Category Archives for "Weekly Encouragement"

June 26, 2014

The Beauty of a Promise

Encouraging and Beautiful Poem

Written By Mashani Allen

As a student of the Bible it’s amazing to me how I can read a chapter in a few minutes and not really consider the years that happen from one chapter to the next. To see a promise given by God take years before its answered. The time frame of manifestation does not disregard the fact that there was still a promise given. Unfortunately the time in between is where the real battle exist. Do you still believe although its been 5, 10, 20 years since the promise was given? It takes so much effort to still believe while the clock ticks and the years come and go. A decision must be made in spite of everything else to still believe. I heard a minister say, “Does it really matter how long it takes if you get it?” Let patience be the order of the day and dust off your promise. When God makes you a promise it’s a done deal. Don’t allow life, people or circumstances to cause you to let go. Hold on to your promise, remind yourself of your promise, remind the enemy of your promise. God is faithful and just, we must be patient and trust. Let the words below bless you as you pick up every promise.

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The Promise

It runs through your DNA and flows through your veins, My plan for your life to rule and to reign, The Promise.

It comes with much battle, it come with much fight, it is not for the faint at heart, or those quick to take flight, The Promise.

It was a mystery that only I knew and now I’ve revealed, it silences doubt and causes fear to be still, The Promise.

A plan only the ultimate architect could design, transcending cultures, gender and time, The Promise.

A gift I gave you when I released you into the earth, it confirms your potential, your value and your worth, The Promise.

I’ve shown it to you in visions, I’ve shown it to you in dreams, it causes you to smile and your eyes to dance and beam, The Promise.

It is not empty but overflowing to the full, it is not limited by external factors or man made rules, The Promise.

I fulfill it to the righteous those in right standing with Me, and I do it in the open for all the world to see, The Promise.

I place My honor upon them, I show them as My prize, I endow them with wisdom, upon them I rise, The Promise.

It comes with great anticipation, it comes with great delight, it brings open shame to the enemy and puts demons to flight, The Promise.

For the promise fulfilled cannot be denied, its full of my majesty and glory which cannot hide, The Promise.

It beams in their confidence, it shines through their grin, the promise fulfilled causes others to turn from sin, The Promise.

For the carriers of the promise understand the weight of the call, they have humbled themselves completely, they have surrendered all, The Promise.

I am the God of reward and My promise is with me, blessings of abundance in the natural and a crown of glory in eternity.

The Promise.

For more from MaShani Allen please visit: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Beauty-of-Holiness/112862342082193.

Mashani will also be at our next conference! If you’d like to see her live, Register here!
 
 
 
 

Choices

Insights into a solid Marriage

Written by: Yvonne Galindo

I wanted to share my thoughts on intimacy in marriage. I am not talking about sex; that’s not all that makes a marriage. First let’s start with the definition of intimacy; togetherness, affinity, friendship, affection and warmth. That all sounds wonderful, right! It can be. Just know that the most important part of your relationship with your husband is communication. If you have communication than you have a friend in your husband and everything else will follow. I say this because friendship is a big part of an emotional bond and closeness that both can share. You should be able to share just about anything with your spouse in spite of your differences. Married now five years; I have come to a new prospective on marriage and relationships Am I an expert? Far from it. But I will say my husband and I are the best of friends. We have our differences and I can be very opinionated at times, ok all the time. ARTICLE PICTUREI will say it makes for good conversation and I love it; the best part is we work through those differences. My stubbornness and opinions may have to do with my independence for many years. I know that’s no excuse! Anytime there is disagreement, he will always quote a poem by Howard Simon “Choose the (your) mountain” he is such a philosopher! Well I know a little about climbing so I decide not to choose any mountain because it takes too much time and sweat to climb. Meaning disagreeing all the time can become more of emotional burden. We have learned and have grown from those differences and sometimes accept those small imperfections.

