Happy Resurrection Sunday!

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Philippians 3:10-12

That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.

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The Mighty Hands of the Greatest Surgeon and Physician

Guest Post by Shade

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Indeed, we serve a living God that cannot be fathomed (Isaiah 40 vs 28). He is the greatest surgeon-Genesis 2 vs 21. Sometimes ago I was terribly sick, I was experiencing pains inside the left part of my chest—exactly where my heart is located. The pain became intense and severe and I was wondering what could be wrong with me, but I was not ready to go to the hospital for fear of receiving a daunting diagnosis. I was getting weak and could barely do things by myself. My fear was further triggered because I had a close friend then that has heart issues and she sometimes ask me to help with the purchase of her medications. I know they are quite expensive and my thought is I cannot afford this, but I kept my thoughts to myself. The members of the house fellowship where I teach came to visit and help me out.

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While sleeping in the middle of the night on the day my fellowship members visited, I saw a sharp scalpel cut open the upper left side of my chest (location of the heart that hurts me) very quickly, did certain things which I could not fathom because the whole process took less than a nanosecond. I did not see the person but after the process of opening and closing it back, I was shown an overripe “Papaya” indicating the state of my heart and I heard a voice that says “I have given you a new heart, don’t misuse it”. The Lord later explained to me that he gave me a brand new physical and spiritual heart. I woke up in amazement, looked at my chest, the surgery left no scar. That was the end of the sickness, I became strong, hale, and hearty again till today. Hallelujah.

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I appreciate the Lord for this incredible divine surgery, wholeness, and deliverance which I enjoyed till today, not because I prayed or deserved it, but His unfailing mercies and remarkable faithfulness spoke for me. I am always cognizant of the last part of the message that” I must not misuse my heart”—I do jealously guide the use of my heart, even spiritually. The God that conducted my unexpected and undeserved surgery can replace or recreate any organ or parts in our body. I have seen a wombless woman conceive and deliver twins twice and doctors cannot explain it. As many that read this testimony and need a new organ or body parts, the Lord will strengthen your faith, visit you and replace or recreate any parts you need as He did for me in Jesus’ mighty name. —The enduring Mercies of God will speak for you and you shall testify to His goodness.

God bless you all—Shade Olayinka-Bello

A Surprising Encounter

Grocery shopping can be a very tedious job. I usually like to get it out of the way early in the morning around 7:00 am. You see, I’m a morning person and I prefer to go to the grocery store right when the doors open. I like to get in and get out to avoid the crowds and long lines.

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On this particular day, I went grocery shopping in the afternoon at around 1:00 pm. I had just gotten back from being out of town and noticed that I didn’t have much food in the refrigerator for the week and needed to stock up on some groceries. After the flight from Minnesota to Atlanta with a plane change, I sure didn’t feel like going to the grocery store. I was so tired, had a headache and my feet were hurting really bad but I knew I had to press my way and go get some food to eat for the upcoming week.

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I walked into the grocery store with my list in my hand and began to look in the produce section for some salad and cabbage. I found a decent head of cabbage, picked up two bags of salad, and proceeded to look at the fruit. As I was in the fruit section, a young lady came up to me, smiled, and spoke to me. She asked me how I was doing and if she could pray for me. As I said yes, she showed me a piece of paper that had on it specific things that the person would be wearing that she should pray for.

The piece of paper the lady handed me

I glanced at the paper and noticed that it said…red, gold hoops, bananas, fresh revelation, and spring/new things. You see, I had on a red shirt, red shoes, silver hoops, was standing by the bananas, and had just sold my house and would be purchasing a NEW house very soon. I was in awe as I looked at the little paper with those words written on them. The Holy Spirit had spoken to her and led her to me.

The outfit that I had on that day

 I felt a sense of peace as she began to pray for me; her hand on my arm and my hand touching her shoulder as we bowed our heads. It didn’t matter that we were in the fruit and vegetable section of a grocery store. All that mattered was that a friendly lady had come up to me and asked if she could pray for me.

Who could you pray for?

Prayer Answering God with Everlasting Hands

Guest Post by Shade

For with God, Nothing Shall be Impossible—Luke 1 vs 37.

