Monday, January 31, 2011

Looking Back

As I look back over my life,
I can see how Your love has guided me,
Even though I've done wrong, You never left me alone,
You forgave me and You kept on blessing me,
This I recall to my mind therefore I have hope,
It's because of Your mercies that we are not consumed,.
Because Thy compassion fails not, they are new every morning,
Great is thy faithfulness, Great is they Faithfulness.
You've been, Lord You've been so faithful.......

That is just the first part of a song that touches my heart every time I hear it. "As I look back over my life", as we go throughout life you'll hear many people say "don't look back, keep going forward. I have an issue with that. If we don't look back, how would we know where we came from? Looking back allows me to fight on and keep going. To know what I have overcome and the things that I have achieved is like a little push forward. The big push that keeps me going is knowing what God has brought me through. As I think about the things that I have gone through and where I should be today...... if it had not been for the Lord.....I can't do anything but praise God for keeping me. Looking back helps me to see God's grace and mercy. Take a moment in your life where you thought it was a miracle that you did/made/got/received________ (fill in the blank). Remember what I said, what you thought it was a miracle. I am here to tell you that it wasn't. It was God. Now look at your life today. What did you have to go through in order to get to today? You didn't go through it alone. He was right there. What gets me is that there are some people that don't acknowledge God for those victories. There are some people right now trying to figure out how they made it today. There's only one answer.....God.
Once again, take a look back over your life (childhood, teenage life, college, parenting, last year, last month, last week, yesterday, a few minutes ago, etc), think about all those times when you felt that you couldn't _________ (fill in the blank). God allowed you to make it to NOW. Notice I didn't say today. Today (whatever day you're reading this) is not over. That right there is Joy in itself.
I want to challenge you.....if you don't know God, try Him. If you don't know how, ask me. For those that do know God, THANK HIM! Tell someone about Him. Tell your story. Your story will help someone else. God Bless.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Run or Talk about?

This week I was hit with something that I wasn't prepared for. I've worked with a lot of youth over the years (be it volunteering or employment). I continue to work with the youth today. I was approached by a young lady that is dealing with a very serious issue....SEX! First, I have to say that I was humbled when she opened up to me about what she is dealing with and actually valued my opinion. So, I asked her what was going on and she told me that her friends are having sex and now her boyfriend wants to as well, but she isn't ready. She said she spoke to her mother about it but she got the standard parent answer, "you know that I don't want you to have sex, but if you do make sure that you use protection." She said that her first thought was 'do you care that I have sex?' That hit home for me. I have two children at home ages 11 and 13 and I know that this issue is about to enter into their lives. I read a blog earlier this week "I don't want you as my Facebook friend" by Sister Teri Brooks and it reminded me about the relationships that teens have with adults. Some are good but sometimes we as adults make so hard for teens to be themselves (great read). So back to the young lady, as she was talking I was trying to figure out how to respond but then it hit me. Be honest and be truthful, don't run from this conversation. First I congratulated her on waiting and told her that it was very big of her and that I don't want her to have sex either. I also told her that her mother cares and that telling her to use protection was a way of educating her. She then told me that one of her reasons for waiting is her relationship with God (thank you Jesus). That is powerful, especially coming from a 15 year old girl. But I had to keep it real. I told her that this is an issue that is not going to go away. At 30something and single, I am dealing with it (FLESH) daily. I told her that I have a friend (accountability partner) that I can call on whenever I am faced with that issue. We pray together and I am also reminded that I love God more. I also told her that sometimes I have to repeat over and over "I love God more, I love God more". I told her about some of the stories that I have heard from some men that said that they didn't have premarital sex because their wife said no...wait until we're married and they did just that. They waited. They felt that she was worth it. These men prayed for a wife and when God blessed them with the women, they respected them and obeyed the Word of God. She and I talked about what most boys (and some girls) would say when you tell them that you're not ready, 'don't you love me', if you don't someone else will', don't you want to keep him'. I told her to respond, "isn't God's masterpiece worth waiting for?" She smiled at that one. At the end I had to ask, "did I help?" She said yes and that she is going to hang in there. I then thought about how to talk to my own children. I can't run from this conversation, I will have to face it. Little did that young lady know how much she had helped me. I can't give my children that standard parent answer. I really need to talk about it with them. As a parent I want to protect my children from the world but I know that I can't. What I can do is continue to educate them on what they will face, continue to support and nurture their relationship with God, and be there when they need me.
So my question for you is, when that time comes will you run or talk about it? For those who have been there, did you run or talk about it?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Have you ever...?

