“Ah…” What a Feeling

Too much of anything in the secular realm is not wise. Do a quick self-examination and ask yourself what is the object of your overconsumption. Truthfully, I could make a list of the top ten. In my effort to encourage you, my goal is not to rattle off a list of what we spend too much time participating in, but I want to discuss some potential effects of overconsumption. The perspective of the outcome is the same. If you routinely spend too much time ‘doing the same thing’ especially around the same time, preceding or following a particular event or activity, you can develop not only a bad habit but also an addiction could be unfolding.

When the word addiction is mentioned, some default is to think of drugs and alcohol and not the many activities that we participate in daily that gives us that ‘happy feeling’. Those activities or ‘things’ that gives us the most comfort has the potential to spur addictive behaviors e.g. repetitiveness, lack of management, and destruction. The simple fact that anything outside of God that gives us that rush of comfort is only temporary and leaves us feeling empty from having participated.

Okay, okay… some of us would not agree that our behaviors are borderline addictions, but for the sake of this exercise, examine your daily routines, especially since you have been quarantined or simply humor me. 🙂

I know this person, (wink, wink) at one time in her life, she would listen to a certain genre of music, other than Christian music, a certain day of the week. This music took her to a happy place, not all bad, but not all good either. The fact that this started out as a day to unwind, was not the issue, but the issue was the development of how this time became her happy place.

During the week when she became sad or depressed, she knew that she could go to that place in her head/mind that would provide a level of comfort like nothing or no none else on the planet. She had even begun to experience the chemical ‘let down’ that accompany sex, shopping, eating chocolate, or even falling in love. You know… Dopamine, one of ‘natures’ happy drugs. It is released with the anticipation with any of the aforementioned activities. Dopamine is one of the ‘big four’ chemicals that our brains release associated with producing that happy feeling. Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Endorphins are the other three.

Soon, what started out to be harmless would become her addiction… her idol. In case you have not noticed, she did not start out to substitute God’s comfort with seeking comfort by fleshly means. My bible tells me that my comfort and hope come from God’s living and active word that He, Himself has given us through reading and abiding. “For everything that was written in former times was written for our instruction, so that through endurance and through encouragement of the scriptures we may have hope. Now may the God of endurance and comfort give you unity with one another in accordance with Christ Jesus”, Romans 15:4-5. Another one of my favorites, Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God”, 1 Corinthians 1:3-4.

A nugget; If God comforts us in all our tribulations so that we may be able to comfort others in any trouble, why would He allow us to find our comforts elsewhere, (in this case, the flesh), since I am to share and utilize it to comfort others? Hmm…

There is no way that I can tell anyone to look at what God did for me through earthly and fleshly means. Do not hear what I am not saying… refocus. What I am saying is that we cannot find lasting comfort and the kind that would not leave us shameful and empty apart from God.

Loving Exhortation: Be consistently, sober-minded. 1. Be careful if you are spending too much time on social media or the internet, even if the goal is to ward-off boredom. 2. Be careful if you are spending too much time consuming COvid-19 information. Yes, this can even provide comfort. How? The more you know about the disease the more comfortable and control you feel; the more you know, the more you think you can prevent it. Live and trust God, quit reading and talking about it so much. 

3. Are you listening or reading more about the Covid-19 environmental effects than reading or listening to the word of God? Only you can honestly answer that. Do you know more about COvid-19 than you do on how to lead someone to Christ? Do you know more about the symptoms and how the national leaders are trending with their decisions than defending your faith with scriptures? Again, only you can answer this.

4. One more thing to be careful with. That glass of wine that use to be occasional. Since the quarantine, you have more in the house, you enjoy it more than before because you have more time to drink it. You look forward more to a nice glass of alcoholic beverage because it relaxes you. I am not a drinker, but just writing this makes me want a glass, especially if it is going to relax me. Lord have mercy! See what I mean…

5. Finally, the beauty of tickling those taste buds with comfort foods. When working, you did not have time to prepare them, but now, you prepare those big meals with homemade desserts and pastries more regularly, meals with pastas, like spaghetti and lasagnas, because it feeds more people or more leftovers to stretch those groceries for budget purposes. How about, trying out those new recipes; another facilitator of comfort. What I am trying to say is be very careful. The enemy and the flesh working together will create havoc in our lives.