I have heard people say you can agree to disagree; I don’t buy it. That just means nothing is ever resolved. Just my opinion! There is so much more I can write on marriage & romance etc. The photo on your left tells a story of choices, it shows a box of wedding rings from married couples that were not given a choice during the Holocaust. “Food for thought.” Let me just end with this: when I look in the mirror I see my flaws, but when my husband looks at me he sees God’s Grace. Now I wrote this to point out the one thing we do agree on is our faith in Jesus Christ. We have developed a deeper relationship & togetherness through prayer and knowing who we are in Christ. We never pray for one’s own agenda; we always pray for the solution never the problem. We laugh, we cry, and yes disagree. I think the key here is to accept the one you love and all their imperfections whatever they may be, and don’t try to change each other.
Note for the single ladies
During the years of my single life I had a lot of time to figure out who I am and most of all learn to love myself. That’s very important in a marriage; there are so many women who are not confident in who they are and become very insecure. If you can be confident in who you are then you can feel comfortable with the one you love.

For more from Yvonne Galindo, please visit her blog.

 
 
 

What Goals?

How God Uses Certain Situations in Our Lives to Continually Make Us Better

Written By: Lynn Waters

When I was downsized again I looked at my life and decided that because I was not working, my life needed to change. I went out and purchased a book that focused on making your life better.
I started to read this book and came across a section that said you needed to make goals for your life. Well, this was news to me! I slammed the book closed and went into a bit of a shock. Then I started thinking about it. I thought, well, making goals was good for high school kids but I was well past high school.
As I thought more I decided to write down what I wanted to do with my life. After writing my list found that I had seventeen goals so I also wrote out how I could accomplish some of them. After doing that I started to work on a few of my new goals.young-woman-walking-on-path-in-city-park
One of my goals was to make my small yard look great. I pulled weeds and trimmed plants. With my husband’s help we replanted our front area with new plants that are bulbs and come up every year. Now this is on-going goal because the yard requires constant upkeep.
Another goal was Spring Cleaning which has been a huge undertaking because I do not like to clean. Every spring when I get the urge to clean, I concentrate on a different area. The first year I decided to get rid of stuff that was no longer needed. I spent months going through the house and putting these things aside. We have a community yard sale once a year and my plan was to have everything sorted and ready to sell. My husband then took the items that did not sell to Goodwill. My Spring Cleaning goal was accomplished.
Suddenly, I started to ponder the “What Ifs.” What if I had known about making goals in high school? Regret set in. Perhaps I would have gone to college and gotten some high ranking job making a lot of money. After thinking about this for some time, I heard a pastor say that we should get rid of regret. Well I was getting depressed by this time. So, I said, “No more regrets.”
I began to see that I would not be the person I am today and I would not be married to the husband I have. I may not even be a Christian. When I think about those things I cannot have regrets. Now, at the end of each year I review my goals, remove completed goals from my list, and add new goals. I have come to realize you are never too old to set goals and discover purpose for your life.
 
 

What happened to the Vision?

How To Maintain Vision in Life

Written By: Remaliah Evans, Leader/Contributor- LifeBuilder Seminars

Have you ever asked yourself what happened to the Vision? In watching experienced leaders and speakers I have noticed that they are great at casting the vision. In fact, it seems they can cast the same vision in twenty different ways. They don’t just tell you the vision, they walk out the vision. They practically breathe the vision. Experienced leaders recognize that vision is crucial to progress. No vision, no real progress, no unity, no effectiveness. We can all recall that moment of excitement when we first see the vision clearly. We see a glimpse of the master plan and we start running. However if we are not careful that vision can get blurry or lost. What happened to the vision?

