Obsessed

appleofmyeyeFor the past day or so, I’ve been listening to The Walls Group album “Fast Forward” almost non-stop. (if you haven’t heard it, you should!  It’s awesome!)  And one song has been on repeat in my Spirit — I woke up singing it: “God on My Mind (feat. Brandy).”

Now, I’ll admit, a minuscule part of the reason why the song resonates for me is because it samples Brandy’s “Always on My Mind,” and hers was the first CD I ever owned back in middle school.

But this morning, when I woke up singing the song’s chorus, God gave me a revelation about its lyrics.  They go:

From the mountains to the seas, from the day that we believed to the beginning of time.
I can’t get you off my mind.
From the stars in space, to that empty grave, no matter how hard I try I can’t get God off my mind.
Always on my mind, your always on my mind. Thoughts of you all the time, your always on my mind.

I’ve listened to the song so many times and found myself inspired by the aspirational quality of these words.  I aspire to have God on my mind ALL the time.  In fact, the Bible tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV to “16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”  And what more is prayer than thinking of and talking to God?

But this morning, the Holy Spirit gave me this epiphany: “You’re always on God’s mind.  He never stops thinking of you.  He’s obsessed.”

And suddenly, the lyrics had even greater meaning.

“From the mountains to the seas…”– No matter where we are or end up physically, nothing can separate us from the love of God.  He loves us so big and so wide and so deeply, that even when we stray from Him – physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, whatever – He’s still thinking of us.

“…from the day that we believed to the beginning of time..” — The Bible tells us in Jeremiah that before we were even in our mothers’ wombs, God knew us.  Even then, He was thinking of us.  And as we grew up, even before we chose Him, He was thinking about us enough to send his Son to die in our place.  From before our lives started and every moment since, we’ve been on God’s mind.

I can’t get you off my mind.” — The Psalmist tells us in chapter 139 that God’s thoughts on us are so numerous that they outnumber the grains of sand.

From the stars in space, to that empty grave…” — Everything that God has ever done for us, from stringing the stars in the sky to sending His only son to die, has been for us as an act of love because He was thinking about us.

“…no matter how hard I try…” — He keeps track of our sorrows.  He captures our tears in a bottle.  Our names are written on His hand.  He couldn’t get away from thinking of us if He tried or wanted to (don’t worry, He doesn’t try and doesn’t want to!).

Always on my mind, your always on my mind. Thoughts of you all the time, your always on my mind.” — And His obsession with us is consistent.  It’s constant.  He is always thinking about us.  It, like Him, is unchanging.

Isn’t that overwhelming?  To consider that God is always thinking about me.  About you.  Your situation.  Your hardships and trials.  Your joys and successes.  What’s important to you.  What you’re worried about.  What you fear.  What you need.

Every moment of your life, God is thinking of you.  Nothing surprises Him.  No circumstance sneaks up on Him.  He knew.  He knows.  He’s thinking of you.

I don’t know what you’re facing today, but I hope you’ll know this: God is absolutely obsessed with you.  You’re the apple of His eye and, because you’re so important to Him, He’s made you more than a conqueror; He’s defeated your every foe; and He is always working things out to benefit you.  He’s thought about all you’ll ever need and want, and has created a plan to give you hope and a future.  To bless you.

God can’t get you off His mind.

So walk through today in godly confidence that the Creator of the world, the King of all nations, the Alpha and Omega is thinking about you.  Right.  Now.


*YouTube courtesy of Stênio Nóbrega

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More Than Thankful

Last week was Thanksgiving and it was a wonderful time.

Surrounded by friends, family – immediate, extended and distant – I was swathed in visual reminders of just how blessed I am.

But I find that today, a full week after the food, festivities and fellowship have ended, I am still meditating on this theme of being thankful.

As I drove to Thanksgiving dinner with my husband and children, the Lord challenged me to move from a place of simple thankfulness to one of appreciation.

You see, the typical definition of thankful is to be pleased.  Whereas, the definition of appreciation is to show gratitude.

I believe that one of milestones in our walks with Christ is to move from a place of simply being pleased and/or relieved by the blessings and favor He showers on us, to being appreciative – grateful for it all and, dare I say, gleaning a lesson from the good, the bad, the indifferent and the downright ugly.