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 I enrolled in a doctoral program in 2013, coursework was not quite stressful, I finished in three years. In the last semester of the third year, I was required to start my Prospectus. I wrote according to guidelines working with my Chair and Methodologist, but for two semesters, I could not make a headway. Whatever my committee members approved were disapproved at URR level. At the end of 2015, I was so upset that I wrote to everyone that I could at the University. I cannot understand why URR is not approving what my committee members with reputable PhDs has approved or why my committee members are not seeing from the URR’s point of view. My program director advised that I could change my Chair. Some recommended that I can opt for a less intensive program. I decided to go on a leave of absence for a semester. While on leave of absence from January 2016, a newly appointed Director of doctoral program for my course was working with me, even though I was not registered. She took me in another direction. Then I returned in Spring semester paying out of pocket because I was getting scared of my soaring loans. The director working with me during my leave of absence said my methodologist did agree to serve as my Chair, so the former Chair was removed and I had a new methodologist. My new Chair (former Methodologist) was not too helpful either, URR did not approve the Prospectus after another semester. In the midst of the frustration, I opted for another leave of absence.

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While on the second leave of absence, I started looking for alternative universities where I could transfer my credits. The universities that I contacted would not allow me to transfer more than 12 credits, then one day God spoke saying “You already completed 42 credits, why will you start from 12 credits? At the end of my leave of absence in 2017, I asked for another leave of absence towards 2018, but at this point, the university said I would be withdrawn. I have never been so confused, fearful or frustrated in my life, but I was at this point. The options are if I choose to return, I was asked to write a petition stating why I need to complete my program because the design of the program for my course has changed. They noted that my petition can be approved or disapproved and I have to take some courses all over again.

I checked with the few classmates I have left and they have withdrawn because they are frustrated and overwhelmed. I wrote and printed my petition, raised an altar for God in my bedroom, and spread the letter praying the prayer of Hezekiah in II Kings 19 vs 14. In His infinite mercies, God answered, I received an approval without taking any extra courses. Hallelujah!!! I registered to start January 2018, but first, I printed out the unapproved Prospectus, went on fasting, and spread it before the altar of God praying Hezekiah’s prayer in II Kings 19 vs 3 and 14 (I have gotten to the place of birth but there’s no power to bring forth). At the end of my prayer, all God spoke was “Keep it Simple”

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I still had the Chair and Methodologist I worked with before my leave of absence, but two days after the prayer, the Lord began to move; I received an e-mail switching my Chair to become my Methodologist and my Methodologist as my new Chair. I thought this was not good but God was working things out. I emailed my academic advisor who responded that I should disregard the e-mail. I contacted the program director who confirmed that’s a reality. My new Chair was God-sent, I wrote her a long letter of my journey and she responded that she will do everything she can to get me going and out on time because of how I came to her. The first review of my Prospectus by URR had the comment– “Keep it simple”. The same Word God spoke when I cried to him. In three months, my Prospectus was approved and I embarked on the journey of the dissertation. Again, by the fourth month, my former Chair/new Methodologist did not respond to my paper in two weeks, my new Chair took care of it asking her to be removed. I was assigned a new Methodologist, my Chair told me I will like him. He was not just knowledgeable but he has the heart of God.

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Again, I got stuck in using SPSS software in calculating my quantitative data for about 3 months, I went back to the same altar and cried for help from heaven, God mentioned a name for me to meet at work. I met the lady and she introduced me to her colleague, who after helping with my data entry, said she will not be helping anymore. Then God said “Help is universal” and connected me to someone in Canada through a friend. The person worked with me online and I was up and running. However, unlike when defending my Prospectus, I was terribly scared inside me when preparing for my final oral defense, especially when I read somewhere that Albert Einstein’s dissertation was rejected. Though I could not share it with anyone, the Lord knows and I kept hearing “Will I take to the place of birth and not supply the power to bring forth……? (Isaiah 66 vs 9). I knew at that point that God has done it because I had peace. During my oral defense, my new Methodologist kept saying, you are in the midst of friends. God later told me that He sent them to me as “destiny helpers”. All other approvals that were supposed to take a month occurred within one week and the Lord spoke again saying “My everlasting hands is at work pushing through. Glory Hallelujah—I appreciate the power of a prayer-answering merciful father. If it has not been the Lord, my help who was on my side…. Psalm 124.

Though people may not want to speak or hear about God in our secular world, my Chair asked me to share my testimony in my class because she said students were getting discouraged, it’s a merry-go-round journey that seems to have no way out. I shared it and dry bones received life again. Whatever situation we are in, God is able to intervene in the mightiness of His power and answer our prayers. Let’s keep hope alive, that difficult situation is not beyond the Lord Abba Father.

How Many of Us Truly Glory in Tribulation?

GUEST POST by Denise Barksdale

I receive a monthly magazine entitled, The Voice of the Martyrs. A martyr is a person who willingly suffers death rather than renouncing his or her religion. Each month as I read the magazine it reminds me of Romans 5:3-4. It states: And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance; character; and character, hope.

