Tag Archives: love

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

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Well, according to Tina Turner it’s a ‘sweet old fashioned notion’. But love is so much more than that. Love is timeless. It never goes out of style. In light of February being the month of “love”, its only right that this month we talk about LOVE! What pops into your mind when you think about love? Your spouse? Your parents? Your friends? That failed relationship that left you thinking you would never love again? Does God immediately pop in your head?

Most people are always so focused on receiving love, they chase after it, demand it and sometimes would do anything for it, but I wonder how many lives would be changed if instead of focusing on receiving love, we focused on giving love. When we truly love one another, we give each other permission to be ourselves, to be vulnerable, to admit our faults and shortcomings without regard of what someone may think, and we are able to do this because perfect love cast out fear! When we truly love someone and we are loved, we feel like we can conquer anything, and even if we make a mistake we know that we are loved beyond our faults and because of that we have no fear with trying again.

We underestimate the power of love, and how the love that has been given to us should be extended to those around us. If you ever wanted to test how much love resides inside of you, take a look at how you treat those around you. In the book of Proverbs chapter 12 it reads

Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers all wrongs.

Some might read this and roll their eyes because what they’ve seen of love has not been beautiful, it has not been uplifting, it has not given them courage. Its important that we don’t shun the notion of love, or never extend love to others, especially if you’re a person of faith. John 15:12 puts its quite simply

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

No metaphor, no parable, this is a straightforward command that because He loves us and has shown us how to love, we are to do the same.

Tina Turner kept asking over and over what love had to do with it. And the answer is, it has to do with EVERYTHING! We were made to love and to be loved.

How do you like to share or show love to others? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

-Kiara Janai

Next Week: Let’s talk about Self Love

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What Are You Fertile Ground For?

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If you look up the word fertile in the Dictionary you’ll find the definition reads capable of growing and developing; able to mature. When a farmer is planting seeds for his crops to grow, he hopes that his seeds will be planted on fertile ground, the whole point is for whatever he is planting to grow and mature and you can’t do that without fertile ground.

The other day I made a series of snaps on Snapchat (my friends call them ‘snap sermons’) about being purposeful and selective about the people you closely tie yourself to, and I used Jesus as an example of how he was always around people, interacted with people, but those He was closest with (disciples), He was super selective about.

The next morning I woke up and had a feeling I should delete them, thoughts ran across my mind and I began to doubt I thought “Just delete it”, “You don’t know what you’re talking about” “People are probably getting annoyed by you talking about God so much”. After a moment I stopped and said outloud “Kiara are you doubting? Why are you thinking that way?” Just that quick, a seed of doubt was planted in my mind.

I took a moment and began communicating with God trying to figure out why that even happened. He showed me how the enemy will plant bad seeds in your mind to make you doubt what God has spoken to you or told you to say. Now if I hadn’t been pursuing Christ in the way that I have been and took the time to pray about what I was thinking, that seed would have began to get developed throughout my whole day. It would have made me doubt my ability at work, doubt my connections to people, doubt what God has called me to do. It would have slowly taken root in my spirit and would have made for a miserable day.

After praying I chuckled and said “Devil, you tried it! But do you know who my Father is? You only come to kill, steal and destroy, and you have no business here, so keep it moving and try that somewhere else, because it won’t grow here, and this temple is NOT fertile ground for doubt! Through this incident, I was reminded how important it is to stay connected to God and to be secure in what He says about my  life.

I want you to take a moment and think about what type of seeds you’re fertile ground for. Are you allowing bad seeds such as fear, doubt, and worry to be devloped and matured inside of you or are you allowing good (God) seeds such as faith, courage and love to be planted?

Choose today to let God seeds take root in your mind, body and spirit!

Sincerely, Rhapsody

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Your Mistakes Don’t Define You

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Honestly making mistakes is never fun, a lot of times making mistakes can leave us heartbroken, embarrassed, confused, and feeling like we can never recover from what we’ve done. Mistakes often come when we stop relying on God to lead us and we begin relying on our own will. Mistakes for me are truly a learning lesson, every mistake I’ve made has taught me something and helped me grow. I know it sounds cliché but it’s true.

