Monthly Archives: July 2015

Five Dollars

[Remember] this: he who sows sparingly and grudgingly will also reap sparingly and grudgingly, and he who sows generously [that blessings may come to someone] will also reap generously and with blessings. (2 Cor. 9:6, AMP)

This morning, I was in the mood for some coffee and a pumpkin scone, and was willing to wait in this long (Ridiculous!) line at Starbucks. So, I waited. And waited and waited to spend my little bit on breakfast. Come to think of it, my truck probably wasted close to $10 in gas as I anticipated satisfying my sweet tooth.

It was finally my turn at the drive-thru window. I opted using my debit card instead of cash, and happily drove off excited about enjoying my pumpkin scone and fresh hot coffee. Normally, with a swift left turn, I’m back home within minutes. But not today. For some reason I decided to take the long route, even though I had been waiting in the longest line EVER. I have no idea why I went that way…..well, I do now.

This alternate route lead me directly into traffic. While waiting, once again, in traffic, at the light for metro rail, a man walks pass my truck holding a sign that reads, “25¢ goes a long way.” He wore a camouflage fishermen hat with the adjustable chin strap, baggie black gym shorts, dingy or dirty white t-shirt, and flip-flop shoes that seemed to be hiding underneath the heel of his large feet. Yeah. Out of habit, I did a quick inventory. From head to toe I believe I can determine if a person is truly homeless, a beggar, or just a con artist. Does this theory shed some truth? Not really.

Anyway, his stride decreased each time he passes a vehicle, as if to give drivers time to decide whether he and/or his cause was worthy of their coins. When he came close to my truck I looked at him in his face, then turned my head away. So he kept walking and I kept my eye on him, looking through my side and rear view mirror. These days you can never be too careful. However, I noticed the driver behind me do the same – cautiously observe this man.

After doing his initial walk through, with no donors, the homeless man (I guess that’s what he was) turned around and walked past the cars again. This time, the guarded driver behind me raised down his window and gave. At that moment, I heard, “Where’s that five dollars you had?” Huh? “You were going to give five dollars to Starbucks. Now, give it to him.” Reluctant to be obedient, I dug in my purse, fumbling through my last bit of cash to find five dollars. Quickly letting my window down, I blew my horn, but he didn’t turn around. He didn’t see me. I blew it again louder, waving the five dollar bill in my hand to get his attention. Finally, he turned around, hurriedly took the cash, smiled and said, “God bless you.”

You want to know how I felt afterwards. Conned. I immediately felt I had just been had. Like I was waiting for the man to say, “Gotcha!” Then, I said to myself, I don’t know anything about that man. Maybe he’ll use that five dollars to buy a hot meal. Maybe he’ll spend it on drugs. Maybe he was homeless. Maybe he was a beggar or just a straight up con artist doing whatever he can to get over on people. Maybe, maybe, maybe. I didn’t have a clue what this stranger would do with the money he collects on the streets.

The light turned green. I drove passed him, and he gave me a genuine smiled and waved goodbye.

You know what amazes me? I was willing to wait in a long line to give five dollars away to company whose annual revenue is over 13 billion dollars. I’m amazed that without giving it a second thought I’ll spend $20 on a meal at Chick-fil-a, and their lines are always long! On the other hand, most times, I will blatantly refuse to give my change to a beggar on the street. Why? Because I selfishly question how he or she will spend my money. But as a consumer, waiting in a fast food line, this thought never comes up.

Nope, not on a soap box today. Yet I’m grateful to God for showing me my reflection. He made it obvious that I miss out on countless opportunities to be a blessing to a stranger on the street. I fail to give my little or my last on the grounds that this person may not be legit. Shame on me, especially when I’m told to be a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7).

Earlier this morning, I was tweeted a YouTube video about these guys who randomly asked strangers for food. I was surprised, well not really, by the people’s response. This video prompt me to post “Let’s not pass up our opportunity to be a blessing to someone else (Lk. 17:11-19)”, except God didn’t allow me to post it. Unbeknownst to me, (God has such a sense of humor!) He wanted to present me with an opportunity to either eat my words or practice what I preached. Honestly, I was oh so close at eating my words. I almost missed out on my chance to give.

