Monday, June 6, 2016

Testimony: Where I Came From

I use to go to church every time the doors were open. I sat in a building, a box, doing routine. When the music cranked up I did too. I ran with the best of them. The best singers, musicians, shouters, high energy-octane praisers, the whole time living a life that was leading me straight to hell. I was worn out, fake, lukewarm, swaying side to side, acting like one thing but living the other.

The Pursuit to Please

God's ways surely are not our ways. He shows us in unimaginable ways ourselves and sets up experiences, tests, and trials to bring us to a lesson we need to learn. He will use people we know, we don't know, unexpected encounters, failures, celebrations, relationships failed and succeeded to show us what he desires for us to learn. This year has been a year of all that for me. And within these last few months every prayer that I have prayed to understand things, God has answered and given the the opportunity to learn what He wanted me to learn and also what I desired to learn. I was willing. I didn't always get it the first time He showed it to me, so He brought it to my attention in a new way.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Life as a Letter of Recommendation

DOES YOUR (Life) EPISTLE (Letter of Recommendation) HIGHLY RECOMMEND? Scripture: 2 Corinthians 3:2-4

I have been praying for a bible teaching, Christ centered local church to attend. I began to read this morning and the word illuminated my heart. Paul begins in this scripture passage with these words,

"You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart. (NKJV) also
translated like this (NLT),

"The only letter of recommendation we need is you yourselves. Your lives are a letter written in our[a] hearts; everyone can read it and recognize our good work among you. Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This “letter” is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Who Do You Trust? Are You For Sure?

I work part-time at a local funeral home in my community where I serve as a media & design developer. This is the same funeral home that my family used during the passing of my dear grandmother. This week alone I created three memorial tributes for families that lost loved ones; one was the grandmother of one our of family's closest friends and the other was a cousin of our family. But this morning something happened that I didn't expect. I received a phone call that a very special cousin of mine had passed early this morning.

My grandmother's death was difficult for me. Not because I was caught off guard by her passing, but because she was my best friend and one of the closest people to my heart. She knew my struggles, she knew my pain, but most importantly above all else, she celebrated my accomplishments. She was the Titus 2 woman in my life that the scripture talks about:

{Titus 2:3-5} "The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed."

So yes, I miss my grandmother, I do. She passed in November and there are some days when I wish I could just pick up the phone and talk to her, comb her hair, kiss her cheek, and even sing her favorite song in her ear, but I know she's not here for me to do those things.

So, in the wake of unexpected moments how are we suppose to respond? Yesterday morning as I was getting prepared for work I was watching TBN and Pastor Tommy Tenney was talking about Trusting God through Tragedy. My sisters, we never know when tragedy will knock at our door. We are never prepared...but all we do know is that we have connected ourselves to a God through a covenant relationship that will never leave us alone during our most difficult times, especially our tragic moments.

I am reminded of a song that I use to sing when I was a teenager. The lyrics are: "Who do you love? Are you for sure?" As I was getting ready for work this morning the spirit changed those words and asked me, "Who Do You Trust, Are You for Sure?"

You know, through all that I have been through these last few months, I seem to always crack a smile when it comes to me remembering words that my grandmother spoke to me. Before she passed, she looked at me one day with a serious look and uttered these words from her favorite scriptures, Proverbs 3:5-7:

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and to lean not to thine own understanding but in all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy path."

That day I wasn't really sure why she had that particular look on her face, but after a few months, I surely can attest to what she was thinking about when she spoke those words. As women, we feel comfortable when we are able to trust someone. We feel secure and safe making it easy for us to exert love. It's easy for us to give and help when we trust to know that someone is not taking advantage of us or taking our kindness for our weakness, but what happens when we trust those that fail us? We are left hurting and wishing that we never allowed ourselves to get into those situations. But if I may, let me ask you this question:

"Who Do You Trust? Are You For Sure?"

