The Kimberly Joy Blog

Know Yourself…Be Yourself…Love Yourself – THE KIMBERLY JOY SHOW Fridays at 4:15PM & Saturdays at 6PM on Inspiration 1050 AM & 103.1 FM WGRI (Cincinnati)

Tag: Christians

Have More and Thrive!

(THE KIMBERLY JOY SHOW: Live YOUR Dreams Part 3)

HAVE MORE AND THRIVE! WHAT DO YOU IMAGINE YOURSELF DOING?
God wants us to pursue those desires HE has placed in each of our hearts. What do you often imagine yourself doing? What is your passion? God says, “That’s not happenstance. It’s not a pipe dream. Your fantasy can become a reality if you believe Me, step out on faith and do what I’ve instructed you to do. Stop sitting on your gifts. I gave them to you, not only so you can bless others, but so that you can be blessed!”

Let me ask you: What do you do for a living? Is it something you’ve dreamed of doing all your life, or is it just a job? Is it just something to compensate you so you can pay your bills, and is that all you do? If so, then you’re not fulfilling your purpose. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not faulting you for working. You have to work to survive. However, God wants you to know that you don’t have to settle for just surviving. Rather, you can have more and thrive!

Now having more does not always equate to having more money. You may currently have a job which pays you well, but you work long hours. You’re always exhausted and stressed out.

When you go home, all you want to do is sleep. You barely have time for your family. Your job keeps you away from the house of God. Although you have the money, you’re still unfulfilled because you’re not walking in your purpose. So, why aren’t you walking in your purpose? What are you afraid of? If God has ordained you to do a special work and granted you certain gifts, then there’s no need to be afraid.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO STEP OUT ON FAITH?
In order to live your dreams, you must believe God and step out on faith. Bishop TD Jakes says stepping out on faith means stepping out of your comfort zone. In fact, because Bishop Jakes chose to step outside his comfort zone and trust God, he is now pastor of The Potter’s House in Dallas, Texas. He is an author of many books including, Reposition Yourself: Living Life Without Limits, Maximize the Moment: God’s Action Plan for Your Life, and his book Soar! Build Your Vision from the Ground Up , which was just released in October 2017.

Bishop Jakes has also produced films like Not Easily Broken, Jumping the Broom and Sparkle. His faith in God has also motivated him to host numerous conferences which have gained worldwide popularity. Some of these conferences include Woman Thou Art Loosed, ManPower, and MegaFest. I had the pleasure of attending MegaFest in Atlanta over ten years ago. Christians from all over the world took over the city of Atlanta that week. People of various races and from all walks of life were eagerly filing into the Georgia Dome. It reminded me of my first visit to Manhattan, New York. People were literally walking shoulder to shoulder. Needless to say, when you choose to follow faith like Bishop Jakes, instead of fear, God will do amazing things in your life and enable you to be a blessing to many people.

Before you step out on faith and take action towards your dreams, you must pray for God’s guidance. Proverbs 3:6 (New Living Translation) says:

“Seek [God’s] will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.”

Consider Noah in the Bible. In Genesis 6, God was disgusted with the wickedness on the earth and decided to destroy it with a flood and start over. So, He instructed Noah to build an ark, which was like a cruise ship, that would keep himself, his family and two of every kind of animal safe. Noah did exactly as God told him. He didn’t just build an ark, but he built it according to God’s instructions. He didn’t take any shortcuts or listen to the opinions of others. Instead, he allowed God to guide Him.

Simply fulfilling his purpose by building the ark wasn’t enough. He had to build it on God’s terms. If Noah had deviated from God’s construction plan, he, his family and all the animals would more than likely have been destroyed in that flood along with the rest of the population. Like Noah, God’s purpose for your life is designed to bless you and those around you, only if it’s done His way!

SHOULD YOU BEGIN BIG OR SMALL?
James 2:26 lets us know that our faith in God must be accompanied by action. So as you step forward in faith and take action, God may have you begin small. For instance, if you’re currently working a full-time job, but you have a dream of owning your own business, God may instruct you to begin your business on the side.

