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Tea for Two: A 30 Day Devotional

Have you pre-ordered your copy of Tea for Two? You do not want to miss out on this 30 Day devotional filled with encouraging words and various teas that can be used as natural remedies to everyday health issues.

Pre-order your copy now at Smith Publishing and Amazon!!!

This is My Story

Hey guys! God put it on my heart to share my testimony. Some things have happened in my life within the last 1-2 years that most aren’t aware of. God delivered me from some things and has been doing some great things in my life. I broke the video down into two parts or else it would’ve been way too long. I was hesitant about posting the second part because I share some personal things that I went through in 2013-2014 and made some mistakes that I’ve just now been able to forgive myself of. I was worried that those who know me and know what I stand for were going to judge me, but God asked me, “Are you doing this for man’s approval or for my glory?” Since I’m doing it for God’s glory, it honestly doesn’t matter what man thinks of me. With all that said, please keep any negative or judgmental comments to yourself. I pray that this blesses you and ministers to you. God bless!

 

But What About Me, Lord?

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3You have said, ‘I am overwhelmed with trouble! Haven’t I had enough pain already? And now the Lord has added more! I am worn out from sighing and can find no rest.’

5  ‘Are you seeking great things for yourself? Don’t do it!..but I will give you your life as a reward wherever you go. I, the Lord, have spoken!'”

Jeremiah 45:3, 5

I’ve been reading the book of Jeremiah and during my quiet time this morning, these two verses wrecked my heart. Jeremiah 45 is a message for Baruch. Baruch was the one who wrote Jeremiah’s book as Jeremiah dictated it. During this time, Jeremiah was a very unpopular prophet (the people of Israel wanted to kill him because they did not like God’s messages that he delivered to them), which meant that Baruch was not too popular either. Baruch’s words resonated with me so much! This is how I currently feel. Things have been going wrong left and right in my life, and it seems like as soon as I start to recover from the last blow I’m struck with another blow. It’s to the point where I’m like, “Lord, when do I get a break?” It’s so discouraging at times! Today during my quiet time, I cried out to God. I asked Him to give me a break, to let me recover, to give me rest because I’m not sure how much more I can take. God began to minister to me through this scripture. He told me, “Just like Baruch began to take his eyes off of me, you are doing the same thing. Fix your eyes on me. It’s not about you. It’s not about what you can get or what you think you deserve. It’s about serving Me and glorifying Me. I know that you are tired, I know that you want a break, but this is for My glory. Keep your eyes on Me, keep serving Me, and remember that you have others watching you. Your life is a testimony, how you live your life allows others to see Me. Remember that and I will strengthen you. I will give you rest, but you have to keep your eyes on Me and keep your eyes off of yourself.”

God’s words to me seriously convicted me. I forgot that this life is not meant to be comfortable. This life isn’t meant to be easy, but I must remember “for our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever” (2 Corinthians 4:17). There is purpose in suffering. God has great purpose in it and that’s what we must remember. Even though it hurts, even though it’s discouraging, even though it feels like it’s not fair, we have to remember Who we are living this life for. Are we living this life for our own enjoyment and comfort? Or are we living this life for Christ? Just as Christ suffered while He was on this earth, we are going to suffer as well.

“Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in His suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing His glory when it is revealed to all the world.”

1 Peter 4:12-13

Be encouraged and remember that you are enduring these trials to glorify Christ. It’s not about you, it’s about Him. But also know that He is with you every step of the way, that He will strengthen and encourage you. Just call on Him.

A Season of Relentless Storms

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Have you ever been in a season where you are being bombarded by attacks from the enemy? I mean as soon as you try to recover from one attack, another one occurs. There’s no rest from these attacks…you’re getting hit from the left and the right. You’re crying out to God, but there’s still no relief. You feel as if He’s forgotten about you…as if this season of storms will never end. You can’t help but wonder why…what did you do to deserve this??? It’s to the point that you’ve cried so much that you wonder if you even have any tears left. You’re not sure how much more you can take before you break. What do you do in the midst of a season like this? Has God forgotten about you? Do you have to bear this storm on your own?

It’s in these seasons that we have to stand on God’s Word. There will be times when it feels like we are on our own, but we must remember God’s promise to us “…He will never leave you nor forsake you (Deut. 31:6).”  Even when we feel as if He’s not there, He’s there. We just have to trust Him to keep His promise to us and by faith believe that He is with us in the midst of the storm.

