By: Queen Majeeda
“Come unto Me all who are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28
It's 5 am, and the alarm sounds time to get up. I'm tired, but I must get up because if I don't, I will not have time to spend with God before getting ready for work. The alarm snoozes and sounds two more times like it does every morning because I am genuinely tired – with working, mothering, and all the responsibilities of living. I do a quick reading of God's word and pray a much shorter prayer than I want to so I can get ready, pack my lunch, help my son get ready while my mom packs his lunch, dash through the door and take him to school then head to work before it's late.
Is this living? I feel like I'm living a programmed life. I yearn for more time with God, and so I beg and beseech Him to give me more time so that I don't have to rush my conversation with him. I do this every morning and throughout the day. I feel like other things are taking precedence, and that's not the way it should be. I need time in the morning to be still.
Mornings set the tone for the rest of the day. This yearning to have more time with God has been coming out in my poetry when I find a few minutes to write. My soul is not at rest, and that bothers me. I am frustrated and wonder how will I ever get out of this hamster wheel? Then something major happens. So major, it stops the world!
As a result of COVID-19, everyone is forced to stay at home. Suddenly, I have more time with God. I find peace in the stillness of the mornings, and I commune with God in no hurry. My soul exhales in gratitude to God each morning, I'm not rushing to go anywhere, there's no clock dictating my time spent with the King of the Universe, I am at rest.
Of course, I am pained at the things I see in the news; I empathize with those who are suffering at this time and feel sorrow for those who have lost loved ones. I wish my opportunity to spend more time with God were not amidst this distress, but I believe that these quiet moments allow us to be transformed into the likeness of God.
By: Tamika Mahomes
"Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is."
Ephesians 5:15-17 (NIV)
As we are experiencing the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, many of us are now adapting to a new reality of being bound to our homes and mandated to social distancing. And while this sudden limit of socialization has caused frustration, boredom, and some confusion, this is a time not to focus on what we can't do but rather what we can do. While this time has forced us to a place of rest, focus, and reflection, it is a time where we can maximize growing in what the Lord's will is.
In today's passage, we see Paul reminding us that we must not waste time but instead make the most of every opportunity. So I ask you today? What are you making of this opportunity? Are you spending your time binge-watching shows on Netflix? Are you spending your time seeing how much online shopping you can accomplish? Are you spending your time scrolling social media? Or are you spending this time to grow yourself and develop into the person that God is calling you to be?
Watching TV, scrolling social media, it all seems like a way to pass the time, but the truth is the more time you spend pouring those things into your soul, the more those things begin to control and lead your life. Could you imagine if you instead spent those hours in the Bible? Could you imagine how we would grow as God's sons and daughters? Our time is not meant to be wasted but rather we need to make our time so precious that we refuse to allow non-essential things to distract our essential relationship with God.
In closing the passage, Paul reminds us not to be foolish and to understand what the Lord's will is. To understand what the Lord's will is, we have to be close to the Lord; we have to read, know, and understand his word. Church every Sunday and listening to online sermons is simply not enough! In order to see change, we must understand it begins with intentional time with the Father. Psalm 19:7 says:
"The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple." (KJV)
God's word converts or changes the soul. When we are in the presence of the most high, we have no choice but to be changed and transformed. God's word calls us to be different, it calls us to be set apart, and it calls us to be more like him. So today friend, I challenge you (and myself), to put down the remote, put down the phone, put down the distractions and turn to Jesus, turn to the WORD and ask him, Father, how can I spend this time to be more like you. Let us allow this time to be time unwasted.
By: Alexis Newlin
It’s an old frenemy of many of us, one that I would love to be rid of.
Worry says I must ponder a thing over and over again. To not do so means that I am just ignoring it. If I don’t think about it constantly, I don’t care. I don’t want to fix the problem.
I must fixate on it constantly.
These are such lies.
Yet it is my broken belief system. I’m not alone; many people struggle with anxiety and worry.
Worry, which is the ugly second cousin to anxiety is defined as:
I feel this definition defines my breed of worry best: (of a dog or other carnivorous animal) tear at, gnaw on, or drag around with the teeth (Lexico*)
When I am wrapped in the clinches of worry, it feels as if I am being torn at and dragged around. Everything feels ripped away: my joy, my peace, my knowing that God is in control.
I’ve been told that to worry is to rock in a rocking chair, expecting to get somewhere, yet you’re going nowhere. Now, this is the truth. Worry is unfruitful. The only fruit it produces is anxiety, discomfort, irritability, illness.
It is not the way God wants me or anyone else to live.
