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“But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God and made Him my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works.” (Psalm 73:28)

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Hello! How are you? I hope your New Year is progressing forward as you continue to trust God and  learn to depend soley on Him.  I don’t think it matters where you are on your walk with God, it is always good to draw near to Him-to seek God and find out His will for your daily life because things happen in life and sometimes we don’t know where we should go next.

When life’s distractions happen, we shift our focus off of God and on to our situation(s); which means our focus goes back on to ourselves. For example-Long Island just had their 2nd nor’easter a little over 2 weeks; January 3rd and yesterday, January 21st. Talk about distracting-at least it is for me! Think about all the preparation that comes with it and then the clean up that comes after it. I admit, I could not focus on much else and it stresses me out something crazy… and I know that God is in control and no matter what He will be there for me and take care of me-so why do I stress?

When distractions occur, we get “stuck” and do not move forward with God. Have you ever played scenarios over and over in your mind? The enemy of our soul (Satan) works constantly to take as many believers in Jesus away from God as possible on a continual basis. He does not relent from this task because he does not want us to work out our salvation with God and wants to keep us a part from God eternally.  The enemy wants  us to be confused and have self doubt; and he wants us to feel he condemned. However, we do not have to give in to his lies. God gave us instruction on how to handle these things when it comes our way. “[Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) (2 Corinthians 10:5-Amplified)

Satan wants us to stay where we are so that we do not believe can come to God with any of concerns no matter how big or small. He even has his children that belong to him and he sends them to us to try to dissuade us away from with their subtle whispers of doubt. Why do we fall for the lies even for one moment? Satan is the father of lies! “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)  Why do we fall for it?  I’ll tell you why. It’s because we do not stay in constant fellowship with God.

 Our commune with God is like every other relationship-the closeness is there because of the intimacy we create with one another. We need to be in God’s Word and in prayer for our communication with Him.  But, when we become distracted, we  lose focus and hence we become a little desensitized from the Holy Spirit (which lives inside those who accepted Jesus as LORD and Savior) and if we are not careful, we can begin to drift away. “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.” (1 Timothy 4: 1-10)

People always want the blessings of God without the responsibility that comes with this relationship.   Selfish? I think so! [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One)

As you Walk Every Day With Grace, I want you to know that no matter what happens in our distractions, we can come back to God. But when we return, we need to ask forgiveness because we have walked away from Him. However, He is our refuge once we put our trust in Him and then we are safe from whatever the world tries to throw at us. Remember, the devil is a liar and he loses the battle against Jesus.

“And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” (Revelation 12:7-12)

In His Love,

Melody

 

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NKJ)

I don’t know about you, but, I believe change is in the air and it is making many people crazy! It is definitely in the atmosphere and it feels very unsettling.  I don’t know if it’s because we will have our election next month and the future of our country may bend toward socialism (God forbid!), or  it will go towards what the foundation of this country was built upon.  Either way, change is in the air and many people are anxious.

Keeping this in mind, I, too am trying to change things in my life.  Some things are easier to change and/or replace…some other things… not so much. But I am trying to be proactive and I am choosing to go forward. However, even though my intentions are good, I need to make sure they are godly.  I am so busy (especially in my mind) that I do not want to miss what God may have for me.  I know many decisions are born out of emotion. Emotion is what I think I should do.  When I go before the Lord and pray and ask for His guidance and listen, then I am able to obtain God’s peace.  It’s funny-emotions usually make one act hastily, but, when you enter God’s presence with prayer (which is just talking with God) then one may experience a stillness in spirit, soul and body.  That stillness is God’s peace.  His peace is amazing and it connects you to Him.

I have a couple of friends who are extremely self sufficient, so the thought of waiting on God seems almost silly to them because they are always figuring out what to do in their own circumstances. I was taught to wait on the Lord because you did not want to get ahead of Him.  The problem with that was people would then step in and tell you what they think you should do. I am not saying God can’t speak through somebody, but, it has been my experience that it can turn into a glorification of man’s will and God is not even entered in to the equation of your decision. Just recently I heard the most Godly practical advise from the Late Bob Cooke on Family Radio. He said “first we pray, then we plan, then we obey”. How fabulous was that?  I finally got it and I have been moving forward ever since. God may tell us to go, He may say wait .But the best part is the obedience because if we start to move in a direction that God does not want us to go, He will close that door.  Our responsibility is not to throw open the door once He closes it.  People have to realize that God does say “no”.  No is an answer.  Ever hear your parents or others in your life say no?  God is allowed to say “no” too.  We may not like it but, that’s ok.  I feel a thousand times better knowing God is in control and He has His best interest in my life.

