Tag Archives: Journey

From where I left off

2015 is missing from my blog. Ideally it should’t be, because 2015 was the year when I took time off to discover who I am and understand myself better and if this is the space where I record my experiences as it relates to God, then this is the place where I should have at least tried to document 2015 right? I keep thinking that I should include an apology somewhere in this post but I’m not going to, because I think it’s okay for a person to stop and reassess their life and find peace amidst the storm in isolation. I’m not sorry for abandoning this space but I missed it immensely. I missed engaging with my readers and engaging with other writers.

I can’t say that I regret not writing about 2015 though. The year has passed and I haven’t documented anything anywhere, not even in my personal journals. 2015 was my year for living, learning and letting go. I’ve had so many challenges and life changing events take place and I never once stopped to add those to my online archive of experiences-had and lessons-learned. As I sit in my hotel room (I’m in Thessaloniki Greece at the moment) and I prepare to pick up the pieces when I get home in the next couple of days I find myself thinking on Philippians 4:6-8

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

I’m in desperate need for God’s peace. My mind races like a Ferrari on an open circuit and while I know that ultimately God’s plan will be revealed to me in time, I still struggle to find stillness amidst the madness that I see before me. My heart aches for a glimpse of the not so distant future so my mind would cease to run rampant with worrying thoughts and I can wait peacefully for God’s promises to unfold. However amidst the uncertainty there is a great expectation stirring within me because I’ve experienced God’s awesome move in my life before and I know it’s at times like these He shows up and shows off for me.

I continue to depend of God and I continue to rely on His love, grace and mercy as I move forward. My heart still longs for more of Christ and my desire is still to please Him in everything I do. I wish only to see God take complete control of my life, regardless of what that translates into. I may not have documented 2015 in this space but I am certain the lessons I’ve learned will be referenced from time to time as I pick up from where I left off in 2014.

This 2016 I stand on God’s promise in Philippians 1:6

being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

I expect great things from my great God and I look forward to serving Him, His people and His kingdom this year. God continues to be good and I will continue to give Him all honour and glory and praise. I am blessed to be numbered amongst His children and I am proud to proclaim His name across the globe!

2016 will be amazing and I can hardly wait to take you on this journey with me 🙂

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Daily Dose – Things I Learned While Walking

walking-excercise

Yesterday I went for a walk and while walking some great life lessons were revealed to me.

1 Everyone is on the same road in life however, the way we choose to walk that road will determine what our destination will entail; eternal life or damnation.

2 Just as our personality and sense of style differs so to in life, our journeys will be different. As Christians we all walk the same road but we each will have different encounters, hurdles, blessings and experiences. It’s up to us to focus on our walk and embrace it for what it is.

3 Each of us has a clear idea of where our journey will end but if we focus only on the end itself we’ll miss all the beautiful sights, lessons and people on the way.

4 Don’t compare your walk to someone’s. They may look shiny, sweaty and soaked on the outside but you don’t know what their muscles and ligaments are going through on the inside.

5 Take time to admire the simple things along the way. There’s beauty all around us. It really is okay to stop and smell the roses from time to time.

6 The journey is always better with a friend. Some of us may have a friend and some of us will be a friend but friendship carries us through. And in those silent moments when there’s no one around you have the greatest friend to keep you company. Jesus!

 

The funny thing for me as I type this is the fact that I was very reluctant to go walking yesterday. All in all I’m really happy that I had a friend who dragged me to the savannah to exercise because not only does my body feel better my heart and spirit benefited as well!

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Read the Directions – Mary Southerland

Jeremiah 29:11 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.

I am an average cook and a below average baker. Consequently, I am of little value in the “cookies from scratch” department. Our daughter, Danna, however, loves to bake and is very good at whipping up three-dozen cookies or her favorite yellow cake with chocolate frosting. I will never forget the day Danna baked her first batch of cookies from scratch.