This morning, my old frenemy decided to visit. I’d lost my debit card the night before, and although I’d immediately reported it lost, I still worried that something could still happen.
As I sat, coming up with every worse scenario possible, even ones outside of the lost debit card, I found myself wrapped up once again in the worry trap.
Thankfully, God came to the rescue. He asked me why I was so anxious. Then he kindly pointed me to Matthew 6:25-34, and verse 27 stood out:
And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? (ESV)
Worry does not add to your life. Instead, it takes it away.
Just look at some the symptoms of anxiety:
God knows how damaging anxiety and worry can be to our bodies. That’s why He wants us to avoid it.
So how do we avoid anxiety and worry? We trust God. We have faith that he is in control; we remember he takes care of everything.
If He cares for the birds and the small blades of grass, how much more does He care for us? We have a heavenly Father who loves us so much and take care of every need we have. Every. Single. One. All we have to do is ask Him.
Bring your burdens to God; don’t carry them on your own; we are simply not meant to.
Alexis is a 36-year-old lover of Jesus, loose leaf tea, roller coasters, writing stories and going on adventures. Originally from Marietta, GA, Alexis now resides in Fresno, CA. You can always find Alexis outdoors enjoying a walk in her neighborhood, scoping out the newest food truck, hanging out with friends or planning her next trip. Her church, The Revival Center, and family mean the world to her. They have supported her through the loss of her mother and her own cancer diagnosis. Alexis enjoys encouraging others by reminding them not to look at what they see, but to always look to God, who is working in the unseen. Alexis currently writes for several online ministries and just launchedThe Brave Podcast in January 2020. Connect with Alexis further by clicking here!
By: Angela Lawley
How do you see yourself? What do you see when you look in the mirror?
This is important because it is what shapes how we see others and how we see God. About 5yrs ago, my family and I were living in 400sqft of living space. Before you start feeling sorry for me, this isn’t a tragic situation; it was a necessity. You see, we were building a business and wanted to save money, so we converted part of our building into living quarters. It was very smart of us, but being a family of four with two very fast-growing boys, this situation soon wore its necessary appeal. For four very long years, this situation wore me down. So much so that I hated everything about it. I would find myself in my bathroom, giving myself pep talks through tears. “You can do this, Angela,” “God has so much in store for you and your family. Just keep going!”
But you see, I didn’t see it, and I especially didn’t feel blessed. All I saw was a struggling Momma who was at the end of her rope. I was tired, sad, and hopeless. Then in a time of prayer...ok, let’s be honest, I was complaining to God. He reminded me of a few of His promises. One was every Christian's favorite motivational scripture. Jeremiah 29:11:
"For 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." (NIV)
Yeah. That’s a good one. We can camp out there for a while. I can still hear myself give God a “yeah, yeah.” Remember, we are being real! The next scripture He reminded me of was another good one from Jeremiah 1:5:
"...before I formed you in the womb I knew you." (NIV)
At this moment, I pictured God as a loving Father who gently lifts Jeremiah’s chin. Looks him straight in the eyes and gently reminds him of this profound truth. As the Father began to remind me of these truths, my heart started to soften because I see Him doing the same thing for me. Then He drove it home with this one, Philippians 4:19:
"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (KJV)
I cry thinking about this moment with my God, as the Holy Spirit started to minister to me. All the frustrations began to melt away. I was gently reminded of a few things that day:
1). God never forgets His children. We are apart of a beautiful plan that was laid out before the foundation of the earth, one that will show the world that we serve a faithful God. When he was creating every inch of you, He was making plans and ways out of every struggle.
2). Don’t allow your circumstances to cloud your understanding of who you serve. We serve a mighty God who is faithful. A God who cares about your needs and wants us to be blessed.
3). Being uncomfortable for a season doesn’t mean God has forgotten about you. Take that time to seek the Father with all your heart so that you can see Him in every situation.
4). Don’t see yourself through the eyes of struggle; look at your struggle through the eyes of Jesus! It will change your heart, and it will welcome the Holy Spirit to fill your situation with the peace that passes understanding.
To end my story. As a family, we started speaking by faith that our needs would be met. We worked hard and stood on the truth that our needs were met. We thanked God for the season we were in and allowed Him to help change our perspective. We saw ourselves as blessed because we had each other, and most of all, we had Jesus. About six months later, an old friend walked into our store and asked if we were looking for a house. We told her, yes, and she offered a home that she had available. It was almost six times the size of the space we were in!! Hallelujah! This is where you dance!!
