Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Grace in Times of Weakness


There is a verse that I claim very often. It has become a lifeline promise on those days when the world seems huge and the problems seem like giants. "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness."(IICorinthians 12:9)

Weakness. We all get slapped with it at one point or another. We feel sapped physically because we have been going and going without pausing to take in the much needed fuel. That fuel is both the physical and spiritual. We get to a point where we feel we cannot do anymore, we cannot take anymore and we are ready to call it quits. Then there are the times when it seems as if we can't do anything right. We are battling against long ingrained habits and situations that make us feel as though we are failures. What about dealing with death and illness? Sin has so marred our world that it seems everyday we are faced with loss.

This is where grace comes in. God's grace takes over when we cannot go any further. The famous poem "Footprints in the Sand" says it best: the times when there are only one set of footprints in the sand God is carrying you.
Grace carries us; picks up the slack in our lives; whether it is in the daily humdrum or the major crashes. Grace takes over when we have gone as far as we can go. Grace sees our insuffiencies, imperfections  and scars and loves us anyway.

I have experienced that grace at work so many times that I now cling to God because I know that He will indeed cover me when I am naked and ashamed because of some habit or situation, or feel alone when I face loss and crisis.
Let the grace of God cover you today.

Be blessed

GretaMichelle

Meditate:

footprints in the sand  (click me)

Why not take a few minutes to read:

IICorinthians 12




Reflect:

The times when you felt weak and overburdened and you called out to God and you felt His strength infusing you. Maybe you didn't call out to Him but still felt an inexplicable  injection of energy.
What about the times when you made it through a tragic situation: a death or an illness, divorce or a wayward child running away It just wore you out, and you just don't know how you made it; you don't know how you held it together.
As you reflect on these occasions why not take the time now to say thank you Lord for being my sufficiency; my strength. Thank you Lord for carrying me.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Gifts are not Entitlements

Jazzy and her first brood

We take for granted that we are entitled to the next day and the next and the next. It is only when death collides with our world that we start to wonder and reflect. We may live differently while we cope with our grief and loss or while we recuperate from the life threatening illness, but more often we go back to the same place where we feel entitled to life. We are not. The only time we are entitled to is the time that we have  right now; the moment that we are in right now. The next minute is a gift just as a new day is. That's the power of grace. Grace gives you and me another day; another minute.

Every day we awaken to should be one lived in total thanks; total praise because we awakened under the grace of God. When we get to a place where we understand that we are not life givers but life recipients; that we are not the ones in control of who gets life, then we will treat the moments we have differently and live our lives differently.

Be blessed
GretaMichelle

Meditate:
Ephesians 2:8
For by grace are you saved through faith;
and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God

Why not take a few minutes to read:

Lamentations 3

Reflect:

How have you treated your life up to this point? If, like me you have sometimes walked around thinking that it is owed to you don't you think it's time to take a different view? One where you start appreciating each day as a gift of grace and live a life of thanks for that grace?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

OThat Gift!



Have you ever received an unexpected gift? I imagine you must have been surprised and pleased. You probably wondered what you had done to deserve that gift; that reward. You couldn't think of anything so you wondered if it was really for you and you were assured yes, this is yours. I am sure you must have treasured that, especially if it was something beautiful; something you had really wanted and wasn't able to get for yourself. Someone thought of you and cared for you enough to observe what you needed and provide it without you asking.

There is such a gift, available now, just like that. It's more than something we always wanted. It's something we need because the truth is, we cannot get it for ourselves no matter how much money we have.
Can you imagine doing nothing good; nothing right and someone still loving and wanting you and setting aside a place for you; giving up His place so you could have a place? Forgiveness, for you, even before you ask for it? Mercy extended before you recognise you need it? Will your spouse do that? Your children? What about your best friend?

God did just that. The bible says that "...where sin  abounded, grace did much more abound." (Romans 5:20 Wow! Imagine that! So no matter how horrible my wrong I have forgiveness. I have the gift of grace. I ddin't do anything to deserve it and no matter what I do I cannot earn it. Yet, I have it, for God has set it aside, just for me. I do not know Him, but He knows meyet loves me still and has set aside mercy just for me. I have, you have, we all have forgiveness, healing, new life, abundant life, eternal life. All we have to do is accept; all we have to do is come.

Be blessed
GretaMichelle

Meditate:
Hebrews 4:16
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace,
that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Why not take a few minutes to read:

Isaiah 53 (Grace in action)

Reflect:

If forgiveness and love from God are things we do not deserve, yet He gives freely, what are we doing to extend the same to others who may have wronged us or hurt us and by human standards, do not deserve our mercy?
If God extends grace to us, shouldn't we be willing to extend it to others?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Ultimate Weapon-- part 2

At midnight Paul and Silas prayed and the prisoners heard them. I can imagine what was going through their minds as they listened to these two men sing praises to God; beaten and locked in stocks in the worst part of the prison for the chief guard had been warned to make sure they did not escape. Yet here they were singing? "Are these men mad?"  "What kind of drugs are they on?" "I need to get me some of that" "They seem genuinely happy and at peace. Hmm..."