This is not the time to get relaxed in what can become easy living or the proverbial life on a ‘flowery bed of ease’ as a means to avoid complaining or to produce contentment. Be careful of overindulging in things of this world that brings temporary comfort, joy, and happiness. Desire comfort in that which lasts. This can only be found in God though Jesus Christ and His word.

Allow me to bless you as I leave you for today with my favorite benediction prayer: “May the Lord bless you and keep you, may His face shine upon you and be gracious to you, may He life His countenance upon you and give you peace” Numbers 6:2426!

Thank you for reading my free style writing! 🙂 I pray that you are blessed and encouraged by it.

The journey flows…. –

God is Worth the Effort

As I sit and stare out my office window and reflect on the last few weeks, I began to praise the Lord for His grace, mercy, compassion, love, protection, provision, presence, closeness, companionship, patience, gentleness, my every breath, freshness, and so much more. Just thinking of His ‘Allness’, my heart feels full. You know the feeling.

At times, when I reflect on God’s goodness, I fear of forgetting these times of such closeness and stillness. I want to remember them so I can pass the memories and these experiences of God’s ‘Allness’ along to my granddaughters. I desire to share and testify of this swelling of God’s existence and His character to many. God is so faithful in every way.

The Lord has impressed upon me to remember one of His great miracles. The supernatural damming and drying of the Jordan River. This was so the multitude could crossover into Canaan. God spoke to Joshua and told him to instruct the twelve tribes of Israel to erect a 12-stone memorial to celebrate the crossing of the Israelites over the dry-river Jordan. This memorial would serve as an applicable method of teaching their young of God’s ‘Allness’ and it would definitely prove that God was with Joshua and His people.  Joshua 4:6-7 reads, 6 That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? 7 Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel forever. KJV

God commanded them when they cross the Jordan to remember to fear Him and to keep His Laws and statutes and to teach them to their offspring from generation to generation.  4 ““Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. 6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates”, Deuteronomy 6:6-9

How will you remember this time? What will be your memorial and teaching tool to help reflect on these days and how the Lord is helping you to cross over your ‘River-Jordan’? Journaling is an inexpensive practical way to help with recall. There are hard copies, and electronic ways to journal concerning how the Lord is meeting and has met your every need. It is also worth journaling about how He is swelling up into this giant of ‘Allness’ in our lives so monumentally, especially during these weeks of stillness. I encourage you to use this time to catalog how God has shown to be your true ‘Daily bread’.

You don’t have to journal every day. It can even be once a week. Pray about your routine. Make an appointment in your phone calendar with a reminder to journal often.  Journaling can serve as a memorial for teaching future generations about God’s character and how He is our sustenance for life. It also can become a catalyst to praise and worship. It is very therapeutic in many ways. Please enjoy reflecting on God’s goodness during this journey!

Happy Resurrection Day,

With Love,

The journey flows…

Let the Healing Begin

When I think about the character of God, it is not too far-fetched to look around and see the ‘sign of the times’. Over the last several months, I have witnessed the hand of God in many ways that have left me awe-stricken. My reverence for Him continues to grow. In late February, I witnessed all four seasons in one week. I will never forget how ‘BIG’ and enormous God became. His sovereignty is steadily becoming more clearer. Today, as I sit still and seek God through this time of dubiety, I see God as not only sovereign but also ‘Just’ in a more reverential way. My vision of justice according to the principles of God has been renewed. God’s sovereignty and justice go hand in hand.

In this world there will be suffering. Who welcomes suffering? Whether God’s sovereignty is an act of His divine wrath or His permissive will. In both, God is ‘Just’ in His causation or permission. What is our role during suffering? Our role is to continue in our devotion and obedience to God. Be steadfast!

