Behind the Scenes 

Hi there! My name is Taylor Ford. I’m 23 years young and am from the Jazz music, beignets, and gumbo capitol of the world, Louisiana! I attend one of the greatest churches there is, where my best friend/ uncle is the Pastor. My family and friends are the best! It’s a privilege and honor to be serving along side with them!

Just to let you know a little about myself…..

My Top 10 passions are:

1. Jesus

2. Foreign Missions

3. Praying

4. Traveling

5. Fellowship with family/ Friends

6. Song writing

7. Reading

8. Coffee

9. Trying new foods ( because I’m a picky eater)

10. Celebrate Recovery Program
Now that I’ve told you a little about myself, I want to share with you why I created this blog. I want be a positive voice! To encourage and bring about new revelations while studying, meditating, praying, and seeking more of God! It’s all about the journey. God bless you all in Jesus’ name.

 

When You Don’t Know His Will

It’s funny how life can get someone so turn around sometimes. At times, I feel like I’m running forward with so much endurance, and other times I feel like my feet are stuck in mud becoming stagnant. I like how Bro. Mark Morgan puts it, ” We are like pieces on God chess board, He can move us forward, backward, and even lateral sometimes.”

Recently, God has been dealing with me about having so many fears. I recently heard a message preached at my church by Bro. Doug Walker, and although his message wasn’t particularly on fear he somewhat addressed a few fears I have personally. One of those great fears I have is missing God’s divine will for my life. Bro. Walker addressed being hurt by things or people, and then allowing fear to paralyze you from ever stepping out or trusting anyone again because that certain thing failed. A lot of people may relate, but this is a serious fear that I have that I feel actually holds me back from walking in God’s will and purposes sometimes. At times, I’m so scared of not being in God’s will that I never step out in faith. I heard my Aunt Sis. Dillon say once, ” You can analyze a situation so much that you actually miss the will of God.”

I was faced with a hard decision recently, and I was extremely indecisive and confused. I wasn’t sure what the will of God was, or what road to take. I was so scared that if I made the wrong decision, I would live with regret the rest of my life knowing I missed the will of God. As you can imagine, I felt like I was weighed down with a million bricks. I absolutely felt fear disabling me to make this decision.

Battling with this for several weeks I sat down one night, and began to cry out to God seeking an answer on what decision I should make. All sorts of things was running through my mind as I felt the fear, anxiety, and depression begin to oppress. I then felt the peace of God sweep through the room as God reminded me of a message I heard a few years ago. In the message, the preacher said, ” Even when you don’t know God’s will, you still know his ways.” Oh! What a comforting peace that is! Even when I don’t know what His will is, I know what God expects from me in those confusing times. He expects us to love Him, to serve, to read his word, spend time with him in prayer and fasting. However, those thoughts of fear tried to grip my mind again as I prayed, ” I’m doing all those things Jesus, and I still don’t have a direct answer for my problem,” God replied, ” That’s okay because of Romans 8:28.”

Sometimes we have to take a step of faith, even if it leads to a mistake or us falling. I made that difficult decision totally trusting in God that even if it was wrong, He would make it right in the end. Sometimes you just have to do that, and totally trust things in the hand of God. I know! It’s so incredibly scary, but that’s where grace comes in, and trusting that God really wants the best for his children. His perfect will be accomplished in our lives as long as we stay following Him!

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:28‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Eyes That See and Ears That Hear

“And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”

‭‭1 John‬ ‭5:15‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Many times in my walk with God I’ve wondered if God really sees and is He really listening when I pray. I know his word says He hears the cries of his people, but in the day to day prayer meetings sometimes it would feel like I was talking to the wall. At times I’d almost feel like I was wasting my time, and get kinda irritated.

