TRUST AND OBEY

Proverbs 16:20 – Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is he who trusts in the LORD.

Why obedience? Why Now? As Christians we are to yield our lives thought and action under the authority of Christ.  Those of us who live for God and have become a part of the family thought Christ Jesus cannot do WHATEVER we want or will.

Many of us and this includes adults, associate the word obedience with an act that is weak or puts one in a position where they are abused or mistreated.

God gives us instructions for living here on earth through his Bible.  He wants us to conform to his image and make us like His son.  In order for that to happen we must have a relationship with God.  He loves us and wants us to live for Him.  He wants us to honor our parents, treat others how we would like to be treated and care for those who are weak and poor.  Biblical instruction not only guides us but also protect us from being self-centered, making foolish decisions and from wickedness.

Romans 12:1-2

12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Obedience Defined: Obeying; doing what is asked or commanded

As Christians we are to yield our lives thought and action under the authority of Christ.  Those of us who live for God cannot do WHATEVER we want or will.

Evaluation

Be encouraged.  The good news for Christians is that when we are disobedient and sin God has provided a way for us to be cleansed from our sins of disobedience. (1 John 10:9) Through Christ alone we can be cleansed.  We have to acknowledge our sin of disobedience and confess. God’s way is the best way.

Prayer Response

Think about any area of your life when you have been disobedient.  Think about what God says about and ask for forgiveness for any sin of disobedience in your life.

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Woman: You are a Chosen Vessel

Isaiah 63

Yet you, Lord, are our Father.   We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of   your hand.

Ephesians 2:10

10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

I. Our Identity

Genesis 1:27

New International Version (NIV)

27 So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.

We are created as females. Women of God.

Think about it the creator is able to define to define the object or in this case person being made.  Why because he made it. He knows the details that no one else knows and why he chose to make it.

God has created us in his image.  His word defines who we are and how we are to conduct ourselves.  Our social culture has no role in defining who we are as God’s children, nor does it determine our sex, clearly God creates male or female. God has clearly given women their identity, characteristics and role they play in marital and parenting relationships. We have to be careful, we have to know the word of God for ourselves so we can hear His voice.

It is important that we seek God to find out more about ourselves. In the sciptures we can find His standard of beauty.

 II. Our Worth

The fact alone that our creator God thought to make should make us feel special us we are all special and unique. In God’s word we can find his thoughts about us.

Psalm 139:13-14 ESV /

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

Luke 12:7

7 Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.

John 3:16-17 ESV /

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Unfortunately the images and messages we see on TV and views expressed by some send messages to many women and girls that you are not pretty enough, you are not thin enough you are not you are too skinny, your skin is too dark, your hair is too short, etc. 

These negative, hurtful and wicked messages have been sent to destroy and attack God’s wonderful creation.

Satan and evil influences who are in in direct opposition to God don’t want you to maintain truth, knowledge and wisdom that God gives and blesses us with.

We must to be careful that we do not allow ourselves to be used as instruments to sound off negative messages.  Comparing yourself to another human being or coveting- jealousy or evil desire to have what another has can be dangerous.  This kind of thought life takes our focus off of what God wants and we can make it an false idol.

We as sister’s in Christ are to build each other up and our eyes to be fixed on Christ . 

If I am trying to make my-self superior, bigger, and demean and disrespect you that means I have problem and am wanting to honor myself and not God.  This has no place in the body of Christ or in the heart of the Christian.

It is called Pride:

Examples of Pride

1.    The need to be right

2.    Insecurity

3.    Comparison and competition

4.    Stubborn unwilling to receive correction

5.    Disobedient

6.    More invested in being heard than in hearing

Pride is not God honoring. God hates a prideful heart.

The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. Proverbs 16:5

Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud. Proverbs 16:19

Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honor. Proverbs 18:12

The LORD Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty, for all that is exalted (and they will be humbled). Isaiah 2:12

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 1 Corinthians 13:4

Let us pray, confess to and ask God to forgive us of any pride in our lives.  Ask God to show us what he thinks and how we are to love and encourage others.

III. Our Purpose

The Creator God always has a purpose for his creation. He has not let it up to us to figure out what to do with our selves. As the Creator/Potter he chooses how the vessel will be used.  We are to be humble before Him and yield our will to His.

“Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).

“Let your light so shine among men that they may see your good deeds and give glory to your Father in heaven” (Mt. 5:16).

Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

We were created in God’s image for His Glory.  When we have made Jesus Lord of our lives we find that what he wants for us is more important than what we want for ourselves.

We are to share with others the good news of Christ.  We are saved by grace through faith by Jesus Christ he died for our sins and was resurrected. Because of Him we have the promise of a full and everlasting life.

We may have many roles as daughters, sister, student, friend and wives. We know that in any and everything we do, it is to be to the Lord.  Including whatever we do in vocation; if we become teachers, bus drivers, doctors or office workers we must do it in a God-honoring way.

BE ENCOURAGED: Live lives pleasing to God you are a part of a royal family. You are special and unique according to the word of God.

1 Peter 2:9-10
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

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A Letter to my 16 year-old Self

Hello Beautiful,

I want to let you know that I love you and you are doing well in the future. God is your central source, without Him you are nothing. You love learning and you have made some good decisions.  You have a loving husband and two-beautiful children, sounds storybook huh?

I want to give you some words of encouragement.  You have the world and all opportunities available to you.  Take advantage of your youth and the time enjoy it….don’t rush it!  Being adult is not hard but you have to take care of your business, be responsible and right now you have some work to do.  Hang with people who truly enjoy who you really are.

First of all be truthful with those you love.  Sexual relations is for God honoring married adults who are committed (you’ll learn in the future not everyone who is married is committed). 

I know you don’t like this, cuss me out if you want to but keep reading.  Be careful… you don’t know it all.  I know you are smart enough to protect yourself against diseases and pregnancy with condoms and birth control. That’s just the beginning there is no way you can undo emotional or physical heartache and pain when knowing you have been used sexually. There is even the probability that you won’t stay with the guy and having multiple partners is a dangerous pattern of behavior.  To be blunt- little girls should not play with sex. Adult actions = adult consequences= children, diseases, emotional drama, hurt, daycare, poverty, delaying education. Don’t lie to your family.

You really need some support.  Talk to your counselor about finding an adult mentor buddy or something to do. I feel that such a person can boost your esteem and help you begin focusing on College or a career path.  Don’t wait to the last minute….well you did, too late.  Ask questions, take care of your body and please know that you are fearfully and wonderfully made Psalm 139-(your favorite chapter.)

You have a great future. God has blessed and has kept you.  You have lost some loved ones along the way who have been with you from the beginning.  Cherish your grandparents because they won’t be here always.  Record your conversations with them so you can remember their voices.

Look at what you are naturally good at and strengthen those areas where you are strong like helping and being concerned for others and plan your career from there.  In the summers get bold and ask adults can you follow them around on jobs you think you may be interested in.  It’s called Job Shadowing.

I have to wrap this up…I could keep going but I want to talk about your mom.  Love her, you are angry with her …be careful and don’t be quick to judge. You don’t know what happened in her childhood or teen life.  She is working her behind off for you and sisters…she always have.  I love her and have found she had amazing strength all along.

Hey I’ve learned that you cannot control the behavior of the adults in your life but YOU can control YOURS.  Be loving, caring, and forgiving, because that is the real you. 

Everyone who comes to parenting is brand new. It’s a tough job, some are better at it than others; some can only do the best THEY can.

I love you.  Please take care of me. Protect me.  Love me.  Strengthen my mind and body. Make good choices for us. Our body is the temple of God. Embrace yourself. Be comfortable with your body.

You are smart, mature for your age, and insightful.  Observe, look around, and learn to be proactive… don’t wait for others, ask questions. 

Side Note: Look for full paid scholarships… YOU STILL HAVE COLLEGE LOANS!

You can do it! I love you so much.

Love,

Me, Yourself. (2013)

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A Word for a Princess

Hello Princess!

With all the noise around us it can be difficult to see and hear clearly God’s calling and purpose for our lives. The world’s idea of beauty, wealth, and influence is in direct opposition to the Biblical messages God has given to His children.

I’m sure you have heard or seen messages from secular T.V. shows and songs that communicate that only the beautiful and rich are successful or that Hollywood determines who has “IT”… whatever “IT” is.  If you have heard that you must have celebrity and a hot body that get the attention, love and respect of people, you have been misled!

