Image by B. Fröberg on Flickr

Long ago, in the middle of this muddy, dirt-stained, red soil stood a very functional railroad. Quadejah could see what she thought were the remains of loops of rusty brown metal. The stones scattered about were still the same — white and brown stones dispersed like sand, both to the left and right of the railroad. She stood in the middle, where the vertical lines intersected with the horizontal. Bending down, she dug her hand into the earthy mud, picked up a couple of stones, and gently rubbed them together.

She smiled. Once upon a time, she was sixteen. Running wild and free through these Southern grasslands with a group of three. One was a red-head, her best friend, Kaitlyn. And the other was a young man named Ali. He had really bushy afro hair and never combed it, no matter how much they begged or laughed. To be honest, back then they had no cares in life, only high spirits. They used to come here every weekend when there was no school. She remembered they would sit at the far end of the wall holding hands and playing Truth or Dare. Most times, they would choose "truth" and tell stories until it was really dark and past time for supper.

The wall. She looked up and saw that great wall of old. All the memories came flooding back. One day they had dipped their right hands in three different colors of paint they'd carried from papa's backyard and dared themselves to etch their fingerprints on the wall. She got up and started running toward the wall.

"Ten steps to the right, seven slippers high, and three butterflies left," she said out loud, tracing her fingers up and to the left.

When she saw those dirty fingerprints again it was like a window opened from her heart and she started laughing like a child until tears streamed down her face and her nose began to trickle.

"Ma'am," she heard a voice calling from behind her. She had forgotten he was standing there, watching her. He must be very amused by now. "It's almost time for the meeting," he said.

"Oh," she whispered. She didn't want to leave the graffiti wall just yet, but as CEO of Que&Co., she had a lot of important matters to attend to and critical decisions to make today. She smiled, nodding to her driver. "Thanks, you can get the car started now. I'll be right behind you."

She looked up at the wall again. She felt very satisfied, happy to have visited her young memories once again. A deep sigh escaped from her lips. Well, the stones will always be here. The fingerprints will always be etched ten steps to the right, seven slippers high, and three butterflies left. All she needed to do was come back as many times as she wanted. All she had to do was remember.

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"And it came to pass, when all the people had completely crossed over the Jordan, that the Lord spoke to Joshua, saying: “...Take for yourselves twelve stones from here, out of the midst of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet stood firm. Then he spoke to the children of Israel, saying: “When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’ then you shall let your children know, saying, ‘Israel crossed over this Jordan on dry land’; for the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed over, that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever." Joshua 4: 1-3, 21-24

We live in a society where the hustle and bustle of our careers and the dreams of our future can cause us to forget the goodness of the Lord. Many of us have seen testimony after testimony, but yet in searching for the next level we forget. Today, God wants us to remember the graffiti on the wall.

If He was with you in the past, He is with you today, and if you let Him, He will be with you in your future. He is, indeed, steadfast in love. An unfailing God. There's nothing worse than a day without Him. Doing things by ourselves is so much more difficult and chaotic.

Don't forget the Lord and what He has done in your life. As you move forward in life, remember the stones & graffiti of the goodness of the Lord throughout your life up until now, and seek instead to put God first higher than all your desires. By putting Him first, He will grant you so many more joyful memories. God is faithful. Praise God! 

The Vantage Point: What's Yours?

Even in the most minuscule, intimate daily occurrences, there's always a fine chance that you'll discover something amazing about God.  A few days ago, I re-discovered one of God's extraordinary qualities by just asking my sweet two-year old to do something.

"Bring the blue cube over here, T," I asked. "It's right there on the chair,"

It was only a hand's stretch away from where he stood. I pointed to the object for him to see. "There it is. Look!" But no matter how hard I tried to describe the location, he just couldn't find it.

"Look up, T. Look up." He looked left instead, and then right. After a while, he got a little frustrated and just looked at me, smiling faintly, which meant, "Mummy, I don't know what in the world you're talking about."

I decided to try another strategy...

"Okay, come over here."

He ran into my arms happily, relieved that I had stopped trying to make him find it. But now, from where we stood, he got the opportunity to view the entire couch at one glance.

"Look over there. Can you see it now?" I asked.
"Yes," he squealed with excitement. "Yes, mummy."
"Okay. Go get it."

He ran to the couch, climbed up, and happily grabbed the blue cube. Then he brought it over to me.

