Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Don't let the trash pile up!

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we 
take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV)
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, 
and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of 
praise. (Philippians 4:8 NLT)

So I must confess that at times I can be a tad lazy when it comes to cleaning my home. This past holiday weekend
was filled with days of sleeping in and hanging with friends, so cleaning was NOT at the top of my list. 
By Monday, my kitchen sink and trash was piling high with leftovers. When I walked in my home, I was 
overwhelmed by the smell; something was in the trash with a strong scent. Ugh, “Gotta remember to take the trash
out”, I thought. However, the trash bag really wasn’t full and I have this thing where I feel like I'm wasting a trash 
bag if I throw it out and it's only half full. I'd rather it get to the "almost spilling over" top before taking it out so I 
know I got full use of the trash bag. Crazy, I know. Either way instead of immediately taking out the trash, even though 
it was a slight smell, I let 2 more days pile up, yep to the tip top, and then I finally took it out.
That same night, God spoke to me in my dreams. "That's how your mind works. You fill it with negative, ungodly and 
unpure thoughts which are like garbage, and just like the trash can, the more you pile on the stronger the smell. 
Pretty soon the scent can overpower your home, get in your clothes, then wherever you go the smell goes and you 
become a walking, talking garbage can. You put garbage in your mind then garbage will come out of you" 
After those two days of walking around with the trash smell, I almost got used to it; I knew it was in there smelling
 but my senses became numb to it. That’s the scary thing, when we allow ungodly, dirty and negative thoughts to pile 
up in the receptacle of our mind, we become numb to the effect they have on our life and others. Our mindset, attitude and 
even our talk can become filthy. Negativity and Ungodliness just becomes a way of life. Not good.
Through this revelation, I knew God was telling me to stop letting so many negative, ungodly and unpure thoughts pile 
up in my brain.  Instead he wanted me to immediately throw them out as soon as I recognized them to be wrong. Just like 
the trash.
2 Cor 10:5 directs us to take "captive" every thought and make it obedient to Christ. 
Captive means: to take under control or restrain.  
When these thoughts come on us we should take them under control to MAKE them more like Christ. 
If we think too long and hard about anything it can and will overtake us. So if it's anything we are going to focus on, it needs
to be on GOD and his promises.  "Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and 
admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." (Philippians 4:8 NLT)

We may feel like we can’t control the thoughts that enter our mind, but we can overcome them by studying the word and 
committing his promises to memory. Read your bible daily, listen to worship music often and keep note cards with scriptures 
nearby. As soon as a negative thought comes quickly throw it out and replace it with a fresh thought from God. 
Whatever you do, just don't let the trash pile up :-)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Who do you THINK you are?

For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully
 and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. 
(Psalm 139:13, 14 NKJV)

I've got evidence 
I've got confidence 
I'm a conqueror 
I know that I win 
I know who I am 
God wrote it in his plan for me 

I know my identity, my name is victory!!  
Lyrics to "My Name Is Victory" By Jonathan Nelson & Purpose

I recently finished up a small group bible study on "Trusting God" by Girlfriends in God ministry. In our last week of 
study there was a powerful devotional by Sharon Jaynes. In it she spoke of her struggles with infertility and how 
through it all she was still able to rest in the great plans God had for her life. Her "aha" moment came when the Lord 
told her to look up the meaning of her name. When she looked up the meaning of her name it actually meant - a fertile 
valley near Mount Carmel. While her doctors report read infertile, God reminded her that he made her fertile before she 
was even born. Read the devotion here:

I was very encouraged from her devotional and while she didn't prompt us, I decided to do my own research on my 
name. I'm often embarrassed to say that my mother actually did name me after "THE" LaToya Jackson **sigh and 
rolls eyes** It was a pretty and popular name at the time so against my grandmothers wishes she jumped on the 
bandwagon! Considering this, I didn't have high hopes for what I would find BUT when I looked it up, I was blown away. 

LaToya is actually of Spanish origin and means "victorious one" and "woman to be praised/honored" and the icing on the cake??? Well, my middle name, Nicole is of Greek origin and means "people of victory"!!! So my name literally is VICTORY!
So that means every time my name is spoken God is allowing victory, praise and honor to be spoken over my life. That simple discovery silenced all my doubts and insecurities that weighed heavy on my heart for years and erased away all the "labels" that others had placed on me.

So, I'm no longer embarrassed about my name nor do I find it a coincidence that my mother named me LaToya Nicole.
You see God knew before I was formed that due to a birth injury I would face doubt about my physical abilities. He knew that my father would abandon us, leaving me to struggle with insecurities and self worth issues. That my desire for perfection and control would leave me feeling like a failure when life didn't turn out the way I wanted. So he gave me my name to remind me of who I REALLY am! Before I could even speak my name he had already called me to be a Victorious woman, worthy of praise and honor. For that I am forever grateful.

