Lessons From Rudolph…

Lessons From Rudolph…

“Then how the reindeer loved him as they shouted out with glee. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, you’ll go down in history…” 

And just like that, another Christmas season is upon us! My how fast 2019 came and went! So, in the spirit of Christmas, I thought it would be fun to share an account that I had with my dad a few days back.
I overheard him having a conversation with someone about how Rudolph the red nose reindeer is just like the story of Jesus. And to be perfectly honest I just brushed it off because if you know my dad, he’s always making jokes. But when I really stopped to think about it, it actually makes perfect sense. Let me break down the story of Rudolph just in case you are unfamiliar 

Rudolph was a reindeer that was part of a collective group. However, the one thing that set him apart was the fact he had a very red shiny nose. 

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This was a point of ridicule for him. The other reindeers didn’t like him. Perhaps they thought that Rudolph thought he was better than them. Maybe they simply didn’t like him because he was different.  Point of the matter is, they just didn’t like him because they just couldn’t see his purpose. 

Nevertheless, there came a time where the weather wasn’t cooperating for the reindeers to pull the sleigh for Santa to make his deliveries. He had to utilize Rudolph and his red shiny nose to guide the sleigh and ultimately save the day. Thus fulfilling his purpose.

Santa saw Rudolph’s purpose long before anybody else did. After Rudolph saved the day, everybody loved him and finally were able to accept, respect and value his purpose. 

To me, Jesus is a lot like Rudolph. He came into the world with a purpose.  He was born for the sole purpose to be the saviour of the very world we live in. In fact, His entire purpose was set before He even set a foot on this earth… and people hated Him for it! He came knowing who He was and His purpose, boldly proclaiming it and people didn’t take to kindly to that.  He was often shunned, dismissed and ridiculed. 

After years living here on earth, there came a time where He had to fulfil His purpose, which he did with such grace. With that, the name Jesus was forever etched in history.

Just like Rudolph, we may not know or see what our purpose is. But just as Santa saw Rudolph’s, Jesus sees ours! In fact, we were created for a purpose.  We were created to stand out, to be set apart. Our uniqueness is what Jesus may use to guide people to Him. Just as Rudolph used the light of his nose to guide the sleigh, let the light that shines within you lead people to the saviour- the greatest gift of all…

Matthew 5:16- In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Have a very merry Christmas blog family!

xoxo
©justlovethemanyway

Monday Motivation: Reckless Love…

Monday Motivation: Reckless Love…

adjective

Reckless:

to be reckless of danger.

characterized by or proceeding from such carelessness: reckless extravagance.

Hey guys,

So I was reminiscing with a friend the other day and they asked me, ” What was the most reckless thing you did as a child?” Automatically, my mind took me back to a crisp fall day in 1997 ( dang I’m aging myself here LOL)

I love to rollerblade, even to this day. But when I was in middle school and had to walk to a school that was a considerable distance away from my home, my mother absolutely forbade me from rollerblading to school. Being an adult now, I can understand why she encouraged me not to do it. However, being the stubborn child that I was, I went ahead and did it anyway.  The route that I chose to take to school on this particular day was out of the ordinary for me. It took me longer to get to school this way but the only friend crazy enough to join me on this great expedition, lived closer to this direction. So naturally, we met in the middle and off we went…. rollerblading down an extremely steep hill…. with oncoming traffic all around us. Not a care in the world.

Now I’m not sure  if you truly understand how steep this hill was. It was so steep that in order to stop myself from blading directly into oncoming traffic, I had to reach out and grab the stop sign pole that was to the right of me  to slow me down ( I am actually shuddering at the thought of this) After I successfully finished my ride, I looked to the left of me and BAM! My mothers good friend was stopped at the bottom of the hill I had just descended. It appeared at the time that she didn’t see me and so I thought I was in the clear!  I later learned upon getting home from school, that she did see me and had promptly called my mother at work. I was properly disciplined Jamaican style ( I’ll leave you to use your imagination lol) This experience was one of the most reckless things I did in my childhood.

Reminiscing about this experience, had me think about that word “RECKLESS”. Let’s look into it for a moment.

The word reckless as defined above means “utterly unconcerned about the consequences  of some action.

I began to look at the word reckless in correlation to our relationship with God. The song “Reckless Love” by Cory Ashbury really helped me put my thoughts together. Mind you, I absolutely HATED this song the first few times I heard it years ago because I didn’t take the time to decipher the message in the lyrics.

