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ACTIVE FAITH NOT EMOTIONAL FAITH

active faith

There is something beautifully painful about growing through correction. Criticism is a necessary evil and the chastisement from a genuine place of unconditional affirming love is absolutely incredible. These last six months for me have been extremely powerful in the sense that a routine prayer that I have is being answered in ways that I never would have expected. I call it a routine prayer because it is one that I say often, and I offer it not out of repetition but out of respect and an earnest desire to want to grow spiritually. The prayer simple says, “Lord, convict me and chastisement so I can be the vessel that you need me to be. Show me the parts of Carlette that I have not given to you.”

I’ll be the first to admit that it’s nothing profound or earth shattering about the prayer, but thanks be unto God that he’s not looking for profound, HE just wants honesty. The ways in which he has released the many answers to this prayer over the last six months is pretty amazing. I call it amazing because the lessons that I learned all derived from a hurt place. Although most of us can admit, pain is our muse or that the thorn in our sides keep us grounded but this has been different. The hurt that I speak of was realized when I had to admit what I was purged of. I had to confess to Abba a lot of hard truths about who I am and how I’ve been treating HIM. These revelations aren’t about sin, yet they are about truth. These nuggets of wisdom are about opening my eyes and receiving a new level of understanding about work I need to do on me and how I can improve to bear more fruit for the kingdom.

I can’t share them all with you but one lesson that stands out to me the most is involving my faith. The circumstances of my life this year alone had caused my faith to be emotionally charged to a degree. When the Lord revealed this to me, I felt just terrible and I was downright embarrassed that a woman of my responsibility in the kingdom and exposure to the miraculous had failed miserably and that I had no idea! I got caught up in a rut of emotions. This is primarily because the people and circumstances that were used to test me during this timeframe are people and situations that I hold dear to my heart therefore, when things went left, they pulled on my heartstrings and caused me to have emotional faith instead of active faith!

My emotional faith didn’t cause me to curse God or to stop serving or to stop attending services. It didn’t even stop me from praying and studying the word. What this shrunken kind of faith did was neutralized me. It stopped me from moving in faith literally and spiritually. Several times over the last six months, I became completely stagnant – zombie like. Now that I can think back on these times, the symptoms are so evident but there were pretty much invisible at the time.

Symptoms included:

·         I became super serious while travailing as if my super serious demeanor was going to push God to move faster on my behalf (this cracks me up now that I can reflect)

·         I became “judgy”. I was making judgements of people in my head and didn’t see the harm in it because I wasn’t verbalizing it to anyone else

·         My spirit was depressed – (imagine a choppy wifi connections. Sometimes you’re connected and sometimes you’re not)

The only remedy for this dis-ease in my faith was to desperately cry out for help. I knew that I didn’t feel complete in my spirit and that I was tipping the scale towards giving up on everything. I may not have said it but I was sure thinking it…more often than not. I wasn’t doing enough to combat my wrong thinking and I hadn’t asked for the freedom that I so desperately needed. My heart was willing because I could no longer go on feeling like this. You would never know that I was feeling this way by looking at me or by speaking to me.

God used the most unsuspecting person who I know genuinely loves me to point out some things to me. Their observations were brought to my attention subtly and gently. I didn’t really HEAR them in my spirit when they were first mentioned. In fact, it took a couple of days for me to absorb what had been said. Once I processed the information, I took it to the Lord in prayer and through his grace and unfailing love, HE dealt with me right where I was. I was purged of all that was ailing me. I received my healing and deliverance. Much repentance and a great deal of worship fell from my lips with a pure heart and clean hands. I was able to literally feel the release. It was beautifully painful.

We must be careful not to fall into ruts of routine and pits of mediocracy. The LORD wants us to be alive and vibrant. Full of zeal and excitement. Our energy should be a result of who we know him to be and not based upon the limits that our emotions cause. There are blessing running over. There is healing bubbling up. There are gifts falling free, but our emotions put a cap on the pot and we stay on simmer. Let our faith be on fire as GOD arises so should we! As HIS enemies scatter so should our doubts, fears and anxieties. Confess your feelings. Do emotional and spiritual check ins with our creator. Our emotions must be handed over to the pilot before we can board. There is going to be turbulence and there will be wind, but God is in the control tower. We have nothing to fear. On the way to our destination we will travel through clouds that will test our strength. Be reminded today that we have explosive strength and power inside of us that cannot be put out. The flame is always burning inside of us. Do not become stagnant. Move as the Holy Spirit leads you. Move in expectation. Pack up your stuff, even if you don’t where or how you are moving. Like a pregnant women is an expectant mother, we must be expectant disciples with active faith! 

PICTURE THIS

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You are walking in your calling and trusting God without borders. You’ve taken the limits off him and allowed him into every area of your life. Your prayer life is consistent, and you have discovered your true identity in Christ. A light bulb has come on and you finally realize why you were born and live every day like it is your last because you want to please your heavenly father.

