Falling Upward 1-30-16: God’s Love is a Covenant Relationship

In the last few months, God has shown me the importance of having Godly friendships in my life. I remember at one point about 3 years ago, I was crying out to God about having “saved” friends.  I was mad, because I was trying to live right, but all my friends at the time were not living a God first life. At that time, I genuinely wanted to have friends I could just “hang out” with and do “fun” stuff with. But even in that desire, God walked me through process.

It wasn’t until November 2016, that I began to see the bigger picture in having friendships. I literally found a saved friend that I wasn’t looking for.  One of my coworkers, started coming into my office to work and do crafts for her projects and from there things naturally grew between us. The more we talked about God together, the more we grew together as friends. And now I feel like I’ve known this girl for years! Our grandparents even live down the street from each other and we didn’t even know this whole time. God is amazing sometimes. I mean literally her family knew my family; my grandma, and my great-grandmother.

And now that I have this friendship with her, recently God has shown me that relationships with purpose are the relationship he puts together with a bigger picture in mind. Things we don’t see coming up ahead, he’ll purposely place people in your life without you even asking! Because I was not worried about a friend, I was just trying to focus on making sure I was straight with God first.

But saying that brings me to my point. 1 Samuel 20: 16-17 talks about a covenant that Jonathan and David made with one another. They made a covenant to always honor and cover each other; even for generations to come.

The part that got me was the “generations to come.” Covenant relationships that God places us in always providing covering and provisions. The covering and provisions always go beyond ourselves. God will create relationships that help set-up generations for years to come,because he designs things with that kind of mindset.

Covenant relationships are relationships God creates with purpose and ordains for his glory. Whether it’s friendships, marriages, family relationships etc.  Covenant relationships bring growth to both parties.

Even our relationship with Christ is based on a covenant; one that he preordained when he chose us Ephesians 1: 4-7. God creates things with the end in mind that we can’t always see. Covenant relationships aren’t easily broken, matter of fact once God captures your heart, it’s kind of hard for you to really turn a deaf ear to him. Once he has a hook in your heart, the love you have for Christ, will always make you come back and bow at his will and purpose for your life!

The scripture 1 Samuel 20: 17 talks about Johnathan loving David to the point he loved David’s life just like he loved his own life. He was willing to betray his father to honor a man of God. Covenant relationships bring honor because they’re created by God.

As David and Johnathan made their covenant, Johnathan had David “swear by his love.” Because a covenant relationship is truly based on love. A conscious decision made to stick around and stay through it all for the sake of Christ glory and purpose. God allowed Jesus to die for our sins so that through a covenant relationship he could draw us closer to him. God’s whole purpose was because he wanted a relationship with us.

If God fought and sacrificed to have a relationship with us, it’s only right that we honor this covenant relationship by loving him back. God already loves us, the question is do we truly love him?

Falling Upward…to be continued

Worth The Fight

In the fall of 2014, God gave me an idea for a book called Worth The Fight. The idea for this book was literally birthed through tears. One night I was challenged to write through my tears of frustration, and what became of that is something that has become so real in my life in the last two years.

More and more God is showing me just WHY exactly, it’s all worth the fight. Why it’s worth giving our life to Christ. Why it’s worth praising God and spreading his love to others. Why it’s worth praying, fasting and fighting for his Kingdom in heaven.

Tonight during the Celebration Awakening Revival, why it’s worth the fight couldn’t have been more clear. My 13 year old sister, gave her life to Christ! In less than a week of attending church, she wholeheartedly surrendered her life to Christ. At such a young age, God captured her heart. And my prayers have been answered! God is truly faithful.

I started thinking about everything that has happened with me and my family and how I struggled with loving my family and forgiving my family. I knew God was calling me to be a light, but for years I was just bitter. I had a lot of anger built up. God had to heal me and deal with me. I’ve had to die to my flesh and emotions many of days in dealing with my family. All for it to lead up to THIS MOMENT; when my sister gave her life to Christ.

THIS is why I fight for Christ. THIS is why I love God. THIS is why we have to fight for souls to be added to the Kingdom. THIS is a moment I will forever remember.

