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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!

 

The Peace that Surpasses All Understanding

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“and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:7 (NKJV)

The peace that surpasses all understanding…when I first came to Christ, I would hear this verse and even meditate on this verse time and time again, but I never fully understood what it meant. Ever since I was a young girl, I was a worrier. I would worry about everything. I would worry about things that children shouldn’t even be concerned about, such as finances and having food on the table. Not to go into too much detail, but growing up things were hard for me and my mom. A lot of things that happened in my life were out of my control, which caused me to worry. This habit of worry followed me into my adult life even after I became a Christian and truly started living my life for the Lord. You see, I knew that God would give me a peace that surpasses all understanding, but I didn’t know how to tap into that peace. Philippians 4:6 (NKJV) tells us how,

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;”

My mistake was that even after praying about the situation and telling God what was going on, I was still anxious about it. I still worried about how God was going to make certain things happen. I was trying to figure things out in the natural, but the thing is that God doesn’t work that way. Just because I can’t see my prayer manifested in the natural does not mean that God is not working on my behalf. God is always working on our behalf. He hears our prayers, but there are things going on in the spiritual realm that delay the manifestation of our answered prayers. The enemy is always trying to prevent the manifestation of your prayer. We can see that happening in Daniel 10. Just to give some background, Daniel had a vision about events that were to happen in the future so he prayed to God asking for God to give him understanding. He had been praying and fasting for a while and still did not hear from God. After a few weeks had passed, an angel appeared to him.

“And the man said to me, “Daniel, you are very precious to God, so listen carefully to what I have to say to you. Stand up, for I have been sent to you.” When he said this to me, I stood up, still trembling. Then he said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer. But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels, came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia. Now I am here to explain what will happen to your people in the future, for this vision concerns a time yet to come.”

Daniel 10:11-14 (NLT)

You see, God answered Daniel’s prayer immediately, but the enemy and his demons were trying to prevent the angel from manifesting Daniel’s answered prayer in the natural. Not once while Daniel was waiting for a response did he begin to worry nor did he become anxious. Instead, he fasted and prayed. Daniel is an excellent example of how we need to be when we are waiting on God for a response to our prayer.

In addition to praying and not worrying about how and when God is going to answer our prayers, we must also fix our eyes on Jesus. Hebrews 12:2 (NASB) tells us  “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…”. When we focus on Jesus and keep our minds stayed on Him, He strengthens our faith in Him and we become confident that He will answer our prayers and do what He said He will do in our lives. Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV) tells us You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” When we fix our eyes on Jesus, that means we focus our hearts and minds on Him. By doing this, we show Him that we trust Him and in response to our trust in Him, He overwhelms us with His peace. 

I finally get what the peace that surpasses all understanding is. It is a peace that to someone looking at your life in the natural will not understand why you still have joy and why you are calm and still enjoying life. It’s having peace in the midst of a crisis, peace in the midst of your life falling apart around you, peace in the midst of chaos. I have finally begun to experience this peace. Right now my life is far from going smoothly. I haven’t been working for almost a year. My only source of income is my financial aide and the assistance my parents give me. Not once have I been late on or not paid any of my bills. I still have money to buy my necessities and do things with my friends every now and then. I have gas in my car every week. That’s God! And because I submitted that to Him and trusted Him to be my Provider, I do not worry about anything. I have seen Him stretch my money and make it last. I don’t fully understand it nor do I need to. My job is to trust Him and let Him do the rest. There are some things that God has been promising to do in my life and some amazing visions He has given me for my life. I have no clue how those things are going to be manifested. When I started trying to tell God that I don’t have certain connections or certain skills, He told me to hush. It’s not my job to worry about the ends and outs of everything. He has it all worked out. Now when He shows me things, I tell God that I don’t know how He’s going to do it, but I trust Him to make it happen in His perfect timing and I rest in Him. And now I have this crazy peace that does not make sense, but is such an amazing feeling.

If you are having a hard time trusting God and tapping into His peace that surpasses all understanding, give those worries and concerns to God. Anytime worry starts to creep in your mind, cast those thoughts down and start thanking God for what you are trusting Him to do. Praise Him as if that prayer has been manifested in the natural. Continue to do this and as with doing anything repeatedly, it will become a habit.

Love and praying for you all!

God Opportunities

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16“Brothers,” he said, “the Scriptures had to be fulfilled concerning Judas, who guided those who arrested Jesus. This was predicted long ago by the Holy Spirit, speaking through King David. 17 Judas was one of us and shared in the ministry with us.” 18(Judas had bought a field with the money he received for his treachery. Falling headfirst there, his body split open, spilling out all his intestines.19The news of his death spread to all the people of Jerusalem, and they gave the place the Aramaic name Akeldama, which means “Field of Blood.”) 20Peter continued, “This was written in the book of Psalms, where it says, ‘Let his home become desolate, with no one living in it.’ It also says, ‘Let someone else take his position.’ 21“So now we must choose a replacement for Judas from among the men who were with us the entire time we were traveling with the Lord Jesus…”

-Acts 1: 16-21

This morning I started reading Acts 1 and verses 16-21 ministered to me. They made me think of my Pastor’s sermon yesterday. My Pastor spoke on how God invites us to be a part of His great plans, but He will not force us to accept His invitation. The choice is ours. The example my Pastor gave was when the Angel of the Lord came to Mary telling her of God’s plan to bring Jesus into the world and that He wanted to use her to bring Jesus into the world. Not to go too much into it, but basically Mary was presented with a great opportunity that would require her to make sacrifices, such as the fact that she had never been with a man and most people would not believe her story about an immaculate conception and the fact that she was engaged to Joseph (Matthew 1:18-21, Luke 1:26-38). Mary had many reasons to say no, but she didn’t. She decided to trust God even though she did not know the details of how it would all turn out.