Here are the lyrics in particular that I want to take a look at today:

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah

I was speaking with another friend about how love by today’s standards are truly a gamble. You win some and you may lose some too.  But in order to really experience it you have to be willing to take that risk.

God truly took a risk on us and chose to love us recklessly, without another thought. Even  with Him being the creator and having the ability to see that we were going to hurt Him time and time again , He still CHOSE to love us recklessly! He loves us through our mess. He loves us even when we choose to walk away from Him over and over again.

There is nothing we can do to “earn” the love of God. God’s love is open and available to anyone who sets themselves in a place to receive it.

The part of the chorus that says “leaves the ninety nine,” brings me back to the Parable of the Lost Sheep, specifically the depiction detailed in Luke 15: 1-7 :

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

15 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus.But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

This parable brings to life an analogy of how God views us. We at some point have been that one sheep that has wandered astray, and God has dropped everything to go out and call out us and beckon to us. He rejoices when we are found and boasts about it!  Now common sense would say “Its just one! Leave it and cut your losses”.  But no, this is another example of How God’s reckless love abounds.  He honestly could have said oh well another one bites the dust, but he didn’t. He is openly distraught when one sheep (us) is missing from the flock. It feels unnatural, incomplete until the lost one is returned to the flock.

The bridge of this song has lyrics as follows:
There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me

To continue to love someone who continuously  walks away from you, turns their back on you, treats you with disregard is truly a reckless and careless move.  But as the aforementioned bridge says, there is absolutely NOTHING that can keep our God from loving us without limits!  Now this doesn’t mean that God is reckless. It simply means that the depth of His love is.. without thought or caution or rhyme and reason!

God’s love to the carnal eye of man is foolish. It makes no sense. In many ways His love is as pure and innocent as the love of a child. His love loves without barriers. His love is the type of love that never gives up. His love tears down walls. His love heals trauma! His love allows you to see the bright patch in a season of dark places…  His love in a nutshell is RECKLESS and I for one am eternally grateful for God’s Reckless Love! Oh to love and BE LOVED by God. Its truly a remarkable phenomenon.

 

Be blessed today and always!
Til Next Time,
xoxo

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©justlovethemanyway2019

It’s My Inheritance…

It’s My Inheritance…

It’s my birthday y’all…. and  this year I just wasn’t too excited about it; and if you know anything about me, its that I LOVE my birthday.  I had a few weeks of deep contemplation about what I wanted my next year of life to be like. Here ‘s what i’ve been pondering on the last little while.

Have you ever thought about the word inheritance and what it means?

Recently, the subject of inheritance has seemingly been all around me. This summer, Disney released the live action version of The Lion King. There is a scene in the movie where Mufasa (father) has a conversation with his son, Simba. He explains to him that everything the light touches belongs to them and that one day Simba will inherit all of it.  Watch the full scene ( from the original Disney motion picture film) down below:

What does it actually mean to inherit something?  Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word inherit as, ” : to come into possession of or receive especially as a right or divine portion”.

Simba didn’t have to do anything to receive what Mufasa had to offer him. He was told that it belonged to him just becuase he belonged to Mufasa. It was his right as Mufasa’s son to inherit all that Mufasa had..

Hmm… think on that for a minute.

I was raised as an only child and I am my mothers only biological child. My sibling(s)  on my father’s side are much older than me and so I grew up always knowing whatever my mother had, and most of what my father had  would one day become mine. I didn’t have to do anything to earn it. My only job was to be born into the particular family that I was. It is my rightful place to one day take possesion of the things they have promised me.

I think I see a trend here….

Let’s look biblically for a second. The story  of Abraham is a great depiction of inheritance in direct corelation to us. God promised Abraham that if he followed His lead ( Genesis 12: 1-3) left all he knew behind he would bless him in ways that he couldn’t even imagine. God made a covenant with Abraham when he was old in age (75)  He, at the time was childless and God promised him that he would sow an heir and that his descendents would outnumber the stars in the sky.  (Genesis 15: 5) Abraham would  become the father to genrations of people who would go on to inherit the promised land.. and in latter days, inherit the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Abraham didn’t have to do anything except follow God’s direction to inherit all that God promised to him.

That’s so relatable to us today and our relationship with  Jesus. God sent His son  (Jesus) as a sacrifce, to die on a cross just for us! We didn’t have to do anything to be worthy of such a sacrifice. The benefits of this sacrifice are eternal life. if we just take the step to join the family of God, wholeheartedly, all He has promised us is ours for the taking.

