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Paint & Praise: Your Blessings Require Work

I’ve been in several transitions this year. All big deals. One transition is moving from New York City to Tucson, AZ. I began the process nearly two years ago and I’m now approaching the final curtain call on my time in NYC. This week I’ve been painting and prepping my Harlem apartment for viewing and sale.

I’ve been so busy this year that I have not focused on sitting at Jesus’s feet and soaking in the Word. I’ve been busy running here and there, doing this and that, thinking through scenarios, trying new things, letting go of everything that doesn’t work, quitting my job in NYC, moving across the country, looking for work in Tucson, returning to NYC to manage issues, taking a summer temp job in NYC, starting a national call for submissions for a new book project, launching a pro photographer career, etc. Just stuff. But this week, enclosed within the four walls of my East Harlem apartment in Manhattan, painting and prepping it for sale, the transition became a concrete change. This process is near completion. There’s very little else to do on my end. The to-do lists have stopped clamoring in my head. It was just me and the walls. And gospel music.

And God. He just came on in.

I’ve been assuring people there is nothing I will miss about NYC once I’m gone. I didn’t want to return. In fact I was quite despondent for a few weeks when I got back to the City. The peace of the desert was simply glorious. So no, I won’t be missing NYC. I don’t plan on looking back after I’m gone for good. Neither has leaving my apartment been necessarily sentimental because I didn’t think I had made any special memories here.

Over the last few days, God has reminded me why my time in NYC has been sacred. I’ve long considered my time in NYC to be on-the-job-training for whatever God has in store for me. This is the place He chose to bring me to an understanding of Who HE IS and Who I AM in HIM. He’s been romancing me this week. Gently walking me down memory lane.

Sometimes all we remember are the hardships or the sour taste difficulties leave in our mouth. I know I’m blessed, but I rarely think on the many ways God has blessed my life. He’s given me many hardships. I remember those. He’s brought me through them all. I praise Him for all that. But the intricacies and intimacies are forgotten. He reminded me that He doesn’t only perform His Word when I call on Him. His Word is performing in my life every moment of every day. He is present always. He wanted this time with me. He wanted to end this season the way we began – with me looking to Him, focusing on Him and His Word. Seeking His guidance and instruction every morning through each evening.

The last few days have been sprinkled with spontaneous worship and deeply moving intercessory prayer. I didn’t see any of it coming. But I know it has all been by His design.

The below video is one of the spontaneous praise moments. I knew it was time to share a portion of this process with the all-consuming goodness of God. Be blessed.

Your blessings require work. Please excuse the loud off-key contributions to the song playing in the background. 🙂 The message is worth the wait. Snippet of Trust in You by Anthony Brown & Group Therapy


Trust in You by Anthony Brown & Group Therapy

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You speak either truth or falsehood.

Either all of your words are true or your whole statement is false.

If you want me to believe you, don’t use false words because I am aware that subtle deception led to the fall of mankind.

Someone who is fiercely opposed to my views regarding the innateness of human dignity and equality of every human being, no matter what our skin looks like or what faith someone claims, tagged me to a video last week. The video was of Marcus Rogers, a black male member of the United States Army who is stationed in South Korea (the link was via the Tea Party). He was talking about how all our trust needs to be in God… and nothing should be done on our own behalf because God will do it all (paraphrased). To support his premise, he equated Black Lives Matter to ISIS. When he stated that people fighting for the right of human beings to live, simply to live, and the right to live without the threat of state-sanctioned physical abuse or murder to a group of people whose primary agenda is to destroy human life and culture wherever they go, everything else he said was tainted and suspect and I was unable to agree with anything he said.

God says that He will fight our battles, but He also calls us to be present for the battles. We have to physically prepare. He does not send us into battle unprepared which means we will have many skirmishes. We have to show up. We can’t fight if we aren’t present. We have to believe – have faith – that He will deliver us as victors in the battles He has placed us in. Without faith it is impossible to please God, ergo to do anything for Him (Hebrews 11:6).  If we choose not to show up, not to prepare, not to believe, then we have removed ourselves from the battle and from the possibility of victory.

The difference in the two above statements is why it’s important to know your Bible. It’s important to know what God’s instructions are. His instructions inform us of His expectations for us. If people who yearn for freedom only sit home and wait for God to free them, they will never become free. They will forever be trapped in their own cage of inactivity and faithlessness.

