His Peace

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD is the Rock eternal. (Isaiah 26:3-4, NIV)

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The Lord promises to keep us in perfect peace when our mind is stayed on Him; firm and unwavering. Perfect peace signifies a state of completeness, fulfillment, wholeness, and well-being. We are to trust in Him always which requires us to have a firm belief in the reliability of Him who created us.

I have to admit, I struggle to apply this scripture to circumstances in my life at times. It is difficult for me to keep my mind on Him when so much is going on in this world of unrest. I find my mind staying on all kinds of things: the pandemic, the number of deaths that is rising day by day, the unfair treatment of people of color, how teaching and learning will look for my first graders when we start school with face to face instruction, my finances and so much more. How can I keep my mind on the Lord? Is this even possible? I think so and this is what I do that helps me.

One thing I find myself doing is turning off the tv. While it is important to keep up with current events, it is of great importance that we limit how much tv we watch. Turning off the tv and being still helps me to connect back to Him. I find myself going outside and sitting on my patio, looking up at the beautiful sky, listening to the sounds of the birds, going to sit on the bench across the street from my house in front of the fountain and watching the water, and feeling the sun shine on my beautiful face. This points me back to Him who is shalom; peace. I find peace in the things that He has created. 

After I connect back to Him, I am reminded of His goodness and how much he loves me. I begin to focus on our relationship instead of what is going on around me. In order to truly have peace, we must continue to pour into our relationship with our Lord. I spent time with him today on my patio. What will you do today to strengthen your relationship with Him? Finding peace is possible even during times like these. The peace of the Holy Spirit is able to transcend all distractions and chaos. Let’s allow God to give us His peace! 

P Praise Him in advance

E Enter into HIS presence daily

A Adore HIM for who HE is

C Come to HIM with Thanksgiving

E Exercise your faith

Photo by Disha Sheta / pexels.com

Are you searching for peace today? Keep your mind on the only one that can give you real peace. Put your trust in Him.

Work It Out!

I look forward to the weekend; especially after a long hard week of teaching. My little first graders take a lot out of me. It is so nice to be able to attend the 8:30 am strength class (Power) at my gym (Onelife Fitness) in Peachtree City, Georgia. The group fitness class is only forty-five minutes, but during that time, we work on legs, arms, shoulders, back, and even have enough time to get to our core. I wish the class was an hour like it used to be because I need a little more time on my core area. You see, I love baking and eating sweets! 

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However, there are days when I wake up on Saturday and don’t feel like going. Somehow I end up pressing my way and pushing myself to make it to the gym. I am glad that I do. I end up feeling so much stronger and feel like I can take on the world and anything that may come my way that day. 

Just the other day, I was looking in my full-length mirror combing my hair and saw a bicep muscle pop out of my arm as I pulled the comb through my hair. I also noticed that my leg muscles had started to form. Even the muscles in my shoulders had started to have a nice and defined shape to them. A big smile came on my face. I was so elated because I was finally seeing some results and the hard work was paying off. I stood in the mirror longer than usual to do my hair and looked at my muscles that were starting to develop.

This reminded me of how important it is to work out and exercise our spiritual muscles. Just like we take care of ourselves physically, we must also take care of ourselves spiritually. We must get stronger spiritually. If we do this, we will not get knocked off of our square when trials, troubles, situations, and circumstances come our way. Developing our spiritual muscles will help us get through the storms. 

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Here are some ways that I develop my spiritual muscles.

Photo by Alexis Brown / unsplash.com
  1. Daily prayer
  2. Spend quiet time with Him
  3. Write in my devotional journal
  4. Attend online/drive-in worship service
  5. Read the WORD
  6. Join a Life Group/do life in community
  7. Read spiritual growth books

Are you growing stronger? How are you developing your spiritual muscles?

Let’s go to work! It’s time to exercise!

Bills and a Blessing: A Check in the Mail

Saturday’s Story for HIS glory

By a Christ Follower from IL.

Photo by Sharon Mc Cutcheon/ unsplash.com

I had been teaching for over 15 years in Minneapolis Public Schools in North Minneapolis and was pretty secure, financially. I enjoyed living in my Brooklyn Park, Minnesota townhouse that I had purchased about five years ago and also enjoyed driving my new arctic white Mercedes Benz, 300 4Matic. Well, it was new to me, even though it was a 3 year old pre-owned car with 30,000 miles on it. Life seemed to be going just fine and I was in a good place and space. I was happy and content.

