When there are many words, transgression and offense are unavoidable, But he who controls his lips and keeps thoughtful silence is wise. Proverbs 10:19 AMP
As we cross over from this decade into the next, I have prayed for God to help me understand what to make of the last 10 years. I sought God in my time of meditation wondering, "What is my big takeaway of the last decade?" While I have a tremendous testimony of all that I've learned, there is one simple teaching that I want to share with anyone who has the heart to receive it. Going into this new decade, I encourage you to Hush...your...mouth. Simply be still and know that He is God, who will be exalted in the world through all that He is favoring you to accomplish in your life to bring him glory (Psalm 46:10). There is something about the ability to be silent that sets us apart from foolishness and keeps us out of the conflicts that seek to distract us from our purpose, diminish our character, and have us to live beneath the level of God's favor on our lives (Proverbs 26:4, 1 Corinthians 15:33). This is especially important to those of us who have discovered the greatness of God's favor. When God allows us to see the awesomeness and abundance of His adoration for us, the prosperity He has planned for us, and the level of favor that we have been anointed with, it is hard to keep quiet about it. Our first inclination is to witness to others about how great God is and to share and include them in the good news of His plan to prosper us (Jeremiah 29:11). It is so tempting when people challenge us with their doubt and dishonoring descriptions of what God is doing in our lives to want to set the record straight with what we know for sure. More disheartening than anything else is the deep pain of realizing that some of the people you love the most are simply mad that God has richly bestowed His favor on your life, revealing how much they believe that you don't deserve it and how much they want it for themselves (1 Samuel 17:25-31). I guess the most dangerous part of this realization is having to live through their inexhaustable attempts to steal God's favor from you (Genesis 37, Genesis 25:19-34). Becoming aware of the plots against you can definitely make you want to lash out from our flesh and curse these people with our words (Romans 12:14). But...without our words to activate the misunderstandings, the committed misperceptions, and the misplaced anger harbored in the hearts of others in response to the favor of God on our lives...the foolish among us are disarmed (Proverbs 26:20). In silence we are able to hear from God on the matters of our hearts (Psalm 27:11-14). Keeping the cover of silence on our lips and assuming a posture of submission to God positions us to truly put matters into Gods hands for resolution, allowing His favor to surround us like a shield (Psalm 5:12). Being silent and still, anchored in the truth of God and knowing that He is God all by Himself, allows us to miss the arguments and intentional betrayals. Thus keeping us free from the bondage of offense toward those who simply have a hard time accepting that we are favored. As we step into all that God has for us in this fresh new decade, let us remember to hush our mouths and be still, knowing that God's favor surrounds us like a shield. He will protect us and propel us into the purpose for which He predestined each of us as we choose to silently submit to and be at rest in Him.
Be Blessed! ~Nina
Declaration: I am silently submitted to and resting in God who is protecting me and propelling me into the purpose for which He predestined me.
If it is unacceptable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you live; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15 AMP
I just love who GOD is! God is the ultimate winner. He never fails (Zephaniah 2:5). His love never fails (1 Corinthian 13:8). His word never fails (Joshua 21:45, Isaiah 55:11). When our lives are submitted to and aligned with God we simply cannot fail (Psalm 18:31-32).
Romans 8:31, “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”
The world offers many options that seek the subscription of our hearts. There is much competition for the way we spend our time, where we place our thoughts, and how we spend our money. These options are not presented as if they are choices that will draw us away from God. They are not advertised as opportunities to pick an option that opposes God. But the enemy is a finesser (Genesis 3). Its job is to make unGodly options look, sound, and feel easier, better, and more beneficial than what God has for you (Matthew 4:1-11). The goal is to convince you that these options don't interfere with your standing with God. But the responsibility is upon us to choose the way of God, according to His word, with the help of the Holy Spirit. It is always wise to reconcile all your dealings with the infallible word of God. Seek God first and use your discernment in every decision that you make (Proverbs 2:2-5, Matthew 6:33). Seek the path of love over fear, faith over reason, His truth over your feelings. What a mighty and unconquerable God we serve. Realize that the character of God is love, peace, and productivity. You will know who and what is a Godly pursuit by its alignment with God’s word and the fruit it produces. If the conversation doesn’t match the manifestation you have got to prune to protect your standing with God. (John 15:2) If you want to always be in the winning position, pick the side of God in every matter of your life. When God is with us, nothing that comes against us can prevail (Isaiah 54:17). Our God is awesomely undefeated. No matter what we are faced with, His grace is sufficient for us and His power is made perfect in our weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9). Let's pick the always victorious side of God for every matter of our lives.
