Shine the Light

I was sitting there during my planning period with worship music blasting in the teacher’s lounge. Go Elevation Worship! As another teacher entered, I considered turning the music down. I thought to myself that she might not have wanted to hear it. But then the thought came to my heart, “What good is the gospel if it isn’t shared?”
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I’ve always been skeptical of causing a scene and drawing attention to myself. I never really liked being the center of attention unless it involved me making others laugh. I was lighthearted as a child and quite humorous around my family. But when it came to others beyond my home, I was quite sheltered.

I didn’t want to cause a scene.

As my walk with Christ intensified over the years, I began to notice how sharing the gospel was important. During my lunch periods in high school, I’d sometimes print bible verses and place them around the building while others were in the cafeteria or classrooms. You could’ve called me Batman because I didn’t mind helping others but loathed being seen.

Make me invisible.

Evangelism conflicted with my personal preference. Although sharing the gospel was vital and necessary, I didn’t want to do it on the count of drawing attention to myself. I would war within myself to do things because I didn’t know how others would respond to my acts of faith.

I am enough.

What it all really boiled down to was my fear of rejection. Fear that if others saw me doing things they wouldn’t accept me or my efforts. I yearned for acceptance but in the wrong way.

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10

I had to come to terms with the fact that people will not always like me. Some people may despise me for sharing my faith or how God moves through me. But that does not warrant me to limit shining the light.

“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.”

Our lives are so important. We possess a light that the world needs to see. When we don’t share it, we hinder others from seeing the gospel in a God-ordained way. We must build up the courage to share His truth even through our differences. The world would be pretty bland if we we were all the same. Instead God has given us unique stories and abilities to reach the lives of others. Show Jesus, Share Jesus, Bear His light and Be It! No one else can do what you do, so do it boldly.

Prayer for Boldness:

God,

I pray that you would give us the strength and boldness to shine your light. To be the change that our peers need. Help us to be attentive and aware of what’s going on around us. You are answering prayers and doing so even through us. My we not be hindered by fear but recall all of the wonderful things you have done for us. Your will be done. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

You  are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light so shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16


Check out this awesome song by Jamie Grace!

Here is the latest cover on my Youtube page!

Need prayerGod bless.

The Heart of Worship

“God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” John 4:24 KJV

Worship is a total experience. Once the music starts, the whole atmosphere changes. Voices raise, hands stretch out, feet are swayed on. Everyone comes together in expectation waiting to experience God’s presence.

Worship

  1. to honor or reverence as a divine being or supernatural power
  2. to regard with great or extravagant respect, honor, or devotion

20170519_130338Worship is not just a gathering with others. Worship can become a lifestyle. On the morning commute to work, take time to reflect on God’s goodness. How immeasurable is His love and how faithful He has been to us. My gratefulness and worship now expand beyond Sunday service. I’ve caught myself worshiping in the market, in the car, on the job in the bathroom, and many other various places. I get so filled just thinking of how bound I was by fear and how free I am now by Christ’s love.

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name”

Psalm 100:4 ESV

You don’t have to perfect yourself. Let Christ’s love do the work.

20170524_084617Take the first step in your transformation process. Once we experience God’s presence we go on a clean sweep rampage. We tend to try to clean our own lives and fix everything including those around us. God admires our zeal, but it is not our job to be the quicker-picker-upper.

But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other , and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.

1 John 1:7 NLT

The truth is we all have had moments of worship in our lives. It is through dancing. It comes with singing. Through ministering before others. Worship comes from the heart.

Let all that you do be done in love. 1 Corinthians 16:14 ESV

Whether that’s singing, teaching, fasting, modeling, dancing, constructing, cleaning, typing, styling, or anything else; do it in love.

We can’t worship in spirit and in truth without love. No matter what you do may your heart be humble. Give your burdens over to God and reach out to Him. He’s waiting for you.

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Thank you Father for your love. Thank you for giving me access to your amazing grace. Your peace is like none other. You are the best thing that has ever happened to me. I can come freely to you, knowing that you will not judge me but you will embrace me. I appreciate your ultimate sacrifice. I appreciate your guidance. I surrender to you. Every pain, every scar, every thought, and every intention. Cleanse me for only you can. Heal me and I shall be healed. I receive your gift and I choose to worship you with a heart of gratitude. Forgive me for ever doubting you. Forgive me for ever thinking my plan would be better than yours. Make me over. Change my walk, my talk, and my thoughts so that I may please. With you, I am free. No more chain hold me down. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

If you prayed that prayer and would like more information on worship and salvation, click here.

