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. 

Image result for rudolph guiding the sleigh"

 

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: He Is Faithful…

Monday Motivation: He Is Faithful…

Hey y’all!

Have you ever had faith that something was going to work out your way, and then… it didn’t? I know I have on countless occasions. Especially right now, in the season of life, I currently am in.  I’m trying to navigate through, as best can with as much faith as I can that things are gonna “turn around” and “work out” and honestly… it’s been challenging to live my life with faith at the helm of my ship.

It’s very easy to get lost in doubt and have your faith dwindle when you can’t see an end to your situation in sight. I remember having a conversation with a friend and I was mentioning to them about how I was just feeling downright defeated; and yes many an encouraging word was shared ( which I really did appreciate) but I just wasn’t ready to receive them.

So what do I do when I feel defeated? I turn to God. But not always in the way I should. I often tend to turn to Him lamenting about my problems and not even acknowledging Him. I sometimes even go as far to question Him as to  “why He hates me?” (Ugh… even typing this makes me sound like a petulant, inconsolable toddler)

(Sidenote: At prayer/fasting service at my church on Saturday, the leader called me out to pray, and as the Holy Spirit does, He revealed to her the brunt of my lamenting. As she offered up a word through her Holy Spirit utterance, I was able to receive the message, “He loves you so… stay faithful… He loves you so”. Okay, God… I hear you loud and clear. Thank you Holy Spirit…)

Last week I decided to turn my prayers away from it’s non stop lamenting and began to honour God for His faithfulness. In my quiet time, I was drawn to the book of Hosea in the Bible.  I actually really love this book and over the course of the week, I dug in a little deeper into this text.

The book of Hosea is like a prophetic symbol of God’s relationship to Israel. Just like Hosea and his wife’s relationship was fractured due to her adulterous ways, such is Israel’s relationship with God.  (Hosea 1-3) But just as Hosea’s relationship was restored, God too promised to reconcile and restore His relationship with Israel.  Even when Israel didn’t deserve it, God remained faithful to His promise to them. ( Hosea 14)

This is the same way God is faithful to us. Even though we find it hard to have faith because we aren’t seeing the fruits of our faithfulness, God is STILL faithful.

I know I am totally undeserving of His faithfulness to me, but I am eternally grateful.  You see, God made us and he knows that our faith may waver. But that’s why He gave us a reminder of His faithfulness by sending His son as a redeemer! When mankind made the choice to eat the fruit from the forbidden tree, ( Genesis 3)  God had the power to have us permanently atone for our sins by actual physical sacrifice. Instead, He, Himself, made the ultimate sacrifice for us!

Even when we are faithLESS, God remains faithFUL!

There’s a song by Elevation Worship that has really helped me through the past few weeks. The lyrics are as follows:

When the whispers of worry
Overwhelmed my soul
You never left me alone
You were there all along
You are faithful
Why should my heart be afraid?
You are faithful
I know You’re not gonna change
You are faithful, faithful
I was down to the wire
Hoping You would come through
And You stepped in the fire
Like You always do
How I’m convinced of Your love
You are more than enough
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Whatever it is you are worrying about, leave it in the hands of Jesus! He will always stay the same! Faithful! All He asks in return is that we trust Him with our whole heart.. even when it doesn’t make sense!
Lamentations 3:22-23 New International Version (NIV)
“Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness…” 
I pray that our faithful God works out your situations in His perfect timing!
God Bless!
xoxo
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©justlovethemanyway

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

​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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Monday Motivation: The Reason…

Monday Motivation: The Reason…

Hey loves,

Super quick post today ( spending time with the family ❤️)

With only one day left until Christmas, today has been a day of last minute errands and non stop running around. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the commercialism of this holiday in particular, but I really want us to remember the reason for the season.

Many years ago, before any of us were even a thought, the Almighty God saw fit to send a saviour to bear the burden of sins we had yet to commit. So , as we take December 25th to commemorate the birth of our Savior, take a moment to reflect on the magnitude of how great our God is!

