<![CDATA[The G.O.D Blog: Grace Overcomes Destruction - Blog]]>Wed, 27 Jan 2016 20:30:10 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Flint, Michigan Water Crisis: "But the water is bad, and the land unfruitful" II Kings 2:19¬†]]>Tue, 26 Jan 2016 21:21:27 GMThttp://graceovercomesdestruction.weebly.com/blog/flint-michigan-water-crisis-but-the-water-is-bad-and-the-land-unfruitful-ii-kings-21919 And the men of the city said unto Elisha, Behold, I pray thee, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord seeth: but the water is naught, and the ground barren. 20 And he said, Bring me a new cruse, and put salt therein. And they brought it to him. 21 And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, Thus saith the Lord, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land. 22 So the waters were healed unto this day, according to the saying of Elisha which he spake.
II Kings 2:19-22 (KJV)
PicturePhoto Courtesy of Atlanta Black Star
   ​In the midst of a very busy and exciting first week of spring semester, I had an overwhelming feeling of despair creep over me. The groaning of my spirit ached, not for myself, but for the ongoing tragedies of injustice. I asked God specifically about the federal state of emergency in Flint, Michigan. Thoughts of helplessness seeped into my often-optimistic worldview. What could I do? And is it true that “every little bit helps?”  My mind could not wrap around the water crisis, and how its effects were overlooked for years. I read countless reports where residents reported hair loss, skin rashes, and other unfortunate health concerns. Mixed emotions overflowed the brim of my brain and it began to affect my normal way of consolation. In lieu of my trying to have faith in the expectation of deliverance, sat my unfortunate disdain with seeing the calamity and not knowing where to start. In my whirlwind of internalizing the issue and prayer, God led me to 2 Kings 2:19-22, and I followed.  
   This narrative in the second book of Kings comes after a company of prophets realizes that the spirit of the Prophet Elijah has rested upon Elisha, his understudy. Elijah has been “taken” from Elisha, and he ascends into heaven rather than dying. However, before Elijah ascends, Elisha asks for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit (2 Kings 2:9).  I looked upon the text in admiration of Elisha for seeing the work that God did through Elijah, and wanting to do twice as much. His request reminds me of my peers, as they seek to make twofold as much of a change. Elisha was given his request, and was immediately put to work.
   Elisha was in the city of Jericho, and the people of that city who recognized his new anointing, came to him with an issue of their water. They explained to Elisha that “the location of the city is good,” or some translations even say, “the situation of the city is pleasant.” Then the people disclose that the water is bad, and the land is “barren” or unfruitful. It was strange to me that the people of Jericho were able to praise a place that seemed so broken and marred. However, gradually I began to see things from their eyes. Regardless of the unfortunate situation, it was their home. This is where they played together, learned from one another, and fixated on hope amongst each other. They didn’t need anyone to tell them that there was an issue in their land, they knew, and they sought to find a remedy.
   Elisha immediately asks for someone to bring him “a new bowl and put salt in it” When they brought his request to him he went to the water and threw salt into it. Afterwards, he proclaimed “Thus says the Lord, I have made this water wholesome; from now on neither death nor miscarriage shall come from it.” It stood out to me that Elisha specifically asked for a “new” bowl in order to hold the salt. Some would say that it was for the sake of ensuring that the salt was not tainted. My inclination is that the new bowl was representative of the alternative way that the spirit of God wanted to work through Elisha. Elisha asked to inherit a DOUBLE portion of Elijah’s anointing, not to become him. He knew that the approaching trials that would need solution would require an innovative approach to what Elijah previously taught him.
   Even more unnerving for me, was why Elisha chose to use salt for the sake of making the water wholesome. But I am reminded of a very familiar scripture in Matthew 5:13 where Jesus Christ proclaims, “YOU are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.” We are salt, the reform, preserving the world from the careless injustices, and corruption. Guided by the Holy Spirit, and walking in truth, we are the provokers of change. Through God’s power, by our hands, we can heal and help this land. Our land.
   If you would like to participate in the movement for change, and contribute to the efforts to help the residents of Flint, Michigan there are various ways to get involved. You can purchase a t-shirt from greaterlifeapparel.com (an image of the shirt is shown below). The proceeds of each shirt will go to the United Way of Genesee County for support services and prevention efforts in Flint. Additionally, you can go to gofundme.com/BethelFlintRelief to donate however much you can in the efforts to supply 300 families with water filters. God bless you! Shalom!

