It’s all about your mindset and your focus. Negativity and complaining will keep you stuck and depressed. Learn to tune out the distractions. Don’t settle for what’s always been because it’s always been that way! Be a visionary! God is able to help you, but look to Him. The Word tells us, We can do all things through Christ. (See Philippians 4:13)

Think positive and work towards a positive change and you will get positive results. It’s all about faith and action. You must be willing to do something you or anyone else in your family/circle has ever done, if you want a different result in life. Be the first in your family to break a generational curse. Be the first in your circle to become a philanthropist. Set the tone. Whatever you desire in life, begins with you. “God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7

So, what are you going to do. We’re already equipped with everything we need for a godly life, that’s God’s Word. (See 2 Peter 1:3) You want change, it begins with you. Don’t sit on the sidelines and watch other people fulfill their destiny. Get in the field. Don’t be afraid of falling or getting dirty. God has your back. Just remember to keep Him at the forefront of everything you do, and you will succeed.

Proverbs 16:3 (CEV)
Share your plans with the Lord, and you will succeed.

Sometimes, going through a difficulty is necessary, in order to gain perspective, and in order to achieve lasting change. Sometimes we get too comfortable in our own little bubbles and our realities become hazy. When this happens, God is like, “No, I have way too much in store for you. You can’t stay here in this comfortable place.” Oftentimes that comfortable place is not God’s best, but our best. God’s best for our lives, challenges our comfort zones. I’m reminded of a song by Kirk Franklin. The song’s entitled, “Just For Me”. The chorus to this song says, “It don’t feel good
But growing never does
It don’t seem fair
For you to call this love
But if necessary pain
Is the ingredient for change
Even when life may be bittersweet
It’s working
Just for me.”
Lord, have mercy. If this isn’t the truth, I don’t know what is… More often than not, it’s our pain that leads us to our purpose. It’s those seasons of difficulty that reveals our true character and the truth of those around us. It’s a shame that sometimes, we have to lose some things, in order for God to show us who are really for us and who’s not. It hurts that sometimes we must lose what we perceive as best for us, in order for God to show us, we can do better. It’s terrible that we can know the truth about a matter, but live a lie until we’re negatively impacted as a result of us turning our heads. Then, we finally wake up when the truth slaps us in the face, because the truth hurts, which is why we don’t like facing it in the first place… The fact of the matter is, we can all do and be better, but as long as we do and be whatever’s in our comfort zone or within our power, we will remain beneath the level in which God has called us. So, he has to burst our bubble, and take us through. He has to stir the winds and seas of our lives a little bit or a lot of bit, 😂 and He has to rock our boats, just so that we find ourselves in Him. (Read Matthew 8:24-27) God has to disturb what we consider peace, in order to stir our faith. Think about it. If you didn’t go through something, you wouldn’t be who you are today. You may have hated what you were going through then, but you’re thankful for it now. Going through teaches us to trust God. It teaches us to get out of the comfort zones of our lives, just as Peter got out of the boat, and it teaches us to step out on faith in Christ, if we want to achieve the impossible in life; just as Peter did, when He focused on Jesus and walked on water. (See Matthew 14:25-31) Whether life pushed us out of our comfort zones or we stepped out on faith, I believe that if we really think about what we went through, we can all agree that with Jesus, the worst parts of our lives made us better. 💪🏾 Romans 8:18, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” You should shout, “I’m better for it! In Jesus name!”

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Change is like an obstacle course. We usually have to go through a series of difficulties in order to achieve change. It would be great if we learned our lessons the first time, every time, but it doesn’t always happen that way. It doesn’t happen that way, because usually, we’re trying to change ourselves or our situations our way. Sometimes we even try to do God’s will, our way. That doesn’t work either. God wants us to know that we don’t have to face these obstacles alone, because He is on our team! Yay! But wait. Before you get too excited, this doesn’t mean that the obstacles goes away, in fact, you’re faced with more. However, through Christ, our strength increases and our loads become lighter because Jesus is our help! An ever present help in time of trouble (see Psalm 46:1).
When you make up in your mind that you’re going to live righteously, you immediately become the enemy’s target, but he isn’t your biggest threat, you are! Going against yourself isn’t as easy as one may think. Romans 7:21, “So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.” It’s all a test. God doesn’t test us to humiliate us, He does it to see if we’re going to fight our battles in HIS strength or in our own abilities. God’s Word says, “I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13) Oftentimes we’re weary, frustrated and discouraged, because we’re doing things in our own strength. We’re trying to get through the obstacle course of change or even life, by ourselves. Truth is, we can try, and try, and do great for a while on our own, but we need God to sustain and keep us! We need God for deliverance, total victory and everlasting change! We need HIM in order to win! Let’s stop trying to control everything. Let’s stop saying, “I got this God, you can sit this one out…” Oh, you’ve never said that, huh? You may not have consciously, but we all have subconsciously, when we try to control things that aren’t in our control, or when we try to make things happen on our own. It’s time we truly, surrender ourselves to God! Release whatever you’ve been trying to control on your own. Have peace knowing that when you fall back, He will not only catch you, but He will carry you through. Every. Single. Time. In Jesus name. 🙏🏾❤️

