Monday, June 20, 2016

One in a Million

Sometimes in the life of a Christian we have to be reminded of the love that the father has for us. My life has been extremely busy the past year with the birth of a new baby, along with the demands of being a wife, mother, house owner, working full time, and everything else that this life throws at you on a daily basis. At times it can be difficult to give God the devotion we want to and that he deserves. Life can be physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging. It would seem natural just as other relationships in life would not get the full attention they deserve that our relationship with God goes through periods of closeness and periods of distance.

Then just as God does what he does or allows certain things to happen in ones life, he began to tug on my heart and draw me back to himself by a series of life events. Without getting too personal, one of the first things that began to happen was my faith started becoming a bit stagnant. This led to less prayer time, less time in his word, missing church because of children's extracurricular activities and taking care of a newborn. Then I began to question if I was where I was supposed to be. It was a battle of my will and my heart. The spirit would continue to remind me of what the good word says in Jeremiah 17:9 "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it"? The bottom line is you cannot make decisions based on your heart and what ever you may be feeling at the time. Feelings will lie to us. The reality and truth of the situation was it was a combination of not spending that time with the Lord and being away from church much of the time. Then it happened at church one morning. I was sitting in service when God would use my Pastor's message to speak truth to me. Everything that I was feeling about my struggles with my faith and the church he expressed in his message to the congregation. I literally had chills up and down my body and my attention zeroed in on every word that he was preaching. After that I made a vow to God that I would make more of an effort to spend time with him. Gradually, I began to feel better about church and my faith. I also was able to spend more time at church as more time became available to me on Saturday's and Sunday's.

God was not done as there would be little reminders in every day life that would remind me of his love for me. He would speak to me through devotional readings and/or through friends or family. I also found out that he would speak to me in surprising ways that I would've never even imagined. This is the God of the entire Universe who can do anything. One of the things I love to do in my spare time is run. It is a great stress release for me. I also find it important to take care of my body/ temple that he has blessed me with. I will usually run 3-4 days a week. I will listen to music to help me to stay focused on my running and make it more enjoyable. One of my favorite artists is the late Aaliyah. Lately, I have been listening to much of her music. One day I was running and heard one of my favorite songs from her titled album " One in a million". This is one of Aaliyah's greatest hits that made it to the # 1 spot on the R&B billboard charts in 1996.
The chorus goes like this.
Your love is a one in a million it goes on and on and on
you give me a really good feelin all day long.
Your love is a one in a million it goes on and on and on
you give me a really good feelin all day long.

I have been on the Aaliyah song kick for quite some time. It was during late winter into the early spring in April that our family received bad news. It was a time of trials and tribulation's. I decided to take a walk on my lunch hour one beautiful spring day in April. I passed the familiar Dunkin Donuts on the corner in downtown Trenton, when I hear this young guy with his headphones on singing at the top of his lungs my favorite Aaliyah song " One In a Million". He was singing the chorus of the song. I could not believe it. Out of all the times and songs he could sing, and he was singing my favorite Aaliyah song. I thought no coincidence at all. I again felt a chill all over my body similar to that morning in church and more importantly felt Gods presence even more. In the midst of how I was feeling, I felt the Lord telling me through this song that I was "One In A Million". This means he loves me so much and he knows everything that I am going through and I do not need to worry. His love for me goes on and on. God used my love for Aaliyah's music to speak his truth to me. The spirit also brought these verses to mind (1 Peter 1:6-7}
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

I have gleaned much during this past year. This is what God taught me during this time of my life. I became comfortable in my life and faith at the time. Eventhough I was busy with all of life's demands, I let these demands take me away from my heavenly father. He would not let me become too comfortable in my life because of his love for me. As the trials and Tribulations came, he brought me back and confirmed to me that he never left and was and is always there. When we are faithless, He is faithful. When our love for him experiences high's and lows, His love never changes or fails (Malachi 3:6), Psalm 136.