Prayer: Father, please forgive me. On many occasions, I shamelessly look the other way when given a chance to show benevolence to Your people. Not only have You called me to share words of encouragement, but You’ve called me to show acts of compassion and generosity too. I’m so sorry for missing opportunities to be a blessing to those in need. Teach me how to be a cheerful giver, giving bountifully expecting nothing in return. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 MEDITATION AND QUIET TIME 

ENCOURAGING YOU TO WALK IN FREEDOM!

Rhovonda L. Brown is speaker and author of two bestsellers, Walking in Freedom!: A Thirty-Day Devotional Journey for Women and At Least Say, “Thank You!”: An 8-Day Devotional Plan for a Grateful Heart. 

Copyright ©2010-2016. Rhovonda L. Brown. All Rights Reserved.

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*That One Tree

When my son was between the ages of 2 and 4, it seemed like he got into everything. He was so busy! So curious! He wanted to touch everything. Even when we said, “No, don’t touch that.” He would touch it anyway. When we told him not to climb something because it was not safe and he might fall, he wanted to climb it anyway. He was an explorer and very inquisitive. It’s like he gravitated to touching things, climbing things, pulling things down, picking up things that were dangerous and harmful for him. He definitely kept us on our toes, making sure he was safe!

One day, while visiting a family member, my son wanted to touch something interesting…. hot curling irons. This family member had a salon inside her home, and was closing up her shop for the day. Now, she had toys, among other things, that would keep a little boy safe, satisfied and preoccupied; however, the one thing that looked more appealing than those toys were the hot curling irons.

Several times, my son was warned about those curling irons. He said, “Hot?” We’d all say, “Yes, very hot. DO NOT TOUCH.” But our son kept looking at the table where the curling irons were; he was so intrigued by them (Although, I don’t know why!).

Soon, it was time to go, and as we were saying our goodbyes, my son wanted to see if the curling irons were really as hot as we said they were. He ran and touched the curling irons, and found out that we were right! Yes, they were hot! Very hot! Bless his heart! His little right hand was burned pretty badly; he had to wear bandages over his hand for several days, but thank God! His hand healed perfectly!

But of course, that little hiccup didn’t stop my son at all. Before long, he was back to his inquisitive self again! He continued to pick up things, climb up things, and touch things that were more harmful than good for him.

The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’

-Gen. 2:8-9;15-17, NKJV

In today’s passage, our Creator has planted a beautiful garden in Eden for His creation to eat and enjoy. In a warning, God commands Adam to enjoy everything that He has made, but from one particular tree, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, he could not eat. If he did eat from that tree, Adam would die.

God placed the Tree of life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil right in the middle of the garden. Out of all the other trees, how could that one tree, the one that would bring death, seem so desirable? How could one tree, the tree that Adam was warned not to eat, be so appealing? Why couldn’t Adam and Eve enjoy the Tree of Life and live a satisfied life forever?

Why would God place that one particular tree in the middle of the garden if He didn’t want Adam and Eve to eat from it? Perhaps God put that one tree there to give Adam and Eve free will, a free will to choose. Maybe God wanted Adam and Eve’s one decision to teach us the importance of making the right decision, which is obeying God’s command.

Whatever God’s reason was, Adam and Eve were given a choice, and they chose to disobey God by fulfilling the desires of their flesh. Their one disobedient choice resulted in separation from God and ultimately, death.

For our own good, God tells us, “Don’t touch!” but we touch it anyway. He tells us, “Don’t go there!” but we go anyway. He warns us not to speak, but we speak anyway. He commands us not to do, but we do it anyway. Whatever God’s reason may be for giving us those directives, He wants us to obey them. That one wrong decision could do more harm than good.

What is it that you keep gravitating to? What is it that you keep picking up? What is it that you keep holding on to, going back to? What is that one thing that you just won’t let go?

God has told us to leave it alone, drop it, don’t touch that, stay away from it, be quiet, but we’re not listening!

Why won’t we listen?!

The serpent convinced Eve that the fruit from the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil was more desirable than the fruit from all the other trees including the Tree of life (Gen. 3). Sisters, we can’t allow that one thing that seems so desirable to us cause us to disobey God. Let’s listen, obey, and serve God, so our days will be successful!

If they obey and serve Him,
They shall spend their days in prosperity,

And their years in pleasures.

(Job 36:11, NKJV)

During your Quiet Time, meditate on today’s scriptures and walk in your freedom.

LET’S WALK IN FREEDOM TOGETHER & IMPACT THE WORLD!

*Originally posted 12/6/12.