It was a Saturday morning, and Danna had a “craving” for cookies. Not cookies in a package or from a store, but real cookies she insisted. Watching her gather all of the necessary ingredients, I asked which recipe she was planning to use. With a smug look of disdain, my competent daughter turned to her pitifully incompetent mother and explained that she didn’t really need a recipe. After all, she had made hundreds of slice and bake cookies, not to mention the dozens of brownies from a box. How hard could it be? I decided to watch.

The kitchen counters quickly filled with various bowls, a tub of butter, flour, vanilla and milk. Tossing an occasional gracious and confident smile my way, Danna mixed differing amounts of each ingredient and stirred vigorously. Satisfied that it “looked right,” she fished a cookie pan out of the cabinet, sprayed it with oil and began carefully spooning out the cookie dough. I was truly impressed. After setting the timer, she cleaned the kitchen, while waiting for the delicious results.

When the timer went off, Danna quickly pulled the cookies out of the oven, sliding them off the pan and onto a plate. They smelled good and looked good to me – but a skeptical frown met my encouraging words, warning of danger just ahead. Pinching off a bite, Danna popped the cookie into her mouth. Now keep in mind that my daughter does have a flair for the dramatic, but I was totally unprepared for the culinary eruption that followed. Bits of cookie sprayed the kitchen counter and appliances as Danna coughed, choked, and strangled her way to the announcement that those cookies were “disgusting.” Grabbing the plate, she deposited her project in the garbage, and fished the cookie recipe out of a kitchen drawer, studying the magic formula. When I asked what went wrong, she explained through a sheepish grin, “I thought I knew how to make cookies on my own. So I didn’t read the recipe and left out the eggs.” One of the qualities I most admire in Danna is her persistence, which compelled her to begin again. The second time around, following the recipe resulted in scrumptious results. God’s plan is much the same.

God’s has a unique plan or “recipe” for each one of us. God reveals His plan through the Bible. It is the instruction book of life, the blueprint for life construction, and the road map for the journey. When we saturate our lives with God’s Word, it will naturally lead us and guide us according to His plan. Our greatest opportunity for success is to live that plan. God tucks into our very soul a discontentment with anything but His life “recipe.” If we approach each day searching for His handprints in every situation, choosing to walk in obedience to His Word, we will surely find ourselves smack dab in the middle of God’s amazing purpose and plan.

The awesome truth is that more than we want to know His plan for our life, He wants us to know it and stands ready to guide us to and through that plan. The more time we spend with the Plan Maker, and the more we choose to obey His plan, the clearer that plan grows. God always reveals His plan to an obedient heart. Just as surely as Danna left the eggs out of her first effort, we leave Him out of our plans, and go our own foolish way. Still, He waits. When the results are disastrous and we have made a mess of it all, He stands ready to begin again. We could save ourselves a lot of pain and futility if we simply read and follow the right set of directions.

*Excerpt taken from Biblegateway’s Girlfriends in God

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Promises from the Pit – Mary Southerland

Understanding and Overcoming our Pits

Understanding and Overcoming our Pits

Psalm 18:28 For You will light my lamp; The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.

Have you ever received a gift that you wanted to return but couldn’t? I certainly felt that way about the pit of depression when I first experienced it. I wanted to take this nasty black hole to the nearest “Pit Store” and exchange it for a tall mountain of victory. But I have come to the place where I thank God for what He has done in my life through the pit of depression. Anything that makes us cry out to God can be counted as a blessing.

We all have a pit of some kind in our lives. Your pit may not be depression. It may be an addiction that you find hard to conquer. Your pit may be a difficult relationship or a life plan gone wrong. It may be a diagnosis of cancer or a chronic physical disease that keeps your broken, wondering if God even cares. He does. I know because I am what you might call a seasoned “pit dweller.” Let me share some truths I have learned through my struggle with the pit of depression.

Pits are a certainty. Hard times will come. Darkness will find us. We will, at some point in our lives, find ourselves in a pit. It may be a pit of wrong choices and foolish decisions we have dug with our own hands. It may be a customized pit prepared for us by the enemy himself. But a pit is a pit! And all pits are basically the same—dark, lonely, and filled with the ugliness of life.