Let me now take the time to ask you the reader if you have been struggling with similar thoughts in your life and faith? Ask yourself if anything or anyone in your life may be taking that time away that you should be spending with your heavenly father? If so, work on spending more time with him. It may mean giving up something that was planned in advance or it may mean making the effort to get up earlier or stay up later to spend that time with him. God has so much to show us each day. We don't want to miss what he has in store for us, or what he may want to show us and teach us to grow us in our faith as he continues to mold us into the people he wants us to be. Will you let him work in you?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Technology Overload

I wanted to take some time to share my thoughts of how God used a seemingly little disruption in my life to get my attention. My life as of today has been awesome! I have a wonderful, loving, kind, helpful and compassionate husband. I also have 3 children who are beautiful inside and out and add so much to my life that I feel so blessed that God chose me to be their mother. Elijah is 9 yrs old, Leah is 6 yrs old and our newest addition Rebekah is 3 months old. Life could not get any better. I am currently on maternity leave from my state job until early July and am blessed to have this time to bond with my new born and also am able to be home for the older children.

With all of these wonderful things happening in my life, I have recently been feeling distant from God. I had been reading the word less and my prayer life was also becoming less. I cannot say that I am bored at home with all the responsibilities of being a wife and mother. Each day in between my 2-3 hour feedings with Rebekah, I do my best to stay ahead with cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, sports, girl scouts etc. You would think that one could understand why I have no time and may be feeling distant from God.

Even though this is happening, I have still found time to watch t.v, and be on my cellphone, whether it is facebook or texting or my email. I even started watching a show called blacklist that I really enjoy. I managed to watch a whole season in a manner of a few weeks.

Then a few days ago, we started having connection problems with our cable provider. This meant wi-fi and internet was on and off. In addition, the on demand feature, and netflix was not working. I was pretty upset and thinking to myself: “this is ridiculous”. “I need my internet, wi-fi and cable connections”. My husband and I for the last 3 days have been attempting to watch the series A.D on Tv and were not able to. I ended up calling the cable company and now they are sending someone out to check the connection and digital problems we are having.

Then it happened. God was speaking to me and I heard loud and clear. He was trying to get my attention. You are distant from me because of all the technology in your life! I love you and miss talking to you and communing with you. There it was. The interruption in my life was the exact wake up call I needed to realize why I have been so distant. It was me and my selfish desires of putting these things above him.

Here are the verses that are brought to my mind in relation to putting other things in place of God. Exodus 20:3-“You shall have no other gods before me. And Deuteronomy 5:8-9 says, “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind, or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods.”

In closing, I am happy that my father has brought this to my attention out of his love and devotion to me the things of this world that I was beginning to worship. It is so easy to put other things in place of our God. It can be work, family, friends, love of money, shopping, TV, etc. The world has so much to offer. I am not saying this is a bad thing. For me, some of these things that I have mentioned were beginning to interfere with my relationship with the Lord.

My prayer for anyone reading this is that you take an personal inventory of yourself to see if technology may be interfering with your relationship with the Lord or other relationships perhaps. The spirit has given all of us who love God and claim to know him the fruit of the spirit of Self Control. With Christ’s help we can have the balance of self control in these area’s of our lives.

God Bless,

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Taking the Self out of righteous

This may be the most difficult blog that I have written. I am going to be bluntly transparent and honest in sharing what God has been doing in my life. As the Christian walk is one of falling down, self discovery,highs, lows, happiness, sadness, daily repentance and giving God full access to myself in showing me the areas that I want him to change in me. As a sister in Christ once told me we are all masterpiece's in progress. This is a minute by minute, day by day, month by month, year by year process.

God is the author of my life and my stories and I know this topic is something he wants me to write about and share with people. The topic of discussion is how God showed me how my own Self righteousness and judgmental attitude was poisoning my witness as a Christian to the world.

I think everyone can admit that the biggest turn off to people is the judgmental, self righteous Christian. I am speaking of someone who speaks all truth with no grace and no compassion for the other person. Essentially not putting yourself in someone else's shoes or having compassion for the situation that they are in.

In my eyes, I thought myself to be pretty good. I was a good faithful wife. A good daughter and sister. I work hard and am a good mom. I was careful of the things I watched on tv and careful of the things I listened to on the radio or the things I would read. I was careful of the things that came out of my mouth. Here in lies the first problem. I thought that I was good. Our deeds are like filthy rags to God (Isaiah 64:6). Unfortunately that was the type of Christian I used to be. It would seem that I had forgotten some of Paul's most meaningful words as in Romans 3:10-12- as it is written:“None is righteous, no, not one;no one understands;no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;no one does good, not even one.”

