Shades of Sunshine

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TBT Christmas Volunteers 2014

Yes, what you have heard is true, you can now get a citation ticket for handing out food to the homeless in Atlanta. Our area actually low key knew this was coming for over a month now, as another group who goes to Little 5 Points during the week got ticketed and let the grapevine know. However, want to hear a blessing? That same week one of our partners, Tapesty Church, secured a space in the community center down the street for two days a week (Sunday morning and Thursday afternoon). For over 30 years one of these rooms was served by a Rev Meeks (and his wife), who had a huge heart for Jesus and helping the downtrodden. However, he has is gotten up in age, and had a series of health issues, so he had to finally step down earlier this year. Tapestry (as they are an official 501-C) tried to get the space earlier when we informed them of the change, but were denied, however God came through right one time. :D Has it been a bit of an adjustment? Sure, as I have been standing outside on a street corner for over 6 years. However, I keep reminding myself of how warm it is going to be when winter comes and I don’t have to rock 3 pairs of pants, 2 socks, 4 shirts, a jacket, gloves and hat in order to feed the people and share the love of Jesus.

What do I think about it? I think it is ridiculous (just as I did when FL tried to pull this mess)! I have seen the city over the past 6 years try to get rid of the homeless (well poor people in general) by just trying to move them out instead of offering actual solutions. We have a homeless problem .. because we have a house problem .. we have an outreach problem both on the organization level and resource level … i.e. organizations end up fighting for the same people, organizations end up being corrupt, resources that will actually help people long-term are limited or non-existent. Do I have all the answers? I do not, but I have always said we need to stop fighting against one another, and start working together. I know that I am not alone in my efforts and know other individuals have banded together, outside of the traditional 501-C mold in order to impart real personal change/influence with the individuals living this lifestyle day in and day out. Because newsflash, there are some people out there who will ALWAYS be homeless, they live outside BY CHOICE and even a blizzard won’t bring them inside (I have seen it, and yes they were in their “right mind”).

I extend a personal invite to anyone who would like to come help out any maybe doesn’t have a place to go. We have a lovely group of folks, count varies from week to week, so just hit me up and I will be more than happy to give you the specific details.

It is easy to look around and see how the world is turning away from true love (God), but we must not lose hope. Seriously, we must not. As I keep reminding myself, since I am living right now, it was chosen by God for me to be alive during this time, and thus I have my Father’s business to carry out. This applies to you as well. The darker it gets, the more we as believers need to shine, so that we are examples of the genuine and pure love found only when you come face to face the Creator (God), Savior (Jesus), and Guide (Holy Spirit) of this world!


Dear Father God,
Personally I thank you for putting homeless outreach in my heart. I know without a doubt it came from You because I am not the best at sticking with anything, and this is something that enters my thoughts on the daily. The idea that there is someone out there that feels unworthy and unloved jars me (as I know what it feels like to have such untrue things go through your mind), and if I can change that thought for someone by showing YOUR love to them, then that is a win for You, a win for the kingdom. Strengthen us during this time, as we look about a see a world we don’t recognize. People can’t help people? What a shame that is! However, regardless of what man may say, You are God, and in You we will find our commission and way. Protect Your children as they follow your commands, solidify their faith so they have the courage and ability to stand, may their trust be in You.
In Jesus name, Amen. 


It has been a while since I have written anything.

Truth be told I haven’t wanted to. It isn’t so much that I haven’t felt that I should, but more so the human side of not wanting to .. not feeling that I am worthy to write really. After-all I have so many lessons still to learn myself, so what right do I have to act as if I know anything to impart any sort of wisdom or enlightenment on anyone else? Well that is what some less than helpful voice speaks between my ears sometimes at-least, and I reckon the absence of words on this page shows that I have listened.

The Holy Spirit though reminded me why I started writing in the first place though. It’s been well over a decade now, and I would pen a few words on something I had been recently taught, and send it out to my friends via email, post them on Livejournal , or on ChristianForum. I started writing when I “rededicated” my life (something I have come to learn as believers we should do on the daily). It didn’t matter to me if anyone commented, or even read it, it was enough to know that I MAY on some off-chance help someone else, even if in the smallest way as I knew even back then this life wasn’t easy. It was a way to keep myself in check, as if I was always (even if weekly) coming face to face with a lesson, I couldn’t sweep it under the rug. It had to be acknowledged, even if it was something akin to a pig covered in mud.

