Devotional: Don’t be a victim

I remember growing up I had an aunt who would admonish my cousins (her kids) saying, “Don’t be a victim!” This usually followed some exchange where one of the kids felt wronged by another child while playing. Upon seeking adult intervention, this would undoubtedly be her response.

Don’t be a victim.

Now, as a young person, I never understood what that meant. “Don’t be a victim?” I’d ponder. Man, I remember mulling that thing over each…and….every…time.

I’m a lot older and a little wiser now. So now I have a different perspective on making oneself a victim. And in my “wisdom” I know now that basically what my aunt was telling my cousins was don’t allow other people to make you feel helpless. Don’t let them make you feel weak. Don’t. Be. A victim.

While there are most certainly times when you don’t have a choice in the matter, I am also certain that there are times when we choose to be victims. And we as Christians, let me tell you, we’ve made an art of it.

You see, we sometimes get to a point where we are so religious and so holy that we’re gullible, mealy-mouthed even. Or as the old folks would say, “So heavenly minded that we’re no earthly good.” We cling to old sayings like “hold your mule” or “turn the other cheek” so closely that we sometimes allow ourselves to be treated poorly, to be treated as less than we are, not just to our detriment, but to the detriment of the Kingdom too.

I mean, where in the Bible does it say that following Christ requires you to surrender your spine and resign yourself to being the world’s doormat? Where does it say to ignore the prompting of the Holy Spirit and just allow yourself to be used, looked over, counted out?

The reality is that the same Holy Spirit that imbues us with the power to heal, cast out demons, and even raise the dead, also fills us with boldness and confidence.

Proverbs 28:1 says “The wicked run away when no one is chasing them, but the godly are as bold as lions.” And 2 Corinthians 3:12 says of serving God and following the ways of Jesus, “Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold.”

I mean, even the God we serve is bold. His Son openly disobeyed laws prohibiting healings and miracles on certain days. And remember when he went into the synagogue and turned over the tables? I mean, he even challenges us when in Malachi 3 he says of tithing, “…I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have room to bring it in! Try it! Put me to the test!”

So in what area of your life are you making yourself a victim?

Is it at work? Are you being disrespected, or, or are you sitting on your ideas for fear of rejection?

Maybe it’s in your relationships? As a single person you’re taking whatever the cat drags in, instead of knowing your worth and setting and sticking to standards. Or you’re married and you’re letting yourself be abused because you think that’s what a submissive wife does or because as head of the household you think she should be strong enough to take it.

Or maybe you’re a victim in your church. You aren’t actively serving or growing because there isn’t a ministry that’s rolling out the red carpet and begging you to join, begging you to give of your time and services. Or because the Pastor didn’t lay hands on you or preach or speak to you directly.

To you, and whatever your situation is, I say, DON’T MAKE YOURSELF A VICTIM! You serve a bold God, who’s given you the same spirit of boldness. So when you’re following His will and doing what He’s telling you, walk with His confidence, authority and audacity. And just know up front that the world will never understand; they won’t get it.

What are you afraid of? Are you afraid that you’ll stand up and someone will say, “Who do you think you are?”

Well, let’s get it out of the way, Who do you think you are?

Actually, the better question that I pose to you this morning is, “Whose do you think you are?”

If you know like I know, and your answer is that you’re a child of the most high God, then you’ve got the authority to be bold, to be confident, to be authoritative and to be assertive as you follow the plan and directives God has for you.

Who do you think you are?

Better yet, who do you think you are NOT to do what God’s called you to do? NOT to start that business, or take that step, or share that idea, or speak up. Who do you think you are to say you know better than God? To say that you shouldn’t stand up for yourself because you’ll be laughed at, ridiculed, embarrassed, rejected, or because that’s not what Christians do?

If they rejected your Savior – who boldly came to a sinful world, told us all to trust and serve a God we’ve never seen, and then defeated death and the grave for each of US – what makes you think that being a shrinking flower will save you?

The reality is that just because you serve the Most High God, you’ve already got a target on your back.

So my prayer for you is not just that you decide to stop being a victim, but that you will tap into the boldness and confidence that God has given you. It’s with this boldness that you should walk everyday, and with this same boldness that you should evangelize and serve our Lord and King.

Be bold in your faith. Be bold in your convictions. Be bold. And don’t make yourself a victim!

Devotional: You Made It!

