thirsty……..

I really do feel like I crave the Word of God.  I desperately want to understand what I’m reading when I read my bible.  But sometimes I just feel like the biggest idiot.  Like what did I just read…my comprehension is lacking something fierce..or so it seems.  I use different biblical interpretations on my phone to assist with a clearer meaning.  Lets face it, KJV doesn’t feel like my friend most days, IJS.  I do tend to prefer the NKJV, NIV and Amplified.  But when I just really want the nitty gritty, I have turned to the Message version.  I know that it’s ultimately up to the Holy Spirit to open up my understanding of the Word but it gets very frustrating at times.

So, in my quest to know more of Gods Word, to understand it and apply it to my life, I need Holy Spirits help.  I just can not do it on my own.  No matter how I try or look to other versions, at the end of the day I have to pray and say, “Lord, What does all this mean?”  The good thing about that prayer is the answer comes.  The more I seek God for my daily reading plan the less frustrated I feel and the more I understand what I’m reading.  You see no bible reading plan can guide me better than the one Holy Spirit provides.  I feel less frustrated and intimidated because I know He is leading me where He wants me to go thus giving me insight and understanding.

I’m trying to stop putting so much pressure on myself to get everything done.  I don’t have to read every book of the bible right now.  I don’t have to know my concordance front to back.  I don’t have to read every inspirational/devotional email, pamphlet or book I come across.  I believe I give myself information overload…receiving too much then not knowing what to do with it…just information not knowledge.

So, 2019 is my year to slow down and speed up.  Slow down in the things of Carmen and speed up my obedience to the things of God,  even in reading my bible.  I believe I’ll be the better for it.  Thirsty for the Word but led by God!

Peace and Blessings to you until next time!!!

 

Happy New Year 2019….setting God-goals

Well it’s been a while but I’m back.  Its a new year but the clock on my life doesn’t just start over with the new year.  What I learned and went through in 2018 and before has prepared me to enter 2019.  Each year of my life since 2015 has literally gotten better and better.  Mind you I didn’t say perfect and peachy but God has a way of helping me see things through His lens and it looks promising.

Last month I was reflecting back on my life. I have every reason to dread the holiday season and for many many years I did.  I lost my dearly loved grandfather several months before the holiday over 20 years ago but life NEVER seemed the same.  I lost my loving Mother 10 years ago just days after Christmas..life definitely NEVER was the same.  Three years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and had surgery two weeks before Christmas, WOW!!  So when I look at those situations I could easily be depressed, feel hopeless and just wish the season would pass away while I slept.  But God’s saving grace said otherwise…He wouldn’t let me succumb to these feelings of despair and emptiness.

Living a saved Christian life is teaching me where my source of joy and happiness reside.  Although life threw and continues to throw swings at me, God is ALWAYS on my side telling me when to duck, dodge, get up or step aside.  He is showing me HIs love for me will carry me through any situation all I have to do is: rejoice always, pray without ceasing and be thankful in every situation…MY GOD-Goals for 2019 and beyond (toy story, lolol).  Sounds hard to do but I’m learning practice makes perfect (as perfect as I can get).  I can truly say my good days out weigh my bad days and greater is ahead of me….not only in eternity but here on earth.

I choose to believe in God and His goals for me!!  No time for looking back and stressing.  My life experiences were stepping stones for my right now and next.

What God-goals are you setting for your life….not just 2019 but beyond?!

Be Blessed Always!!

I’ve Got History with The Creator…….

I’ve been really reflective these past few months.  I have HISTORY with the Creator.  I mean literally history that I didn’t even know I had or how it would shape my life.  As far back as I can remember, each stage of my life, God has had His mighty hand working in my life.  I am forever grateful and in awe of His handiwork.

His handiwork has brought me through some Red Sea situations.  I didn’t know they were Red Sea experiences but they were…surrounded by trouble on all sides..at least that’s how I see it.  Even now I feel like I’m dealing with many red seas in my life: personal/health, family, financial and spiritually.  I’m not being dramatic (well maybe a little) but life can be challenging at times to say the least.  What’s amazing is that sometimes I have to stop and think, Wow!! I’m not stressed like I would have been BC (before Christ in my life).  I’m actually experiencing Jehovah Shalom in my life on a daily, that is such a tremendous blessing to ME!!

I know the Red Sea experiences are teaching me life long lessons that are drawing me closer to God, changing my heart and mind, increasing my spiritual maturity and faith.  When facing my Red Sea experiences, trouble all around me, God is saying that’s the prime time to look UP…look to Him.  Look to the only One who has the answers and sometimes that answer has been to “be still.”  Sometimes that answer is just trust me.  Sometimes that answer is I’ll provide.  Sometimes that answer is just be obedient and stop trying to figure me out…just MOVE…follow directions Carmen!  Sometimes that answer is just study my Word for your growth and encouragement.  Sometimes that answer is just spend time with ME.

