KEEP GOD IN THE MIDST

We are living in times where the devil is putting his hands in everything with the motive to destroy.  He tries to cause us to sight of God. The devil knows that the Lord is with us at all times; he also knows that if we are distracted, we lose focus of that.  The devil is being messy everywhere. He is at jobs causing problems. He is in the home stirring up frustration. He is in the relationship/marriage causing issues. He tries to get into our minds and stir up confusion and doubt. Anywhere he can get in, he tries to gets in! Whatever we are doing, we should make sure that God is in the midst. Wherever we go, we must take God with us. Wherever the presence of God is, there is a sense of peace. We all could use that peace in 2017. We can use it on our jobs so that we can be at peace even when trouble surrounds us. We can use it in our homes when the kids are running wild and we are weary. We can use it when that mate doesn’t seem to understand and we are tempted to get irritated. Whatever…whenever…wherever…we need to make sure God is in the midst. God gives peace in the midst of turmoil. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV). Be blessed. -S.L.M.
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SINGLE PARENTING: When Vacation Is Unfeasible

As a single parent and woman of virtue, I have to spend money wisely. I give God his portion and I budget the rest as best as I can. It’s hard but God guides me through. There are so many places I wish I could take my children but at the same time, I know we have to eat, have electricity, water, gas, food and clothing. I am not one who cheats the government system so I don’t receive and abundance of state or government benefits. It kind of hurts knowing I am not able to fulfill all of my children’s requests even though their needs are met. God had to remind me that when Jesus returns, I will not be asked about how many vacations me and my children went on. I won’t be asked about how many activities I had them involved in. I won’t be asked if I kept them and myself in name brand clothing and shoes. I will be asked about how often I took them to church. I will be asked about how I instilled church in their hearts. I will be asked if I made it a priority to teach them about the Lord, being respectful and showing love to others. I will be asked about how my role as a mother in their lives. I will be asked about how I influenced their relationship and walk with the Lord. These are things that I know Jesus will be discussing with me when He returns so these are the things that I focus on in the lives of both my children and me. Since my focus has been in these areas, God has blessed us in so many ways. The church I attend makes sure the kids are involved in all types of activities and trips. And the greatest thing that I embrace about this is that these activities and trips are Christ-centered. My children, at times, are so busy with this, that they don’t even ask about going other places. In due time, if it is meant for us to travel the world, God will make it all possible. As of right now, I thank God for loving us and also providing for us the way He does. If you are a single parent with children and understand where I am coming from, just keep holding on. Keep your children in church and make sure church is in their hearts. Make sure home represents the Lord. And don’t stress yourself out worrying so much because wherever the Lord is reverenced, He will surely provide. Don’t worry about what others say but focus on what The Father says. “Point your kids in the right direction, when they’re old they won’t be lost” (Proverbs 22:6 MSG). Be Blessed. –S.L.M.

 

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WHEN THE ENEMY BRINGS OUT THE LIES