The second problem was that I would look down on others whether it was fellow friends of the faith or whether it was friends, family, or co workers. I would judge them by what their choice of TV shows were, movies, how they spoke or what they believed and life choices they were making, etc. Sometimes I would just think it and other times I may verbalize it but when it came down to the truth,God showed me how wrong my thinking was.

Then came the biggest trial I have ever had to experience in my life. It was an extremely dark time for me. God would begin to show me my own sin of self righteousness. He showed me that I was not perfect and reminded me things I would judge others for I had been guilty of in the past or was guilty of. It was unfortunate that also people I was close with started judging me for decisions I was making. So now I can feel how people were feeling when I was being self righteous and judgmental of them as I was receiving the same treatment from people. It was hurtful and my thought was God is my judge not man. Refer to Romans 2:1-4- Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?

Through this horrific time in my life God gave me a new love for people in a way that I had never had before. My prayer life changed dramatically for people in that I saw people just as myself a person in need of a savior in addition to praying for the situations that they were struggling with. I did not see myself any better than them.I was now able to put myself in other people's situations and imagine the hardships they had experienced or were experiencing. I could share my own struggles and mistakes in hopes that people would learn from mine. But the difference is to leave the decision making to the person and leave my self righteousness at the door and be compassionate to the person.

Now that I look back I was very much like a Pharisee described in the Parable in Luke 18:9-14-He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

I would encourage anyone out there to take a good look at your own life before judging others. One of the most important teachers of my experience is that we must remain humble and put our pride aside. We must not lose sight that we are granted eternal life only by what Christ has done for all of us on the cross. Let no one think they can do anything to save themselves except believe. Romans 10:9-because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

I can honestly say that even with all I have been through I like myself more today than I did yesterday. For through it he changed my self righteous, prideful attitude and has made me a more loving person.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Deborah- A strong and faithful servant

God has been laying on my heart for some time that it was time to show how he uses women in mighty ways in his kingdom. There are several woman that I could have decided to write about. I was waiting on God to reveal to me who he wanted me to write about.I had started reading the book of Judges as my bible reading for the year brought me to this book.

I have read judges twice in my life. It was always for me a difficult book to read and understand. The constant theme through the whole book of judges is that people did what they wanted to and failed to obey God. But in the end he still forgives them and delivers them still time after time.

Then I began to read chapter 4. To my amazement the book talks about Deborah who was the fourth and only woman judge. I thought "God you are quite amusing". He was going to use this book which was quite difficult for me to read and understand to write a blog on. There was no doubt in my mind that Deborah was who he wanted me to write about and I was up for the challenge.

Let me tell you some things about Deborah. God gave her the intellect and confidence that would place her in a different, interesting position in the Old Testament. As you will see from her story, she was not a woman who was hungry for power. She was faithful and obedient to the task at hand and never wavered. She gave God all the glory and honor for what she had accomplished.

She was the fourth judge of Israel who was also a advocate, confidant and counselor. She was also a writer of songs and recognized for her prophetic abilities. She rose to the occasion to lead and was able to plan, delegate, direct, and execute the plans given to her by God. She was also the wife of Lappidoth. She was not just concerned with winning the battles, but cared for her people and encouraged them to follow and obey God.

Our story begins from Judges chapter 4 years ranging from(1367-1050 BC. We meet Jabin and Sisera who were from the Caanites. They were forces from within the country who were oppressing the people for 20 years and had no problem putting fear in their hearts. They were beginning to assemble, build up their power and planning to attack.

The problem began when the Israelites did not accomplish the task of driving out the Caanites from the land to begin with. If they had obeyed God from the start then this event would have never taken place.

The Caanite army was awesome in power with their 900 iron chariots. It would appear at a first glance that Israel was not strong enough to conquer such an powerful army. But this is not where the story ends.
Then we are introduced to Deborah who was a devoted faithful woman who called on God for help. She was a awesome woman chosen by God to lead Israel at this time.She went out from her hometown which was between Ramah & Bethel. She sends for Barak a son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and explains to him that God is commanding him to take 10,000 men and lead them to Mt. Tabor. Deborah than reveals that her plan is to lead Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army to the Kishon River and deliver him into Barak's hands. Deborah encourages and reminds Barak that God would be with him every step of the way in this fight. We then see Barak is doubting and appears to be afraid or was lacking the confidence that he could lead this battle. He then asks Deborah to go with him.

