Wednesday, June 24, 2015

#FOODFORTHOUGHT: GOD'S LOVE REVEALED

Hey Loves! In my life, the love of God has been a constant. At my lowest, I felt unlovable. At my highest, I am often puzzled by how God can love me so much. Through the lows and the highs, God always showed me His love for me whether I knew it or not. I no longer question or doubt God's love for His children because the answer has been revealed to me.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39 NLT)

Simply, Christ is the answer. We all know it and we've studied it in Sunday School. The story of Jesus's love and sacrifice is engrained in us every Easter and Christmas. The religion itself and the Holy Bible we govern our lives by is shaped around Jesus Christ. However, the true reveal of God's love does not occur through your acquired knowledge of Jesus. True revelation of God's love is when you begin to experience Jesus for yourself.

Dictionary.com's definition of reveal is as follows:
verb (used with object) 1) to make known; disclose; divulge; 2) to reveal a secret; 3) to lay open to view; display; exhibit.
noun 1) an act or instance of revealing; revelation; disclosure. 2) Architecture - the framework or edge of an automobile window.
Synonyms 1, 2. unveil, publish, impart, tell, announce, proclaim. previously concealed or secret. To reveal is to uncover as if by drawing away a veil: To disclose is to lay open and thereby invite inspection: to disclose the plans of an organization. To divulge is to communicate, sometimes to a large number of people, what was at first intended to be private, confidential, or secret: to divulge the terms of a contract.


When I read this definition, scriptures just ran through my head. Too many nuggets! But I will try my best to summarize for you all The Ways God's Love is Revealed through Jesus Christ:

1. God will make Christ known to you. God will place someone in your path to divulge information about Jesus and to lead you to Him so that you can be saved. The information is not necessarily secret, but it is sensitive and new to you. This is the disclosure and the first instance of God's Love Revealed by giving you a chance to have eternal life. God doesn't want it to be a secret anymore. Jesus was always with God. The world just wasn't given an official announcement of God's plan until Jesus was born. The job Jesus was given here on earth was to announce and proclaim to the masses that the way to God and eternal life is now through Him. God's love is for anyone who wants it. God's love is for anyone who believes in His son Jesus Christ.

2. God will reveal your purpose. Most times, we don't know what God called us to do until we we've began building a relationship with Him for ourselves. Even, if our wonderful parents already saw it in us and imparted in us, we really don't see it ourselves until we hear it from God. However, God already knows your purpose. Since you don't know, it is a secret. Once you begin to grow in your relationship with the Lord, God will begin to show and tell you pieces of your full purpose. He is loving in this way because those not connected to His son are often wandering in life aimlessly. Even if they have worldly success, they often feel like something is missing. No Father wants to see His children trying to figure out what they are going to do with their lives. Especially when He has already prepared a path and an inheritance for them.

3. God will begin to lay open your heart. Once you begin to walk with Jesus and God begins to show you what He has for you, God must then prepare you. You are going to have to open up your heart and let God inspect it. It is a painful process but God has to do it so that you can acquire what He has prepared for you. He has to clean out the filth, adjust somethings, and shut some things down. But He can't do it  if you don't let Him. You may feel like the God is abandoning you or even hurting you but it all love. If He didn't love you and want to see you better, He wouldn't allow you to go through the pain. If He just wanted to inflict pain on you, He wouldn't give you a choice to lay your heart open for yourself.

4. God will connect you with the Body of Christ. We can't walk this walk alone. We thrive off of fellowship, accountability, love, guidance, and serving others. You have to stay connected to like-minded believers. God knows how hard this walk is. Yes, you have Jesus; He is the framework holding the entire Body together. We also have the Holy Spirit with us. But God knew David would need Jonathan. Mary would need Elizabeth. Jesus would need John The Baptist. God knows that You, believer, will need other believers.

