Many Members One Body

During Springtime, life begins to bloom and blossom! All creation becomes vivacious from flying insects, leaves on trees, furry walking friends, singing birds, busy people, and a host of other springtime fevers.

Also, during this time, school comes to an end an outdoor activity begins. I have started enjoying the warm weather and the scenery of flourishing life. One day while thinking about the last days of school and my final Bible lesson, I began to look up and notice this beautiful blossoming tree.

This tree sheds its leaves during the winter, but as I gazed at the blue sky, shimmering water, and the blessing of this beautiful day, the fullness of the tree caught my eye. Observing the leaves on the tree made me think about my Bible lesson – Many Members One Body.

For the past week, I taught the kids that we are many members- diverse people but one body being believers in Jesus Christ. However, as I thought about this lesson and studied the tree, the tree’s appearance became symbolic.

A tree’s typical characteristic is to have one main trunk with many branches that stem from the trunk. The branches are of various sizes and lengths with numerous leaves, pinecones, and/or berries. As I examined this one tree, I began to look at other trees noticing their differences. But the apparent similarity was the trunk.

As a diverse inhabitant, we are many members but one body! As humans, there are varied races, cultures, languages, appearances, abilities – thus many members. As believers in Jesus Christ, there is only one God- our vine and life source. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 NIV 

Looking just below the tree were branches that had broken off and were lying on the ground. Scripture tells us that we cannot bear fruit if we do not remain in the vine.

The branches that had broken off were no longer bearing fruit!

They were dry and brittle, no longer alive!

They were no longer growing!

They no longer had a thriving existence!

As Christians, our existence is the same as a tree. A disconnect from God is a disconnect from the One Body! Though branches may fall, the trunk of the tree stands firm and tall giving constant life. “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIV

Do not be a fallen branch. God loves you and desires to guide, protect, and provide for you. His help is just a personal relationship away. “I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalms 91:2 NIV

So, my friends, as we begin to enjoy this warm weather and become more active outdoors, stay connected to Jesus like a branch to a tree. Look at what HE has created with each new day. Notice the existence and breath of life in all things. But be the image-bearers of the One True God. We are salt and light, many members of one family. Different in nature but identical in Jesus Christ.

Be Blessed in the Mighty name of Jesus Christ! ~ Amen

One Vision

One year ago, this very weekend, on Good Friday, I published my first book. It was an incredible feeling to accomplish a goal that manifested as a desire five years ago. I remember like it was yesterday signing the paperwork to put my stamp of approval on the final manuscript and giving the OK to publish the book and begin printing it.

Wow! My vision came to fruition! I dreamed of this day for five years. But before that, I never even saw myself as an author. This was God’s plan!

Since then, I have continued to write sporadically, but life has distracted my focus. Sometimes, life’s circumstances overwhelm and consume my days, causing me to push my dreams and desires to the back burner. Still, today God reminded me of this exhilarating one-year anniversary. Becoming an author and bringing His name glory during the holiest weekend, Easter!

HE reminded me to get back to that one vision-get back to writing! Don’t become inundated with what the world says is customary. Focus on where I am leading and guiding you. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus says, “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one…” Luke 10:41-42 NIV

He reminded me that my one vision will make room for other blessings. Just keep writing! “A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.” Proverbs 18:16 KJV

So I ask, what is your one vision?

What is hindering you from pressing forward?

Are you distracted because of the things going on around you?

Are you leaning to your own understanding?

My friend, God has given you everything you need! What is that ONE vision? Pray on the gift, make it plain, make a plan of action, and move on it in and with FAITH!

It does not take various avenues to accomplish your God-given vision. It only takes FOCUS! God will make the path straight and open the doors.

Today, as I am grateful for accomplishing my first published book, I am also reminded that I need to regain my focus and stay the course.

Join me in doing that today on this holiest weekend- Resurrection Sunday.

Thank you, Lord! I ask for a sound mind, focus, and commitment to my ONE Vision- not leading to my own understanding but trusting in you for your wisdom, guidance, and provision. In Jesus Christ’s name, ~Amen!

Step by Step

I love my Saturday exercise regimen because that’s the day I hit the trail, intending to run and walk about 7 to 8 miles. However, on this particular Saturday, I decided to go a little farther.