Everyone has their preferences when it comes to praying. For me, I like to start my day off with talking to God before I do anything else, and trust me I can tell a huge difference when I don’t. I stumble sleepy eyed into the kitchen to hit the button on my coffee pot because let’s be honest coffee and prayer go together like root beer in ice cream. I could start my day of with a generic prayer like, ” Lord thank you for this day,” don’t get me wrong sometimes I do that, and there’s nothing wrong it. However, I’d rather start my day off with, ” Jesus I love you,” just to let him know He is the very first thing on my mind, the love of my life, and the only light of my world. There’s been a many of morning sitting in my chair sipping on coffee that I’d slowly lay my head back with tears flowing down my face. Just feeling the inevitable presence of the Holy Ghost graciously sweep it to the still room, and only being able to say, “Jesus I just love you today.”

When I start thinking or talking about prayer I think of a story I heard a Pastor tell once about how a lady learned to pray. He said there was a lady who’s kids was grown, her husband worked, and she didn’t have any neighbors for several miles. She sat at home everyday alone, and like most people would she’d grow very very lonely. One day she began to pray, and she said, ” Lord, please send me a friend. I’m so very lonely.” It wasn’t long she heard her front door open, foot steps grew near to her when all of a sudden the chair beside her pulls out. She sees nothing with her physical eye, but she hears a voice loud and clear say, ” I get lonely to talk to people too sometimes.” From that day on the lady and Jesus would sit everyday at the same time and just talk.

That story was so beautiful to me, and helped me to see Jesus and time spent with him in a much brighter light. All the feelings I feel like loneliness, He feels them also at times. I’m sure it frustrates the Lord that I question him on is he really listening when he is sitting sit there looking at me. For example, one day a few weeks ago I was driving in my car. I was so frustrated with some situations in my life that I began to pray with anger in my heart and spirit. Out of frustration I yelled and said, ” God! Do you even know where I am at this point?” Thinking nothing else about it I went on with my life when about a week later I’m in a prayer meeting, and the Lord speaks saying, ” Don’t think I don’t know where you are! I brought you here, and I will sustain you!” That hasn’t been the first time God has proven to me He was listening in on my prayer “rants” as I call it. He has eyes that see and ears that hear, and I lose sight of that more times than I ought.

I’ve started to pray differently now knowing that God really is listening, and I better be very careful with what I say, or I’ll get chastened again. (Haha) The Lord has shown me that when I enter into my closet to speak to him He has been anticipating on it all day. He delights in our talks, and wether I cry tears of joy or sadness in the middle he is okay with it. He just wants to have fellowship, and feel that He is unconditional loved.

Now when I go into prayer it’s not out of obligation it’s out of excitement to talk to my best friend. I never know what he might say, and I get so nervous what might happen during our conversation. I have to admit it might sound a little silly, but in a few desperate times I’ve pulled a chair up, and would say, ” Jesus, please come sit down so I can talk to you about this,” haha. He was probably thinking oh brother not this again, but he comes anyway.

If you’re reading this you’re probably wondering what’s the point of this blog. The point I’m trying to make is that God is listening. He sees when you’re at home crying where nobody else can see. He is listening when we are frustrated by life’s stumbling blocks. He knows when you’re struggling in your faith, and a little lost in your way. He is listening every time we’ve made that same request for the hundredth time. Just because it may feel like He isn’t there doesn’t mean He isn’t there. Just because that prayer hasn’t been answered yet doesn’t mean He turned the mute button on. Pray a prayer He can answer! If you’re praying for a better job, and he hasn’t brought you one try thanking him for the job you have, and ask him to help you love it until it’s time to move- for example. I just want to maybe help someone else who’s been frustrated like me. I had to change my view point on what prayer is, and my fellowship with the Lord. In doing so, He has spoken to me so much clearer, and He has even answered some of my most prayed prayers when I changed how I prayed about them.

Try entering into a quite place today talk to Jesus. knowing with assurance He is listening, and wants to meet your needs more than what you might think. He’s just waiting on us.

“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.”

‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:12‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Lost But Not Forgotten

Recently I had the humble opportunity to hear one of the greatest missionaries of my lifetime speak, Sis. Bobbye Wendell. She told a heart wrenching story about a girl named Ivy Lane that she’d encountered at some point in her life. Ivy Lane was a young girl who had come to the church for help, and Sis. Wendell loved her so much. Ivy Lane disappeared and Sis. Wendell was distraught knowing she had to find her. She was able to track down the girl’s mother and went to the home one day. She knocked on the door, and a woman came out so she asked, ” Are you Ivy Lane’s mother?” She replied, ” Yes I am, and what do you want?” Sis. Wendell said, ” I just want to know where she is?” The mother with a stern voice answered, ” She isn’t here! She isn’t welcome back! She murdered her kid brothers.” Sis. Wendell said, ” Oh! I haven’t heard anything about this.” The mother goes on to say, ” She was suppose to be watching her brothers, they got into a gas can, and a match was lit. The boys both burned to death, and it’s all her fault.” Sis. Wendell with a shaky voice, ” If you ever see her again please tell her, I love her.” Sis. Wendell went on to say every where she traveled after that she wondered if she would ever see Ivy Lane again, and went on to say that there was so many Ivy Lanes lost in the world.

“He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee. And he must needs go through Samaria. Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.”

‭‭(John‬ ‭4:3-9‬ ‭KJV‬‬)

It would seem to us that Jesus took a detour on his journey to Samaria, but we know he was spirit led by divine appointment. Jesus in the spirit saw a Samaritan women’s face who needed him. Where there is a need, you can always find Jesus there. Jesus knew once he witnessed to her she would go reach her entire city with the gospel of Christ. However, what would of happened if he never would of went to the well for her that day?

I’m going to share a personal story, and not because it has anything to do with me, but everything to do with Jesus. Recently I had went to another state to see some friends. I had the privilege of going on outreach in their city knocking door to door. I had encountered a young man who looked as though life had dealt him some unfair trade offs, and you could tell he was living a miserable life. I handed him a church card. While he hung his head the entire time all I could see was a hurting soul full of shame.

I returned back home, but couldn’t forget his face nor the hurt I saw written all over his person. I returned a few weeks later with an assignment and burden from God. I would go back to tell this man about “the living water.” I had such a heavy burden, and worry filled my soul that I would never find him again. We started driving through the neighborhood trying to remember which home was his. All of a sudden we see him walk out onto the porch. I was thankful that when he saw us walking up he didn’t go back inside, but instead he stood there as if wanting to talk. We began inviting him to church, and asked for his name so we could pray for him. I told him God kept showing me his face when I would pray. I told him there was more for him, and he was special. He then hung his head down, he lit up a cigarette, and muttered the words, ” My dad was a youth pastor.” I don’t know what happened in Wade’s life, but I do know that God hasn’t forgotten, sees, and still loves him. By divine appointment Jesus had Wade on his agenda.

Like Sis. Wendell I now how my own Ivy Lane, it’s just his name is Wade. Now when I drive through cities I see Wade’s face everywhere. People who are so lost and broken by circumstances that have occurred in their lives. We have to reach them. I’ll say it again, we have to reach them. In the bad parts of town nobody else will go, and to the ones no one else will waste their time on. We have a commission from God to tell the world about him.

When we stand before God we will answer for the things we did, and the things we didn’t do on this earth. To have Jesus look at me in the face on Judgement Day and say, ” You didn’t reach for my lost sheep, you just didn’t do enough” would rip my heart out of my chest. Can you see them? Can you catch a vision of the hurting crying child being abused behind closed doors? The backslider laid on a couch somewhere with a needle hanging out of his arm? The college student raised by atheist parents corrupting her mind about creation? The boy being raised by two dads consumed by confusion? The girl who witnessed her mother being murdered by her father? Do you see them, and does your heart hurt for them? We ( including myself) need a heavy burden for our wicked world. We as the church know it’s the anointing that destroys the yoke.

