Monthly Archives: September 2015

Sitting on Top of the World

 “For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb. 16-And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1:15-17, NASB)

Some would say John the Baptist had a lot of weight on his shoulders, he being the forerunner for Christ. John the Baptist came preparing the way for Jesus Christ, “…preaching a baptism of life-change leading to forgiveness of sins” (Luke 3, MSG). Some may even say, because of his office given by God, John the Baptist had reason to become prideful, arrogant, and get the BIG head. On the contrary, scripture does not make any note of John seeing the task given to him as burdensome nor did he allow his position to give room to boasting.

In fact, John the Baptist showed humility when asked if he was the Messiah “John answered, saying to all, “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire…” (Luke 3:16, NKJV). When the disciples made a big deal about the people not coming to John the Baptist, but going to Jesus to be baptized, in meekness John replied, “He must increase, but I must decrease….” (John 3:30, NKJV)

Maybe God has placed you in a position that, according to the world’s standard, you should boast, you should toot your own horn, or you should sing your own praises. Maybe your role demands high esteem, honor, and accolades from the people. Maybe your skills, talents, achievements, educational background has allowed you to become conceited, arrogant, and your head has become swollen with pride. Maybe, just maybe, you have the “I did” mentality (…I did this, I did that, and look what I did….). If we’re in that place, let’s be careful!

“First pride, then the crash — the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.” (Proverbs 16:18, MSG)

Sisters, let’s be careful not to allow the position we are in to produce seeds of vanity and haughtiness, but let’s remain humble following the examples of John the Baptist by keeping the mind of Christ. Christ, the King, came to serve and to give His life (Matt. 20:28). And so must we.

“Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.” (1 John 2:15-17, MSG)

Pray this prayer with me: Father, forgive me for being so arrogant with the abilities You have blessed me with. Burn away and remove everything that is not like You. In humility, I empty myself to you. Lord, I ask that You increase in my life, as I decrease. I love You. Thank You for Your mercy and Your forgives. In Jesus’ name, amen.

During your Quiet Time, MEDITATE  on God’s Word and keep walking in freedom!
LET’S WALK IN FREEDOM TOGETHER & IMPACT THE WORLD! 

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.

Bees!

My daughter does not like bugs. In fact, she hates bees! I’m wondering if she has a phobia about them because every time she sees a bee, she gets terrified. (I know, not good.) She blames me for her fear of bees. When she was a little girl, she saw me get stung by a bee while trying to shield her from it. She claims that I made a big deal over it; however, from my recollection, I did no such thing. Well, maybe I did react in a manner that could have been quite scary to a 4 year old. According to my daughter, I ranted, screamed and made a big deal, but I don’t remember doing any of that. Anyway, whenever there’s a bee or bug, she reminds me that I’m the reason for her fear of them. And worse, her fear of bugs may have trickled down to my son, but he tries not to show his fear. (Being a man.)

The other day, my son saw a bee in his window and came downstairs to announce it to everyone in the house. “There’s a big bee in my window!” Of course this scared my daughter. Then, she was too afraid to go back up stairs. I told them to be brave, get the spray and kill it. I gave them a few pointers on how to kill it, and encouraged them to go back upstairs and conquer their fears. My husband was in the kitchen making breakfast and I was on the computer. We encouraged them to get pass their fear, be each other’s support, and to kill the bee! A minute later, both of them came running down the stairs asking. “Mommy can you come? Daddy, will you please come kill the bee? Daddy, just come see it.” Kaleb said. “I can do it if you would come with me,” They did this on several occasions.

After about 15 minutes of my children asking for help, creeping up stairs with the spray can in hand and running back down, their daddy finally stopped what he was doing. “Where is it?” and he led them back upstairs. I, on the other hand, waited at the bottom of the stairs just in case the bee tried to fly away. At last, my husband took care of the bee, which was actually a wasp!

That little episode, made me think about several things. First, sometimes, because of fear, we won’t do certain things. We won’t even try. Because we are so afraid, we won’t say or go where God is telling us to go. Instead, we ask others to do, to say and go in our place. We look for other people to do what God has called us to do. Moses, for example, feeling inadequate and afraid of the huge task God had assigned him to do, asked if someone else could do it for him. Moses wanted someone else to do what God had chosen him to do (Exodus 3 & 4:1-17).

Secondly, that ordeal with the bee also showed me that even when we are so afraid, God is always there. After consistently asking for help, my husband stopped what he was doing and took care of the bee. Like my children who asked their dad for help, so can we. All we have to say is, “Daddy!” and God will come to our rescue. He did it for Peter when he began to be swallowed up by the strong waves (Matt. 14:28-31), and He’ll do it for us. Every time we ask for help, our Heavenly Father comes strong on our behalf. We can always depend on Him.