5. God will draw away your veil. I live in Philadelphia and we have a strong Muslim population here. Muslim women wear hijabs as apart of their modest attire. Before and during the time of Christ's time on earth, women in Israel wore a very similar head covering for the same purpose. Every day, I see woman walking down the street wearing a hijab. And every day, I think of this scripture:

But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. (2 Corinthians 3:16 NLT)

Before Christ died on the cross for our sins, God did not play any games with us. He was killing people on sight. Taking them up to heaven without warning. Tithes were literally animal sacrifices. Don't forget you had to build the alter first before you started chopping up anything.

But then God sent His only son to die on the cross for our sins because He loved us so much. He was tired of having to continuously punish us without a way for us to be redeemed. He knew we were incapable of not sinning against Him. Since Christ died for our sins, He took all of our baggage on the cross with Him. Once you choose to to turn to Jesus and follow Him, God will remove your veil and free you. Freedom from shame, freedom from guilt, freedom from pain, freedom from strife, and freedom from anything that may seem to have you temporarily bound on this earth. God loved you so much, He gave you freedom. 

6. God gave us the Word. 

In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. (John 1:1-5 NLT)

This may be the most important part and it can be taken in two ways.

a. God loved us so much that He reveals it by inspiring many men to write about Jesus to make one Holy Bible. The Bible is living and breathing. It holds so much power and wisdom. God didn't want to keep us here without a way to know He wants from us. In the Bible, He also provided laws for us to govern ourselves. If you read closely and attentively, nothing in this world is a repeat. Everything we can encounter here on earth, God saw fit to prepare us for it through His word. Through His word, we know Him.

b. All of the above can said about Jesus Christ, the Word, whom is referenced in the scripture above. God loved us so much that He decided to publish the Word by making Him a man. He wanted us to see our reflection in the Word. He gave us a mirror. We will never be able to portray an image as perfect as the mirror. How ever we will always have the mirror to show us our hearts. The Word, Jesus, shows us who we can be in Him. He set a standard in which we now reach. While we will never reach it, God thought it unjust  for us not have an example.

God's Love has been revealed to us. If you feel it hasn't, continue to experience Jesus for yourself. Through Jesus, you will know God's plans for you and the world. God will open your heart. He will connect you with other believers. He will take away your bondage. He will never take away His Word or Jesus from you. That's real love. Let God Love You. SMOOCHES XOXO

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

#FOODFORTHOUGHT: 3 FRIENDSHIP NO-NO'S

Hello Friends! Doesn't that sound warm and inviting?! FRIENDS. How many of us have them? I think deep down inside we all want to feel warm and invited in by those around us. Once we are invited into the friendship fold, the dynamics begin to shift. What once was warm and inviting may have become cold and distant. I have had friendships that have grown cold. Many, if not all, of the cases left me really hurt and trying to figure out why and how did it all go wrong. As the Lord likes to do, He allowed some tests to hit my life and I finally learned why those friendships came to an end.


Maybe you have some friendships that have ended. Or maybe you can sense that your friendships are ending and you just don't know what may have happened to cause it to end. Well for me, I was able to narrow it down to 3 Friendships No-No's that I should have avoided. Hopefully, these will help you.

1. Keep your unsolicited advice and opinions to yourself.
As you can tell from this blog, I really like to share what I've learned, especially if I think it could help someone else. If I have wisdom or information that I feel could benefit a loved one, I wouldn't want to withhold that from them. I would hope that they wouldn't withhold it from me either. However, I have not always been careful with this. I've realized that at times I overstepped my bounds by giving advice or opinions I wasn't asked to give. Yes, I was only trying to be helpful. But my friends didn't want my advice or my opinion. They may have wanted to figure it out on their own. They may have already made a decision. They may not have wanted to hear what I had to say on that particular topic. They may have just wanted me to listen and not respond. No matter the reason, they didn't ask. I should've respected it and not given it.

Once I began to give my advice, I could tell that now there was a "I know it all" cloud and tension hovering over the friendship. If someone is your friend, you two should be equally yoked. One friend shouldn't feel that another friend thinks they are better than the other. Giving unsolicited advice to a friend can lead to resentment. If giving unsolicited advice to a friend could cause resentment, you know consciously and morally it is something you don't have to say, and you want to keep the friendship, then don't give your advice.