Have you guys ever heard the song “I Made it Through” by Tye Tribbett and G.A.

It is one of my favorite songs of his.  It really connects with me because I’ve thought so many of the  lyrics before.

The first part of the song goes like this:


I thought that I would not survive
I came this close to losing my mind
Sometimes you go through things in life
That makes you say, “Lord why me this time? “

He’s so faithful
He keeps making ways
Out of no way
Just when I thought that I could
Take no more
I made it through

Now I KNOW I’ve got someone reading this who can relate.  You  know, when you reach that point that you think, “If one more thing happens to me, I just might lose it.  If one more person comes at me the wrong way.  If one more person looks at me the wrong way.  If my boss says one more thing to me.  If one more person cuts me off in traffic.  Just one more…”

We’ve all been there.  But you know where I think we go wrong?  You know where I think we end up getting off track?  It’s because we get caught up looking at and focusing on all the things going wrong.  So much so that we lose sight of how much we’ve already overcome.

I mean truly, sometimes we feel like we’re going through hell.  One storm after another.  One trial after another.  But guess what, in order to go through a new one, you had to overcome the last one.

I need someone who can get in their spirit right now that yeah, you may be going through, but you can only go through because you’ve come through something else.

You don’t get to fight new foes without beating previous opponents.  You can’t face new challenges without beating the older ones.  The devil can’t come back if you hadn’t defeated and dismissed him before.

I don’t have to spell it out for you.  You can think back over your life and probably point out by name the challneges, the storms, the fights you’ve overcome.  But guess what: you’re still here.

The devil thought he had you.  He thought he’d thrown his best at you.  He thought you were down for the count.  He thought you didn’t have any strength left or faith left or fight left.

BUT GOD…

Yeah, yeah.  The devil was smug with it, proud of what he thought he’d accomplished.  He wasn’t expecting you to come through it, he wasn’t expecting you to make it.  He wants to take you out of here and rob you of the future and the promise God’s placed in you.  He wants to steal your joy, kill you faith, and destroy your future.

BUT GOD…

BUT, because of the strength and power and faithfulness of God, you made it through.

You made it through.

You made it through.

YOU MADE IT.

And it shouldn’t come as a surprise either!  Romans chapter 8 verses 35-37 tell us that we should expect to overcome.  It says:
Romans 8:35-37

New International Version (NIV)

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[a]

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

BABY, YOU MADE IT!  It doesn’t matter what it looked like.  It doesn’t matter what should have happened.  It doesn’t matter what could have happened.  The bottom line is that you made it.

Listen to the second half of that Tye Tribbett song I was telling you about:


So many nights I had to cry
So many storm clouds I lost sight
I felt like giving up the fight
Never thought I would see daylight

He’s so faithful
He keeps making ways
Out of no way

He’s so faithful
Just when I thought that I could
Take no more
I made it

I made it through

 

Look, I don’t care what you’re going through.  I don’t care what you’re facing or what you’re just coming out of, get this: it doesn’t matter whether you ran across the finish line, you jogged, you walked, you crawled, you dragged yourself, had a friend pull you across, or whatever.  The bottom line – the most important part of the journey – is that you made it.

Plain and simple.

Now I know you all don’t speak the same language of music that I do, so I’ll leave you with this.

In one of my favorite movies of all time, “The Color Puprle,” Miss Celie finally works up the courage and the strength to leave Mister.  And after Mister confronts her and threatens her, the camera follows her in the back of the car driving down the driveway.  And she shouts these words back to her abusive, oppressive, disrespectful husband:


I’m poor, black, I might even be ugly, but dear God, I’m here. I’m here.

YOU’RE HERE!  In spite of it all, you made it and you’re here.

The Church Mothers used to sing, “When I look back over my life/And I think things over/I can truly say that I’ve been blessed/I’ve got a testimony.”

Baby, you can’t have a testimony without a test.  Don’t downplay your journey.  Don’t undermine your overcoming.  Don’t rob God of the glory He’s due for bringing you through.

With the Lord leading you and on your side, you’ve beat the devil many times before and you’ll do it again.

You made it.  You will make it.  YOU CANNOT LOSE!

Someone oughta bless God for that!  Hallelujah Lord, I thank you that I’m here!

Reunited

Reunited, and it feels so good
Reunited, ’cause we understood
There’s one perfect fit
And, sugar, this one is it
We both are so excited
‘Cause we’re reunited
Hey, hey

Even though that song was a hit a few years before I was even born, it’s been on my mind for the past couple of days.

