Angels in Disguise

angels-in-disguise

When you think of the word Angels what comes to mind?

I asked three lovely ladies and their responses where:

“I think all white, wings and a halo,” Maxine Pennerman, founder of Women Who Fellowship said. “Someone [who looks] innocent and kind.”

Kennesaw State University junior and criminal justice major, Octavia Monsanto said, “Off the top I think of the stereotypical celestial seen on Christmas post cards. Then when I get past that first thought, I think of a shield, like light.”

Lorean Jackson, founder of The Virtuous Lyfe said when she thinks of angels  the vision that pops up in her mind is a”big, glorious, holy, white light and protecting” figure.

What if I were to tell you that although these visions maybe true, an angel could be sitting right next to you.

Through this game we call life, God truly knows how to make our lives interesting. In fact, for some of those unique individuals who pop up during our daily routines could  be God revealing His presence  through His angels in disguise.

A prime example of how God revealed His presence to me was yesterday while on the train, heading home from work. At the time, I was just happy to be off and away from the children aka (hooligans) that I work with everyday. My facial expression showed off that I  didn’t care to hear what anyone had to say and if one would have looked at me they would have stepped far far away. So,  while waiting for my train I sat by a man who looked to be in his mid 30s early 40s. He wore a dark colored shirt with a pair of long jeans and his body was covered with tattoos of religious images and scriptures. Now from the outward appearance he seemed just like a regular guy, but my spiritual instincts seemed to tell me otherwise.

Reason being is because as soon as I sat down, the man began to sing a plethora of encouraging gospel songs. Mind you, he had no headphones in his ears and the only electronic device he had on him was his cell phone in hand. From Lauyrn Hill’s- “His Eyes is on the Sparrow” to Kirk Franklin’s ” Silver and Gold”, the man was truly what I would have considered the walking jukebox.

Even after I got on the train and sat by him, he continued to sing nonstop. Although he wasn’t Usher Raymond, he surely did know how to carry a tune. I was so intrigued  with the message behind the music that I  had forgotten all about my horrible day at work and began to meditate on the blessings of the Lord.

Once I made it to my stop he told me to have a great day, smiled and continued to sing.Now for others, his singing might have come across as annoying, but for me it was very soothing and touching. During that time, God was simply reminding me that He should ALWAYS receive glory no matter what situation I may find myself in, even after a hard days work. With the man being in my presence during my time of pettiness and uncaring attitude, God revealed to me that He still cared for me and was willing to cheer me up through music.

So, next time you’re out be aware of your surroundings and who you come in contact  with because you never know who you could be entertaining. It could indeed be the angel from your dreams!

 Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! Hebrews 13:2 

The Importance of the Word of God

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You remember back in middle school when  your day would be going so well until one of your teachers would state this infamous phrase and declare it a homework assignment: “…Oh yes! Before I forget, I want a report on the book we’ve been discussing in class and it will be due this upcoming Monday.” Shortly after the statement, the teacher would dismiss class and he or she would plaster a smile of great joy  on their face because they had completed their goal of the day- which was to make their students life a nightmare.  Oh the agony! A huge sigh would escalate around the entire room and students would mumble how they couldn’t stand that teacher and they couldn’t wait to graduate. Fast forward a few years later, and even today we find ourselves in similar situations. Whether it be at school or work, we are always being tested or asked to do something that we do not want to do, but it must be done or we will not receive the benefits. This my friends is very similar to the Bible.

For the word of God  is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. (Hebrews 4:12 NLT)

Just as the scripture states the Bible is very powerful and strong; it is even sharper than any sword. It’s purpose is to shed light into your life and speak the TRUTH and oh yes whether you like to admit it or not, the truth hurts. Not everything you read in it will you understand and not everything you do understand will you like. For it is meant to strip you clean and make you whole again.

  All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT)

So just like that middle school teacher whom we all could not stand, we were still able to make it through their class right? And when we turned in that book report, although we did not want to do it, when we saw that golden star on our paper, we just couldn’t wait to show our parents. You see, throughout the word of God you will likely run across scriptures you do  not like and commandments you just can’t get down with. Take Luke 6:27 which reads … love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Now I don’t know about you, but when I first began to get closer to God and meditate on His Word, this scripture was a hard pill for me to swallow. Talk about prayer, that is all I would do! After being manipulated by friends and back stabbed by people who I had given my heart to, I didn’t know how in the world I’d be able to forgive them, better yet love them. It took sometime, but slowly and surely God changed my heart.. like seriously- no longer did I have hate or malice against my enemies but my heart reached out to them. I wanted God to move into their lives and connect them closer to Him.