For illustration, I point you to shepherd David (1 Samuel 17) and shepherd Moses (Exodus 14). David went into battle, with no military experience, with his sling, five stones, his shepherd’s staff and his faith in God. His declaration to Goliath is one of my favorite in the Bible, it was also paraphrased by Bree Newsome when she removed the Confederate flag at the South Carolina State House on June 27, 2015: “You come against me with hatred and oppression and violence. I come against you in the name of God. This flag comes down today!”

David said:

Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.”  ~ 1 Samuel 17:45-47

During the Exodus, Moses instructed the people to stand still and watch God save them. God corrected him immediately – “Tell the people to keep going!”

And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”

And the Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. And I indeed will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them. So I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, his chariots, and his horsemen. Then the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gained honor for Myself over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.”  ~ Exodus 14:13-18

The person who tagged me to the incredibly offensive video and instructed me to listen to it with my “spiritual ears” also instructed me to stay home when many in my city took to the streets to protest the non-indictments of police officers who had killed people in the public view, i.e. on camera and in front of witnesses. I don’t live any part of my life without my faith, so everything I hear is filtered in the presence of the Spirit who envelops me. May this also be true for you.

Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”

Then he added, “Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given —and you will receive even more. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.”  ~ Mark 4:23-25

just America Andy_Marlette_Ferguson_Cartoon

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Click to listen here: The Danger of a Good Sermon by Pastor William Carrol.

This is a great word about the blessing of a community of believers bolstering one another in the faith as we move forward with an expectancy of God’s activity in our lives.

10 When the Israelites saw the king and his army coming after them, they were very frightened and cried to the Lord for help.11 They said to Moses, “What have you done to us? Why did you bring us out of Egypt to die in the desert? There were plenty of graves for us in Egypt.12We told you in Egypt, ‘Let us alone; we will stay and serve the Egyptians.’ Now we will die in the desert.”

13 But Moses answered, “Don’t be afraid! Stand still and you will see the Lord save you today. You will never see these Egyptians again after today.14You only need to remain calm; the Lord will fight for you.”

15 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Command the Israelites to start moving.16 Raise your walking stick and hold it over the sea so that the sea will split and the people can cross it on dry land.17 I will make the Egyptians stubborn so they will chase the Israelites, but I will be honored when I defeat the king and all of his chariot drivers and chariots.18When I defeat the king, his chariot drivers, and chariots, the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.”

19 Now the angel of God that usually traveled in front of Israel’s army moved behind them. Also, the pillar of cloud moved from in front of the people and stood behind them.20So the cloud came between the Egyptians and the Israelites. This made it dark for the Egyptians but gave light to the Israelites. So the cloud kept the two armies apart all night.

21 Then Moses held his hand over the sea. All that night the Lord drove back the sea with a strong east wind, making the sea become dry ground. The water was split,22 and the Israelites went through the sea on dry land, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.

Exodus 14:10-22, NCV

Here are some snippets from the sermon that stood out to me. Feel free to share what stands out to you.

A storm that makes them consider where they are in their life. In their faith.

The storms of life strengthen us. Sometimes in the midst of the storm, God will send another storm to deliver you.


Celebrate the sacrifice as if we’re expecting to go someplace.

Every now and again we have to address life as if tomorrow is not good enough. Next week is not good enough. God is doing something wonderful TODAY!

God has placed an expectancy in my heart.

Sometimes waiting is appropriate. sometimes God wants us to wait. But other times

Be dressed as if you’re ready to go someplace.

Have a sense of expectancy. An expectancy of immediate victory… immediate deliverance.

I am not standing still one more second. God has said to me that TODAY He is going to glorify His name!

You don’t have to be bound one more day. You don’t have to believe that lie one more day. Celebrate as if you’re expecting God to move right now. Move forward!

God has placed an expectancy in my/your heart.

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I Came for the Dream…

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.  ~ Jeremiah 29:11 NLT

More than six years ago, I moved to New York City from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. That statement by itself has impressed quite a few people. But I didn’t move to impress anyone. At the time I just wanted to be in New York City. Moving here had been an acknowledged desire of mine for more than ten years prior to me actually doing it. With what I know now, I would call that desire a “calling”. Now, I would say I was called to New York City; indeed, I was instructed to go to New York City. It was part of the plan God had for me and it took over a decade for me to answer His call.

Of course I didn’t know it then, but I see it so clearly now.