I want to give a shout out to my sister-in-law Tamika Thomas. Just a few months ago, Tamika began her own online business. It’s called Designs on a Dime, and she sells custom design t-shirts, hoodies, coffee mugs and water bottles. Even though she works as a Behavior Intervention Specialist for Clayton County Schools in Georgia, she desires more.


(Tamika and Me at the family reunion)

I’ve known Tamika for twenty years, and I can say that this business venture is perfect for her. She has an eye for good quality and fashion. She’s reliable and friendly. Moreover, she knows how to manage money. Although it’s currently a side business, I believe that as long as she remains focused and committed and keeps God first, Designs on a Dime will grow tremendously.

If you are in need of custom design t-shirts, hoodies, coffee mugs or water bottles, you can follow Designs on a Dime on Facebook and Instagram. You can also visit her website: http://www.etsy.com/shop/designsonadimebyme.

It’s time to walk in your purpose and live your dreams! Don’t be afraid! Don’t settle for less! Rather, trust God, step out on faith and allow Him to fulfill His divine purpose in your life!

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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What Would Jesus Do?

WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?
“What Would JESUS Do?” Recognize that question? “What Would Jesus Do” is a phrase that first emerged in the 1990s. The purpose of the question is to inspire those of us, who are believers in Christ Jesus, to evaluate our everyday attitudes and behaviors. It is to encourage us to really consider the characteristics of Jesus that are laid out in the Bible, and to decide whether or not we are following His example.

At the height of its popularity, “What Would Jesus Do?” or WWJD, could be seen everywhere—-on bracelets,
t-shirts, hats, coffee mugs, etc.

The whole idea was to remind us that we are to be more like Jesus. Personally, I think WWJD was and still is an excellent idea! We live in a world where we are surrounded by evil and corruption every day. So, as believers, we have to remember that, although we live in the world, we are not to be like the world, look like the world, or act like the world.

Worldly ideas, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors, are the opposite of what pleases God. James 4:4 (NLT) says:

“You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God.”

In the verse, James referred to these early Christians as adulterers. Why? To be unfaithful to God is to commit spiritual adultery. We are unfaithful to God when we choose to disobey Him. Anything that goes against God’s commandments or expectations is considered worldly. One example is sexual immorality. I use this particular example because sex is promoted almost everywhere——on television, in movies, in music, in books, and on the internet.

According to the world or worldly standards, pre-marital sex is acceptable. In some instances, adultery or infidelity is acceptable. Have you ever heard the term “open marriage”? In an “open marriage”, the husband and wife agree that it’s perfectly okay to have sex with other people. Basically, they are inviting adultery into their marriage. Furthermore, homosexuality and bisexuality are also acceptable now, according to WORLDLY standards. However, according to God’s Word, none of these behaviors are acceptable.

Regardless of our personal views or how good certain sexual encounters make our flesh feel, God still does not approve. For example, “Thou shalt not commit adultery” is one of the ten commandments we can find in Exodus 20. Even though it is a commandment of God, many still engage in it. Nevertheless, just because they engage in it, doesn’t make it all right.

DOES GOD CHANGE?

Anything that is popular in today’s society isn’t necessarily popular with God. God doesn’t change, and His Word doesn’t change. Therefore, we believers have to read and STUDY the Bible. I emphasize the word “study” because it’s important that we meditate on the scriptures and apply them to our everyday lives. Simply READING the Bible is not enough.

We have to obey it. When we fail to do so, we can be easily fooled into confusing worldly standards with God’s standards. Psalm 119:11 says:

“Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.”

God has provided His Word to help us live right. We are to, thus, hold His Word in our hearts. When you hold something in your heart, you cherish it, right? We are to hold God’s Word in our hearts like a treasure. Psalm 119:105 says:

“Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

God’s Word is available to guide us in the right direction—–the direction God would have us to go. When we apply the scriptures to our everyday lives, we will find ourselves doing what JESUS would do. In other words, we will find ourselves obeying and pleasing God.

To be a Christian is to be Christ-like or like Jesus Christ. Want to know HOW to be like Jesus? Read the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. All four books give accounts of Jesus’ time as a man on earth. When we read about Jesus, we learn about His characteristics, which are the characteristics we should strive daily to emulate.

