Does God Make You Smile Because of What He Does For You or Because of Who He is To You?

Psalms 34:4-5 (NIV)

” Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this.”

Today as I was listening to Jermaine Dolly’s “You”, I began to smile as I thought about how God became my everything at a time when I had no other person to call on for help. I was in a place where it felt like no blessings were coming my way, no matter what season the pastor claimed we were in as saints of God. At this vulnerable time I had to find another reason to love God because it sure didn’t seem like he was giving me anything of material value like scholarships, money, or enough food to eat. It wasn’t until I realized that God loved me in spite of my flaws and all that I was behind closed doors that I had adequate reason to love him. That was enough reason to love him, because he first loved me (1 John 4:19).

When we as Christians try to explain our reason for loving a God that is not physically seen, many people in the world think that we are crazy. It is not logical to them when we say that “you should love God because he is God”. If he is not in fact Lord over their life, they could care less about his authority. But if you were to ask someone do they feel loved by those around them, do they feel like they could lose the love of a loved one if they did something unthinkable, then we are able to set up a framework to introduce them to a God that loves without measure. A God that is alive and well and cares about our problems and doesn’t need anything more than our asking for help to act on our behalf.

My freshman year of college, I stepped on campus as a girl seeking to be approved and loved by the opposite sex. I felt invisible and just wanted someone to acknowledge that I was here and I felt that my importance was rooted in how many guys said hey to me or tried to get my number. I had a lot of internal issues: my self esteem was at a dangerous low, I had an issue with lust and my perception of men as well as a temper that if not checked would spiral out of control and burn bridges and I wasn’t too keen on saying sorry if I didn’t think that I was wrong. You can check out my testimony in my very first blog post but one day I just got so weak that I had no other self help strategies and had to finally rely on the God of all of my help. God first and foremost told me that he loved me and that he saw me. That was so very important because I didn’t think that anybody did other than my family.

I could go on and on but I will say that God wants you to love him genuinely not just because of what he can do for you.

Catch y’all on the flipside,

Nique

 

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Waiting on the Lord in Patience: Lessons from a Sudoku Puzzle

Psalms 27:14 says,

“Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.”

1 Corinthians 13: 4-5 says,

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrong.”

As I was completing the 4 star level on my Sudoku puzzle, I realized I was becoming increasingly frustrated with the time it was taking me to find ONE number. I seriously considered starting a new puzzle all together rather than persevering with the puzzle I had made so much progress with. At the beginning it’s pretty easy to find the numbers, there’s so much blank space. But with time, it becomes harder to find, and establish new numbers in the box. It reminds me of people.

At the surface, it’s easy to become enthralled with what we see, easier to make conversation that doesn’t make you uncomfortable, easier to find minute connections. But people are more complex than their appearances, weekends, views on the forecast. It’s the flaws that are harder to see, the insecurity that we obscure in the heart cavity. These things stay tucked away from others to see unless they stay long enough, care long enough to gain our trust so we can peel back those ugly layers because our ugly isn’t as intimidating anymore.

It is the puzzles job to be discreet, quiet, and covering those parts that are deserving of greater honor. It is the one who takes on the task of the avid puzzle solver that must start from the beginning, reading heaven’s instructions to gain a true understanding of the game of love. The careful write in pencil but the bold write in pen. You must fully assess the situation because you could double count a number, miss a number, mistakes are bound to happen! Feelings are bound to get hurt one day!

But apologize, rewrite the wrong by choosing to become more well versed in their puzzles before you level up because it gets harder and you need patience to deal with the difficulty appropriately. So don’t rush through the easy and don’t hop from difficult situation to difficult situation. Stick it through with one person, be monogamous, accept and compromise, and workout those things that aren’t so agreeable. Don’t criticize and and scrutinize but rather talk about it and help the person out.

Catch y’all on the flipside,

Nique

 

 

A New Beginning (Dear God)

Dear Daddy Dearest,

I’m starting to see what got me through the hard times was praise, worship, and adoration. You changed my heart through confession, love, and praise. I don’t think I truly understood what it would take to walk with you as I grew through faith over the years. I appreciate the fact that you allowed me to take baby steps.Father open my eyes, opens my ears that I may hear, open my heart that I may be able to love others according to your standard and be discerning of the times and actively preparing for the wedding feast and not found undressed.

