth. The Word says that the joy of the Lord is your strength. The Word says to delight in the joy of His salvation. Seeking the joy that comes from knowing the Lord keeps you sane when things get insane. Are you on top? Do you know that what you have is because of the Lord's favor? Have you ever hit a storm? Where was your faith in that storm? Have you ever wept through a storm? Did it seem like God hid his face from you?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Second Coming

Luke 17:36
 
36Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left.
 
I had been studying the scriptures yesterday morning and later shared with a co-worker. The Lord wouldn't let this rest in my spirit until it was written.  Jesus talked about the coming kingdom. He talked about the separation between the righteous and the unrighteous at His return as the NKJV Study Bible explains. Remember Jesus told the disciples He would come back for His sheep. Some may think this is just another parable because Jesus taught in parables. However, if you go back to Genesis, you will find that a man was taken up by God while still alive, Enoch. Enoch was a righteous man and "walked with God" as the scripture says. Enoch did not have to suffer physical death before going to be with God. The same is true of the great prophet Elijah. He also "walked with God." Elisha witnessed Elijah being taken up to God. He received a double portion of Elijah's anointing/mantle which he asked for because God allowed him to be present when Elijah was taken.
 
I recall the first time I became acutely aware of 1Corinthians 15. It was during the eulogy for my great grandmother in March 1999. I knew her death was coming because God showed me something different about the dream I had regarding her. I warned my mom that her death was coming. See, grandma was a very resilient woman. She survived so much including being shot, several strokes, one of which I witnessed and a host of illnesses. But something was different in my spirit. I had been to other memorial services before but it was the first time I was not overtaken by grief so much that I could not receive the message. God's warning to me gave me time to be at peace. In 1Corinthians there is a verse that says, "Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed." It is often heard or referenced during many eulogies. Sleep in the context of this scripture means death. That's right, not everyone will have to see death before meeting the Lord. So again, this go back to the scripture above. Jesus said there would be many signs that time was nearing.  "The change" referred to in 1Corinthians references the righteousness His people will be clothed with. The apostle Paul talks of how we cannot see God face to face in the flesh that we are in so we must see Him in our "incorruptible" selves. In the book of Mark, Jesus was transfigured or changed into His pure form while meeting with Moses and Elijah, the great prophets who had gone to be with the Lord. Moses had died in order to go be with the Lord but Elijah had not. Remember Jesus had to die a physical death for our sakes but arose again and walked the earth then was taken up to be with the Lord. They were each preparing Him for what He had to face. Peter, James and John again were witnesses to this awesome moment.
 
Yes, this is deep and a lot of information but the belief as followers of Christ is not a fairytale and not to be taken lightly. Let your yes be your yes as Jesus said. Be who you claim to be in Him and follow Christ if you have already said yes. Did you say yes to making Him Lord of your life? If you are not a follower of Christ, do you desire to be saved?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

His Strength

Psalm 21:1
 
21The king shall have joy in Your strength, O Lord; and in Your salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!
 
King David wrote the psalm on the "joy in the salvation of the Lord." How powerful is it for a man to rule over an entire kingdom? Many would be beside themselves with arrogance with such a position. Some would let it go to their heads a little bit too much. My pastor calls it "the watermelon or balloon head." But a man who ruled over an entire kingdom realized the strength of his body was nothing compared to the strength of the Lord. The NKJV Study Bible gives the translation, "the triumph of faith is portrayed." David had a lot of authority as a king but what he had was still no match for the Lord. Delighting in the Lord's strength to overcome battles, illness, enemies and even "frenemies" (those who pretend to be your friend but do not like or truly respect you). David took joy in knowing no matter what he may suffer temporarily, the Lord still had the victory. The translation of the verses talks of how Jesus uttered a psalm of victory in Matthew 27 which we went over before in, "Victory Song." David too had a victory song. His victory song consisted of joy.
 
Are you recognizing His strength is greater than yours? Are you recognizing that only the Lord can fight your battles? Are you recognizing the joy in having faith in Him?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

GOD Still Gets the Victory

Matthew 26:56
 
56But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.
 
