02 August 2016

Igniting your Imagination to fulfill your Vision-- Guest writer Mrs.Ruby Leak

“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision”. -Helen Keller
“Sight is a function of the eyes, but vision is a function of the heart”. -Myles Munroe
     
A simple definition of vision is the ability to see; sight or eyesight; something that you imagine; a picture that you see in your mind; something that you see or dream especially as part of a religious or supernatural experience.  (Merriam Webster) We must seek God’s divine revelation for our predestined vision and look within our hearts to discover the equipping tools which He has given us with to fulfill vision. God knows the thoughts and the plans that He has for each of our lives, and they are plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us a hope and a future.  His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. 

     As God begins to reveal “the vision” we must take action to get the vision from the invisible (the image, picture you see in your mind) to the visible.  Before I had any clue that I would one day move to Atlanta, Georgia, I had a revelation or inclination from God.  He revealed to me that He was going to prosper me and do great things in my life.  One evening as I was washing dishes in my home in Texas, singing and praising Him, He whispered to me and said, “I am going to make you great”.  Just like Sarah, I laughed.  And I begin to ask God how, when, what, and why?  However, knowing that God is Sovereign, I took Him at his word.  God continued to remind me of His word and His promise to me and He begin to whisper specific details to me in regard to my vision in 2012.   Immediately, the lightbulb came on and I got the revelation regarding a vision called GrandLade, one of the many visions God has given me. 

      Vision is somewhat like a puzzle because you put it together one piece at a time. God does not give us the full vision all at once and I believe that it’s because we really can’t handle the full vision all at once.  As I begin to walk out the directives and pursue the process God gave me, my vision started to become a reality and today GrandLade is a trademark brand and is worn by many women.  I still believe it will spread even further and wider someday just as God revealed to me.   
Purpose and vision work hand in hand and Myles Munroe tells us, “When purpose is not known, abuse is inevitable and Purpose is when you know and understand what you were born to accomplish. Vision is when you see it in your mind and begin to imagine it.” And Bishop T.D. Jakes says, “If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion.  For your passion will lead you right into your purpose.”

     Accordingly, I desire to encourage you to discover your purpose and God will begin to give you vision.  As you to first seek God for divine revelation, write the vision and act upon what you have written.  If you’re not taking steps towards your vision, begin to take a step each day towards the fulfilling of your vision. Yes, you will have some ups and downs, but keep moving.  Yes, there will be moments when it seems as if all hell is breaking loose, but keep moving.  One of my GrandLade T-Shirts read, “reNventN, reDfineN…Me which means to reinvent and redefine yourself from the inside out—looking within your heart; discovering your passions that will awaken your God given purpose; there will be a time where you will have to do just that. Just as I seek God daily for fresh revelation for the next steps in my purpose and vision, I incite you to do the same.  And I end this blog with a quote from an unknown author and a familiar scripture from Habakkuk 2:2-3 (Good News Translation). Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart.  Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside awakens”.The Lord gave me this answer: “Write down clearly on tablets what I reveal to you, so that it can be read at a glance.  Put it in writing quickly, and what I show you will come true.  It may seem slow in coming, but wait for it; it will certainly take place, and it will not be delayed!

I want to thank our network sister Mrs. Ruby Evans Leak for being a guest writer.  Next month, she will lead our link up in August and we will complete a vision board with a new vision or one that we are currently working on. “Vision Boards absolutely work; you have to have a vision and plan to execute so that every step moves you in that vision” – Oprah Winfrey  This vision board will be a tool used to help clarify, concentrate and maintain focus on a specific life goal.  It’s a powerful visualization tool representing your goals and dreams by pictures and inspirational phrases.  Vision Board help you focus on and achieve life goals that make you feel happy and fulfilled. Stay tuned for Network details date, time, and space so we can move forward.  And let me know if you are inspired to share in our blog space or at network link up.  

Thanks and love, Pastor Sonia Adams


09 July 2016

I don’t know if you will ever understand unless you walk in the shoes and life of a black person!

I don’t know if you will ever understand unless you walk in the shoes
and life of a black person!

I don’t know if you will ever understand unless you walk in the shoes and life of a black person or are willing to listen to our story and try to understand.  I am utterly dismayed at all the hatred and anger that has occurred with the killing of the two black young men and just as horrified with the killing of the Dallas police officers. On all levels, both were brutal, ignorant, and just plain wrong and painful to stomach.  But not only am I hurt about what has happened this past week and last few years but I also anguish over the years of oppression, slavery, injustice, and lack of civil rights. And this week it came to a head and exploded on both sides and I am just wondering how in the world did we get to this and how in God’s name do we move beyond this. I offer a few suggestions but first ask you to read and empathize with me as a black person living in America!

