|Minister, Speaker, Author, Coach, Artist||
A place where encouragement dwells by the breathed word of God designed to bring forth life!
There are times in your life where you may feel as if one more day is too long to endure because even the addition of time represents a weight that seems unbearable to carry.
I am talking about the times where the agony of the tribulation shifts beyond wear and tear and the idea that suddenly God will show up seems as if it is an act of impossible that happens to everyone except you. It is during these trying moments, you may feel as if you have been stretched beyond a bounce back and even a moment’s break is not enough to restore peace in your life.
Yet, I have found that these moments where impossible rears it’s tell tale head, that I find myself backed up against the wall of faith that I’ve built in Christ. The very vulnerability of the state of my circumstance becomes evident as I become fully aware of the cracks in my wall and the random holes that junk has used to ease its way in.
It is during these raging times, that I try and calm my soul down because I know full well that operating like Nehemiah on myself is not the answer to my problem. Picking yourself apart for all of your mistakes is not a good move when you are on your last straw.
In the midst of my observation, God shows me something that causes my reflection to take a different twist. Yes, I can look in the mirror and see myself, but when I take a closer look, I stop seeing me and I start to see Him. The more that I look at me, the more I see him. I look at my scars and I see His grace covering them. I look at my wounds and there is evidence of His mercy. I remove my negative self talk from wanting to find something wrong and shift my focus on what is good and what is right. It is during these intimate times with God, that He reminds me of who He is and I move into His spirit and I enter a place called rest.
Rest in Him causes you to leave your bed by the side of the pool of Bethesda and walk away from a position of pity and move into a position of power and authority. Rest in Him causes you to shift from hopelessness to hope with a certainty that God will take care of you today and tomorrow.
The reason why rest doesn’t seem like a automatic solution to many believers is because the enemy has led some of us to believe that relying on someone outside of ourselves is an act of weakness.
Yet, operating in a place called rest is not relying on someone. It is choosing to rely on God. Resting and relying on God is not the same as trusting a random person or putting your faith in someone who failed you in the past.
Resting in God is putting your faith, trust and hope in a triune God who is the inventor of ability, creator of all things and who has the answer to every problem that you face. God does not operate in happenstance. If it is not question of if He will respond to you, it is just a matter of when. When is such a powerful word because it points to a specific that has already been decided in advance.
So, the next time you are challenged with any circumstance in your life, give yourself permission to go against the grain of normal and let go of your previous ways of handling or managing. Put your hands up and let everything fall away from you becauses God will catch it in this place….and surrender to him.
Even now…..I surrender all to you….every problem….every concern…..take it God….take it away.
Hold me God….For this is your way.
Empty me out….fill me again….
I release it all…replenish and restore.
On the way home from work yesterday, I was deep in thought about several things that had taken place in my life during the month of October. Some of these circumstances qualified as “crazy” and caused me to question if I had truly heard from the Lord regarding decisions that I had made. I even found myself uttering the words, “God, did I really hear from you or was that just me?”
I called my mother just to hear her voice and began to talk to her about my day. As I was driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic, I looked through my rear view mirror and noticed a young lady driving behind me. Each time that we stopped in traffic, I became less confident regarding her driving skills. I also looked at her face and something appeared to be off. The Holy Spirit immediately urged me to change lanes and I obeyed. I told my mother about it and she thought I should hang up with her and concentrate on driving. I told that I had already changed lanes even though the lane that I was previously in was the only one moving. The lane that I shifted into was at a complete stop. Seconds after I shifted, the same young lady ran into the back of the car in front of her. I thought wow….that could’ve been me.
Lesson learned: The Holy Spirit is always on point. Even if it feels as if the shift you recently made, shifted you to a place of waiting. Many of us have prayed for a shift or a place of release, only to find that the place where we shifted to appears to be moving nowhere soon. Yet, I challenge you to hold onto the fact that there is a purpose and plan in every move of God. There is an appointed time and place for everything that God does – including the process of waiting. Do not doubt God because He is always on the move and sometimes that simply requires you to be still. Do not allow your environment to dictate the outcome of your shift. God is the greatest planner for your life. If He has to move you to a place of standing still to protect you until your next shift, then confess even right now….”Jesus take the wheel!”