WHAT DOES LOVE LOOK LIKE?
While Jesus lived as a man on earth, He showed LOVE. First, He loved God the Father and spoke highly of Him. He always honored and obeyed God. He also spent quality time with God in prayer. In addition to loving the Father, Jesus loved people, INCLUDING His enemies. For instance, while He was hanging on the cross, Jesus asked God to forgive those who were persecuting Him.

Jesus also showed love by taking time to teach everyone who wanted to hear and receive from Him. When crowds followed Him, He didn’t turn them away. He even fed those who were hungry, like the 4,000 and 5,000.

He healed those who were sick. He showed compassion to those who had been ostracized by other people, like the Samaritan woman He met at the well, and the woman who was brought to Him for committing adultery.

Possessing genuine love, Jesus had no problem being humble. As a matter of fact, He didn’t get into shouting matches with the religious leaders who would publicly oppose Him. He wasn’t concerned about trying to defend or prove Himself to anyone. He didn’t brag about how powerful and wise He was. Instead, He continued giving all the glory to God. All He cared about was doing the will of His Father. In John 6:38, Jesus said:

“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him [God] who sent Me.”

IS LOVE YOUR MOTIVATION?
Something that is important for us as believers to realize and always remember, is that, although Jesus demonstrated power through healing the sick, casting out demons, resurrecting the dead and other miracles, like turning water into wine, LOVE was always the motivation.

Yes, we believers can and should demonstrate power like Jesus did. In fact, in John 14:12, Jesus said:

“….He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do…”

So, Jesus said that we’re to do more than even what He did. However, if love is NOT the motivation, I Corinthians 13 lets us know that God will not be pleased.

It’s imperative that we do, what I like to call, self-examinations. What do I mean? Periodically, we need to exam our hearts, using the Word of God as the criteria. For instance, you can ask yourself the following questions:

“Am I lining up with God’s Word?”

“Am I doing what God expects or approves of?”

“Am I following the examples of Jesus?”

Once you ask yourself these questions, if you find yourself falling short, then repent and ask God to help you in those areas.

I want to encourage you to take some time and study the four Gospels. When you do, pay close attention to how Jesus conducted Himself in every situation. Then strive to follow His example in your own situations. Christianity is a lifestyle, and you and I are responsible for doing our part. As we do our part, God will do the rest. Philippians 2:12b-13 (NLT) say:

“12b…..Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.
13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.”

(The Kimberly Joy Show: What Would Jesus Do?)

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Easter: A Joyous Occasion

A JOYOUS OCCASION
Our family has always viewed Easter as a joyous occasion. Each year, for as long as I can remember, I would get a brand new dress, shoes and purse. My brother BJ would get a brand new suit, tie and shoes. My mom, who has always been a very classy and well-dressed woman, would get a brand new outfit, as well.

The church I grew up in was Mt. Olive Holy Temple in Lincoln Heights, a suburb of Cincinnati. Most of us members were related to each other. In fact, my great uncle was the pastor, the late Bishop Timothy Smith. We had such a good time praising God in that little church. Every Easter, we would put on a special program. Each child in the Sunshine Band would recite his or her Easter speech and the adult choir would sing and maybe perform a skit. Even my dad, who was not a regular church goer, would write a skit for my brother and me to perform. The BEST part, however, was when each child received an Easter basket. Those are some fond memories I will always cherish.

Although my brother and I enjoyed dressing up and getting our Easter baskets, our mother made sure we knew WHY we were celebrating Easter—–because of JESUS—–our Lord, our Savior, our Redeemer.

I Corinthians 15:3-4 say:

“3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures…”

THE DAY I ACCEPTED JESUS INTO MY HEART
I get emotional whenever I think about the day I accepted Jesus into my heart. I was young, only in the second grade.

I was going to Landmark Christian School (which is now closed) in Glendale, Ohio. Even though I had been in church from the time I was born and had even been baptized, I hadn’t accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior.