God, I’m so thankful. She was so sincere, tears and all. I can tell she really has this inner passion and fire already that I know you want to use for your glory! God, ONE life, can change ANOTHER LIFE! God you place us in situations where you never know who’s watching and if they’ll be drawn to Christ because of how we live our lives before you, God.

Hours before church, I had a friend tell me my little sister was going to get saved because of me and how I’ve lived my life before her. I received it, not knowing TONIGHT God would show up and manifest it before our very eyes! God’s word does not return void. It can’t!

But everything that I’ve experienced up until this point, with my family and all my pain, shame, regrets..everything, it was all worth the fight because I realize you were building in me the capacity to get to THIS moment, where another soul was saved. Another soul saved and that we can walk this love journey with God together. That BOTH of us can now be lights in our family. That OUR LIVES might change the lives of our family members.

God your plans are always greater than we can imagine. And even in THIS moment, you still have plans beyond what we can’t see. Only God knows the bigger picture. We just have to be willing to play our part. But because my little sister gave her life to Christ, it made me realize truly my walk with Christ is worth the fight!

I mean literally, seeing my little sister dedicate her life, made me want to rededicate my life and go deeper! At 13, she was captured. Imagine where she could be at 16 in God?! On fire and passionate, leading other young people and giving them hope. She made me forget about all my own struggles because I saw another soul added to the Kingdom that’s going to make a great impact among others. Generational curses…DONE! THIS moment, was beyond worth fighting for. Only a month into the new year and look at how faithful God has been.

This just made me realize so much more, how the fight isn’t just for myself, but for others in my life. Sometimes, the fight isn’t even about me, but it’s because my life has been assigned to help someone else in their walk! The way God puts things together with purpose in mind. A God who’s love is unfailing and he knows all.

This makes me think about how many other people in my life will be next to come to God and join me in this love walk?! God I’m so excited. I was believing God for some radical experiences this year and this is one for the 2016 books for sure!

 

 

 

 

The Echo of Freedom

After hearing 4 messages preached this week about freedom found in God, I am convinced 2016 is my year for freedom! There’s so much that I’ve allowed to bind me up and trap me for years, that this year I have decided to fight back!!!

Literally, God has echoed freedom back to back in less than a week. Sunday morning my Pastor preached about being free and staying free and not returning to former things. Sunday night at SUB 30, Pastor Clay preached about being “Trapped” and how to allow God to help you break free from whatever keeps us trapped in our spiritual lives. Also during the praise and worship that night they touched on being free from fear.

Wednesday night as part of Celebration Jacksonville’s Awakening Revival services, Pastor Carl Lentz preached about freedom in God’s grace. That God has already paid the debt for our sins. And then tonight Pastor John Gray preached about freedom. Praise and worship is used to activate God’s word and make it come alive in our lives.

I cannot ignore what God is trying to echo in these messages. I know God wants me to be free this year. And in just a month alone, I’ve fought like never before. I’ve had my ups and downs all month long, but the one thing I can say is that I’ve refused to go down without a fight. I’ve been through a lot of hell since 2010 and for once in my life I am ready to finally break this cycle and be free!

I know God wants me to be free. I believe he wants me to be free. Really there’s no excuse. In the last few months the words I’ve received have been strong and hard hitting. He’put people around me to constantly guard me and remind me of us his word. He’s been speaking to me in different situations I’ve had to face this month. Literally no matter where I turn, God is present and he’s determined!

In 2014 I became a part of a poetry group called Breaking Free. And although we wrote these poems about “being free” and all the stuff we had dealt with and how God had moved in our lives, I’m realizing more and more, I was never really free like I thought I was. There were still things that kept me captive. Some things I had let go, others lay hidden secretly in inner places I had never really gave God access to.

But this year, as I embarked on a deeper love walk with God, I’ve seen just how much freedom comes from loving him and focusing on his love and all that it has to offer for our lives. And I realized, I wasn’t free then; even though I wanted it. I didn’t want it enough.

The things that makes this year different, is because my mindset has changed. God has increased my prayer life, he increased my appetite for the word, and he’s working on my heart. My worship is different, even how I write my poetry is different. God is just changing stuff all in and through me before my eyes. Voluntary, involuntary.

