The Kimberly Joy Blog

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Category: Faith (Page 1 of 2)

God Created You To Be Extraordinary

(THE KIMBERLY JOY SHOW-“Extraordinary: Dare to be Different Part 2”)

GOD CREATED YOU TO BE EXTRAORDINARY

Psalms 139:14 (New International Version):

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

I appreciate the above verse because it reassures me that God didn’t create any junk when He created me. Rather, He delicately crafted me in His loving, yet powerful hands. Also, as it says in Genesis chapter one, everything God created was good. I’m good! You’re good! I’ll take it a step further and say we are extraordinary!

WHAT DOES EXTRAORDINARY MEAN?
According to the dictionary, extraordinary is “going beyond (superior to; more than; over and above) what is usual, ordinary, regular, customary, the norm; exceptional in character (moral quality–honest, courageous, disciplined, hard-working); noteworthy (worthy of being noticed or recognized due to some special excellence, standing out in the crowd); remarkable; having a special task or responsibility.” When we break down the word, we get EXTRA-ordinary.

II Corinthians 5:17 (King James Version):

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

People of God, when Jesus came into your lives to save you, He made you brand new! Therefore, what you thought you couldn’t do before, through Him now you can! Matthew 19:26 and Luke 1:37 state that with God all things are possible. The key is GOD!! We must keep GOD number one! He’s the one who empowers us to be extraordinary.

WHAT DOES EXTRAORDINARY LOOK LIKE?
Let me tell you about an extraordinary woman I know. This woman happens to be my longtime friend and sister in Christ. I’ve changed her name to protect her identity.

Victoria grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. After graduating from high school, she went to college where she ran track and majored in Exercise Science. While in college, she became a lifetime member of the sisterhood of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. The sorority was founded in 1920 by a group of African-American women. After graduating from college, Victoria decided to enlist in the army where she served this country for six years. She later returned to Cincinnati where she got a job working with heart patients who were going through rehabilitation. Soon after that, she purchased her own home and went back to school for her masters degree.

When I first met Victoria, I can remember admiring her drive and determination to strive for the best! Although she wasn’t surrounded by many college graduates in her family, she didn’t let that stop her from pursuing her dream of earning a college degree. In fact, her story of success doesn’t stop there! Just a few years ago, Victoria decided to enroll in college for a third time. However, it wasn’t to earn her Ph.D. Instead, Victoria decided to think outside the box, step out on faith and pursue her desire of becoming an actress. Yes, an actress! She auditioned for the school she wanted to attend, was accepted into the program, and four years later, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Dramatic Performance. Today, Victoria is living in New York. A dream come true!

When people first discovered that Victoria had decided to become a full-time drama student, I can just imagine some of the conversations:

“Did you hear about Victoria?”

“No. What happened?”

“She decided to go back to college to become an ACTRESS!”

“An ACTRESS?!!! Girl, you’re kidding!!”

“No, I’m not! She told me herself!”

“But, isn’t she in her 30s? She’s a little old for that!”

“You mean her LATE 30s!!! Yeah, she’s too old! I don’t know what she’s thinking! She has a good job already! Owns her own home!”

“Shoot! I know some women who would give anything to have her life!”

“THANK YOU! She needs to let go of that pipe dream and just be happy with what she’s got!”

Oh yes, I can just imagine!

Nevertheless, one thing I know about Victoria is that she has never been a person to live in fear. She’s never been one to allow others to dictate how she’s going to live her life. I believe at an early age she recognized that God had made her extraordinary. So despite the naysayers, Victoria decided to listen to the voice of God and trust He would continue taking care of her. And that He did! While she was a full-time drama student, God provided her with everything she needed. She was able to pay her tuition, her bills and her mortgage!

ARE YOU PASSIONATE OR PRACTICAL?
What are you passionate about? Are you pursuing your dreams or are you settling for what is easy and practical? Do you have those questions of “WHAT IF?” swarming around in your head? Do you want to look back over your life one day and wish you had taken a chance, stepped out on faith and pursued your passion? I know I don’t! I’ve had enough regrets from allowing fear to stifle me, which is why I’m now writing blog posts, books, and plays and sharing inspirational messages on my own radio broadcast.

I can truly say I am most happy when I’m doing what I love! How about you? Oh yeah, you too? Do you know why? It’s simply because God put those passions in our hearts. God made you and me extraordinary. So, I encourage you, like Victoria, to step out on faith and pursue your dreams! Don’t believe the notion that you’re too old. God’s not saying that! Why do you think He’s still nudging you to go back to school, to write a book, to write songs, to start your business, to start your own clothing line, etc.? Even if you are older, do you not believe that God can make up the time you may have lost? Oh yes He can! He’s GOD!!!

There are people out there who need you! Yes, YOU! They need to hear YOUR testimony! They need to hear YOUR music! God has a people waiting for YOU who will gladly support YOUR business and buy YOUR products. Like Victoria, you just have to trust God to order your footsteps, to bring the right people your way, and to provide you with what you need. Remember this, an extraordinary person settling for an ordinary life will never be fully content!

THE PRAYER OF SALVATION
If you haven’t accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you can do so right now. I then encourage you to find a good Bible-believing church that will help you grow in your relationship with the Lord.

Romans 10:9 (NIV) says, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Please pray the following prayer:

Dear Jesus, I come to You confessing I am a sinner in need of a Savior. I believe You shed Your blood on the cross and died for my sins, were buried and rose again so I could be free! Please forgive me for my sins and the life I have lived. I confess You Jesus as Lord and accept You as my own personal Savior. According to the Word of God, I am now saved! Hallelujah! I AM FREE!

WELCOME TO THE FAMILY OF GOD!!!!!

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Words of Death or Life…..What Will YOU Speak?

(THE KIMBERLY JOY SHOW: Teaching Our Youth to Speak Life)

WHAT ARE WORDS OF DEATH?
The longer I live, the more I realize just how important and powerful words are. I personally believe we can accomplish more and see greater things, like healings and miracles, when we learn how to cast down words of death and embrace words of life. What are “words of death”?
The following are a few examples:

“You’re ugly!”

“You’re stupid!”

“You’re worthless!”

“You’re pathetic!”

“Nobody wants you!”

“I hate you!”

“You can die for all I care!”

