I was reading one of my devotionals yesterday morning from the YouVersion Bible App (If you don’t have it, download it ASAP. It is an amazing APP). and the focus was about facing storms. Throughout life we will face many trials and tribulations because avoiding adversity is impossible, but what do you do during the storm?

I can generally read a person’s mood or emotions pretty accurately, and especially in my line of work I need to know if someone is going through a “storm.” It’s funny that once I read this devotional I started to think if I wear my emotions, my moods, and my problems in my facial expressions, and body language. The last few weeks have been extremely stressful and many people have said that it looks like something is wrong and that I’m not being myself. I am not one to run to Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to broadcast my issues like other people.

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God doesn’t want us to wear our problems. When we do that people offer advice and sometimes we seek others before we seek Him. Often times we go to God when the problem is out of our control. We want Him to fix what is happening when we should’ve gone to Him first. Of course sometimes we want to vent and just want someone to listen, but before venting we should pray. Pray that God keeps us calm in the midst of the storm. If we believe that He is who He says He is then we know that we already have the victory. That will make our testimony that much greater.

We have to praise God during the good times and the bad times. When we pray and give our problems to God, He’ll reveal the answers to our problems. He’ll put us in the right places with the right people in order to be triumphant. We just have to trust Him. We just have to be still and not broadcast the storm, but broadcast the victory of how God brought us through the storm.

Psalms 46:10 says,

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.

We just have to have faith and know that He is not a man that He should lie. We have to trust Him to guide us in the right direction to be victorious.

The format for service this past Sunday was so simple, but the anointing was so powerful! Galley Molina, Israel Houghton, and Stephen Baldwin were all there to talk about their newest movie “I’m In Love with a Church Girl.” I actually saw the trailer for this movie quite some time ago and thought “What in the cheesy church movie,” but after hearing Galley Molina’s testimony I am definitely going to support on October 18th.

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The story is based on Molina’s life going from drug lord to pastor. He spoke briefly about how God was able to enter his life because he knew that the only way he would go to church was because of a woman. The movie “I’m In Love with a Church Girl” reflects his life as a drug lord and how he gave his life over to christ. It’s not your ordinary redemption story, it is the story of how God truly works within our culture and society.

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God says come as you are, but many people feel you have to be fixed up and “perfect” so God can accept you. What we don’t realize is that God knows every fiber of our being. He knows our heart better than we do. If we come to Him “perfect” what good would our testimony be. Our struggles and how God helped us move forward by overcoming them is a powerful story that can and will help someone. We just have to come to God as we are because only He can heal us.

After the Q & A session with Galley Molina and Stephen Baldwin, Israel and New Breed BLESSED us with a “mini concert.” When I tell you we were #TurntUpForJesus I mean it. He sang quite a few songs and the anointing of God’s spirit was so powerful. He sang a few of my favorites, then again I love all of his songs, “I am a Friend of God,” “Lord You are Good,”It’s Not Over” and “Moving Forward.”

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“It’s Not Over” has gotten me through some tough times. It made me realize that God has the final say in everything. Although many things that I have wanted and prayed for I did not receive, I know that it was for the best. The lyrics say

I know its darkest just before dawn
this might be the hardest season you’ve experienced
I know it hurts, it wont be too long
Cause your closer than you think you are
Closer than you’ve been before
so look to the sky, help is on the way

Chorus

Is not over, its not finished
its not ending, its only the beginning
when god is in it,
all things are new, ooh ooh ooh ooh
all things are new, ooh ooh ooh ooh

Verse 2

Something is moving, turning around
Seasons are changing, everything is different now
Here comes the sun, piercing the clouds
You’re closer than you think you are
Closer than you’ve been before

So look to the sky, look to the sky
Help is on the way, help is on the way
Our God is faithful, faithful to say

It’s not over, its not finished
It’s not ending, its only the beginning
It’s not over, its not finished
It’s not ending, its only the beginning
When God is in it
When God is in it oh oh oh oh ooh ooo

If you keep God first in your life know that there are no limits. God can do above what we can ever imagine. We just have to remain faithful and in prayer while looking to the sky because as the song says help is on the way. Remember with God THERE ARE NO LIMITS! This has to be our thought process as believers.