My life in Brooklyn Park was good and I was at peace. I was close to the Cub grocery store, my church, Blue Oaks, and Lifetime Fitness where I enjoyed working out. I was also close to a shopping mall in Maple Grove called The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes that had all the stores that I liked.  I would often go shopping at Talbots, Black and White Market, Ann Taylor, DSW, Marshalls, and T.J. Maxx. I found myself shopping more than I needed to and as a result of this, I accumulated a lot of bills. 

One Saturday evening I decided to do my bills. I walked into my second bedroom which had a desk and a comfy office chair and began to look at my bills. I got my blue checkbook and stamps out of my purse and proceeded to peruse all of the bills that were on my desk. I opened up my checkbook, looked at my balance, and wondered how I was going to pay all of these bills at once. I put them in piles according to the date in which they were due. It was the first of the month and my mortgage was due, the association fee, the cable bill, the electricity bill, my Discover card, and one of those department store bills. 

Photo by Colin Watts / unsplash.com

I glanced at the balance in my checkbook again, looked at the balances of the bills, and wondered what I was going to do. How was I going to pay this month’s bills? Could I just put a little on each one and then make sure that my mortgage was paid? I just couldn’t figure it out. I sat there for hours trying to work it out and make sense of everything. After two hours and much frustration of trying to figure it out, I got up out of the chair and said to myself; I can’t figure it out. I am getting ready to take a nice hot shower, put on my red pajamas, and go to bed. I’ll look at them another day.

Well, I got up the following day, went to church at Blue Oaks, and did my lesson plans later that evening. I didn’t think about the bills on Sunday and decided to look at them Monday when I got home from work. I had a great day at school and was glad because I knew what task lay ahead when I got home. Before pulling up into my driveway, I stopped by my mailbox to check the mail. As I was going through my mail, I noticed an envelope from my US Bank mortgage company. What could this be? I got to my house, took off my coat, and sat down at the dining room table so I could go through my mail. I opened all the other mail before opening the letter from the mortgage company. At this point, I did not feel like seeing another bill. I opened up the envelope and it was a check for $111.95. I couldn’t believe it! Two days ago, I was sitting at my desk trying to figure out how I was going to pay my monthly bills. Now, I had an extra $111.95 and was ready to look at my bills again.

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I went upstairs to use my black Dell computer to deposit my check, started writing checks for the stack of bills that I had, and put a stamp on each envelope. I then began to balance my checkbook. To my surprise, I was able to pay all of my bills for the month and even had a little extra. Once again, God had come through and had provided. The little check in the mail was an unexpected blessing. Minneapolis Public Schools was my resource, but God is my SOURCE. That day I came to know God as one of His many names; Jehovah Jireh, my provider! 

Down the Drain: The Pouring out of Spirits

Saturday’s Story for HIS glory

By a Christ Follower from IL.

Photo by Chris F. / pexels.com

As I drove home from North Minneapolis to Eagan, I remember thinking to myself, I can’t wait until I get home to eat dinner and have a drink. I had a long day of teaching and really needed to relax. My feet and head hurt badly and both were throbbing, especially my feet since I had a bunion on each foot. However, the drive from North Minneapolis to Eagan was about 40 minutes depending on the time of the day and traffic. It was around 4:00 p.m., so the traffic wasn’t too bad and boy was I glad.

The closer I got to my house on Vermillion Court Drive, the more excited I became. All of a sudden, I was driving around the curved road, almost to my house and I felt in my spirit a directive from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit had convicted me and told me to take all of my alcohol out of the kitchen cabinets and pour the contents of the bottles down the drain. I wasn’t sure that I had heard correctly, but then I felt a small nudge again. Was the Holy Spirit really telling me to pour all of my liquor down the drain? I just spent over $50 at Wine and Spirits purchasing some of it the day before; what a waste of money. There was a battle within me and at this point, I needed to make a decision. Was I going to be obedient or disobedient? Was I going to hear, listen, and obey?

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I pulled my burgundy 1992 Honda Civic into the garage, walked into the house, hung up my black winter coat, and proceeded to the kitchen. I opened the kitchen cabinets and the refrigerator and pulled out the bottles of liquor one by one and set them on the kitchen counter. With tears streaming down my face and sadness in my heart, I walked to the sink and poured each one of the bottles down the drain. I cried out to God as tears continued to flow, non-stop down the cheeks of my face. My eyes were now red and mucus and tears were flowing down my face. I finally finished pouring out the Malibu, Gin, Vodka, Kahlua, Rum, Reunite’ and Alize’ and suddenly felt peace in my spirit. I was glad that the Holy Spirit had convicted me and that I was obedient to His prompting. At that point, a sense of freedom had come over me.

Photo by Joshua Abner / pexels.com

That evening, I had come to know God as a deliverer; that was over 20 years ago!

