Shades of Sunshine

Latest Posts


Can I get an AMEN on this graphic? I have been petitioning and pondering about what to write about for the last two days and a host of topics have floated through my mind, but when I saw this on muh bestie’s Pinterest page, I knew what I was to do. Don’t worry I know I will eventually talk about the awesomeness that was City Rock Fest and how God without-a-doubt uses ‘hard rock’ to reach lost souls and rejuvenate, but today is not that day. Today, we talk about FAITH IN GOD.   
It was my mom who impressed upon me that it was one thing to say you have faith in God, but a whole other level when you have to work that faith muscle (in times of distress). It is easy to start doubting … worrying .. and lack of a better phrase tripping over what may come next, when you cannot see two feet in front of your face. It is easy because in times like these you are being attacked, but you are also in growth mode. You have faith vs fear at work, and one is going to give way to other, because there is no middle ground. One of my “tells” of discontent is my mental vocab starts to put a lot of effort into what ‘I’ can (or can’t) do suddenly, instead of my more frequent shut-it-down phrases such as “God's got this”. However, do you ever wonder why we should trust in God time and time again?

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
Numbers 23:19 KJV

God has a purpose and plan for your life if you are walking, crawling, rolling aka breathing upon this Earth and guess what, God is LoveGod can do no evilGod sent His Son to save the world …  The “Hall of Famers” in Hebrews 11 surely encountered stuff along the lines that you and I do (on a psychology temptation/response scale .. golden calf after just sauntering through the parted Nile waters, anyone?), but they kept realigning themselves with the true Creator over and over and over again, no matter what they did or what they saw or what they thought. This is what it means to daily take up your cross, it means regardless be in communication with and put your ultimately trust (faith, hope, love) in the Trinity.

This is the truth, when Jesus suffered the horrific death upon the cross, was resurrected three days later and ascending to the Father a few days after that and the then Spirit of God came down, all of the divine plan came into completion (for this phase). I mean that sin (the evil one) was defeated, the possibility of an eternal life of awesomeness was opened up to all people, and that the same Spirit who rose Christ from the dead is available to live inside of us humans should we believe, ask and trust. There is no reason to NOT have faith in God. As believers, sometimes we can get caught up thinking God didn’t ‘do’ something, when a lot of the times the thing He did was protect us. There is nowhere in the Bible that says once you accept Jesus as Savior your life will be easy and that you will get so rich you can afford a mega mansion and/or a McJet, actually it can get a bit tougher, but we have the promise for a better hereafter and the available peace that comes with knowing that you are in ONE with the Creator OF THE WORLD!

So I say all of that to say this, stay strong in your faith of who God is. Do not be scared to speak the truth of salvation, even if no one wants to hear it or people tell you it is wrong to say. You are a witness of God to a lost, dying and corrupt world. You are not perfect on your own, but in God’s eyes through Jesus’ sacrifice you are. You have the right … the honor to tell about His goodness and love, do not let any doubt or fear or feelings of unworthiness silence your lips, let all of the people be reached in Jesus' name.


There are 277 bible verses in the ESV translation with the word light in them or a variation of it, below is just a sampling. It was such a delight this Sunday while we spoke it centered on just that, light... being the light, sharing the light, without a doubt truly Spirit given. To be honest I cannot remember 100% what I said, but I know it was about always standing up for Jesus, and being able to be a witness regardless of where you are in life (on the streets or in a penthouse). So in turn, I share some verses below to those who happen to stumble upon this page. I also recommend checking out this blog posting at the Unveiled Wife “Are We Living In Gods Light”, “How Bright Is Your Light” at Creative Ladies Ministry and give a little watch to this on SkitGuys.



For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness. Psalm 18:28
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1
The Lord is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us. Psalm 118:27a
Then I saw that there is more gain in wisdom than in folly, as there is more gain in light than in darkness. Ecclesiastes 2:3
Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the voice of his servant? Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God. Behold, all you who kindle a fire, who equip yourselves with burning torches! Walk by the light of your fire, and by the torches that you have kindled! This you have from my hand: you shall lie down in torment. Isaiah 50:10-11
You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16
For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. Luke 8:17
If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light. Luke 11:36
In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines on in the darkness, and the darkness has never put it out. John 1:4-5
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17

May you be engulfed in peace in the Spirit of the Lord in Jesus name. 