Some pretty harsh words, aren’t they?! I’m reminded of one of my favorite movies The Color Purple.

The movie, which includes legendary actors Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover and Oprah Winfrey, is deemed a classic. I believe it’s a classic because many people connect with the storyline. In the movie, the main character Celie is a woman who endures abuse most of her life, especially from the men who are supposed to love and take care of her. She’s not just beaten down by her husband’s fist, but by the words of death or hate that spew from his lips. Consequently, she doesn’t love herself. She walks around with her head hanging low, ashamed of who she is.

One of the more popular lines from the movie, a line viewers often find funny, is in actuality a very hurtful statement. When Celie first meets blues singer Shug Avery, a woman she happens to admire very much, Shug looks her straight in her eyes and calls her ugly. Now, one would think Celie wouldn’t want anything to do with Shug after that insult. However, she doesn’t seem offended. Why not? She’s accustomed to being verbally abused.

Have you been the target of hateful words or words of death? Maybe your experiences haven’t been as bad as Celie’s, but the words spoken to you still hurt. Pain is still pain! I get it! As a matter of fact, it took me years to get over some things that were said to me. Why? I allowed certain statements, even if they weren’t true, to take root in my heart.

WHAT ARE SOME SOLUTIONS?
Fortunately, I learned how to pray and take my concerns to God. I also became a student of the Bible. I adopted scriptures which ministered to my specific needs, memorized them and spoke them aloud so I could hear them and start to believe. In due time, those same hurtful words were uprooted, and I am now free!

Now that I’m free, it’s my desire and prayer to encourage others, particularly young ladies. After all, I know what it’s like to be a young lady who doesn’t truly love herself.

Personally speaking, I believe we, who make up the body of Christ, need to really encourage our young people and teach them the importance of words.

HOW CAN WORDS OF DEATH AFFECT AN INDIVIDUAL?
Words of death or hate are designed to kill a person mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Such words can also physically kill a person. For instance, an individual can feel so low and depressed because of words which have been spoken to him or her, that he or she doesn’t want to live anymore. If they could, they would just go to sleep and never wake up again. That’s scary! But it’s reality! Words are just that powerful!

Let’s consider our youth. We’re hearing more news reports of children and teenagers taking their own lives. Young people, who have their whole lives ahead of them, would rather die! Some people believe that today’s youth aren’t as tough as they were once upon a time. However, we must consider that we older adults weren’t exposed to nearly as much as they are now. For example, back in the day, if a child was bullied, it was typically at school or on the playground. Unfortunately, now there’s cyberbullying (bullying via the internet). Basically, a person can be humiliated and threatened on social media. “WWW” stands for “world wide web” because information can be spread all over the world. So, a child or teenager, who is very vulnerable, can feel like the ENTIRE WORLD is against him or her simply because of WORDS.

HOW CAN WE HELP OUR YOUTH?
Whatever role you play in a young person’s life, whether you’re a parent, guardian, aunt, uncle, grandparent, older sibling, teacher, coach, mentor, youth pastor, pastor, etc., I believe it’s important to teach our young people that words are indeed powerful and should, therefore, be used wisely. We need to teach them the importance of focusing on the positive instead of the negative. We must teach them how to cast down the words of death that may have been spoken to them, and embrace words of life, which can be found in God’s Word. Such guidance will enable them to see themselves through GOD’s eyes. The following are a few scriptures which can be memorized and recited daily for personal motivation:

Joshua 1:9 (New Living Translation), “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord, your God is with you wherever you go.”

Psalms 139:14 (New International Version), “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made…..”

Philippians 4:13 (New King James Version), “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

As men and women of God, we have been given authority to speak life. We should therefore speak life over our children every day. We can declare what will and will not happen to them. For example, around this time last year, my brother and his wife were given some bad news regarding their two sons. One was said to have an enlarged heart, while the other was said to have a rare, bone disease. When I got the news, the auntie in me wanted to fall on the floor, cry and beg God to heal my nephews. However, before I could shed one tear, the Holy Spirit stopped me! He said, “Don’t cry and have a pity party, but stand and declare their healing!” I heeded His Words, and our parents did the same. As a result, a week later, the doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with either one of my nephews!

Hallelujah! Glory be to GOD!!!

I encourage you, as a son or daughter of God, to speak life in every situation. Don’t allow what you see or hear or the current circumstances in your life to intimidate you. Realize and understand that YOUR words have POWER!

THE PRAYER OF SALVATION
If you haven’t accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you can do so right now. I then encourage you to find a good Bible-believing church that will help you grow in your relationship with the Lord.

Romans 10:9 (NIV) says, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Please pray the following prayer:

Dear Jesus, I come to You confessing I am a sinner in need of a Savior. I believe You shed Your blood on the cross and died for my sins, were buried and rose again so I could be free! Please forgive me for my sins and the life I have lived. I confess You Jesus as Lord and accept You as my own personal Savior. According to the Word of God, I am now saved! Hallelujah! I AM FREE!

WELCOME TO THE FAMILY OF GOD!!!!!

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Reaping the Consequences of What You Speak

HOW MIGHT YOU REAP THE CONSEQUENCES OF WHAT YOU SPEAK?
As I shared in my previous article “A Flame of Fire: The Power of Words,” God designed words to carry power or authority. When we read the first chapter of Genesis, we see that God spoke things into existence. He then gave Adam authority to speak when He instructed him to name all the animals. Therefore, just like Adam was given authority to speak, we too have been given authority. Proverbs 18:21 (New Living Translation) says:

“The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.”

Wow! That’s a strong statement. We reap the consequences of what we speak! For instance, people either achieve greatness or fail to ever achieve because of words. Some children excel in school, and then later flunk out of high school because of words. Many choose to live their lives to the fullest, while some see suicide as their only option because of WORDS!

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” is a quote I heard often as a child and even quoted myself. Although I understand the message the originator was trying to convey, simply reciting what seemed to be a catchy phrase didn’t stop the pain certain words caused me.

