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

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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God Has Not Forgotten You…

God Has Not Forgotten You…

Hey guys!

I was in a moment of quiet time with God this week and I was reminded of a song I hadn’t listened to in many many years; God Has Not 4Got by Tonex .  ( I know Tonex has made some life choices that no longer coincide with the word of God but this song of his speaks volumes still!)

The song led me to go back and look at the story of Noah and the Ark.  I’ve often wondered how Noah must have felt during this process.  Noah was living in a time where  the people God had created were at their utmost worst. God had had enough with them and was going to destroy them. However, Noah found favour with God because of his blameless behaviour. God established a covenant with Noah  and his family.

However, God had a few instructions for  Noah. First off, He was told by God to build this huge ark for this supposed flood that was going to happen one day. Although he was ridiculed and ostracized by the very people God was set to destroy , Noah persevered and did what he was told .  He was to bring his family, creatures of the earth, sea and sky aboard this ark and then await God’s instructions.

So for years on end Noah built this ark always remembering the promise God made with him. He was mocked mercilessly  but one day….finally, the flood waters came down, raining non stop for 40 days and 40 nights. Now if I was Noah, I would have been starting to get a little stir crazy at this point.

Then, after that 40th day the rains stopped…. but the earth was still flooded and for an additional 150 days. 150 days is just about 5 months.  Personally,  5 months cooped up in a boat with my family and animals and creatures of the land, sky and the sea…. is frightening! (lol) Even though God had saved us, I would honestly be thinking, ” Has God forgotten about us in here?”

But Noah still had faith and he waited patiently to hear from God. However, after the initial  5 months there was still almost a year before the waters receded completely.

Still Noah waited.

He sent out a raven and the raven came back confirming that the earth was still flooded…. Noah sent out a dove several times…

The earth was still flooded…

Finally after over a year of patiently waiting on God, The earth was finally was dry and God commanded Noah and his family to come out of the ark.
In the end, is where we find the covenant that God made with Noah and His people that still stands today. It is here that we learn the significance of the rainbow

12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”
17 So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.

The bible doesn’t specify if Noah and God had any communication during this time but what I love about  this whole story   ( and what ties this whole story into the song) is in the beginning of Genesis chapter 8 verse 1 which simply states:

“But God remembered Noah….”

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Through all of this, God remembered Noah.

No matter what you are going through or where God has placed you, He has not forgotten you!

Just like God made a covenant with Noah, He also made a promise with us . He promised to never leave us or forsake us. You may be going through some serious hardships, but remember  God has not forgotten you. As we see with Noah, It took what seemed like  a long time for God’s promise to come to fruition. But what did we see? God came through!  Everything that God has predestined and planned for your life will come to pass! Why? Simply because He is God and He has yet to break a promise.

Don’t give up.

Keep pushing.

Keep persevering.

You are not forgotten! Sometime promises take time to be fulfilled…

So just like Noah stay faithful, stay humble and be patient!

GOD

HAS

NOT

FORGOTTEN

YOU

Till next time,
xoxo

©justlovethemayway

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Monday Motivation: Life Is… A Rollercoaster

Monday Motivation: Life Is… A Rollercoaster

Hey y’all,

Finally the return of Monday Motivation!

I remember being the first time I rode a rollercoaster. I was at Disneyland in California on vacation with my cousins.  We were young, all between the ages of 6 and 14 (I was 12) Since we had my younger cousins with us, we stuck to some pretty tame rides, when suddenly we found ourselves in the line for the infamous Space Mountain Rollercoaster. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Space Mountain, it’s a rollercoaster that is actually inside of a constructed mountain. Inside, it is pretty much completely dark. This thing goes fast and has many unexpected twists and turns. Let me tell you and with all the twists and turns and the the added factor that I couldn’t see a thing… your girl was SCARED! I held on for dear life, looked over at my 8 year old cousin who was just as terrified as me and thought, “What on earth did I get myself into?”

