A Coversation with God

Dear God,
I often look around and wonder if you have forgotten about me. I think what’s the point of living this holy and set apart life if in the end I have nothing to show for it? I think about how far I’ve come and for that I am eternally grateful. Yet, I can’t seem to shake the gnawing feeling that there is still so much more that I have been asking for that seems unanswered. I know I am not supposed to compare my life to others but for the sake of transparency and the fact that you already know what I’m thinking before I say it, I mind as well be real. Why is it that everyone else around me (including those who are not even serving you might I add) seem to be #winning, #relationshipgoals, #boss, #blessed, and whatever else used to explain the plethora of good fortune they have in life, and I still feel… well the same? Why is it that I pay my tithes and offerings, worship you (and not only on Sundays), attend bible study, am abstinent, obedient to your voice and plan for my life, kind to others, walk in integrity as best I can and I still don’t have much to show for it? Why is it that life looks easier on the other side of faith?
Lord tell me how to navigate these feelings without losing hope and becoming bitter. Help me to see that there is something on the other side of obedience and that my living is not in vain. Help me to know that all of the desires of my heart will be realized and one day there will be a testimony that comes out of all of these tests. Lord just help me to hold on…
My Child,
Why are you looking to others to measure my love and blessings over your life? Have I not told you to look straight ahead on me and not to your right or to your left? Have I not restored your broken heart after you purposely went outside of my will? Have I not provided for you despite your circumstances? Have I not comforted you and given you a peace that surpasses all understanding? Have I not reminded you that I AM God and my thoughts are nothing like your thoughts, and my ways are far beyond anything you could ever imagine? My child, have I not promised you that if you share in my sufferings you may also share in my glory? Have you forgotten that when the time is right, I the LORD will make it happen? Have you forgotten that as my servant you are only doing your duty when you live holy as I am holy and follow commandments as you ought?
But God,
I know all of that is true. But why must it be so hard? Why do I have to see the unjust prevail while I continue to proclaim I’m waiting on you? Or better yet my own sisters and brothers receive blessings that we were praying for together, yet you only heard their cry. Why should I continue to walk this walk and talk the talk when at times I feel like my feet won’t move and I have nothing to say? What is the point of it all?
My Child,
The point of it all is for my glory to be revealed in you. The point of it all is that you have a great High Priest in my Son Jesus who understands everything you are going through and can help you through the storms of life. The point is for your faith to be stretched and for your relationship with me to be deepened. My child people are watching and wondering how you are making it and you have a chance to point them to Me, the point of it all. Remember that weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning. Remember that I can restore the years that the locusts have eaten. Remember that I am a God of suddenly and I love to do the impossible in your life. Recall my history and my track record in your life and the lives of those around you. Remember that I am a just God and nothing goes unseen by me. Remember my names in times of weariness. I AM the Great I AM, meaning whatever you need me to be, I AM that. I am El Roi, the God who sees you and know you everything about you. I am Jehovah Jireh, your provider. I am Jehovah Rapha, the God who can and will heal you. I am Jehovah Raah, your shepherd who guides, protects, and watches over you. I am Jehovah Shalom, the peace that you need to make it through any and every situation. Stop focusing on what you don’t have and fix your eyes on what you do have, and that is Me.
I will remember God!

Love,
Adreeonah

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When did Imperfection Become the Christian Standard?

When did Imperfection Become the Standard?

I know we’ve all heard it before: “It don’t take all that to be a Christian”, “I’m only human, I’m not perfect”, “I can still turn up and love Jesus”, “God is still working on me”, and my personal favorite, “God knows my heart”. These are of course all of the excuses that we as Christians give when we have sinned, are about to sin, or maybe are living in perpetual sin. You know the excuses we give to make ourselves feel better about the actions we’ve committed despite our commitment to Christ. Most times to these responses (after much prayer and learning I cannot change anyone), I reply, “its okay I’ll keep you in prayer, we are all still growing and only God can change your heart”, no judgment just genuine concern for the trajectory of their lives. However, when it is the other way around and I or fellow believers are on the other side of spectrum, clearly setting boundaries for what we will no longer do, such as drinking, or partying, cursing, pre-marital sex, lying, “popping off” at people when angry etc., I’ve found that sometimes we are judged. In fact here are some examples of how we’re seen: “holier than thou”, “so heavenly minded that we’re no earthly good”, “fanatics”, “Jesus freaks”, and “extra or radical Christians” etc. And this is all inside of our own religious group! Believe it or not, but there are often rebuttals by fellow Christians when others are striving to actually live out the entire Word of God and not just the popular parts that don’t require too much change or discomfort. My question is, when did imperfection and mediocracy become the standard? When did we begin to make concessions for walking in the flesh instead of the Spirit? When did we allow ourselves to become two different sects of Christianity? The ones who acknowledge their humanity and flawed nature but then choose to do little about it, and those who have done the same but are striving to now live righteously through Christ.

None of Us Are Perfect

Now don’t take anything that I stated previously out of context. I am fully aware that none and I mean absolutely none of us walking this earth are perfect, that we will fall short, and even sin from time to time despite what we know to be the wrong path for our lives. Paul clearly outlines this truth in a couple of scriptures:

1 John 1:8-10 “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us”

Romans 7:15-16; 24-25b “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. What wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

Now notice how in both passages the truth of our sinful nature is on display, very plainly stated, and undisputed… oh but what do we see right after each revelation? The road to Jesus that way maker, and debt payer. Yes it is true that none of us are sinless, faultless, or flawless, but as Christians, through Christ we can seek forgiveness through repentance, and then begin braving the road to gradual and sustainable change. Where do we find this change or model to what we should look like as a Christian? It is not found amongst ourselves and who you see to be the “best” Christian, no my friend, we have to go back to the source, Jesus Christ Himself.