1 Peter 5:6-10

6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

Coming to terms with who you are can be a hard pill to swallow. The truth hurts, it can even be ugly, but it also sets you free. Freedom costs. It doesn’t matter which angle you view it from, there’s a price to pay, in order to be free. Nothing in life, is free. I can hear someone saying, “Jesus paid it all.” Guess what? That doesn’t mean we get to behave godless all of our lives, and expect a reward in Heaven. Again, freedom cost, and in the body of believers, our freedom costs us our life. Romans 6:6-7, 6:15, 6:23 “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin– because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.”
“What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!” “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Listen, our imperfections are no excuse for us to be comfortable in our mess. We know the Word of God, and as children of God we know when God speaks to us. John 10:27, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” Let me break that down, just in case you read it too fast. Jesus said, His sheep don’t just hear His voice, He knows them, they hear Him AND (key word) they follow Him. James 1:22, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” We know when we can do better by God, ourselves and others, but the fact of the matter is, sometimes it’s easier to blame other people or even God, for where we fall short, than to look inside ourselves and face our truth. Neither change or growth will happen until we accept who we are right now. Not who we aspire to be, and not who we think we are. Romans 12:3, “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” The truth of the matter is, we know the areas that could use improvement in our lives. We know when we could exercise more patience. We know when we could be more understanding or compassionate. We know where we fall short, and recognizing that truth, hurts, because it lets us know, we’re not all that we may think we are, and we have work to do, but that’s okay. We’re all a work in progress and we won’t reach perfection until we reach Heaven, but that doesn’t mean we can’t press towards the mark. Philippians 3:12, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. It’s all about striving to be like Christ. Knowing who we are is humbling, and it keeps us in check. That awareness makes room for God to work on us, and through us. If we pretend that our shortcomings or things that have gone wrong in our lives are all a result of what someone else did, then there’s no room for correction, or God. We must come to terms with the fact that we are human, which means we’re imperfect. We must hold ourselves accountable for where we are in life, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. We’ve all been through something, but that isn’t an excuse to live any kind of way. Each of our lives are each of our responsibilities. We must face our truth with a sincere heart and a sober mind. Healing can’t begin until we admit that there’s parts of us that are broken. We can’t run from who we are, we’ll just run into the same old problems. Why? Because we’re carrying the same old baggage. We can’t blame others for who we are, where we are in life, or we’ll never heal, and old ourselves accountable for our own life and success. John 8:31-32, “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” We must honor God with our lives. The way in which we think and act, reflects the truth within us. What’s your truth? Do you love your truth? Could your truth use some improvement? Is your truth self serving, or is it governed by Jesus, who is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6)? When God shows you who you are, what do you see? Do you see Christ or do you see your feelings? Are you walking in the fruits of the Holy Spirit, or do you walk around with a chip on your shoulder, making everything about you? We must get over ourselves and be humble, having the mindset of Christ. Philippians 2:3, 2:5, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” True freedom which can only be found in Christ, will cost us our feelings and ultimately our lives. It’s all about overcoming ourselves so that we become our best selves in Christ. 40480802-E8A0-461E-8F75-EB61A1380FF1

Real love changes you, without ever forcing you to change, because we all know forced changed isn’t a lasting change. Real love brings out the best in people. It challenges the way a person thinks, it inspires and it helps individuals grow mentally, emotionally, spiritually and in many other ways without ever forcing the individual to be different. Real love is loving someone for who they are, not your idea of who they could become, or who you think they should be, because truth is… your idea of who that person will become or the potential you think you see, is no guarantee. People are who they are, right here, right now, today! Real love tends to make people better though! You cannot experience real love and stay one hundred percent the same. It changes you for the better! This doesn’t mean that you should ever begin a relationship with the intent of making someone better, because that’s a recipe for disaster! You may as well end the relationship while you’re ahead if you think like that, because you can love someone with all your heart (after God of course), and they’ll still be a crappy individual. 🤷🏾‍♀️It’s up to you to stay and love the crap out of them anyway, or leave them alone, and love them from a distance. They may care about you deeply, or even love you, but a change won’t come about until they want to be better for themselves. You may be great, but they can’t be a great spouse, friend, or whatever to you, because they have to work on some inner issues first. That’s why it’s best to work on yourself before committing to a relationship in the first place. You may think you can love someone into the potential you see, but you can’t. Only God can bring about a real, lasting change in people. Your love can inspire the change, but only God can bring about a real transformation, by helping them heal from past wounds or their own way of thinking. Learn to love people for who they are with no intentions of changing them… EVER! You’ll have so much more peace, when you stop worrying about a person’s life and put it in God’s hands; especially when you worry more about their life than they do their own! I know it can be hard, but real love, loves people through their mess. You may not always understand them, but love them anyway. You don’t have to condone certain things or agree with everything, but compassion is still necessary. God can use you to be a light or beacon of hope to that individual. The hard truth is, your love for them may never bring about the change you’d like to see, but if the love between the two of you is mutual, they will be changed for the better in some way… and so will you!