This my friends is why it is soooo important to get into the word of God. The time that we are living in today is crazier than ever, but with God’s Word He will truly keep us from falling. If you truly desire Christ in your life, but can’t seem to find for Him ask Him for His help. Yes classes, homework, jobs, extracurricular activities can get in the way, but we must remember that we wouldn’t have been able to even get to that stage in our lives without Christ, so He at least deserves a portion of our time EVERY DAY! I promise you if you start off with a willing mind and open heart to just follow Christ and do as His Word says you life will change for the better. How do I know might you ask? I am a living witness. Grace and Peace.

Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.  (Jude 1:24-25 NLT) 

Dee-1 – I’m Not Perfect (I’m A Christian)

Are you REALLY ready for love?

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Love is patient and kind. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (1 Corinthians 13:4,7 NLT)

L.O.V.E, a four letter word that means so much, yet, is used so freely. The word has become so second nature that we use it for everything  and most of the time don’t mean it. A prime example is during the hustle and bustle of Valentine’s Day. While women look forward to the holiday, men not so much–well except if they are single. Let’s be honest: ladies to receive a gift of some sort from a guy makes your heart leap for joy. Men, although you’re not big fans of the holiday, just to walk around with a beautiful woman on your side, you feel as if you are the MAN. However, relationships should not be like that but much much more.

  And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:5 NLT)

Women, instead of chasing after some man to get a $5 stuffed animal, chase after God so He can provide you with the man your heart desires. Men don’t be discouraged because you don’t have a woman by your side or jealous of your friends because they do. Instead, surrender your heart to Christ and He will work things out in your favor. I guess you say it’s easier said than done right? How would I know? Well, as I stated in my testimony  I was a sucker for men and I wanted to be loved. I wanted to receive a bag full of goodies and a card with the words “I love you” inside. I  mean a girl can dream right?  At least I was able to get cards in elementary school, but once high school and college came along, those gifts stopped and the only gift I would receive would be a call from my mother and even that wasn’t enough.

Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7 NLT)

It wasn’t until the summer of 2014 when I found out why I had been single for long. Bottom line: I was not ready for a relationship. To truly submit to a man, nourish and cherish him… Please! I could barely figure out who my real friends were. So, when God told me that I wasn’t ready, I could only agree with Him because He was right. You see, as we grow older and look at the “role models” of entertainment from Kim to Kanye and Angelina to Brad, we wish to have a similar relationship one day. Let’s take Beyonce and Jay-Z for example. Since they have a child, great music careers and can often be seen together in photos with a smile plastered on their face, people automatically assume that their marriage is true and their love is real. But as all things, looks can be deceiving. Nobody truly knows what truly takes place behind Beyonce and Jay-Z’s closed doors, so your relationship goals shouldn’t be focused on just what you see from the naked eye on various screens.

This is why it is important to take heed and hear God out in order to find out if the person you are in a relationship with is truly for you. In all honesty, the purpose of a relationship is to grow and mature into marriage, which is why it shouldn’t be taken lightly. In fact, God says in 1 Corinthians 7:1 ” … It is good to abstain from sexual relations” and carries on to say in verses 8-9,  “So I say to those who aren’t married and to widows—it’s better to stay unmarried, just as I am. But if they can’t control themselves, they should go ahead and marry. It’s better to marry than to burn with lust.” In other words, if a relationship is solely based on sex, the outward appearance of one’s mate and/or the amount of money or gifts one can receive, that relationship will not last. For it is considered unclean and will not have have any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ (Ephesians 5:5 NLT). Just thought I’d share that with you like it is #keepinit100. 

 Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him (Ephesians 5:6 NLT)

So my friends don’t fall for any and everything a person says he or she will do, instead seek and ask God for guidance. Don’t mope or be saddened that you don’t have a valentine this year or a boyfriend/ girlfriend in general. Instead, praise God for the season you are currently living in because when your Queen or Prince Charming does come along more responsibilities will as well. If you are in a relationship and feel as if you are stuck, seek God and ask Him what to do. When you receive your response and sense deep down in your heart that the relationship isn’t worth your time, leave- for God has something better in store for you. As always, trust and believe my friends. Even though the journey can be tedious and we want to give up and turn back to our old ways, remember that God will never put more on us than we can bare because through Him all things are possible.

 Wait patiently for the Lord.
    Be brave and courageous 
    Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. (Psalms 27:14 NLT)

Jonathan McReynolds – The Way That You Love Me

Why Fit In When You Can Stand Out?

Stand Out

Growing up I always knew I was different: 1.) because of my Christian upbringing and 2.) the things I considered fun was more than likely boring to others. While many children at the age of seven and eight enjoyed playing outside, book series such as the Magic Tree House and the Junie B. Jones excited me and writing intrigued me. As I grew older my passion for both hobbies grew as well, however people started to look at me differently. “You actually like to read?” people would ask me. “Writing? Girl please, I’ll just go see the movie for that.” So to fit in, I kept my hobbies to myself and began to do what the “cool kids” would do. Fast forward a few years and I’m back with my original love- books and writing. Even in college I tried to rub off that “good girl” image which is what you’ll read in  my testimony , but that only left me empty. “So what’s you’re point Erica?” some of you maybe asking. My point is no matter how much you try to change, in all honesty the true you will be revealed whether you like it or not.