Jesus is the Standard

Instead of looking to our own frail humanity as the standard for what a Christian should be, we must go back to the basics. Imperfection cannot be the pillar we choose to stand on and the security blanket we choose to wrap ourselves in to comfort us in times of guilt and shame. How do we strive to be more like Jesus and truly make Him the standard without being hypocritical to others, un-relatable, or just plain ol’ weird? First, we understand what a standard is.

Noun

  1. a level of quality or attainment.
  2. an idea or thing used as a measure, norm, or model in comparative evaluations.

Adjective

  1. used or accepted as normal or average.

Greek Definition

Kanón: a rule, regulation, rule of conduct or doctrine

Once we understand this we don’t try to reinvent the wheel! We glean from His life and we ask Him for guidance on how to live one reflective of the very ones He died for. Jesus did not die for us to live in bondage to our sins and enslave others who are trying themselves not to do so. In fact I am sure many of us know the very familiar passage of scripture that tells us exactly what He came for; “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life; and have it to the full (John 10:10).” We can tap into that full life He intended for us by using His principles and striving to be more like Him daily. I don’t care how much of a role model a certain Christian may be, even the greatest bible character, no mere mortal can be our standard. So what standards do we see from Jesus in the Word?

  1. How to overcome and respond temptation– Jesus was tempted by the devil after He had just spent 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness without any food. When the enemy tried to entice Jesus to go against His father and worship him, Jesus responded with scripture and the devil left Him. Some of us may be thinking well He’s Jesus and He’s perfect so of course He can overcome temptation but it’s harder for me. We are reminded through His life that “we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are- yet he did not sin (Hebrews 4:15).” Furthermore 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” How do we get help from God to overcome this temptation? Simple, Jesus reminds us “Pray that you will not fall into temptation (Luke 22:40b). Prayer is the key!

 

  1. How to pray and maintain an intimate relationship with our Father: Obviously Jesus teaches us all how to pray by outlining the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. Additionally Jesus gave us examples through his consistent quiet time with His Father. Jesus understood the importance of breaking away from crowd, your job, family, thoughts, what have you, and just spending precious time in the presence of the Lord. We see Jesus do this very thing in Luke 5:15-16, “Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Matthew 14:23 tells us “After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone.” In Matthew 26:36 we see “Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” Then in yet another verse we see Jesus instruct the disciples and now He is doing the same for us “But when you pray, go into your inner room, shut your door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you (Matthew 6:6).”

 

  1. How to treat and love others– Jesus left us with multiple commands on how to love one another. John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” In another passage Jesus says, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 7:12).”

Keep Striving Until He Returns

There should never be a time where we settle for where we are right now in our faith. I do not care if you are a giant in the body of Christ and are anointed for such a time as this, you still have more to do, a higher level to achieve in your relationship with God, more to learn, and more to share with others. Paul is one of the greatest characters in the Word and even he had to confess, “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and staining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14). Not only must we be realistic with our own personal journeys, we must love one another and encourage others to be all they can be in Christ. There is no division in the body of Christ. We are one and all being changed and made over by God daily. 12:1b-2 is what our hearts posture should be; “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Until next time, whatever you do, do it ALL for the glory of God.

Love,

Adreeonah

The Truth about Unequally Yoked Relationships: “Are They Really that Bad?”

I was inspired to write this post after a conversation with a friend on the topic of unequally yoked relationships. I was able to give her my take on the topic based on what I knew off of the “top of my head” but for anyone who knows me, you know I do not like to give opinion when it comes to the things of God but would rather like to keep it strictly biblical. So as a result I believe the Lord laid it on my heart to study the topic out through His Word and share the results with all who are willing to listen. Have you ever heard that Christians should not “yoke” themselves with unbelievers and wondered, “What exactly does that mean?” Have you ever thought to yourself “could engaging in an unequally yoked relationship really be that bad, I mean they are a good person”? If so, I want to take some time to explore the topic from a biblical perspective without any judgment or opinion; just the pure, infallible, true, Word of God.

What does it mean to be “unequally yoked”?

The term comes from 2 Corinthians 6:14-18:

“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?  What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?  What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” Therefore, Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

In this passage Paul is speaking to the church at Corinth who were largely Gentiles surrounded by idolatry and immorality. He was admonishing them not to “yoke” themselves with unbelievers. For clarity’s sake, let’s define unbeliever. An unbeliever is defined as “one who does not believe; a non-Christian”. Paul was telling the new believers in the church at Corinth not to yoke themselves with those who were non-Christians. So what is a yoke? “A yoke is a wooden crossbar linking two load-pulling animals together; figurative of bondage or linkage between two people”. In Paul’s analogy of unequal yoking, the people of that time would have understood that he is referring to two animals pulling a load where one animal (usually an ox) is stronger than the other (maybe a donkey or a weaker ox) which consequently causes trouble for the load they are carrying, which further leads to a slower pace, to maybe the weaker animal stopping in mid task, and the job that they were intended to perform together never being accomplished.

