WEDNESDAY WORD by @ColorByStyle // Press

“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Crist Jesus first possessed me. No, Dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”
Philippians 3:12-14 NLT
 Source

So what exactly is Paul saying? Here’s the way it can be perceived:

“I get it, you’ve accomplished some things, or well for others of you you’ve been through some things. Cool. I understand but I’m looking forward, pressing on, working towards, striving for, reaching out earnestly to become something much more valuable or worthy of my attention and praise. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that I have that ‘thing’ yet but I’m not letting myself get caught up in whatever has happened before. I’m focusing on what’s ahead. I am not just looking forward to any particular goal but that which GOD through CHRIST JESUS Himself is making possible for me to achieve.”

Does that make it clear? Look I understand we all have been through some things. Each of us on our journeys have walked through crap, climbed up certain hills, met certain people, achieved certain things…good and bad, and the reality is we all have history. It’s history though. It can inform aspects of the present and provide context but it is still the past. Too many of us provide history opportunities to be present (yep, think on that).

​God spoke through Paul to you and me. He made sure to remind us that the only thing that matters is the prize before us. What is your prize? Is it money? Is it fame? Is it temporal and therefore extinguishable and without meaningful value? Because if it is those things then I can tell you now, it’s not really worth it. Those things will vanish with time but you know what won’t? Eternity. That prize that Paul speaks of, what God wants to give to each of us through Christ Jesus is eternity. Eternity is a future worth focusing on. When you place eternity in your crosshairs and make it your singular focus a lot of other things are placed in perspective: people, places, jobs, money, and I even dare say relationships. Don’t get me wrong, the past has significance in each of our lives.  But how much value are you going to place in things that cannot be changed? Focus on Christ, keep the Cross before you, look ahead and push on, fight hard, and look square at that prize laid before you by God himself.

@ColorByStyle

Love and God Bless,

– T

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WEDNESDAY WORD by @ColorByStyle // Seek Ye First

“Seek the kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”
Matthew 6: 33, (NLT)  Source

I have been known to use the phrase, “Let’s keep it funky”, which is translated to “let us be as honest with ourselves as possible”. Too often we allow our focus to be shifted from heavenly pursuits and endeavors to all other manner of evil. The press of the world is forever around us and we are bombarded on a daily basis with responsibilities and realities that remind us in so many ways that we need more. For those of us that fell into the American trap of college (I say that tongue in cheek), the moment you graduated, if you weren’t fortunate to have a job already lined up or didn’t have to take any loans, you heard that six month clock begin ticking. Somewhere floating in the financial sky was the iconic ACME anvil of debt and despair. How can anyone focus on spiritual growth when financial debt, among many other things, seemed so imminent? Let’s not forget the desires of our hearts, the women or men, the cars, the clothes, the sales, and desire for fame and prestige. All these things can seem a lot more tangible then the kingdom of God.

Well the scripture has very practical teachings about possessions and money found in the book of Matthew Chapter 6 which I encourage you to read at your leisure. If we look to media, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, what we see are people desiring more because the immediate vanishes and withers away. Even fame only last as long as the memories of those perceiving it. Christ says in Matthew 6:19 not to store your treasures (things and crap) here on earth because they will eventually be lost to the inevitability of time. He continues to state in verse 21 that where we store our things is where the desires of our hearts will be focused. Christ desires to give us His children all that we need and desire. In fact He says so in the scripture. He plainly states that if none of the natural things of this world worry or show concern about where there nourishment and sustenance will come from, then why should we?

If we pursue Christ and the kingdom, if we seek His face through constant communion and prayer He will grant us all that we need. The thing is for most of us we allow ourselves to be caught up in the flow of the world instead of standing in the peaceful meadow of Christ’s calm assurance. Why not take a chance on faith, trust in the Lord and see what he will provide. Seek the Kingdom first.

