Peace Across the Land

     Peace across the land is my prayer for not just our country but for everybody. Yesterday, I was saddened by the chaos and destruction occurring in Baltimore. While standing in the break room, I could not help but to feel different emotions to what I was witnessing. Pain. Anger. Frustration. Disappointment. Overall, I felt hurt. It hurt my heart to see people, officers and citizens, suffering. However, I know I’m not the only one feeling some type of way. The entire world is hurting and suffering. We’ve all been suffering for a long time. Suffering comes in all shapes and sizes. Undoubtedly,we know communities are suffering, but individuals are as well. There’s a war going between law enforcement and citizens in regards to injustices. I pray for more peaceful steps to be taken to address the concerns of the people. Yet, I realize the biggest war is something all of us have to deal with in our personal lives daily which is with our faith. We are to fight with faith and not against. We are to arms ourselves accordingly with the things of God. We should remain prayerful in all circumstances and diligent in feeding our spirit properly by being selective in what we read,think, and do. This may not appeal to the masses but God works. In times of trouble, we tend to pick up temporary “fixes”. Looting won’t solve it. Guns won’t solve it. Drugs won’t solve it. Violence won’t solve it. Money won’t solve it. Justice system won’t solve it. Man can’t solve it. We are to rely on God.

I simply say this. I agree with a non-violent approach to what’s going on in the country, but I stand firmly on that a God approach solves all matters.
Judges (6:12-14)
12 When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”
13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”
14 The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”
16 The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”

 

With so much chaos going on, remember God has not abandoned you or his people in Baltimore and around the world. You are not powerless. True power comes from the true and living God.

 

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8

 

 So many times you’ve heard this, but it’s confirmation nevertheless. Our faith is to be in God. It’s in His son Jesus Christ. It’s in Word. God cannot lie. If God goes before you then all you have do is take the next step.  Furthermore, going before implies that whatever comes your way has to meet him first! Demons trembled at the sight of Jesus which proves that the enemy is no match for God. Believe in the things that he says He will do.Fight the battle on the spiritual front first. More importantly, don’t fight it alone.
 
We all endure trials and tribulations in one area or another. My prayer is that we all experience complete peace. My heart goes out everyone:
The Workers/Business Owners who are unemployed because of the looting
The Victims of violence that is ongoing in cities across our country and around the world
The Individuals who have been affected by natural disasters such as the earthquake in Nepal
The Hostages that are still overseas and may feel hopeless
The Grievers who have loved ones missing or just missing their loved ones
The Addicts, Idolaters, and Dealers  who are unable to realize that God not only sustains but takes you higher that the thing that has your attention
The Prisoners who may feel that since they’re behind bars that they have to be spiritually locked down as well
The Prostitutes/Strippers who may not fully have grasped onto the idea that the body is a gift and God views every woman as being special
The Homeless who are seeking refuge and other resources that need God who is the greatest provider there is
The Children who may feel abandoned but are still precious in the eyesight of God
The Elderly who God can’t wait to welcome them home
The Youth who battle everyday between doing what is right as oppose to what’s popular
The Sick who desperately want to be healed and restored
To everyone: In your journey of finding peace, remember that God is Jehovah Shalom (“The Lord is Peace”).

     My last post was about each one of us experiencing a resurrection in our lives. Now, I’m just going to say that IT’S TIME TO WAKE UP! A lot is going on in the world, but there is nothing new under the sun. I’m not here to remind people that were in the end of times, but to say we still have time. Let’s start making wiser choices. Be blessed and keep the faith.

Your Resurrection

It’s the day after Easter Sunday a.k.a Monday. The celebration of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is over…Not! One of the most important things I’ve gotten from the resurrection of Jesus Christ is that it’s not be just remembered and discussed, it’s to be experienced. There may be some things in your life that needs to die and be buried. The reason for this happening is for you to be resurrected. Resurrection represents new life. Monday is a new day. It may not be the most popular day, but it’s a new day nevertheless. It’s a new day with new chances to do some moving. Moving out of your comfort zone. Moving away from your negative environment, situation, and circumstances. Moving up towards reaching your destiny. Moving closer to Jesus Christ.