Yes, I am thankful to God for my family and friends.  For every smile of my children and kiss from my husband.  I’m grateful for our home and all of the material blessings God’s afforded us.  I’m grateful for employment, for passion and a vision to fulfill the purpose God has created and is calling me to fulfill.

But I appreciate every disagreement I have with my husband because it challenges me to grow in love.

I appreciate every tear and tantrum from my children because it demands I walk in patience.

I appreciate every time my bank account was empty or even (dare I be real?) overdrawn, because it forced me to learn better stewardship and reminded me of my true Source.

I appreciate every person who told me I wasn’t good enough, because it demanded that I return to what God told me to do.

I appreciate every setback, every hurry-up-and-wait on the road to this season in my career, because it taught to me to trust God’s plan.

I appreciate every negative word spoken about me and/or to me, because it meant I had to rely on who God says I am.

I appreciate every phone call I made that went unanswered, because it challenged me to call on the Lord.

I appreciate every difficult decision and mistake that I’ve made, because they forced me to seek God and His plan for me.

Why, you ask?  How is that so?  How can I be equally grateful for the “good” and the “bad”?

Well, because for me, this time, living in this season of thankful appreciation, is a confirmation of what the word says in Roman 8:28 (NIV):

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Know this.  I can’t speak for you.  And I am by no means knocking your thankfulness but I am challenging you to look thank about being thankful in a broader sense.

Aggressively find your silver lining.  Proactively seek out the blessing in your mess.

Not simply because it’s a good habit or because it will grow your faith, but because I believe this is how God has called us to live; this is how we exemplify that we are in this world but not of it.  Through out outlook, our perspective.

As the holiday season continues, I pray that you will continue to be shown reasons to be both thankful and appreciative, and that you bless God for them both.

Meditate on this…

YouTube video courtesy of Gregory Slack

How?

I don’t usually do weekend posts, but this week is a week of transition for me so I won’t be able to post.  I’m taking a little time to focus in on God, how He’s moving in my life, and what He’d like from me.

As such, I wanted to talk to you guys tonight.

My church, National Community Church, is in the midst of a life-changing series…on how not to be deep.

MIND. BLOWN. RIGHT?

LOL.  Seriously, the series is called, “How” and it focuses on getting us all back to the basics in our relationships with God.  You can check out the entire series below (or join us at one of our 6 sites next week to see it in person!), but I wanted to share something with you that pricked my heart as I was in service today.

Relationship with God shouldn’t be complicated.  He wants to be glorified.  We were built to glorify Him.  We want guidance and direction.  He wants to guide us and give abundance and prosperity.

God’s the jig to our saw.  He’s the peanut (or sunflower or apple, if you’re allergic!) butter to our jelly.  He’s the alpha and omega to our…well, to us.

I know some of you have been saved, sanctified and Holy Ghost-filled your entire lives.  But for the few of you who are like me and sometimes wonder, God, how can I do this?  How can I do everything you want me to do/be everything you want me to be?  Lord, I’m confused; I want to read the Bible but I don’t know how or where to start.  I’m overwhelmed.  All I really want is you, Lord: to feel close to you, to please you and to hear your voice.  Help me, please!

If you’ve ever thought these things. If you’ve ever met a Christian who was so saved that s/he was no earthly good.  If you’ve ever wondered how to do the relationship with God, this series is for you.  Check it out and I’ll be praying for you.  Also, you guys pray for me, too.  I’m walking through many God-opened doors this week and I’m grateful and excited!

It’s Turning Around

Being a Christian requires a special kind of vision.

Like a Spidey Sense, only different.

Because being a Christian requires that we see things in the spiritual before we see them in the physical.  I mean, it’s literally the definition of faith (Hebrews 11:1):  the substance of things hoped for, evidence of things not seen.

It requires that we see things through the lens of faith – believing that things are already done before we can see, taste, touch or feel them.

This morning I woke up with VaShawn Mitchell’s song, “Turning Around For Me,” in my spirit and on my mind.

The song goes like this: (courtesy of VaShawn Mitchell YouTube)

As I’ve hummed this song to myself this morning, the lyrics have transformed from a word of encouragement to a promise to a declaration.  It moves you from a place of pleading for relief from whatever your circumstances are to shouting in victory and thanks to God that, yes, it’s turning around.