Yeah, so to be held accountable I have been a SLACKER at writing lately. I mean have I written what I said I was going to in the previous post? Nope. Have a written any devotionals for perhaps a future book? Nope. However, I have been binge watching Netflix and doing some craftiness here and there. However, alas spring is here and it is time to get moving! So in honor of changes, regrowth and just to get some motivation, here are a few uplifting, encouraging and hope filled items to get you pumped for today and those that are to come! J

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.  In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. Jeremiah 29:11
1 Peter 1:3-6



  

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Jeremiah 29:11









One of the trillion topics that has been swirling around in my mind as of late is wisdom.
What it is?
Do I have any?
How can I get some more of it?
You know, that type of mental banter that leaves you teetering between feeling like an infant to a member of Mensa. I plan to write something more in-depth in the future about this topic, and perhaps even submit it to a few online publications (I share the latter for accountability purposes), but for now I present to you a wisdom centric Bible verse graphic blast. Enjoy!
















Admittedly, I have always been a bit cynical when it comes to Valentine's Day. Honestly considering that I have been single for what seems like light years, probably has not helped the matter.

I tease.. I tease.

However, on the real, when I was younger I would call it VD Day (heh heh). Nowadays I don’t understand why a specific day is needed to show love, when we are called to show it 24/7/365. I guess it goes along with a lot of the other holidays as it is more so a commercial extravaganza in which merchandisers make tons of cheddar (estimated $19 billion in 2016) on yummy treats and novelty memorabilia which proclaims your love for said receiver. History.com has an interesting backstory behind the date (traditions and whatnot) should you care to take a gander. When I see the number $19 billion, I cannot help but imagine on how many people that could help in the world.. hand me $19 billion and I will be like Oprah, except instead of goods I will be giving EVERYSPACE a homeless shelter (lottery goals).

However, let me bring it back to the topic I intended to write on (since I myself participate in the festivities at work, and with family/friends so, you know) … What is love all about?


Well the Bible is pretty clear cut about it, that in order to know love – you must know God (1 John 4:8).

Too often we (as a human nation)  get caught up thinking that LOVE is LUST, which despite what mainstream radio or television may tell you, is NOT the case.

The Bible is so comprehensive it even tells us the characteristics of Love as such:

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 wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV

And we can put a big bold underlined, italicized on John 3:16 as the most outstanding act of love ever and forever, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Should you be lacking more information or motivation about LOVE from the Bible, here are 86 more verses you can entertain in your brain.  But to sum it all up, God is love and true love is awesome, so therefore God is awesome. Seek to be that awesome, each and every day (John 15:12).

P/S
We got out own little taste of awesome love on Sunday with a Valetine’s surprise, thanks to some amazing students at the Lanier Career Academy who made us all cards and candy bags (100% chocolate contents, too). We are all very thankful and grateful for their efforts and thoughts. J  


Please know that I thank each and every one of you who read this blog (past, present and future). May you draw closer to the Creator with each and every day, and seek to carry out His will for your life, and be ready to always share the message of hope through Jesus Christ with others. 


I know I am not alone in this. You are searching the internet, looking at some hilarious memes and bam, there goes one belittling your faith, cutting down the Savior of the world and stating they would rather not ‘hear’ about it.. that it should be kept to ‘oneself’.

It saddens me, but alas I guess everyone is entitled to their own opinion right?

Indeed, we all are, but this opinion aka the truth is very different from all others. We are not talking about what color you should wear this season … We are not talking about how you should style your hair... We are not talking about the best place to live at... We are taking about your SOUL and ALL OF ETERNITY. We are talking about having the cure against DEATH and ANNILATION, and it just so happens to be free of charge.

 Seriously, would anyone who knew of the cure for cancer or even the common cold, keep it to themselves? Ok, so I am sure there would be a few people, but for the most part no, we would share it until we were unable to share it any longer.