I wrote an article last year for my blog entitled “Why Can’t I Be Beautiful?” In the article I discuss how certain words caused me to feel ugly as a teenager. The boy who called me ugly didn’t throw sticks and stones to break my bones or put his hands on me at all. I remained physically intact, but mentally and emotionally I was a mess! I was humiliated and felt alone because no one sitting with us in the school cafeteria on that particular day came to my aid. Even though nobody laughed at his hurtful comments, they didn’t try to defend me either. So, I assumed they agreed with everything he said, which only made me feel worse. Although that was the only time he ever insulted me, his words stayed with me for years to come.

HOW CAN YOU MOVE PAST HURTFUL WORDS?
That young man’s words were powerful enough to knock me down, but his words couldn’t destroy me! Why not? I have family and friends who have always loved and encouraged me. Most importantly, I have a relationship with God, and my Heavenly Father loves me with an everlasting love! While I was still in high school, God began directing me to His Word and teaching me how to cast down the words of hate and embrace His words of love! So, I now know that God’s Word and the words of life I choose to speak can overpower and annihilate all lies of the enemy!

As a matter of fact, God wants us to speak His Word in every area of our lives and in every situation. God’s Word gives us life, hope, encouragement, instruction, guidance, and so much more.
Do you realize that you believe what you speak and you live what you believe? If I believe I am a failure then I’m going to talk like a failure and throughout my life I will continue to fail. On the other hand, if I believe I am a success, then I will speak like a person who is successful and will encounter successes along the way. However, it doesn’t mean everything will always go well. Facing disappointments from time to time is part of the human experience. Nevertheless, how and how soon we move past the disappointments are contingent on the words we speak. In the midst of trouble, heartache, and pain, we should still speak God’s Word! We should still speak words of life!

WHAT IS THE BEST USE OF OUR WORDS?
As children of God, not only should we be mindful of how we speak concerning ourselves, we must be mindful of how we speak concerning others. In my article “A Flame of Fire: The Power of Words,” I mentioned how a number of Christians were insulting a particular pastor all over social media because they didn’t agree with how he handled the hurricane situation in Houston. Personally speaking, I don’t believe God was pleased with what was being said about this gentleman. James 3:9-10 (NLT) say:

“9 Sometimes [the tongue] praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes [the tongue] curses those who have been made in the image of God.

10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!”

Whether you and I agree with a particular individual, we must remember that he or she is still God’s child. Even if we’re complaining and criticizing about something that is true, God STILL holds us accountable for our words. If we don’t like what we see or hear, what is the best use of our words? Yep, that’s right…..PRAYER!
Otherwise, we’re only adding fuel to the fire, and God is not getting the glory. Consider the children of Israel in the book of Exodus. As Moses was leading them to the promised land of Canaan, they often complained because things weren’t going their way. As a result of their complaining and disobedience, it took them forty years to reach their destination. Their choice of words delayed the promise!

So, beginning today, I encourage you to really think before you speak. You don’t want YOUR choice of words to delay God’s promises for YOUR life!

THE PRAYER OF SALVATION
If you haven’t accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you can do so right now. I then encourage you to find a good Bible-believing church that will help you grow in your relationship with the Lord.

Romans 10:9 (NIV) says, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Please pray the following prayer:

Dear Jesus, I come to You confessing I am a sinner in need of a Savior. I believe You shed Your blood on the cross and died for my sins, were buried and rose again so I could be free! Please forgive me for my sins and the life I have lived. I confess You Jesus as Lord and accept You as my own personal Savior. According to the Word of God, I am now saved! Hallelujah! I AM FREE!

WELCOME TO THE FAMILY OF GOD!!!!!

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Experience Rest in God

(The Kimberly Joy Show: God Says, “Rest in Me and Enjoy Your Life”)

HOW DO WE EXPERIENCE REST IN GOD?
In order to rest in God, we have to have total faith in Him. When we choose to believe God above everything and everyone else, we experience rest. Philippians 4:7 says we experience a peace that is beyond human comprehension. It’s something that can’t be explained. For example, you may be going through something really difficult, yet you appear to be very calm. As a result, those around you, who don’t know about resting in God, think something is seriously wrong with you! Due to your current situation, they expect you to be upset, angry or depressed. Because you’re not, they assume you’re in denial about your situation. But, you’re not in denial! You’ve just chosen to put all your faith in God!

Personally speaking, I know resting in God is not always easy. Just because I have been saved and filled with the Holy Spirit doesn’t mean I will automatically handle every situation, good or bad, as God would expect. I have to work at it every day! Why? I’m still in this flesh. I’m not perfect. However, I do serve a perfect God, and I have to make a decision to pursue the perfect God every day!

God has provided us with His Word to show us what to do, how to behave, how to think and what to avoid. God doesn’t just TELL us to rest in Him, but He shows us how. Throughout the Bible are examples we can emulate. In my article “Resting in God,” I shared the story of Paul and Silas when they were in jail (Acts 16). While they were in jail, they worshipped God! They could have gotten mad or been depressed. Perhaps they were experiencing some of those emotions. However, instead of yielding to those negative emotions, they pursued God’s peace. They chose to still believe God. Consequently, they were set free from jail because of their faith. James 2:26 (King James Version) says:

“…..faith without works is dead…..”

Paul and Silas didn’t just claim to have faith in God, but they proved it by praying instead of complaining and by singing praises to God instead of worrying or crying. They did this all while locked in chains behind a prison wall.

Another individual from the Bible, who demonstrated how to rest in God, was King David. Anyone who is familiar with David’s story knows he made some serious mistakes during his life. Nevertheless, even when he fell down, he found rest in God through his repentance. In Psalms 51:10-12 (KJV), David prayed to God:

“10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

11 Cast me not away from Thy presence; and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and uphold me with Thy free Spirit.”

King David prayed this particular prayer after God sent the prophet Nathan to confront him about a sinful act he had tried to cover up
(II Samuel 12). Although God could have easily struck David down for his wickedness, He chose not to. Instead, He extended His love, mercy, and grace to David. Recognizing that God was giving him another chance, David repented—–he SINCERELY repented.

WHO IS CONDEMNING YOU?
Like David, you may have done something you’re not proud of or once lived a life you wish you could forget. Even though you have asked God to forgive you, you still feel guilty. Why do you feel guilty? Is God condemning you? NO!!! The eighth chapter of Romans lets us know that those of us who belong to Christ Jesus are no longer condemned. We have been set free!