First, let me say why I say you may never understand.  “Black lives matter” is not just a catchy slogan that started what some call a hate group or maybe it was historically started by a black female who shared her thoughts with a hashtag after a murder of another black male but it has even far and greater reaching depths. Those words reach back to slavery, to lynching, to us not being able or given the opportunity to read, write, our families being separated, our women being raped, and our men being emasculated, disrespected, and killed and humiliated as black men. Being told we are apes, second class citizens, not able to vote, left out of history books, not given credit for inventions or entrepreneurship ideas, being tokens in experiments like the Tuskegee experiment or Henrietta Lacks, not able to eat in established restaurants, not able to have equal rights in the justice system, in the school system and having to march for freedom.  Seeing our civil rights leader get murdered before us.  Just to name a few. Our lives did not matter, we were just an X.  So you see our pain is deeper than 2016. It stems farther back and the spirits of anger, hatred, and murder have haunted us for years and to say just get over and move on is not the solution.

I was born in 1968 in Griffin, GA while my mother was carrying me, she had to sit in an all black waiting area where she was not allowed to sit among whites. This separation told her she was different, not good enough, her life and the life of her child was a second thought and regulated her and other blacks to feel humiliated and demoralized. And this was just 48 yrs. ago. Both my mom and my dad participated in the civil right movements. My mom participated in the sit ins in Atlanta where she is from and my dad helped curb racial divides in the city of Griffin.  Not too mention the things that my grandparents and great parents suffered. And though I was in her womb when she sat in that all black waiting room, I had no idea her pain and her injustice, but it seeped in my spirit and bled through her womb and touched my heart.  I have experienced racism, injustice in small ways growing up in Griffin and seen systematic racism in a county who refused colleges, malls, and other progressive things in our city to keep the textile mills in Griffin filled with black high school drop outs and graduates. I have spoken out throughout my life and as a clergy been told to be politically correct and not divisive. And that has never been my motive to divide but to bring awareness, cultural sensitivity, and provoke others to understand our pain so healing can come. So I write this to say, “can you empathize, can you feel our pain, can you see why we are saying “Black lives matter”? Do you see us?  We are not apes, hoodlums, or an untamed people. We are intelligent, God-fearing moms, dads, sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, nieces, cousins, fellow citizens, doctors, lawyers, teachers, nurses, rappers, entertainers, basketball and football players, and yes police officers but our pain is still here and unfortunately so is racism and sometimes it is overt and other times is not even known or naively present. 

So how do we move from our past and bring healing to our present. First, some need to acknowledge our pain without deemphasizing it and admit that there is problem. And yes black America, we must also acknowledge that we have anger, un-forgiveness, and spiritual trauma that we MUST overcome. Our rhetoric on both sides must be fair, truthful, caring, empathetic, culturally sensitive, cross-racially, and concerned. We must hear each other and it cannot be one sided. Then, we must move from our conversation to united action.

WE CANNOT KILL the very police force that is trying to protect us because of the few racist, bigots that are on the force nor generalize all police officers as bad because many of them are protecting and doing much good in our neighborhoods. In the same light, we cannot discount the lack of racial tolerance, unnecessary force, and murder that is dis-apportionately happening to our black men and in some cases women and boys and girls by some officers. Nor generalize all black as bad! There is work to do on both sides and guilt and error on both sides. It is wrong to demoralize our president when he speaks to the truths of what is a truth in America and something that we have yet to overcome. I don’t agree with everything he says and does, but as a black man, he understands and he deserves the respect, tolerance, and consideration as the President of the United States that all presidents are given whether we agree with his policies or not. He is not inciting racism but understanding our pain and speaking to it. And yes, it is systemic racism and yes there are many blacks who have hatred, anger, bitterness, resentment, and racism in their hearts as well. But we know two wrongs don’t make it right.  

So how do we move from here? I don’t know all the answers but I only share a few solutions that are in front of me.  First thank you to those who have acknowledged our pain and injustice(s). Yes, my white counter parts and friends who in light of all the rhetoric have seen past that and empathized with us because of what we’ve gone through and what is happening in our communities. My denominational superintendent has done so and for that I am grateful.  And there lies one solution, there should be a solidarity in our reaching solutions and an ability to hear each other, understand each other, and work together to acknowledge wrong and move forward with what can be right.