Peace and Blessings!

Whom the Son sets free is free indeed.

Don’t Cheat Yourself

“I can’t believe this is happening to me!” “Who would’ve thought that my life would end up this way?” “Why me, Lord?”

So many questions raced through my mind.

“Why don’t I still have my car? Why are these bills piling up? Why is everyone around me succeeding?”

Another failure. Another set back. Another temptation to throw in the towel. Had I done something wrong? What sin did I commit this time?

Growing up, I always wanted things to be perfect. In my depiction of perfection, the ultimate goal was to have the approval of my peers. I wanted everyone to be pleased by my accomplishments and lavishness.

Perfect a :  being entirely without fault or defect :  flawless b :  satisfying all requirements :  accurate c :  corresponding to an ideal standard or abstract concept

My definition of perfection was to be married by 22 years old, have a spacious house, a fancy car, and two years later, start having children. My vision of perfection was to have two college degrees by 25. However, my reality was fearfulness, anxiousness, and procrastination. I wanted to help others, especially children, see their worth but internally I was struggling with my own confidence. When hard times appeared I was a “train wreck.”

You’re never going to be happy with what you get, if you’re never happy with what you have. – Claire Wineland

Panicking became a habit when the bills were due or deadlines for various things came up. You see, I thought I had the right formula: Pray, wait, look for the answer, worry. I would pray to God for a miracle; pray that He’d help me get through these trying times. Then I’d wait for a response and look for some form of an answer. Finally, when things were not lining up according to my speed preference, I would worry. It was foolish, I know, but somehow this became my staple when tough times presented themselves.

And who of you by worrying can add one hour to [the length of] his life? – Matthew 6:27 AMP

Eventually, I became tired of my habit of “freaking out” and decided to do something different. I decided to be still. I decided to examine my life. I decided to perform a reality check. The truth was I was spending too much worry about problems and too less time enjoying everyday. I had wasted so much time trying to put the pieces together, that by the time the issue was resolved the day would be over. I finally realized that every storm had a beginning and an end. I cried when I realized what I was doing. I apologized to God for not using the time He had given me wisely. Then I apologized to myself for contributing to my own destruction.

God had given me a new day to live. I started to smile more often. I started watching people enjoy their lives. I started to go to parks more often. When I’d wake up the sun would shine on me and I’d embrace the moment. The more I began to focus on the beautiful moments in life I began to think more clearly. I began budgeting and organizing my time wisely. I began to invest in my own ideas, gifts and talents.

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I say all of this to let you know that life is a treasure. We are given one life on this earth. If you are frustrated or focused on your problems, you can miss a great moment. Let God’s light into your life. Change your perspective. Sense the opportunities where you can encourage others. Appreciate each new day. God loves you and He took the time to create you, a beautiful, unique, and treasured being. Love yourself. Let love guide you in forgiving others. You can not move forward with baggage from the past. Regardless of what has happened to you and what others have said,  you are a remarkable being.

 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. – Ephesians 2:10 NLT

I encourage you to say this affirmation: I am a blessing. I am wonderful. I am powerful. I am not my past mistakes. I am not the problems that I am faced with. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I will see with eyes of gratitude. I will be a light because I have a purpose.

 

Life More Abundantly

For the longest time I considered traveling the world. The pictures on social media, the landscapes in magazines, and the travel guide videos were astonishing. This, I thought, is living life to the fullest.

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The crystal clear waters, the sparkling sand, the lush green fields, and diverse culture were a few things that drew me. I wanted to experience Earth on the other side. At the time, I had commitments and responsibilities that were freshly added to my list of things to do. But sometimes I would stay up at night, envisioning my escapades.

Although I still have dreams and aspirations, I  have come to realize that I can live life more abundantly at my current state. I can smell the roses while taking my dog for a walk. I can start conversations more with people around me. I can check on my family members and friends more often to see how they are doing. I can daily do a self-check to make sure that I’m not harboring any negative energy.

Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. – James 4:13,14 NLT

We all have those moments when we’re so focused on our future that we forget about the present. Our present day is a gift (Thanks for the quote Master Oogway from Kung Fu Panda!). Live in the moment and savor each day.