Now I agree, we, as believers of God should not berate people with the truth, we are told in Matthew, “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.” However, we are commanded over and over to try, to go out and share the good news with the people of this world. This is news of love and compassion and grace, all through the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.


So sorry, but I am not sorry, nor will I ever be for sharing the message of Jesus Christ and I hope that one day, you are not sorry, that someone took the time to share it with you.



Regardless of believer or non, I do hope that you have a wonderful 2016, and may it be the best year yet. Of course, for all things giving praise to the Father, Son and Spirit, by whom we are created, saved and kept. 



Let me introduce to you Rodney, a co-worker, father, husband, coach and (most importantly) man of God, who I will always remember as saying "I know what I am and I know whose I am" with 100% confidence in his countenance. While having group breakfast at work a few weeks ago the topic came up about right vs wrong and children being taught vs predisposition of certain behaviors. He shared with me what he wrote the below, and I asked if he would be kind enough to let me post it on the blog, he was and welcomes any comments and feedback!

THE NEED FOR CHRIST
BY RODNEY L. SMOKES

If you have ever had the privilege of raising a child, or being close by while one was being raised, then the question of our nature has been answered for you. You don’t have to teach a child to do wrong; you have to train them to do right. We come in the world selfish and desiring to please only ourselves. Try this: instruct a small child not to eat any of the cookies left on the kitchen counter, and then walk out of the room. When you return to see the little child’s teeth marks left in one of the cookies, ask him if he was the one who ate of the cookie. Any parent knows the answer that is going to come forth out of the child’s mouth; “no” (if not this situation, you have one like it).

Why is this? Why do we have to train our children to be honest and to obey instruction? The reason is simple; we are born in sin and shapen in iniquity. After the flood Noah offered burnt offerings unto the Lord. And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in His heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done (Genesis 8 ).

 We have witnessed the truth in this saying, yet we deceive ourselves into thinking we are born innocent, and then made corrupt. We are corrupt from our beginning. What man has entered into the world without sin (save Jesus Christ)? For if our fathers, since Adam, are sinners, how then can their seeds be without sin (which is in their sinful bodies)? Why do we have traits of our fathers? A man can have a child and then desert him, and that child will still be like his father. Why is this? A man’s seed is from him, and of him. A misconception has been passed along among the peoples. God only created two people. All other souls are born of man (save Jesus Christ). This is the predicament of man: God hates sin. How then can man fellowship with God? How can we know Him? For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3).

This is the need for Christ: that we may be forgiven for that which we are guilty of. The question then becomes, how. How might we be saved through this man called Jesus? By what means is Jesus able to cleanse us of our sins? If man is born in sin and Jesus was born a man, where is his saving power? Jesus was born of a virgin for this very reason; that he may be the perfect sacrifice. Before Jesus, the people would give sacrifices to atone for their sins. These sacrifices were not unto salvation but for atonement and a sign of what was to come. Because of sin there was no perfect sacrifice in the earth. This is the need for Christ and him crucified. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many (Romans 5).

So, who is this Jesus? Jesus is the only begotten Son of the Father. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man commeth unto the Father, but by me. There is no salvation apart from Jesus. If we are to be forgiven of our sins, we must believe in Him. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: But he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God (John 3).

So, for those who believe in Jesus Christ, they are forgiven their sins; for Christ stood in our place and died for us. Does this mean that we, believers, are no longer guilty of our sins? How could that be? We committed the sins. Forgiveness is the covering of sins. You do not cover that which is not there in the first place. Yes, the penalty is paid and our record will be made clean. But the difference between the saved and the damned is belief in Christ, not sin. When Jesus comes back, we shall be made like him, but let us not forget the sacrifice he made on our behalf. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, Holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service (Romans 12). Because Christ died for our sins, it is a reasonable service indeed.

No serious scholar, of any sort, says that Jesus didn’t exist. Christians believe he is the Son of God; he was born of a virgin, died on the cross, rose from the dead in three days and now sits on the right hand of God in heaven. Muslims believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, but that he was not the Son of God, but a prophet. Jews believe he was blasphemous, and are still waiting on Christ to show up for the first time. So, the separation between the world’s three largest religions centers on who Jesus is.


What do you believe?