This past weekend was my 10-Year College Reunion.  It was awesome!

My husband, my children, my sisters, brother and parents all took the four-hour car ride with me back to my alma mater.

I spent time with old friends, made new ones, and really reignited my love for my University.

***

The more I thought about how great it felt to be back, to reconnect, to plug back in, I realized how similar it is to our relationship with  God.

God never moves.  He’s always everywhere, all the time.  He never leaves us.  Never forsakes us.  He’s faithful – so we can rely on Him – but He’s also a gentleman: He gives us free will to choose and live as we please.

And sometimes, when we get so caught up in living and doing and being what we think we want to be, we turn around one day and wonder where God is.

Where did our  intimacy, our closeness, and our relationship with the Father go?

That can be a lonely time…yearning to be near someone who seems to have mysteriously drifted off.

We’ve all been there at one time or another — whether with God or another person.  We know the feeling.

But how do we get back?  Which way do we go?  Will He still love us the same?  Will it feel the same?

Well, God knew you and I would find ourselves in this situation from time to time, so He answered those very questions for us in Luke 15 (MSG):

4-7 “Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it? When found, you can be sure you would put it across your shoulders, rejoicing, and when you got home call in your friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Celebrate with me! I’ve found my lost sheep!’ Count on it—there’s more joy in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue.

You see, God loves us so much, that no matter how far off we wander, how far off the path we trod, He always rejoices when we return.  No questions asked, no grudges held.

It happens more frequently than we might think. New boyfriends and girlfriends distract us.  New jobs pull us away.  New commitments force us to make hard choices with our time.

Life happens…and we wake up one morning wondering how we got here, and where is God?

Peaches & Herb go on to say in their hit, “Reunited”:

I was a fool to ever leave your side
Me minus you is such a lonely ride
That breakup we had
Has made me lonesome and sad
I realize I love you
‘Cause I want you back
Hey, hey

Yeah, who hasn’t been there?  And those feelings are only magnified when we look at how our life appears to be in shambles because we decided to make decisions ourselves instead of trusting God to take care of it.

But, as much as you want to get back to God.  As much as you want to feel closer to Him, hear from Him and know that you know that you know He’s still there.  Take that feeling, multiply it by infinity and you’d still only be a fraction of the way to understanding how much God wants to be reunited with us, too.

And the best thing about this reunion, there is no car trip, tolls, long-distance phone calls, fees or awkward silences to contend with.  In fact, the only thing standing between you and a reunion with God is, well, you.  You can literally invite Him back into your life, your plans, your future, your fears and failures, your today and all your tomorrows by simply inviting Him in: ask for forgiveness for trying to do it yourself, and ask the Lord to take over as the head of your life.

It’s as simple as that.

But, if perhaps you feel that you’re farther than that.  If perhaps you’re wondering if you’ve ever really had a relationship with him, or maybe you know that you haven’t and you want one now.

You want to hand over control to the God who created you, knows you inside and out, and wants only the best for you for the rest of your life.

If you fall into any of these categories, fear not!  You too can enter into a relationship with God by praying this simple prayer.  Just repeat these words (out loud or to yourself):

Dear God in heaven, I come to you in the name of Jesus. I acknowledge to You that I am a sinner, and I am sorry for my sins and the life that I have lived; I need your forgiveness.

I believe that your only begotten Son Jesus Christ shed His precious blood on the cross at Calvary and died for my sins, and I am now willing to turn from my sin.

You said in Your Holy Word, Romans 10:9 that if we confess the Lord our God and believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead, we shall be saved.

Right now I confess Jesus as the Lord of my soul. With my heart, I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. This very moment I accept Jesus Christ as my own personal Savior and according to His Word, right now I am saved.

Thank you Jesus for your unlimited grace which has saved me from my sins. I thank you Jesus that your grace never leads to license, but rather it always leads to repentance. Therefore Lord Jesus transform my life so that I may bring glory and honor to you alone and not to myself.

Thank you Jesus for dying for me and giving me eternal life.
Amen.

Done.

That’s it.

Now, no matter where you felt you were, where you thought you were going, or what mistakes and decisions you’ve made along the way, the Lord is rejoicing because the two of you are reunited, and you will be for eternity.