Pits have a purpose. Every pit has a purpose and comes to us for a reason. Pits have an amazing way of bringing balance to life: a balance between sorrow and joy, between darkness and light, between faith and doubt, between weakness and strength. Life is like a prescription. The individual ingredients may seem harmful, but when they are blended and balanced, they bring health. Pits are part of the prescription of life.

Pits demand that we change our perspective. They make us stop and scrutinize priorities, eliminating the trivial and focusing on the important. Pits give us new eyes and a heavenly focus.

Pits come to strengthen us. Our struggle to escape the darkness forces us to admit our insufficiency and search for power outside of our own.

You can get out of the pit. If there is one central message of this devotion, it is hope. I made it out of the pit and so can you! The path may seem endless and even cruel at times, but remember that you did not slip into that pit overnight and you will not climb out overnight. The journey out of the pit begins and ends with one small step. Walk straight ahead through your fear. And with each step, moment-by-moment, the darkness will slowly begin to lift.

You can return to the pit. When it comes to pits, there is bad news and good news. The bad news is that those who struggle with depression may struggle with it for a lifetime. The good news is that the things that got you out of the pit will keep you out of the pit. I often step to the edge of that familiar black hole because I want to remember how I got there. Then I throw a party in my soul and rejoice in the journey out of the pit!

You can learn to stay out of the pit. Hedges of protection must be planted around the pit of depression. Priorities must be set. Balance must be kept. Habits must be cultivated. Accountability must be sought. Lessons must be learned. These hedges must be constantly tended in order to provide constant protection. In other words, keep doing what you know to do.

God will use your pit. From the depths of every pit comes a message of hope…a message of power…a message of grace. It is a message for us to share. God does not want us to just endure the pits of life. People without Christ can muster up enough courage—enough human strength—to get through a trial, but God has a better plan. He does not want us to just survive the pain. He wants us to rise above it—to celebrate it and use it!

On the other side of the pit you will find that you can minister to others who are in the grip of darkness. You understand their fear. You know the reality of their despair and the depth of their pain. Hurting people will listen to you when they will listen to no one else. Why? Because you were once like them…a pit dweller.

When you begin to share your journey—when you make the choice to help others find their way to the light—God will strengthen you and keep you out of the pit. The choice to use your pit will unleash God’s power in your life as never before.

Life is sweeter on the other side of the pit. We cannot really know just how bright the light is until we have spent time in the darkness. On the other side of the pit, the sun is brighter. The sky is bluer. Every day is filled with the discovery of fresh hope and new joy. Relationships grow deeper and fuller. Peace settles around you like an old familiar friend. The intimate and faithful presence of a loving Father becomes the reality you once dreamed of knowing.

A beekeeper once told F.B. Meyer how some of the young bees are nurtured to ensure their healthy development. The queen lays each egg in a six-sided cell, which is filled with enough pollen and honey to nourish the egg until it reaches a certain stage of maturity. The top is then sealed with a capsule of wax.

When the food is gone, it is time for the tiny creature to be released. The wax is so hard to penetrate that the bee can make only a very narrow opening. It is so narrow that in the agony of exit, the bee rubs off the membrane that encases its wings. When it finally does emerge, it is able to fly!

The man telling the story said that one time a moth got into the hive and devoured the wax capsules. As a result the young bees crawled out without any effort or trouble. But they could not fly.

Remember, my friend, it is through the struggle of the trial—the journey out of the pit that the very best part of us takes flight. One day soon, you will look around to see that you are coming out of the dark.

*Excerpt taken from Biblegateway’s Girlfriends in God

Share a testimony with us – testifywithme@gmail.com or on facebook

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Prodigal Daughter: God Will Bring You Back

Luke 15:21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

Candace shared this testimony with us and it really blessed my heart. It reminded me of that time when I chose to ignore God and live a life unpleasing to him. She tells of her journey and how God brought her back from a place of defeat to a place of victory and substance in his kingdom.

