The ENTIRE football team from NC A & T visited my church yesterday. I was completely unaware of their attendance until the coach was thanked for choosing to worship at Mt. Zion and asked them to please stand for acknowledgement. Imagine my surprise when DIRECTLY behind me for at least four or five long rows back the whole football team silently stood in unity. My spirit leaped as I looked behind me and swept a glance across all of those tall, hulking players. (Man, they were enormous!) I promise you that in the spirit I didn't see a football team at all. I saw twelve legions of angels looming over and providing for me (Matthew 26:53); a great cloud of witnesses watching out for me. In that instance I was immensely humbled for I "saw" God's confirmation that He is Jehovah- Shammah. Moments later I warmly embraced several of the players during the meet and greet. With evident strength they embraced me back and it was if I were briefly visiting with archangels. Returning to my seat, I felt sure the Spirit whispered to me, "I've got your back." If you took the time to read this, that whisper is also for your life today. No matter what you may be going through even in this very moment... GOD'S GOT YOUR BACK. Period.
"The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and they are safe (~ Proverbs 18:10.)"
What a comforting promise in the time of trouble. And did you notice the medical banner waving at the top of the fortress? We know that symbolizes hospital, sickness, pain, injury, etc. In other words it's an S.O.S. for emergency help ... right away. So many times in every day lie the enemy tries to keep us out of the presence of the Lord by creating any possible duress and disquietude of spirit. He thinks that if he can just turn up the heat , that we will fold and not stand. Guess what? Sometimes we don't even need to stand, we just need to know where to run! When you don't know what to do, you DO know where to run. #Shondo!
Stretch your arms wide and freely embrace this brand new day! No matter what the backdrop (yesterday) may have been, as long as there's breath, there's fresh opportunity for moving forward. No looking back allowed for DESTINY is surely ahead and not behind you. Get it together and move towards the mark. 3 Things to keep in mind as you reposition: 1) Hear the voice of God, 2) Listen to His strategic instructions, and by all means 3) Trust & obey what He says when He speaks. You're built for this so the only thing left to say is, "Onward!"
Have you ever felt like you were literally swirling and twirling in a whirlwind of change? Well I have sure have and I'm certain that I'm not the only one because change is an integral part of LIVING this life! The good news is that whirlwinds are preordained agents of change that have an attached promise that cannot be broken by our God who is constantly making all things new.
If you don't believe it just take a look at an expectant mother's sonogram at eight weeks and then again at twenty-six weeks. What can be seen is undeniable growth and development necessary for healthy life. Next, check out the lowly, underestimated caterpillar that crawls on the ground in the beginning. Now, fast forward to the end of the metamorphosis cycle and marvel at the beautiful creature that has evolved and emerged. Wow, talk about an example for change. This reminds me that I actually have a poster of a beautiful butterfly who has come into its own after a process of time. The quote by Trina Paulus says: “How does one become a butterfly?" she asked. "You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.”
The revelatory thing about the butterfly however that is often overlooked is that the only possible way it can become its finished product is that it first has to die. Oh my. It is impossible for me to comprehend this, to write this without recalling the precious words our Saviour, Jesus Christ spoke so long ago in John 10 that still live today: Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”
A little further on John 12 reads: Most Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.
No matter where we are on our chosen routes we always have the prerogative to CHANGE our minds. As a matter of fact God has been waiting on many to do just that so He can show up and show out in our lives. We must not be insistent on staying a course, remaining in a relationship or continuing to mourn what God has rejected. The moment that we are willing to relinquish our wills... will be the moment that long awaited manifestation appears. Selah.
Just about everyone who watches just a few minutes of TV has seen the AT&T commercial where the kids share their wisdom on needed "turtle-speed." Kid #1 has a good point but kid #2 presents an even better point! If a vehicle is coming and I have no idea if it will crush me or swerve to preserve my life a little longer... I'll take being a fast turtle for 300 please, Alex.
Recently some friends and I laughed about this very commercial but those kids were really onto something that got me thinking. To a turtle's credit it's not made to travel greater than a certain speed on average; it's just not built for acceleration. We humans on the other hand really do need to know when to put some fire under our feet and pick up the pace to cross over to the other side to a safe place of rest. Truth be told though, just like the turtle, everyone is not built to travel at the same speed despite the same level of desire to get out of the road.
Whether we're a fast turtle or a slower turtle we can still get to the needed destination because thankfully we serve a gracious God who understands. Just take a look at Ecc 9:11 which says, "I returned and saw under the sun that, "The race is not to the swift, Nor the battle to the strong, Nor bread to the wise, Nor riches to men of understanding, Nor favor to men of skill; But time and chance happen to them all."
Whether you're a slow turtle or fast turtle, as long as you're in the will of God and covered under His ark of safety... you'll be okay. Selah.