My sister, has God given you a job that seems insurmountable? Have you been trying to pass that assignment over to someone else because you feel inadequate and afraid? Are you being overtaken by the flood – is your back against the wall? Has God told you to move, but you’re still stuck in that same place, that same position because you’re too afraid to move?

Well, it’s Wednesday! Hump Day! Here’s our Biblical principle to get us moving over the hump.

“Be strong and very courageous… Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Josh. 1:7a, 9, NIV)

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

Originally posted: 9/11/13

Seasons

 “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance…..” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4, KJV)

Everyone goes through different seasons. In every moment of our life, there is a time for everything. Everything has its purpose; everything has its time, its season.

Unfortunately, we all must experience those gloomy seasons, those tough times when there’s darkness and sadness. All of us must go through those seasons of brokenness, seasons of mourning and weeping, seasons of war (physically or within), seasons of sickness, etc.

Whether it is a death of a love one, a job, a relationship, a dream, a home, we all will experience seasons of death, seasons of loss, seasons when things must come to an end. However, when we go through those difficult times, we can be encouraged. We can be encouraged to know that it’s just for a season; it’s only for a moment. In time we will have our season of rejoicing. In time, we will have our time of celebration. In time, we will dance and sing. We’ll have our time of peace, a season of laughter, season of birth (a child, opportunity, friendship), a season of love, and embrace!

What season are you in??

Whatever season you might be in, know that it’s just a season that will soon pass. Most importantly, know that God is with you no matter what season you’re in.

..……like summer turns into fall, fall turns into winter, and winter turns into spring. Soon, your season will change.

Sisters, to everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven.

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

*Originally posted: 9/7/11

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.

More. A Chick-Fil-A Service

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There’s a Chick-Fil-A by my son’s school that I frequent when I have time. I like to stop by for breakfast. Every single time I go, there’s a long line of customers who don’t mind waiting early in the morning. Yea, early in the morning people want their Chick-Fil-A fix, and so do I! What I’ve notice from each visit, is the service. Chick-Fil-A’s customer service is a five star service. They go beyond the norm of what’s expected.

It’s a great day at Chick-Fil-A.
How may I serve you?
It’s my pleasure to help.
It’s no problem at all.
Have a great day.

With a smile on their faces, the staff is continuously ready and willing to serve their customers. They stand on the Fast Food adage: The customer is always right. Even the way they package their food and present it to you, it’s always fresh and good. Each time I patron Chick-Fil-A, I’m impressed by their immaculate service.

Upon receiving my order the other day from Chick-Fil-A, I smiled within as I always do. Ahh. So fresh and so good. Oh, I love these containers! Can someone say, “Reusable?” While mulling over the excellent service I was given once again, you know me, I begin to examine myself. I wondered about my service. What kind of service do I provide? How well do I serve? Do I serve with a spirit of excellence? What about in my personal life? How well do I serve my husband, my children, church, ministry and job? Most importantly, how well do I serve my Heavenly Father? Am I allowing everything I do to be done to His glory?

To be honest, my service stinks! Lately, I’ve been doing just enough to get by. I’ve been mediocre. I blame it on my new schedule. I blame it on how tired I am. I blame on the fact that my children are older. I blame my service on everything and everyone else, except the true malefactor, me. It’s me! My service in all those areas I’ve mentioned certainly needs improvement. And truthfully, lately I’ve been satisfied with just being mediocre. Being average. Being normal. I’m trying to be the typical person that I’m not. That’s not me! I’m not typical. And that’s not you. You are not average! There’s more that I need to do. More that you need to give. So much more is required of us. More that God wants from us. More of what He wants us to give.

But I say: More? I don’t have more. Well, it doesn’t feel like I have more to give. I’m presently doing and giving so much, too much! Right now, my plate is overflowing! I’m a full-time everything! How can God require more of me? And how can He not be satisfied with my service? But He is not and He’s requiring more. He wants more from me and more from you.

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God has given me and you much gifts (Yes, I said it!), much talents. My sister, so much more is required of us. That is why we can’t be mediocre. No matter how hard we try. We are not ordinary. We can’t be and do just enough to get by. We can’t be average. God didn’t design us this way! He has placed greatness, power and victory inside of us (1 John 4:4). He has given us the ability to speak and our words can make things happen! God has given us His authority to go and be the difference in this cold and dark world (Matt. 28:19-20). He’s asking us to pour out our gifts and talents to bless others, to serve others, to do more. We cannot be run-of-the-mill. We’re not ordinary. We can’t be something that we’re not.

