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 🙂

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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.

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 🙂

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Coming vs. Staying

The necessity of the Church is not to appease saved folk. It is necessary because it is a place of refuge for broken souls. It is a place of fellowship…a place of hope…a place of promise. The Church, by God’s design, is a body of kingdom builders. With this in mind, I am a firm believer that God meets each of us where we are. We do not all come to know Jesus at the same time and not all of us have been saved all of our lives.

I am grateful for the church families who open their doors, arms, and homes to those who stand in need of a little more Jesus in their lives. Those types of churches specialize in helping to introduce people to Christ by welcoming people into the fold no matter their spiritual state. The message is loud and clear, “Come. As. You. Are.”

I support the “Come As You Are” mindset. However, I will not pretend to believe that coming as you are means that we are to STAY as we are. When you confess your belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, your personal Savior, and the One who died for the redemption of your sins, you must also open your heart and allow Him to come inside. I don’t claim to know much, but I do know that when Jesus enters a place, He does not leave it in the same condition in which He found it.

You cannot truly know God and remain the same. Opening up to Him, communicating with Him, and obeying Him will cause things in your life to change. The power of His love will transform you. Your perspective will change. Your convictions will change. Your life…it will change.

I think my good friend, Travis Greene, sums up my thoughts well with the lyrics of his song, “Hope.” Take a peek below.

Freedom’s here & I’m forever changed
No way I could remain the same
If you’re looking for the old me
Sin don’t live here no more, No!
That part of me has passed away
When God showed up, it could not stay
If you’re looking for the old me
I’ve been changed forever

Free to worship God with my whole heart
I’m not going back no more, I found my Hope

You’ll Never Know…

I believe that most of God’s children have a spirit of conviction that reminds them when they are being negligent of or behaving ungratefully with regard to God’s blessings. However, I also believe that many of us still are not able to truly process just how much He does for us.

Consider this for a moment…

You are entering, enduring, or escaping a storm. You are trusting God (or have trusted Him) every step of the way. Still…the devil would have you believe that things are just so bad and salvation is so far away. All you want to do is get to heaven, but the hell you’ve experienced on earth is just so intense. Then, God reminds you in His special way that He is present. You remember that poem about the one set of footprints and you remember that He has always carried you when you weren’t strong enough to walk. Your pity turns to praise and you cry out to Him. You are thanking Him in acknowlegement of, in anticipation of, and in spite of whatever it is that your journey entails as you grow closer to Him. In all of this, you still have questions and you ask them humbly and sincerely…

“Where would I be without you, God? What would I do without you? Who would I be? How would I manage?”

Then, there is that wonderful revelation. That awesome moment when He fills your spirit with peace and He whispers into your heart…

“My child, you will NEVER know.”

I can truly say in this case…ignorance is bliss. Enjoy your day, loves.

Related verses:

“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” – Matthew 28:20

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” -Hebrews 13:5

Keep Smiling,

SBF 🙂

 

Early Morning Reflections…

It hit me as I woke up this morning that God is always listening, always working on our behalf…essentially, God is always BEING God. He listens to our prayers…from the simplest to the most detailed. He answers them too. In His own way. In His own time. Not in a way that eliminates us of personal responsibility or free will, but in a way that reminds us from time to time that He. Is. God.

2012-13 were two of the most humbling years of my life. 2014 hasn’t brought new circumstances just yet, but it has brought a new perspective. I’ve learned that joy isn’t in circumstances or situations. Your joy is in your perspective. This morning, I woke up so grateful. I couldn’t list all of my reasons if I tried, but I am especially thankful that I have learned to choose joy. Despite every potential reason that I may have to complain, I have decided not to speak or dwell on those things and to instead just thank Him for each moment being as well as it is and to make it count for something.

I realized this morning that lately, I’ve been waking up with a busy mind. I have had so much going on inside of my head, but one thing has been constant. My simple little prayer has been a staple in my recent conversations with God. I’ve been asking Him, “Who can I help or encourage today, God?” My common sense tells me that someone somewhere is praying for help. My faith tells me that God will answer my prayer and theirs by equipping me with exactly what I need to be of service to them.

