Shopping Cart
Your Cart is Empty
Quantity:
Subtotal
Taxes
Shipping
Total
There was an error with PayPalClick here to try again
CelebrateThank you for your business!You should be receiving an order confirmation from Paypal shortly.Exit Shopping Cart

My Blog

Blog

Throwback Thursday's Message From The Middle

Posted on July 30, 2015 at 5:03 PM Comments comments (2)
Minister's Balboa & LewisMinister's Balboa & LewisWinston & Sondra
"Dying to be Married"Naomi's DaughtersKingdom Foundational Truths
Kept on CampusKingdom Kids Network BroadcastAmbassadors Winston & Sondra Lewis
Blessed greetings in the name of our 
Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Well, we find ourselves in the middle of the summer, in the middle of the year 2015 (and prayerfully, I find myself in the middle of my life). It has been my observation that the majority (present company included) are usually spending more time dwelling on past exploits of life's journey or looking to the future, be it dread or hope, for what's next over the horizon, while neglecting the present position in the midst of the two tenses. This misappropriation of focus can even be considered a tactic of the enemy who means to do nothing less than distract us from the "present" (gift) that is called "Today", also known as "NOW". Be it the middle of life, the middle of the year, the middle of summer or the middle of the moment, we can do justice to amend or build on the past and prepare properly for the future by making the best of our current situation. So take some time today to smell the coffee, smell the roses, enjoy a conversation, feel some sunshine, appreciate the rain, savor a breath of fresh air, embrace your freedom, reach, teach and encourage a child, respect and support a senior, and generally live, laugh and love more --- TODAY!

My family just recently commemorated 16 years since we emerged from our wilderness experience...then officially proceeded in ministry. Our official ministry, ie. Christian practice, began in August 1999 at the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission. It was here that our faith walk continued and GOD showed us why we had to go through the previous 3 years the way we did, resulting in our week of homelessness. Those formative spiritual years prepared us to be effective ministers to others who were homeless. It also prepared us to deal with various aspects of ministry and to effectively cross denominational barriers.  Those invaluable lessons that we learned served as a template for how to plan to proceed in our service unto the Lord globally.

"Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.
Zechariah 4:10 NLT

The Hero In You

Posted on December 30, 2014 at 8:54 PM Comments comments (0)
Generation Youth Uganda
Naomi's Daughters "We Care" GYU
The Hero in You
 
On the December 2014 “Naomi’s Daughters” broadcast we had two amazing and insightful guests; Sister Maranda Forney and Brother Mawejje Joseph all the way from Kenya. They brought a mighty message about giving that struck me so much that I had to write about it.

The need that they shared with us can be found at www.generationyouthuganda.org. This ministry was brought to Brother Joseph in a dream and we all know that God uses many avenues to show us our purpose in the Body of Christ. This dream told him that he was called to help girls and young women.  He had the opportunity to speak to some youths and he was told that one of the larger needs for the young women was monthly sanitary products. That dirty rags was what they primarily used at that time. Now to women here in the United States, this is something that we have never needed to do, nor could we imagine, but ladies, the need does exist. This man, a man who has no need for the products, has taken this project on, among others, to help these needy young women.

Christ has called His believers to rise up and to take on the task of showing His love through them. He wants the world to see that the love of Christ is not just a tagline but that it is a real and a tangible thing. So much so, that He is calling us all to action. Just as the disciples in Matthews 14, Christ ministered to the 5000 that gathered around Lake Galilee upon his crossing. He healed the sick and then He gave them a word. In verses 15 and 16, the disciples suggested that the time had come to disperse the crowd so that they could go home and have a meal and Christ said, “No, you feed them”.  I love the way that Christ gives us the word and an example of how to love people in need.  Jesus did not agree in passing that the crowd maybe hungry, He did ask the disciples what could be done for the people, No. He told them to contemplate no longer and to feed the crowd. Just as Jesus told Peter in John 21:17 “Peter, do you love me? Feed my sheep.” It is our job to feed His sheep, to clothe the naked to visit the sick and imprisoned and to proclaim the Good News.

So, this is a call to action! I ask that everyone reading; everyone that is within the sound of my voice, open their hands and hearts to someone in need. Find a ministry, like Kingdom United Ministries Network, that is good soil and plant a seed! KUMN is good soil that has an honest heart (Luke 8:15 CEV).  They listen and they obey the voice of God, being led by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Generation Youth is an organization that is clothing the naked and welcoming the stranger (Matt 25: 35)  The're many other ministries out there who’s greatest gift to the world is that they show the Love of Christ by caring for his sheep.

