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: Known…

Monday Motivation: Known…

“I’m fully known and loved by You ,You won’t let go no matter what I do, And it’s not one or the other, It’s hard truth and ridiculous grace, To be known fully known and loved by You…”

Hey y’all, quick post tonight!

I was at sushi with a friend of mine over the summer. We have been friends for over 25 years. You would think after being close friends for so long that we would know just about everything about each other right? Well, we thought so too but when we were chatting about something totally random, we quickly realized that we both had something in common that we had never shared with each other… or anybody!

That led me to really think about how well do we really know people?  I think we think we know people, but what we really know is what we see on the surface. Even if your friendship/relationship develops where trust is involved, people only know the  “you” you let them see and vice versa.

Having a relationship with God has given me another outlook on what it means to be “known”.  Psalms 139: 1-18 outlines this so beautifully. Let’s take a look at what it says:

O Lord, you have examined my heart
    and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
    You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
You see me when I travel
    and when I rest at home.
    You know everything I do.
You know what I am going to say
    even before I say it, Lord.
You go before me and follow me.
    You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too great for me to understand!

I can never escape from your Spirit!
    I can never get away from your presence!
If I go up to heaven, you are there;
    if I go down to the grave,[a] you are there.
If I ride the wings of the morning,
    if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    and your strength will support me.
11 I could ask the darkness to hide me
    and the light around me to become night—
12     but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
    Darkness and light are the same to you.

13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
    as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.
    Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed.

17 How precious are your thoughts about me,[b] O God.
    They cannot be numbered!
18 I can’t even count them;
    they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
    you are still with me!

 

This psalm so eloquently depicts how deep God’s knowledge of his people runs. He knew us before we even knew ourselves. He knows every single intricate detail about us ( I mean He should, after all, He did create us 🙂 )
He shows us here that there is absolutely no possible way to hide from Him because He knows our thoughts before we do.
How amazing is it to know that every single moment of your life has already been laid out and planned and prepared for by someone who knows you and what’s best for you.?

Tauren Wells has a beautiful song called, “Known” that is so fitting for my thoughts this week. The lyrics are as follows:

[Verse 1]
It’s so unusual it’s frightening
You see right through the mess inside me
And you call me out to pull me in
You tell me I can start again
And I don’t need to keep on hiding

[Chorus]
I’m fully known and loved by You
You won’t let go no matter what I do
And it’s not one or the other
It’s hard truth and ridiculous grace
To be known fully known and loved by You
I’m fully known and loved by You

[Verse 2]
It’s so like You to keep pursuing
It’s so like me to go astray
But You guard my heart with Your truth
A kind of love that’s bullet proof
And I surrender to Your kindness

[Bridge]
How real, how wide
How rich, how high is Your heart
I cannot find the reasons why
You give me so much

With God, you don’t have to hide those parts of you that you feel are unpleasant.  He loves that part of you too.  How humbling is it to know that God, who knows all your flaws and faults and misgivings still wants to know you and loves you all the same!

Is there anybody out there who wants to experience what it feels like to be fully known and loved in spite of every flaw? It’s super easy! Would you take two minutes and pray this prayer with me?

Father,

I want to know what it feels like to feel a love like no other. I want to be a receiver of your grace. I want to know you, God. Would you come alongside me now and lead me on the path you have created for me? Will you help me to surrender my will for yours and help me to become the person you have always known me to be? God, will you give me a desire to know you as you have known me and walk through the rest of my days with you? Amen.

May you be blessed on this Monday!
Til Next Time…

xoxo
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Monday Motivation: Welcome Home Kanye…

Monday Motivation: Welcome Home Kanye…

Hey y’all,

As many of you probably know, Kanye West released his long-awaited gospel album. Kanye, last year began a spiritual journey, which has led us to where he stands now: a self-proclaimed born again Christian and ambassador for Christ. Now, if you know the Kanye that I know… The Jesus Walks to Gold digger Kanye, the words Kanye and Christian are not synonymous. In fact, they are as far apart as can be.

So where do I stand? Where should we stand as Christians today? Here are some of the thoughts that have been swirling around in my head over the past year:

I must admit I have been watching Kanye’s transformation very closely. When he first started doing his Sunday services I was extremely skeptical. Not because I thought the transformation wasn’t possible, but because of the way it was being implemented. I’ll be the first to admit that I thought they this was just another ploy by his famous family to get ratings or another breakdown of his mental health.  The way his Sunday services were being implemented at the beginning of his journey, bordered on cultish behaviour in my personal opinion. ( in a dome, all dressed alike etc..)

Mind you, I made these assumptions long before I ever watched a full service. I saw clips of him taking secular music and mixing it with gospel music and right away my Jamaican Pentecostal upbringing had me denouncing it and him. Mind you, Mr Vegas ( a Jamaican dancehall artist) has a rendition of the gospel reggae track ” I am Blessed” that I had absolutely no problem with. (it’s been played at every single Jamaican CHRISTIAN wedding I have been at in the last 10 years lol)  and I myself used to turn secular songs into Christian songs by changing the lyrics all the time! Why fault Kanye if I wasn’t going to fault Mr Vegas as well?