Be Blessed! ~Nina
Declaration: I am choosing to see and be on the God side of every matter in my life.
Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that continues to bear fruit, He [repeatedly] prunes, so that it will bear more fruit [even richer and finer fruit]. John 15:2 AMP
God created mankind in His image, and He blessed us to "be fruitful and multiply" (Genesis 1:26-28). While this is simple to conceive when we think about physically reproducing and populating the earth, I believe that God also intends for us to be spiritually fruitful as well. Our spiritual fruit reproduces God's presence in the earth through our lives. The way for us to experience the presence of God in our daily lives is to live by the Spirit of God. A life by the Spirit is one that is guided not by the desires of our flesh but the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Lives led by the nature and desires of our flesh produce the fruit of the sinful nature, as described in Galatians 5:19-21. A life guided by the Holy Spirit is one that makes God's presence obvious in our lives. That evidence is referred to in Galatians 5:22-23 as "the fruit of the spirit", and further described as love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I believe that God is always active in our lives helping us to remain fruitful. He loves us with an everlasting love, and nothing can separate us from the love of God (Jeremiah 31:3; Romans 8: 38-39). We are connected to Him, as He is the vine and we are the branches (John 15:5). Through our faith, our abiding connection to God, and living our lives by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we remain fruitful. By the Spirit, God searches our hearts and examines every aspect of our lives to identify and prune anything that inhibits His fruit in our lives in quantity or quality (Romans 8:27, John 15:2). Let us condition ourselves to accept and appreciate that. Let us make peace with the process of pruning as God's way of ensuring that our lives are fruitful, producing the evidence of our faith and the manifestation of His Spirit in the earth (James 2:26). What God separates us from in the process of pruning may cause pain or adjustment in the flesh, but let's take comfort in the fact that God's pruning results in soothing and solidifying us in the Spirit (Psalm 30:5). Therefore, let us be at peace with God's pruning to protect and perpetuate our fruitfulness.
Be Blessed! ~Nina
Declaration: I am at peace with God's pruning in my life.
“Blessed [spiritually prosperous, happy, to be admired] are the poor in spirit [those devoid of spiritual arrogance, those who regard themselves as insignificant], for theirs is the kingdom of heaven [both now and forever]. Matthew 5:3 AMP
It is one thing to talk about how blessed we are, but yet another to live our lives in a state of blessedness. There is no shortage these days of motivational sayings that declare blessedness. Some of my favorites are, "I'm blessed and highly favored", "I'm too blessed to be stressed", "I'm blessed and unbothered". I thank God for every witness that has the desire to let the world know that they are blessed by God. Let's commit to being a witness and also a warrior of blessedness so that we are modeling for those we influence the character of Christ based on the word of God in Matthew 5:1-11, referred to in the Bible as The Beatitudes. My encouragement today is for witnesses of the blessedness of Christ to walk in victory of the warfare that comes with being a disciple of Christ, which serves as a demonstration to those whom we witness (Matthew 16:24). Let us not witness with arrogance about how blessed we are, making others feel as if we have just got it like that. Let us witness in a way that is transparent about the sufferings that we face in submission to Christ so that we are able to live our blessed lives by grace. The opposition we face in the world that challenges the life we live for Christ serves to create the conditions of our blessed lives. I'm reminded of a recent bible study teaching, led by my pastor at the church where I am a member, that taught facing opposition according to the teachings of Jesus Christ...