Whatever the answer is I can’t get to it by looking at the situations.  I MUST keep my eyes lifted UP!!  I want my heart’s desire to match the words to some of my favorite songs: All is well with my soul, just say YES, and Lord, help me to see me as you see me.  I’m more than my current situations.

My Pastor gave me some wise words, “deal with one Red Sea at a time.”  So I’m going to let my Savior deal with the red seas in my life and let Him make and mold me in the process.  God knows exactly what Red Sea to fix first…so I’m placing it ALL at His feet..TAKE IT JESUS!!

PEACE AND BLESSINGS…..GIVE YOUR RED SEAS TO GOD, HE’S MORE THAN CAPABLE OF HANDLING THEM!!

Isolation vs Solitude

At first sight these two words really don’t seem that different to me.  According Wikipedia, isolation is keeping apart from others; being kept apart from others.  Solitude is a state of seclusion or isolation, lack of contact with people.  It goes on to say short term solitude is valued as a time when one may work, think or rest without being disturbed.  Solitude may be desired for the sake of privacy.  Well, I’m still not really seeing the difference…my mind is strange.  But I type this because of an inspirational message I heard last week that specifically spoke about isolation (spirit of isolation to be exact) and solitude.

In the spiritual sense we can isolate ‘be off to ourselves” because we don’t want to be around or bothered with people and their issues or even our own issues.  We sulk and have pity party or we don’t really want to hear the right thing because we want to do the wrong thing.  This is our flesh at work BIG  TIME!!  Now, this was a hard pill for me to swallow at first.  But as I kept listening to the preacher talk he made sense.  Wanting to be isolated from people and thinking about how I’ve been wronged or hurt or how life isn’t what I wanted or expected it to be is my FLESH talking…very LOUDY.  No where in that conversation and my “alone time” am I listening to the voice of God.  This mentality can only lead to my detriment, spiritually speaking.

When he spoke about solitude in the spiritual sense, that would be my time spent alone with the Holy Spirit, seeking, praising and worshipping God, learning His ways and listening for direction.  This solitude, unintertrputed time with God to know Him the more, read His word, learn His plans and purpose for me and the Kingdom that would be godly solitude with godly end results.  My solitude with God should produce some fruit, in me.

An Elder at my church recently taught a message about double lives.  Our lives should be filled with ongoing encounters with the Holy Spirit, building our endurance in our Christian walk and transforming us to have more and more of Christ’s attributes: love, joy, peace, patience, faithfullness, goodness kindness, gentleness, and self control.

So next time I just want to get away or hide out in my home (haha) or call off work or not attend church services, etc etc…… I need to check my motives, especially when the day to day stresses of  life really get to me.  Am I seeking isolation or solitude?  Am I seeking me or God?  What type of fruit is my alone time going to bring forth?

I’m all for disconnecting for vacations..I live to disconnect in that sense, lolol.   But this really made me think about my day to day mindset.  If I get it right on a daily my vacations won’t feel like such long awaited mental renewals that only come every 3, 6, 9 or 12 months depending on your PTO, lolol.

Lets be intentional about our solitude with God, having our minds renewed daily and bringing forth fruit that will make us valuable in the Kingdom and pleasing to our Creator.

Peace and Blessings until next time!

Giving Up to Gain……….

On this last day of July the 7th month of the year I’ve decided to write about things I have given up or trying to give up to GAIN.  We know the number seven represents completion in Biblical terms.  July is a summer month and also represents vitality, healing, courage, radical change, freedom, boldness and spiritual growth.  I feel like this month has been all of those things and I can’t help but to expect more of the same going forward.

So, it has been on my heart to just write about attributes that I’m giving up or releasing to God.  This release hasn’t been all at once but it’s ongoing in my Christian walk.  The release must occur to GAIN more of Him in my life.

Releasing: death, depression, despair, envy, jealously, strife, bitterness, hatred, stubbornness, emotionalism, poverty mentality, gluttony, laziness, fear, impatience, rage, anger, turmoil, pride, anxiety, unmercifulness, unforgiveness, unclean spirit, impure heart, desperation, spirit of lack, entitlement, control, arrogance, idolatry, divination, prejudices, rationalization of God and His plans, and insecurity.

I’m sure I could name more but these are the things that come to mind right now.  This list sounds awful to me and it is. BUT I’m so glad I have a Savior who still loves me inspite of my me.  He is calling me and helping me to release ALL these things and more to Him so I can completely serve Him.

By releasing and serving Him I’m gaining: love, joy, peace, hope, faithfulness, mercy, grace, humility, a submissive will, dependence on a greater, higher Power (which is less stressful), happiness, a future, life now and in eternity, power, strength, courage, boldness, fearlessness, discipline, being complete and whole, self control, protection, purpose, love love love and more love.