What has happened to 2015 .. Seriously.. I mean September was only around for a split second, or so it seemed. It was foretold to me that this would happen. I am sure others have heard the same, as we get older time just flies.on.by. It is truth. Now as we are on the verge of holiday blitz, I find myself being quite reflective of the concept of time in general.

In 2 Peter 3:8 it states, “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” We all are here on this globe but only a snippet in the span of eternity, yet what a very important piece it is to us. By no means do I claim to have everything figured out or the perfect path to follow (in fact - trust me I don’t … but I happen to know the Bible has all that info), but what I do have are three things I have concluded to be important when thinking about time.

1.       Where is God?

Where is God (Father, Son and Spirit) in your daily talk, walk and thought?

In our fast pace world it is easy to get caught up by things that have no real significance and even those that do, especially if you are a big hearted and caring individual. Also, it doesn’t help if you are one of the millions of people on this globe with some sort of attention issue. However, no matter how full our plate is or how many times we must reread that verse again, we must always take time for God. Time spent with Him and for Him is the best time. When one spends time with God, they deepen their relationship with the Trinity. They make themselves open to receive divine wisdom, instruction and understanding. As it is becoming more acceptable to worship a tree than the Savior and Creator of the world, the aforementioned seems that is would be an invaluable resource for dealing with what is and what is to come. 

They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen.
Romans 1:5

2.       Do You Share The Wealth?

Are you busy about your Father’s business speaking and showing the truth of Jesus Christ, helping others, and doing what you can for mankind?

You can be penniless, but still help others. I know because as someone who works with the homeless I see it. I see people who have ‘nothing’ according to the world’s standards, share that ‘nothing’ with those that they meet. A kind word, a welcoming smile, left-over’s from that good eatery you just had – in which you think you are going to eat them tomorrow – but you know you aren’t, a hug (my favorite), are all acceptable ways to share and show the love that has been given to us (John 15:12).  Also, if you need help finding a place in your area, you let me know (HollieMarie[at]ShadesofSunshine[dot]com) – I enjoy researching such things.




3.       Are You Moving On?

Is your mind set hopefully on things to come or in a pit of regret over the past?  

Regret is lame. Like it is all you want to nom on is a pb&j sandwich, but all you have in the house is ketchup and a bagel lame. Now of course there is helpful regret, which improves upon your present and future. The kind of live it, learn it & grow from it; something that could be considered passing regret. Then there is the, oh my gosh, I should haven’t done/said that and now because of it my life is forever changed and I have lost him/her/them as a result regret, which has the uncanny ability to stick the very fibers of your hair like bubblegum.  Lame.

“For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.”
2 Corinthians 7:10

The Bible is truth. Jesus was the Son of God who came, died and rose, so that we might be offered eternal life. As such, when you accept Him as Savior, Redeemer, Lord, King, etc., your sins are forgiven by God (past, presents and future), and (long term) regret really is just a stumbling block to all He has to offer. If all we do is keep looking in the past, we will trip-up in the present and potentially dive face first into a wall in the future.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
Jeremiah 29:11-14


AMEN Designs via ETSY






I got the pleasure of attending The Outcry Tour this year and it was phenomenal. They proudly boast on their site that over 130,000 attended, 10,000 people were saved and 7,897 children sponsored.

OUTCRY TOUR 2015 - Atlanta, GA 2015

Now I say all of that to say, that Crowder played “Lift Your Head Weary Sinner [Chains]” and it was better than any radio recording. I mean the whole band gets into it, complete with real life chains, and it is just wow. Not to mention the lyrics, jaw drop. While listening to it this morning (for the third time in row) I just began to really think about something you have heard before, and I have no doubt said before.

THERE IS NOTHING THAT CAN SEPARATE US FROM THE LOVE THAT IS IN CHRIST JESUS.
(Romans 8:38-39)
This life is pass or fail.
To pass it means you have accept that there is but ONE WAY to Heaven, and that way is by Jesus Christ alone the risen Son of the Creator of this world.
To fail means you deny this to be true.