The ups and downs and round the mountains and down the valleys that life is full of do not stop your hustle. In fact, you thrive on it because you believe that you are who God says you are and that nothing can stop you because you have confessed that you are nothing without HIM.

You can’t sleep at night but it’s not because demons are haunting you, it is because angels are being dispatched and you can’t take your eyes off the vision. You’ve written, and you’ve made it plain. Your dwellings are adorned with it and your doorways are anointed…you feel protected. Letting any ill spirit in your midst is unlikely because you protect what you’ve been given.

There are times when you fall short but we all do so you are always reminded that you are not condemned because you are saved. Things that use to tempt you no longer tempt you anymore because you resist it when it approaches you and it is tired of hearing you scream that you are more than a conqueror. That thing has been evicted and its power has been revoked.

Prayers coming from your lips do not cease because of the gratitude that you have in your heart. Worship comes easy. Comprehension of his word is like water, refreshing and plentiful.

It could happen. Just make a decision.

The Truth About Every Test

It is highly likely that the uncertainty that you are feeling is a familiar emotion. It’s possible that you passed the last test so smoothly by the grace of God that you forgot about the agonizing feelings when tests first present themselves. Here is what we need to do; quicken our spirits to go into our Rolodex of victories and recall the pursuit and the victory that we encountered in every past test. The truth is that we’ve never lost. The truth is that we’ve always come out on top. The truth is that prophecy has to be fulfilled and that we are in a place to be used to bring forth the truth about who God is. Every natural challenge is a spiritual conflict and every spiritual conflict comes with a word of divine direction. These are never challenges of easy or little consequence that will take minimal effort. Every ounce of determination that you have is required so that you don’t quit!

This is a time when every possible negative thought will try to consume your mind and to change your direction. The enemy will do everything that he can to try and talk you out of what you know you heard God say and who you know God to be. He will use people and circumstances to thwart God’s plan for your life. But the truth is that he can’t stop the plans so the best that he can do is to create the thought in your mind that he can. Ignore the lies, accusations and fears. Combat them with the word of God, prayer and worship.

Even if what you are going through seems impossible for you to overcome, have faith in God’s faithfulness not in yourself. Who do you say that he is? Who has he been to you? Depend on HIS strength and HIS direction. Pray about everything. Give thanks for everything! The truth about every test is that with God on our side, we can’t fail. We only win. Victory belongs to Jesus! Boldly declare today that you won’t quit and that the enemy can’t have your thoughts or your emotions. Boldly declare today that you will stand and see the salvation of the Lord! Put your faith to work beloved. #themasterpeiceproject

LOVE AND PEACE CHALLENGE

I pray that on this week we will experience unusual amounts of love and peace. The receipt of these fruits is about our perception. Perception is reality. What we perceive to be true is the truth to us. Let’s ask ourselves where our truth is coming from. Let’s evaluate our root and foundation. “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior”. Let’s challenge ourselves to combat every thought outside of love and peace with love and peace. If a family member says something hurtful, fill your thoughts of a memory of them that makes your smile or laugh and then share it with them. If a co-worker is slamming doors, remind him or her how valuable they are. When was the last time that you’ve complimented a co-worker on a skillset that they have that is priceless to the team?  If your child disappoints you, respond with a loving kind word that will change their attitude and shock them. If your spouse gets under your skin, pause.  Pray about your response and then shower them with their favorite things.

Consider yourself deputized. You are the love and peace deputy of the week. It is your job to enforce love and peace no matter what. You’ve been designated to influence every place that you step in to. Empower others around you to spread love and peace in their circles as well.

Stand up for it. Cover others in it. Spread it abroad. Express it abundantly. Share it intentionally. Love and peace over everything else. We can all agree that the world needs more of it so let it start with you.

Let’s go out of our way to give a compliment, a hug, a gift, a kind gesture, a loving expression or more. Let’s do the unexpected to make someone feel that they are appreciated. This week won’t be about us or what we need or want; it will be about others.  “For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silent the ignorant talk of foolish people.”

Relationships Matter

It is my prayer that this long weekend be the start of us (me included) going the extra mile to spend time with loved ones and those that are less fortunate. It has been my experience that the busyness of life coupled with low tolerance of others causes us to isolate inside of our own bubbles. The more people that I converse with the more I am finding that only spending quality time with our immediate family is the new normal. The immediate family generally includes those that we live in the same house with. This is not the plan of God. I can honestly confess that time just gets away from me. I intend to reach out or to go and check on family but I fail miserable. A lot of my failed attempts can be attributed to my preconceived notion of the visit or call.  Guilty.  This past week the Holy Spirit dealt with me personally on this topic so I am sharing.

How can we ever expect to truly understand one another if we don’t put in the time? Ministries can truly be effective when the members take the time out to develop real relationships with one another. Families can heal sooner if we set aside our intolerable differences and accept people for who they are. We have to remain humble and come to grips with the fact that we too have habits and quirks that are less attractive than we think. Patience with one another in any group setting is possible through the act of love.