“And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.”

‭‭(Luke‬ ‭14:23‬ ‭KJV‬‬)

I have faith that one day I will go back to that city, and see Wade cleaned up, dressed nice, carrying a bible, knocking doors, and reaching the lost. Ivy Lane and Wade may be lost, and others just like them are lost. However, I can promise you they aren’t forgotten.

Waiting Before A Door

A few months back my younger brothers got into a little bit of mischief. One night after church my parents and I went to eat at a restaurant while my brothers decided to go on home. My parents knew they had locked the doors to the home, and was certain my brothers would be calling soon enough for a way to get into the house. However, to my parents surprise my brothers was sitting in the home when they arrived so my mom asked, ” How did you get in, wasn’t it locked?” My brothers replied, ” You forgot to lock the doors, ” with a chuckle. My mom wakes the next morning to see their window screen panel to their bathroom laying on the ground outside. They knew at that moment they didn’t go through the door, but climbed through their window. Everyone thought it was funny as they played a joke on my parents making them think they was in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s.

Unlike the prank my little brothers played on my parents we can’t force or manipulate our way through doors God has to open. We know God sees all, knows all, and is in control of all so therefore there are no short cuts/ detours we can take to get around the knowledge of God.“”Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.” (John‬ ‭10:1-2‬ ‭ESV‬) We simply are always walking by faith and not by sight, one door leading to another, and standing in hallways just waiting for the next door to open. Sometimes the doors are like those automatic ones at the grocery stores, just waiting on you to have the faith to walk up before they open.

Jesus and his disciples had a lot to say about doors/ gates throughout scripture, and doors are mentioned over 180 times. Many times the Apostle Paul would use ” an open door” describing an entrance way into cities to preach the gospel of Christ. Jesus described himself as ” The Door” meaning he was the only way to obtain salvation “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.” (John‬ ‭10:9‬ ‭ESV‬‬) Jesus also used the analogy of a door to describe prayer with him. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”

‭‭(Revelation‬ ‭3:20‬ ‭ESV)

‬‬“”Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”

‭‭(Matthew‬ ‭7:7-8‬ ‭ESV‬‬)

This blog post is so very personal and emotional for me because I’m beginning to have clarity of what a closed door means, and God’s processes. If I can be completely raw today I’ve been so discouraged lately banging on a closed door questioning God why hasn’t he opened it yet. Why hasn’t he answered that prayer when he has the power to do so? Why hasn’t he delivered me from my present circumstances that seem they are choking the life out of me? I find myself daily falling on my face before God just trying to muster up enough strength to keep pressing forward. I’ve prayed to hear God’s voice, but I hear nothing. I have prayed for relief, and it got a little worse. I had thoughts of giving up the fight, but my heart/ will just wouldn’t let me do it.

I’ve prayed for God to use me, I’ve prayed for God to mold me, I’ve prayed for God to make me a better person, I’ve prayed for God to teach me his ways, to help me make the right decisions, to block things that wasn’t his will, and I’ve prayed for God to anoint me to pray/ minister to a lost world. However, the moment God started the work I was ready to opt out, because the process of purification is extremely uncomfortable. The moment God didn’t open the door I wanted I felt he didn’t care, when all along it was his protection not destruction. God told me to pray, comfort, and encourage his people when he knew I myself had a broken heart. God would give me words of encouragement to speak into other people’s lives, but no words would come my way. I’ve rejoiced with others as God performed miracles and answered their prayers as my situation remained the same. I would feel so guilty and ashamed to feel that way, but I couldn’t help wondering when would it be my turn.