What Paul did not mean in this passage:

Paul never intended for Christians to take this passage (2 Corinthians 6:14-18) to mean that we should have absolutely no dealings with unbelievers. In fact, in 1 Corinthians 5: 9-10, Paul states: “I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—  not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.” More importantly if we were to take this passage to mean we should never associate with unbelievers we would be unable to faithfully live out the great commission committed to us by Christ (Matthew 28:18-20). I think sometimes it is easy as Christians to run away from anything that is “anti-God” , but how are we ever sharing the sweet gospel and gift of salvation to those who are lost, if we are unwilling to even speak with unbelievers?

What Paul absolutely did mean in this passage:

Paul was saying to the church of Corinth, do not enter into close relationships with unbelievers, such as business partnerships, close friendships, and marriages. He is saying that they should be careful because they could be easily influenced to compromise their views by engaging in close relationships with those who did not have the same values and beliefs. Paul was warning the church of the dangers of temptation to weaken their Christian commitment, integrity, and standards if they started to become like the unbelievers instead of simply being among them. In the NLT translation of 2 Corinthians 14, it says “don’t team up with those who are unbelievers”. The word team used here is translated in Greek as “Koinonia”, which means “fellowship, association, community, communion, joint participation, intercourse;

  1. the share which one has in anything, participation
  2. intercourse, fellowship, intimacy
    1. the right hand as a sign and pledge of fellowship (in fulfilling the apostolic office)
  3. a gift jointly contributed, a collection, a contribution, as exhibiting an embodiment and proof of fellowship”

This definition really helps us to understand the earlier illustration of sharing in the carrying of a load with a weaker animal, which in this case would be the unbeliever. To team up with an unbeliever would mean to be sharing in fellowship, intimacy, and participation. Do you really want to share the innermost parts of yourself, whether platonic or intimately, with someone who could never match your effort? I think for most of us that would be a resounding no! I want to take time now to focus on the importance of this scripture for the implication of marriages.

God’s Heart behind the Command:

At some point in time during your Christian walk, I’m sure you have had the thought “it’s just a lot of rules and some that I really do not understand”. I am with you! I think back on my own past and I wonder if I would have made half of the foolish mistakes I had, if I would have known the “why” behind the command or rule. If I would have just been able to fully discern God’s heart behind a “no” or “not yet”, would that have been enough to turn me away from what I was pursuing. In this case of unequal relationships it is imperative for us to look deeper into the heart of God, His protection, and His guidance in inspiring Paul to write that we should not be yoked with unbelievers. In order to see the “why” behind the command, I decided to take a look at examples from the bible of men who engaged in relationships with unbelievers that forever changed the trajectory of their entire lives for the worse.

Samson:                    

Samson was born during an oppressive time for the Israelites. The Israelites had done wrong in the LORD’s eyes yet again and He responded by giving them over to the Philistines for 40 years. Samson was born to parents who were hopeless when it came to childbearing until they were told by and angel of the Lord that they would have a son who would be dedicated to God as a Nazirite from birth. This son would not only be dedicated to God from birth but he would play a part in beginning to rescue Israel from the Philistines. Samson anointed by God, with supernatural strength that was tied to his long hair which he had strict orders to never cut since birth, still allowed his own wants and desires to overtake him. He was attracted to the Philistine women (unbelievers and idol worshippers) in the camp and allowed them to tempt him so much that he wanted to enter into marriage. One marriage was thwarted when Samson was embarrassed at the wedding celebration and angrily went back home to live with his parents. When he came back for his bride he was told that she was married off to someone else. After this Samson slept with a prostitute who was also an unbeliever and then eventually some time later began to pursue a relationship with another Philistine, named Delilah. Delilah was propositioned by some rulers of Philistine to find out the source of Samson’s strength and tie him up securely. She took them up on their offer and after a few failed attempts was finally able to get Samson to reveal his secret, that his strength came from God and lied in his hair. Delilah cut his hair and he was seized by the Philistines and thrown in jail. He later asked God for strength one more time to kill all of the Philistines in the temple they took him to, to entertain them. Samson’s prayer was answered and he had strength to destroy the temple and everyone in it, including himself. (Story found in Judges 13-16)

Ahab:

Ahab was a Jew who became king after the death of his father, Omri. Ahab did evil in the Lord’s eyes, more evil than any other kings before him. He married a pagan (unbeliever) woman named Jezebel, who led him to practice idol worship and bow down to Baal. He could have been led by the prophet Elijah and had the pleasure of leading the people back to God, but instead he was led by his wife and her god’s “prophets” who polluted his mind and aided in turning his heart completely away from God. Ahab allowed his wife to influence him to steal property and attempt to kill Elijah.  (Story found in 1 Kings 16:28-22:40)

Solomon:

Son of King David, a handsome, promising young successor. In his youth he heeded the words of his father to fear God and follow His commands. Solomon had the privilege of building the temple for God, which his father wanted to do. In his humility he asked God for wisdom which would undoubtedly enable him to make thoughtful and sound decisions. Solomon began to marry many wives which was against God’s commands (Deuteronomy 17:17). This led to God’s prediction coming true (1 Kings 11:4). Solomon attempted to please his wives by sacrificing to a false god. He suffered great consequences for his disloyalty to God. The last book that God allowed Solomon to write, Ecclesiastes, Solomon warned others “fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the full duty of all mankind” (12:13). (Full story 2 Samuel 12:24-1 Kings 11:43)

These are just the stories of a few men that yoked themselves with unbelievers and the results were disastrous. These were powerful men who had promising futures and the ability to be used by God. However, their desire to please their flesh and go against God’s command led to their demise. In all three of these examples the “light” was overpowered by the darkness which is supposed to be the other way around. It is in these stories that I see God’s heart and the “why” behind the rule. God knows what it will do to His people and His purposes for them, if they yoke themselves with unbelievers. Some of you may think these are extreme examples but they really are not all that farfetched. In today’s time, these examples may look like conflict in the home when it is time to raise a child and teach them a religious practice, or when job loss, death, sickness and other life events strike and the believer is standing on the Word with no help from the unbeliever, or when you want to go to church as a family but he or she just is not willing. It could be a number of things in today’s day and age but the bottom line is “Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?” (Amos 3:3). We have to be firm in our stance to believe in God’s way no matter how much it may hurt or seem like you are missing out on. An unbeliever is anyone who is not a Christian, so it does not matter what he or she may tell you they believe in, if His name is not Jesus, you have to be willing to walk away.