My older cousin was behind me shouting “Faster! Faster!  with his hands up in the air while my youngest cousin Kimmy found a way to maneuver her way out of her safety harness and hide under the seat…. I literally thought she had fallen out the ride! (Please note, she has NEVER been on a rollercoaster since! LOL)

The ride did a couple of rounds and each time I found myself being less and less afraid and actually began to enjoy the ride. By the final go round , I too had my hands up in the air and was no longer afraid of the unknown.

Jonathan McReynolds has an interlude track on his “Make Room” album where he uses the analogy of rollercoaster as a metaphor for life. This particular analogy really resonated with me. Like me,  he painted the picture of holding on for dear life while the rollercoaster was in motion, whereas everyone around him had their hands up and were really able to let loose and enjoy!

Oftentimes when we hold on to control of our life, we tend to feel every single bump and blow and curveball that comes our way with intensity.  It’s almost as if we think  that if we hold on a little tighter, we’ll be able to manipulate the ride to do what we want it to do. Such as with life, sometimes we refuse to let go and let the ride of life do what it’s going to do.  We refuse to let the ride go through its predestined route without thinking we can help or change it along the way.  The engineers have already mapped out and constructed this ride , already knowing the outcome, so why would we in our right mind think  that anything we attempt to do could change what was already carefully orchestrated? It’s time to walk in the understanding that God has already mapped out life for you.

Now,  how much easier would life be  if we could be the other type of rider? Totally free and trusting God to bring us safely to the end of our ride. Now that’s not to say that this option isn’t scary. But in reality it’s actually the only option that makes sense!  Does holding on for dear life change the outcome? Nope! May as well let go and let God.

So today, I encourage you to let go of anxiety and fear of the future ( or even the present) to stop holding on to the past  and to throw your hands up in the air and trust that God has it all in control.

Life is a rollercoaster. We are going to encounter some ups and some downs , some unexpected loops. Life won’t always be smooth sailing on straight paths. But we need to hold on to the promise that through it all God will never let us fall!

Take a listen to Jonathan’s interlude called L.R.F( Rollercoasters) down below:

Have a blessed Monday! God Bless You All!
Til Next Time…
xoxo

©justlovethemanyway

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Monday Motivation: Recalculating…

Monday Motivation: Recalculating…

Hey folks!

I was looking through some pictures the other day, and I came across some pictures of a set of pictures from a cruise I went on in 2010. We live in Canada close to Toronto and we were feeling adventurous so we decided to drive… (there are so many stories from this trip I will have to share another time)

Now after the cruise was over, we definitely had to drive back. On our way back, our GPS system started to go insane!! I mean it had us going in the wrong direction for about an hour. It had it going one way and then it switched us to another direction back and forth, back and forth…. and then…. once we realized we were on the wrong track, the famous words that we all hate to hear when we were are navigating…Recalculating…Related image

Now, it was comical the number times that stupid little GPS told us to recalculate. It literally had us going in circles. So much so, we actually had to pull over and take out an actual map ( SIGH the horror!!!lol)  to find where we are and get back on the right track.

In this analogy, I look at the GPS as man. We depend on people to tell what to do, which direction we should go and which route we should take to get there. Oftentimes, this leaves us confused and lost.

I look at the map as God. A map is always a clear and concise path to follow. If you follow the map correctly, you all never lose your way.

Life is a journey. Sometimes your life takes a wrong turn and you have to recalculate.  Sometimes life throws you curve balls and it seems like your life is stuck in recalculation mode. Take the time to slow down, go back to the map, the original source and let the map ( God) put you back on the right track.

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The bible has a scripture that I love that 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.”  (Proverbs 3:5-6) 

Trust God in all you do! He will never lead you astray!

Today, I’ll leave you with a song that reminds us that there is only one way to live, one person to follow and that person is JESUS!

 

Have an awesome Monday
xoxo