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Welcome! I'm really excited that you have stopped by. I'm sure that you're just as busy as I am but still want to find enjoyable ways to fill your life with God-centered things. Well, you've come to the right place. Whether you have 5 minutes or 35 minutes, there is something here for you. Through each post, I hope to guide you towards the one source for which we can depend on. Subscribe and invite your friends so that we can all grow closer to God together!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

God Has Your Financial Back

This week, my devotional is studying how God will seek justice for His children. Monday discussed how the love of wealth has destroyed so many souls and based on the testimonies from the Bible and the lives around us today, what is our attitude about wealth.

One person commented: "We should pray to God such tat our earthly possessions do not control us, but rather we to use them purposely to spread the good news in the world."

I completely agree. At the heart of all the financial advice in the Bible is: Trust in God. No matter what, if you don't trust God to guide your financial decisions, then something else will help to guide your decisions.



I can see how in the human mind it is so hard for us to grasp the power and influence of money. It doesn't seem that bad or harmful. Similarly with alcohol or sex. In these modern times, society tells us that both are controllable and since they are fun we ought to enjoy them to the fullest degree. However, God put parameters on them because he knows the true power and influence these two things can have over a fallen creation. It's the Serpent's lie from the Garden manifested again. We really know the difference between good and evil; and sadly Eve had to find out what that meant after she experienced its effects.



The same can be said about money. It can be hard to understand its total potential without experiencing it, but that's why God gave us His word. There are His warnings and then the testimonies of others that are there to help us. Why? Because there are some things that we will have to wait till heaven for God to reveal in its entirety. As fallen beings, we no longer are capable of fully understanding financial wealth without a high risk of falling subject to it. We have to trust God to guide us with our money like a baby trusts his/her parents to be there when he/she is learning to walk. Because having to experience everything in order to choose to trust God is overrated and unwise.


How many have lost their salvation because they fall for the lie that dates back to the Garden?



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Friday, November 28, 2014

A Little Bit in Each of Us

A little bit of prodigal in each of us.



Tonight I watched a quality film called A Long Way Off and it really touched me. It is the best movie make of the parable "The Prodigal Son" that I've ever seen. All of a sudden certain details that Jesus put in the story were more relatable. The prodigal character almost seemed like a role that could have been mine had I made different decisions in life. Actually a lot of different people beyond the typical "wild child" could play that role.

What type of profile comes to mind when you picture someone in your mind that you classify as a prodigal son/daughter? Maybe they left the church right out of high school or college? Maybe they left their family for a more promiscuous lifestyle? Or maybe they have chosen to make career number one instead of more fulfilling things.

Now look in the mirror and ask yourself how far off from being classified as a prodigal from God are you. What if all of your financial investments began to fail? What if you lost your job and received little to no severance? What if your ministry just started to fall apart? What if former addictions became hard to resist again? What if more than one of these things happened in a one month span!?

Would you take your all the blessings, memories, and knowledge of God and walk away from him? Would you grow weary of his lifestyle and seek something else more "satisfying?" Would the prayers trickle? The Bible seem less appealing? Or would you justify not having to respond to any of the Holy Spirit's urging because you got this?

Whatever you see, is most likely not going to be pretty and not going to be comfortable--but do take that time to look....



What do you see in your self that's pulling you away from God?



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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Beggar by a Waterfall

For my devotions this morning, I captured this great passage from a lesson called "Friendship with the World."

When The Word often refers to His wandering children as prostitutes, it makes you wonder how to make that uneasy label go away:

"Grace is the only real solution to our plight. The proud, however, have placed themselves in a position where they can't easily receive that grace. Someone wrote that we get grace as do beggars holding out a tin cup before a waterfall. Only a person humble, meek, and aware of his or her utter need and dependency is open to grace, to the unmerited favor bestowed upon those who are in every way, unworthy." 



What a silly concept. Can you imagine a homeless person hiking up some hill to get to a waterfall and extend his arm to actually expect handouts? That would not happen! Yet, then there are those of us who have so much pride and selfishness eating away at our core, that we devise such plans as to how we will attain our grace. In our eyes we do not look foolish. In our eyes, that is the only way.

We scale hills and mountains in our lives for the sole purpose of achieving grace, forget love. "What's love got to do with it?" to borrow the famous lyrics. That's how we act when we are wandering away from Christ like a prostitute--a little that makes us shudder. For it is impossible for you to manipulate God into giving us grace for things that have become our idols; for characteristics that we refuse to give up. 

"'And she didn't care that she was acting like a prostitute. So she make her country unclean and was guilty of adultery, because she worshiped idols made of stone and wood. Israel's wicked sister didn't even come back to me with her whole heart, but only pretended,' says the Lord." Jer. 3:9-10

Each day is a new day. God takes us day by day for a reason, That reason is so that we don't have to feel so overwhelmed over how to change. We need to give things over to God step by step, day by day. Otherwise we will find ourselves looking foolish by a waterfall.


So, are you going seek God daily to help you change?


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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Birthday Wish from my Father

All I have is gratitude in my heart.

These past few months have been no joke. Easy was not a part of the recipe. Comfortable was not an ingredient. I have been broken, but PRAISE GOD that He restores!

What does it take to break Shana? Poverty? Taking my entire family away? Taking all that I love? Breaking my body? Funny, that didn't work for Job? So, clearly that's not a full-proof plan. I am no Job, but will all that I went through there is nothing that Satan can do that God can't turn for His good.

"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." Genesis 50:20

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been according to his purpose." Romans 8:28



Despite the fact that my trials are continuing, He has blessed me with a new year of live. November 17th marked the renewing of my life and an extension of my time here.

What comes next? God fulfilling His will in my life. And that promise is my happy birthday from my Father.

It's turning around for me!


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Friday, November 7, 2014

No, We Do Not Have the Right

What if what we are looking for to fill the gaps in our lives has been there all along? 