Help me to have confidence in my ability to discern you even if others don’t experience you like I do or vice versa. I’ve based my relationship with you on individuals in my life that seem to be spiritual heavyweights and I have felt inadequate because I didn’t hear you verbally. I let my feelings control me to the point that I stopped trying. You always had a word for everyone it seemed and I know that I’ve been chosen but I didn’t realize that it might be a while until I stepped into the calling you have on my life.

Countless Sundays, I searched for the validation of clergy. Countless guy friends, I longed for someone to validate my worth and make me a “girlfriend” already. I walked around my whole life searching for someone who saw me, I mean saw my spirit and soul and was willing to not only appreciate it but minister to me as well. Any man of God became the object of my affections in church settings because I considered my self lucky to even “find” one. They were a rare commodity but also not for me.

Then one day I decided to slightly acknowledge what I already knew deep down, I was searching for you. I wanted to know you saw me and were pleased with my efforts. I had given up so much of my old nature, I wanted to know you loved me and were aware of the changes. Christian organizations became a way for me to kingdom build and use my spiritual gifts but they also replaced you. I felt like people needed me, almost more than you. I realized that you needed to remove me until I had a better perception of your significance in my life. I found my value in everything else but the one that truly gave it to me, you.

Lord I pray that you would continue to finish the work that you began in me in 2014. I’m excited for the alone time to be rebuilt, purged, and dealing with the ugly in me and the ungodly defenses that I’ve put up. Please don’t let me make the same mistakes.

Nique

WHO Do You Love?

If you died today, would you wake up before the throne of God, mad because God took you before you were able to have the prospect of marriage? Do you think you would know more scripture if you read the bible more than you read the Instagram posts of your Monday Man Crushes? Would you love God more if you daydreamed about his faithfulness more than you daydreamed about a man that barely knows that you exist?

It all boils down to one question. Who do you love? Who occupies your mind 24/7, holds the key to your affections, and makes you blush until you finally have no choice but to break those stubborn lips and expose a smile? Your love for God will not grow once you enter into a relationship that you have been praying for. Your love for God will not grow once you meet that man of God that is supposed to “draw you closer to God”. Your love for God must be nurtured, nourished by the Word of God, and cherished in those empty moments of peace, no prayer requests, just thankfulness. God wants those moments. He wants to be loved by you daily, not just at nightly prayers, and weak moments. What do you do in your times of peace? Do you forget about the God who saved you once again and live life lukewarm as usual until the next impending storm?

Why do we want the benefits of a relationship with God with no communication on our part? Something to think about. And as I type this, I know I am the chief of offenders. I just feel heavy about this thing y’all. God wants all of us! He wants everything, and he payed the price for it, he earned it, he’s entitled to it but he is such a gentleman that he still allows us to choose. So tell me who do you love?

Nique

 

A Lesson Learning Moment

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interest, but also to the interests of others.”

Philippians 2:3-4

For as long as I can remember, I have always been an individual that internalizes things and just kind of allows the negative emotions that come with being human simmer down and settle themselves. I don’t do well with anger and offense just because I try so very hard not to be offended and angry but I also feel like it is equally dangerous to hold these emotions in. I’ve constantly been trying to fight it, silently telling myself that “you aren’t really angry, your emotions are insignificant, the world doesn’t revolve around you”. But the true issue is a matter of the heart.

Being a true introvert that just happens to love people, I’m learning that most days I would rather retreat from this world of people just to sit alone in the room with God and God alone. Contemplating my woes and complaints against humanity silently, only to emerge when ready with a smile on my face and an attitude once again acceptable enough to treat people with kindness, gentleness, and patience. But I’m learning my problem is that I care too much for my personal feelings in every situation that I fail to realize that others have feelings too, that I am capable of being the one who injures rather than just the one left injured. It is just far too impossible to never offend someone and always be right in a situation because I’m not Jesus, I’m not his prodigy but rather his disciple and even the disciples were flawed. All my life I’ve tried to be as perfect as possible because I feared the prospect of being wrong, disciplined, corrected.

“For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

Hebrews 12:6

Dear Reader,

Please stop running from God because he sees you and he only wants to ensure that you live life to your full potential. He would love your obedience but most importantly he wants your heart because if you love him you will obey his commandments. Stop doing life on your own, you can’t sustain yourself. Isolation can be used as a tool to draw you closer to most high or a weapon of the adversary to ensure that you never impact the lives of those you are assigned to, that you never grow in wisdom, knowledge, and the fruits of the Spirit. Come back to God, tell him how you really feel, how you really hurt, expose your heart to him and most importantly let him circumcise it and create a new one that loves harder, obeys quicker, waits longer, and endures stronger.

