Monthly Archives: October 2011

I Will Wait For You

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You know the quote, “When you’re single, all you see are happy couples. And when you’re taken, all you see are happy singles?” I had never been familiar with this quote until recently. I must admit, I cannot relate much to this quote simply because in the past I never paid much attention to anyone else other than myself. However, now I hear this quote all too often from close friends and associates, all who find each relationship more complicated than the last. God has been dealing with me regarding the topic of righteous relationships and marriage. I would like to share the insight I have gained.

I will be honest; in the past I never put much thought into marriage. I guess you could say that I had given up hope before I had any. My perception was that marriage was something that people did only to reassure that they would always have company and a home to crash at by the end of the night. My perspective concerning marriage had been skewed by the many adulterous and “roommate” marriages I had witnessed. When someone brought up the idea of marriage I immediately said, ” I don’t have to get married to be cheated on” or  “How can I love and be with someone for the rest of my life? (Notice I was even too foolish to recognize that my life is not my own) or even the infamous, “No one will ever love me enough to want to marry me and be with me for forever.” As I reflect on my old perspective on marriage all I see is negativity. I think my own inability to recognize, give, and receive love played a role in 50% of this. Even if a married couple had been righteously made one, I am unsure if back then I would have been able to identify it. But even if I had been able to distinguish the truest and purest love, I know for a fact that I would have believed that I was undeserving of such love.

After sharing my old mindset on love and marriage I am sure it isn’t a surprise to mention the role I used to play when I talked to guys. I never allowed a guy to get too close because of the fear of feeling vulnerable but I somehow allowed them to get close enough so that I felt that I was in control. Being controlling made me feel secure and almost as if I didn’t have the ability to be hurt. With new eyes I now see that I was more than hurt, I was bruised and I was the bruiser! I was helping a layer of lies about relationships and intimacy to build. Intimacy isn’t all about sexual relations. True intimacy is when one can talk about the most private and personal things, like the love and zeal one experiences in their relationship with Christ. I cannot speak for everyone, but talking about my walk in Christ is one of the most personal and intimate conversations I can have. Conversation is intimate. Time spent can be intimate. There is an umbrella of things that fall under intimacy but I just wanted to demonstrate how intimacy extends well beyond just sexual contact.

Like mentioned in the paragraph above, I wanted to be the person in control at all times. My goal was to be smooth enough to catch a guy off guard and even to have him eager to see what slick statement I would have to say next. Once I got saved I still had pieces of this in my heart. In the past I wasn’t aware that although I didn’t want to be in a relationship someone, I still didn’t want to see them in a relationship with some else. Yea, I was pretty selfish in that sense. I had a conversation with someone once and she pointed out that everything I did with a guy was inspired by selfish thinking. Even when I decided to give all of myself to God, I was still operating with the old mind subconsciously. I started to make this a focus in prayer, that I may think and act righteously. I began to pray that I take on the role God had given me even if it meant that I would one day have to be submissive, vulnerable, and sensitive. God is stripping me of the old flirtatious nature and replacing it with innocence and integrity. Some things are only meant to be experienced in marriage so even if I never have the chance to be emotionally attached to a man God has set aside for me, I am content with recognizing all things that are good in His eyes. In Christ, being submissive doesn’t make a path to be walked all over, but to remove room for pride. In Christ, being vulnerable shouldn’t cause heartbreak, it should remove walls of fear and barriers that don’t trust the love of God. In Christ, being sensitive doesn’t make one a punk (a big one for me) but instead allows one to first be sensitive to the Spirit of God. God honors marriage (Hebrews 13:4), why should I frown upon it?

