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Friday, December 31, 2010

Challenge of the Day: Be safe

Happy New Year's Eve!  I hope everyone enjoys reflecting on the year that has past and preparing for the year to come.  The challenge of today in the midst of much celebration is to be safe.  The bible says that our bodies are God's temple.  So let's not destroy them with stupidity and foolishness.  Here are a couple of things to remember this weekend:

1.  Do not drive too fast
2.  Do not drink and drive
3.  Do not drink until you throw up
4.  Do not eat until you can't move
5.  Do not watch a firecracker ignite in your hand
6.  Do not throw a firecracker at another person

I hope you all have a great day and thank God for His many blessings!


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Challenge of the Day: Identify Satan's Lies

Now we blame the devil for a lot of things.  For example: speeding tickets, bad grades, lost jobs.  But the truth of the matter is if you drive too fast, refuse to study, and come in late, you are the culprit to blame.  Satan is more cunning, he's sly.  Rarely does he come into a situation with guns blazing.  He'd much rather feed us lies and watch us destroy ourselves.  But remember just because He's a liar, doesn't mean he's stupid.  He knows that most of us make all of our choices on what we think and how we feel, which makes it easy for him to attack us in those areas.  Our only weapon is to line our thoughts up with the Word of God because such truth is not feeling dependent. 

Personal Example:  When I first decided to run after God I would get frustrated almost daily at the fact that I couldn't hear from Him.  I had decisions to make and I prayed as hard as I could that He would speak to me and show me the right path.  When I didn't get the response I was looking for my frustration increased and Satan started to prey on that weakness.  Again I warn you that Satan is smart and he will even use the bible against you (Matthew 4).  So Satan told me that if I was really a child of God, I would be able to hear God's voice (John 10:4).  In my frustrated state, His words started to make sense.  I almost gave up.  But thankfully God's Spirit had already started working in me.  He reminded me that He is not willing that any should perish (Matthew 18:14), whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13), and there is no favoritism with God (Romans 2:11).  When I became grounded in God's Word, my eyes were opened and I realized He was speaking to me all the time.  The situation itself was giving me direction, along with church sermons, bible verses, and my future husband. 

Warning:  God does speak through people and situations but you have to use discernment because not everything is from Him.

Common lies from Satan and bible verses to combat them

1.  You're ugly, stupid, worthless-- I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)
2.  You will never change-- Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:  The old is gone, the new is here!  (2 Corinthians 5:17)
3.  You will always be a failure--"I know the plans I have for you, " declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future... (Jeremiah 29:11)"
4.  A fetus is not a baby until the heart beats-- Your (God's) eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:16)
5.  God will never forgive you-- Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1)
6.  Your situation is impossible--With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26)
7.  You are too bad to be a child of God--Do not call anything impure that God has made clean (Acts 10:15)
8.  You can't change--I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13)
9.  God doesn't care about your pain--The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18)
10.  Your problem is too small for prayer--Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God (Philippians 4:6)

Take the time out today and identify the lies Satan has been feeding you and then find the bible verses to contradict them.  Feel free to add your insights to the comments section.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Challenge of the Day: Pray without asking God for anything

For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
                                                                                                 Romans 1:21-23 (NIV)

Let me start by saying there is nothing wrong with asking God for your wants or needs.  Afterall James 1:17 says that every good and perfect gift comes from above.  The problem is that many of us ask things of a God who we don't even know.  If we knew more about God we wouldn't try to barter with Him.  What do we really have to offer anyway?  "Lord if you do this one thing for me, I promise I'll insert empty promise here."  There is nothing we can give God that He didn't create and nothing we can do for God that He can't do for Himself.  If we knew more about God we wouldn't pray for ungodly things.  "Lord, she is really getting on my nerves.  I hope she gets hit by a bus and goes straight to hell."  Come on...really?  If we knew more about God, we wouldn't pray for things to get us more entangled with the world.  "Lord, please let me get this new job with the big paycheck so I can afford more alcohol, loose women, and fast cars."

I admit these examples may be a littlet exorbitant, but they show us what can happen when we pray to an unfamiliar God.  They also help us understand why many of our prayers go unanswered.  The bible says, 

You desire but do not have, so you kill.  You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight.  You do not have because you do not ask God.  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
                                                                                                        James 4:2-3 (NIV)

The Lord may in fact give you the job with the big paycheck, but it's not so that you can start idolizing yourself. If you know God, you know that God blesses us so that we can bless others.  The disciples didn't get healing power to sit around and heal each other.  The prophets didn't form a book club and sit around telling each other stories.  Your blessings are only given to you so that you can glorify God. 