We also need to ask God, “What are you trying to develop in me in the midst of this season?” I know for me personally, God has used various seasons to develop the fruits of the spirit in me. I struggle with patience like crazy so usually He uses various seasons or storms to develop patience in me. Ask God what it is He’s trying to teach you and He will show you. This will honestly help change your perspective. Instead of wallowing in your sorrows, you will focus on the lesson God is trying to teach you. Trust me these lessons are valuable and will prepare you for the next season of your life. Let the stormy season develop character in you not defeat you.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8,

“For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.
 A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.
 A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.
 A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.
 A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
    A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
 A time to search and a time to quit searching.
    A time to keep and a time to throw away.
 A time to tear and a time to mend.
    A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
 A time to love and a time to hate.
    A time for war and a time for peace.”

I love this scripture because it’s basically saying there will be good and bad seasons in our life. Yes, the bad seasons hurt and they beat us to a pulp, but they develop the character that God wants us to have…they make us more and more into His image. Like it says in Isaiah 48:10, “I have refined you, but not as silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering”, God uses stormy seasons to help us mature as Christians and to make us more and more like Christ. These stormy seasons also strengthen our faith. Think about it: If your faith was never tested, how would it get stronger? Think about it this way, how do children learn to walk? Do they just get up and start walking one day? No! They have to strengthen their muscles. They start off lifting their head and chest, then they start crawling, then they start standing and holding onto the side of the coffee table until finally they can stand and walk on their own. Is it an easy process? No! Do they get frustrated? Yes! But unless they “strengthen their muscles” and “use their muscles”, they will never learn how to walk. Faith works the same way. You have to use it in order to strengthen it. With all that said, stop dreading stormy seasons. Yes, they hurt like heck. Yes, you will cry. Focus on what God is trying to develop in you. Whether it’s the fruit of the spirit, preparation for the next season of your life, or strengthening your faith, take James’ advice in James 1: 2-4“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” So when the storms start raging and the enemy is attacking you left and right, find joy in the fact that God is molding you and strengthening you!

 
 

I Say I Love Jesus…But What Does My Heart Say???

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(Originally Posted September 28, 2013)

Isaiah 29:13,

“And the Lord said:
‘Because this people draw near with their mouth
    and honor me with their lips,
    while their hearts are far from me,
and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men,'”

 

We say we love Jesus, but our lifestyle begs to differ. We profess Him as our Lord and Savior, Master of our life, yet our lives don’t bring Him glory in any way, shape, or form…

 

I can say I love Jesus until I’m blue in the face, but if I don’t represent Him in all that I do, if I’m not living according to His Word, my words mean nothing…all I’m doing is giving Him lip service. What does lip service look like?:

 

  • One minute we’re praising and thanking Jesus for all that He has done in our lives, and in the next breath we’re cussing out that driver that just cut us off on the freeway…but what does God’s Word say???

James 3:10,

“From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”

  • We serve faithfully in the church, pay our tithes, but we’re shacking up with our boyfriend or girlfriend…but what does God’s Word say???

1 Corinthians 6:18,

“Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.”

  • We haven’t been to church in a month of Sundays but we think Jesus understands because He knows our heart, plus we pray and read our Bible when we have time…but what does God’s Word say???

Hebrews 10:24-25,

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

  • We go to church faithfully, serve in different ministries, but have a jealousy so deep rooted in our hearts that it even shames Saul’s jealousy of David…but what does God’s Word say???

James 3:14-15,

But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic.”

  • We say we love Jesus, but we have bitterness, anger, unforgiveness, or deceitfulness rooted in our hearts…but what does God’s Word say???

Galatians 5:19-21,

“Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

 

God’s Word is perfectly clear on what it does and does not mean to be of Him. Not only does God warn us about giving Him lip service instead of our hearts, He tells us specifically to give Him our hearts. 

Proverbs 23:26,

“My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe My ways.”