We have been in this house for five years this August. And every time I walk around it, mow the lawn, even do the dishes, I thank God for our blessing. Now when we have a struggle, I immediately thank the Father, and I see myself on the other side, blessed! When I walk into my personal bathroom...(( Mommas, give me an Amen)) I turn and look in the mirror, and I see a child of God who is blessed, who is heard by God, and who is an overcomer. AMEN!!
My prayer for you today is that you start seeing yourself the way God sees you, even though your struggles. You are blessed! You are loved! And God sees you! Don’t lose hope!
Angela Lawley Founder of Giving Hope Ministries. Host of Giving Hope Podcast -Teacher women’s Bible Study. Angela is a 2007 graduate of Rhema Bible Training Center, where she graduated with a certificate in Helps Ministry. Angela and her husband Ryan have been married for 20yrs. They own their own business in their home town of Canton, Tx. Angela is the mother of two amazing boys Nicholas and Aiden. Three years ago Angela decided to start a home ministry where women from all backgrounds could come and hear the Word of God. Her heart was to teach and equipped women to fight for their marriages, children and their God given place in this world! There in her living room Giving Hope Ministries was born and is growing day by day. You can join her live every Sunday evening on the Giving Hope Ministries Facebook page. Connect with Angela further by clicking here!
By: Tamika Mahomes
"Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" Matthew 5:13-16
When we reflect on the passage in Matthew chapter 5, Jesus is preaching the sermon on the mount. When we arrive at verses 13-16, we see Jesus sharing the reminder that this thing called Christianity is a religion worth sharing, as he shares that his followers are to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
While sharing the gospel is necessary, it is something that many followers of Christ shy away from! We often shy away for fear of rejection; we shy away because we don't want to offend; we even shy away because we don't want to face the backlash. The Bible reminds us that when we serve Jesus, the world may get angry, the world may not agree, and that if we choose to be pleasers of the world, we can not walk in the true fullness of life with Christ.
“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10 KJV
“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.”
Philippians 2:3 NLT
While fear may keep us from walking as the salt of the earth and the light of the world, we must rest in the simple truth that when we share Christ with others, we are essentially taking the focus off of us and putting the focus on Christ.
When we live a life of true surrender unto the most high God, we allow our convictions to lead us to a place where our commitments can't hold us. We develop an understanding that this world is not our home, and our obedience to the Holy Spirit is more important than any commitment to this world.
To be salt of the earth and light of the world, we first have to know who the Word is, we must understand what the Word teaches, and we must draw near to the Word's instructions. If we do not have the light in us, we can not show the light to the world around us. John 8:12 reminds us of this truth, as is says:
“...I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (KJV)
When we allowed the Lord to speak to us through his Holy Word, we allow the light within us to transition to the darkness that is around us. Will you allow the Lord to use you today?
By: Anita Mckaney
God's love is unconditional. Most likely, you are aware of this. The Bible tells us that He gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life, according to John 3:16.
He loved us first, but our love towards God must show in our actions. God's love is different from our love towards Him; his love requires obedience. Matthew 5:44 says to love your enemies. Leviticus 19:18 tells us to love our neighbors. Proverbs 17:17 says that "A friend loves at all times." Hebrews 13:1 says, "Let brotherly love continue." You see, faith works by love.
You cannot love correctly until you know God, only when you show God's love are you doing it right! Galatians 5:6 tells us that faith works by love. Love does not work by feelings. God is love. HE did the work on the cross. His sacrifice was our template and example.
Real love requires sacrifice - and sacrifice hurts. It hurts to grow a loving marriage. It hurts to love a wayward child. It hurts to love the mentally ill. It hurts to love the poor. Christ gave His all until it hurt - until he died.
We are crucified with Christ to show the world the love of Christ through our daily living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2). Each time we have a chance to give, to share, or to point someone to Jesus, we are showing love. Anyone can show kindness, but only those filled with God's love can pour it out to others.
Ask yourself if you have a relationship with God first. Secondly, are you sharing the love that you have experienced with others? Lastly, Jesus said that if we love Him, we will keep His commandments (John 14:15), so....are you?
"Beloved, let us love one another. For love is of God and every one that loveth is born of God and loveth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love." (1 John 4:7,8).
Mrs. Anita Mckaney is an Ambassador for Jesus Christ and His Kingdom. She is the wife to Maurice and mother of their two boys. She is a Master’s prepared nursing professor, the author of “The Titus Ten” - a discipleship workbook for women in mentorship and the ebook Anointed Devotions. She is also Founder of Wifestyle Image Network - a global discipleship with the mission of Winning Souls and Winning Marriages. Anita is also a certified marriage mentor, bible teacher and friend to many. You can find her multitasking, spending time with her guys or in her war room. Connect with Anita further by clicking here!