Let those things that are hindering you meet a FULL death. You need a full resurrection. I need a full resurrection. We all need a full resurrection. I have no doubt in my mind that blessings that may seem small with our natural eye can be still appreciated. Yet, I would never pray for half a healing for someone. I would want that person to have maximum health. My heart is for to everyone receive their blessings in full. It’s not easy letting things go, but take a step of faith. Exercise it. Start to loosen the grasp on whatever is troubling you. Take a leap of faith if you must!

Matthew 17:20

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

I have had to be restored, redeemed, renewed, and resurrected. This is not just a “one and done” activity either. This occurs on daily basis. It leads to a refreshed spirit. A refreshed spirit is one that gets you ready to receive. In order for things to take place, I have had to let something die. In most cases, I strongly desired to take hold of God in many situations. However, fear caused me to not release my problems. Fear is normal. Fear is part of our humanity. Regardless, fear is not our only option.

Isaiah 41:14

For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

 Everyday we have choices. But everyday we don’t make choices that indicate our joy in the physical life we’re given or the ultimate new life we have found in Christ Jesus. I pray that you’ve found life from reading this post. It’s my prayer that something that appeared to be dead be brought back for your overall growth. Be faithful with taking a step or two in a positive direction. Don’t settle. Live now. Be Resurrected.

Today, I declare that UpliftYouToday has been given NEW LIFE!
Today, I declare you have been given NEW LIFE!

Be blessed.

Are You Still On Track?

      We’re almost done with the first month of the year. Now would be a good time to do a self-evaluation. I highly encourage you to see if you are on track with your goals. Do you need to reprioritize? Do you feel like you’re slipping a bit? If so, go into prayer about these things and seek guidance. Prayer is not just only for the major challenges in your life. If it’s worth experiencing or going through then it is definitely worth praying about. For the rest who are still on track, I’m happy for you! Keep up the good work. For all, keep pushing your way through all obstacles and challenges As a reminder, do not focus on how well everyone else is doing in their journey. Focus on YOUR race, and the God who does not change! Victory is the goal. You shall have it if you remain faithful to Him.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18New International Version (NIV)

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Kingdom Building in the Christian Community: A Reminder About Love

     For this post, I wanted to talk about a topic I haven’t touched on very much. That is love. Specifically, this post refers to love within the Christian community. This entry will focus on its significant role in building up the kingdom of God. We live in a world where negativity is a part of everyday life. It can exist in many different places and things. Social media, television, music, workplace, home, church, work, and etc. A reason being is that it can reside within our hearts and mind. It is our job as Christians to combat the negativity and bring in others to join in the fight. A good friend asked me that I request God to reveal what the Christian community should look like, and why it’s important for kingdom building. After prayer on the topic, God has revealed to me that love is necessary and not optional.

     Church is a sacred place. It’s where we go to worship. It’s God’s house. For many years, I was the under the impression that when most used the term “church” that they referred to the building. I was wrong. The real church is the believers around worldwide. It’s all of those who have acknowledged Jesus as God’s son and accepted him as lord and savior. Not only that, we made a vow to live for God by doing a number of things. One of those is devoting ourselves to kingdom building. This task is impossible without love.

John 3:16

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

     This verse is repeated countless times, but for good purpose. God showed the ultimate act of love anyone could have ever shown when he allowed his son to be crucified. God did not just give up one for many, but for all. We can’t top it even if we tried. He didn’t change his mind halfway through as Jesus was on his way to Calvary. God could have said “You know what? These people won’t act right. I’m not going to let my son suffer”. Yet, he didn’t. For that, we know that the need for love is sometimes met through sacrifice. Within the Christian community, we may be called to sacrifice for our brothers and sisters. It’s our choice whether or not we answer.

Mark 12:30-31

30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.”