Two things must be pointed out about their praise. The first that we learnt yesterday is that God inhabited their praise. (Psalm 22:3) Their praise did not go unnoticed by the person to whom it was pointed. God took note and rewarded their faith.

The second is not only did God take note, but the entire prison. That night when the prison walls shook and the gates sprang open,and the stocks and bands were loosed, the prison experienced new life. The prison guard was afraid. Afraid that all the prisoners had escaped and that no one would believe what he had just experienced. He was prepared to kill himself when Paul called out to him that they were still there. His response to this was: "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" That night he and his entire family received the gospel joyfully and were baptized.

Our praise is not just to make us feel better about a situation or to send affirmations of faith up to God. Our praise in extreme experiences; at times when, to human eyes, there is no reason to praise, acts as a magnet for others. It provokes their curiosity and then their desire to know this peace; this joy. Remember joy is not just about happiness. Joy is about being at peace in the knowledge that no matter what, God is in control so I do not need to fret and worry, God has this!

The ultimate weapon is at your disposal today. Today is an opportunity for you to harness its power and thereby be at peace and be the peace that draws others to God. How you deal with your stressors signals a response in others for good or for evil. Do not wait. Take hold of God's promises and arm yourself with His weaponry.

Be blessed
Greta Michelle

Meditate:
Psalm 42:5
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou
disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise
 him for the help of his countenance.
Why not take a few minutes to re-read:

Acts 16


Reflect:

The power we have over others through our actions should always give us pause before we do or say anything.
We sometimes make excuses and say well it's not my fault if so and so does this or that and by right no one should look at another person and blame them for the wrong that the other committed. In reality, though we know that we each look at and model our behavior on others; whether movie stars or artists or religious men and women, and others look at us and model their behavior on us.
How wonderful then, if we would all move responsibly in that knowledge.

What do you think? Please share.

Friday, March 26, 2010

You Have the Ultimate Weapon! Part 1

Worship By Night

One of my favorite stories (Yes I have a lot of favorites) is the story of Paul and Silas. There they are, thrown in jail and enclosed in stocks. Bruised and battered from the beatings they received before and during their forced captivity. Their crimes? Freeing a  servant girl from mental and spiritual enslavement (She was demon possessed), and thereby taking away the income from those who exploited her,  preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. About midnight, by now their pain is probably intense and may have cause some anxiety in their minds. What do they do? They begin to sing and pray and praise.

The bible says that a great and terrible earthquake was suddenly heard and the prison doors were opened.
The power of praise; their praise in spite of  their circumstances. The power of praise; praise because they had counted the cost and found that to suffer for Christ was to gain, caused the prison to be too small to hold them.

Oh how far short of the mark we fall when we complain and curse God for little things; things that in the final analysis will not make us truly happy.
The bible calls praise a weapon of warfare. (IIChronicles 20:22) What weapon are you weilding? The devil does not like it when we praise God. It defeats his purpose because praise says Lord Yes! I'll trust you. Praise proclaims to those around us, who has our allegiance and our heart.
Who has your heart?

Be blessed
GretaMichelle

Meditate:
Psalm 22:3
But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of [Israel]------- (insert your name)
why not take a few minutes to read:

Acts 16

Reflect:

How have you dealt with the disappointments in your life? Have you allowed them to cause you to mistrust and question God's leading, or did you pray and praise your way through?
If you're like me, you've had moments when you doubted, but once you recognised this, what did you do to counteract the effects?
I choose songs that talk about trusting God and about priasing Him.
Why not compile a list of some of your favorite worship songs and hymns and share with us here.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Kick the Fear Habit!

Homeward Bound

As someone who has experienced the trauma of a break-in, I know what fear is. I have experienced that gnawing feeling in the pit of the stomach that makes you want to run and hide, yet be too paralyzed to move. And even though you know that the thief is not coming back, you're still afraid to enter the house or stay there by yourself; so for days and weeks, you're jumping at every shadow, every creak.

Fear is like that thief. It robs you of your joy. It steals your ability to make sound judgements. It handicaps your ability to take advantage of potentially great opportunities; and to even recognise them when they come your way.

Fear is the opposite of faith. It was fear that caused the Israelites to wander the wilderness for forty more years. When the twelve spies went to spy out the land of Caanan, only two were able to see the potential for victory. The other ten only saw the obstacles while Joshua and Caleb saw the possibilities. The ten saw the people like giants and they as grasshoppers while Joshua and Caleb saw the food that could feed many in a land flowing with milk and honey.