<![CDATA[Kingdom Dating: S.W.P Single's Conference ]]>Thu, 16 Oct 2014 20:00:02 GMThttp://graceovercomesdestruction.weebly.com/blog/kingdom-dating-swp-singles-conferencePicture
"I'm just a thirsty sinner, who found a living well," Joseph Solomon declared, as he looked out into the crowd of young adults staring back at him. Some were very single, others in committed relationships, and many were in between the two. However, everyone was looking for an answer from God. An air of anxiousness, and worship was in the air from the praise and worship team that preceded Joseph speaking. But everyone was yearning, you could feel the desire to learn more move from person to person in the room, regardless of their situation. 

I was beside myself with excitement to meet Joseph Solomon because I'd actually come in contact with his Youtube channel entitled ChaseGodTv. Not only is he a talented orator, but a poet and singer. I looked forward to seeing those many God given gifts manifest in person. 

Joseph started off coming from I Corinthians 7:17-24, where the apostle Paul was speaking to the Church of God in Corinth, or the Corinthian Christians. In this chapter Paul sought to clear up some things about marriage. This particular excerpt speaks in reference to being aware of your "assignment." No matter what particular season you're in God can and will use you. Instead of thinking that God is waiting on a particular place to use us, we have to be reminded that He can use us right now. Whether we are single, courting, or married, we have to walk in the place that we are in right now. 

For the sake of the occasion, and because it was a single's conference, Joseph focused on explaining singleness to the audience. "Singleness is not a curse!" He exclaimed. "You were called to be single at this particular time." He cross referenced into I Thessalonians 4, which speaks of living a holy life in order to please God. "As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus." (I Thessalonians 4:1). We should be seeking how to control our own bodies, and thoroughly loving our brothers and sisters in Christ. This includes taking advantage of one another, and being overly dependent. We tend to idolize both independence and dependence, and fail to find that happy medium. If we are too dependent we find ourselves more attached to people than we are to God. And if we idolize our independence we get in the mindset of not wanting to answer to anyone, and living an isolated or lonesome lifestyle. Neither independence or dependence are unsatisfactory, BUT the idolatry of them turns them unholy, and often times toxic. 

Jesus empathizes with us because while here on earth He was single. But, He also found himself surrounded with His twelve disciples. We have to understand the importance of community, as Jesus did. Having a community of believers to guide us and hold us accountable is important in our walk. Many times we will find ourselves wanting to react out of emotion. God sends us prayer and CERTAIN people in order to help us see things in a holy way. Titus 2 explains to us how young men and women should learn from older women and men. And the relatioship should go vice versa, so that no man or woman is ommitted, but lifted. We should be seeking people out to share Jesus with! Man's chief end is to glorify God, and ENJOY him. So we have to be mindful not to sulk, or be envious of others in their season. But we can no longer waste time, there are disciples to be made! 

"17 Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches."
(I Corinthians 7:17)
<![CDATA[Are We Serving God Our Leftovers?]]>Tue, 09 Sep 2014 17:06:25 GMThttp://graceovercomesdestruction.weebly.com/blog/are-we-serving-god-our-leftoversAnother of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” 10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. 12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.”
(John 6:8-12)
   I smiled at my friend sitting across from me enjoying Sunday dinner on a Tuesday afternoon. "Food is always better the second or third day you eat it," she said in between chews. I guess it was extremely convenient, not having to cook anything during the mid-week that is. I can't say that I don't enjoy my mother's hearty spaghetti warmed up on the stove maybe two or three days later.

   Even when Jesus fed five thousand people in John 6:12 , he told the disciples to
 "Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted." However, if we read in the beginning of that same chapter, we'll find a little boy with a mere five pieces of bread and two small fish. But when asked for his food, the boy was willing to give what he had. The bible tells us that "Passover," a feast of the Jews, was near. Therefore the young man must have been preparing to eat but came to see Jesus. Although there were thousands of people around him, the boy trusted Jesus and gave what he had. 

   The most remarkable thing to me is that Jesus went to this young boy. Out of five thousand men, He used the little food that the boy had, and made a surplus amount. The boy was faithful in little (Matthew 25:23), and God filled all of their bellies. God looks to do the same with us. With our praise, worship, gifts, and faithfulness, God would like to FILL US UP. But He would also like to use us to feed the numbers of people around us dying from starvation. Those that are so malnourished and haven't quite been equipped with the same qualities. If we are willing, we can be made into vessels! We can be treasure chests filled to the brim with all of those fruits of the spirit. 