I am learning the importance of writing down the vision and making it plain so that others can run with it. I am also learning how vision can be blurred and lost. Here is shortlist of some areas to watch out for:

Discouragement– when we are discouraged our vision becomes blurred because we dwell on all the things that are NOT happening. However, we are not supposed to despise the day of small beginnings. Perhaps you are a

Distraction– We have written down the vision so that we can run with it. A good runner is not plandistracted, they are focused. We have to keep that vision in front of us and around us at all times and keep our eyes on Jesus. Hebrews 12:1 “… let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus…” We are encouraged to throw off everything that hinders us. When we are running with the vision we will have to let go of some stuff.

Disobedience– Paul warns that sin entangles us. Sin is a distraction and will block the vision. Sinning is like trying to run with our ankles chained together. We are not getting anywhere fast, and we are so focused on the chains (i.e. the sin) that we lose the vision.

Not Seeking God– Every good and perfect gift comes from above, from our Father of lights. The amazing vision that He has given you is meant to be fulfilled WITH Him. It is easy to get caught up in the preparation or daily tasks associated with the vision, yet God wants to be involved in every part of the process- moment by moment. During the process He imparts the character, skills, and graces needed to bring the vision to pass. The word promises in Thessalonians 5:24 that the One who called you is faithful and He will do it. The Amplified reads: Faithful is He Who is calling you [to Himself] and utterly trustworthy, and He will also do it [fulfill His call by hallowing and keeping you].

Lack of Prayer– Prayer keeps us aligned with God and connected to God. When we pray we receive His perspective and His guidance. Without prayer we are unnecessarily striving. The vision will take work however prayer will make the work easier.

Comparison– Whatever you do, please, please do not compare yourself, your vision, or your progress with someone else. It is foolish to compare ourselves (2 Corinthians 10:12) Someone once said that when we compare ourselves we are comparing our behind the scenes to someone else’s highlights. In other words, you don’t know what that person had to go through, or goes through to maintain their vision. As a good friend of mine says, stay in your lane. Comparison leads to envy, discouragement, distraction, disillusionment, and bitterness. You don’t have time for all that. Your time is coming and when it does, it will be well worth the wait.

 
 

Priorities

See what the Bible says about Our Priorities

Where does the time go?! Time just flies by and it flies by even faster when it is unaccounted for. I was trying to figure why I have not been diligent in fulfilling my commitments, and the first thing that came to mind was “I don’t have time.” I reasoned that if I could just quit my job, that would free up 8-10 glorious hours a day, 12 hours if you count traffic. Then I started recounting the past week and I was little appalled when I discovered how much time I had wasted. When I could have been productive, I was watching movies for 4 hours, surfing the internet, etc.

The truth is that I have the same 24 hours a day as everyone else. Someone once said that we can SPEND time or we INVEST time. Thinking along those lines, I found that I was spending a lot of time on non-priorities such as online fashionable-woman-thinkingshopping and social media. And if I had planned better I could have skipped two trips to the store and bypassed an accumulated 3 hours of finding something to wear. My intent is not to fill every hour of every day and not rest or have fun, however I do want to be diligent in honoring my commitments and working toward my goals.

Steven Covey, the author of 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, states that “the key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” I came across this quote and it dawned on me that I have been scheduling everything and in doing so, not making appropriate time for the things that I say are a priority. I felt liberated for a second there… until I realized that I couldn’t just clear my to-do list. Now I get to ask myself some important questions- what are my priorities? Am I overcommitted? How can I manage my time more effectively? I overanalyze so there’s about 30 more questions I’m asking myself but I won’t bore you with those. The point is, is that I am on the journey to learning how to schedule my priorities.

What cracks me up is that God has no problem reminding me of the same truth over and over again. At church last week the speaker taught John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” God reminded me that I cannot leave Him out of my prioritizing and planning. More importantly I am to remain connected to Him. When I remain connected to God I am connected to His wisdom, grace, discernment, love, and strength. And so here I am again, asking God to forgive me for not seeking Him first and asking Him to help me make loving Him my priority.

Written By Remaliah Evans
 
 
 

April 24, 2014

Hard Times

Where is God during our toughest battles?