Proverbs 31 (NIV):

Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character

 10 A wife of noble character who can find?    She is worth far more than rubies. 11 Her husband has full confidence in her  and lacks nothing of value. 12 She brings him good, not harm,  all the days of her life. 13 She selects wool and flax  and works with eager hands. 14 She is like the merchant ships,  bringing her food from afar. 15 She gets up while it is still night;  she provides food for her family  and portions for her female servants. 16 She considers a field and buys it;  out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. 17 She sets about her work vigorously;  her arms are strong for her tasks. 18 She sees that her trading is profitable,  and her lamp does not go out at night. 19 in her hand she holds the distaff  and grasps the spindle with her fingers. 20 She opens her arms to the poor  and extends her hands to the needy. 21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;  for all of them are clothed in scarlet. 22 She makes coverings for her bed;  she is clothed in fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,  where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them,  and supplies the merchants with sashes. 25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;  she can laugh at the days to come. 26 She speaks with wisdom,  and faithful instruction is on her tongue. 27 She watches over the affairs of her household  and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise and call her blessed;  her husband also, and he praises her: 29 “Many women do noble things,  but you surpass them all.” 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;  but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. 31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,  and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”

It feels just like yesterday that I prayed that specific prayer to God. I was praying it not because I wanted to be in a relationship but because I knew that my actions and thinking was not in agreement with His word. I shouldn’t have been shocked (although I was) when God began showing me how a righteous relationship should be. At one point I began to feel like I was “over” guys because they appeared to sing the same song only in a different tune. I completely overlooked that I was a work in progress too. God started off by refreshing my memory of what an unrighteous relationship is like. The type of relationship that is filled with unrighteous touching and groping, founded on lies, and sealed with materialism. I wasn’t over guys but I was certainly over that.

On a lighter note, I greatly appreciate the night God allowed me to experience last week. The night was filled with laughter, conversations about school, childhood experiences, and ended with prayer/Bible study. It felt so good to spend time not feeling obligated to do something unrighteous afterward. Not even a, “Hey want to come to my room and watch a movie” when it is 12 am and both individuals know that no one will be watching anything. ( I mean that for both males and females). Don’t get me wrong, God deals with everyone differently. I am not saying that anything is wrong with spending time in each other’s room but notice that if you struggle with lust, God won’t put you in a position where saying no to sin seems more difficult than not. This gentleman and I went to prayer not because it appeared to be the religious thing to do but rather because as we are seeking God, we desperately yearn to press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14). Someone who genuinely loves and desires to serve God won’t get bored about talking about God. It won’t even appear to be boring. Not saying that conversations cannot be about other things but keep in mind the loyalty. If someone isn’t loyal and passionate for Christ, once they have committed adultery in their relationship with Christ, you aren’t far behind.

I want to give food for thought for those who are seeking God and are currently in a relationship. Even to those who have been in relationships in the past, which left them feeling hurt and damaged. First examine your relationship from every spectrum. What type of fruit is your relationship producing? Are you two doing anything that can get both of you sent to hell? I had a conversation with someone about two months ago. This gentleman mentioned how he was so distraught over the way his last relationship ended. He said he was truly in love with his ex-girlfriend but that she no longer loved him. Throughout the conversation he also kept mentioning how the plan was for them to get married but now he is confused because she couldn’t even stand to be around him. I first thought about a conversation the gentleman and I had over the summer about him and his ex-girlfriend fornication and engaging in other activities that we both know the Lord was not giving them the desire to pursue. The best advice I could give was to consult the Lord. You won’t be madly in love with someone and they not be madly in love with you too, if God has ordained for you two to be together. God will put the desire in the heart of both individuals to want to be married. A person who loves with a pure heart won’t do something that will send both of you to hell. Are they pressuring you to fornicate? Use drugs? Be deceitful? Or are YOU doing any of these things? Ask these questions to yourself. Remember, He doesn’t do anything by half.

SOME OF US HAVE BEEN FOOLED!

Having sex? Has to be one of the most beautiful things in the Lord. How about just cuddling? Can’t be much without the Lord. Saying I love you and meaning it? Impossible if we are outside of the Lord. Being loyal? Unheard of if we have no loyalty to the Lord. Being changed from the old cheater/liar? Insane if we hadn’t been made new in the Lord. One of our main goals while seeking a relationship is to not be unequally yoked (2 Corinthians 6:14). The Bible doesn’t mention a whole bunch of dating, boyfriend/girlfriend stuff. Courting is sometimes necessary but the intent is for things to end in marriage. God won’t lead us to live with someone for years as if we are married if we aren’t. Again, He does things decently and in order (1 Corinthians 14:40). Additionally, everyone who is saved and knows the Lord won’t be the person you are supposed to marry. Some individuals may simply have been put in your life to be friends and/or siblings in Christ. The same way we had friends in the world, we need to be equipped with new friends in Christ.

