How Much More?

 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! −Matthew 7:11 (ESV)

I love holidays because it is a time to slow down and spend time with the ones you love however Father’s Day is always a little different. It  seems like the middle child who often gets overlooked because Mother’s Day stole all of its shine. We don’t see as many social media posts honoring dads, restaurants aren’t as crowded and there’s just hardly any marketing around this holiday.

I recognize that Father’s Day is difficult for many people − those who may have lost their father or even those who may not have a relationship with their earthly father. The Lord gifted me with a good father and grandfathers to be able to gain great wisdom from and to also see a great example of fatherhood yet I know that’s not everyone’s story. My prayer is that you will choose to see the joy in today. That regardless of how your story has been written that you will be able to see a new perspective.

I find so much comfort in hearing this verse in Matthew 7 spoken by Jesus because I think it is an invitation to all of us regardless of your situation with an earthly example of fatherhood. Jesus says how much more will your Heavenly Father do for you if you would just ask.

Those three words: how much more has been impressed on my heart.

I am thankful today (and everyday) for my father and all that he has done to sacrifice, lead and support our family and as I reflect on that today; my heart is brought to joy of how much more my Heavenly Father will do for me too!

Sisters those three words are powerful and I pray that you allow it to sink in your heart. How much more, will He do for you regardless of the season you’re in or the circumstances, He can do so much more for you

My prayer for you today:Heavenly Father, thank you! Thanks for the good examples that you have given us on fatherhood. I pray that all of the fathers would feel loved, honored and valued today. I ask Lord that you would send an extra dose of your love to my sisters who are discouraged today because of their earthly examples; remind them of how much more You are able and willing to do for them. I am praying and believing that you are going to blow the minds of those who are willingly and faithfully believing you for more!

 

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When You Have Big Shoes to Fill

person carrying black leather handbag

A covenant was made between God and the Israelites. God had called Moses to lead them to a life of obedience to the law and also to lead them out of Egypt. God showed Moses the promised land even though he wasn’t able to enter into it. But towards the end of the book of Deuteronomy, we see how Moses is preparing to pass the torch to Joshua, his assistant. And as Joshua is being prepared to lead, God is clear with him about the type of leader he will be. He would be strong and courageous because the Lord promised to go ahead of him as he takes on this new role. So when we land in the book of Joshua it’s when Moses has recently died, the people are mourning and God tells Joshua how now is his time to lead them into the promised land.

Scripture Reference: Joshua 1:8 (NIV) Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

As I was thinking about this text, I was reminded of the times in my life, when I was asked to lead in areas at work or even at church. And there’s a moment, where I feel honored to be asked but for me, it is immediately followed by my own doubts. I look at my own inadequacies and wonder “why on earth would someone choose me to do this?” I’ve learned that fear has crippled me in many areas of my life and I’ve been committed to recognizing this as I don’t want to allow fear to keep me from fulfilling the will of God. What I love about this scripture, is God has already laid out the path for Joshua’s success and it’s simple —staying in His presence. I think often times we focus on what’s in our hand too much that it keeps us from taking a step toward that thing but as this story unfolds we see that Joshua’s own inadequacies made him the perfect candidate to be used for God’s glory. It was made known that this role that he would take hold of would not be successful in his own will but that He would have to lean on the Lord for victory.

So if I can offer some encouragement for those of you who may be stepping into a new season of leadership, I would give you three key points from this scripture.

1. Don’t under estimate your planting season

  • I love how God orchestrates every little detail on our behalf. I believe that as Joshua was sitting under Moses leadership, he was being prepared to lead whether he knew it or not.
  • He was able to get some of those leadership skills down in his heart so that even if he felt unequipped to carry the torch, he had a good example to resemble
  • I believe that during this time, God was allowing him to be influenced by Moses’ leadership style. He was given a front row seat to leading during difficult times but little did Joshua know what was ahead for him and that he would be the one chosen to the lead them to the promised land.

2. Promotion can come from a dead situation

  • In this story, it was a physical death as Joshua was asked to lead after Moses death but i think for us, it could be a reminder that God can promote us even when we have laid down a dead dream even if we have laid down those skills that seem to go unnoticed, God honors faithfulness and can bring promotion out of any situation
  • I imagine that Joshua was terrified to lead the Israelites. Not only because he had to follow Moses as a leader  but he likely didn’t see himself as a leader. He had big shoes to fill yet he didn’t know that he purposed to fill them
  • So more than likely Joshua’s enemy was his own fear so the Lord instructed him to be strong and courageous over and over again to get it to sink into his heart until Joshua believed it for himself.
  • I think that what God was trying to tell Joshua and us today is that if we would just stay in His presence,  He will make us strong, courageous and equipped to lead through whatever task is given to us.