Well I pray you learned something from my study on unequally yoked relationships. Love you all and I am praying for you! Until next time, whatever you do, do it ALL for the glory of God!

Love,

Adreeonah

 

Free Worshipper “Breaking down the Barriers Between you and God”

I can remember it like it was yesterday. My friends and I were at a Women’s conference and we were so excited for the worship service going on later that evening. We caught up with some fellow conference goers in the elevator and they told us to “get ready”, that this worship service was like no other and will definitely usher us right into the presence of God. So my first reaction was like okay they are probably over exaggerating, “let’s just see if it’s all that”. We get into the service and the band is playing all of my favorites, “Good Good Father”, “Spirit Break Out”, “Oceans” and so many more. I’m enjoying myself, praising the Lord and clapping but I got this “feeling” that I was not quite doing enough. The Holy Spirit gently nudged me to “go deeper”. So I began to sway side to side, clap a little harder, sing a little louder, I really was not sure what “go deeper” meant so I just did what I knew to do. Then I heard Him say “if you really want to show your love for me, fall on your knees”. I must admit that my immediate reaction was “uh God no, with all of these people around? That’s just what I do when it’s you and I”. So I made my futile attempts at ignoring the Holy Spirit until I was overwhelmed with His presence and could not help but to bow down. In that moment something broke on the inside of me, the chains of people bondage and the thought of what people would think if I became undone came crashing down all in that one moment. I felt so free and I did not concern myself with what was happening around me, it was just God and I. The scripture 2 Corinthians 3:17 “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”, literally came to life.
So I want to dive into what kept me from immediately adhering to the Holy Spirit a year ago at that conference and what had stopped me from being a free worshipper for years before this experience.

  1. Disobedience– I second guessed that I had really heard from the Lord. I chalked it up to a “feeling” at first and kept with “church as usual”. Then I heard the Holy Spirit clearly tell me to go deeper and I did not want to do so. I was so afraid of losing control and what people would think if I went “all the way in” and was free in the presence of the Lord, which brings me to my next point.
  2. People Bondage– I am naturally a very controlled personal, hyper rational and not a fan of public displays of intense emotion. In church I always had this underlying feeling of vulnerability and exposure because I would begin to feel the need to shred my semblance of rationality and “put togetherness” and cry uncontrollable or lift my hands, or sing loudly, or fall on my knees, or whatever the Lord was leading me to do but I just could not allow anyone to see me in that light. What would my family, friends, or even worse, strangers think of me? Would they think I was going through something or that I was “doing too much”? I was definitely not heeding the words of Paul in Galatians 1:10 when he says “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Even though I was not necessarily trying to please people, I was not trying to make them possibly feel uncomfortable or feel embarrassed, and sure was not being a true servant of Christ because I was not being authentic in my praise.
  3. Dissociation from the song lyrics and who you are singing to – I don’t know about you but sometimes I would hear a worship song but I would not really be listening to it. I would know the words and sing them but there was something missing. There is a difference between mindlessly singing the lyrics to a song about God and singing the lyrics of a song to God. You must understand that you are in fact singing the praises to Him as Psalm 96:1-2 states “Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth. Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day”.

What I experienced after submitting to God and truly getting free in worship:

  1. True connection through reflection– Once I allowed myself to hone in on the lyrics and think about what the song writer was actually trying to convey it caused me to reflect on my own personal relationship with God. For instance one of my favorite songs by Todd Galberth “Lord You Are Good”, was just sang by my church during praise and worship and it broke me all the way down! I began to put myself in the song and reflect on the times where all hell was breaking out in my life but I still was able to lift my hands and say “Lord You are good, You’ve been so good, Lord, You are good, You’ve been better than good”. I felt so connected to God in that moment, like He was right there with me because my heart, mind, and my mouth were aligned. I wasn’t merely singing, I was singing to Him and flashing back to all the times He has indeed “been better than good to me”, which leads me to my next point.
  2. Overwhelming gratitude– Once I truly began to reflect on all God has done, my heart was bursting with overwhelming gratefulness. I began to give thanks to the Lord simply because of His goodness (1 Chronicles 16:34) and not based on any specific external circumstances. Giving thanks and showing gratitude is a main theme throughout the Word and is very pleasing to God especially when done at all times despite what your current circumstances may look like.
  3. Boldness- I distinctly remember worshipping with a boldness that I did not have prior to the Holy Spirit speaking to my heart. I was able to stand proudly with my hands lifted, to kneel when I felt led, and to break into spontaneous prayer and or praise. I was no longer concerned with those around me. In fact, I remember feeling invincible (lol) after the conference. I asked my friends to circle up right in the middle of the airport to pray for our safe return home. It did not matter who was looking because it was about what I believed the Holy Spirit was leading me to and I was determined to follow.