Catch y’all on the flipside,

Nique ❤

 

 

When Hope Is Fleeting

I will look to the sky because I know I am seen by Most High.

I am bare, necessities are needed.

We sing in the songs that you will provide but when life happens we don’t believe it.

Birds eat but don’t work, are they greater than our worth?

So my hands I will exert, I will put a praise in my mouth, I will think happiness in my mind.

Although there has always been a need, you have provided every time.

The one lesson I can’t help but to reflect on in life is that when my hopes are fleeting, your hope is always in sight.

❤ Nique

Warning/Update

Where do I start? At this present moment I can say that I have endured one of the most trying seasons of my life. I’ve gone from people pleasing to people avoiding and I’ve really gotten a chance to understand myself and how much or how little I value myself outside of the scope of how many friends I have or how many events I get invited to. When you realize that you fear or respect the opinion of mere man more than the validation and acceptance of the Creator you have a problem on your hands.

I share this to let anyone who may read my blog know that if you are not first satisfied with self and God alone, if you constantly must run to people because they give you value, you will be quite disappointed when they let you down, when they don’t reach out as much as you would like for them to you will give up on people all together. You will grow cold in your love for people, you will think that the world doesn’t need you, that life goes on without your existence.

Know that God has created you to impact the world and the lives of people but you are no good to anyone else if you are not first good to yourself. Cleave to God, find out what he says about you in his Word, and most importantly put no one before him in your life!

Keep God first, ❤ Nique

When You Realize You Are But Dust (Dear God)

Hey y’all I feel like I’m always in an interesting place when I take long breaks and finally decide to post another blog so I’ll just say that this Christian road has been full of bumps, twist and turns but all in all I know that God will complete the work that He began in me. I can say with full confidence that it will not be because of my own might but rather the grace of God that keeps me from quitting on Him and myself. I’ve felt moments where I didn’t understand why God wouldn’t just use somebody else, let me live a normal life and do things that others are able to do without conviction. All my life I’ve felt different and like I couldn’t truly relate to my peers. I’ve been called “too saved”, “Jesus girl”, and “imbalanced”. But although the above statements could make someone feel insignificant, I can’t help but think about all the things that God has literally shielded me from. I can say with confidence that I am 21 years old and have not experienced the heartache of failed relationships, I live a relatively peaceful life, and have broken a lot of generational curses in my family.

When I was younger I was a planner. If you would’ve asked me what I wanted to be throughout the years I would’ve stayed adamant that I was going to be somebody’s doctor in some capacity (hasn’t changed guys, but that’s beside the point.) I would spend endless nights writing lists and making spreadsheets about the colleges I would go to, my plan A, B, and Z for major choices up until I was to be married, I even mapped out what my life would be like as a married woman and the neighborhood I would live in. But I didn’t truly understand that I was only dust until my strategically mapped out plans failed miserably. When I no longer had my pen, paper, and ambitious dreams but rather tears, lack, and despair, that’s when I was formally introduced to something greater than myself, Elohim. God gave me assurance that what I didn’t know, He was all too familiar with and what I didn’t have, He was more than capable of providing for.

So to that person that feels like you aren’t where you envisioned you would be at this age or at this point in your life, know that God still knows the plans that He has for your life despite what seems like a desert place, disaster, or different than the path of those around you. And for those who know what God told you years, months, or days ago, please remember that He is faithful who promised. Now is not the time to give up but continue to build your foundation on Christ the solid rock. Get in your word, don’t forsake the assembly of the saints, and flee from the very appearance of evil.

Catch y’all on the flip side,

Nique ❤

 

 

Godliness with Contentment

“But godliness with contentment is great gain.” ( 1 Timothy 6:6)

Do you ever find yourself trapped in comparison? You know, so busy looking at what others are receiving that you forget to thank God for the blessings that you’ve already received.

The word, “contentment”, has been getting a lot of usage in our day and time with the rise of several movements. These include being content with your singleness with the hopes that God will give you your God-ordained husband/wife because you were content enough, being content with lack because if you are content enough God will give you your millions, being content and learning to hold your problems in because God can’t handle your authenticity and would rather you smile through the pain in your quiet times than cast every burden upon him so you can instead receive his peace.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not really sure we truly understand what the word, “contentment”, actually means. According to Webster dictionary, contentment is the quality or state of being satisfied. Satisfaction means that if my situation never changes, I will be okay. Contentment does not mean that I will try my very hardest to reach this mystical contentment with the expectation that God will reward me. Contentment in itself is God’s reward for a life dedicated to him and in full surrender and awe of his power without rival.