I pray that I always wake up with a mind to ask and that He always answers.

Have a wonderful Saturday, beautiful people.

Keep smiling. 🙂

-SBF

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Work, Not Worry: My Thoughts on the Visionary Work of God

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

-Matthew 6:33-34 KJV

I view Sunday as a day of preparation. It is the close of one week and the beginning of another. On Sundays, I worship, rest, reflect, collect my thoughts, and begin to set goals for the week to come. I also do these things at the beginning of each new month. So on today, Sunday, December 1st…I’m getting a double dose of my norm.

I woke up this morning about 3 hours behind my brain. I was up late working on a project and quite honestly, I don’t know that I ever stopped working on it even with my eyes shut and my mouth open (I’ve been informed that I sleep like that…don’t judge me). I sat up this morning and aside from thanking God for that amazing thing He did in giving me another shot at life today, all that was on my mind was work.

Over the past year, I have become more aware of visions as a mechanism for advancing the kingdom of God. It is how He communicates to His people regarding their purpose in His plan. I have had so many conversations with Him about this. God has revealed some things to me at the oddest of times that just take me out of the present and into the future if only for a moment. Sometimes, the revelation is so quick that I find myself pleading with Him for just one more glimpse of what is to come. Mind you, I’m not pleading because I’m so excited to get to work. I’m not begging Him to show me the end result because I’m so confident that it is pleasant. I’m asking Him for that glimpse because each of the things that God has placed within my spirit to bring to pass while I’m here…and I do mean each of them…takes a lot of time, a heap of work, and quite honestly (excuse my language) each one scares the hell out of me.

There, I said it. God hasn’t blessed me with cotton candy dreams or cupcake visions. He has required me to trust His timing. Submit to His will. Break out of my comfort zone. Believe that He will provide. Do what I said I would never do. Lose friends. Forgive enemies. Accept that I may never reap an earthly reward for the work that I put in as I walk in my purpose.

Fortunately for me, in my little chat with Him this morning, He placed a metaphor in my heart that makes it easier for me to communicate to others why it is important to follow God’s plan for your life and work those visions even if they make you apprehensive. See, to me…God is like a farmer. He plants a seed because He wants it to grow. No good farmer will plant seeds and willingly leave them to fend for themselves. The farmer plants the seed in the appropriate season, waters the seed, makes sure that the soil composition is suitable for the seed, and even removes weeds or pests that threaten the seed’s well-being. Sure, seeds and the plants that they become have natural defensive mechanisms that help them weather a specific range of environmental factors, but they are heavily dependent upon the farmer’s provisions. Likewise, the farmer has planted the seed for the purpose of bringing forth a harvest so He is invested in the well-being of said seed.

I’m sure you’ve figured out that we, each of God’s children, has a visionary seed planted within us. Most likely, we have different visions, but every now and again, we will realize that some of us have been granted a similar vision because God intends for us to help each other bring it to pass. We can’t pretend to know how God intends for us to get things done all the time. We simply must identify what it is that He has asked us to do, commit to doing it, and trust that He will equip us with everything that we need to get it done.

We have to work, not worry. When your vision is God-given, you just work it. Period. Your job is to understand WHAT the task is, not to figure out HOW it will come together. Come what may, you have to have faith that because God wants it done, it will be done. Don’t shy away from what He has placed in your heart. Consult with Him frequently and use the gifts that He has given you. I can imagine that one of the greatest shames that a child of God can face is that of watching someone else bring their God-given vision to pass because he/she wasn’t willing enough, courageous enough, or faithful enough. Don’t let that be you. It definitely won’t be me.

P.S. This is another post for another day (tomorrow maybe), but don’t confuse what YOU want to do with what GOD wants you to do. Not every hustle is faithful and not every grind is God-ordained. God hates sin and will never require you to do so to prosper.

Keep Smiling,

SBF