@ColorByStyle

Love and God Bless,

– T

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WEDNESDAY WORD by @ColorByStyle // Yoked Up

“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” 
2 Corinthians‬ ‭6‬:‭14‬ NKJV
Has this scripture at times not haunted the life of many a young Christian? Can’t you remember seeing that fine young brother or sister, that fly person and thinking to yourself, “I’m ready to do this!” only to hear the voice of some elder or another mention, “You be careful cause the Scripture tells you that….blah, blah, blah.”. All you wanted to do was date someone, or hang out….maybe catch feelings and get into trouble, and here they go spouting scripture. As much as I jest, the Bible uses the term yoke often and it has important implications for our spiritual walk.
I have learned in life that it’s important to be careful who you get yoked up with. In fact during the early 2000s as I walked the halls of Old Bridge High school and spoke the common jargon of the decade, you would often here the term, “bout to yoke this cat up!” or “don’t get yoked up”. The Miriam-Webster dictionary defines yoke as:
b  :  an arched device formerly laid on the neck of a defeated person
 c  :  a frame fitted to a person’s shoulders to carry a load in two equal portions.
A yoke as it is defined in the dictionary can link two persons together making a shared load lighter to pull. It could also be placed upon a defeated, often broken person to increase their shame or highlight their loss. In fact the term yoke is found in the Bible many times fitting one of the two previous definitions.

In Deuteronomy 28:48 the Lord speaks to the freed children of Israel and describes the results of disobedience.

“You will serve your enemies whom the Lord will send against you. You will be left hungry, thirsty, naked, and lacking in everything. The Lord will put an iron yoke on your neck, oppressing you harshly until he has destroyed you.”

Here yoke is defined as a tool of oppression. In Isaiah 10:27 The prophet foretells of the coming Messiah illustrating how He will, “break the yoke of slavery and lift it from their shoulders.” Again referenced as a tool for defeated persons, Christ himself used the term yoke when He said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (‭Matthew‬ ‭11‬:‭28-30‬ NKJV).

When entering into a relationship every person should understand that he or she is about to willingly place a yoke upon their neck. This shared yoke will be used to pull both individuals’ past experiences and as years develop between them in their relationship, be used to pull new experiences and trials. So when you enter into a relationship, if you are unequally yoked for example, one person will be pulling more of the load then the other.

Let’s also consider that the word says a heavy yoke will be placed upon the neck of those who are disobedient. Ever wonder why that relationship was wearisome? Think to yourself that if this relationship is taking more from me than I can muster the energy to give, then consider for example the abstract yet highly plausible possibility that you have strayed from one of Christ’s guidelines. When we choose of ourselves to do our own thing we leave ourselves open to the oppressive burden and yoke designed for those who walk the path of disobedience.

But there’s good news. If we in our own spiritual walk choose to walk with Christ, laying our burdens at His feet, and taking his yoke upon us, He promises that our burden will be light and our yoke easy. He says that He will teach us essentially how to manage the load with a humble heart so that we will always find rest. In the right relationship where both individuals are walking with Christ sharing His yoke, when they join together IN CHRIST they will discover they are both equipped to bear each other’s burdens because Christ is in the midst of it all.

Essentially I want to encourage us to be careful who we get yoked up with. Is it really worth the stress and strain? Let us first above all else learn to walk with Christ bearing his yoke and then join together with someone else, bearing Christ’s yoke together.

@ColorByStyle

Love and God Bless,

– T

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IGspiration // The Heart of Worship

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I posted this picture on Instagram over the weekend and shared a testimony that is still being written…see below…

This picture right here is a visual testimony and here’s why. When I first moved to PA, I struggled with finding my place in serving and ministering in a new environment. In fact, I struggled with whether I wanted to be involved with ministry at all. Back in the DMV I was involved in pretty much EVERYTHING at my home church and had begun to feel very burned out. But over the past 2 years here in PA, I have been blessed to have the humbling privilege to serve musically…and sing many a new song unto the Lord as the amazing team and I usher the comgregation into a state of worship. Tonight I am reminded that God places you where He knows you can serve. There’s no use running or hiding. Embrace how and where you can be used by Him to reach others. He can always use you, no matter who or where you are. #NoteToSelf…. #HappySabbath 

I’m so glad that God has continued to allow me to serve Him even right where I am.  No matter where life takes me in the future (yeah…my life will definitely be changing in the next 6 months…Pray church…), I pray that I will never lose sight of who and whose I am and always possess a heart of worship.

Oh yeah….decided to share some notes with y’all… 🙂

Love and God Bless,

– T

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Enter the GIVEAWAY!