What if our desires have never been lacking?

What if the next best thing has nothing over the best thing you have already had?

What if the "more" you have been looking for was never lost, but just out of sight?


"Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!" Job 40:2


Something that I have been struggling with for the past couple months is understanding self righteousness. Christians who have given his or her life to God and all that comes along with that, have taken on a life whose demands are great. Still being human, there seems to be some things missing--things desired and not yet attained. We look into the future and there seem to be pieces to the puzzle missing. What type of home are we to create? What type of career are we to posses? What type of people are we to reach? Who is to be our partner through it all?

Those are questions that others seem to get to ask without regard. However, when we ask, guilt creeps in. Maybe we should have asked a different question or asked that same question in a different way. Despite the guilt, the reason behind the question still lingers. The "more" that we want lingers in our heart.

We allow it to stay because it is apart of who we are. Why wouldn't I want to create a Godly home or have career that is more than a mere job? We are still human beings--beings with desires! So the "more" lingers in our hearts.

Self righteousness.

It was not the mourning that Job was dealing with that was the problem. He had lost everything! It was not the illness he had to daily endure that was bothering our Lord. God did not have a problem with Job feeling sad.

"Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?" Job 40:2

It was that Job felt big enough to correct God for "messing up." So Job relinquished his trust and replaced it with condemnation. It seems so silly, wild, or even ludicrous to say that God messed up,yet let's not pretend as though we have never treated God the same way Job did. We often times have a mental picture of how God could have done things better or we settle for God's way.

This time was different. The Father had plenty to say, abut three chapters worth of things to say to Job and He delivered those words personally. Why? Because God wanted this lesson to be as clear as day--no human being has the right to say that God is done wrong. I know, blows your mind doesn't it? That is not what society believes today. It believes that it has the right to call wrong whatever it pleases. Lord forgive us. Job's pain had not elevated him to a place higher than the King of kings.



He had to be reminded that the one who fills gaps had been there all along and was beyond capable.

He had to recapture the vision of the desires that God has for him that more than satisfy his desires.

He had to hear from the maker Himself that there is no "next best thing" after the Creator.

He had to experience more to realize that "more" was code word for God.


We are going to feel a lot of things in this life, but seek to never let those emotions blindly lead you to try and remove God from His throne. No one would fit there but God himself. No matter how blameless we perceive self to be, we are not without sin. We DO NOT have the big picture, so we don't understand it all. Which means we do NOT have the right to be self righteous.

So when the demands of this life seem great and the struggle all to real, don't focus on the evils and get swept into the trap of self righteousness. Instead trade in your condemnation of God's methods for trust.

Don't just take my word for it, read Job 38-42.

"I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. You asked, 'Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?' Surely I spoke of things that I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know." Job 42:2-3

Our God is beautiful, wonderful, gracious, omnipotent, loving, all this and MORE God! The way that He wraps us in light and cools us with wind. He quenches our thirst with water and steadies our feet with a firm foundation. He divided the day from the night with the sun and the moon. What a great God!

How do you feel God is currently working in your life? In your favor? 
Let's recommit to trust Him through it all! Through all the ups and downs. Isn't He worth it?



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Sunday, October 5, 2014

Today is a New Day



Woke up this morning? Check.

Breath in my lungs? Check.

A working mind? Check.

Health? Check.

A loving and forgiving God? Check.

I will lift mine eyes unto the hills. He is my present help. Ps. 121:1, 46:1. So, I will be glad that I have today. I didn't have to have today, but I do.

As I look out my new window of my new apartment, I am at peace. I love the nature and its beauty. However this peace did not arrive because today I did everything perfectly, but because I am thinking about my very perfect God. He crossed my mind and made me smile. :-D How about that.

There is something very profound about God. Could it be the way his bright and beautiful rays kiss the earth? Or could it be his tall unwavering trees standing ever constant in my life? No, it must be the security I feel of knowing that as the weather changes I have warm clothes. Yes, that must be it!

Today is a new day and tomorrow shall be one as well. I'm just going to take life one step at a time allowing Christ to prepare the way ahead of me. :-)


Are you glad that there is hope for a new day?

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Basis of Your Hope

To say that this week has been challenging would be an understatement. I have felt more strong emotions this week that I have in a while. Sadly, though "a while" is not as long as it should be. The past couple months have really been trying. God is calling my character forward into the light through some intense trials. There are some days when all I want to do is scream, other days I want a waterfall to come gushing out of my eyes, then there are days when I have nothing to say. Yet, in every moment of every day, I have yet to feel alone. Yes, I may miss my friends and family, but I do not feel alone. God is with me.

It is easy to feel like there is no one on the planet who at a precise moment has not a clue how you feel.  No gets you.... Wrong! There are many people who understand what you are going through. You just may not have encountered them yet. This week I sat on a bench soaking up the warmth from the sun while encountering someone who got what I am going through. As I spoke with one of my friends, to my shock, I was not the only one going through such a specific and tricky tribulation. I was not alone.



When I would feel the feelings of loneliness and confusion creeping in, God would send a messenger my way. It would come through a needed quote, from a phone call at the precise moment needed, a Bible verse, a song, and words from above spoken through any willing vessel. Wednesday was that day. It still shocks me how persistent God is. All day long, message after message. He would not give up! God never gave up on me.


From this long week, I can truly say without a shadow of a doubt that I KNOW that God is with me. That is not speculation or hear say. I still have no idea how He is going to take me step by step, but He will. I have experienced loneliness, so I know what God's presence feels like. I have experienced fear, so I know what God's comfort feels like. I have heard silence, so I know what God's voice sounds like. It was the hardest week, but it was not impossible! God was seeking for me to feel and experience who he really is. This week God was not a figment of my spiritual imagination, God was, and is, a real being who is taking my life by storm.

For all those out there who feel like there is no hope, recall what the basis of your hope is. Is it because of the stuff you have in your life or is because of the God in your life.