I reached my first goal point, which was a little less than 4 miles, and decided to keep going. The next familiar intersection was about 4 1/2 miles. But this beautiful, sunny day kept me moving forward. So, I ventured to the following main crossing, which I never experienced—I was now in unfamiliar territory.

In my decision to keep going toward a destination that I had never reached, God revealed to me, “This is how faith works!” Life throws at us various decisions, situations, and lessons. But to reach each milestone productively, we must first have faith and, secondly, keep moving. You will never know what is beyond the horizon until you make your mind up to press forward and move in faith.

Considering I was on the trail when I reached this new destination, I had to turn around at some point. If I continued any further, someone would have to pick me up. So, my trail experience became a wisdom nugget that God uncovered to become life practice.   

Know that new destinations in life require greater faith that develops as you move forward. Each level takes you out of your comfort zone into a God-dependent, spiritual maturity. Your faith beckons God’s guidance, protection, and provision to help you perform and sustain that new level. But, your experiential familiarity is your transferable skill and foundation.

God’s Word:

“I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron:” Isaiah 45:2 KJV

“Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” Hebrews 11:1 NLT

As I reached the end of the trail, I glanced at my watch to see how far I had traveled—I obtained a new outdoor run record of nine miles. It felt great to venture farther and discover new sites on the trail. However, I believe investing in a bike will be necessary if I want to continue exploring all that nature has to offer.

So, as you go about your life making minor and monumental decisions, know that stepping out on faith is a requirement. It eliminates your comfort zone, embraces new growth, and helps you to reach higher levels of wisdom and experiences.

Be blessed in the Mighty name of Jesus Christ, Amen ~

Fall at HIS Feet

“When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” John 11:32 NIV

For the past two months, I’ve been reading a devotion on the Book of John, and yesterday I got the chance to meditate on the story of Lazarus. Martha and Mary sent a message to Jesus that Lazarus was sick; however, Jesus decided to stay in his present location for two more days instead of leaving immediately. As Jesus arrives at Bethany, where Mary, Martha, and Lazarus live, many people inform Him that Lazarus has died.

Now with all the miracles Jesus performed, raising Lazarus from the dead would not be a challenging task. Jesus, all-knowing, informed the disciples that Lazarus was dead, but he would be raised from his sleep (John 11:14 NIV). Therefore in reading these verses, I was prepared to hear how Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. However, what illuminated from the scripture was a gesture that I needed to take to heart. A characteristic of God that beckons His presence, His provision, and His miraculous power.

God drew my attention to Mary falling at the feet of Jesus. In Mary’s anguish, hurt, and discouragement, she still fell at the feet of Jesus when she saw Him.

Mary, who loved and followed Jesus!

Mary, who poured perfume on Jesus’ feet and wiped it with her hair! John 12:3 NIV

Mary, who believed that Jesus could heal her brother from any sickness! John 11:3 NIV

Mary, who dropped everything to sit at the feet of Jesus listening to Him teach while Martha was busy doing other chores! Luke 10:39–40 NIV

When you are in pain, discouraged, stressed, or anguished, do you fall at the feet of Jesus Christ?

When your back is up against the wall with various trials and storms, do you fall at the feet of Jesus Christ?

When you don’t know where to turn or go, do you fall at the feet of Jesus Christ?

When your skills, abilities, and talents don’t produce favorable outcomes, do you fall at the feet of Jesus Christ?

As I read Lazarus’ story, God revealed that He desires His children to fall at the feet of Jesus in times of clarity or confusion, success or failure, test or trial, righteousness or sin.

Even in a pandemic as we see lives and jobs lost, uncertainty, isolation, and separation, our help and hope is in the Lord. So, as you go about your day, remember to fall at the feet of Jesus because He cares for you.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

Scripture tells us when Mary, crying, fell at the feet of Jesus, He not only felt her pain but also acted on it. He performed a miracle that no human could do. He resurrected Lazarus from the dead, and He can do the same for you! Whatever your circumstance, God can resurrect it! When you fall at the feet of Jesus in a submission posture, you give up the human effort for supernatural resurrection power.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 NIV

In the Mighty name of Jesus Christ, Amen ~

Faith and Works

Building blocks in a hand

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1 NIV

Today I spoke with a friend who was going through some storms, as we all are experiencing. As we were talking, I found some scriptures to encourage her spirit with hopes of transforming her thinking. We read the scriptures together and continued to talk about the love, comfort, and protection of Jesus Christ. I asked her if she was feeling better, emotionally, but she was still struggling even though we were professing God’s grace and mercy. As we said our good-byes, I started to reflect on our conversation and what it meant to believe in Jesus Christ.  

