“Who You Are”

If you have been following my blog posts, you may have noticed that so far, there is a constant theme: Learning your identity in God. I believe that in order to gain victory in every area of your life, you must know Whose you are and Who You Are.  Why is this important you ask?  Because when you come into the full understanding of Who You Are, you will have a better understanding of who your enemy is, and you will understand why the enemy has been fighting you so hard.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).

I boldly say that if you are a person who is destined for Greatness, if there is Purpose on the inside of you, then know that the enemy will try to use every attack, every attempt, every plot to try to block you from learning your true identity in Christ.  Here’s why: A child of God who knows his/her identity and chooses to walk in his/her God-given Purpose is a threat to the kingdom of darkness; and just like you will fight to protect what is important to you, so does the enemy.  But, the Good News is: You Already Have the Victory!

One of the well-known facts in Black History is the fact that even though President Lincoln announced the Emancipation Proclamation, which granted freedom to slaves in Confederate states, on New Year’s Day in 1863, word didn’t reach the African-American slaves in Texas, until June 19, 1865. So, they had been free for over two years, but they didn’t know it; and there is speculation that Texas slaveholders knew of the proclamation but chose not to free their slaves until they were forced to. I believe the same is true for many believers.  When you accepted Christ into your life as Lord and Savior, you were made free. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed (John 8:36); but your intended oppressor, the enemy, didn’t want you to find out.

Well, today is Emancipation Day! News flash: YOU ARE FREE INDEED!

How does this relate to you learning your identity in Christ? Here’s how:

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (2 Corinthians 5:17).

But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name (John 1:12).

4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us,

5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

7 That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:4-10).

Translation: You are loved by God and there’s nothing you can do about it! It is solely because of His Grace, His Love, His Tender Mercies and Loving-kindness!

I want you to become intentional in reminding the enemy, and yourself, of Who You Are. Make it a daily affirmation until you believe it.

5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

6 To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved.

7 In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace;

8 Wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

9 Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself:

10 That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him:

11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will:

12 That we should be to the praise of His Glory, who first trusted in Christ.

13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of Promise,

14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His Glory (Ephesians 1:5-14).

Understand that there is nothing you can do to earn God’s love or to cause Him to stop loving you; but you have to meditate on His Word and His Promises (your weapons of mass destruction against the enemy) to gain the confidence and boldness to silence the lies of the enemy and to serve him notice that his assignments against you, your life, your family, your finances, and everything near and dear to you have been cancelled.  They are null and void!

So, “That Settles It,” the next time the enemy tries to launch an attack towards you, walk in the confidence of “Who You Are” in Christ Jesus, and launch a counter-attack by standing on the Word of God.

“The Walls of the Fort Must Come Down!”

I know you have heard the saying, “Hurt people hurt people.” Well, I believe that if hurt people do in fact hurt people, it is usually not intentional.  I do not believe that hurt people are trying to intentionally hurt anyone (in most cases), but they are really just trying to protect themselves from being hurt again.  Show me a person who is perceived as mean or hurtful and I will show you a person who has been hurt and who has not been totally healed. The more mean or bitter he/she is, the more hurt he/she has endured.  If this sounds familiar, or if you have been categorized as mean or hurtful, then help is on the way…

More than likely, you have built a fort around yourself and you are armed and ready to protect yourself by any means necessary.  You have made a declaration that “No one else is going to hurt me!” But, here’s the problem with your fort: NO ONE can get in!!! This includes the “Good Guys:” the people who want to help you, who want to love you, who want to see you healed.  You have chosen not to let anyone in, not even the Main One, God.  The Walls of the Fort Must Come Down!

The beautiful thing about God is that He is a Perfect Gentleman. He will not force you.  He is patient.  He is kind. He is longsuffering.  He will forebear with you.  He relentlessly pursues you.  There is nothing you can do to push Him away.

1 O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.

2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.

3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.

4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.