How has God shown His worth to you?


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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Oh Ye of Little Faith

Today was an interesting day. I received some bad news that upset my plans. Since I am currently in transition in my life, I thought everything was finally falling into place. So receiving bad news was no where near on the agenda.

But, wait.

I call a friend, and she shares with me a miracle that God worked out just today. One of the hubcaps off her car tire fell off last week, so fixing that was today's mission. The store clerk informs her that he does not sell singles hubcaps. Shock! Horror! Come on. Really? So what does God do? He gives her a free one. Yes, He does. Someone she knew bought new hubcaps and saw that she needed one, so he put one on her car. Just like that.

Oh ye of little faith.

I have nothing to say. Fear and doubt crept into my heart sooo quickly. But, then my Protector reminds me who how strong and capable he truly is.

Oh ye of little faith.

God says to me that if He can supply the tires needs, how much more shall he supply the needs of His daughter-- His child?

Oh ye of little faith.

Don't doubt, guys. Life will throw you plenty of curve balls, but remember the HUBCAP!

"He replied, 'You of little faith, why are you so afraid?' Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm." Matthew 8:26



Gone through any trials lately? How has God reminded you that He will take care of you?


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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

What I Experienced during #PrayerWeekend

After dedicating this past weekend to prayer, I can look back and see how God was working. My eyes were opened to see things more of the way that God designed for me to see things.



Awareness. Most people have had at least one best friend, or someone they were really close to, at some point in their life. As the relationship deepened, so did the understanding of what made each person tick. Spending so much time in prayer, made me more aware of God's handiwork throughout the day. It's almost as if I now saw more reasons to pray as I went throughout my day. Things that I ignored or just didn't notice before, now clicked and meant something.

Tenderness. As relationships deepen, the sentiment increases. There was an intimacy that I experienced with God that left me with the warm and fuzzies. I had a longing for Him and felt at ease when I was in His presence.

Endless words. So often time when I'm praying, I feeling like I'm searching for words. So in order to avoid the awkward, I set a time limit on the prayer. When things are heading south, JUMP SHIP! However, that was not the case. I felt that my knees would break before I ran out of words. It was awesome! So many people came to mind; so many instances; so many want and desires. I could have never ended.

* * * * *

There is power in prayer. If nothing else, I gained a stronger bond with my Savior. However, I know that I gained so much more. I wish I could see all the ways that God answers all of my prayers, but I know and trust that He is already working things out in so many lives.

How has God revealed himself to you? How has he answered prayers?


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Monday, September 22, 2014

Paradigm Shift

I get this awesome idea of the ideal meal to cook. I am hungry and can't wait to consume the goodness. So, I toss some of this and that into a mixture and into the oven it goes. What if this happened next:



"Hey," says Mr. IAmAnEgg, "why am I not green like Mr. Greenpepper?"

"Because you are an egg," says Shana.

"But I can really envision how I would be so much better as a green egg."

"You are an egg just in the way that I need you to be. I wouldn't have it any other way," responds Shana.

"Ummm.... I mean I hear what you are saying chef, but how about considering my texture? Mr. Flour's texture would be ideal for me. Just recall how he felt between your fingers," says Mr. IAmAnEgg with confidence.

"Ok, Mr. IAmAnEgg, everything about you is the way that you were intended to be. From the very moment that you were concetualized, your design was right. Your design has no flaws. You scan through the other ingredients trying to put together this plan of what you should become. No need. You have been already crafted. Just allow yourself to be baked so that the useless parts of you are dead and gone and all that is left will be just what is needed for this dish."

***********

There needs to be a paradigm shift in our minds. We are not to seek who we are to become as if the perfect design wasn't in existence already. We are to ask God to reveal what He has created. Then as he refines us, more of His handiwork is revealed. Yes, sin is real and has messed things up, but it is written, "I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~Psalm 139:14



If we only embrace truly being God's creation instead of what "creation I wish I was," more people will look at us and only see Christ.

So, instead of asking God "why" because of our dislike for some of the changes He is doing in our lives, we need to say, "Reveal more Creator. Your creation is ready to be your instrument."

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations." Jeremiah 1:5

"The carpenter stretcheth out his rule; he marketh it out with a line; he fitteth it with planes, and he marketh it out with the compass, and maketh it after the figure of a man, according to the beauty of a man; that it may remain in the house." Isaiah 44:13


Who has God crafted you to be?



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Friday, September 19, 2014

Prayer Weekend

I am at a pivotal point in my life right now and I need to be doing a lot of pray over the next few days. So, as late as it is tonight, I sit at my computer following the beckoning of the Lord to set up  time to pray A LOT this weekend.

"Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them." ~Matthew 18:19,20

Everyday I am reminded us of how we are all going through trials and need to lean solely on the power of Jesus to carry us through.

"My friends, do not be surprised at the terrible trouble which now comes to test you. Do not think that something strange is happening to you." ~ 1 Peter 4:12


Then why are we so susceptible to trying to stand in prayer alone? God never said we had to.

PLAN OF ACTION. That takes me to God's master plan. This Saturday and Sunday I am dedicating to prayer.

#PrayerWeekend

What does that mean for you?

Send me your prayer request through any other means I have provided on my connect page or post a comment with your request.

What does that me for me?

I will pray without ceasing. Period. Now matter what it takes.

What about people I know?

Spread the word to everyone you know! Share my post on Facebook. Email others you know. Send a text to friends.
Tweet: #PrayerWeekend Post your prayer requests to http://ctt.ec/SaZzg+ @brownetime08

When is the latest I can send in a request?

Any time up until midnight of Sunday.

Then what?

We open our hearts and hands to receive the answer in God's time. That could be two hours or 2 days or 2 years. Whatever timing God has deemed.