Fear requires an act of will to destroy its hold on you. You have to purpose in your heart that you will not let fear dominate and overpower you. You have to get angry and kick fear to the curb. It's what I had to do to safeguard my faith that God would protect. I recalled the fact that even though someone did break into our home, we were all physically unharmed and alive. God had protected us as He promised. I recalled every single promise that God gave me concerning my ability to believe and move according to His purpose. I deliberately looked fear in the eye and shouted at it to get out.

If fear has you in its grips right now don't give in to it. I have lost a lot of opportunities because I chose to believe the lie that fear told me above the truth that God had shared. God never gave us a spirit of fear. He gave us instead love and a sound mind. (II Timothy 2:7) Hold fast to that promise and go ahead!

Be blessed
GretaMichelle

Meditate:

II Timothy 2:7
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power,
and of love, and of a sound mind.
Why not take a few minutes to read:

Numbers 13 (Pay special attention to v. 27-33)


Reflect:

Has fear been ruining your ability to trust God? Have you kicked the fear habit?
How were you able to conquer your goliath? What promises have you claimed that can serve to help someone else to kick the fear habit?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Leap of Faith

Carl Bloch, At the Pool of Bethesda

The trend of today is to trust in ourselves; be the author of our own destinies; follow our heart. Yet history, our own and that of others, has shown time and again that that course is the road of folly. (Oh no she didn't!) The bible likens it in this wise: "He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool..."  (Proverbs 28:26)
To have faith in God and trust in yourself is a contradiction; for faith requires you to believe what your eyes say is impossible. Faith requires you to believe that the Red Sea parted and thousands of people were able to go through. Faith says that the cheque will come even though you see no conceivable way since you just lost your job.Faith says your son or daughter will come back home and your family will be restored even though when they left, they left claiming to hate you and vowing never to come back. Faith believes in a God you've never physically seen or touched.
Faith is like my daughter who when she was younger, would climb up on the front wall or the chair in the living room or any height she could reach and just fling herself off at any of her parents standing close by, laughing as she sailed through the air, unaware of the danger but sure in the knowledge that mommy or daddy would catch her.
That kind of faith is hard especially when you've grown up and you've been around the world and seen what can happen when you put your trust in the wrong things and people but we have a cloud of witnesses both in the Book of Treasures and around you who have trusted in God and found that faith rewarded (in a good way) If you're reading this then you have stumbled upon another witness. Take that leap today.

Be blessed
GretaMichelle

Meditate:

Proverbs 28:26

Luke 17:6

An the Lord said, If ye
had faith as a grain of mustard seed,
 ye might say unto this sycamine tree,
Be thou plucked up by the root, and
be thou planted in the sea and it should obey you.

Why not take a few minutes to read:

Luke 17

Reflect:

In today's fast-paced, crazy, technology-oriented world, how do I get that kind of faith and keep it?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Stand Your Ground!


The Lord impressed me with three words this morning as I wrestled with my little goliath. They are "Stand Your Ground" the title of todays post. Often times we allow the people that matter to us most; big and small to blackmail and compel us to deviate from our God-appointed goal. Now it's important to be able to make allowances and be prepared to compromise for family members but it should never be at the expense of our principles nor at the expense of our relationship wtih God.

My message today is simple and short. If you know that what you are doing is what God asks of you , stand your ground. If God has given you a task or a vision and you are sure that it is from God, stand your ground. If you have to say no to a loved one about something that God has revealed to you could be harmful to him/her, say no in love but stand against the buffeting winds of accusation and whines of betrayal. Eventually they will get it and apologise to you or not, but most importantly, you would have earned God's favor; which is even more than silver and gold.

Your family needs to depend on you to hold fast to the things that are good; the things that are godly, even if that means denying them. (Yes I did say denying them)

Be blessed
GretaMichelle

Meditate:
1Thessalonians 5:21
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

Why not take a few minutes to read:

Matthew 10

Reflect:

Matthew 10:37 says that if we love our parents or our children more than we love God, we are not worthy of Him. What does that mean? Is Christ saying  that to love them is wrong?
If not, then how should we love them? Why should love to God be first? (Matthew 6:33)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Pruning Time!

Donna Schaffer,Pruned Red Grapevines

I was reading the blog of my friend Nicole and she was talking about spring cleaning and how we can view it as God's way of clearing out the clutter in our lives. This got me thinking about the pruning process that Bruce Wilkinson talks about in his book: "Secrets of the Vine"

 I've always wanted to visit a grape vineyard; not to taste the wine but for the experience of walking through rows of succulent grapes, picking a few and tasting its sweetness as the juices spill over my tongue. I want to experience the triumph of a good harvest and the laughter of 'dancing' the grapes which reminds me so much of the cocoa dance here. Of course I want to paint the experience; the vitality and colour of it all.

So much must go into making sure that a harvest is perfect. One important part of that process is the pruning. The cutting away of the unwanted branches so that the vine, when it grows,  grows correctly and yields an uptimum harvest.