So, if you still feel guilty, even after you have sincerely repented, perhaps it’s because those around you like to remind you of your past or because you haven’t forgiven yourself.

Either way, Satan is behind it! But, he’s a LIAR! God doesn’t want you holding onto that guilt. He wants you to let it go and rest in Him. Trust in His power of forgiveness and salvation.

While you may have to suffer some consequences for your past wrongdoing, it still doesn’t mean God hasn’t forgiven you and changed you on the inside. For instance, if you have sex with someone to whom you’re not married, you may wind up with an unwanted pregnancy or with an STD. If that’s the case, it’s not a sign that God hasn’t forgiven you. It’s a sign that you’re reaping what you sowed. However, as you move forward in God and strive to live holy, He can bless that baby in a special way or completely heal your body.

Recently, a young lady contacted me requesting prayer. She admitted to doing something she knew was wrong and was feeling bad about it. I assured her I would pray for her. I then encouraged her to not beat herself up and reminded her of God’s love and forgiveness. I also explained to her that her feeling of guilt was a good sign. Why? It proves she has a conscience and that she is still God’s daughter. Finally, I encouraged her to avoid going down that road again.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE CONTENT?
I’ve shared before that you can find rest in God through worship, prayer, and obedience. You can also find rest in God by simply enjoying your life. Bible teacher and author Joyce Meyer says, “Learn how to enjoy where you are on the way to where you’re going.” In other words, smile often and laugh as much as possible. Just enjoy the stage at which you are in your life. You may not be where you want to be or have certain things you would like right now. Nonetheless, that’s no reason to be down in the dumps. Trust me, someone somewhere wishes he or she had YOUR life. Paul says in Philippians 4:11:

“…I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.”

To be content with where you currently are in life doesn’t mean you shouldn’t desire more because God has more for you. It just means your desires shouldn’t cause you anxiety and stress. Your desires shouldn’t be more important than you being grateful and giving God the glory. God doesn’t want to hear our murmuring and complaining. Rather, He wants to hear our praise and see our smiling faces. He wants us to extend a helping hand to someone in need. When we focus on the Lord and do what pleases Him, Psalms 37:4 says He is guaranteed to give us what we desire.

Resting in God takes away the pressure Satan and the world try to place on us. When we give everything to God, He gives us His peace, and then things can be done His way….the RIGHT way. So, make it a point every day to rest in God and gratefully enjoy this life He has so graciously given you!

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What Is God Saying To Us?

(The Kimberly Joy Show: Rest in God…Obey)

WHAT IS GOD SAYING TO US?
God is saying to us His children, believers in Christ, to rest in Him. What does it mean to rest in God? To rest in God means to have total faith in Him no matter what! No matter what you hear, see, or feel, believe God!

When you sit in a chair, on a couch, or in the seat of a car, do you first check to make sure it will hold you? Perhaps you do if the chair looks weak. However, in most instances, do you check before taking a seat? Personally speaking, I don’t. I just sit down!

Why? I trust that particular seat is going to hold me. I have no worries it may possibly collapse. And guess what? When I sit down, it holds me up!

Although God is by no means a piece of furniture, we should regard Him in the same manner. If you or I have faith that a chair, couch, stool, or bed will hold us up when we rest on it, we have to have faith that God will hold us up when we choose to rest in Him.

Even if God doesn’t move right away, we have to remain steadfast in Him. God doesn’t always move the way we want, when we want, or how we want. Better yet, most times God doesn’t do things the way we expect. Nevertheless, when God does move, it’s always exactly what we need and when we need it. Therefore, it’s in our best interest to rest in Him.

ARE YOU CONTROLLING?
I know resting in God is not always easy because it means relinquishing control. We don’t want to give up control, do we? We want to always know what’s going on.

We want to know what’s going to happen before it happens. We want to know how God is going to move, how He’s going to bless us. But, it doesn’t work that way! Romans 1:17 (King James Version) says:

“…..The just (the righteous or those who are in right standing with God) shall live by faith.”

Living by faith in God is expected. It’s a must! And it can be done, even if you’re used to worrying and taking matters into your own hands. You can learn a new way of living!

As I shared in a recent article, you can find rest in God by worshipping Him. When you worship God you’re letting Him know that you love and trust Him. To worship God is to welcome His presence into your atmosphere. To worship God is to allow Him to have His way in your situation.

You can also find rest in God through prayer. To pray is to make your petitions (needs and desires) known to God. How often do you pray? Is God always the first one you consult with your concerns? I Thessalonians 5:17 says we are to pray without ceasing. In other words, we are to have prayerful attitudes and keep God number one!

HOW DO WE CAUSE OURSELVES GREATER HEARTACHE?
A third way to find rest in God is by simply obeying Him. To trust God is to obey God, and to obey God is to trust God. I find that we as human beings cause ourselves greater heartache when we choose our way over God’s way. Why do we sometimes choose our way? In that moment or situation, we think we know what’s best. We are fooled into believing we know better than God, the Creator, the one who is omnipresent and all-knowing. It sounds absurd when we think about it, doesn’t it? I’m not referring to the moments when we don’t know any better, but the moments when we do know better and still choose to do what we want.

The Bible or the Word of God is our instruction manual for living.

Unfortunately, many fail to follow it. II Timothy 3:16-17 (New Living Translation) say:

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.”

If we trust and obey God, we will have rest. For example, while attending grad school, I learned I had to have surgery. This was a serious dilemma because the spring quarter had just begun, and I was taking my final class: Statistics. As a matter of fact, it was my second time taking the class. I had dropped it the previous quarter because I had a difficult time following the professor. Since I still had time to withdraw from the class without being penalized, the logical choice was to withdraw and reschedule the next quarter.

Even though withdrawing from the class seemed like a good idea, it wasn’t an easy decision to make because it meant postponing graduation. So, the night before the withdrawal deadline I asked God to tell me what to do. I had made up my mind to withdraw, but just in case it wasn’t necessary to do so, I needed to hear from the One Who knows all. As I slept that night, God clearly spoke to me. He said, “Stay in the class. There will be people who will help you.” When I got up the next morning, I had an overwhelming peace about the situation. I did exactly what God said and stayed in the class.