   In order to honor God's glory we must give the best of our lives. Before God we should lay sacrifices that any dignitary would be honored to even lay eyes on. We can not get comfortable with giving Him the leftovers of our lives. Giving God what we really do not need or want, actually is not giving at all. So lets take notes from the young boy who gave what he had, or even Mary who anointed Jesus' feet with the most costly oil she had (John 12:3). God bless you! Happy giving! Love you. 

<![CDATA[Why Are You Being So Sensitive?]]>Fri, 22 Aug 2014 18:00:25 GMThttp://graceovercomesdestruction.weebly.com/blog/why-are-you-being-so-sensitiveI will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.
(Ezekiel 11:19) PicturePhoto Courtesy of Pastorsponderings.org
   "Man, I didn't know you were that sensitive. You tried to play like the big bad wolf before," he said through the other end of the phone receiver. I had the mind to object, and accuse him of being "sensitive." I hated that word. Hated it. I was strong, not "sensitive," I could handle anything. He sounded like I'd really revealed another side of myself, someone he didn't know. And to be honest with you, I don't think he knew who I was either. There was a time where my poker face was my greatest attribute, because I could fake smile, and nonchalantly get out of any uncomfortable situation. But when he said that, all I could do was say "I  guess I am that sensitive."

   I'd thoroughly endured a transformation, and experienced something I'd been frightened of....vulnerability. God gave me the chance to trust Him with my heart, and I took the opportunity. Therefore my heart began to change. No longer could I say or just accept whatever someone wanted me to. You see, when we decide to give our lives over to God in our conscience rests the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit helps us to gauge between what is right and what is wrong. As believers we have to let God soften our hearts so that we can be "SPIRITUALLY SENSITIVE" to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. We need a heart that is sensitive to God's every touch, and His still, small voice. 

   In Ezekiel 11:19 God promises to give us a new spirit. He also says that a heart of flesh will replace our once hardened heart. So all of those unfortunate past experiences, insecure struggles, and heedless moments that have created barriers around our hearts will be removed. No longer will we have to be subject to pretending, but instead understanding that there is nothing wrong with being compassionate, kind, and hopeful. 

   We are given the opportunity of a lifetime, to actually feel and understand how our fellow brothers and sisters do. But, this is not just any sort of feeling, but one that allows an experience beyond just us. The magnitude of the empathy that we can feel can be outrageous! In 2 Corinthians 1: 3-4 the bible says "3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God." 
   So what am I saying? Be all soft and sensitive? Let people walk all over you? No. I am telling you that there is nothing wrong with being sensitive. Hardhearted people not only hurt themselves but other people. God wants you to be transformed with a heart of flesh. A heart that feels, and understands that anything that threatens it will be stopped by God. He's the security guard of a lifetime! Love you guys! God bless! 

<![CDATA[A Garden of Righteousness By: Susan Sampson]]>Sun, 17 Aug 2014 01:59:24 GMThttp://graceovercomesdestruction.weebly.com/blog/a-garden-of-righteousness-by-susan-sampson
"A Garden of Righteousness"

By: Susan Sampson, Thistlebend Ministries

Now is the time, now is the season;
For the glory of God, that is the reason.
Now is the time, time to uproot;
The sin in our heart, that we may bear fruit.

Our hearts are dry and crusty ground;
Nothing of beauty is there to be found.
Weeds of selfishness, laziness and pride abound,
Nothing worthy of a crown.

Lord, this is certainly not your vision;
This dry and ugly weed-infested garden.
A well-watered garden is your perfect plan.
The display of your splendor to show all of man.
Father, help me, I can't do this alone;
Look at all of the weeds that have grown.

Please help me break up the ground of my heart.
Yes - the word of God is where to start.
For God's words are the seeds I now must sow;
Yet it is only God who can make things grow.

I must sow the word in my heart and mind;
And meditate on God's law day and night.
I must plant in my heart seeds of righteousness;
The Lord will bring the beautiful harvest.

We will reap the fruit of unfailing love
If we don't grow weary or give up.
Like a well-watered garden our hearts will be;
Like a spring whose water runs so free.

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life;
Oaks of righteousness for His delight.
So seek first His righteousness and plant those seeds;
Cry out to your Father in true humility.