How awesome is it to know that God has thoughts towards us and they are thoughts of good to give us a future and a hope?  Everyone needs hope. Therefore, we put our hope in God because we know He cares for us.  I don’t k now what my future holds; but, I do know God holds my future in His hands.  So, i will continue to pray, to plan, and to obey whatever His will is for me in my future.  I pray that you too will come to know God’s grace everyday for your life.

In His Love,

Melody

 

“If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.” (James 1:26)

Do you ever think about the tongue?  If you do, what do you actually associate with the tongue.  Let’s see, the tongue lets us know if something taste yummy (like ice cream), or (quite frankly) something disgusting.  The doctor looks at our tongue when he/she asks us to “ahh.” Some use their tongue for kissing and some (not just children) just like to stick their tongue at someone as a way to “so there!” or “leave me alone!”  I guess most people take their tongue for granted.

I know what you’re thinking…what an odd topic-and you are right.  It is an odd topic for discussion but, I would guess that most people do not realize that their tongue will contradict their own religion by the way they speak. I believe that the tongue is a tool that leads to hypocrisy and the reason is because many times we say one thing; or imply something, but our actions are contrary to what we said.  It is also true that one’s emotions dictate the words the tongue puts out.  When a person presents themselves as religious, but spits out anger or hurt on others, then their religion (or as I like to say their faith) seems phony.  Everybody has bad days. I’m not talking about that. I am talking about when people are deluded in thinking that their words do not effect anyone.  This is what the above scripture means.  Piety is not holy. I am guilty of this very thing myself.  I am a sinner saved through the grace of my Lord, Jesus Christ.  I am not perfect-but Jesus is.  The people who know me would consider me a “religious” person. However, I know they have seen and heard me when I let that tongue of mine take control and then act completely un-Christlike.  My tongue may be small in my body, but it has big opinions and wants to be heard. In the book of James it says “Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” (James 3:5-6)

When we let the tongue get the better of us, we become automatically become pharisaical.  We appear high and mighty. We take our priceless salvation and make it worthless by our very own words and condemn ourselves.  There have been instances where I thought my heart was with God-but then I opened my mouth and blew my testimony as a Christian.  I do not want to be known as a “Christian terminator” but, I brought that label upon myself and I know it!  I think my biggest disappointment is not what people think of me; it’s what does God think of me as His representative! Thank God, I can always come to Him and repent for my words and actions and He is always faithful to forgive me when I ask.

So the next time you want to spew something foul; or even give an unkind word (even in self defense) take a moment to honestly reflect what is in your mind and reign in the tongue before it breaks free.  It is challenge I am presenting to all of my readers.  I also value the accountability.  Until we meet again, walk everyday with grace that only God can give.

In His Love,

Melody

 

“The fool says in his heart, there is no God.” (Psalm 14:1)

With the Presidential election coming up in less then two months, all I seem to hear is people talking about who they are looking to for solutions in their lives and for this country.  I find it amusing that people think they can be truly governed without God as an active participant. Any government without God fails the people. Look at some of the countries in our world today. Or, one can look at history.  Ever hear of socialism or communism?

I also find it amusing that people think they can keep God in a box within a closed off sanctuary on Sundays-which is supposed to be His house, but who is actually treated like a temporary guest.  People today are so desensitized where God is concerned.  They cannot distinguish religion from redemption. Religion is mankind’s way of being right with God because we bring God down to our level.  Redemption is entering into a relationship with Jesus (who is God) who brings us up to God’s level. When one is redeemed they were bought with a price; and that price was the blood Jesus shed on the cross at Calvary.

Make no mistake; there are many, many people who think they believe in God but have no idea who He is.  Therefore, they are willing to look to the government (again, mankind) for results that can only be truly changed through the hand and heart of God. God created mankind in His image; but once Adam and Eve fell from perfection, it was all downhill from there. That’s why God made a way for redemption to whomever would want to partake of it.  The invitation to salvation is alway available to mankind. Once accepted, it then opens the heart to knowing who God really is. That’s why when people say that mankind has evolved, I think they are so confused. Mankind’s idea of evolution is coming way from God through choice. However, God has not changed His view or His plan towards His creation. Mankind’s view of God is more traditional than relational. When God is not acknowledged in the hearts of mankind, He is not acknowledged in the minds (where decisions are made); and therefore, not represented in our actions. God has always made Himself known throughout His entire creation. The next time you look to the heavens at night and see the stars; or a beautiful sunrise and feel its warmth, know that God is all around you.

