Are You Chasing God; Or Running From The Devil?!

So here is a thought……

What is your inspiration in this journey of being a better, more complete person (aka a Christian)? Is it fear or freedom?

As for me, I’d like to believe that my inspiration is freedom. But it wasn’t always this way. Once I accepted Christ as my Savior, if I could be completely honest, not much changed. Sure my faith grew over time, because I learned to lay my burdens on the Lord, and allowed Him to carry my the burdens of my cross more often, rather than worrying myself to death.

But still, there wasn’t  some epic change in my heart or in my life.

Eventhough, I now had direct access to Jesus Christ himself, and access to the greatest book ever written, I was still being ruled by fear.

Fear of messing up the whole “Christian thing”, and backsliding into old bad habits. Fear of not being a “good enough Christian”. Fear of not being a “good” example to the world looking on at my Christian experience. Fear of not knowing enough bible scriptures or praise and worship songs ( Don’t act like yall never mothed the words to a song in church, knowing full and well, you don’t know that song!). Fear of not fitting in, within my church. Fear of people knowing my past, and judging me based on it.  Overall fear of being fraudulent and found out.

Looking back on those fears, I know now that it was nothing but the devil messing with my mind, and trying to keep me limited in my Christ experience. Because, my heart was pure and my actions were as close to a “good” Christian as you can get (aside from indulging in a little rachet TV). I’m more mature and seasoned now in this walk, and can look back at my younger more vulnerable self and see that instead of seeking God, what I was doing at that time was fleeing the devil.

If you have read some of my past post on this blog, you know I am not shy about my bouts of struggle within my Christian journey. However, what time and God has opened up my eye to  is that: Being a Christian should be a beautiful and liberating experience. It should be the freedom that releases us from the pain, disappointment and burdens of our past. Once we accept Christ as our savior, we should be proud to step into His grace, and the remnants of our past mistakes should no longer color our vision, or burden us with guilt or fear.

So often we focus on what we should not be engaging in as Christians that we neglect the works we have been called by the Lord to do. We shun ourselves from the very people/places that God wants us to lend our gifts, because we are so focused on trying to perfect Christianity.

The question becomes, are you chasing God or running from the devil.

Think of the mere image of running from someone/something. It’s freighting, and tiring. There is no rest and you’re so overcome by fear that you over exert yourself, and eventually burnout and that very thing or person claims victory by catching you.  It’s in the same vain that we may find ourselves running from the devil. We become so overcome by the fear of the devil that we keep looking back trying to make sure Satan is not gaining ground; and before we know it he has us.

Now imagine and adverse concept: the idea of chasing something/someone. There is no overwhelming fear, but rather just the right amount of excitement to keep us moving forward. The trill of the chase is exciting, fun, and invigorating.  And that’s exactly what our journey with the Lord should be like.

I don’t want my Christian journey here on earth to be limited to fear. I don’t want fear to be the fence that keeps inside the terms of my Christianity. Sure, we should all fear the LORD but even that fear should be loved based.

I accept the freedom that comes with chasing God. I am no longer a prisoner of my past. Or unwilling to explore life from a fun, exciting and energized perspective. One of the first thing we learn as Christians is to not be worldly. Well, I agree. However, I also encourage fellow Christians to embrace the beauty of earth, and remember: everything the sun touches is yours ( a little lion king humor)….enjoy it!

Be blessed, be encouraged.

Incredibly Simple And Creamy Mac And Cheese

Happy Resurrection weekend. I am busy loving on my family, and honoring the Lord. However, I wanted to stop by the blog to share something with my extended family here at JnF. It’s a recipe for what is possibly a Easter dinner staple: Mac and Cheese. Well, I am all about simplifying a dish without sacrificing it’s taste quality. Less time in the kitchen means more time with our loved ones and with the Lord. While, I usually make my Mac and Cheese in 3 parts; which includes boiling the pasta elbows, making the creamy sauce in a separate pot, and bring all ingredients together in the oven; well this recipe takes place all in one pot, and there is no baking involved!!! 🙂

First I boiled some water, then added the pasta. The pasta began to get sort of soft, and the water all but disappeared. At that point I added about 1 cup evaporated milk, a dash of salt and pepper, garlic powder, a dab of olive oil, and I stirred in a egg.