I would never want my kids to grow up like I did, sometimes feeling like a nomad because I had to pack up to go travel back and forth to my mother’s and father’s house. My parents did the best they could, working and sacrificing so that I may have the best of everything. The issue wasn’t what I had or lacked. The issue was that my parents had a strong disliking for each other and I was in the middle, not wanting to decide which parent was my favorite but constantly questioned about whom would I rather live with. You cannot measure the love of a father nor the love of a mother so the questioning game was pointless. I could only come up with, ” I want to live with both of you.” My personal experience is clearly not identical to the experiences of others but it is personal and relevant to me and has played a huge role in me deciding how I would like my household to be set up. There is something truly special about a child seeing both their father and mother together, married and held together by the third strand–God (Ecclesiastes 4:12). Not to say that my marriage (If I ever get married) will be perfect but I pray that it is Holy. My future children (If I have children) will at least know how to identify a righteous and upright marriage for the time when they have to cross that road. Some believe that we should have control over who we marry. Why would we pray to God about guidance over temporary financial situations and not want Him to shape and mold the person we will spend our lives with? We have to be logical.

Fortunately, to help my view and perspective on marriage develop, God has allowed me to witness seeing a God-fearing marriage firsthand. I mentioned in an earlier article about a woman who I identified as being similar to a mother-in-Christ. It may sound cliché but the marriage shared between her and her husband is beautiful to say the least and I don’t mean beautiful in a worldly sense. I mean beautiful in a sense that they recognize their mission in life, to be an instrument of Christ. The real magnificence in it all is that Christ gave them to each other to be instruments individually and collectively. It is exciting to think that I wouldn’t have to be alone in my daily battle. In addition to God and His army, I may have a husband, willing to lay down his life for me (Ephesians 5:25).

Genesis 2:22-24(NIV): 22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” 24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”

Proverbs 18:22 (NIV): ” He who finds a wife finds what is good and received favor from the Lord.”

Matthew 19: 4-6 (NIV):  4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

1 Corinthians 7:1-16 (NIV): ” 1 Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.6 I say this as a concession, not as a command. 7 I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. 8 Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do.9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.10 To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. 11 But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.12 To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.  15 But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. 16 How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?”

First and foremost, before I even get close to marriage (I mention being married and having children only if it has been ordained by God), I must first be the bride of the Groom. My commitment to Christ is a reflection of every other relationship I am or will be involved in. Perhaps Maya Angelou best captures my sentiments with her quote, “A woman should be so hidden in God that he has to go through Him to get to her.” In conclusion, if God has ordained for me to be married, I pray that he is being patient also, because God isn’t finished with me yet.

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I Want A Spirit of Power, Not Fear

Talk about a scary individual–for me that was understatement. I used to be a walking time bomb, easily set off by something as simple as someone jumping from behind me and yelling “Boo!” My favorite statement used to be, “But I am scared.” Everything from sleeping in the complete dark to watching television shows about criminals would cause me to become fearful…… It was/is absolutely ridiculous. To some, the things I used to fear may appear to be super silly or maybe even a joke but living outside of the Lord leaves us vulnerable to the tricks of the enemy. I was being tricked into believing I was or eventually would be a victim of every negative thing possible.

Take a moment and think about how you would define fear. According to Dictionary.com the definition of fear is a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid. I wanted to define fear to make sure we at least have a general idea of what fear is. Focusing on the definition of fear is necessary because contrary to what I used to (and many others) believe, there is an umbrella of things that are classified as and induced by fear.