So today in an effort to know God better and acknowledging that He already knows our wants and needs (Matthew 6:8), I want us to practice praying without asking God for anything.  He has already done more than enough.  So today let's just talk to God.  Thank Him for who He is, what He's done, and what He's still doing.  Thank Him for saving you from yourself, for not giving you what you thought you wanted.  Thank Him for your unique creation, His unconditional love, and His divine purpose for your life.  It may seem a little strange at first, but you will find that when you shift your focus from yourself to God, your prayer life will become a lot more fulfilling and productive.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Challenge of the Day: Write down your questions for God

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
                                                                                                                                James 1:5-6 (NKJV)

I love this portion of scripture.  It is an amazing promise from God, and I have personally seen the fruit of this promise on numerous occassions.  However, the key to reaping the benefits of this promise is understanding that God is not always going to answer you immediately or in the way you envision.  You have to become conscious of the fact that God is always working in your life.  He may answer your question using situations, people, dreams or visions.  It is important not to get discouraged and give up on God.  Instead pray for discernment and clear vision.  One way to help you remain focused and attain the promise is to write down your questions for God.  This helps you remember your questions so that you do not miss the answers if they come in an unexpected time or manner. 

New prayer request, song, and devotion!

The devotion this week is an excerpt fromthe book Tortured for Christ by  Richard Wurmbrand.  In this book Richard talks about his experience as a Christian under communist rule.  The passage for this week is a story of a Christian prisoner whose imprisonment nearly destroyed his family.  This is not an isolated incident in restricted nations.

The prayer this week is for the family of Nurta Mohamed Farah.  This is a young girl from Somalia who was mysteriously shot after converting to Christianity.  Although Nurta's struggle is over, I encourage you all to pray that her testimony is preserved and her family and murderers find salvation.

The song of the week is a beautiful ballad by Tye Tribbet.  His humility shines as the lyrics entreat God to guide and keep him.

Pray for Somalia
Song of the Week

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Challenge of the Day: Be productive

There are a variety of problems associated with an idle mind.  A person may become extremely analytical, excessively worried, or more easily overcome by temptation.  In addition to all of this, a lack of productivity usually leads to a lack of profit as well.  God warns us of the dangers of idleness many times in the bible.  A couple of examples are listed below.

In all labor there is profit, but idle chatter leads only to poverty.  Proverbs 14:23

Because of laziness the building decays, and through idleness of hand the house leaks. Ecclesiastes 10:18

Laziness casts one into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger.  Proverbs 19:15

Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom:  She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.  And they were haughty and committed abomination before Me; therefore I took them away as I saw fit.   Ezekiel 16:49-50

The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, whether he eats little or much; But the abundance of the rich will not permit him to sleep.  Ecclesiastes 5:12

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Challenge of the day: See yourself through God's eyes (12/21/10)

You know what I love must about my husband?  He knows everything about me and loves me anyway.  He is not surprised by my mood swings and He couldn't care less about my extra five pounds.  For some strange reason he thinks I am the best woman in the world.  So sometimes when I'm feeling a little down, I just go back to him and let him tell me how wonderful I am :)  In other words, I take a look at myself through his eyes. 

Well we can do the same thing with God.  Many times we are our own biggest critic.  But we need to remind ourselves that God doesn't see us as failures, misfits, or heathens.  When we give our lives to Christ, there is no longer any condemnation by God.  He sees us as He created us to be.  When we want to see ourselves through God's eyes we always go back to His holy Word.  Psalm 139 says,

You have looked deep into my heart, Lord and you know all about me.  You know when I am resting or when I am working, and from heaven you discover my thoughts.  You notice everything I do and everywhere I go.  Before I even speak a word, you know what I will say, and with your powerful arm you protect me from every side...You are the one who put me together inside my mother's body, and I praise you because of the wonderful way you created me.  Everything you do is marvelous!  Of this I have no doubt.  Nothing about me is hidden from you!  I was secretly woven together deep in the earth below, but with your own eyes you saw my body being formed.  Even before I was born, you had written in your book everything I would do.                                                                       
                                                                             Psalm 139:1-5,13-16 (Contemporary English Version)

These verses remind us that God knows all about us.  He is not surprised by anything in our lives, yet He loves us just the same.  Remember, the bible was fully inspired by God.  So when the Word says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14 NKJV); these are God's actual, personal thoughts toward us.    

