favor

Imperfectly Perfect

He was a little snot, you may even say an arrogant snot. When we are first introduced to Joseph we see how the greater love he received from his father put him a bad place with his brothers, so much in so that within the first 11 verses there is a progressive hatred from his brothers. If I were Joseph I would not have worn the coat and would have tried anything to please my brothers, and I definitely would not have bragged or shared my dreams with them that I knew would make them salty, let alone be a tattletale.

At the age of 17 we pick up the story of who would become one of the greatest Biblical heroes. However, before we see the transformed life of snotty teenager, we also learn see the work of God in one of his elder brothers, so much in so that he initiated the bloodline of the Messiah, Judah. It is no secret that all the brothers of Joseph hated him, however, two of them, Reuben and Judah, were empathetic, especially toward their father, for it was Reuben who stopped the brothers from killing him and it was Judah who stopped them a second time and suggested they sell him as a slave. Even though he hated his brother, he knew it was wrong to kill him and put Joseph in the place where God needed him to be to elevate him. It is because of this that I believe the Lord chose to usher in His Son through his bloodline. Even in Judah’s imperfections, he came to a place of humility and tried to do what was right, not only with Joseph but with Tamar as well. Back to Joseph.

Just like his brother, Joseph had to be humbled in order to be ready for the calling God had on his life, which took 13 years. From being the favored son to being a slave, accused of sexual assault and jailed, Joseph became a man who trusted the Lord and did well in whatever work he was in while he was in Egypt. His story reminds us that even when we find ourselves in the most unfavorable situations that God orchestrates, we must do them honorably to our best ability, because we do it unto the Lord and there we will find favor with both man and God.

Judah was jealous and hated his brother and had enough drama with his sons’ indiscretions, but it is the tribe of Judah that brought forth Christ. Joseph was a snotty spoiled teenager, but God used him to rule a nation and establish the beginning of a people we know as Jews. They were both imperfect, but God still used them for His glory. This is so pertinent for us, because we all have vices and character flaws that cause others to look over us, but God is famous for taking the imperfect to fulfill His perfect plan. Continue to live and be you for a purpose with your imperfections, and allow God to transform you and take you higher than you ever imagined. Remember this, if only God knows your name, that is all that really matters and it won’t be long before the rest of the world knows your name.

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Irreplaceable or Not So Much?

One thing is that is popular in Christian culture is the belief that God is so loving, He is a friend, a big-brother, sometimes almost like a fuzzy teddy-bear you can talk to about anything and hug tight, and the belief that He has amazing plans for our lives. Now don’t get me wrong these things, minus the fuzzy teddy-bear, to are true and there are Biblical verses to back each of these up. However, in the midst of all the fuzziness, I think that we lose sight of what God is, a holy, righteous, all-powerful Being, whose every word that goes forth does not return void.

I think the problem that we have is that we think we are doing God a favor when we decide to follow Him, when in reality it is the complete opposite; it is an undeniable honor and privilege to be chosen by a God whose train of His robe filled His temple and has unimaginable creatures that call Him holy non-stop. Far too many of us take for granted God’s love for us and play with God like a tease, as if He needs us to accomplish His purpose. In my humble opinion, that is furthest from the truth. The moment we think God can’t operate without us, the moment we defeat ourselves.

Instead, I would say He doesn’t need us, He just desperately wants us. To me, that’s even more awesome, to know that the God who SPOKE the earth, the heavens, and the universes into existence and can very easily do what He wants when He wants how He wants, desires to use me as a vessel. That is incredible and just blows my mind. The Lord by no means had any reason to call any of us, but He did. We are sinful, wretched, messed up, and selfish people apart from the blood, but God still wanted us to be His. This should make us even more excited to go after and fulfill the purpose He has destined each of us individually, because He saw something in us that many times we never see for ourselves. He wants to take the scars, the brokenness, the failures, and somehow fit it into His master plan.

These thoughts come from several different places, somethings I heard years prior and some fairly recent, but it was Esther 4:13-14 that brought it home for me. In this part of the story Mordecai, Esther’s cousin, was trying to get her to help save the Israelites, and after she gives her reasons for apprehension, he pretty much tells her that she is not blessed for no reason and that God can still do what He needs to through someone else if she didn’t step up. First off, the same things apply in that we are blessed to be a blessing, no matter how little we think we have. We are not to be selfish people that only look out for “mine.” Our position, gifts, talents, skills, are not to be hoarded or disregarded, for God is very strategic in how He places people, but it’s the following verse that explains what I have been saying. He tells her that she very much can bring deliverance for the Jews, but if she decides to just chill out, God will use someone else, and she herself will not be saved.

The Lord’s patience is amazingly perfect, because it’s not unusual that God has to ask us over and over to do things. Like Esther, someone’s life hangs in the balance of our obedience whether we realize it or not. Furthermore, when we don’t pursue to discover and fulfill our purpose, we find ourselves dead, maybe not physically, but often times mentally and spiritually, and dissatisfied in life. (Another verse of reference here is Matthew 16:25.) On the other hand, people have shared that because of their disobedience, a person they were supposed to minister to in one way or another, died or suffered.

Nevertheless, praise God for the Esthers, those that may have needed some persuasion, but heard the call and were not afraid to put it all on the line (Esther 4:16), but believing their purpose was bigger than their own life.