So enough about me! How about you, are you able to be your authentic self during worship? Would you define yourself as a true worshipper? Why or why not? If you don’t feel like a free worshipper, I encourage you to try worshipping in the confines of your own home because what you practice there will spill over into cooperate worship. Put on some of your favorite worship songs, some of mine are “Lord You Are Good” by Todd Galberth, Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) by Hillsong United, O Come to the Altar by Elevation Worship, Grateful by Hezekiah Walker, “I love You Jesus” by Lamar Cambpell and Spirit of Praise, and so many more. Listen to the words, meditate on them, and allow yourself to let go in whichever way the Spirit is leading you!

Well until next time, whatever you do, do it ALL for the glory of God.

Love,

Adreeonah

“Spiritual Desert”: Has God Abandoned Me?

“I’m just not feeling it, I don’t feel Him. I’m just going through the motions in quiet time. My mind wanders and my heart just feels empty.” I remember saying these words to friends as I explained the season of spiritual drought I believed myself to be experiencing. I just couldn’t “feel God” and it was becoming very discouraging. I was frustrated because just a month before quiet time was enlightening, enriching, powerful, almost supernatural and now… crickets. So what changed? That was my question to God. Oh how much I wish I didn’t ask that question lol (be prepared for a real deal answer from the Lord) but I did and I believe He told me exactly what happened.

You see there was a time when I didn’t hear from God, I didn’t have life transforming revelations and conversations with Him. I distinctly remember crying out in quiet time saying “I’m your daughter! I love you with all my heart. Why won’t you talk to me?” I was devastated and inwardly jealous every time someone would speak of sweet moments of intimate conversation, confirmation, and revelation from God. I practically tattooed Jeremiah 29:13 and Matthew 7:7 on my heart and kept reciting these scriptures back to God. I sought Him relentlessly every single day. Prayer first thing in the morning, sermons and gospel all day at work, quiet time in the evening, another pray right before bed, and then I’d fall asleep to a sermon in my ear. I was so hungry for His presence. And just like the good good Father that He is, He heard my cry and delivered. He not only spoke to me but He revealed my purpose which I had been seeking for like ever lol. I began to have dreams that literally answered questions I had asked in prayer. I was given discernment and wisdom from God to speak to people about things I should not have even known about their circumstances.

I don’t share about this particular season of my life to boast, oh on the contrary. I share it because this is what I saw flash through my mind when I asked God why things had changed. He helped me to see that He was still the same, but that I had changed, that He was still in the same place but that I had in fact moved. And as hurtful and plain ol’ salty as I was to hear this painful revelation, He was sooo right. Yes I’d still have quiet time, still listen to sermons and what have you, but it was different. I was different, not as hungry, and not as desperate for His presence as like before. I basically started to get lazy and more lax in my prayer life. I began to take for granted the very thing I begged Him for and His period of silence helped me to remember how much of a true gift it is to experience His glory and sweet presence. Needless to say, I had to go back to the basics. I needed to rediscover the joy of the Lord and “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8). I realized that I needed to stay intentional about prayer and seeking God like He’s never revealed anything to me before.

I want to be clear that not every time you feel that God is silent, is it because you’ve done something or in my case stopped doing something. The old quote sticks out in my head as I type, “The teacher is always silent during the test”. So somebody out here reading this just might be in the place that I was before God had ever spoken to me. You’re in the middle of a test and God is with you but not allowing you to know the answer to your questions or receive the blessings you seek just yet. Sometimes God is silent simply so you will go deeper in your relationship with Him and develop a discipline that enriches your spiritual life while bringing glory to God. The spiritual desert is what is pruning, purging, and preparing you, its allowing you to build strength and endurance (James 1:2-3).

However, if you are in a spiritual desert right now and you know it’s because you moved from God, go back to where you first found Him. Pray more fervently than ever before, read the Word, watch sermons, listen to worship music… whatever it is that you need to do, just do it! The enemy seeks to destroy us when our guards are down, when we feel hopeless, and when we feel alone.

Love you guys! Until next time, whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

Love,

Adreeonah

Help! I’m Just Not Good Enough: Understanding God’s Grace

I don’t know about you but I struggle almost daily with inadequacies. One that haunts me the most is “I’m not doing enough for God”. I have these thoughts that I’m not praying enough, reading the Word enough, attending enough church events, evangelizing, giving to others… you name it, I just think that God is thinking “you can do better”, or simply “I’m disappointed”. I don’t know where the idea popped into my mind one day that God will “think less of me” or even worst, He’d love me less, but it dropped by and won’t go without a fight. It became so bad at one point and time, that I almost made myself believe that if I missed quiet time one day God would be mad at me or if I didn’t pray before leaving the house I wouldn’t be covered and that something bad may happen. I was essentially living in fear and bondage. I am not sure if you can relate and if not, good! But for those of you who can, let’s look at God’s truth on how to combat these negative thoughts.