New prayer request, devotion, and song of the week! (12/21/2010)

Good morning family!  I hope everyone is feeling blessed and highly favored today.  If not, just know that you are blessed and highly favored anyway.  Please check out the weekly prayer and devotion via the links at the bottom of the post.  The bible tells us to remember our family in trouble, so we must continue to pray for those who are suffering for the name of Christ.  Also the devotion reminds us that though we may suffer here on earth, we look forward to an overwhelming victory soon to come.  The song this week is No Limits by Israel and the New Breed.  It just reminds us to take the limits off of God in the way the we act, think, and worship so that He can take the limits off our lives in the way we are blessed and uplifted. 

Pray for the Saints
Song of the Week

I hope everyone continues to have a great week!

Love you,

Friday, December 17, 2010

Why be patient

So many of you may be wondering why we should even try to be patient.  Here are a few reasons.

1.  The bible says so

This is the most important reason, and really it's the only reason that we should need as Christians.  We know that the bible is the inspired Word of God.  So when we read we know that it is actually God speaking to us through the voice of the prophets and other writers.  We don't have to understand why He says it.  He's God, and what He commands, we should obey. 

Romans 12:12  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 

James 5:8  You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near. 

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

Psalm 27:14  Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

Revelation 3:10  Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.

2.  It keeps you out of trouble

For those that may be feeling a little overwhelmed spiritually, here is a practical reason--afterall God is a practical God.  Patience keeps you out of trouble.  For example, let's look at the save sex for marriage scenario.  Many people think this ideal is superfluous, restrictive, and archaic.  But more times than not when we are impatient with our sexuality we end up heartbroken, misused, misunderstood, self-conscious and physically scarred.

Or what about driving the speed limit?  Why do we assume when we see the speed limit sign the limit that's indicated is the speed minimum?  Where is it that we are in such a hurry to get to?  Must of us really have nowhere to go, and the rest of us wouldn't have to rush if we would just leave a couple minutes earlier (time management is a virtue too).  Then we have the audacity to pray we don't get caught by the police or pray for increased finances when we do get caught.  The Lord is not trying to hear that.  He called us to patience and obedience not speeding and scheming.

3.  It differentiates you from the world

It has been said in America that we are the microwave generation.  We want everything NOW.  We want instant approval, instant success, and instant prosperity.  When we don't get it, we get instantly mad.  But God doesn't work like that.  2 Peter 3:9 says, "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.  Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."  We are made in God's image and should therefore also exhibit such patience.  In this way we become salt and light to a starving and dark world.

4.  It develops you and your rewards

I think I'll use a personal example for this one.  For those who have been visiting the site for a while, I guess it's evident that I love to write.  And I truly have a passion for my topic.  If it were up to me, I would be a best selling author right now.  I can already see my books lined up beside John Grisham, Agatha Christie, and Dean Koontz.  I've already worked out my bio for my first live interview.  I want it all now, and I used to feel like I should have it now because I was doing my best to use my anointing for God's glory.  But I am finding out that patience is invaluable.

Everyday that my success is delayed I am becoming a better writer.  Everyday I am learning more about Christ, more about the gospel, and more about myself.  I am becoming who God always knew I would be.  And I am continually realizing that I am nothing without Him. 

Have you ever wondered why so many famous people have such disastrous downfalls?  More than likely it's because they attributed their success to themselves and not to God.  James 1:17 says, "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."  When we truly believe this, our lives are a reflection of our thankfulness. 

Potential downfalls of instant success
1.  mediocre talent
2.  mediocre return (profits, exposure)
3.  excess anxiety and stress
4.  pride (James 4:6  God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble)

My patience is giving me time to develop and according to Hebrews 11:6 it is allowing my reward to develop as well.  Psalm 10:22 says, "The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it."  So in other words, when the Lord sees fit to bless me, there will be no anxiety, no insecurity, and no stress.  I will wait for that. 

Proverbs 14:29  Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.

Psalm 37:10-11  A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found.  But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity. 

I am not going to try to tell you that being patient is easy.  It's not.  But as Psalm 27:13 says, "I remain confident of this:  I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living."

Challenge of the Day: Be Patient

I know, I know, I know, none of us think we can win this challenge.  But the Word says we can so let's have faith and put our best foot forward. 

Notice the challenge is to be patient not to have patience.  I wrote it this way because having patience is not a challenge.  According to Galatians 5:22-23, "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering (or patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control."  So this means that when we confessed Jesus as our Savior and received the gift of the Holy Spirit, the seeds for these "fruits" were deposited inside of us.  We may not feel like they are there, Satan may lie and tell us they're not there, but the Word of God says that we have the potential for patience, joy, love, and peace already living inside each of us.