3. Let the Word of God be the soundtrack of your life

  • Keep this book of the law on your lips so in the moments, where fear tries to creep in, when our own thoughts of what we lack are louder, we can speak out loud the affirmations that God has given to us. This was a reminder that Joshua would have to speak life into the deadness that he saw in himself —his own inadequacies and view of what he lacked
  • It is still important today that we keep the Word of God on our hearts and listen and obey to this Word above everything else. This scripture promises that then we will be prosperous and successful

The truth is, we all have big shoes to fill. We were all put here on this earth to help change it for the better. God has placed a big calling on each and everyone of our lives and for many of us we may feel unequipped to bring it to pass. But in those moments of feeling inadequate, I believe God wants us to remember that He is with us every step of the way. He desires for us to seek His presence, obey His word and watch Him lead the way

I recognize that at times when we hear a scripture about obeying God’s Word and then being successful, it is easy to think that it means that success will happen immediately or when we want it to happen. But the truth is often times, it takes time for things to come to pass — it takes consistent obedience. Even in the book of Joshua, he had the recipe for success from the very beginning but he had to go through some battles along the way.

It takes pushing past our fears and insecurities which can be uncomfortable. It means not giving up when things get hard but it also means means that even through the uncomfortable and hard times that God is with us along the way. We just have to do our parts to stay in His presence and live a life of obedience.  And unlike Joshua, each of us, as Believers, have the Holy Spirit living on the inside of us. And I believe that the Holy Spirit doesn’t move us to a place of comfort but that his Holy Spirit will comfort us as He moves us to step into a new season

*This devotional is an excerpt from a speech I did in a leadership class. I pray that it blesses you. 

A Virtuous Woman…Who Can Find?

love scrabble text wood

When I think of a virtuous woman there is a name that often comes to mind— my grandmother. She would sit in the congregation or sometimes in the choir, never to be seen yet never unnoticed. At home, you could find her in the kitchen preparing an amazing meal and even if you tried to help you would only be in the way. Let’s not forget that my grandmother was a defeating champion in a game of Scrabble but she never boasted about it. She would just quietly put a word on the board and leave us all speechless.

My grandmother lived a beautiful, simple life. Her love for her family was unmeasurable; yet her love for God was unlike anyone I have ever seen.

She didn’t need to be the center of attention but she kept God at her center. My grandmother reverenced God and all that He is. She knew His resumè and knew what He had done for her throughout the years.

I often wonder if the Bible says “who can find” because it means that she’s rare and unique.

As we approach Mother’s Day, I am reminded of my grandmother who is my angel in Heaven but also all of the amazing women (my mother, aunts and mentors) the Lord has blessed me with who are still on this earth. I am grateful to not have to look far to find examples of virtuous women in my life.

It is my prayer that you will also have an amazing community of women to look up to whether it be in your family, church or even your place of employment. I hope that you will celebrate this special day with those in your world.

I do recognize that this day is hard for those who may have experienced lost. I definitely have moments of sadness when I think about my grandmother but I also rejoice because I know she is worshipping in Heaven. I don’t have all the answers of what Heaven will be like but I imagine that when I get there, she will be one of the first angels to embrace me with her sweet, gentle hug because I am a product of her prayers.

The Lord says that He is close to the brokenhearted. So if you find yourself broken during this holiday, know that He is willing to hold you close. He can fill the void and turn your sadness to worship.

Can I pray for you today?

Father, I ask that you help us to rejoice even in the midst of lost. Help us to hold on to the truth that we will see our loved ones again. Send an angel here on earth to comfort my sisters who are in a place of brokenness. Let them not spend this holiday isolated or in grief but in celebration with those in their world. Keep her close this season and help her to feel your comfort like never before. Amen.

God’s Perceived Silence

opened book near ceramic mug

Our Bible study group at work are currently reading Faithful: Heroes of the Old Testament and as we looked at Gideon last week, there was one question in the study that has remained in my heart. Priscilla asked “When we feel God is ignoring us, could it be that His perceived silence is intended to point us back to His Word?”

Way to pierce our hearts with that one!

I have struggled lately in this area and I knew this message was for me because I felt convicted about my quiet time and prayer life. As we discussed it as a group, I realized that a couple of us are in the same boat.

I am learning that my biggest frustrations often come when I am spending more time with trivial things than I am in God’s Word. His perceived silence should get my attention and turn me to Him —not leave me frustrated with the idea of feeling like I need to figure it out on my own.

Maybe you have been in this silent season while seeking God for direction, answers or even healing. I want to encourage you to press on! I know it’s not easy and I’m right here with you cheering you on as we travel this road together but know that God desires the very best for you and He desires to speak to your heart, but you (and me) have to prioritize Him.

In order for us to hear what He wants to say to us, we have to be intentional in our time with Him and intentional to give Him the opportunity to speak.