God was waiting for YOU, and He’s saying, “Welcome back.  I missed you.  I love you still.”

Reunited, and it feels so good
Reunited, ’cause we understood
There’s one perfect fit
And, sugar, this one is it
We both are so excited
‘Cause we’re reunited
Hey, hey

The B-Side

I’ll start this post by providing a disclaimer: for some, this post may be uncomfortable.

It was uncomfortable for me to receive this loving conviction this morning, but it was a necessary reality check.

Consider this post the B-side to all of the “He’s gonna bless you/Wait on Him/It’s Coming” posts of late.

Let’s start with the scripture…

Isaiah 43:16-24 MSG

[16-21] This is what God says, the God who builds a road right through the ocean, who carves a path through pounding waves, The God who summons horses and chariots and armies— they lie down and then can’t get up; they’re snuffed out like so many candles: “Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands. Wild animals will say ‘Thank you!’ —the coyotes and the buzzards—Because I provided water in the desert, rivers through the sun-baked earth, Drinking water for the people I chose, the people I made especially for myself, a people custom-made to praise me.

[22-24] “But you didn’t pay a bit of attention to me, Jacob. You so quickly tired of me, Israel. You wouldn’t even bring sheep for offerings in worship. You couldn’t be bothered with sacrifices. It wasn’t that I asked that much from you. I didn’t expect expensive presents. But you didn’t even do the minimum— so stingy with me, so closefisted. Yet you haven’t been stingy with your sins. You’ve been plenty generous with them—and I’m fed up.

Anyone else saying ouch, yet?

As  I sought God in my quiet time this morning, pouring out my frustrations and needs and wants for what must be the millionth time, the Lord led me to this scripture.

As I read it, two things became clear to me.

1. God knows what I need.  He knew before I asked and He is working things out for me even now.  But I’ve been so self-absorbed, so focused on the job applications that were denied; the doors that were shut; the temporary circumstances around me that I’d fail to see the new connections He’d blessed me with; the new opportunities He was placing before me; and the BIGGER, BETTER plan that He has for me.

I bet I’m not alone in this.  Sometimes we reach a point where the sum total of our woes appear to overwhelm us; they’re all we can think about.  And instead of seeking the Blesser and the Way Maker, we begin looking only for His blessings and for a way to be made on our behalf.

We must never allow our temporary circumstances to cause us to take our eyes off of what’s important and Who is important.  In fact,  when I asked God this morning, “Well, what should I be thinking about? I feel like this is all I can see.”  He took me to Matthew 6:25-34 (to remind me that indeed He is aware of my situation) and Philippians 4:8-9 (to tell me what I should be focused on).  And then, as if to drive the point home of what order my priorities should be in, He reminded me of Matthew 6:33 again: SEEK. GOD. FIRST.

2. God isn’t an ATM.  I cannot continue to go to Him, broken, seeking and desperate, taking withdrawal after withdrawal of his peace, reassurance, favor, and grace.  The reality is, this is a relationship, a two-way street of give and take.  Will it ever be balanced?  No, I will never be as faithful as God nor is it possible to out-give Him.  But He blesses and appreciates my effort.

The second part of the scripture above – “You did not even do the minimum” – really struck me.  At a minimum, God wants us to take note of all He’s done for us.  At a minimum, God wants us to say thank you, to give Him the worship and honor and glory and praise that He’s due.  At a minimum, He wants us to at least look around, consider how our lives could be and praise Him like the God who has saved our raggedy behinds time after time after time.  Like the God who made ways out of no way.  Who healed us.  Saved us. Protects Us. Calls us.  Anoints and appoints us.  AT A MINIMUM.  Doesn’t that God – that all-knowing, all-powerful, all-present God – deserve the best worship we can give Him?   And not our sloppy seconds.  I’m guilty.  Thinking I’m going to stay up for a few minutes longer to get my prayer and Bible time in after I’ve given my best and my all to my job, my kids, my husband, my house, and my own interests.

How dare I?  I have not been giving God the minimum of what He’s due.

Lord, I repent.  I am so sorry.  Please forgive me.

***

This post isn’t for everyone.  I know that.  But I believe that there is someone like me who finds themselves weighed down with all the “stuff” in their lives: responsibilities, desires, wants, needs, even God-given dreams and visions.  And we’re in a place where those things are now so all-consuming that even though we desire to get back to God, we don’t know the way back.  We feel stuck, overwhelmed with a reality we no longer recognize or want.