I remember the day I got saved, as if it were yesterday. Some older students from another school came to Landmark to perform a play for us. I don’t know if they were high school or college students. I just knew that they were much older.

The play they presented took place on an airplane. Some of the passengers were Christians and some were not. During the flight, those who were Christians witnessed to those who weren’t. Some believed and received Jesus, while the others rejected Him. I especially remember in the play a little girl and her mother. After they both heard about Jesus, the girl accepted Him into her heart, but the mother refused.

Later in the play, the airplane started having problems. I don’t remember if there were mechanical problems or if there was a storm. I just knew at the time that the situation didn’t look good. Everyone on the plane started panicking, and eventually, the plane crashed, killing everyone. At the end of the play, those same passengers were either sent to Heaven or Hell. The little girl in the play went to Heaven, and her mother went to Hell.

Once the play was over, there was an altar call for any of us who wanted to give our lives to Jesus. Immediately, kids began going up to the altar. Some were even crying. I didn’t move right away, not because I didn’t want to, but because, at that age, I had a tendency to be shy. However, I could feel Jesus pulling on my heart. So, I eventually made my way to the altar, knelt down and just cried. Then my second grade teacher Mrs. Pope knelt down beside me, put her arm around me and prayed with me.

It was such a beautiful moment that I will NEVER forget! I knew then that Mrs. Pope loved me because she was crying right along with me. Like Mrs. Pope, that’s the kind of heart we, as christians, should have. We should want to see everyone saved.

Some who may hear that story may accuse the school of trying to scare us into salvation. However, that wasn’t my experience. I don’t believe they were trying to scare us to death! Rather, they wanted us to understand why we need Jesus.

As James 4:14 tells us, tomorrow is not promised to anyone. Every day, people from all walks of life are dying. Fortunately, we, who know Jesus and are saved, don’t have to fear death. We are promised eternal life.

One of the first verses I learned as a child was John 3:16:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

THE LOVE OF JESUS
When I saw the play, I didn’t just learn that a person will either go to Heaven or Hell when he or she dies, but I learned about the love of Jesus. In fact, it was His love that pulled me to the altar. I felt His love as I knelt down to pray. I felt His love through Mrs. Pope as she prayed with me. I felt His love when I got home that afternoon and told Mom my good news. I have felt His love throughout my life, even during the difficult moments. Moreover, I feel His love now.

I enjoy reading the stories about Jesus in the Bible because of the LOVE He constantly demonstrated—–His love for God the Father and His love for people. When we read about Jesus, we see that everything He did was out of love. It reminds me of the woman who was caught in the very act of adultery in John 8:1-11.

Early one morning Jesus was in the Temple teaching when the scribes and Pharisees brought in a woman who had been caught committing adultery.

These religious leaders questioned if Jesus was going to follow the law of Moses by stoning her to death (Leviticus 20:10).
Needless to say, they weren’t concerned about keeping the law of Moses. They were attempting to trick Jesus into saying something they could use against Him.

So, how did Jesus respond? At first, He ignored them. Then He announced that anyone who had not sinned could throw the first stone. Instead of throwing stones, each of those religious leaders left one by one. When Jesus asked the woman if anyone had condemned her, she said no. Jesus then said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

THAT is who Jesus is! He’s LOVE. Yes, the woman had sinned. Nevertheless, Jesus gave her another chance. Jesus gave ME another chance. In fact, He has given me more chances than I can count. And He’s ready to give YOU a chance.

YOU CAN ACCEPT JESUS NOW
If you have not accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you can do so right now. Romans 10:9 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.”

All you have to do is pray this prayer:

Dear Jesus, I come to You confessing that I am a sinner in need of a Savior. I believe that You shed Your blood on the cross and died for my sins, were buried and rose again so that 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!!!!!

I now welcome you to the family of God!

(“The Kimberly Joy Show: Jesus Is Love”)

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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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Draw Nigh to God

For this new year of 2017, first and foremost, I must draw nigh to God. I believe that with each new year, everyone should strive for better. What do you desire? What new ventures are you ready to take on?