So if you ever find yourself exercising righteousness with a discontent heart, envying or comparing yourself to your brother or sister in Christ or out of Christ, or in order to seek God’s hand rather than to seek God’s heart, remember a few things…

1.) First things first, know that just because it looks good doesn’t mean that it has God’s stamp of approval.

  • “Let your heart not envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day.” (Proverbs 23:17)
  • Many times we as Christians find ourselves questioning the lifestyle of surrender that we live because we aren’t “reaping any benefits”. We make statements like, “God, (insert name) has a man of God and she doesn’t even pray or go to church”. We start to envy sinners or men when the standard is Christ. We should strive to have what Christ had and that is close fellowship with the Father and an eternity spent in his presence. When we realize that it is God who affirms us and not the opinions or approval of man then we stop envying how much attention that brother gets from all the women at church or how good that sister can sing the choir solo because we aren’t seeking a vain glory. Besides, every possession is not a blessing. You don’t know how that man treats that sister outside of the Instagram photos they take or the lifestyle your sister in Christ lives outside of church but yet you have put her on a pedestal only meant for God.

2.) Read the secret to being content in “any and every circumstance”, Christ is more than enough!

  • “In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:12-13)
  • When you look to Christ as the main source of your strength you are able to learn how to be content. You can’t do anything in your own strength and every day that you are able to live another day, is a blessing. When you change your perspective from “God I don’t have” to “God I thank you that I have”, you realize just how blessed you truly are. Our society has bought into this false security in materialism and we don’t realize that the quantity and quality of the things that we have has nothing to do with our heart’s condition and how pleased the Father is with our lives and the way we choose to live them each day.

3.) All of the things of this world are temporary, focus on those things are permanent treasures, like a Heavenly residence and eternal fellowship with the Master.

  • “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.” (Luke 21:33-34)
  • “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:1-2).

Remember that your life is hidden with Christ in God, that is much greater than any treasure or possession that you can gain on Earth.

Catch y’all on the flipside,

Nique ❤

 

The Power of Sacrifice

“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, ‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.'”

Matthew 16:24

 If I could assign a theme to the year of 2017 with all of its events up until this month, it would be called The Power of Sacrifice“. As I progress in Christ, slowly but surely, I am learning that true obedience proves present in a believer’s life when God instructs them to do things that they don’t necessarily want to do. I’ve questioned God, inquired about his timing (Why now?), and contemplated doing what I “knew” would make me happy while blatantly ignoring his instructions. But yet, I can’t deny that “the foolishness of God is WISER than men; and the WEAKNESS of God is stronger than men” (1 Corinthians 1:25) and that includes my willpower to do whatever it is that gratifies me and this flesh rather than pleases my Father and prevents grieving the Spirit. Besides, if you love God you will keep His commandments (John 14:16) of old in the Bible and the present things that He may be leading you or directing you to observe or abstain from. 

Are you struggling to give God what He’s asked you to give up?

isnt-measured-by-how-high-you-jump-in-praise-but-12448488

Whether it be time, money, or energy, give it to Him because “…to obey is better than sacrifice.” (1 Samuel 15:22) Furthermore, many of us are in anticipation of God giving us our callings so that we can minister to others and becomefishers of men” but why would God trust you with an assignment to impact the lives of others when you can’t even be obedient to the things he is saying concerning your own life? Far too often we ask God to instruct us on a specific matter, we beg Him in impatience to speak to us. Then some time passes and God gives the instruction and because it isn’t something that we could see ourselves doing or if it is something that we don’t necessarily want to do at all we question him.

Remember to take notes from the disciples’ response to Jesus when he walked up to them and said two simple words, “Follow Me.” He didn’t foreshadow the work that He had planned for them to do and quite frankly wasn’t  really into giving a lot of specifics about the final destination but the Bible says that they left their nets and followed him, immediately left their ships and loved ones to follow him, abandoned all that was familiar to follow the King of Kings and Lord of Lords without question into unfamiliar territory to reach a lost people in need of being found. 

So tell me, are you willing to sacrifice it all for God, no discretion, no hesitation?

Catch y’all on the flip side,

Nique