Do You Know Who You Are?

Who are you?  Are you criticism, bitterness, hatred, violence, unforgiveness, or pride? Or, are you goodness, kindness, honor and respect?  The truth is you are NOT a label, or a status on Facebook. You are NOT what your critics say. You are NOT your past or your current circumstance. It does not matter if you are not the tallest, smartest, the most creative, or the richest financially.  You may not be the prettiest or the trendiest. You may have traits you call imperfections, but whatever you have or don’t have, you are supposed to have or don’t need. You were created; formed, fashioned, to look and act exactly the way God intended. You were intended! God made specific decisions about you for a purpose; it does not matter what anyone else thinks.

Who-are-youWhen Jesus asked, “who do men say that I am?” Peter could not give him one answer;Matthew 16:13-20.  People who had heard, experienced, and followed Jesus didn’t really know him. After Jesus was baptized, God spoke from Heaven saying, “This is my son, in whom I am well pleased…” Matthew 17:5.  You don’t have to explain or justify yourself to anyone who tries to define you. You are a child of God; that makes you royalty; an heir to the Kingdom of God. In that kingdom you have access to unconditional love and acceptance, mercy, grace, peace, forgiveness, fullness of joy, and treasures forever more!

I don’t know why God made you as you are, but I do know that God does not waste any time, place, or experience. My struggles and breakthroughs have taught me and encouraged others, and my purpose is being perfected in CHRIST, not the eyes of the world. Know that Christ loves you just the way you are, wherever you are.

Who will you believe today? The cowards who laugh at you and condemn you for not being like them or having what they have, or The One who has the power to raise you up and cause even your enemies to look up to you and treat you with honor and respect?

Christ, in his assignment to give you the assurance of eternal life in Heaven, was criticized, brutalized, sold, and crucified just for being himself – so we could be blessed. He didn’t explain himself to anyone. He had a greater purpose than to make everyone happy.  With all of your differences, you have a purpose; practice it, develop it and let it propel you into greatness in spite of your critics.

Know your purpose, fulfill your destiny!   

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Getting My Paths Straight

Text – Hebrews 12:12-17

A few months ago, during my new year goal/planning time, which usually starts in October, I Straight-Path in foreststarted talking to God about what I wanted him to work out for me in the next year. I was waiting for a word, a theme, for 2018, and was ready; expecting it to be something amazing.  As I studied the word, and dug deep into my period of consecration, the word came; it popped out of my Bible and clung to me. Hebrews 12:13 – Level Paths.

As I read the text over and over, it occurred to me that that message was not about me being soaked in showers of blessings, it was the opposite. Because of me – should I choose to make my paths straight- others would be blessed.

I was a little disappointed by that; disappointed because I was sitting on some very large challenges, and needed hope where there seemed to be none. A couple days went by and I pondered that Word. Why would God set me up to make someone else’s path level when my own was jagged and rutted out?  I said to God in one of our conversations, “How do I make my paths level?”   He said, “You don’t, because Proverbs 3:5-6.”  He was telling me to trust, lean not on my own understanding, acknowledge him in all things and – [who]HE [will what]? MAKE MY PATHS STRAIGHT!    Hallelujah!

I, by trusting in faith, cause my path to be level, and all things concerning me on my path, will be straight. My finances – straight, my home – straight, my car – straight, my relationships – straight, my health – straight, my life – straight.

I receive it, and call it done!  Receive it for yourself, in the name of Jesus. AMEN!

 

Happy New Year!  

Be good, be gracious, and be a blessing this year!

Things out of Control?

Reference: 2 Corinthians 10:1-18

You MUST take authority over your own life, and destroy all thoughts that desire to become greater than God.

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You have authority through God’s Word

The world wants you to believe only in what you can see and touch. People will encourage you to become your own god, to do things on your own in your own way. Some things we have been empowered to handle, but don’t believe the hype; the arguments the world puts in your head that bring you down:

“God will not provide,”  “You are all alone in life,” “You are a failure,” “God is not real,” Christianity is lies and prayer doesn’t work…” There is truth and assurance in the Word of God.