Time to Get My Mind Right

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2, NAS)

Paul is urging us as believers to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, living for Him instead of our selfish desires.  He goes on to tell us this is our reasonable service.

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We are encouraged to make a traumatic change by renewing our mind; to make new again. And not to comply with the standards and ways of the world; the way the world says and does things. By doing this, we will be able to discern what His will for us is.

Phtoo by Gabriel Lamza / unsplash.com

Time to get my mind right… I find myself saying this a lot lately. After a long hard day of work, this is something I would say Friday at 4:00 pm. This weekend, I am going to get my mind right. Getting my mind right would include me taking a long, hot bubble bath, sitting on my patio gazing up at the beautiful blue sky, lighting some scented candles, and sitting on my couch with the tv off; in complete silence. I also like plugging in my diffuser and adding several drops of eucalyptus oil. Eucalyptus oil has a way of making me feel calm; the smell is so relaxing. I’m sure we all have different ways we go about to get our minds right.

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As I grow and mature in my walk with Christ, the phrase begins to have a new and different meaning. I begin to look at it with my spiritual eyes. The things listed above do help me relax and I enjoy them. However, I am learning that getting my mind right really entails the renewal of my mind as Paul urges us to do in Romans 12:2. In order to do this, I must connect to God and strengthen my relationship with Him. I do this by spending time with Him, reading His Word, and praying. I need to set aside some time to devote to God and commune with Him on a daily basis. It may not be easy, but it is necessary. I must be still and know that He is God. My heart must change. I must be changed from the inside out. As I spend time with my Daddy, the Holy Spirit that resides in me begins to do a work on the inside of me. Getting my mind right means me submitting my thoughts and selfish desires to Him and allowing Him to transform my life. When my mind is right, I will be able to discern His will for the life that He has given me. I will clearly hear Him when He speaks to me. As a result of this, I will be able to walk in the fullness, love, and grace of my Heavenly Father.

Let’s restore and make our minds spiritually new. Join me in this renewal process.

R Reflect

E Evaluate your relationship with Him

N Neglect the old way of thinking / new mindset

E Enter into His presence daily

W Walk in His authority

Have you gotten your mind right? Are you walking in the fullness of His will?

Winning by Submission: A Game of Pool

On Saturday, May 18, 2019, I learned about submission through a game of pool with my 12-year-old niece, Jada one Saturday night. God has a way of speaking to us any way that he wants to; we have to recognize and listen to his voice though. (my sheep hear my voice and they listen and obey)

As we were playing a game of pool, I noticed that Jada called upon her father to help her. She was dependent on him to teach, guide, and lead her. She would say, daddy, I need your help. What should I do? And like any good father, my brother, Jason stepped right on in, leading, guiding, teaching, and coaching his daughter.

As she listened to her father, she began to hit the balls into the pockets and began to gain confidence. I had the low balls and she had the high balls. My niece started to smile, hold the cue stick tighter, and move around the table to hit the balls in the pockets with the belief on her face that she was a professional pool player.

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It was my turn now and I continued to rely on my own understanding and experience of the game. My brother asked if I needed any help; if I wanted to know what shot he would take. I declined his help even though my niece was beating me in this game pretty badly. Frustration had overtaken me, but I was not ready to accept any assistance from someone that clearly knew the game better than me and had more experience.

Jada continued to hit the balls in the pockets as she listened and took advice from her father. I, on the other hand, continued to miss my shots as I declined his help. Music was playing in the background, so I started to sing and dance to some good old 80’s and 90’s music. Maybe the music and dancing would help improve my shot and help me focus.

It was my turn again and this time, I accepted my brother’s assistance. I began to ask him what shot I should take and what should be my strategy. He directed me to take certain shots, I listened and the balls began rolling into the pockets. I looked in awe and was amazed that I had started to catch up with Jada because I was willing to follow the lead of my brother; someone with more experience in the game of pool.

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As a result of me submitting to my brother’s leadership in this fun game of pool, I ended up winning. I was elated that I won the game, but I was even more grateful that God had chosen to speak to me through a game of pool in the family/game room downstairs in my brother’s beautiful home in Carmel, Indiana. I submitted. I got under the mission. This was a lesson well learned.

Submission to our LORD can be difficult at times, but we must remember that He knows what’s best for us and can see the end. He has the best plan for the life that He has given us. Let us wake up each day and say…not my will O’LORD, but Thy will be done! I am working on this submission thing and I invite you to journey with me as I give complete control over to Him. He is LORD… ruler, boss, and master of our lives.

Photo by Abel Marquez / unsplash.com

Have you submitted to God in every area of your life? Allow Him to be LORD over your life. Sis, let’s win! 