Is it wrong to experience fear? Of course not. Jesus’ disciples experienced fear. The issue comes in when we allow fear to prosper. When we willfully allow ourselves to be fearful as Christians we are essentially saying, “God I know I am afraid and in essence I am throwing away my trust, hope, and faith in you and giving authority to this fear.” When we remain fearful we are throwing away the trust in God that shuts down the ideas of fear having the ability to prevail over the power of God. When we remain fearful we give up our hope of believing in Scripture and its validity. When we remain fearful we lose our faith to fear because we disregard the victory Christ gained on the cross.

I used to say, “No big deal. Everyone fears something at some point.” I had to let that philosophy go when I read Revelation 21:8 (NIV): “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–theirs will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death. After reading this verse I began to view fear differently. I was in awe to think that being fearful could be the reason why I spend eternity in hell. It makes sense though, because while doing the Father’s business there is no place for fear. If He sends us into a country that is in the midst of war and we are in bondage to fear then we can already conclude that we have lost the war. Again, He won’t throw us into the lion’s den without an escape. And that is not to say that the escape will be what we imagine because God doesn’t care about the flesh, He cares about our soul.

Mark 4: 35-41 (NIV):

Jesus Calms the Storm

35 That day when evening came, He said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took Him along, just as He was, in the boat. There were also other boats with Him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” 39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey Him!”

Most importantly what I extracted from this story in the Bible was that while Jesus slept He had control over the situation. WHILE HE WAS SLEEP! Now we know that sleep was necessary for Christ only because He was in the flesh but we also know that He is now in the heavenly realms and He does not slumber nor does He sleep (Psalm 121:4). What do we need to fear when we serve a God who has exercised authority even in His sleep? Thank God man isn’t in charge because I know that for myself, I am as useful as a log while I sleep. That is why no one or no situation is too big or scary enough to cause us to be fearful. Don’t fear people, God tells us not to fear one who can only kill the flesh but has no say about the death of the soul. That was a big one for me because every crazy killing or kidnapping I heard about, I became paranoid that I would be next. It was bizarre, I know, but all thinking outside of Christ is foolish. Personally, some of my fear comes from childhood experiences but although those experiences have crippled me with fear for several years, lo and behold, He came to make all things new! Those old experiences cannot keep me in bondage to fear any longer, thank you Jesus.

Exodus 20:20 (NLT): “Don’t be afraid,” Moses answered them, “for God has come in this way to test you, and so that your fear of Him will keep you from sinning!”

1 Peter 3: 14 (NLT): “But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats.”

2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT): “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”

Matthew 10:31 (NIV): “So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

Luke 12:32 (NIV): “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.”

1 John 4:18 (NIV): “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

Matthew 10:28 (NIV): “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

Romans 8:15 (NIV): “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by Him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

Isaiah 54:4 (NIV): “Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.”

Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV): “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Jeremiah 1:8 (NIV): “Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD.”

Mark 5:36 (NLT): “But Jesus overheard them and said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith.”

Psalm 91: 4-8 (NTL): “ 4He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. 
 5Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. 
 6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. 
 7 Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. 
 8 Just open your eyes, and see how the wicked are punished.”

Isaiah 41:10 (NIV): “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. 
I will strengthen you and help you; 
   I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:13 (NIV): “For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand 
and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”

Psalm 56:3-4 (NIV): 3When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. 4 In God, whose word I praise— 
in God I trust and am not afraid.What can mere mortals do to me?”

Psalm 23:4 (NIV): “Even though I walk 
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me; 
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

Psalm 27:1 (NIV): “The LORD is my light and my salvation—– whom shall I fear? 
The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?”

As I have gotten older my fears became more than just being afraid of “the boogie-man.” I certainly have had my share of worry and stress regarding things we face in every day experiences. I have a history of worrying about everything—health, grades, my career goals, my salvation–everything you could possibly think of, especially things that didn’t affect me personally but pertained to family and close friends. Trying to figure out why we worry is pretty simple isn’t it? Something we are uncertain about or something that is a little shaky can cause us to WORRY…FEAR! Worrying might as well be another word for fear although I never looked at it that way until recently. Why was I worrying? Because I wasn’t having confidence in the Lord to provide me with good grades, a career, and to protect my family and friends etc.