See, the first time you sing this song you’re encouraged because you’re compelled to look at all of the stuff you’ve got going on in your life, around you, at home, at work, in your head and your heart — all of it — and tell yourself, “Yeah.  It won’t always be like this.  It’ll get better.”

Then, as the words start to ruminate in your mind and your heart, it starts to sound like your own cheering section: “Sooner or later,  It’s turning around.  Sooner or later.”  You’re getting worked up now, and thinking, “Yeah, I may not see it, but it’s turning around.  It may not look like it, but it’s turning around.  It may not feel like it, but He’s working on my behalf.  I may not understand it, but it’ll all work to my good.  I may not know how, but I always win.  Yeah, sooner or later.”

And then, before you know it — or hours later, as is the case for me this morning – you realize that the lyrics aren’t encouraging you to believe — they’re practically shouting the command at you: “Hey, you may not see it but THE I AM is telling you it’s turning around right now.  It’s working in your favor. ” Translation: IT. IS. DONE.

That husband or wife that walked out.

Turning around.

That son or daughter that left.

Turning around.

That bank account that never seems to be enough.

Turning around.

That relationship that failed.

Turning around.

That dead-end job.

Turning around.

Your low self-esteem.

Turning around.

The tears you cry at night, when no one is around.

Turning around.

The emptiness you can’t seem to fill.

Turning around.

The loneliness you battle.

Turning around.

The bills piling up.

Turning around.

It’s turning around.

It’s ALL turning around.

Look, you may not see it.  You may  not understand how you’ll win this.  How you’ll overcome this.  How you’ll bounce back from this. 

But the Word is clear and God cannot lie:

Romans 8:28 NIV

 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Tap into your Holy Spirit vision.  Remember the promises God’s told you about who you are, what you can do, what He wants for you.

Remember His promise in Jeremiah:

Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

And then look at your circumstances, your situations, your momentary setbacks through the lens of those promises.

Can you see it now?

Can you feel it now?

It’s turning around for you.

It’s turning around FOR YOU.

Look, I don’t know what brought you here today.

I don’t know what heaviness you’ve carried in your heart and in your mind.

I don’t know your demons or your battles.

But I know that our God is bigger than any demon in hell; any problem on earth; and has already overcome and defeated every thing in this world.

And He’s faithful to bless you and to keep you because He declared that NO WEAPON – no bill, no collector, no person, no relationship, no sin, no mistake or misstep, no past, no NOTHING – shall prosper.

You win.

You’ve won.

All you have to do now is see it to receive it.

I won’t lie to you: this devotional, this entry today, is as much a pep talk for myself as it is intended to be for you.  I’m on the cusp of so many blessings and so much favor and so many new seasons that I felt a little overwhelmed when I first sat down to write this.

But I’m smiling now – exhaling the heavy and inhaling the peace of the Holy Spirit – because I know it’s turning around.

Here are the lyrics to Mr. Mitchell’s song (courtesy of Song Lyrics dot com).  If you can’t remember a single scripture, if you can’t remember a single sermon, let this hymn minister to your Spirit.

RIGHT HERE.  RIGHT NOW.  IT’S ALL TURNING AROUND FOR YOU.

Sometimes discouraged, but not defeated
Cast down, but not destroyed

There are times I don’t understand
But, I believe it’s turning around for me

I’ve had struggles and disappointments
There are times I felt so alone
Some of my friends they let me down
But, I still believe it’s turning around for me

Around for me
Around for me
Around for me
It’s turning around for me

Around for me
Around for me
Around for me
It’s turning around for me

I can see the breaking of day
God is making a way
A change is coming for me
If I stand strong and believe
There’s no reason to doubt
I know He’s working it out
And it’s turning around for me

And it won’t always be like this
He will perfect that concerning me
And sooner or later it will turn in my favor
It’s turning around for me

It won’t always be like this
The Lord will perfect that concerning me
Sooner or later turn in my favor
Sooner or later turn in my faovr
It’s turning around for me

Around for me
Around for me
Around for me
It’s turning around for me

Devotional: It Ain’t About You

*This devotional was originally written by me in May 2012, but it’s a good reminder.  I hope it blesses you!