Trusting Him

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean to your own understanding: In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6, NAS)

The idea of trust means to have a firm belief in the strength of someone or something. We are to have a firm belief in God with all of our heart. This includes our character, intellect, conscience, will, emotions, feelings, and thoughts. We are not to rely on ourselves, but to accept and recognize the importance of God and His existence. As a result of this, He will enable and give us the power to move forward despite obstacles that may get in our way.

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There are a couple of examples that come to mind when I hear the word, trust. One thing that comes to mind is how I easily trust a chair to hold me up. I can remember walking into the doctor’s office and just sitting down in a brown four-legged chair without any hesitation. I had a firm belief that the strength of the object would hold me up. I didn’t think about it not being able to hold me up and me falling onto the floor. I just trusted and sat down. I also remember a time when I was in a friend’s classroom. We were talking about trust and he asked me to prove that I trusted him. He told me to stand up and to fall backward and that he would catch me. I glanced down at the hard cement floor that had very thin blue carpet on it. I hesitated at first, but then decided to trust that my friend of 15 years would catch me. I crossed my arms, closed my eyes, and began to slowly lean backward. I had a firm belief that as I was falling to the floor, that my friend would catch me before I hit the hard floor. He caught me and boy was I glad! I put my trust in a person.

However, trusting God at times can be difficult. It was easy for me to trust the chair and my friend, but hard for me to trust God my Savior. This is one of my favorite scriptures though. I have it written on a yellow post-it that is hanging on my bathroom mirror by my toothbrush as a reminder. Even though I have the scripture memorized and have that focus word of “trust” hanging on my mirror, I sometimes still find it hard to trust God. I find myself many times, not relying on God my Father. I rely on my experience in a certain area, my finances, my education, and intellect. As a result of this, I get stuck, stagnant, and paralyzed in my walk with Him. I am limited in my ability, but God is not. He knows all things. He is sovereign; He is the supreme authority and has complete control over everything. 

I decided to trust Him when I started this website and chose not to lean on my own understanding. I am not going to say that it was easy; actually, it was a little scary. I had to step out on faith. However, I am committed to trusting Him and acknowledging Him in this process; a process that will provide new beginnings and opportunities for growth.  I am confident that He is guiding me and enabling me to move forward with what He has placed on my heart.

He wants a personal and loving relationship with us that is based upon trust. Let us move forward in faith, trusting in Him along the entire way! He has the best plan for the life that He has given us. I will trust and obey. Will you? Join me in trusting Him!

Are you really trusting God or are you leaning to your own understanding?

God: Greater Than Any Circumstance

Testimony Tuesday

by a Christ-follower from GA.

My spiritual journey began right after I completed my Bachelor’s degree, married, and birthed my first blessing from God. Three years later God blessed our family with another birth. I was extremely thankful for my family.

During the first eight years of of my marriage my husband was a loving husband and father. He spent quality time with all of us, went to church with us, and even attended bible study regularly. Shortly after the 8 years, my husband’s desire for alcohol took precedence over family time. He became an alcoholic and verbally abusive to me.

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His terrible addiction greatly affected my children and I. I would often take our children from our home to my sister’s house so none of us would have to hear his profanity toward me, (although his negative words were spoken to me, our children were saddened too because they saw me crying). Many times they went to school without their homework because I took out time to pray with them to calm their fears. I let them know that they were loved by God and I shared with them that their dad had a problem and needed help.

I left my husband for weeks at various times, but I would always return home because I so deeply wanted our family to be whole. I prayed continuously, wrote in binders all the time sharing with God how I felt about putting my babies through so much anguish. I reminded God about what His Word said, that He would never leave or forsake us, that He would keep us in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee. I thanked Him for helping me to be a better mom and remove my children from this crisis. I felt that I wasn’t a great mom because I didn’t divorce him. I daily cried out to God for peace, direction and help. I even saw a therapist over a period of time.

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I went to church with my children every Sunday, read the Bible with my children and kept working and taking my babies to school, involved them in fun activities and pressed on with God’s love and help. God constantly supplied our needs and truly, truly gave us His peace that surpasses all understanding. In spite of all the pain, thanks be to Our Faithful Father God my children developed a relationship with Him, succeeded academically and are thriving in their careers.