"But they that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint. ~Isaiah 40:31

"Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!" ~Psalms 37:7

"The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him." ~Lamentations 3:25

I could go on forever, but I will leave some room for you to search the scriptures yourself. :-)

******************

Let's go! Send me your prayer requests! :-) It's time to give God all the glory and all the power.



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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Don't Underestimate Your Words

Doesn't it feel that sometimes one comment that someone says to you throws off your peace of mind completely? Well, I feel like that happened to me today.

As I went through my day, I tried to recall where my peaceful state of mind went. Was it because I was hungry? Nope, filled that need. Was it because I was tired? Nope, probably because of the full belly. Well then what could it be?


I prayed a short prayer to God, because I needed His help. I knew that he would be able to shed light on my heart for me. 

After my prayer, He revealed where my unrest came from. Someone had said something earlier to me that challenged my security in Christ and it shook me. All I want to do right now is feel secure in Christ.

What then is stopping me?

Now that I know what the issue is, it can be resolved. I can either allow doubt to creep in and begin chocking out my trust in my protector or I can throw that mess away and believe no matter what. I will chose to believe no matter what.

What is the morale of the story? Always keep your thoughts in check with Jesus's help. That's what the battle is over-- our thoughts. So, don't let Satan win, even over the little things.


Have you surrendered your thoughts to God today??


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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

2,000 Years!?

This summer I read a powerful book called The Hidden Life by Bryan Fraser. One of the chapter's discusses bitterness and the importance of dealing with it. How do we deal with bitterness in today's society? Do we ever really deal?

Let's take a look at our good friends Jacob and Esau. What an interesting set of siblings. Esau just about lost his mind when Jacob conned both him and his father, Isaac. Filled with deep animosity towards his brother, he vows to help him into the grave after his father passes away. Jacob wastes no time skipping town.

He goes through some character building trials in which he in turn gets conned. Finally the time comes when he would be reunited with Esau. Would they clash? Would they forgive? Would there be indifference? So many questions.

We can see in Genesis 33 how things turn out. There is not blood shed but instead we find conversation. Yet, there is something missing from this conversation. No ISSUE IS DISCUSSED. 

"How is the weather?" Esau
"Great," Jacob
"I see you have a lot of kids," Jacob
"Yes, God has been very good to me." Esau
"Business doing well?" Esau
"We have had our ups and downs, but overall I can't complain." Jacob

Wow, that is one seriously life changing resolution....

Fraser notes that bitterness comes in two forms. 1) The bitter person maintains that everything is just fine and that there is nothing to forgive. Ex: I've put it behind me. 2) The bitter person justifies that they have every right to be bitter. That state can become comfortable and enjoyable. Reality is that ignoring or reveling in a problem will not make it go away.

Ignoring the issue will not encourage kindness and patience, nor love and humility. So, how can we foster a Christ-like spirit with bitterness in our heart? We can't, to be matter of fact.

"Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh." James 3:11-12



We have got to let it go. Seriously. Bitterness is like a ticking time tomb just waiting to go off on the same person coddling it like a child. 

But wait, the story does not end there. Esau's descendants, the Edomites, appear after about 500 years in Numbers, but the bitterness has bloomed. But it does not end there. There is a whole book of the Bible dedicated to Mr. Tension, the book of Obadiah. Let's stop yet though, there is the grand finale! We are now in the final hours of Jesus' life. Not wanting to get involved and learning that Jesus was from Galilee, Pilate send him to Herod Antipas who was..... drum roll.... an EDOMITE. Look at that, bitterness emerging once again.

I think the morale of the story is quite clear. God does not want us to be bitter for that long. It was not Jacob and Esau, it was the negativity that they shared with their children. It was the lack of communication that they said was ok that they passed on. Then their kids in turn adapted those feelings and kept the cycle going generation after generation- millennium after millennium.

2,000 years.

Father, your children need to let things go. We need to purge anger, resentment, bitterness, animosity, coldness, indifference, and all the rest of it out of our systems. There is no room for that foolishness and you desire a better life for us. A life in which happiness is rooted in peace. Help us Lord. Amen.

Let this be our prayer-- peace like still waters.




Is there anything that God is pleading with you to release? Post a comment and I will add that to my prayer list.



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Monday, August 11, 2014

No Greater Evil

"Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them. And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence camest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it." 

Unlike the other worlds which God created, Satan was able to deceive this one. He took it upon himself to declare himself "ruler of this world."

In turn, Earth is the center of evil in our universe. Then what must be the greatest of all evil?

"So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but the sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not." Romans 7:17,18

Verses 19-21 continues to reinforce that the greatest evil we will struggle over is self. 

Matthew 26:41, "Watch and pray, that ye not enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."

From movies and books, we may accept the perception that there is greater evil out of this world that could destroy us, but this is not what God says. Our father implores us to turn our eyes towards him so that no weapon formed against you shall prosper--even if that weapon is our own sinful nature.



How is Christ trying to redirect you toward Him from sin?

~Shana

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Am I Being Left Behind??

Ever feel like everyone around you to growing in the Lord and you are being left behind?

You just can't seem to get the right footing going? But then Jill and Kevin are learning and experiencing life in deep ways that reveal the handiwork of Christ.

STOP! STOP and take a pause.

What is the root of these thought? Is it self pity because you are not willing to put into action some of the things God has asked of you? Or is the the Holy Spirit speaking to you and desiring for you to reconnect with your Savior?

Basically, is self or God at the heart of your thoughts?

"For God did not give us a spirit that makes us afraid, but of power and love and self-control." 2 Tim. 1:7

So sitting in fear like a deer watching others exercise their faith does not seem like accepting God's strength is occurring!

As the hard times roll on in my life, I realize that I must put my motives in check daily. Otherwise the lurking lion will seize any moment to pull me down. And when I go down, it can feel impossible to get up. I can even stare at my Bible as if I am confused as to how it could give me any sort of assistance.

David says it right in Psalm 119:133-135.