So how do we activate this patience that's resting inside of us?

Well my first response was an automatic, "Pray about it."  And that's still a fine answer, but the reality is we are praying for a gift that's already been given.  That's like me saying, "Lord, please help me walk."  I imagine the Lord would be looking down on me saying, "Girl I gave you two legs, two feet, muscles, nerves, and a blood supply; what more do you want? Get up and walk!"  He tells us the same thing with the fruit of the Spirit, "I gave you patience, be patient!"  We have to make a conscience decision to be patient.  When we lose our cool it is not the fault of our boss, our friends, our family or any other circumstance.  Nothing and no one should be able to take anything that Jesus died to give to us.  In John 16:7 Jesus said, "It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you."  When Jesus ascended into heaven He left us a Helper called the Holy Spirit.  This Spirit convicts, guides, and produces fruit in the life of every believer.

Read over Galatians 5:16-26 and convince yourselves that it is God's will for you to be patient.  Convince yourselves that you have been equipped with everything you need to be patient.  Then, as Nike says, "Just do it!"    

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Glorifying God through Suffering

People have often asked me how I felt being a double minority in the engineering field.  This question makes me laugh, because in reality I felt just fine, in fact it was great.  It's my belief that the more people doubt you, the more opportunity you have to prove them wrong.  It's like the short guy that wins the dunk contest, the victory is sweeter when it's unexpected.

This is how suffering works.  Every trial that we go through is an opportunity to praise God.  Don't believe me?  Well let's look at the story of Job.  Job probably suffered the greatest downfall in history, besides Jesus of course.  Job lost all of his kids, his possessions, his status, and even his health.  He was mocked and ridiculed and endured great suffering.  We would expect Job to give up; to be bitter and hateful toward God.  But Job responded by saying, "Though He (God) slay me, yet will I trust Him."  This bold confession completely disarmed Satan.  Can you imagine a crowd of nonbelievers witnessing this?  Everyone would want to know about the God that was able to deliver such comfort in the midst of such distress.

Similar opportunities are occurring everyday.  How do we behave when we find ourselves in tough situations?  What do we do when we are ridiculed, we lose a job, or we get a bad diagnosis?  Do we respond with anger, confusion, and stress like the rest of the world?  Or do we let the peace of God rule, rest, and abide within us.  I'm going to tell you that if you respond like the rest of the world, nobody's going to care what you believe.  The only thing you are glorifying is the situation that has you bound.  But if by chance you take hold of the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22) that are within you and refuse to give into the temptation of despair, the world will take notice.

I just finished a book entitled Tortured for Christ.  It is an absolutely beautiful book and they will send it to you free at  In the book the author talks about Christians suffering under the Nazi and Communist regimes.  The author himself was imprisoned and tortured for 14 years.  I've known about this book for a while, but refused to read it because I did not want to be depressed or upset.  But one day it showed up in my mail (I don't remember ordering it, but there it was) so I decided to read it.  Amazingly, instead of being depressed I found myself overwhelmingly inspired.  The book was not what I expected.  True enough the Christians in this book worshipped God with their lives, even unto death, but what really stood out about them was their Christ like love.  Can you imagine praying for the person that beat, cut, burned, and drugged you--the person that ridiculed you and caused your family to suffer and starve?  Well this is what the bible calls for us to do.  Matthew 5:44-45 says,"I (Jesus) tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven."  Why would Jesus ask that of us?  Because it makes us different from the world. The love of the Christians in Tortured for Christ was so bewildering that it caused many people to convert on the spot.  Their witness was so strong, that even Communist leaders confessed Christ on their death beds.

Many of us love the scripture, "All things work together for the good of those who love Christ (Romans 8:28)."  I admit it is one of my favorites.  But I am now realizing, that this verse is much more than I thought it was.  The verse says things work together for the good of those who love Christ--those--plural.  That means this is not just about me.  Let's look back at history.  11 of the 12 disciples were martyred.  They were killed because of their love for Christ.  Now must of us would say that it doesn't sound like things worked out for their good, but look what happened.  Their willingness to die confident in their faith convinced many people of its truth.  Most of us aren't willing to give our life for the truth, so we surely aren't going to suffer and die for a lie.  Yet these disciples were crucified and beheaded for their beliefs and never wavered in them.  Because of their sacrifice other people were inspired enough to give their lives to protect, preserve, and declare the Word of God, that we may believe it and be inspired today.

Challenge of the day: Have faith!

