Category: Spiritual Awareness

P.R.E.S.S. Into 2019

Another year is quickly fading away. In less than 48 hours, for those blessed to experience the transition, we will be embracing the New with the power and diligence to forsake the old.

For me personally, 2018 has been excessively bittersweet. A great deal of pain, disappointments and unexpected events occurred this year. Yet all accompanied by great opportunities for spiritual growth. I watched God be a healer, provider and reconciler. I often take a moment to reflect on what was in order to prepare for what shall be.

As I share my heart on this final post for the year, I hear in my spirit to make this phrase a purpose filled priority.

P.R.E.S.S.

As a foundational acronym:

Praise & Pray:

Inspite of the experience in hurt, uncertainty, grief, need, lack of direction, illness, rejection and delays.

Rest:

In the arms of your Heavenly Father spiritually and mentally. Allow Him to touch those tender areas that no man can. Don’t forsake your body of the ease it requires to sustain this next chapter of your life. You’re going to need it!

Exercise & Eat Healthy:

Take care of your temple by committing to a consistent regime that promotes prolong life and stamina. This is not optional in order to bring what God has ordained to be reveal to and through you!

Settle:

In your mind that the past is the past! It happened but doesn’t define your future hope by any means necessary! Use these experiences as growth tools knowing that God is STILL for you!

Walk into 2019 with gratitude no matter what your reality looks like naturally. God’s blessed you with more time, another day and another season. It ain’t over yet and the best is still yet to come!

Knowing Your Worth

Being a survivor of more than two decades of chronic depression, I vividly recall struggling with knowing my worth.

During those extremely dark years, my self esteem was low; more like non-existent! I had such a warped perception of myself and didn’t see value in who I was as a person, woman and even a Child of God. During my stent with daily depressive mood swings, I professed to be a Christian the entire time but was not experiencing the victory over my mind which was rightfully mine!

As a result, many around me failed to value me as well. Why should they? If I didn’t value myself there was no way I could demand that anyone else do the same. I allowed myself to be taken advantage of, disrespected, overlooked, passed by and so much more. I wasted so many priceless years looking to be validated by those who never deserved me in the first place.

Fast forward to today, my stance and how I view myself is the healthiest it’s ever been! I know who I am and who I belong to! My Heavenly Father is a King so that makes me a princess! I expected to be treated as such!

In my marriage

By my friends

By my children

In my Career/On my job

In my community

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not looking for people to bow down to me like the Queen of England. That’s not what I mean by any definition!

It just means that I demand to be respected, heard, valued and treated as a rational human being. That’s what knowing your “Worth” will do! It will give you the power and strength to stop others from harming you with their words, deeds and actions.

We are all worthy of this in every facet of our lives and should never allow another to treat us any less than the precious Children of God that we are!

Nuff said; That is all!

Photo/Set Backdrop Designed by Kay Lynn of Diamond In The Ruff Event Planning

Soulful Sunday – Whose to Blame???

While watching a news program that reported a very tragic event, a loved one made a comment that inspired this post.

A young woman was interviewed as a follow-up. She survived the terrorist attack in Orlando, FL earlier this year while the cousin she was with died from fatal gun shot wounds. She is indeed blessed that her life was spared and has since gone on and is preparing to do great things.

“But why did God only save her and not her family member?” I was asked. Why does God pick and choose this way? I’m sure the other young woman was just as precious. We’re the statements and more addressed in my presence with offense and so unexpectedly.

Many people travel through life with a distorted perspective of the reasons behind the troubles we face. As a result, an inconsistent, topsy turvy, on again / off again relationship is developed with God. It’s unhealthy, unproductive and robbing of life’s finest.

People tend to blame God for everything! They question His dignity, His love, His intentions and certainly His power!

If He is so big, all knowing and for sees our end before it begins, then why doesn’t He prevent or even allow so many adverse things to occur? Certainly He has the authority to do all things, right??

It is true that God is the Great I Am and all that He says that He is. But that does not erase or dismiss the fact that we ARE indeed in a great Spiritual fight. This brawl involves a consistent and jealous, foe with no other goal but to take us out!