Now that I had my base of creaminess on the pasta, I let it come to a slow boil. I began to add about 3 cups of Extra Sharp Shredded Cheddar Cheese.  Add the cheese slowly, stirring at the same time. The results will be this, creamy, flavorful mac and cheese:

Jesus-And-Food-Mac-And Cheese

I’d like to leave you with this:

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:

While we were still sinners, Christ dies for us.  (Romans 5:8)

He is risen!!!

 

How To Tap Into The Person God Created You To Be

As we mature into adulthood and grow older, that doesn’t always equate to growing wiser. The wisest people I know are in touch with not only themselves, but more importantly their creator. They love the Lord and seek Him diligently. They speak as though they know the Lord. Their words are not hasty, or rough. They are a conduit of the Lords work; He flows effortlessly through them into others.

There comes a point in most of our lives where we look into ourselves for a deeper understanding of self. However, to understand the creation, we must first know and understand the creator. What I have learned in my seeking journey, is that there is no knowing myself, without knowing the Lord. There is no having a purpose, without at least seeking to find out the reason behind the creation. God speaks to us every second of the day. He is speaking through our thoughts, through the people around us. He is speaking. However, are you listening?. It doesn’t matter how much God speak’s, until we are ready to receive His guidance, all His speaking will go unnoticed.

If you want to know the person God created you to be, ask God to show you. And when He does, pay attention. If you are finding it hard to listen to the Lord, or even speak to the Lord, grab a journal. Slow your thoughts down by writing them out to the Lord. Allowing yourself to write out your prayers/thoughts to the Lord, will put you in a quiet space to receive whatever He has to say back to you.

Try it. And tell me if it works for you.

Have a blessed day.

Monday Mantra: Jesus Has Not Left The Room

Good Day readers.

Today, just wanted to drop a short, but hopefully inspirational note.

Have you ever found yourself in a room of people that may not be your cup of tea. Or alone in a room by yourself, in search of answers, feeling lonely and alone!

One thing to never forget, is that Jesus has not left the room. While we may look around for clues of His presence those clues may never be revealed, but we must know within our hearts that Jesus enters a room before we do, and He remains long after we are gone. He dwells within us and among us for protection and guidance.

Jesus is everywhere you are. In every room you enter, know that His presence is there. Fear not, for the Lord has come before you!

Have a blessed and fruitful week.

Monday Mantra: Setting The Atmosphere To Receive Our Blessings

Sometimes we feel like we are doing all we can to be blessed: We pray, we fast, we read the word. Still nothing. Well, please keep in mind, that what I have learned, albeit reluctantly, is that the Lord sometimes hits the pause button on our blessings, because He sees something we don’t. Maybe we are not ready, prepared or any other reason that the Lord may deem.

However when we truly search or hearts for the truth, what we may find is the possibility that we are blocking our own blessings. A lot of times when we find ourselves doing all the things we think we ought to do to be blessed, the mechanism, such as praying, fasting, going to church, tything, etc., yet the blessing seem to never manifest. It’s then that we should take a step back.  Look deeper, into our hearts, into our personal lives, those crucial places that only God has insight into; question ourselves to find out if those are the places in which the work needs to be done most.

Taking a step back and setting the atmosphere to receive the blessings that the Lord holds for us, allows us to put ourselves in a position to receive what God has ordained for us, in a genuine and grateful way. Some blessings are so great, that God wants to make sure we receive it with the right intention in our heart. A blessing, properly received, is treated with care, and a tender love that mimics to God our gratitude.

James 1:12

Blessed is the man that endure temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

To set the atmosphere in our lives we must examine several layers of ourself as we know it:

Look at your heart, is it clean, and pure? Does, it harbor hate, or unforgiveness towards anyone? Are you holding on to any grudges?

Psalms 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

If any of these are true, then it is time to cleanse your heart, because these ailments are blocking your blessings.