So as this went on for so long and I began to pray for understanding God said, ” This is ministry.” One definition of ministry is ” ministry of the word,” which tells me even when one is hurting they still need to preach, speak, live, and breathe the word, because ministering has nothing to do with ones emotions. God can’t use some angry, bitter, arrogant, lying, depressed, selfish, prideful, loose tongued person. So instead he says I’m going to keep the door closed to that ministry, the next step/level, and that prayer prayed until I burn all of these impurities out so you can be witnesses of the light. Us singles desperately pray for a spouse, but if God was to bring them before the appropriate time we could possibly ruin everything with our attitude. So God says stand at the door, wait, and while you wait, serve.

It’s extremely difficult to find joy when all you’ve desired to come to pass hasn’t, and it just seems to be trial after trial. However, we can get so focused in on our lives moving forward we miss the most important details God has been trying to show us all along. It’s in the moments of pain that God reaches his hand down with compassion. Those times we feel so overwhelmed and frustrated God sustains our sanity. Times when people in the church our coming against us, and God says, ” Don’t defend yourself, because that’s my job.” It’s through the ministry of tears we truly learn God ways, and that he never forsakes so we must not give up!

I can’t seem to get away from Nehemiah chapter 9 here lately. As it goes down the list of all God had done for the children of Israel we see how they rebelled against the very one who was always there for them. The chapter paints a beautiful picture of how God was their deliverer, sustainer, protector, and then my favorite part, how merciful He is. Just when He should of gave up on them scripture tells us he sent them saviors to point them in the right direction. God will send us preachers, teachers, prophets, friends, etc. to help point us in the right direction when we don’t know his will.

“Therefore thou deliveredst them into the hand of their enemies, who vexed them: and in the time of their trouble, when they cried unto thee, thou heardest them from heaven; and according to thy manifold mercies thou gavest them saviours, who saved them out of the hand of their enemies.

Nevertheless for thy great mercies’ sake thou didst not utterly consume them, nor forsake them; for thou art a gracious and merciful God.”

‭‭Nehemiah‬ ‭9:27, 31‬ ‭KJV‬‬

The door won’t stay closed forever however the timing of how long is dependent upon how quickly we allow the process to shape us. We must not curse the situation thinking it’s the enemy, it’s God, and he is trying to teach us some very important concepts. So today as we wait before the closed door pray for God to help you to see the things you need to change about yourself, and seek God with all your heart knowing when the time comes he will open the door.

God’s Only Weakness

“A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭42:3‬ ‭KJV‬‬

The shepherds in Bible days liked to pass their time with a little bit of music as entertainment. Unlike today in 2018 they couldn’t go to their local music store and purchase a new shiny clarinet or a polished wood guitar. The shepherds had to use what was available to them, and many times that included reeds that grew by small bodies of water. The shepherds would chisel little holes in the reeds, and make a hole at the end becoming a flute or pipe which they could blow on the end creating sounds.

I have to admit I wasn’t sure what a reed was so I did a little research which brought a beautiful light to this passage. The word “reed” literally means fragile, weak, or easily broken down. The passage above from Isaiah says a ” bruised reed,” the word ” bruised” means that which is broken or crushed, but not broken off.

I love how God’s Word is always inspired by things in the everyday lives of humanity, which explains why He would use the concept of a bruised reed. Often times due to the frailty of the reed or flute the shepherd could barely drop it which would lead to it being broken or damaged. Reeds was so easily assessable that the shepherd would throw the flute away and just create another one. The prophet is comparing us to a broken reed letting us know unlike the shepherds God doesn’t throw his people away. Just because you may be bruised meaning a little damaged, fragile, weak, or even broke down in your person God isn’t going to finish or break you off. God would rather mend you than start all over my dear friend.

Now let’s begin to take a look at the second part of this passage. A ” smoking flax” means an expiring wick of a lamp, when the oil is almost consumed, and when it shines with a feeble dying light. It’s representing a person who loves and is trying to hold on to God’s Word, but their faith is about to burn out. However, the passage says ” a smoking flax shall he not quench!”

As I was praying the other night God told me, ” I only have one weakness,” Tears filled my eyes barely able to speak I asked, ” What God is your only weakness,” He replied, ” You, you are my only weakness.” Jesus will break all the rules to save one person.

