Posted in Faith, Family

Finding Comfort In God’s Word

I think everyone has that moment in their life that they will never forget. That one moment, that one incident that will forever alter their reality and changes that person for better or worse.

If you haven’t had that moment in life trust me you will.

For me, that moment took place four years ago on a dark cold January night, much like tonight. As I think about it our bedroom was set up in almost the exact configuration.

I remember laying in my bed next to my husband. Anxiously awaiting the news he had to tell me. News that would forever shatter the happy world I once knew.

I had an affair and I have daughter she will be one next week…words no wife wants to hear. A situation no wife wants to bear.

At that moment, four years ago, my life changed. It was the worst day of my life and without a doubt the hardest year of my life.

And even though I found myself broken emotionally and mentally. God was there to comfort me spiritually.

Even in the midst of my pain and my anguish God was there through it all. His word was a constant light shining into the darkness.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Psalm 119:105

When I felt like the wounds would never heal He reminded me that He would heal my heart.

He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.

Psalm 147:3

When low self esteem tried to take me to the pits of depression He said…

…You are fearfully and wonderfully made;your works are wonderful…

Psalm 139:14

I cried many tears and had many sleepless nights, but…

…weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

Psalm 30:5

And years later the weeping has subsided and has been replaced with His joy.

No, things aren’t how I want them to be, but they’re not as bad as they could be either.

When I found myself struggling with trusting those that I had once held so close He reminded me of where my trust should lie.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6

When we are in consumed by the darkness in our lives, we often overlook the promises of God.

You know, human nature is funny that way, when we need him the most we often pull away from God. But it is in those times that we should draw closer not farther.

It is in His word where you will find hope for your tomorrow. It is in His word that you will remember that trouble won’t last always( 1 Peter 5:10). It is in His word that you remember that He is near the broken-hearted(Psalm 34:18).

You see no matter what you are going through God is there to comfort you. Waiting for you with outstretched arms.

For those who believe, the word of God provides us with light and hope in the midst of the storm.

Maybe you have a favorite verse that brings you comfort and hope. Please share it in the comments section.

Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro

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Posted in Faith

Are You A Man/Woman After God’s Heart?

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Israel had many kings, but no King was a famous as it’s second King, David. Before he was a king, David was a shepherd boy tending his father’s sheep. He was the youngest of his father’s sons.

In 1 Samuel 16, we find the story of Samuel’s journey to anoint the next King of Israel. He passes over Jesse’s first two sons believing that God would choose them as king. But it is here that God reminds him that God does not look at the outward appearance, but at the heart of a man (1 Sam 16:7).

I can imagine that he was probably picked on quite a bit with 7 older brothers in the house. But it was this little brother that was anointed by the great prophet Samuel to become the next King of Israel.

In Acts 13:22, “After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do. (NIV)”

David -A Man After God’s Heart

Many of you may already know the story of David, if you don’t I encourage you to read it. David was a great hero and ruler of Israel. He was also an adulterer, murderer, and he failed to discipline his children.

Yet, he was still considered a man after God’s heart. Why? This has always been a question the puzzled me. After all, how could someone who had committed such terrible sins still be considered a man after God’s heart?

In my mind I couldn’t reconcile the sins that David committed with the heart of God. If you take after someone your just like them, you copy them, you walk like them, you talk like them. Isn’t that what it means to take after someone?

It wasn’t until a yesterday while I was listening to a preacher talk about David that I understood what this scripture was saying.

It wasn’t that David’s heart was like God’s, but that David was chasing after the heart of God. In spite of Davids shortcomings David always wanted to please God.

Is that our main goal as Christians to please God or to please men?

Even when David sinned and was confronted by the prophet he confessed and repented (2 Sam 12:1-14). He didn’t harden his heart, like some of us would have done.

When David challenged Goliath it wasn’t for fame, glory, or the hand of Saul’s daughter. He was indignant that such a man would challenge God’s people and make a mockery of His God (1 Sam:17).

When is the last time you’ve been indignant when the world makes a mockery of the things of God? Did you stand up for it or just keep silent?

When the ark of the covenant was returned to Israel King David danced with all of his might before the Lord. He didn’t care what anyone thought of him because he was dancing for God (2 Sam 6).

When God blesses us, do we give him the glory and tell others about what he’s done for us?

Unlike his predecessor Saul, David was obedient to God. The last part of Acts 13:22 says,” … he will do everything I want him to.”