In my reflection time, God gave me this revelation. As Christians, we have to do more than belief. We have to trust and have faith in Jesus Christ when we go through tests, trials, and storms. Believing is the foundation of our Christian walk because, without it, there is no Lord and Savior in our life. “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” Romans 10:9-11 NIV However, we must move beyond believing toward trusting and having faith, illustrated through our actions.

Have you ever received encouragement from a friend but still felt somber not experiencing any joy or peace? Maybe you’ve been the encourager thinking that your godly support is not helping. It’s important to understand that on either end (encouragement or encourager), our belief in Jesus Christ is a daily walk. The proper mindset will transition you from believing toward trusting and having faith demonstrated with action.

“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?…In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” James 2:14, 17 NIV

If you’re wondering what actions do you need to portray? I would say sit before the Father and allow Him to direct you. In the conversation with my friend, I would say let the scripture transform your thinking to a positive mindset. Allow God to fill your heart and mind with joy and peace; instead of focusing on the negative, see the positive, or do something different, so you receive different results. Your “actions” are whatever you decided to do to make your day better-believing, trusting, and having faith that God is in control, and all is well.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3 NIV

As Christians, we can say all day that we believe in Jesus Christ, but if our belief does not mature to a trusting, faith-based relationship in God, then what do we believe. Let your belief manifest to trust and faith in Him, which will develop into an action-based Christian walk.

“Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” Psalms 62:8 NIV

Be blessed in the Mighty, Awesome name of Jesus Christ! Amen~

Prune or Cut Down

Today, after nineteen years of living in our home, we had our last sun-blocking tree cut down in the backyard. What was once an ordinary size tree had now become a gigantic, overgrown, problematic tree.

The tree had grown so tall and broad that the limbs were hanging over the roof, and what used to provide welcoming shade had become a homeowner’s nightmare.

According to the professionals, the tree caused a moist bearer on the roof’s back side due to the hanging limbs, which also damaged the gutters and wood in that same area. Ouch! Something else to repair!

But as I thought about the damage the tree caused, God redirected my thinking toward life circumstances and relationships. God revealed to me that relationships and even life, in general, are like our overgrown tree. We have small problems that we do not address, and over time (years), that problem gets bigger and bigger, such as our tree.

However, when the issue gets out of hand, we decide it’s time to do something. Instead of fixing the problem when it’s a molehill, we wait until it becomes a mountain.

Our tree had become a problem for us. It was too large, hanging on the roof, damaging the wood, gutters, and shingles. The tree had grown passed my husband’s desire to cut himself.

Instantly God said, “What about life, relationships, work?”

Relationship problems! Are you seeking professional help to end your marriage?

Work conflict! Are you looking for another job?

Health issues! Are you still avoiding the idea of exercising?

Have your problems become greater than you’d like to handle?   

“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” 1 Peter 3:8-9 NIV

But what about pruning our issue? I said to my husband, “Why don’t we prune the tree? It’s a beautiful tree that provides a lot of shade for the patio!”

So I ask, could you prune your issue instead of cutting it down? What do you prune I asked God? He said, “Your pride, ego, selfishness, inability to listen, compromise, or use self-control!”

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” James 1:19-20 NIV

What about professional help to heal your marriage?

What about searching for personal accountability in your workplace conflict?

What about changing the way you eat and start exercising a couple of days a week?

Cutting down your issue may not always be the best option. But if we ask God for His help and guidance through the Holy Spirit, He will help us correctly prune our problems individually and collectively, so we look like the body of Christ!

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” Psalms 32:8 NIV

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:2 NIV

So, if at all possible, try to look at your problem with pruning eyes. What self-work can you do internally, demonstrating it externally!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

In the Awesome, Mighty name of Jesus Christ! ~ Amen

Be Still and Know

Today I woke up with a weary soul. I watched church online, showered, and dressed for a lounging Sunday.