On the other hand, sometimes your friends may ask for your advice, not like your advice, get mad at you, and then the relationship is ruined. This has happened to me also. With both solicited and unsolicited advice, friends must respect each other. You really have to know your friend and the dynamics of your friendship. You may feel closer to someone than they have allowed you into their lives. So you are trying to be close and comfortable with your friendly advice and the other person doesn't even consider you that close of a friend for you to "tell them what to do." Make sure that you and your friends have the same perception of the friendship.

I recently made a decision not to give unsolicited advice anymore (as much as I can help it) to friends or family. Instead, I write on this blog and give general advice. I feel whole by doing what I do naturally. I no longer expect the seeking of my wholeness to be put onto my relationships. Your wholeness is in Christ and He can guide your instinctive behaviors.

2. Don't work with friends.
From my experience, it just doesn't work. Both parties have to be mutually respectful and knowledgeable of the role of the other. Professionalism is key. Just because your friend is the boss does not mean you can disrespect them and get loud with them if they do something or make decisions you don't like. And if you are the boss, that doesn't mean you can consistently mix business and pleasure with no set boundaries. Boss, you are in charge, you are leading, and you have to set boundaries. Friends or No Friends. If you two work at the same job in the same position, you two need to learn each others "work personalities." Separate your relationship at the job if you all are not work compatible. If these considerations are neglected, it can affect business and the friendship. You may end up having to choose between friendship or work. Or even worse, both will suffer and dwindle.

To avoid drama, don't work with friends. Even if they really need you to work on their project because of your expertise or they really need a job. I would rather you direct them to a colleague or competitor than to risk the chance of losing a friend. Now if risking a friendship due to work doesn't bother you, then you need to reevaluate that friendship. That friendship or any friendships don't seem to hold much value to you in that case.

If you and your friend became friends due to working together first, then keep going but just keep communication open and boundaries clear. Again, if you know your friend and you know you all could handle the dynamic then make those coins together. If not, just know that sometimes a friend's support and encouragement is the best motivation to propel your business forward.

3. No Cohabitation.
I just don't have good luck with roommates. But my worst roommate episodes were with my best friend at the time. Needless to say, we are no longer best friends. She decided to room with me because she didn't want to room with another peer who had an available room. I explicitly called and warned her. And when she arrived, I reiterated that I just didn't think it was a good idea for us to be roommates. Yet, we shook it off and figured we are cool, we can handle it.

I now realize where we went wrong. We weren't as close as we thought and our own perceptions of our friendship differed. We didn't communicate or want to when things got bad. We told everyone else our business instead of telling each other. We were already growing apart and rooming together was the nail in the coffin where our once great friendship laid.

I wouldn't advise friends to live together unless you are really mature and you can truly handle it. But just to save your friendship from trauma, don't do it. If you become friends while you are roommates, again that is different because you already know what it is to live with them. But if your treading into new territory... simply DON'T.

BONUS
4. Just because its seasonal doesn't make it hurt less.
Sometimes the no-no's are unavoidable because the friendships are seasonal. The Lord will allow things to transpire because if they didn't happen you would stay in a friendship that was only supposed to last for a season. Yet, all the things that happen still hurt and make you question if you are a good person and friend. I'm sorry to break the news but the end of any friendship, seasonal or not, will hurt your heart if you thought you were genuinely being a friend to someone.

However, I do have some good news. You can tell your emotions what to do. You can use your hurt to make you a better person and friend. You can use that time to heal and to grow a stronger backbone. You can overcome. You can grow. You can move on. If the Lord took you through it, His purpose was to bring you out wiser.


I hope that my experiences are helpful to you in understanding what not to do and what you shouldn't have done in your friendships. I would like to hear of your experiences and hopefully some success stories as encouragement. We are put here to love one another and to be brothers and sisters in Christ first and foremost. I pray that we all keep LOVE in our minds as we build friendships. Friendly SMOOCHES XOXO


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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

#FOODFORTHOUGHT: MY NOTES FROM THE BOOK OF JOB

Hello Beauties! I am writing this post on Friday, June 5, 2015. I just got finished listening to the Book of Job. The Lord has led me to take notes and to share them with you all. Why? Of course, I have a why!