So I was actually planning on giving a different challenge today but I just heard Gloria Copeland say that many people have no idea how to live after salvation until they learn to live in faith.  I thought about that statement and I believe it's  probably true. So I believe it's only right for me to address this today.  When I first began my spiritual walk, I thought that faith meant I was supposed to believe in God and believe in Jesus.  That seemed easy enough.  But as I've grown I've realized that faith is much more than that.  Hebrews 11:1 says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." 

Example:  When I was little I was a bit spoiled and I just knew that when I woke up Christmas morning there would be lots of presents under the tree.  I had faith in that Christmas morning miracle.  And because I had faith I made sure to go to bed early Christmas eve and wake up early Christmas morn.  My sleeping habits were the substance or the evidence of the miracle I hoped for. 

The bible says that every good and perfect gift comes from the Lord, and that all things work for the good of the children of God.  If we have faith in these statements then we live a life of thankfulness, expectancy, and peace.  Our lifestyle is the substance of the rewards we hope to receive.  Hebrews 11:6 says, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him (God), for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him."

Another issue with our faith walk is that we tend to base our faith on our own willpower and not the will of the Spirit that lives within us.  We love to tell God what we can't do.  Lord I can't fast, I can't pray, I can't give up smoking, I can't give up sex, etc.  We want to give the Lord excuses like He didn't create us and doesn't know who we are.  The Lord already knows our willpower is subpar.  The bible says the spirit is willing, but the flesh weak (Matthew 26:41).  We make our spirits stronger than our flesh through prayer and bible study.  By these things we solidify to ourselves who God is, what He did, and what He will do.  We increase our faith, and we are able to confidently say, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

And finally and perhaps the most difficult to grasp is the idea that Christ is with us always.  The bible says, "Never will I (Jesus) leave you, never will I forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)."  This is a nice thought, but how do we know that it's true?  We can't see Him.  Most of us can't hear Him or even feel that He's there.  It is especially hard to believe that statement when we are going through an intense trial.  But that is the epitome of faith.  We must believe without confirmation or validation that Jesus is with us, simply because His Word said He would be.

Biblical Reference:  In Daniel 3, King Nebuchadnezzar made a decree that whenever the symphony sounded, all the citizens had to bow down and worship the idol he created.  Whoever refused to bow down would be thrown into the fiery furnace.  Three Hebrew boys refused to bow to the idol and when questioned and threatened with the furnace they responded as follows,

       O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you.  If we are thrown
       into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us.  He will rescue us
       from your power, Your Majesty.  But even if he doesn't, we want to make it clear to you,
       Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have
       set up.                                                                                      Daniel 3:16-18 (NLT)

This is a great example of unyielding faith.  These boys believed that God would be with them in their trouble, but their faith went beyond their situation.  They believed that even if God did not deliver them from the furnace, He was still in control and even in death they would glorify Him.

Monday, December 13, 2010

New song, devotion, and prayer request!

I hope everyone is having a great start to the week and I pray that each of you is blessed and favored for dedicating your day to God.  Our devotion this week comes from 2 Corinthians and it is a reminder to us that in all things we are ministers and representatives of Christ.  Our song of the week is a great worship melody from Karen Clark Sheard inviting God to have His way in our lives. 
Devotion of the Week
Song of the Week

I want to personally invite you all to pray with me for Pastor Youcef Nardarkhani from Iran.  He has been imprisoned for over a year and is currently sentenced to death.  Click on the link below for more details.
Pray for the Saints

Challenge of the day: Dedicate your day to God (Monday-12/13/10)

Good morning, good morning, good morning!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.  The challenge of the day is: dedicate your day to God.  Now this should be our focus everyday, but we are just going to take it one day at a time.  As we go through the day today, let's focus on our thoughts and actions.  Let's walk as if Jesus is walking beside us.  Let's not go anywhere, say anything, do anything, watch anything, or listen to anything that God wouldn't approve of.  Romans 12:1 says, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God--this is your true and proper worship."

I'm going to do something a little different today and give you a hint to completing today's challenge.  The first step is to make an honest sincere commitment to live this day for God and then believe that you are capable of doing that because of the Spirit that lives within you.  The hint is that even if you do mess up (the bible says that the Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak), don't quit.  See, the Lord has offered us this great security blanket called grace.  God doesn't condemn our mistakes because His grace covers us.  This is not a license to sin, but He wants us to know that if we do slip, we don't have to be slaves to guilt and shame.  We simply repent and get back on the right track. 