Fortunately, my professor and several of my classmates (people who didn’t really know me) were more than willing to help me during my recovery. On top of that, the professor decided to make the midterm and final exams both take home, which would allow me to use my book, my notes and get help from my classmates. God came through for me! As I look back on that situation, I realize that if I had chosen to follow my own mind, instead of obeying the voice of God, it would have taken me even longer to receive my Masters degree. Hence, that would have made me sad and caused me unnecessary stress.

Whatever you may be going through right now, I encourage you to give it to God! Worrying and trying to do it your way will not do you or your family any good. Do you realize that worrying and being stressed can send you to an early grave? It may be a hard pill to swallow, but it’s the truth! Needless to say, that doesn’t have to be your story! Everything you need is in the One who created you. So, make the decision today to REST IN GOD!

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Rest in God

(The Kimberly Joy Show: Rest in God…Pray)

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE DON’T REST IN GOD?
In the previous article, I discussed the importance of “Resting in God”. God expects us to rest in Him. He expects us to depend on Him, to trust in Him, and to give Him all our concerns. When we don’t rest in God, we open ourselves up to stress and anxiety, which can cause us to become ill. We may also find ourselves making choices that are outside His will.

I know firsthand that when I don’t rest in God, I only make the situation worse, and I wind up regretting it. Then I have to, in a sense, start all over and do it right the next time around. Like a child who is in school, I can’t move to the next grade or to the next level until I pass the test, until I learn everything I’m supposed to learn…..until I do it GOD’s way! Doing it God’s way is having faith in Him! That’s all resting in God is….having complete faith in God! Hebrews 11:6 (King James Version) says:

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him [God]: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is [God], and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”

Having faith in God is what pleases Him. If we have total faith in God, then we’re going to live our lives submitted to Him. If we lack faith in God in any areas of our lives, then we’re not going to submit to God in those areas. For example, perhaps you are a smoker, and God has instructed you to give up smoking. You KNOW God spoke to you. Even though you crave cigarettes, God is telling you to stop smoking.

However, you haven’t stopped smoking because you have more faith in how you FEEL, than you do in the POWER of God. God didn’t say it was going to be easy. He just said to have faith in Him and quit!

Now, by using smoking as an example, I am in no way saying that smoking cigarettes is going to send you to hell. Nevertheless, if we say we trust God with our lives, then we have to really trust Him and stop using unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with every day life circumstances. Smoking, alcohol, overeating, or sex outside of marriage are common examples of what people use to COPE with life. But, we’re not supposed to COPE. We’re supposed to REST or have FAITH in God!

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE DO REST IN GOD?
When we rest or have faith in God, as Hebrews 11:6 says, God will reward us. In other words, God will bless us. He will give us what we need and desire, as long as it’s in His will. So, if you’re struggling in a particular area in your life, you have to have faith in God. Understand that faith is not about how you feel, but faith is about what you KNOW! You have to know that God is your deliverer, your healer, your provider, your protector, your keeper! You have to KNOW that God has your back and will always take care of you. When you truly KNOW, then you won’t be led astray by your emotions, by ungodly thoughts that try to enter your mind, or by the suggestions of others. You will rest in God and wait for Him to move on your behalf.

As I shared in the previous article, I am still learning how to CONSISTENTLY rest in God. It’s a decision I have to make on a daily basis. One way in which I find rest in God is by taking time to worship Him.

Did you realize that God loves it when we worship Him? Don’t you too appreciate receiving genuine love from others? When someone sincerely loves me, I’m motivated to return the love. Likewise, when we choose to love on God by worshiping Him, despite what may or may not be going on in our lives, He is motivated to shower us with more of His love and blessings! Yes, God loves us, but there’s more He has for us. He willingly gives us more when He sees our faith in Him.

BESIDES WORSHIP, IS THERE ANOTHER WAY TO FIND REST IN GOD?
Another way in which I find rest in God is through prayer. According to Philippians 4:6, God doesn’t want us to worry about anything, but to pray about everything. No problem is too big for God! Therefore, when we pray we must trust that God hears us and will answer our prayers. If we trust that God honors His children’s prayers, anxiety should not be present. Prayer and worry do NOT go hand in hand. James 1:6-7 (New International Version) say:

“But when you ask [God], you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.”

Does God want us to enjoy our lives? Does He want us to relax, take vacations, and enjoy time with our families? I believe He does! In fact, a couple of years ago, our family had a reunion in Florida. Although I really wanted to go, I knew my money was tight at the time. I kept telling family members I was going, but in the back of my mind I knew I didn’t really have the money. However, instead of making the decision to not go, I prayed about it. Once I prayed about it, I didn’t stress and worry. I didn’t concern myself with HOW I was going to get to Florida. I just asked God to help me and then left it up to Him.

I’m happy to say that God answered my prayer, and in a way I would have never imagined! One night during a revival at our church, one of the local bishops came to the service. Although he didn’t preach that night, our pastor allowed him to minister to a few of us. This same bishop informed me that God had instructed him to sow money into me! As a matter of fact, he said the purpose of the money was for me to go on vacation!

GOD ANSWERED MY PRAYER! No one knew what I had asked God for, except God Himself! God used this man of God to bless me so I could travel to Florida!

And not only that, but my brother invited me to spend time with his family in Georgia following the Florida trip. I didn’t have to pay to get to Georgia or to get back home to Cincinnati. So, God gave me even more than what I originally asked for. Why did God do that for me? He did it because He loves me and because I chose to REST in Him.

In spite of any difficulties you’re facing at the present time, I encourage you to REST in God and give the situations to Him. How is worrying and stressing about it helping you? It’s not, is it? Like award-winning Gospel artists Anthony Brown and Group Therapy sing, God did not create you to worry. God did not create you to fear. But God created you to worship Him daily. So, give it all to God! The Creator always knows what’s best!

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Resting in God

(The Kimberly Joy Show: God Says, “Rest in Me”)

ARE YOU RESTING IN GOD?
“Rest in Me,” are the words I hear God speak, especially during the moments when my mind is racing and I’m feeling anxious.

Although Philippians 4:6 tells us not to “worry about anything…”, I still sometimes find myself worrying, not about everything, but about the things my human mind can’t figure out. If I can’t see how or when a situation is going to be resolved, I become uneasy. The uneasiness is a result of knowing that I’m not in complete control. However, I have to remember that to have faith in GOD is to allow GOD to be in complete control!