     This was Jesus’s response when questioned about the most important commandant. As Christians, we often struggle with our spiritual priorities. I’m here today to let you know that as long as you don’t lose focus of numero uno then everything will be fine. In relation to kingdom building, this scripture is key because it reminds us that we have to love God first. Without loving Him, our actions are meaningless if our love for God is not fueling them. From loving Him and getting into His word, we can definitely learn how to love others. After all, He did love us first. What better way to learn how to do it than by learning from the initiator, creator, and master himself?

     Verse 31 may well indeed be the slogan for learning how to build of God’s kingdom. I say that because the verse doesn’t say “love your Christian neighbor”. It covers human beings from all walks of life. If the Christian community expects to do God’s work then love is the way. It’s the duty of the church to show non-believers the love they’re missing, but in a kind, gentle, respectful, patient, and simply loving way.

     When I look at the word community, I think of the words communicate and unity. What does love have to do with these things? Believers must know how to communicate with each other. Lack in this area can create a list of issues. In general, we will appear to be dysfunctional. Our dysfunctional state shows division among us and causes discouragement to those on the outside. They may not understand that we’re imperfect. Nevertheless, we must work towards perfection as if it were possible. The power of love helps to break down the barriers in communication. It lessens the division among Christians. Most of all, it brings about unification. In some situations, unity is the difference between promoting God’s agenda and what we may think is God’s agenda.

     In conclusion, love must be in the equation so that construction can continue on God’s kingdom. It is a vital organ in the Christian DNA. If you go to the doctor for an illness that touches a vital organ then it’s serious matter. We must treat love with the same respect as a vital organ in our body . Love is not optional for the individual believer or the entire body. Love can bring us together. When we use it, we can be better serve God. At times, that could mean sacrificing. From this post, I don’t expect anyone to go out and give up all that they have. Neither is my expectation is for anyone to compromise on every situation in life. However, my hope and prayer is that we all take time to have our hearts reexamined daily and ask God for removal of the things unlike them. Often, we ask for protection from the enemy. Yet, it is my understanding that focus needs to be given on having anything that may resemble the qualities of the enemy removed out of us so we don’t appear to look like him, especially to others. The enemy thrives off of hatred, separation, and distraction. In these moments, we have to remember we serve God, and he wants us to serve others. It’s time to put on our hard hats and get to building with love as an instrument that’s always on our tool belt. #KingdomBuilding.

Continue Reaching For All That God Has For You: Foundation

In construction, the most important element in building is not the actual building; it’s the foundation. The foundation serves a vital role in the longevity of the building.  The purpose of the foundation is to be able to support what is to be built on top of it. A good foundation must be able to withstand different loads and assist in holding the structure in place. A poor foundation could result in the building leaning or even worse, falling apart. You wouldn’t want to build a house on top of sand. Building something great in our lives begins with a solid starting point. As believers, our relationship with Jesus Christ must be our foundation.  By examining it daily, it can be revealed whether or not the mansion we wish to construct will last. If you notice that your “house” seems to be swaying when it experiences adverse weather conditions then it may be time to  revisit  what the “foundation” is. It probably could use a bit of work. Nevertheless, don’t get discouraged if you find yourself in an unpleasant situation. Realize that any situation, issue, or circumstance can not overtake you if you have Jesus as your foundation. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. Remember that the house always rests on its foundation through any type of weather. Who or what do you rest on?

Making a Bad Decision and Being Humbled in the Process

A new/closer relationship with Christ is something that should be desired by all. For many, it came during a difficult period in life. For others, it formed at the peak of success. Nevertheless, seeking God is something that has to be started. Growth has be strived for continually.   Be prepared to receive love, joy, peace, protection, knowledge, wisdom, strength, guidance, forgiveness, deliverance, hope, grace, comfort, and eternal life. The rewards far outweigh any risk.  Yet, I would be lying if I stated that maintaining the relationship was a simple thing to do. Each day will present a new situation or opportunity. With this, comes the chance to respond how God would want us to. Regardless of the decision you make, never abandon Him.