All week long I have been listening to Wess Morgan's version of "You Paid It All" and even watching the YouTube video.  I was watching it with the remembrance that Jesus knows what it means to be betrayed. Jesus knows what it means to be left utterly alone. I know I have referenced the life altering dream I had in November 1991 just one month after I became a baptized believer in Jesus Christ. I was sixteen and had not been raised in "the church." I believed in God long before I gave my life to Christ but I was not raised as a devout follower of Christ to forsake the ways of the world. The ticking clock on the wall that kept being inserted throughout the dream, standing on the far side at the top of a city watching the midnight black sky and young people destroying themselves and dead bodies of youth lining the city skyline and a voice saying with great arrogance, "you cannot save them all" and the ride I was on where I was utterly alone, no family and no friends on the way to my death is something hard to forget. I remember awaking with such fright that put a Bible underneath my pillow the way my late grandmother used to do. Not understanding at the time that just having the Bible present wasn't enough but I had to speak the Word over myself and the fear I felt. At the time, the enemy of my soul knew something about a call on my life and purpose I had no knowledge of yet.
 
I know what betrayal feels like because I have experienced it more times then I care to count. And I am not just talking about from the perspective of abuse. As you walk into your purpose in life, you begin to understand that people you thought understood where you are going and what you are doing actually cannot see all that God has shown you and even if they can, their belief in you to carry out what God has shown you becomes the defining moment as to whether they stay by your side or leave. Up until recently, I had not listened to Bishop T.D. Jakes entire sermon on "the gift of goodbye." It's actually very powerful with the premise that some people in your life are not meant to stay and it's not they have done anything wrong, it is just their time in your life is complete. Yet, the sermon still does not negate the episodes of betrayal that lead to goodbye. When I FINALLY realized that God wanted me to turn the daily devotionals into a book, it was August 2009. The person that was to be a conduit to assist me was short lived. We would both take separate paths to complete what God gave us. Rejection led them going to the path of self-publishing. God said, He had a different path for me. I was heckled for following the path God directed to me because of the fear of rejection. God told me I would know by the end of 2009 who my publisher would be. God is not a man that He should lie as the Word says. He showed me things that person could not tell me and it angered them to the point that it was posted on my wall on Facebook in a tone that God showed me was not sincere. Comments were constantly made to me and they attempted to discredit what God told me. Trust me, after having a near death experience in 2008, I had to learn very quickly that listening to God is ALWAYS in my best interest because He says what I cannot see. As the book was released in 2011, their comments faded and slowly and then we drifted to the pointed that we would no longer speak. They had no idea that I was supporting their book and sending their information to others because the topic was of importance. Eventually God separated us completely. I wished them well. And then God sent to me five people for me to help. I did not search for them. But they were hungry and they knew they had a passion deep within them to complete something bigger than them. I appreciate now all that God has done in ways I cannot explain. As the word says, He uses everything for our good. So I BLESS GOD even for the episodes of betrayal. Because God still gets the victory.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Speak Up

Acts 4:20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
 
The apostles Peter and John had been arrested for speaking the name of Jesus in the Jewish temple as well as laying hands on a man and healing him in the name of Jesus. Peter and John confessed they could only speak of what they have seen and heard. A few questions for you. When you see a good movie what do you do? You tell someone right? When you eat at a great restaurant what do you do? You tell someone right? When you read a great book what do you do? You tell someone right? You become a spokesman or walking promotion for that product or service. Jesus utilized the power of word of mouth during His earthly ministry and in the "Great Commission" He said we are to do the same.  So then why do so many people become "closet Christians?" Many only talk about Jesus on Sunday morning or when they are in trouble. Peter and John were so excited about Jesus they couldn't wait to share with everyone they knew. The woman at the well did the same thing when she met Jesus. I came into an environment and met a young man who was Muslim. But he was so inspired by a young woman who was a follower of Christ that he kept a scripture she gave him and was moved by her going to do full time missionary work. That's impact. Or for me, coming across another Muslim man who said he loves to help people and knows I do volunteer work. He said to let him know because he wants to be involved. Guess what? I have made it no secret that I am a follower of Christ. Inspiring people with your testimony of what Christ had done for you is what draws others to want to know Him. When you help others in the name of Jesus, it too draws others to Him. Being a closet Christian does nothing for anyone, including you. When you are a closet Christian, you actually keep the praises to the Lord hidden when they ought to be heard. Your life is to be a living testimony, word of mouth promotion as to who Christ is. If it isn't, then do you not believe that Christ has done anything for you?  Do you not believe that Christ sacrificed for you? Do you not believe that He is worthy of the praise? I am not saying to force anything. But when you are led by the Holy Spirit to speak up, speak up. Don't let your faith be in vain. The opportunity to know Jesus and for salvation is available to everyone not just you.