Find good ground, sisters and brothers and sow a seed. Reach out to your local church and get involved. I know that it can be a daunting task to find where your gifts are best put to use, but I challenge you to do as it is given to us in Ecclesiastes 9:10 and “do what your hands find to do.” Get busy spreading love abroad. Let’s not hide our light under a bushel but let our light shine!

Amb. Kathy Thompson

No Ordinary Storm

Posted on November 18, 2014 at 12:28 PM Comments comments (0)

No Ordinary Storm
Mark 4:37-39  And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.
And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

This was no ordinary storm.  Previously, Jesus had been teaching on the kingdom through a series of parables.  It was in this very ship that he taught by the sea side because of the multitude that had come to hear him.
He taught them the parable of the sower and the seed.  He taught them that a candle is meant to be seen and that nothing in secret would remain hidden.  He told his disciples that to them it was given to know the mysteries of the kingdom but that it was hidden from those who chose not to seek it out.  And that if they didn’t understand the parable of the sower and the seed, they wouldn’t understand any other. Little did they know that the teacher was in his glory and their ship was his class room.  They were being given the answers before the test.

Have you ever been given a dream, a word that resonated in your spirit that you knew, was more to it than met the eye?  You knew God was telling you something.  Something that took seeking Him to get an understanding?  “It is the Glory of God to conceal a thing.  But the glory of kings to search a matter out.” Proverbs 25:2  Jesus was the master teacher (orator).  He could give a parable that man’s wisdom had no grasp of understanding.  But it was not in the telling that they would learn, but rather in the test that followed.

After teaching many parables that day (lessons on various aspects having to do with the Word of God, the one who teaches it, enemies of the Word, those who receive it and those who don’t, why and what the word will produce) in verse 35b, the teacher is ready to give them the test saying “Let us pass over unto the other side.”

The scene is set.  It is evening and along with the boat that Jesus and his disciples are on are several other smaller boats.  Then comes an unusual storm.  A storm so fierce that on the sea, it is of hurricane proportions.  This in and of itself is unnatural as hurricanes are common only in large bodies of water such as the Atlantic Ocean.  But this storm sends their boat reeling as the waves beat ferociously against it.  The waves are so relentless, they lift the boat high almost touching the sky and with the tumult of the violent winds, send the boat crashing to depths of the sea.  The deep looming sound of the creaking of the helm and the cracking of lightening overwhelms the men’s hearts as the waters that were once on the outside of the boat have now come inside and their boat is now full.  Although a few of them are seasoned fisherman and have gone through storms before, they have never experiences anything like this.

Isn’t it something how no matter what you think you know about life, there are times when our faith is being tested that we face unusual circumstances that seem to come from nowhere?Psalm 107:23-30Amplified Bible (AMP)
Some go down to the sea and travel over it in ships to do business in great waters;
These see the works of the Lord and His wonders in the deep.
For He commands and raises up the stormy wind, which lifts up the waves of the sea.
[Those aboard] mount up to the heavens, they go down again to the deeps; their courage melts away because of their plight.
They reel to and fro and stagger like a drunken man and are at their wits’ end [all their wisdom has come to nothing].
Then they cry to the Lord in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses.
He hushes the storm to a calm and to a gentle whisper, so that the waves of the sea are still.
Then the men are glad because of the calm, and He brings them to their desired haven.”

So the men cry out to Jesus and awake him from his rest.  Now its one thing for them to be going through all of this and after all, wasn’t it Jesus who said “Let us pass over to the other side?”  We wouldn’t be going through this if it weren’t for us following him!  And to make matters worse, when we need him the most, he’s in the back of the boat (uh, class room) sleeping!

Have you ever felt like when all hell was breaking loose in your life that Jesus was somewhere asleep?  But even the answer to this question (I’m sorry, test) had been given to them when he said in verses 26-29 of Mark 4:
So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;
And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.  For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.
But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.”

Now the master teacher is ready to reveal the lesson that he’d spent all the day teaching them.  How well did they do?  Did they pass?  He arises (gets up out of his chair at the back of the class room) and does two things:  He rebukes the wind and says “Peace, Be Still!” then turns to the disciples and asks them “Where is your faith?”  Jesus never asks a question to get information.  But this was a question of “location” (what ground are you?) for his disciples to answer.