Read the scriptures below for yourself, and apply them to your life;

  1. Philippians 4:19 – “And it is he who will supply all your needs from his riches in glory because of what Christ Jesus has done for us.”
  2. Psalm 54:4 – Surely God is your help; the Lord is the one who sustains you.
  3. Romans 8:37No, in all these things you are more than a conqueror through him who loves you.
  4. No one can be forced to believe in God; it is a choice based on faith, the very existence of mankind, nature, and the giving of hope.
  5. Profess your faith, that you believe in the Trinity, the virgin birth, Christ’s life, Crucifixion and resurrection– Without the believe in the resurrection of Christ, there is no option of Christianity.

IF you believe the Word of God is true, then you believe the arguments are “fake news.”   We have a living God; he lives in us. We have a compassionate God, he sent his son to become and overcome every discomfort we’ve ever endured so that we may have hope of and experience the same victories.

Whatever you face today, trust God.  Faith in God is not easy or reasonable, in fact it’s downright scary sometimes, but I encourage you to hold on a little while longer. Choose to believe that God wants you to be zealous, productive, and prosperous.

Believe that God will hear you and answer you. He desires to be worshiped and adored; he gets no glory in your suffering, only in your turning to him and trusting him and his word as the authority in all things that concern you. Hold on, pray for strength, peace, and victory.

God will provide all of those things according to his purpose and plan for you. He will not abandon you, he will help you, he will give you a testimony!  Even as you struggle, I struggle too, but let us profess faith in the God who will supply all things, and empower us to do all things through him.


“Be good, be gracious, and be a blessing to someone today!”  SJackson

You Are NOT an Old Shoe!

(Overcoming Feelings of Rejection)

Have you ever felt like you who you are, isn’t good enough for anyone? Are you tired of relationships that don’t work and leave you feeling lost and confused? Are you feeling used, and now forgotten…like a dirty, broken shoe?

images We have all been rejected at some point in our lives, and it doesn’t feel good. Sometimes we don’t know why, which feels even worse, but it’s not a death sentence. We don’t qualify for every job, or relationship, or opportunity, that’s the reality of life, and that is why there is so much out there. There is something or someone right for you too.  On the other hand, there are a lot of broken people in the world; a lot of people carrying around past hurts and disappointments using rejection as a way to feel more powerful and be more popular, or get farther ahead etc.  Don’t lose yourself caring about someone who doesn’t mind losing you, or something never meant for you.

Healing can happen if you let it. It doesn’t come the day you decide you want a divorce. It doesn’t come the minute you find out you didn’t get the job. Rejection is one of the worst feelings of the human experience. Over time, fMRI studies have shown that the areas of the brain that become activated when we experience rejection, are the same areas activated when we experience physical pain. This is why rejection hurts our feelings so much. We are actually experiencing pain! [Psychology Today]   Many people don’t move on for a year or two – or more if ever –  after a divorce. Applying to jobs after six rejections letters doesn’t happen the same day. No one wants to be the one the one that wasn’t chosen. No one wants to be the shoe tossed in the corner unnoticed and unwanted. Rejection is not the end of the world, acceptance gives us hope, and a sense of worth.

You are a perfect work of art!  You exist because you have a great purpose. your value was determined by The Creator, not your neighbor, your Ex, or “that group of women” at work or in the church. You were not created to be sport for any man, so make today the day you RISE UP and stop living like an old shoe!   You are not worthless! You are attractive, and useful!

If you continue to tell yourself you’re never going to find the right one for you, you never will. If you are determined to believe that you aren’t qualified for a promotion or a better life, you’ll never be motivated to pursue anything. If you keep saying your whole life feels like one big rejection, you will only feel more rejected. Essentially, you have rejected yourself.

Conversely, if you speak words of life and acceptance to yourself, you will feel capable, empowered, and accepted in spite of the opinions of others.  Not everyone is going to like you, want you, care about you, or appreciate your worth, no matter what you do. That is also part of the human experience.  Some people just don’t like anyone who is not them because they believe they are the epitome of beauty, intelligence, and status. No matter what you do, you will always be less able, less attractive, less worthy, less likeable, less everything. It’s not you – its’ them!  Don’t let their insecurities rob you of the joy meant for you!  Not everyone can see your value, because they are trying so hard to make you see how your life is better because of them. You cannot make someone love you, but you have the power to become someone who can be loved.  You can be the person someone else wants to hire and be around.

Don’t rehearse the hurt.

See it as a new start.

Move on to something new.

Take time to improve yourself and keep it moving.