One day I decided to go on a scavenger hunt to find out about this particular man that I had decided to trust in. I went to the record book (The Bible) and began to search and seek situations where others had trusted in this man:

- I took a trip to Jericho, where a blind man named Bartimaeus trusted in this man for eye sight just through what he had heard about him...

- I then took a trip over to a well, where a Samaritan woman trusted in this man who was able to show her that her current thirst could only be filled with true living water...

- I then took a trip over to a place gathered by a huge crowed, where a sick women pressed her way through just to touch the hem of his garment so she could be healed...

- I then took a trip to a city, where a man was lifted into a crowed so he could be healed of his infirmity...

- I took a trip walking behind a group who had been healed of leprosy only to witness one who decided to go back and tell him Thank you...

- I took a trip down memory lane, to a place where a little girl of 9 years old by the name of Angela, laid wrapped in the arms of a man that was able to deliver her from pain, guilt and forgiveness of her past...

- And last but not least I took a recent trip to the side of a hospital bed where I watched my 92 year old grandmother lean over and asked me to sing the lyrics to her favorite song: , "I learned how to Lean and depend on Jesus, He's my friend and he's my guide, I learned how to lean, and depend on Jesus, I found out, If I trust him he will provide."

And on that day, I knew who I would trust and I was sure about it!

His name is Jesus!

So, my sisters and brothers, When tragedy or any unexpected or expected situation hits your doorstep, your life, the lives of your family, friends, and loved ones. Please know who you trust and be very sure that your anchor (what you believe, your faith) holds and grips the solid rock of Jesus Christ!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Living by The Spirit

Last year I dealt with a situation in my life that I had to deal with a consequence of my sin. Let's be very clear, the bible says, "All have sinned, and fallen short of the glory of God." So yes, I fell subject to a weight in my life that I hadn't take off yet. I began to cry out to God because I knew that it was my bad decisions that led me to this place. I was saved and suppose to be living a life that represented Christ, but it was one thing that I had taken off.

During that time, I had slowed down reading the word and praying. I think it was because I had allowed things that were evil, or maybe a better word would be carnal, to enter my life. Before, when use to read the word of God, conviction would fall and I would feel so bad about the things that I was doing that when the world talked about "sins to avoid" and "commands to obey", I was looking for ways to put those things into action because I truly had a desire to live in the light of Christ. I wanted to live honestly as a representation of the Christ inside of me as well as bear witness to his truth.

Reading my Good Morning Girls scripture this morning really had me thinking. In Ephesians 5:15-16, Apostle Paul write to the church in Ephesus. He tells them:

"Be careful how you life. Don't live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.

I know you have heard that song, "Everybody plays the fool sometimes." Well guess what, I can testify to that. We all have played and will play the fool sometime in our lives. God desires us, when we accept Christ, to take off our old man and clothes ourselves in righteousness. Many people struggle because it's hard to take off things that you have been accustomed to for so long. When you accept Jesus Christ into your life as your Savior you decided to make the decision consciously to live like him. Paul urges us in the book of Colossians that we are to live as light. Why light? Because light is what shines through darkness. Darkness has no ability to shine through darkness, but light creates a pathway for us to make it through darkness and it gives us a guide to a better lie.

Our lives before Christ represented darkness. Every desire was evil. Every desire was selfish. Every desire was sinful. Our acceptance of a new life provided us an opportunity to hold the flashlight through this path only if we desired to! And why would you not? I don't think anyone desires to walk down a dark alley at night without any light. You really don't have an idea what is lurking near or far. But what does make sense is to have some light to help you lead the way.

Do you even know what that light is? Let me share something with you, that light is Christ. Christ that lives inside of you, his spirit, that has taken a place in your soul to guide you through the path of life, unknown, and dark. Remember the scripture above? Paul says for us to be careful how we live. Why do you think Paul was so concerned? It's like when a parent tells their teenager to be careful going out at night. Why? Because it's dark outside and in darkness a lot of evil things can take place. This is what Paul is concerned about.