Don’t buy the lies, the truth is God has a plan and a purpose for your life.  Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Your source of esteem and worth does not come from man (i.e. celebrities, peers, rap lyrics) but from God.

Genesis 1:27 says, “In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Your beauty, your worth, and your influence is given to you by God. Don’t allow negative and worldly messages about your beauty and worth to depress you!

One way to get to know who you really are is to read the Bible, which is the word of God.  Just as you make sure to talk to you BFF daily or as much as you can, you do so with God also. Talk to God through prayer and get to know Him!

Musician and King, David, understood his value in God’s eyes he expressed his understanding in Psalms 139:13-14 which says,For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

You too, were known as you were knit together in your mother’s womb. He created YOU with a Master Plan in mind and in HIS image, “fearfully and wonderfully made.  God knows every detail about you.  He knows and plans your past, present, and future. You indeed are wonderful.

So what do you need to do now?

·        Honor God with your life. 

·        Use your mind to learn more about Him and from there you will learn more about who you are. 

·        Get to know His promises, first and foremost, the promise of eternal life that can be found through faith in Jesus Christ alone. 

·        Read your Bible and pray so that you can find out what your mission is while here on earth.

Girl you are wonderful!

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Exercise: Starting Again

EXERCISE: I don’t like this word.  I even prefer not to talk about it.  Well I have committed my self to a certain exercise regimen for 30 days. May I add, this is my second time making the commitment since November and I am starting all over again. I am on day 11 and have seen some changes.  I feel better physically and mentally. I am toning muscle and my endurance has improved somewhat. Since it is my second time with the program I knew what to expect and had a level of confidence going in.  I know I can endure!

I can’t help but to think about how physical exercise parallels with  spiritual “exercises”.  Fasting, praying, obedience, meditation, submission, giving, etc. We could go on about what it takes to get rid of the fat from our lives and what it takes to function as a strong and healthy Christian.

When I am exercising I think of the time I have scheduled in my day for the activity.  I think about the importance and priority I have given it and ask myself have I also placed such importance in developing my spiritual life. I am currently asking myself  am I exercising my faith muscle by reading God’s word or reaching out to restore broken relationship(s)? I think about the suffering I endure during push-ups, sit-ups, and squats and often think about if I am using the same energy, if not more, in my spiritual growth and development.

I have full knowledge that this physical exercise will benefit me.  My heart muscle will become stronger and circulation will improve.  I also know that the physical activity I do today will benefit me as I age and become a senior citizen.  How about spiritually?  I also have knowledge that my heart and my mind will be more alert when it comes to what God wants for me.  As  I age and grow it inevitable that illnesses and trials will come and if I am exercising my prayer, faith, and fasting “muscles”. I believe I will be able to endure more so than if I had not practiced the above.

How about your exercise regimen?  Have you found the program God has for you?  Do you know what works to keep you spiritually lean, toned, and healthy.

Have confidence; exercise by walking with God as I am learning to do.

I could go on, but if you like me have for any reason, veered off the path, took or break, or experienced one of life’s distractions or interruptions to your spiritual walk, take my advice and start all over again.  God will meet you there, try not to get bent out of shape or frustrated just start again.  Start praying. Search the scriptures and start reading.  Do what you need to do at your own pace to build up your relationship with Christ.  Put you hand in His and start walking.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

~Matthew 11:28-30

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Put Your Best Foot Forward!***

*** This Guest Post is from a Vibrantly Creative Wife, Mother, and Friend: Patrece Davis

The way we look can sometimes determine how we feel!

I have noticed that if I start my day without taking the necessary time to groom and prep myself for the day at hand that this could possibly play a significant role in the way I feel about myself and the outcome of my day.

Be honest, sometimes we just don’t feel like brushing our hair, removing that cracked up polish from our nails or putting an iron on that wrinkled shirt. God wants us to be excellent in every area of our life!

Now that doesn’t mean you have to have the “latest and greatest” to look or feel your best, you can look fly on a dime! For all my girls who don’t mind thrifty shopping I have a few suggestions in mind:  1.) For patient shoppers who don’t mind the hunt, thrift stores are a plus for you and, 2.) for those of you who need a little more order to the chaos try shopping at your local department stores in the Clearance section during the week.