Satan is the “father of lies.” He indulges in the destruction of one’s life through lies. He will use anybody to carry out his lies, especially loved ones. Satan knows that loved ones have a special place in our hearts. He knows that if he can get to our loved ones, he can get to us. Anything that can destroy peace in our hearts and lives, Satan will do it. It seems when all is going well in our lives, here comes lies. No one wants to look bad especially if they aren’t doing anything bad but actions from others are uncontrollable. The people that Satan uses to carry out his lies are not even aware that they are being set up because what goes around will indeed, come back around. When Satan sees that your love for God is genuine and all that you do reverences God, lies will begin to surface. They will come from loved ones, so-called friends and definitely, enemies. I, myself, have been accused of sleeping with a pastor. I have been accused of bashing others while I claim to love God. I have been accused of being sneaky. I have been accused of being a complete fake. Anything to make me look and feel bad has surfaced and is still surfacing. But I don’t let it steal my joy. This is just confirmation that I doing well because if I wasn’t, Satan wouldn’t be coming against me with lies. When Satan comes against you with lies, remind him of TRUTH. God is TRUTH. God knows they are lies. You know they are lies. God supersedes all! So as along as God knows, it’s all good. Watch out for the people who believe lies about you because it says a lot about who they are and how they actually feel towards you. Sometimes, God will allow lies to surface so you can see who is for you and who really is against you. It is sad that the world we live in wants to use lies to scandalize others. It is sad that we have loved ones who fall for these lies and attempt to use them against us. As a hard as it can be, we must forgive and pray for them. I have learned so much about these two words within the last past two years – FORGIVE AND PRAY. Don’t allow lies to put you in a slump. That slump will cause you to fall into distress. That distress will make you lazy and bitter. Once you are lazy and bitter, you lose motivation and will no longer embrace inspiration. Once motivation and inspiration is lost, you, as a whole, become lost and no longer desire to fulfill the purpose that God has for your life. Don’t allow the lies of the enemy to rob you of your joy and peace. Don’t allow the lies of the enemy to pull you out of the purpose God has for you. It does hurt when others lie on you….this, I do know. But don’t let it affect you. Keep your eyes on God and He will protect you from all of the lies that are meant to do you harm. He will help you to endure. Keep living for the Lord and stay reminded of Matthew 5:11 (MSG) “Not only that – count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable.” Be Blessed. – S.L.M.

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WHEN YOU WANT TO BELONG

Are you one that can be found breaking your back for a certain group of people? You have that desire to want to belong to that group no matter what. Believe it or not, all groups of people are not good for you. You can love them but you don’t need to be indulging in and supporting what they do and say. To be honest, most of the ones you are trying to belong to could honestly care less about you…meaning….they don’t have your best interest in heart. It is all about what you can do for them. They will talk about you behind your back like you are nothing and smile in your face as though you mean the world to them. Who you hang around, what you indulge in and what you support SAYS A LOT ABOUT WHO YOU ARE. I am not saying that we are to just totally ignore people and not love them but I am saying you can speak, show kindness and avoid in love. Enforce healthy boundaries for yourself. Everything and everyone IS NOT good for you. If you are one who has goals and is full of inspiration, it is going to be kind of tough to always flock with those who have no goals and who are constantly down or living in a way that is indecent with no invitation for you to inspire them. Let your desire to belong be with the Lord. He will supply you with the ability to reach your goals and to stay uplifted. He will supply you with the strength to endure any temptation. He will help you stay on the right path in life. When the right path causes you to lose family and friends, God will allow you to gain true people – the ones that are real to your face and behind your back. At times, these people will be friends who become family. Some people will only have something to do with you when you are beneficial to them and once you are not, they will treat you like you never existed. Don’t hate them. Don’t talk badly about them. Pray for them and love them still. Don’t worry about what they are saying or doing. Don’t worry about belonging. You belong to Christ and that is a divine blessing in itself! “….and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God” (1 Corinthians 3:23 NASB). We all know that God is Good. Jesus Christ belongs to God so Christ is Good. So you belong to the RIGHT GROUP OF PEOPLE – THE LORD AND HIS SON, JESUS CHRIST! Be Blessed. – S.L.M.