These martyrs are not perfect, just as no one is except “The Blessed Trinity”. However, these people are so committed to Our God. Bombs are targeted at their church, but they still do God’s Will in making disciples in spite of the ongoing violence. Their church’s  growth is one of the few positives in an area that is long known for violence and drug trafficking. The pastor and his wife’s son were even hit by a bullet at age 9. In spite of this horrible incident, after the boy got older he began helping lead worship service at one of the churches with his brothers. 

If I was his parent, I think that I may have tried to get my family out of that area, but because of the families strong faith, trust and will to please God they press on.
As I read these true-life stories every month, it inspires and motivates me more and more to glory in tribulations. It makes me comprehend what the Word of God means, in reference to knowing that tribulation produces perseverance, and when I focus on the definition of perseverance, which means, (steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement), it makes my mind reflect on the many, many problems we all have and how God is encouraging us to persevere through these obstacles/ tribulations in life. In doing this our character steadily improves and we stay hopeful.

The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few is a very true statement. There are enough of us in the world to fulfill Matthew 28:19 (NKJV)-  (The Great Commission) Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

With all the homelessness, hungry people, mental illness, violence, sex and drug  trafficking, negative addictions, hatred, homosexuals, people who are unsaved, COVID deaths, etc., we all need to pray without ceasing, read God’s Word and practice it daily. We also need to seek God’s help in teaching us how to glory in tribulations.  

Morning Silence

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One of my favorite days of the week is Sunday. Sunday is the day that I “get” to fellowship with others and worship corporately at my church. It is also the day that I like to go to the gym and get a good workout in, take a hot shower, and then watch some football.

This particular Sunday, I got up to get ready for church, looked out of the window, and noticed that the pavement was wet and that it was cloudy and drizzling. As I stared out of the window watching the rain hit the street, I thought about staying home in bed and watching service online. I could visualize myself in bed with my pajamas on, sipping a hot cup of coffee and eating a bowl of greek yogurt with honey. This seemed like a really good idea.

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After much thought, I decided to get dressed and head out to church. I made sure that I had my umbrella as I walked out into the garage and got into my car. I backed out of the garage and onto my driveway. The windshield wipers began to move back and forth as I drove down the street. I started to notice that my radio hadn’t come on as I turned to get on I-85N. I pressed the arrow button both ways, hit the home button, and even attempted to turn it off and then turn it on again. It came back on but there was no sound. Frustration began to set in as I tried to get my radio to play. I could see the radio station but the radio wasn’t playing any music. There was silence in the car.

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As I drove down the expressway on my way to Impact Church, I began to be more aware of the sounds that were around me. I heard the rain hitting the hood of the car. I was able to hear cars and trucks whizzing by me. I also heard the windshield wipers rubbing back and forth against the glass of the windshield. This was the first time in a long time that I had been in the car without any music playing. It was different. I was out of my comfort zone. It felt strange but at the same time, I welcomed the opportunity to just be still and listen.

I turned into the parking lot of the church and began to think. I thought about how important it is for us to not just talk to God through prayer but how important it is that we take time out to listen. The act of listening must be intentional. Communication with God is more than just about us talking and asking Him to supply our desires. We must take time out of our busy schedules to listen to what God has to say to us as He speaks to us through His WORD. We must embrace and welcome quietness. We must be still, silent, and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us. 

Psalm 62:1-2

My soul waits in silence for God only;  From Him is my salvation. He is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold: I shall not be greatly shaken.

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Let us be still, quiet, and listen.

Faith for the Future

My faith is bigger than what I see!

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Wow, I can’t believe that we are in the new year of 2022. I don’t know about you, but 2021 had its share of ups and downs, disappointments, heartache, pain, successes, as well as wins. For me, getting accepted into the Ed.S. program at age 51 at Columbus State University was a win. However, listening to my best friend for over 40 years deal with her dad being in the hospital for almost 2 months now has caused me some pain and sadness. Just the other day a friend of mine called to inform me that her dad had transitioned. I felt sadness in my heart. The sadness in my heart reminded me of I Corinthians 12:26 which says…

And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

Despite the circumstances and situations that we found ourselves in last year, you and I are still here; that my friend, is good news! He continues to sustain us through it all. He is immutable. He doesn’t change. He is sovereign. He has the ultimate supreme power, loves us dearly, and is so faithful!

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As we walk into 2022, let us be mindful of the power of faith in Jesus Christ. Let this be the year that our faith is fueled and fortified. Let us get into His presence and give Him all the honor, glory, and praise like never before. He is SO worthy!

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Many blessings in the 2022 New Year!

2 Corinthians 5:7

For we walk by faith, not by sight.

A Precious Gift

Isaiah 9:6 – For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

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In Luke 2:6 and 11 we find the following words…

V.6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.

V. 11 For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

What a wonderful gift from God our Father. As we enjoy the many gifts that we have gotten this year, let us be reminded of the wonderful unmerited gift of Jesus Christ and the gift of salvation. 