Why live as a fool when the God of all mankind is ever present and waiting to give us His wisdom and love?

In His Love,

Melody

 

“The LORD has looked down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek after God,” (Psalm14:2)

Do you remember the song “Looking for love in all the wrong places?” That song was such a hit because so many people were able to relate to it. I will take some liberty here and say that I can remember when I was looking for God in all the wrong places.

First, let me start off by saying that I was not raised in any form of religion.  Technically, the background I was born into is 3/4 Jewish and maybe 1/4 Catholic. I probably would have been considered an agnostic. I believed God existed and that was as far as it went. My only “religious” upbringing was watching “The Ten Commandments” by Cecil B. DeMille. I cannot even tell you how shocked I was when I read the story in the Bible for the first time. I was so confused!  That is what happens when we view Godly things from the TV instead of picking up a Bible and reading it ourselves. Anyway, I digress.

I believe most people are looking for God because they are seeking truth in this crazy world we live in. When I started my “search”,  I didn’t realize I was seeking God’s truth.  I thought I was evolving as a person. Let’s see… I went to psychics, astrologers, dream interpreters, I did metal bending and who knows what else.  I had (2) very different close friends at this time.  One, took me to all of the activities I just mentioned and the other was a born-again Christian. I would go to psychics by day and would watch televangelist, Jimmy Swaggort on Sunday nights. (Oh no, my age is showing!)  It seemed that searching for truth was pulling me and my soul in two extreme directions-almost like a tug of war in what I was going to believe in.  I was hearing two very different opinions. One day as my friend and I were driving home after seeing an alleged world renowned psychic, I asked God (2) things: 1) if He was real; and 2) who was telling me the truth?  The friend taking me to visit psychics or, the one watching the televangelist?  I asked God to reveal Himself to me in a personal, private way and He did.  That’s when I was introduced to God the Father, God the Son, and  God the Holy Spirit. I will tell you one very important fact I learned from seeking truth-whether we realize it or not, God is in control of everything in this life. I take comfort knowing that God cares so much for me that He is always looking out for me. His word says so.

There is a scripture that says “Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found of you declares the LORD.” (Jeremiah 29;12-14)  I finally knew that I was actually seeking God’s truth because His truth is the only one that matters and His truth does not change with the times. His word also says “I love those who love Me; and those who seek Me will find Me.”(Proverbs 8:17)  So many people think that God is unattainable-when in reality He is looking down from heaven to see who is looking for Him so He can extend His hand to them so they can receive a loving, everlasting relationship.

It is important to realize that God and Jesus are one. In scripture when Jesus was asked who He was, He  answered, “i am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John14:6)  Therefore, the next time you may think God is too far off in the galaxy to hear you, you can “Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near.” (Isaiah 55:6). God is always near and always answers when one calls upon His name.

In His Love,

Melody

 

 

“But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Mark 10:6-9)

Yesterday, I went to Jeremy and Mishell’s wedding. I have known Jeremy since he was born and it was a blessing to watch him grow into a man and choose his beautiful bride.  The two of them and now “Mr. and Mrs.” They have entered into a covenant of marriage and are now “one flesh” according to the Word of God.  What some people may not understand is that God makes things very tangible to His creation.  What I mean is,  just as this couple is now considered “one” by way of their new relationship. It would be hard to think of them as completely separate people since they are now husband and wife.  People do not and should not lose their personalities because of their union, but most likely will enhance one another and bring out the best in each other- which is actually complimenting to each other.

My relationship with the Lord is similar.  When I accepted Jesus, He started to bring out the best in me. He did not ask me to give up my personality.  He wooed me!. He said “come as you are.”  I didn’t have to change first. I started to change as I grew in my relationship with the Lord.  My first Pastor said something to the effect “that God loves us to save us as we are.  But, He also loves us enough not to let us stay as we are.”  Every relationship grows and changes in this life.  Jesus is the groom and His church is the bride; and it is through this relationship we begin to transform into Jesus’s image.  Once we accept Jesus into our hearts, it is then God sees us and He also sees His Son. Two are now one.  In marriage, there seems to be a point when the couple start resembling one another,. So it is when we accept God’s proposal and enter into God’s covenant  of marriage with Him.