Monday, August 25, 2014

In Your Spirit

Proverbs 25:28
 
28Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.
 
What does a broken down city look like? What does a city with no walls look like? A broken down city has many buildings that have crumbled. It's infrastructure is no good. And there are no walls to protect outsiders from taking it over. That's exactly what it's like when you are not careful as to who or what has control over your spirit. You know that eyes and ears are gates into your mind and heart. Your eyes and ears are your walls. What do you take in? What do you listen to and what do you watch? If you are not careful about how you entertain yourself, you may find yourself saying and doing things that are not advantageous to you and harmful to others. Are you taking counsel from the wrong type of people? Those you associate with will influence your thought patterns. You may find yourself saying the same things or doing the same things. Do you listen to music that degrades women and glorifies mistreating them? What do you think you will eventually start thinking, speaking and doing? Do you listen to music or watch shows that talks about using men to get what you want or that men are no good? What do you think you will start thinking, speaking and doing? You will begin thinking that way about men and attempting to misuse them. All the while, you are creating a nasty cycle of your thought pattern causing your reality. Not only has your spirit been taken over but you have been the perpetrator of your own unhappy life. Are you watching a bunch of pornographic shows or spending your time in strip clubs (both men and women)? And you wonder why you have become a sex addict that cannot stay committed. You not only put your body at risk for diseases but also in the spirit because you take on the characteristics of the people you sleep with. A confused person who sleeps with a confused person creates another confused person. That's why God reserved sex for a married couple, a couple that He has joined together.  What you listen to, what you watch, what you think and what you do affects your spirit. Remember Jesus said that what comes out of a man's mouth is what is in his heart. And to know a person by their fruit. If your fruit demonstrates that you are out of control then the source can be traced back to what you've been swallowing in your spirit.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Are You Willing?

Matthew 10:1
 
1And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.
 
Jesus knew the mission God the Father gave Him needed to continue on earth after He ascension to heaven. So very early in the mission he chose twelve to do so. Jesus used mass duplication which is very effective in leadership.  Not all of the original twelve would carry out the mission. Jesus took people with various backgrounds. Jesus even took a tax collector, called Matthew. Tax collectors were not well liked and were often considered crooks. God can use anyone! Peter, who would later build the church, had a nasty temper. So much so that he cut off the ear of one of the guards that arrested Jesus. But God can use anyone! The sons of Zebedee, James and John were very ambitious to the point of self-centeredness. But God can use anyone! Jesus took the weaknesses of these twelve and still utilized them for God's glory. Yes, He continued to prune those weaknesses in time. But none of the twelve would be considered 'perfect enough' to sit at the feet of Jesus. That's just it though! None of us are but by His grace and mercy. Verse two lists out the disciples. It's not that Jesus didn't use all twelve because He did. He even used Judas that would betray Him. God uses everything to "work for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose." Judas' greed still played a part in Jesus being glorified.  But have you noticed anything in scripture? Who was present during the transfiguration? Who walked on the water with Jesus? Who was present when Jesus went to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane? Who did Jesus say would be the rock? In all four major cases, one or all of the three were present: Simon Peter, James and John ( the sons of Zebedee). Peter was to build the church so it makes sense that He would be much closer to Jesus. But remember, James and John came to Jesus saying they wanted to sit at His right hand. So they had a chance to have more personal time with Jesus. Those who spend more personal time with Jesus will be used by Jesus to the fullest. Those who are willing will be used by Jesus to the fullest and those whom He has chosen will be used to the fullest by Jesus. Yes, everyone can be used by Jesus but those who are willing, the Lord will show them even greater things. Are you willing?