In order for me to get at the heart of the matter I had to realize that I didn’t really understand the concept of grace or “justification by faith”. As a Christian this understanding is vital, as it is the very foundation of our faith. I have struggled greatly with the concept of grace because if I can be very candid, I’m an all or nothing type of girl, very “black and white”. I’ve always had this rigid moral compass, either something is wrong or right, either you work for it or you don’t, you’re punished for doing bad and rewarded for doing good, etc. you get the point. Don’t get me wrong, I can demonstrate grace for others and be very understanding but when it comes to myself, I am definitely my own worst critic. So go back to my admitted struggles at the start of this post, how can I reconcile and navigate through my open self-proclaimed shortcomings and still be right with God? Jesus! I had to take a trip over to Ephesians and Romans and let the Word of God seep into my heart. Let’s take a look:

 “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” – Ephesians 2:4-8

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished”- Romans 3:23-25

For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.” –Romans 6:14

These texts help me to remember that God gives me His love freely and I’m not saved by my works but grace alone! For this to mean anything to you, we have to understand God’s grace. So, what does grace mean? God’s unmerited favor! Meaning His grace for us is unwarranted, undeserving, and unearned. He bestows it upon us simply through our faith in Christ. Not only do we have this wonderful gift of grace but we are justified, which means we are made right with God and credited with Christ’ righteousness. So every time God looks at us through all the good, bad, and the ugly, He’s sees Christ in us! That should help you breathe a sigh of relief like never before. I know it does for me because it takes the pressure off me believing that there is something that I could possibly do or not do in my case that will cause God to love me less or take away my salvation. I never earned it in the first place, He freely gave it to me and to you too! This is so we can never be in a position to brag about what we have done to enter into His precious kingdom, “Not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:9). I have realized that my works really mean nothing because they are not what saved or saves me, God does.

I pray that you will read the scriptures outlined and become more secure in your relationship with God. It’s time to let go of any guilt or condemnation because it’s not of God (Romans 8:1-2). You won’t always get “it” right, or make the right decisions, or be the “right kind of Christian” and lucky for you and I, that isn’t a problem because God has us covered. Grace is incomprehensible at times and that is okay. Just know that it is extended to you by a God who loves you and knows your heart. Grace is not a free pass to do whatever we want, it’s a pass to do better with the fresh starts and expunged records that God gives us daily. What will you do with yours?

Love you all and until next time, whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God!

-Adreeonah

Falling in Love with Potential “I know who you think he can be… but who is he now?”

I remember doing this a couple of times if I can just go on ahead and be honest. You know what I’m talking about ladies. Maybe you see potential for him to be an awesome man of God, you see that he loves God, he reads his Word, enjoys going to church… but he continues to pressure you for sex, to drink a little too much for your liking, or likes to party with his friends. Or maybe you see potential for him to be a business owner or entrepreneur but he has no drive, he’s super talented at whatever his skill is but he thinks that that talent will magically get him from point A to B. Or another option is that he’s playing it too safe, you see big things for his future but he likes his cushy 9-5 and doesn’t want to go on to that next level interview or show interest in the vacancy at the job that could lead to a promotion of a lifetime. Whatever your situation may have been or may be currently, I’m sure you can relate to seeing so much more in a man than he was actually willing to act on for his own life.
I’m sort of a word nerd so I figured we’d pause for a minute and look at what potential means. Potential (noun)- latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness. Now the words that jumped out at me right away were “latent”, and “may be developed”. So plainly stated these qualities that we see in some men are dormant and untapped and more importantly there is no guarantee that they will ever be developed. Go ahead and let that sink in sis, if you’re currently in a relationship based on sheer potential. And I know some of you are thinking well that’s not fair to say because some people just need a little help and encouragement to become the person we know is already in existence deep down on the inside. And I totally agree with you but I also caution you because it is innate for us as women to want to “help” even if that is not the best decision for us to make.
Over in Genesis 2:18 God made “helping” one of our many purposes, take a look: “The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” So you see we were created to help man with whatever God has purposed him to do. So it’s only natural that we as woman are so good at quickly identified and speaking to what needs to be done to help a man accomplish his goals to reach his purpose because our Creator made us that way! However, my problem comes in when we do this out of order and that “man” is not our man, meaning our husband. How many times have you walked away from a relationship feeling like you’ve “upgraded” him only for things not to work out and all of your work go to the next woman he’s with? Or you walked away from the relationship just feeling drained, like everything you tried to help him with didn’t pay off because he wasn’t willing to do the work? So how do we as well intentioned women of God, guard against our tendency to fall in love with potential without seeing present reality? I can’t say that I have all of the answers but I do have a couple tips that I think we can all follow and of course as always we can rely on the Holy Spirit for guidance and counsel.
Tip #1: Make sure he knows what his purpose is. Have a conversation about it and see where his head is at. Does he have a 5 year, 10 year, shoot even a 15 year plan, but does he have a plan? Do you believe in it? Is that plan what he believes God is leading him to do or just something he wants to do? Is it aligned with God’s plan for your life? (It’s not all about him!)
Tip #2: Pay close attention to see if he makes practical steps towards his goals on his own, without you needing to give a lot of advice and help along the way. And when you do give advice, does he take it and run with it or just sit on it with no drive?
Tip #3: Listen to your instincts. Listen to the still small voice (the voice of God) that tells you if the relationship itself has potential and is in fact what you should be investing time and energy into in the first place. As women we get that check from the Holy Spirit long before we’re willing to admit it. I’m suggesting that you be very in tune with ourselves and God and realize when it’s time to bow out gracefully or never step onto that stage to begin with.
As always I hoped you gained some insight, encouragement, inspiration, and all that good stuff as a result of reading this post. Comment below if you’re brave enough to admit that you fell in love with potential. Share your experience, I’m curious to know if it worked out for you! Love you guys and until next time, whatever you do, do it ALL for the glory of God!
-Adreeonah

How Long Do I Have to Wait? “An Open Letter to God”