There would be a great consequence for Barak's course of action and he would lose out on being the one God uses to win the battle. Deborah would then prophesy to Barak that God would now deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.

Deborah wastes no time and immediately takes the lead in the battle alongside Barak. Barak follows the chariots and army to Harosheth Haggoyim and all if Sisera's men die by the sword. Sisera is able to escape on foot and ends up at the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber who was a Kenite. Interestingly enough Jael's husband Heber was not siding with the Israelites and remained neutral, friendly and apparently had an alliance with the forces of Jabin and Sisera.

In the end we see that Jael did not side with her husband and goes against him. Sisera enters her tent which was not permitted back at this time. Men were not allowed inside the tents of woman. Sisera asks for a drink and Jael gives him a drink,covers him up and assures him that he will be safe. As he is sleeping she picks up a tent peg and hammer and drives it through his temple and he dies. In the end we see how Deborah's prophecy comes to fruition and God uses this brave and strong woman Jael to conquer Sisera.

This story to me is just one example of how God can use women in amazing ways to accomplish his will. I want to encourage each woman that read this blog that you are special in his eyes and he has a plan for each one of you. When you call on his name, be prepared that he does answer the ones that seek him. Jeremiah 29:13. Will you be ready for what he has in store for you?

God Bless

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Patiently Waiting

I will begin this blog with saying that God used my son to get my attention on this particular topic. This is not the first time that he has used one of my children in my life or the life of someone I love.

I will usually read my children a children's story and then a story from their bible book or my son's bible. I had been reading lately from my son Elijah's bible. On this particular night, my son asked me to read from his Bible story book. He brought it right over to me and reminded me where we had left off.

At this time I have been struggling with being patient, and waiting on God in many areas of my life. I am sure many can relate. It can be difficult being patient especially when the situations involve relationships, illness in the family, and when your future has a big question mark.

The story was from 1 Samuel 13:1-14
Here is the setting. Saul was the king of the Israelites at the time. The Philistines army was beginning to grow more fierce and mighty. The number was 3,000 chariots, 6,000 charioteers, and soldiers as plentiful as the sand camped at Mikmash, east of Beth Aven.

Saul and the Israelites began to get scared at the site of this army and hid in a place called Gilgal. He then sounds the trumpet calling the Israelites to fight. A large number arrived in fear.It seems as though Saul has forgotten first that God was on his side and that his army would not be defeated.Before going into battle Samuel a priest was to offer a sacrifice to God. Saul had waited the seven days that was set by Samuel. But Samuel had not yet arrived. Saul began to get scared, and impatient because his men started to flee, and scatter. Saul then decides to offer the sacrifice himself to God. Immediately following, Samuel arrives on the scene asking Saul "What he has done?" Saul was afraid that the enemy might attack, so he made the offering himself.

The consequences of this action would affect Saul forever. Samuel tells him God was angry with him for not following his command and waiting for him. In essence, he did not trust God and took matters into his own hands. In the end, Saul is told that he has lost God's favor, and protection. Next the kingdom would be taken from him, and given to a man who is after God's own heart which soon would be David.

This was a powerful reminder to me of how important it is to wait patiently even when it seems like it could be forever for an answer. God was reassuring me that he is in control and I need to sit back and wait.

The result of impatient, impulsive, disobedient behavior could lead to much destruction and loss in one's life. Okay... maybe not losing a kingdom per say. I think we can all admit that some of these behaviors exhibited in our own lives have lead us down paths we will never go down again because we have learned from past experiences.

Or he may chose someone else to accomplish his will when we choose to disobey and follow our own wants and desires. Then we will miss out on something he has has for us that may be better than what we could have even imagined.

For me it is definitely a growing process each day and year to wait on the Lord. His timing is always different from mine. I can relate as I am sure many others can that we want things and answers right away. Even in the world and culture we live in. We can get anything at anytime we want. We are spoiled in so many ways and we do not even realize it. The world says "give it to me now". God says " Wait on me".