As I made breakfast, our dog, Apollo, kept walking back and forth into the kitchen as if he knew breakfast was on the way.

My husband told our dog, “She’ll give you something,” and I said, “those sausages are not for the dog!” As we sat down at the dining room table to eat, Apollo came and sat by me. I told him, “no,” you’re not getting any sausage. He walked away but came back again. I told him again “no” sausages for you. This time he stayed by the table and just sat there. He didn’t look at me nor my husband, he just sat there looking straight ahead–waiting.

As we finished our breakfast, there was one sausage left, and immediately I had the desire to give it to the dog. I broke the sausage up in pieces and fed it to Apollo so that he wouldn’t devour the whole thing! As I fed the dog the sausage, my husband said to him, “I told you she would give you some. You just had to be patient and quiet!”

Immediately the verse “Be still and know” came to me! As children of God, He wants us to be still and know! God wants us to have an assurance that He hears us, sees our needs, and will answer!

“He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalms 46:10 NIV

My dog didn’t whimper or bark for the sausage; he simply waited patiently. He didn’t know that I would change my mind. Every time Apollo walked into the kitchen, I said no! When he came to the table, I said no. But he kept coming humbly and passively to me, waiting for me to give him a sausage.

At that moment, God was speaking to me through the observation of Apollo. My dog showed me a profound action and position I should take with God.

I should continue to pray!

I should continue to trust and believe in favor!

I should be humble and meek!

I should demonstrate patience, assurance, and perseverance!

I should not give up!

I should submit to authority!

These were all the things I thought about after witnessing my dog’s demeanor and behavior. Apollo didn’t know that his quiet, obedient, persistent behavior would get him a sausage.

As children of God, we never know how our demeanor and behavior will invoke God’s Divine hand of favor!

So, as you read this and I write it, I hope we all become more aware of how our actions, position, and posture can get the attention of our loving God!

God longs to help, deliver, and save you!

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation. Psalms 91:14-16 NIV

May God show Himself to you in such an ordinary way that you stop, look, and listen! Be blessed in Jesus Christ’s name! Amen ~

Your Purpose

“Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.”
Matthew 26:39, 42, 44 NIV

As I read these scriptures, one word came to mind – “Purpose.” Jesus came to save us from our sins and die for us. His purpose was not only illustrated throughout the New Testament but also predestined and foretold within the Old Testament. 

As I reflected on “Matthew 26, The Garden of Gethsemane”, Jesus prayed to His Heavenly Father and asked that this cup be taken away” three times. But, what’s more important is what was said next. Jesus stated that God’s Will be done and not his. Each time Jesus petitioned for his will, He concluded with God’s Will. 

I believe Jesus knew in his heart that His purpose and God’s plan was more significant than his immediate circumstance. Scripture tells us that Jesus held a heavy burden.

“Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Matthew 26:38 NIV

Do you think the burden was concerning His Purpose, His Will, or God’s Will? I would imagine all considering he knew what was to come through Him for us. However, Jesus took the straight path and didn’t turn to the right or left. He accepted God’s Will for his life. 

“So be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.” Deuteronomy 5:32–33 NIV

Reflection:

Whose Will is leading You?

How is your Plan working?

Are you praying for what you want, when you know what God has for you? 

What direction are you going to take with your “Free-will,” which, by the way, is not free?


You might say, “What is my purpose?” And, I would say, “Get connected to the source!” As you trust and lean on God, He will order your steps. 

“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” Proverbs 16:9 NIV

“Lord, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps.” Jeremiah 10:23 NIV

“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps.” 1 Peter 2:21 NIV

Prayer

All-Knowing Father, thank you for ordering my steps. I ask for your help with listening and obeying to your Will for my life. I know that you created me to do great things, and I can only accomplish those things by surrendering to your Will. Please help me to fulfill my purpose today. In the awesome name of Jesus Christ! Amen~

Whose Interaction Do You Seek?

Today we are living in times of unfamiliarity and lack of normalcy. Our nation has been struck with the devastation of sickness and loss, causing fear, worry, doubt, uncertainty, anxiousness, and isolation. However, during this time of insecurity and human quarantine, I have chosen to spend more time with God, family, and nature. 