God has already put in place divine injunctions. Let’s us revisit the ‘thou shall nots’, (have no other gods before Him, not to make any idols, not take the name of the Lord our God in vain, not forget about the Sabbath day and it’s holiness (don’t be distracted by this one), do no dishonor your parents, no murdering, no committing adultery, no stealing, no lying on others, no coveting, “yearning or aching after possessions”), referencing Exodus 20:3-17, The Ten Commandments.

Jesus summarized this Moral Law while answering a question to a group of Pharisees, specifically a lawyer, by responding the greatest commandment in the Law is love (Love of God and Love of others), “37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets”Matthew 22:37-40.

Take notice, none of these commands are passive in nature. They all take being intentional and an act of will, or should I say, “Will not”, mostly. During this God-given gift of social-stillness and while you still have time, please do a self-examination, (not self-condemnation), earnestly seeking the Holy Spirit to disclose to you areas of where you have been disengaged in your obedience to the commands of the Lord. I am reminded, Be Holy, for I am Holy, 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy”, 1 Peter 1:14-15.

As the Holy Spirit convicts and encourages you, confess your sins followed by repentance. This is not easy, but necessary. I leave you with a scripture that has surfaced contextually.  Don’t just read and quote verse 14 but also study 13, 15 & 16 as well, “13 If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, 14 and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place. 16 For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that My name may be there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually”, 2 Chronicles 7:13-16.

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us”, 1 John 1:9. There is healing in confession and purity, let it begin with you and me.

I leave you with this encouragement, God is sovereign and whatever He divinely or permissively decides, He is “JUST’ and so it shall be. Trust Him!

The journey flows…

If Walls Could Talk

If the walls in your house could talk, would you be embarrassed or ashamed at what they would say? Would you try to silence them? Would you try to make them forget about today, yesterday, last week, last month, and /or last year? Would your walls be able to say that you treat your spouse, children, and/or elderly parents with love, respect, compassion and patience? Would your walls be able to say that you over-discipline your children? If your neighbor or church family member ask you to discipline his/her child, would you discipline them with the same measure of patience and understanding that you discipline your own children with or would you be a little less harsh and impatient for the same offense as your own child?

If your walls could talk, would they sound the alarm of how you have shown lack of forbearance and self-control when caring for the elderly, mentally ill, or physically handicapped? This is ugly, but it happens. When there is a loss of income, financial hardship, loss of perceived control, living in close quarters, loss of a place for escape, there is a potential rise in violence, abuse, and neglect.  While the world is so focused and concerned about how not to contract the virus, let us not forget about these sicknesses that have been plaguing homes for centuries.  

Currently, husbands and wives are spending more time with each other like never before… literally, twenty- four/seven. The same applies with children. The responsibility of teaching/schooling the children has fallen on the parents. Many of these parents feel ill-equipped, which is causing anxiety.

Since the quarantine, people who already were victims of violence, abuse, and neglect, have no place to run, hide, or escape. In some homes, the workplace and schools provided a temporary safe place to escape and a healthy distraction from the horrid dysfunctions of home. Whereas too much time in the workplace previously caused types of dysfunction… now, too much time at home can trigger family dysfunctions, especially abuse. There are many articles on the web, issuing warnings with discussions concerning the rise of domestic violence and child abuse. The home has become more of a disadvantage than an advantage (Patrick, 2020).

You might be asking yourself, “How can I help, if I cannot leave the house?” You can help by reaching out by phone, text, and private messaging.  There are Department of Human Services or Elderly Abuse hotlines for reporting suspicion. Let’s face it, some of you have some suspicion and have decided to ‘mind your own business’. You are already convinced from asking yourself, “What if I am wrong?” But what if you are right?

The doors of churches are closed unfortunately. We can’t pass this on for pastors and church leaders for comfort. We have to find a way through prayer, faith, and taking risks.

If anyone is reading this blog and needs assistance, please seek help. At the end there will be information to guide you. At the same time, seek the Lord. I can help you with that as well. “17 The righteous cry, and the Lord hears And delivers them out of all their troubles. 18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit”, Psalm 34:17-18. Not only for the victims but also for the offenders, there is help for you also. “Seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the Lord, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts”, Isaiah 55:6-9.