If that’s you, know that the only things you need to do to reclaim the joy and peace that is rightfully ours through Christ Jesus are to repent for your selfish thoughts; receive God’s forgiveness; refocus on what He’s done (count your blessings! — perhaps literally!); and start giving God the worship and honor and praise that He’s due.

Period.

He’s a good God.  He won’t hold it against us that we got lost, that we ended up in this “It’s All About Me” wasteland.  And He won’t change His BIGGER, BETTER plans for us either.  He’ll just keep loving us, blessing us, protecting us, and being the awesome God that He is.

We can praise that, can’t we?  At a minimum?

I decided this morning, when I emerged from my prayer closet, that I’m taking back the joy and the peace that is mine.  I’m shifting my focus from me to others and am committed to thanking God with each breath I take through my actions, thoughts and words.

He’s just that good.

It’s the least I can do.

Monday Motivation

Good morning, good morning, good morning!

This is going to be a quick-and-dirty, Monday motivation.

(You can skip to the prayer by clicking here.)

I thank my girlfriend AZ for this reminder.

Amos 9:13-15 (MSG):

“Yes indeed, it won’t be long now.” God’s Decree.

“Things are going to happen so fast your head will swim, one thing fast on the heels of the other. You won’t be able to keep up. Everything will be happening at once—and everywhere you look, blessings! Blessings like wine pouring off the mountains and hills. I’ll make everything right again for my people Israel:

“They’ll rebuild their ruined cities.
They’ll plant vineyards and drink good wine.
They’ll work their gardens and eat fresh vegetables.
And I’ll plant them, plant them on their own land.
They’ll never again be uprooted from the land I’ve given them.”
God, your God, says so.

I know some of you may tire of my “hang in there” devotions, but I keep posting them for a few reasons.

First, it’s ministering to me.  I hope you all know that everything I share here is borne out of lessons the Lord has taught or is teaching me.  I write to inspire, encourage and perhaps ‘wisen’ others. If you don’t have to make my mistakes, then don’t!

Second, it’s necessary.  I KNOW that YOU are believing God for SOMETHING: new job, new house, spouse, promotion, provision to start a new business, resources to move to your “next.” Whatever it is, don’t give up on God!  I would challenge you though to ponder this: could your blessing be delayed because you’re still trying to make it happen in your own strength?  Be very careful.  My Pastor, Mark Batterson, often says, “Work like it  depends on you and pray like it depends on God.”  There is always a point when you’ve done all you can.  And in that moment, surrender, release the reigns, and press in to God’s presence so He can bring “it” home.  Still trying to make it happen – through forced emails, phone calls, meetings or whatever – only delay’s God’s divine plan for you.

Finally, it’s how I’ve been led.  Nothing I write here is of my own volition.  Rather, it’s how the Holy Spirit prompts me.  I believe that if only one other person reads this today (or ever!), it was the person for whom God ordained this word.  Nothing more, nothing less.  And as God’s vessel, His hands, feet and eyes on Earth, I just want to be used by Him.

So, where are you on the road to your next season/opportunity/position?

Has God just dropped this dream in your Spirit?  Have you written it down and are believing Him for it?  Or are you seeing the first whispers of fulfillment come to fruition?  Wherever you are on the continuum, God says, “It won’t be long now.”

Know that even in your waiting, God’s blessing you.  While we often only know that we’re blessed when there is some physical, material manifestation, the reality is that there are so many other blessings we receive around the clock that we often overlook.  Patience.  Increased faith.  Discernment.  Wisdom.  Protection from a misstep or tragedy. Kindness.  Humility.  Preparation for what’s coming.

There’s a blessing in your waiting.  There’s a purpose to your pause.  Enjoy the ride and don’t give up on the big picture!

Remember, you and I serve a God who always sees the big picture.  He knows how this pause, this valley experience, is critical for your success when you get the new house, the new car, the new job, the new salary or whatever.

Don’t let the enemy convince you that God’s forgotten you.  He hasn’t.  He won’t.  He can’t – he isn’t capable of forgetting you because He created you especially for His purpose. There is something He needs done in the world that ONLY YOU can accomplish.

So, today isn’t just a new day, it’s a new opportunity for God to grow you in ways you can both see AND not see.  In fact, if you’re reading this right now, breathing, seeing with eyes that work, you’ve been immeasurably blessed already today!  And it’s still early!