We aren’t be grading by percentages of what we did right, and what we have done wrong – as the Bible says our righteousness is like filthy rags, but alas we have been made clean through the sacrifice Jesus made for us. Trust me, it can be hard to comprehend this some times. We are graded by teachers, we are graded by bosses, we are graded by parents; we are completely surrounded in this world by scales in which to measure ourselves on and against in a variety of ways, but His ways are not our ways.  It doesn’t matter what you have done, are doing, or will do, God CAN and will forgive you … pretty much He already has, it is just up to you to claim it. Do not ever think your past will dedicate your future, give it to God and He will make the impossible happen. Never stop getting  back up, no matter how many times you fall (Proverbs 24:16).





The above piece is entitled “All Is Vanity” (1982) by Charles Allan Gilbert based off of a verse in Ecclesiastes which states (depending upon which translation you look up) “Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.” Ecclesiastes 1:2 (KJV) Admittedly, when I was first drawn to this picture it was for the skull itself. As you may or may not know about me, I have a visual appreciation of (some) skulls equating them to the truth that we must be dead to the world around us, living for the Creator and also since the place where Jesus was crucified is called Golgotha aka Calvary, which translates into place of the skull.


Ecclesiastes was written by Solomon. THE SOLOMON. The man who knew it all (well mostly), had it all, could get it if he didn’t have it, and it is he who said, without God everything is meaningless (NASB). He did have bit of a nasty ending, all because he failed to keep this truth to be at the forefront of his mind. 

It’s is easy for us to get caught up in our day to day lives, to get sidetracked by working to pay the bills, or napping to relax after our  60+ hour work week, but truly without God, all of it is meaningless.

He is the one who created you.
He is the one who sustains you.
He is the only one who can save you.
He alone will judge you.

I write this not knowing if it is a message that can even be taught my mere words. It is a truth that perhaps one “knows in their knower” (as my diddy would say), when they come upon the realization within their own being. It may be something you realize more than once, as with the ups and downs in life, sometimes our walk with God follows the same pattern. However, the important thing is that we always return back to Him. That we continue to grow in His will and wisdom all the days of our lives, and that we share the truth of salvation with others.

Some of you reading this right now, may be wondering what this whole God thing is about – what can He really do for me … Peace and Life has that questions answered for you.

He Can Comfort You
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the
God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any
troubles with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.  2 Corinthians 1:3-4
He Can Give You Confidence
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret
of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do everything through him who gives me the strength.   Philippians 4:12-13
He Can Take Your Worries Away
Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.  Psalm 55:22
He Can Give You Eternal Life
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never parish, spoil or fade - kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to revealed in the last time..  1 Peter 1:3-5
He Can Help You
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but we have  one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet was without sin.  Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:15-16
He Can Give You Hope
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.  Hebrews 10:23
He Can Give You Joy
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.  1 Peter 1:8-9
He Can Provide For You
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?  Matthew 6:25-27
He Can Give You Salvation
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.  Luke 19:10
He Can Forgive You
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.  Romans 8:1-2

Now, some of you reading this may be wondering what God CAN’T do … since He is after-all the Creator of all things and Christianity Today has that answer for you …

God can't get tired.
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. Isaiah 40:28
God can't take on a job he can't handle.
Ah, Lord God! Behold, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for you. Jeremiah 32:17
God can't be unholy.
And one cried to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!" Isaiah 6:3
God can't be prejudiced.
In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears him and works righteousness is accepted by him. Acts 10:34-35
God can't break a promise.
My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of my lips. Psalm 89:34
God can't remember sins he's chosen to forget.
I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake; and I will not remember your sins. Isaiah 43:25
God can't make a loser.
Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ. 2 Corinthians 2:14
God can't abandon you.
Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, he is the one who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6
God can't stop thinking about you.
How precious also are your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; when I awake, I am still with you. Psalm 139:17-18
God can't stop loving you.
Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you. Jeremiah 31:3

So coram Deo my friends. Coram Deo.





While pondering recently on potential future permanent something, I came across the phase "coram Deo" which (per Wikipedia) “is a Latin phrase translated "in the presence of God" from Christian theology which summarizes the idea of Christians living in the presence of, under the authority of, and to the honor and glory of God.”