For some of us this challenge may be tougher than others, but remember, it's just one day. 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Challenge of the Day: Identify a Spiritual Weakness

Pride, greed, envy, insecurity, depression, idolatry, prejudice, impatience and the list goes on and on.  These are weaknesses that we carry within us--sometimes without even knowing they are there.  Well after we secure our salvation by accepting Christ as Lord and Savior, we start on a journey called sanctification.  The goal of sanctification is to make us more like Christ.  This is done by purifying us of spiritual weaknesses like the ones listed above.  In Proverbs 17:3 we are told that the crucible refines silver and the furnace refines gold, but the Lord refines our hearts.  And just as heat was used to refine the precious metals, the Lord says we will be refined in the furnace of affliction (Isaiah 48:10).  This is important to know.  This means that not every trial sent our way is from the devil.  Sometimes the Lord sets up storms to take us to another level in our faith.

Example 1:  I have two brothers and a sister that play basketball.  Every since my dad realized they had a talent for the game, he has played them on teams that were older than they were.  It's true that at times this has caused them to leave games a little battered physically and emotionally, but each one of them was able to take their abilities to a new level.  They honed the skills they had, while also learning new skills like confidence and leadership. 

Example 2:  While I'm writing to you this morning my husband is at the gym.  He lifts weights to gain and maintain muscle tone. Now people who workout a lot will tell you that you don't start building muscle mass until after your muscles get tired.  They will usually workout until their muscles are fatigued and then do one more set of repititions.  They take this approach because fatigued muscles start to break down, and it's not until the muscles are broken that they can be rebuilt--and built stronger. 

Sometimes God has to take a similar approach with us.  Sometimes He send us through situations that leave us battered emotionally or physically but we learn more about ourselves and are strengthened through the process.  Sometimes He has to break us down to build us up.  But we have to make sure we are aware of the lesson being taught.  Think about it.  If a body builder does a workout and doesn't get results, the next workout is just going to be longer and harder.  So I think that it would help us if we go ahead and identify some of the weaknesses in our life.  That way when we are going through the furnace we will know what the end goal is and who knows, maybe we can skip some fires all together.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Doesn't that title just really annoy you?  It really toys with my emotions when I see people put the quotation marks around the word Christian.  They even do air quotes now when they're speaking. The conversation looks something like this

Girl A:  Hey do you know insert name here?
Girl B:  Yeah, what about her.
Girl A:  Well she's a "Christian" but she fill in the sin here.

This just burns me up!  But what really upsets me is the fact that I completely understand where they are coming from. I try to really fight for my brothers and sisters in the faith.  I have always hated the quotation marks because they indicate that there is something misleading about the Christian title.  I could never understand the debate.  I would always argue, that either you believe in Christ or you don't, and if you believe you're a Christian--case closed.  But the bible says that even the demons believe (James 2:19, Luke 8:28).  The bible says a tree is identified by it's fruit (Matthew 12:33).  So how can we call ourselves Christians and we aren't following Christ?  I realize now that it does me no good to get upset with the unbeliever that uses the quotation marks, I should instead look to the believer that causes them to be used. 

I realize that we all make mistakes; nobody's perfect.  But we have to quit using grace as a get out of Hell free card.  It confuses others and it kills our testimony.  Our lives could be the reason that someone else refuses to believe.  Are we really ready to stand in front of God and explain that?

Canada and Croatia!

I want to send a big shout out to our site visitors from Canada and Croatia yesterday!  I really appreciate you stopping by and I praise God that my writings are being read around the world. 

To all of my regular visitors, I have no less love for you.  I appreciate every person that takes the time to read the messages God has laid upon my heart.

I wish you all many blessings in this season.

Love Kalonda

Challenge of the Day: Get back to the basics

Anytime I find myself consumed with the worries of the world i.e. finances, friends, family, status; I try to put my mind back on Kingdom business.  The bible tells us not to worry about our earthly needs because the same God who takes care of the birds and the flowers will sustain us.  It is our primary responsibility while we are here on earth to spread the Gospel or the  good news.  So what is the good news?

The Beginning:  God created earth and everything in it. Then God created man.  When He finished He looked over everything that He created and saw that it was very good.  Now man, acting of his own free will, was deceived by Satan and disobeyed God.  Satan won that battle. 

The Problem:  This disobedience brought death, sin, and evil into an otherwise perfect world.  Every man born thereafter was inherently evil and, because God is just, condemned to Hell.

