8.24.16

Happy Wednesday to you!

Today's post comes from a writer that is no stranger to this website. A few of her literary pieces have been featured previously on the blog. If you have not read Zelena's previous posts, check them out here. Also, do not forget to leave your thoughts on her message in the comment section below. 

Not many of you reading know me personally, so I'll give you some background on where my life stands before we get started on today's topic. I am a twenty-five year old, stay at home mom of one, soon to be two. I love the Lord, and he is the glue that holds my family together in the calm and in the storm. I've been married to my husband for two years. In that time our lives have shifted, what seems to be a million times. We've been below the poverty line and comfortable in the middle class. We've been surrounded by supportive loved ones and we've been loners with no one to make holidays feel cozy. We've been madly in love and on the brink of wanting divorce. Friends have fallen away, family members have passed, and we've even been shunned by a congregation of believers in Christ. We've experienced many ups and downs in our time together, and each of them has shown us what we're made of spiritually. Today I want to talk about recognizing God when Satan tries to steal the show.

Last week during my quiet time at home, I looked around and noticed that nothing in my house had been purchased by me... aside from the photos on the walls. I was so grateful for how the Lord had provided for my family in times that were heavy with uncertainty and loss. I remembered praying that God would give us a home in a nice neighborhood, furniture to make it feel welcome, and all the simple things to make it function well. I prayed that prayer 8 months ago when we relocated to Georgia from Maryland, in obedience to the Holy Spirit. We had no direction or possessions. Three short months ago, we moved out of a sketchy neighborhood, into a cozy home that was quickly furnished by several kind people just trying to get rid of things. We were given living room furniture, kitchen table and chairs, a bedroom set, and many other things to fill our empty new home. Each one of these gifts were stained, scraped, or worn in some way. We couldn't care less about their condition because they were now things that we could call ours. They were pieces God used to bless us when we couldn't afford to buy anything to fill the emptiness. 

This week I received an email to alert me that I had entered my 30th week of pregnancy. It reminded me that my baby shower was fast approaching. It sparked a conversation with my best friend about what was to be expected at the shower. I told her that I doubted it would be anything like the kind of baby showers we'd grown accustomed to because it was being held at church and would be very short. I told her there wasn't going to be any "real food" and that I wasn't sure there would be any of the traditional games either. She suggested that we try to bring our own flare to the event and add some things that we were used to. Until that point, I didn't really allow myself to want anything for my baby shower. I didn't feel like I had the luxury of expressing anything I wanted due to my humble living situation. I told her there wouldn't be time for our suggestions and that I was simply grateful to be having a shower at all. 

Just as I began to hone in on my feelings of gratitude, a slight sense of self pity eased its way into my mind. I started to wonder why I always had to just be grateful for anything I could get instead of being able to want things and it be alright for me to have them. I thought of how sometimes I feel like I shouldn't say how I feel about things because I'm low class and people won't hear what I have to say anyway. I thought of how nice it would have been to pick out furniture for my home instead of having to settle for hand-me-downs. All of these thoughts bubbled up inside of me, telling me that I was a worthless charity case. The bubble slowly worked its way to my eyes and rolled uncontrollably down my cheeks. 

The Holy Spirit stepped in at that moment and helped me remember that God has kept me humble my entire adult life so that I could see him in every blessing. I've watched the Lord sustain me in every kind of circumstance and have been blessed to have him with me. Satan took something meant to bless my family and be a happy occasion, and tried to turn it into a reminder of my lowly status in life. He tried to devalue God's faithfulness and provision for my family, by telling me it wasn't good enough. He tried to make me believe that I somehow deserved more than what God has allowed me to obtain, when in reality I don't deserve anything I have at all. He tried to steal the spotlight that was reserved for God in my life. I'm ever grateful for the aid of the Holy Spirit in my time of forgetfulness. He helped me see that no matter how my life looks in comparison to other people's lives, I am blessed to have the lord by my side. I've done nothing to deserve even my life, yet I enjoy the richness of family, daily bread, and the Father's agape love. Be careful of letting Satan sit where God belongs in your life. He will rob you of your peace and screw up your perspective. What God has for you is for you, so when it comes be most grateful that you were worth a blessing in his eyes.

Live

Abundantly!

Philippians 4:11 Not that I am referring to being in need; for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

8.20.16

Happy Saturday to you!

Today's post comes from a writer that is no stranger to this website. A few of her literary pieces have been featured previously on the blog. If you have not read Zelena's previous posts, check them out here. Also, do not forget to leave your thoughts on her message in the comment section below. 

Yesterday I saw a post, well more of a meme, reflecting the two opposing sides of the government aid issue. I saw it after many months of watching my timeline be flooded with critical statements about the people who enlist the aid. It's always bothered me. Not only because from time to time I've needed the aid personally, but also because I'm spiritually convicted about the matter. After seeing this meme, I decided to voice my opinion in direct response to people who boldly and offensively oppose the provision of government aid. 

My first point was that while some people on government aid are comfortable, using it as a crutch for life, most people who utilize the resource would rather not need it. Those persons would much rather work hard and have that be enough to sustain their living; however for them it's not possible. Despite higher learning and  obtaining degrees that should qualify them for higher pay, many are still struggling to pay for the bare necessities.