This world is evil and full of desires powered by evil. These desires sometimes are dressed in pleasing apparel, but they are designed to look persuasive to catch our attention. They manifest themselves in forms that look appealing, good, attractive, but the backend is really evil, sinful, and deceitful. It's mean to destroy you and cause you to make foolish decisions. Here we have an opportunity, like Paul said, to make the most of these evil days. We put on our googles of wisdom and we live by the power of the Spirit.

The Spirit of Christ in us is what gives us power to see what is moral and good. As people of light, our actions must reflect the one in whom we represent so that others can bear witness to his goodness. The spirit tugs on us to remember the word of God. It immediately goes into intercession for us because it know what we are up against.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

When They Are Close to You and Don't Really Know You

Todays post takes a different turn. It's really sparked by a conversation that I was having with my mother.

Yesterday, my mother began to explain some things that she thought I needed to do to get ready for a certain occasion coming up. Everything that she had expressed was already on my to-do-list. As she was talking this particular thought crossed my mind...

Does my mother really know who I am?

I know that mothers tell their children things out of their best interests, and really our age has nothing to do with it, because my grandmother was 92 and she always shared her thoughts with my mom so that's not exactly what I'm referring too. My mother is a great mother, and she knows a lot about me but are there some things that my mom don't know about me? YES!

We can live with people or around people for the majority of our lives and they really don't know exactly who we are.

What I mean by that is....they know your name, your age, they know your style, they know what restaurants you may like, they may even know your daily routine...but with all of that, they never really know the REAL YOU!

Not the outside appearance you portray or the you driven by your day-to-day activities but the INSIDE you...your HEART... your PASSIONS...your VIRTUES and most importantly THE CHRIST THAT LIVES IN YOU!

Sometimes the people that are close to us really don't know who we are!

My mom told me just two days ago, "Angela, I ran into 'so and so' and she said that she reads your post everyday on Facebook because they are so encouraging and she never misses a day."

I smiled....but I thought...does my mom know that there is an "encourager" on the inside of me?

People that we are really close to, those can be our parents, siblings, family members, friends, co-workers and childhood friends, don't always know you....meaning...they know you in the context of your relationship with them....but they may not necessarily know what Christ has placed on the inside of you.

People see you in the same light of your past, mistakes, bad decisions, income, job, failures and even your accomplishments because those things are what they can measure you by on the outside. But they don't always know the YOU on the inside. Some can sense when you have changed from a bad attitude to a good one, or from mistakes to maturity...but that doesn't represent who you are internally. YOU ARE MORE than that!

You see, I have made some mistakes and bad decisions in my life. Many of whom my mother had to help me straighten out and when she sees me, sometimes, she still looks at me as the daughter she helped in that situation. She may at times recognize my maturity, but often times that is who she sees me as.

We will never be able to make people see us in the way we desire them to. We will never make people look at us with Christ lenses or Christ contacts, but we can have confidence in ourselves and know WHO WE ARE IN CHRIST!

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)

Another thing is, if you never are able to change someones opinion of you or how they see you that is okay! I would urge you just to keep being a better and greater you. One thing I have realized that the more you allow the light of Christ to shine in your life sooner or later, others won't be able to not see it! They may look over it or even ignore it, but the proof is in the pudding!

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:16 (NKJV)

One last thing, Have you taken the time to allow the NEW in you to be planted in the lives of those close to you? If encouragement is something that I have inside of me, why don't I encourage my mother? Have I shared my heart of encouragement with her? Such good questions...and the answer is: sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. So one thing I need to "put into practice" is using the "encourager" in me to encourage my mother! I would love when my mother hears others say, "Angela encourages me" that she can say in return "Yes, Angela encourages me too!"

So let me encourage you and myself today....


Be the best you, you can be! There is someone who notices. He is the one that made you and has great plans for you!

"I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works,And that my soul knows very well." (Psalms 139:14)

"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." (Jeremiah 29:11)

Start using what's on the inside of you, that change, virtue, passion, and new heart to touch the lives of those that are close to you, so they too can testify as to who Christ is and what Christ has inside of you! Remember...when you let your light shine other Glorify the Father!