R.C Sproul (admittedly I know nothing much of the person), recently wrote the following blog article on coram Deo.

What Does “coram Deo” Mean?

I remember Mama standing in front of me, her hands poised on her hips, her eyes glaring with hot coals of fire and saying in stentorian tones, “Just what is the big idea, young man?”
Instinctively I knew my mother was not asking me an abstract question about theory. Her question was not a question at all—it was a thinly veiled accusation. Her words were easily translated to mean, “Why are you doing what you are doing?” She was challenging me to justify my behavior with a valid idea. I had none.
Recently a friend asked me in all earnestness the same question. He asked, “What’s the big idea of the Christian life?” He was interested in the overarching, ultimate goal of the Christian life.
To answer his question, I fell back on the theologian’s prerogative and gave him a Latin term. I said, “The big idea of the Christian life is coram Deo. Coram Deo captures the essence of the Christian life.”
This phrase literally refers to something that takes place in the presence of, or before the face of, God. To live coram Deo is to live one’s entire life in the presence of God, under the authority of God, to the glory of God.

LIVING CORAM DEO IS TO LIVE ONE’S ENTIRE LIFE IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD,
UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF GOD, TO THE GLORY OF GOD
To live in the presence of God is to understand that whatever we are doing and wherever we are doing it, we are acting under the gaze of God. God is omnipresent. There is no place so remote that we can escape His penetrating gaze.
To be aware of the presence of God is also to be acutely aware of His sovereignty. The uniform experience of the saints is to recognize that if God is God, then He is indeed sovereign. When Saul was confronted by the refulgent glory of the risen Christ on the road to Damascus, his immediate question was, “Who is it, Lord?” He wasn’t sure who was speaking to him, but he knew that whomever it was, was certainly sovereign over him.
Living under divine sovereignty involves more than a reluctant submission to sheer sovereignty that is motivated out of a fear of punishment. It involves recognizing that there is no higher goal than offering honor to God. Our lives are to be living sacrifices, oblations offered in a spirit of adoration and gratitude.
To live all of life coram Deo is to live a life of integrity. It is a life of wholeness that finds its unity and coherency in the majesty of God. A fragmented life is a life of disintegration. It is marked by inconsistency, disharmony, confusion, conflict, contradiction, and chaos.
The Christian who compartmentalizes his or her life into two sections of the religious and the nonreligious has failed to grasp the big idea. The big idea is that all of life is religious or none of life is religious. To divide life between the religious and the nonreligious is itself a sacrilege.
This means that if a person fulfills his or her vocation as a steelmaker, attorney, or homemaker coram Deo, then that person is acting every bit as religiously as a soul-winning evangelist who fulfills his vocation. It means that David was as religious when he obeyed God’s call to be a shepherd as he was when he was anointed with the special grace of kingship. It means that Jesus was every bit as religious when He worked in His father’s carpenter shop as He was in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Integrity is found where men and women live their lives in a pattern of consistency. It is a pattern that functions the same basic way in church and out of church. It is a life that is open before God. It is a life in which all that is done is done as to the Lord. It is a life lived by principle, not expediency; by humility before God, not defiance. It is a life lived under the tutelage of conscience that is held captive by the Word of God.
Coram Deo … before the face of God. That’s the big idea. Next to this idea our other goals and ambitions become mere trifles.

~~~~


Squee, isn’t it like the bestest phrase you’ve heard as of late? As you ponder upon what this means to your own life, I hope that you feel a sincere sense of peace and comfort, knowing that you are loved beyond measure, and that you are never without hope. I pray that you become willing, bold, and unshakable in your faith. That you will not be bound any longer by past sins or regrets, habits that you think can never be broken, but know that you are a new creation in Christ. His mercies are renewed every day, and that as a believer you have the HOLY SPIRIT INSIDE OF YOU; so victory is really yours for the taking to be claimed in the name of Jesus! 



This month I received quite the blessing, as you may or may not have seen yet, Loved + Blessed (a monthly faith based subscription box), included a copy of 31 Rays of Hope this month. To say that I am grateful, excited, and humbled does not begin to cover it. I am in awe of what the box is doing for people across the world, and I am joyous and expecting that the words penned in the book will inspire hope, and foster a better connection with the Creator of the world to those who read it. I’m an actual subscriber to Loved + Blessed, and surely do recommend you check it out for $10/month as a lovely little pick me up and truth reminder of His word. Not to mention a portion of the proceeds from the box go to helping the homeless (bonus!).