All He asks of us in return is to love Him and to serve Him in spirt and in truth.

Belong: We belong to God
Be in a Family: Through Jesus we are a part of the family of God 
Follow: Follow Jesus to inherit the kingdom of God and in turn eternal life

I was visiting with some friends a few weekends ago, and we were having some pretty deep discussions. We began to discuss how we often doubt God and all He has promised us. My big bro turned to the group and said ( paraphrasing )  ” Why do we act as if the inheritance isn’t ours?”

Wow…

That was like a big slap in of reality in my face. A staement that was so simple , took on a very profound meaning for me. For too long I have “known” that all God promised me, belongs to me, but never have I really taken the time to examine what that really means and BELIEVED IT!

Why am I worrying about trivial things when God already has my inheritance waiting on me?  Why am I doubting that what is for will always be for me? Why am I becoming frustrated with the timing of the inheritance’s delivery?

Because I am a fleshly human, flaws and all!

But, this year I’ve decided to walk in my inheritance! It’s already mine so I need to act like it! Everything that God has promised me, I’m claiming it this year! This is the time that my faith gets stronger and deeper and I stand with arms and heart wide open ready to receive. It’s time to live in the overflow of my inheritance.

I must admit, I was not excited for my birthday this year. I am coming off of a few years where God has really been stretchng me and grooming me and pushing me and pulling me and…. you get the drift. It’s been a season of growing pains. But after this conversation, a fire has been light under me to once again start speaking blessings over my life! Year 34 I’m claiming victory! I want the blessings of Abraham to flow all over me!

( This one of my favourite songs! It’s so appropriate for this post and I’m about to make it my theme song for this entire birth year! Anytime I start to lose sight of my inheritance, I’m going to through this on and worship all doubt away 🙂 )

Pray for me y’all (cause the devil stays lurking!)

I hope everyone has a blessed day! I’m off to the airport!! Let the birthday celebrations begin!

God bless you all!
xo

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​Stay On The Path….

​Stay On The Path….

Hey y’all!

I’m over here sick as a dog in my bed but….. as a proud Canadian (not a Raptors fan lol KNICKS all day…. even though we suck right now), I am SUPER AMPED for game 5 of the NBA finals featuring our very own Toronto Raptors!!!!

I live fairly close to Toronto, so going to sporting events like basketball games, baseball games etc… are a thing of the norm for me. In Toronto, they have what is called Jurassic Park that fans flock to by the thousands to cheer on and support their beloved Raptors.

Last week my friend and I had tickets to a Blue Jays vs. Yankees baseball game. Talk about being conflicted! Do I still go to the game? Or do I just stop at Jurassic Park and take part in the festivities. I chose to go to the Jays game and perhaps catch up with the revellers afterwards.

Well, by the time the baseball game was done , the Raptors game was just about over and if you know anything about trying to get on a train after a sporting event in Toronto… is that you make your way as quickly as possible to your platform to avoid standing for an extensive amount of time on your way home.

Transit to and from the GTA ( Greater Toronto Area) is constantly changing, especially at what is called Union station. Union Station is the hub of downtown transit. There is something called PATH which is a pedestrian walkway that has links to things such as multiple subway stations, shopping and restaurants.

Every
Single
Time…
I get into Union station and get on the PATH walkway to get out of the subway station… I GET LOST!

Why because it’s never the same! The path you took two weeks ago is now blocked off and is detouring you to go another way. If you’re not paying attention , the signage can lead you in circles!

Let me backtrack a second. My friend and I both have the same issue every time we go into Union Station and we had made up in our mind that we were just going to walk on the outside street to the station. But what did we do instead? We followed the crowd and found ourselves once again on the Path. We took our eyes off of our path and ended up on a course that altered the plan and ended up taking us longer to get to our desired place.

To me, the Path represents life. In life, you are going to be constantly met with unexpected changes. Some things in life you can prepare for, others you just have to figure it out as it comes to you. Like I mentioned before, Union Station has great signage which directs you to where you need to be. The Holy Spirit is like that signage. Always leading you in the correct direction. If you stop paying attention to the signs or take the lead away from the Holy Spirit, it is then that your life is met with confusion. It is then you begin to deviate from the original plan to get you to your destination.

I use this illustration to encourage you to stay on the path God has for you. Don’t follow the crowd. You don’t have to be doing something because everyone else is. God has prepared a path and journey that is uniquely yours.

It is impossible to successfully reach where you are trying to go without clear directions. You need directions and instruction to efficiently navigate through all the detours and roadblocks you may encounter along your way.

