Stop Judging Yourself and Others!

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“as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”-Psalm 103:12

Maryland is one of several states in the path of Hurricane or Tropical Storm Isaias. I am praying for no one to lose their life, be injured or be displaced because of the storm. Please join me in prayer. Yesterday, I was caught in a downpour as I finalized my grocery shopping. I planned to be home before the downpour started but I enjoyed my trip to the grocery store. This is my first time in months I stayed in a store for more than 30 minutes and it was nice. I wore my mask and kept my distance. It felt very normal. As I sat in my car and watched the downpour, I noticed how the rain washed everything away. It was like the pavement had a clean slate. Whatever trash or dirt may have been present was washed away never to be seen again.

When we accept Jesus to be our Lord and Savior, we are accepting his death, burial and resurrection as payment for our past, present and future sins. Jesus did overlook anyone us because of certain sins we committed. Romans 3:23-24 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”  Please notice the word the word all. All has an absolute meaning in this verse which means 100% of us have missed the mark. Every one of us needs Jesus.  There is no exception to the rule. You may think you do not need Jesus but every one of us needs him as our Lord and Savior.

In addition to all of us needing Jesus, sin in God’s eyes is sin. James 2:10 says, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” Please notice James did not insert the type of sin. When we sin, we have fallen short and need Jesus. The type of sin does not determine if Jesus can pay your debt. When you humbly admit that you need Jesus and repent, you are saved and redeemed. We need to make sure when we look at ourselves and one another, we are looking through the eyes of God and not our flawed ones. I want to encourage us to remember that we are forgiven. Whatever you think God cannot forgive you of was rectified on the cross at Calvary.  The next time it rains or you are near any water, remember that Jesus paid your debt and God see you as righteous. God bless you!

Stop Settling!

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“And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”-Matthew 19:26

How are you doing today? Are you excited about starting a new month and week? Is your soul weary as the partial lockdown continues? Are you in between? I am excited and weary. Wherever you are today, I want to assure you that God is still moving. God is not hindered by any person, place or thing. Sometimes, our circumstances can seem so insurmountable that we forget that our heavenly father has the final say. We start to look at life through the lens of our knowledge and wisdom that we forget that God’s knowledge and wisdom are beyond our comprehension. 1 Corinthians 2:9 says, “However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived the things God has prepared for those who love him.”

God can do anything for us. We do not have to settle for scraps. Jesus died a brutal death so that we could walk in our unique God ordained purpose. God does not redeem our lives at our discounted rate. He redeems things at rate that cannot be measured. I remember a time in my life when I used to ask God for the minimum when he was trying to give me beyond my comprehension. In today’s verse, we are reminded that one word from Jesus changes things if we allow it. Don’t settle based on your circumstances. Believe God for the impossible.

Today, take a moment to pause and listen to your soul. Allow God to remind you of who he has created you to be. You are his child and should never settle for less than his best for you. Ask him to show you where you can come up higher. I am in a season where I am waiting on God to deliver on his word. I was starting to feel ashamed that I had taken a long time to surrender to God. God reminded me that he is always on time and I need to stay in faith. Proverbs 16:3 says “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” May God bless us as he renews our minds, souls and hearts to line up with his will for us. In the name of our matchless savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

 

The Beauty of True Peace

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 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7

We are living in an unprecedented and unpredictable time. Our minds and souls can become anxious,  drained, weary and overwhelmed. Despite what we see around us, we must remember our heavenly father is stronger than our circumstances, doubts, questions and more. It is okay to cry and be disappointed but we should never give away our peace. Peace is a gift God has given us. When you think of peace, what do you think of? Do you think of things being serene and quiet? God has given us peace that is a shalom peace. Shalom peace means nothing is broken or missing.