CANDACE’S TESTIMONY

There are so many things I can give God praise for. Just being able to type this message is a blessing and a testimony because if he didn’t permit it, I won’t be here. Now that I have come to a place of understanding about who God is and what he requires from us, I believe that all my former blessings were surrounded by my parents prayers. Though I prayed and even did worship, I didn’t really know God as I do now. It wasn’t all a show but it wasn’t all spiritual either. Ahh. It was all tradition. I did it like a ritual, knowing that praising God, had to be done and had to be done properly. So I trained myself to sing at my best, and quote whatever I thought would catch the crowd and draw them into worship. Yes. What a shame. However, that could not last forever, since God knows all things and he CANNOT be fooled.

My life flipped totally and I started partying, drinking and doing things that was far from what I was taught. At the beginning of that lifestyle, I felt complete and happy. No one was bad talking me or so I thought and I had a better connection with the non-Christians than the believers. It went well for two years. Then I think I started playing with God and please note, he is not fond of that. Sunday Morning service was my new way of saying, “God I am still giving you time”. So I would go and then on a Sunday night, I was up on the beach in a party, getting tipsy and throwing my waist. What I eventually learned, is you CANNOT serve two masters. I heard it all my life but I learned it when I was an adult. Funny huh. I continued living in sin until one day, the enemy decided to humiliate me publicly. After being a in a four month relationship that had everything go wrong with it, the young man decided to publicly abuse me via social media, FACEBOOK. Writing all ill manner of things against me and in that calling me a so call WOMAN OF GOD. Right there and then I knew that the attack was a spiritual battle rather than physical. Sadly or me, I didn’t have the strength to fight. I was weak and about to give up.

One morning during this heated period, I woke up with the intention that I had enough and that day was going to be the last day I fret. I had planned to end it all but not with prayer. I was ready to give up. Then I heard a voice said to me ARISE WOMAN. I looked around in my room because I was there alone but it sounded like someone was with me. I heard it again, ARISE WOMAN. I knew it was God. Why? Because with the voice, came a comforting feeling. I could not even cry, I just began to smile and internally utter praises. He saved me. He saved me from destroying myself. From destroying purpose and greatness. From that very day, January 23rd, 2012, I began ministering for the lord via blogging and any other way I get a chance to. The road has not been easy but it has been sweet. Having a life with Jesus is the best thing that ever happened to me. I know for sure now, that John 8:36 – So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

You can join Candace on her Journey to help women by visiting her blog; http://theladiesfeed.wordpress.com/

Please share your testimony with us by emailing it to testifywithme@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.

God Bless You!

 

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Ducks Quack, Eagles Soar

No one can make you serve customers well….that’s because great service is a choice.
Harvey Mackay, tells a wonderful story about a cab driver that proved this point.
He was waiting in line for a ride at the airport. When a cab pulled up, the first thing Harvey noticed was that the taxi was polished to a bright shine. Smartly dressed in a white shirt, black tie, and freshly pressed black slacks, the cab driver jumped out and rounded the car to open the back passenger door for Harvey .

He handed my friend a laminated card and said: ‘I’m Wally, your driver. While I’m loading your bags in the trunk I’d like you to read my mission statement.’

Taken aback, Harvey read the card.. It said: Wally’s Mission Statement: To get my customers to their destination in the quickest, safest and cheapest way possible in a friendly environment…

This blew Harvey away. Especially when he noticed that the inside of the cab matched the outside. Spotlessly clean!

As he slid behind the wheel, Wally said, ‘Would you like a cup of coffee? I have a thermos of regular and one of decaf.’ My friend said jokingly, ‘No, I’d prefer a soft drink.’ Wally smiled and said, ‘No problem.. I have a cooler up front with regular and Diet Coke, water and orange juice…’ Almost stuttering, Harvey said, ‘I’ll take a Diet Coke.’