Your path may not always be a smooth one or even a clear one. But directions are intended to make the transition from place to place easier. It’s not always easy to follow directions when you think you know where you are going. It’s not easy to put your trust in someone ( or something) else. However, there is a very popular scripture that is very fitting at this moment. Proverbs 3:5-6 reads:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

God will never lead you astray. He has already navigated the best path for you to take, to get you exactly where you need to be… in His timing. Don’t be in such a rush to reach your final destination. Take a moment and enjoy the path you are on…

This song is a song I learned as a child growing up in a Pentecostal church. Oldie but a goodie! Very simple song but a very clear message. Enjoy!

Be Blessed today!

xoxo
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Don’t Cry…

Don’t Cry…

“Don’t cry… wipe your eyes! He’s not dead…”

Happy Easter folks! Quick post today! I hope today you are surrounded by friends or family and that you take a moment to reflect on the sacredness of today!

There are very few songs that can bring me to tears instantly. To name a few;  “Grace” by Tasha Cobbs, “Destiny” by Tina Campbell and the one this blog post is based on “Don’t Cry” by Kirk Franklin.

It’s not even a dramatically interesting arrangement, to be honest, but the lyrics in their simplicity really hit home. The lyrics read as follows:

Why do you cry? He has risen.
Why are you weeping? He’s not dead.

Why do you cry? he has risen.
Why are you weeping? He’s not dead.

He paid it all on that lonely highway
And his anointing I can feel.

He shed his blood
For my transgressions
And by his stripes, we are healed.

 

Why do you cry? He has risen.
Why are you weeping? He’s not dead.
So as you go through life’s journey
Don’t you worry lift up your head.
Don’t you cry  stop your weeping
He has risen He’s not dead.
Don’t cry
wipe your eyes
He’s not dead.
Don’t weep
He’s not asleep
Jehovah
He’s not dead

 

Image result for jesus risen from the dead

 

 

 

We often go through life ( even as Christians) doubting the magnitude of who Jesus Christ is and the sacrifice He made for us on the cross so many years ago. Because of the choice, He made to give HIs life for ours, we have a hope that should surpass all doubt!  Although He died and was buried, three short days later, He rose again and in that event, left us with the hope that He will one day return for us- His people.

There is hope in Jesus Christ! Maybe you’ve tried things your way for a long time, and things just don’t seem to be working out. If you haven’t already made a choice to get to know Jesus, take a few moments and pray this prayer with me:

 

Dear God,
Thank you for sending your son Jesus. I stand in awe of the sacrifice made for someone like me. I have been trying things my way for a long time, and now I want to put my life in your hands. I know that I am a sinner only saved by your grace  Please come into my heart. Guide my thoughts and point my life in a direction that is pleasing to you! Amen

 

Don’t Cry!

 

There is hope because our saviour is NOT DEAD!
He already took care of the perils of today at the cross long ago!

Rejoice in the peace that the saviour has RISEN!

 

Be Blessed!

May your Easter season be filled with love, joy and peace!

xoxo
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©justlovethemanyway

 

I Am Who He Says I Am…

I Am Who He Says I Am…

” I am chosen Not forsaken I am who You say I am… You are for me Not against me I am who You say I am…”

Loser…

Ugly…

Disruptive…

Stupid…

These are some words that have been used to describe me at one point or another in life.  I’m sure many people out there can relate to having words spoken about them that were extremely hurtful and that have probably left invisible scars on their self-esteem.

This weekend I attended a ladies retreat put on by my church organization (COGOP). The theme for the weekend was, “Yet, I will rejoice “. While the overall theme was rejoicing in your circumstances, quite a few of the session speakers and evening ministers really touched on the topic of mental wellness and knowing who you are through Christ.

I was having a conversation with my sister-friend this weekend, who shared with me an incident where an older church sister had made mention of her nose piercing. This particular sister told her in no uncertain terms that she needed to remove her nose ring and that it was “demonic”. My sister-friend shared with me how the sister made her feel so bad about herself and her choice to wear the nose ring, by basically discrediting her ability to have a relationship with Christ and minister ( she’s an amazing musician) because of it.

My sister-friend has spoken with me openly ( and I with her) about the struggle we have at times to maintain mental and spiritual wellness. Well as you can imagine, this older sister’s words didn’t help with her spiritual self-esteem: feeling worthy of acting in ministry because maybe the nose ring really did make her “less than”.