Like I mentioned before, experiencing fear is a human characteristic. We have the emotion for a reason. However, the only positive thing that comes from fear is when it is associated with having fear and reverence for the Lord. It is respect, not tension or anxiety. My struggle with eliminating all fear out of my life still remains a current battle because I have been operating with a spirit of fear for so long that Christ has to help me identify what I am fearful of and how it affects me from day-to-day. I have operating italicized because I mean operating in a very minimal sense. Fear paralyzes so I definitely wasn’t operating in a way that God means for us to operate. I was merely operating enough to live a functional life but I wasn’t living as if Christ died to give me life more abundantly.

Many of the verses listed above are personal and relevant to my battle with fear. I spent many days and nights reciting those verses as I had them written on post-its and placed above my bed in my dorm. When I began to feel fearful, all I had to do was look up and recite Scripture. That was in the beginning of coming to know the Lord and the enemy did everything in his power to manipulate me into thinking that those verses were not alive and active. My doubt and second guessing fed that manipulation but I was determined to continue reading the verses because I knew that I had to start from somewhere. I hoped that once the verses were received by my spirit, the Holy Spirit could begin to bear witness to the Scriptures I was reading over and over again.

I would never want Christ to say to me, “Oh you of little faith.” That is one of the statements that automatically encourages me to shake off any areas in my life that is filled by anything that counteracts faith. It is such a blessing to have grown from the extremely fearful person I used to be. I am still a work in progress but I don’t find myself unable to sleep because of something that was merely a mental game. I don’t encourage anyone to play games with the devil. I pray that I have the mind of Christ and that I continuously have my mind on good, positive things. As I go day-to-day and explore and learn new things, I pray that stress and worry, which sometimes tries to come masked as something other than fear, are pushed out of my mind by thoughts of power, love, and a sound mind. I try to keep in the forefront of my mind that God is bigger than all of my fears. Any and everything that I could possibly worry or stress about, He has it all in His hand. I want it out of presence because I can’t do anything with the trash anyway. So I give it to Him and I make it a daily obligation to not ask for it back.


I am Going To Be A Dermatologist

Thoughts of reaching a point where I had Jones, M.D. on my personal desk was all that clouded my mind for years. I grew up playing with Chemistry sets and looking at water under microscopes. I was never big on watching television but when I did, my eyes were glued to Animal Plant. I went from wanting to be a Hydrologist to wanting to be a Veterinarian then later a Psychologist but eventually settled on becoming a Dermatologist. When I was nominated to participate in  “doctor camp” at a university near my home while still in high school, I was sold. I had the opportunity to get a taste of what it would be like to be a student in medical school.  I learned how to create medical memorandums, how to stitch up wounds, and how to administer blood pressure checks. I didn’t even bother looking into other careers because I just knew becoming a doctor was for me.

Entering my freshman year of undergrad I wanted to major in Psychology but was told by several people that I had to major in Biology to get accepted into medical school. I was upset to have to change my major but I was willing to do whatever was necessary to become the doctor everyone (including myself) was anticipating. I now know that majoring in anything with a pre-medical concentration can get one into medical school–evidence of how seeking advice from man can lead to confusion. My parents were ecstatic and I thought I had everything figured out. I was going to be a Dermatologist and there was nothing in my way.  My parents were happy. I was happy. Medicine seemed to be what I was most familiar with and what I only really cared about–perfect. My parents were even networking with doctors at Temple University and University of Pennsylvania on my behalf. I was enrolled in a Chemistry course for Chemistry majors and I was proud to say that I was holding my own, although I had no special interest in Chemistry. After many nights without sleep and days spent in the library I received an offer to study medicine in China or Australia for a summer. All of the good news had me on an artificial high. Everything was perfect…. until about 6 months later.