That means that no matter what are circumstances are saying to us, we can dig deep into our souls and remember we are at peace. When Jesus was preparing the disciples for his death, burial and resurrection, he said in John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Jesus could have left the disciples and us with anything but he made sure he gave us peace. He left and the Holy Spirit came as our comforter and helper. The Holy Spirit will never force himself on us. He is a gentle gentleman who wants to help us as we pray and go about our day. He makes us powerful even in our weakest moments. 

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

John 14:27

Peace is not dependent on us. It is dependent on us pressing into our relationship with God. We must surrender everything that wants to steal or interrupt our peace. Peace is something we already have because of Jesus. When he died, we inherited so much including peace. I want to encourage all of us to look deep within us and know that we already have peace. We may have to ask God to reveal it to us. We may need God’s help to calm our souls. We do not have to beg for peace because we already have it.  There is no shame in asking God to help us especially right now when we need him the most. God please continue to remind us daily as your children that we already have peace.

 

Dear 2020: Hopeful Heartbreak

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Dear 2020:

I am not even sure how to start this letter other than to say, What in the world? In December 2019, I was so hopeful with starting a new decade with a clean slate. I purged people, places and things that were hindering my progress. January 2020 arrived and shortly I realized this year was going to be different. My favorite basketball player, Kobe Bryant, dies suddenly with his precious daughter Gigi and other many precious souls. Our nation and world united in grief. We learned to love one another more deeply.

Then, I started to hear rumors about a disease called, COVID-19. I thought this disease would come and go quickly. Then our entire world went into lockdown and a mandatory pause. Everyone’s normal life became full of securing hand sanitizer and social distancing. Milestones had to be celebrated virtually. There was disappointment and anger amid celebration.  School and work is being done remotely. Vacations are not an option right now. As the weather gets nicer, I am reminded of how my normal doesn’t exist now. Many souls including mine have become weary.

Then my heart was not prepared for a new round of unarmed African-Americans dying. Viral videos showed the last moments of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd’s lives. Breona Taylor, Sean Reed and countless others were murdered.  Our fragile nation became very divided over the unraveling of systematic racism.  Many people more people we loved and admired passed away including Civil rights icons C.T. Vivian and Congressman John Lewis and Baltimore Superfan Mo Gaba, Singer and Songwriter Bill Withers and TV Icon Regis Philbin.

However, I believe with my entire soul that my tears and heartbreak are not in vain. I believe that despite the division and heartbreak that is raging, things are going to get better. I believe healing will start. I believe uncomfortable conversations are needed right now to start the process of life long change for everyone. The beauty of this moment is that there is so much unity and love that is being poured out and displayed around the world. This year is not over yet. Things will get better. So, I am standing in hope and love. I am trusting that things will get better. I cannot wait to write another letter later this year. 

Standing in faith,

Ada 

Empathy Heals Wounds While Silence Inflicts Pain

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28Now one of the scribes had come up and heard their debate. Noticing how well Jesus had answered them, he asked Him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”29Jesus replied, “This is the most important: ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. 30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’g 31The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’h No other commandment is greater than these.”-Mark 12: 28-30

“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.”-John 3:16

There is a difference between having a relationship with someone and having a transactional association. When you are in relationship with someone, you walk with the person in their ups and downs. Anything that you do is out of love and care. When something happens to them, you feel their pain because of the love you have for them. When you have a transactional association, your association is based on a transaction. You may give something to someone like your money or time but there is no relationship. You do not know about one another and any type of association is surface.

When Jesus was asked about the greatest command, he told all his children who are his disciples to love God and to love their neighbor as they love themselves. Jesus did not command us to love everyone who looks, sounds, votes and thinks like us. He said to love your neighbor which can be anyone. Systemic racism has been bought to the front of our lives. The reason it is systemic is because racism is built into our society which includes the church. The fact that many churches have decided to remain silent during this pivotal time is alarming, disappointing and painful.