Unworthy

Distracting

Disobedient

In another event, I can recall being in the bathroom ( restroom for my American readers lol) and overhearing two sisters having a conversation that was so discrediting to my character that I won’t repeat it here. If I was a different person I would’ve let their words send me down a downward spiral. Thankfully, It had the opposite effect and I can still hold my head high knowing I’m still ( by God’s grace) proving them wrong.

Failure

Disappointment

Worthless 

We humans often forget that words are powerful! They have the power to uplift and they have the ability to tear down, as do the people who say them.

This is why I am so happy that God has left us some words of affirmation in His word (The Bible) that can remind of who He has made us!

1 Peter 2:9-  But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

John 1:12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God

John 15:15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends since I have told you everything the Father told me.

Romans 8:17 -And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ, we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.

1 Thessalonians 1:4-  We know, dear brothers and sisters, that God loves you and has chosen you to be his own people.

The theme song for the weekend was Hillsong’s “Who You Say I Am”

The lyrics are powerful and the ones that really stuck out to me are:

I am chosen
Not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am

Christ has given us a title that nobody can take away. A title that nobody’s words can cancel:

Chosen

Special

His Child

Heir

Friend

Loved

I want to remind somebody that they are a product of God’s promise! The preacher Angela Grant had a tagline that she used in her message on Saturday night at the retreat. She reminded us ladies that we are ” CHOSEN NOT TOLERATED”

You are who God says you are. He made a choice and His choice was to LOVE US and make us HIS OWN.

You are loved!

You matter!

Take two minutes out of your busy schedule today and remind them of special they are! Take a look in the mirror and encourage yourself!

If you don’t hear it today: I love you and GOD LOVES YOU TOO!

Be Blessed!

xoxo

©justlovethemanyway

Sorry,​ I’m Not Available…

Sorry,​ I’m Not Available…

Hey loves,

Is it just me or does anybody’s calendar sometimes overwhelm them? Honestly, since the top of the year I feel like I’ve just been like a hamster on a treadmill; non- stop go, go go!

While I wouldn’t say I’m a people pleaser, I would say I have a strong desire to make sure those in my circle feel supported whether it be emotionally or as it most often ends up being my physical presence is there when they need it.

I decided that 2019 was going to be the year that I said: ” no” to more things and that, I would be “selfish” this year and look out for me. My favourite phrase was geared and set to be ” Sorry, I’m not available,,,”

But as things kept coming my way and I formed my mouth to utter the words, “Sorry I’m not available”  I began to ponder one thing… and this one thing  stopped me dead in my tracks:

“What if God decided to have a selfish year and not be “available” for my needs?”

Ouch… talk about a slap in the face!

It has been this long since 2019 started:

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If I really take stock of how many times I have run to God in this time, and every time I called on Him, He was available, It would be impossible to create an accurate tally.

As a Christian, we are called to be Christ-like. That includes with our time, more specifically with our service.  One of the most important roles in His short time on earth was one of a humble servant. And while I’m sure  He would have much rather been given a different task to complete, He took on His role as the Saviour with grace.  And now, that same grace, because of the great sacrifice of Himself, has allowed us to live an abundant life.

John 10;10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” English Standard Version

Herein lays my dilemma. How can I so flippantly dismiss people and what they may need from me, simply because I don’t feel like it? I can’t…

What I can do is to utilize the wisdom that God gave me and be wise about how I delegate my time and… most importantly use the time I have wisely.

This means before making myself available to Sue, Jim and Jenny, I need to make myself available to Him.  To not neglect to make real time for Him. Not just the leftovers.

The song ” Available to You ” has always been one of my favourites but something about the words today  ( specifically this verse) really hit me:

Now I’m giving back to You
All the tools You gave to me
My hands, my ears, my voice, my eyes
So You can use them as You please

I have emptied out my cup
So that You can fill me up
Now, I’m free, I just want to be
More available to You

It’s my desire to be available to God to be able to use me whenever He needs to- in whichever capacity He sees fit.

If it means being a shoulder for that friend to lean on.
If it means being that praying voice someone needs to hear.
If it means sitting on someone’s couch sharing about the love of God.
If it means feeding the hungry.
If it means sacrificing my WANTS  to meet someone’s NEEDS….. ( ouch soph.. really talking to yourself here!!)

Then that’s what I need to do.

I just want to be as available to God as He is to me… and while they may be impossible ( you know with Him being all-knowing and omnipresent 🙂 ) I certainly want to be available for Him to use me in any capacity.

Let’s make 2019 a year where we are available!

xoxo

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