“Flowers”

Just recently, I lost a dear sister in Christ; and as some of us were reflecting upon the impact that she made upon our lives, there was one common theme: no one had anything negative to say about her. We were all so blessed to have been graced with her presence. I know when we lose someone close to us, we try to only focus on the positive or the good things about that person, but truth be told, if we chose to, we could remember some bad things too. But, for this beautiful Jewel, we could find nothing bad to say. She was so humble, always serving others, no evil or guile was ever found upon her lips. Her smile would brighten the entire building. A true Earth Angel. You know the kind of person who even though you hate to see him/her go, but you have no doubt that he/she is in Heaven? That is our unanimous feeling regarding our dear sister.

As we were reminiscing about our dear sister, we began to discuss the importance of giving people their Flowers while they can still smell them. I know we have all probably heard this at some point in our lives, probably during the time of a loss; but how many of us actually hold true to this once the grieving is over? I am grateful that we are able to take solace in the fact that we literally gave our dear sister her Flowers while she was still here with us. We actually gave her Flowers. We told her we loved her. We seized the day and the opportunity and we are thankful that we did because we didn’t know that the last time we spoke with her would be the last time that we would speak to her.

So, I challenge everyone who reads this post to make a conscience effort to let your love be in demonstration to everyone in your life while they are still here with you. And please don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you have time, for no man knows the day nor the hour (Matthew 24:36). One of the biggest regrets of man is “If I had more time…” So, make the best use of the time you have. Make today count.

Take time and thank people for their good deeds. Bless people every chance you get; whether it’s with something tangible or something intangible like a smile, a hug, a warm embrace, or kind words.

Make time for your family and friends; not just around holidays or when something bad happens. Pick up the phone and call a loved one and tell them you love them. If someone close to you is going through a hard time, try to support him/her according to your ability. You may not be able to do anything except extend words of comfort or prayer, but sometimes that’s what’s needed most. Place the needs of someone else before yours sometimes. Embrace one another in spite of your differences; accept people where they are, just as God does for you; pray for them, and let the love of Christ emanate through you; for it is the power of love which causes transformation.

 1 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

 2 Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.

 3 For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.

 4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

 5 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:

 6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God (Romans 15:1-7).

If you have a quarrel or disagreement with someone, be quick to apologize. Endeavor to keep the peace with all men, and don’t let the sun go down on your wrath. If you need to forgive someone, or if you need to ask someone for forgiveness, don’t delay any longer; do it today (Ephesians 4).

So, That Settles It; give people their Flowers while they can still smell them. Do it today because tomorrow is not promised; leave no room for regrets.

Reign in Heaven Evangelist Ruth

 

“Always Grateful”

Have you ever noticed how around this time of year, there are two main groups of people that we hear the most from: The first group are those people who only seem thankful around the holidays or if something “Good” happens to them. The second group are those people who try to condemn the people in the first group. You know these people; they will say something like, “Oh, I’m glad I’m not like some of these people. I don’t have to wait until a certain time of the year I’m thankful all year long.” Do you know someone like that?

But, there is a third group, a growing group of people who are truly grateful, not just around the holidays or special occasions, not just for “Good” things or “Big” things. No, this group of people are Always Grateful, even in the “Little” things. This group of people are just as excited for everyone else’s testimonies as they are for their own. You know, the people who are always giving a testimony, or who always have a praise report; and you may think to yourself, “He/She can’t always have everything going so good in his/her life.”  We all should strive to become a part of this group; the group who is Always Grateful.
“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
“Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord” (Psalm 150:6).

There is a woman in my prayer group who is the epitome of Always Grateful. We have prayer every morning at 5am, and before we end the call each day we leave room for any praise reports or testimonies. And every day this woman has something to say; every day she voices something that she is grateful for, no matter how big or small. I remember one day she had a praise report about how she wanted a pile of dirt removed from her back yard and it was finally gone and she was truly grateful. Initially, I thought to myself, “Really? Every day? And now a pile of dirt?” But, one day she shared with the group some of her testimony and that she has a reason to be grateful. She reminded us that we never know what a person has been through, or is going through to cause them to express such gratitude, even in what we consider little things (Psalm 136).