It’s amazing, when you pray to God and the prayer is sincere, but you have no idea what you really asking for. Because of a prayer I prayed last year, this year God has caused me to go on this love walk journey with him. Getting back to my first works in loving him. I remember asking God to “dig deep” not knowing just how deep my roots were and all that he’d have to do just to scratch the surface of my pain.

There’s so much to be said, I hope you are joining me in becoming free in your life as well. God’s love is freedom, and I pray that you come to know his love, just as I a coming to know his love; day by day.

 

#FallingUpward – 028- God’s Love is Radical

Last night at Celebration Church Jacksonville, I heard a great message preached by Carl Lentz from Hillsong NY. To say the least, he took one simple and familiar verse of scripture and made it come alive in a way I hadn’t really thought of before.

John3:16  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Very simple and familiar right? We’ve heard this scripture 1,000 times and it was one of the first verse of scripture I remembered as a kid.

But he took this scripture and showed just how radical God’s love was. He talked about the gift of grace. The fact that we were undeserving yet God allowed his son to pay the price to save us.

God’s love isn’t like earthly love. Earthly love has limits, sometimes conditions and it isn’t always sincere. Sometimes earthly love can be motivated by selfish desires. But God’s love is nothing like that. It’s pure, it’s simple and it’s free and unlimited.

God’s love helps not only cover our sins, but it makes up the gap between what we can do and we can’t do. One point he made that I really liked was that we don’t do stuff for God to love us, or we don’t do stuff for God to have grace on us. We do things because he ALREADY loves us, and he ALREADY has grace for our lives. We are his children and in that we have to learn to be secure. God is a good father who knows his children. Far better than we know ourselves sometimes.

God’s love is truly a complete package. There’s nothing we need that we can’t find in loving God and in his love to us. His love has us covered. Now, in the past, our future etc. It’s eternal, it has no real limits. God’s love capacity is always greater than ours, even on our best day.

The fact that God’s love isn’t something you have to perform for, or be good enough for, or you have to be “saved” for so long to attain is great. I know a lot of people might not jump over God’s love, but at the end of the day everything God does for us is based on his love for us. And everything we do for God, should be based on our love for him and his truth. And that it what we need to be sharing with people: his love. Because that’s where it starts. If we simply believe. The rest will follow, because he honors those who simply believe.

God’s love isn’t hard to access. No one is exempt from receiving God’s love. You don’t have to be “super saved” and “deep” to get it. It’s there, it’s free in simply just walking with him day to day. Drawing closer to him and his truth.

The more I think about it, the more I find myself asking “What kind of love is this?” Sometimes, it’s so beyond me. Especially when I look back where I was 6 years ago; even 3 years ago. Sometimes I’ve even asked, “Why me God? I know I’m so undeserving.”  But his response has always been to me ” You’re MY child and that’s good enough.”

God’s love is so great, it’s the reason I started my Falling Upward series! I mean, it’s so full that you literally can talk about it and always have something fresh to say about it. Especially when his love really manifest in your own life! It’s the greatest journey ever.

And I say journey, because God’s love isn’t this thing you experience once in a lifetime, or only when you’re at church. God’s love is something to be experienced EVERYDAY! And what’s even greater is that no one’s love walk with God is the same. He caters to us individually in our relationship with him. He knows us all personally.

I could go on, but I’ll just save it for another day’s journey in Falling Upward!

 ……to be continued

 

 

#FallingUpward- 025- Love Digs Deep

Over the weekend I started reading Joyce Meyer book “Beauty for Ashes.” In the book it talked about getting to the “root” of bad habits, and mindsets.

After reading this, I began to think about getting to the root of my own struggles; particularly with men and relationships. It’s been quite the journey since 2009 and it seems like a never ending battle. Although things have gotten a lot better, I still haven’t conquered this mountain.

So I started to write a poem. As I wrote the poem, I wanted to tell a story about a heart that had been entangled with roots from life; shame, guilt, past failures, forgiveness etc. I wanted to eventually compare that heart, to a heart that has been set free by God and how his love helps fortify and strengthen your heart.