Join me in this prayer:

Father, 

You see my heart. It is hurting and afraid. I feel stuck. It is intimidating at times to see fellow Christ followers around me thriving when I know that I am capable of doing so as well. So, help me not to get lost in what I think that I am not doing, but instead to get lost in your uplifting words. I do not know all the answers to all of my questions. Despite that I will trust you and get to know you better. For I know that in getting to know you more, I will be comforted by what I learn.

I pray all this in your son's name, 

Amen.



Share with me the ways you keep your motives in check. :-)

Monday, July 14, 2014

7 Days

What if you were given seven days to address a particular weakness? Seven intensive days of honing into that aspect of your character.

What if you knew that God would really come through at the end of the week?

There would be no turning back. 

No matter if the sin is lying, you would be confronted as soon as you lie. In response to that constant awareness, you would have to confront the root of your addiction to lying. Leading you to confront those demons and begin to seek healthier habit.

If lying is not your Achilles heel, then insert what is your downfall.

Would you agree to such a week? Would you be willing to feel pain and hurt in order to receive deliverance?

Honestly, not everyone is up to the challenge. Honestly I am not sure if I am up to the challenge for some of the sins I am struggling. For I know that there will be a lot of tears and I will have to put feelings into words that I may not know how to or be disposed to.

"Behold I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come into him, and sup with him, and he with me." Revelation 3:20

What a loving Savior!! When you are ready to dive into the depths of your character and confront the sins of your life, you don't have to look far for Jesus to carry you through. As a result, you may have a hard week, month, year, or two years, but, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want." Psalms 23:1

"And my God shall meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19

"For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; 'he will lead them to springs of living water.' 'And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.'" Revelation 7:17




Are you ready to take the leap of faith with your loving Savior??

~Shana

Friday, July 4, 2014

Too Many Changes!!!

Ode to be a kid again.

Where I am in my life, I would not categorize as the most fun point in my life. I am not comfortable and relaxed. 

Ode to be a kid again.

Change is hard. Change causes you to do some introspection and evaluate how you are progressing in life. Confirm whether or not you are actually adaptable. Change evokes powerful emotions often masked by simplicity. Change pulls and tugs on your heart.

Ode to be a kid again.

Power. We all want it in some shape or form. Power is addicting. Power feels very gratifying. Potential power plays a predictable role in our decision making process.

Ode to be a kid again.

A common phrase you may here is, "The struggle is real." I myself use this phrase to articulate that hard times are not a possibility, there are a reality. As much as we know about Christ, there is a tug of war that goes on in our heart and mind. I know that God is making a way for me to continue to grow and experience and reach his children, but my weak mind questions why it has to be so hard and why must I go through changes that make my stomach ache. If only I had more control (power) over the situation, things would turn our differently. Why must my eyes well up at the thought of having to accept so much new? I am going to chose your path to follow, but I feel my feet slowing down. Where has my enthusiasm to serve you gone?

"Thy word have I hid in my heart..."

The reality of walking with God is often times more than we perceive we can bear. It is almost shocking. If our life begins to parallel some of the Bible characters we have read about, fear starts to creep in. It's almost as if we were not expecting hard times like the Old Testament or life changing/ relocating experiences like in the New Testament.

"Thy word have I hid in my heart..." 

Brother, Sister, the fact is that this body we have is going to feel a lot of things throughout the rest of 2014 and the remainder of our time on earth. If you are to comfortable, please read John 15:18. We must put our trust in the right place. Don't let your discomfort confuse you into thinking you are all alone and without love and protection. 

"Thy word have I hid in my heart..."

I am not sure why the Lord keeps repeating this verse to me, but I sense it is because of John 1:1-4. We need to hold tight to the only lifeline that is able to sooth an aching heart, calm your anxious leg from continuously shaking, and motivate you to press forward every day.

There are days when being a kid seems like the easy way out. To reach back into time when your concerns were how much jelly was on your PB&J, whether Jamal and Katie wanted to be in your new club, or if you would make it home on time to watch your favorite TV show. But, who says God is not capable to reducing our stress?? Matthew 11:28-30. I need that type of rest. So, if it is available, then I suggest that I take advantage of it. 

Psalms 119:9-12 gives the big picture of the day. Take this word like it is chocolate or whatever your favorite food is, and savor every syllable and meaning. Then take it and savor it some more later on in the day. While you walk, drive, brush your teeth, stand in line, work out. Then before you sleep, savor it some more. Then repeat, repeat, repeat.


Where is our Savior taking in the latter part of 2014??

~Shana

Monday, June 30, 2014

Woe is ME!

     This morning for devotions, I Ps. 37:1-8. During our Christian walk, we all go through times when we think that God has forgotten us. However, if we read the words of David, we are reminded of how ever present our loving Savior truly is.

     The first couple of verses serve to break down our insecurities. Then the chapter transitions to words of encouragement and then a call to action.

     When times are rough, do not fall in the trap of "woe is me!" Many find themselves trapped in that ever deepening pit for years. There is nothing good that comes from spending so much time thinking about yourself let alone your "problems." A particular student of mine comes to mind because he has a way of painting a picture in his mind that he is being held back by life and everyone around him is moving on. The peers who are doing what they need to do or even the ones who could care less about giving life a try. No matter what you say, the clouds in the sky are bleak and the storm is morphing into a hurricane. Is it interesting to notice that the "clouds" only loom over him?



     Do not create this doomed world that is not the reality God intended for you. Eventually you will become so comfortable in that reality that you make it your residence. How do you break free?
"Trust in the Lord and do good. Live in the land and feed on truth. Enjoy serving the Lord, and he will give you what you want." Ps. 37:3,4

     There is little else I can say that the Word is not saying. Simmer on these verses because they need to become your anthem. Serving and praising God needs to flow through your veins along side your blood cells.