Acts 1: 16-21 is similar to Mary’s story, but it shows what happens when we reject God opportunities. This passage discusses Judas’ story. We all know Judas as being the one who betrayed Jesus. It honestly did not have to be that way for Judas, but he made his choice to reject God’s invitation.

When reading this passage God ministered this to me:

God presents each one of us with great opportunities. In Judas’ case, it was to be one of Jesus’ disciples and to help spread the Gospel throughout the world. When God brings us these opportunities, we have a choice: to accept or reject. If we choose to accept, that means we have to do it God’s way and according to His standards. It also usually means that we are going into this with knowing very little and trusting Him because He will not reveal every detail of how it will happen or play out. We have to trust that no matter what problems may arise or what sacrifices we have to make, He will work it all out in our favor. Accepting these God opportunities leads to fulfillment and great blessings. However, if we reject these God opportunities, He will find someone else with a willing heart to replace us, which is what happened to Judas (Acts 1:21). Also, when we reject God opportunities, we are more vulnerable to becoming like the world and we essentially choose the world’s opportunities over God opportunities, which will end in disaster and feeling much regret. Once we reject those God opportunities, we cannot get those opportunities back.

This truly ministered to me because I have seen this happen in many people’s lives. They let fear of the unknown, opposition from others, or belief that what the world has to offer is greater since it does not require any sacrifice or denying of the flesh, to cause them to reject these amazing opportunities from God. They get so caught up on what’s going on in the natural that they take their eyes off of God.  This is what happened to Judas. He took his eyes off of God and believed what the world had to offer was better so he rejected his God opportunity, which ended in him feeling so much regret that he took his own life and he ended up being replaced.

What I love about the story of Judas is that even though Jesus knew all along what Judas was going to do and it was even foretold that he was going to reject Jesus, Judas was still presented with this amazing God opportunity. That’s the incredible thing about God, even though He already knows whether or not we are going to accept His opportunities, He still presents them to us. He still tries to win us over. He is so patient and merciful! We even see this with Judas during the Last Supper when Jesus went around washing each of His disciples feet (John 13: 1-5). That was such a loving gesture. The washing of feet was the responsibility of a servant. The fact that someone as mighty and powerful as Jesus would do the work of a servant for Judas despite knowing that Judas was going to betray Him is incredible. That’s how loving He is! He will still present these opportunities to be a part of His great plans to those He knows will reject His plan. Let that sink in…

I say all this to make the point that we need to be like Mary instead of like Judas when God approaches us with these great opportunities to be apart of His plans. Yes, these plans will require us to make sacrifices, to deny ourselves, and will require much of us, but they are so worth it in the end. Think about Mary. Because she chose to accept God’s opportunity, we now read about her in God’s Word! She was part of the ultimate plan of bringing our Savior into the world to die for our sins and overcome death! That is amazing! You may not fully understand the opportunity when God first presents it to you, but know that it will bring Him glory and it will be a marvelous, magnificent plan that He is allowing you to be a part of. Put aside your fears and insecurities, fix your eyes on God, trust Him, and accept the opportunity when He presents it to you.

 

 

Anchor of My Hope

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This morning did not start off the best. There were some disappointments and unexpected changes happened. I am one who does not do well with change. This is possibly due to my slow to warm temperament. God has helped me tremendously in this area. In the past, I would shut down completely if there were any changes in plans, especially last minute changes. This morning God helped me to just go with the flow and not react…no attitude or anything…just go with the flow.

While in the shower this morning, the Lord ministered to me. I don’t know about anyone else, but honestly the best conversations between God and I, and when I hear Him clearest, are when I’m in the shower or when I’m locked in my room sitting Indian style in the middle of my bed. This morning while I was talking to Him about how my morning began and just thanking Him for keeping me calm, He said to me:

“Beloved, just like when an anchor is dropped to keep a ship still and in its place, is the same way I keep you still and calm in the midst of a storm.”

This is what Jesus does for us. Life is not perfect. Nine times out of ten something is going to go wrong. The unexpected will happen. People will disappoint us daily. Things will be lost…relationships broken…but in the midst of all that, Jesus is there to keep us grounded…to keep us from losing our minds…He overwhelms us with His love and peace…His joy…He is our anchor of hope.

Hebrews 6:19,

“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast…”

According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, the Greek word for hope is elpis, which means “favorable and confident expectation.” In Hebrews 6:19 it refers to how hope is expressed “in endurance under trial.”

Jesus is the anchor of our hope in that we put our “favorable and confident expectation” in Him during trials, and by doing so we persevere through these trials.

I am so thankful that I have Jesus as the anchor of my hope…I honestly could not make it in this life without Him keeping me grounded daily. Seriously…I would have lost my mind or been dead if it wasn’t for Him.

When everything that can go wrong goes wrong, lean on your Anchor of Hope…allow Jesus to keep you grounded in the midst of your storm. Everything around you can be complete and utter chaos, but as long as you have your Anchor of Hope (Jesus), you will be still in the midst of that storm and you will be calm and grounded.