Secondly, in some light, some blacks are acting totally out of character but no sensitivity is given to the fact that we are impoverished, uneducated, and marginalized. This does not justify nor give an excuse to what that young black man did in Dallas nor any senseless heinous crime whether committed towards others or those within our own communities. It identifies a problem that we need to fix. Likewise, so does the murder of too many black young men by police. This identifies yet another problem that we need to fix.  I do not think we should look to others to fix our communities but we must also take responsibility for our brokenness, our crime rates, drugs, fatherlessness, and all the ills that our communities are facing and become a people who will do our part to make a difference in helping to bring transformation and change in our communities. Spiritually, we must destroy the principalities, spirits, generational curses and strongholds that plague our communities and do it with prayer and God led action. When we refuse to hear and acknowledge our past and the injustices of our present, it leaves black people feeling hopeless, impoverished, lack of identity, and without purpose, promise or hope. In some ways because we have been lynched and beaten in the past, we've never fully recovered and unfortunately, the pain of it is manifesting in us killing each other, drugs and the ills I mentioned before.


Thirdly, as Christians we can reach across cultural lines to reach into the depth of this pain to bring change! Some are already doing so but more of us need to. These murders happened to these two black men with their children in the background either seeing or hearing this live or on video and then the cops getting killed in Dallas and Louisana.  It is a tragedy of unsurmountable proportions that has happened in our nation and one horrific act does not trump the other. Where there is hatred and hurt, pain and injustice, we all need to acknowledge it and do our part by building relationships and building bridges! It is a tragedy of unsurmountable proportions what is happening in our nation and one horrific act does not trump the other. We should not take one side or the other- there is ONE position—Love and care for ALL HUMANITY! These tragedies should be waking all of us up: black white, Hispanic, Asian, Jew, Gentile, Gay, Straight, Muslim or whatever—we need to have tolerance and love for each other and begin to help make change in our communities. It is a heart problem and God’s love is the one thing that breaks down the walls, restores hope, transforms men both black and white, acknowledges the past and present sins of our forefathers and moves us to bring reconciliation and restoration of people across all sides. When we walk where others have walked, get in the trenches with them, build relationships, gain trust, stop systematic injustice, see each other’s pain, look past the present manifestation and look deeper at the root of the problems and touch lives one soul, one community, and one day at a time as a collective human race, we will begin to see some healing and change. We are His agents in the earth and we must find our place and do our part to be a part of the solution and not the problems.

My thoughts

I don’t know if you will ever understand unless you walk in the shoes
and life of a black person!

I don’t know if you will ever understand unless you walk in the shoes and life of a black person or are willing to listen to our story and try to understand.  I am utterly dismayed at all the hatred and anger that has occurred with the killing of the two black young men and just as horrified with the killing of the Dallas police officers. On all levels, both were brutal, ignorant, and just plain wrong and painful to stomach.  But not only am I hurt about what has happened this past week and last few years but I also anguish over the years of oppression, slavery, injustice, and lack of civil rights. And this week it came to a head and exploded on both sides and I am just wondering how in the world did we get to this and how in God’s name do we move beyond this. I offer a few suggestions but first ask you to read and empathize with me as a black person living in America!

First, let me say why I say you may never understand.  “Black lives matter” is not just a catchy slogan that started what some call a hate group or maybe it was historically started by a black female who shared her thoughts with a hashtag after a murder of another black male but it has even far and greater reaching depths. Those words reach back to slavery, to lynching, to us not being able or given the opportunity to read, write, our families being separated, our women being raped, and our men being emasculated, disrespected, and killed and humiliated as black men. Being told we are apes, second class citizens, not able to vote, left out of history books, not given credit for inventions or entrepreneurship ideas, being tokens in experiments like the Tuskegee experiment or Henrietta Lacks, not able to eat in established restaurants, not able to have equal rights in the justice system, in the school system and having to march for freedom.  Seeing our civil rights leader get murdered before us.  Just to name a few. Our lives did not matter, we were just an X.  So you see our pain is deeper than 2016. It stems farther back and the spirits of anger, hatred, and murder have haunted us for years and to say just get over and move on is not the solution.

I was born in 1968 in Griffin, GA while my mother was carrying me, she had to sit in an all black waiting area where she was not allowed to sit among whites. This separation told her she was different, not good enough, her life and the life of her child was a second thought and regulated her and other blacks to feel humiliated and demoralized. And this was just 48 yrs. ago. Both my mom and my dad participated in the civil right movements. My mom participated in the sit ins in Atlanta where she is from and my dad helped curb racial divides in the city of Griffin.  Not too mention the things that my grandparents and great parents suffered. And though I was in her womb when she sat in that all black waiting room, I had no idea her pain and her injustice, but it seeped in my spirit and bled through her womb and touched my heart.  I have experienced racism, injustice in small ways growing up in Griffin and seen systematic racism in a county who refused colleges, malls, and other progressive things in our city to keep the textile mills in Griffin filled with black high school drop outs and graduates. I have spoken out throughout my life and as a clergy been told to be politically correct and not divisive. And that has never been my motive to divide but to bring awareness, cultural sensitivity, and provoke others to understand our pain so healing can come. So I write this to say, “can you empathize, can you feel our pain, can you see why we are saying “Black lives matter”? Do you see us?  We are not apes, hoodlums, or an untamed people. We are intelligent, God-fearing moms, dads, sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, nieces, cousins, fellow citizens, doctors, lawyers, teachers, nurses, rappers, entertainers, basketball and football players, and yes police officers but our pain is still here and unfortunately so is racism and sometimes it overt and other times is not even known or naively present. 