I think this is probably one of the realest posts I have ever written. The enemy definitely wants me to stop typing NOW, as he taunts me with all the “what if’s”, and “you know people are going to judge you right?” But you know what? It doesn’t matter if this post can set someone free from the bondage of waiting and suffering in silence. As young single women of God it is easy to allow church folk, friends, family, and whomever else cause you to hide from your deep rooted desire to be married. I think the pressure and standards of women in my age range (27) to be married, naturally causes us to rebel and say well it is “not that big of a deal”, “I am on God’s perfect timing”, “My Adam is sleeping”, “I’ll be found one day”, “I am truly content in my singleness”, along with a whole other slew of responses. And while these responses are so true, I can’t help but be honest about my lack of communication with God on the matter. I think I long to be the women who is so wrapped up in Jesus that the man ordained for me has to be so entangled in Him as well, that that is the only way he will find me; that I deny and hide my struggles with my current season of singleness. I think if I talk about being lonely at times, growing frustrated, and sometimes hopeless, God will be disappointed with me or I will let others around me down. Well not anymore! Anything left untouched, buried, and unaddressed will only fester and continue to grow. Today I decided to be honest about my feelings and cry out to God regarding one of my deepest desires, marriage. Keep reading if you want to read my candid conversation with my Father.

“I have been waiting for a godly relationship/marriage for about 6 years. I admit I do not think I was ready all that time ago but that was when I took the vow of celibacy and the leap of faith to put my love life in your hands. I think I have had some beautiful moments on this journey, like growing closer to you, learning more about myself, about men, and life in general. But let’s not forget the rough times though lol, like thinking I found “the one” only to be disillusioned and heartbroken at the discovery of a counterfeit, seeing others around me be engaged, married, and engaging in the work of the Kingdom with their partners… which I so long to do one day. I think now more than ever before it’s just been tough. I long for companionship even though it pains me to say that. I get so stuck in guilt for desiring marriage because I know I should be praying for world affairs, begging you to save souls, my purpose, healing, and so many other things my mind tells me takes precedence over the matters of my heart, but my heartbeat just won’t be quiet any longer. If I can be honest God, sometimes I get angry, I get jealous, and I grow weary. I struggle with thinking “I’m doing all the right things” and I see others who are not even serving you, get what your servant has been asking you for. I know that your timing is perfect but sometimes I feel like we are on two different time zones. I know that somehow there is purpose in the pain but at times I just feel like this season is purposely painful. I know that you hear my cries and you know what’s best for me, after all you ordained my life before the foundations of the earth.

But somehow I can’t shake the thought of my gauge of your love for me being contingent on the gift of marriage. Ludicrous right? But I’m being honest here… and this is my truth. Replace it with your truth. Help me to find that healthy balance of a woman in waiting that is realistic in her desire for marriage but also not allowing the desire to overcome my desire to simply know and serve you. Lord help me to wait well, to get and stay business about the work of your Kingdom, and to sit at your feet every step of the way. Lord I beg you to show me how to navigate this myriad of mixed emotions and to still bring you honor and glory with my life. I know your word tells me to be anxious for nothing and to pray about ALL things, and today I am praying about the one area I often shy away from. Allow my transparency to free me and to cause me to see your love for me does not lie in the love of a man. Please guard my heart and mind. No longer am I going to meet guys or see random handsome men walking pass, and think “could it be him”? Today I lay my desire for marriage down and prayerfully one day you will allow me to pick it back up. Until then it’s just you and me God, and last time I checked that’s a majority. Take my heart in your hands and hold it until I am ready.”

Love,

Your Daughter

Well there you have it… my honest thoughts out here for all to see lol. The good thing is, God can handle it! If you have similar struggles with your current single season, don’t hide from it. Talk to God about it and ask for help on how to remain content yet expectant on the future. Life is so much more than our marital status and we have to live like it. Until next time, whatever you do, do it for the glory of God!

-Adreeonah

The Road from Discomfort to Destiny

Why God? Why have you taken me from bad to worse? How could this possibly be for the betterment of my future? These were the questions that were swirling through my mind as I contemplated why I was experiencing such extreme discomfort in this season of my life. For just a moment I want to share the answer God so graciously gave to my questions and how it put my current season in proper perspective.

Comfort… That is what I heard the Holy Spirit whisper as I pondered my current fate. I was thinking about how good I had it at my last job (which I walked away from because I believe God told me to), the paid days off, higher pay, minimal paperwork, more flexibility, shorter work day etc. In the middle of my reflection I know I heard the word, comfort. God downloaded the reason why He moved me from there was because I would have grown too comfortable. You see, the job I landed after leaving the one God told me leave, was no cakewalk. I felt overwhelmed, overworked, and completely over it! But it stretched me, taught me time management and effective juggling of multiple tasks, how to deal with difficult people, and most of all it taught me, how not to settle. This job led me to extreme discomfort, which is categorized as “slight pain”. The word slight means, small in degree, inconsiderable. I don’t know about you but this definition reminds me of a scripture over in Romans 8:18 “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us”. God helped me to realize that that job, while uncomfortable, was serving a purpose. It led me to spiritual discontentment and pushed me to pursue God like never before. I was forced to step out in faith regarding the things He wants me to do, no matter how scary or daunting the tasks may seem.

You may be thinking that your life seems unbearable, extremely uncomfortable, and even inconvenient at times. But that is exactly what you need to catapult you into your calling. If you’d be honest, you know you would become stagnant and “okay” with living in the land of the in between (out of Egypt but not quite in the land flowing with milk and honey) if you were comfortable and cozy in your current phase of life. You know this, so you know God knows this as well. This is why I believe He allows certain situations to transpire so that you will have no choice but to pursue everything God is calling you to. Your season of discomfort is used for you to find your divine destiny… so embrace it! And like Paul said, your right now is not worth comparing with the glorious future God has for you when you do what He created you to do.