When we witness to others that we are blessed let's be sure that the way we face opposition in our lives is consistent with ways that are Christ-like and thereby demonstrates what God says about blessedness.
Declaration: I am a witness AND a warrior of the blessedness of a life in Christ.
All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child. And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them. Luke 2:3-7 NLT
God is so precise. His predestined plan for our lives is established to the finest detail for the events of our lives to take place at His exact time and place (Luke 12:7). Everything that God causes to happen is in order to bring about the destiny for which we were each called forth (Romans 8:28). God’s plan unfolds according to His word, at His set time, and at the select place for the blessings in our lives (Isaiah 60:22). He causes circumstances to occur that bring us into the just right environment to bless us at the just right time, when all the necessary circumstances are aligned to bring about His glory, and bringing prosperity to the place of blessing (Isaiah 55:11; Ephesians 1:11). In that place, God has gone before each of us and made the crooked places straight and the rough places smooth to give us an anointing of ease to crown our efforts with success (Isaiah 45:2-3, Proverbs 3:4-5 TLB). Let us be cognizant of and submissive to God’s plan that is constantly at work in our lives (Romans 11:29). It is important to pray about everything and yield to the Holy Spirit for direction leading to our place of blessing at the time God prescribes (Genesis 28:10-22). Let us be encouraged to trust God and to obey the word of God imparted by His Spirit which leads us to our place of blessing at God’s appointed time (Genesis 22).
Be Blessed! ~Nina
Declaration: I trust God to lead me to the place He has prepared for my blessing at His appointed time.
The crowds that went ahead of Him, and those that followed Him, were shouting [in praise and adoration], “Hosanna to the Son of David (Messiah); Blessed [praised, glorified] is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest [heaven]!” When He entered Jerusalem, all the city was trembling [with excitement], saying, “Who is this?” And the crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.” Matthew 21:9-11
I am so excited!! In the midst of the Christmas season, the joy and jubilation of Jesus Christ is abound. Peace and goodwill toward mankind is the mood. I am moving in expectation of miracles. The Spirit of the Lord is here (Luke 4:18). I am celebrating the fulfillment of Christ in my life. I am so blessed and thankful for God's word made manifest in my own life, and that alone is worthy of celebration (John 1:14).
"And blessed [spiritually fortunate and favored by God] is she who believed and confidently trusted that there would be a fulfillment of the things that were spoken to her [by the angel sent] from the Lord." Luke 1:45 AMP
My encouragement today is for anyone who may not be feeling the Christmas spirit. There is so much pressure at this time of year to spend money and to extend ourselves to demonstrate our love for others. Some of us are pressured to endure spending time with people that we would rather not. Some of us are required to endure the holidays without the ones we love the most. There are so many among us who are burdened with the absence of resources to meet their basic human needs. The burdens and the things that bother us don't stop because of the holidays. But there is a profound feeling of hope and excitement that overrides all these things when we praise and celebrate the good news that God is with us.
Behold, thevirgin shall be with child and give birth to a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel”—which, when translated, means, “God with us.” Matthew 1:23 AMP
I am excited to be reminded of and to celebrate the fact that God is with me. So my praises are going up with excitement. God inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3 21KJV). The more we praise Him, the more we experience His presence. Let's all be encouraged and excited that God is with us. Take some time today to meditate on and celebrate the promises of God who is with us (Hebrews 13:5, Deuteronomy 31:6, Jeremiah 42:11, 1 John 4:4, 2 Kings 6:16, Isaiah 41:10).