For instance 2 years ago I was getting prepared for graduate school I had the choice to take classes online or on the campus. So I decided I was going to pack up my life and move thousands of miles away where I didn’t know anyone and place I had never visited before. I got there at the beginning of the semester and I immediately realized that it was not for me. I knew I couldn’t live there and that I wasn’t supposed to be there. At first I was so afraid of going back home, I felt like I had let everyone down or that I couldn’t cut it away from home. I’ll admit for the first few months I was feeling like I had made a mistake by coming home, because I didn’t have a job and now I had to take out more loans for school, instead of getting school paid for if I would have stayed. You know I could have stayed in that space and just constantly felt bad for myself, but I didn’t, I stayed connected to God, prayed and asked for clarity in what had transpired. He quickly revealed to me all the things that I would have missed had I stayed there. Even 2 years later, he is still revealing all the great things that have occurred since I came back home.

So I want to encourage you not to beat yourself up when you make a mistake. Maybe yours wasn’t making a move before it was time. Maybe you’ve lied to a loved one, maybe you fell into temptation, maybe you’ve turned away from God and you feel like you can’t come back from that. I’m here to tell you that your mistakes don’t define you, you are defined by who God the Father says you are.

Here are four things to focus on when you are trying to move pass a mistake.

  1. Come to the realization that we all make mistakes and that nobody is perfect!
  2. Go to God and be open and honest with Him about your situation.
  3. Forgive yourself and others if someone else is involved.
  4. Take time to explore what the lesson was, what did you learn from it?
  5. Grow from it, it won’t be the last time you make a mistake, but you want to strive to avoid making the same mistake over and over.

After going through these steps, we may have moved on, but our mistakes can sometimes have consequences but we can’t let that define us and who we are and once you’ve given that to God and forgiven yourself, you have to continue to live your life and glorify God while doing it!

Forgive, Get the Lesson, Move on

Sincerely, Rhapsody

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It Was Him All Along

 
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My Heavenly Father courts me, He has courted me from the beginning even as I continued to give my attention, my mind, my body, my soul to people who did not deserve it. He pursued me relentlessly. I didn’t recognize Him, I shut Him out, gave Him the cold shoulder, but all the while He pursued me and finally I realized it was Him that I was looking for. He was the one who loves me unconditionally despite all my mistakes, my flaws and my shortcomings. I was not an option for Christ, He willingly chose me, He chose to love me, to save me, to give His life for me! No love on this earth can compare to His! Why you ask? His love is unfailing, His love is consistent. His love is true. His love gives life. His love gives strength. His love comforts. His love is not based on feelings, its unconditional! There is no greater feeling than being covered in His love and knowing that He is persistently pursuing me.
How has God pursued you?

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Don’t Become a Human Sinkhole

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Sinkholes are quite an intense phenomenon, I’ve never seen one up close and personal but I’m always intrigued by how they happen. From what I understand a sinkhole happens when the resources that are underground slowly begin to dry up and the surface of soil starts to lose its support and because of this everything begins to cave in leaving a huge, terrifying hole.

This made me think about how we can easily become human sinkholes! Sometimes in our faith walk we get to a place where we are only doing for God and not being with God. We serve, we talk about God, and we might even pull out our Bibles from time to time to make ourselves feel like we’ve done our “duty” as Christians. We begin to pull on our own strength, thinking we can handle it all, but slowly our foundation begins to get weak. We aren’t spending time with Him, and continuously growing in our relationship with Him. On the outside we look like we’re doing fine but we’re losing our source, our support, the Father and slowly everything begins to cave in and then we’re left with this void (hole).

I want to encourage you today to focus on what’s inside or underneath the surface! Keep feeding your soul, keep sitting at the feet of the father and allow Him to replenish you and strengthen you. Let’s not become human sinkholes. Keep seeking His face.

I waited patiently for the LORD. He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire. He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God (Psalm 40:1-3, NIV).

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Boring Faith Story?

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Can I be transparent? Whenever I hear other people’s testimonies about coming to Christ I am just in awe of their stories I would think to myself after hearing a powerful testimony “That was powerful, God really moved in their life”. Then I would begin to think about my spiritual journey and well- I thought it was quite boring. I felt like I didn’t have this elaborate story of change and transformation. I began to question whether or not I was really saved because I hadn’t had this dramatic event happen in my life. I thought “Am I really a Christian if something extreme hasn’t happened that made me turn to God?” I didn’t grow up in church, I had a pretty good upbringing with a great family, so what was it? How had God shown up in my life? Then God showed me. I ran across an old journal from when I was around 14 or 15 years old and what I found really surprised me.