I’ll be the first to acknowledge that resting in God is not always easy. In fact, it can be downright difficult! I believe that many of us, if not all of us, like to feel in control. We want to be in complete control of our jobs, money, love lives, children, the people surrounding us, etc. Nevertheless, it doesn’t work that way. If I try to control every circumstance and person in my life, then I’m taking on more than God has designed for me to handle. In essence, I’m trying to do God’s job! Have you ever heard the phrase “He’ll never put more on you than you can bear?” This statement is derived from I Corinthians 10:13 (New Living Translation) which says:

“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure.”

WHAT IS A TEMPTATION?
The word temptation is typically defined as “a strong urge or desire to do something, especially something wrong or unwise.” However, according to the Bible, a temptation is also “a trial or test”.

For instance, in Genesis 22, God tempted or tested Abraham when He instructed Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. God wasn’t trying to persuade Abraham to do something wrong. Rather, God put Abraham through this particular test to prove Abraham’s faith. Then later in Genesis 22:13, God provided a ram as the real sacrifice.

James 1:2-3 (NLT) say:

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.”

Verse 12 of the same chapter also says:

“God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.”

So again, although God takes us through tests from time to time, the tests are never designed to overwhelm or destroy us. Instead, they are designed to make us better, stronger and wiser!

WHAT DOES RESTING IN GOD LOOK LIKE?
During any test, as Proverbs 3:5 states, we are to depend TOTALLY on God. Therefore, if I find myself becoming overwhelmed and stressed out, it is simply because I haven’t placed it all in God’s hands. I can’t blame anyone but me!

To rest is “to be free from anxiety or disturbance” or “to remain confident”. Therefore, when we rest in God, our minds are at peace because we know that God has our situations under control. As I mentioned before, resting in God is not always easy. I’ll admit that I am STILL learning how to consistently rest in Him. Nevertheless, it can be done, if we put it into practice.

One way in which you can rest in God is through worship. Yes, WORSHIP! You can find rest in God as you worship Him. So, find time to worship God. Yes, even during the hustle and bustle of the day, find a place to be alone where you can worship God.

If you have to go to the bathroom or to your car, find a place to be alone. Believe it or not, I have had some awesome worship experiences in my bathroom and in my car. As a teacher, I would close and lock my classroom door in order to get a few moments alone with God. And trust me when I say that it doesn’t take long for God to meet you right where you are! He knows how much time you may have at that particular moment and He appreciates you sacrificing that time for Him.

HOW CAN WORSHIP BRING YOU INTO A PLACE OF REST?
When my mind is bombarded with so many thoughts and I find myself becoming emotional, worship CALMS me. As I sing or listen to one of my favorite worship songs and just meditate on the goodness of God, I am reminded that He is my everything. In that moment, He becomes priority, while everything and everyone else take a backseat. Then His love, peace and joy fill my heart. I am then no longer bothered by my present circumstance because in the midst of worship, God reassures me that He has my back! In that moment, God may even reveal some things to me and give me the answers I’ve been seeking in prayer.

These worship experiences bring to mind one of my favorite stories in the Bible involving the apostle Paul. In this particular story, Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown in jail simply for preaching about Jesus. Being beaten, chained and locked up would be terrifying for anyone. I honestly can’t imagine how I would respond in such a situation. However, these two men of God, in the midst of suffering, in the midst of pain from the beatings, decided to glorify God!

Acts 16:25-34 (NLT):

“25 Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. 26 Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! 27 The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. 28 But Paul shouted to him, ‘Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!’

29 The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and asked, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’

31 They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.’ 32 And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household. 33 Even at that hour of the night, the jailer cared for them and washed their wounds. Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized. 34 He brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and he and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God.

35 The next morning the city officials sent the police to tell the jailer, ‘Let those men go!’ 36 So the jailer told Paul, ‘The city officials have said you and Silas are free to leave. Go in peace.’”

Wow! Their worship set them FREE!

Just like Paul and Silas were set free from physical chains, worshipping God can set you free from the thoughts that try to chain your mind. So, please be encouraged to LET GO…..WORSHIP…..and LET GOD!!!!!

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Life Has Its Rewards When We Draw Nigh to God

(“The Kimberly Joy Show: Rewards of Drawing Nigh to God”)

Life has its rewards when we draw nigh to God. So, it is in our best interests to surrender to the Creator, the one in control. After all, He has EVERYTHING we need! Unfortunately, as human beings, sometimes we forget that and behave as if we can do everything on our own. However, we cannot! Contrary to what some people believe, we can’t do anything without God because, again, He is our Creator. Acts 17:28 says:

“…In Him [God] we live, and move, and have our being…”

We breathe because of God. Our hearts beat because of God. We wake up every morning because of God. Therefore, we need God!

So many rewards are gained from drawing nigh to God. For one, we gain salvation and eternal life. Initially, we come close to God by accepting His Son Jesus as Lord and Savior. Jesus says in John 14:6:

“…I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.”

Now, you may ask, “Why do I have to go through Jesus to get to God?” The answer is very simple. God set it up that way! According to Genesis 3, when Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, life became difficult for them. Their rebellion brought sin and death into the world. God had created them to live forever, to never experience pain, illness or death. Nevertheless, their decision changed all that. They would eventually grow old, weak and die. Moreover, EVERY person coming after them (including you and me) would experience the same thing.

Adam and Eve’s rebellion also caused a rift in their relationship with God. They became spiritually dead and were no longer connected to God. Therefore, because of the sin, death, and disconnection, God sent His Son Jesus to earth to serve as a Mediator. What is a mediator, you ask? A mediator is “a person who intervenes between two individuals who are not in agreement.” Sin causes us NOT to be in agreement with God. However, when we receive Jesus as Lord and Savior of our lives, He acts as our Mediator and reconciles us back to God. In other words, Jesus reunites us with God. 1 Timothy 2:5 says:

“For there is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus.”

Once we are reunited with God, God no longer sees us as sinners, but as His righteous children who will one day live with Him forever. II Corinthians 5:21 says:

“For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.”

Another reward we gain when we draw nigh to God is peace. Romans 5:1 says:

“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.”