Have you ever done something and then realized, hmm I wonder if that's how God treats me? I have those moments quite often. I have noticed the love of God more and more as I take this journey through PARENTHOOD! When I look at my children or other children in my life (nieces, nephews, cousins, kids I mentor, etc), I see a person that God has placed in my life. As an adult, I have set guidelines, boundaries, and laid out rules for them to follow. But we all know that many of them will be broken. So, at times when those guidelines and rules have been set, punishments have been listed right behind them. Many times, we as parents have said them all in one breathe, "if those dishes aren't done by the time I get home, I promise there will be some consequences and repercussions". God has done the same with us. God has said what we should and should not do and has also told us what would happen when we disobey Him, but has that stopped us from sinning all together? Not at all. I was reminded this past Sunday of reconciliation. As the preacher was preaching I had to step out and change my nephew's diaper. I went to the nursery and one of my other nephews was in there. He saw me and we greeted each other with a hug and kiss (he loves his auntie baby....our nicknames for each other). Well as I was leaving the nursery I noticed him starting to disobey the rules and being disobedient towards one of the staff members. I intervened and spoke with him. My first words were, "Do you want me to get you?" He immediately shook his head no. As I saw his little face turn down, I felt my heart melt because I had to discipline him. I then looked at him in his little eyes that I adore so much and told him that I loved him and if he knew that. He said yes. As I walked out the nursery with the other nephew in tow, I thought 'hmm, I wonder if that's how God treats us'. How many times have we done something that we KNEW that we wasn't suppose to be doing and that voice chimes in saying 'you know better than that'. I know that God is compassionate and gives us so much grace that we don't deserve but at that moment, I realized how many times God could've "got me" but yet he didn't. I also realized how God has made a way for me to reconcile our relationship regardless of what I have done. He still loves me. Now there have been times that I have been punished by God and I am going through some of it now but I understand why. Disobedience, sin, comes with consequences. Now there are different levels but they are most definitely there. Through this journey of parenthood I have come to understand the love that God has for us more and more. I don't want my children to fail in life, bump their heads, or anything but I know that it's going to happen and when it does, they will know that I am right there, STILL LOVING THEM.
I thank God for salvation and allowing reconciliation. I thank God for using parenting as a way of reminding me of the Love that He has.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

His Journey

The journey of life is not easy, you have your ups and downs, things seem to get in your way, decisions to make regarding your future gets  harder has you get older, etc. But the Christian journey is much more complicated. On this journey, you must realize how insignificant you are. First, you must understand that God has hand picked you to travel on this journey and secondly you need to get to a point in your life when you realize that it's not your journey but it's the Lord's.
As I have been studying the Word, listening to sermons and bible study, I have been reminded of God's grace. I have come to understand that it is really not about me. I mean, yes we say that but when you get to a point when you finally realize it, it makes a huge difference in your walk through His journey. I have ran into some stumbling blocks, been through some storms, and came to some forks in the road that has slowed me down at some points but I kept going. As I keep going I am growing to understand God's love for me, His love for us. As I am understanding this more, this journey is becoming more enjoyable. I can smile because I have peace and I can keep going because I know that He's with me.
As you walk through this Christian journey, enjoy it. Remember, you were personally invited by God to travel on His journey. Be eternally grateful that you had the chance and opportunity to accept the invitation.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Truth vs Disobedience

This past New Year's weekend was good. I heard a great word from several preachers. I was motivated through songs of praise, and I saw smiles on everyone's faces. But there was something that disturbed me. Well, during Sunday Morning worship my pastor (John L. Brooks...Macedonia Baptist Church....nice plug huh), anyhoo, my pastor made a statement about how we need to teach the TRUE word of God. He also encouraged the youth pastor (Dr. Antoine Richardson.....a great leader for the youth) to continue teaching the children so that they can go to school talking about Jesus. So, I turned to my daughter and asked her if she talks about God at school and she flat out said "NO". I was actually disturbed. So I waited until after church to carry on the discussion of sharing the gospel at school. So after church we stopped by their god parents house (the Sheffields are AWESOME) and this time I decided to ask both of my children about sharing the gospel at school. That is when I received clarification on the matter. They both told me and their god parents that they would get in trouble if they talk about Jesus so that is why they don't say anything. So, Theresa asked if they talk about Muhammad and my son said yes because he is in the history books. So then we, the god parents and I, encouraged the children to talk about Jesus. Fear has set in on my children. They are scared to share the Word because they don't want to get in trouble. As a parent, you don't want to teach your children to be disobedient but when it comes to Christ, I don't want them to be hindered from sharing His word because of fear.  My children love the Lord and my goal (with the Lord's help) is to work with my children so that fear will not hinder them from sharing God's word with others.
If you have children, are around children, working with children, know someone who has children.....PRAY!! Pray that fear won't be a hindrance. Children should be excited about God outside the church just as much as they are when they're in the church.

Be Encouraged!!

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
Proverbs 22:6