It is easier said than done but I believe it is so important in our walk with the Lord.

God wants to see more of us excited to be in His Word and excited to be in His presence. He wants us to know that He hears us and sees every tear and frustration.

I believe that He wants us to know that His silence is our own perception; often times because we are not receiving what we want when we want it. John Piper once said “We are simply called to trust the promise more than the perception.”

So maybe His silence, really isn’t silence at all because He is waiting for us to open the Word and allow Him to speak to our hearts.

 

Faith in Work: Honoring in the Dark Season

three white ceramic pots with green leaf plants near open notebook with click pen on top

 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving- Colossians 3:23-24 (NIV)

What a blessing it is to rise up every morning excited about the opportunity you have to do a good work.  Although there is no perfect job as there are problems at every employer, I do believe that when you are at a job you love, it doesn’t feel like work.

But what happens when there’s a difficult season? Maybe there’s a lot of change going on at the job or maybe you’re in a season where you feel overlooked and waiting to be noticed for your hard work.

Every Believer says promotion comes from God, which is true but what do you do when it doesn’t come in the way that you have hoped.

This verse reminds me to change my perspective of how I work. I believe God honors hard work, He sees it and notices every detail. I know that I need to trust Him even when I am having a hard time at work. It’s a reminder that I’m not working for my supervisor or the CEO of the company, my ultimate work is for the Lord and it is up to me to trust that He will walk through this difficult season with me.

Even when it seems as if your work is unnoticed and that you are working hard and not reaping benefits from it, trust Him through it. Friends, I know it’s hard but when we can press through during the difficult seasons, we can come out on the other end stronger. Our Father is able to see far beyond our current circumstances so we have to trust that He has our best in mind.

If this season is difficult because of a co-worker, boss or things within your own heart, lay it at His feet. Don’t carry negativity with you  this season, it will only make it harder. Instead choose to have joy even through the difficulty.

The Woman from Shunem

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Later Elisha asked Gehazi, “What can we do for her?”

Gehazi replied, “She doesn’t have a son, and her husband is an old man.”

 “Call her back again,” Elisha told him. When the woman returned, Elisha said to her as she stood in the doorway, “Next year at this time you will be holding a son in your arms!”

“No, my lord!” she cried. “O man of God, don’t deceive me and get my hopes up like that.”

But sure enough, the woman soon became pregnant. 

-2 King 4:14-17

I love this story of the woman of Shunem. The Bible never tells us her name but I love her heart to serve. In this story, the wealthy woman and her husband had invited Elisha to stay at their home whenever he would pass by. Because of their generosity, Elisha wanted to bless them; however the woman told Elisha’s servant that she was well taken care of and therefore she did not make a specific request. However the servant saw an opportunity for Elisha to bless her anyways.

Her response to this blessings makes me wonder if this son was something that she longed for. Something that maybe she stopped believing God for or it could very well have been a blessing she never knew she needed.

The servant saw an unspoken request. He saw an opportunity. He saw something that she could not get for herself, that money couldn’t buy it.

I love how sometimes the greatest blessings are those things that we don’t even ask for.

I think about how when a coworker has a big event happen in their lives whether it be a birth of a baby or death of a loved one; how we rally together and deliver food without ever being asked. We know there is a need and we want to help provide for it.

I think we are all believing God for something. Maybe you’ve given up on a dream and stopped believing God for it. Regardless of where you are, I believe that He is still in the blessing business and wants to meet your need, He wants to meet you where you are. For some blessings it make take longer to come to pass but God will always provide even for the things we don’t even know to pray for yet.

I encourage you to read the rest of the story in your quiet time and see the dedication of this mom to her son but I want to leave you with this thought: Never miss an opportunity to serve someone because you never know how your generosity will pour back into you. Elisha was so filled with gratitude because of her heart to serve that he didn’t want to leave without blessing her and even with the blessing looked dead (read 2 King 4:18-37), he still honored her.

Our acts of service will not only bless those we are serving but in return, we will receive blessings we may not even know we need.

Today’s prayer: Father, thank you for always providing for us. I want to specifically cover those who have stopped dreaming, those who have stopped believing you for great things. I ask that you set a fire down in their souls and remind them of the great plans you have for them. I believe this is a time to believe you for bold requests. Increase our faith in you and give us the endurance to circle our desires in prayer.

Confidence in the Stillness

Sunset at tropical sea coast.

I have to admit it is difficult for me to be still. Even when I sit down to watch television, it is easier for me to listen to the TV as I search the web or craft up new ideas. Being still is hard; yet it is necessary. It seems to only come natural when I’m on vacation by the beach with a book in hand.

Years ago, I read the book Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World which truly resonated with me. I have great desires to be like Mary and sit at the feet of the Father; yet I often allow others things to get in the way and win over my attention in the moment; leaving my Savior left there all alone.