 

Jesus wants our hearts not our empty words filled with so many promises we never even fulfill. So what does it mean to give Jesus our hearts? It means to literally devote our lives to Him. It means that everything we do, we do it to honor and please Him. It means obeying His commands even when we don’t feel like it. It means making Him number one in our lives. It means denying ourselves daily. It means being a true Christ follower, meaning that our lives should mirror Jesus’ life in all that we do. It means taking that saying, “What would Jesus do?” to heart and living it out. It means giving Jesus our lives. Think about this: we can live without certain organs, such as one of our kidneys or our gallbladder, but if our heart stops working or someone takes our heart out, that’s it, we are done because it is literally our lifeline. So when we give Jesus our hearts, we give Him our entire life. We are literally saying, “Jesus I will now live for You, I will please You in everything I do.”

 

So what now? We have to change. No more being lukewarm Christians. This is what Jesus says about lukewarm Christians:

 

Revelation 3:15-16,

“I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot or cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.”

 

Jesus is literally saying that because we choose to have one foot in this world and the other foot in the church, He will spit us out of His mouth because we are such a bad taste to Him. He would rather us either serve Him wholeheartedly or serve this world wholeheartedly. Us going to church every Sunday is not doing Jesus a favor. Us sending up a prayer every now and then or cracking open our Bibles every so often isn’t going to appease Jesus. Living this life as if we’re doing Jesus a favor and that this life is about us and what we want is the wrong attitude to have. This life isn’t ours to live any which way we choose. God breathed His very life into us! We didn’t create ourselves, He created us for Him!

 

Genesis 2:7,

“then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.”

 

God’s very breath gave each and everyone of us life. Let that sink in. If we have the very breath of the Creator of the world, Creator of the universe, the breath of the Holy, Pure, All-Powerful God in us, then why are we living in mediocrity? Why aren’t we living in excellence? God created each and everyone of us with a purpose and a calling. This life is not our own to do as we please. Our body isn’t even our own.

 

1 Corinthians 6:19-20,

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

 

If we have truly accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, why are we still living like we did before we came to know Him? Why are we blending in with this world instead of standing out like the light of this world we were called to be (Matthew 5:14-16). When we truly come to know Jesus, the Holy Spirit begins to work in us, changing our lives day by day to make us look more and more like Jesus. 

 

Philippians 1:6,

“And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

 

When we have truly turned our lives over to Jesus, we will see a difference in ourselves. Our desires will change. Living life like we used to when we lived for this world won’t feel right to us. The Holy Spirit will convict us, we will feel a tug on our hearts if we do something that goes against God’s Word. If we’ve been knowing Jesus for some time and nothing about our lives has changed, then that’s a serious problem…

 

When we make that commitment to Jesus to give Him our hearts, we can’t keep living life like we did before. There are certain people we have to stop hanging around, certain music we have to stop listening to, certain movies and shows we have to stop watching. We need to be surrounded by those who push us closer to Jesus not pull us away from Him if we’re going to make it in this Christ walk. Us accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and then turning around and going back to hanging out with those same people who don’t want to have anything to do with Jesus or watching those shows and listening to that music that promotes fornication, drinking, cussing, is equivalent to taking a shower and putting on the same nasty, dirty clothes we had just taken off. The bath was useless because we went back to our same funk and stench.

Ephesians 4:22-24,

“to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

This scripture nails it. In order for a change to occur in our lives, it starts with our mind. What are we putting into our minds? What thoughts are we dwelling on? Our thinking effects everything. Before we can do anything, we must think it first. We all have our struggles. There are certain struggles in our lives that we are going to see fade away quickly when we come to know Jesus. There are others that are going to require work on our part. For me, my biggest struggle was lustful thoughts. I had to get on my face before God daily. I had to pour my heart out to Him and lean on His strength to help me overcome. I found scriptures all about thoughts, the mind, lust, etc. I had to fight this with scripture. Get a concordance and find scriptures pertaining to your struggle and confess them daily. Start thanking and praising God for helping you to overcome even though you haven’t seen it manifested yet. For me, I also had to change what I listened to, watched, and read. I had to cut out all R&B music and Hip Hop, which was so hard for me because I loved me some R&B, but I loved Jesus more so I died to myself and made the sacrifice in order to make sure I stayed pure before Him. I don’t even watch TV anymore other than sports, re-runs of Fresh Prince, The Cosby Show, and other clean 90s shows. I love to read, but I had to stop reading romance books. I literally had to go through all my stuff and get rid of anything that could cause me to fall into lustful thoughts. I had to make a choice. Either I was going to be fully committed to Jesus or fully committed to this world. What’s your choice going to be? We can’t claim to know, love, and serve God, if we refuse to look and be like Him in all that we do.