Monday, August 18, 2014

You Have a Future

Jeremiah 29:11
 
11For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give a future and a hope.
 
Jeremiah the prophet had written a letter to the captives in Babylon. His letter was to reassure them that God had not forgotten about them and that they would not be left in Babylon forever. If you recall, the people of Israel had been taken captive by the Babylonians for 70years. God's message to the people of Israel was their captivity would not be long lived. God still had a plan for them if they were willing to seek Him.
 
Last week, someone asked me a question. "How did you come into your purpose?"  My answer was the truth. I unfortunately had a near death experience first and within a year, God spoke to me about writing and it all unfolded. The person didn't believe it and thought what the doctors told me was just them making it up. But the threat of death was indeed real. "Yay though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death." That's where I was. But Bless God because He was with me! Do I want anyone else to find their purpose that way? Of course not! But, I didn't understand at the time that it was also a "dying of self" taking place. Learning to listen and obey God's instructions in such a life or death situation was the beginning of transformation. Now, I'm not scared like I was then because I know now I'm on the right the path. But up until that point, like the people of Israel, I sought my own way and ignored God's instructions MOST of the time. So did the people of Israel, and for it, they were in captivity. My pastor preached on this topic of God's way vs. your way. What is captivity? Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines captivity as 1) to be made prisoner esp. in war; 2) kept within bounds; 3)held under control.  Do you understand that the sin in your life is captivity? It may seem like "fun" but it hinders your growth in Him. And even hinders you understanding who you are in Him which will lead you to your purpose (why you are here). How can you become "a new creature" as the Word of God says when you are still stuck in the old ways and mindset? "The renewing of your mind" requires that you shed the old you. The Lord has thoughts of peace, hope and a future for you. But how can you grasp hold of them if you are held captive by your own thoughts and actions? His name is J-E-S-U-S! He already paid the price for the remission or forgiveness of your sins. Jesus freed you from Babylon and captivity. You just have to grab hold of it so He can walk you into freedom, victory and purpose. You are no accident in God's eyes. You have a future.

Friday, August 15, 2014

THANKS FOR TUNING IN TO NBC4!! IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

Good Evening,
 
Thank you so much to those of you that tuned in! For those of you that missed it, here is the link to the story: http://www.nbcwashington.com/video/#!/news/local/Helping-Victims-of-Child-Abuse/271403971 
 
   Granted, NBC4 did cut A LOT of my interview which was more about hope. I bless God for the therapy I did receive many years ago as a child! The tears were tears of joy not sadness because the message of hope was clear in my interview. It takes more courage than you know to go on camera and give in depth details about what happened. Safe Shores kept asking if I was okay because most survivors NEVER feel safe or secure enough to talk about what happened in that way. I hope you not only see the passion of why I agreed to do this interview on camera, but also see why it's important for YOU to address the subject in your own families whether it's to tell your children what to do if someone attempts something and YOU being aware of what signs and changes to look for in your children if something has happened and steps to take. And survivors, why you need to address what happened to you. This interview and my book Shh Don't Tell: Journey of Survivors are not in vain. PRAISE THE LORD!!!!!  
 
GOD BLESS YOU!


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT

Good Evening,
 
I hope this email finds you well and having a productive evening!!
Many of you know the volunteer work I have been giving both physically and virtually to support D.C.'s Children Advocacy Center, Safe Shores (www.safeshores.org) as its mission is very much aligned with part of my purpose and mission to fight child abuse and my second book, Shh Don't Tell. Two weeks ago I sat down with Safe Shores and NBC4 Washington for an interview on the effects of child abuse on mental health. NBC4 is having an open and honest year long conversation about mental health. You can see their pledge here:  https://www.nbcumv.com/node/976906.   My interview with NBC4 will air this Thursday, August 14th during the 5pm broadcast with Jim Vance and Doreen Gentzler. I have provided you all will the link for the live stream broadcast below if you are not in the viewing area.  I hope you are able to tune in.