While some may have entered 2013 with new expectations, others may find themselves sorting through a pile of unwanted issues that somehow followed them from 2012. Truthfully, hoarder tendencies may be the reason that some people stuffed those lingering issues in their spiritual backpacks falsely thinking that those items were necessary for the New Year. No matter how those issues arrived in 2013, the critical decisions that you face in moving forward may have you stuck in between a rock and a hard place. You may feel as if the nearest and dearest to your heart teeters on a tightrope that makes a sacrifice such as Abraham faced with Isaac feel oh so familiar. Even your knowledge of the “ram in the bush” promise does not make it appear where you think it should be.
Past disappointments, regrets, and honestly just not feeling as if God is in “this thing” has caused many believers to waver between faith and worry. You don’t see him moving like He did the last time. You don’t see him rushing to save you from your pending life or death situation and you feel like Lazarus as you wait for Jesus to respond. You wake up with your game face on ready to do battle, but as you go throughout your day facing hurdle after hurdle, weariness slowly creeps in.
Even the thought that another disappointment will be placed in what appears to be a growing and overpowering pile of regrets and hopelessness leaves you feeling defeated.
A few days ago, I found myself with my own list of questions and concerns but each time hopelessness tried to suck me into that awful pit, the skeleton of my soul would not surrender and I pressed in all the more to hear from God. The will of my soul rose up in me determined to hold on for just a little bit longer. In the silence of that moment, the enemy of my soul tried to get me out of my press by challenging me to create a pro’s and con’s list that would cause me to partner with what I believed to be comfortable and familiar instead of what God desired for my life. It was in that moment that I heard God speak to clearly to me as He simply asked,
“Are you willing to risk it all for me?”
Risk as defined by Encarta Dictionary is what you do when you take a chance of something going wrong or when you incur the chance of something harmful, dangerous, or detrimental in your life. The thought of taking a risk for God hit my spirit and I thought about all the times when I had taken the risk for people and things with no reward or good ending. Even though I lost many times, I repeatedly approached the situation with a gambler’s mentality saying to myself, “Maybe this time I will win” or “Maybe this time, it will all work out”. All the times that I said yes to an if and maybe without even asking God if my decision was based on His direction for my life proved to be a losing gamble. I realized that my self-made disappointment had clouded my ability to understand that laying it all on the line for God was not a risk at all. Are you really taking a risk by submitting to one who has all power in His hand? God questioning me with an answer that He already knew was simply His way of challenging me to align my thinking to Him.
Being in a place of not knowing is really an elevation to strengthen our faith. When we realize that, we can take an all knowing- all seeing God to places unfamiliar to us, there is no risk. We don’t enter situations blindly when God is leading the way and has our back at the same time. He is our rearguard! Even now, close your eyes and imagine Him leading you through a dark place and opening a door where light suddenly shows brightly like the outdoors at high noon. Yes, that experience is how it looks when you allow God to guide you through that tough situation that you are struggling with right now. So today, be encouraged. You can risk it all for Christ and become a trailblazer for your own destiny entering into places that no man has entered before!
In a time where the entire world seems to be moving at a chaotic beat, many people who profess to believe in God may find their faith wavering. Perhaps, their faith even shakes when the winds of uncertainty blow haphazardly throughout the day as trial after trial shows up at their door. My former pastor used to call these moments the greatest of all times for believers. When he said greatest of all times, I truthfully struggled in embracing his words when I translated my own trials as anything but great. However, the conviction that God would use these times to show me His glory has always stayed at the forefront of my mind.
This morning as I reflected in my quiet time, I allowed for a moment for God to speak to that place called unbelief. My unbelief place is where I had stored up things that I had not seen God resolve. It was the place where the bills that I could not pay and the blessings that I had not experienced lived. As a believer, I hid this place because I knew it didn’t belong in my faith walk.
Even though I spoke to unbelief and asked God for help, I would find unbelief knocking on my door daily and sometimes I let it in.
Over a period of time, I found myself foolishly covering my unbelief as Adam and Eve attempted to cover their nakedness. Even though I know that God is all knowing and all seeing, I would enter before Him attempting to hide unbelief in hopes that he would not notice the difference in the way that I approached Him. Every time I felt as if I had unbelief in check, it would rear its ugly head bringing about fear and panic. To make matters worse, unbelief began to invite friends. Its friend called “worry” would manifest to an unusual extent as I watched the news about the economy and all the people that would lose their unemployment benefits. I began to experience unchecked and deep concern for all the violence that was taking place against children and innocent people across the world.
