I Remember You…

Hello, beautiful people! I ran across a jewel yesterday that I wanted to share. I’m not sure how it never stuck out to me before. In Philippians 1:3, Paul wrote to the Christians at Philippi and told them “I thank my God every time I remember you.” As I read it my heart melted! How sweet is that? Certainly, he had a fondness and love for the Philippians to feel such joy and gratitude at their memory.

This led me to think about people who have made lasting impacts on my life that cause me to praise God for the mere thought of them. Then, I wondered if anyone felt the same of me. I charge myself to be more deliberate in my interactions with everyone that I interact with…I want to sow seeds of praise and gratitude simply through being who God has called me to be and living laced with love, service, and compassion for everyone.

What will you do to be sure that thoughts of you will be joyous for the people in your life?

Keep Smiling,

SBF 🙂

Advertisements

No Rest for the Weary

There is so much destruction in the world. It makes perfect sense that whenever I catch up on worldly news, it’s saturated with negative images. I know that mainstream media isn’t always pleasant, but it can be downright depressing.

As I caught up today, I read about an 8-year old boy being shot down at no fault (obviously…he was 8) of his own. Through the frustration, my spirit stirred and that voice inside said to me, “You won’t always SEE the good, but you can always BE the good.” That’s when it hit me…isn’t that what it means to smile by faith? To not give in to discouragement. To trust God even when things don’t look so cheery.

That ministered to me in a major way. It was a timely reminder that I can always do my part. It only takes one person to facilitate change. One person called, equipped, willing, and committed. So, hear I am…doing what I was called to do. Posting this blog. Hoping to encourage someone. Preparing for my next group of students. Making a short list of things that I’m going to do to make a positive difference in someone’s life TODAY…TOMORROW…AND EVERY DAY AFTER THAT.

Won’t you join me in this effort?

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. – Galatians 6:9 (KJV)

Keep Smiling,

🙂 SBF

Is God Bored?

I started this blog in 2013 because I was losing my mind. I called it therapy…and it was. I thought it was necessary for my healing. I really, really thought that.

Today, looking back, I realize the only thing truly necessary for healing was to decide that I was fine. I had to look forward. Reshape my mindset. Position myself for the life that I wanted. So I did.

I promised myself that in 2014, I would live a more positive life. I would trust God and His promises. That sustained me. (Y’all do know His grace is still sufficient in 2015, right?) In fact, my 2014 positivity resolution is the only one that I’ve ever kept.

In 2015, I am challenging myself more. I know that God wants me to continue to trust Him. I will. Likewise, I will continue to marvel at His power and the favor that He shows me. However, this year I resolve to continuously tap into the power that He has given me.

There is more to this relationship thing than love. There is work. There is give and take. There is sacrifice. There is overflow. It is a two-way street.

For so long, I’ve been conditioned to believe that God doesn’t need me. I’ve been taught that He’s just fine without me. I challenge that today. If He didn’t need me, why would He have created me? Does God have that much time to waste? Either He is bored or I am purposed…purposed AND powerful actually. My vote is for the latter. Jeremiah 29:11 backs me up on this.

I’m pretty geeked about that.

Happy New Year to those of you still hanging in there with me…or to those who’ve just found me!

🙂 Keep Smiling,

SBF

Knock, Knock…Who’s There?

I’ve said before that I believe people give the devil too much credit. We act as if he is all-knowing. He isn’t. We act as if he is all-powerful. Not true. We act as if he can be everywhere doing everything to everyone. Nope. What he can do is infest our minds and try to create barriers between us and God. He can distract us from our tasks and make us question our purpose. He can distort our perception of the truth and plant seeds of doubt that take root in our minds and cause us to make a mess of our own lives.

Trouble is always around the corner. Thankfully, God goes ahead of us (Deuterony 31:8, Isaiah 45:2). He has fought and won the battle for our lives. If we lose, it is because we have chosen to do so. Next time trouble knocks at your door, ask yourself who has really delivered it there. Often we will find that we make the devil’s work a little bit easier by making choices that are outside of God’s will for our lives. This is not to say that hard times will not come. Some things are inevitable and are beyond our control. Fortunately, we serve a God who has the characteristics that Satan lacks. Our God is all-knowing. He is all-powerful. He is everywhere making every needed provision for every one of His children.

Be blessed, loves.

SBF 🙂

247068_10204010836489095_1387532727150245825_n

 

Love

Today I rose with love on my mind. Not bad for a first thought. I found myself thinking about the nature of love. I almost resent the popularity of the word. Even those with the best intentions often use the word love without understanding that it is not at all a noun to be felt as in an emotion or a gift to be received…it is an action to be carried out with every breath, every thought, and every decision of your life.

Love doesn’t focus on how others can treat you better. Love doesn’t keep a record of how many times you’ve forgiven someone for hurting you. Love doesn’t make promises to change on this condition or that one. Love just does loving things because it can, it should, and because it. is. LOVE.

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging symbol. If I have the gift of prophecy, and I know all mysteries and all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

-1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Note: If you still just don’t get it, but you do believe that God IS Love…replace each occurrence of the word love, with God in the passage above. Maybe then, you’ll understand His call for us to show love.

