Life to Your Soul


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Not Of This World

Maybe you are preparing for this holiday season. Silver bells… I’m sure some of you have already put up the Christmas tree & lights. Well, as you are preparing the house and getting the list together, I’d like to share this reminder with you.

You are not of this world.

Jesus’ trial before Caiaphas ended in the early hours of the morning. Then he was taken to the headquarters of the Roman governor. His accusers didn’t go inside because it would defile them, and they wouldn’t be allowed to celebrate the Passover. So Pilate, the governor, went out to them and asked, “What is your charge against this man?” “We wouldn’t have handed him over to you if he weren’t a criminal!” they retorted. “Then take him away and judge him by your own law,” Pilate told them. “Only the Romans are permitted to execute someone,” the Jewish leaders replied. (This fulfilled Jesus’ prediction about the way he would die. ) 

Then Pilate went back into his headquarters and called for Jesus to be brought to him. “Are you the king of the Jews?” he asked him. Jesus replied, “Is this your own question, or did others tell you about me?” “Am I a Jew?” Pilate retorted. “Your own people and their leading priests brought you to me for trial. Why? What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.” 

John 18:28‭-‬36 NLT

When questioned by Pilate, Jesus responded that His kingdom was not of this world. He knew that others could have defended Him but He remained driven. 

Imagine, being wrongfully accused by thousands and having to give a response. How would you feel and what would you do?

Jesus was sure of was His identity and the ONE who sent Him.

12/05 – Not Of This World

You are loved, treasured, and favored by God.

Because Jesus knew the Father’s love, He was able to boldly give an account of His purpose for being here.

We also must be reminded that we are here to produce good fruit and share the Good News of salvation with others.

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.

John 16:33 NLT

Be faithful over what God has given you. Do what He has called you to do wholeheartedly.

Don’t be disheartened when people do not understand you. Do not be dismayed when they wrongly accuse you. Your heavenly Father is with you and His reward is greater.

Prayer for the day

Thank you Father for Your goodness. Thank You for Your bountiful mercy and endless love. When I am overwhelmed comfort me with Your steady hand. Remind me of your unfailing love and your kindness. When others do not understand me may I be content in Your approval.

*If you’d like to learn about Salvation, click here.


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More Than Okay

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37 NKJV

The volume in the music store I worked at was extremely high one particular day. As a receptionist I was used to greeting customers daily. Some would hesitate with a crooked smile. Others would bypass with a nod and continue browsing.

“Hello. How are you?”

“Well I’m still alive so I guess that counts for something.”

I would get a lot of responses in the tune of life being just okay. Then after a long string of customers being rung out, I heard these words. 

If only people knew that they were more than okay.

Many joked about how miserable their lives were. What was my evidence that we were more than okay?

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation… 1 Peter 2:9


    11/28 – More Than Okay Power Call

It seemed normal to also view myself as average. It was an easier tone to converse with and took the pressure off of feeling like an outcast. 

We sometimes seek ways to minimize our worth. We want to feel normal and human. We boast in our inadequacies with a tune of “That’s just the way life is.”

Above Average.

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him. Genesis 1:26,27

Truthfully, we are created in God’s image and are His temple. We have God-like qualities, traits and responsibilities. We are innovative, creative, unique, and powerful. Because we are made in God’s image we are called to stand out.

I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made… Psalm 139:14

You are abundantly blessed.

Royal and loved one, you are an exceptional being. Worth more than just going to your 9-5, waking up & going to sleep, and living life with no purpose. 

God gave Adam responsibility. He told Adam to be fruitful and multiply and placed him in the garden to tend to it. (Genesis 1:28; 2:15 ) 

We have work to do. We must display our greatness and use the resources God has given us to do mighty things for His kingdom.

Pray this prayer:

Dear God,

Thank you for calling me. Thank you for creating me with purpose and value. As stated in Your Word, I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Please forgive me for thinking less of myself. For not living a bold, meaningful life. I am above average and more than okay. Continue to show me what it is you want me to do. I live for you. Amen.