All the day he’d been teaching them how faith operates and that there are enemies at work to steal the word it produces.  He’d told them that depending upon the type of ground (condition of the heart), the measure of word they’d receive would yield the same measure of return.  He had taught them that when the harvest (the test) came, that what they’d received would be manifest.

It would seem that Jesus would only need to speak Peace or to simply tell the winds to “Be still”, but upon looking closer at the lessons he’d been teaching them, there were two points of interest being addressed in this lesson:
The “Peace” was to the disciples who only needed to realize that The Prince of Peace was with them all along.  That where, when and how He tells you to go is enough to sustain you when you receive and obey His Word.  He will never lead you where He will not keep you.

“Be still” was to the elements that surrounded them (the winds, the waves).    “What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” Mark 4:41b This storm was not an ordinary storm.  It was a lesson in faith that Jesus ordered and because he initiated it, he also controlled it.  All along, as impending, dismal and horrific as it may have been for his disciples, it was all happening in a “controlled” environment.  It came for them to “pass” over to the other side.

"Then they cry to the Lord in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses.
He hushes the storm to a calm and to a gentle whisper, so that the waves of the sea are still.
Then the men are glad because of the calm, and He brings them to their desired haven.”  Psalm 107:28-30

You may be going through a storm right now.  Speak peace over your soul and tell the winds to “Be still!”  You are not alone, and this is no ordinary storm.

 Video blog by
Ambassador Sondra L. Lewis
  
If this has been a blessing to you,
you are welcome to share this Blog with others.
Video produced by
 

The "Know" Factor

Posted on October 31, 2014 at 6:19 AM Comments comments (0)
Romans 8:28  King James Version (KJV)
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose


Surely, Joseph didn't see himself second in authority only to Pharaoh in Egypt while in betrayal of the Dothan pit by his brothers.  Genesis 37 Nor, did the three Hebrew boys have any visible sign that they would be delivered out of the furnace of affliction as they made a decision not to bow and worship the idols of  Nebuchadnezzar.  Daniel 3  

But what they did have was something deeper, something more powerful and more real than the obstacles they faced.  They had a "Know"  that was greater than their opposition, more real than what they saw with their natural eye that in spite of danger, sustained them. 

"And we know that all things work together for the good to those who love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose"Romans 8:28 

When faced with opposition, tribulation or fiery trials that test you and bring you to your knees, you must embrace something greater than the facts.  Facts can change and are contingent upon happenings surrounding them.  Truth (God's Truth) is unchangeable.  It can not be manipulated, it doesn't change due to circumstances but in fact, can "change" circumstances.  John 17:17 "Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth."

The fact is, when we know what God's word says about  us and the power we wield by it, we can walk in the assureds that whatever the battle we face, we have already won. And whatever has previously had us bound, we are now made free.   John 8:32

It is in the knowing that Joshua and Caleb declared they were well able to dispossess the giants in the land that the ten coward away from. Numbers 13:30 In spite of the word of the Lord that He'd given them the land, they couldn't receive the "Truth" for looking at the facts. 

Had they perceived that "a people who know their God are strong and will do great exploits" (Daniel 11:32)   They would have seen the giants as nourishment for the battles to come as Joshua and Caleb referred to them as being "bread for us"  Numbers 14:9

Having the "know" factor is what guarantees your victories when situations look impossible.  It silences the evil forebodings that keep watch 1st, 2nd and 3rd shift assigned to keep you anxious and fearful.  It gives you the bold confidence to speak and declare your outcome and initiates your help in bringing it into fruition.  It is the determining factor that allows you to acknowledge your failures and shortcomings but not be limited by them.

The know factor will give you the ability to look death in the eye and decree and declare "Not today!  Not like this!  I will Live and Not Die!  This is the will of The Lord!"

It will cause you to dare to step out into what God has divinely called you in to.  No fear, guilt or shame will ever hold you back again when you know who you are.  

Praise: Your Customized Weapon!

Posted on October 15, 2014 at 1:43 AM Comments comments (0)


Isaiah 43:21 The Message (MSG)16-21 
This is what God says,
    the God who builds a road right through the ocean,
    who carves a path through pounding waves,
The God who summons horses and chariots and armies—
    they lie down and then can’t get up;
    they’re snuffed out like so many candles:
“Forget about what’s happened;
    don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
    It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is! I’m making a road through the desert,
    rivers in the badlands.
Wild animals will say ‘Thank you!’
    —the coyotes and the buzzards—
Because I provided water in the desert,
    rivers through the sun-baked earth,
Drinking water for the people I chose,
    the people I made especially for myself,
    a people custom-made to praise me."