So how do we move from our past and bring healing to our present.  First, some need to acknowledge our pain without deemphasizing it and admit that there is systematic racism by some even if you are not a part of the problem. And yes black America, we must also acknowledge that we have anger, un-forgiveness, and spiritual trauma that we must overcome.  Our rhetoric on both sides must be fair, truthful, caring, empathetic, culturally sensitive, cross-racially, and concerned. We must hear each other and it cannot be one sided.  Then, we must move from our conversation to united action.

We cannot kill the very police force that is trying to protect us because of the few racist, bigots that are on the force nor generalize all police officers as bad. In the same light, we cannot discount the lack of racial tolerance, unnecessary force, and murder that is dis-apportionately happening to our black men and in some cases women and boys and girls.  There is work to do on both sides and guilt and error on both sides.  It is wrong to demoralize our president when he speaks to the truths of what is a truth in America and something that we have yet to overcome. I don’t agree with everything he says and does, but as a black man, he understands and he deserves the respect, tolerance, and consideration as the President of the United States that all presidents are given whether we agree with his policies or not. He is not inciting racism but understanding our pain and speaking to it. And yes, it is systemic racism and yes there are many blacks who have hatred, anger, bitterness, resentment, and racism in their hearts as well. But we know two wrongs don’t make it right.  

So how do we move from here? I don’t know all the answers but I only share a few solutions that are in front of me.  First thank you to those who have acknowledged our pain and injustice(s). Yes, my white counter parts and friends who in light of all the rhetoric have seen past that and empathized with us because of what we’ve gone through and what is happening in our communities. My denominational superintendent has done so and for that I am grateful.  And there lies one solution, there should be a solidarity in our reaching solutions and an ability to hear each other, understand each other, and work together to acknowledge wrong and move forward with what can be right.

Secondly, in some light, some blacks are acting totally out of character but no sensitivity is given to the fact that we are impoverished, uneducated, and marginalized. This does not justify nor give an excuse to what that young black man did in Dallas nor any senseless heinous crime whether committed towards others or those within our own communities. It identifies a problem that we need to fix. Likewise, so does the murder of too many black young men by police. This identifies yet another problem that we need to fix.  I do not think we should look to others to fix our communities but we must also take responsibility for our brokenness, our crime rates, drugs, fatherlessness, and all the ills that our communities are facing and become a people who will do our part to make a difference in helping to bring transformation and change in our communities. Spiritually, we must destroy the principalities, spirits, generational curses and strongholds that plague our communities with prayer and God led action. When we refuse to hear and acknowledge our past and injustice of our present, it leaves black people feeling hopeless, impoverished, lack of identity, and without purpose, promise or hope. In some ways because we have been lynched and beaten in the past, we've never recovered and unfortunately, the pain of it is manifesting in us killing each other, drugs and the ills I mentioned before.


Thirdly, as Christians we can reach across cultural lines to reach into the depth of this pain to bring change! Some are already doing so but more of us need to and where there is hatred and hurt, pain and injustice, we all need to acknowledge it and do our part by building relationships and building bridges!  I do not think it was a coincidence that these murders happened to these two black men with their children in the background either seeing or hearing this and then the cops getting killed in Dallas.  It is a tragedy of unsurmountable proportions that has happened in our nation and one horrific act does not trump the other.  It’s waking all of us up: black white, Hispanic, Asian, Jew, Gentile, Gay, Straight, Muslim or whatever—we need to have tolerance and love for each other and begin to help make change in our communities. It is a heart problem and God’s love is the one thing that breaks down the walls, restores hope, transforms men both black and white, acknowledges the past and present sins of our forefathers and move us to bring reconciliation and restoration of people across all sides.  When we walk where others have walked, get in the trenches with them, build relationships, gain trust, stop systematic injustice, see each other’s pain, look past the present manifestation and look deeper at the root of the problems and touch lives one soul, one community, and one day at a time as a collective human race, we may begin to see some healing and change.  We are His agents in the earth and we must find our place and do our part to be a part of the solutions and not the problems.

14 December 2015

God orders our steps and uses us as we were created to be!

 God orders our steps and uses us as we were created to be!

 
You would think that I would write a bit more since I love to do it but seems we all are so busy these days that many times the things we love to do don't always get done. Well today, I stopped what I needed to do and decided to pour my heart out on this page.