Shishak Attacks Jerusalem

12 After Rehoboam’s position as king was established and he had become strong, he and all Israel[a] with him abandoned the law of the Lord. Because they had been unfaithful to the Lord, Shishak king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem in the fifth year of King Rehoboam.With twelve hundred chariots and sixty thousand horsemen and the innumerable troops of Libyans, Sukkites and Cushites[b] that came with him from Egypt, he captured the fortified cities of Judah and came as far as Jerusalem.

Then the prophet Shemaiah came to Rehoboam and to the leaders of Judah who had assembled in Jerusalem for fear of Shishak, and he said to them, “This is what the Lordsays, ‘You have abandoned me; therefore, I now abandon you to Shishak.’”

The leaders of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, “The Lord is just.”

When the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, this word of the Lord came to Shemaiah: “Since they have humbled themselves, I will not destroy them but will soon give them deliverance. My wrath will not be poured out on Jerusalem through Shishak.They will, however, become subject to him, so that they may learn the difference between serving me and serving the kings of other lands.”

When Shishak king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem, he carried off the treasures of the temple of the Lord and the treasures of the royal palace. He took everything, including the gold shields Solomon had made. 10 So King Rehoboam made bronze shields to replace them and assigned these to the commanders of the guard on duty at the entrance to the royal palace. 11 Whenever the king went to the Lord’s temple, the guards went with him, bearing the shields, and afterward they returned them to the guardroom.

12 Because Rehoboam humbled himself, the Lord’s anger turned from him, and he was not totally destroyed. Indeed, there was some good in Judah.

13 King Rehoboam established himself firmly in Jerusalem and continued as king. He was forty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city the Lord had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel in which to put his Name. His mother’s name was Naamah; she was an Ammonite. 14 He did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the Lord.

15 As for the events of Rehoboam’s reign, from beginning to end, are they not written in the records of Shemaiah the prophet and of Iddo the seer that deal with genealogies? There was continual warfare between Rehoboam and Jeroboam. 16 Rehoboam rested with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David. And Abijah his son succeeded him as king.

In all situations, keep His ways and you will surely be blessed. Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, obeyed God until he got where he wanted to be. When we find ourselves in an uncomfortable situation, doing things God’s way may seem to be an unattractive method. However, the opposite occurs in this situation. In the text above, grace is the result of doing it “God’s way”, but His ways were neglected. It’s strange to abandon ideas, principles, or teachings that create success, but it happens.  Remember that the one who helped you up is the one who will keep you from falling.  “The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.”(Psalm 37:23-24).

Humble yourself. The king and others had to recognize that God is just which eventually saved them. Being out of touch with God indeed makes life harder.  The pressures and distractions of everyday life is enough to disrupt any relationship. The best thing to do is to stop and regroup.  Realizing fault, asking for  forgiveness, accepting correction, and being patient are some the ways to humble yourself. Realize that your success as well as your sustainment is tied to being humble daily. “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up” (James 4:10).  “Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me” (Psalm 54:4).

Keep seeking the Lord.  “[Rehoboam] did evil because he had not set his heart on the seeking the Lord”. Evil points towards destruction, and destruction is one the quickest ways to achieve death. It’s ironic that that evil spelled backwards is ‘live’. This is exactly what Gods wants for His children, to live and not just exist. Remain firm in seeking and choosing to serve God.  “For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.” (Psalm 37:9).

Our responses to situations and scenarios can have a great effect our life. Regardless if our decisions are intentional or not, we must humble ourselves always before God. Mistakes are inevitable, but make the effort to want to be learn from them. My prayer is for you to continue your pursuit in seeking God and submitting to His will by keeping His ways. Throughout everything, remain humble.  Continue to work towards greatness. God is a stable foundation and all that you need.

