Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Thirsty Thursdays: Temptation

Temptation is something that is enticing or alluring. It is the attraction or strong appeal to something desirable that is often regarded as unwise, wrong or immoral. We all have different vices so our temptations may be different as well. One thing for sure though, is with God we can stand up to, fight and overcome any temptation that may come our way.

To many, money is very enticing and alluring. They will do just about anything for a buck.  In Micah 3 we see that even leaders and prophets in Israel gave into temptation and were corrupted for the love of money. “11 Her leaders judge for a bribe, her priest teach for a price, and her prophets tell fortunes for money…” Because of their strong appeal and attraction to money they took bribes, taught for a price and told fortunes to obtain money even though they knew it was wrong and immoral.

We all have different things that we find enticing or alluring. For me food is one of those things. Simply put I LOVE FOOD, all sorts of food from all sorts of places. True Life: I am a Cereal Killer, I love it I can eat it all day everyday. I love breakfast food, I love lunch food, dinner food, dessert food, midnight snack food, I had a long day so time to relax food, its cold outside so let me stay in and eat food. Moral of the story I enjoy food and the devil knows this, it's no secret. Which is why on a day like today when my peers and I are fasting, there just so happens to be a Tenant Appreciation Day BBQ. Burgers, hotdogs, bbq chicken potato salad, etc. all FREE!!!! Talk about Temptation. Ron in the flesh would not be able to turn down such delights but luckily “8 I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, with justice and might…” Micah 3:8.

With the Lord’s spirit giving me power and might, I was able to resist all of the free food and continue to fast. I was able to stand up, fight and overcome the temptation of eating although food was all around me, and everyone was stuffing their face. To some this may seem miniscule; to others it may be monumental, to each his or her own. Every victory whether big or small strengthens you and continues to help you grow. Each situation in which you find yourself tempted, each battle you face know that you are filled with power and might through the spirit of the Lord. Build a strong foundation through studying the word and praying. Gain wisdom and knowledge and communicate with God building a personal relationship. Have a strong support group, friends/family who like you are striving to live righteously, “Iron sharpens Iron”. Put on “Gods Armor”. I was able to get a head start on the day with 5am prayer, it set me off on the right foot. (The Prayer line is available Mon-Weds-Fri @ 5am and 12pm, if you have any prayer request, need some extra strength for the day etc feel free to call 424-203-8000 passcode 748242). As Transforming Tuesday’s very own Jamera would say, “Don’t let the devil use you”. He will attempt to exploit your weakness; don’t give in to the temptation. “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” Ephesians 6:10-11. 

Stay Thirsty My Friends

Thirsty Thursdays

Warrior Wednesdays: Living for Eternity

Would you like to live forever? Our society promotes staying youthful and never getting old. This is why the beauty industry is saturated with products to aid against anti aging. No one wants the wrinkles, aches, and pains that come along with old age and most importantly very few people want to die. Walt Disney went as far as to freeze himself in the hopes that he could be brought back to life. The Bible states that for some of us we will NEVER see death we will go straight to heaven. Our mortal bodies will be changed to immortal and we will live with God for eternity.  The scriptures from today's reading were so powerful to me that I felt it was best to simply write them for you. 

1 Corinthians 15:51-58
"Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep but we shall all be changed." Many people think the one certain thing in this world is death that we will all die, however the bible says opposite. We will not all die some of us will never see death but will go straight to heaven. The one thing for certain is that our physical bodies will all change. 

"In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." The return of God will be quick. In the twinkling of an eye as fast as you can blink we will be changed from our mortal bodies to immortality.

"For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality." Our earthly bodies which are prone to pain, disease, and death will be changed to our heavenly bodies, which will never faces any of those issues and will live eternally. 

"So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory." When we have changed from our mortal bodies there will be no more death. Death will have lost its power for we will live forever!

"O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" Death will no longer be a factor and the grave will not be able to hold the believers down because the dead in Christ shall rise first.

"The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law."

"But thanks be to God, which giveth us the vistory through our Lord Jesus Christ."  Through Christ's death and resurrection he defeated Satan and gave us the victory. He is our Saviour. 