All to often, we have relegated praise to a feeling, an expression of gratitude and appreciation for the one being praised and haven't realized that it is more than this. Much , much more.  In Proverbs 18:20 the psalmist states that a mans belly shall be satisfied by the fruit of ones lips and the writer of Hebrews 13:15  teaches us that we are to offer up to God "the sacrifice of praise which is the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His Name"

Praise is  a POWER WEAPON  that will still the enemies in our lives and defeat our adversary.  We were created in the image of God to speak into our earthly lives what the will of God is in Heaven (Matthew 18:18 )  as God spoke in the 21st verse of Isaiah 43 "the people I made especially for myself,a people custom-made to praise me."  
We were created to make manifest the glory of God on earth, unique to his design and purpose, operating from a power source not of this world.  2 Corinthians 10:4
(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

Therefore, praise (out of  the mouth of a believer ) is more than an admiration of the true and the Living God, but is a lethal weapon against anything that is sent into our lives to steal, kill or to destroy us.  In fact, for each attack of the enemy, there is a specific praise designed to defeat that particular battle we are in.  Our praise accesses the Heavenly hosts and commands divine strategies on earth.   We see time and time again when praise went before the people of God, their enemies were defeated in unique and profound ways.  

When we offer the "sacrifice of praise"  we are doing more than confusing the enemy, we are declaring and bringing into remembrance previous victories and recreating the atmosphere for what was done before, to be done again.  Our praise solidifies our victory both to our enemy as well as to us.  There is "customized" power made accessible through our praise.

Praise (like mercy) must be new every morning.  1 Chronicles 23:30  We cannot fight today's battles off of yesterdays praise.  But when we praise God and magnify His Name (identity, character and purpose) we enter into fellowship with Him by creating an atmosphere in which He can dwell comfortably in.  We tap into the Central intelligence of the Holy Spirit where all things pertaining to life and Godliness are made available to us.  We are made privy to information in the spirit realm that are more real than that in which we see with our natural eyes.  

It is in this place of praise, where our weapons are custom made for the current battle we are in, may encounter later in the day or thwart an attack that was being formed against us.  Isaiah 54:17  This is indeed the most powerful weapon against the enemy and the reason it is so often the most difficult to use.  The enemy knows that if he can get us caught up in how we "feel", we will not enter into this secret place.  Psalm 91   But for the believer, this is the safest, most powerful and effective position to be in.  

As we begin to change our perspective to focus on the true power and authority we have when we offer up the sacrifice of praise and embrace that more than any other time, God is more with us when we praise Him, we will begin to see more victories in our lives.  We will walk in a greater peace in knowing that our prayers are heard and we will begin to see those we encounter to also walk in greater victories.  So don't wait, PRAISE HIM NOW!


Delight yourself!

Posted on April 21, 2014 at 8:36 AM Comments comments (2)



Delight yourself!
by
Elaine Barnes-Bailey




Psalm 37:4
 
"Take delight in the Lord and He will give you your hearts desires."
 
This Bible verse has been on my heart for the last month or so as I even posted it as my Facebook status.
 
I asked myself even exactly what does that mean?  How do I take delight in the Lord? I decided to search and look even deeper. This is what I found and just wanted to share and may it encourage you and bless you today.
 
To delight means to take great pleasure in. Revel in and to wallow in:  Strong feelings of happiness, great pleasure of satisfaction.   As I began thinking what do I find strong feelings of happiness in and how do I literally wallow in it?
 
These are a few I came up and you think of some things you love wallowing in or delighting in. These are some and of course not all for I surely don't want to bore you :) I find great pleasure in going to movies, writing, swimming, cooking, shopping and serving my wonderful husband and family. 
 
Then I again asked myself what action do I take to make sure I attain that type of delight? Let's just take the example of shopping. To delight, wallow or take great pleasure in having a great experience in shopping I would plan my day, check the weather to make sure I am dressed appropriate, ask a friend if they would like to go with me, check on the sales and make a full day of it! Well wouldn't you? Fin ding much pleasure in that day and Finding all the great sales and purchasing I would share on face book of course pictures of my great bargains not to brag in the wrong way but just so excited I found what I wanted at great prices! What joy!
 
See the Bible verse? Take delight in the Lord! In other words wallow in Him, revel in Him, and find great pleasure of satisfaction in Him or glory in Him. Do you get the idea? Honestly how often do I or you start our day or plan our day out like that? Ouch!
 