The Enemy (Lucifer, Satan, the Devil) is after us the day we take our initial breath. He constantly lurks around to see who he can use, choose and confuse. He NEVER stops! Disturbing but true never-the-less!

My Realboldtruth is that I too use to think along the same lines as my loved one. Especially during some of the darkest and most questionable times in my life. Certainly God is not for me. For every horrible thing that came my way ,He knew it was coming and yet did nothing to intervene. As a result of this thinking, I became angry and bitter at Him. Unable to consistently trust in Him or anyone who was supposed to have my best interest at hand.

As I am growing in His understanding versus my own, I am learning just how intense this spiritual fight is. If and when people allow themselves to be persuaded by evil demonic forces, bad things WILL unfortunately occur. The full armor of God which includes how to discern and fight in the spirit is critical for the longevity and survival of the saints.

That shooter in that club was certainly under the influence of the enemy. He roamed, plotted, executed and allowed himself to be overtaken with the mindset of demonic presences. This happens everyday! 

When a man or woman decides to harm a child, it’s the influence of evil.

When a person allows themselves to constantly be persuaded with substance abuse, it’s the influence of evil.

When a person decides to become unfaithful to their spouse and drown in lust from another, it’s the influence of evil. 

When a person allows themselves to purposely hurt another with their words and character, it’s the influence…..

It’s ALL the repulsive influence outside of the realm that our natural eyes can see. The enemy is constantly at work! It’s not God’s fault and we MUST stop blaming Him. He will never affect the human life’s ability to choose life or death, good or bad, Him or the enemy. We as individuals must do that and make it our personal constant. 

This is true even when matters seem to happen that don’t appear to be the influence of another like an unexpected illness. This too is still the influence of evil and must be addressed in the Spirit.

It is very sad that sometimes the enemy wins battles. On the contrary I am so grateful that the ultimate finale; the final spiritual war will be won by Him, by us as believers upon His return.

Until then, stop blaming God for all things, but get angry enough at the devil to fight back in the spirit for he is the true one to blame.

Until next time, Happy Sunday!

Women of Wisdom – Pastor Barbara Blackston 

This word is for the body of Christ in particular. One day while I was in prayer I asked the Lord what else can we as believers do to help this world besides praying. Prayer is good and does have the power to change things, but I was asking specifics on what more is possible. I heard the Spirit of the Lord Say, “Occupy Until I come.”
 
After hearing this I began to search the Word of God and found Luke 19:11-13 which is a parable or story that Jesus told. It speaks of a nobleman who needed to leave his  servants for a time to establish a kingdom. Before leaving, this man called 10 of his servants, gave them ten minas (one for each of them equivalent to one hundred days of wages) and said “Do business or Occupy until I return.”

Photo Credit – cracked-pot.com

Although this portion of scripture relates to money and the Lord expecting his people to do business until he comes back, He showed me that the interpretation surpasses even that. God is reminding His people to take what I have given you and rule, dominate, and seize until I come again. 
 
Before the Lord left us, He supplied His people with 3 very specific tools for use by every believer in our obedience towards doing his business.
 
1) The Holy Spirit –
The Holy Spirit is to be used in witness and effective ministry amongst the body of Christ and towards those who don’t know Him. We use the Holy Spirit to edify, uplift and encourage others as well as to build up ourselves so that we ourselves can remain strong.

2) The Fruits of theSpirit – 
He left us with the fruits of the Spirit which are Love, Patience, Faithfulness, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Joy, Self-Control and Peace. We need to operate in them all to attend to the body of Christ and those who don’t yet belong. It’s our duty to continually show love and compassion because of  the evil and concerns of this world. We must remind and get others to see that God came that we may have an abundant life! (John 10:10).


 
3) The Anointing –
He gave us the anointing that is useful in breaking every yoke of bondage that people suffer from. We are called to tear down strongholds and things that the world feels that they can’t control or matters that are controlling them. The anointing is also effective in breaking these same matters that try to bind us as well.


 

In order to assure that we who believe remain focused on this instruction, we need to develop a consistent and purposed routine to get before the Lord. A daily fellowship with Him is necessary. Preferably early in the morning if possible. Start off by first giving him thanks for allowing us to see another day. Read daily devotions and speak aloud affirmations. This process is preparation for the day which sets the precedence for what lies ahead. 