Additional Quotes & Scriptures

  • 1 Corinthians 3:16
  • We are what we believe we are. – C. S. Lewis
  • Have faith and you will see the great! – Shantel Gross


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“Step Out” Faith

How can I continue? How do I go on? Is it safe to move on?

Imagine being in the face of a massive sea with your greatest enemies charging at you from behind. Talk about being caught between a rock and a hard place! Moses and the children of Israel were finally free from captivity in Egypt when Pharaoh had a change of heart. He decided not only to pursue the Israelites himself but to align over 600 charioters to help anihilate them.

When word reached the king of Egypt that the Israelites had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds. “What have we done, letting all those Israelite slaves get away?” they asked.  So Pharaoh harnessed his chariot and called up his troops.  He took with him 600 of Egypt’s best chariots, along with the rest of the chariots of Egypt, each with its commander. The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, so he chased after the people of Israel, who had left with fists raised in defiance. The Egyptians chased after them with all the forces in Pharaoh’s army—all his horses and chariots, his charioteers, and his troops. Exodus 14:5-9

There Moses and the children of Israel were. Facing the great, Red Sea with their livestock, their young children, and all they had. Their promises suddenly turned into petitions.

As Pharaoh approached, the people of Israel looked up and panicked when they saw the Egyptians overtaking them. They cried out to the Lordand they said to Moses, “Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt? Didn’t we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt? We said, ‘Leave us alone! Let us be slaves to the Egyptians. It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!’”Exodus 14:10-12

Some of us have been in a similar predicament. We’ve taken a huge leap of faith only to see that thing that we feared come upon us once again. It is in those times that I am reminded to trust in God. Breakthrough comes when something within us needs to be broken. For their sake, it was the Israelites’ unbelief.

believe

1a :to have a firm or wholehearted religious conviction or persuasion :to regard the existence of God as a fact 

  • Do you believe?

 usually used with in 

  • believe in the Scriptures

b :to accept something as true, genuine, or real


:to have a firm conviction as to the goodness, efficacy, or ability of something


Although the children of Israel had left Egypt, Egypt was still in them. That place of captivity had accumulated in their minds. In my opinion,  it wasn’t the process of leaving Egypt that was the most difficult for the Israelites, it was the act of believing that they were actually God’s holy people and called to a greater destiny.

But Moses answered, “Don’t be afraid! Be brave, and you will see the Lord save you today. These Egyptians will never bother you again. The Lord will fight for you, and you won’t have to do a thing.”Exodus 14:13‭-‬14 CEV

It is imperative that we remember the One who has called us forth. He sees our greatest potential and propels us to move forward in victory. Regardless of where we currently are, it is our faith and God’s calling that will produce increase.

Instead of viewing your situation as a heavy weight to overcome, view it as a platform for God to display His greatness.

Stay firm and focused!

Step Out Faith Prayer Call


Without faith it is impossible to please God. I encourage you to make faith your first resort. It doesn’t have to make sense but it makes substance. God bless you on your journey to greater.


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Thankfulness.

“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.” Psalm 100:4


As the seasons change, I am reminded of the beauty of fall. The leaves have turned this beautiful, auburn color with golden hues and hints of green. Even the air has felt more crisp and inviting. Tis the season of thanksgiving.

THANKSGIVING PRAYER CALL

1

thanksgiving

a capitalized :thanksgiving day

:a public acknowledgment or celebration of divine goodness

2:the act of giving thanks

:a prayer expressing gratitude

Upon swift walks to and from work, beauty has captivated me. It’s as if the earth has been trying to get my attention. Meanwhile, I have been somewhat engrossed in getting to my destination.

Children out of their seats. Running around the classroom. Laughing, shouts, and paper planes. Welcome to my Thursday morning. As I stood there raising my voice and demanding respect I began to feel overwhelmed. I had one goal at that point: Get home on my lunch break. As I whisked through the next class, I swiftly got my things together. I was almost through those doors.