Today as I walked through the neighborhood because the local trials are closed, I stopped to talk to an older man who was checking his mail. I said, “Good morning, how are you doing,” and he said, “good morning to you too!” He asked me how I was feeling, and I said, “Great,” then I asked him the same question. However, his response to how he was feeling intrigued me because it signified what every person is feeling right now! He said, “BORED!”

Now, his response is not peculiar, but I was not expecting that to be his answer. He was an older man, which I assumed would enjoy the slow pace of life, but how quickly I learned that boredom has no respect of age! I laughed and told him, “me too, but God’s in control.” He said, “You’re right,” and we parted ways.

Now, as I continued walking and thinking about our conversation, the word “human interaction” came to mind. The older man was probably tired of being confined to his home and missing human interaction, as we all are experiencing. His response was a natural, valid response for this day and time, which we are living due to social distancing.

But, God spoke to me immediately, saying replace your human interaction with spiritual interaction. In this time of being alone and isolated from work, school, extended family, and extracurricular activities, God desires to have spiritual interaction with His children. As a society, we’ve replaced spiritual interaction with human interaction placing God at the end of our day, if at all. Human interaction is visible and tangible, and as inhabitants who place more value on what we see, God requires us to seek Him!

Adam and Eve saw the desirable fruit on the tree – “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” Genesis 3:6 NIV https://www.bible.com/111/gen.3.6.niv

But God tells us- “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8 NIV https://www.bible.com/111/mat.7.7-8.niv 

So, in this time of lack of human interaction, spend time with God. Seek to increase your spiritual interaction with your Heavenly Father! 

He longs to hear from you!  

He longs to commune with you!

He longs to free you!

He wants to give you life abundantly more than you can think or ask!

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 NASB https://www.bible.com/100/jhn.10.10.nasb

Peace, Joy, and Happiness from boredom are just a spiritual interaction away! 

Be blessed, in the Precious name of Jesus Christ ~ Amen 

Look Up

As a primary school teacher, I remember teaching a lesson on nocturnal animals. We talked about the various animals that come out at night and during the daylight. We also discussed why certain animals come out only at night. Among our diverse list of animals, the owl was considered a nocturnal animal. The owl is a bird that preys and hunts at night. Their night vision eyes, ears, and flying speed help them to see and catch prey.

But, this lesson that I taught my students for years was challenged one beautiful, sunny day.  As I was walking on the trail, talking to God, I decided to look up in the sky. While looking up, I noticed an owl sitting on a branch. I had never seen an owl before in nature that I can remember. I always thought owls were nocturnal animals that came out at night, so to see this owl perched in a tree perplexed me. 

However, as I reflected on seeing the owl, even though my focus was on hearing God, thoughts came to mind. Some ideas that came to mind as I observed the owl sitting in the tree was looking up:

  • Is necessary
  • Encourages our Creator to become relevant, needed, and desired
  • Acknowledges our source and where our help, vision, and ideas come from
  • Helps you to see the impossible become possible; what you might have never thought you’d see or do is in your grasp and sight when you look to God

Once I saw the owl, I decided to google “Day Owls” since I thought owls only came out at night. It stated that some owls come out during the day because of the season and to catch their prey. Certain birds that owls prey on come out in the early morning, which would validate me seeing this owl. However, what was interesting about this owl was he did not move. He was gazing at the forest, admiring his surroundings, and waiting patiently for prey.

As I took a moment to ask God what He wanted me to learn from this encounter, I felt a sense of conviction toward yielding to God. I could sense God saying, “Stop thinking, planning, and focusing on what you believe to be a problem.” God was telling me:

  • Know that He is in control!
  • Admire and recognize what He has given me!
  • Seize the day!
  • Wait patiently on Him! 

As Matthew 6: 25-26 (NIV) says, “don’t worry – see how God feeds the birds, and how much more valuable am I.” https://www.bible.com/bible/111/mat.6.25-26.niv

Know that God loves you and knows what you need. Look up, Seek Him, Trust Him, Believe in Him, and Have Faith in Him! If I hadn’t looked up, I would’ve never saw the owl in this tall tree, high above my head to witness God desiring to give me revelation!

Be Blessed, in Jesus Christ’s name, amen.