Yes, it seems like my list of releases are greater than the gains.  But when you look at the gains in terms of what they are and their meanings, they clearly outweigh the releases.  The gains are lights…lights of and from God.  We know that light casts out darkness and Jesus is the Light.  So, even though I’m releasing and gaining daily, my gains are what keep me going and give me hope. My gains change my life and heart and give me reason to look up and say, “THANK YOU GOD FOR BEING IN MY LIFE EVERY DAY OF EVERY MONTH!”

Release to God so you can GAIN in HIM!!

Peace and Blessings until next time!

Esther……….

I’ve been told and heard this many times over the last couple years, “you are here for such a time as this.”  Now I knew this was scripture but never really bothered to look it up…don’t judge me, lol.  But the last couple of weeks it has really been on my heart.  I saw the scripture somewhere last week, can’t remember exactly what I was reading, but there those words were again.

Esther 4:14 “For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish.  Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

I was like WOW!!  I believe God is really trying to tell me something. So I read the book of Esther, again, now with new insight.  It is more evident now to me that I have work to do in the kingdom.  I’m being tasked with being an example and sharing my Christian faith and walk with others…not so comfortable but very necessary.  I’m realizing I can’t look to people when I should be looking to God for the answers.  I’m the vessel He has chosen to work in and through.  I have people attached to my life that need to hear my voice, my testimonies, my deliverances.  Family, friends or strangers, I don’t want my lack of trust and disobedience to cause me to perish or others.  Whatever the call or mantle God gives me I have to accept it and live it.

Queen Esther had to make a decision to trust God no matter the consequences, customs or protocols she would break and even if it cost her life.  She sought God for direction and followed through.  How many of us can say we seek God when faced with a life altering decision or even obey Him after we’ve sought Him for our purpose in life.  Like we seek Him for guidance then get all skerd when He reveals it..lol, smh!  Surely if God shows us the plan or even part of the plan He will continue to reveal the next steps as we obey and step out in faith.

If I must be like Queen Esther because I’m at this place and time in history, then so be it.  If I’m the vessel of change for spiritual growth, financial prosperity, living single, etc then GOD give me strength, wisdom, patience and love to carry out my God-given purpose. I want to boldly, fearlessly and unselfishly pour out what God ordains of me to accomplish with my life.  I pray we all align our lives, thoughts, motives and works to match God’s plan.

What is your “for such a time as this” mandate???

Peace and Blessings until next time!!

worshipper??!!!

I believe God is trying to turn me into a true worshipper.  I never understood why people would say praise  and worship God in ALL situations…that sounded totally IMPOSSIBLE to me.  But I have always been drawn to the book of Psalm….that is nothing but total and complete praise and worship to an Almighty God in the good, bad, and ever soooo UGLY situations of life.

When I first gave my life to the Lord 3 years ago I had soooo much trouble focusing especially when I would wake up all hours of the night…..mind just wondering…made me crazy.  So anyway, I asked God to redirect my thoughts, especially during my sleep and  abnormal sleep patterns.  What I noticed was God would drop a song or words to songs in my spirit…immediately upon my eyes opening.  This happened so smoothly I had to stop and think, why am I singing when I should be sleep or when I first wake up from a nap….really anytime.  It really is a wonderful experience.  It has become so common that sometimes I don’t even realize I’m singing in my spirit.  Other times I’m like Lord, where is my song, lolol.

Last week I didn’t realize how much I would need a song.  Every morning I woke up to a song called “I Got that..V.I.C.T.O.R.Y” by Anthony Brown & group therapy…go youtube it…listen closely to the words.  The Holy Spirit only gave me the tune and the word VICTORY but I knew the song but not the artist so I went to youtube and listened.  Then the song came on the radio several times throughout the day.  That song ministered to me during a dark time.  But when I say, God gave me just what I needed in the words of that song to carry me through and is still giving me strength to address some issues and believe in HIs plans.  “Jesus is always with me, He is my HELP, I don’t have to fear because He is on my side…..every time you look up you gonna see me winning.”  That’s POWERFUL!!!

I CAN NOT Live WITHOUT PRAISING AND WORSHIPPING GOD!  He is showing me daily how to look to Him and not situations.  I’m learning (because I asked Him to show me Him) to see God as the Most High God, Creator, Majestic, Ancient of Days, heavenly Father that He is.  That is my worship…trying to know Him for Him and not what He does for me…although I find that almost impossible to do.  But what I’m saying is I want to see God for God and all the love He gives me..undeservingly and unconditional.  I’m soooo grateful for my morning wake up songs…really all day long.  What’s mind-blowing is I may not even be listening to music or have heard the songs in a while when the Holy Spirit brings it to me but it always fits the situation or need.  What a wonderful gift from God to regulate my mind, bring me peace and joy and just down right soothes my spirit.

So, I encourage you to ask God to show you how to worship Him, how to minister to your soul and spirit, how to love on you and encourage your heart daily….you just may be surprised at the gift He gives you….I am…STILL!!

I desire to worship in spirit and truth.

Be Blessed until next time!!