There has been an uneven playing field for centuries when it comes to the African-American experience. Racism has become ingrained into the fabric of our society of our lives. Do you know last night I wanted to take out my trash but decided against it because I thought it would cost me my life? I have been racially profiled in stores, humiliated by the police, called the N word and more. In Christian settings, I have experienced harsh racism. There are tears I cannot begin to describe that I have cried because of my beautiful black skin. I do not believe every church is racist. I am thankful for the Body of Christ. I do think there is an overdue conversation that needs to occur in the Body of Christ about systemic racism.

Race is not a political or patriotic issue. It is a human issue. Why should an African-American accept being discriminated against because “That is the way it has always been?” As God’s light bearers, we have a responsibility to raise our Christianity above everything else to obey God. When Jesus was murdered for our sins, he died for every one of us. God did not exclude anyone. Every child of God was declared free because of Jesus’ death. Since we are all children of God, we belong to the same family. That means we should fight for one another. We should not discard someone because of how they look, vote or their style of worship.

People have assumed because I am Christian African-American I vote a certain way. I am not aligned with any party because no party fully represents me. I am a Christian first. There used to be a time when I held politics and other things above my faith. When I fully surrendered to God, I had to surrender anything that I placed above him. That means I must see things through his eyes. That means I must be relational. How can you serve a group of people or donate to cause but you don’t have any empathy or love toward the people you are serving? This is a time for all of us to ask God what he called each of us to do during this crucial time. We are all children of God and we need to make sure we are loving one another in a true and empathetic way.

My Heartbreak Also Matters

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He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly[a] with your God.”-Micah 6:8

On Tuesday, it started out as a normal day, but it ended on a heartbreaking note. I heard earlier in the day about George Floyd and Amy Cooper. I tried to move along with my day, but I felt something snap in my spirit. I felt disappointed, heartbroken, confused, sad and upset all at the same time. I even had to give myself grace to step away and feel my emotions. Then, I had a beautiful and encouraging Twitter exchange with devoted Christian wife, mother, musician and leader, Jamie Grace. This young woman really made her feelings known in a beautiful, honest and transparent way. I was able to exhale while feeling encouraged.  I also saw the tweets of other people I admire and adore who also encouraged me.

I submitted everything to God. I love the fact that God will never discard or dismiss my feelings because I am a Nigerian-American woman. He will never tell me to be quiet or pray through it. He will never accuse me of being dramatic or out of my mind. He will never be silent when I need him the most. He will walk with me through my heartbreak. He will allow me space to cry and ask questions. He will love me unconditionally. He sent Jesus to be murdered for my past, present and future sins. Hebrews 4:15  says, “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.”

I have been sitting a little too comfortably on the sidelines watching things pass me by while harboring heartbreak and pain. I realize now that God has entrusted me with a purpose and calling to speak and write. I cannot be afraid to walk out my calling. Earlier this week I tweeted the following, “My heart hurts today. I thought this during pandemic we could pause on the things that usually divide us. I have been heartbreakingly wrong. God, I pray for all us to have open eyes and hearts to being agents of love, peace and understanding. If you have a platform, use it.” I want to thank everyone who has said something. All of us are a part of the solution. Please do not stay silent. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Darkness cannot drive our darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.”

Celebration Amid Disappointment and Sorrow

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Let the whole earth shout triumphantly to the Lord! Serve the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Acknowledge that the Lord is God. He made us, and we are his. -his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and bless his name.”-Psalm 100:1-4

As the deer longs for flowing streams, so I long for you, God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while all day long people say to me, “Where is your God?-Psalm 42:1-3

This time of year is usually marked with many celebrations. This is the season of countless graduations, weddings, proms, baby showers, birthday and anniversary parties, housewarmings, baby dedications and so much more. COVID-19 has not only invaded our reality but has caused many of us to find new ways to show our love, appreciation, thanksgiving and more in a socially distant and sanitized way.