Sunday, I took my kids to Richmond, VA, to spend the day with my mom on Mother’s Day.  It was a last-minute decision, so by the time I joined my family at church, the Bishop was wrapping up.  Once service was over, I made my way to the altar to say hello to him.

We talked back and forth, I introduced him to my son, and before too long, my father had joined us in our chat.

My father went on to tell the Bishop about my new job and how proud he was of me.  The Bishop was proud, too, and he congratulated me.  He then said something that I’ve thought about frequently since.

He looked at me and said, “Look, this is a great opportunity for you.  But God has you here for your husband.  Your husband is going to be able to go anywhere he wants to in the federal government through you.  So your connections, your work.  God’s going to use you to bless your husband. And he put you there to tell the truth.  Always tell the truth.”

Hearing the Bishop prophesy about my husband’s future brought tears to my eyes.  I don’t know how much I’ve told you all about my husband, but he’s a phenomenal man.  He works full-time as a police officer, takes our oldest child to school, works out, takes care of both babies throughout the day, drops and picks me up from work, cooks dinner most nights, cleans everything, and on top of that is a full-time student. He is selfless, intelligent, thoughtful and far greater of a husband than I ever imagined I’d have.

So, given all of that, you can understand why a prophesy of blessings for my hard-working husband would cause such a reaction in me.

But you know, the more I thought about the entire exchange, the more I realized the greater message in what Bishop said.  It’s this: the idea that even though we’re most often consumed with our plans, our goals, and what God has for us, the truth is that sometimes our placement, our promotion is so God can use us to be a blessing to someone else.

I know, I know.  It may not be a revolutionary, life-changing epiphany to you.  But I feel strongly today, right now, that someone reading this is wondering why God has them where they are.

Perhaps you can’t figure out why you’re stalled, why your promotion hasn’t come, or this season hasn’t ended.  Maybe you feel like for some reason God isn’t answering your prayers to move on, to do something different, to go somewhere new.

Well, let me encourage you: perhaps, just perhaps, it ain’t about you!

Not what you were expecting, I’m sure, but I do mean this to be an encouragement.  Maybe all the hell you’re going through on your job isn’t because you’re being punished, but because God is teaching someone else a lesson, growing them, testing them, stretching them.

Maybe you’ve been single so long not because God intends for you to spend your life alone, but because he’s preparing your wife or husband, maturing them, blessing them, grooming them.

Maybe your resumes are going unanswered not because you don’t qualify, but because that job is for someone else who’s had it worse, for longer, and for whom this is their break.

Maybe, just maybe, it’s ain’t about you!

And to be honest, it ain’t always going to be supernatural.  Case and point: maybe that flat tire that you had on the way to work kept someone else from getting into a life-altering accident.

Maybe the phone call, text, FB post, tweet, or email that you never got kept a door closed that would have brought you nothing but heartache.

Or maybe the phone call, text, FB post, tweet, or email that YOU SENT was never responded to to stop you from introducing drama to someone else’s life.

You know, as I thought about this devotional, the Lord brought to my remembrance something that my friend and mentor at Zion Church, Min. Katana, has said more than once in our small groups.  And it’s this, “Sure, God doesn’t need us for His will to be done, but often He works through people.  And He can’t work if you don’t let Him.”  Now, I paraphrased that, but what I want you to get is this: you can’t be open to God’s leading and His desire to use you if you’re fixated on what you think you’re going through.

I mean, that’s just logical: how can you hear God’s voice over your own “woe is me”, pity party?

Look, my prayer for you today is that your thinking will be changed.  That you and I both will move from me-centric thinking to He- capital H – He-centric thinking, being always aware of God being at work.

And if you can’t remember that, if you find yourself so frustrated, sad, disappointed, confused, or dejected because of your circumstances, then prayerfully you’ll remember this, John 15:16, that says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in name.”

Wondering why you haven’t gotten what you seek? Wondering why you haven’t been released from this job, this relationship, this assignment, this place or this season?

I guarantee you that if you begin to ask God how you can be of service to Him where you are, ask Him why He’s placed you where you are, appointed you to do what you’re doing, seek Him and ask those questions and you’ll be well on your way to seeing the Lord open the path to your next appointment.

