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!

 

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

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

Monday Motivation: Rejoice…

Monday Motivation: Rejoice…

Hey y’ all!

Quick post today! These past few weeks have been pretty stressful. It seems like I just can’t catch a break! Work has been super busy, I’ve been dealing with some health issues and I’m just burnt out emotionally and physically and even a little bit spiritually.

For those of you who have a relationship with Jesus, Do you ever feel like He’s not talking to you? No matter how much you seek Him, you just can’t hear from Him? That’s how its been for me for the past couple of weeks.

But over the weekend I was reminded of some of the passages of scripture they spoke about at a retreat I went to put on by my church organization. The theme of the retreat was, “Yet, I will rejoice” and one of the scriptures they used to highlight this theme was Habbakuk 3:17-18 and it reads:

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
    and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
    and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
    and the cattle barns are empty,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
    I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!

So even though your situation may seem bleak right now, rejoice anyway! The same God that has been there for you before, is still there for you right now…even if you can’t hear Him. Keep trusting! Keep seeking and most importantly…REJOICE!

This song has really been speaking to me over the past few weeks! Be blessed 🙂

 

xoxo
©justlovethemanyway

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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

Great Things…

Great Things…

Hey loves!

Quick post tonight!

Sorry… I know its been awhile since I posted but I kinda took a little bit of a social media break while on my 21 days of fasting. Well, we are winding up this fasting at the end of this week, so it’s time to get back to the grind! Thank you for sticking with me 🙂

I was scrolling through my instagram and an  old Ricky Dillard song popped up. The song “Great Things” really had me reflecting.  The lyrics are so simple yet so powerful:

God has so many great things in store for me
Can’t you see, many great things in store for me

Eyes have not seen, nor ears heard
Great things, great things in store for me
I’ll trust His word, and believe
Great things, great things in store for me

The one part of the song that stuck out to me was the lyric, ” I’ll trust HIs word and believe…”  That’s one thing I often have trouble doing. I like to believe I have crazy faith… but in reality,  it’s more like “Hail Mary” faith :  faith because I’ve already run out of options….  so why not trust and believe??? ( smh)

That’s not the type of faith I’m walking through 2019 with. I want to journey through this year with faith being my ONLY option.

Now I don’t know about you but for the last couple of years I’ve been hearing, ” This is your year!”, and after the past 5 years that I’ve had chiiiillllleeeeee …. forgive me for rolling my eyes when I hear this. Now 2018 wasn’t a HORRIBLE year but it definitely wouldn’t have qualified as “my year”… until the last 2 weeks of the year. In my previous post I spoke about 2018 being my “refining” year, but in the last two weeks God truly showed me that not only was He listening to my prayers , He was doing His best to make sure I was prepared for what I had been praying for.

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Oftentimes we pray for things that we are in no position to receive! In order to receive “great things” you need to get yourself to a “great place” mentally, emotionally, physically and most importantly SPIRITUALLY!

One thing I’ve learned is that God will never give you anything you aren’t prepared for…

Romans 8:28 says; (NKJV)

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose

Everything that you have ever wanted or desired for yourself absolutely pales in comparison to what God has in store for you… if you’ll just step out in crazy faith and trust Him… and His TIMING!

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What is really helping me activate my faith this year is digging even deeper into God’s word and resting in knowing that His promises are true!

Jeremiah 29:11-12 (NKJV)
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you

1 Corinthians 2:9 (NLT)
That is what the Scriptures mean when they say,  “No eye has seen, no ear has heard,  and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”[a]

I’m anxiously awaiting the great things that God has in store for me!
I think I’m QUITE overdo! 😉 ❤

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