I imagine that that's what God thinks of when He allows us to go through our fiery trials. It's a way for us to let loose of all the dead limbs; the habits that are keeping us from reaching our true potential; the unwanted character flaws. The more painful the pruning the more ingrained the habit, the more unhealthy the flaw.

Pruning, I guess, is just another part of faith. We have to be still in order for God to do His work in us. We have to be willing to sing a song of praise through the pain. I know that I have a few that need to go and if this pruning experience is going to make me into a more loving and nurturing mother, a better wife a more inspired artist and writer, and more than just an ordinary servant then I say bring it on.

Be blessed
GretaMichelle

Meditate:

James 1: 2-4
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect
and entire, wanting nothing.

Why not take a few minutes to read:

James 1

Reflect:

We spend so much time complaining about the hardships in our lives that we fail to see the potential in them to be blessings in disguise.
What would happen if, just for a moment, we stopped and thanked God for them instead and said to Him
"Lord, do your work in me. Make me perfect and whole"

Sunday, March 21, 2010

That's What Faith Says

Briton Riviere, Daniel in the Lion's Den

There are times when God is silent; when it seems as though He has no intention of answering and He seems literally a million miles away. It is at these times I need Him most and it is at these times I feel as though He is far away and I'm stumbling around in the dark mire that is life with all its hiccups and train wrecks.

What should I do? Should I turn away? Find another solution? What should I do? I'm to be still and know (Psalm 46:10). What do I do? Well, I am not one for standing still. Quiet I can take in huge doses but standing still? Right now that's what He wants me to do. There are many conflicting voices in my head. If I don't stand still I might listen to the wrong one and do the wrong thing; make the wrong move.

So I am standing still. The urge to twitch, to move, to take charge is strong but, my belief that God will speak; that He will answer has to be stronger. I have to see the cloud the size of a man's hand and know that it will rain in the midst of the drought. I must praise God for the deliverance from the thorn in my flesh even while it pricks and pains. That's what faith says. That's what faith does. Faith sits still and rests until the matter is resolved by the God who does not rest until it is resolved.

Be blessed
GretaMichelle

Meditate:

Ruth 3:18
Then said she, sit still, my daugher, until thou know
 how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest,
 until he have finished the thing this day.
Why not take a few minutes and read:

Psalm 46

Reflect:

Can I honestly say that rushing headlong has been the source of unerring success?
If the answer is "no" Why do I still do it? Wouldn't it just be better to be still and know?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Where is It?

I am struggling with an issue. it's a situation that if I approach it incorrectly; hastily, the repercussions could be disastrous, long term. So I must be very careful. The situation is so intense that it's threatening to pull me under. So I have decided to fast and pray today. I asked the Lord this morning to teach me; reveal to me something new. I asked Him to give me direction and comfort and solace. Yet I have been feeling weepy and despondent over the whole thing because I've been going back and picking it up. I took up my Womens' Ministries Devotional book "Sanctuary" and the reading for today was a direct jab at me from God.

"Where is your Faith?" That's what He asked me. "Haven't I worked things out for you in the past? Haven't I always been there for you and directed you- when you allowed me too? I promised I would never leave you nor forsake you" (Isaiah 41:17) "I promised that I will go before you to clear a path for your feet" (Isaiah 42:16) "Haven't I promised that I will fight for you?" (Deuteronomy 1:30)

"If I have promised and have fulfilled before, why do you think I will not do it for you now? I know how to take care of my own."

My prayer now is Lord, help now my unbelief.


Be blessed
GretaMichelle

Meditate:
Joshua 1:9
Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage;
be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God
is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
Why not take a few minutes to read:
Isaiah 41

Reflect:
If God has come through for me so many times in the past, why is it I still can't seem to trust Him with my life?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Claim It!

Sometimes the only thing you can do is claim a promise. This is what I need to claim this morning.

Romans 8:26

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities:
for we know not what we should pray for as
we ought: but the Spirit itlself maketh
intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Lord I need your Spirit to pray for me today.

Be blessed
GretaMichelle

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Passion!


Eugene Delacroix
Jacob wrestking with the Angel, 1861

I've been sharing with you this week the insights Dr Barry C. Black, Chaplin for the U.S. Senate, shared with the young  and the not so young on Sunday. We've looked at recognising opportunities, we' ve harnessed prayer and we also recognised the opposing factors. The forth key and a very important one and also the first key, is passion. You must have a passion for change.

Nothing can be achieved without a desire for it. Unless you truly want positive change in your life; whether it be for a job, for a habit you're trying to break for your marriage to work, whatever it is, unless you truly want that change you will find that you are trying to push a huge rock up a steep hill all by yourself. Any action or expereince comes first with desire, thought, dream. Then it moves to action. Desire is the vehicle that is oiled and gassed by action and vice versa. We need each in order for the other to be effective.