Catch the live broadcast here: http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/livestream-News4-watch-live-Vance-Gentzler-Kammerer--269554921.html

Blessings and Love!

-Joy

Monday, August 11, 2014

A New Walk

Ephesians 4:17
 
17This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind,
 
The NKJV Study Bible translates the verse as, "The Ephesians were admonished to avoid the lifestyle typical of unbelieving Gentiles all around them. This lifestyle was characterized by "futility", being empty and without purpose."
 
How many are wandering around without purpose right now? How many think they are content with they way the world lives but do things to themselves to force some kind of feeling, any kind of feeling just so they know they are still physically alive? Oh it's real.
 
Over the last 24 hours the Lord has been reminding me about the miracles, signs and wonders in the New Testament books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and that many people, including some who claim to be followers of Christ or "believe in God," do not believe can happen today or have happened today. God was taking me through the times I said "yes" to Him starting from my baptism in October 1991 and then the dream I had in November 1991 that I didn't know then would have to do with my part of my purpose and my second book. God was taking me through the first time I finally said that I would be His evangelist in December 2007. He also took me through SOME of the times when I attempted to take back that yes and live as the world lived but He came to collect on that yes. I went back on a vow not to have sex outside of marriage and three months later, I was being told by doctors that I had 48 hours to live and maybe a year at most with the treatment I was started on. But when I was willing to say yes again and listen to God, He reversed it all. One misstep of His directions to get healed would've cost me my life. He took me through the times where I have experienced some of His miracles signs and wonders, not just in my life but in the lives of other believers around me. As I grew more in my walk with Christ I began to experience what is known as the mercy gift being able to physically feel the pain, hurt, happiness, joy, love, peace of those around that God allows. I began to experience the gift of discernment whereby knowing the difference between good and evil.  For the first time when my cousin was in the hospital God allowed me to feel her spirit slipping/transitioning and the frantic run to the hospital my mom and I made. I anointed her with oil and sang songs of praise to God and encouragement to her. I learned after her death that what my pastor and assistant pastor told me was true, that I had to be a light for her and that the book, Get Your JOY In The Morning connected the dots for her regarding who God is and what He desires from us. I recall seeing my pastor tear pedals from a flower not looking, only to be called up to witness what God had done. The pink pedals were in the shape of a heart with blood coming out representing Christ's heart. I met a man, Arnold Harvey II whom I would mentor as an author who first gave his life to Christ in a pool of blood to die multiple times but God brought him back. Proof that God has the final say when life ends no matter who is on the other side of a gun, knife, etc. I know people can hear while in a coma. My late step dad, not only heard me in the induced coma he was in but I saw tears at words I said and I had never seen him cry before. I witnessed the soles of the shoes of both my pastor and assistant pastor disintegrate from the fire of God in them. I witnessed several people in my church get healed by the Lord and leave doctors in amazement. I have witnessed prophesies from the Lord come to pass. I have witnessed people finding their purpose, including myself, out of their obedience and willingness to hear and grow closer to God through Jesus Christ.
 
I serve the Lord whole heartily in a NEW walk because NO ONE can tell me that He does not exist. NO ONE can tell me that the miracles of the Bible are non existent. NO ONE can tell me now that living in the futility of the world is better than what I have in Him. Do you really believe that what you have is better than Christ? Better than the almighty God who has the power to give and take life? Are you tired of feeling empty and trying to create situations just so you can see if you still have a pulse? Do you know Christ as your Lord and Savior? Do you want to know Him? As the group, forever JONES sings in their song, "You Can Do Anything," referring to Jesus, He really can.