Heavenly Father, please heal broken homes and broken-hearted today. You are our protector and our shepherd. We are garrisoned in your loving arms. Cause peace to reign in disruptive violent homes, oh God. Change the hearts and minds of offenders. Comfort the hurting Lord. You are the merciful God of all comfort from all troubles. Be all of that and more for everyone… the grieving, emotionally, physically, mentally, financially hurt, and those who are worried. Thank you for not forgetting about us and is providing a way. Help us to trust in you and wait on your timing, for this too shall pass. In Jesus’ majestic and mighty name, I believe, Amen.

What must I do to be saved? Email me at: Thykingdomcomem1@gmail.com

I can and want to help!

The journey flows…

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How to Report Domestic Violence:

The National Domestic Violence Hotline website is filled with resources, tips, and links to further information to help victims stay safe. They have a hotline for victims and survivors that is staffed around the clock. They invite those who are in need of assistance or support to contact them at 1-800-799-7233. They even provide an option for victims who feel they are unable to find a safe place for a phone call to log onto thehotline.org or text LOVEIS to 22522.

The bottom line is that even in a time of crisis, help is available. For some victims, becoming familiar with available resources is the first step. Knowing where to go and who to call provides many victims with a sense of relief even in the absence of current abuse, because knowledge is power (Patrick, 2020, para. 12-13)

 Reference: Patrick, Wendy, JD, PhD, (2020). Domestic Violence: Domestic Abuse During Quarantine: When the Threat Is Inside. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/why-bad-looks-good/202003/domestic-abuse-during-quarantine-when-the-threat-is-inside

Child Abuse Reporting:

https://dss.sc.gov/abuseneglect/report-child-abuse-and-neglect/

Adult Protective Services and Elder Abuse:

Adult Protective Services assist vulnerable and elder adults to stop and prevent abuse, neglect, or exploitation. Anyone can make a report about suspected abuse to the Hotline.Phone: 

Adult Abuse Hotline: (800) 222-8000Caregiver Eligibility:   Adults age 60 or older and adults with disabilities

Godly Planning

Many people are avid planners and already have 2020 planned and promised as such: dreams of a beautiful spring wedding and reception with a guest list of 100 plus; travel plans accompanying career ambitions or positions of prestige; the Cooper River Bridge Run scheduled for this Saturday, April 4th; maybe a trip to some exotic island or cruise to enhance your marriage; to improve the quality of friendships and other meaningful relationships, i.e. girls/guys trip or family reunion; or to attend Easter service to reclaim your life spiritually… no waiting required.

However, the health advisory to stay-home has altered earnest intentions. Nevertheless, the feelings of disappointment can exist for some, if not all. Experiencing disappointment is sometimes difficult to get past, especially when lives are so driven by completing tasks, securing positions/titles, and vision fulfillment. Don’t misunderstand, planning is necessary for progression. Yet, when self-identity is so closely associated with ‘making things happen’, admittedly or not, there is risk for developing a posture of despair.

Seeking God’s will for our lives should supersede personal plans and promises. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened”, Matthew 7:7-8. No plan or promise should be made without seeking God for guidance and peace to proceed. ‘Putting the cart before the horse’ is not wise planning. Asking God to bless your plans and promises after implementation is not a healthy practice for a blessed life. Developing this habit not only causes you disappointment but also leads to you disappointing others.