Now when the enemy says "You're not worth it" I can confidently answer back, God says "I'm a woman meant to be praised" and when I'm believing God for breakthrough in my life and he tells me "It will never happen" I can confidently say “Its already done, I have the victory".

So who do you THINK you are? Discover what God says about you FIRST. Know that he took careful consideration in forming you, you are not an accident, you were created for a purpose and a plan. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Jesus, Say a prayer for me...

Today I'm excited and blessed to be a guest blogger on the Bloggers in God (B.I.G.) website. B.I.G. is a group established for women of Christ to be able to come together in His name for the purpose of sharing His love through writing. I love being a B.I.G. sister and sharing with these women on a weekly basis. You can head over to their blog to find this post as well as others from my fellow sisters. Follow and subscribe for weekly inspiration from some wonderful women of God. You will be blessed!
Now back to our regularly scheduled programming....:-)

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. ” (Luke 22:31, 32 NLT) 

Simon, I've prayed for you in particular that you not give in or give out...(Luke 22:32 MSG)

Have you ever felt that your faith was failing? That you've prayed, fasted and praised yourself into a "holy tizzy" but you still find yourself discouraged and faithless? Or that you've grown so tired of waiting on God that you no longer pray, dropped out of your bible study and would rather spend Sunday lying on the couch than going to the house of worship? 

There are certain situations and times in our life where we will be discouraged. Discouragement is a tool of the enemy to get us to give up on God and get distracted from our purpose. In my own life I've seen Satan use what I refer to as the the "triple threat" to weaken my faith : Doubt, Fear and Anxiety. 

Doubt: Anytime you've been believing God for something and there's been no breakthrough or change in a situation, doubt can easily creep in. While you still may keep the request on your prayer list and make your petitions known to God and others, that doesn't always stop thoughts like "can God really fix it?" or "whats the point in praying?" to take over and chip away at your faith. I often hear people say "Well I believe God CAN do anything but I just don't believe he will do it for MY situation". Sound familiar, huh? I've come to learn that kind of thinking is a trick of the enemy. If not dealt with quickly, doubt can become a hindrance to the very prayer we are already "wishy washy" about. 

Fear: Once Satan has planted a seed of doubt into our mind, fear is usually the next culprit to strike. Satan wants us to become fearful that our situations won't turn around and our prayers will never be answered. Having fear of what your future holds instead of hopeful expectations can be a recipe for disaster. When you operate out of fear you can begin to think the surest way to get your desired outcome is by manipulating people and situations to take control. If we are controlling a situation, this leaves no room for God to work a miracle, which is exactly what our enemy wants to happen. While fear is a common feeling we all have, we don't have to give in to our fears to the point where they hinder our faith. We have to confront our fears and fight back with an unshakeable confidence that trusts in Gods perfect plan. I love how Joyce Meyer says it: "Fear is a dead end but Faith always has a future" 

Anxiety: Now that the enemy has us doubting Gods power and fearful of the future he uses feelings of anxiety to completely wear us down! The root meaning of the word anxiety is: 'to vex or trouble'; in either presence or absence of psychological stress. So even if there is no REAL danger, stress or threat anxiety can still come up on us (it's all in our mind!) Playing out all the "what if" scenarios only lead to worry, dread, uneasiness and depression. We can get so caught up in worry about things that may or may not happen that we lose focus on what's happening in our life now!
Matthew 6:34 MSG translation says : "Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes."
Worrying about the future will not accomplish anything or make your prayers get answered faster. We have to trust God and his timing, he will give us all we need to persevere through any pain. 

At some point, most of us will be hit with the "triple threat". However, isn't it encouraging to know that we have a savior who is interceding for us? The same way he did for Peter we have to believe that he can and will do the same for us. If the enemy is attacking you with doubt, fear and anxiety, I invite you to say this simple prayer: 

Jesus, I come to you asking you to replace my doubts with belief (Mark 9:23, 24) and help me confront my fears with hopeful expectations that you have a perfect plan for my life (Jer 29:11). When I begin to worry and be anxious about circumstances beyond my control help me to be content with my portion and seek your peace that passes all understanding so that my faith will remain strong. (Philippians 4:6,7) Lord I trust you with my whole heart and I'm grateful that you know just what I need. Thank you for covering me in your love. Amen.

Song: Say a Prayer for Me
Artist(s): Donald Lawrence and Faith Evans