If you’re in the Houston, Texas areas, I want to invite you to the Walking in Freedom! Workshop. Learn more 

Rhovonda L. Brown is speaker and author of two bestsellers, Walking in Freedom!: A Thirty-Day Devotional Journey for Women and At Least Say, “Thank You!”: An 8-Day Devotional Plan for a Grateful Heart. 

Copyright ©2010-2016. Rhovonda L. Brown. All Rights Reserved.

*Words

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” (Ps. 19:14, NKJV)

Words are powerful! Words can mean one thing to one person and those same words can mean something totally different to another. If used maliciously, words can hurt and destroy lives. Words can hold a person captive, rip a life a part, cause division and conflict. Words can create doubt, worry, fear and low self-esteem. Words can cause guilt and shame. Words can send a person into depression and cause confusion. Words can start a revolution, wars between nations, make a person commit a crime, acts of evil and even murder.

“All the words of my mouth are righteous (upright and in right standing with God); there is nothing contrary to truth or crooked in them.”  

(Prov. 8:8, AMP)

Words can create a winning attitude, give confidence, and raise up leaders. Words can make a person believe that they’re unstoppable, larger than life, and potent! Words can do the unthinkable, start a movement, an empire, and leave a legacy. Words can kindle a fire and start a chain reaction. Words can cause extraordinary moments or lasting damages. Words can begin a romance, make a person fall deeply in love and quickly, out of love. Words are influential!

“Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, making people happy and healthy.” (Prov. 16:25, NCV)

Spoken or written words are powerful. The words we speak and write can cause emotional and physical pain. At the same time, those same words can cause pleasure and delight. Written words can give life and freedom, as well as oppression and death. Spoken words can uplift, inspire, and strengthen a person. They can give hope, courage and victory.

With powerful Words, God spoke the world into existence (Genesis). His mighty Word created the heavens and the earth. At His command light and darkness appeared (Gen. 1:3). He used His awesome Words to decree death over a rebellious nation in the wilderness (Num. 14:1-38). His Words proclaim blessings and promises as rewards for obedience. And for disobedience, He pronounce curses (Deuteronomy 28). God’s Word is so magnificent!

God has given us the Holy Bible to live the Christian life. He’s given us His glorious Word to prosper and be equipped to live an abundant life. Not only did God give us the scripture to live by, but He has given us His Holy Son – the Living Word – for salvation. Jesus Christ gives eternal life to all who believes (John 3). WOW!!

My sister, we use words every day, whether they’re spoken, written, read or heard. Words are absolutely phenomenon and they have lasting effect. Words take on many different meanings. We must wisely decide how we’re going to use our words and how we’re going to allow the words of others affect us.

Therefore, how will you use words today? How will your words be effective?

“And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” (Col 3:17, NLT)

QUIET TIME

LET’S WALK IN FREEDOM TOGETHER & IMPACT THE WORLD!

*Originally posted 9/26/13.

Rhovonda L. Brown is speaker and author of two bestsellers, Walking in Freedom!: A Thirty-Day Devotional Journey for Women and At Least Say, “Thank You!”: An 8-Day Devotional Plan for a Grateful Heart. 

Copyright ©2010-2016. Rhovonda L. Brown. All Rights Reserved.

*God’s Plan

“O Lord my God, you have performed many wonders for us. Your plans for us are too numerous to list. You have no equal. If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them.” (Ps. 40:5, NLT)

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a famous model! Then, I wanted to be an Olympic Gold Medalist track star! I would be the fastest person on the planet, even faster than Carl Lewis, who at the time was the fastest man in the world. Yes, I had my life all planned out, my goals and my dreams, but my, how things change.

Now, the Lord has placed me on a path that is so foreign, unheard of, and unimaginable. Isn’t that just like God?! If someone would have told me (many years ago) that I would be on the journey that I’m on now, I would have laughed and said, “Yea, right! Quit playing!”

One of the many things that I love about our Father is that He takes us from glory to glory from faith to faith. He leaves us saying, “Wow!” I love the fact that our God doesn’t always tell us what He’s doing. Sometimes, He doesn’t tell us everything. A lot of times, He surprises us. And what I love most about our loving Father is His love for us. His love is constant and no matter what we go through, no matter what we experience (the good and the bad) all are part of His glorious plan. 

Although, my dreams and goals have changed since that little girl, God knew and He knows what I shall become.