Because of this, I have started giving Him the first part of my day. Before I check emails, respond to text messages or even check the weather; I give that time to Him. It’s our sacred, uninterrupted time.

It is easier to have a conversation with God, but it takes us being intentional to listen.

It is my prayer that we will be women who are intentional to hear from God about the things in our world. To be confident in the stillness and to have it be an important part of our day. I want to be filled with His spirit before I leave the house so that I am better equipped to tackle the day.

Will you carve out time to be still in His presence and to actively listen to what He wants to say to you?

What is Your Word for 2019?

three white ceramic pots with green leaf plants near open notebook with click pen on top

My word in 2018 was “faith”. I am naturally a planner but what I am learning is sometimes you have to just let things be. If I could, I would plan all my days for 2019; yet what I learned about myself this year is the importance of leaving some margin in my plans for Jesus to move.

In order for my faith to rise, I had to let go and allow Jesus to move on my behalf. To be willing to go when plans change and to be willing to keep going when things are not happening as I thought they would.

2019 I am devoted to being intentional. I felt this on my heart for the last few months. I desire to be intentional with those in my world, to be intentional in spending time with my Savior and to be intentional with the time He has given me.

This year reminded me that tomorrow isn’t promised. Death is no respecter of age but if the Lord has blessed me with another day, I want to be intentional in how I spend it. The planner in me often works off a to-do list and it is my goal to check everything off but I want to intentionally do what the Lord is calling me to do that day. If it means that something doesn’t get done because I need to spend time with a friend who is hurting then I desire to be intentional to keep a “yes” in my pocket for what is needed that day.

Will it be easy? No, but I believe it is the word He has given me and my heart desires to steward it well.

There is a song by United Pursuit titled “Waste it All” and I think it truly depicts the kind of life I desire to live. It is about being intentional to spend your life devoted to Jesus.

What word has the Lord placed on your heart and how will you steward it in 2019?

Today’s prayer: Father, I pray that as we go into a new year that we will steward our time while being devoted to whatever you are calling us towards each day. I ask that you give my sisters a word or a verse this year to meditate on. My hope is that we will break our alabaster jars open this new year and pour it on you every day. Lead us in the way we should go Lord and let us not depart from your presence.

New Season: New Playlist

group of people raising hands silhouette photography

2018 you can kindly go now! It seems as if so many people are hurting right now. There are so many people in my life who are being attacked by the enemy and on top of that, we have experienced much loss in the last few days. So much so that it has left my heart feeling desperate to experience more of Jesus. In the midst of storms, it is so easy to get down and isolate yourself but I am choosing to worship, in spite of.

I wanted to share with you my most recent top 5 list of worship songs that are speaking to me right now. These songs have been on constant repeat in my car and I hope that it blesses you as much as it has blessed me.

  1. So Will I/Do It Again by Osby Berry
  2. Here Again by Elevation Worship
  3. God is Good by Jonathon McReynolds
  4.  Known by Tauren Wells
  5. Surrounded (Fight My Battles) by Upperroom

Regardless of what you are facing in this season, I pray that you find your peace through worship. For me, worship allows me to take my focus off of my situation and keep my eyes on God. It doesn’t always erase the pain or change the circumstance but it changes me to look at those things differently.

I ask that you allow God to meet you today in the midst of whatever you are facing, which will help remind you that your God is bigger than your problem. I hope by choosing to fix your eyes on Him, it will bring peace that surpasses all understanding.

How Do You See Yourself?

person on a bridge near a lake

My coworkers and I are currently reading the book Identity Theft: Reclaiming the Truth of Our Identity in Christ.  When we completed chapter 4; we wrestled with the question on how we see ourselves. The question asked: Do you see yourself as a sinner striving to be a saint or a saint who struggles with sin?

As I went home, I began to think more of my answer where I stated that I often view myself as a sinner striving to be a saint and not a saint who struggles with sin.

I began to wonder why I view myself in that light. I recognize that I can be my own worst critic but the whole chapter was focused on being able to see ourselves as a saint. As it stated that we became a saint when we accepted Jesus into our lives.

I have always defined a saint as a perfect individual; someone without fault; yet a saint is someone with a closeness to Jesus.

I wrestled with this more because I have always held a “saint” to a high standard such as a pastor, bible scholar, or a Mother Teresa but now I wonder if I’ve been viewing myself through the wrong lens.

The truth is I want us to see ourselves as God sees us. To be confident in being set apart as Believers knowing that we will still have the struggles of sin but we have the Holy Spirit living on the inside of us to overcome it.

It is my prayer that we begin to see ourselves through the lens of our Creator and as we begin to learn more about Him, we will in return learn more about who He created us to be.

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God. – Ephesians 2:19 (ESV)