Check out the trailer for “I’m in Love with a Church Girl” which hits theaters October 18th!

“It’s Not Over” Israel Houghton featuring James Fortune and Jason Nelson

notforsale

Sale- offer to be sold; opportunity to sell; made available for purchase

God has blessed us all with special and unique gifts, talents, and abilities. We are supposed to treasure what we were given and not covet what he has blessed others with. Our talents, gifts, and abilities were solely given to us to use as we walk in our purpose. We are given the strength in certain areas to minister people to be a blessing in their lives. We have to value and treasure what God has blessed us with. Sometimes we want more or we want less, but we are given exactly what God knows we can handle.

Often times we want lives similar to others or we want to trade in what we have to get what we perceive to be better. Everything that God gives us is for us and we have to treasure it. Our gifts, talents, and abilities are not for sale. They cannot be traded in because we don’t want to use what we have. We cannot take even the smallest blessing for granted. Whatever you appreciate increases in value because you will take care of it and protect it. What ever we don’t appreciate decreases, so let us not sell our time, talents, gifts, and abilities in hopes of something better. Let us treasure, protect, and use what God has set apart specifically for us.

Last week I mentioned that I was going to start a prayer journal (click here to read the full post) and I am proud to say that I have written consistently in my journal at least once a day for seven days straight *pats self on the back* I used to journal, I but I’ve never written consistently for seven straight days. I would go three days here, two days there, and on the weekends you can forget about it. I can also say that this week I have been feeling extremely light. My spirit, heart, and mind were really heavy and I’ve written down almost everything that I was feeling. If I didn’t write it down I had a deep conversation with God about it all. This journal allowed me to focus my thoughts, devotionals, and prayers. I have created my own little system of how I organize and track my thoughts.

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My Method

Section 1: Devotionals-I write based on my morning’s scripture reading

Section 2: Prayers-I write down my prayers for everyone and everything

Section 3: Thank You (Gratitude) I make a list of everything that I am thankful for (the good, the bad, and the ugly)

Section 4: Declarations- I write down things that I declare I will do or will not do

Section 5: I Ain’t Got No Worries- yes that is a line from a rap song, but it fits so I went with it. I write down everything that I need to stop worrying about and pray for. So this section is written in the form of a prayer as well

I don’t have a specific order in which I write things down. I find myself flipping through my book at any given time to write something down so I won’t forget. I always start with my devotional, but end where ever the spirit leads me. I write for at least 30-minutes. I average about 45-minutes to an hour on most days because I have a lot to say. I wake up pretty early before I want to actually start my day because that is when I’m most focused. I only wrote at night once.

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I haven’t felt this good spiritually in a very long time because I know that my prayer life was suffering. I have seven days down and 14 days to go as my goal is to write consistently for 21 to build a positive habit. In church this past Sunday my pastor once again challenged us to be the priests that God has called us to be . He gave us a list of five sacrifices of the priest

  1. Presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice Romans 12:1-2 living holy lives
  2. Sacrifice of Praise- Hebrews 13:15 praising God despite what you are going through
  3. Sacrifice of Substance-Romans 12:13 Hebrews 13:2 Being hospitable
  4. Sacrifice of Service- Sorry no focus scripture Appreciating God’s calling upon your life
  5. Being an Intercessor- Colossians 4:12 praying on the behalf of others

I am definitely a work in progress, but I just thank God that I have an opportunity to change.

Have any of you started your prayer journal? If yes have you noticed any changes in your life?

Happy Monday My Loves!

I hope you all had a great weekend. It is yet another Monday that we should all be thankful for because God has given us another day to live out our purpose.