So to anyone reading this I would just like to put a disclaimer out there, that I am not perfect – except when looked at through the eyes of the Father, thanks to Jesus’s sacrifice, I will always be a “hypocrite” (per say, as some use the word), as I will always tell people to do better, to be better, than I may be myself, and know that I do not count myself higher than anyone else. Truth be told most days I am just happy that one day I will be in heaven and I won’t have the option to choose wrong anymore. However, does any of that (should have of that) stop me from writing? No. Just as Peter denied Jesus 3 times (after being with Him for quite some time), Saul/Paul persecuted Christians (and it took blindness to turn him around), and Mary Magdalene had an alternative beginning (do you know there is actual debate on if she had mental issues or if she actually was promiscuous), each went on to do great things for the kingdom of God. So, if there was never ending hope for them, there is never ending hope for me, and thus that same hope is extended to you.

So I conclude with this (although rest assured there will be more written about this in the future), we live in an age where everything is topsy turvy. Where it seems more acceptable to worship a tree, than to say a man came and died for your sins so you can be reconciled to the Creator of this word. I encourage you as a believer, to be strong. That if anyone tells you that you are too young, or too old, have too little knowledge because you didn’t go to school, that you can’t speak clearly, don’t dress right, so thus “you cannot speak about God and tell of the great things He has, can, and will do”, give them a good “God bless you” and continue to go about Your Father’s business (even if it is a little voice inside your head).


Dear God,
We thank you Father that we did not have to take the weight of our sins upon ourselves. Who of us could handle that load? I know I could not, if by OT standards would there even be enough time or animals to sacrifice for all that I have done? I dare not think of it, as I do not have to because we as believers have a hope and trust in Jesus. He was obedient in life and in death, knowing why He was here, and what was to be done, because of not only His love for You, but His love for Your creation. Because He bore our sins, those of us who have accepted Him as Lord and Savior, can call you Abba Father, we can commune with You, we get the gift of the Holy Spirit, we have hope eternal. Help us to grow in You. Strengthen us for the times ahead. Let us not get distracted by out shortcomings, but turn our weakness in to strength. Praise be to You Father, may Your grace abound.
In Jesus’ name, Amen. 
When God shows out (answer’s a prayer, provides a miracle, etc.) one cannot help but to give Him praise. He is awesome and without a doubt Father God watches out for His children. Regardless of what you may have heard, God does not desire for you to be hurt and in pain (mental, physical, spiritual, etc.), He desires for you to have a peaceful life in Him.  God is LOVE and that is that. 

Now Theresa (of Comfort Socks) doesn’t actually know she was an answer to a prayer, but she was and I am writing this right after finding out, so perhaps I can convey the high I am on right now of pure gratitude (though this will be posted once I get some photos to share). Now in case you aren’t aware one thing anyone experiencing homelessness can always use is socks. I have been honored to have been a part of the community for over 5 years now and there isn’t a week that goes by in which someone doesn’t ask for socks. The flip side of our efforts is that since we are volunteer supported sometimes other needs get put ahead of taking care of clothing the feets. For a few weeks (ok like a couple months) we have been sockless, even as so much as the past week I handed out some of my old socks to make up the gap. Now, admittedly I was quite amused to watch some of my dear friends slipping on my neon, knee-high, polka dotted socks (and they were very grateful), but I just kept steading asking God to provide something more suitable.
Now when I say ask God, I do not mean I got down on my knees and pleaded, I just simply kept thinking, “God you know we could really use some socks, right?” Talking to God does not have to be a long, drawn out and elaborate task. However, it is best if it is a continuous event, keeping God top of mind in all that you do, whenever you do it. The important thing is that you talk to God, He loves you and desires to hear from you ... more than just what you ‘want’ but also how you are, and of course be sure to thank Him because well, to put it bluntly, HE DESERVES IT

Ok, ok so all in all what happened was I was talking to Theresa and was delivered the news that they wanted to extend 120 pairs of socks to us for use in Little 5 Points. Admittedly, when I read the words I was grateful, speechless, and a single tear (cue the movie music) rolled down my face out of pure joy. You know that is the thing, I just wanted just about 30 socks to make their way through, but God saw fit for it to be laid on someone’s heart to increase it to so much more, so we can have them on sock for more than just one week. Now, this is not the first time we have been blessed by Comfort Socks, this however came as a surprise in abundance at just the right time.

I’ve been watching the various birds, squirrels and chipmunks from my porch on a pretty regular basis and what I see with them, just ties into this (something I have experienced perhaps a million times), but to simply trust God, His timing is good, there is no need to worry, and after all “this life” is the worst it can get for those who have accepted salvation through Jesus Christ.
To put in in verse:

Do Not Worry
[Matthew 6:25-34]
“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 than food, and the body more 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? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Ok, so now let us jump to receiving the socks, in which glass almost shattered when I opened the box to find not only 120 pairs of socks but 240 pairs of socks and not just ANY socks, BOMBAS (whose mission is to help the homeless by giving them socks via their buy one, give one model)! Like I said, even my dog Penny (who is quite accustomed to my high pitch voice) stood stunned when I not so delicately opened the box and proceeded to reach the highest squeal thus far in my time upon this Earth.