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When I stepped outside everything was at a stand still. There was warm air, birds chirping, a gentle blowing breeze, and colorful leaves surrounding me. I felt slightly disappointed that I considered the day to be horrible when it was actually abundant. God encouraged me to embrace the moment and to be grateful for it. I sat on a nearby bench and took it all in.

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Thanksgiving is a spirit. You don’t have to wait for Turkey day to be thankful and grateful. Show gratefulness in your life today. Don’t miss another moment!

 

Here are some reminders:

  1. Embrace the beauty in each moment.
  2. Learn from your mistakes. Grow stronger, not bitter.
  3. Shift your perspective. Don’t be narrow-minded. Think of the bigger picture.
  4. Give thanks to God in all things.
  5. Stop and smell the roses (or shall I say pinecone this season?!)

“Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing,  yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.” Matthew 6:28‭-‬29 NLT

* Read Psalm 100 for more on thanksgiving. Peace and blessings! *

 


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When Faith and Fear Collide

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase. Martin Luther King, Jr.

When faced with a dire situation it is easy to result in fear. If you’re starting a new venture, you may be afraid it won’t be successful. If you’re moving without a job lined up, you may fear that things won’t work out the way you anticipated. What I am reminded of is how certain figures faced challenges and pivotal moments in the bible.

Abram, later named Abraham, was challenged to trust that God would bless him with innumerable descendants although he had currently had no children. Moses was entrusted with leading God’s people out of Egypt although he had a speech impediment.

The Lord spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, “Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.” But Abram replied, “O Sovereign Lord, what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son? Since you’ve given me no children, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth. Then the Lord said to him, “No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.  Genesis 15:1,2,4

Then the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!”  And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith. Then the Lord told him, “I am the Lord who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land as your possession.” Genesis 15: 5-7

                         All or Nothing
What happens when we embark upon a new journey? A new beginning? We try to conceive the outcome in our minds. But things don’t add up sometimes. Here are five points that you should remind yourself of during those times.

Our protection is in God. (Declare: My protection is in God.)

The Lord is our Shepherd and he governs our lives. We not need to forget that He is protecting us even in times when we don’t understand.

Look up.

Although it seems easier said than done we must not focus on our physical circumstances. Tap into the presence of God through praying, meditating, and worshipping Him in your daily activities.

Our faith is moving things. (Declare: My faith is moving things)

Check out this passage of how Jesus describes the power of operating in faith! Faith is our currency. ‘In God we trust’ is on our money. We can’t move without it.

Recall what has already taken place. Sometimes it takes us going back down memory lane to be empowered. For me, it’s when I check through my journals and read testimonies of what God has done that inspire. Check this one out!

Sacrifice is important.

There will be times when you have to give up things you cherish in order to move ahead. Sometimes relationships, houses, and jobs but just know that with God it is all worth it.

“When she looked ahead she smiled because she knew the best was yet to come.”

 


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The Dig

Look within. Within is the fountain of good, and it will ever bubble up, if thou wilt ever dig. Marcus Aurelius

There I was standing in the middle of my classroom…

Wondering if I would ever have an epiphany concerning it’s makeover. Books, shelves, paper, and other materials surrounded me. Like lions peering out of the jungle, vibrant neon papers stood out. Some were used and some unused. Detox, declutter, and back to attempts of organization. I kept circling around piles of paper. Hovering over them, I would start to get rid of the junk then try something else.

To my disposal, the classroom is huge! It hit me when I came home several days later: I hold the key to cultivating what is my possession!

Pastor Stutzman says it like this: Adjust your attitude to be what you actually hope for.

F A I T H .

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6 NKJV

Happiness is not about getting what you want; it is about wanting what you’ve got. – Michael Brodeur

We already have everything we need we just haven’t tapped into all yet.

I had almost become discouraged because of my frustration but after a while I realized how much I had. I began cutting out artwork and putting it on the walls. Making drapes with party streamers and turning the classroom into a big party room! My students also noticed the difference. Greatness was already there just waiting to be discovered!

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. II Corinthians 4:7 NKJV

It’s time to start digging!