There’s a song they sang at church yesterday that I hadn’t heard in awhile that has been replaying in my head all night, that I think is fitting to share with you all today.

https://youtu.be/ifdCGNUwvtQ

The lyrics just really serve as a reminder of who God is

“You are the lord of lords, you are the king of kings, you are my everything, I give myself to you”

It’s not about the gifts or the food or even about the family gatherings. It’s all about Jesus. He is the reason for the season. Give honour to whom it’s due.

May your holiday season be blessed!

xoxo

May Your Bad Days Prove That God is Good…

May Your Bad Days Prove That God is Good…

Hey loves!

As 2018 is drawing to a close, I have been doing some reflecting ( as most of us do). I began to think about my year.. and honestly how “bad” it’s been. At the beginning of the year I had multiple people from different areas of my life tell me that “2018 is my year” and let me tell you after the past few years I have experienced,  I was in need of “something good”. But in no uncertain terms was 2018 my year. While it wasn’t my worst year, it wasn’t what I would   refer to as “my year”.  I was still met with exceeding disappointment, overwhelming anxiety and “unanswered prayers.”

It was in talking with a friend, that caused me to really take a step back and reevaluate what “my year” really meant. I was looking for the physical manifestation of my prayers while not really taking into consideration the work that God was doing on the inside of me.  I spent too much of 2018 in anticipation of the “what’s coming for me” and not enough time in the awe of “what God is doing for me right now”.

I look at 2018 as my year of refinement. What does it mean to be refined?  According to google dictionary ,  to be refined is defined as

” with impurities or unwanted elements having been removed by processing.”
“elegant and cultured in appearance, manner, or taste.”
“developed or improved so as to be precise or subtle.”

This year forced me to take stock of all the parts of myself that needed refining. There were several areas of my life that God really needed to refine within me this year and while it may have seemed long and tedious, or that God wasn’t hearing me this year, He had to take me through the process.  The refining process is not a simple or quick task. It takes time! We live in this microwave generation where we want everything in 2 minutes or less. But God doesn’t work on our time schedule. He takes His time refining His people because He wants us to be the best version of ourselves, which in turn is the best representation of Him.

So yes, while 2018 was filled with “bad days” it has taught me so much about myself. It has always caused me to reflect that my bad day is a walk in the park for somebody else. Yes, I know that’s cliche to say but it’s really true. I have a friend ( I won’t name him because I didn’t ask permission to share his story… hopefully in the future I can interview him) who has battled more in 2018 than I probably have in my whole life and He still manages to lift his hands in worship to the almighty God. That has inspired me and blessed me in more ways than you could ever imagine. As I look at him, the song “God is Good” by Jonathan McReynolds  comes to mind.  The song is simple prayer:

May your struggles keep you near the cross
And may your troubles show that you need God
And may your battles end the way they should
And may your bad days prove that God is good
And may your whole life prove that God is good

May your bad days prove that God is GOOD! Even in the “bad days” God is still God. I’ve learned to stop asking God why and when things will happen for me and learned to trust His timing. Also, to take stock of what He is refining in the process!

Trouble with your health? (yup have that) GOD IS GOOD
Sick loved ones? ( yup have that ) God IS GOOD
Relationship disappointments? ( going through that) but GOD IS STILL GOOD)
Anxiety? ( yessssssssssssss) GOD IS STILL GOOD
“Unanswered prayers” ?( yessssss lord lol) HE’S STILL GOOD

End of the story is no matter what you’re going through,  GOD IS STILL GOOD! Refining hurts sometimes but it is for your betterment in the long run!

I encourage anyone out here reading this to not lose hope during the refining process! Trust that you will come out of refinement better than you were before. New, refreshed and ready to tackle anything that comes your way! I pray that your 2019 is a year of blessings in abundance and overflow for you!

2018 was the year of refinement for me. 2019 is the time to shine! May my whole life prove that God is GOOD!

A huge shoutout to everyone who played a part in my “refining year”. I couldn’t have survived this year without your help. prayers and sometimes strong reprimands that knocked some much needed sense into me!

Onward and upward from here on out! 2019 lets get it!!

Take a listen to this song by Jonathan McReynolds. I hope its simple yet powerful message speaks to you as it has spoken to me ❤

Blessings!
Til next time,
xoxo
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©justlovethemanyway