Are we obedient to the holy spirit when he tells us to buy the person in front of us groceries or to give more in the offering this week?

How Do We Become Men/Women After God’s Own Heart

Being a man or woman after God’s own heart does not mean that we are perfect and it does not mean that we will be without sin. It does mean that:

  1. We need to have a relationship with God.
  2. We need to focus on pleasing God.
  3. We should be quick to repent and turn from our wicked ways.
  4. We need to stand up for the things of God, even if it means we have to stand alone.
  5. We need to to be obedient and committed to the teachings of Christ.

All of these things can be accomplished by reading Gods word and developing a personal relationship with Christ our Redeemer. David had a personal relationship with God. He trusted God in spite of the difficulties and the challenges he faced before and after he became King.

Because of Jesus, we are able to develop a relationship with God, without the sacrifice of animals, like David did. So, let us strive to be men and woman after God’s heart.

Remember that God looks at the heart of a person. Ask yourself today am I a man/woman after God’s heart?

If you have any other tips or insights please feel free to share them in the comments section.

Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro

Posted in Faith, Family, Morning Musings

Morning Musing: When Your Child Says Their Ugly

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You’re beautiful, my sister is beautiful, my brother is handsome, and I’m ugly…No, parent wants to hear their child utter such words. But this beautiful morning my 7-year-old son did. I was taken aback by his statement. Why would he say such a thing? Who had told him he was ugly?

As a mom, my brain went on high alert. How do I fix this how do I convince him that he is not ugly?! Better yet what child do I need to yell at for saying such a thing to my darling boy?!

So I asked him,” Why do you think you’re ugly?”. “Well mom my teeth are crooked and my face looks weird”, he said. “Your face isn’t weird. You’ve got two eyes, a nose, a mouth, and two ears. And everybody’s teeth are crooked at this age. ” I replied.

As an adult, it’s easy to tell a child not to worry about what other people think. When we as adults are constantly worried about what others think about us. We live in a world that constantly puts pressure on adults and children to be like someone else.

Yes, we are becoming more accepting of different body types, and skin tones, but at the same time promoting an ideal of physical perfection. When is the last time you’ve seen a model with acne or movie star with crooked teeth? (That wasn’t part of their character.

For kids, the pressure is no different. Perfect skin. Perfect hair. Everyone needs to have a boyfriend/girlfriend or some unrequited love. Where are the shows about the kids who are just happy being kids? Not worried about boyfriends and girlfriends or what they look like.

Before my son had talked about being ugly. He told me he didn’t want to be alone. That he needed friends and a girlfriend. And I’m thinking to myself,” Where is he getting these ideas?”I for one am not a fan of kids having boyfriends/girlfriends in elementary school.

Crushes yea sure. But being in a committed relationship at 7 or 8. No, thank you. Let’s just be kids and have innocent fun. But at this age, he is already wrestling with the idea of loneliness and what the ideal boy looks like. And as far as he’s concerned it doesn’t look like him.

I don’t even remember being concerned with those things at that age. I don’t even think I started to really like boys until I was 10/11.

But back to our conversation.  My son decided to give his life to Christ when he was about 5. And as Christians, our self-worth and our self-esteem should be based on Christ.  I should have started with what I told him in the end.  It is often said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And as Christian’s our beholder is God.

…I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

I reminded him of Psalms 139:14,”… I am fearfully and wonderfully made…”. That God has made each and every one of us unique. We are like a piece of abstract art made by the creator. Some people will think it’s beautiful and some just won’t get it. But to God we are beautiful we are his masterpiece. The work of his hands.

Low self-esteem was something I struggled with as a child. I could have shared my own personal story with him. My father always told me that I was beautiful, but there was a part of me that wanted that validation from the outside world.

It’s actually something that as an adult Christian I still struggle with. My husband constantly tells me I’m beautiful, but there are times that I still struggle with how I feel about myself.

As an adult, I have to remind myself that God created me as a unique individual and I don’t have to strive to be like anybody else. As a parent, it’s hard to see your child struggling with these issues, but the best thing we can do is be there for our children.