At that time, I knew I was on a journey of self-exploration, but I had no idea how the road would unfold before me. The only thing I was focused on was learning more about me. In my simple-mindedness, my self-exploration centered on having a sexual revolution because I thought all my problems rooted from my childhood sexual abuse. I’ll tell you now, I thought God was going to let me have my way because it was something I thought I needed in order to heal myself. I believed that I had been repressed back home in Milwaukee – confined to what everyone else expected of me and wanted from me. I saw NYC as my opportunity to burst free.

When I moved to the City, I was working on my second self-publishing venture, VoLux Full-Figured Calendar. One of my goals with the calendar was to show that women of all shapes and sizes (with natural looks and curves) deserved as much media attention as the women starving themselves to be on magazine covers. My wholesome goal of showcasing women in an attractive fashionable spread that would encourage self-esteem and positive body image was received as a highly sexualized product. Through I was trying to explore my sexuality in my personal life, I was not interested in pimping images of women through my business.

However, I did get momentarily caught up in the dream of high fashion and how I could apply it to my life and my talents. In other words, when I came to the City, I had an intention to be an active participant in all things pertaining to plus-size fashion. And I was active for a couple of years. My second calendar was published in 2006 and I admit to being “MySpace-famous” when that cover hit my social media network. Uncomfortably so. During that time, I realized that I was not interested in the attention I was receiving – people who would only talk to me if my product could do something for their product or service; models who only wanted to meet me so they could be in my next calendar; and main stream fashion folks who had no interest in my work at all because my black “wasn’t relevant” and neither was my size.

Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good? Listen to me, and you will eat what is good. You will enjoy the finest food. “Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, and you will find life. I will make an everlasting covenant with you. I will give you all the unfailing love I promised to David. [Says the Lord your God]  ~ Isaiah 55:2-3 NLT

After a couple of years of battling myself and trying to sustain the business model I had developed in Milwaukee, I stopped trying to force myself on the narrow-minded fashion industry in New York City and started asking myself questions. And surprisingly, I was able to answer my questions too.

Why is it so important to me to have a plus-size fashion calendar?
It’s not.
Then why am I working so hard on this?
Because I had planned a course of action and committed to it.
Well, if it’s my plan, myaction and my life, can’t Ichange my mind?
So, going back to the beginning, why did I want to start a business in the first place?
I wanted something I could do from home. Something seasonal in nature that would allow time with my husband and children while contributing income to the family.
What else can I do that this goal would apply to?
I can write.   

My blog started on I started writing about plus-size fashion and my adjustment to NYC. Two years later I published my first Christian lifestyle book, My God and Me: Listening, Learning and Growing on My Journey which consisted mostly of my MySpace blog posts. I did not foresee my change in perspective, priority or purpose. However, when I conceived the idea for My God and Me, I was then able to trace God’s active guidance and instruction in my life. Up to that point, I hadn’t believed He was paying much attention to me. Moving to New York City with no family or friends to depend on and not going hungry or homeless for one day has certainly shown me my God is very attentive to my every need. Over the last six years, I have grown to trust God more and more every day. My hearing has sharpened to pick up His whispers. My eyes have cleared to recognize the good things He is giving me and the bad things I need to steer away from. My heart is open to His Kingdom, therefore His Kingdom is open to me.

…because I believed the lie of the world…

The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.  ~Matthew 13:22 NIV

I’m going to speak to those who have been abused, mistreated or violated in any way because my old way of thinking came from the mindset of a victim – a captive. I was thinking and acting like someone in bondage who was desperately seeking freedom.  All I could recognize was that I needed to reclaim what was taken from me. In my simplicity, I sought to redeem myself by casting what is sacred (my body) before swine (any man who is not my husband). However, the only way to keep the sacred holy is to set it apart. The sacred must remain clean and untouched by that which is unholy (anything not sanctioned by God).

I had been sexually violated in my youth, so I grew up thinking that my power rested in controlling who had access to my body. In my foolishness, I fancied being loose with my favors and indiscriminate with my choices. Those thoughts appealed to me because I would be able to choose. Please note: there is definite power in our ability to choose, however we are only truly empowered when we make the right choice. The right choice will always line up with God’s word and His will for our life.