What happens in the hard times? Sometimes we face situations that are so hard we start to wonder if this is the end, are we really gonna make it? Will we ever live our dreams or the visions that God has given us? We can get so discouraged that we don’t want to hope any more, we don’t want to try anymore, we don’t want to have faith, we don’t want to work at it anymore because it’s just not working out.

What do I do when life is just too hard? Where is God when I am failing, depressed, when I lose a loved one, when I lose my job, when I lose my car, when I am so discouraged and depressed that I can’t even get out of bed? God is here, He is with me. When I go to Him and give Him my ashes, He gives me beauty and gratefulvictory.

During the hard times I can make a choice- a choice to believe God or believe someone else. To grow in my faith or let it dwindle a way. I can choose to take responsibility for my decisions or I can blame others. I can blame God or I can believe that God is sovereign and just and He loves me with and everlasting love. I can trust Him to redeem me, my reputation, and my time.

During the hard times I can pray or I can complain. I can seek advice from godly people or I can continue trying to do it all on my own. I can continue to grow in my relationship with God, asking Him for the
answers or I can try to figure it out myself.

During the hard times I can get into His presence, I can pray, I can read the word, I can worship, I can praise, and I can be still before God. I can ask Him for perspective or I can blow it all out of proportion. I can choose give thanks for what I have, or I dwell on what I don’t have. I can chose to only worry about me and what I need, or I can bless someone else.

During the hard times I can choose to persevere or give up. I can give my burdens to God or I can self-medicate myself by smoking, eating, having sex, distracting myself with a busy social life, or even pouring all of my energy into a hobby.

God loves me no matter what choice I make, however the choice I make can prevent me from understanding that God loves me. When I walk away from God, when I chose to sin, and when I chose other people or things over God, I become a prisoner of condemnation, guilt, shame, pride, self-righteousness, and self-reliance. I no longer hear God saying that He loves me; I can’t see all the ways that God says I love you.

Every battle, every problem, every circumstance, and every hard time is an opportunity to grow closer to God and to trust God. The hard times remind me that I need God in every area of my life. They remind me that God truly is all powerful and almighty. The hard times build endurance, strength, hope, faith, love, patience, discipline. The hard times remind me that to be humble, to show grace, to show mercy, to be compassionate and to pray others. During the hard times I am still more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus.

 
 

April 17, 2014

The Shattered Reflection

Powerful Story of How God can Work in Our Lives

It was a peaceful evening. I was reflecting back on my life before Christ. As pictures passed through my memory bank it seemed as if those memories of hurt, pain, rejection, fear and insecurity belonged to a neighbor or perhaps the stranger that I had met on the street somewhere. I would look at myself in the mirror and all I would see was a scared, unattractive young girl desiring to be loved. I looked deep into my childhood memory bank and realized where it had originated from. I am going to share a piece of my journey starting from my childhood.
My parents split when I was 5 years old. The morning of my father’s departure I felt abandoned and alone. I loved HIM very much. My mother, on the other hand, was there physically but not emotionally. She never knew how to love me, she never told me “I love you” verbally; she would only write it in a birthday card. So that set the course for my rebellion and search for love.

As I entered my early teens I went from relationship to relationship. Then anger and rage set in. At this point my mother was so desperately searching for her own love that her boyfriends came first. I was always asking myself “Why can’t anyone love me? Why am I not good enough? And staring_out_windowif I do this, will this boy love me?” Eventually my father got saved and I was introduced to Jesus Christ. I was so caught up in my own pain that I could not receive God’s love. I felt that I was unlovable and not worthy of anything. Then I met my husband and I felt a sense of security and that I finally found someone that could fill my emptiness. How wrong I was… At that point I entered Egypt and remained a slave to physical and emotional abuse for 13 years. I continued to spiral down until I found myself in depression. My self- image and self- esteem was on empty.