Be anxious for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. – Philippians 4:6 NAS

Here’s a prayer that you can pray to God:

Dear Father,

Thank you for blessing me with this day. I acknowledge that it is a gift. Show me how to enjoy it and impact others in a great way. Guide my heart and remove every stain. Clear my mind of negative thoughts so that I may please you. Help me embrace the opportunities that you have placed before me. I know that you hold tomorrow in your hands. May your will be done because it is what’s best for me.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it’s called the present.- Master Oogway

Check out my cover of Cece Winans’ “He’s Concerned” here!

 

#Blessed

Blessed. We hear the word used on social media, in songs, movies and the list goes on. In the 2015 Western Conference Finals, during a post-game conference after the Golden State Warriors beat the Houston Rockets, Stephen Curry’s daughter sang “Way up, I feel blessed.” It’s a word that circulates around us and many people have different views of what it means to be blessed.

No man succeeds without a good woman behind him. Wife or mother, if it is both, he is twice blessed indeed. – Godfrey Winn

\ˈble-səd\  (1) having a sacred nature : connected with God. (2) very welcome, pleasant, or appreciated (Merriam-Webster)

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, to be blessed is to be spiritual or gratifying. Considering this definition, there are many things that we consider gratifying but to be connected to God requires a certain nature.

I was blessed with certain gifts and talents and God gave them to me to be the best person I can be and to have a positive impact on other people. – Bryan Clay

When we show gratitude towards God for his blessings, we are acknowledging that we are  blessed. His blessings include the birth of a child, a flower in bloom, a new home, family, friends, food. However, there are blessings in disguise. Blessings that some would believe are curses.

When I lost my job in 2015 I did not feel like I received a blessing. Prior to being fired, I felt that my season was changing but I did not think it would happen the way it did. I tried to stay optimistic but thoughts of failure and disappointment clouded my judgement. The fear of the unknown devastated me. Instead of trusting God and believing He knew what was best, I wallowed in my insecurities.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. – Proverbs 3:5,6

I’d like to let you know that it is okay not to know everything. It’s okay not to have it all together. Eventually, I realized that I was never supposed to have all the answers in the first place but to have faith and trust that my God would take care of me.

As humans we attempt to perfect the areas of our lives through our ideals and worldviews. We attempt to pick up all the pieces and create a masterpiece through our own ability. However, we are not sufficient alone. God sent His Son to redeem us from our tainted state. We need His help.

Sometimes He puts us at a stand still so that we can acknowledge Him. We tend to lose our way when we don’t put our focus on Christ.  Accept that as a human you are capable of making mistakes. And that’s okay. Acknowledge your imperfect state. Ask God to improve you despite your flaws.

It is easy to become distracted by everything that surrounds us. Let us take the time to celebrate our state of being blessed. Let us cherish and savor the moments we have with those around us.

Here is a prayer that you can pray to God:

Dear God,

I acknowledge that I don’t have all the answers. I’ve made many mistakes (you can name them if you’d like). I need your guidance. Please direct me to your path. Show me your ways. Clean my heart and erase the stains. Thank you for your blessings; even those that I cannot see. Thank you for loving me even when I didn’t love myself. This is my moment and my time to live blessed. You lead me and I will follow. Connect me with people who also follow you. Show me how to enlighten those who don’t believe in you. Your Son died on the cross for me. He rose on the third day for me. I am blessed.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

What Seed Have You Put In The Ground?

This message is inspired by a journal post  that I wrote in 2014. I pray that it blesses you just as I am blessed by it.

\ˈhär-vəst\ the season when crops are gathered from the fields or the activity of gathering crops.

picking fruit

When I hear the word “harvest” I think of receiving something and having an expectation. I also envision fresh fruit and vegetables gathered from crops.

“As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.” – Genesis 8:22 NLT

In life we have many harvests. There are plentiful harvests and poor harvests. There is a principle in the earth of giving & receiving; sowing & reaping. For a crop to produce ripe fruit and vegetation, good soil and care are needed.

A farmer went out to plant some seed. As he scattered it across his field, some of the seed fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate it. Other seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seed sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow.  But the plant soon wilted under the hot sun, and since it didn’t have deep roots, it died. Other seed fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants so they produced no grain. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they sprouted, grew, and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” – Mark 4:3-8 NLT

planting seed

When you sow seeds, with proper care, they grow out of the ground. Reaping is the process of cutting away. Jesus informed His followers that the time was now to reap the benefits of their labor.

God was a giver and He gave sacrificially. We should not give conditionally but sacrificially. The harvest after your suffering will come.

We are recipients of the promises of God but let us be mindful of what we sow in the earth. When you bless others, blessings will come to you. When you curse others, curses will come to you. When God blesses you, no man can curse you (Isaiah 54:17). Sometimes you may be discouraged when you bless others and don’t see results right away. But have courage; God sees you and will reward you (Matthews 6:3,4).