Let's look at the second part of the verse which tells us what happens if we do wallow in our Savior or revel in Him! The verse says that He will give us our hearts desires. Wow!  He is telling get us as a promise not as a maybe but a promise, assertive as He will!!!
 
Our hearts desires are things we yearn for or have a longing for. You long after or want. To help us distinguish what that could be just measure your desire with Philippines 4:8 and 1 Corinthians 13.
 
How do I or you wallow in Him? I take delight in my Jesus by finding all I can about Him! Where else but in His love story called the Bible. To delight in Him I found out you plan on reading His word, you start your day worshipping and praising Him through prayer, that means talking to Him communicating and sharing with Him which is open all day a d night for He never sleeps. Delight in His promises and that He is loving and faithful. There is so much about our Jesus that it will take an eternity to completely know Him! So take delight in Him and as I continue to know Him and you too share with others just as you share your other delights in life!
 
You see my beautiful sisters why would we not take delight in Him who loves and sings over us? I challenged myself and now challenge you with this verse that we have heard for so long this year of 2014 to really meditate on Psalm 37:4 "Take delight in the Lord and He will give you your hearts desires."
 


Till next time...
In His Service
Elaine
 


 
 

 

When we pray...

Posted on April 20, 2014 at 4:19 AM Comments comments (4)
When We Pray…
By
Kathy Thompson
 
In the Gospel of Saint Luke the 11 chapter, Jesus answered the question of his disciple’s; “How should we pray? “  Jesus starts the answer with the famous Lord’s Prayer “Our Father, in heaven, holy is your name. Your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is always done in heaven. We pray, Father, for food for this day. We ask for forgiveness for all sins and we ask for the grace to forgive all that is in debited to us. “

He goes on to talk about the importune neighbor, as he is called in some translations. In Luke 11: 5-8, there was a certain man who had a visitor call on him in the middle of the night. This visitor was weary and hungry from his travels and in need of a meal. The man had no bread to offer his visitor so he got up and went to his neighbor to borrow bread. Knocking incessantly, he cried out, “Give me bread!” The neighbor answered his door. With annoyance and impatience he answered that he was asleep and his family was in bed. Being a neighbor of the man in need, I believe that he would be happy to help him if he would comeback when it was day. The man continued to knock until the neighbor got up and gave him bread. Importune means to ask incessantly even to the point of annoyance, without shame or doubt. The neighbor gave him bread, not because the man was his best friend or because he felt pity for the man’s, situation, but because the man was bold in his request never ceasing. He would not take no for an answer.

I believe that Jesus gave us this parable to illustrate that, yes, the content of our prayers are very important, but what is equally important is to be bold enough to ask for what we want and to keep asking until we get what we need.  Hebrews 4: 15, 16 tell us that Jesus sympathizes with us and wants us to approach the throne of grace with boldness. This boldness is translated confidence. He wants us to confidently ask for what we need.

 Jesus tells us another parable concerning prayer. In Luke 18: 9-14, two men went into the temple to pray. Both men were prominent in the community; a Pharisee and a tax collector. The Pharisee’s were the head of the church at that time. They interpreted the scripts and upheld the Mosaic laws. The tax collectors were as their names suggest, they made sure that everyone paid to the government what was due the government. This caused some hardships to the less fortunate and because of that the tax collectors were some of the least liked members of the community. The Pharisee began his prayer with, “Lord,  I thank you that I am not like other people, I am not a thief or a rouge and I am definitely not like that tax collector over there, I fast twice a week and I tithe a tenth of all of my earnings.”  The tax collectors could not even look up to the heavens, he beat his chest and prayed, “God, show me mercy for I am a sinner.”  Jesus said that the tax collectors prayer was just for the proud will be humbled and humble will be exalted. My point is this: approach the throne of grace assured that the Father will be gracious and provide for our needs but not with presumption or pride. Yes, it is your right as Son’s to confidently ask for what you need and want, but ask in faith and with humility.  It is your inheritance and your birthright to have your needs met.  He made you the head and not the tail; above and not beneath, but be careful not to exalt yourselves higher than you ought.



Blame and Shame

Posted on April 17, 2014 at 3:01 PM Comments comments (1)
In listening to today’s Naomi’s daughters broadcast today, Sister Madelyn Bass testified about the loss of her infant son and the feelings of loss that she and her family experienced. She talked about how she was able to see her son and to hold and love him but to never be able to bring him home. Her infant son passed away in the hospital after his birth. She shared how this caused brokenness in her marriage, how her husband’s analytical personality needed someone to blame for the loss. How she too looked for an answer to the loss and she turned this need for answers inward causing weight gain and other maladies. This ultimately caused the destruction of her marriage, ending the marriage in divorce.