These friends joined forces and became balled up into one overwhelming unbelief that appeared to dominate the little faith that I held for dear life. And as I considered the impact to not only myself, but to others around me, I imagined myself standing on the top of a mountain and on the edge looking down at what was looming before me. It seemed as if those “unbelief things” were placed all around in a deep valley and if pushed any further, I would fall into a sea of abyss with Lord knows what happening to me.
Coming to the edge of your faith where trust and unbelief are the only two options do not compel you to automatically leap forward and make a choice. In fact, most people will stand on the very edge of a cliff called decision to a detriment with hopes that God will come to rescue them in the form of a super natural act so that they won’t have to make the choice of trusting Him by leaping in faith. Yet, those that profess to believe God know that we are in fact living in a time where the true test of faith does not take place by waiting for God to swoop you up as you squeeze your eyes tight to somehow bring about the act of him moving miraculously in your life.
No, the tightrope act of faith will take place in the act your leaping. When you leap, you
totally surrender. When you leap, it is with force and determination. In these trying times, believers will have to take that leap from the edge not in the form of spiritual suicide, but in the form of supernatural faith. Faith that says I WILL trust God even if it feels like I’m going to the bottom. Faith that says, I WILL trust God because I know that when I take this leap, He in fact already caught me because I was already in his hands before I lifted my pinky toe. Faith that says I WILL leap even when adversity has risen up against me and formed weapons of mass destruction. Faith that believes that those weapons formed against me, even though they look very mighty, will not prosper. And yes, Faith that says, I am willing to give God all the things in my unbelief place because I am willing to trust Him no matter what it looks like. Therefore, if you are one who is standing at the cliff wondering which decision to make, I challenge you to come outside of what the world is saying and place your complete faith in God. Even in your time of looking at a difficult financial situation, shaky marriage, troubling kids, poor health or whatever it is that you face at the cliff, stare down at those things that have collaborated with unbelief and simply say – I WILL TRUST GOD!
Enter into 2013 by shutting down unbelief and leap by faith!
Be encouraged and blessed!
For more inspirational writings and encouragement, help support my vision of freedom and encouragement by purchasing "How Did I Get Here? Time to Get Set Free!"
In life, we are all subject to experience situations that may manage to set a negative footprint on our minds. If we are not careful, this footprint will grow legs and begin to dictate our future experiences, outward behaviors and thought patterns. We will see the effect of this negative footprint in the way that we talk, treat, and interact with others. We may not intentionally want to do harm to others or ourselves, but when we keep repeating the same behaviors and allow this negative footprint to indent the depths of our mind, it will be almost impossible to change.
There has to be a crossroad experience that wakes up your perception to consider that having a negative footprint of your past operate, as the conductor of how you live and think in your present and future is no longer an option. Listen to the patterns of your behavior and dissect the impact that it has made to life situations, good friendships gone bad and even broken family relationships. You are the best person to take responsibility for your part and acknowledge areas where you can change. This is not about having a conversation with the person you believe to be at fault so that you can be right for the majority of the wrong. This is simply about admitting your part and asking the tough questions even if it is only to yourself about what you learned and what you can do differently. Being right in the moment may satisfy your flesh in an instant. Yet, processing and living through the after effect of ruined relationships and feeling a loss afterwards can damage you for a lifetime.
This is your opportunity to deal with the intimacy of yourself and the God that you serve. This is the time where you have permission to release all the junk that you've been hoarding as if it were a pile of gold that would somehow make you a millionaire in the future. Let it go and ask God for forgiveness for you. Forgiving yourself allows a virtual eraser to clean the slate of your thinking and gives you an opportunity to take ownership for your actions and authority over the negative footprint.
The replacement of the negative footprint truly requires a change in the way that you think. Yes, you must adopt what I call a Freedom Mindset. Embracing a Freedom Mindset will allow you to participate in the act of letting go of any hindering thing from your past despite if it was done to you or if you were in fact the doer. A freedom mindset will allow you to look at your present life circumstances, stop anything that resembles this painful footprint, and declare, as Iyanla Vanzant would say, “Not on my watch”. Yes, a Freedom Mindset will empower you to be the gatekeeper of what enters your future and understand and that nothing can enter unless you collaborate with it and allow it to make its way in.