     If you are going through hard times right now, then PRAISE the LORD!
"But you suffer because you are a Christian, do not be ashamed. Praise God because you wear that name." 1 Peter 4:16

     The trial you are enduring is not worth severing your relationship with God. It will end just as dawn comes each morning. Jehovah is right here, so "Seek ye first the kingdom of God." Look up towards the sky instead of staring at the ground for inspiration. Let the vast endless sky remind you of the vast greatness of God which is without limit. Limit how many times you ask Why? and never cease to inquire into the Character of Him.



In your life, can you see how God makes you stronger through tribulation instead of weakens you?


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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

How Accurate is Your Perception of Yourself?



How often have you taken the time to reflect on how accurate your perception of yourself and your life is?

The window to my room is open allowing the cool rain air to seep into my room. The scent is familiar and fresh. At this moment, the sound of rain drops is calming. It is consistent and repetitive, slowing my heartbeat. In this peaceful state, I wonder about some of the decisions on my plate and whether or not I will be able to make the best decision.

What is the basis of my decision making? Then it hits me. How connected am I to my one true source for making decision? I chose God because he knows me best. He has the most accurate perception of who Shana is. Unlike myself, whose ideals and vantage points change depending on feelings, Jesus's vision of me is never changing.

I must say, there are definitely days when I don't feel quite myself. I feel disconnected. I scan through the definitions of myself that I have gained over the years to appease my sense of loss. So many times I am left with more questions than answers. I am still learning about who I am and what makes me tick. That's why it is such a good thing that there is someone who knows me better than I know myself.

So, as the rain drops fall on the leaves and blades of grass, I take comfort in the knowing I don't have to answer all of my questions. There are going to be plenty of hard decisions ahead in which I will wish to have a concrete understanding of myself in order to make the best decisions. However, that is not my role. My role is to allow my character to thrive only in Christ. There are some aspects of me that need to die anyway. Why waste time holding onto what the Lord is trying to chisel away?

"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me--just as the Father knows me and I know the Father--and I lay down my life for the sheep." John 10:14-15

Teaching Bible at my school I have learned quite a bit about sheep. Yes, they have minimal intelligence so they are 100% dependent on the shepherd for life. They live for the sound of the shepherd's voice, going where ever is it. The shepherd knows every sheep by name, by its features, and personality. He plans ahead for the future of the sheep. In the end, he will do anything for his sheep. Such a bond.

How perfect of an analogy. The Shepherd knows each of us by name, by our features, and personality. He could pick us out of a crowd. He will do anything for us, including guide us in our daily lives. Help us make the best decisions possible. Purify our character.

There is no reason for me to stress over my character as if I have control in it. "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:8-10

Time to give God back the reigns. He is much better as leading my life than I am.

What do you think is God's perception of you and your life?

~Shana


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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Not There Yet




     Earlier this week, I posted on how God was the only way to get through my hard week. I would have to choose to draw close to him and then he would comfort me.

     Well, as this week comes to a close, I can not say that I feel back to my chipper self. I continue to feel the weight of my trials upon my shoulders. So, what could I possibly have to say to you then?

God is alluring.

     Each night before going to sleep, I took some time to spend it with God. I did not know how to let him in completely, but I wanted to learn more about him. Each night the desire to learn increased to the point that I felt it in the middle of the day. I would anticipate bed time so that I could spend it with him.

     Now I see how God was drawing me to him in an unexpected way. I was expecting the usual: come to me, don't stress about work, or trust in me. Instead the Lord took the same message and wrapped in a different package. It worked! I came to the feet of Jesus, gazing into his marvelous eyes. Now I feel comforted and I compelled to trust him to take me through this tough time.

     This week God has reminded me that he is full of surprises and fully capable of handling me. Without even realizing it, I was being comforted.


My God is AWESOME!

How has our Lord drawn you to his side? I would love to hear about it!


 photo credit: New Talent Modelling via photopin cc

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Today Indeed was Rough!

   


     I must say, today was a rough day. So much so that all I wanted to do was hide away from it all in my room. So, when I got home this evening, that is exactly what I did. Yet, it was not as satisfying as I had hoped it would be. I felt a nagging in my heart to open it up to God and allow him to comfort me from the trials experienced at work.

     Despite my carnal desires, I have chosen to spend some time with God. The verse that came to mind was Mark 14:38 which says, "The spirit is indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." I am a living testimony of how true that verse is. When you think that you will have power over the sin you are currently struggle, remember YOU DO NOT! In retrospect, I see how God could have comforted me earlier had I opened my heart up to him.
"I can do all things through CHRIST which strengthens me." Philippians 4:13
Only through the power of God are we able to conquer even the smallest of things like sitting up in bed and talking to God instead of watching TV.

     I employ you rise above any pride that may be holding you back from letting God in at this very moment. Our Lord is right there ready to help you to be victorious. He desires to share blessings upon blessings with you. You may make the wrong decision at times, however keep the words of Paul in your heart:
"Nay, in all things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us." Romans 8:37

Can you recall a time when you were not sure you wanted to spend time with God, yet in the end it was rewarding?

~Shana



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Friday, May 16, 2014

The Consuming Desire: Control

Short thought of the day.



After experiencing so much in our lives that is out of our hands, we humans seek to gain some sort of control: manipulation, lying, drugs, stealing, stubbornness. We do whatever it takes to receive comfort and control. 

Yet we are not put at ease by our own efforts.

God it is not easy to loosen my grip, but I shall give you more control right now. I will remove finger after finger till you have all of my life--all of me. My goal: die to self till you are completely in control.

In what ways has God tried to teach you how to let go?

~Shana

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Superhuman Breath

     Imagine taking a deep breath and your lungs are filled with a type of oxygen that not only sustains your life, but repairs it as well. As each molecule flows through your organ, it heals every other molecule it comes in contact with. After a while you lungs are in perfect order with all the scars of pollution erased.
     
     Breathing would take on a whole new meaning. As much as it comes naturally, it would become associated with restoration.
     