The Son is the radiance and only expression of the glory of [our awesome] God [reflecting God’s Shekinah glory, the Light-being, the brilliant light of the divine], and the exact representation and perfect imprint of His [Father’s] essence, and upholding and maintaining and propelling all things [the entire physical and spiritual universe] by His powerful word [carrying the universe along to its predetermined goal]. When He [Himself and no other] had [by offering Himself on the cross as a sacrifice for sin] accomplished purification from sins and established our freedom from guilt, He sat down [revealing His completed work] at the right hand of the Majesty on high [revealing His Divine authority] Hebrews 1:3 (AMP)
The entire universe was created and is sustained by the word of God (Genesis 1). We are God's creation, with a specific purpose in the universe that God has created and that He sustains by His word, and through His word made flesh in Christ our Redeemer (Genesis 1:26-29 NKJV, Jeremiah 1:5 NKJV, Ephesians 1:3-6 NKJV, John 1:14 NKJV). The more Christ like we become, the more we are able to manifest the glory of God in our own lives, for the purpose that God created us. God is eager to fulfill His word in our lives and to have us to prosper and ascend to greater heights for his glory (Jeremiah 29:11 KJV, Psalm 75:6-7 KJV). We contribute to God's power of creation in our lives by immersing ourselves in and living by His word (Hebrews 4:12 AMP). As we prepare to receive a new decade in 2020, let us employ God's word to pray and prepare to be propelled in a greater way toward the purpose for our lives. My encouragement today is simply this: Pray Praying God's word in our lives is a powerful practice. When we align our prayers and our hearts with the word of God we position ourselves to be upheld by God because He has promised that every word of His will prosper and no word of His will ever return void (Isaiah 55:11 NKJV). Submitting our prayers to God in accordance with His will and not our own allows us to present our prayers in a posture of trust and surrender, putting the desires of our hearts in His hands (Matthew 6:10 NKJV). Establishing our desires, our plans, and the petitions that we pray according to the word and will of God ensures that they will be upheld (Psalm 37:4-5 NKJV, Matthew 6:5-14 NKJV). and... Prepare As we pray and spend quiet time before the Lord, we will hear from Him with directions for how to prepare for the moves that He is about to make in our lives (Isaiah 60:22 VOICE, Habakkuk 2:2-3 VOICE). Our blessedness is God's reward for our obedience to his commands (Deuteronomy 28:1-2). When God speaks to our hearts with guidance for what to do in our lives, we must make it the highest priority to obey every single command we receive. We may not understand what God is directing us to do at the time, but we must trust God and be obedient (Proverbs 3:5-7 AMP, 1 Corinthians 13:9). As he prepares us, He is keeping us in perfect peace and providing all that we need (Isaiah 26:3 NKJV, Matthew 10:27-31 NKJV. to Be Propelled When we have prayed God's word in His will, and we have obediently carried out God's instructions for how to prepare for Him to move in our lives, we are in the predestined position for God to propel us (move us forward) into the fulfillment of purpose for our lives (Exodus 14:15 AMP). This is indeed the highest promotion (Romans 8:28 NKJV, Psalm 75:6-7 KJV).
My heart is rejoicing and exceedingly glad for all those with eyes to see and ears to hear what God is about to do in your lives (Matthew 5:12, Matthew 11:15).
Be Blessed! ~Nina
Declaration: I am praying and preparing in the word of God to be propelled by God into the highest purpose for my life.
1 Let love of your fellow believers continue. 2 Do not neglect to extend hospitality to strangers [especially among the family of believers—being friendly, cordial, and gracious, sharing the comforts of your home and doing your part generously], for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:1-2
The ministry of Jesus Christ is highlighted by the new commandment given to us in John 13:34, to love one another as Christ loved us. By loving one another this way, we make it explicitly plain that we are disciples of Christ and we position ourselves to freely receive the love and blessing of our Heavenly Father (John 14:21). As believers and not doubters of God's promises, we must pray constantly for God to create in each of us a clean heart and renew in us a right spirit so that we are free from obstacles that can block us from loving others as we love ourselves, and that get in the way of us basking in God's love and blessings in our lives (John 14:12-14, Psalm 51:10). Let us be aware and honestly self-examining when it comes to biases we may harbor that get in the way of us seeing the truth and character of God in people. A bias can be described as "a personal and sometimes unreasoned judgement" or a prejudice according to Webster's online dictionary. When we employ bias when interacting with or getting to know people, we are relying on what we have experienced and what we think we already know about a person in the context of our own experiences and ideas about life and the world we live in. In order to truly be able to love one another as Christ loves us, we must decide to get to know people with the help of the Holy Spirit rather than by our own ideas about them shaped in the image of our implicit and explicit biases. Let us be reminded and encouraged that God made each of us in His own image (Genesis 1:26-27). Somewhere in each person we meet the image of God is reflected. Each person we meet is fearfully and wonderfully made by God (Psalm 139:13-14). Let us commit our hearts to pray for the help of the Holy Spirit in our interactions with people (John 14:26). As we come into contact with and get to know people and as we interact with people we consider to already know, let's choose to dismantle our biases and rely on the Holy Spirit to gain the highest and best understanding of them and connect with the reflection of God in each of them (Romans 8:26-30).