So as you contemplate about your past, get real with your present and plan your future by wiping the slate clean, get a tangible picture of what your soul (mind, will, and emotions) looks like without all the negative footprint violations. Google a picture of your greatest desire and allow that picture of positivity, purpose and powerfulness become the new vision that you see on a daily basis. Then, envision yourself doing, being, and just living out your life without all the negative footprints and watch the chains that once had you bound fall to the ground. See yourself in a life of ultimate freedom and grow outside the lines! Declare on this day, “I shall be free”. For as the word of God so clearly says, “He who the Son sets free is free indeed”.
Be encouraged and blessed,
"Peace is designed to get you through it all even when you don't understand the facts or have all the answers. To get through this thing called life, we don't need all the answers. We have spent so much time in life trying to find out answers to every situation and stress out with our attempts to resolve. We become overwhelmed with unanswered issues and start collecting them like souvenirs.".
Peace is a condition of freedom that takes place in the depths of your soul. Peace is an atmosphere of calmness that dispels stress and worry. Peace is harmony that invites positive exchanges with others and flows even when you leave their prescence. Peace is a state of mind that grounds an individual even when the world is going in the complete opposite direction.
Even with this knowledge, there may come a time in life where you may feel as if peace doesn't exist. One trial after another may present itself and you may wonder if peace will ever show up. One year ago today, I found myself in this very position. A young man seeking to obtain peace by avenging the death of his brother, murdered my brother in error. Not even a week later, my aunt passed and I found myself searching for peace as if my life depended on it. I knew that I would not make it if peace did not manifest in my life. I cried until it seemed as if there was no longer water in my body. My soul became parched and I reached the point where I could no longer outwardly cry. Invisible tears showed up daily as I sought an answer from God to fill the void in my life.
While I didn't feel as if I had peace, God showed me His strength. It was His strength that enabled me to be the leader in my family, make the funeral arrangements, and to be a rock of strength to my mom who had now lost her first two born sons. It was His strength that caused me to fall on my knees every night and cry out for His comfort as He rocked me to sleep. And yes, it was His strength that caused me to stay in the role of an intercessor and pray beyond my own circumstances because despite what was going on, I was sensitive to the needs of the atmosphere.
And during all of this time, God started to rebuild peace in me. He renewed peace in my soul and gave me a peace of mind. He hovered over me in love and ordered my steps. I honestly don't know that I would have made it without peace. I don't know if I would have been able to look the killer of my brother in the face within an hour after he killed my brother as the police held him in hand cuffs. I don't know if I would have been able to forgive and really mean it.
So if you are struggling with anything today, I dare you to rely on God's strength to get you through it. I dare you to trust God even if you don't understand or have the answers. I dare you to embrace the fact that God loves you....completely...He-loves-you. And when you are able to trust Him, rely on Him, and surrender to Him, then my friend...peace will be waiting and it will be the greatest moment of your life.
Be blessed and encouraged!
"Sometimes in life
You just get to the point
Where you realize
That where you are is all wrong
Like driving in the reverse on a one way street
Even though everything around you
Clearly attempts to compel you to straighten yourself out
by just turning around.
It should not have taken years of going the wrong way
Against the grain of your own mind
For you to realize that
You have given more of you to somone or something
Who could never pay you back
No money represents
the core of you --- your soul".
Even as I reflect back on this particular poem, I am easily reminded of days in my own life where I experienced loss and regret simultaenously. If you find yourself in this place, you feel as if a virtual brick has fallen out of the sky and caused you to suddenly realize the entirety of who you are as a person. You are then able to see clearly and most times you find that bits and pieces of your very essence have been haphazardly dispersed to people, places, or things that deducted from your self worth. In my view, this place can become a habitual landing page that you circle back to when you feel depleted or just don't have anything left to give.
Even if you find yourself in this place, there is still hope. You have to be willing to push past what you see in the now. Past mistakes may have created a temporary set-back, but you have to be willing to bounce back to you were created to be. The word of God says that you are made in the image of Christ and that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Yet, if you find yourself circling back to places of regret, you will not live to the full potential of who you are in God's image. Do not forget how much he loves you. Do not forget who you are in Christ and allow the side effects of the latest trial to change your position in Christ.