I have read this book before and for some reason I missed the entire message that is in the last couple of chapters when the Lord begins to speak (Chapter 38). I honestly thought this book was ONLY about the Lord allowing trials to hit your life to show how great He is and how much the devil is a liar, taking your complaints to God, people judging your life when you go through trials, and letting the Lord ratify your holiness through His restoration of your life. While those things are true, I just realized that the Lord rebuked Job even though he was holy and blameless. That was the most important part. While the Lord said that Job was right, Job took it too far.

As Christians, we have to be careful when we take our complaints to God. He is our Father, He will listen. However, we can't just demand that He does something because of our condition. It's almost like throwing a temper tantrum. "Lord, if I don't get married by 25, I'm going to do what I want in my love life." "Kill me now; why let me suffer?" "Give me this car God. I live right, deserve it." "Give me this kind of wife. I won't accept anything else." Sound familiar?

I am so guilty. Just because you live holy and righteously doesn't mean you don't still humble yourself to God. That's the only thing Job hadn't learned at that point. The Lord will take you through stuff when you know you are doing the right things, you passed the tests, and you are growing. You wonder, "why God?" It's because there's something else He needs you to learn about yourself. Because we will never be perfect, He will perfect our hearts every day we walk with Him on earth until we meet Him in heaven.

Don't know what the Lord is doing but you want to tell Him what to do? DON'T. Just say "Lord, Your will be done." Now you can ask the Lord questions but just be prepared for the answer to your prayer. It's better to ask the Lord let your will be done than to ask Him for THAT job or for THAT man... but that's a totally loaded post all in itself.

So below are my notes. I am only sharing, as I do with everything else on this blog, out of obedience to God. So Lord, your will be done :) I suggest that everyone reads it for themselves and take their own notes. Job is so loaded, especially when the Lord begins to speak in Chapter 38. There is enough revelation and wisdom for all of us.

The Book of Job - Notes

What Did I Just Learn
-Even if the Lord takes you through tests and trials, you can't tell Him what to do with you. You can't give the Lord orders. 
-You really shouldn't even ask the Lord what you have done to deserve your trials if you know are living a Holy/Righteous life. As long as we are on earth, there will always be tests and trials.
-Now you can complain to the Lord because He is the only one who will listen. (Reminds me of Grandma, she is the only one who listens to my complaints... sometimes). But you can't make Him give you a negative or positive result. His will be done.
-Even though Job was righteous and he didn't understand why the Lord was taking Him through, the Lord showed Him in the end that just because you are Holy doesn't give you right to tell God what he should do with your life. Yes, He loves you, but He is still ruler over everything and ruler over you.
-No matter what's going own in our lives, whether we understand it or not, we must humble ourselves to God's will. Job had to learn humility.
-Don't think the Lord won't teach, rebuke, or convict you, because you are FINALLY living for Him. There is always room to grow in Him.
-Before the Lord will make your haters kneel to you, He will make you lay at His feet.
-The Lord will blow through your life like a whirlwind to show you one simple thing. While it is simple when you finally receive the revelation, it is a major thing to God. A major thing that could block a future blessing He has in store for you.
-Just because you know your word and you can teach your brothers and sisters in Christ (and they are not going to listen if they are younger than you in Christ and they don't understand why you are going through if you claim to be holy) doesn't mean you know everything. Clearly you don't even know why you are going through the trial you are going through because you think you are doing everything right. Oh, but the Lord will reveal it to you in due time.

That's all I got. Whirlwind of SMOOCHES XOXO

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

#FOODFORTHOUGHT: CLIMB

I just want to curl up and fade away. Simply that is the "feeling" I've had the last couple of days. I don't have a scripture either. I am in place of I know God can do all things and I trust Him but everything is tugging at my heart. It's easier to lay in bed all day than to deal with life. Ever felt this way?


Well, I don't know why you feel this way but I know why I feel this way. And note the words "feel." Even though I feel like shrinking back, I haven't. This is, of course, an extremely busy and annoying week for me. I know I feel this way because I used to deal with depression and I don't think I adequately passed that test yet.