Ask God To show you what to do and how you can be used to bless other people. Don’t go out  naked before the world and let the enemy wreak havoc over your life.
 
Represent the Savior, don’t be moved, overwhelmed, and don’t compromise. This is certainly how we must occupy until his return.


Pastor Barbara Blackston has been a Believer of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for nearly 40 years.
She attends Victory Christian Fellowship in New Castle Delaware and has been a member for the past 3 years.  
http://www.victoryexperience.com/
She serves as a Prayer Minister and Street Witnessing Evangalist.
She is also active in the Daughter’s of Esther Ministry under the leadership of Pastor Mary Cooper.
http://daughtersofesther.org

Finally she serves in the Women of Wisdom ministry though intercessory prayer.

 

The Bigger Person

I recently had an encounter with a woman who is obviously bitter and stuck on a series of events that occurred nearly 12 years ago. Her demeanor towards my husband and I on a day that was suppose to be nothing but sheer joy was just down right inappropriate!

My flesh wanted to rise up so badly but I was able to reframe from counter reacting in the same way. There were children around and I considered the conduct of God so I said nothing. 

As I walked away I felt my insides boiling hot!! This is not the first time this person has been disrespectful to me. Previous times were indirect but this time was right in my face! I wanted so desperately to shut her down but knew I would not have been able to do so with the love of the Lord. 

Several days later I still felt myself reliving the event. Does she think I’m weak, a push over, or some simple woman because I remained silent? I don’t ever want her thinking that this sort of behavior will be both tolerated and acceptable going forward! I had to consult my Heavenly Father about what to do at our next encounter; for there WILL be one!

I clearly heard him speak of what Proverbs 29:11 says; “A fool uttereth all his mind, but a wise man keepeth it till afterwards.”

Furthermore, Ecclesiastes 10:14 says “A fool multiplies words; no one knows what is coming…”

He also reminded me that in the event that we meet again, a soft answer will turn away wrath. (Proverbs 15:1)

If I decide to respond in the same manner, a war of words at minimum will indeed be the result and two fools will be present vs. the initial one!

 

My flesh of course wants to give her not just a piece of my mind but the entire thing! She has it coming, but what good will that do and how will I be honoring my Father who has provided the ultimate instruction? She hasn’t gotten over or won anything, rather continues to prove how immature she steadfastly remains.

Have you ever had a situation like this before?
What happened and how did you handle it?

Were you able to represent Christ although your natural man wanted to completely take over?

I know for sure that a war of nasty words by exchange would have been instant gratification to my flesh. The outcome also could have been worse. I thank God for helping me that day not to consider an eye for an eye. This woman too is a believer and still a child of the Most High God Never-the-less.


Turning the other cheek may not be what we want to do in instances like this, but is the action our Savior certainly expects when we represent Him.

I DECLARE WAR! – 4 Steps in Spiritual Warfare

Recognizing spiritual attacks when they come against us is a must for The Body of Christ. Knowing how to respond to them effectively is even more crucial.

Scripture says we do not fight against flesh and blood but against the powers and rulers of darkness. (Ephesians 6:12) To break this scripture down in lay terms means that we can’t win the battles in our lives by what we physically see. We must fight Satan himself! Here are a few examples of fighting with our flesh against what we see:

Yelling at our children when they rebel repeatedly.

Combatting verbally and physically with our spouses when we hit tough spots in our marriages.

Plotting against our bosses and co-workers when they become unreasonable or unfair.

Stop speaking to our friends, associates or church family when they don’t conduct themselves as we feel they should.

Looking down on our neighbors when they cause offense.

There are many more but I trust by now that you get the picture. These fights break out and reek havoc amongst those matters we care for the most. This is especially true regarding our health and finances.

A natural first level of defense when we have trouble in these areas is to respond with our flesh. We yell, get mad, worry, feel defeated, complain, seek revenge, give up or do things we may later regret. When this happens we give our power to the enemy allowing him to win!