As a child of God, you are encouraged to be authentic and honest with God. In an authentic relationship, you must voice your disappointment, anger, sadness, grief, sorrow, frustration, and any other emotion or feeling you are experiencing right now. I have been thinking about and praying for the countless people who have accomplishments and milestones they will not be able to celebrate. God created us. He gave us our emotions. I would encourage you to go before God and let him know how you feel. He can handle it. 1 Peter 5:6-8 says, “So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”

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If you are a member of the class of 2020 or celebrating any milestone such as a new baby, marriage, engagement, promotion, home, birthday, anniversary or anything else, I want to first say congratulations on your accomplishment. COVID-19 cannot diminish your accomplishment. Your heavenly father is pleased. Psalm 126:3 says, “The Lord has done great things for us; We are glad.” Next, I want to encourage you to celebrate in virtual ways. I know it is not the same as a face to face celebration, but you can still celebrate. Also, allow the people who love you the most celebrate you virtually. Also, it is okay to postpone your celebration to another day. Right now, we must be socially distant so we can one day fellowship together in a safe and healthy manner. Let us pray to our heavenly father.

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for a new day and week. Thank you for the way you kept us while you exceeded every need, revealed yourself in new ways and stretched our faith a little more in you. God, I raise up every accomplishment or milestone that has occurred during COVD-19 and cannot be celebrated. I pray for every member of the class of 2020 from the Pre-School graduate to the person who completed medical school. I pray for every new baby, home, job, marriage, engagement, promotion, anniversary, birthday and other countless accomplishments and milestones. I pray that you would let each person know that you see them and are extremely proud and pleased with them. Please pour out an abundance of love and peace on these people. Let them know that you love and see them.

I pray for comfort and understanding. I pray you would meet them in their disappointment, anger, sorrow, or any other emotion. I thank you that COVID-19 or anything else cannot diminish or tarnish these milestones or accomplishments. God, we thank you in advance for how you will once again show us your greatness despite this pandemic. There is a lot we do not know but we know that you are reliable and cannot be defeated. We honor and love you, God. I pray all of this in the matchless name of our risen savior, Jesus Christ, Amen!

 

Virtual Mother’s Day Celebration Ideas

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Mother’s Day 2020 will be celebrated on Sunday May 10, 2020. This year is a little different due to COVID-19. We will celebrate every woman who answers to mom and grandma. We thank you for giving life to all of us while nurturing and loving us. Mother’s Day 2020 will be different but we salute you everyday for your unconditional love and support of your children. I want to also take a moment to shoutout other women who nurture children. Our society needs you also to shape the lives of our children and adults.

I also acknowledge the Mother’s Day is a very difficult day for many. Some have lost their mother due to death, estrangement or abandonment. It could be a mother or grandmother who recently lost a child or spouse. It could be a woman who does not have children of her own and desires to be a mother. I want you to know that you are loved. We understand if you cannot celebrate Mother’s Day.  It is okay for you to grieve. It is okay for you to cry.

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Are you looking for some socially distant ways to celebrate your favorite mother? Do you need some last minute gift ideas? I have some suggestions below. If you have some ideas, do not hesitate to add them to the comments. Let’s keep the conversation going on Twitter and Instagram. Happy Mother’s Day!

Carryout or Delivery: You can still have a great meal by taking advantage of delivery or carryout. You can go directly to your favorite restaurant’s website or use one of the following delivery services: Doordash, Grabhub and UberEats. Also, you can do curbside pickup or carryout. Please check the business hours for your favorite restaurant.

Gift Cards: You can give you favorite mom a gift card for now or later. The best gift cards are Amazon, Target, Walmart, Grubhub, Uber Eats and Doordash. You can also buy gift cards for the mall, movies, salon, spa, makeup, shoes and more.

Sports Swag: Is your favorite mom a sports fans? The best site is for anything related to sports is Fantatics in my opinion. This site covers just about every sport. As an avid sports fan, I approve of the selction. The prices are excellent and you do not have to wait forever to get your purrchase.. If you are unsure of to get, get a giftcard.

Donation: You can make a donation in honor or memory of your mom. What a great way to celebrate your favorite woman while paying it forward. You can pick any nonprofit of your choice. Your donation will ensure that someone else’s day is brightened and you are making your favorite nonprofit stronger. Thank you for your donation.