The same things that triggered depression then is trying to trigger it now: conflicts with people, conflicts at work, confrontation, not having any money, mounds of work undone, important deadlines, new things, unclear plans for my future. The same mountain and the same triggers. Shooting the mountain is useless; it is not going to budge. Shooting yourself only derails your progress and you are still not over the mountain. Shooting yourself can cause you to stay at that mountain forever. Only one more solution left: CLIMB.


Though my feelings have been hurt and I want to not deal with anyone, the Lord keeps urging me to make amends and be friendly. I just found out my funding source for school is not secure but the Lord is urging me to apply anyway. I have lingering conflict in too many relationships (today, 0 is too many) but the Lord is urging me to be the one to step up. I just don't know what else I can do about getting girls enrolled and securing funding for Girls Like Me but the Lord continues to urge me to nurture my baby. I just want to give up on everything but the Lord keeps urging me to keep going.

If the Lord, who is at times very silent, is calling you, tugging on your heart, or even pushing you, why would you resist or give up on yourself? That's what the spirit of depression will do to you if you don't address it properly. It will keep coming back around when God puts you in a place of pressing and stretching which is often if you are trying to grow in Him and live for Him. Before I knew Christ, depression almost took my life. It has caused me to let so many relationships and opportunities go down the drain. Were all of them for me? Probably not, but I don't have a higher level of peace from those situations. Sometimes I wonder: "What if I would've handled that situation differently? What if I would've stepped up instead of shrinking back and letting the situation negatively affect my mind?"

Depression is a spirit that will weigh on you if you don't slay it. It is one spirit that will prey on you mentally from time to time. The only way to overcome is to climb through it. I've finally learned this as I have been climbing this week. You can relate if you have ever been mountain climbing or rock wall climbing. My hands and feet are hurt and tired climbing this mountain. The Lord is my harness. He has my loins tightly girded even though I am extremely uncomfortable. I want to stop climbing but I know there is no backing down now. I got to get over. Here are some tips, some chalk for your hands, to help you climb.

1. Pray and Fast. Always will be my number one suggestion because who else can help you but God.

2. Confront. When depressed, you want to run from all your problems and hide. The word of God says in many instances that if you have an issue, you need to bring it to the light. Don't wallow, don't gossip, and don't ignore. Deal with Life. Life is confrontation.

3. Amend. Once you confront, accept the apology, put the issue to rest, and forgive. Forgive the person, the trial, and even yourself. Let the Lord give you peace which surpasses all understanding.

4. Be Creative. If you can find time to lay, sulk, ignore, and pull away, use that time to attack the things you have to do. Too low to work? Think of new ideas, draw, write, sing. Do anything that is pleasing in God's sight to help you get out of this funk. Doing things you love ignites a spark in your spirit the fades away the darkness of depression.

5. Trust the Lord. You may not have money. You may not know what's going to happen tomorrow or six months from now. You may hate your job. You may not have a job. You may be confused. You may be lonely. But we have to know in our spirits that the Lord wouldn't bring us this far to leave us. I know it may sound crazy but you are a Christian so it has to become your normal vernacular. You may hit your lowest point, but if you don't get depressed and keep working through the pain, the Lord will make a way for you. Don't you know your misfortunes prepare you for your fortunate future?! The bigger your misfortunes, the bigger the Lord will allow your fortunes to become (your fortunes could be peace, joy, family, love, deliverance; I am not necessarily referring to monetary fortunes). But only if you entrust your life to His will.

So if you feel a feeling of lingering depression, shut it down and CLIMB through it. I am going to pass the test this time. Depression can't beat me. I am not judging anyone who is on medications for depression as it is a mental illness. However, depression is a mental illness that Christ can deliver you from. He possesses the spirit of joy, the cure of depression. You never get rid of it completely as you may just have thoughts or instant urges that you sweep away after some time. However, the Lord wants you to keep pushing and climb through it all. I know that something amazingly blessed is waiting for you over that mountain. CLIMB for your SMOOCHES XOXO

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