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. – Galatians 6:9 NLT

I encourage you to reach out to God today; show Him that You are available to be used. Sow acts of kindness, sacrifice, wisdom and love.

He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” – Matthew 9:37,38 NLT

Knit Together

I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. (NLT) -Colossians 2:2

Everyone has a magnetic response to strong ties of love. As a matter of fact, we knit ourselves together and not just romantically. People seek out community in order to find these strong ties that are based in love. In community we are able to find love, acceptance, and encouragement. Are you building a community that demonstrates the love of Christ?

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‘Tis the Season

We know that it’s that time of year.
Smiles on their faces.
Hearts filled with cheer.
A new dawn has come.
Laugh everyone.
It’s time to celebrate.
Extinguish the hate.

‘Tis the season to be jolly.
Fall on your knees.
Worship the King.
Pursue Him like the three wise men.
Love and joy will He extend.

When younger we thought all about the gifts.
And boy, would we laugh at all the myths.
Like, “Santa came down our chimney so fast.”
Yeah right, the chimney we never had.
But hearts were set free.
A family were we.
Had ups and downs.
Even dressed like clowns.

The peaking through doors to spot a big gift.
The wrestle of wrapping a pogo stick.
The reruns of holiday movies and shows.
The chill down my spine when hit with snow.

The smiles on the faces.
The warm, sweet embraces.
The joy in our souls.
The heat when it’s cold.
These are the moments I cherish so dear.
Tis the season for love everywhere.

When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.  And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.
-Matthew 2:10,11 NLT

♡Happy Birthday Caden♢

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Photo courtesy of Shantel G. All rights reserved.

Shantel Travels

On this rainy day in York I sit on this couch with my brain scrambled.
I have much to look forward to and yet I feel like I’m still catching up.
I don’t believe this is a stand-still season for me.
So many opportunities and so many ideas. Dreams and fears circle around me.
But I am determined to stay focused.
To not let the “should’ve, could’ve, would’ve’s” get me down.
There is no time for doubt.
I am who I was created to be.
Young, brave, and fearless.
Ready to explore.
Taking these manifold opportunities as they come.
I can’t be still.
I have to keep moving.
A greater purpose lies ahead.
God is pulling me closer to my destiny.
Have you ever heard the phrase ‘Time flies’? The sand timer had stood still for a while but now I’m accelerating as the sand starts to flow.

Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. -Romans 13:11 ESV

Should I Walk by Faith?

It is often stated that we walk by faith and not by sight. The passage comes from 2 Corinthians 5:7 (KJV). Many are adamant about “walking” in faith. But I’d like to share how walking is not enough.

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Photo by Shantel G. All rights reserved.

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? – James 2:14

As a saved woman I have learned how to operate in faith. There have been days when I’ve sat around in procrastination. Just “walking” in my faith and expecting miracles. But when I saw the results  were not coming, I decided to analyze my level of expectation and actions toward my so called “faith”. What I realized is that I had unrealistic expectations and no investments toward my goal. Would someone just come up to me and give me a job? Would the rent money come in a package from nowhere? I have now seen results by using my hustle & faith.

Hustle & faith means I’m gonna show God how bad I want [his results]. – Marcus D. Wiley

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Photo by Shantel G. All rights reserved.

What the world sees as a definite loss, I see as a possibility of greatness; an opportunity for God’s gain.

So lately I’ve been doing a lot of sorting and thinking. Trying to conjure up an explanation for why I am in this current season. Trying to figure out where to go from here.

I don’t know where I’m going but I know that God is taking me there. – Marcus D. Wiley

I have asked God for many things in the past. A certain type of profession. Husband traits.  Home architectural properties. God has blessed me with some things I said I wanted. Sometimes I wonder if I should have asked to be a music teacher. Life can throw you curveballs and make you question if this is what you really wanted. But then I remember the lives that have been touched and the sacrifices made that have brought a sense of fulfillment and completion.

My journey is far from over. I am on God’s GPS accelerating to where He is taking me. He knows the destination. My hustle and faith rejuvenate me along the way.

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Photo by Shantel G. All rights reserved.

Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. – James 2:15-17

I encourage everyone to purchase Marcus D. Wiley’s book titled Hustle & Faith.

Check out my singing cover of Fight Song 🙂

GOD IS WITH YOU. NOW BE BLESSED…