So finally I watched a few of the Sunday services in Atlanta  Chicago And Detroit. And what I saw in place of Kanye the persona I knew, was simply a soul searching, seeking and trying to find its way home.

What I saw was Kanye’s heart. A man who is truly on a journey to find God and learn how to use his gifts to serve a greater purpose.

When I had this conversation with a group of peers, there were varied opinions. Many statements were made about being aware of false prophets. Which I think is a valid point. The bible does speak about this in 2 Timothy 4 where Timothy is encouraged by Paul to preach the gospel of  Jesus Christ because there is coming a day where the people will not want to hear sound doctrine but will gravitate towards preachers or teachers who tell them what they want to hear. It also says that people will denounce the faith and will run after myths,( 2 Timothy 4: 1-4) and to be perfectly honest when you look at Kanye and the following he has and has garnered through this spiritual journey, it seems like he is a perfect example of the people Paul was warning Timothy about.

But honestly, after watching his services, and leaning into my own relationship with Jesus, Kanye is no different than myself or anybody who has made a choice to follow God, to be honest. Kanye is just at an unfair advantage because of the persona he has created for himself and because he has made such a drastic declaration, it is really hard for people who have seen him one way for so long to truly believe the change is real.

But y’all this is why grace is so powerful. It overshadows everybody’s perception of you. God sees you. The true you. He sees the willing heart even if the world isn’t ready to accept it.

So, like I mentioned before, Kanye released his album and one track in particular really spoke to and convicted me, “Hands On” which features one of my all-time favourite gospel artists Fred Hammond. On this track, there is a line that really made me check myself as it should many people who call themselves a believer and follower of Christ:

“Told people God was my mission/What have you been hearing from the Christians/ they’ll be the first one to judge me/ make it seem like nobody love me”

This is exactly what many of us believers do. We judge people by their past and the persona first forgetting that grace extends to everyone… to celebrities too.  The same grace we live under is the same grace that Kanye has access to through Jesus Christ.

You may not know Kanye personally, but now is the time to pray for him! He is clearly on a journey and needs some guidance to keep him focused on the gift that is eternal life. This is a man who has had the entire world at his fingertips and is now in a place to give that all up in order to serve the one true and living God. To me… that’s commendable.

What the world sees as a plot or even as mental health issues, is really God taking back His child.  Putting him back on track to walk in the purpose that he was created for which is worship…

I’m not God and I can’t say with 100 per cent conviction that this a true declaration that Kanye has made forever. But what I can say right now at this very moment, is that I respect the fact that he has so boldly declared his desire to serve God. All we in Christendom can do is pray for discernment and pray that God will align Kanye with good shepherds that will walk alongside him and guide and help keep him on the path of righteousness.

So I say, welcome home brother Kanye. I’m praying for you!

 

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

 

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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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​Monday Motivation: Still…

​Monday Motivation: Still…

Hey Y’all,

So… I almost drowned about a week ago…   twice! I mean it would have been one hundred percent my fault but let me backtrack a little.

Last week I was on vacation in Rio Hato, Panama. This part of Panama is surrounded by the Pacific ocean. Being a girl of Caribbean descent, and one who is naturally prone to travel to the Caribbean islands which are surrounded by the Caribbean sea, I am not particularly fond of the Pacific. I find it a little too rough for my liking and honestly, just not as beautiful! ( Sorry my Pacific Ocean lovers!)  But nevertheless, I love water and I will always take advantage of any opportunity to be near it.

However, the beach at my resort wasn’t too bad! Now if you travel to beach resorts, you will know that the lifeguards have a flag system that they use to notify the patrons about the conditions of the water.

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So now to the topic of my nearly drowning.
(I can actually swim pretty well so this was not a factor in this near-death experience LOL)

All my friends were over at the pool. I wanted to take a quick dip in the ocean. So with no volunteers to come with me, I took it upon myself to just pop over to the beach and do just that. I saw the flags, waving bright and boldly in all its yellow glory. Medium hazard? I thought what could possibly be the harm? So bravely, I walked into the ocean…

it was at that moment I knew… I’d made a very poor decision. It was also in this moment that I learned that rip tides are REAL!

What’s a rip tide you ask? A riptide is:

  1. a relatively strong, narrow current flowing outward from the beach through the surf zone and presenting a hazard to swimmers.

So as I began to splash around, I noticed that the waves were extremely rough ( duh soph! Hence the warning flag) I started to attempt to make my way back to the shore, my toes were still touching the ocean floor at this point… until they weren’t anymore. Instantly my fight or flight instincts took over and I began to tread water like crazy and tried to propel myself towards the shore.

I couldn’t. I began to get weary and think to myself, “Really Soph, you’re gonna come all this way to drown alone in the ocean?”  So I began to fight! Another riptide bashed me again, this time knocking me backwards and then finally it subsided and I was able to crawl my way to the sand and leave the ocean!