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noun: vantage point
          a place or position affording a good view of something.

One of God's extraordinary qualities is that He "sees all things." He has the best view of everything. A vantage point is a place or position from where you can see the best view of something. A couple of summers ago, we took a trip to the Smoky mountains and got the opportunity to stay at a resort that had a sign that said, "The best view of the Smokies." They weren't lying. Every morning we woke up, we just couldn't wait to pull aside those curtains to see the view. From our room, we could see stretches and stretches of the beautiful mountainous terrain of the Great Smoky Mountains. Amazing view!

I want to encourage someone this morning. I may not know exactly what challenges you are faced with right now, but without the Lord, you won't have the best view of the situation.

"What's going to happen now? What have I done? How can I make it through this?" We flutter about without vision when we are not looking from the vantage point. We wonder where our help will come from. Or how we're going to look to others. Or how everything is going to turn out.

Let me tell you something powerful. Jehovah God knew you before you were born and He created you with so much potential to have good success. The only way to know your potential is to ask the One who skillfully formed you. There is only one "You" in this universe, and only you alone can achieve what God made you for. So you have to trust Him for many things: that He knows all things, that He has seen your future already, that He has the perfect timing for everything that concerns you, and that He wants the very best for you. Think about it. He would not have let Jesus die on the cross for you if He didn't love you so much. His ways are perfect. He is a good God.

Stop worrying about that challenge in front of you right now. You may not know how to tackle it, but God does. Run into the arms of your Father and through His eyes you will have the BEST view of your life. Through His eyes you will learn to wait on Him, because you will entrust your life into His hands knowing that He will guide you through everything and show you the best paths to take.

Let these verses flow into your heart today:

And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:13

The eyes of the Lord are in every place,
Keeping watch on the evil and the good. Proverbs 15:3

O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways. Psalm 139:1-3

He has made the earth by His power, 
He has established the world by His wisdom,
And has stretched out the heavens at His discretion. Jeremiah 10:12

Dear Reader, what is your vantage point? Are you looking through the eyes of the Lord to see the best view? Or have you been relying on your limited vision or sight? 

What You Don't Know About Your Words

What you're about to read is not just something I picked out of a New York Times best-selling book. It's a Holy Spirit-filled insight that has transformed my life and made it a more powerful testimony.

Here's the thing...

Your words have the power to shoot you straight into the bulls-eye of your destiny. Yes, you read that right. Your words can absolutely create your world and transform you into the person you will be in this life.

Most of my life I've been a positive person. I'll be the first one to dream giant dreams and believe that something will pan out exactly how I dreamed it. I'll be the first one to believe you can do anything in the world. That you can be who you want to be. That the world is your blank canvas, and you can go ahead and splash all the paint colors you want.

But is Believing Enough?

The golden question: "Is believing in good things enough?" Examine yourself. Take a look at the things you say on a daily basis. The truth is, you may be believing one thing in your heart, but that's not what you're confessing. Maybe you don't want to sound stupid. Maybe you don't want to be ostracized. But let me tell you something - you were not called to blend into the worldly order of doing things. You were called to be "set apart." You can't believe that through your Father "all things are possible," but then you walk around with your head bent downwards, saying negative things about yourself and wallowing in self-projected defeat. Don't you know who you are in Christ?

Your words (and hence your actions) should replicate your beliefs and dreams. Confidence in Christ is the trait to have as a child of the King. No, believing is not enough any more. It's only the first baby step to achieving execution. It's not enough to just believe. You can believe in something and secretly hope it will happen organically, or you can choose to take your beliefs and dreams to the next level by speaking them into existence. My dear, there's power in your words.

You don't believe me? Well, check this verse out:

"Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature..." James 3: 4-6a. 

Earlier this year, I was talking to my amazing friend as we usually do when she revealed to me that negative words are simply not allowed in her household. That was all there was to it. Ditto. As simple as ABC. I was yet again reminded of how "sweet" it is to have a Spirit-filled believer as a friend. What a powerful way to live.

Driven to Action | Make a Choice

Today, in my own home, I choose to understand the magnitude of the power of my words. With whatever words I choose to praise my husband with, that is what He will be to me. With whatever words I use to lift my children up, that is what they will see themselves as and so become in their amazing and great future.