 Looking your best isn’t always your clothing, it’s also your character.

Be mindful of how you treat others and how you carry yourself as a woman of God.

Put your best foot forward and walk in God’s excellence!

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Black Woman Don’t Give up on God! He has not Given up on You!

 

You are Angry.   You are tired.  You don’t take care of yourself.   YOU ARE OVERWEIGHT, fat, and sloppy.   You have a bad attitude .   You are promiscuous.  You are loud, emotional, and irrational.   You are a hoe. You are a b*&%$.   You can’t find a man.  You don’t need a man.  You need a man.   You spend too much time and money on your hair.   Your hair is fake. Your nose is too big.  Your children don’t need him.  You are a baby making machine!  You can “do bad” all by yourself.  Your hair makes you look militant.  You are militant. You are too educated for that.  You deserve love.  You deserve to pamper yourself.   You deserve a break today. The church is holding you back.   Black men that date white women hate you.   You have to be a doormat to keep your man.  You have to be religious.  Keep your legs closed.   Do as your told.  You are embarrassing.  Comb you hair.  Don’t go out the house with a nappy head. Your skin is too dark.  You are ugly.  You are only good for sex.

Is that enough?

Let’s just say that it is for now.
If you are a black woman you have heard these messages audibly and inaudibly from the culture, media, the workplace and from people we love.  Being a black woman and hearing negative messages can be challenging.  These messages can challenge your  faith, esteem, and worth.
I want to send an encouraging word to my African American sisters today.  Sister’s you have influenced this nation greatly.  You have have served as the care taker, family backbone, and spiritual leaders of your households ever since your ancestors came to this new land from slave ships or other means of transport.  As nannies, mammies, and “girls” you have taken care of the families by cooking, leaning, nurturing and nursing numerous white families then to come home and do the same with you own family through the years.  You have intentionally fostered an environments of hope despite poverty by providing the “essentials” in a way, most creatively and effectively. For example providing meals made from parts considered to be “scraps” and unveiling the beginnings of using recycled or “gently used” clothes and material to dress and present your family as seamless; you are indeed innovators.
You press your boys to become men who are responsible, respectable and good decision makers.  With your girls you attempt to pass on your strength protect them from becoming a tool for any man’s use, guiding them on how they can best protect themselves, guard themselves, and cover up in a world that wants their body before considering their minds.
Have you impacted a nation?  Believe it, you have.
According to a survey conducted by the Kaiser Foundation, found that 74% of the Black women polled considered a “religious life” to be very important and according to this particular’s survey’s findings black women in comparison to other groupings polled by sex and race were considered to be “most religious”. See this article from the Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/nation/black-women-in-america/
(Personal Note: I thought this was interesting and worthy of noting, although I never wholly put my faith and trust in survey samples.)
I do however put my faith and trust in whom is really important and should be the center of our focus: Christ Jesus.
One of my grandmother’s favorite scriptures was Proverbs 3:5-6:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.(NIV)
Black women don’t give up! Proverbs 3 is full of wisdom and encouragement for you. In Proverbs there is this woman, she is called wisdom and she comes from God.  She offers knowledge, stability, growth, and confidence.  Have you met her? Wisdom makes it known that those negative, distracting, and demoralizing messages you hear above are confronted, combated, and cast down due to the sacrifice and love of Jesus Christ.
The good news is that God sent His son to save and to defend the depressed and oppressed.  Jesus counters the messages of our humanistic culture by calling us to repentance and follow his lead. We need a savior, defender, and a champion. God’s word triumphs!
My favorite verse in Psalm 139:14 encourages me:

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them! (NIV)

Let God’s words encourage you today.  Pick up the Bible and find out that God has a work in you yet to do! Don’t give up! Smile! You have been created by God for a Purpose.

Thank you God for my many Grandmother’s who influenced this nation, what a blessing!
In Memory of the grandmothers who directly influenced me:
Merrie Ethel Manning Barr
Nora Lee Rose Jones
Myrtle Holmes Manning
Mabeline Burch
Mylee Rose
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