     Jesus breathed into us the breath of life. Before sin that breath gave us life in the purest form. Perfect lungs, perfect heart, perfect brain, perfect kidneys. Perfection. However, so much has changed since Eden; all except Jesus. He is still the life giver. When he breath enters our body, it heals everything it comes in contact with. Seeking to only leave behind perfection.
     
     I think I can find rest in that. Whenever we think of perfection, we think of a forever unattainable burden. Let us not forget we have no control over the power of Jesus, all we need to do is surrender to Him.

     For the past couple of days, I've been thinking about how I rest in the Lord. I see now that as calming as it is to take deep breaths, I want peace from taking in Jesus into my life. I want to find rest in that. Rest that is attainable no matter where I am. Praise the Lord!
     
   

Do you think it is easy to allow God to restore your life?
Share your thoughts with me.

~Shana


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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

My Sanctuary

"Moses had a mountain. Elijah had a cave. Daniel had an open window. Christ had Gethsemane."

Each of these men, had a special place for just them and the Father. After reading Finding your Gethsemane written by Victoria Rosa, I was inspired to write about my own special place. 

 I have fond memories of the times that I spent in the sanctuary of my home church. I would wait till all were gone and it was just me. By then the deacons had turned off the lights, so only the stained glass illuminated the aisles. After laying in silence for a short while, I would make my way over to the chocolate colored baby grand piano. After carefully opening it, I would take a deep breath and allow my piano fingers to trickle along the keys before beginning a song.




I felt in control. Why? Because if I was sad, I could cry. If I was happy, I could grin from ear to ear. If I was mellow, I would silently play. There was no one to judge me or tell me I was wrong, just me and the Lord. I recall having many conversations where I poured out my heart to my Savior. 

Looking back, I see how that period of time helped to build the relationship I now have with him. It was like our weekly date. Excitement would ooze out of me the closer Sabbath came. Not only did I vent, but I praised Him as well. He was the reason for all the good in my life and I saw that. When I prayed to him, he heard me and comforted me. Then He would teach and lead. I can' t necessarily say that I have a current special place, but I know that I will find one again when the time is right. Until then, I will hold tightly onto the one that brought me closer to my King--my Gethsemane. 

 *What is your special place?*




~Shana

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Reflective Weekend

Dear God,

I get it. You gave me a pretty clear message this weekend and I didn't miss a thing. When I fall down, get back up. I need to make a habit out of drawing closer to you instead of relying on my feelings.Finally, I need to delight in your presence, especially on Sabbaths.

This was the first communion I have had in a long time. Thank you.

You love me. That is fact and I see that. I feel it, but I'm glad and reached out before I felt the warm and fuzzies. I live the principle of love.

Now take me into this new week with strength. You have promised that in your word. Ps. 28:7

Forgive me for my short comings and help me to let go of those short comings.

I pray this in Jesus' name, Amen.

~Shana


In what ways has God spoken to you recently?

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Creator and Redeemer

     God has spoken creation into existence and the same power is flows through the Word of God to recreate and transform us if we are willing. 
     There is truly power in the name of Jesus. For we don't have to work and slave to be transformed. We don't lack a part in the process, but our part cannot be compared to all that our Father does daily to transform our insides. 
     We marvel in the beauty of what creation is and more so what is was originally. Why? Because it is just so beautiful, awesome, majestic, breathtaking, exciting, and more than meets the eye. Well, God's redeeming power is also majestic, breathtaking, exciting and more than meets the eye. 
     Holy holy is the Lord God Almighty! 
     Each day, allow God's essence to ignite your transformation and relationship with Him. He wants to be with us. Not just here and now, but for all of eternity.


Shana

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Journal Entry: Breakthrough

April 6, 2014

Dear Lord,

     I've had a breakthrough! I now see that I am ashamed of my life’s gospel. 2 Tim. 1:7 says that you do give me a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power and love and self-control. All that my life is is because of what you have done and not because of anything that I have done. Maybe that is why I have been so ashamed? I did not want others to know why I thought my life was in shambles. However, my life is not in shambles; I have nothing to be ashamed of and I should be praising your name.

     Actually I should be proud to tell my story! Why? Because God is at the center. There is nothing exceptional or traditional about my life; however, that is what makes my testimony all the more powerful. My story is really God speaking through me; shining through me.

     In order for me to step into my future, I have to boldly proclaim all that God has done for me. Now what I think is noteworthy. Wow…. Look at what I have been doing, Lord. I have been holding back my testimony in fear of its validity and its reception by others.

No longer!

     I am qualified and educated by you. My degree is in progress at the B.I.B.L.E University and my guidance counselor, the Holy Spirit, is with me every step of the way. I am me and I choose to take it instead of leave it.

Love,

Shana

Monday, April 7, 2014

Reflections on the Year So Far

     As April has begun, I see that I have the opportunity to reflect. Reflect on the goodness of Christ during the past couple of months.

     Since writing The Truth About Helplessness, And the Answer Is, and With a Swiftness!, I have reconnected with God and His reality for me. I see that He was able to purge me of many doubt and fears. I may not have answers to all of my questions, but it's not as big a deal. I do not need all my questions answered. I feel like I have regained control over my life. I guess you can say that I feel empowered.

     Keeping all my frustrations would kept me in a negative place. When frustrations consume ones mind, they push out the voice of God leaving your own. However, your own voice will guide you no where.

      I encourage you to reflect on 2014 so far. I know that the story for this year is still in the beginning chapters, but be encouraged.
"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us." Eph. 3:20
Start here:
   1. What challenges have I faced?
   2. What questions do I have for God?
   3. How has me blessed me through the trial?
   4. What character weakness could He be working on?

I know God will carry you through because He is able.



How do you think He is able? Share that with me below!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

With a Swiftness!