By: Tamika Mahomes
"Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these thing do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 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."
As we arrive at today's passage, we find Jesus teaching on an essential subject, worry. As humans we are natural worriers, we worry about how the bills are going to get paid, we worry about who does and does not like us, we ever worry about things that may or may not happen. But here in today's passage, Jesus reminds us that while life will give us something to worry about, but he is the ONLY solution.
If we allow it, troubles on this earth can consume us. When our focus is on our problems, we can never truly fix our attention on Christ! While worry is a problem, Jesus gives us a solution, to seek first HIS kingdom. The thing about seeking first God's kingdom is it requires us to be intentional! When we do not intentionally seek God through prayer, fasting, and devotion, we allow God's kingdom to remain unsought in our lives.
Life will always bring worry, and that worry can lead to distraction or devotion, but whether we are consumed with worry or with Jesus is a choice that is ours.
1 Corinthians 10:13 says: "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
Temptation is anything that tempts us to take our eyes off God. Jesus never said temptation (worry) would not come, but the Bible reminds us that while it may happen, Jesus is our way of escape. When we find ourselves caught up in our problems, we can miss Jesus, but when we find ourselves caught up in Jesus, we can forget about our problems.
Verse 34 closes with Jesus a reminder, not to worry about tomorrow for tomorrow has enough worries of its own. A reminder that problems on this side of heaven are inevitable, and life will always give us reason to worry. Instead of being consumed in worry, we can fix our focus on God's truth, his word, and his ability to speak to even the biggest and hardest situations in our lives. Isn't it amazing that we can rest in knowing that while tomorrow is full of issues and concerns, we do not have to worry because God is in total control!
Today my friend, I want to leave you with this; do not get so caught up seeking the kingdom of your problems that you forget to look after the kingdom of God. Worries come and go, but Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forevermore. I encourage you to keep doing your part in looking to Christ and let God do his part in looking after you!
By: Tamika Mahomes
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" 2 Corinthians 5:17
When the new year begins, it is common to find ourselves in a place of reflection. We look back on the last year, the ups, the downs, the expected, and the unexpected. When we begin to examine where we were and where we want to be, we open ourselves up to the opportunity of change. Change starts in our mind; it begins with knowing and understanding that our experience does not have to determine our future circumstances. God's word reflects this truth.
In looking at today's scripture 2 Corinthians 5:17, the Bible shows us that once we truly have an encounter with the Lord, we become new. The newness in Christ requires a change in us. We transform our thinking from allowing our past to define us, to letting God's word to guide us. God's word tells us the truth; God's word shows us wisdom; God's word gives us understanding. When God transforms our mind, he transforms our life.
As you look back over 2019, I want to challenge you to reflect on the state of your heart. Have you allowed your old way of thinking to shape who you are and who you will be? Have you determined in your mind that your current situation is your forever reality? Or have you allowed God to speak to you? Have you let God show you that newness in him requires a change in you?
2 Corinthians 5:17 says that in Christ, old things are passed away, and in HIM (yes, HIM, not YOU), all things are new. Without question, without requirement, without limit, God allows you to be made new in him. The truth is, life can change you, or Christ can change you. We ought not to get to a point where we allow life, people, or circumstances to attain our focus so much so that God can not lead us in a different direction. When we stop allowing life to guide us, and we start allowing Christ to guide us, we can rest in the truth that we can relinquish control and rest in him!
As you look back on 2019, I know you may feel you have more questions than answers, I know people may have let you down, I know that you may have had more bad times than good. But I also know that God wants to move in your life, I know that God brings peace to any storm, he brings change to any willing heart, and he even makes the dirtiest, ugliest and messiest things new. If you start knowing him, he will begin changing you, Will you let him?
Well, hey there long time no chat! I know you may be reading this and thinking your eyes are deceiving you, but yes, it's me, Tamika, and yes, I am back! I know it feels like I have been gone for a long time, but I promise I can explain. If you followed along from my previous blogs, you know that in February of 2019 I found out I was pregnant, and while I thought I could do everything as usual, I quickly learned I could not.
I was tired; I was sick; I was emotional. And as much as I wanted to show up and blog in the midst of that, I realized that I needed to give myself grace and enjoy my pregnancy. So that is what I did, I showed up when I could, and I allowed myself an adequate amount of time away to focus on myself and my newborn daughter. And I have to say I do not regret it for one bit. Seeing my daughter grow these past three months has brought me so much joy and gratitude in more ways than I could have ever imagined. I am so grateful!