No matter what stage you are in life NEVER be a people pleaser. For the Word says “not to be conformed to the world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so you’ll know what is good, acceptable and perfect to God” (Romans 12:2). So instead of being someone who you’re not, be who God has called you to be because “you were called for a purpose” (Exodus 9:16).

Can I keep it 100? To my ladies, so what if you’re a virgin and all of your girls are encouraging you to hook up with Shaun and you’re actually considering it. Don’t do it!  Keep in mind  “that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God. You do not belong to yourself” . This message applies to my men out there as well. Instead of trying to see how many legs you can get in your bed in a week, renew your mind and flee from fornication (1 Corinthans 6:18-19).  People wake up! We’re is a spiritual war and the devil is out lurking trying to find his next victim and trust me, you don’t want to be one.

“For we have all sinned and come short of His glory” but it is never too late to get it right with Christ (Romans 3:23). As Christians in college it is time to stand up and stand out. For life and time is to short to try and play church. “What do you mean Erica?”, one may ask. I mean if you can go out and party with your homies on Saturday night, that means you can rise up on Sunday morning and give God the proper praise He deserves. Shoot I know I did… Yes me. While in college, after I renewed my life with Christ, I still went out with friends, but I carried myself differently. My focus was no longer on what man I could attract that night, but it being a girls night out and it was time to have some fun.  Sometimes we would return back on campus a bit late, but I few for sure I’d be hopping into service that following day. And would I feel condemned after doing so? Not at all because I knew I hadn’t done anything displeasing to Christ. Which is what I would like for you all to understand- It is possible to have fun and still be a child of God.

Think about it- you remember when you were younger and you had not been introduced to the cares of the world and technology hadn’t taken over? What where some things you did? I know for me I loved sleep overs and story telling, so while in college I relived some of my childhood favorites and I encourage you to do the same.

Challenge!!

Evaluate yourself by asking this simple questions below. After doing so, determining your answers, ask God to show you the steps you should take to revert back to who you use to be. By trusting and believing Him, He will.

1.) Am I truly being my genuine self?

2.) Am I being a follower or a leader?

3.) Am I happy with who I am and how I’ve turned out to be?

4.) Does my mindset need a makeover?

Kirk Franklin ft. Da T.R.U.T.H- I Like Me

Our Plans vs. Gods Plans

“We can make our own plans but the Lord gives the right answer.” -Proverbs 16:1 

Have you ever been in a situation that you just knew you had in the bag? To my females does this sound familiar: “Giiirrrlll! Daymon looking at me with that look! I know he mine!”  What about my guys: “Um um um Sue know she bad! That’s bae right there!” All to find out that Daymon wasn’t looking at the girl and Sue could careless about Daymon. Alright so what if your situation wasn’t focused on relationship statuses, but a new job, a prestigious award, an acceptance letter to a new school, an organization, sorority or fraternity, nevertheless it never worked out. Well my friends I’m here to tell you that God is in charge of it all. We might make plans or come up with a list of things we want to take place in our lives, but unless it is God driven it’s not going to happen. However, my friends NEVER give up because as Christian rapper Da T.R.U.T.H says, “In Jesus  we got that hope!”

“Commit your actions to the Lord and your plans will succeed.”-Proverbs 16:3

By crying out to the Lord and giving Him your heart’s desire YOU WILL SUCCEED — but do know it more than likely won’t be on the time you have set on your Google calendar. It will be the time God has for you and trust God’s timing is the best, even though it doesn’t seem like it sometimes.

“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps”-Proverbs 16:9

Every step and move you make God knows about it  and is aware of what you are trying to do. Remember, He created you so He knows what is best for you. This is exactly why He determines our steps to lead us in the right path. You might want to move forward, but maybe God wants you to stay were you are until He knows you are ready to proceed. For example, after I graduated from college, I wanted to move to New York and start my career as a professional journalist. Instead, after college, I found myself back in Atlanta job hunting. Not much of a big break huh? But, am I worried? Not at all because I know God has a plan solely for me. So instead of moping around I get up every morning to seek, search and ask God what is next on my agenda.

So my friends just remember that God is the decision maker in your life and He knows what’s best. You might have that professor who you just can’t stand, but you never know that professor could be the person you have to create a mutual relationship with because you need the “A” or “B” to graduate. You might be in a situation similar to mine and don’t know what to do, but hear me when I say give it to God and He’ll lead the way because He has a path set just for you.

“We may throw the dice but the Lord determines how they fall.”- Proverbs 16:33

Da T.R.U.T.H.- Hope