Proverbs 2 & 3: Pros vs. Cons

Chapters 2 and 3 of Proverbs were very similar in that they both were full of descriptive examples of the benefits of wisdom. Likewise, Solomon still warned us about rejecting  wisdom and making poor decisions. I literally enjoyed every single verse of these two chapters, but I’ve selected just a few to highlight and reflect upon here.

Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. -Proverbs 2:11 (NIV)

I remember receiving many talks about the importance of discretion when I was an undergraduate. Because college was a completely different world with much more freedom than high school, there were so many opportunities to steer away from the path that God paved for me. Recognizing the tricks of the enemy was so important. Discretion helps us to see things for what they are and understanding helps us to anticipate the consequences of them so that we make sound decisions.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight. -Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

I often refer to these verses when I’m dealing with things that just do not make sense to me. Knowing that God’s way is always the right way helps me to eliminate confusion. I’ve heard people try to twist this passage to mask deception and confusion. Those who truly understand what Solomon is saying here will understand that the passage means just the opposite. When you do not understand something or someone in your life, simplify things and protect yourself by going to the Source. Seek God for direction. Pray, read His word, fellowship with Him, and act in a way that is in accordance with His will for you. You just can’t fail with God.

Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. -Proverbs 3: 13-14 (NIV)

In a world that displays foolish behavior like a badge of honor and praises materialism instead of holiness, this passage is a necessary reminder of what is really important. God has made some promises to us so we don’t have to give in to what the world seems to require. We don’t have to sell our souls to live rich, full lives. If we seek God’s wisdom and use the insight that comes only from Him, we will be richly blessed in a way that means more than any amount of money.

Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act. -Proverbs 3:27-28

God is one of love and service. If you truly want to understand Him, you will need to behave in a way that models His behavior. If you see someone in need, it is wise to help them if you are able. Your hand is God’s hand to them. He uses His children to bless others in the kingdom. It is wise to willingly and gladly assist in that effort.

If you’re keeping up with the challenge, I’d love to hear your thoughts or favorite verses. Comment here, on Twitter: SmilingByFaith, or on Instagram: SmilingByFaith.

Keep smiling,

 

SBF 🙂

Proverbs 1: It Starts With God

In case you aren’t familiar with Proverbs, it was written by Solomon (king of Israel and son of David). Solomon is known for his wisdom and he wrote much of the book of Proverbs in an attempt to share the knowledge and wisdom that he gained through his relationship and fellowship with God.

In reading the first chapter of Solomon’s Proverbs tonight, one thing stuck with me over and over: Be careful not to reject the wisdom of God. Start with God. Stick with God. End with God.

Proverbs 1:7 (KJV) makes a bold and timeless statement. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”

This verse doesn’t speak to being afraid as much as it does acknowledgement. I would almost rephrase it to say the “RECOGNITION OF THE POWER OF GOD AND THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE CHARACTER of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…” One who understands that God knows and can do all things while recognizing the loving, merciful, and faithful character of God is on track to become both wiser and more knowledgeable.  Start with God.

“My son, if sinners entice thee, consent though not.” –Proverbs 1:10

“My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path.” -Proverbs 1:15

Verses 10 and 15 warn believers against giving in to sin and temptation from sinners. Because of our healthy fear of the Lord, we should want to obey Him. However, knowing that we are human and were born of a sinful nature, God still uses Solomon to remind us to resist the urge to sin. He knows that sin will separate us from Him. Stick with God.

“For they that hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord: they would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of the fools shall destroy them. But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.” -Proverbs 1:29-33

The chapter closes by explaining the consequences of our choice to gain wisdom from God or not. God has provided us with access to Him and has given us a manual by which we should live our lives. He has anointed messengers to teach and preach His word. He grants discernment to those who choose to follow His lead. Still, there are some who reject His counsel. They do not fear the Lord and do not wish to understand His character. On the day of judgement, those who have rejected God’s wisdom will realize that they needed it. They will call on Him and He will not answer. Fortunately, our God is merciful and loving and has promised that those who listen to Him will be free of harm and evil. End with God.

I hope that you enjoyed day 1 of the Proverbs Challenge as much as I did. If you missed out on day 1, catch up on day 2. You can do it!

Keep smiling,

SBF 🙂

July Proverbs Challenge

So I was inspired by gospel singer, James Fortune, to do a bible reading challenge for the month of July. For 31 days, I will read one chapter of Proverbs per day. If you have time in your day and wouldn’t mind adding this to your reading plan, please join me.

I will be blogging throughout the challenge beginning tonight with a little history to help us put the book of Proverbs in context as well as my reflective thoughts after reading Proverbs 1 tonight.

Hope that you had a wonderful 1st half of the year and I pray that you are blessed beyond your wildest dreams during the second half!

Keep smiling,

SBF

The Fullness of God

And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge,

that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.

-Ephesians 3:19 (KJV)

 

Created in His image, things of this world are beneath us. He gave us dominion over them and we will never find fullness in them. They will provide us temporary happiness, but they will disappoint us, hurt us, anger us, and leave us. Our fullness…our joy, faith, hope, and love…it is sustainable, but can only be found in Him.

Just my two cents. Have a blessed day, lovelies.

 

Keep smiling,

SBF 🙂

Image