Till one day on a Saturday morning I called out to God…I was on my knees in the living room floor with tears pouring down my face like a river. I cried out “OK God… I am tired of doing things on my own…If you are real…then change me, change this situation that I am in. I can’t do this anymore. The power of God came rushing down that very second like a flood. I felt his love saturate me. As I got up from the living room floor a few hours later, I felt hope and life arise in me. I saw the world bright and promising. I knew that God had done something in me and that He was indeed real. Romans 10:13… those that call upon the name of the lord shall be saved

The Lord began to send me mentors and strong women of God to help me through the valley, and eventually I left Egypt. My long journey of inner healing began. My life began to transform AND my mindsets began to shift and break off. Romans 12:2 be transformed by the renewing of your mind. One day I woke up and went to wash my face, as I was standing there I looked in the mirror and I saw my beauty. I saw love, I saw compassion, I saw worthiness. I saw Jesus….My poor self-image had been shattered. This set a new course in my life. Though I am still on my road of healing and deliverance, I thank God I am no longer where I use to be. The day that I reached out to Christ, is the day I died. And today I am resurrected with Christ.

 

Written by Desiree Hernandez. If you’d like to reach Desiree, you can contact her here.
 
 

April 10, 2014

Mercy

Thank God for Mercy

 

Earlier today my friend sent me a picture of someone’s profile from Instagram. It said “God 1st” and then a whole bunch of other ungodly things followed. And before I could blink, I had already cast judgment. “That’s a hot mess”, “God first my behind”, and a few other things ran through my mind. And no sooner had I thought them I was convicted.

Who am I to judge her or anyone else? What makes my walk any better than hers? So I don’t drink, but I clearly am quick to judge. So I don’t go to bars and clubs, but I definitely listen to some ungodly music.

So I go to church every Sunday and Wednesday, but I check my phone at least three times a service. Mygrateful point to all this is that just like that girl, I am far from perfect. I fall short of who and what God wants me to be on daily basis. I think (and sometimes even say) mean things when I have to deal with traffic. I don’t pray or read my Bible how I should. Yet, God loves me anyway. He’s merciful anyway. He’s a God of grace anyway.

It’s so easy for us to know how OTHER Christians should behave, but we fail to focus on our own behaviors. NONE OF US WILL GET IT RIGHT. If we were able to live sinless, righteous lives, Jesus wouldn’t have had to endure the cross. BUT HE DID.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think this gives any of us the right to abuse God’s mercy and grace, and the salvation freely given to us. I don’t think we should walk around doing any and everything because we know God will love us anyway. 

We need to take a close look at ourselves. Recognize where we are and how we can get closer to where God wants us to be. Look at the condition of our heart and ask God to heal us if we carry bitterness and pain. And thank God for His mercy and grace. If we are going to cast stones, we need to cast them towards ourselves

Written by Amber Boggs. If you’d like to contact Amber, you can reach her here.
 
 

April 3, 2014

You are Not Alone

An Abundant Life of Fellowship

When we experience traumatic or difficult times we tend to believe that no one understands us or what we are going through. We keep our troubles and our struggles to our self and we believe that we are alone. Fortunately, we are not alone. Ecclesiastes 1:9 says that nothing is new under the sun. I think that means that no matter what I am going through, someone has had an identical or similar experience. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 reminds us that two are better than one: Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.

We were not designed to walk life out alone. The moment we believe we are alone is the very same moment that hope begins to fade, because we innately know that we are better together.lbs_frontimage1

Look at Elijah the prophet in 1 Kings 18 and 19. He had just called down fire from heaven, converted an entire city into believing in God again, and his prayers ended a three year drought. But when Jezebel vowed to kill him he instantly believed that he was the last-standing prophet. Elijah was not the sole prophet and he was not the only prophet fearing for his life. He had recently met Obadiah and Obadiah told Elijah that he had hidden and fed 100 prophets to protect them from Jezebel. Yet in the midst of the trauma and fear Elijah convinced himself that he was alone. Twice he tells God “I, even I only, am left,” and he asks God to end his life. God reminded Elijah that there were 7,000 people that had not worshipped Baal. God reminded Elijah that he was not alone and instructed him to go anoint Elisha. Elisha remained with Elijah until the very end and Elisha faithfully assisted him even when Elijah tried to get rid of him. Elijah was never alone again.