Even after our children moved out on their own, I remained in our home with their father. He continued his addiction, moved into a separate bedroom, and we were more like siblings than husband and wife. I constantly reminded God of His Word and what he stated about divorce. I asked God if my husband was an assignment or mission He had for me to assist Him in my husband’s salvation. God reminded me of 1st Corinthians 7:13-And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. (NKJV)

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I desired to please God more than myself so I stayed with my husband a few more years. However, after those years of us growing further and further apart, I finally divorced him and I asked God for forgiveness. Through that lengthy journey of pain, I’ve learned without a doubt that Almighty God is all that His Word says He is. For my children and I are living testimonies that when you cast all your cares on Him, He does care for you. For only our Creator God, Mighty God, Jehovah Jireh, Everlasting Father,  Psalm 91 God, kept us from having a mental breakdown. We are eternally grateful.

Created to Stretch and Grow

My tomato plant in my garden.

I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. (I Corinthians 3:6-7, NAS)

Who would have thought that I would be in this place; a place that has me doing things that I would have never thought that I can do? God has a way of stretching and growing us for His glory. He loves us too much to let us stay the way that we are. I am grateful for His hand on my life. He is growing, developing, and transforming me into the woman of God that He has called and purposed me to be. I am leaning in and pressing towards my purpose. 

As I reflect over my life, I think about all of the pastors, preachers, teachers, and other clergies that have spoken into my life. They definitely have had and continue to have an impact on my life. I, like most of us, have a time where we set aside to commune with God and listen to Him speak. I’m sure that attending church, life groups, conferences, workshops, reading my Bible, and praying all contributed to my spiritual growth. However, it is God who is stretching and growing me. He is the one that puts that desire in my heart; His desires become my desires. I would have never thought that I would be asked to speak in front of a room full of people at a non-profit gala. I will admit, I was afraid. However, I knew that God was right there with me and that I was in a season of growth. With that in mind, Margie Boone, the CEO of Margie’s House, introduced me and I walked up to the podium with a big smile on my face and confidence in my heart and began speaking. Below is the speech.

Planted to grow.

Margie’s House Annual Gala, November 2018.

Good evening, my name is Lisa Brown and I have had the privilege of coming alongside Margie and serving at Margie’s House for almost 2 years now.

Serving at Margie’s House has had a significant impact on me personally. It has provided me with a sense of purpose as well as helped me gain insight and experience in a new field. It has also afforded me the opportunity to be a part of a team and connect with others… a team that demonstrates the love of God through serving women, seniors as well as families.

The community has also been impacted by the mission and vision that drives the work that is done here at Margie’s House. Because of our partnership with Atlanta Community Food Bank, we are able to distribute fresh fruits and vegetables at our Mobile Food Pantry and provide bags of food at our Monthly Food Give-Away.

I look forward to volunteering my time once a month on Friday evenings. As I put each can, bottle, and box into the bag, I feel an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. Knowing that I am helping others brings joy to my heart. The more I give, the happier I feel.

Margie’s House provides hope and makes a difference in the lives of others. I am elated to be a part of this wonderful organization…one that engages, equips, and empowers people.

Thank you.

As I looked up after saying thank you, my eyes were filled with tears. The crowd was smiling and clapping. I glanced over at Margie and her face seemed to be saying that she was proud of me. I was proud of myself, but more importantly, I knew that God was proud of me. I walked back to my seat in awe of what had just transpired. I was stretching and growing. You see, this was a big deal because I grew up being a shy, little girl. This shy little girl is now a grown woman; a grown woman that is learning to hear, listen, and obey her Father!

Are there areas in your life where God is trying to stretch you? Allow Him to have His perfect work. Sis, you were created to grow!

Testimony Tuesday

He Provides

By a Christ-follower from MN.

Date: August 6, 2020

One hot evening in Minnesota, I was out in the yard talking to my neighbors. They have been my neighbors for about seven years now. We were out in the yard talking about house finances. The topic of discussion centered around mortgages and escrow and how our house payments were going up if we didn’t pay the bill that we got in the mail. After we finished talking, I slowly walked back into the house, thinking about how I was going to pay the bill and what I was going to do. 

A few days later, I was in the house taking a nap. I heard the doorbell ring and I got out of the bed to answer the door. It was my neighbors. They had come over and brought me some tomatoes and cucumbers. I noticed that one of them had a card in her hand. She handed me the card. I was very surprised to receive a card. What? I took the card and told them thank you and walked back into the house and laid down in the bed, placing the card on the bed next to me. 

Shortly after lying down on the bed, I opened up the card. To my surprise, there was a check with the card.  My mouth dropped open and I was speechless. Wow, I thought. I laid in the bed thanking God for providing for me. My heart was filled with overwhelming gladness and gratefulness. Three days prior, I was at my desk at work and the Holy Spirit had spoken to me. He told me that I would be blessed financially. At the time, I had no idea where this blessing would come from, but I trusted God and had faith in what He had spoken to me. God is a God of provision!