The reward will be so fragrant and sweet
Beautiful blossoms - love, joy and peace!
Praise be to the One who alone can grow!
Praise be to the Lord -

For the crop He has grown;
A hundred times more than what was sown! 
<![CDATA[Coming Out of The Closet...]]>Thu, 14 Aug 2014 06:36:34 GMThttp://graceovercomesdestruction.weebly.com/blog/coming-out-of-the-closetPicturePhoto courtesy of Smithmag.net
   In our culture "Coming out of the closet" is a phrase predominately used in reference to a homosexual man or woman coming out of hiding in regards to their sexual preference. However, when I hear it, I think of an entirely different closet. A closet filled to the brim with rags of memories and old worn out excuses. A closet that for me allowed the misconception that everything was prim and perfect, when in reality behind those doors were dark thoughts, and a grim past. 

   The 40-day devotional that I finished today challenged me to take a "Heart Inventory." Now I know you're probably thinking that seems pretty easy right? All you have to do is figure out what's in your heart right?? I thought it was going to be that accessible too. No, not in the least bit. It required me to ask to be made uncomfortable and revealed completely. This unveiling divulged so much so that I could see those ugly parts of myself. The parts that I had conveniently decorated with potted flowers and sprayed with fine perfumes, were no longer as pretty. There were people that I needed to forgive, and chains that needed to be broken. So there I was... "Coming out of the Closet." 

   My closet was pretty hidden, and I have to give myself a great deal of credit for hiding it so well. But, I also look at it and wonder what I'd done. I'd been harboring this vault of shame, defeat, insecurity, and fear. I'd masked it with pseudo-laughter, and half smiles. My mind could not rest, I could not sleep, and I was not eating... Yet, I still was living life like everything was okay. It made me wonder if I'd just let go of all of that how free I would actually feel. So I asked to be healed, set free, and delivered. 

   We live in a society that promotes the ideal of not showing feelings, and vulnerability being a weakness. However,  2 Corinthians 3:18 says "And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." So with an unconcealed heart and transparent smiles we become that much closer to Christ. We are able to transform into His image because we are no longer entangled in the thorns of our own. Our own tattered, prideful image is what keeps us so stagnant. 

   So in the midst of trying to somehow figure out why I was not happy I found the key to ultimate joy. I just so happened to "stumble" across it, and I pray that you allow God the chance to do the same for you. The next time you hear the phrase "Coming out of the Closet," don't just equate it to what the world thinks it is. Take the time today to open up that heart and come out of your closet, so that you can let Him in. The unveiling is worth it ! Love you guys! God bless you! 

"Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead," (Phillippians 3:13-14)
<![CDATA[Am I Mad at God?]]>Tue, 12 Aug 2014 16:28:54 GMThttp://graceovercomesdestruction.weebly.com/blog/am-i-mad-at-god1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? 2 O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent. 3 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel. 4 In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. 5 They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed. 6 But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people.
(Psalm 22: 1-6) PicturePhoto courtesy of In This Moment
   I slammed my fist against the wall and my entire body begin to shake. My voice had escalated to a yell, and my hands were trembling. "GOD, WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?!" I wailed through frustrated lips with my eyes still closed, and my heart beating in my ears. Before I knew it, my legs grew weak, and I slid down to my knees. My voice still rung in my ears. I was mad at God, and I wanted him to know it. 

   My plans did not work out, and I felt as though I'd fallen flat on my face. I'd been the one praying, and fasting... Yet, it seemed as though God had overlooked me and forgotten that I was in need of a blessing. Nothing was going my way, and I could not take that. My God! I'm supposed to be in New York living in the big city, fulfilling the internship of my dreams. I felt like He'd put the dream at the very tip of my fingers and snatched it away. NOTHING was going my way. 

   In the midst of my anger I began to feel guilty for being mad at Him. Then I remembered how David must have felt when he asked God "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" in Psalm 22. David was greatly favored in God's eyesight, and he still found himself blinded by his anger towards Him. But as I continued to read Psalm 22, in verses 22-31 I find David rejoicing and praising God. David had a moment of insecurity and doubt, he complained to God, but then he realized exactly who he served. 