Satan, The enemy and adversary of our Lord and those who believe in Him constantly roams the earth seeking whom he may devour. (1st part of John 10:10) You can’t see him but he is there in the spirit and often uses what humans can see naturally. This causes confusion to those who don’t understand the enemy’s tactics causing responses to his antics in the wrong realm. The later part of that same scripture boldly states that Christ came that we may have life abundantly!!

Just like in the card game, WAR, we declare to our opponents that it’s on! We put on our game faces, line up our strategies and reiterate to the other player that they are going down!

When we fight in the spirit, we need to Declare War on Satan, gear up and send him roaming else where!

How do we effectively fight in the spirit? First and foremost we must learn to resist responding in the natural! This can be very difficult but is essential if we want to overcome! Here are four critical steps towards fighting spiritual wars:

1. Prayer – This may sound like a cliché but it’s a must nonetheless! Depending on what you are fighting, a 5 minute prayer asking for the same thing won’t do! You must up the anti! Get up early, stay up late, walk the floor, get a prayer partner and/or write down those things you are standing for. It’s sacrificial and your own flesh is not going to like it! You must push past those feeling and the voices in your head if you intend on winning!

2. Fasting – Turning down your plate is a powerful source to strengthen your inner spirit for this type of war. As you begin to kill the desires of your own flesh, your spirit will begin rising up and taking precedence. Adding fasting to committed prayer will sharpen your ear to hear from God. He will instruct and guide you as you show him that you are seeking his power and strength against what you are facing. (I recommend “The Daniel Fast”)

3. Word Declaration – Speak those things as though they were! (Romans 4:17) Verbal declarations of the Word of God is a powerful resource against the enemy. Starting with a few scriptures and speaking them out your mouth and into the atmosphere is a remedy toxic against Satan’s plans.

4. Praise – This speaks for itself! Exalt the Lord your God because it confuses the enemy! He expects you to be disturbed by the issues he is causing. When you begin to praise God he doesn’t stand a chance!!

If you are not use to doing these things it may feel unnatural initially. I can only encourage you to try it especially if how you are responding now is not working! I guarantee you responding in the flesh is a vicious cycle that will reap the same defeated results!

Do something different with the troubles in your life by putting on the full armor of God. (Ephesians 6:11) Declare Spiritual War for the back of the bible says We Win!!

My all time favorite song when preparing for Spiritual Warfare:

War Cry – Micah Stampley

It gets me hyped!!! 

Listen and PUMP IT UP!

#spiritualwarefare fighting #fightthedevil #theenemyisdefeated #wewin

The Extraordinary You!

Not long ago I was invited to be interviewed By the founder of Heart Ministry Radio, Brenda Divers for her talk show entitled “Extraordinary People In our Neighborhood.” I was absolutely overwhelmed by the opportunity to reach God’s people on this platform! A willing and humble vessel I was and gladly accepted the invitation.

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But I had one problem leading up to the day of the recording; I was far from feeling anywhere near Extraordinary! As I examined my life in its current state, to me, I was looking and feeling rather ordinary!

Kind of mediocre in a sense that at this point I have not reached any defined pinnacle in my goals and visions I know have come from the Lord. Yes I’m walking out in faith concerning my destiny, but I am so far from there! I found myself asking, is this meeting actually premature?

So I have learned that personally I can not trust the voices in my own head most of the time! Some want to keep me labeled as common. Well, the devil is a Liar!!

During the prep session for that interview, some things were bought to my attention and pulled out of me through God’s precious daughter! How grateful I am for the body of Christ for iron truly does sharpen iron!! (Proverbs 27:17)

I didn’t think that some challenges I was brave enough to face were kind of impressive! I had to hear myself speak them out before I was actually able to embrace these matters as true accomplishments. So many others have struggled with the same and have been inspired by my testimony.

By the time the record button went on, I think I was feeling pretty remarkable!
The God we serve does not specialize in average! Everything he makes is exceptional and everyone he calls holds greatness within! He refers to those who believe in his power, Grace and sacrifice through Christ Jesus, “Peculiar People” (1 Peter 2:9) We stand out, Are Royalty and far from just being Regular!