I am confident that this blog post will bless some because of the insight and wisdom that I've gleaned from the nuggets that I am about to share which have changed my life. Can I say it again louder-- THIS LESSON HAS CHANGED MY LIFE.  And I hope that it too will impact someone if not many as it did mine.  

So where do I start!!!!!! I will not start with my BC (before Christ) days because that plan was selfish, full of making money, marrying the professional athlete that I was dating at that time, and reaching a plateau of stardom. If you are still chasing that dream-- well, ummm, I'll just leave that conversation alone and interpret it's outcome as empty, vain, and un-fulfilling. Instead, I will begin about 23 years ago on the day I fully surrendered to God and He gave me a vision and purpose. He showed me that I would preach His word, pastor His people, and love the poor. I saw this in countless dreams, heard it in a soft still voice, felt it in an internal yearning, and it was confirmed and re-spoken by many trusted friends and leaders. So immediately, I begin to chart the vision and interpret exactly how it would happen. I saw myself getting a theology education and going back to my church to lead the Christian Ed. department and that didn't happen. Then I saw myself marrying a pastor, having 3 kids, living in a plush neighborhood, preaching on the circuit, and pastoring a large congregation with my husband for about 25 years and then one day we would retire. I had it all planned out in that order and I felt it would nicely unfold as I walked that path. 

Errrrrrk,  back up, not so-- GOD HAD OTHER PLANS AND AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT PATH.  But can I admit, I spent years trying to make the above dream and plan become a reality! So much so that I made sure I crossed all my T's and dotted all my I's. So I went to all the 'how to" conferences, took all the classes, worked diligently, did all I knew to do, prayed, cried, and still fell short of reaching this vision as I saw it. This made me angry, disappointed, discouraged, and feeling like a failure because although I married a pastor, had 2 kids instead of 3 after numerous miscarriages and having my youngest at age 40, do not live in a plush neighborhood, not preaching on the circuit (whatever that is), and pastored a church of maybe 60 to 130 members over a span of 15 years and just recently resigned from pastoring . And of course I haven't shared all that was in between-- the pain, the financial struggles (both in ministry and personally), the hurt, rejection, being misunderstood, not being accepted, dealing with racial and gender barriersdesiring to quit, not working for the pay I was capable of making, and comparing myself to others. Hey this path was not quite what I saw. Though during this time, there was joy ad-mist the pain, celebrations and successes, lives changed, character building, and God's unchanging favor, love, grace, inspiration, motivation, and His encouragement never waiver-ed. And what the enemy meant for evil, He turned for His good and even my mistakes eventually became a growing opportunity and gave me strength.

And maybe if you would be honest, you might actually agree that what you envisioned is not exactly where you are at this present moment. Or maybe your current status resembles what you saw but the path of getting there was not as easy as you imagined. That's usually true for most of us especially when we follow the path of God. God takes us an entirely different way from what we envision or perceive.  Remember the word tells us that His ways are not ours and His thoughts are not ours and even Proverbs 16:9 says, "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his step". And Proverbs 19:21 says this, "Many plans are in a person's mind, but the LORD's purpose will succeed". (Common English Version) I really like the Good News version which says, "People may plan all kinds of things, but the Lord's will is going to be done. So in other words, we can plan all we want but it is God's ultimate will and plan that we will bring us success. Keep going no matter what it looks like right now. Trust that God is working it out for your good.

When we finally get this principle and apply it to our lives, it brings peace, freedom, and success according to God's definition and not the world. But how do we know and rest in God's plan? Glad you asked! From my experience, I have learned that we hear the vision, write it down, and then allow God to interpret the meaning of what He shows us as well as order our steps of how to fulfill and realize it. Then, we must also be obedient to follow His plan no matter the sacrifice, the personal pain, the uncertainty, the failures, and be 100% willing to walk the path no matter where it takes us.  When we are so determine to do it God's way and not our way-- it relieves stress, alleviates sinful behavior, and helps us accomplish exactly what God created us to BE AND DO! We take one step at a time and walk the path as it unfolds.  Our perception literally must be reshaped and conformed to His way and His will.  And this helps us to not be disappointed when things don't happen exactly like we planned them.  Both Joseph and Jeremiah understood this truth well. Joseph dreamt of other sheaves bowing to his sheave meaning he would rule and his brothers would bow to him. I am sure he was prideful in believing he would assail as a high ranking leader and his brothers would bow before him. However, Joseph had no idea the interpretation and path of that dream meant he would be sold into slavery, accused of rape, integrity tarnished, thrown into prison, and forgotten about before he would become a leader of a providence in Egypt. His dream became a reality but not like he thought it would and in the process God humbled him, built his character, tested him, and gave him an unconditional love to extend to others and even the brothers who treated him with hatred.