Friday, August 8, 2014

You Are a Walking Advertisement

1Timothy 4:12
 
12Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
 
Let me just share with you tonight that my plan was to work on something else but when God said I had to write the enemy REALLY did not want you to receive this message. The attempt was to lock me out of my email. So you know this will be "life changing" for someone.  The day that God had me send out the message "The Blind Will Fall" I had several living examples in front me through out the day of people who fell away from the church because the conduct of those in church did not reflect what they were teaching and who they professed to be. This is a VERY serious subject. This week I met a woman who was so damaged by someone's conduct in church that I just wanted to hug her and cry. It hurt my heart so bad. This is not a test of the emergency broadcast system. This is real. 
 
The apostle Paul addressed Timothy who was his son in the ministry. Paul reminded young Timothy that being an elder came with responsibility. That responsibility included every aspect as Paul detailed in the scripture above. But as men and women who claim to carry the name of Christ and heritage of being God's children, whether teacher or not, whether elder or not, we are all called "to be an example in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity." Yes, everyone is a work in progress but your conduct as a follower of Christ or the lack there of, can directly hinder someone's walk in Christ especially if they are babes in Christ. Someone who has been hurt by the conduct of those who claim to be followers of Christ and carry the name can walk away and never return. They can easily be so hurt that they refuse to grow in Christ. It's heartbreaking to see trust me. But if you have ever experienced the hurt then just think if you were a babe in Christ. Would you want to follow Christ? This is real talk. Put yourself in the shoes of others and examine your conduct. Ask yourself the following questions: Would God be pleased with my conduct? Does my conduct reflect that which Christ calls me to live? Is my conduct hindering my walk and growth in Christ? Is my conduct potentially damaging to anyone else in the body of Christ? Would someone in the world want to know and follow Christ based on what I am doing and saying? Am I displaying the love of Christ? Am I walking in faith? This is not from a place of condemnation but a place of true inward reflection. If you look at it from a business perspective, you are the brand of Christ. You are a walking commercial/promotion/advertisement for the body of Christ whether you believe it or not. The minute you say you believe in God, are a Christian, recognize Christ as your Savior, a follower of Christ then you are automatically in the spotlight. No your assignment is not about pleasing man but Proverbs says that you may have favor with God and man. The word also says that your enemies will be at peace with you. How can you lead anyone else to Christ if you are unwilling to follow Christ? Even if you are not trying, remember, when Christ was on trial, everyone around noticed those who were seen with Christ. If you've been seen or associated with Christ in any way, you too are being noticed. You are part of "The Great Commission." Let your spirit and conduct be what others notice and let the love of God rest and abide in you that it draws others to Christ.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Life Changing

Luke 5:11
 
11So when they had brought there boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.
 
Jesus had just demonstrated the miracle of casting the net and catching fish after a night of the fishermen failing to catch at all. It was a life changing moment for Peter and the sons of Zebedee that made them want to leave their old lives behind and follow Jesus. I don't know what your life changing moment was but Jesus has done many miracles in my life and at each great encounter with Jesus, I left more of my old life behind. It's like a growth spurt. The growth spurts have been so dramatic over they years that for some people, it's hard for them to believe who I once was unless they actually knew me then. This weekend I watched the film, Son of God  and I cried so much my eyes were slightly swollen the next morning. Though the film is not 100% aligned with all that happened during Jesus' earthly ministry, it was enough as long as you knew the Word of God for yourself. There was a point where Jesus had knelt down to comfort the woman who was caught in sin and about to be stoned. When He said to her, "Go and sin no more," I cried, as I did with much of the film. At the point that Jesus forgives you for things you know the world wouldn't, the understanding is that you leave that part of your life behind. You leave who you were then, and let the mercy and loving kindness of Jesus stay with you so much so that you don't want to go back to who you were. Looking back, I don't miss who I was. But I love who I am now because I know it was not by my own might but by the Power of God and the Love of Jesus that I have come this far. I ask through tears of gratefulness this morning, has Jesus demonstrated who He is to you to the point that you are ready to leave your old ways behind? Has He made such a life changing impact like He did with the disciples that you are willing to walk away from what you know?