The second point I made was from a biblical stand point. Since the start of God's relationship with his people, he has taught us to provide for the poor.  Centuries ago, caring for the poor meant leaving the edges of your fields untouched so that the poor and the sojourner would have the provision of food (Leviticus 23:22). This was just one example. If this is God's instruction, why do we oppose? 

The Word of God says that the poor will always be among us. To me, that says it's a given that not everyone will have that open door or opportunity to succeed, and not always because of the lack of effort. The people who oppose the provision made for the poor are under the assumption that everyone who can work hard, and does work hard, will be successful at making a living that allows them to live with at least their basic needs. This assumption is erroneous and insensitive. It is my opinion that a Christian who has this kind of thinking, is either uninformed or not fully committed to God's word. This is pure ignorance and arrogance. 

I've been prompted to write about this issue because someone very close to me confronted me about not only this post, but also the manner in which I express my thoughts on social issues. I haven't been able to sleep since the conversation. Thus, I figured I needed to pray and write. The individual urged me to be careful of coming off as offensive in my approach of addressing issues publicly. She thought I might offend people; consequently, those people would be inclined to pull away from me. 

To say the least, I was enragednot because I care that people would remove themselves from my circle. Instead, I was enraged because I felt like I was being asked to shut up. For me, shutting up and not using a public platform of which I have free access to stand for truth and combat what I see as an affront to the truth, is cowardice. Additionally, I felt like I was being asked to be a weak Christian. By no means am I a militant person. On the other hand, I am very passionate when it comes to my stance on worldly issues. I would describe myself as an aggressive Christian. 

I do not believe that the social issues of this present age and one's spiritual views can be separated, by a true Christian or a devout follower of any other faith. All of my viewpoints are simultaneously influenced by personal experience and spiritual beliefs. It is my belief that each person's social convictions should reflect his/her spiritual convictions. 

I am spiritually convicted to be a bold woman of faith. In other words, I aim to please the Lord with my words and actions rather than pleasing people. I boldly rebuke error through the authority given me by God, without taking on a feeling of being judgmental, or believing the popular misconception that offending people with truth is sinful. God despises the coward as much as the murderer (Rev 21:8). God does not applaud anyone for bypassing an opportunity to combat falsehood. 

Social media is a place that connects us to strangers across the world, as well as people we love. It has become one of the biggest political and social platforms through which people are informed and brainwashed. If you have a Facebook and not a pulpit, but you don't use it to dominate the evil you see, I fear we are in trouble. Satan is heard on these platforms. I am called to make sure God is heard just as loudly or even louder. I state my social views with biblical support, and I do it knowing that the truth is offensive. Certainly, walking boldly in faith is not comfortable. A truth unspoken is a truth unlearned. 

I am offensive because the message of Christ, his truth, is offensive. I am angry, but anger is not sin (Eph 4:26).   I speak freely and boldly in God's authority just as Christ' followers did in times past (Acts 4:13). I know that I will be persecuted and shut out at some point for the sake of the truth and that's alright. The Lord warned me in his word about the consequences of following his way. 

We live in a time where it is dangerous to be silent. Lines are being blurred. Right and wrong have switched places. We are pleasing men while offending God. Witnessing is a joke because we backpedal every fact with sugar coated and frilly nonsense, as if God needs our help to make what he says sound more tolerable. How insulting to our Savior! Regurgitate the principals and ways of the Lord in our lives and let him worry about the soil it falls on. That's our job and that's it. 

Do not be mistaken. A weak Christian has no impact on the faith, accept to hide it and give the notion that God is a people pleaser. Not taking every opportunity to right a wrong IS WRONG. Doing nothing, saying nothing, is as powerful as doing or saying what is wrong. 

I urge every God fearing man and woman to walk in holy boldness every day of your lives, at every chance you get. You don't have to go looking for lies or affronts to the truth. They  are everywhere. You just have to take the opportunity to declare truth or you will have to answer for your silence! There is a time for biting your tongue (Matt 7:6). We should have the wisdom to understand when that is. That time is not when people are misinformed or spreading untruths for lack of knowledge. In those moments, you must speak so that no one is left with an excuse for why they rejected God, or socially, why they neglected to walk in his ways. 

Live,

Abundantly

Philippians 1:12 I want you to know, beloved, that what has happened to me has actually helped to spread the gospel, 13 so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to everyone else that my imprisonment is for Christ; 14 and most of the brothers and sisters, having been made confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, dare to speak the word with greater boldness and without fear. 15 Some proclaim Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from goodwill. 16 These proclaim Christ out of love, knowing that I have been put here for the defense of the gospel;17 the others proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but intending to increase my suffering in my imprisonment. 18 What does it matter? Just this, that Christ is proclaimed in every way, whether out of false motives or true; and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance. 20 It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be put to shame in any way, but that by my speaking with all boldness, Christ will be exalted now as always in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain.

8.13.16

Happy Saturday to you!