The remedy: 1. Patience-try not to rush into moving forward with plans without carefully and intentionally seeking God. 2. Silence-only share plans and promises with a few praying and intimate people. Oversharing can cause peer pressure, which makes you pridefully move forward outside of God’s will. 19 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak…”, James 1:19. 3. Humility-do not be too proud to realign your plans to God’s will. 4. Faith-just because you don’t see evidence of your plan, it doesn’t mean that God disapproves of it; do NOT doubt your prayerful process. As Gabriel told Mary “With God, nothing will be impossible”, Luke 1:37. 5. Flexibility– Don’t be rigid with processes and strategies. Be open to alternative input and ideas. 6. Trust-understand the nature of God’s sovereignty, He is divinely or permissively controlling every aspect of our lives. 7. Thanksgiving-be thankful for all things, whether plans are allayed or deviated. “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thess 5:18. 8. Contentment-there must be a level of satisfaction and peace with current situation and positions in life where no planning is necessary, just maintenance and stewardship is required. Finally, 9. Prayer-pray, pray, and keep praying. Prayer heals our mind, soothes our soul, and refocuses our gaze.

Meditation: Allow the Apostle Paul’s wisdom to his protege’ Timothy guide you in your planning:  “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:6-12

The journey flows…

Somebody Had to Say It

I just hate to talk about this, but I do not think that I have a choice. Somebody has to be the one to say it. Why not I; especially since I can relate. The struggle is real! Beware of the sneaky little low key temptations lurking in the background. Most people are focusing on warding off fear because of the pandemic. However, beware of the increase in Cortisol levels, which is a by-product of stress. Our Adrenal glands generate and release Cortisol (stress hormones) into our bloodstream causing an elevated heart rate and blood pressure, surge in glucose, stops insulin production, constrict arteries, release of epinephrine, and many more responses to the body that occurs as the body prepares for “fight or flight. During fight or flight, you can probably ‘leap a tall building in a single bound’, metaphorically speaking of course. Basically, you are more energetic, mentally astute, and physically stronger (powerful). You probably are wondering, what’s the problem… I can use some of that!

The problem: Imagine your body in this state consistently… not good! Too much of a good thing can and most of the time will become a bad thing. In this case, weight gain. Yes, I said it! During this indoor crisis, be careful of the temptation to stress eat or eat out of boredom. You think you are hungry, but you are not. Those extra snacks and excess food that you purchased is ‘screaming’ “eat me and eat me right now”. You have been quarantined, not to mention the gyms and sports facilities are closed, i.e. more sedentary life-styles. You literally, would have gone into the house slimmer, but will come out heavier (more weight). Take heed, be alert and watchful of the your increased hand to mouth movements. Stress and weight gain can go hand in hand. I want to help you and help myself too.

The enemy will use this to distract us from kingdom matters now and again later. “Be sober, vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour”, 1 Peter 5:8

Practical advice: 1. Be at peace with our current situation, understanding and believing that ‘this too’ will pass, trust God. 2. Put your kids‘ snacks in the back of the pantry. 3. Drink more water, put the sodas down. 5. Don’t stay up too late. 6. Go to bed at a decent hour to prevent a rise in your cortisol levels. 7. Develop an exercise regimen (workout videos), 8. If you must snack, beware of the carbs), 9. Try on your (dressy or favorite) outfits or even wear them daily, comb your hair, apply a little make-up, if that’s your norm, (you will feel better) 10. Twenty four/seven (24/7) pajamas and curlers might be fun and relaxing, but not a good thing, 11. When hungry, prayer helps. Finally, this might be a great time to try the Intermittent fasting plan (if okay with your doctor ), no food from (6:00 p.m. to 12:00 p.m. or 7:00 pm to 1:00 pm), then eat all your meals between 12:00 pm to 6:00 p.m., or etc. Not easy at first, I have failed for three days (I chuckle). As I stated earlier, the struggle is real. I will not be defeated. We can do this…

Heavenly Father, please help me to remember this temple is the body made for your use, you reside in it, built it to last and maintain. Help me, oh Lord, not to overeat during this season of being at home. Help me not to eat out of stress or boredom. Remove my stress Lord and give me the drive to be active and creative in my home. It is a safe haven for me and I am so thankful and grateful for this roof over our heads. Thank you for the strength and motivation to do better. In Jesus name I believe, amen!

The journey flows…

Share with us what you are doing to stay fit and healthy during this quarantine… Just click reply and help us out.