Growing up I was always told a hypocrite was one who “said one thing, and did another”. Quite the blanket statement, but as believers, we could all be grouped into this category, even-though we are continuously eager to be more aligned and in step with the Perfect One. Right?

I mean the biblical moral advice that we give to others, may always be more on point than what we do in our own lives. Eh? Recently, I heard a preacher as to go so far, as this is one of the reasons we should keep personal opinions and advice to ourselves, lest we don’t look like such. I’ve even gone so far as to say to friends after hearing that, do you want to know what it seems is the best option or what I would probably do that isn’t the best way … how about I just share both (as admittedly I have had no problem spewing commentary in the past). Now I find myself sometimes just telling them (who are believers) to seek God for the answer because He ultimately knows better than I, and I honestly don’t want to be included in the Matthew 23 version of the word. Alas, as Paul shares in Romans 7 we can all be a bit backwards at times. 

Broken Hallelujah by phasingirl on DeviantArt

But even so the first topic washes over the second and breaks way into a hallelujah, as in Christ alone our hope is found! There is an abundance of grace, forgiveness, mercy and love awaiting everyone all thanks to the Creator of the world, shown through the actions of His Son, and through the comfort of His Spirit, and just the  mere fact that we all taking another breathe in the very moment.

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble.
But take heart! I have overcome the world."
John 16:33

May you take a moment this morning, regardless of where you are – what you are doing, just to simply thank Him for all that He has done, is doing, and will do. May peace rule in your life today, and may you be engulfed in His love, apt to show that same love to others. As believers we not only have the answer(s) to this life, but the key to life here-after, for all eternity. Thanks be to Jesus, for by Him alone we are saved and it is in His name we pray.

Now enjoy these bonus tracks that have been blaring through my speakers as of late!


 
Photo Credit God in All Things 

Me: Do the bugs feel pain from the bug spray?
Mom: Well they probably feel pain, but it more-so messes with the neurological system.
Me: Well I hope they don’t feel pain, perhaps they could just go out on some drug type trip.

This may sound like a conversation that I had with my mom when I was younger, but in fact it happened this week. We have these hard-shell bugs that come out in droves at night, have a sort lifespan, but awesome flying capabilities. Albeit bugs can be annoying, I still don’t desire for them to cause pain when they must be killed. Likewise, more-so important, I don’t desire for anyone to feel pain. So naturally it grieves me that the world around us is suffering. Their souls are crying out through words and actions for the need to know true love, that which is only offered through God.  

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
1 John 4:8

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
1 John 4:16

It has been a little over a week since the shooting in Charleston at Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, in which rattled the core of believers of the faith, and non alike. If you work the Google machine, and search “Christians killed” under the news section, you will find many accounts of people being killed for their belief in Jesus Christ as of late. Though it might seem somewhat bleak, it is my thought that this will only get worse. As even as it is written in 1 Timothy, it is my desire that all people are saved, although I know that not all people will. It is important in this time of persecution that we, as followers of Jesus, lean to what we know … love. Our future is secure, body piercing saved our lives, and we should be fervently praying for the world around us, for the people who are committing this acts of hate … not dreaming of repaying them in kind.

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus,  who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.
1 Timothy 2:1-6

Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
1 Peter 3:9

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Romans 12:21

And as always, please never think that I write anything down in a finger pointing manner. All that I write are lessons that I have been taught, are being taught or even re-taught for the 50 millionth time in some cases. It is my desire to simply help you grow in your faith, in your walk, in your life.


May you, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, be at peace in the midst of the chaos and shift of this world. May you not look to the television, your bank account or another person as your source of comfort and security, but to God alone. Know that your salvation is secure in Christ, live for Him, seek His truth and share His message with the world. Live by grace, rather than by law, and know that nothing can separate you from His love. In the name of Jesus, we pray.