I’m reminded of King David’s story, which most of us know by heart. David committed many sins and we see the judgement of God walk into the room as the prophet Nathan declares David is the man in the wrong. We then find David fragile, broken down, and his oil being consumed as he laid on the floor mourning for seven days over the death to come to his son. However, because God doesn’t break the bruised reed or extinguish the smoking flax we see the truth about our God. David is to have another son whom they will call Solomon, but the prophet Nathan comes a second time. “Then David comforted his wife, Bathsheba, and went in to her and lay with her, and she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. And the Lord loved him and sent a message by Nathan the prophet. So he called his name Jedidiah, because of the Lord.”

‭‭2 Samuel‬ ‭12:24-25‬ ‭ESV‬‬

In Hebrew Solomon’s name meant ” peace” but when God named him Jedidiah the literal meaning was ” beloved by the Lord.” It’s amazing to me after all of the sin, hurt, shame, and brokenness God would bring peace, and then bring love back into this very messed up situation.

Jesus really really loves us, and I think it’s time we as his children quit looking at God as some mean creature waiting to beat us up. He loves and cares for us more than we could ever fathom. His love is endless and he is so mindful of us. God doesn’t excuse sin, but when we fall and acknowledge our wrongs he is faithful to pick us back up again. When God sees your weak we doesn’t want to withhold strength from you, but yet he gently slowly restores you as a surgeon stitching up a wound.

You might be disappointed today, and maybe your faith has been damaged. Please hold on precious person he is going to restore peace and love back into your life again! For God invests in repairing broken things! Brokenness is a pathway to wholeness. He has seen your tears and he has heard your cries. I promise he has a beautiful life prepared and awaiting you! Love you all, God bless!

Called, Chosen, and Highly Favored

The Christmas season is in full swing with Amazon warehouses asking for volunteers to help send packages due to record breaking stats. The shopping malls are flooded with people last minute shopping. The sky looks like expensive crystal glistening in a china cabinet, and shimmering lights illuminating throughout the crowded loud cities. Snowflakes falling as if they were small pieces of diamonds to sparkle and tickle ones eyelashes. Holiday music floating through the air giving a magical feel, and bringing Christmas cheer. Children bundled up tightly, waiting on the school buses, their tiny noses and frost bitten fingers as red as Rudolf’s nose, all eagerly awaiting for Winter break.

However, our Christmas in the twenty-first century has very much evolved from the first Christmas that took place in Bethlehem. Before there was a Saint Nick, before there was a decorative Evergreen Conifer, before the song “Jingle Bells” was written, and egg nog was a holiday favorite. You’ll find a young Jewish lady receiving the greatest prophetic word on her life. A divine purpose to carry, nurture, and love our Lord Jesus Christ, Emmanuel. The greatest event to ever take place in all of history, and Mary was a unique puzzle piece in the story. She was a key that unlocked a door for the supernatural to burst through.

Scripture doesn’t state, but I presume Mary often times felt very lonely. One may possibly ask, “Why do I think she felt that way?” Every God-called person experiences lonely times, silent moments when it seems God isn’t listening or even there. However, they hope God has something great in store for their life even if they see nothing spectacular in sight.

I can see Mary as she knelt down to pray in the middle of the still dead night, seeking for some kind of direction from God . She was nervous for everything was about to change, and she would soon be wed to a man she barely knew. She crouches down in silence with her head bowed, her long silky ebony hair flowing around her touching the floor, with only her heart speaking deep utterances, when she senses a shift in the atmosphere. She doesn’t feel alone, nor afraid at the moment. Something in her stomach leaps as the spirit of peace begins to shower her like a rain storm in the Spring. A God-sent message sealed with divine approval coming down from above by the Angel Gabriel.