I started writing and then it became very visual to me. I literally saw two different hearts. One heart represented my heart. It was so tangled up with roots from my past, my shame, guilt etc. that you couldn’t even see the heart and let alone, it was hard for the heart to function properly and beat healthy because it had all these roots squeezing life out of it.

The second heart I saw, was a heart that God had healed. The inner seed of the heart was based on God’s love and from that grew other things that kept making the heart more fortified. The more things grew from the seed of life, the more the heart began to grow and beat stronger. God’s love was helping to give life to the heart.

After seeing this visual, all I literally could say was “Lord, I never knew just how deep my roots in this area went.” Literally every year since I’ve been saved, I discover something else I need to work on when it comes to men and relationships. Every year I discover this area gets a little deeper and deeper.

I’m learning that digging deep is a process. It’s a process done out of love. It’s a part of our sanctification that God won’t leave us how he found us.

Falling Upward to be continued….

#FallingUpward -024- “Freedom in The Love of Christ”

” We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.” Romans 6:6

Today was a day of freedom. In morning service at my church and at SUB 30 this evening, the topic was about being free from the things that keep us trapped in bondage. I love when God echoes himself and consistently confirms his word.

God has been really faithful today. Even before I went to SUB 30, I spoke with a friend of mine about fear that kept them from really pursuing God wholeheartedly and during the praise and worship at SUB 30, the worship team did Bethel Music’s “No Longer Slaves” and the song talks about not being a slave to fear, but being free as a child of God.

All weekend long, God has been working on freeing me from old habits, thought patterns, mindsets and breaking things off of me that keep me from trusting him in all areas of my life. God has reminded me to continue to focus on his love and seek him first. The more I focus on his love, I realize there’s so much freedom in simply loving God.

Part of loving God is seeking HIM, which I’ve mentioned in a previous post. “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

When you love God, not only are you free from sin, but you can be free from stress, worry, unforgiveness, fear, doubt, anger, anxiety….the list goes on. But with God ‘s love comes the privilege to take fear, doubt, anger, stress, unforgiveness etc. and give it to God to heal. When we cast our cares on God, it keeps us free from trying to live life out of our own strength. There’s freedom in knowing that God can be trusted, that he has the strength to heal and meet all our needs. There’s freedom in knowing he makes our burdens light when we cast our cares on him.

When God chose us, he chose us out of love to free us from the penalty of sin. Because we are no longer slaves to sin, we’re free to love HIM and grow in the purpose that he has for our lives. We’re free to have hope in God and all that he has for us.

If God be for us, who can be against us. There’s true freedom in the love of God knowing that God is always there. He will never leave us or forsake us. And this is what “Falling Upward” is all about. Being free enough to fall into the arms of God and his love.

Falling Upward….to be continued

#FallingUpward – 021: Love builds faith

Since the year began, I have come to realize that walking with God in love helps build your faith in God. The more we love him, and focus on the love he has for us, it builds a deeper trust. The more we love God, the more we trust him with our lives.

Genesis 22: 1-2

“Some time later God tested Abraham.

He said to him, Abraham!

“Here I am, ” he replied. Then God said, ” Take your sin, your only son, Issac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountain I will tell you about.”

After receiving these instructions, Abraham didn’t hesitate. He did what God asked him do without any second guessing. This is what having the love of God looks like. Abraham’s scenario says:

I waited 100 years for God to fulfill a promise, I finally got the promise, and God is asking for me to give him the very thing he blessed me with. Which do you love more? The blessing, or the one who gave you the blessing?

Having the love of God then says, I love God enough to have faith that whatever he’s asking me to sacrifice is for his will.  I love him enough to have faith God will give me better or more than what he’s asking me to give up. God has a reason for everything.To make a move like Abraham, we must first love God. Otherwise we’ll be so focused on the blessing, that we’ll forget about the God who blessed us.

Charles Stanley’s ” Stages of our Faith”

This was a great message that focused on faith in our Christian walk. Every Christian goes through one of these stages at some point in their walk. Part of walking in love with God is having that love for him be tested through trials in life. The more we love God, the bigger our faith. The deeper we love God, the more we’ll have faith to trust him with more.

As Charles Stanley walked through the different stages of faith, I realized each stage required a deeper love walk with God.

Falling Upward to be continued…..