5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.

7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence?

8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.

9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;

10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

11 If I say, surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.

12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.

14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well

15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them!

18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee. (Psalm 139:1-18)

Because your heart is so scarred and bruised and tattered, because of all the past hurts and disappointments, it is difficult for you to trust anyone, including God. I bet if you look back over your life, there is a strong possibility that you may have even sabotaged some potentially good relationships because you thought you were protecting yourself. You were suspicious when you didn’t need to be, you were accusatory without cause; you were trying to protect yourself, but what you did unknowingly was push those individuals away.  But, you were too blinded by pain to see it this way; you just assumed that you were left once again rejected, hurt and abandoned.

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26)

You want to believe the promises of God, you want to trust Him, and people, but you are afraid. So many times in the past, others have told you to trust them, they told you they love you, but their actions said different.  God’s love is in demonstration, but it requires something from you.  You have to be willing to be vulnerable, to invite Him in, and to let Him heal all the broken places.  As you allow God to make you over and transform you by His Amazing love, you will begin to see the sun shining through…the walls of your fort will begin to come down.  As you begin to embrace this new found love.  It consumes you, it overtakes you; and you can have as much of it as you can handle.

Now, the most amazing thing begins to happen: you find yourself walking in love towards others, you have more compassion, and you are more patient. Now when you have to deal with a difficult person, you are more understanding and more compassionate because you were once where this individual is.  Now, you can pray for this difficult individual, and you know just what to pray.

The walls of your fort have come down!  People no longer have to try to scale the walls of hurt, shame, disappointment, rejection, and pain to try to get to you.  Now there’s a welcome sign that reads, “Love Served Daily.”  Now you, Yes You, are becoming a conduit of God’s love.

So, That Settles It! Now that you understand that God’s Perfect love casts out fear, you no longer have to be afraid to show love or to receive love.  “The Walls of the Fort Must Come Down!”

 

“Unusual Suspects”

Have you ever been in a situation where you needed something, and instead of getting it from the one you expected, the very thing that you needed came from an unexpected source? We set ourselves up for disappointment when we place our faith in people. You know the old saying, “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket…”

There are two main things wrong with the idea of placing your faith in people:

  1. You are setting that individual up to potentially fail you
  2. You are setting yourself up for potential disappointment

The truth of the matter is this: You cannot put people in the place where God should be and expect good results. This does not mean that people will always fail you or disappoint you; but when you place your faith in people (fallible humans), including yourself, you are not exercising your Best option. There may come a time that some of the people who start off in your corner cheering you on will not be as supportive as they once were.  The one you expected to always have your back may not be there.

Instead, your faith should be in God. After all, He is Jehovah Jireh, the God Who provides.

“My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:2)

So, what are you saying Shawndell? I am so glad you asked. I am saying that God is, and always will be, your Ultimate Source.  He will never leave you nor forsake you. When you are in fellowship with God, all you have to do is go to HIM and make your requests known.  He will supply your needs.  He may, and quite often does, send His provision through people, but leave that up to Him. When you allow God to do it, there is no disappointment and no failure.  When you ask God, and not man, He will send the very person who has the exact thing that you need.  This is not just tangible items such as money or food; this also applies to the intangible such as a word of encouragement, a smile, or a warm embrace.

It is written:

“Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Philippians 4:6)

“But my God shall supply all your need according to HIS riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

“I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” (Psalm 37:25)

So, why “Unusual Suspects?” Why did I pose the question at the beginning of this post?  Because more often than not, God will send what you need through the very person that you least expect, or may not even know.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

It doesn’t really require much faith to ask or expect something from the person who is usually there for you. The real test of your faith comes when you ask God and wait patiently to see how He chooses to send the provision; stop trying to figure it out and let HIM work it out.