Don’t give up.  God says, “It won’t be long yet!”  And I believe God!  Don’t you?!

Know that I’m excited about what God is about to do in YOUR life!  I hope you are, too!

MY PRAYER FOR YOU:

Lord God, I thank you for every person that will read this devotion.  I pray God that you would break every shackle in their lives – shackles of fear, doubt, worry, negative self-image, lack of confidence, lies of the enemy – anything that stands in the way of them receiving all of the MORE you have in store for them.  God, I speak against the hand of the enemy right now.  I rebuke the devil on their behalf and proclaim that you are Lord of all, and Lord of their lives.  God I pray that Your will for their lives will be fulfilled during their lifetimes, and that they will right now and from this moment on begin walking in the fullness of your joy, peace, grace, mercy, victory and favor.  Heavenly Father, I know you to still be in the way-making, miracle-making, heart-fixing, mind-regulating business.  So I ask God that whatever they stand in need of you’ll provide to them according to your goodness and mercy and according to your plan for their lives, in Jesus’ name.  Heavenly Father, I bind the hand of the enemy in their lives, especially those Lord who are fighting the devil in their minds; those who are fighting to remember who YOU say they are while the enemy whispers lies of their defeat into their minds.  God, I pray that you would strengthen the Holy Spirit in them that they may hear your voice clearly and speak Your truth right back to the devil.  God I know that it is not happenstance that you brought them here.  So I stand in agreement with every one of the readers whose eyes will fall on this post, because your word says that where two agree you are faithful to do just what we ask.  God I thank you for answering their prayers.  I thank you for the overflow of peace you’ll reign on them right now.  Thank you for reminding them that you are still in control and that you haven’t forgotten them and that the best is yet to come.  Thank you God for making each one of these readers a part of my spiritual family.  I pray your blessings on every home, family, marriage and person represented by each viewer of this post, and I pray that each reader will accept you as their personal Lord and Savior.  I bless your name God and thank you for blessing these my friends, my brothers and sisters in Christ.  In Jesus’ name I pray and ask all these things, Amen.

First Fridays Prayer Call Devotional: Watch Me Work!

*Today I was honored to be asked to serve as the guest host on the  First Fridays Weekly Prayer and Praise call.  This weekly devotion and intercession call is a midweek faith refuel led by Min. Akisha Sharon Greene of the First Fridays Ministry.  Below is the devotion I gave today on the call.  I’ll add the call-in information to listen to the recording soon.*

I’ll tell you, I’m not going to beat around the bush because what I have for you all is so very simple.

I’m going to talking very briefly from Psalm 37 and my title – if you want to call it that – is “Watch Him Work.”

God has asked me to tell each of you this:

You’ve prayed.

You’ve cried.

You’ve worked.

And you’ve tried.

Now step back, and watch the Lord work.

Look, I don’t know where each of you is today — I don’t know your personal travails.  I don’t know your ongoing trials.

But I know that you’ve got haters: folks that talk about you behind your back.

People that said you’ve never be anything, you’d never amount to anything, and you’d never go anywhere.

They’ve laughed at your dreams.

Scoffed at your confidence.

And scorned you for your faith.

But God is saying, “Step back, baby, and watch Me work.”

You’re doing your best to be the Proverbs 31 woman and your husband or your children still ain’t acting right?

God says, “Now watch me work.”

You’re tithing, giving your offerings faithfully, and now your money is funny?

“Watch me work.”

Your grandmother was a single mom.  Your mother was a single mom.  And you’ve done all you know how to prepare to be the help meet to a man of God’s choosing?

“Watch me work.”

Sick, and the doctors say they’ve done all they can?

“Watch me work.”

Coworkers telling you there’s no way you can get that promotion – no matter how hard you try?

“Watch me work.”

The devil keeps throwing your past in your face, saddling you with guilt, shame and depression?

“Watch me work.”

You used to be a size 2 – or you ain’t never been a size 2 – and the world is telling you you aren’t beautiful because of it?

“Watch me work.”

See you’ve prayed like it all depends on God.  And you’ve worked like it depends on you.

And now, watch Him work.

Psalm 37 tells us in the Message translation that He sees all of that you’re going through – attacks by the enemy, vindictiveness from others, and folks who scheme against you – but the Lord is faithful to vindicate you, promote you, protect you and bless you in spite of your haters.