Likewise, I too have taken a path that I never would have imagined. One that has grown my character, tested my faithfulness, humbled me and allowed me to walk in the full identity of who God created me to be. Nothing has happened exactly like I planned it but I am grateful for the journey because without the journey, I would not be the person I am today. Also, I have learned to no longer try to interpret God's vision and force a plan to become a reality. I've learned that whatever God's vision is, He will direct my steps and bring me to the fulfillment of what He desires me to be and what He desires me to do in order to fulfill His plan for my life. This has brought me to a great place of peace. I no longer strive to make something happen but rather just gracefully walk as He leads.  The original vision of preaching His word, pastoring His people, and helping the poor happens in a myriad of different ways not uniformed to any particular box that someone might try to put me (or you) in. He knows the exact path and plan. I don't have to be or do what anyone else is doing but BE and do what God desires. I am created in His image and likeness with all my uniqueness, proclivities, and personality and He uses it all because my steps are ordered by Him. If He says go right, then I go right. If He says go to Haiti, then I go to Haiti, If says adopt a family, then I do likewise. If He says start this church, then I do so, If He says start this ministry or business, then I take a leap of faith and do it. If He says lay down this ministry/job and leave this position, then do so. If He says connect with that person, so do! If He says disconnect with that person, follow that directive. If He says to share that, then I speak. If He tells my husband and I to move to Africa, then we do likewise. Hey God, I am not saying to tell us to move to Africa. LOL The point here is wherever He leads, just follow. But you must stay in prayer and communication with Him in order to hear His voice and follow His will. Plan to surrender more to God and His will as this year ends and a new one begins.

YOUR steps are also ordered by God.  Be willing to lay down your plans and follow His plan. Don't try to do what you think He desires or strive to build, perform, or accomplish something that you think is the path or way of success but seek Him daily and walk out each step as He shows and leads you.  Believe me, this is the most peaceful and freeing place to live. Waking up every morning, getting your instructions from God and then following them step by step, plan by plan, and day by day. I am not exactly sure where God is taking us next but I do know this, as long as we stay connected to Him, surrender our will, work out our soul salvation with fear and trembling, stay humble, and have the courage to walk His path when He leads-- we will be in the perfect will of God with His peace and His success! I will close with two scriptures below that confirm and put an exclamation point on all that I've shared in this blog post.

Psalm 37:23  23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in His way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Proverbs 1: 31- 33 So the fruit of their way will be their food, and with the designs of their hearts they will be made full. 32 For the turning back of the simple from (His) teaching will be the cause of their death, and the peace of the foolish will be their destruction. 33 But whoever gives ear to Me will take his rest safely, living in peace without fear of evil!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


 

20 February 2015

Excerpts from my next book: The Power of Words

     Words do hurt!


     “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt”. Unfortunately this saying is false because words do hurt and though they may not physically damage a person, the wounds and hurt can be very damaging to our heart and soul. Proverbs 18:21 in the NKJV says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit. While the NLT states,”Those who love to talk will experience the consequences, for the tongue can kill or nourish life”.

     This scripture emphasizes the fact that words can nourish someone’s life or destroy it. So it is not coincidental that unkind, untrue, and un-affirming words spoken to persons have devastated so many and caused many people to gravel through life trying to find their way and overcome either a lie, a false accusation, or evil words. Destructive words were designed to destroy and tear you down. When harmful words are spoken, (especially if spoken at a young, vulnerable and tender moment in a persons life) it can leave a person feeling empty, unappreciated, less than worthy, unacceptable, rejected or irrelevant. It can be an arduous process to undo what was said and the scars can linger for years and take years to repair. It can produce a downward spiral of a person trying to crawl out of a dark place to regain their person, identity, worth, and purpose. 

     How can a person rebuild from being torn down by damaging words? He or she must recognize that words spoken over them inflicted pain and caused an enormous deficit and maybe you or they tried to compensate or overcome it by using other remedies to calm the pain, ease the feeling, block it out, or numb it totally. It’s human nature to find a means to fill an empty space to overcome any deficit or hurt inflicted by hurtful words or action I might add. There are numerous things that people do to make up for a deficit and I will not attempt to describe them all but some include drug usage, day dreaming, drinking, sexual promiscuity, cowardice, anxiety, paranoia, vying for the approval of that person or others, selling your soul to make money or buying things to compensate, caught in a continual cycle of failure, or over eating to name a few. Unfortunately, no matter how many remedies people use to try to erase the hurt, it rarely works and the void remains there and the unhealthy cycle continues or far worse suicide or mental conditions can ensue. This is why the power of God  can be so potent and His word trumps all remedies and cures known to man. Yes therapy, counseling, and other medicines may give some temporary relief and do some good but ultimately God’s principles of healing provide the best solution in becoming totally free from the damning effects of negative words or any other negative thing that can happen in our life.