The truth of the matter is we all have something that we can express our gratitude for each day. I think what happens is sometimes we become so complacent that we forget to express our gratefulness (we have such a sense of entitlement); and there are other times that we are so consumed with what is not going right, or what we don’t have, that we forget to express our gratitude for what we do have. But, let’s remember to offer up to Him the Sacrifice of Praise and give unto Him the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name (Hebrews 13:15).

We should always reflect on the things that we are grateful for, big and small. We should always take time and think about the things that God has brought us through. We should always take some time and reflect upon the times that we thought we wouldn’t make it, but God stepped in right on time. We should always share, whenever the opportunity presents itself, about the times God made a way when we could see no way out. We have overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony (Revelation 12:11)

So, That Settles It. Starting today, let’s make time each day and show God and share with others that we are “Always Grateful.”

Happy Thanksgiving!

“Live by the Sword, Die by the Sword”

It seems as if every time I look on Social Media, I see a different challenge; the latest being the Mannequin Challenge, which is both creative and hilarious. So, for this week’s post I decided to pose a challenge: the “Live by the Sword, Die by the Sword” Challenge. Breathe! I am not encouraging violence; no the sword I am referring to is the “Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” (Ephesians 6:17)

Think about it for a moment… As believers, we are to “die daily;” of course not physically, but we are to die to self. We should make a conscience effort daily to mortify the deeds of the flesh; to bring under subjection those sinful desires. (Romans 8:13)

How do we do this? We do what the Word says do. How do we know what the Word says do? We have to read it and study it, and meditate on it often.

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” (Romans 10:17)

“Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” (Psalm 119:11)

I contend that if you make a conscience effort to truly Live by the Sword, you will surely Die by the Sword. When you live by the Word of God, and you trust in the Word, and you do what the Word says do, ultimately you will die to self and selfish (fleshly) desires.

Example of Living by the Sword and Dying by the Sword:

Your co-worker/spouse/friend is rude and nasty to you for no apparent reason.  Do you

  1. Retaliate just as rude and nasty
  2. Curse him/her out loudly so everyone can hear it
  3. Remain in love, stay professional, friendly, and courteous, despite his/her actions

The obvious answer is C, but why? Because as believers, we are in this world, but not of the world. (John 17:16)

If we are children of light then we should strive to be that light in the midst of darkness. Living by the Sword and Dying by the Sword: you are reminded that “A soft word turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger. The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.” (Proverbs 15:1-2)

You are reminded of the Word that says to “Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.” (Luke 6:28)

Then, the ultimate: when you really die (to self) by the sword, you will pray for that person.

Jesus even when being crucified said “Forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

The more you learn to Live by the Sword (the Word of God), the more you learn who you are in Christ, your Purpose and Destiny; then it becomes easier to die to fleshly desires because you now see the bigger picture. Now, I am definitely not saying it’s easy initially, but I am saying that it is possible and rewarding; “for with God ALL things are possible.” (Luke 18:27)

And have faith, because even if you totally miss it, that’s when God’s Grace steps in, for “His Grace is sufficient.”           (2 Corinthians 12:9)

The Apostle Paul summed it up perfectly: (Romans 7:19-25)

19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.

22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:

23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

Essentially, Apostle Paul acknowledged that even in the times when he wanted to do good, it was a struggle because of the sinful nature on the inside of him. But, he concluded by thanking God that the answer to this problem is in Jesus Christ, the Living Word. (John 1:1-14)

When we are weak, God’s strength is made Perfect. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.” (Mark 8:35, Matthew 10:39, Matthew 16:25, Luke 9:24, John 12:25)

So, That Settles It, if God says the same thing this many times in His Holy Word, let us take heed. So, this week’s challenge is to “Live by the Sword, Die by the Sword.”

 

 

“When You Don’t Know What to Say, Don’t Say Anything”

As I was preparing to work on this blog post for this week, many great ideas and topics began to run through my mind. I would begin to ponder upon one thought then another idea would pop into my mind. I sat quietly just waiting to hear from God about the direction in which I should go, what I should write about this week. My daily prayer is “Speak Lord your servant heareth.” It is important to me that I hear what the Spirit has to say; for I know that apart from Him, I can do nothing.

As I continued to allow the various thoughts to run through my mind, and as the time continued to move forward, I started getting a little anxious and nervous because I was still uncertain about this week’s post; because if He doesn’t give me anything, then I won’t post anything.