"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." Sometimes we get tired of doing what we do for God. We may be tired of going to choir practice, or teaching sunday school, but the passage tells us that our work is not in vain. We should continue never wavering always doing what is right for God. If you are discouraged by what you are doing remember this verse.

I was so excited when I read this passage that I had to read it multiple times. The fact that in a moment our bodies will change to incorruptible and immortal that we will live with God forever is amazing! These scriptures reaffirmed for me the important things in life are what we do for Christ. Sometimes I get tired of doing church activities but the scriptures motivated me to continue pressing.  Everything we do for Christ is worth it when the moment comes and our bodies are transformed we will live for an eternity!

Stay Blessed and Continue Warring for Christ!
Warrior Wednesday: Brittney

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

TRANSFORMING TUESDAY: Death Is Real, But God Is Even More Real

Have you ever felt like you've had forever to do something? Have you had something to do today, but you put it off until tomorrow? I remember in college I had friends who would go to sleep early so that they could wake up extra early to finish a paper. I was the complete opposite. I would stay up all day and night until my paper was finished and fully submitted. Regardless of our own methods we each had the same motive: we rushed against the clock. Why is it that we think we have all of the time in the world to complete certain tasks? Why is it that we set alarm clocks in such confidence that that particular timepiece will wake us up? Are we feeling invincible, or are we just hopeful?

I used to live my life rushing against the clock. I was always consumed with worry because as far back as I could remember I've always had responsibility. Then I would look at one of my younger sisters and admire their more easy-going attitude. Their worries were far less than mine and it could have been because they have had far less responsibilities than I had. Or it may have been because they've known that someone with far more responsibilities have been watching over them. In the same way that we use alarm clocks to wake us up when we don't even pray when we go to bed is the same way that we can cruise through life without any worries: a) We either feel invincible or b.) We’re hopeful.
But what happens when that alarm clock doesn't ring? Or better yet, what happens when we don't hear that alarm clock? I think 2013 alone has opened my eyes to DEATH and how real it is. It's as if we don't understand it until it hits home for us. I used to be afraid of death until I realized that while I'm living I have a choice. My choice consists of: living for the world or dying for Christ. It isn't complicated. One leads to eternal damnation and the other is eternal life. Personally I feel that we don't need too many wake-up calls about death because we face that possibility on a day-to-day basis. We make foolish decisions, yet through God's grace and mercy, we are able to live through those times and share our experiences with others.

The month of July I have been heard of death, I have seen new life (birth), I have seen a baptism, and unfortunately I have seen illness. What do all of these experiences have in common: EVERYONE will encounter death no matter how hard it is to cope with the idea. A young man died a sudden death. My friend gave birth to a healthy and beautiful baby boy. Another young man gave his life to Christ after realizing that God is all that he needs in life. And lastly, one of the strongest people that I know is ill - this is only temporary. Death is sudden, unpredictable, and permanent. If it's all of these why do we hesitate to get our lives together? Why do we set dates on when we're coming to church to give our lives to Christ? And why does it take a life-altering situation for us to seek God? What's so different about tomorrow that you can't give your life to Christ today? Both days face the same thing: the possibility of death.

I know for a fact that I encounter the possibility of death everyday. Currently I attend school and intern in what is said to be the most dangerous cities in New Jersey. I'm here early and nights when I have class I leave late. I also sometimes encounter "criminals" (innocent until proven guilty type of thing) in my field of study, yet I'm here today to tell blog about the word. There was a time where I wouldn't entertain death until I attended funerals of loved ones. I also used to be afraid of all the possibilities that could go wrong, until I realized that although Death is Real, God IS EVEN MORE REAL. So yes my young and foolish thinking made me feel like I was invincible, but now...everyday that I wake I'm even more hopeful than the night before. 