     A few biblical principles include forgiveness, time, and allowing God's word to rebuild your confidence, esteem, and identity in the area where someone attempted to tear you down. First, you must forgive but not only forgive the person who spoke the words but you may need to recall the words or either the place where those words wounded you and release that as well. For example, I spoke words of forgiveness while recalling and releasing the exact words that wounded me.  A dear sister prayed with me and this is what I said, “I forgive _______________ (put their name in the blank) for saying to me: "God did not call women to pastor and you will fail as a female pastor”. Because these words wounded my heart, bruised my soul, and made me feel invaluable as a woman pastor, I struggled for years to try and prove myself in this area until the day I forgave the person, renounced his words, and forgave the wound that it caused. Second, after I forgave him, I had to allow time and the word of God to soothe my heart and remove the pain. Likewise, others must do the same and it will not happen overnight but as you meditate on the word—day by day you will get stronger and stronger and begin to feel more confident, secure, and worthy. Depending on how deep the pain and how traumatizing the words will be an indicator of the patience needed to complete the process of full healing and wholeness.

     I am a living witness that when you apply the word and begin to ask God to allow His love, His grace, and His restoring power to undo the damage that was done- He will begin to do it and you will find yourself walking in total victory. This happens when we acknowledge the hurt, realize that we need healing, take steps toward a recovery process, allow trusted persons in our lives who will speak life back into us, and continue in the process of healing until the pain and the scars are removed and no longer inhibit you. God's word is food to our soul and it can overcome any foul, disrespectful, and hurtful words spoken to us or about us.  And you will find, like me, the place that caused you a great source of pain is now the place that you can help others overcome as well. After true healing comes, you become a wounded healer and not a bleeding victim! Grace to you and I pray that my blog is an encouragement to your soul.

Blessings,
Pastor Sonia Adams
p.s. your comments are welcomed below

08 September 2014

Are you Successful in God's Eyes?

     Are you Successful in God's Eyes?

     This is a touchy and somewhat confrontational blog post.  As well, it may be a bit hard to swallow but I felt an urgency to share as there are many who are striving to find purpose, destiny, greatness, or accomplish a dream, reality, and/or vision in this life. It may sound contradictory to what we've been taught or understand but my desire and many like me is to leave this world having accomplished that in which we were created to do! Thus, at the end of it all-- Who would know better why we were created than the CREATOR HIMSELF. Then, un-candidly, it would mean so much more to accomplish and fulfill the divinely written blueprint of our lives from the CREATOR which equals the ULITMATE SUCCESS in this life

     There have been many things written about how to become successful or the steps to a wonderful life.  Hard work, determination, positive thinking, and doing what it takes to reach the top are all means used to define or describe the path to achieve success.  Success by the world standard is normally defined as becoming rich and wealthy, or maintaining a powerful or lucrative position.  It can sometimes mean becoming a famous entertainer, athlete, or Hollywood actor or actress.  Once we’ve reached these plateaus of accomplishments, many see and value our lives as the epitome of success and status. It is even an added bonus, if we are wealthy and famous and have a significant other to share this life with us.  More importantly, becoming successful has moved beyond the guise of not only becoming rich and/or famous and acquiring physical material assets, but it is now equally important that you share your riches with those less fortunate than you.  Thus, successful people are now philanthropist, concerned about global warming, care for children in starving poor nations and in some cases they may even adopt a child or two.  Additionally, successful people give to people with-in their own country and sustain the needs of those outside their borders.  It is not enough to be a star with money, but now you should also give away your millions in order to measure up to today’s standard of success.

      Not only are the rich and famous noted as successful if they've accomplish these ranks, but the above average doctor, lawyer, politician, entrepreneur, engineer, businessman/woman, executive, or the like are considered professional successes. While the teacher, nurse, police officer, fireman who may obtain some status in life, acquire a family, and/or give to those in need reasonably could be defined as successful in some cases, but many times are regarded as the hard working average citizen. Often times the range of accomplishments has to be monumental or significantly seen, noticed, or felt in order to be defined as ultimate success. Additionally, we teach our kids: 1. go to school, 2. get a good job, and 3. make good money and you will live a good life with material success.  But how often do we teach our kids to go to school, learn all you can so you can make a difference in the lives of others here or abroad even if it costs you to sacrifice your desires that others lives may be changed.  

      Society in general looks to those famed and named persons with status and money as the predominant standard when measuring success.  This typically is a world or secular view, but this same philosophy or mindset has crept its way into the church.  Many times because of our western world view, we begin to compare or determine truth through this perspective.  Thus, we define success within the realm of our experience and what we understand.  Since we live in a capitalistic, materialistic, democracy rather than theocracy, we have determined success as prospering with an accumulation of material possessions, money, lavish things, fame and prestige.