Gods ways are not ours and the answers are for us to know in his time.
This is a almost alien way of looking at things than the world's way.
Deuteronomy 29:29-The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.

When at times there is just no answer and the only thing we can do is wait on him. It a humbling experience to say the least. I know God has our best interests at heart. I do not doubt it.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

God is strong enough to lead

I have learned in the past two years of my life that I enjoy ballroom dancing. My favorite dances are Salsa, Cha Cha, Bachata, and Meringue.
It is not easy and requires much patience and practice. But as I continue to do the dances I can see that I am getting better and better. One of the most important parts of ballroom dancing is to have a good dancer to lead the woman. This man is to have the confidence and character that can make any woman look good on the dance floor and I mean any woman. My friend described it to me so well one night. She said you can compare it to relationships. The man is to lead his wife. But to do this he needs Confidence, good character and strength. It is his job to make his wife shine. I feel when you have a great partner when you are dancing he can lead you and he will make you shine on the dance floor and make you feel like a princess for that 3 minutes of a song.
But I know for certain someone else who is is strong enough to lead anyone if we let him. God wants to shower us with his love and be the Heavenly father that you will ever know. His character is described in Psalm 136:1-For he is good,for his steadfast love endures forever.
I can compare the relationship to dancing. I remember when I was dancing one night my partner for that one particular dance told me to never look down at my feet, and I said " I still do because I am not confident in my dancing just quite yet. He told me you can be Trisha, you are Great, and you just have to believe it!!!Now I heard this before from other partners on other nights but that night I decided I was not going to look down at my feet again and then I was confident.
This is how God looks at us. He sees us right where we are and he sees the potential in us and he is confident that we can shine like stars in the universe to show his love to the world. Philippians 2:15. He is just waiting for us to make that decision to have the confidence to believe him and trust him. Times will come such as trials, difficulties, temptations that will at times make you feel like giving up. But this is part of the walk with God into molding us into the people he wants us to be. Its not supposed to be easy. We are not guaranteed blessings in this life. Never give up... Just like I am getting better at dancing. It takes time, patience, and I make mistakes.The people that God is molding us to be will take a life time. We are masterpieces in progess. It is his hope that he can show his love through our lives. Everything that happens he will work for good. Romans 8:28

Thursday, January 12, 2012

God's Word

Let me begin my entry with the first verse and chorus of a song that spoke to me about God's word. The song is from Casting Crowns and is called "The Word is Alive". The word is alive and it cuts like a sword through the darkness with a message of light to the hopeless and afraid, breathing Life into all who believe.

This best describes how I felt when my eyes were opened and I started following God and reading his word.I felt alive again with a hope that I cannot put into words. The word to me is the most timeless piece of literature I have ever read. As the years go by and I continue to read it, there are timeless truths that I am learning to apply to my life. Some people will say times have changed and therefore the culture and world have changed. People will say the bible is antiquated and not useful for the present.

The word speaks to every area of my life: Love,work,children,wisdom,character,being a good citizen,helping the needy,relationships,money, etc.

Isaiah 40:8 says the grass withers, the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever. I agree the times, culture and the world have changed. But God's word has not. He is also the same yesterday, today and forever. It can be trusted and it is true.

Interestingly enough the bible remains to be one of the most powerful, controversial and famous books in history. It also remains to be one of the best sellers of all time.

Let us focus on the New Testament writings for a moment. There are roughly 5,600 copies of New Testament Greek manuscripts that were penned in less than 100 years. They are said to be 99.5% textually accurate. This compared with just 643 copies of Homers Iliad which was written 500 years after the original. This is merely one example where there are thousands more manuscripts than any other ancient writing.

It is agreed by mostly all biblical scholars that the New Testament Documents were all written within 70 years of Jesus's crucifixion in 30A.D. This is a crucial factor in the fact that there were enough people around at that time to challenge the writings. People would have been available to point out the mistakes. This leads me to my final point being that there have never been any early documents contemporary with the first century that contest these texts.

In closing Psalm 119:105 says Thy word is a Lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. I consider Gods word my road map, GPS in this life. For me without it I would be lost.There are times in my life where I can veer off the path, but God always brings me back and I owe him my life for it.