 

Don’t Hate the Wait

So, this post is going to just be real. And the real deal is that even when God has promised us things, sometimes – often times, perhaps – we have to wait to receive those blessings.

And let’s be honest: waiting sucks.

I mean really. The time between confirmation and taking possession can seem painfully long and uneventful.

In that time, it is easy to become discouraged; to doubt what’s God’s said; and to even question your faith.

So, as I am in a season of waiting now, I thought I’d share with you some things we can do while we wait.

  1. Praise God. Once we receive word that more or better or next is coming, we should immediately go into a season of worshipping and praising God to thank Him for His favor, His provision, and His blessings. Thanking Him with praise, especially before you take possession is a line in the sand to God. God I believe your Word, I believe your power and I know it’s coming. Thank you.
  2. Excel Where You’re Planted. If you’re anything like me, once you know new/next/promotion is coming, it can be hard to remain focused on the task – or job – at hand. But the reality is that at some point THIS was what you were waiting for God to provide. So we honor God by doing everything as to His service and to honor Him. So what better way to say thank you Lord for making a way than by ensuring that you continue to take care of what He’s already given you…while you wait for what He’s promised?
  3. Serve Others. In the moments when God says, “OK [insert your name here], this is what I’m going to do for you,” it’s all about you. But we must be careful not to stay in a self-centered mode as we prepare for promotion. In fact, the best way to remain humble and to prepare for the new levels of service you’ll be expected to meet when God promotes you is to serve others now. Stop thinking about yourself – no matter how great and exciting the news is – and start focusing on others. Are there folks God’s placed in your circle that could use your encouragement, time, resources or kind words? There are no coincidences in Christ. Likewise we are called to minister from every place in our lives because there’s always someone you can help.
  4. Be Present. When I get confirmation of what’s to come, I have a habit of sprinting far off into the future, planning future events based on what I don’t even have yet. Don’t do that! Remain present in the here and now. Besides the fact that the Word is clear that tomorrow will have its own cares and troubles, we must always remember that tomorrow isn’t promised. Sure, allow yourself a few minutes to daydream about what God is capable of, but then come back and firmly anchor yourself in today. The best way to be prepared for tomorrow is to make it through today. We miss so much of our life’s journey while racing into the what could be of our futures.
  5. Take Inventory. The reality is that even when God says He’s got a blessing for us, we won’t be released from our present season until our work is done; until we’ve given what we’ve come to give and received what we’ve come to get. Bottom line. So it is imperative that we are even more diligent in seeking God’s guidance in the moments after confirmation of a new season/new blessing so we can be clear what work we must wrap up where we are. If you think waiting to take possession of your blessing is hard, imagine how hard it is to realize some time later that you could have had it sooner if only you’d sought God’s roadmap.
  6. Be Grateful. I mean be grateful for what you already have. Be grateful that God loves you enough and cares enough for you to want to bless you and give you more. Be grateful that He’s given you health and strength to walk the road He has you on. Be grateful for life and family and for another day. Decide that your joy won’t be anchored in the gifts, but in the Gift-Giver. This his how you ensure that your head is in the right space – and your heart – when it’s finally time to receive.

Look, I know it isn’t easy. And it isn’t fun. But waiting – with faith and patience and grace – are necessary for God to perfect us and for His will to be done.

And, as not helpful as this might seem, the reality is that we aren’t called to wait in our strength, our own way. In fact, we are reminded that even our waiting should be done His way, so that He can be glorified and so that our faith in Him can grow. Consider these two scriptures:

Galatians 6:9 – Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Isaiah 40:31 – but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Yes, there is even a way to wait victoriously and to honor God!

So, here’s my final thought: don’t hate the wait! It’s a part of life – natural and spiritual – and plays a critical role in our development. Follow these tips, and whatever other instructions you’re led to follow in your waiting season, and you’ll be walking into your “new” before you know it!

Favor Ain’t Fair

*Today I share a mini-sermon from two of my Mothers-in-Christ.  This is just to encourage that person who is looking at someone else’s life and wondering, “Why is He doing all that for her/him? What about me?” I hope this blesses you!