…Not Until I Know Why

I am an educator at heart, Assistant Professor of Nursing. I have not spoken on the virus, because I wanted to save my words to speak life and give you hope. However, if I do not speak out, then I am not being responsible with what the Lord has gifted me with for the journey. In short, I would not be true to my journey. I posted this on my Facebook page and wanted to get this out to the masses. My desire is to educate, arouse healthy perspectives and advocate for the community, especially those who cannot for themselves. And sometimes those people are not just the elderly and children, but people who are uninformed and unaware are also included in the vulnerable population.

Many times, this lack of enlightenment has to do with lack of understanding. So, please review the following video to expand your knowledge, increase your understanding as to become committed to Romans 12:10, “10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” Love and honor people by keeping them safe by keeping your distance and keeping your hands clean as much as possible. If possible, please stay home, wash your hands, call the elderly, family, and friends, tell people you love them, educate in love, pray without ceasing, and share the gospel as much as possible.

You won’t understand why, until you understand why. This is why:

This is the unpleasant part of our journey, nevertheless…

The journey keeps flowing…

Peace & love to you all!!

One Thing for Certain…

Uncertain times is the phrase of today. Focusing with this mind-set can set the stage for discouragement and hopelessness. The perspective that produces encouragement and hope is focusing on what is certain. One thing for certain is that the Lord through the Bible and the Holy Spirit gives us truths to concentrate and rest on.

We can be certain of the following:

“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;Philippians 1:6. We will not leave this earth until God finishes with us and finished His work through us.

“For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” 2 Corinthians 5:1. This earth is not our home.

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,” 2 Corinthians 4:17. Trouble does not last always; God works through it for His glory… trust Him.

“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6. Whatever we face in this world, we are not in it alone, God is with us.

I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the LORD, who does all these things. “Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit; let the earth cause them both to sprout; I the LORD have created it. Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ or ‘Your work has no handles’?“. Isaiah 45:7-9. God is sovereign and is surprised by nothing. Nothing catches God off-guard. He knows… Trust Him… He knows.

Finally, during this time, God’s best is at work. Meditate on these certainties that we can depend on that will encourage us while we wait on God. The Bible is filled with many. So, I encourage you instead of accepting what we think is uncertain, while isolated these upcoming weeks, how about we sift through the Word of God for encouraging certainties. Praying…

Heavenly Father, help me to be encouraged by your word. For I know that your word is truth and I can depend on it, especially when we are faced with calamities and disaster. I need your strength to have faith in your total control and your might. I know that you are so much bigger than what I think I see. Help me to surrender all to you. Thank you! I believe and am surrendering… in Jesus’ mighty name I pray this prayer. Amen.

The journey flows…

Finding Peace

God never promised us that the world would be free of chaos and trouble. But what Jesus did say, “...let your heart NOT be troubled or afraidJohn 14: 27c. Prior to this imperative, Jesus gave comforting information to help guard our troubling hearts. So, allow me to remind you that this comforting information can be found in John 14. Jesus starts out in verse 1 by saying, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me John 14:1. I could simply stop there because the words of our Lord and savior is enough. Believing in God and His son should be enough to comfort any troubled or fearful heart.

As we live in uncertain times, we can be certain that Jesus’ words are meant to comfort us during these times. John 14 is a synopsis of Jesus comforting the disciples during an ‘uncertain time’ for them. Causing the worry: “Who will betray Jesus, Peter in denial and overconfident in his commitment to Jesus, plus Jesus was going to leave them”, all of this knowledge overwhelmed them and gave rise to troubling hearts and fear. Currently, our society is overwhelmed with troubling knowledge leading to fear. However as Christians, we should lead the charge in exercising peace because we have a promising future, no matter what the outcome of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).

Jesus in His compassion and grace gives us more details facilitating assurance of the peace that is found in knowing the Father and His son. Jesus starts out by informing us of our eternal home (heaven) with Him and it’s capacity to accommodate all true believers, e.g. saints. Further comfort throughout John 14: we are in a constant relational fellowship with God (7-11), we have the privilege of prayer (12-15), we have the gift of the Holy Spirit, our helper (16-18), the enjoyment of God’s (our Father’s) love (19-24) and finally, another reminder of His gift of peace (25-31).

