It’s funny; promises are made and so often easily forgotten, broken, delayed, or denied. I promise to.... and I promise to.... and I promise.... it so easily comes off the tongue and flows into the ears of others. IN THE MOMENT, our hearts are in agreement with our head, or sometimes it’s our Head talking, and we make a declaration that often gets tested by the trials that we face. It’s only then that we see just how much strength we have to persevere and how much faith we have in the ability to fulfill the promise. Recently there have been a lot of things, events, and promises that have surfaced and really challenged me to persevere (James 1:2-12) past my situation and move into what I knew God had promised me to. In the past 2-3 months things had taken a really difficult turn for me and had caused me to be in "the pit" of my feelings, resources, and faith, yet as I was tried, I drew closer to Christ in those times and I not only sit to "be real" with Him and share how I feel but I was challenged to continue to sit LISTEN, to OBEY GOD and experience BREAKTHROUGH ( great book: B.L.O.G. to Marriage by Candace and Tommy Claiborn IV http://www.nextag.com/B-l-o-g-736302882/prices-html though it says "marriage" it’s such a great book for breakthrough by listening and obeying God in every area of life).
In that time spent with Christ, I began to learn more about myself, my purpose, the purpose of my test and trials, and even the effect it has on others. It was revealed in my "real moments with Christ" that I heard so clearly "IT AIN'T ABOUT YOU GIRL" So often we think that "I am the only one going through THIS type of test, and THIS is happening to ME, and YOU just don't understand" and in those statements "we" focus more on ourselves and neglect others and our purpose, because as my pastor (Donnell Jones at Grace Covenant Church DC www.gracecovdc.org) has said in the recent series, you are experiencing a situation that is in violation of the expectation of your destination based off of the declaration from God about your life (Yea I know real Jessie Jackson rhymeish, but you get the picture!) When I realized this, it shifted my focus, to no longer be on whatever situation I was facing, where I lacked, or what I (selfishly) desired, but more so on the hearts and needs of others, and on doing the work of God. As my focus shifted to others and not myself, I began to see that everything for me fell into place and worked itself out, minus my ATTEMPTED help and control. I shared with a friend recently, as they are currently going through what I am walking out of, was this, what kept me going to persevere, and what encouraged my faith was being reminded of God's promise and my "REMEMBER WHEN" moments. Those remember when moments are points and time in your life where you were promised something, and when things didn't look like the promise and even took another turn, but sometime after began to change and come to pass, that deliverance, victory, provision, fulfillment was simply God's kept promise, which is always kept.
And I came to realize (through a small statement from Kirk Franklin) that "Your [Christ] delay is NOT A DENIAL ... I realize ....YOUR MAKING ME STRONGER NOW" and that these trials are only so that I can become stronger, and that my faith and character would grow and much more would be produced in my life, so that perseverance would be mature and work its complete work so that I would lack nothing for the season and opportunity I am about to step into. When I was in those places of being in my feelings and in the pit, I had to realized that God promised me so much more than what I have, what I can see right now, and much more past the negative things that were being said at the moment, so I had to remind God of what He promised me, and in that I simply was reminding myself and encouraging myself to believe in the declaration and that I will not sit back and sulk, or wait on it to happen without doing anything else, but I would be active with my faith. With others in the bible and in life, I’ve seen how they were who they were and they had lives and at some point God made a declaration to them and their life that promised more, and when the moment was over, they went back to their lives and later experienced trials that tested that promise and their faith in the promise of God. Just like them so have I.
One thing that amazes me, that I realized through last week’s message, was that God promised Abraham and Sarah a son, and it was 24 years later and they still did not see the effects of God’s promise, but when God visited him, he served and worshiped him, and did not question, harass, or challenge God saying “what happened to …….. that you promised” but he served him and worshiped Him as he did, and God remembered that promise and blessed them with the son. Now I had to ask myself, Phi….if this were you, what would you have done …… still served but in the back of my head wondered and might have tried to bring it up in the conversation…. Lord so …. Remember you said ….. uhhh is that going to happen anytime, not that I’m rushing you, but I just wanted to know so I can prepared ….. That’s typically the response, even when a friend, family, job, etc makes a promise we EXPECT it to happen and come IMMEDIATELY, and when it doesn’t its like ….. man you lied, well forget it, or then there is a breach in trust and faith in that person’s ability to uphold their promise and word, and God is nothing like that, He said it, He will do it, but in and at the appropriate time, to so my “EAGERNESS to be prepared, He simply responded…NO CHILD … YOU HAVE BEEN BEING PREPARED DURING YOUR PERIOD OF WAITING, WHILE YOU WERE FOCUDED ON ME, I WAS PRODUCING SOMETHING MORE IN YOU TO BE ALBE TO SUSTAIN, MANAGE, AND KEEP WHAT IS PROMISED TO YOU!
So no I am not God, in the fact that I will break a promise, let you down, fall short, be a little late on fulfilling it, but yet and still I will strive, to keep the promise that I made. Yes it gets hard, no I don’t want to, yes I will WANT to give up, but THIS race is NOT GIVEN [its earned] to the swift or the strong, but to those that endure [persevere] until the end. So to encourage everyone, who reads whether you are doing this weight loss, financial breakthrough, spiritual increase, emotional and mental renewing, "be encouraged" that "trouble don't last always" [two of my favorite old school songs], and that we are in this together and as we run THIS race, let us remember that perseverance must become mature and complete, so that we lack nothing and in the end will wear the crown of LIFE!
Physically: I lost a total of 13lbs, and then gained 7lbs back, on the grind again, to continue and stay encouraged, the gym is a beast! Mon/Wed - Water Aerobics, Tues/Fri regular workout/weights, Thurs Zumba!
Financially: I do not have a job Cletis! But things are being taken care of I am doing odd jobs and all but I am still actively looking and finding parttime work that allows for me to take care of things.
Spiritually: I am on a HIGH that I don't want to come down from. My prayer has been to listen more and become more sensitive to God's call and prompting so that I respond promptly (with alacrity), because I know that its "NOT ABOUT ME" and that my responding is at the life and stake of someone else's blessing, confirmation, and breakthrough. Pleasing HIM is what's most important to me, and is all that matters.
Emotionally/Mentally: I thought I was going to lose my mind (figuratively speaking) but I took a little break and got away cleared my mind (as much as I could) and now I'm back. Sometimes you have to be renewed, rest and take a break in order for you to be as productive as you need to be for yourself and those around you.