Where does my hope come from according to 1 Corinthians 15:
  • Christ died for my sins
  • Christ rose on the third day 
  • Everyday is another chance to ask for forgiveness and get closer to God
  • I am baptized in Jesus Name
  • I have the gift of the Holy Ghost
  • I read and study the Word
  • I am walking in my purpose
  • I spread the gospel

So yes Death is Real, But if you knew MY God you would know that he's EVEN MORE REAL...Give your life to him today while you have the chance :)

Deon Kipping- "Prisoner in Christ"

Chained to his will
Tied to his Word
He has my Life
I'm a prisoner of Christ...
There is no place I'd rather be 


Monday, July 29, 2013

Merciful Monday: True Obedience

I think by now, we can all acknowledge the fact that things don’t always happen how we think they should. You may have just gotten your hair done and it started pouring right as you were about to leave the salon, but it probably didn’t stop raining just because you wanted it to. You have been pregnant and wanted to give birth to your child before a certain date, but you didn’t choose the birth date. As the senior staff member, you may have wanted your boss to assign the new big project to you, but he may have given it to someone else, despite their minimal qualifications. My point: there are so many uncertainties in life. As Christians we know that God is ordering our steps, so he controls how things happen in our lives, because as humans we are often short-sighted with our expectations, while only God sees the bigger picture. That’s why he is God!

Along the way, Jonah seemed to have forgotten who God was (and he definitely needed a reminder!). After being swallowed by a whale, living in his belly for three days, and being spit out, he surrendered to God by doing what he asked him to do, but he still had his own preconceived notions of what result his actions would have. Yes, Jonah was feeling himself a little bit! After he discovered that God had chosen to exert his mercy upon the people of Nineveh and not destroy the city, he got mad. The Bible says, “This change of plans greatly upset Jonah, and he became very angry.  So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people.  Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen” (Jonah 4:1-3 NLT).

Jonah disobeyed God by running away from his responsibility, yet God still spared his life by delivering him from the belly of the whale. Even so, Jonah seemed to think that he knew better than God. And, I believe he was more concerned with the potential that people would think that he wasn’t a real prophet because what he said was no longer going to happen. He had forgotten the mercy that God had granted him. God convicted Jonah saying, “Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?” (Jonah 4:11).  

Can you remember being guilty of a similar thing, forgetting past mercies because of your all-important view of yourself?

God wanted to show Jonah that there is more to obedience than doing what you are told.
The feeling behind it is what matters most. As I was a kid, when I would get in a fight with one of my siblings, my mom often forced me to apologize despite the fact that I had ZERO desire to do so. She would make me look my sibling in the eye and say the words “I’m sorry”. A fleeting “sorry” would never cut it. Then she would make us hug each other. I would always roll my eyes and try to keep my arms as limp as possible to show that I was NOT enthusiastic about this, I was only doing it out of obligation. Now that I am older, I see why she made us do this. She wanted us to get to the point where we would show that we were sorry and exhibit truly repentant emotion of our own accord. (Now, I can say that I usually don’t struggle to forgive, and I have a genuine desire to do so, so thanks mom!)

Similarly, God wants us to obey, not out of obligation or duty, but out of a genuine desire to do his will based on our RELATIONSHIP with him. Next time God leads you to do something, do it with a good attitude and a pure heart, knowing that you are just one piece of the jigsaw puzzle called life that God is slowly putting together.

“So rejoice in the Lord and be glad, all you who obey him! Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!” (Psalm 32:11)

Merciful Mondays: Jael

For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon you or destroy you or forget the solemn covenant he made with your ancestors.” Deuteronomy 4:31

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Salvation Sundays: It's Time

When reading today's scriptures, there was a common theme that came to mind. The theme is it's time. It's the time for the people of God to rise up. It's the time for God's people to walk in their purpose. It's time for the land to be healed. It's time for the laborers to bring in the harvest. But, the main two ones that are needed and the ones that came from today's readings are it's time for a change and it's time to understand.

In Jonah, we see that Jonah went and spoke to the people of Nineveh. As we know Nineveh was a crazy sinful nation. But God told Jonah that they need to change their ways. Now, the people believed the word that came forth and changed their ways. So, it's time to make sure that we are good and reevaluate our lives to see if there is a change needed.

Time to understand comes from 1 Corinthians. With this, its time that we understand the gifts that God has blessed us with. What is the point of having a gift if you don't understand the purpose. If you had a cell phone, you know the purpose is to stay in contact with people. You wouldn't leave it at home because then it would defeat its purpose. Therefore, as Christians, we need to understand our gifts and see how it can edify the church. In addition, if you don't understand your gift, how can there be a harvest or a change?

So, the way to figure what time it is for you, you have to pray and seek God's face. Let Him do His thang in you.