Not every venture is going to be successful. Not every date is going to lead to a second or third. Learn from your failures, don’t get angry or depressed. Life is hard, and rejection is likely, but your worth is not in the opinions of others. Whatever is meant to be, will be.

Surround yourself with positive people, plan positive experiences, make great memories and live knowing you are strong enough, good enough, smart enough and valuable enough!

 

Be Good, Be Gracious – Be A Blessing to Someone Today!

Shaunna

 

 

 

Your Time in the Cocoon

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2


Why Am I Going Through this? I’m A Good Person! Right now, you may be going through something that is undesirable, dark, lonely, and hopeless. “The struggle is real!” you keep professing to everyone every chance you get. You are in a cocoon. It’s not necessarily cocoon-02because you did something wrong.  You’re most likely in a place of growth. You were not meant to stay on one level in life. God wants to elevate you and keep you rising. The journey includes the struggle, allow yourself to be changed for better.

The frustrating thing, for humans anyway, is that cocoon seasons come when we least expect them.  Caterpillars don’t know their day or time. In their lives, like ours, presumably, all is well, and then things start changing. Their time of merely crawling is about to be over, but they don’t know it. The caterpillar is forced into a dark, lonely, hopeless place. Movement is restricted, options are removed, and comfort is something that used to be.  Sounds familiar, right?

Personally, I often feel as though I’m always going through something, and I watch those who don’t even believe in God or care about others, get favor and comforts ahead of me. However, I am reminded today, that I’m always going through, because I’m always growing, always improving, always advancing. That is the type of person I am; needing change, desiring more.  When we pray for elevation, what we see in our minds is instant elevation. We don’t consider the changes and growing pains required for the journey. Going to the next level will always be an uphill climb, so don’t listen to the people who don’t understand your growth and darkness. It is in the darkness of the cocoon that things shift and change into something greater.

How Long Will I Be in the Cocoon?  That depends on you. The average time for a caterpillar to be in a cocoon, is about 2 weeks. However, the length of time also depends on the species, (reference.com).  So, your time depends on the type of person you are. Are you patient, prayerful, hasty, ungrateful, faithful, vengeful?  God knows your timing; no man can define it for you. We emerge when we are fully prepared to do so. Butterflies are not able to exit the cocoon until their wings are strong enough to push through the confinement. When you are strong enough, you will breakthrough.

What Can I Do To Get Stronger? “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9. Confess your weakness and admit that you cannot get to the next level without going through the process.   Pray continually and worship regularly; focusing on God keeps you from focusing on your cocoon-01circumstances. Keep it moving; hiding from life is not an option on the path to growth. Be determined to make it; having an attitude of success will greatly influence your time in the
darkness. Remember that you are not experiencing something uncommon; it will be easy to fuss and cry and blame everyone else for your struggle, don’t give in, (1 Corinthians 10:13). BELIEVE!  If you don’t believe it will get better, it will not because all you will ever see is the struggle. Have faith (all you need is faith the size of a mustard seed – Matthew 17:20) that you will emerge better, stronger, and wiser. Believe in the good, and the good will come.

6 Ways to Deal with Self-Doubt

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“I’m not good enough.” “I’ll never make it,

“She’ll never be interested in me.”  “No one will notice me anyway.”

 “I’m not qualified.”


Sound familiar? That persistent convincing voice that derails a perfectly good mood and seems more likely than the truth.  Day after day we talk ourselves out of going farther, doing better, or rising higher. We set our eyes on something (or someone) and then spend the rest of our days talking ourselves out of that very thing.  Relationships don’t happen because we convince ourselves that something about us is too wrong for them.  We don’t apply for jobs because we only have 19 of the 20 bullet points. We miss opportunities because of DOUBT.