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CHASING AFTER THE WRONG

Human nature really has some demanding ways. We are constantly wanting the things we cannot have or wanting the things that we know are bad for us. This poses a challenge and what do many of us do? Yes, you said it. We go after the challenge. We chase what we know isn’t good for us. We lose sight of our good morals and values ending up in some really messed up situations. We exhaust ourselves. And we put our faith in challenges that were never meant for us. This causes us to lose hope and most of us fall into distress. Basically, we cause our own storms then we want to act out when the rain comes pouring down almost drowning us. We receive so many signs where the things we chase after is just wrong for us but we continue to indulge. The more we indulge, the more pain and disappointment we will receive. We can act like kids and blame John or Jane for the pain we feel but to keep it real – it is “us” who cause our own pain. In other words, we sometimes self-inflict pain upon ourselves. We know that the pot is on the stove. We see that the pot is smoking. Our hands can feel the heat. But human nature! We go and touch it anyway. And what happens? We get burned or scorched. We curse at the pot knowing that we KNEW it was hot. This is exactly what we do when we constantly want things we cannot have or the things that we know is bad for us. Wanting something we cannot have causes us to live in consistent disappointment. We chase and chase knowing deep down we will never catch it. And we look like fools chasing after it. Wanting the things that are bad for us does nothing but tear us down and drain us emotionally, physically, spiritually and sometimes, financially. It’s almost like we are drinking poison knowing that it is going to kill us. And again, we look like fools indulging in anything that is bad for us. The best challenge we can chase after is becoming a better version of ourselves each day. When we become better, our lives get better and we can deal with whatever life brings better. In order to become a better version of ourselves, we must chase after God. He can be caught and He is good to us and for us. God is the Author of “Being Better.” He can bring all of the RIGHT people and things into our lives. God’s Word reminds us, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:33 NLT). Be Blessed. –S.L.M.

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WHEN SOMEONE HURTS YOU

So many of us focus and hold on to the pain others cause us.  I have been there so many times. The finger is constantly pointed at the ones who hurt us. We want so badly for them to pay for their mistakes but at the same time, we won’t them to change for the better. It is wrong for us to wish them harm because we definitely can’t judge others because we also make mistakes. It is not our place to punish them. They have to answer to God; not us. Sometimes, the pain caused to us by others hurts so bad that we will want to wish them all the harm in the world. Yes, pain goes that deep at times. From my own experiences, I will tell you that it is best to allow God to handle those who hurt you. Don’t ever miss out on your blessings because you are desiring curses upon them. And don’t ever indulge in revenge – the type where you go out and do the same thing to them as they did to you. If you choose to do this, then why would you even waste an inch of your time indulging in pointing a half of a finger when you are now doing the same? And what you do to that person is also a seed that you are sowing. The Bible tells us, “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord” (Romans 12:19 NIV). Don’t pray that something bad happens to them but pray blessings in their life. Yes, it is very difficult to do this when your heart has been shattered into pieces but it is what God wants us to do. And God will help you through it all when you allow Him to. As bad as it feels, sow a seed of respect and kindness. No matter how hard you cry, sow a seed of respect and kindness. No matter how it seems like joy will never come, sow a seed of respect and kindness. It will come back to you. This I do know. God is the BEST HEALER when it comes to pain, along with TIME. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3 NIV). Be Blessed. –S.L.M.

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CLIMBING THE MOUNTAIN

I had encountered a painful heartbreak awhile back. It ripped me to pieces. Many laughed at me saying I got what I deserved. Others laughed and mocked because they simply thought it was funny. Several stopped speaking to me. Even I didn’t want to speak to anyone or talk to anyone. See, pain can work two ways – for the bad and for the good. Of course, the devil uses it for bad. He uses pain to pull you into depression, shame, guilt and regret. But the Lord uses pain to build you up higher than you have ever been before. He uses pain to open your eyes and for you to welcome His wisdom and strength. When God allows pain to break you, He gets the opportunity to rebuild you in Him. When you are rebuilt in His Love, Comfort and Strength, you will stand stronger than you have ever stood before. That is what God did to me and I thank Him for it. Because of that breaking, I am stronger and wiser. And I still have a heart that feels no shame and loves even more. That pain was a mountain that I thought couldn’t be climbed but I viewed that in my own strength, which failed. With God, any mountain can be climbed. I don’t worry about who is against me because God loves me. He is for me. “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them” (Isaiah 42:15 NIV).  Be Blessed. -S.L.M.