How would you define peace? Some definitions include “freedom from disturbance; quiet; tranquility, calm, restfulness.” In the biblical sense, peace means “to be complete” or “to be sound.” II Timothy 1:7 says:

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

When we are made right with God through Jesus, we are complete. As our pastor Apostle Banks always says, “Nothing missing, nothing broken!” Everything we need is in God. So, we don’t have to fear anything or anyone. We don’t have to fear what will happen tomorrow because God is our Father, and He is ALWAYS with us.

I’ll give you an example:

About three months ago, I was heading home around 6:30 in the evening. As I was driving, my car started acting strangely and eventually just shut completely off! EVERYTHING shut off! I couldn’t even get the key out of the ignition! Naturally, because I was feeling helpless and scared, I could feel myself tearing up.

A couple of minutes later, a few people stopped to try to help me, but they couldn’t. Then a few minutes after that, an older gentleman stopped to help. Fortunately, the man turned out to be a mechanic. Within twenty minutes, he had my car running well enough for me to get home. Not only did he turn out to be a mechanic, but he also happens to live near me. So, he offered to follow me home just in case I had any more problems. Once we got my car home, he then offered to repair my car, and two days later I was back in business!

Through that particular experience, God reassured me that He has my back! No matter what situation I am in, I don’t have to fear. I only need to have faith in God because He makes my life complete. In other words, God gives me PEACE! In fact, even as my car was shutting down right before my very eyes, God was whispering in my ear, “Trust Me!”

In addition, when we draw nigh to God we receive healing. We can be healed physically, emotionally, and mentally. However, I want to focus on physical healing. I find that sometimes as believers we don’t believe that we can be healed in our bodies. But, we CAN be healed if we just ask God and believe Him. Throughout the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), we read about how Jesus healed so many people. As believers, we are to follow His example. We can receive healing for ourselves and for others. In Matthew 10:1, Jesus called his twelve disciples together and gave them power to cast out evil spirits and to heal every kind of disease and illness. When we as believers draw nigh to God, He gives us the same power!

In our church Power and Faith Ministries, many people have been healed from cancer and other diseases. In fact, a gentleman in our church was healed from a brain tumor approximately ten years ago. The doctors had done everything they could do, and told his wife to call the family in to say their final goodbyes. However, she wasn’t willing to give up that easily. So, we continued to pray and stand on the Word of God. As a result, her husband was healed and he is STILL walking in his healing today!!!

While I was an English teacher at Dater High School, I witnessed God heal two of my students. One was healed from cancer and the other from near-blindness. When they each first told me about their illnesses, I called on other prayer warriors to join me in praying for their healing. I even went to see my student who had cancer, while he was in the hospital. Soon after we prayed, God healed both of them. I now communicate with them from time to time via social media, and I am happy to say that they are STILL doing well!

As believers in Christ Jesus, when we draw nigh to God, He shows us that we don’t have to accept what the doctors say or what our bodies tell us. We can receive total healing if we just believe!

So many other rewards can be attained when we draw nigh to God. Personally speaking, as I draw closer to God I receive more and more from Him, not just material blessings, but spiritual blessings. I hear His voice more clearly and He continues to use me for His glory. And, at the end of the day, that is what is most important. So, I encourage YOU to keep drawing nigh to God and trust that, as Psalms 84:11 states, there is no good thing He will withhold from you!

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It’s Not Always Easy…But It’s Necessary

(“The Kimberly Joy Show: Drawing Nigh to God is Not Always Easy”)

It’s not always easy to draw nigh to God, but it’s necessary. God loves you so much! He has numerous blessings in store for you. He has blessings for you that you probably can’t even fathom, that you may think you don’t deserve. God wants to use you in ways you can’t imagine. Jeremiah 29:11 says:

“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.”

However, in order to receive everything God has for you, and to fulfill the purpose for which you were born, you must draw nigh to God.

As I discussed in my previous blog post “I Choose to Draw Closer to God,” drawing nigh to God is a CHOICE. James 4:8a says:

“Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you…..”

In other words, you and I have to make the first move. God may use His servants to minister to you. God may use people to preach to you, teach you, pray for you, and encourage you. He may even speak to you one-on-one like He did the apostle Paul while he was traveling to the city of Damascus (Acts 9). However, He won’t force you to serve Him. God will extend the invitation, but you must have a WILLING heart to submit.

Once you WILLINGLY submit to God, He then takes you in His hands like a potter. A potter is an individual who creates various objects from clay, like bowls, pots and vases. Jeremiah 18:1-4 say:

“This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you My message.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4 But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.”

Just like a potter, when you WHOLEHEARTEDLY draw close to God, He can then shape you into the person HE desires you to be.

Considering the work that goes into making pottery, it’s not always a smooth transition. I’ve never taken a pottery class, but I’ve seen it done. During the process, the clay experiences pressure. Since clay is an inanimate object, it feels no pain while it’s on the potter’s wheel.

However, we as human beings are NOT inanimate objects. So, while God is shaping you on His potter’s wheel, you will experience pain from time to time. When I speak of pain, I’m not necessarily talking about physical pain (although that can happen too), but emotional, mental, and financial pain.

Why does such a loving God allow us to go through pain? Well, think about it! What if your life were perfect? What if you had everything you want? What if everything were to always go your way? Would you pray like you should or even pray at all? Would you crack open your Bible and study the scriptures? Would you give God the praise He deserves? Personally speaking, I hope I would. Although I can’t truly say what I would do in such a scenario, GOD knows! Even if I am committed to praying, worshipping, and studying the scriptures, God knows if I need to go deeper. He knows if I need to give Him more of myself.

I have found that, as believers, we can become stagnant. For instance, you may be at a place in your life where you just follow a routine. You read your daily devotional every morning. You say your prayers afterwards. You make sure you attend church faithfully every Sunday. You do the same thing day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year.

Although your routine seems “good”, God is nowhere in it because you’re not allowing His Spirit to guide you. For instance, God may want you to pray throughout the day, instead of just in the morning. God may want you to study beyond the daily devotionals, and go deeper in His Word. There may be more He wants to show you. There may be more He wants to tell you. And even though He has spoken to you about this, you choose to stick with YOUR routine because it’s easy, and you figure that it’s better than not praying or reading at all. So, now God has to shake things up in your life to get your attention. God has to allow you to experience some sort of pain in order to get you to draw nigh to Him.