Irreplaceable, in the sense that there is no other you past, present, or future, absolutely, but in the sense that we determine God’s will from being done or not, maybe not. He will get His work done with or with out you or me, so I don’t know about you, but I am willing to be drafted and willing to fight if I know I’m going to win, even if the battle looks otherwise. The Lord is gracious and created us for His glory and sent His Son to restore us back to Him so that He can use us to impact the world with His love, despite how backwards, slow moving, impatient, stubborn, lazy, irrational, needy, clueless and selfish we are. He wants you. He chose you. So go and act like it on purpose, for His purpose.

Jesus Ain’t About that Life, Neither Should We

This piece is inspired by a quote I read the other day and a conversation that followed. The quote was, “Stop praising boyfriends. Until a man walks a woman down the aisle, he’s just auditioning. Don’t give the boyfriend the benefits of a husband. Know the difference between dating and marriage so every Tom, Dick, and Harry can’t say they had all of you.” I couldn’t agree more, now this quote is directed toward women, because women tend to give and give all of themselves including their bodies to a man in order to get the love they desire, and many times it only results in heartbreak. Although, it can apply to men as well. When you are dating, of course you will want to do things for your significant other; you want to prove to the other person how you feel. However, there has to be a limit as the referenced quote explains. The best days of a couple’s relationship should not be before they get married, nor should a person pull out their best tricks until s/he gets married. There should still be a sense of mystery while dating, such as not having sex or living together (just for starters), both of which are very intimate and personal and if those gifts are opened before time, there is less to look forward to. This culture has downplayed the beauty and sacredness of marriage, something that God created Himself, and because people, women and men alike, play house with a person they are not married to or get the marriage benefits from a person that is not their husband or wife, there is no need to buy the cow when you can get the milk for free.

As I was further discussing the implications of the quote in the conversation, the Lord gave me an epiphany about it. Like I said before, marriage was instituted by God to symbolize and demonstrate the relationship between Jesus and the church. If you look at Jesus he exercises the same principles that are represented in the quote. Jesus never gives you all of Him until you commit your life to him and him alone. Now don’t get me wrong, Jesus is a true gentlemen, he does pursue his people and does things to get their attention and show that he cares and loves them. For example, he may do so through protection, provision, healing, or just through creation (Romans 1:20) and as Scriptures says, at one point or another, he proposes to each person at least once, and the ring is in the shape of the cross. God is so awesome and so desperate to love you that he proposes to most people more than once and will keep doing things to show us he loves us. But, it’s not until we say yes, I do, that he gives us those marriage benefits of salvation, peace of mind, joy, patience, maturity, forgiveness, mercy, grace, eternal life with him, revelation of his word, truth, righteousness, broken chains of bondage, restoration, deliverance, authority over Satan, wisdom, God’s favor and blessings, your inheritance, purpose, but most of all a living and active relationship with the God of the universe who promised to never leave you or forsake you, no matter how bad you mess up or how bad you may cheat on Christ.

So in my physical life I choose not to give all of myself in every way, to a man until we walk down the aisle, because I didn’t receive all of Jesus until I said yes to him. Jesus ain’t about that non-committed life, he wants it all and wants to give us all of him, no game playing, no one foot in and one foot out, no hot and cold. He won’t give his best until we say “yes,” and if Jesus operates like that, we should do the same.

It’s Been a While

Oh my!!! It’s been so long since I’ve posted and I actually have things to finish writing. On top of that so much has been going on, so many emotions, many tears, many prayers, many smiles, good days, long days, productive days, and lazy days. I’ve been in the studio, broken a phone, lost a friend and realized how much of  a friend I had in someone else; I’ve encountered evil spirits when I was sent to pray them out of an apartment. I’ve been sick, hoarse, bitten, challenged, and put in the hot seat. I’ve learned that beating around the bush 9 times out of 10 helps no one, so in situations, I’m striving to be less passive. I’ve meet two celebrities, and learned how to do love knots, bantu knots, comb and finger coils, french braids, and 2-strand flat twist. I’ve been studying the book of Job in the Bible and it’s blown my mind and sometime soon I’ll share what I’ve learned. It’s just awesomeness. Likewise, I’m apart of the study of Jonah as created by an aspiration of mine, Priscilla Shirer, and yeah she’s awesome. “Navigating a Life Interrupted,” loving it.

Yet, for the sake of this post, I’ll talk about what I’ve learned just today. In the Priscilla Shirer study actually, in the book she questioned our place in life. This assumed that in some way or another coinciding with the “life interrupted,” we may not be in a place we thought we’d be in or what we may be doing may not be as grand as we imagined. Nonetheless it made me think of the verse Matthew 25:21:

His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

In my life now, as I’m sure many of us are we are quite where we wanted to be, or where we thought we’d be, not forgetting God totally debunked your original plan. Still, even if we yielded and are in God’s will, like me, have the urge to go out and do more and reach more. Yet, for some reason you are home; you aren’t going out to the masses; your territory grown maybe and inch; you may not be getting the calls that you thought you would by now. When this verse came to mind, I was immediately humbled. God has me where He has me for whatever purpose, and if one thing is for sure my patience and faith is being stretched. As I read in James 1:3-4, I’ll be in this spot until His work is completed in my patience and perseverance.

So, in enduring during this interesting time of my life, no matter how much I want to explore and leave and force my dreams to come true by midnight tonight, and meet so many new people, I have to be faithful to where God has placed me, at this very moment, using and developing the gifts and talents He gave me. He promised me that if I am, my oh my, He’ll entrust me with so much more. His work in my life in this stage isn’t complete but when it is…well you’ll just have to see ;)…Ironically though I am scared out my mind, but I know He is with me.