Jacob had a desire for change. He recognised that he needed that blessing from God. His words as he held on to the Lord were this " I will not let you go unless you bless me" (Genesis 32:26) His passion brought about the desired results. His name was changed. No longer was he the usurper; he was now Israel: God strives.

If you haven't found your passion yet; that thing that drives you to get up in the morning and shout "Thank you God' for the job or the ministry or the job that is a ministry, it's not too late. God our Father is always willing to give good gifts to them that ask Him. (Matthew 7:11) Find that passion for change. Find that desire to be effective and that desire coupled with prayer and the power that comes in the form of the Holy Spirit will help you to overcome the opposition and not only that, also to succeed.

Be blessed
GretaMichelle

Meditate:

Proverbs 21:5
The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, ...
Why not take a few minutes to read:

Genesis 32

Reflect:

What's your passion? Is it art or music or writing or science? What have you been doing to nurture it?
If you haven't figured it out yet, what are you doing to make it happen; to tap into that inner valve that releases your true potential and purpose?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Opportunity knocks But So Does Opposition

J.M.W. Turner
The Fighting Temeraire, 1838,oil, 36" x 48"
 National Gallery, London

Key three in our list of how to afffect successful change comes wrapped in an unhappy wrapper. This unhappy wrapper is called 'opposition' Unfortunately, there is always going to be someone who wants to rain on your parade; someone who, because of his/her own failures or lack of drive or goals has decided that no one else must have the 'it'. What do you do? Do you cave and crumble under the overwhelming force that can come as a result of the 'nay sayer '?

Before you make up your mind I want to point out some very important truths. Opposition says no but God says 'yea and amen" through Christ. (2Corinthians 1: 20) With God the word impossible does not exist. (Matthew 19:26) God says He will fight for you and also guide you as you respond to your detractors. (50: 5-7) Most important, the Lord is not out to 'get you' (Jeremiah 29:11-13) There's more but then I wouldn't be able to write anything else so I hope that you search the book of treasure and find others to share with others.

Now that you have these truths in hand and heart, let me put forward this idea. Opposition can be helpful. (What?) The Confuscian saying that nothing worthwhile comes cheaply, is true. We love quick fixes and easy money but in reality, these are as transient as a piece of burnt paper: the touch can cause it to crumble.

When you face opposition, think of it as the crucible; the fire that will purge the piece of gold and thereby increase its value. Think of it as the strengthening of your character; because how you respond to any situation determines your outcome more. Think of opposition as opportunity in disguise; a disguise that you can see through if you arm yourself with the right set of eyes: prayer. Now remember, I said this will not be easy I am still learning the lesson) but if you want to be successful, if you want to affect change that will enhance your life, then be prepared for opposition knowing that you can overcome. (Philippians 4:13)

Dr Black gave as one of his illustrations David. David was only about 17 years when he faced down the mighty Goliath. He never buckled, he never feared. He gave as good as he got. Why? Because he had discovered early, the truths that I have shared with you today. He believed God would do what He said and so he was able to tell Goliath: "You come to me  with a sword and with a spear and with a shield: but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts... This day will the Lord deliver you into mine hand..." (1Samuel 17: 45-47)

So now that you have read this and you have prayed and armed yourself with the power of God, go forth and conquer opposition.

Be blessed
GretaMichelle

Meditate:

Isaiah 50: 5-7
The Lord hath opened my ear, and I was not rebellious,
neither turned away back. I gave m back to the smiters,
 and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair; I hid
not my face from shame and spitting. For the Lord God
will help me; therefore shall I not ve confounded: therefore
 have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not
be ashamed.
Why not take a few minutes to read:

1Samuel 17

Reflect:

Have there been opposition to your dreams and goals that was so intense it caused to deviate from your purpose?
Now that you can recognise them, are you going to continue to allow them to hold you back?
Maybe you didn't give in, maybe you did set your face like a flint. What did you do? How can you share this knowledge with someone else and thereby empower them?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Opportunity Knocks- Prayer Answers

Albrecht Durer
Praying Hands, study

So, opportunity is knocking. You may or may not hear it and if you do, you might not recognise it as an opportunity for you to achieve successful change. How do you do it? How do you grasp the opportunities presented to you? This brings us to the second key that Dr Black spoke about; harnessing the power of prayer.

The word harness here is an indication as to what is involved. The dictionary tells us that a harness is an armor used for either a man or a horse. This signals protection. So prayer is like an armor that  can be used to shield us and help us discern the opportunities that will aid and enable us positively and also help us discern those that will be toxic to our growth as a person and to our goals.

A harness is also an instrument used to control. It is placed on a horse or donkey and by so doing, one is able to control the animal and thereby allow it to carry load safely; whether that load is human or man-made. A harness does not harm. It is not there to enslave. It is there to focus the potential.  The implication here is that the animal has power and capabilities that would be useful if disciiplined. So too, prayer has power that can be useful to us. Notice I said useful and not convenient.