I opened that journal where I used to write poems and it was riddled with the ups and downs of “love”, searching for identity and very low self esteem. I don’t know if I just never acknowledged that I had low self esteem or blocked it out of my memory but I was baffled by the things I had written and how hard I was on my self. I’m in my head talking back to the words I see, thinking “No babygirl, you are fearfully and wonderfully made” “Your identity is found in Christ not your looks, a boy,or what other people say about you” I was getting frustrated with this girl and then it hit me. Although there wasn’t a big event that initially made me come to into relationship with Him, my taking a step towards God allowed Him to develop my identity in Him step by step.

God rescued me from a life of feeling less than, the girl who wrote those poems could have went down a very different path, a lot of things could have hit her life and she may have allowed herself to be mistreated because of her lack of self esteem and who knows where she would be now.But GOD! He kept me, He covered me. When I submitted to Him and learned what it means to be in relationship with Him is where I learned who I was in Christ, step by step and day after day God wrapped His arms around me even when I tried to fight Him, when I submitted to Him I no longer worried about getting validation from the world, a guy or anyone else, I turned away from what I thought made me who I was and embraced the One who made me who I was.

All the while I was looking for an outward event that marked my transformation, but it was what God did and continues to do internally that shows me the transformation I’ve made. He helped me to see myself the way that He saw me. I could not imagine my life without Him being the center of it! I’m so grateful that He loves me, (despite all the reasons I don’t deserve it) so much that He met me right where I was and gently breathed life and identity into me!

I wanted to share this to encourage you. There may be some of you who feel like your story isn’t worth being told. NOT TRUE! Encounters and relationship with God vary amongst all of us. I think that’s the beauty of it all, God loves us all, but He knows us so well that He knows how He communicates and teaches me is going to different than how He does with you, but at the end of the day He loves us, and your story is important. So don’t be afraid to share it!

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Adjust Your Perspective

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I am a Snapchat queen! I love that app! I think being able to record 10 second videos or photos that can be like a mini movie is awesome! I don’t know why I needed to tell you that, well I guess it sets up the back story! Just flow with me here! Anyhow, I woke up this morning and when I opened my eyes my glasses were laying next to me and I thought it looked cool against the polka dots on my pillowcase, so I opened Snapchat and took a picture, and then it made me think about our view or lens when we deal with things in our lives and how it’s often different from God’s view.

Your job is laying people off and you will be without a job. How do you react? Do you go into panic mode, wondering how you will provide for yourself?

Your doctor has informed you that you have a disease that is threatening your life? How do you react?

Well when that job loses YOU, put your hope in the Lord and know that He is your source and He will sustain you!

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

When the doctor tells you, you’re sick don’t claim defeat in that moment. Be proactive about whatever sickness you’re dealing with, gain knowledge about it and go to battle! He is a healer and He has the power to heal your body.

But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

We have to learn to look at the events that happen in our lives from God’s perspective. When everything seems out-of-order, go to His word, go to Him in prayer, worship and praise Him! Don’t allow the things of this world to rule your life and have the final verdict on your life! Get a new perspective and ask Him to show you things through His lens.

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Are You Looking For Him?

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Last year I was preparing for a trip to Chicago. I was so excited because I hadn’t been since I was in middle school and I was going with my sister, cousin and friends! Two days before the trip all of my excitiment was gone and I was panicking! Why?  Well, I paid for basically everything on my debit card and I was required to present the card at check in and I realized I lost my card!

When I realized my card was missing I was at work and I immediately stopped everything to step out of my office and figure this all out! I was out to eat the night before so I called the restaurant to see if I had left it. Nothing. I started to get anxious, I searched my purse at least 5 times and called home to see if someone saw it. I couldn’t focus at work, I knew the trip would be ruined if I couldn’t find it and finally my sister called and said she found it in my room and I could breathe easy and get on with the rest of my day.

This incident got me thinking, do we search for God like this? We all know that God is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient, but how often do we intentionally seek and search for Him in our everyday lives?

We lose alone time with God, we lose our time studying the Word but how often does missing these intimate moments make you stop what you’re doing? It often gets brushed to the side as something we can come back to later. After the incident with the card it convicted me to take a step back and look at how I sometimes get so busy and focused on other things that my alone time with the Lord gets overlooked. I don’t know about you but when I don’t spend time with the Lord my day is not as good. Small things irritate me, things go wrong, and its really chaotic at times! We get so focused on everything we have to do and everything we need, that we forget God. Matthew 6:33 tells us, But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. When we make God a priority FIRST and not an afterthought every thing you need will be added to your life!