If I could rewind this scenario I know I would have addressed it differently I would have:

  1. Stayed Calm- The first thing I did was go into high alert mode and started to figure out how I could convince him in the 10-minute drive that we had to school that he was not ugly.
  2. Listened & Asked Questions- I did listen and I did ask questions. But I asked them to try to refute his reasoning as to why he felt that way. When instead I should have asked questions just to listen and absorb what he was saying.
  3. Asked God for wisdom- If you’re not a Christian, then maybe this step isn’t for you, but I should have prayed and asked God for wisdom on what to say to my son. Aside from you’re not ugly!
  4. Shared my own personal story.- Sometimes our kids think we have it all together. That we don’t struggle with anything. We’re adults we can do whatever we want. At least that’s how kids think.
  5. Prayed with him- I should have prayed with him before he got out of the car. School can be a harsh place for children.  As a Christian parent, I feel that it’s important to always cover your children in prayer. Especially, when they are going through something.

I would love to hear what other parents have to say about this issue. I have 3 more kids that I’m sure I’ll have to go through this with. So any advice is welcome.

If you can think of more tips or things that I could have done differently. Please share them in the comments below.

Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro

 

Posted in Faith

5 Ways to Tell You’re A Christian

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What is a Christian? How do you know that are you are one? Maybe you have doubts about whether or not you’re still in the faith? Or Maybe you’re just curious.

For whatever reason you find yourself scrolling through this post today I pray that you will be blessed by it.

Without further ado, I present to you 5 ways to tell you’re a Christian.

1. Christians have Confessed & Believe That Jesus Is Lord

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Simply put to be a Christian you must first be a disciple of Jesus Christ. A disciple is a follower or student of a specific person or philosophy. So how does one become a disciple of Christ?

Romans 10:9-10 puts it plainly, ”If you declare with your mouth, “ Jesus is Lord.” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”

This is the first step to becoming a believer in Christ. However, it is important to remember that this is a two-step process. People can confess with their mouths and not believe in their hearts what they are confessing. Which caused them to become false converts.

This may sound harsh, but I know too many people that believe they are Christians because they go to church every Sunday and attend bible study every night. If you have not confessed and believed that Jesus is Lord and believed that God raised him from the dead you are not a Christian.

It doesn’t matter if your father was a pastor or how much money you give to charity. You can not alumni your way or earn your way into heaven.

Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6, NIV).

When you truly confess Jesus as your Lord and Savior there is an inward and an outward change. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here(NIV).”

2. Christians Should Be Free From Habitual Sin

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Photo by Diana Simumpande on Unsplash

In the beginning, it can be hard for a new believer to tell if they are actually saved. They may still curse, drink, smoke drugs, etc. But as they begin to mature and grow in their faith in Christ all of those things should begin to fall away.

Sometimes the changes are instant and sometimes the changes are more gradual. Becoming a Christian doesn’t mean you are perfect and that you will never sin. On the contrary, it means that you will constantly be at war with yourself or your “flesh” as the bible puts it and the holy spirit that now dwells within you.

1 John 3:6-9 that, ”No one who lives in him (Jesus Christ) keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him (NIV). “ New Christians can take solace in the fact that as they grow in their relationship with Christ that they will no longer engage in habitual/wilful sin.

Will you still sin? Yes. But as you mature in Christ you should sin less.

3. Christians Love Others

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I think the most common thing I hear people say about God is that He is Love. However, it is just one of the many aspects of God’s character. An aspect that we as Christians are supposed to share with the world.

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. (1 John 4:20-21, NIV)

We are not only commanded to love our brothers and sister in Christ, but also those around us. We are even to love those that we consider our enemies and to bless those who curse us (Luke 6:27-36, Matt 5: 43-48).

This is in stark contrast to what the world teaches us. Which is to hate those who hate you and to get revenge on those who do us wrong. If we live this way towards our fellow man then it is impossible for us to claim to love a God that we haven’t seen.

I am by no means saying that it’s easy to love and get along with everyone. But we are to do our best to be like Christ. Which means we are to love others as Jesus loved us and he loved us (John 15:12-13, NIV) to the point of death.

4. Christians Do Good Works

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Being a Christian doesn’t just stop with confessing and believing in Jesus. It requires us to change and grow by putting off our old sinful nature and loving other people.

From this abundance of love, we should produce good works. As James put it, “Faith without works is dead (2:14).” As Christians, we should be willing to help those in need. Not because we want to be seen by other people(Matt 5:16), but the compassion of Christ compels us too.

There are many people that believe that by doing good works they can earn their way into heaven. However, you can not donate your way or feed enough homeless people to get to heaven. It is only by believing in his son Jesus Christ that you can be saved.