If you struggle to see yourself as accomplished because by your own standards you don’t feel you have “arrived”, stop and begin to see yourself as your Heavenly Father does. During this Christian Journey we all need to be reminded periodically just how extraordinary we truly are!

#Jesus #Royalty #beyondordinary #extraordinary #heartministryradio

Soulful Sunday – The Day Nor The Hour

  

Do you feel or have you ever felt invincible? Nearly convinced that tomorrow WILL indeed come? I have, especially in my youthful years! We make plans, promises and work towards our purpose. All the while taking for granted that each day we rise and find ourselves still alive, is a blessing outside of anything we could ever control.

  

Truth of the matter is, the scripture says we die daily. (1 Corinthians 15:31) Each day that we are blessed to wake up, we are a day closer to the moment when we do not.

It’s a very difficult reality that many of us suppress. We typically don’t think about this until someone we know takes their last breath.

  

This past Wednesday felt heavy, dark and gloomy. Our world lost yet another iconic legend and it hurts. I was also informed within the same hour about the untimely death of a 16 year old young lady at a local school only 10 minutes from my home. Her mother dropped her off in the morning only to see her lifeless body in a morgue that evening. She was beaten by some other girls her age over a boy. According to details, both deaths appear to be incredibly premature.

PRINCE – June 7, 1958-April 21, 2016

Although My heart truly hurts, my spirit reminds me that no man knows the day or the hour when we will take our own last breath. That’s just a fact we can’t change. This holds true for the famous and not so famous alike.

Amy Joyner – RIP April 21,2016

So how are we living in the now knowing this reality? Do we simply mourn over those we have lost for a time then return to our lives as if our day is guaranteed to be eyons away?

I’m not suggesting to have a mind set fixed on death indefinitely. Even scripture says there is a time for everything. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) We should not live in a constant panic but reflection on how we are living. Are we making the best of our time with family friends our gifts and destiny are the questions and true wake up call.

Most importantly, the Word says every knee shall bow before God – (Romans 14:11) That excludes no one! So people can choose to be Non-Believers or represent the Gospel half hearted. What ever the choice, one day we all will close our eyes on this side of life and enter a new one to face that God and our Heavenly Father is indeed REAL! Make the most of your NOW, without forgetting that our day too shall come.

  

Rest In Peace to all the greats, not so greats and mankind in general. For peace is what I wish for all because life is indeed very difficult at times. From the human heart, It’s almost understandable that many would question a Heavenly Father’s existence when we are confronted regularly with burdens, tragedy and tremendous loss. But He too faced the same and left his Word to remind us of such.

Stay blessed and encouraged; this day and always!

  
#prince

#amyjoyner

Soulful Sunday – 4-10-16

  

Thy Will Be Done!

Most frustrations in life are due to human disappointments with goals, relationships, agendas and our personal desires. When plans fail to go our way and the mundane day-to-day seems to threaten our future, we become stalemate.

Just like in a game of chess, it’s still our turn to make a move but a legitimate one is not foreseeable by the human eye. In this realm, we are clearly out of options but that doesn’t mean we’ve lost the game indefinitely. We need to call a draw and give up stubbornness before playing the next round.

It’s natural to become so busy striving for what we want. Everyone has been there. I know I have. I’ve spent many years trying to climb the corporate ladder. At each elevation I fed my ego and increased my paycheck. My Will was being done! It all still wasn’t enough. By the time I reached the last rung and began failing at the top instantly, I realized that an impasse has been reached and I had no other option but to begin descending. The backwards advance did not feel good. For a time, I became depressed, offended, and lost my tenacity to keep trying. 

 

 

When I finally sought guidance from My Savior, he revealed that he never intervened with my decisions because none aligned with His Will for my life. What a serious reality check!

It is clear that we are operating in our own rights when:

What we strive for only benefits ourselves or is limited to a select few like our family. 

We don’t seek direction and become completely self-driven.

We give ourselves credit for accomplishments or try to justify that God has blessed us in lame attempts to finally acknowledge Him.

We have little time for God in fellowship, worship and prayer. Our periodic 5 minute prayers and occasional church attendance rids our gilt but fulfillment is completely temporal.