  • Recall the things you are passionate about. Write them down!
  • Stop panicking. The answer is in you.
  • Take one step at a time. Don’t rush to complete multiple tasks. Take time to create your best in each individual one.
  • Meditate. Spend time in God’s presence. Where do you like to meditate?
  • Pray.
  • Plan, prepare, and execute.

To listen to this morning’s prayer call, click here.


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Matters of the Heart

We can conquer anything in this day.

Matters of the Heart – Prayer Call

For I know the thoughts I have toward you says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.Jeremiah 29:11

This past week I faced new challenges. New transitions in school and new challenges at home. Getting to know my students and adjusting to my new schedule. However, God’s grace prompted to strategize and perfect my situation even in sticky circumstances.

I began to feel conflicted and weighed down. My timing, mixed emotions, fatigue, and processing everything. I had so much on my mind and lost focus of actually creating steps to execute. Life has a way of hitting you in the face when you’re not paying attention!

Why do we struggle? Is it in our best interest? What I’ve come to realize is how we operate is a reflection of our hearts.

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” Arnold Schwarzenegger

Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23

What have you been wrestling with? Fear? Doubt? Depression? Insecurity? Panic? Whatever it is, it will eventually drain you if you don’t release. This is not an overnight fixer but embrace that journey of God uprooting ever lie that you’ve partnered with.

What have you allowed to harbor in your heart? Have you become bitter? Have you lost hope? Have you become complacent?  Our hearts hold chambers and we have to allow the blood of Christ to flow through.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7

What are you meditating on? Whatever we believe shapes our reality. If you take on a lie that you’re unimportant or that you don’t matter your life will reflect that. The enemy loves when we partner with lies. Sometimes we do it unknowingly. We fear that things won’t work out or we joke about it. Meditate on God’s word and other sources of light. Read an empowering book. Listen to some worship music! I love instrumentals.

Side note: Be mindful of who is in your circle!

What are you speaking? Speak the truth. Speak affirmations like these.

G o d, y o u ’r e s t i l l g o o d.

Regardless of how bad you may feel your day has gone, there is always a reason to be grateful. You serve the King of Kings!

What are you wearing? I’m not referring to those nice khakis or ripped jeans you have on but what is your spiritual armor? When you wake up put on your armor! Read Ephesians 6:10-18.

If the Son sets you free, you are truly free. – John 8:36


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Be Present

Freedom is where my feet are. Author Unknown

10/10 – Be Present Call

You can tell a lot about a person by the way they walk. Some are hurried, eyes straight ahead, feet pounding the concrete as they cross the boulevard. Some are lost in space. Eyes glazed over like zombies, detached from the world around them. Others are strollers. Taking in the scenery and enjoying the view. They view the earth as if they have just seen it for the first time.

I tended to be the hurried one. Not just physically but practically as well. You’d catch me rushing through my life’s agenda trying to play catch up. Rushing to work, rushing to complete assignments, rushing to finish blog posts,etc. But something eventually caught my attention.

The miracle is not to walk on water but on the earth – Thich Nhat Hanh

P a u s e . While trying to play catch up the earth was steadily beautifying. It took my dad to share his concern of me being overwhelmed and overworked. It took me getting lost on my way several times. It took me listening to my pastor and reading “An Altar in the World” to realize that the present moment was beautiful in itself. And I was missing all of it’s glory.

The earth is the LORD’s and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein. Psalm 24:1

Some things that I’ve come to learn are the following:

Stroll don’t scurry. You are passing up way too much beauty focused on what you need to do when you get “there”.

Look up. I remember going on my nature walk and entering an open field and looking up. The sky was so vast and beautiful.

Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? – Matthew 6:26


Look down. While my dog strolled around. I noticed this handsome area with rocks, flowers, and  plants standing tall. I knelt down to take it all in.

Consider the lilies of the field, how they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. – Matthew 6:28

Look around. Every stopped in the middle of the sidewalk? Ever found yourself captivated by all that was around you. Try it.

Just ask the animals, and they will teach you. Ask the birds of the sky, and they will tell you. Speak to the earth, and it will instruct you.Job 12:7,8 NLT

Thanks for viewing!