We harness the power of prayer by using it responsibly; by allowing God to control our wills  (Oh no she didn't!) our desires, our goals and aspirations We harness prayer by being steadfast; not praying only when we have a need or a want, but by fostering a prayer relationship with God. Afterall, how many of us would want to keep a friend that only remembers us when he or she is in need? (Thankfully God is not like man)

Prayer has power that we have not even begun to imagine; to experience. When I was a child and read the stories of the bible of the great and small men and women who prayed and things happened I thought they were just that, stories, until I started taking God at His word and allowing Him to work in me. There are eperiences that I have gone through, things I've accomplished that could only have happened because of  Divine intercession. Thank you God for prayer!

You have power at your fingertips. It takes discipline and a conscious determination but once started, you wonder how you ever lived without it. Don't you think it's time to start exploring the possibilities; the great potential that can be manifested in the right conversation with the right Power Source?

Be blessed
GretaMichelle

Meditate:
1Thessalonians 5:17
Pray without ceasing.
Why not take a few minutes and read and meditate on:

1Chronicles 4:9,10

(Very important prayer! You don't want to miss it!)

Reflect:

How important is communicating with God to you? Are you anxious that you will not have an ear?
The bible says that God's eyes run to and fro over his children. He hears even before you ask.
 Why not take a chance and reach out? Let Him know how you feel. Let Him know your concerns.
Take it one prayer at a time.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Opportunity is Knocking!

First major painting I ever did.
 Boy am I thankful that I took advantage of that opportunity




Yesterday was fantastic. I attended, with my daughter, a youth conference in which Right Admiral Dr Barry C. Black, Chaplain of the U.S. Senate was the key note speaker. He outlined for the young people there, four ways to be successful. I thought I'd spend some time talking about each of them with you this week.
The first one was "Be prepared for opportunities" In being prepared for opportunities you would be able to recognise them in whatever form they come even if they come disguised as work.

What I want to focus on today though, is this. Most of the time we allow ourselves to see opportunities but the one opportunity that always presents itself; the one where we can get to know the One who created us and knows us best; and i'm not talking about joining a church or getting religion. I'm talking about simply sitting down and saying "Lord, I don't know you and I would like to get to" Why is it we can open ourselves up to new experiences in foods, clothes, places, people and even jobs but we shy away from knowing God?

Because I opened myself up to the possibility of learning something new yesterday and even the first time I was faced with the invitation to meet God that a lot of the other great opportunities I have had presented themselves. What's holding you back?

Be blessed
GretaMichelle

Take a few minutes to read, meditate and reflect on;
Nehemiah's story in the book of

Nehemiah 1-13

It may seem like a lot of reading but if you read 1 chapter a day this week you can let it go over. It's a great story.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

What Kind Do You Have?

Kezia Maya Fox (my daughter)
Colour Splash Inter-weave,
digital art

This morning as I read my devotional and studied my lesson for today from my quarterly bible study, one question kept confronting me and that was what kind of relationship did I have with God? I completed my morning devotions and stared the question in the eye, trying to come up with an answer that both God and I would be satisfied with. But the truth was, no matter how I could spin it I had to admit that my relationship track record with God was not that impressive.

There had been too many times when I had disregarded the rules of conduct and told God how He should behave and what He should do. There had been too many times I had ignored Him and gone off to march to my own drum. There had been too many selfish times; too many times of mis-placed moments of mistrust -on my part.

My relationship style needed a serious overhaul. For a moment, I became anxious but then reality shifted back into place I became aware of one very poignant fact. God had not gone anywhere. Through it all He had remained, patiently working in my life; smoothing out the rough edges and teaching me what a real relationship is like.

I prayed this morning that my relationship with Him would be one where I ultimately commit my life to His care and keeping. Afterall who best to keep and care for it than the One who created it and knows it intimately.

 So... What kind do you have?

Be blessed
GretaMichelle

Meditate:

Isaiah 55: 6
Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:

Why not take a few minutes to read:

Isaiah 55

Reflect:

On your relationship with God: where it is and where it needs to be. What's holding you back from making it a meaningful one?


Do stop by and have a chat. It's lonely here without you.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Food for Thought.

Happy Sabbath.
Today I leave with you a link I hope that you will use.
Barry Black speaking at the University of the Southern Caribbean Alumni Homecoming. Enjoy.
Be blessed
GretaMichelle

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

It's Time to Take Stock

Elizabeth Lisy Figueroa
Our Inner Clocks

It's the middle of the week already. How time flies. As you move around in your sphere of influence I want you to remember that and make every minute count. Take an inventory of the things you've accomplished. Are they what you wanted to do or were you distracted by the side roads and decided to turn off the course? How many of them were really crucial? How many were just something to do?