Maybe you don’t know what you should be doing, but if you seek Christ he will show you. For we have been created in Christ Jesus to do good works (Eph 2:10).

Jesus is no longer here on earth with us to love on the lost and the downtrodden. We, his followers, are now responsible for being his hands and feet. We have been called to show the compassion Christ to the world around us.

5. Christians Do Not Deny Christ

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Photo by Nilton Oliveira on Unsplash

This last one seems like a no-brainer. I mean how can you call yourself a Christian and deny Christ? That means that your not a Christian.

However, have you ever shared something that happened to you or your family that you know could have only happened because God intervened and didn’t even mention him?

Or have your kids ever wanted to invite their friends from school to a church event, but you politely suggested that they not for whatever bogus reason you gave. When really you were afraid they would be mocked or feel rejected because the other kids might say no?

I know I have been a victim of that one. I had to get on my knees and repent! I had to check myself to make sure I was still in the faith.

Or have you ever failed to stand up for what you believe in because you were the only Christian in the crowd?

See it’s in these little ways that we deny Christ in our lives that people don’t think about. That if we don’t catch them can eventually turn into full-blown denials of Christ.

The bible says, ”Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels (Luke 9:26, NIV).”

What a shame it would be to get to the gates only to be turned away because we were ashamed of our Savior

Final Thoughts

I know many of you expected to read things like if you pray, read your bible, and go to church you’re a Christian. While it is true that these are things that Christians should be doing to help them grow in their faith and develop a relationship with Christ.

There are many people that do all of these things out of habit or ritual and have never given their lives to Christ.

I hope this list has helped you in your walk with Christ. For those of you who are Christians, I hope this list helped affirm some things for you or even caused you to stop and examine yourself.

If you are someone that claims to be a Christian because you attend church services regularly, you sing in the choir, or because your parents were preachers I encourage you to go back to the first point in this post.

If you have found yourself in a backslidden state I encourage you to reaffirm your faith in Christ and get back in the race.

If are reading this post and are not a Christian I pray that this post has touched your heart in such a way that it would draw you closer to Christ and that you would take that step to become his disciple.

Please leave a comment if you feel that I have left something out or you would like to share something that you learned or agreed with from this post.

Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro

Posted in Faith

Faith Filled Fridays-Jesus Wept

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Recently, a young pastor died leaving behind his wife and children. At the funeral, his wife sat stoically in her seat trying to be brave for her children and for the members if the congregation. No tears were shed by her, at least not in public.

And I remember thinking how hard and how sad it must be for her. To not be able to let go of all that pain for the sake of others.

In my own family, we’ve recently had a string of family members and friends die in the past few months. As a matter of fact, there are two wakes being held today, one for my great aunt and one for my grandmothers best friend.

I can guarantee you that someone will tell us not to cry because these women have gone on to be with the Lord. Because ”to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord ( 2 Cor 5:8).” That we should be joyful because they are no longer in pain and suffering.

Why is it that in our effort to comfort those in grief we encourage them to stifle their sense of loss? Sometimes as Christians I think that we forget that Jesus was human. That he experienced a full range of human emotions even grief.

In the book of John, we find the story of Jesus and the death of Lazarus. The Bible tells us that when Jesus finally arrived after hearing that Lazarus was sick he was already dead. At this point, Jesus did one thing…He wept (John 11:35).

Jesus Wept. John 11:35

Jesus, the son of God, healer of the sick, raiser of the dead….wept. He was so overcome with grief and sorrow at the loss of his friend that even Jesus with all the power that he had wept.

If he was so overcome by emotion I think that it’s only fitting that we let others weep for the ones they have lost. They shouldn’t be pressured to put on a “brave” face. We shouldn’t feel compelled to tell them that everything is ok.

As Christians, we know that if our loved ones died in Christ that we will see them again on the other side. Just like Jesus knew that he would raise Lazurus from the dead. I’m sure that the disciples were astonished as they watched their beloved teacher break into tears.

But nowhere does it mention that they tried to stop him from weeping. This story reminds me that it’s ok to cry. It’s ok to grieve the loss of someone you hold dear.….weeping may endureth for a night, but joy cometh in the morning (Psalm 30:5).

We don’t know how long our night will last, but the next time you see someone who is grieving a loss whether it be of a loved one, a marriage, a failed business. Let them know that it’s ok to cry.

Even Jesus wept.

The Crafty Afro