But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you-from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted. (1 Pet. 2:9-10, MSG)

Let me encourage you while encouraging myself. Be all that God has created you to be. You are not the old average Joe. No, you’re not! And don’t let anyone tell you that you are. When God made you He wanted to give you something special, something more. Therefore, He gave you an extra dose of Himself, making you an EXTRAordinary person (Gen. 2:7)! You have been set apart to do exceptional things.

Now, with that extra dose of greatness, be brilliant for God. Be MORE.

During your quiet time, read First Peter 2 and be motivated to be exceptional for God!

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

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.

Forgive

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But now you should forgive him and encourage him. This will keep him from having too much sadness and giving up completely.So I beg you to show him that you love him.
(2 Cor. 2:7-8, ERV)

Unforgiveness is a long heavy chain that wraps itself around its prey. It’s like a snake that squeezes the life out of its victim. The weight of unforgiveness is so heavy that the target is unable to loosen the grip without the help of someone else – one who’s much stronger. Although the victim struggles to break free from the grip of unforgiveness, she cannot because its weight holds her down. The longer she refuses to forgive, the tighter, the heavier, the stronger burden becomes until it leaves her powerless. Not only that, but the longer unforgiveness remains, the more it bites and gnaws at us, leaving damaging scars that aren’t easily repaired.

Most of us have fallen victim to the weight and tight grip of unforgiveness. It occurs when we hold on to past hurts and wounds that have been dealt to us by another person. Even though we think we have gotten past that hurt, even though we pretend that we have moved on, we still have those rotten scars to remind us of that hurt, that wound. Like a chain, unforgiveness wraps around us keeping us locked up, shackled and bound.

For some of us who wrestle with unforgiveness we CAN break free from its grip! We can be released from its heavy weight. We can let go of its power. But we have to be willing and ready to be free. So, are we ready to let it go? Are we ready to be free from unforgiveness?

The Holy Spirit convicts us and says, “Unforgiveness has been sucking the life out of you. You are drained, worn out, and barely surviving because you won’t forgive.” We’ve tried covering up the hurt and those ugly scars with a beautiful smile. We’ve tried to be strong and show no weakness. We’ve tried to bury our hurt deep into the ground, locked away in a hidden vault, but our unforgiveness is still there presently gnawing away at us. Our phony smile and superficial strength has temporarily guarded us, but has not freed us.

Sisters, we no longer have to be victims of that yoke, but we can be emancipated from that sinful spirit!

The power of the cross sets everyone free who is bound by something. Whether we are held captive by hatred, jealousy, resentment, unforgiveness or whatever the sin may be, Jesus makes us free (John 8:36)! The blood of our Savior and the love of the Father have freed us! When we trust Christ as our Savior and believe in the wonderful work God did at the cross, we are forgiven and we are able to forgive others (Mk 11:25). Patiently and lovingly, Jesus wants to show us how to forgive those who have wronged us and how to forgive ourselves. Through His Word, and the help of the Holy Spirit, God will show us how to let go of the hurt and move forward.

Satan, on the other hand, wants to keep us in captivity. He wants us to keep replaying in our minds over and over again the hurt we’ve experienced. The devil wants us to keep holding onto the hurt, keep reliving it, keep looking back at it, which makes it hard for us to forgive and move on. Without forgiving others, we can’t move forward. And if we can’t move forward, we cannot grow deeper in God. Our relationship with our Heavenly Father is hindered when we don’t forgive. Are we ready to forgive?

The enemy uses unforgiveness to keep us bound and ineffective for Christ. But God wants us to forgive and to be free so we can be effective witnesses for Him. Sisters, it’s time for us to release that hurt. It’s time for us to stop looking back. It’s time for us to walk out of the captivity of unforgiveness because Jesus has already freed! Now He requires us to forgive and He beckons us to walk with Him in that freedom.

My sister, we are no longer victims to unforgiveness. Not anymore. But we triumph over that hurt and over our pass, and we rejoice in victory with Jesus Christ!

Pray this prayer with me. Father, forgive me for fighting against You. I want to forgive and be free from this hurt. Lord, give me Your strength to forgive, Your power to love and move forward. Help me not to relive that pain anymore. I trust You and I receive Your healing today. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

During your quiet time, read Ephesian 4
and let’s be persuaded to forgive!
LET’S WALK IN FREEDOM TOGETHER & IMPACT THE WORLD!

*Originally posted 6/26/12.

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.