Handing him his drink, Wally said, ‘If you’d like something to read, I have The Wall Street Journal, Time, Sports Illustrated and USA Today.’

As they were pulling away, Wally handed my friend another laminated card, ‘These are the stations I get and the music they play, if you’d like to listen to the radio.’

And as if that weren’t enough, Wally told Harvey that he had the air conditioning on and asked if the temperature was comfortable for him. Then he advised Harvey of the best route to his destination for that time of day. He also let him know that he’d be happy to chat and tell him about some of the sights or, if Harvey preferred, to leave him with his own thoughts.

‘Tell me, Wally,’ my amazed friend asked the driver, ‘have you always served customers like this?’

Wally smiled into the rear view mirror. ‘No, not always.. In fact, it’s only been in the last two years. My first five years driving, I spent most of my time complaining like all the rest of the cabbies do. Then I heard the personal growth guru, Wayne Dyer, on the radio one day.

He had just written a book called You’ll See It When You Believe It. Dyer said that if you get up in the morning expecting to have a bad day, you’ll rarely disappoint yourself. He said, ‘Stop complaining! Differentiate yourself from your competition. Don ‘t be a duck. Be an eagle. Ducks quack and complain. Eagles soar above the crowd.’

‘That hit me right between the eyes,’ said Wally. ‘Dyer was really talking about me. I was always quacking and complaining, so I decided to change my attitude and become an eagle. I looked around at the other cabs and their drivers. The cabs were dirty, the drivers were unfriendly, and the customers were unhappy. So I decided to make some changes. I put in a few at a time. When my customers responded well, I did more.’

‘I take it that has paid off for you,’ Harvey said.

‘It sure has,’ Wally replied. ‘My first year as an eagle, I doubled my income from the previous year. This year I’ll probably quadruple it. You were lucky to get me today. I don’t sit at cabstands anymore. My customers call me for appointments on my cell phone or leave a message on my answering machine. If I can’t pick them up myself, I get a reliable cabbie friend to do it and I take a piece of the action.’

Wally was phenomenal. He was running a limo service out of a Yellow Cab. I’ve probably told that story to more than fifty cab drivers over the years, and only two took the idea and ran with it. Whenever I go to their cities, I give them a call. The rest of the drivers quacked like ducks and told me all the reasons they couldn’t do any of what I was suggesting.

Wally the Cab Driver made a different choice. He decided to stop quacking like ducks and start soaring like eagles.

How about us? Smile, and the whole world smiles with you… The ball is in our hands!
A man reaps what he sows. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest=if we do not give up… let us do good to all people.

Ducks Quack, Eagles Soar.

Have a nice day, unless you already have other plans.
SORROW looks back, WORRY looks around.

God Bless You!

DISCLAIMER: The words in this article are not my own and I am unsure who the author is. I simply saw a remarkable message in this story and I wanted to share.

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Dear Diary……

Dear Diary,

Today I had the most wonderful day. I met an old friend and we spent hours catching up. We made plans to meet up again and stay in touch. I’m soooooooooooooooo excited.

Does the above entry look or sound familiar to you? Most of us at some point in in our lives either owned a diary or knew someone who kept one.

A diary is a book where one keeps a written collection of daily events and activities. It serves as a way to express one’s thoughts and emotions while also acting as a record of important events that can be referenced at any time.

Some time ago god placed in my heart a desire to record my prayers. I had the idea that I could write or type the things I spoke to him about and his responses. I fulfilled the desire for some time but I did not have the obedience to continue in my practice. This week the desire was placed in my heart yet again and confirmation came through a friend’s status on facebook.

On Sunday, Author Jennifer Hudson Taylor wrote “I’ve been reading my prayer journal & dreams for the last 4 years and it’s interesting to see how things have progressed. All I can say is…God is AWESOME!!!” 