Seek the LORD while you can find Him. Call on him now while He is near. Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to the LORD that He may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for He will forgive generously.  ~ Isaiah 55:6-7

If you’ve read my recent post, 18 Years Celibate: An Anniversary I Didn’t Plan On, you know that God didn’t allow my foolish thoughts to grow into action. When God took hold of me and brought me to New York City (what I thought would be the perfect playground for my ridiculous fantasies), He put me in an incubator of sorts. He began weeding through my consciousness, and uprooting ideas. He cleansed me of the lies I believed about myself, my life and my purpose. He shook the loose soil of the world off of me and repotted me in His Kingdom. He’s been watering me and feeding me ever since. I’m still getting pruned. He still has trimming and shaping to do, but my environment now if God’s Heavenly Kingdom, not the world I inhabit.

My early internal struggles were resolved when I realized that what other people expected of me was not nearly as important as what I expected of myself. And what I expect of myself is not nearly as important as what God expects of me. The business I began building in Milwaukee was a business that appealed to the senses of the world. Worst yet, the images I created incited lust in the viewer – lust ranging from a desire for fame, exposure or sex. The work of my hands was feeding the flesh and dishonoring the God I was beginning to know and walk with.

…but I was transformed by the Light.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.         

“The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry.

It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it. ~ Isaiah 55:8-11 NLT

When I first moved here, I was looking forward to all that the City had to offer. I was eager to experience as much of “the life” as possible. I did my fair share of arts and cultural events. I did as much of the dance club scene as I could stand. I went corporate for employment and the ladder I’m on seems to extend and expand only by the grace of God’s attention to my life. All of my experiences in this city have been good – even the painful ones. The City has embraced me as much as I’ve embraced it – but certainly not in the ways I first thought. Over the years, I thought it odd that God would bring me to a city steeped in sin, the Babylon of the U.S. if you will, only to purify and sanctify me….

But His thoughts are so far beyond my own…. I have learned to follow where He leads and to do what He tells me to do.

I’m not so humble that I don’t recognize the remarkable work God has performed in my life. He has been building an amazing one-of-a-kind woman who has found comfort in His strength, purpose in His word and love in His presence. The confidence his care and attention has imbued in me makes me equally confident that He has put just as much effort and time in my mate. For God’s Kingdom is a kingdom of partnership and order. He has molded me into a helpmate with a thirst for His Spirit. This means that the one I am to assist has also been re-modeled into God’s image and character.

May you be so blessed in your journey to recognize the hand and the work of the Master in your life. And trust Him to do His part as you obey His instructions and do your part.

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Study: Courage to Trust God’s Plan

God created mankind to love and trust Him. From the beginning we struggled against doing just that. We want everything to make sense in our heads, not our hearts. We want to attribute reality to the things seen with the eyes and discount what our spirit is telling us. Trusting God completely requires letting go of our independence, our sense of superiority and our ego. We must become childlike and eager for the blessings He wishes to bestow upon us and the life He has outlined for us to live. It takes courage to let go of the hefty physical things of life and reach for the eternal spiritual elements of life. It takes courage to trust God, His Word and His plan for us – especially when He hasn’t shared the daily details of every situation. However, in trusting Him, the details that can trip us up cease to matter.

It takes courage to reason with God

God has a case against us. You may not know it, but you are born of the seed of the first man that disobeyed God and forfeited his right relationship with the Lord Almighty. As natural descendants of that man, Adam, we are heirs to his sin. In Isaiah Chapter One, God lays out his case against mankind – against His special people, Israel. If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, you are a spiritual heir to God’s promises. In verse 18 of Isaiah Chapter One, God invites us to talk to Him. To reason with Him. To present ourselves to Him. Even though our history says we are condemned and deserving of punishment, God’s Word says we can be cleansed, redeemed and restored.

Isaiah 1:18 “ Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “ Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. 19 If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; 20 But if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword”; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken. (NKJV)

It takes courage to act — to perform God’s word in your life.

God is speaking to you. He’s telling you to do something. Don’t take His words lightly. Whatever action He is requiring of you, He will back it up with His performance. Believe that and act now! Don’t make the mistake of trusting someone else’s contrary word (something in direct opposition of what you know God has spoken to you).

Isaiah 55:10  Rain and snow fall from the sky and don’t return without watering the ground. They cause the plants to sprout and grow, making seeds for the farmer and bread for the people. The same thing is true of the words I speak. They will not return to me empty. They make the things happen that I want to happen, and they succeed in doing what I send them to do. 12 “So you will go out with joy and be led out in peace.

Jeremiah 1:11  Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see a branch of an almond tree.” 12Then the LORD said to me, “You have seen well, for I am ready to perform My word.”17 “ Therefore prepare yourself and arise, And speak to them all that I command you. Do not be dismayed before their faces,  Lest I dismay you before them. 19 They will fight against you, But they shall not prevail against you. For I am with you,” says the LORD, “to deliver you.” (NKJV)

Number 13:1  And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel; from each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, every one a leader among them.”