Sisters, maybe you have found your life in a place where you’re thinking God is not moving on your behalf. Maybe you feel like God isn’t saying anything–He’s silent in your life. Maybe you feel like your life is not going according to your plans, but know this: Without a shadow of a doubt, your life is working according to God’s plan.

Even in our sin, in our disobedient state of mind and in our stubbornness, God has the last say. His will shall be done, no matter what!

“The Lord will work out his plans for my life-
for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever.
Don’t abandon me, for you made me.”

(Ps. 138:8, NLT)

During your Quiet TimeMEDITATE on God’s Word.

LET’S WALK IN FREEDOM TOGETHER & IMPACT THE WORLD!

*Originally posted 6/25/12.   

Rhovonda L. Brown is speaker and author of two bestsellers, Walking in Freedom!: A Thirty-Day Devotional Journey for Women and At Least Say, “Thank You!”: An 8-Day Devotional Plan for a Grateful Heart. 

Copyright ©2010-2016. Rhovonda L. Brown. All Rights Reserved.

*Eyes on the Prize

As Believers, God has placed us in a race. It is a race that was already set before the world began! When Jesus walked this earth, He showed us how to run this race and how to finish it. He, in turn, ignited and equipped others before us (such as Peter, John, James, Paul…) to give us tools we’ll need to cross the finish line. As runners in this Christian race, we’ll need a lot of training and preparation to cross the finish line, which can only be obtained by studying the Word of God, spending time with God, and believing in His every Word. Having confidence in God, we can reach that goal and receive our prize!

“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:12-14, NKJV)

In today’s passage, Paul encourages the Philippian Christians to keep their eyes on the prize! He tells them that he’s made a conscious decision to keep looking up and moving forward to cross the finish line. Paul was going to look back, but had his mind, heart, and eyes set on what lies ahead: the prize of the upward call (Phil. 3:13-14).

Therefore, my sister, I’m praying that we will do the same. I’m praying that we’ll have tunnel vision today and every day. Don’t look to the left or to the right, but keep our eyes on the prize. Don’t worry about what this person is doing over here or what that person is doing over there, but keep our eyes on the prize. Remember our purpose. Remember what God has told us to do and what He has shown us. We can’t lose sight of the prize!

Don’t let those things that are going on around you knock you off the path God has set for you. Your journey that God has you on is just what it is…….a journey. So, there will be potholes, bumps in the road, and sudden turns. Your journey is not supposed to be easy, it’s a journey! No, you won’t know what lies ahead; though, God knows. All the roads won’t be smooth. It’s going to be rough patches and a lot of opposition. In spite of all those things, you must remain focused on the prize God has for you!

Keep fighting a good fight. Keep praying. Keep the faith. Keep looking up. Keep your eyes on the prize and finish the race!

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”

(2 Tim.4:7-8, NKJV)

It’s Monday……already!! Now, run the race with endurance and determination!

During your Quiet Time, MEDITATE on God’s Word and keep walking in freedom!

QUIET TIME

LET’S WALK IN FREEDOM TOGETHER & IMPACT THE WORLD!

*Originally posted 10/28/13.   

Rhovonda L. Brown is speaker and author of two bestsellers, Walking in Freedom!: A Thirty-Day Devotional Journey for Women and At Least Say, “Thank You!”: An 8-Day Devotional Plan for a Grateful Heart. 

Copyright ©2010-2016. Rhovonda L. Brown. All Rights Reserved.

 

Images.google.com. Run the race. http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-o7RvVpWKD_0/UKDvEjy4_8I/AAAAAAAAANY

/Pwv2rkxCkDI/s1600/1_corinthians_9_24.jpg (accessed June 28, 2013).

*On the Backburner

There’s a saying that goes like this, “Get in a tough spot, then you’ll find out who your real friends are. You’ll see who really has your back and who was only there when the getting was good.”

We have friends and love ones who are in the hospital, incarcerated, some are having financial crises, and some who are barely making it from day to day. If we’re honest, some of us are having difficulties. Sadly, we ignore others who have difficulties because we have problems of our own. Sometimes, we forget about another person’s plight because we are so consumed with our own issues. We’re dealing with our own troubles and don’t have the energy, time, or the effort to be bother with someone else’s problems. Personally, it seems like my issues should be my number one priority. My problems should take precedence. Shouldn’t it?

Should we be so bogged down with our own situations that we ignore others? Should we be so consumed with the worries of our own personal life that we forget or turn our heads away from those who are hurting and suffering?

I WONDER……….