My back was against a wall. I went from getting 98% on Chemistry tests to hoping I could get an 85%. I went from reading a chapter in Biology a week ahead of time to being 5 chapters behind. I will admit that the Lord had been putting on my heart to change my major and that maybe becoming a physician was something He hadn’t ordained for me. I began hating every class I was enrolled in. I was behind in my work because I wasn’t studying, going to class, or even paying attention when I actually went to class. I was miserable in the back of every class and I didn’t care to even pretend that I wanted to be there. I loved the enthusiasm some of the other students had but for me–mine was long gone. I hated everything I was doing starting with when I entered the classroom and had to sign my name on the attendance sheet. I even began considering dropping out of college because I knew that the issue was solely that I didn’t have any drive or ambition to learn the content being covered. I learned that it is different when you decide how much of something you do and when someone else tells you how much of it you have to do. This is when I began to panic.

For a couple more months I went back and forth with the idea of changing my major. My two biggest issues with changing my major was that I didn’t feel as though I was good at anything else other than medicine and that most people change their major from Biology because of the inability to keep up with the work. I had too much pride to let anyone even think I wasn’t able to learn and comprehend the material. But in all actuality, my lack of caring to even DO my work was what was really pathetic. After swallowing my pride I changed my major to Psychology and declared a minor in Philosophy. I wasn’t saved at the time but I currently recognize the hand of the Lord and how He was guiding me the entire time. I felt like I was taking a chance and I was certainly hoping it was a smart one because it was already time to begin registering for classes for my junior year.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV): “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” 

Isaiah 58:11 (NIV): “The LORD will guide you always;  He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”

Psalm 37:23 (NIV): “The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him.”

Proverbs 16:9 (NIV)“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.”

Proverbs 3:5 (NIV): “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”

Psalm 48:14 (NIV): “For this God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end.”

Jeremiah 10:23 (NIV): Jeremiah’s Prayer “LORD, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps.”

Psalm 37: 4-6 (NIV): 4 Take delight in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him and He will do this: 6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.”

I have always had an interest in Psychology because it has a combination of Human (brain) Anatomy and Physiology, with an ounce of intellect. I guess it is safe to say that my first Psychology class in high school was the first class to really spark interest in what I would consider to do as a profession. Examining the job description and annual income of a Clinical Psychologist really got my ambition flowing. I at one point thought I wanted to become a Clinical Psychologist because it almost felt like second nature for people to come to me with their issues and I somehow happened to see the light at the end of the tunnel. As I look back, I shake my head at the fact that while I was still of the world, I was giving worldly wisdom. If anyone has received advice from someone who is still in the world they know that advice from someone not grounded in the Lord can place one on a worse path than they were on when they started their journey. If Christ gives me a heart and mind to give advice to someone pertaining to something He has already brought me through, I feel much more comfortable simply because I am now being led by the Holy Spirit. I no longer desire to be a Clinical Psychologist but I do pray that more Psychologists and Psychiatrists grow to know the Lord because there are too many doctors pushing pills and not enough understanding and exposing the truth about spiritual influences on the mind.

Shortly after I made the major/minor change I acknowledged that I would be beginning to study a field that didn’t necessarily embrace the Lord for who He truly is. My goal though, especially with Philosophy is to understand their language. I am all about learning their perspective and comparing it to the Word to effectively bring enlightenment. How can I speak about what I don’t know about? It would be very difficult to minister to someone who has a hard time accepting what it is you have to say merely because they know that you don’t have any knowledge on their philosophy of things. I ask the Lord as I study and learn the material of my major and minor that I never mix up His Word and the world’s word. He acknowledges my prayer. Last semester my Philosophy teacher didn’t care for me too much once we reached the chapter on God and the idea of a supreme being. Of course I wasn’t going to sit there and allow lies to fester when the Lord has revealed the Truth in my life. I was more than happy to share the wisdom God has shared with me. Honestly, the teacher and a few classmates weren’t too happy about me breaking down Scripture and the existence of God. To my surprise I wasn’t discouraged by the evil looks and smart remarks considering that was the first time I spoke publicly on the existence of God and the relevance of Scripture. The nerves I usually experience during public speaking didn’t matter because when the time came, the Holy Spirit gave me the things to say and I said them. The Word is so powerful that even an atheist has to agree at some point. Lets be realistic–it gets frustrating running from the Truth.