The Solution/Good News:  God did not want to see the creation that He loved eternally separated from Him, so He sent His son Jesus to redeem them.  Jesus was born of a virgin, because to be created with man would make Him inherently evil.  He was tempted and tried but lived without sin.  Jealous and confused religious folk condemned Him to death and He accepted it without argument.  He was brutally murdered and buried.  Jesus went to Hell, beat Satan, and rose three days later with all power of Heaven and earth in His hands. Jesus won the war.  God accepted Jesus' death as an atoning sacrifice for all of our sins and we can now be assured of eternal victory in Jesus, our Savior. 

So this is the good news.  But now we have a new problem.  We are only sure of our salvation if we believe the good news and accept Jesus as our Savior.  Now Satan, knowing he's lost the war, wants to bring as many people down with him as possible.  He wants to confuse, discourage, and distract us from our salvation.  The sad part is, he's still winning a lot of battles.  So we have to take our positions as soldiers of Christ.  We have to spread the word that the victory has already been won we just have to stay in the fight.  And we fight by the way we live, by saying no to the devil on a daily basis, by rededicating our lives to God every morning, and by spreading the good news to the world.  These are the things we should focus on when we find ourselves being ambushed by the cares of the world. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Challenge of the Day: Go to church

So before you ask, yes I realize today is not Sunday, but the challenge still stands, go to church.  Most churches I know have something going on on Wednesdays, whether it's bible study or fellowship.  If yours doesn't, I'm sure there's one close by that does.  If not, just go sit in the parking lot and pray.  I challenge you to do this because I know how uncomfortable we have gotten with the church lately.  It has become a ritual or an obligation and most people can't even force themselves to go on Sundays.  So let's break up the monotony a little bit and go on Wednesday.  It's usually a smaller group so maybe you won't feel so intimidated and there's usually not as much praise and worship so it may be easier for you to learn.

For my seasoned Sunday saints think of Wednesday as another chance to re-energize and sharpen your weapons for warfare.  Hebrews 10:24-25 says, "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching (NIV)".  Let's not be the "some" that the writer mentions in these verses.  We need each other, and we will need each other more and more as the day of Christ's return draws nearer.

I encourage you all, Do Not Be Intimidated.  I don't care if you don't know one bible verse, if you're still entangled in the sins of the world, or if you're not even sure if this God exists; you have just as much right as anyone else to be there, just go. 

As always, I love you and I hope many blessings find you today.

New Page: Pray for the Saints!

Good morning, good morning, good morning!  I know I promised to keep you all updated with prayer requests from the persecuted church so I decided to add a page dedicated to these Christian soldiers.  I will try to update it weekly.  Please remember to keep these saints in your prayers.

Pray for the Saints

Love you,

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Challenge of the Day: Develop a bible reading plan (12/7/10)

Good morning fam!  I hope everybody was able to find a bible to suit them yesterday.  Now that that's done, we will move on to the next challenge:  Develop a bible reading plan.  This is important now because we have become such a busy people.  We are always running from one activity to the next, and if we don't come up with a definite reading schedule, our daily bread will very quickly be pushed out of our life.

So how do we make a bible reading plan?  Well I wish I could give you a definite answer, but I can't.  Different things work for different people.  When I first decided to read the bible, I read one chapter a day and went straight from Genesis to Revelation.  I had another friend who found a plan on-line that took her through ten chapters a day from ten different sections of the bible.  You have to figure out what works best for you.  I've included links to a couple different bible reading plans, but feel free to research yourself or make up your own.

52 Week Bible Reading Plan

Multiple Bible Reading Plans

But deciding how to read is just step one, we also have to decide when to read.  I know this may sound elementary, but as I mentioned earlier we are a very busy people.  Personally I prefer reading first thing in the morning.  I know this means working people may have to get up a little earlier, but I think it's a great way to focus the rest of your day.  It reminds you that above all things you are an extension of Christ's body, so you can't be gossiping about the boss or cheating on your timesheet.  Reading in the morning may also strengthen those who struggle to get through each day.  The scriptures remind us things like we are more than conquerors through Christ (Romans 8:37), everything works together for our good (Romans 8:28), and we can never be separated from the love of God (Romans 8:38).

However some people prefer to read at night.  They feel at that point they can let go of the worries of the day and focus on God.  The Word reminds them that they can rest in God's security.  Scripture says, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me to lie down in green pastures;  He leads me beside the still waters.  He restores my soul... (Psalm 23:1-3)."

Now I'm going to warn you ahead of time that maintaining this plan will not be easy for everyone.  You have to force yourself to do it until it becomes habit.  Pray for God to give you a desire for His word and have faith that He will do it.  Then, in faith, continue reading until it becomes uncomfortable for you not to read.  I got to the point where I felt like something was missing when I didn't read.  Believe me, that was nothing but the work of God.