Watch the words you speak and how you speak them. Our tongue gets us into more trouble than we bargain for with the Lord.

1 Peter 3:10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evi

Speaking untruths, or being malicious in the way we talk about others will block our blessings for sure. Set the atmosphere to receive your blessings by speaking life and positivity into every situation and person you come across.

Lastly, look around you, is your home/personal space clean and tidy? You may not have much, but with the little that you have, how well are you treating it?

1 Timothy 3:5 For if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?

God will not add to your life, if you do not care for what you have already. When we care for what we have, we honor God. When God feels honored he releases more into our lives. More importantly, how can God trust us with much, when he can not trust us with the least?!

Please, don’t grow weary in well doing. God hears your cries, he hears the desires of your heart, and he will fulfill your needs as he sees fit. Remember, to bless the Lord no matter what!

Be blessed, and have a great week! Return this week for some yummy recipes, including a delicious Banana Bread recipes. 🙂

 

Touching Tuesday: The Gift of Friendship

 

Do you know what it is to walk into a room and not know anyone?

Not even a single soul. It’s a pretty weird, and uncomfortable feeling. Now imagine going through life like that, with not a single friend.

Just alone.

Friends are necessary in life. Having someone to call a friend is a blessing. Being a friend to someone is a gift. We don’t realize how much we need a friend until we don’t have one. Family is great. However, sometimes you just desire someone who can relate to you, and not be necessarily “related to you”. The truth is sometimes family lets us down, and our friendships will be the saving grace we need in though times.

I desire to be a good friend.

Up until recently, I can honestly say I did not have much friends. I had my family, and my associates. I kept up a barrier between me and anyone that was not family of some sort. Perhaps, trust issues, or perhaps I wanted to keep this veneer front of perfection up. I didn’t want outsiders to come too close and see that my simple life was actually a hot mess. But then, my entire world turned upside down. I found myself, by myself. Sure I had my close family members. But at some point you don’t want to become a burden to your family. Then, I found myself in the presence of people willing to hear my story, and willing to be a shoulder to lean and cry on. That was something I was not used to. It was amazing. Like a self cleansing therapy. What’s more important, is that I knew those people were not judging me. They listened with a open heart. Looking back I don’t know where I would have been without the help of friends. The closer I let my friends in, the more I realized we all had our own common share of “mess” going on in our lives. I listened to their burdens, and was their shoulder in times of need. Because of that I now know more than ever that friendship is a give and take. Sometimes you will give love, and times you just have to be vulnerable enough to take the love.

Jesus had a few  friendships. However, one of my favorites is the one he had with Mary Magdalena. It was an uncommon friendship. However, we often find our best and deepest friendships in uncommon connections. The very thing that tends to separate us, is often the tread that keeps us connected.

I encourage anyone and everyone that is blessed enough to have a true friend, to hold on to that friendship. Be kind to that friendship, and be a server in that friendship. Nourish it and love on it to ensure it grows into a good tree that may enhance the garden that is your life.

Be blessed, be encouraged.

Monday Mantra: Endure For The Greater Good

A real note from the editor:

I’m tired.

I’ve been patient. I’ve been humble. I have prayed. Talked to God. Written to God. Read the word. Worked on myself. Been kind to the unkind.

And still nothing.

Yes, I am growing in faith, and yes, I am becoming a better person. But the fruits of my labor are scarce. I look around and I am disheartened to say the least. Because, I see so much happiness, so much joy around me. And I am happy for my family and friends, but a part of me can’t help but to wonder when is my happiness coming. I feel as though I have to work hard for every little bit that I have. Nothing has ever come easy to me. Sure that’s a great character builder, but at some point the only thing that one can be, is tired. Sometimes, I feel like giving up. Why keep trying when the results will continue to be the same.

The only thing that keeps me going is a message I’d like to share with you all:

Endure for the greater good.

I don’t know where these trials and tribulations will take me, but I know I will continue to endure. And I hope those who feel just as spent as I do will endure as well. Let this be our #MondayMantra:

Endure for the greater good.

Romans 5:3-4

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that the suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.