Through every situation requiring an intelligent decision, we MUST stand on the sure Word of God and trust that His promises are true. At every crossroad, we cannot lean to our own finite understanding that has a track record of leaving us stranded every time! Rather, we must acknowledge Him in all our ways knowing that He's ever faithful to direct our paths if we're sensitive enough to follow.
Since not making a decision is inadvertently MAKING a decision we have to pray and seek the mind of God. Then we must resist the temptation to pretend that we didn't get or understand the answer if it's not the one we desired. If we say we trust Him, we must keep believing, keep speaking, keep praying and keep standing until He makes it do what it do. Selah.
Many say that DESTINY is where you end up. I challenge that destiny is not necessarily where you end up. Rather, destiny is where you START for it is embedded in and assigned to you. The Father spoke to Jeremiah saying, "BEFORE I formed you in the womb, I knew you; BEFORE you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations (Jer 1: 4-5)."
Today as you navigate through your day, know that God is with you in whatever you may face, be it mountain top or valley low. Life's pendulum swings both ways, but God remains the same. Just as He was with Jeremiah... He is also with you. So go ahead on and walk that walk with your Called self. The Life -Giver and Master Healer has already provided everything you need for the journey. Selah.
... for "While they were saying among themselves it cannot be done, it was done (H. Keller)." No handicap, limitation, lack of education or resource, witch or warlock can stop the Spirit of God from hovering over your life and commanding the divine exchange of FORM for void and LIGHT rather than darkness.
Balak wanted Balaam to curse the people and had the utter audacity to get angry when he heard blessing instead: “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? Behold, I have received a command to bless; He has blessed, and I cannot reverse it (Num 23)." Balak failed to realize that the GOD we serve has a way of steamrolling right over so-called "problems" and will use anything and anybody in order to bring about His sovereign will concerning you. Our response is to believe that His strength really is made perfect in our weakness (2 Cor 12:9) and then marvel, giving Him the glory, when He confounds both the enemy within AND the enemy without.
Wouldn't it be great if when we were having a terrible day, we could snap our fingers and smooth everything out? Guess what? In a way, you can!
Last week my Monday began with car trouble, hair trouble and Homework OVERLOAD! By 1 pm, I was already having the worst day ever. 'Frustrated' doesn't describe half! Try 'wits' end' or 'boiling point'. Through my tears, I heard God say: "Start your day over. Start this over!" On the way to a class I was already 10 minutes late for, I carefully turned my car around and drove home. Praying the entire way, I made plans to clean up my house, play music and fix myself breakfast. I had no CLUE how much I needed that hiatus until I calmed down. In the midst of folding clothes and warming up a meal , I smiled realizing I had gone from Level 10 to Level 0 in 1 hour. By 2 pm? I was back in my car, driving back to school to study with peace in my heart. God instructed me to take a step back, breathe and get myself together! Now, I live 2 minutes away from my school so 'just going home' was much easier for me but that doesn't mean you guys cannot do some version of my mini-getaway! In the middle of your anguish, tears and yelling all alone in your car or room, pause yourself. Allocate 30 minutes to a wind down period of prayer. Incorporate a simple activity during the period to redirect your negative energy to something else! For me? It was fixing breakfast and folding a basket of clothes. For you? It might be organizing CDs or updating books on your Kindle! While you work on what you're doing? PRAY! Prayer calms us down and has the power to change things instantly! More importantly, it shows God that when things are upside down, you depend on him wholly to take care of you. Snapping fingers to make a day perfect isn't realistic but snapping yourself back into reality is. God can help! It's all good! Restart your day!
-Marquaysa L. Battle
BET's annual "Black Girls Rock!" awards show airs tonight at 7 pm! Tonight's show, like the 2012, will be hosted by the beautiful actresses Tracee Ellis Ross and Regina King! You can expect to see performances by Alicia Keys, Brandy, Keyshia Cole, Ciara, India.Arie and Missy Elliott! Why does this matter? In this day and age where black women are overlooked, depreciated and degraded by the media, it's a beautiful thing to see black women taking things into their OWN hands! Sometimes you've got to pat your SELF on the back and encourage YOURSELF! I hope you all tune in and witness black women across Hollywood show love to one another and honor the beautiful things about who we are as black women and what we bring to art! While tuning in, please remember though, that YOU rock as well! You don't have to be part of Hollywood to be a black woman who ROCKS! Everyday you get up, handle your business and keep God FIRST? You are rocking it out better than any rockstar ever could! Every day you praise God for who He IS and how He has kept you? Honey, you ROCK! Every day you show love to the other women in the world walking their own journey? Honey, you ROCK! And every day you make a mistake and BELIEVE God enough to get up and keep on going? Honeyyyy, Led Zeppelin ain't got NOTHIN' ON YOU! You rock! Why? Because you live everyday depending on The Rock. ENCOURAGE YOURSELF! SELAH!