The bottom line is that we have to stretch ourselves with the instruction of the Holy Spirit to show love to God and to others through our efforts to develop relationships. The world would be a better place.

I encourage you to make the phone call today. Drive over to see your Aunt or Uncle. Face time your best friend from high school. Call a member of your ministry for no reason at all but to say hello. Go the extra mile and expect a difference in your life and in the life of others. To God be the Glory!

Noeffortitis (NO-EFFORT-ITIS)

You were not created to be a professional spectator. Don’t allow life to pass you by while you watch others live out their dreams. Let your passion be your fire. Your purpose is waiting.

Are you feeling ho-hum? Are you losing your zeal for life? Is work dragging you down? Do you have a feeling of emptiness that you can’t shake? Are you all of sudden finding it harder to drag yourself out of the bed or out of the house? I get it, I’ve been there recently. Do you find yourself caught up in a reality TV rut or a mindless funk that you can’t bind?

These are all symptoms of what I call Noeffortitis – NO-EFFORT-ITIS! (this is a fictional term). I can talk about the symptoms of Noeffortitis because I’ve experienced them. It’s a disease of the mind. It can be a result of arrogance, entitlement, just old fashioned laziness or a myriad of other things that occur in our mind, heart and emotions. It’s like being infected with a faith-without-works bug. What happens is that our purpose or what some of us call dreams become stale and no longer become a priority. Getting caught up in the euphoria of a recent victory or accomplishment can be one cause. We become relaxed as if the battlefield and the enemy has disappeared and we won’t have anymore battles to prepare for. Another cause can be the subtle choice of idolatry; something or someone becomes more important that the one that gave us the purpose in the first place. We don’t mean for it to happen but it or they become such a good thing to us that we loose our edge and trade it for self-gratification. I believe the more common cause of Noeffortitis is arrogance. We become so used to winning that we forget that winning is a result of fighting. Winning becomes expected rather than sought after. Before we know it, these attitudes and behaviors can become so predominant in our lives that our faith, fire and focus diminishes. This decline can have a domino effect in every aspect of our lives and can leave us feeling stuck! We become unable to even articulate what we’re feeling. We become too frustrated to pray. Stubbornness settles in and we begin to feel deflated. It’s a perpetual dark hole. Meanwhile everyone around us seems as if they’re floating right past us. How can we shake this off?

The only cure for Noeffortitis is a repetitive concoction of confession, repentance, prayer and the word of God that becomes a way of living. Having a joyous life requires a conscious effort to pursue the purpose that we’re pregnant with. No matter the reason, when we put no effort towards our divine appointments, we delay the promises and frankly stifle our personal spiritual growth. There is a high price to pay for losing our passion and focus, it’s called stagnation.

I encourage you to recognize the symptoms of Noeffortitis, seek out the cure, shake it off and get back to where you belong. As children of God we belong in a persistent place of peace and prosperity. When we experience anything opposite of those characteristics, we have to check ourselves and reclaim our faith, fire and focus!

 

 

Challenge your thinking!

Yesterday I realized that we needed toilet tissue, paper towels, bath soap, body lotion, dish washer pods and make-up remover all at the same time. I was ready to whine and complain about needing all of those things (which are luxuries) at the same time and then I quickly remembered the times when needing all of that would have sent me into a crying frenzy because I knew that I couldn’t afford it. Gratefulness began to flow from my heart and fall from my lips! We really only have seconds to re-evaluate our thinking about any thought that appears in our sick minds. We have to determine quickly if our thoughts are pleasing in God’s eyes and representative of a grateful son or daughter.

Today I was able to share a testimony with a single mother about my experiences as single mother and all that I’ve allowed the Lord to rescue me from. I recalled how I was delivered from unforgiveness in my heart for my daughter’s absent father. This allowed my heart to be fertile ground for God to do a new work in me. I was delivered from over-compensating as a parent. I thought that I could fill a void in my daughter’s life with stuff and dragging myself into the ground doing the job of two people without seeking the strength of the Lord or HIS wisdom to know better. As a single mom, I had to change my mind about my divine role as a parent. I had to make a decision that my thoughts were only tripping me up and frankly delaying the development of my daughter’s personal relationship with God.

The start of the work weeks are always challenging for me. My energy level is low and my motivation gets off to a slow start. My weeks only become better and successful when I begin to remind myself that Mondays also matter to God and that work is important to him and has been since Genesis chapter 1. Wherever the Lord has me, I have a purpose there and a difference to make and the wrong thinking will cause me to miss chances and opportunities to edify HIS kingdom.

The bottom line here is that we have to challenge our thinking. Let’s face it, our thoughts are not always Godly. There is no shortage of distractions surrounding us. Life is tough and Mondays come around every week…if we’re blessed to see them. Our minds need constant chastisement and correction. Challenging ourselves to have the right positive thinking is a job in itself but it’s a job with great rewards and benefits.

In ALL things give thanks. Challenge your mind to give thanks no matter what!