 What struck me in that portion of her testimony was that it mirrored my life and marriage a great deal.  How my ex-husband always needed someone to blame for all complications in life. I remember, right after we were married, we had our first daughter and not a lot of money and very little support. The steering column in the car went out while he was on the highway. This caused an accident. I had no idea about what had happened until he returned home. Instead of coming in and telling me what happened, he came in and attacked me. I was to blame for the family’s poverty and lack. I was the wife and should be able to step into the gap and meet the needs that he could not. I was 17 years old with a 9 month old and a 2 year old from a previous relationship and I did not know how to balance being a wife and a mother and a “gap stepper” at that time. I wanted to comfort him and mourn for the loss of our only transportation at the time but I did not have the chance. I had to go into high alert and defend myself; emotionally, mentally and yes physically.

He had a habit of not coming home on payday. When he did come home a day or two later, he would be broke, having spent the whole check in drinking and partying. I would then call my Grandfather or my uncle for help with food for me and my infant daughter Nikki. One time in particular comes to mind, he did not come home for a day or so and I was okay with that. This was what he did. But on the particular time the day or two stretched out much longer. We lived in a neighborhood that required the doors to be double bolted. Our door locks could be locked from the outside and without a key to that lock, those inside of the house could not get in or out. Well on this particular occasion, I did not notice that he had bolted that lock from the outside before he went to work on Friday morning. I did not notice that I had been locked in until day 3. The food had run out and I needed to try and get something into the house for me and Nikki. When I found that I had been bolted into the house, I called my Uncle and told him that we were out of food. He brought over bags of groceries that he gave me through the window. He said that he loved me but he did not get involved in marital issues so he would make sure that I did not go hungry but he could not free me from my jail. When the next Friday rolled around, I thought for sure that my husband would feel as though I had been fully and properly disciplined for whatever it was that I had done and that he would return and unlock the doors. Even if he did it in the middle of the night, I believed that he would come home and let me out. Friday came and went, Saturday came and went, but the only knock at the door was my uncle asking if I was well. Sunday morning was my breaking point. I put Nikki down for her morning nap; I climbed out of the window, leaving a stool at the bottom of the window so that I could get back in. I hoped that no one would see me do this and go into the house where my baby was asleep, but I had to do something. I called my grandfather and told him what was going on. He was there within an hour. He took the front door off of the hinges and freed us.  It was another week before he began calling my relatives asking of my whereabouts. I often wonder if he came back to free me or to bury me. After all of that, I still went back to him because he told me that it was partly my fault for making him do that to me. I was partly to blame.

I know the feelings of shame and blame and the damage that they can do to you. My 9 month old is now 32 years old so this recollection was quite a while ago, but I still carry the scars from this and other situations. My ex-husband and his blame were hurtful but not isolated. My mother was an alcoholic and prescription drug addict and turned me and my sister over to relatives soon after our births. She would tell us that she was not equipped to raise us. That we deserved to be raised by someone, anyone other than herself, so we were shuffled around from home to home and in many cases, suffering abuse. I remember my family members telling me and my sister that we should be grateful for anything that we could get because our mother sealed our fate when we were born from her. They told us not to blame them for their callousness and indifference but blame her for our hardships. They did not have the kindness of heart to comfort us and care for us as children deserve; no, they to put us in the place of defending the only mother that we had. I carried the shame of her life choices all of my life. I was familiar with this feeling of shame when I met my husband and the many times that he lobbed all disasters back at me to carry alone, I was accustomed to carrying this shame; equipped in  accepting the responsibility of everyone and anyone.
When I say that I still bare the scars, I do. In the workplace, I find myself taking the blame and responsibility for my team my teammates and the company as a whole when we do not meet the company goals or if there was a customer complaint; even if I had nothing to do with the situation. When something is going well at work, I bow out of any recognition and praise. This is my humility, or so I believe.  But as I write this I realize that this is the same pathology that compelled me to defend my mother and to feel the shame for my marriage woes; the responsibility for all and others. This is not a responsibility; this is a curse. This is the enemy trying to stop and block assignments at the very onset. Satan is trying to stop the purpose for my life.

But this was all before Jesus stepped into my life and saved me. I bore the weight of a cross that was not mine; it was the cross of Jesus. It was not my job to bare the cross of my mother’s decisions or to carry all of the responsibility of my failed marriage. I did have a role in its failure but it was not my failure alone. I have learned that the fault and the blame and the shame can be laid at the feet of Jesus…and left there.