So, I challenge you in this moment....no matter what you are facing...no matter what you may believe about yourself....no matter how hopeless things may seem....no matter what you feel you have left to give...no matter if you see your destiny and believe it.....I challenge you to give God your unbelief. I challenge you to have faith in him for one more day....I challlenge you to get on your knees one more time. I challenge you to cry out to him like you've never cried out before. I challenge you to close the door of your familiar lonely place for the last time and tell that place and anyone who exists there that you will not be back. I challenge you to believe that you shall LIVE and not DIE!. Do not give in so that you give up. Allow this day of surrendering to God to be the greatest day of your life.
Be so encouraged....you are asking the right questions....you are asking "How did I get here?" Now wait for the answer...and then let God lead you to your next place.
As a woman, I believe I experienced one of the greatest gifts of all -- growing up as a daddy's girl. Not only was I spoiled by my dad, he loved me dearly and made me feel safe. I grew up believing that he was somewhat of a super hero who could conquer the world if he had to, defend my honor, and fix anything that broke down in our house or car. He would often joke as he would repair things around our house that all I needed when I moved for basic tools was a screwdriver and a hammer.
My dad was an easy going, likable guy who loved life and people. Those qualities showed up big in his cooking, love for the 49ers, love for jazz, and love for his family. Although he enjoyed the simple things in life, he always challenged me to go after the bigger things, the complex goals, and to live out my passion. He would often share with me that I could do anything that I wanted to do or be if I put my mind to it. I know that I'm not the only person that was told this as a child. Yet, there was something super special about having my dad dad tell me those words. Along with my mother's encouragement, I used that inspiration to creatively express myself and try new things. Those words went with me as a tried out and participated in every sport possible, danced, crafted, and moved towards anything that looked like it would be a new adventure. Those words also pushed me to work hard and to go after the things in life...not because I wanted to push people out of the way...but because I simply wanted to be me and be the best me I could ever be. I desired even as a child to make my own unique impression in this world.
So, on my dad's special day...his birthday, I'm simply reminded that none of what I've learned from him and life has left me. Even with the scrapes, bumps and bruises that I've endured in life, I've somehow managed to get back up again by the grace of God and the love of my parents. Everything that I was taught by him is more alive today, than it was when he was here with me. I know that he can't give me those bear hugs or call me on the phone, but I hear him so clearly when I'm dreaming, being creative, or simply persisting in my goals. He is my guardian angel and looks on proudly as I move forward in my life's desires and dreams. My inspiration lives on.
In the writing of my new book, "How Did I Get Here? Time to Get Set Free!", I have learned the power of witnessing a vision come to life through the act of obedience,faith, and love. As a Certified Vision Board Coach, I have been trained to assist people in seeing their personal vision and bringing it to life through pictures. Yet, I am clear that a vision is propelled by action.
In the past, I believed that certain components had to be part of the vision in order for it to be fulfilled. Yet, I have learned throug this experience and many others that vision is not based on components, but based on God's plan for your life. Your will and his grace is what brings vision together to a place called completion. Too often, I have tried to bring things to life on my own and have found myself stuck. Stuck trying to figure things out, stuck with moving on to the next step, and even stuck in starting over and over again. When you have gone in circles too many times to repeat to anyone, you become desperate for a new way out. I imagine that the children of Israel felt this way as they found themselves lost in the same territory trying to reach the promised land.
So, on this day, I challenge you to take a look at your own life. Get a vision and write it down. Quit being lazy by keeping your vision hostage in the confines of a mind that changes every second and is impacted by emotions. Have fun and do a vision board...contact me if you need help in doing one. When you have the vision, don't stop there. Don't let your dreams die on paper! Get a strategy...I can help you with that as well. Get an action plan and somebody who is willing to keep you accountable to the things that you profess....be accountable to your destiny and allow God to guide you through it all. Most of all, get the right perspective. Quit looking at things that went wrong or never worked out for you. Get a God perspective. Let God re-align your mind with the purposes of his heart.
Gina Dacus - speaker, author, prophetic artist who desires to pour out every God given gift for the duration of her life - there are no limitations in Christ!