The first wave of socks have now been delivered and it was just as joyous as expected. Those that received them were delighted to hear about people across the states joined together to help them out. The most common statement that followed after one of gratitude was "oh wow, these are like REALLY good socks Hollie". Which of course made me smile. These are people who sometimes don't feel worthy of life itself, much less $12 socks, so... well to say that one or two shed a tear wouldn't be an exaggeration. Out of respect we do not take many photos, but we did snap a few (with permission).




So thank you, thank you, thank you many, many times over to all the people who donates to, works at and volunteers with Comfort Socks and who does all that plus purchases from Bombas. Because of your kindness we will be able to provide much needed, awesome quality, greatly appreciated socks to those who join with us weekly in Little 5 Points, as well as, those who are traveling through and just stop off at our location (we are close to a train yard). And of course, ultimately thanks be to God who  put all of this in motion, and continues to watch out for us all daily. 

I do hope that you take a minute to check out Comfort Socks. Please donate to their efforts if you have some denero to spare, and keep them uplifted in prayer as they do help so many. On the off chance you are reading this and are from Atlanta or will be visiting Atlanta and want to check out what we do in Little 5 Points on Sundays, shoot me an email; we will be happy to have you! 


(Day 6 from 31 Rays of Hope)



One of the hardest life lessons that I have been taught is that you must always be prepared for change. After all it is the only thing constant in this world, aside from God’s love.  Well, I write taught but continuously learning this with each and every day (we all are works-in-progress, you know).  In an instant your circumstances can evolve into something that you did not foresee, whether it is pleasant or dreadful. The only way to truly be prepared is to have accepted  that  Jesus  Christ  is  the  risen  Son  of  the  only God and have the Holy Spirit reside in your heart. Why? Because it is only God who knows the past, present, and future; only He can guide you and direct you in the path you should go. He provides strength [1 Chronicles 16:11], direction [Psalm 37:23], security [Proverbs 1:33], and knowledge, and understanding [Proverbs 2:6-9]. He alone has promised “never will I leave you, never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5, NIV).

To those who are reading this that have not yet invited Jesus in their hearts:
“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”  ( John  3:16,  KJV).  I pray that the Holy Spirit calls out to you and you answer His call…that you one day know this verse to be true.

To  those  who  are  reading  this  and  have  accepted  the free gift of eternal life:
May you seek the will of God in your everyday lives and walk in His light. May you know what His will for you is and be eager to spread the knowledge of Jesus’s saving grace to all that you meet.

Dear heavenly Father, thank You for providing peace through the storms of life. Though there are just a handful of noted verses above which are meant to invoke the Spirit and mind, there are so many more in Your holy Word, Your letter to Your children.  May  we  find  rest  in  You,  Father, during all times, knowing that as Your children You always have our best in mind, and You rule, always have and always will, in Jesus's name we pray. Amen. 




Know someone in need of a little hope? Send them a Loved and Blessed box today!






I have been feeling a bit trapped in life lately, and it is one of my least favorite feelings because I know as a child of God I am free, and (not-to-mention) great, wonderful, and amazing things are still to come in my life. Alas, one can get caught up in their current situation, seasons of various tides come and one may start to feel like they will doggy paddling in the specific situation forever. However, it is important to remember that nothing ever stays the same (except God’s everlasting love). So as I have searched the interwebs for some uplifting Bible verses to encourage myself, I now share them all with you. Might we always remember to keep our focus on the Creator rather than the created, and seek to do His will, His way all of our days.

May God, the source of hope, fill you with all joy and peace by means of your faith in him, so that your hope will continue to grow by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13 (GNTD)

God is my savior; I will trust him and not be afraid. The Lord gives me power and strength; he is my savior.
Isaiah 12:2 (GNTD)

And God's peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7 (GNTD)

I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me.
Philippians 4:13 (GNTD)

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28 (NKJ)

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
Luke 11:9 (NIV)

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.
Psalm 28:7 (ESV)

There is none holy like the LORD: For there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God.
I Samuel 2:2 (ESV)

From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Psalm 61:2

When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, Then You knew my path. In the way in which I walk They have secretly set a snare for me.
Psalm 142:3

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.
Isaiah 40:28

But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.      
Isaiah 40:31

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.
John 14:1

Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.
Psalm 37:5

The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way.
Psalm 37:23

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
Ephesians 6:10
(via Rachel Wojo)


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).