When I start to feel that I am alone I get dramatic, self-pity sets in, and hope dissipates. Recently, I was freaking out and on the verge of a breakdown because I realized I was not good at maintaining relationships or expressing love. This little epiphany snowballed into: “how can I call myself a Christian if I can’t love? No wonder I’m not good at sales, I will never be a good minister because I’m clearly not a people person, I’m going to be horrible wife, I won’t be able to make a difference, no wonder no one understands me, why can’t I be like sister sunshine.” For two weeks straight these poisonous thoughts plagued me. Guess what? There was no one to encourage me because I refused to confide in anyone. I had convinced myself that I was the only person with this problem and that no one would understand. God could not encourage me because I was too busy trying to convince Him to choose someone else.

Then, by the grace of God, a friend of mine was vulnerable with me regarding her personal goals. Because she was transparent, when she asked how I was doing I decided not to give the standard “busy” or “good.” I told her that I was freaking out because I was horrible at maintaining relationships. To my surprise she shared that she and few friends had been talking about wanting to build stronger relationships. Then she offered to help me improve my relationship building skills. Suddenly the burden was lifted because I knew that I was not the only one struggling in this area and I had help. Immediately light rays of hope dispelled the darkness of doubt and loneliness.

As the young people say “the struggle is real.” But you can overcome the struggle faster with God, and with the people He has placed in your life. You are not alone.
 
Written by Remaliah Evans. If you would like to reach out to Remaliah, you can contact her here.
 
 

March 27, 2014

Loving Our Enemies

How to live Free

You can be the nicest person on the face of the planet and there will still be someone who hates you, is jealous of you, or just wants to see you suffer. It’s happened since the beginning of time, and it will be this way until the end of time. (Sorry if that sounds grim). But the fact of the matter is, Jesus was (and still is) pretty darn amazing! He taught love, encouraged peace, spoke life, healed folks. I mean, come on, what more could you ask for! AND LOOK WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM! Despite all His goodness, He ended up on the cross because he had enemies. People hated Him, hated what He represented, and hated the message He spread. Their hate for Him is why He was crucified. Did you catch that I said, THEIR hate for Him, not the other way around?woman praying silhoutte
Jesus wasn’t crucified because of how he felt toward His enemies. He wasn’t crucified because He was trying to inflict pain and suffering upon anyone. He was crucified because hate was deeply rooted in the hearts of His enemies, and they wanted nothing more than to see Him dead.

Fast forward to present day. On our best days we are nothing like Jesus, yet we still have enemies. Saved or unsaved, Christian or Buddhist, white, black, or purple, WE HAVE ENEMIES. So how do we deal with them? 

*DRUMROLL PLEASE* 

PRAY FOR THEM! That’s right, I said it. Pray for your enemies! When people speak curses over you, SPEAK BLESSINGS! (Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Luke 6:28 NIV)
When the are hateful towards you, WALK IN LOVE! (And live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:2 NIV) When people persecute you, PRAY GOD IS MERCIFUL ON THEM! I could go on and on, but I’m sure you get the point. When we allow ourselves to be consumed with hate, we become hostages. We’re prisoners of hate because we become so focused on our enemies that little else is of importance. We want to know what they’re doing so we can do it better. Where they’re going so we can go someone better. Who they’re friend are so we can make sure our friends are better. That’s not living!

 As crazy as it sounds, there really are benefits to praying for our enemies. Try it and watch how quickly you become set free!

Written by Amber Boggs. If you would like to contact Amber, you can reach her here.