Even currently as I take classes in Psychology and Philosophy I find myself interested in the content I am learning but thankful to be able to have the Truth of God with me to keep my mind sober (1 Peter 4:7) and protected from being soaked in the poison of the world. I am pretty simple when it comes to my preferences in academics. If I can read, converse, and enhance my critical thinking and analytical skills—I am a happy camper. I am finally majoring in something that keeps my attention and encourages me to go the extra mile to complete and understand the material.

I find it very interesting that as I had been working on this article for the past week that I have been asked about my major change close to 10 times. As I gave the individual’s my reasoning for changing my major it gave me time to brainstorm. Sometimes once we conquer hurdles we forget how the battle really happened. I am thoroughly grateful to be at peace with my major/minor/career goals. I was so stressed and frustrated trying to find missing pieces to a puzzle that only a preeminent being would be able to see decently and in order. I went from being confused, lost and undetermined to being assured that God has the most beautiful and divine plan for my life.

God says that if we delight in Him that He will give us our heart’s desires (Psalm 37:4) but He also has the ability to put desires in our heart. There are some careers that I believe I would enjoy pursuing and there are also some that I feel would be the ideal profession. When I have thoughts of pursuing some of the careers that make me feel like they were created specifically for me, I first pray to God and acknowledge that although I have dreams and aspirations, I would rather His will be done than mine. After praying to God and announcing the desires of my heart I give them to Him to shape, mold, crop, copy, and paste the ideas and eagerness. It always blows my mind when God combines our desires with His because His touch extends all things for His glory. All and still, if I find myself in a career or profession that I once thought I disliked or something I thought was too boring to even consider, I know for a fact that God will make it work for me. I know that for whichever career He chooses for me,it will do and be all that He wants it to do and be. With His blessings come happiness, peace, and delight so with understanding, I am content with throwing my old career aspirations out of the window to make room for what He has already ordained. When someone asks me what I plan to do with my life I respond, “I am not sure yet.” Of course being in my junior year as an undergraduate student people usually expect some type of career option. I mean I have aspirations to do analytical work and I wouldn’t even mind being an Organizational and Industrial Psychologist or even being involved in executive management. God is never late and He is never early–He is always on time. When I need to know my career goal, I will. I used to live by the quote, “Do what you love and the money will follow,” but now I live by, “Submit to the plans of the Lord our God because EVERYTHING else will follow.


One In Christ

Last semester someone asked me,   “What is your denomination?” I responded  “I don’t have one.” Then someone else chimed in “Oh, I’m non-denominational too.” Although I understood what the person was saying about being non-denominational, I was referring to something different. I say this because even being non-denominational denotes having a denomination. In the past I never put much thought into claiming a denomination because I was never given a breakdown about what a denomination was. I remember my grandmother mentioning being Baptist so I thought, I must be Baptist too. Then my family began attending a Pentecostal church so I then thought, well maybe I identify with being both Baptist and Pentecostal. THEN I began to question, “Which denomination did Christ associate with?” I searched and searched and searched and I still have yet to find one.

As disciples of Christ we must be sure that we are exalting the qualities Christ has equipped us with. We ought to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13-16). How can we effectively exercise our roles if we are too focused on who is Pentecostal and who isn’t? As we talk with others we are always categorizing ideas whether it be things we can identify with or things that are distant  from our experiences. When a person asks another person their denomination it is to compare and contrast. Basically, do you believe what I believe or do you believe something different? If they didn’t care they wouldn’t ask. Either there is a common interest because the individuals share the same denomination or the individuals are a little (or a lot) different because they don’t. I was surprised to see thousands of denominations and sub-denominations. I thought being Christian was enough.