Isaiah 61 is one of my favorite books in the Bible 
because it speaks to me directly. It tells me that I am a strong oak tree, stable and strong, nourished by the Love and the Word of God. It says that God knows my shame and that I have been blamed for things that I could not control and that He has anointed me to prosper, not to fail. He has anointed me with joy not sorrow. And that He will give me beauty for my ashes, and a cloak of praise for my heaviness. I especially love the cloak or robe of praise for the spirit of heaviness. This passage tells me that when I am feeling that heaviness and the need to bare the weight of everyone and everything, that I am to look to the heavens for my help and to begin to open my mouth and praise the Lord for all that He is and for all that he has and will do for me. Sometimes opening my mouth and praising the Lord is difficult. That spirit of heaviness can be awfully heavy at times, so I do not leave my house without a fully loaded MP3 equipped with praise and worship songs and encouraging sermons and services, including Kingdom United Ministries Network broadcasts. When I feel like I am to blame for something that I have no control over, I pull out my weapon, my MP3 , and I begin to praise. I get strange looks sometimes because as you may know, when you praise, it lights a fire in your soul, and out of your soul, your mouth will begin to speak and sing. I find myself singing and praising.  I may be in line at the market.  I see people giving me funny looks, sometimes even speaking hurtful things about me but I am learning to take up my weapon of praise anyway. When I feel the enemy attacking me, out comes my head phones and the praise begins. Nehemiah 8:10 says that the joy of the Lord is our strength. Let us put on our garment of praise and usher in the joy of the Lord and begin to live in the victory that has been promised to us.



You are not blessed with more so that others can do less

Posted on December 23, 2013 at 8:18 PM Comments comments (2)
You are not blessed with more so that others can do less
By
Kathy Thompson


 
In Second Corinthians the 8 and 9 chapters, Paul spoke to the city of Corinth concerning their giving. Corinth had made an agreement to assist the saints of Judea during their financial trials. The churches of Macedonia, who were facing financial hardships of their own, not only gave but exceeded Paul’s expectations in their giving. Paul made the trip to Corinth to remind the Corinthians of their commitment to help Judea in their time of need and to beseech them to honor their pledge of financial support.
 
Paul understood the sacrifice and the love that Macedonia had for the Lord and for the church. He, himself faced many trials to deliver the Good News; he faced famine, beatings shipwreck, snake bite, sleeplessness and fasting. He faced insincerity and evil reports. Paul came very near death several times, all to start new churches in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ. He knew that Macedonia had given themselves first to God then to His will (2 Cor. 8:5). Because the saints in Macedonia were so sold out for the Lord, they offered to give more so that the ministry could go forward. Paul’s reply to that request was no, because they were not blessed with more so that others could do less (2 Cor. 8:13).
 
The Macedonians were blessed not with money but with an overflowing joy that made them rich in generosity (2 Cor. 8: 3). They were always willing to do more. But Paul refused their generous offer. He loved them and told them that he would not allow them to do more; to take on a heavier burden so that other’s burden could be less. He advised them that every one should give equally according to what they have, not according to what they feel like giving.
 
As women of God, 

we often find ourselves in positions where we are called upon to do more. We raise children, we work full time jobs, and we run households while running Fortune 500 companies. We have husbands that we care for, parents and sometimes even grandparents that we are caring for. We work tirelessly, supporting those that we care for. We, as women of God, do so much more with the time and energy that we have and in doing more we give others the opportunity to do less. Studies have shown that giving more than we have while receiving less than required is burn out. One definition for burn out is a physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress. This condition leaves you tired, uninterested in daily activity and will manifest many times in physical symptoms such as headaches, and high blood pressure (Merriam-Webster Dictionary “burnout). When this happens, we can’t help anyone, not even ourselves.
 
I want to ask my sisters in Christ, not to stop their generosity. The Kingdom will suffer if you cease to sow into it. God loves a cheerful giver and He loves you for your tireless sacrifices (2 Cor. 9: 6-7) what I ask is that we allow others to sow into the kingdom so that they may also reap the 100 fold that The Lord has promised us. We take away their chance to give.
 