Look at the list of still to do. what does that look like? Does it still seem long and endless? Is it still full of the really important? What does that say about your time and the way that you have organised it? I know what it says about mine. Sometimes in making our to do lists we neglect to take the time to prioritise; to put the important things first. In this fast paced world it is important to make sure that we make time to do the things that are surely necessary for our survival like spending time every morning to say "Thank you God", like spending time with our loved ones in prayer, especially our children.

God has given us 24 hours in which to operate.(Ecclesiastes 3) It behooves us to plan our activities in such a way that we make ample use of it so that we go to bed at the end of the day, satisfied and thankful. Why not take that inventory now . Let's make each second count as something meaningful.

Be blessed
GretaMichelle

Meditate:

Ecclesiastes 1:1
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
Why not take a few minutes to read:

Ecclesiastes 3

Reflect:

As you go through your to do list and take note of the not so important, how many of them are you prepared cross off your list?
If we take the step and remove some of them will they really take away from our lives?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

To Every Season

Salvador Dali, the Persistence of Memory, 1931
oil on canvas, 9.5x13"  Museum of Modern Art, New York


My post is late today, due to militating circumstances. Circumstances that were not beyond my control; circumstances that I opened the door to because of the choices I made this morning and how I have been using my time. I was disappointed that I didn't get a chance to do what I have started; post every morning, because, even though I don't know if anyone is or who is reading my posts, I cannot simply just leave it up to ignorance and not post.

This started me on a reflective on how I use the time that I have been given. How much of my time; the time that I lost for one resason or another could have been put to better use; could have been spent with my family; my daughter doing something that would have affirmed her or given her the assurance that what she was interested in was important. How much work- meaningful work could have been accomplished, how many people I could have ministered to in one way or another, how many paintings I could have painted, how many... how many...

Time is something we definitely take for granted. We seem to think that it's an entitlement; something we have earned the right to, therefore, something that we can use in an ad hoc manner. The reality is time just as anything else we have is a gift; a gift given by the grace of God. A chance to make right the mistakes of yesterday, a chance to renew our commitment to God, a chance to show our family and neighbours love. The bible says that tomorrow is not promised to us; all we have is the now (Hebrews 4:7).

Are we going to go through life living with regrets because we squandered the time that God gave us or are we going to show gratitude for the gift by making every minute count; by making every minute a beautiful gift to someone else by sharing our time with them, doing something that will make our lives well lived?

Be blessed
GretaMichelle

Meditate:

Ecclesiastes 9: 10
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest

Why not take a few minutes to read:

Ecclesiastes 9

Reflect:

how do I use my time? How can I make better use of my time? Am I showing grattitude to God for the time that He has given me by using it wisely and making informed choices that will secure my tomorrow?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Your Assignment this Week

The new week is already one day old. Have you figured out what your purpose  for this is week yet? Why not try these steps. Be creative. Be inspiring. Touch a hand and bring warmth and support. Touch a heart and show care and extend love. Reach one person today with a smile and a hello. Like the little girl who tried to rescue the star fish on the beach one at a time so we too can create a peaceful environment where we are, one smile at a time; one kindness at a time.

Be blessed

GretaMichelle


Meditate:
1Thessalonians 5:15
See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good,
both among yourselves and to all men.

Why not take a few minutes to read:

Proverbs 17

Reflect:

How much effort does it take to show kindness as opposed to being angry and unkind? Who really benefits when we are unkind?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Things We Need Most

My Hands are Tied

Progress. The dictionary defines it as a "moving forward and onward"; " advance towards perfection" Are we really progressing? Women fought and gained 'equal rights' yet they are still paid a lower wage than men, in some cases, for the same job. Their contributions to the arts and sciences are still downplayed to a large extent. The work they do in the homes is still called being a 'housewife' and not an all-rounder of great importance. The statistics for abuse and violence against women reads one in every three women. It's 2010. Is that progress?

We now have both mother and father working outside the homes. More often than not our children are left in the care of a stranger or on their own. Their new caregiver is the television and the computer. They wind up in chat rooms where, like Alice falling down the rabbit hole, they come face to face with untold evils. They end up plastered over the internet, They wind up in gangs,  or up to their own devices or worse. It's 2010. Is that progress?

The sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s ushered in a new era of freedom. Sex was out in the open; to be discussed and experienced freely. It was no longer necessary to be married. By 2010 to be a virgin past 16 is considered taboo; something to be scorned and scoffed at. Sexual promiscuity and  immorality is a badge of honour. Now we make movies about having sex with multiple partners.Teenage pregnancies are on the rise. There are more cases of STIs and new strains popping up. No cures, just treatments. Have we progressed yet?

School. A place where we learnt values of fair play and industry. A place where we knew our children were looked after. Now our children are being shot at and stabbed by classmates and abused by teachers. Now school is a place where children go to have sex and to buy their pot and coke. We no longer pray there. God has been outlawed; persona non grata. 2010. Progress anyone?