The next time I nearly drowned/died was on a water slide. I’d consider myself pretty adventurous and so when I saw this waterslide, I knew I had to try it! There were two different slides to choose from. I naturally decided to do the fastest one because I’m a G! ( lol I’m not really, I’d just like to think I am:) )

So I get situated on the slide and push off. At first, it was going really well… until it wasn’t! I approached one particular part on this slide where the water completely blinded me and suddenly I was taking the rest of the ride with no clear vision of when the end of the slide would come alongside my inevitable entrance to the pool below.  Well, boy, did I enter the pool with a big splash… and was so shocked that I couldn’t catch my bearings to get myself back up to the surface! Thank God for the lifeguard at the bottom who literally put his hand on my back and guided me up to the surface safely!

Being back for a week now, I have had time to reflect on all the hidden lessons my experiences on this trip taught me.

Life sometimes comes at us like a riptide or a crazy waterslide.  We oftentimes put ourselves in situations without thinking things through and then are shocked when life hits us with a big splash!

Sometimes we enter situations that are out of our control and end up really feeling out of control! It sometimes feels like we are being carried away with the undertow of the cares of life. But just as with the riptide I faced in the ocean, it will subside. It is up to you to decide if you’re gonna tread water and fight against the current or give up and let it overtake you! Just like my experience on the waterslide, sometimes we need a helping hand to help us find our way to the surface.

For me, that helping hand, that motivation to tread water and keep fighting is rooted in the fact that I serve a God who promised to never leave me or let me down!

If you are currently feeling trapped in the riptide, be encouraged! Strong currents won’t rage forever! Calm seas will reign again!

The song “Still” by Hillsong United always provides me with comfort whenever I find myself in the undertows of life. Have a listen down below:

When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with you above the storm
Father you are king over the flood
I will be still and know you are God

Be Blessed!
Til next time…
xoxo

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©justlovethemanyway

​The Cloud of Glory is Moving…

​The Cloud of Glory is Moving…

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“The cloud of glory is moving.
Move with the cloud, move with the cloud.
Let your spirit arise and your strength be renewed;
come on let’s move altogether.
Strength you’ll receive as you follow His lead.
Move with the cloud, move with the cloud”

I was recently on vacation in the beautiful country of Panama, Central America. While in the ocean with my friends, we looked up and saw a big cloud of smoke in the sky. My bro bro Jerome and i burst out laughing as we began to reminisce om the song we grew up hearing called, “Move with the cloud” ( I always thought this was a made up Jamaican song. But, upon doing research I discovered it was actually a song by Albertina Walker! I’ll insert it later: ) )

If you grew in a church like my Jamaican pentecostal house of worship, you would know this was a staple song. But I must admit, I sang this song for years without truly understanding the meaning behind the lyrics. ( I find we do this a lot with choruses in the Pentecostal church, because if you listen to some of these songs… they don’t make any sense. But I digress.)

I began to re-examine the story of Moses leading the people through the wilderness. This narrative is found in the book of Exodus. I particularly paid attention to where I believe the lyrics of this song came from, which is found in Exodus 13 vs 17-22.

In this particular passage, Pharoah had recently released the Israelites from captivity. They were now en route to the Promised Land. Now we discover as we read further into these passages, that it was not an easy journey. There were even points along the journey where they cursed Moses for bringing them out of captivity seemingly into the desert to die! Mind you, the journey from where they were to the Promised Land should have only taken 3 days or so. We know it took much longer than that! It took 40 years to be exact!

As I began to read the passage found in Exodus 13:17-22, I began to draw some insight into the significance of this song. Let’s break it down:

The cloud of glory is moving, move with the cloud:

Verse 21 states:  By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light so that they could travel by day or night.
This shows us that God was with the people every step of the way. Just as God provided a way for the Israelites to see the way through the wilderness, He has provided us with guidance through our wilderness moments every step of the way.

Let your spirit arise and your strength be renewed, Come on let’s move all together:

I feel like this is a direct message to the people of today. No matter what you are going through, don’t let your spirit be dismayed, because God is with you in every season. We as the people of God need to draw together in such times as these to help each other out. Be a shoulder for your brother or sister to lean on as we all navigate some challenging times. Everybody needs somebody…

Strength you’ll receive as you follow His lead…

There is nothing more empowering than knowing you are going through a journey with a competent leader at the helm. Think about your life today. For example, on your job, when you have a boss who is confident and in control, are you not more likely to follow their lead with ease? I know I am! God is the ultimate leader. If we put our trust in Him and follow HIs lead, we have no reason to fret or be afraid of what’s on the other side.

Such a “silly” song that I’ve actively poked jest at, spoke to me in so many different ways this week.

Stay under the direction of the cloud of glory that God has provided for you to follow. He provided the pillar clouds by day and the pillar of fire by night. This serves as a reminder of the faithfulness of the God we serve. He will never leave you or forsake you in any situation. No matter how long it takes to be delivered from your wilderness situation, He will always be there for you.

Verse 22:  Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.

So move with the cloud!

Be blessed!
Til next time,
xoxo
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