The things I believe will translate into what I speak and the devil has to deal with it. Today, I only speak "Life, peace, joy, laughter, healing, good success, the spirit of excellence, and greatness" into the lives of my husband, children, and myself. No, there's no room for negativity. Or mediocrity. Or carrying last. No, no, no. No Debbie-Downers allowed here. If I so much as smell sickness, I say immediately, "I am healed in Jesus's Name." And so it goes for the other negatives.

On that very first day when the Master Architect was creating the world, He SPOKE: "Light be!" And there was light. Light had no choice but to come storming through the darkness of the deep making its presence known. So yes, I (created in the same image of the Master Architect) have been given the authority by my Father to wield "light" into my existence instead of "darkness."

So, you see, it all boils down to one choice. I invite you to speak LIFE into your very existence and everything you do.

Friends, this week what do you want in your future? What words will you choose to repeat today? 

There's power in your words. SELAH

, J

Even for Your Smallest Heartaches

[Flash Fiction]

Pound, pound, pound. Pause. Then again. Pound, pound, pound. The intense pulsating ache at the left corner of my forehead was stubbornly persistent. The steady pounding sound matched the rhythmic drums of a master musician. It felt like someone was purposefully ripping the muscles in my forehead apart, layer after layer.

I entered the pharmacy to get the medication. I left work at the middle of my night shift so the inside of the store was, unsurprisingly, a little dark. A small figure hurdled at the end of the allergy medication aisle, sniffing every two seconds. I walked past. Then, right there at the center of the next aisle, I found what I was looking for. Something for the pain. I grabbed the pack and made my way to the cashier.

"You know, m'aam," the cashier lady said. "There's a better one for headaches. Do you want to ask the pharmacist?"
"It's ok. I'll take this one."
"Sure." She wasn't smiling.

Although she was pretty, she had some wrinkles on her forehead.  "I've had to deal with chronic migraines myself over the past few years," she said.

I looked behind me. There was no one waiting. It was a 24-hour store and at 2am in the morning it was reasonable that there weren't too many people in the store.

"Tell me about it," I said, looking straight into her eyes. She looked back at me, I could tell that she was half-expecting me to withdraw my invitation. "Tell me about it," I repeated. More firmly this time.

"Well..." She went into the full details of her life. Her family. Her children. Her husband. How she had to make ends meet. The school fees. The rent. Her shifts. On and on.

I had forgotten I had a headache. Or about my own shift. I reached out and held her hand. "Would you mind if I prayed with you?" I asked, believing that God had already heard her cries and was present to intervene in her situation." With gentleness and a renewed sense of calmness, she nodded and bowed her head to pray, a single tear sliding down her left cheek. When we were done she looked up. "You don't even know how much this means."

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►►►God Cares About the Smallest Things

The love of God is like a Shepherd that leaves 99 sheep to look for one that got lost. Just for you, He would do anything. You and I are more important to Him than the air we breathe is important to us. He cares about both the big things and the tiny stuff. Stuff you think nobody cares about. He cares deeply about that thing that you're constantly worrying about, even as you read this Blog right now. How do you think God felt when He laid His life on the cross? The life was snuffed out of Him in one of the most painful deaths ever recorded in history. He did it at a price. And He had to do it because He is a principled God and it needed to happen for a reason. That's extreme love.

Many times, it's the small things. This past week, I found something "precious" I thought I'd lost for good. I was vacuuming the carpet and before I reached the corner behind the door, I got a nudge in my spirit to pause and look at the floor. Unbelievable! What I'd been looking for was right there, and I got stopped by the Holy Spirit right before the vacuum could suction it right up. Even the Small things.

►►►A Timely Reminder

The thoughts on your mind may be big or small, but I want to remind you today that God sees. He knows. He cares. Those secrets. Those dreams. Sometimes we wonder "when" He will intervene. But He has the perfect timing for everything. We pray, not because He doesn't already know, but because it's a great way to focus on Him (and Him alone). We pray because prayer is not a one-way conversation but also a way for us to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit as He gently tells us what direction to take. He's always there, but we're not always "tuned in."

He is the Alpha and Omega, and nothing (I mean, absolutely nothing) is too sensitive for Him to touch. Just give it all to Him today. If it was just for you (and for no one else), He still would have died on the cross just to save you. That's how much He loves each and every one of us.

 What is it that you're still worrying about? Let go, and let God today. 

As always, I'd love to read your comments. Have a fantastic week and pause this week to remember how intensely God loves you.