Numbers 13:30  Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” 31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” 32 And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. 33 There we saw the giants; and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” (NKJV)

Matthew 1:18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. His mother Mary was engaged to marry Joseph, but before they married, she learned she was pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Mary’s husband, Joseph, was a good man, he did not want to disgrace her in public, so he planned to divorce her secretly. 20 While Joseph thought about these things, an angel of the Lord came to him in a dream. The angel said, “Joseph, descendant of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the baby in her is from the Holy Spirit.21 She will give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus,because he will save his people from their sins.” 24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the Lord’s angel had told him to do. Joseph took Mary as his wife,25 but he did not have sexual relations with her until she gave birth to the son. And Joseph named him Jesus.

It takes courage to see beyond our circumstances

It’s so easy to get caught up in the problems of the moment; the fears for your life, the concerns regarding your children. We are blinded from God’s promises and blesses by the daily circumstances that weigh us down. The Word doesn’t say that we shouldn’t have painfully consuming life situations, on the contrary we are to count all our trials and sorrows as joy. The Word tells us to keep our focus on Jesus Christ. To follow Him and be His disciple. In doing that, we will live a daily life that honors God and transcends our circumstances.

John 9:24 So for the second time, they called the man who had been blind. They said, “You should give God the glory by telling the truth. We know that this man is a sinner.”

25 He answered, “I don’t know if he is a sinner. One thing I do know: I was blind, and now I see.”

26 They asked, “What did he do to you? How did he make you see again?”

27 He answered, “I already told you, and you didn’t listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his followers, too?”

28 Then they insulted him and said, “You are his follower, but we are followers of Moses.29 We know that God spoke to Moses, but we don’t even know where this man comes from.”

30 The man answered, “This is a very strange thing. You don’t know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes.31 We all know that God does not listen to sinners, but he listens to anyone who worships and obeys him.32 Nobody has ever heard of anyone giving sight to a man born blind.33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”

It takes courage to go where God instructs you to go

Abraham is someone I believe my life has been modeled after (during my thirties anyway). I, too, was told to go to an unfamiliar land and trust the Lord’s provision. I know friends, family and casual observers thought I was crazy for moving to New York City six years ago with no job, no contacts, no resources and no savings. I questioned my own sanity – for a couple of years! Now I know that God had (and has) a plan. He has His own way of working things out in me that will bring about the results He desire. I’ve grown so much spiritually in these years that I can’t even explain the upward arc with any detail. To God be the glory for all that He allows me to do and become!

Genesis 12:1 The Lord said to Abram, “Leave your country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land I will show you. 4 So Abram left Haran as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. At this time Abram was 75 years old.5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, and everything they owned, as well as all the servants they had gotten in Haran.

Acts 9:3  So Saul headed toward Damascus. As he came near the city, a bright light from heaven suddenly flashed around him. 4 Saul fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul! Why are you persecuting me?”

5 Saul said, “Who are you, Lord?”

The voice answered, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6 Get up now and go into the city. Someone there will tell you what you must do.” 8 Saul got up from the ground and opened his eyes, but he could not see. So those with Saul took his hand and led him into Damascus.

It takes courage to wait

Waiting is a painful. It sounds passive, but it’s really a way of activating your faith and keeping it engaged. When you wait on the Lord, you are saying that you know, understand and appreciate that whatever He has for you is what you want. You are telling Him that He and His blessings are sufficient and temporary substitutes have no place in your life (after all anything you can do for yourself is only temporary). God wants to bless us to the fullest of  our ability to receive.

Isaiah 30:18  The Lord wants to show his mercy to you. He wants to rise and comfort you. The Lord is a fair God, and everyone who waits for his help will be happy.

Psalm 123:1  Lord, I look upward to you, you who live in heaven. 2 Slaves depend on their masters, and a female servant depends on her mistress. In the same way, we depend on the Lord our God; we wait for him to show us mercy. 3 Have mercy on us, Lord. Have mercy on us, because we have been insulted. 4 We have suffered many insults from lazy people and much cruelty from the proud.

Galatians 4:4  But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. 5 God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. 6 And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” 7 Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child.And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.