In fact, verses 5 and 6 say:  Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.

What does that mean?

It means you can cue the Nas and Puff Daddy baby.  Tell ’em all: “You can hate me now!”

And keep reading.  Because while they plot and scheme, lie on you, talk about you, criticize you and attack, the Word says in Psalm 37 that your children will be blessed; your inheritance will be great; your protection in Christ impenetrable  and your future signed, sealed and delivered as official by God himself.

So yea, you’re gonna have haters.  You’re gonna have folks who look at you and think, “Who does she think she is?”  You’re gonna feel like all of your prayers are unanswered and your work is in vain.

But just like that song the kids sang a few years ago, God’s got one thing to say to you:

Now watch me work.
Now watch me work.
Now watch me work.
>Now watch me work.

Death couldn’t beat him.  The cross couldn’t hold him.  And the grave couldn’t keep him.

And now He wants to show up and show off in YOUR life.

Take your hands off the reigns.  Take your eyes off the pain.  And heed the Lord’s command:

Watch me work.  Now watch me work.

Amen?!

Join me tomorrow!

I am honored to guest host the First Fridays Prayer Call tomorrow.

This weekly devotion and intercessory call gives an all important midweek faith boost to callers nationwide.

Please join me as I lead tomorrow’s devotion and prayer. Details below:

First Fridays Prayer and Praise Party
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
12 Noon EST
Dial (218) 936 – 4535
Password 2943#

You may send prayer requests to firstfriday31@gmail.com before 11:30 AM tomorrow.

For those who cannot make it, I’ll post my devotional here following the call.

Praying God’s best for each of you!

~ Safiya

Don’t Give Up

Look, I’m not going to be long this morning.

I’m not going be long because the message this morning is simple: don’t give up.

Don’t give up on God.

Don’t give up on your dreams.

Don’t give up on your goals.

Don’t give up, because God hasn’t given up on you.

How do I know God hasn’t given up on you?

Well, for starters, you’re reading this.

God saw fit to breathe the breath of life into your body another day.

If He were done with you, finished, had washed his hands of you, if your work were complete, there’d be no reason for you to be alive today.

But more than that, I know that God hasn’t given up on you because of Isaiah 49.

Verses 1-17 in particular detail the great lengths to which God went to create us uniquely and divinely; to fill us and use us for purpose.  It even says he’s written us on the palm of his hands.

Just think about that: how many times have you scrawled or scribbled something on your hand as a reminder.  So you won’t forget.

Look, I don’t know what you’re believe God for this morning.

It could be a job, or weight  loss.  It could be a promotion, or some other promise.  It could just be a breakthrough or a sign that He’s not forgotten you as everyone around you seems to prosper and be blessed.

Maybe you’re waiting for a yoke to be broken – maybe the yoke of debt, or illness, or solitude.  Maybe you have a habit that you can’t kick, or a dream you can’t stop thinking of.

Or perhaps you’re interceding on someone else’s behalf.  You’re trusting God for them because they can’t.

Whatever it is, know that God has caught all of your tears in a bottle (Psalm 56:8) and written you on His hands just so He will NEVER forget you.

He knows what’s paining you, saddening you, hurting you.

He knows the desires and pleas of your heart.

God HAS NOT forgotten about you.  He has a knock-your-socks-off, blow-your-mind blessing with your name all over it.

And at the perfect time – in HIS PERFECT TIME – He’ll release it to you, raining His Goodness and Favor and Mercy and Grace on you so heavily and so fully and continually that you won’t have room to receive it or words to describe it.

THAT’S the kind of God we serve.

THAT’S the kind of God YOU serve.

So whatever you’re facing, believing for, or working towards, no matter what it looks like and no matter what’s going on with everyone else around you, know that GOD HAS NOT FORGOTTEN YOU.

Don’t give up on yourself or your goals.  Don’t give up on God.

Just take it day by day and decide that (say this with me): “TODAY, I WILL NOT GIVE UP.  I WILL NOT GIVE IN.  I WILL WAIT ON GOD BECAUSE HE LOVES (Romans 8:37-39), HE CARES (1 Peter 5:7) AND HE HASN’T GIVEN UP ON ME.”

I’m praying for YOU now and am excited about what God’s about to do for, through and in you.

I’ll close with this — because music always reminds me:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ysrUtdC5gw

I LOVE YOU. GOD LOVES YOU. DON’T GIVE UP!