I encourage you to call upon the name of Jesus (if you have not done so already) and enter into a marriage that cannot be broken by Him. God’s word says ” …I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)  Who else can make a promise like that?

In His Love,

Melody

“A man who has many friends must himself be friendly, But, there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24 NKJ

Friends. Where would people be without friends?  There are so many songs that reference friends-like, “but, you gotta have friends….” and “people who need people”.  Sounds nice doesn’t it?  Sentimental even. However, to me these types of songs have hints of codependency . What can I say ? That’s where my mind takes me, but I digress. In reality, I love my friends and would not be where I am without some of the friends that I have in my life,  This blog came to life because of these precious gems that God has given to me as friends.  Therefore, I would like to publicly thank Frank, Amy, and Millie  for their encouragement for me to move forward in life.  I also cannot forget Valerie who cheers me on almost daily. Sometimes friends are all we have-especially for those who may not have family.

Believe it or not, my life has not always been happy, peppy, and bursting with love.  I lived those moments-which turned in to days of  utter despair and worry. I remember a few years back when my job was outsourced and the apartment in the house I was living was sold; and my church was going through a very strained transition.  Since I had no job and income was not guaranteed, I had to move home for the first time in years and my mother was a recent widow!  Talk about losing all of one’s security in life.  I was at a major crossroad and did not want to entertain the thought of change at at the age of 38.  Some of my friends were supportive to me by way of listening to my distress and some others…well, let’s just say their conversation went like this “me, me, a little more about me. Ok, enough about me. So what do you think bout me?’   Friends like that will always be there to help you fail. So the questions became, “why are we friends?” and  “do I still want to have any alleged friendships like that?”    The answer was no. Standing alone is never easy, but I chose my sanity over other’s opinions.

During this season of my life I felt so alone trying to figure out what to do, where to go, etc….  My only true constant in my life was God. I felt like I let Him down and couldn’t even pray to Him because of what had transpired in my life.  On some level I must have thought I did something wrong (like I have any control in major corporations or someone else’s house!).  Still, these were my feelings. But, guess what? God is bigger than our feelings and praise God for that!  It was during this time that God led me out of New York and sent me to Charlottesville, Virginia. I went there in obedience to Him and  I cried all the way there because I left everyone and everything I knew until I showed up  in Thomas Jefferson territory. I thought it was to start my life over. God opened every door for me to be there because I contacted a church to see if anyone would rent a room (instead of  going to a hotel) and God provided through a woman who only charged me $50.00 per week!  It turned out that God took me out of my familiar surroundings and put me in a place that I could not possibly relate to.  Seriously, an older gentleman heard me speak and said “you’re a yankee! ” In which I responded “yes; and we won the war.” It was then another former New Yorker told me not say things like that unless I wanted to start another civil war. So I did my best not to say too much too soon.

Anyway, it was during this time that I got to decompress and  let my spirit and soul heal.  God gave me real life object lessons to glean from-like watching sheep. He made me  lie down in “green pastures”, He led beside still waters to restore my soul.  God did not leave me at any point during this time.  He truly did stick closer to me than a brother. I finally was able to let go of my circumstances so that I could be ready to change-and embrace new opportunities. Letting go was not easy, believe me-it never is. I spent 1 month in Virginia until I began to run out of the money I brought. It was then I knew it was time to return to New York.  I really did think I would just change my life by leaving my old one behind.  In reality, I got to spend one on one time with God alone; without anyone telling me what they thought I should do-especially those people who couldn’t even handle their own lives.  I got to know God in a whole new, personal way that no one could have told me.  More importantly no one now can ever take that away from me.  You see, my identity is now in Him-not what someone said they think it should be. God showed me it was ok to be me with my (sometimes zany) personality because now when He sees me, He also sees His Son, Jesus.  I care more about what God thinks of me than what people say about me.  People can say what they want, they can even come and go, but GOD remains constant. One of the promises of scripture I hold on to when things start to change is Jeremiah 29:11 “For, I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Change is inevitable, but now I know that hope is always there for those who want it.

God’s invitation  for salvation is a free gift through His Son Jesus. It is in this relationship  that you too can walk every day with God’s grace.  Please know that I pray for everyone who comes across this blog.

In His Love,

Melody