Upon reading Jennifer’s status I sent her a message to get more information on her prayer journal, I felt that I needed confirmation that this was the same thing I was doing some time a back and that god was speaking to me. This is what she shared with me,

Several years ago i felt the Lord leading me to write down and record my dreams. A couple of years later I felt the Lord leading me to begin writing down my prayers. I also heard Joyce Meyer speak on a prayer journal and how she could go back 30 years and see how God answered her prayers. I felt like this was confirmation to me.

Now I have about 8-10 years worth of dreams and written prayers that I can refer back to and I’m so glad I listened. Sometimes, God doesn’t answer our prayers right away. During these times of waiting, it gets hard and we wonder how long we’ll have to wait or if the answer is “no”. Now, I can read back through my prayer journal and see a pattern in how He has answered my prayers years later, and it gives me strength to KNOW that He will and does answer as I face new challenges in my life right now.

Also, I can see the fulfillment of dreams He has given me. I may not see the dream come to pass for a few months to a couple of years. By then I’ve forgotten the dream, but if I write it down, it is always there for me to refer back to and then it all becomes so clear. It’s a wonderful testimony of God’s hand in my life.

I would highly recommend doing this if you are feeling led.

WOW!!!! I don’t think there’s a need for me to say much else. I think this is a remarkable idea for us as believers to do as a means of encouraging ourselves to continue praising god in spite of. Can you imagine looking back at your prayer requests and dreams over an extended period of time and seeing the confirmations that your prayers have been answered and your dreams came through?

I don’t know how many of you, like myself, have been led to record your prayers or dreams or both. What I do know is that we have a living testimony of the usefulness of  this exercise and the benefits of it to us as believers.

If you feel compelled by the spirit to start recording your prayers then I pray god grants you the strength and diligence to do so continually. I’m ecstatic just thinking about the entries I’ll be looking back on in the years to come.

Happy Writing and God Bless You!!!

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Encouragement To Be Faithful

I am a born again believer in Christ Jesus. In January 2012 I decided to give God a chance in my life. I grew up in a Christian home and I was raised with Christian values and morals. Somewhere along the way I moved away from God and started living in the world. I always thought that god would give me a “story”.

I would sit for hours day-dreaming of how my change around would be. I always pictured myself in a terrible accident or contracting a life threatening disease and God bringing me back from the brink of death. I imagined him having a personal conversation with me and giving me an agenda to go and speak of his goodness and win souls. Of course neither of these things happened.

God in his infinite wisdom gave me other things, he gave me a good job, a good relationship, a great family and he allowed me to start my degree. At age 24 having all these things would have one believe that I would have been happy and I was, for a time. One night while lying in bed beside my boyfriend I felt an emptiness unlike anything I’ve ever felt in my life. I felt alone and scared. In that moment I cried out to God asking him to come and comfort me. In my despair I promised him that if he gave me peace that night I will attend Prayer meetings on a Saturday morning at the church just around the corner from where I live.

In the past I would have promised him to go to church on Sundays and go for a couple of weeks and then divert to my old ways. That night I knew I needed to go deeper. I knew that the prayer meetings were on Saturday mornings at 6:30 and it would take some level of sacrifice for me to make it to the meetings. God saw my heart and knew that I was being sincere and that night I had the most peaceful sleep I’d had in a long time.

Once I started going to those meetings my spiritual life changed drastically. God has increased my wisdom and has been revealing his greatness in my life and in the lives of people around me ever since. I am now an active member in the church’s youth group, I go to church most Sundays, I still attend prayer meeting on a Saturday morning (it is no longer a great sacrifice to reach on time), I read my bible a lot and I use every opportunity I have to speak of the goodness of my savior Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

2 Timothy 1: 8 So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, 9 who has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.

I have seen the goodness of God in my life and I hope that this blog will be an encouragement to others to continue living or to start living a life pleasing to Christ. I wish to document my journey in faith according to God’s word and receive feedback from everyone regarding these documentation. Please feel free to share your testimony with me and my readers or send your request for prayer.

I look forward to the rest of this amazing journey in Christ!

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