A few months ago, during my new year goal/planning time, which usually starts in October, I started 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!
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 because 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 circumstances. 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.
So far as we’ve been told, Matthew 6:9-13 is “The Lord’s Prayer.” But, in this text Jesus was only giving a model; a template of how to assemble our prayers. In the 17th chapter of the book of John, we see what is an actual, authentic prayer of Our Lord and Savior, also knows as, The High Priestly Prayer. He uses the template found in Matthew and constructs this deep, moving, meaningful prayer directly to his Father. May our own prayers for one another be so intricate, in the name of Jesus! AMEN
After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
6 “I have revealed you[a] to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of[b] your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by[c] that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.
13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by[d] the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you[e] known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
“For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.”
Someone told me a few years ago that I should never say, “I am who I am,” because there is no such thing. But, I beg to differ. People don’t like to hear that because they expect us to be different; more like them perhaps. It’s the same thing as saying, “what you see is what you get.” People are funny. We act like we can’t stand something about someone, and then they change, turn their life around, and we act like that is not good enough either. (SMH). In the text above the Apostle Paul had changed – for the better – but people still turned up their noses at him. He was condemned for persecuting Christians in the past, and then was rejected for becoming a follower of Christ and spreading the very Gospel he spoke so freely against. But here Paul is saying, “Look, I know what kind of person I used to be, but I am a changed man, due only to the unearned, undeserved, unjustified love, kindness, and favor of God (GRACE).”
And so you can make this claim for yourself – “But by the grace of God, I am what I am.” If you have decided to follow Christ, it doesn’t matter how badly you treated people, or how off the mark you kept shooting, or that you were just awkward with every move you made. Heaven has forgiven and wiped the slate clean. When you opened your heart to God and made him the Lord of your life, he started making all things new in you. Yesterday is yesterday, today his mercies are new (Lamentations 3:22-23). People around you are uncomfortable and don’t know how to react because you have changed, and they have not.
Paul called himself the least of the Apostles, the chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). If God could use a man committed to persecuting his children, certainly he will use you for good and for his glory. God can change you, rearrange things in your life, and raise you levels above your adversaries. He can change your heart and change your mind. It is the power of his grace that will turn you into a mouthpiece to spread his message, and a masterpiece to show the world what he can do.
The world might turn against you and refuse to accept the new you, but you have a great purpose. God’s grace is relentless enough to pursue you for as long as it takes to make sure that in your life, you fulfill destiny. Paul faced many hardships and much criticism after becoming a Christ follower, but he vowed to make his life a cause for Christ no matter what, and no matter who stood against him. (Philippians 1:21).
If this is the day you decide to live for Christ, Heaven is rejoicing; embrace the new you- you are what you are by the grace of God! Study to show yourself approved of the calling. Pray for those who still hold grudges and look down on you, and dedicate your life to one of love, grace, and mercy. All will be well with you in the name of Jesus. AMEN.
Be good, be gracious, and be a blessing to someone today.
This post is your official authorization to stop defending yesterday and stop defending the truth! There is nothing you or anyone else can do about days gone by, and if you know the truth about something and someone is trying to make a case against you, stand firm; the truth needs no defense. If you are the one trying to make someone pay for something over and over because YOU can’t get over it…get over it. In the end, there is NOTHING to be gained by making someone feel bad, or threatening to expose someone else’s dirt (especially if it is linked to your own). I am praying for us all, the oppressed and the oppressors to let go, and move on.
Someone recently told me, (in self-defense), that grace keeps records of wrong – LAUGH OUT LOUD! No It Doesn’t! That statement and thought contradict grace altogether. The only reason people collect offenses and wrong doings is so they have something to bring up against another in the future should they themselves come under scrutiny or attack; it is intended to hurt someone in the future.
The Word of God says, “My grace is sufficient for you,” 2 Corinthians 12:9. If grace keeps records of wrongs for the purpose of holding them against me at a later date, God’s grace is not good enough for me, meaning God in all his glory is not good enough for me; I don’t want any part of that kind of grace. God’s grace is not sneaky and conniving, wicked or oppressive. Grace says, I’m not going to remember, and I’m not going to mention it again or talk about things I never witnessed and really know nothing out.” Fortunately, the God kind of grace does not work alone, it comes with mercy. Mercy says, “I’m not going to make you pay over and over for whatever yesterday was.” The Word of God also promises new mercies every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). Remember that as believers, our strength and purpose are in CHRIST, not any man or woman. GOD already chose grace and mercy for you – a clean slate, and he will turn your situation around for your good, in the name of Jesus! Walk in HIS truth, it’s the only word that matters.
You don’t have to keep answering for yesterday, and you are not alone in trying to escape the person who can’t let yesterday go. I too know people who like to collect offenses and bits and pieces of truths to weave lies and accusations. What you are experiencing is not unique to you. There are many people, insecure, immature people whose only defense is to dig up yesterday and create tall tales; they create stories that they eventually convince themselves are true (and just happened) to make themselves feel better. Before you get too comfortable agreeing with me, remember that God loves them too, and wants what is best for them too. Pray for them instead of defending yourself against them. God will fight for you while you keep quiet. (Exodus 14:14 – “The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace”).
And let me tell you, if someone is using the past to somehow manipulate or control you, disguised as love and good intentions, or as some twisted attempt to change you into the person THEY desire, that person is not seeking good for you. Anyone who purposely sets out to hurt you tomorrow, or at some undefined point in the future is not your friend and does not mean well; LOVE DOES NOT KEEP RECORDS OF WRONGS! Keep praying, God will either move you, or move in the situation. Consequently, If you know you did something you shouldn’t have done, own it; repent, and move on. You don’t have to keep apologizing or defending yourself over and over. Your life doesn’t end just because you get misguided, or tempted, or distracted, or even disinterested. Get back on track, forgive and keep going in the direction of YOUR purpose. The enemy wants you to be hung up on things of old, that is how he intends to infect your mind with sadness, regret, and depression, etc. to control your next moves. Ask God to help you forgive, and to help that person forget yesterday and release the desire to keep you in bondage with tangled realities, and their own unforgiveness.
Lastly, stop defending the truth. If you know the truth of a matter concerning you, and someone is determined to make it a lie, you have nothing to worry about; the truth stands even if no one believes it. It is the spirit of guilt and regret that spends its time with blaming and shaming. Some people are so determined to keep focus off their own faults and issues, that they will do anything and everything to transfer the focus onto someone else; pray for them, and keep moving! If that is you, pray for yourself and I will be praying for you too.
Let God order your steps.
Pray consistently for change.
Just be quiet.
Seek to understand.
Tell your side only to those who are godly enough to ask and listen in good faith.
All will be well with us, in the name of Jesus!
Peace be unto you!
Shaunna is an inspirational author and currently serves as the Pastor of RCCG Grace Chapel in Waldorf, MD. She writes to encourage, enlighten, and empower nations to embrace the word of God as their standard of living to live in peace and victory. More from Shaunna at SPEAK Ministries.