God knows me better than I know myself. God knows you better than you know yourself. Isaiah 55:8-9 say:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

God knows His purpose for your life. He created you with purpose. Moreover, He knows what it will take to get His purpose fulfilled. I share my personal motto, “Know Yourself…Be Yourself…Love Yourself,” as often as possible. In order to live out your God-given purpose, I believe you have to know whom you are, which can only be discovered through the eyes of The Creator. You have to then embrace and love your unique self. It’s sad when an individual spends more time trying to be someone else, instead of appreciating his or her distinctive qualities. I understand how miserable that can be! Once upon a time, I didn’t truly love myself. I thought I was ugly, and in many instances, I didn’t think I was good enough. I was very insecure, and, therefore, constantly compared myself to others.

Fortunately, I learned how to overcome my insecurities by drawing nigh to God. I realized that just being saved wasn’t enough. I had to get closer to God. So, I started pursuing God through my praise and worship. In fact, I would praise God like a crazy woman. Many didn’t understand my praise. However, the Holy Spirit was guiding me. I was praising my way through. I was, in a sense, fighting for my life. Through my praise I was fighting the fears and insecurities that were plaguing my mind. In addition, I drew closer to God by searching for scriptures that dealt with my particular issues, and I latched onto those scriptures. I memorized and recited them. I even taped them to my wall so I could see them every day. Those scriptures became the medicine I needed!

As I look back, I realize that if I hadn’t endured such pain, I wouldn’t have seen the need to draw nigh to God. If I hadn’t drawn closer to God, I wouldn’t be the woman of God I am now. I wouldn’t know how to encourage and pray for those who are going through what I went through.

I want to encourage you to draw nigh to God like never before. What is God telling you to do that you haven’t done yet? Is he telling you to let go of certain habits? Is He telling you to walk away from some people? What is God telling you to do that is causing you pain? Whatever it is, I encourage you to trust God and just do it. Ask Him to give you the strength you need, and He will! What you THINK you’re losing now, is worth what you’re about to gain. As Paul says in Philippians 3:8:

“Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ.”

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I Choose to Draw Closer to God


(“The Kimberly Joy Show: Drawing Nigh to God is a Choice”)

As I continue on the path of this brand new year, I choose to draw closer to God.

Although I have been a born-again believer for a long time, I recognize that there is always more to learn and to receive from God. It would be arrogant of me to think that I have arrived! Besides, I sense an inner pulling from the Holy Spirit to DO better and to BE better. I’m not talking about being perfect because only God is perfect. I’m talking about simply doing what I know God is telling me to do.

How about you? Is God telling you to draw closer to Him? Is God requiring that you pray more? Is God expecting you to do further study in His Word? Is God dealing with you about your attitude? Is He telling you to correct your conduct? Are you treating people the way God expects you to?

LET ME GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE:

Maybe you are quick-tempered, and God has told you to cast down your anger and give it to Him. However, instead of doing what He has instructed you to do, you make excuses for your behavior and continue to fly off the handle. As a result, your anger has damaged your relationships with people. Your anger has gotten you written up at work. Perhaps, your anger has even gotten you arrested. To make matters worse, your anger has dimmed your light. What do I mean? People don’t respect you as a Christian. One minute you’re giving God praise, and the next minute, you’re cussing someone out.

Whether it’s anger or something else, why do we have a difficult time relinquishing certain behaviors or attitudes? It’s comfortable! Even if it brings negative consequences, it’s still comfortable! It feels good! It’s familiar! Therefore, we have to put all our faith in God. We have to just trust God and draw even closer to Him by CHOOSING to obey Him.

Drawing nigh to God is a personal choice each of us has to make. When God created man, He created him with a free will. God instilled in each of us the ability to choose how to act or behave. In Genesis 3, although God commanded Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, He didn’t force them to obey Him. Adam and Eve knew God’s expectations. In fact, Eve informed the serpent (Satan) of God’s expectations. Nevertheless, in the end they chose to disobey God. So, like Adam and Eve had a choice, we have a choice to draw nigh to God. God desires that we come closer to Him. He even commands that we do so, but He doesn’t force our hands.

LET ME TELL YOU A STORY (Taken from Matthew 19 and Mark 10):

As Jesus was heading towards Jerusalem, a man came running up to Him, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus asked the man, “Why do you call me good? Only God is truly good.” Jesus then said, “But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and mother.”

The man responded, “Teacher, I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.”

Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. He then said to him, “There is still one thing you haven’t done. Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

Since this man was very wealthy, he just left disappointed. After he left, Jesus then looked at His disciples and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!”

I believe the rich man initially approached Jesus because he sensed that he needed to DO better and BE better. However, he CHOSE his possessions over having a closer relationship with God. He CHOSE his wealth over becoming the man God called him to be. He made his CHOICE, and God didn’t force him.

I want to encourage you to draw closer than you ever have before to God, even if it means letting go of those things that give you comfort. God is speaking to you. Do you know why? He CHOSE you. Think about that! God chose YOU! It reminds me of Mary the mother of Jesus. Out of all the virgins, God chose her to carry the Savior of the world. Although a virgin being with child was unheard of, by FAITH, she accepted God’s assignment for her life.

Now, Mary could have allowed doubt and fear to take over and told God no. And what if she had rejected God’s assignment? Would that have stopped His plan? Absolutely not! God would have chosen someone else, and Mary would have missed out on a tremendous blessing.

So again, just like Mary was chosen, God has chosen you. John 15:16 says, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you…” First, God chose to save you from your sins. Now He has chosen to use you to share His Good News of salvation with others.

Like the rich man, you have the choice to say no to God’s calling. But, I want you to consider something. How can you say no to such a loving, merciful, and gracious God? How can you say no to a God who believes in you more than you believe in yourself? How can you say no to a God who loves you more than anyone? How can you say no to a God who gives you life every day? How can you say no to a God who is willing to forgive you of your sins, to heal you, and to deliver you?

Think about THIS! You’re where you are because somebody, somewhere said YES to God on your behalf. That person said YES to praying for you when you were sick. Another person said YES to blessing you when you were in need. A few said YES to encouraging you when you needed it the most.

So, again I encourage you, starting right now…today…CHOOSE to draw nigh to God and turn that no into a YES!

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