What would have happened if God had ignored my plight? I wonder what would have happened to me, to you, and to this world if God had said, “Forget them! They are not worth the trouble! It’s too time consuming and takes too much energy to help those sinful people.” My, how lost we would be!

“But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)” (Eph. 2:4-5, NLT)

But praise God who is rich in mercy and grace! Our Heavenly Father could have left us alone to deal with our own problems, but He didn’t. He could have left us where we were, sitting in our own sin infested mess, but He didn’t. Right now, He can walk away from us and leave us to deal with our own issues, but He doesn’t! He didn’t ignore us nor did He forget about us. Instead, He showed His love and compassion toward us. Yes, our Father shows His mercy and love toward us every day. So, shouldn’t we do the same thing? Shouldn’t we show that same love and that same compassion toward others?

Sisters, are we forgetting about our friends, our family members, our church members, or whomever is in need? Have we abandoned our love ones or turned our heads from those people who we say we love because we are pressured and overwhelmed by our own stuff?

As hard as it may be, my sister, we can put aside our own problems. We can put our concerns on the back burner, for just a little while, and think about someone else. Let’s remember those who are in need, those who are facing difficult times, and then try our best to meet that need.

I believe we can change the world, one need at a time!

“It is a sin to despise one’s neighbor, but blessed is the one who is kind to the needy.” (Prov. 14:21, NIV)

 

Jesus Walked This Earth Living An Unselfish Life. Let’s Do The Same!

 QUIET TIME

LET’S WALK IN FREEDOM TOGETHER & IMPACT THE WORLD!!

*Originally posted 6/18/12.

Rhovonda L. Brown is speaker and author of two bestsellers, Walking in Freedom!: A Thirty-Day Devotional Journey for Women and At Least Say, “Thank You!”: An 8-Day Devotional Plan for a Grateful Heart. 

Copyright ©2010-2016. Rhovonda L. Brown. All Rights Reserved.

*Wrong is Wrong

How many times do I need to tell you this? How many times do I need to talk to you about this? How many times do I need to fuss about this? How many times do I need to punish you for this same action? Are you tired of doing the same thing, getting in trouble about the same thing? Aren’t you tired of the same results: bad consequences for your wrong behavior? How long is it going to take before you realize you are not making good decisions?

Those of us who are parents may have asked our children some of those same questions. We wonder to ourselves and oftentimes out loud, how long will it take for my son, my daughter to see how wrong this is? Oftentimes, I think to myself, God gave me children so that I can do a self-check on my relationship with Him. Take a moment to think about it.

How long? It’s a question that I have to ask myself many times. How long will I allow the enemy to trip me up? How long will I allow my emotions to get the best of me? How long will I allow the opinions of someone else to stop me from doing what God has appointed me to do? How long will I keep doing the same thing over and over again, yielding the same unfavorable results? How long?

“Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.”~Albert Einstein

It’s amazing to me that we keep doing wrong even when we hear the warning bells. We hear the warnings and we see the signs, but we keep doing wrong. It’s weird to me. We know we’re wrong; we know what we’re doing is wrong, but we keep doing wrong. We stay on that wrong road that leads to destruction. Even though we know it’s not right – we know that our actions are displeasing to God – we continue to stay on that wrong path. We’re basically saying, “I’m doing what I want to do because I want to do it.” Therefore, we continue to do wrong.

But for how long??!!

“And Saul said, Who are You, Lord? And He said, I am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting. It is dangerous and it will turn out badly for you to keep kicking against the goad [to offer vain and perilous resistance].  

(Acts 9:5; AMP)

Traveling down the wrong road of resistance, rebellious, stubbornness, wrong way of thinking, wrong actions, and wrong attitude about God is dangerous! These behaviors will only lead us down the wrong path.

Sisters, how long will we keep doing the wrong thing? How long will we keep making the wrong decisions and expecting different outcomes? How long will we resist right for wrong? How long?

During your QUIET TIME, MEDITATE on God’s Word and keep walking in freedom!

LET’S WALK IN FREEDOM TOGETHER & IMPACT THE WORLD!

*Originally posted 6/12/13.  

Rhovonda L. Brown is speaker and author of two bestsellers, Walking in Freedom!: A Thirty-Day Devotional Journey for Women and At Least Say, “Thank You!”: An 8-Day Devotional Plan for a Grateful Heart. 

Copyright ©2010-2016. Rhovonda L. Brown. All Rights Reserved.