James 1:12

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

 

Touching Tuesday: Love your sister, Love your brother!

God makes no mistake.

Every follicle on our heads was well thought out; every cell, well orchestrated. Equally as true, is that every relationship/friendship in our lives are purposeful. Your mother was chosen on purpose; your father was deliberately chosen just for you. The same for every sister, brother, cousin, aunty and uncle.

God never promised the ride would be easy, He only promised to never leaves us. Just the same, not every relationship, be it with a family member or peer, will be easy. Some people will bring out the worst in us. And guess what sometimes, that is their assignment. That fear of seeing ourselves, in such an unpleasant light will bring us to make the choice to distant ourselves from that person. However, is that God’s plan? Often, people are planted into our lives to help us grow. We must remember growth of any sort is not easy; in fact it’s painful. The growing pains are designed to help us become better versions of ourselves.

The key is to remember God makes no mistakes.

You may not like how a family member or friend treated you, but their existence in your life is necessary and serves a purpose. Don’t get so wrapped up in what they did, or how they did you wrong, that you miss the purpose for which they were planted into your life. A person, who you find it hard to communicate with, is there to transform you into a better communicator. A person who may have violated you, was placed in your life to expose you to a vulnerability that otherwise you may have never experienced, and therefore bring you closer to God.

God makes no mistakes.

So love your brothers, love your sister, love your mother, love your father. Despite their flaws and shortcomings, embrace them, because they are who God chose for you.

Remember, all God ask of us is that we give each other love!

Sweet Tooth: Homemade Caramel (Hack)

One of my favorite desserts, is anything glazed in caramel!!

Literally.

There is a simple, yet utterly delicious way to create caramel with little to no effort. I guess this can be considered a hack, but to me it was just the norm growing up as a Belizean girl. Part of my Belizean tradition is baking cakes from scratch during the holidays. Just a simple yellow cake, which in itself would be enough, based on how flavorful and yummy it is. However, after the scratch made lemon fervent cake is completed, it’s  glazed with homemade caramel!!

Just divine.

I would be lying if I said, I was able to make the actually cake (it’s quite cumbersome, so that task is left to the older more experienced bakers in our family), but while I am working on that, I have perfected the caramel part. Not that it’s that complicated. If you can boil water, you can make this caramel recipe.

First grab a can of your favorite brand’s condense milk. Remove the paper wrap from around the can, and leave just the exposed metal can.

Pull out one of your favorite larger sauce pans and put the can directly in the middle of it. Fill the pan with water covering the can. Place on medium heat for 4-5 hours, replenishing the water as it boils out.

Tip: Try not to wait too long to replenish the water as it boils out. The reason being that you don’t want the milk to caramelized unevenly.

After 4 or 5 hours turn the stove off, and remove the can from the pot. Let it sit for about 2 hours to completely cool down.

Now grab a can opener, and what will be revealed should be liquid gold.

Yum.

 

Monday Mood: #Forgive

Today I woke with a thought in my spirit. I figured I would share:

If you think it’s weak to forgive, you’ve obviously never forgave someone before.

The strength it takes to forgive someone who has wronged us, is unmeasurable. Not even time can measure it, because when the wound is deep enough, we find ourselves needing to renew that forgiveness time after time throughout our lives.

Forgiveness is medicine to our soul. It can heal wounds that we carry, but don’t even know we are burden by. Those wounds tend to resurface time and time again in our lives, until we are willing to fully dress them in the clothe of forgiveness.

Sometimes, the most important person we must forgive is ourselves. Often we will walk through adulthood, carrying the pain of wounds from childhood that we had no choice but to endure. And we tell ourselves things like “it wasn’t your fault”, or “you were a child”, but how often do we mean it. We tend to subconsciously attack ourselves and beat ourselves up and it shows in our behavior in every area of our lives.

Forgiveness has the power to make a broken person, whole again. The moment we turn on that switch of forgiveness, a light that had previously dimmed, reestablishes itself within us. We reclaim a subtle but definitive part of our innocence.

Forgiveness is a beautiful gift, to be given and received. Feel free to offer that gift of forgiveness today, or open to receive it.