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Wear Your Armor Daily!

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Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.“-Ephesians 6:10-12

As children of God, we have an adversary named Satan or the devil. He hates us and tries to convince us daily we are not victorious. Jesus defeated him at Calvary by laying down his life and rising from the dead so that we would have eternal life as well as abundant life.  That means no matter what, we are victorious every day of our lives because we are children of God. Our circumstances do not have to confirm our identity as children of God. Isaiah 54:17 says, “no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the LORD.”

Weapons will form but they will never prosper against us. In today’s scripture, Paul reminds us about the armor of God. He details every piece our armor which includes truth, faith and peace. You can read the whole description our armor (Ephesians 6:10-18) by clicking here. Priscilla Shirer does an awesome bible study entitled “The Armor of God” and you can get it from Lifeway by clicking here. I enjoyed this study and would recommend it to anyone who wants to be better equipped in their daily battles and as a child of God. As children of God, we must walk out our daily lives remembering we are victorious.

Sometimes, we can become focused on the people, places and things that frustrate us and forget we have an adversary who is trying daily to take us out. God has given us a strong armor to wear daily. The armor was built by and is founded in him. We do not have to fight our battles alone. God is always with us and in him we lack nothing. Yes we will have bad days. We will have moments where we are grieving, sad, confused, heartbroken, angry and more. We must remember that God is always with us and he has equipped us with what we need to win every battle. You are victorious every day of your life. You don’t have to accept anything from the enemy.  You are loved by God. May God meet you in a special way as he reminds you of your greatness. God bless you.

COVID-19 Prayer

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and my people, my God-defined people, respond by humbling themselves, praying, seeking my presence, and turning their backs on their wicked lives, I’ll be there ready for you: I’ll listen from heaven, forgive their sins, and restore their land to health.”-2 Chronicles 7:14 

Heavenly Father,

God, you are mighty and powerful. There is no person, place or thing that can stand in your presence without acknowledging that you are God (Romans 11:14).  You are undefeated. When you made each of us, you made were intentional and loving (Psalm 139:13).  We repent and ask you to forgive us of all our sins. Help us to forgive all those who we have trouble forgiving. Help those who don’t want to forgive us to forgive us (Matthew 6:14-15; Ephesians 4:32;Colossians 3:13). We ask that the Holy Spirit would bring to our remembrance people, places or things where we carry grudges, hatred, dislike and more. God, please do your healing work and show us what we need to do.

Help us to be loving and forgiving toward ourselves. Sometimes we can be our worst enemy. We have to remember that in your word it says in Matthew 22:37-39Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” We cannot give away love or anything else that we do not have inside of ourselves. Show us how we can love you and ourselves better so we can love everyone else authentically and honestly. 

I plead right now for our world. An invisible enemy named COVID-19 has invaded our world. This enemy has saturated every part of our lives. Anxiety and fear have become heightened as people have lost their lives, health, jobs, normal and much more. God, I pray in the name of Jesus that you would hear our prayers and release heaven’s remedy for COVID-19. Jesus defeated everything at Calvary which includes COVID-19. I pray you would protect every person on the frontline. Whether they are working in healthcare or in our restaurants, continue to cover and keep them. We pray for every church and child of God to step up and take their rightful place in the kingdom of God. We pray for everyone to stay safe and healthy as they submit to doing what is right for the better of everyone.

If someone does not know you or has an estranged relationship with you, I pray you would put someone in their path who can minster to them and walk alongside them in discipleship. We praise you in advance for how you will remedy COVID-19. We thank you for your faithfulness. We rejoice because today is a new day (Psalm 118:24) We know your mercies are new everyday (Lamentations 3:23). Glory to God in advance for the miraculous way he will remedy COVID-19 and every residue effect of it. We love you God. We praise your name.

I pray all of this in the matchless name of our risen savior, Jesus Christ, I pray and stand in faith. Amen!

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