Be Blessed! ~Nina
Declaration: I will seek the help of the Holy Spirit to intercede in my relationships with people.
Set your mind and keep focused habitually on the things above [the heavenly things], not on things that are on the earth [which have only temporal value]. Colossians 3:2 AMP
Many of us were raised being told that we can do “anything we put our minds to”. I took this to mean that if I could set a target in my mind and focus on it I could achieve the target I set. Of course when we embrace the idea of achieving what our minds target, we only consider those things we intentionally focus on because we want them. But we should give some thought to the reality that when we are not intentional about our thoughts, when we allow our minds to roam and randomly focus on whatever comes our way, we produce what we have tuned in to with our minds. When our minds are not focused with intention on Godly targets we are playing a game of chance with what will result in our lives. By allowing the world around us to shape our thoughts we are subscribing to a condition of double-minded thinking. We may hold Godly beliefs, but be swayed by the doubts of the culture if we do not intentionally anchor our thoughts in the word of God. (James 1:6-8)
What we think about guides the way we feel; it sets the direction of our hearts. As we think in our minds and hearts, so is our behavior (Prov 23:7). Proverbs 4:23-24 advises this: Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
The direction of our hearts sets the course for what we speak and do (Prov 18:21, Matthew 5:28). For this reason we must intentionally set our minds and keep focused habitually on the heavenly things of God, not on things that are on the earth which have only temporal value (Colossians 3:2). When we keep our hearts and minds focused on the things of God, we produce the fruit of God in our lives (Eph 5:9, John 10:10), and we live a life that is blessed (Matthew 5:6;8).
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
I sleep well at night. The peace of God which transcends all understanding guards my heart and mind in Christ Jesus (Phil 4:7). That same peace is what carries me as I glide through this life from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). As I consider the various traumatic experiences in my own life that could’ve taken me out—the events of life that could’ve killed me, the trip ups that should have thrown me off course, the betrayals that sought to stop my heart, and the triggers that make me feel them all over again when unchecked—I am pausing to pray a prayer of gratitude for the peace of God to outlive it all.
Heavenly Father, thank you for guarding my heart and mind in perfect peace. Thank you for the grace to outlive every daunting instance of the enemy’s attempts to steal from me, kill me, or destroy my destiny. Thank you Lord that no weapon formed against me will ever prosper. In you I live, move, and have my being. I believe and do not doubt that He that is in me is greater than he that is in the world. I speak your promises over my life and I rest in the assurance that they will not return void and will prosper in my life. Have thine own way Lord. In the name of Jesus.
I want to encourage you today to take hold of the promises of God and receive the peace of God to move through this life, outliving the things that may seem to have the magnitude but certainly not the power to deprive you of your life. God’s love for us is everlasting (1 Corinthians 13a). Let us live, move, and have our being in God, knowing that He that is within us is greater that anything we face in this world (Acts 17:28, Romans 8:31). There is no trial, no trauma, and no trigger that has the power to take our lives when we live in God (Isaiah 54:17). Let us embrace and be empowered by the peace of God, knowing that He is with us (Matthew 28:20).