Transformation 3

     February was one of the most challenging months that I have endured in a very long time. Writing these Transformation testimonies has helped me to process, accept, and grow from what the Lord allowed me to go through. If you are going through some serious trials, go to the Lord and tell him what you think. Write out your fears and pain so that God can transform them into courage and love. Now here is the last installment.
******

With a Swiftness!

     Impatience is the understatement of the year. So much so that I struggle with revealing this weakness in words right now.

     I recall sitting at my desk in my classroom pondering how on earth I would ever make it through the month. With all the questions running on repeat in my mind, I was sure that I was doomed. There are 28 days in February? Well not in the year 2014. There were about 40 days in that month with each day containing 30 long and excruciating hours.

     There was a one particular coworker that I was praying for. There needed to be a change otherwise I would lose my Jesus through dealing with her--so I thought. I begged and pleaded with God to open her eyes, to grant me patience, to give me the words to speak to her, to reveal the secret recipe on how to deal with her. 

I got nothing.

I just had to keep pressing on through the fire and hope for relief. 

What craziness!

     How could I not see that each day was an answer to prayer! Arg! Everyday God was calling for me to stand firm on the Bible and focus on His will for me that day. How do I know this? It was all revealed weeks later in March. She informed me that God had rebuked her for how she had treated me on a particular day. However, I did not need to know that to trust God. I did not need the satisfaction, yet I craved it more than I craved the Word of God to give me guidance.

     When we hurry God along, we are setting up our own cones along the road to direct God on how He should lead and guide. Yet we give him no authority to actually lead and guide. 
"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Fist and the Last the Beginning and the End." Rev. 22:13
God is both in the beginning and the end of the situation, which automatically makes his credentials to take the lead more substantial than our own.
"God is willing and He is able
This did not catch Him by surprise
So just trust Him and just oh, step aside"
~Step Aside by Yolanda Adams

     I have heard this from God before, but there is a reason why Paul wrote:
"I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day!" 1 Cor. 15:31
It is because we must renew our hearts every day as to abstain from falling back into the same bad cycles. Cycles of trusting self more than God; of greed; of lying; of lust; of hate.

     It is time for me to respond to the Lord's call for me to act. He has never ceased to be about His business. It is time for me to pick up my feet and trust God with all of my heart. To focus only on Him throughout my day instead of all the many injustices I feel are falling upon me. Then I am to love all mankind, not excluding my enemies, as Jesus did.

Of course, I will do it With a Swiftness!


Saturday, March 15, 2014

And the Answer is...

Transformation 2:

Questions and Answers

     The month of February brought about a lot of questions. They seemed to arise from everywhere in every aspect of my life. I found that the questions seemed to simmer in my mind instead of come and leave. After simmering, they would then produce deep seeded doubts. These doubts were dangerous.

     As I said in my last post, there were so many changes going on at work that it seemed all to easy to lose ones footing--despite that not being the desire. At the school I work in, each day bring the unexpected. You never know what is going to happen, who is going to wake up on the wrong side of the bed, or who will not be interested in being in class. Up the stress level and subtract a couple staff members, and the situation becomes harder to bear.

      The natural thing for me to do was to wonder--ask lots of questions in order to gain some answers. Right? Yet, I can honestly say that weeks later, some questions remain unanswered. Why? These questions were important! An answer would have made the difference between a stressed out teacher and a calmer more in control teacher. It made no sense to me. God, you said to ask and I would receive. You said to come to you and you would lead and guide me. Why didn't you lead and guide me to an answers to my many questions?

     Yes, I am aware of the fact that God has his own timing and design for every situation that I am in. However, it just did not seem to balance out with the other things He has spoken. 

     With all these thoughts rolling through my mind, it is a wonder I ever heard God speak, but I heard him loud and clear:
Who is in control? God or man?
Is every question meant to have an answer?
Which is easier, to trust Me or to ask a question?
To whom are you asking the question?
Do you already know the answer but refuse to acknowledge it?

     Receiving these questions from God was humbling. It hurt. I wanted answers, instead I was asked to provide answers. It was quite obvious that God's questions were more substantial than mine. I was not in control of all situations, hence my frustrations. Every question does not need to be answered. I know for fact because of working with kids. They can ask some silly questions. But then God's questions got harder to receive. I saw that it was easier to ask a question than to walk in faith. I knew there were times I avoided asking God directly because I knew how He would respond. I knew He would ask me to pray or seek His Word and I was not always in the mood for that. So, in turn I would ask myself or another person the questions on my mind.

Then there was the crowning question: Do you already know the answer but refuse to acknowledge it?

What!? Of course not.... Ok maybe it's a possibility. Fine! Yes!

I know that as a creation of God, I am wonderfully made-- made in his image. 
I know that He clearly led me to the job I have now and has a purpose and plan for me being here.
I know that when we train up a child, when he is older he will not stray from that upbringing.
I know that God allows for hard times to craft our character.
I know that He never leaves our side.
I know that trials never last forever.
I know that with patience, I can be an overcomer.
I know that I need to gird myself with the Armour of God.

     I am blessed with the knowledge of God that I have. He has taught me so many wonderful things. Shown me so much of who he is. He is truly an amazing, wonderful, beautiful, magnificent, powerful God and Father. I feel safe in his arms, but I also recognize that I need to trust him more. What would that look like? In not allowing life's many questions to simmer in my heart. Refusing to doubt God. Loving him back... always. For I reflect on how Job never knew about the conversation God had with Satan. The Bible never records him learning of the reason for all of his pain. He was someone who deserved to have many questions, but God flipped the script and asked Job some questions. Job 38-40

     All God is asking for is just a little bit of love from his children. He understands that sin has tainted our ability to love him, but it is not impossible. The month of February reminded me that I am not entitled because I am going through hard times. I need to set my questions aside and answer God's questions. When I do, everything falls back into place. My faith is increased and I feel alive again. My life falls back in order despite the chaos around me. 

There is truly healing in the name of Jesus. The words out of my mouth should not be a question, it should just be JESUS.

~Shana