With that, I want to thank those of you who have stuck around with me through the journey. Your patience and understanding is appreciated. If you are new here, Welcome, I am so glad you stopped by! So now that we have that out of the way I am so excited about the upcoming changes in 2020, so let's hop into it!
During my time away, I reflected on the purpose of the Flourish In Purpose blog. Since I began the blog in December of 2017, the vision has always been about God. The purpose of this blog is to encourage you to flourish in the purpose that God has for you. I've learned that to work in that mission fully; some changes need to occur.
Beginning in Januaray 2020, the Flourish In Purpose Blog will be a devotional based blog. A new devotional will be published every 1st and 3rd Sunday at 10 am! My prayer is that when you reflect and meditate on the scripture and text, God's word to speak to you and that word can resonate throughout the day, week and year. I can share a lot of things, but it is God's word that should change and shape our hearts. The devotionals will be challenging, encouraging, and a reminder of who God is and who he calls us to be.
Also new this year is a guest blogger feature, where you will get to see and connect with other faith-based content creators! I love that the blogging community provides a chance to meet new people all over, I've connected with some great writer friends, and my prayer is that with this new feature you will too! I am excited to introduce you to a variety of people from different backgrounds, with different stories but all sharing the same faith! So get ready.
In addition to the blog, the Flourish In Purpose podcast will be back up and running. While my goal was to do weekly podcasts, I've realized that my schedule will not allow me too, and that is okay (grace)! So starting in Jan., we will be releasing new podcasts on the last Wednesday of each month! We will be gearing up for our first episode of the new year on Jan. 29th! So, if you have not already make sure to check out, rate and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes and YouTube (linked below)!
Finally, a super exciting secret I have been keeping is that I will be releasing my very first book, YES you heard that right, my first book Closer to the King, a seven-day prayer devotional will release Spring of 2020. I have been working on this book over the last year, and it is almost ready to be released! The great news is that if you subscribe to my email list, you will get an inside look before it releases! So click here and subscribe so you get the first update!! My prayer is that this book will help encourage you in your prayer life, realizing not only the importance but the necessity of prayer as believers. I am so excited!!!
Welp...thats all that I have for now, I genuinely hope you are just as excited as I am for where the brand is going in 2020, I know and believe God will be doing big things! I am so excited for this journey! Stay tuned and be on the lookout for the first 2020 blog dropping on Jan. 5th, friends. I will see you then!
There is an old saying that, no one succeeds alone, and while many agree with that saying, I want to pose a follow-up question. What if there is no one to help fuel your success?
While we live in a world centered around having others to hold us accountable, we must understand success requires self accountability. Accountability partners are great, but who will hold you responsible when no one is around? Who will help you strive to reach your goal when temptation is staring you in the face? The success that you achieve starts with you and you alone.
According to Winston Churchill: "The price of greatness is responsibility." That responsibility that Churchill speaks of is a responsibility that starts with the individual. To be successful, it is essential to understand that you have a job to do. If no one else supports or helps you, you have to be able to have a focus that will remain the same. This type of attention and self-accountability is vital in your success, and here is why...
1.) No one cares about you like you care about you.
Your life, your soul, your body, no one cares about it the way that you do. The most important thing to understand is that the only person that will make sure you fulfill your goals and your dreams is you. While your accountability partner may check in on you from time to time, who is going to check on you during the times no one is around? It is not to say that people do not care about you, but the truth is no one else will be as in tune with you and what you need to do except you! You are your biggest cheerleader, and you are the key to succeeding.
2.) Your vision may not appeal to everyone
The truth is that not everyone will agree with you, not everyone will accept you, not everyone will support you, and that is okay! You must understand that if no one else believes in you, you will believe in yourself. Just because someone does not agree with your vision does not mean that it is in vain. Some of the most successful people had naysayers, but if they had given into the opinions of others, you would not see the results of their success today. Keep your vision first, and remember that no matter who supports it, you will fulfill what the Lord has placed on the inside of you.
3.) Your success starts and ends with you
The only one that can fulfill the vision that is inside of you is you. Whether, it is losing weight, starting a business, or even beginning a ministry, to succeed, you must put in the necessary work. No accountability partner or support person can finish the work for you; only you can do it. Distractions, procrastination, and obstacles are going to come, but when you have a purpose inside of you, you learn to push past those things and tap into what God has for you. Remember that if God brought you to it, he will bring you through it, but the one he is calling to do the work is YOU!
In closing, I encourage you to reflect on this scripture, "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also" James 2:26. The things placed inside of us require us to work. We must stop depending on others to push us and remember that we must complete the work that God has put on the inside of us. Start with self-accountability and work, and I promise you the rest will follow.