There have been countless times that I had a need, and without ever mentioning it to anyone, God used someone that I never would have asked or expected to provide just what I needed, including strangers. I must be honest, the first time this happened to me, pride made me a little reluctant to accept the help because the person wasn’t one of my “Go to” people; but God reminded me, “You asked and I am providing.  I am the God Who provides” We have to be careful not to reject the gift God is sending us just because the packaging looks different than what we expected.

Now, I am learning to live in a place of expectancy. I no longer question how God is going to send it, or through whom He is going to send it, as long as He sends it. I simply make my requests known unto Him, place my faith in Him; and any way He blesses me, I am satisfied.  I remind myself to always show gratitude to whomever He chooses to use to bless me, the “Unusual Suspects,” but I never forget that He is my Source!

Remember, “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” (Psalm 24:1) It ALL belongs to HIM.

So, That Settles It! When you ask God for something, don’t eliminate the possibility that He may send it through an “Unusual Suspect,” in fact, expect the unexpected.

“You Are Not Just A Survivor…You Are More Than A Conqueror!”

As I was reflecting on my previous blog post entitled, “What Do They Call You? What Are You Answering To,” it dawned on me that just as important as it is for you not to answer to just anything that anyone else calls you, it is equally, if not more important, that you are conscience of what you call yourself. For instance, many of us have said, “I’m a survivor;” there have even been songs written about being a survivor…

Well, I want to challenge your thinking and what you say about yourself…

It is written, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…” (Proverbs 23:7)

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” (Proverbs 18:21)

Why do you have to settle for being just a survivor? Merriam Webster Dictionary defines a survivor as someone who continues to function or prosper despite many hardships. Yes, I know you, like I, have endured many hardships, and we are all grateful that you survived.  However, after all the hell you have been through, why would you settle for being seen as just a survivor? Now, please understand: I am in no way trying to diminish survivors; however, I believe that while there may be a season that it may seem like you are just surviving, this should only be temporal.  This season should not and does not have to be the end of your story.  At some point, you have to push past the pain, the hurt, the rejection, the failures, the tears, and the fears and Believe and Decree that you are not just a survivor, but that you are “More than a Conqueror!”

Merriam Webster Dictionary defines a conqueror as someone who is Victorious. So, ask yourself, do I want to continue to see myself as someone who is simply continuing to function or exist, or do I choose to see myself as someone who is victorious?  Let me help you.  God’s Word says it like this: (Romans 8:31-39)

31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

33 Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.

34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

37 Nay, in all these things we are More than Conquerors through him that loved us.

38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Translation: You cannot lose with God on your side! Period! When you choose to win and not accept defeat, the enemy loses! Satan is defeated! And everything that was meant for evil, God will turn it around and use if for your good!  Just think about all the times you thought you couldn’t make it, but you are still here…all the times you wanted to quit, but you kept pushing.  You have been through too much hell to settle for just surviving! So, start today and choose to trust God!  Choose not to let past hurts, fears, failures, or rejections cause you to waiver or doubt the Love of God!  Choose not to lose!  Choose not to give up on yourself!  Choose to believe that God Loves YOU!  Choose to Win!  Choose to be Victorious!

The reality is this: For some, just because you chose to get up this morning and you chose to NOT commit suicide, you are “More Than A Conqueror!”

For some, even though your heart has been broken more times than you can count, but you still choose to love, you are “More than a Conqueror!”

For some, even though you are still being healed from past hurts and rejections, you choose to reach out and help and encourage others who are now facing some of the same trials you had to endure, you are “More than a Conqueror!”

As long as you continue to fight with everything that you have inside of you…as long as you refuse to quite…as long as you refuse to give up, no matter what it looks like, as long as you have breath in your body, “You Are More Than A Conqueror through Christ!”  The Word of God reminds you that “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13)

God and HIS Heavenly Host are fighting on your behalf; now you do your part! You have to believe it even before you see it!

Because if God said it, then That Settles It! “You Are Not A Just Survivor…You Are More Than A Conqueror!”