Devotional: Go Get It!

I am on the cusp of a new season.  God is orchestrating some things for me and my family that will usher in a new season, a “next” for us.

I’ve been seeking God, praying to God, listening to God and trusting God for this for some time.  But as I hear God say “get ready” and see things falling into place, I realized this: my eagerness and excitement is very quickly beginning to give way to anxiety, even fear.

I envision myself standing at a huge doorway, with a bright, almost blinding light pouring from beyond it.  There, at the threshold, I stand with my feet planted firmly on the ground: my heart desiring to and willing me to enter, my mind telling me to stay put.

Have you ever been there?  Right on the cusp of your next opportunity, blessing, season, so close you can touch it, and all of a sudden you’re paralyzed.  The very thing that you’ve hoped, prayed, wished, and begged God for is literally here, and you pause.  Wait.  Stop.

I wish I could say that this is ironic or that this condition is beyond our control, but those would be lies.

The reality is that this condition, this paralysis of analysis, is something we bring on ourselves, often unknowingly.

See once we see the manifestations of God answering our prayers, giving us what we’ve asked for and He’s ordained, our minds switch from seeking and hopeful to fast forwarding to the future which can overwhelm us and make us fearful.

Instead of living in the moment, the day, that very time, our minds dart out in front of us and the unknowns and what-ifs begin to scare us.

So.  We just stand there.  Waiting for it to come to us.  Waiting for our blessing to miraculously be ours. Because we think that if we wait a little longer to claim what we’ve asked for then we’ll REALLY be ready when it arrives or we’ll know that God’s really doing it for us.

Sometimes it can work this way.  Sometimes it is a miraculous move of God that brings blessings right to us, ready to go.

But sometimes, often times, we’ll have to go get it.

Yeah, you heard me right.  While you stand there – afraid, in awe, or whatever – waiting for it – whatever your “it” is – to happen, God is waiting for you to move forward and take possession. He’s waiting for you to act, to move, to do something to claim what He’s given you.

How do I know that sometimes we’re supposed to go get it?  Well, because Isaiah 30:21 says, ‘Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it.” Whenever you turn to the right hand Or whenever you turn to the left”.

So there you are, staring down an opportunity that only God could have orchestrated so you know it’s His will and from Him.  And this scripture is very clear that when we know the direction the Lord would have us to take, we must then walk in it.  We’ve got to go get it!

The reality is that many of us continue to pray for, fast for, believe and beg for things that God long ago released for us to claim.  But because we’re afraid to move forward, or so caught up in our plan of how it’ll come to pass, we fail to actually take hold of it.

We pray to God to lose weight and a friend or a trainer or a workout buddy crosses our path.  So we see the possibility, but instead of acting, wait to see what will happen.

We pray to God for a new job and openings begin crossing our paths left and right.  But instead of applying, we wait to see what will happen.

We pray to God for a husband/wife, and opportunities to get out, meet people and improve ourselves pop up all over.  But instead of preparing to be a spouse, we wait to see what will happen.

Get this: it takes work to wait for His will.

It takes action.  It takes faith and belief.  It takes moving.

It takes work!

My prayer for you today is to go get it!

If you’ve sought God and know that He’s telling you to walk through that door into your next season, go get it!

If you look around and notice that all other doors and avenues are closed and blocked but this one route, remember His promise to make our paths straight, and go get it!

Go get it, go get it, go get it!

I for one am resolved to not just stand outside looking in on all of the great things happening in front of me.  I’ve decided that I’m taking every gift, talent, morsel of peace, and seed of faith I have with me and I’m walking through the door, knowing full well that if God brought me to it, He’ll bring me through it.

Y’know, Mary Mary has a song that says it perfectly.  It says:

You were made to live a good life and that’s what I believe

So hit the floor say a prayer start working you got to do something

It’s alright to crawl before you walk it’s alright to walk before you run

But if you wanna get what you never got gotta do something that you never done

 

Go get it, Go Get it, Go get it, Go get it, Go get it

Go get yo blessing

Go get it, Go get it, Go get it, Go get it, Go get it, Go get it

It’s yo time, it’s yo time, it’s yo time, it’s yo time

 

You see, it doesn’t matter the speed with which you move. No, the critical part is having the faith in God to move: He knows what He’s doing and He knows what’s best. So go get it!