How are you seeking the Lord today?

I love you, and Jesus loves you more!

 

 

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While They Can Still Smell Them…(Roses)

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Everyday we wake up, we go through our routines. We go to school, go to work, drive around hang out with friends, and more likely than not we receive text messages from friends. Often we are so busy and caught up in our day that we forget to respond to the person, or decide that a response can wait.

On Saturday October 1,2011 I received a text from a good friend of three years that read:

“ I really like you, I want to get to know you more and possibly pursue a relationship.”

We talked to each other often and saw each other throughout the week while at work or just on campus. I read this message and was surprised by it because this entire time I had no clue that he had felt this way, I needed time to think about how I wanted to respond to that because I had never really thought about it and I didn’t want to ruin a good friendship if things didn’t work out. Sunday passed, Monday passed, and on Tuesday October 4, 2011, I received a text message from my cousin that my friend suddenly died playing basketball at the campus recreation center. I thought “ No way, he just wrote me the other day and I saw him driving around campus in the security van. I went onto his facebook and saw all the wall post ‘R.I.P’ was plastered on his wall over and over again. Immediately my heart sunk to the floor, so many things ran through my head “How did he die?” “He was so young” “I never got to respond to him”.

That night as I tossed and turned in my bed I wrote him back, I knew he would never see it but I wrote him back to tell him exactly how I felt and I never really knew how much I cared about him until he wasn’t around anymore. During the first week after he passed I was a complete emotional wreck. It was hard going to work because that was the last place I saw him in person, and every time a campus security car rides into the parking lot near my job, I longed for him to step out of it and walk across the lot and into my office with a smile on his face.

He had such a kind spirit, he left a great impression with all those he came in contact with. I remember a particular post written about him that will stick with me forever “He was taken away from us by the very thing we all loved him for- an enlarged heart.”  He had such a great impact on my life and even though only for a short while I am glad to have known him, call him a friend and to have shared the memories that we did. There will never be a day that goes by that I won’t think of him.

I shared this particular story to encourage you not to wait until someone is gone before you express how you feel about them or what you think about them. If someone is a great friend, tell them. If you love someone, tell them. If you think someone is a great role model, tell them. If you think your parents are amazing, tell them. There is nothing wrong with being honest about what you feel. Don’t take advantage of the fact that someone is here and you have time to tell them this or that. Tell them right now, while they can still smell the roses.

For Shane 1990-2011

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Worth More Than…

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Recently I’ve felt very strongly about how the world puts outward beauty and fame on such a high pedestal. It truly makes my heart hurt when I see women and young girls who focus so much on being this ideal image that the world portrays. Their worth is in the clothes they wear, the car they drive, the length of their hair or the number of men they have drooling over their assets.

I mean this has gone on for ages but it seems like today the role models that young girls and women have are far from what true womanhood should represent. Girls think of Rhianna, Kim Kardashian, and Nicki Minaj as someone to model their lives after and when asked why, the answers are “She’s just a bad chick” or “She’s killin everybody in the game” or “She got a ton of money and doesn’t care about nothing” the answers are never “She is passionate about youth and devotes time to her local community” or “Her character seems awesome and her morals and values are something to be admired” or “She uses the position she’s in to uplift women and be an example to all watching her”

Why are these rarely reasons that people are admired?

I feel like women are finding their identity in material things and outward appearance. If you stripped away all the beautiful clothing, the weave, nice hairstyles, the make up, the curling irons, the jewelry what’s left? Don’t become so blinded by looking amazing on the outside when on the inside you’re not very attractive. I’m not saying don’t take care of yourself and look nice but don’t let your beauty and material things be what you find your identity in. The Bible tells us over and over and again that appearance and material things are not to be put on such a pedestal.

“Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord shall be praised.” Proverbs 31:30

“Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” 1 Peter 3:3-4

“She is clothed in strength and dignity..” Proverbs 31:25

“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” Proverbs 31:10

I could go on and on, but the message here is to encourage you to make sure that all the energy you put into looking nice and having the latest trends does not out weigh the energy that should go into developing your character and heart. YOU are a jewel in His crown which has nothing to do with your makeup and clothing but everything to do with your heart for Him and His heart for you!

I know this post was aimed at my sisters, but brothers you play a part in this as well encourage your sisters, cousins, nieces and female friends to develop that character and don’t allow physical beauty to become the only standard you use to determine if a woman is beautiful, look beyond the surface.

I love you and Jesus loves you more!

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