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THE BEST ADVICE

Pray for discernment when listening to the advice of others. Look at the way they live. Pay attention to their behavior. A great thing that I have ever done was listen to my own advice. My own advice lead me to knowing that God’s Advice is the Best Advice. Once I made peace with who I really was in the mirror, my reflection started to change. I took heed to the encouragement that I gave to others. I embraced the truth that I spoke to others. In the process of helping others, I helped myself. God helped me to help myself through others. I am grateful for that. Some people in this world will give you great advice and will help with anything you may be going through. You can vent to them and what you say is never repeated. These are God-sent people. Then there are those who give you the type of advice that you THINK will help you but it will only DESTROY you. They won’t help with you with anything that you are going through, only enough to get a status on what’s going in your life. When you vent to these people, the things you spoke will be spread with twists and turns. And most of them will possess a lifestyle that is far from in order. When you go through trials and need to vent, vent to Jesus. Pray and ask Him to send earthly beings into your life that you can trust and also ask God for the discernment to know who they are. They are out there. I have some great ones in my life and am thankful for them. I told God at one time that I regret venting my pain and frustration to many people the last few years. I almost hated myself for it. But God awakened me to the reality that I did exactly what He wanted me to do and that was realize who was FOR me and who was really AGAINST me. He showed me that I did well exposing my weaknesses to them because NOW, they see how far I have come because of HIM. They see my strength now. And He sent some great people in my life. So when you are going through difficult times or need to make decisions, vent it to GOD first. Take in what He shows or tells you. He will give you the advice you need.James 1:5 tells us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” –S.L.M.



DON’T SETTLE FOR LESS

It’s really sad to know that many people will settle for LESS when their value is MORE. They don’t realize who they are nor who they belong to. When one recognizes who he/she is in the Lord, settling for LESS is never an option. What does settling for LESS mean? It means “down” days outweighing “up” days. It means feeling or thinking that you can’t do any better. It means settling for a “piece” when you can have a “whole” of something better. Settling for LESS means you opt in to get little when God wants to give you more. The BEST thing that I could have ever learned is KNOWING WHO I AM IN THE LORD. The BEST thing you can learn is KNOW WHO YOU ARE IN THE LORD. God says we are freed from oppression (Psalms 107:2). God says we are heirs to all creation (Romans 8:16-17). God says we are protected by Him (Isaiah 46:4). God says we are a light unto the world (Matthew 5:14). God says that we can win with God (Romans 8:37). When you know who you are, you won’t settle for anything less than how God defines you.  Be Blessed. – S.L.M.

RELEASE THE CHAINS

Any time you allow yourself to “hate” a person, you are giving that individual power over you. In many cases, hate is derived out of envy, jealousy, bitterness or unforgiveness. Hate is a strong word. It is a strong emotion. Your heart is a home; both hate and love cannot live there. Eventually, something will go wrong. Conflict will start and the home will be torn apart. God doesn’t want us to hate anybody but to love. He didn’t say we had to trust others or follow them. He didn’t say that we had to be a fool for others, either. But He did say for us to love them. I had to learn this the hard way in life. I had much bitterness towards others in the past and for what? It did me no good. I was feeling miserable and the people I had bitterness towards was living their life and could care less how I felt. The truth is – most of the people you hold grudges against, won’t forgive or even hate, probably don’t even care. Their lives are still moving regardless of how you feel towards them. That is truth! I allowed that bitterness to take my joy away in the past so many times. It is not OK for you to allow others to steal your joy. It is not OK to hate others. Ephesians 4:31 NIV says, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” Your negative emotions have a tendency to spill out and affect your family, friends and also your mental being. The best thing any of us can do is love others just as God loves us. Many of us do God wrong daily yet He still loves us. He wants His character to live in us. Hating others is only a mark against us that we are going to have to answer to when God sends His Son back. None of us are perfect. We all fail God daily. We all make mistakes. Yet, God still and will always love us. If it is someone today that you are having a hard time forgiving and are harboring hate towards, allow God to help you forgive. That is a burden He doesn’t want you to bear. Forgiving sets you free from all of that. Unforgiveness, hate and bitterness are heavy chains. When you hold on to these chains, they weigh you down. Release the chains. “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13 NIV). Be Blessed. –S.L.M.

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