Stay blessed!!!

Salvation Sunday: Steven Gable
2 Chronicles 6:41 "Now therefore arise, O LORD God, into thy resting place, thou, and the ark of thy strength: let thy priests, O LORD God, be clothed with salvation, and let thy saints rejoice in goodness."

GUEST BLOGGER FOR THE MONTH OF JULY: When We Understand God We Understand Ourselves

So 1st Corinthians Chapter 14:2 starts off saying “for he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth  him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries”.  I think this is explaining how our relationship with God, is just that…our own A and B relationship where, he understands us even though we may not understand him all the time or his methods. Because we speak in a different tongue all together when the spirit hits us, we don’t even know what we may be saying because a switch has occurred; It is God…we are no longer ourselves nor are we in the flesh. We are now able to feel and understand him, when we are transformed in the spirit. I also believe that the scriptures explain to us why we have leaders such as bishops, pastors, etc. 

The lord chose certain leaders to act as sheepdogs as such, to help guide, herd, and protect his sheep.  These leaders are there to provide extra guidance, understanding, and insight on what the lord may be trying to express to us. We must learn to differentiate between the words and teachings of those who believeth in the word of the Lord but speaketh through the eyes of the world versus those who believeth in the Lord our God, and speaketh through his word not just by the use of the tongue but also by their actions, the confines of their heart, and the way they express their love for God in everything they do. We cannot entertain the barbarisms of this world nor be deceived by those sent to distract us by allowing them to use falsities against us. We must know our word and be strong in it; we cannot falter. 

We are all blessed with a spiritual talent or gift that helps edifies the church and the church community whether we know this or not. But just because you lack understanding of your gift or purpose or, you see your gift as spiritually unimportant doesn’t mean that it lacks worth in the kingdom of God. Everything ordained by God contains worth and presence especially his children. If you do not know what you gift is, pray, seek it, and find it so that there can be a plethora of spiritual wealth and knowledge of God.  We must learn to live in the spirit at all times not just temporarily or conveniently as the spirit is what connects us completely, to God’s understanding. We feel and act like him, through the spirit. As children of God we cannot live life daily without incorporating some aspect of God in everything we do whether it be driving to the store or attending Friday night prayer. But through this, we must understand what we are doing and why we are doing it(for example: praise singing or ushering for the church).  

We must constantly hear the Lord’s voice and develop a clear understanding of his teachings. When we begin to truly understand, we leave no room for division between us and God.  Clarity, Interpretation, and Understanding, allows us to repetitively become plentiful in the Lord’s spiritual fruits and in this, we are allowing our growing spirituality to be shared in a way, pollenated. When God uses us, we naturally benefit others around us because others begin to see God in us and his glory begin to exude through us. We promote understanding through the use  of spirit and when this happens, the voice of the lord pours out from our mouths and rolls off our tongues like that of daily language. The spirit becomes simple words, which transforms into a speech that becomes our own; Gods tongue becomes our tongue and we are able to hear him. We must mature in learning and understanding, to accept understanding and though this understanding, we find clarity, truth, and interpretation, leading to the Lord’s judgment.


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Saturday Sacrifice: LOvE CHaLLenGE

In 1 Corinthians 13 God reveals to us what REAL LOVE is.
LOVE is…
Does not envy
Does not boast
Is not proud
Does not dishonor others
Is not self-seeking
Does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth
It protects
It trusts
It hopes
It preserves
It never fails.
This is love. The most profound thing to me about this is that God says out of faith, hope and love the greatest of these is love.
After all that is what started everything. God’s love for us is the reason why we have salvation and why it is available to those who want it.
“For God so love the world they he gave his only begotten son so that whoever believes in him will not perish but have ever lasting life.”
Having love in your heart is obviously extremely important to God. It even says, “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
And it also says,
In I John 4:7-8, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
A successful life on a spiritual, mental, and emotional level is nothing if you don’t have love. Having love for one another and most importantly God is what truly separates us from the rest of the world.
John 13:34-35  A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
I challenge all of us, including myself to get to know God more, which will cause us to love more because when we do God will most definitely shine through. Where God shines nothing stays the same.
Ephesians 2:4-5
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
Stay in God’s peace, not in pieces =)
Saturday Sacrifice: Hannah



Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday Fellowship: God Prepared for You

       Preparation is associated with care, love, focus, seriousness and commitment. How do you feel when you go somewhere and upon your arrival there are preparations for you? Imagine a movie theatre that when you came they directed you to your favorite seat, your favorite snacks were on the chair, your favorite drink in the cup holder and the right temperature was set. You would be in awe of such treatment and such care for you. Especially, if you didn’t pay for this service. The ultimate sign of love and care is in preparations. It displays your thoughts.
     In the book of Kings a man of God, Elisha is threatened by an army seeking his life. Elisha did not fret because not only did he know God made preparations for his protection but he saw it. God already had his army in place to protect Elisha. This means God foresaw the evil plan to destroy his servant Elisha. As in our lives, to them whom serve God, when in trouble remember God has already made preparations. Your situation did not surprise God. He is not unprepared in any aspect of our life.
Jeremiah 29:11
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith theLord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

     When we look in Jonah it shows a man of God being disobedient to God’s word. God shows in Jonah he prepares places for his people to correct them and steer them back to his will
. Jonah 1
17 Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

      Difficulty does not mean God has forgotten you as both Elisha and Jonah were facing difficulty. Elisha was obedient and Jonah wasn’t, but in both stories God has made preparations for both. Whether we are obedient or disobedient we need to realize God made preparations and if we choose to serve him GREAT are the RESULTS DUE TO GOD’S PREPARATIONS!!

There are places God has for us that are tailored made for us and so specific that upon your arrival, you will say in certainty, “I know God created this place!” Ultimately, God’s greatest preparations were his son Jesus to die for all our sins; that we may live in God’s prepared Heaven for those whom choose to serve him.
John 14
In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

     Last year, when I was without a car walking to and from work, I learned God prepared for me to endure the journey. The times when I was extremely frustrated, exhausted and felt forgotten, God at those times prepared for me random people to offer me rides. Also, specific things would happen during the day and cheer me up encouraging me to endure the walk. Then there were the times where God himself would draw me in his presence. My mind would be wandering and negative thoughts would flow, then I’d feel an urge to pray. When I followed the feeling to pray, an hour long walk would feel like minutes.

   God through preparations for us shows he loves us, cares for us, that were important to him and that he wants the best for us. Do we make preparations for him in our schedules?
Matthew 6:33
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Thirsty Thursdays: Trust and Obey

Ever want God to work something out in your life? Did you expect this huge ordeal to take place, moving of mountains parting of the sea etc.? Many times God performs miracles in our lives and they go unnoticed or we feel in order for it to be done something extravagant has to occur. In actuality it doesn’t take much to perform a miracle in your life, faith and obedience will go a long way.

Naaman was a general of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great soldier, who happened to have leprosy. Leprosy is a contagious skin disease caused by a bacteria that causes skin sores, nerve damage, muscle weakness, discoloration and gets worse over time. Naaman went to Israel to get healed after hearing about a prophet (Elisha) who would be able to cure him. When he arrived, Elisha told him to go wash in the Jordan seven times and his skin will be restored. “11 But Naaman went away angry and said, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy…So he turned and went off in a rage.” 2 Kings 5:11-12.

It being something so simple made Naaman angry. He was expecting more of a spectacle.  Luckily for Naaman his servant was more understanding and was able to get him to believe and obey. “13…If the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you ‘wash and be cleansed’! 14. So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy”. TRUSTING that God would cure him if he OBEYED, Naaman went in the Jordan and washed seven times and was cured of leprosy.

Lets not complicate things or miss out on blessings by placing certain expectations and assumptions on HOW God will work things out in our lives. If it isn’t going how we think it should or how we planned or imagined it would in our minds don't get upset or frustrated and turn away. We will never be able to completely understand or predict how God will work it out because it is beyond our capabilities to make such things happen. God can open doors no man can open and provide a way out of no way. Through him the impossible is possible. It may be through the parting of the red sea or something simpler like dipping in water seven times. Just be obedient, listen to his voice, follow his directions and BELIEVE in faith KNOWING that he WILL work it out. 

Stay Thirsty My Friends

Thirsty Thursdays