Yesterday was my pastor’s 60th birthday celebration and I have to say that I am truly thankful for him. He has really helped shape my way of thinking as an adult and yesterday part of his message was about all believers in Christ being priests. The purpose of a priest is to serve and minister to God. He then said that many people go to church and it is always about them and their problems and their issues. We forget that as believers are to exalt and glorify God, but we have so much baggage that our praise tends to be a bit selfish. He also said that as priests we are bring sacrifices to God that minister to Him. In the Old Testament the form was to sacrifice an animal, but because of Jesus we must sacrifice ourselves. You can’t be selfish and walk with God. The first commandment  says (Exodus 20:1-3)

1 And God spoke all these words, saying,

2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

3“You shall have no other gods before me.

As believers we have to serve, give, and minister to God. We have to remember that God is always in the blessing business. Having a right relationship with God means that it is not always about us and our wants and needs.

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Ok so how does all of this connect with a spiritual journal? I’m glad you asked!

A spiritual journey is a way for you to keep up with your spiritual journey. If you record your thoughts, feelings, ideas, conversations, behaviors, prayers, etc. you may notice a pattern or something that God is trying to reveal to you in order to improve your spiritual life and walk with Christ.

I found this awesome How To on keeping a spiritual journal by Michael Haywood (Click here to read it). I created my journal framework based on some of the suggestions listed here. You can keep a handwritten journal or a digital journal, but you need something that you can record your thoughts.

Here are a few benefits of keeping a spiritual journal according to Haywood

~ clarifies one’s understandings of the nature and will of God
~ organizes one’s thoughts
~ brings out thoughts that might never have occurred to one otherwise
~ records spiritual thoughts and realizations one has, so they’re not forgotten
~ forces one to take time out on a regular basis to sit with God and make some sense of life (sometimes we’re so busy living life that we don’t take time to get perspective)
~ makes a record of one’s spiritual growth, kind of like pencil marks on the kitchen doorway of one’s spiritual life
~ helps one to keep a balance between head and heart
~ can help one to know oneself better.

A few things you might record according to Michael Haywood

~ Insights, promises and revelations from your devotional life.
~ Specific prayers you have prayed.
~ God’s answers to your prayers.
~ Personal behavioral struggles (e.g. with family, work, finances, sexuality, leisure….)
~ Needs you have in personal, spiritual and practical areas.
~ Insights and helpful passages in the Bible.
~ Confession of sin, and recognition of God’s disappointment, forgiveness and mercy.
~ Personal identity struggles. (e.g. Just who am I? What am I supposed to be doing?)
~ Lessons you have learned in the school of life.
~ Daily events of personal or spiritual significance.
~ Experiences when one has been keenly aware of God or God’s will, or wondered where God was.
~ Disappointment, hurt, pain, suffering, victories, failures, joys and sorrows.
~ Praise and thanksgiving for God’s grace.
~ Observations
~ Special things that others have written or said.
~ Things you’ve discovered while looking back in the journal.

Types of Spiritual Journals via Michael Haywood

~ a journal of spiritual readings: Bible readings, spiritual/devotional books, spiritual concepts in secular books
~ a prayer journal
~ a book of lists (memories, joys, sorrows, blessings….)
~ a journal of problems and solutions, worry and obsession, hopes and fears, goals and ambitions
~ a periodic (once a day or once a week) perspective journal — taking one experience and working with it, looking for God in it
~ a series of letters-to…., letters to God
~ a general kind of spiritual journal, including anything and everything that relates to your spiritual journey: daily events, prayers, readings, whatever.

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Your journaling schedule is crucial. You can record thoughts through out the day, but you need to set a specific time and location for where you are going to do most of your writing. You should choose a time and a place where you are fully alert and attentive to hear God’s word and to also be alert.

I started my journal today. Remember, it takes 21 days to build a habit and so I will write consistently for 21 to make this a part of my everyday life.