   So I had a decision to make. Either I was going to be angry with God and stand in offense because of what was happening...or I could trust Him anyway, and praise Him despite my emotions. While kneeling there in my anger, somehow I still felt God's presence. He was listening to me, as I was honest with both Him and myself. I even recalled in Matthew 27 that Jesus spoke the same words as David. "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? That is to say, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46). 
   The flesh causes bouts of doubt and pure unbelief.When we are angry we place a blockade between ourselves and God, and so we must let go of our pride and allow Him back in. The last thing that we want is a distancing between ourselves and someone we love... Further more, someone that loves US. We get angry, and God knows this, so He tells His people to "Anger, but sin not" (Ephesians 4:26). We are very human, and our flesh fights our spirit man daily. But we must allow ourselves to be submerged in faith, and trust God to ease the winds when the waves get too high. You will not be shaken by storms, and your feet are steady. God bless you! Love you!

<![CDATA[Deo Volente "God-Willing"]]>Sun, 20 Jul 2014 16:10:14 GMThttp://graceovercomesdestruction.weebly.com/blog/deo-volente-god-willingNow listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will,we will live and do this or that.”
James 4:13-15  (NIV)
Photo courtesy of Baildon Methodist Church
     Often times we find ourselves so confident in our plans that we ultimately forget about God's plan. But how can we understand the lesson in our battles now if we're continuously thinking about the strategics of the next fight? Deo Volente is a Latin phrase that translates to "God Willing." In saying this ultimately we give ourselves a fighting chance. Even though life does get crazy sometimes, it instills hope and reminds us that our trust rests with God. "This is what I would like to happen, God, my father is it okay with you/is it in your will?" Is what we are ultimately saying. 
     We get so caught up in trying to manage parts of our lives that we have yet to even be properly trained for. Our present time is spent planning tomorrow! How crazy does that sound? I am a repeat offender of this, trying to supervise my own life. That was me..feeling pressurized by false senses of following God's will, while I'm actually trying to make my own way. Wasting the very root of today forgetting to just "be" and allowing the pressures of "time" to rule. As children of God we have already been promised a life of abundance! "And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work" (2 Corinthians 9:8). 

     I pray an abundance of hope, overflowing amounts of joy, and a new cultivated mindset into each and everyone of your lives. You're going to accomplish all that God has instilled in you, and conquer all battles. 
Deo Volente. 
<![CDATA[Thoughts in Solitude, a Prayer From Thomas Merton]]>Wed, 09 Jul 2014 16:30:51 GMThttp://graceovercomesdestruction.weebly.com/blog/thoughts-of-solitude-a-prayer-from-thomas-merton
Photo courtesy of: thomasmerton.eu/en
My mentor shared this prayer with me a few days ago, and it really spoke into my season. I'm hoping that it will do the same for you: 
“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”
― Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude
<![CDATA[Who are We Pleasing?]]>Mon, 07 Jul 2014 18:23:50 GMThttp://graceovercomesdestruction.weebly.com/blog/who-are-we-pleasing35 She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” So she named him Judah. Then she stopped having children. 
Genesis 29:35 (NIV)
   I saw the hurt in her eyes, as she quickly moved her gaze from mine. "It wasn't supposed to happen like this," she said half to me and the other half as though she was trying to convince herself. I looked back up and caught her eyes with my own. It felt like I knew her so well. Her helplessness pinched at my nerves... I could relate. She is the young woman in the Bible named Leah. 

   Now in the book of Genesis, chapter 29, we meet a young woman by the name of Leah, the eldest daughter of Laban. A man by the name of Jacob came to his Uncle Laban's land to find a wife and fell in love with his youngest daughter Rachel. However in the uncle's custom the oldest daughter is given away before the youngest . Jacob did not love Leah but he respected his uncle's customs and really wanted Rachel so he "dealt with" Leah . God saw that Leah was not being loved and so he let her bare a child . 

   Her first born was named "Reuben" because she felt as though this first child would make her husband love her. The second child was named Simeon . Along with this child she was still focusing on not being loved. Then her third son came and she named him Levi , thinking that her husband would see all the namesakes she's bore for him and he would love her finally. 

   Then Leah bore her last son , who she named Judah which means "To Praise" in Hebrew. She named him this because she wanted to praise God for her blessings and all that he'd given her. 

   Often times we get caught up with attempting to please man, and forget the root of our blessing while struggling to get them to notice us . God does not bless us for man to notice us but instead so that we can know that he has not forgotten his promises. His love is unconditional and is not designed based on what we can do for Him . Instead he would like to do for us. He would like to birth a fruitful baby from the very depths of our souls, despite those who have neglected to love us. We are given many chances and eventually Leah understood where her love was to come from, and so did I.

   Let's keep our eyesight on all those things that God has manifested in our life. We have to train our minds not to be measured by the flawed eyesight of man. God bless you! and Love you!