   Unfortunately the sound bites from some of our Christian leaders teach a subtle and disguised message that invite precious people of God to strive to obtain monumental or extravagant goals, desires, visions, and/or dreams in order to fulfill some measure of success or sense of accomplishment in God.  Some modern day churches have wrapped this philosophy in commonly taught or preached cliches which state: “you are going to be great, your vision will put you before great men, and you will go to the nations”.  Consequently, many are striving to excel to find and reach a destiny, a purpose, see and accomplish a great vision that equates success according to this definition in order to find contentment.  The 'pinnacle that must be reached' within this message is a standard that realizes each person doing something great for God, preaching to the nations, building large organizations, becoming famed or known because of your awesome anointing, gift, or greatness in God.  Or it could include leading thousands in worship, recording a multi-platinum CD, overseeing many churches, and the list goes on and on.  Therefore, until some semblance of this is achieved, you haven’t reached success.  With this quest, some may find this journey or search challenging, nebulous, stressful, and/or unattainable.  Thus, this leaves many to feel inadequate or unsuccessful because they are not able to fulfill a set standard of greatness that is falsely propagated within our worldview.  And not to mention there are those who are trying to fulfill a worldly standard of fame and fortune whose message is also reiterated within the church. Because of this dubious false standard, many people are depressed, unfulfilled, and empty or feel less than adequate because they have not obtained some kind of materialistic, famed, or self - promoting dream. Concurrently, they continue to strive to reach this standard and feel subpar if they do not. 

     This standard can leave one feeling discouraged and un-fulfilled. This constant trying, striving, and consistent reaching can lead people to believe if they have not accomplished “GREATNESS” that they have failed themselves, failed others, and ultimately failed God. Yes we are great, but we must determine what GREATNESS in God really means???????? The irony of this perception leads to this question:  Are we striving for God’s standard or have we undoubtedly taken on a FALSE STANDARD?  I conclude that we have.  

    Some people are trying to fulfill a false standard of success. And others have reached this standard of prestige, notoriety, and status but are they fulfilled?  They may have large followings, successful albums, prestigious jobs, large homes, and fame in the secular and/or church community. Or maybe they have millions of dollars, successful companies, or are famous but for some who have achieved these things—is this really the will of God?  I am not against becoming great, having nice things, successful businesses, millions of dollars, producing albums, or the like. However, though some have these great things and have accomplished these great feats—'have they pleased God and His ultimate will’?  This is the question we all must ask ourselves in all that we do or have done.  If this is the case within the sphere of influence and accomplishments you've achieved and it has not tainted your humility and God has blessed you to give, live, and glorify Him with your blessings and He is pleased then this is what matters. Nevertheless, if persons are striving for this with false motives, unfulfilled lives, and trying to become like someone else rather than pleasing God in the sphere and space that He's give you, then it's likely that you may feel less than, unfulfilled, or lacking. 

     As God freed me from the bondage of this false standard, I desire to dispel this lie and help shed light on what I believe is God’s standard of success according to the Bible.  He so eloquently and simply outlines His standard in His Word: "go and make disciples" and “when you've done it to the least of these, you've done it to me”.  On that glorious day of His return, God is not going to judge or measure our success by what we've accomplished or what great or monumental things we have achieved, but He is going to measure us by this: Did we love Him, please Him, and did we obey His will?  If He is pleased and we have obeyed the will of the Father, then success is unequivocally accomplished.  And He will say, “Well done good and faithful servant”.  Enter into my Kingdom.  .

    The true road map to success is the Holy Bible, and if you are able to actualize its truth, success according to God's definition will be realized. I must warn you though-- there is a cost or a price to pay to fulfill His standards and it may not come with much glitz, glamour, or fanfare; but, it will ultimately lead to eternal life and reward in His eternal kingdom.  I have come to realize that success in God is realized daily in the little acts of obedience that we carry out day by day such as: sharing love with someone at the work place, praying for someone as the spirit leads, raising our children in the admonition of the word of God, pouring our life into others through sacrificial means (money, time, and resources), travelling and paying to do missions here and in foreign countries, and line by line, precept by precept hearing God's voice and obeying it.  When He is pleased, I realize that I am successful in Him and that gives me peace.  This is what I strive to achieve and though I may even desire greatness, I sometimes reluctantly and with hope walk the path that is set before me with a notion that greatness might happen but with a reality that it may not according to my perception and definition of greatness.  But it is God's reality that supersedes all standards and I must accept it. We must lose our will in the will of God.  And though we may lose it, we will find it and gain success and life in Him which is eternal.
     

Peace,
P. Sonia