Here are some questions that I pose to you: Is there something that your children can do during the week? Give the older children the chance to help with the church potluck or rummage sale. Ask the younger ones to assist you and the older children in assembling the Christmas baskets. What about our husbands? Maybe he can do the banking this month. This could give you some much need R&R. You can be refreshed and ready for the New Year ahead. One night out of the week, allow him to cook a meal. Now I know that us ladies don’t like large portions of meat with every meal, but let’s give him a chance to nurture and nourish and bless the family with a juicy burger with all of the trimmings. May times we take away their chance to nurture the family in that way. The next time one of the kids needs something in the middle of the night; let’s allow the father’s to tend to their needs. I know that as the head of the household, his job is to be the lion at the gate and to roar when he senses trouble, but even the head of the lion pride tends to the young ones at times. My grandmother is getting up there in age but I have learned that when I don’t let her bake at least some of the pies at Thanksgiving, she doesn't feel needed. She has no idea how to leave some of the butter in the refrigerator nor will you ever find Splenda in one of her pies, but it does her heart so much good when everyone raves that her sweet potato pies are as good as ever.
 

It takes the love of God to be a cheerful giver. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 8: 5 that to be a diligent giver you must give yourselves fully to God and then to his Will. Giving is a grace. It takes faith and faithfulness to be a giver. I would like to impress upon you, ladies, that it also takes grace to be a receiver. To be able to accept what is given to you so that others can be blessed by their giving. 

The only Jesus they See

Posted on August 7, 2013 at 9:00 PM Comments comments (1)
Love is an action word.  And it is through our actions that we demonstrate the love of God.  It is by this love that we show Jesus to others.  We often verbalize our love in various degrees ranging  from the love of ice cream to the love we have for people.  However, when it comes to showing that we are Christ's disciples, it's not about what we say, but what we display.

In the 10th chapter of Luke, Jesus gives a parable of a traveler  who is beaten, robbed and left for dead along the side of the rode.  He is passed over by both a Priest and a Levite who go out of their way "not" to help him.  Each could have helped the man.  And at the very least, showed him some compassion.  But a Samaritan comes along, binds up his wounds, carries him to an inn and begins to care for him.    
The following day, he pays for the duration of his anticipated stay and leaves instructions to bill him for any additional costs.

When Jesus said in John 13:35 that others will know that we are his disciples (followers, representatives) by the love we have (display, show, demonstrate) one to another, I wonder who the world sees when it looks at the modern Church?   If we are His hands and His feet, what are we doing with them?  Where are we going?  What does Jesus look like to those we encounter on a daily basis?  

I'm not talking about the checks we write to charities or even the food shelters we may visit and even serve on Holidays.  But what about on our jobs?  In our neighborhoods or even in our homes?  Have we mastered the art of "having " Church and focused less on  "being" the Church?  Has our adoption into the Body of Christ and His goodness and mercies toward us been such that we have  forgotten "why" he called us?  

Sometimes, (if we are not careful) we may get so wrapped up in the blessings of God that we forget just where he has brought us from.  We can even suffer from a "spiritual amnesia" and loose patience with those who are yet where we once were.  What causes us to become apathetic to the afflictions of others?   Have we become a glorified "Club" rather than a outreach of compassion?    


Jhn 13:14 If I then, [your] Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.

Jesus has given us an example as to what and how we should be in the world.  As the servant is not greater than the Master, we are to be the Jesus that they see:  On our jobs, in the schools, in our homes and  wherever we have been planted.  And what He has delivered us from and brought us through is not to be a worn as a garment of pride, but rather as a testimony of His Glory.

Isa 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of 
praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

We are of God, and are here to make disciples of all mankind: To the person you see on the street whose eyes are dim of hope.  And the next door neighbor who's struggling to find their way.  What about the co-worker who feels they have nothing more to live for other than showing up?  And at the end of the day, returns to an empty house.  There is the child  who's room is just a couple doors down from you, who longs to see the Jesus you talk about to others but gets placed on the shelf at home.   And even that spouse who shares your bed, but has drifted into simply existing as you've pursued the "Better life" and have forgotten that there is an "Abundant Live" which Christ came to give.   Are they seeing Jesus in you?

 The only way anyone will know that He is real is by our love.   Not the love we talk about but the love we walk about.  We are living examples of who Jesus is by demonstration.  And though some will remember what we say, most will remember what we did.  

So  the next time you see someone in need (on the street, on your job or in your home) or you hear of something that pricks your heart to move into action, don't silence the voice that speaks to your spirit and tells you "You are My hands and feet today!"  Move into the flow of the Spirit within you to make a difference and allow the light of Christ to shine through you.  You never know, you may be the only "Jesus" they see today!