But, I had to remind myself of the scripture: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT)

So, I prayed and asked God to give me what to write about, and suddenly, I heard a still small voice say “When you don’t know what to say, don’t say anything.” I thought to myself, “Okay Lord??? Why would You tell me not to say anything, when this is a blog that was inspired by You? Lord, please make it plain for me.” Then a calmness permeated my spirit (Peace) and I realized that He’s not telling me not to post, He’s telling me this is what the people need to hear this week.

This saying is not new; our elders use to tell us all the time: “When you don’t know what to say, don’t say anything;” or maybe you heard “If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all,” same thing. You are held accountable for every word that comes out of your mouth, so you want to make sure that you are saying the right things. “The power of life and death are in the tongue…” So, you want to make sure that you speak life(Proverbs 18:21)

You may think to yourself, “Okay that seems easy enough.” But what about those times when people are coming against you and speaking all manners of evil to you and about you? Will you still remember “When you don’t know what to say, don’t say anything?” This is when it gets a little harder for many people, but you have to remind yourself to hold your peace and let the Lord fight your battles. (Exodus 14:14)

What I have learned is that sometimes when it seems like a person is coming against you or attacking you, it may not be actually about you. There may be some other underlying issues that the individual has not been able to fully process or that have been suppressed, and unfortunately you just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time; or maybe you were meant to be there. That is why it is so important to seek God daily for His Wisdom, and to listen actively before you respond. That very person who is attacking you could be at his/her breaking point and you have been placed in a unique position to either restore him/her or send them over the edge, to tear down or build up. This kind of selflessness definitely requires that you practice “When you don’t know what to say, don’t say anything,” and be led by the Spirit.

You must remember not to allow your emotions (flesh) to react or make decisions that could produce bad consequences that you will later regret.

It is written: “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” (James 1:19)

This small bit of info is so BIG, so important in every aspect of your life, and it can save you a lot of hurt, pain, and disappointment if you remember to use it; especially if you are one who is accustomed to defending yourself or who has to have the last word. When you are a child of the Most High King, if you would listen, you would hear Him say: “Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you.”(2 Chronicles 20:17)

Even if someone is intentionally attacking you, remember that the battle is not yours it is the Lord’s. (2 Chronicles 20:15)

So,That Settles It, “When you don’t know what to say, don’t say anything,” take a deep breath, wait, and hear what the Spirit has to say. Call upon Him, simply say “Speak Lord Your servant heareth,” then obey!

“Thumbs Up”

Last week I started experiencing some pain in my right thumb; then I noticed that I could barely move or bend it without the assistance of my left hand. I went to the doctor and was informed of the injury, and told that I had to wear a splint for a few days. Apparently I over extended my thumb, and in order for healing to take place I had to allow my thumb to rest. I never realized how important the thumb is, or how much we rely on it, until I was unable to use it; now even simple tasks became difficult and time consuming. The thumb is the most important digit on the human hand. It enables one to pick up and grasp items. It is the only digit on the hand that can touch the other fingers.

The same is true for many of you: You are like the thumb in your family, at work, in your church, and among your friends. You have so many others who depend on you; whether you know it or not, you provide strength to many of those around you. You touch the lives of many. You are the one who encourages or “pick up” those who are downtrodden, whether it’s by your very presence, a smile, a kind word, or a warm embrace.

Unlike me with my thumb, you want to make sure that you don’t over extend yourself. REST! It is imperative that you take time and rest. (Hebrew 4:9-11)

9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.

10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.

11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

If you are anything like me, you give and give, even when it hurts, even at times when it’s inconvenient for you, because you know how it feels to have a need and no one around who will help. You are selfless and always willing to help, but if you don’t take time for yourself, if you don’t rest, you won’t be much help to anyone, not even yourself. (Matthew 11:28-30)

28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Even Jesus rested, and He taught the importance of rest to the disciples as well.

“And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.” (Mark 6:31)

So, That Settles It, as the “Thumbs” to those around us, we have to make sure we rest because as we continue to touch the lives of those around us, it is inevitable that more will come, and when they come, they are looking for the “Thumbs Up.” We can’t afford to be worn down because of allowing ourselves to become overburdened and restless.