I’ve often heard people quote Acts 10:34-35 that God is no respecter of persons. But I think we have been mis-educated about its meaning. My understanding of it had been whatever God does for one person He will do the same for any person. I beg to differ with that interpretation.

Here are the verses:

34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.

The back story on that verse is this is the first time Peter was preaching to Gentiles and he wanted them to know that God saw them the same as the Jewish people with the same entitlements.

So, the question to me then is does God have favorites?

Well, having read about His relationship with Abraham, whom he visited and ate with; Moses, whom He saved to use to free his people; David, who was a king of His heart; Solomon, the re-builder of His temple; Job, whom He knew trusted Him even if He killed him; Peter, James, and John who formed His inner circle while on this earth; and John who we know He just loved the most, I think YES God does have favorites.

I would then ask can anyone be his favorite?  And I believe that answer would also be YES.

And finally, HOW?

God has given us ALL a measure of faith.  Many of us work on a ‘mustard seed’ sample of faith but is that the measure?  No; faith can grow.  We know that faith needs works.  We know that God loves praise and worship.  We know that God wants us to trust Him and not be of a double mind.  God always searches our hearts.  It is our faith that moves the heart and hand of God. And oh, don’t forget predestination.  We can’t leave that out.

So, yes, God is a respecter of person. Be clear though: God is not a respecter of person from outward appearances, but He definitely is based on the condition of the heart.

Bottom line, God may not do to and through you what He is doing for someone else; but, He definitely has plans for you. Plans to prosper you, in your own special way according to His purpose and condition of your heart, and to give you a future (Jer 29:11).

No, favor ain’t fair, but we all thank God for the measure of faith and favor He’s given us each…and for the ability to grow in both!

 

Devotional: Dark Times

A friend of mine sent this to me today.  It’s an excerpt from Sarah Young’s “Jesus Today:”

When you are going through a dark time – a hard time – its easy to project that darkness into the future. The longer you struggle with adverse circumstances, the darker the way before you appears – and the harder it is to imagine yourself walking along bright paths again. The temptation is to just give up and let misery become your companion. So it is crucial at such times to remember that I am your constant Companion. Moreover, because I am Sovereign God, I am able to turn your darkness into Light.

When you feel on the verge of sinking in despair, turn to Me for help. Cling to My hand, and walk by faith through the darkness. Do not focus on the circumstances that are weighing you down. Instead, through eyes of faith, look ahead to brighter times, and praise Me for them. While you worship Me in midst of darkness, I enable you to see the first gleam of dawn on the path before you. Continue walking worshipfully with Me – a walk of faith. As you persevere along this path, the dim light will gradually shine brighter and brighter till the full light of day.

Isaiah 61:1 – 2 Samuel 22:29 – 2 Corinthians 5:7 – Proverbs 4:18

***

We all go through dark times.  Whether it’s the darkness of loss, pain, grief or sadness, or it’s the darkness of not knowing what to do, where to go, or what “the plan” is, I’m sure we’ve all been there.

It can be difficult to keep the big picture in mind at these times.  While folks tell you that the storm won’t last always, all you see around you is darkness, loneliness, and despair.  People tell you that this season is almost over, but you can’t even find the strength to hope for what’s next.

It is in these times that I’ve found it most helpful not to challenge myself or my friends to dig deep or keep trying.  No, in these times all we must – truly, all we CAN do – is look to God.  That’s it: nothing more, nothing less.

When you’re feeling your lowest, call to him.  It doesn’t have to be a fancy, sophisticated prayer.  In fact, if all you do is say the name “Jesus,” while tears fall down your face, you’ve done enough.  He hears you, He feels your pain, and He’s there.

The truth is, no matter how difficult to understand or see, that this dark time will end.  But my prayer for you as you go through is to remember the one who is with you, leading you and protecting you.

Remember, the Word never says you won’t go through the valley of the shadow of death (whatever that looks like for you), all it says is that God is with you through it all, giving you the strength you need to see His plan for you through to the end.

This too shall pass my Brother and my Sister.

Feel free to leave your prayer requests below or at my email address (safiya.simmons@me.com) if you’d like to know that someone is praying with and for your victory.  I’m pleased to do so.

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