The foundation for our universal interest should be the desire to be after God’s own heart and to do all things that are pleasing to Him. When I think of denominations I automatically think of division. Once we ask someone a question and they give us an answer, we sort their answer to make sense of it and to accumulate it to our memory. I am sure everyone has their own personal reasons for choosing to associate with specific denominations but I challenge everyone to think about what makes a Methodist different from a Lutheran and both of them different from a Presbyterian? There is only one God. How can there be thousands of segregated denominations serving the one true God but each with their own set of beliefs? What does it mean to be a different type of Christian? Or for two individuals to be Christian but to believe different things? God is the same God today as He was yesterday and the same God to me as He is to you. He won’t tell me to believe one truth and tell you to believe another. He is a consistent God, never changing ( Malachi 3:6). There is a space of confusion somewhere and I know for sure that our Father is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33) . I suggest that to prevent ourselves from falling into the pit of confusion that we each be aware of what is causing the misunderstanding. God’s Word doesn’t contradict itself so the contradictions and the disagreements are something stemming from a different spirit. Test the spirit by the Spirit.

Clearly, the opposite of division is unity. Let it be our goal to unify in the name of Christ Jesus to be about our Father’s business. As we prepare for Christ’s second coming we need to become one body. Although you may be part of the arm and I may be part of the leg, I need you as much as you need me. Of course with Christ as the head, the Master. We are the Church. If we have arms, a torso, and feet–how can we walk without our legs? Or how can we have every other piece but no patella (knee cap)? There is no such thing as missing a big piece or a small piece–God doesn’t halfway do things so we must be whole. If we have our eyes set on the Lord and His plans then everything will fall into place. Don’t allow the confusion and disjoining of the enemy to weaken your testimony. Get out of titles and get into Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:12-27 (NIV): ” 12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by  one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.”

15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 

Romans 12:5 (NIV): “So in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”

1 Corinthians 10:17 (NIV): “Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.”

Ephesians 3:6 (NIV): “This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.”

Ephesians 4:12 (NIV): 12 To equip His people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”

Ephesians 4:16 (NIV): “From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”

Ephesians 4:25 (NIV): ” 25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.”

Ephesians 4:4 (NIV):4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

Ephesians 5:23 (NIV): “For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which He is the Savior.”

Ephesians 5:30 (NIV): “For we are members of His body.”

Colossians 1:18 (NIV): “And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy.”

Colossians 1:24 (NIV): ” Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of His body, which is the Church.”

Colossians 2:19 (NIV): “They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.”

Colossians 3:15 (NIV): “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”

Romans 12:3-5 (NIV): 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. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”

Lets not spend so much time trying to identify and distinguish differences and similarities between denominations when we ought to be studying and digesting the Word of God. As long as Christ is in one’s heart, He can do His business. I encourage each of you to focus more on the mission of God rather than the mission of whatever denomination you associate with. With every denomination I have encountered there has been some type of discrepancy with the Word. Not only are the denominations causing division but they are also contradicting each other. Don’t get wrapped up in titles because it really only boils down to the fact that the Bible does not mention the Church being associated with any type of denomination. While denominations are separating Christians by their interpretation of Scripture, creeds, and statements of belief, God is telling us to unite as the body of Christ. Every denomination will tell you that they are the “true church” but they all cannot be right, so then who is wrong? Don’t waste time trying to figure it out. We can only get to the Father through the Son (John 14:6 ), not by being a Jehovah’s Witness or COGIC or Protestant etc. How can you not fellowship with your brother or sister in Christ because they don’t go to a holiness church like you do? Seek the Truth that comes from God and not from the denominations created by man. One God. One Church. One Baptism. One Faith. One Spirit.

So in conclusion, my “denomination” is everything aligned with the Word. I don’t need a fancy name or a huge building with the letters nailed across it. I am a Christian who believes that Jesus is my Lord and Savior, who died on the cross, resurrected, and is coming again (1 John 4:14, John 3:16, Matthew 18:7, Matthew 16:27). In simple terms, I reject anything that is not instructed and supported by God and His Word. We are the Church and the Holy Spirit dwells within us, what other definitions do we need?