Hannah’s Prayer

“O my lord! As your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood by you here, praying to the Lord.” 1 Samuel 1:26

Today I was reading scripture when I came across Hannah’s prayer. I was really struck by it so I thought I would share: 

My heart rejoices in the Lord; My horn is exalted in the Lord. I smile at my enemies, Because I rejoice in Your salvation. 

No one is holy like the Lord, For there is none besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God. 

Talk no more so very proudly; Let no arrogance come from your mouth, For the Lord is the God of knowledge; And by Him actions are weighed. 

The bows of the mighty men are broken, And those who stumbled are girded with strength. Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, And the hungry have ceased to hunger. Even the barren has borne seven, And she who has many children has become feeble. 

The Lord kills and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and brings up. The Lord makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and lifts up. He raises the poor from the dust. And lifts the beggar from the ash heap, To set them among princes, And make them inherit the throne of glory. 

For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, And He has set the world upon them. He will guard the feet of His saints, But the wicked shall be silent in the darkness. 

For by strength no man shall prevail. The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken in pieces; From heaven He will thunder against them. The Lord will judge the ends of the earth.  

He will give strength to His King, And exalt the horn of His anointed. 


He Loves Me

“The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and sincere” ~James 3:17, NIV

God spoke to me today via one of my church members. He knows that I have a heavy burden pressing on my heart and sent this message to comfort me. 

I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned around and received this note: 

 It reads ” For you this week “Peace Be Still.” Well, God Himself might as well have penned it! I felt so grateful and emotional. If I may be candid for a moment, I still struggle with the notion of how much God loves me. I don’t deserve it yet He is still crazy faithful and loves me with an everlasting love. 

My God. 

Father, how grateful I am that you have found me worthy of your favor, mercy, and lovingkindness.  You know everything about me-even down to the amount of hairs that I have on my head, and yet you love me anyway. I thank you Father for seeing my pain and wanting to provide comfort. I thank You for Your compassion. I thank You for this message that I know was from You. Thank you for using such a sweet lady to send it. Thank You for Your reassuring Word Abba. In the healing blood of the Lamb, Amen. 

 

Encouraging Yourself

“For whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that we may have hope through endurance and through the encouragement from the Scriptures.” ~Romans 15:4 
In the wicked world in which we live, it is so vital that one is able to keep themselves going in any godly was possible. Fellowship with other believers, reading and memorizing scripture, listening to praise/gospel music, reading Christian titles, attending church services and Bible study, praying, journaling, watching sermons on YouTube, and reading/writing faith blogs are just a few ways to stay the course. 

Our smart phones can really serve us in this area, too. There are many Bible and prayer apps to help us keep in touch with the Lord. I use the notepad on my phone to help myself stay encouraged. 

  These scriptures are right at my fingertips. When I need a little push, I read through the various scriptures and thoughts that I’ve recorded. 
How do you stay motivated to keep your eyes on God? Do tell! 

On Goodness

“I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.” Galatians 2:21

“They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.” Romans 3:12

I want my Christian light to shine. I don’t want to be a person in which others can’t tell that I am a follower of Christ based upon my deeds and words . However, it’s been hard for me. It’s true that you have to die to self daily. As Paul so eloquently said in Romans 7:15, “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.  If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good.  But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.  For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.  Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.” I truly want to do good and be a good person, but my flesh is so weak.

I had a conversation via text with a close friend the other day about this very topic. She is of the opinion that one can be good on their own merit. I disagree strongly. We cannot be good on our own strength. If that’s the case, we would have no need for a Savior. And the Bible clearly states “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9. I know that I can not make it without God’s grace and mercy. I depend on this. Without Him I am a MESS. I can’t trust myself to do the right thing at all times. I need to be covered in the Blood of the Lamb and dressed fully in the armor of God. Even on my best day, I am not worthy. Simply put, I can’t function without Him.

The mentality that being good is enough outside of Jesus is one of Satan’s deceptive ploys. He tricked Eve with this same strategy. Don’ let the devil fool you into believing otherwise.The truth is that we need God. For everything. Period. The End.

Sunday Sermon

“For I know the plans that I have for you..to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

I believe in the power of taking notes, generally and spiritually speaking. Writing helps me focus on the speaker and prevents my wandering mind from drifting. Perhaps it is the English teacher in me. My head is always filled with a 1,001 thoughts.

Today, while taking notes on the sermon entitled “He Still Has A Plan For Me” based upon Mark 11:1-10, I felt so heavyhearted and out of sorts that I wasn’t in the mood for music, message, or fellowship. But out of habit, I attended church and attempted to listen to the sermon, pen in hand.