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Merry Christmas to all of my

Testimony T.E.A. Family!

My Truth

Part 2

Guest Post by Denise Barksdale

In my previous testimony I shared that I’ve been married to an alcoholic, (a recovered alcoholic, I should say because as God’s Word states in Romans 4:17 (NKJV)-God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did. According to this part of the scripture, I will refer to my husband as a (recovered alcoholic).

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As I stated in my previous story, for 40 years my children and I lived with my husband’s addiction. All praises go to God because nobody but Him kept us through all we went through, In the 2nd part of my truth, I wanted to share that for years I studied God’s Word, meditated on it, and talked to God about my concerns, As I ponder deeply into those years I thank God for bringing to my attention why my marriage was so painful. He let me know that yes, you studied my Word, meditated on it, went to church, fasted, and prayed. However, you grumbled about your husband when you cast your cares on me. You did not say what I said about your situation. That’s why I felt so defeated. 

God also spoke to me through His Word shared by my granddaughter through a book I gave her entitled, Jesus Calling for Graduates. I was extremely elated when she shared what spoke volumes of wisdom to her in this book.

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The topics she shared made me reflect on my errors in obeying God.

The 1st topic was: Staying the Course. God said in His Word, I will open up the way before you as you take steps of trust along your path. Scripture referenced, Proverbs 3:5&6.

The author stated, If you focus on the obstacle or search for a way around it, you will probably get off course. This statement made me think about Psalm 32:8,

That’s what I did for multiple years as I studied and meditated on God’s Word, I got off course because instead of saying what God said about my circumstances, ( in spite of how I felt), I said just what I felt, that I was so depressed about our children and myself living with an alcoholic. I also said and wrote to God that He was not directing our paths as He stated. For my daughters and I were miserable.

I would study God’s Word and always drift back to a grumbling mode, constantly asking God why He wouldn’t help us. God had an answer in His Word for every negative statement I made, but I didn’t practice meditating on His Word, I allowed the enemy to overwhelm me. As God states in Psalm 32:8,

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God will instruct you and teach you in the way in which you should go. We have to allow Him to help us by thanking Him.

I’m so thankful that God never gave up on me. He taught me how to not only cast my cares on Him, for He cares for me, but He also encouraged me to ask Him to show me what to pray for, how to pray. and to ask Him to open my eyes and heart to all that He was doing through the difficulties

The 2nd topic in the book was entitled, Staying the Course. This lesson I learned after years of making mistakes. The 3rd topic instructs you to View Problems as Opportunities. I know God taught me and others so much wisdom through this topic. People who know my truth have encouraged me to ask God about a marriage ministry to witness and encourage others how to trust God in their marriage. The author shared that we should view problems as opportunities to rely more fully on God. I agree. She also suggested that we allow our needs to become doorways to deep dependence on God. She stated that reliance on God produces abundant living in His Kingdom.

The last topic was entitled Opportunities to Learn. The author stated that an ongoing problem is like a tutor who is always by your side. I interject that Our Faithful Father God is that tutor who is always with us through the good and the bad. There’s a spiritual song that states, oh what needless pains we bear all because we don’t take it to the Lord in prayer. The author also stated and I quote, “These problems are not random mistakes, they are hand-tailored blessings designed for your benefit and growth.”

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In closing, I hope we all know that God wants us to embrace all the circumstances God allows in our lives and we need to trust Him to work these circumstances for our good. I also thank God for teaching me that He is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble, Psalm 46:11. I have learned multiple lessons through the past years. The most important lessons are that I can not live life without God. Not only do we as His disciples need to study His Word daily, but we must also study it, meditate on it, pray without ceasing, listen for God’s instructions, trust Him because He never makes mistakes, and love Him with our heart, mind, and soul. He is worthy of our praise and love. I am a true believer that our God is Sovereign, Holy, Righteous, a Way Maker, Miracle Worker, Promise Keeper, Light in the darkness, Jehovah Jireh, our Provider, Healer God, our King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Wonderful Counselor who is Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent. He is Able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think according to the power that works in us. 

Glad to be His Servant,

Denise Barksdale

A Heart of Thanksgiving

Thanks, gratitude, and appreciation are all words that come to mind around this time of the year. Actually, every day should be a day of thanksgiving; God has been good to me and I know that He has been good to you as well. All we need to do is look back over our lives and see His favor and grace that has sustained us. His love endures forever.

 I Corinthians 15:57-58

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.

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I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 95:1-3

O come, let us sing for joy to the LORD. Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving. Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God. And a great King above all gods.

Philippians 4:6

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Revelation 7:12

Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.

Oh, let us give THANKS!