God’s Will is NEVER about us alone. His plans benefit a multitude. How we spend our time on earth should not be just about what we think is best with limited consideration for the good of all.

There are tremendous blessings that we can miss out on if we live our lives seperate from His guidance. We can only take ourselves but so far and the enemy will make it appear that we are winning with deceptive and occasional rewards. The bigger picture and outcomes are being missed when God’s not in it and his people are not being blessed by our actions.

  

Are you spending your days unfulfilled while each passing day looks like the one before?

Are you so busy chasing after what you want and not using your talents, skills and gifts for others? 

If so, take some time to reconsider the road you travel. Contentment will not begin less Thy Will Be Done! 

Happy Sunday!

  

Would You Turn That Mess Off!!

  
Recently I stumbled across the Blog of a woman who is battling chronic depression. The way she so eloquently expressed the mounting issues she faces daily, reflected my own life easily. It all sounded eerie and so familiar of how I once thought regularly. She claims she is defeated, and without options. My heart and soul connected with her instantly. She has my empathy, sympathy and more. I absolutely commend her for writing about it, for I know this is therapeutic in surviving this mental health issue. She’s a brave soul, But she needs to know she has control if she wants it…..
  
For me, Depression is like watching a 24 hour marathon of the old TV series M.A.S.H! Some of you may remember it well. Back in the 70’s and 80’s this once popular television program flooded many American living rooms at least weekly. I apologize in advance if you were a fan. I just didn’t get it or I probably never gave it a chance. I was so young back then and never found any appreciation for the series by far! As soon as I would hear the theme music, I would cringe, get up and turn the channel immediately!  To me the music sounded depressing! The show may have been good but I couldn’t get past that darn theme song!!!! 

  

When I started experiencing depression very early in my life I could relate to my fellow blogger. I listened to what ever channel was playing in my mind all day. It wasn’t what I wanted to hear at all, yet I entertained whatever was playing as if I had no options! I won’t, I can’t, I’ll never, no one loves you, you don’t deserve, your father doesn’t care, your mother isn’t there, you will always be poor, you are socially odd and will never have friends, you’re not smart, you are ugly, you are a failure, Yadda, Yadda, Yadda…..TALK ABOUT DEPRESSION!!! All those thoughts were some real M.A.S.H.
  
The above was the M.A.S.H. in my life for 20+ years!!!!  As a result I’ve purposely put myself in danger and have felt suicidal multiple times throughout my youth, young adult years and part of my adult life. All because my mind was stuck on the wrong station!

  

One day I got up mentally, picked up an old rusty pair of pliers, (for those who understand that knob on old model boob tubes!) and changed the re-running channel playing repetitively in my pretty little head! 

  

Those pliers were the Word of God that spoke the complete opposite of what naturally played the moment I woke up! Glory to God, I have a new program I’m completely addicted too!! Don’t get me wrong, clear reception did not happen overnight. I had to put much pressure on the tool to get the knob to actually turn! That station was stubborn! Sometimes I used both hands until I got the first click! 

  

That old M.A.S.H. re-run would always try to come back on, but by applying much purposed resistance through the Word of God, that Stinkin Station finally went off the air!!!!

  

Do you have some M.A.S.H. In you life that has gripped you from experiencing who you REALLY are as defined by God? (1 John 4:4, Galatians 3:26, 1 Peter 2:9-10, 1 Corinthians 3:16, 1 Thessalonians 5:5, These are just a few! Look them up!) You have the power to shut off those negative voices in your head by getting in your rightful position. (2nd Corinthians 5:21 calls you the righteousness of God!) 

  
  

It takes work daily in order to get more positive reception, but the efforts are worth it! At least you don’t have to get up anymore. The pliers have retired! Now we have remote controls and accessing the Word through social media, the Internet and other forms have made these efforts a lot more plentiful and easily accessible! 

   

Kick the enemy out of the DVR in your mind, re-program your mental TV guide and walk into God’s best for your life! You and your destiny are so well worth it!
 

 

Now for those who I’ve offended, here is my peace offering; that M.A.S.H. theme song! Enjoy, if you can! Geesshhh! 😜