Continue Reaching For All That God Has For You: Don’t Worry

     Over a month ago, I wrote an entry titled “Continue Reaching For All That God Has For You”. It was an introduction to a series of posts to follow. Since this initial post, I’ve spent time not only thinking about what those things are that God has purposed for me to do , but actually trying to take steps forward in fulfilling them. I’m happy to say that I have made some progress. The feeling of progress stirs up a sense of happiness and accomplishment, but it hasn’t been easy. I wanted to share some encouraging thoughts that should be useful to you as to attempt to start, continue, or get back on track to reaching for all that God has for you. Today’s entry is on the topic of worrying. Unfortunately, we all spend too much energy worrying, but I’m here to say that you can overcome it.

     I have aspirations of being able to inspire people through writing and motivational speaking. I would love to say that I woke up one day and immediately decided that’s what I wanted to do. However, that didn’t happen. For a while, I had been entertaining the idea of both. As I thought more about it, I became assured that this is what I was being led to in my heart. So I started planning. Then I started worrying. Then I continued to worry excessively. I worried so much that it seemed that I neglected to put forth effort in completing a plan or performing any other actions towards reaching my goals. I was worrying about a number of things. How long will this take me to complete? How much of myself do I need to devote to it? What problems will I encounter along the way? How will I get from step one to step two? Am I absolutely sure this is what I need to be focusing on in my life? There were other questions too. But before I knew it, I had almost discounted myself out of the race before it even started. This is what happens in life. We allow ourselves to be consumed by our doubts and other concerns that we lose focus on our assignment. I had demonstrated a lack of faith. I had to learn and recall what it means to be a child of God:

When God has given you a task and you commit to it, you can’t fail. From a natural view, uncertainty may seem to exist in the mind when you don’t know all of the details or solutions right away. With Him, nothing is uncertain. It’s a sure thing. Complete your plan even if you are unsure of what lies ahead. Remember what was taught in English class? Before you wrote an essay, you had to construct a draft. The draft wasn’t perfect a outline, but a possible guide on how the essay was to be written. The great thing about drafts was that they could be changed. In addition, the teacher often corrects you during the writing process. God is our teacher. The bible is our textbook. When he corrects us, we can be guaranteed that we’ll receive good grades for being faithful in completing our assignments. “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans” (Proverbs 16:3).

Don’t direct all of your attention to the end results or every potential problem. This is an issue that many face including me. So often, we become discouraged in wanting to the know the details regarding the who, what, when, where, why, and how. In addition, we allow ourselves to become too concerned about circumstances beyond our control. It may seem completely unfortunate that you lack direct control over certain things. However, you can choose to look at it from a different angle. You might want to ask yourself the following presuming that you had absolute dominance over your situation. Can one really grow their faith on problem-free path set before them? Would you really need God? These questions are not posed in order to suggest that you should always desire the things that are more challenging and troublesome . Nevertheless, if you are led by God to perform these duties then you must endure always. “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised” (Hebrews 10:36).

Worrying is a trick of the enemy! You’ve probably heard it time and time again, but it’s definitely true. Doubts and fears are normal. In my opinion, they are not the cause of worrying. Dwelling on them is the act of worrying. Worrying leads to quitting. Quitting is the cause of self-defeat. Nobody wins, but the devil when this occurs. Don’t allow yourself to be defeated. Do all that you can in the process. “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken” (Psalm 55:22).

Focus on Jesus.
(Matthew 14:25-32)

25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Peter had already saw the many acts performed by Jesus before. Furthermore, Jesus told him verbally to not be afraid. Still, “he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ “. Taking your eyes off what is in front of you, and fixing them on what is around can cause major problems. Yet, the Lord keeps us from danger even when we demonstrate lack of faith.

     In conclusion, put your faith and trust in God. This is pretty much a theme that will be promoted throughout the blog because it will always result in blessings. Commitment to what He has called you to do may be tough, but it’s possible. When you’re working on a plan, be prepared for him to intervene. We are not perfect, and all stumble. Also, if you don’t feel like you’re making the progress you had hoped for just know that God is not idle. Think about His goodness and faithfulness so far. My prayer for you is simple. It’s for you to be refilled with desire and purpose to serve God. Finally, it’s for you to be provided with the strength and wisdom in order to attain what He has set for you. Put forth actions and He will do the rest. God bless!