“And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭1:28-32‬ ‭KJV‬

Mary found favor with God, and was blessed among women. What a gem this Mary truly must’ve been. Which raises up questions in my mind as well as my heart. How do we today find and keep the favor of God, and what made Mary so different and treasured above other women? Was it her family name, or her magnificent beauty? Maybe it was her innocent lovely unique personality? Scripture doesn’t elaborate on what made Mary so impressive to God, but we know she got his attention! We know from scripture, Mary was a virgin. Which means she was pure in her body. The angel tells her that the Holy Ghost will come upon her, and she will conceive the promise in her womb. We know later leads to the supernatural saving grace being birthed in our world.

I believe Mary found favor because of the pure humble life-style she lived before her call. I can’t help thinking God favored her due to her future as well. Yes, Mary was chosen, called, and highly favored. However, not without a high cost to pay. The day of Mary’s holy visitation not only called her to greatness, but also down the road of suffering.

The angel didn’t tell her she would have to hide and worry over a king wanting to kill her son. The angel didn’t tell her she would have to travel miles by an animal’s back to only give birth in a dirty stable. The angel didn’t tell her she would have to release her son to fulfill the will of the Father. No one gave insight that years down the road she would have to watch as they mocked her baby, spit in his face, beat him without a cause, strip him of his garments, place thorns upon his head, and build him a cross his wounded body would have to carry. She watched in the crowd that day screaming in agony as Roman soldiers nailed her child to a cross. Then, hung him up for all the world to see with absolutely nothing she could do about it.

No, the angel didn’t tell her that night sitting in her room what would come to the child she cleaved so dear to her heart. While she cried and mourned over the death of her promise child, she knew this day would come, but why so soon? She loved him dearly, and couldn’t possibly live without him. Yet, she knew all along that her family’s life was called to greatness. She knew Jesus was only given to her for a short season, and knew he was far to special to remain on earth. Mary kept the faith making it through every trial and tribulation that came her way. Never once do we find Mary cursing God for bestowing a calling on her she didn’t choose.

Was this the place God saw something special in Mary? Is this where she found favor in the eyes of God? For he knows the beginning from the end, and sees the hearts of men. He knows who is going to truly live him, and who will stay steadfast to the end. God knows us better than we know ourselves. So to be called, chosen, and highly favored sounds awesome, which it is even when you have to endure the heaviness of the call. There is a peace in knowing you fulfilled the will of God at the end of the day.

I can’t help but think of missionary Sis. Janice Alvear. I imagine all these years of their life on the mission field has been less than ideal. While fighting sickness, intense heat, mosquito viruses, and needing financial support for the work of the kingdom was very difficult at times. There was probably many days she wanted to give up, but the call to fulfill God’s will was so much stronger than hers. Children who needed to see the love of Christ, now see it through the eyes and graceful hands of his servant. There wouldn’t be churches in Brazil today if not for a young lady who gave up her life to live as Christ. A lady who was humble enough to overlook the dirt on their face, and the lice in their hair to only wrap them in her arms for a warm hug. I’m sure that she sits back looking over her life with a smile on her face today. A heart completely filled, overflowing, and rejoicing by the shoes she was privileged to walk in.

I believe we can find the favor of God today if we keep ourselves pure, and submitted to God’s supreme authority. If we stay under the anointed flow of our Pastors it will trickle down to us allowing the favor of God to be manifest in our lives. However, if we want to keep the favor, we must continue steadfastly in the apostles doctrine. We have to buy this truth, and sell it not believing it’s line upon line, precept upon precept. There as to be such a deep love in our hearts for God that we are willing to die for him. D.L. Moody said it like this, ”

Some day you will read in the papers that D.L. Moody of East Northfield, is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now; I shall have gone up higher, that is all, out of this old clay tenement into a house that is immortal- a body that death cannot touch, that sin cannot taint; a body fashioned like unto His glorious body.