What I would like for you to takeaway from this devotion is to remember peace is a gift from the Lord and it is not something that you must give away. We all have been privileged with this gift from our Lord. It is totally out of this world. In fact, Jesus gave us HIS peace. “27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

(Pause… and let this sink in).

My encouragement to you: In the coming weeks as the world becomes more afraid and times become more uncertain, you hold on to Jesus’ peace that you have and show love to the world and I declare, your experiences will become less fearful and more faithful. After all there is no fear in love, 1 John 4:18.

Heavenly Father, help us during these times of obvious lack of control. For we know that you have always been in control and forgive us for the times that we thought we were. Help us to surrender our desire to understand and fix everything. We need your help to not only believe and trust you but also to exercise this trust so that the world will be drawn to you and Christians drawn back to you. Lord feed us, protect us, shelter us, & heal us from diseases. Help us not be greedy and self-centered and fall back into human nature but walk by and with your spirit. Help us to be mindful of others and esteem others over ourselves. We can do all of this through your strength. You are almighty and powerful. This is my humble prayer for the world and myself. In Jesus name, I believe… Amen!

Keep safe,
The journey flows…

A Void

There were three women conversing about life. For the sake of this article: their names are Alisa, Betty, & Mary. Alisa asked the two ladies have they ever felt lonely. Betty, asked her why. Alisa stated that she was experiencing an overwhelming feeling of loneliness. Betty said to her, but you have a husband, children, and even grandchildren; how is it that YOU are lonely? Mary chimed in to state that she has experienced loneliness before, even in a crowded room that had much chatter. Again, the question was asked, why were you lonely if there were people and they all talking. Mary said, they were all talking, but none were talking to me. Alisa stated that her loneliness does not stem from silence or lack of companions, but from too much connectivity with man and not enough connectivity with the Lord. Alisa stated that she feels her loneliest times when she does not spend enough quality time with the Lord. The Bible says, “draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you” James 4:8a.

Often times, we can get so caught up in the comforts of this world until we depend on them rather than depend on God’s comfort. One of my favorite encouraging scriptures: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. When I need comfort in any affliction (self-inflicted or otherwise), I read this scripture and pray to the Lord to help me depend on Him for comfort. Depending on God’s comfort is easier said than done, especially since the comforts of this world are right at our finger tips. It takes faith to depend on God’s comfort, not so with the world’s comfort.

Comforts of this world will always leave a void. We will always end up empty; loneliness can easily set-in even when those around you are present. The problem is not that our husbands, children, grandchildren and/or other companions fail to fill our void or offer comfort, the problem is that we expect them to. No person, place, or thing can provide lasting and perfect mercies, grace, faithfulness and love… only God can. These truths about God is the ONLY true and lasting comfort. The enemy does not want us to thrive in God’s comfort. If we fail to thrive, then how can we be the conduit for God’s comfort for others. God’s plan is for us to comfort others with the same comfort that we have been comforted. We comfort others by walking out God’s truths in our lives. Think about it, when others see God in you, they are automatically comforted and feelings of emptiness and loneliness eventually dissipates.

Application: When I need comfort, I have to walk by faith and not by feelings. Faith says that I AM already comforted by God; I have to trust the truth. Feelings say I need to be comforted when already… ‘I AM’!

Heavenly Father, help me to draw near to you. You are ever present and you will never leave me. You are the great I AM. You are the God of all comfort. Remind me, oh God that as long as I have you, I have comfort and am already comforted. Help me when I am too weak to walk in that comfort. Help me not be guided by feelings of any kind, but guided by truth through faith and your strength. I believe in your word and trust that you are able. Thank you for helping me see me, but most of all for helping me see your sovereignty through your divine and submissive will in all things. Thank you God for filling my void with Jesus and all that comes with me saying yes to you. I am grateful. Your humble servant… Amen

The journey flows…