Followers of Christ! The Bible makes it clear that all who choose a righteous lifestyle will suffer persecution. Furthermore, the Bible makes it clear that many are the afflictions of the righteous. So, it is a guarantee that throughout your life you will encounter various struggles. Do not be discouraged by this fact. Instead, remember that Jesus Christ won the ultimate victory centuries ago. IT IS FINISHED! When you chose to live for Him and in His will, you are guaranteed a successful ending. But, wait…there’s more! You are also guaranteed many promises as you journey through this life as well. You were promised a Comforter, a community, strength, deliverance, authority, power…shall I continue? 

Of course, you will face some difficult days. People you love will hurt you. Confusion will try to impede your progress. Questions you have will have delayed answers. You will make mistakes. More importantly, you will overcome. You will conquer. You will mature. You will have peace. You will love. You will have joy. If you hold on to God, if you trust in His game plan, if you stay the course—blessings are certain.

Do not isolate yourself. Do not retaliate. Do not fall for deception.

You are not defeated. Your God is mighty and His love for you is undying. So, you will make it out of the pit and into a wealthy place. Trust God and declare His word. Block out the noise of the distractions trying to drag you down. You never entered into this battle alone—God has been there all along. 

Love,

CompassionateLee

Hebrews 12:7 Endure trials for the sake of discipline. God is treating you as children; for what child is there whom a parent does not discipline? 8 If you do not have that discipline in which all children share, then you are illegitimate and not his children. 9 Moreover, we had human parents to discipline us, and we respected them. Should we not be even more willing to be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share his holiness. 11 Now, discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. 12 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.

8.6.16

Happy Saturday to you!

If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, then this is a very exciting day for you. Why? Well, it is exciting because I have come to remind you of good news. Some believers may already know this but are going through a trial and need a refresher. Other believers may not have been aware of this truth. Thus, it is a great day for us all (for those who knew and those who didn’t) because God wants us to remember that we have power.

The power we have from God is unlike any other power in the world. The power we obtain from God surpasses all authority and all influence that any man possesses in the earth. This power we have from God gives us the ability to do good in all circumstances. The power we have from God allows us to love our enemies and do good to those who despise us. The power we have from God allows us to walk in a spirit of forgiveness, forsaking hatred and resentment. The power we have from God gives us strength to work diligently, and with wisdom, to come up with innovative solutions to mind-blowing dilemmas.

When we made the choice to believe in Jesus Christ, to accept salvation through his death, burial, and resurrection, we were endowed with power. That power enables us to think right, talk right, and act right. It’s in moments where we forget that we have this power that we falter. Nevertheless, there’s good news! God knows that we falter and make mistakes. Yet, He remains gracious and merciful. Today’s post is a reminder from Him to us. It is a call to get up and utilize your God-given power.

Many people in this world use their power to harm others. Through it, they think that success has been realized. Even some believers have acted under the guise that their power was being exercised for good works when in fact they were not operating under the will of God. Nonetheless, for the non-believers reading this post, I want you to know that God’s power is demonstrated for love, for redemption, for healing, for renewal, for strength, for unity, and for peace. Be encouraged! There are believers, increasing in number, who are utilizing their God given power for love and fruitfulness. So, if you were down today, be lifted up. You possess power—God working in you—to turn that bad situation into a blessed situation.

"You have power from God to make good decisions."

Love,

CompassionateLee

Ephesians 1:15 I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. 17 I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, 18 so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. 20 God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. 22 And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

7.31.16

Happy Sunday to you!

I am a resident of the United States. In our society, the word ‘DESERVE’ is overused. People feel an entitlement to the things they possess and even things they do not possess. For this reason, I place much importance on this exercise. The weekly gratitude list is a powerful tool that refocuses our perspective. It reminds us that we do not deserve any of the blessings we receive. It reminds us of our connection to human beings all throughout the world—that one life is not more valuable than another. The gratitude list urges us not to take any good for granted.

It has been quite awhile since I’ve completed the exercise on this platform. What a sad confession! The gratitude list is the foundation of this website. I know for certain that thanksgiving has propelled me into many open doors. Thanksgiving has transformed the way I view God, the way I see myself, and the way I interact with others. Thanksgiving is necessary! So appreciate all the persons in your life who call you to a life of gratitude.

Weekly Gratitude List

  1. I am grateful for my relationship with God, my heavenly Father.
  2. I am thankful for the power of prayer to transform even the most hopeless circumstances.
  3. Thank you God for allowing me to experience the wonders of winter, spring, summer, and fall.
  4. Thank you God for protecting my loved ones and me as we travel via various forms of transportation each week.
  5. Thank you God for access to clean drinking water.
  6. Thank you God for novels that allow me to learn from other people’s perspectives and gives me insight and wisdom.
  7. Thank you God for a place to call home.
  8. Thank you God for being patient with me and correcting me in love.
  9. Thank you God for your deliverance and your redemption.
  10. Thank you God for good health: physiological, psychological, and spiritual.
  11. Thank you Lord for the mindset to say thank you with sincerity.
  12. Thank you God for the lives of every person reading this list.

Now, it is your turn to share! I look forward to reading your personal gratitude list via the comment section below.

Love,

CompassionateLee

Psalm 75:1 We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your name is near. We recount your wondrous deeds.