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.

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PRAY for Me

“Pray for me.”

Those are words many of us have uttered when we just don’t have words to express how we’re doing that day. Instead of being a mere dismissal of information, it’s an actual request, often out of desperation, or a last resort.  

When someone says “pray for me,” that’s all they want; not the insistence that all will be well, or to hear someone say, “keep your chin up, ‘this too shall pass’.”  A simple prayer request is not an invitation to get ultra-spiritual with  flowery, poetic sentiment. People want just a moment of your time when you remember them in prayer.  Scolding, judging, and digging for more details to make yourself feel better, doesn’t help anyone, ever.  You don’t have to know everything, and it’s not supposed to make sense to you. God knows the details, and that is all that matters.anguish

Just pray; because when someone says that to you, that is the ONLY thing you can do for them right then. 

Just pray; God will take it from there.

 

Be good, be gracious, and be a blessing to someone.

Shaunna J.

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The Real “Lord’s Prayer”

 

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 oJesus prays in Gethsemenef 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

John 17 

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

“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. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 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. 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.”

GOD – Emergency Response or Loss Prevention

It never ceases to intrigue me how quick people are to ignore,remove, and condemn prayer every time someone wants to pray before a ball game, or a meeting — and then when something tragic happens and Pray-Any-Waythe enemy attacks, the same people are just as quick to promote the very thing they don’t want us doing even on good days.

We need to understand that God isn’t just a problem solver; the leader of the Emergency Response Team;  he is a problem preventer; the Captain of the Loss Prevention Team – he wants to hear from us and help us BEFORE the enemy attacks, before the game, before the meeting, before the conversation, before the rehearsal, before the day starts…that’s how we keep the enemy from coming in an messing things up.   The enemy hates prayer, and backs away from those he knows are covered with prayer. Are you covered?

“Pray continually,” (I Thess. 5:17) even when things are good.

 

Be good, be gracious, and be a blessing to someone today (pray for them).

Shaunna

 

Stop Defending Yourself!

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.

Let God fight for you instead.
Let God fight for you instead.

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.
  • Observe.
  • 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 J.

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.

Is Your Struggle Beyond Your ABILITY to Pray?

iH3_QIEMPhilippians 4:6; “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

We go through a lot of things in life; we meet a lot of challenges, and face many disappointments. We chase after the wrong things and find ourselves on the wrong side of progress…  Welcome to the human experience! There is not one among us who isn’t going to be angered, disappointed, cheated, wronged, overlooked or is going to do everything right.

So, you are going through somethings right now; I want you to answer the question I asked above, is your circumstance beyond your ability to pray?

I am not asking is it beyond your desire to pray. The truth is, nothing is beyond your ABILITY to pray unless you are not alive. If you can talk about your situation, or cry about it, or worry about it, you can pray about it.

God does really hear every prayer, and receives every praise. No matter what your life looks like right now do those two things, PRAY AND PRAISE. Even if your prayer is, “God, I don’t know how to pray,” he understands that. That’s where the Holy Spirit comes in and helps out.   When you are at your wits end, when you are burned out, bitter, tired of dead ends, when none of your words are right, the Holy Spirit has the right words, and the right answer- PRAY for help. When nothing about going forward seems worth it, PRAY. God will help you see value in your circumstance, if even to just draw YOU closer to him. God never wastes a struggle. Sometimes the solution to the problem we face, is the change God is trying to make in US, not someone or something else. (That revelation made me pause for a second too!)

There is nothing too hard for God, not even your situation. There is no problem too big for God, not even yours, but while you are sitting there trying to figure out how things went so wrong, or why you cant seem to create the change you want to see, remember that the change, the blessing, the breakthrough, the elevation and promotion come AFTER you pray. It is not your job to change people. It is not your business to hold all the answers. It will never be up to you to control all things. It IS up to you to PRAY if you want true victory in your situation. The God of Armies (Jehovah Sabaoth), the God who desires to fight for you, wants to hear from you today. He is a healer, he is a helper, he is a peacemaker, he is a provider, he is a protector, he is a way maker, he is a burden lifter, he is a yoke destroyer…Yes, there IS power in the name JESUS to break every chain!

Will you stop now and pray?

ARE YOU BOLD ENOUGH?

 

living-with-boldness

Mark 11:22-24 encourages us: “So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God.  For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”

This morning it was raining when I woke; raining hard. Normally, this would be a welcomed event because I love the rain and the sound it makes on the roof. But today, I was concerned because my husband has a long commute for which he uses public transportation which means that for part of the time, he is standing outside waiting. And, it’s February. Rain in February is not a warm soothing rain, it’s a cold chilling disturbance. My prayer was, “Lord, stop the rain for the 2 hours he has to be on the way home.”  

Are you bold enough to believe that God can answer such a prayer?  I am.  My husband reported that it was raining when he left work, but by the time he got home about two hours later, the rain had stopped and he didn’t have to walk 5 blocks in the hard rain. As I am writing this, my husband is home and the rain has not resumed, though the forecast calls for rain through the day.

On another occasion, my husband was on his way to work.  The second leg of his commute was running very late, which meant he was likely to miss his last connection, which would mean he’d have to miss work. My prayer, “Lord, cause everyone to run late so he can get to his job tonight.”   Are you bold enough to pray such a prayer? I was.  At the point I think he was about to give up and come home, the train came. At the other end, the connecting ride was also running late according to the group that had gathered to wait.

Do I really believe these things happened because I prayed? YES! I believe because the Word of God says I have what I ask for if I believe. I know, many will say it’s just a coincidence, but nothing about this life is happenstance.  You don’t have to believe in the grace, mercy, and favor of  God, but as for me, I know my God hears me and will answer me. He will do the same for you if you let him. My husband’s comfort is important to me, and I want all to go well with him at work, on the way to and from work, at home…you see, when things are well with him, things are well with me. 

Trust God with all aspects of your life, he will bless you, and all will be well with you.