You can always tell when people are miserable. No matter how good they look on the outside, the ugliness on the inside always tends to show. They refuse to celebrate other people’s happiness and success. They find something negative to say about everything, even when there’s nothing negative about it. It’s their minds I tell ya… When you think negatively, automatically you’re going to perceive things in a negative way. Let’s all take a moment to pray for these folks to stop basking in their unhappiness because it’s really hurting and hindering them, more than it does the people who they’re looking down upon or talking about. Another reason that it’s important to let the past go! If not, you’ll become bitter; holding on to the offense of the past, while the person or people who hurt you are happily enjoying life. Don’t ever allow someone to take your beauty away from you, and I’m talking about real beauty, that inner glow! Things that can’t be bought like, love, kindness, that inner joy that shows when you smile, and your peace of mind. If someone walks out on you, make sure that they don’t leave with your inner virtues. If you came happy, when they leave, you should still be happy. It all starts with you first. Love God, love yourself and then you’ll be able to “Love your neighbor as yourself” which is commanded by God and said to be by Jesus himself, as one of the greatest commandments after loving God (see Mark 12:31). When you think about it, it’s hard to love your neighbor when you hate yourself, no matter how cute you are physically. Our outer appearance is but a temporary mask. The important things, things that last forever are those things planted in our hearts, in our minds and in our souls. Things that even after we leave this body, are forever with us. Those attributes are what makes us who we are. Let’s make sure that we’re carrying around the right Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” – Galatians 5:22-23(a). Do a fruit check in your life. If you’re not producing any of the fruit above, then perhaps, there’s a seed there that shouldn’t have been planted. Ask God to help you remove it, in Jesus name and bury this next scripture in your heart and in your mind, Philippians 4:8, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” In Jesus name. Be blessed.

So, a plank, for those of you that don’t know, is timber that’s long, flat and rectangular. It is used in construction of ships, houses, bridges and other structures. So, in Matthew 7:3-5, when Jesus was giving a lesson on discernment, He basically told us that we need to take care of our personal obstruction of view before trying to help someone else see clearly.  How can we use godly discernment if our own feelings and self righteousness is in the way? When someone chooses to point out wrongs in others without dealing with their personal faults; I call that the invisible plank.

It’s really a spirit of hinderance. Think about it. A plank is used in construction to build something. When someone judges others for sinning differently than them, just what are they building? I’ll tell you what. A wall of darkness, that’s not only keeping that person from seeing the light, but also keeps them from being a light. Self accountability is the light that chases away the dark cloud of Hinderance.

I mean we have to be real with ourselves when pointing the finger, because when we point one finger, three points back at us. It’s like when you’re on an airplane, and the flight attendant is giving you information on how to apply the mask. The attendant always tells you to put on yours before trying to help someone else. Why? Because you could possibly pass out while trying to help someone else!

You must take care of yourself before properly caring for someone else. Are you carrying around an invisible plank in your eye? You may have been if you’re doing more blaming than acknowledging. You may be if you accept one sin and frown on others. 😕 Let’s do better by ourselves and our fellow man or woman.

The truth is, we may genuinely want what’s best for others, and are trying to lead them the right way, but we can’t lead effectively if we ourselves are in darkness. People look more at your actions than they hear your words. If you don’t practice what you preach, you’ll be seen as hypocritical, and no one will take you seriously. Remember, self righteousness and a lack of personal accountability hinders one from becoming! Becoming what?

Becoming the very best you that God created you to be, and becoming a living testimony to others of the grace of God! People need to hear your story. They need to see that you too have weaknesses and that none of us will reach perfection until we reach Heaven. Still, as Paul said, “I press.”

Keep pressing towards the mark! You’re going to make mistakes and guess what? IT’S OKAY! Jesus died and rose again one time for your lifetime of mistakes! 🙌🏾 Through Christ we are perfected, but we’re not perfect. The only way to keep it real with others, is to first keep it real with yourself! 😉

Be blessed.

Matthew 7:3-5 (NIV)

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.