It takes courage to speak

The power of life and death is in the tongue. God spoke the universe into existence and we have only to speak to form our own lives. Such power can be frightening! What if we get everything we speak of? No worries, if you are righteous because the blessings of the Lord do not come with added sorry and He will make sure you are able to handle what He gives you. Still scared? Then perhaps you aren’t speaking life. Talk to God and He will certainly clean up your speech to make your words more effective.

Jeremiah 1:4  The Lord spoke his word to me, saying: 5 “Before I made you in your mother’s womb, I chose you. Before you were born, I set you apart for a special work. I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

6 Then I said, “But Lord God, I don’t know how to speak. I am only a boy.”

7 But the Lord said to me, “Don’t say, ‘I am only a boy.’ You must go everywhere I send you, and you must say everything I tell you to say.8 Don’t be afraid of anyone, because I am with you to protect you,” says the Lord.

9 Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth. He said to me, “See, I am putting my words in your mouth.10 Today I have put you in charge of nations and kingdoms. You will pull up and tear down, destroy and overthrow, build up and plant.”

Learn God’s Word and Learn More About Yourself

God is calling warriors who have the courage to Hear, See, Believe and Obey Him; the courage to Seek Him, Follow Jesus and Receive the Holy Spirit; and the courage to Build, Maintain and Restore Relationships. All in all, we need courage to Trust God.

Courage is needed for so much of life, this study is only a small portion of the scope of situations we need to be brave for. We are all warriors – we may not feel like it or look like it, but that’s what our God is calling us – Mighty Warriors, Men & Women of Valor, More Than Conquerors! There’s a reason for that – we aren’t intended to be passive wimps.

In looking for God’s warriors in the Bible, we learn that none of them look or sound like we think they should – like our Hollywood-influenced popular opinions. They are not able or qualified to do the required task on their own. That’s the beauty of God’s plan – it’s not about us! It’s not about the warriors, aka the workers. It’s all about God! Everything He calls us to do in the Kingdom of Heaven is for His glory – we do what we are told in order that others may come to know the greatness of our God! Hallelujah! We, the warriors, are only symbolic; God is the True Fighter. He has already won victory and has already made a way for His victory to manifest in our lives. When we struggle with impossible situations, circumstances, pains, betrayals, anger, hatred, bitterness, unbelief, lack of knowledge, etc… When we struggle with all that, we show the world (people who intersect with our life) where we are and where we came from. However, when we overcome all that, we show the world what our God does for us every day. And what He does for each of us, glorifies Him in the highest. It takes courage to trust God in His infinite wisdom. It takes courage to live in Christ.

Be courageous, mighty warriors – you Godly men and women of valor!

Other Courage studies:

Study: Courage to Hear, See, Believe and Obey God

Study: Courage to Seek God, Follow Jesus and Receive the Holy Spirit

Study: Courage to Build, Maintain and Restore Relationships

Study: Courage to Trust God’s Plan

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The Zechariah Complex

By Cyndy Lavoie, Founder & Executive Director of Capturing Courage,


Scripture Reference : Luke 1:13-18 ESV
13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” 18 And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.”

With this vision, God who had been silent for 400 years effectively broke His silence and ushered in a new era. Yet in the wake of this stunning announcement, Zechariah unfortunately found himself merely preoccupied with the logistics of the plan. He was an old man. His body didn’t work as it once did.

Would he be up for the task?

We find the angel graciously laying out the full plan about this coming babe. Zechariah and Elizabeth would personally find great joy and this joy would extend to many about them. The Holy Spirit would mark this child right from conception and he would have great standing before the Lord. John’s role would be instrumental in ushering in a new era for God’s chosen people and freedom from sin would be the result.

Yet it is as though Zechariah heard none of this.

We can almost hear the self-talk in his head, “But how will I get Elizabeth pregnant. If we were ever going to be pregnant wouldn’t it have been by now…” So preoccupied with earthly realities he exhibited no room in his understanding for the extraordinary, for the miraculous, nor for the import, and the real point of the message. Messiah was close at hand! We get the impression that Zechariah missed most of the angel’s prophecy and promise; he was stuck on his humanity.

My, how easy it is to be in this same place!

But as we all know, Zechariah did come through, he did have what it takes, he did rise to the challenge. For after all, all Zechariah really had to do was show up. It was God’s plan and God’s work. And when it is God’s plan and God’s work He purposes to bring it about. We merely show up, and God does the rest. When we are faithful to do our part, to respond as He invites, to fully engage His visions and plan, risking to see if we have what it takes, our Messiah proves Himself to be very close at hand.

And the rest becomes history.