 

Love,

Adreeonah

Do I Really Have to Forgive?: Finding Freedom in Forgiveness

Hey y’all!! It’s been awhile but I’m back and so excited to share a few quick thoughts on the topic… of forgiveness. Yup, I said it, forgiveness. One of the most dreaded Christian principles and commandments from God because let’s face it, sometimes it’s just plain ol’ hard to forgive and quite frankly we just don’t want to! Once someone has wronged us, “it’s a wrap” and we can be brutal, thinking that the person or the act is just down right unforgivable. I’ve found that the number one reason that most people can’t forgive or let me rephrase that, they choose not to do so, is because they think “but I would have never done that to you”. I think it’s safe to say we have all basically held someone to an untouchable standard which is dangerous because newsflash, no one is going to be exactly like us and all human beings make mistakes, whether intentional or not. I know I have had situations where I have had the nerve to become self-righteous and actually think I have the right to say I won’t forgive someone because I think their action/s is somehow indicative of their entire character. We must not allow the need for reciprocity lead us to a heart of stone with no grace for those who wrong us. Every time I find myself thinking this same thought I challenge myself to stop and think about all the ways I have sinned against God and how He’d always have the right to say “but I’d never do that to you”. Let’s look at a couple of reasons why it’s pretty important and actually in your best interest to forgive.

  1. Give grace as it is given unto you– We have to learn to give people grace and forgive because we’re given unmerited grace and forgiveness by God. More importantly we have a duty to forgive if we want to be forgiven by God. Matthew 6:14-15 boldly states “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Ephesians 4:32 also states “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Now hear me loud and clear when I say “do not be naïve”. Always remember that forgiveness does not equal reconciliation. You must forgive and then you handle that person accordingly. Meaning if the friendship is severely broken and there is no way that the broken pieces can be mended, you pray, be led by the Holy Spirit, and learn how to love them from afar. When you take this approach, you don’t have to burn any bridges or get the “cut off spirit”, but rather that person simply takes on a new role in your life.
  2. Forgiveness isn’t for the person, it’s for you– The second reason we should all forgive is for the mere fact that forgiveness isn’t for the person it’s for us! Once you forgive, you’re essentially saying I am taking on this debt. The word “forgive” in Hebrew is “nasa” which literally means “to lift, carry, or take”. Forgiveness is very sacrificial in that way because you’re taking the blame and the weight up off of that person for whatever they have done and you are taking it to God and laying it at His feet. The act of forgiveness can be pretty transactional in that way, if you let it. The problem for some lies in the fact that you don’t always get anything in return (an apology) and that is okay. John 6:35 “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” God sees all and He won’t let it go unnoticed because you’re being obedient to His word! Don’t believe me? Take a look at some scriptures outlining God’s blessings for those who follow through with His Word: Romans 2:6-7 “God will repay each person according to what they have done.” To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.” Luke 11:28 “He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
  1. If you want to love more like God, you MUST forgive– God forgives us because of His unwavering love for us! Just think about all the sins you’ve committed against God before you really knew.. and don’t stop there, no now think about all the times you’ve sinned (and still fall short) against Him and needed forgiveness once you became a part of the kingdom. I’ll wait… it’s a lot on the record isn’t it? And despite all of it, God sent His one and only Son who had no sin, to bear all of ours so we’d have relationship and endless connection with God the Father (Isaiah 53:3-5; John 3:16; 1 Peter 3:18). And do you know why He did that? Because of His LOVE. God forgives us through Christ simply because embedded in His very character is love, he is love and that love runs so deep for us that we’ll be forgiven if we repent and ask Him to do so (1 John 1:9).

 You might be thinking we’ll that’s wonderful and I’m eternally grateful… but I’m not God, I can’t just forgive people over and over again. My response to that is I get it and I often think the same thoughts BUT we can forgive if we practice LOVE.  In our quest to be more like Christ we must love like Him. Out of our love for people will flow our ability to grace them and bestow forgiveness upon them when we really think they least deserve it! One of the most beloved scriptures, 1 Corinthians 13:4-5, tells us “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” To some this depiction of love seems impossible to aspire and or live up to. However, I believe we all can! We are made in the image of God, which means He has given us some of His amazing characteristics, such as kindness, grace, love, mercy and even the big ones that come only through Christ, which are holiness and righteousness. We have to reflect the love of God even when it hurts and this very practice will enable you to forgive and truly mean it!

Okay that’s it for my spiel lol. I just want you all to remember it is not optional to forgive, it’s biblical and a commandment given to us by God. As a Christian man or woman you have to forgive, no matter how hard, no matter how “unforgivable” the offense or the grievance may seem, you have to take it to God and let Him heal your heart. He is always the answer to how we can achieve anything in this life, and forgiveness is no different. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to get to heaven and hear God tell me my sins have not been forgiven because back in 2017 I did not forgive such and such… no not me and I pray not you either!

Finally I have 3 things I want you to do:

  1. Think about the last time you had to forgive someone. How were you able to do so? How long did it take?
  2. Challenge yourself with this question: Is there anyone that I have yet to forgive?
  3. If your answer to number 2 is yes, get on your knees and talk to God about the situation and ask how you can do so through the strength and love of Christ.

Well until next time… whatever you do, do it all unto the glory of God!

Love,

Adreeonah