I halfheartedly wrote:

  • Look for peace
  • Love is a four letter word (my own thoughts, lol)
  • Everybody has highs and lows, Nobody stays on the mountaintop
  • He knows exactly where I am, the people who have betrayed me, He knows I’m tied up in my emotions-He has a plan to get me loosed

While sitting there I started thinking that I needed to do more with my notes. On occasion I read through them all, but that’s it. I never really think about them afterwards. The notebook stays closed and only gets opened on Sundays. But what good are notes if I don’t connect them to my life? They simply become a rote exercise to pass the time. Hence the idea for Sunday posts was birthed from this thought.

Analysis:

Sometimes God will isolate you in order to bring you to Him. No one else will be able to sate you. You will feel so lonely that you have no choice but to seek Him. He will dry up any resources that You place above Him. Once you seek Him, the valley won’t feel so lonely.

Reflection:

This has proven to be quite true in my life. Many of the things I had years ago I no longer have. I almost live like a hermit and as a result, my people resources are barren. But He’s made it this way I believe. He had to do something drastic to get my attention. Me, who all these years thought I was a self-sustaining island nation.

I am in the process of seeking, knocking, thirsting, healing, and hoping that it’s not too late for the plan(s) He has for me.

In Touch 

I get so happy when I see the latest edition of In Touch magazine! The articles are encouraging and help remind me to stay the course regardless of what’s going on around me. 

  

Each edition contains articles, poetry,  photography, and a month worth of devotionals. Sometimes there are testimonies, too. Now these really do my heart good. 

Best of all, the magazine is free. 

Noga

“You shall have no other gods before me.” ~Exodus 20:3

When I was in 7th grade I wrote in my diary that I wanted to try yoga. It looked peaceful and the poses were beautiful. As a ballerina it also appealed to me because it could increase my flexibility.  As an adult, it became the exercise to do. Yoga pants were all the rage and worn freely by those who didn’t even practice the art form. Studios popped up everywhere. Celebrities stood on their flimsy platforms and promoted its validity which increased it’s “hip” factor a thousand times over.

When Nike came out with the Studio Wrap Pack, it was a wrap (as we used to say back in the day) and I was sold for a cheap price, LOL.

I knew Yoga and I were meant to be when I found a Groupon for ten classes for a mere $20. And the best part was that the studio was less than five minutes from my house.

I purchased a pass and proceeded to take lessons. I liked it! The instructor praised my form and poses. I immediately bought a mat and clothes.

But after the first class I had an uneasy feeling. The fact that yoga was affiliated with Hinduism surfaced in my mind.  However, I brushed it off feeling that I was being too dramatic and paranoid.

During this time, a pregnant friend of mine was also taking prenatal yoga which she enjoyed. As my sister in faith, I shared my concerns about us engaging in yoga. She thought it was okay as we were only participating for health purposes-not spiritual. This made me feel a bit better but my spirit still felt vexed and decided I would finish the pass and then quit since I didn’t want to waste money.

I researched a bit and concluded that practicing yoga was a form of idolatry. I learned that the poses pay homage to Hindu gods. Even the way classes end with the word “Namaste,” I bow to the god within you, is a clear red flag that it is not in alignment with Christian beliefs. According to Laurette Willis, the founder of PraiseMoves, the process of enlightenment is to become one with  Brahman, Hinduism’s highest god. 

I now believe that the uneasiness I initially felt but couldn’t quite finger, was the Holy Spirit’s way of letting me know that yoga was not for me.  I had only completed 7 out of the 10 classes, but at this point I was more concerned about pleasing God than I was about squandering money. I did not want to be one of those people who went against God. It reminded of the Israelites in the Old Testament who chose Baal over Jehovah. It was a sobering thought and a group that I did not want to be a member of.

I talked to my friend once again and convinced her to discontinue classes. I pointed out that we could do Zumba or Pilates  and achieve the same effect. Thankfully she agreed.

Many Christians have started participating in “holy” yoga but I won’t be doing that either. There is nothing holy about it and the whole concept is an oxymoron. Yoga is rooted in Hinduism and therefore can’t be separated from it. That’s like having game night with a Christian Ouija board. Creepy.

Some people reading this might think I’m going too far. It’s just exercise so they think. Make no mistake people. The devil is here to kill and destroy. And he’s going to use anything he can to achieve his desired outcome. I think “innocence” is one of the wiliest tricks that Satan employs. See how easy it was for him to get Eve to bite, literally and figuratively speaking? He skillfully convinces us that whatever sin we are engaging in is harmless. The practice of yoga is nothing more than a wolf dressed in sheep’s clothing. Remember, he will use ANYTHING to separate us from God. His desire is to sift us like wheat. Practicing “minor” sins only opens us up to commit major sins later.

A few months after I quit, my pastor spoke about this very thing and warned us if we were taking lessons to stop. I took this as confirmation that I was correct about my feeling. And even IF I turn out to be wrong, I haven’t lost anything, but have gained everything. Thus I will continue exercise my right to say no to yoga.