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Trusting the Master

pasture

I will call upon your name. Keep my eyes above the waves. Hillsong in Oceans

10/03 – Trusting the Master Call

You didn’t see this coming. It knocked you right off of your feet. And although you thought you covered all measures somehow tragedy still struck. It was the loss of a loved one, another job denial, a new balance added to your account, or having to start all over again. So many questions. So many questions. You try to make sense of it all but no matter how you cut it, it still does not add up. This, my friend, is the struggle.

You are truly, seriously lost, even though you know exactly where you are. Barbara Brown Taylor in An Altar in the World.

What God has revealed to me is that we have to trust Him. When we do, we are able to breathe and sleep at night knowing that He is caring for us. As the Great Shepherd, He looks after each of His sheep.

I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd. John 10:14-16

Even when you don’t understand God is still there.

L o o k, S m e l l, T h i n k, T a s t e, a n d L i s t e n.

Oh taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the man that trusts in Him. Psalm 34:8

As the loving Father He is, God covers us with His word and has equipped us for the journey.

Look for the reminders that God has placed in your life. Look for God in the little things. 

God is in the details. He’s in the wind. He’s in the trees. He’s in the earth. He’s in the flowers. Everything around you is giving a message. Tune in to hear the Master’s voice through your everyday occurrences.

Meditate.

Take time out of your day to center yourself and focus on what God may be trying to reveal to you. I sing, study, and play worship songs in the morning.

Connect with purpose-driven people.

It’s been stated that we become who we hang around. Be observant of who you are partnering with.

Trust that He has you.

Your situation is not too dynamic that it disqualifies you from God’s arc of safety. Fall into the Master’s loving arms.

He won’t take you into it until He’s prepared you for it.

Stop trying to rush the process. If you truly consider, you’re most likely not ready for the “next big thing” just yet. Use this time to recuperate and to rest in the promises of God.

Today’s feature song!

When oceans rise my soul will rest in your embrace. I am yours and you are mine.


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It’s Yours Already

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Leading at the 2017 Promise Ceremony & Conference.

The Lord is my Shepherd; I have everything I need…

There I was, rummaging through my papers again. 

Where is it? I had misplaced my journal and knew it was somewhere nearby.  There goes the pile of papers on the floor, there goes folders in the closet, and there goes my sanity once more. I needed that book for the prayer call this evening so the desperation was real. As I panted and mentally scurried, I finally decided to be still.

Be still and know that I am God.

Concluding to be still, I mentally scoped all of the possibilities of where it could be. I know it’s not on the bed. I shifted my eyes to the desk and with a new height of awareness pulled the journal from under a sheet of paper.

… The reason so many of us cannot see the red X that marks the spot is because we are standing on it. Barbara Brown Taylor

We are all on a rampage. Looking to find the answer. Similar to my tornado episode in the bedroom, we rummage through our thoughts panicking when things don’t add up. 

I just had it yesterday. When I was fired from my job several years ago I thought the same thing. Everything seemed alright just yesterday. But a shift had taken place. Whether I realized it or not, I was growing into something greater. A new season burst onto the scene and the old one seemed to have vanished.

Why is this happening to me? May I ask why shouldn’t it be happening to you?  Do you not know that the greatest leaders suffered traumatic experiences prior to their breakthroughs? Oprah was removed as co-anchor of WJZ-TV and worked lower profile jobs before making her way to the top of her career.  You are right at the brink of breakthrough. God’s just trying to get your attention.

The Lord is my Shepherd; I have everything I need.Psalm 23:1 NCV

Shift Your Gaze.

Everything we need is within our reach. It’s not like God has provided for us up until this point and now wants to see us squirm! We have to tap into our resources.  As Pastor Matt Stutzman has stated, “There is massive opportunity in the kingdom”. We gain access to a plethora of benefits when we pass that threshold of salvation through Christ. Ask God to lead you to the place of provision He has for you.

Take a listen to the power call here:

09/26 – It’s Yours Already


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