I apologize for not writing an upbeat Christmas blog filled with Christmas cookie recipes. I only want to bring remembrance to what took place for there to be a Christmas today. It wasn’t just so we could enjoy the luxuries of life, but Christmas was a pivotal point when God moved heaven and earth to fulfill the salvation plan. When He chose a young lady to give up her life to carry his cross. My! That is very powerful! I hope everyone has a wonderful Merry Christmas! Remembering the reason for the season! God bless and love you all.

“I only wish I had one more life to give for missions.” ~Sis. Alvear

If There Is Anything Worthy

Photo credit: Anna Widener

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

(‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:4-9‬ ‭ESV‬‬)

My favorite time of year is finally here! The month of November, and for many reasons. The leaves are beginning to change their color, fall, and saturate the damp ground. Tractors slowing us down on the highways due to cotton harvest time. The temperatures finally begin to decrease, and the fall breeze blows in. Well, it cools off a little here in the State of Louisiana, not much. We are lucky if we get below the seventies. However, Everyone is wearing their boots, sweaters, and scarves to stay snuggly. People begin to run to their nearest Starbucks for the Pumkin Spice Latta and Peppermint Mocha. We begin to see people walking out of the grocery stores toting hams as well as turkeys. As Families are preparing to visit their relatives, and have lovely Thanksgiving dinners. Of course, I couldn’t forget that it is also my birthday month. Not that I am real estactic about being a year older. I find myself wishing that time would only slow down.

However, one of the most important parts of this season and time of year is ” thankfulness”. I have been noticing many people on social media are doing “30 days of thanks” which I love! It’s where each day you think of something different you are thankful for, and post it on social media. How amazing is that? To reflect everyday on the things we are thankful for!

There was a man named Paul in the Bible who taught us how to be thankful. The scripture text listed above was written from an unfavorable location- a Roman prison. In the most uncomfortable of places, we always find Paul exhorting us to thank God any how! Paul had a revelation that in the face of adversity is when God deserved the highest praise.

The American holiday of Thanksgiving was founded on these same godly principles. The pilgrims were sorely tested by many hardships of sickness, death, and harsh weather. In spite, they would gather together to give thanks for their first harvest.

Thankfulness is thanking God everyday, in any situation, whether good or bad. Thankfulness is appreciating God for just who He is. Thanking Him that we have an opportunity to know him as our Lord and Savior. Merlin Carothers in his book, ” Prison to Praise” informs us every time he or someone else was faced with a delima, they needed to thank God for it. Bro. Merlin would always tell them, ” Because God works all things for your good.” I believe he had the same revelation Bro. Paul did!

If there is anything the Lord has taught me here lately it would be praising him in the valley. Thanking God for the things he has already done. Remembering the battles He has won for me in the past. God is God and He changes not. He is always faithful, and deserving of our praise. When we are faced with a bill we can’t pay. Just thank him for it. Your probably thinking that’s crazy. Well, it works! If God brings a problem in your life, it’s only because he wants to solve it. To show himself mighty and faithful. Time and time again I have experienced this. Many times I’ve cried and prayed, ” Lord why is this happening to me?” God always reminds me that He has always supplied my every need, and some of my wants too. So I find myself these days thanking God for everything. Even the small things. Like having a peaceful day, or finding a good deal on Amazon. Thanking Him for saving my life, and protecting my family each day. Thanking him that I have clothes, food, a house, and freedom to practice my religion. 

However, I’m also thankful for my battery going out on my car, and him supplying the money to fix it. I’m thankful that I’ve went through trials in my life that has helped me grow in the Lord. I’m thankful for every disappointment, because God has always brought something better. I’m thankful for the things that’s tried to defeat me, so I would be made an overcomer.

So today I’m challenging myself and others to be like Paul, rejoicing always. Bring your needs to God today with thanksgiving in your heart. Do not be anxious or worried about anything! Watch as the peace of God saturates you, and guards your heart. Think on things that are lovely, pure, just, and beautiful in your life. If there is anything worthy, thank Him today! Love you all! God bless!