 

IGspiration // Object Lessons

I have always loved stories with lessons.  Especially the parables that Jesus told that had an object lesson to them.  And speaking of which, I really need to stop playing with my life and read EGW’s Christ’s Object Lessons because I feel like I would get my ENTIRE life…but I digress…

My devotionals over the past week have provided quite a few object lessons that I really enjoyed so I wanted to share them with you in hopes of becoming America’s Next Top Model that you’ll learn something that you can eventually apply to your life to make it even greater and more fulfilling 🙂

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I think these all speak for themselves… (^_^)

Love and God Bless,

– T

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POP UP POST // IGspiration: Trust God + Know Your Worth

Sooooo….figured I might as well just blog the entire week!  Aren’t you guys lucky! lol

Plus, I realized that although I’ve been consistently sharing inspirational quotes on Instagram, I hadn’t done and IGspiration post all month!  So at the very least, I’ve decided to make the IGspiration posts monthly, if not more frequent.  Yay! 🙂

If there’s anything that I have learned it’s the following:

1. Trust God

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Oftentimes it’s so easy to doubt that God hears and is truly listening to our heart’s cry, especially when we REALLY seem to be going THROUGH.  But God has consistently shown me that He’s the Master Architect.  He has the blueprints to the masterpiece of a life that is mine.  All I really need to do, despite any glitches or technical difficulties, is trust Him and follow His leading.  His timing in my life has ALWAYS been perfect.  His plans have never led me astray.  I love and trust God and I’m not ashamed to say it.  And neither should you!

2. Know My Worth

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Over the past several years, I have learned a lot about myself. And GROWN soooo much!  And one thing I’ve come to realize more and more is that I have REAL value!  I am WORTH something, not just to people around me but more importantly, God finds me worthy of His love.  Why? I couldn’t even tell you…lol.  But I am so grateful that He does!  Now I’ve never suffered with any serious self-confidence or self-esteem issues really (my parents did a VERY good job of affirming my siblings and me….and it doesn’t help that we’re just naturally awesome lol), but we all have insecurities.  And my worth has been challenged over the years.  Through certain career/professional setbacks or relationship struggles, my self-worth has been cracked….but NEVER shattered *INSERT PRAISE BREAK!*  Reminding myself of WHO I am and also WHOSE I am has been so so SO important in helping me to remain encouraged despite various trials throughout my life.  And YOU should never forget either of those things!

If you liked this little IGspirational round-up, definitely follow me on Instagram!  I love sharing these tidbits with you!  I really hope that by sharing, God can help me to uplift some of you right where and when you need it.

Love and God Bless,

– T

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IGspiration // Live on Purpose

While I was on my blogging hiatus, one of my friends (s/o to Larwin if you’re reading!) mentioned that he really enjoyed and missed the snapshots of my daily devotionals that I would put on Instagram ever so often.  To be honest, I had really fallen off from doing my daily morning devotions and spending time with God.  I was so caught up with everything else in life that spending time with Him had no longer become a priority.  And that’s one of the many things I sought to work on over the past several months: getting back to my First Love and strengthening that relationship.

In the process, I do also want to continue encouraging those around me.  And for me, social media has become a great way to share daily devotionals, inspirational quotes, and passages of scripture that help to strengthen my faith.  Now that I’m back to blogging, I’m hoping to use this IGspiration (IG/Instagram Inspiration) series to hopefully help to encourage all of you, my readers, as well.

Here’s what uplifted my spirits this past week:
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I have really been loving the Daughters of the King daily devotionals app on my smartphone.  Every single reading has been on point and on time.  Definitely check it out!

I love reading the book of Psalms.  Such an uplifting book written by a man that God Himself called a man after His own heart, despite the MANY screw-ups David made in His life.  My all time favorite passage of scripture is actually Psalm 121.  But earlier this week I was struck by the words of praise in Psalm 103: 1-5.  It spoke the words that my heart truly felt.

Have you guys heard of Elevation Church?  O. M. G!!! If you haven’t, you need to get your spiritual life and get familiar.  Pastor Steven Furtick is TRULY anointed and blessed with the gift of teaching God’s word in a way that all can not only understand but also apply on a personal level. This weekend, I listened to a sermon series that he did not too long ago titled “Consider the Source.”  When I tell you God spoke through him directly into my life and brought me to tears?  Listen…just download the Elevation App and be blessed.  Thank me later.

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Sometimes we all need some encouragement and a reminder that greater things are yet to come.  That’s why I loved all three of these posts.

It can be soooo easy to get stuck on the mistakes of our past and think that they dictate our future.  But never forget that with faith in God, nothing is impossible.

Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen…(yup, I’m an optimist. Sorry, not sorry…lol)

I really hope that this series helps some of you out there to rebuild your relationship with your First Love as well 🙂

And follow me on Instagram for daily inspirational tidbits (and more)!

Until Tuesday!

Love and God Bless,

– T

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