We are our worst critic, but thankfully, we are not meant to live this life alone. There are people around who will speak life and wellness into us, at least those are the people you ought to have in your circle of influence. Those people will help you see and accept that you ARE capable, and you ARE worthy.  You have spent enough time beating yourself up, and believe me, I too am guilty of talking down about and to myself even when I KNOW those things are not true of me.  Here are six ways to start speaking well and feeling better about YOU:

  1. Remember that your thoughts are just thoughts, they can be changed. You would not choose to constantly berate the friend of someone you care about, would you? No, you would speak well of them, or at least say nothing if you can’t say something nice (because that’s what mom and grandma taught us). You are someone whom someone else cares about.   Change how you talk about yourself.  Tell yourself that you will be OK at that networking event; you will find someone who loves you just the way you are; you are likeable; you will lose the weight… get the job…and you WILL be successful.  
  2. Remind yourself that the past is the past. Whatever mistakes or setbacks you had, that was yesterday, acknowledge them, do what you need to do to right wrongs if you can, and move on. You are not obligated to spend the rest of your life indebted to someone else’s thoughts and opinions. You cannot undo what is done. Leave it alone and move on.
  3. Talk it out or journal. Bottled up thoughts become toxic distortions or the truth. Simply talking about what’s on your mind, or writing them out can help you see how exaggerated your thinking can be.
  4. Work on yourself. If you know for certain you are not qualified, take the necessary steps to enhance your skills and level of experience.
  5. Give yourself a break. You are awesome! You were created for good, and good will come to you.  Your mistakes or failures do not define you. Most people will not put that much weight on what you did or said. If they are mature, considerate people they’ll get over it .  Don’t spend the rest of your life beating yourself up one moment or season in your life – LET. IT. GO!  Learn from where you were, and keep it moving.
  6. Draw energy from others. Doubt wants to isolate you, so defy it. Connect yourself with people who will empower and encourage you to stay positive and focused.

You ARE good enough! 

“Be good, be gracious, and be a blessing to someone today.”

~Shaunna 

Why Prayers Don’t Get Answered and Life Doesn’t Change

The Short answer: You have separated yourself from God.

Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear. Isaiah 59:1-2blessings-denied-01

At this time of year, we are all filled with words of wisdom, predictions are made and resolutions are abundant.  But, it is also the time of year when we are waiting for the many prayers of the year to be answered. The declarations made a year ago about this current year don’t seem to have reached heaven; why?

Know that there is an answer to every prayer. It is either YES, NO, or NOT NOW.  But, as the text above states, there are things you may be doing that are causing  your petitions to go unheard, things within your control.

We are a stubborn people, we want what we want, when we want it, but God is the only one who truly knows what is best for us. After all, he created us and knows us better than we know ourselves.

Know that God loves YOU but he hates sin –God loves you, and WANTS to hear you. Jeremiah 31:3 says that God has loved you with an everlasting [unending, eternal, immovable ] love. That depth of love is a love that desires for you to be safe, healthy, and prosperous, but he hates sin.  Don’t think that others are better than you, or have it all together and that is somehow the reason for their blessings; none of us is sinless (Romans 3:23 “all have sinned…”).   How and when God blesses someone else has nothing to do with you.  God wants ALL of us to share eternity with him, and so he will bless the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45). Don’t compare yourself to anyone else.

Repent and be saved – Turn your eyes inward.  What careless words or actions have gone unrepentant?  Are you given to gossip and backbiting?  Is your pride or self-righteousness getting in the way? Maybe there is something you knew you should have done and didn’t; instead you swept it under the rug or justified your inaction as being right in your own eyes… maybe you haven’t forgiven yourself for something…   We all love the Bible when it tells of goodness and light, blessings, prosperity, and the fall of our enemies; we get anxious when people suggest we are blocking our own blessings.

I don’t know what’s keeping your blessings from manifesting in your life.  All I can do is encourage you to pray to the Lord for revelation. Ask him to show you those things that you cannot put your finger on. God is very good at showing me where I messed up. Repent of your sin, and accept forgiveness.  What is done, is done. God will meet you where you are NOW, and guide you into the future, no matter what you have done in the past. God will turn his ear to you and send help, (2  Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, called by my name, would humble themselves and pray…”). 

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Don’t wait another day. Accept Christ as your Lord and Savior. Acknowledge him as the risen Lord, born of a Virgin. Admit that you are a sinner and cannot do this life without him.  Ask him to come into your heart and turn things around in your life. I can’t promise that everything is always going to make sense, or be easy, but I can promise that you will never be wrong for believing in the assurance of answered prayer, forgiveness, victory over sin, guidance, and salvation.  Start reading your Bible today, get into a Bible teaching church, and let God turn your heart ache into hallelujahs!

 

Be good, be gracious, and be a blessing to someone today!

Shaunna

http://www.speakministries.org