* Do you desire to go back to school?
* Do you desire a better job, perhaps one that is more fulfilling?
* Are you ready to purchase your first home?
* Do you want to lose weight?
* Do you need to get healthier?

I believe any goals you and I may have can be achieved with faith and perseverance. However, God reminds me that our first priority should always be to pursue Him. Yes, we can and SHOULD pursue our dreams, so long as we keep God at the forefront. If we pursue GOD first, then He will guide our footsteps towards our dreams and enable us to achieve our goals. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” To do anything outside of God comes with unnecessary headaches and stress. Now, who wants that?!!

To draw nigh to God means to come close to God or to come closer to God. That can be achieved by spending more time in prayer, in worship, in the reading and studying of the Scriptures, and in the house of God with other believers. Regardless of how long a person has been a Christian, one can never get too much of God. We are ever learning and evolving.

In the 4th chapter of the book of James, the writer James (Biblical scholars say he was a brother of Jesus) was addressing the early Christians and expressing to them the necessity of drawing close to God.

James 4:1-10 (New Living Translation)

(1) “What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires that war within you?

(2) You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.

(3) And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.”

According to verses 1-3, these early Christians were arguing and fighting. These were people of God in conflict with each other! Believers in Christ Jesus! Church folk! And why were these people, to whom James was writing, at odds with one another? As the scriptures point out, instead of just coming together on one accord, seeking the will of God, and focusing on pleasing God, each person wanted things to go his or her way. Each person wanted to do only what made him or her happy. As a result, they resorted to doing evil. They were lying, cheating, stealing and even committing murder. Because they had taken their focus off God and weren’t right inwardly, they were treating each other with contempt.

(4) You adulterers (or unfaithful people of God)! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God.

(5) Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the spirit he has placed within us should be faithful to him.

If we say that we are children of God, but are not faithful to God, then we’re walking in disobedience to God, and are following the ways of the world. That, in turn, makes us God’s enemies. As harsh as it sounds, it’s the truth. To disobey God is to behave like His enemy!

(6) And He gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Those who humble themselves before God, FREELY receive His grace (unmerited/undeserved favor, mercy, lovingkindness). Why do we need God’s grace? Romans 6:14-15 say, “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.” God’s grace is so powerful that sin no longer has power over those of us who surrender to Him. During the Old Testament era, God’s people continued disobeying His laws because they didn’t have the ability to keep them. However, thanks to Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, His grace empowers us to obey God and to grow spiritually. Morevoer, we must understand that we have to respect and appreciate His grace, and not take it for granted by using it as a license to sin. Yes, God is loving and forgiving, but Galatians 6:7 let’s us know that He will not be mocked (or made a fool of), and we will reap what we sow. Therefore, God may forgive us for things we choose to do that we know are wrong, but we dare not think there won’t be consequences behind those choices.

Although these early Christians were out of order with God, it wasn’t too late for them. Fortunately, that same truth applies to us today!

7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

We cannot resist the devil, the world, our flesh or sinful, human nature, until we first submit or surrender to God. It is GOD who empowers us to say NO to our enemies!

8 Draw nigh or come close to God, and God will draw nigh to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.

It is a personal choice to draw nigh to God, to allow Him to cleanse us, and to become totally loyal to Him. According to James 1:6-8, when our interests are divided between God and those things that don’t please Him, we are unstable. So, if you’re looking for stability or balance in your life, stop fighting and SURRENDER!

9 Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy.

We have to have repentant hearts and truly be sorry for our sins and past mistakes. When we’re truly sorry, then we’re less likely to repeat them.

10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up in honor.

Once we recognize just how much we need God and submit sincerely and totally to Him, then in time, He will raise us up and make our lives significant and honorable.

This year of 2017, I will draw nigh to God, and I encourage you to do the same! Drawing nigh or coming close to God must be an ongoing process because of the wickedness that is prevalent in this world and because of our flesh or sinful, human nature. Galatians 5:16 says, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” In other words, when we allow the Holy Spirit to guide our lives, we won’t give in to our sinful nature. Everything we need is, therefore, in GOD!

The following video is from my radio broadcast “The Kimberly Joy Show: Draw Nigh to GOD”:

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