Helpful hint:  Take notes while you are reading.  This will help you actually study the word and keep you from falling asleep or getting distracted.

Monday, December 6, 2010

New Devotion and Song of the Week! (12/6/10)

Good morning again fam!  We have a great devotion and song this week.  The devotion comes from the book Bible Promises for You and it focuses on praise this week.  The song comes from the mixtape Best of Both Worlds by PDub and Bizzle.  The artists are allowing a free download of this mixtape:  Best of Both Worlds:  Knowledge and Zeal.

Devotion:  Praise

Song of the Week

Challenge of the Day: Find the right bible for you

Good morning family!  I hope everyone is having a great start to this week :)  The challenge for this Monday is to find the right bible for you.  I propose that one of the most important responsibilities of a Christian is to read the bible.  Why?  Because God's word says, "Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6)," and, "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17)."  So knowing the Word of God is instrumental in pleasing God.  Many of us are not confident in the promises of God because we don't know what they are and we don't know how they apply to us.

Not only does knowing the Word of God increase our faith, but it also prepares us for war.  Many of us don't realize that everyday we wake up, we walk through multiple battlefields.  Not only does our Spirit fight our flesh, but it also battles Satan's demonic forces.  Ephesians 6 tells us that we don't battle flesh and blood but the principalities of darkness.  In order to defeat these forces we need the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. 

When Jesus was starving and tempted in the wilderness, He told Satan, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God (Luke 4:4)."  If knowing the Word of God was that important to the perfect Son, how much more important should it be to us? 

So I implore you, don't settle for the family bible that's been decorating the coffee table all your life, or the pocket bible the street evangelist was able to shove into your hand.  Find a bible that you can understand.  There are many different translations and even bibles with pictures.  There are study bibles, bibles on tape, bibles on the internet, and even bible applications for your phone.  But please don't go buy a bible that is so pretty you don't want to mark on it.  The Word says we are to study to show ourselves approved, rightly dividing the Word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).  For most of us this means our bible will probably need some underlining, highlighting, page folding, or note writing to really be useful.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Prayer for the Saints: India

Two years after the worse anti-Christian violence in India, Orissa Christians still live in a state of insecurity and danger. "The Christians of Kandhamal are still living in a situation of discrimination. Sometimes the government food supplies, and other assets that should be distributed among the poor are not delivered to the Christians. In some villages Christian children are not allowed access to government schools," unnamed sources told AsiaNews.
"There is no violence, but there is no peace," Archbishop Raphael Cheenath said. "About 16,000 families have no homes and Christians are not allowed to return to 20 villages unless they convert to Hinduism. In many villages in Kandhamal, Christians live with mistreatment and humiliation every day. They are not allowed to take water from the village well, collect firewood or buy food from shops. The authorities do nothing to prevent such abuse, even if we have made complaints. Their silence is disturbing."

Source: AsiaNews

Please Pray!

Please pray for the Christians in Orissa who are displaced or otherwise suffering in the aftermath of the 2008 riots. Winter is upon them and relief aid is needed. Pray that the Lord will supply all their needs according to his riches in glory. Pray that the authorities will take action on behalf of the Christians.

VOM provides assistance to persecuted believers in India by supplying Bibles and other resources. VOM's Families of Martyrs fund is used to assist families who have lost loved ones in attacks.

Information provided by the Be A Voice network

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Challenge of the Day: Get Busy

I’m going to make a bold assumption and say that if all you do as a Christian is go to church, you’re probably being a little selfish.  More than likely you’re going to church to be motivated,forgiven, or inspired.  But what are you doing with these feel good emotions when you leave the building?  If you’re not motivating, forgiving, or inspiring someone else in Jesus’ name then I wonder what you went to church for.
We have to wake up!  Time is limited and Satan is busy.  It seems I am seeing more and more people celebrated for evil everyday.  Pride, greed, and adultery are running rampant while abortion, homosexuality, and fornication are accepted as personal choices.  We have grown apathetic while Satan is running around killing saints and raising demons.
Church is great for informing us and strengthening our individual resolve, but we should also be strengthening each other outside the church.  The end is coming.  I don’t know what day or time but the bible promises us that it is coming.  And this is my personal belief.  If the Lord chooses to start the persecution tomorrow and I’m still here, I would rather be surrounded by strong Christian soldiers than to be running scared alone.  But whatever position I find myself in, I will be ready.  Will you?