The family unit. The model for all other things; institutions and organizations. People with different personalities, even though they are born with the same dna, working together for a common good; a common goal. The home, a place of solace; a place of shelter. Homes have become  places to sleep most times. Maybe we'll eat there or not. Maybe we'll see each other on the way out- or not.  Divorce is on the rise, single parent households the norm rather than the exception. The ideal home: a father, mother and kids is now daddy, daddy and me or mommy, mommy and me.

The elders had a good idea. They came together as a family to pray, thrash things out. They worked at their marriages because they recognised that at some point one or the other will do something stupid; make a mistake; say something dumb and hurtful. At some point one or the other may not feel the love. So they worked because it was something worth working on. Now it's easy to say "I can't do this anymore. I'm going to talk to my lawyer in the morning. I'm taking the kids and moving out" or "I think you should go" Then we go to therapists and psychologists and ask them why we can't seem to have a meaningful relationship and why are our kids so messed up. Isn't it obvious? It's because we are progressing.

This was not God's intent. God wanted us to prosper and be in health. God wanted us to gain knowledge and be educated. But where is the forward? Where is the perfection?

It's 2010. Welcome to the progressive world.

Be blessed
GretaMichelle

Meditate:

Ecclesiastes 1: 14
I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.

Why not spend some time reading:

Eccliastes

Reflect:

Are we so far gone or can we get back on track? How can we get back to some of the ideals that God wanted for His people from the beginning?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Thank God!

Father I thank you. What do you have to be thankful for? The rent is due and you're broke. Father I thank you because I have never had to live on the streets and face the biting cold winds while wondering if  I'll be safe or not wake up because of I froze to death or was robbed and beaten. I know you will provide the rent. You have always provided and you have promised to supply all my needs. (Philippians 4:19)
Morning worship at the Grange in Tobago

What do you have to thank God for? Look at you. You're sick and bedridden. The doctor said that you might not make it. Father I thank you for these limbs that aren't working as well as they should because there are people who have lost theirs. There are people who will never know what pain feels like because they are unable to feel.  I thank you that even though my health is not as I would like it to be I am right now still alive and you have promised healing. (Malachi 4:2) So there is the hope of a tomorrow and if not, then thank you for the years that you  blessed me with  the enjoyment of friends and the love of my family.

Father I thank you. What are you thanking Him for now? Your cupboards are empty, your stomach is empty. You have lost your job and cannot provide for your family.  Father I thank you because my food has been constant. I have never gone hungry neither has my family and I know today will be no differnet. So I say as David did: "The Lord is my shephard; I shall not want." (Psalm 23:1)

What do I have to thank God for? Everything!

Meditate:

1Thessalonians 5: 16-18

Why not take a few minutes to read:

Psalm 23

Reflect:

It is not easy to be thankful in hard times. In fact, it's downright hard. It is however, healthier. How can we rise above our circumstances and be thankful anyhow?
I have found that in the midst of any hardship, if I purposefully look for things to be thankful for that I usually find them.
 My mother-in-law who is presently in the advanced stages of glaucoma, said that during one of the days when her sight was really dim, she sat down and started talking to God and started listing the things that He had done for her. She said she cried when she realised that there were so many things that she ended up spending the entire day in praise.
How do you practise thankfulness?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Time to Step Up!

Do you wnat to start a revolution that will sweep across this world like and ocean wave at high tide? Do you want to be remembered and immortalised like no artist has ever been? Do you want to make a difference in the world like no president ever has? Be a mentor.

We take up our time with so many things and while they are important and most of the time meaningful, we forget that our time on this earth shouldn't simply be spent chasing after our own phantoms, they should also be spent in worthwhile pursuit; In giving to those in need.

Everyday I see them. Young women who have no clue as to what a real woman is or how a woman should behave. They are growing up believing  that a real woman is loose and 'easy' a real woman must depend on a man in order to get by or a real woman doesn't need to know how to take care of her family since she has a        J O B.
There are young men whose idea of a real man is that he's a gun toting, irresponsible stud who doesn't need to work nor does he need to maintain his family nor do anything substantial. All he needs to do is wear his jeans as low as he can and shove gold in his mouth or 'buy' a car that will be the chick magnet of the 21st century.

We can make such a difference in a young persons life if we just take the time to impart the strong values that we learnt from our parents and mentors and the burns as a result of our own mistakes. Some may say that because society is the way it is they may be spurned by parents for taking an interest in their children. I say to you once your intentions are honourable, they will be welcomed.

God expects us to be role models; to be the example and teacher of the young. Women are to teach young girls to respect their womanhood, how to take care of their homes- Yes even in the 21st century- and be the heart of the home. Men are to teach our boys how to be honourable and respectful of our girls and to be the caretaker of the home. Teach them industry and responsibility. Teach them to fear God. Teach them by your example and right living. Isn't it time that we started to impart the right kind of knowledge?
Be blessed
GretaMichelle

Take a few minutes to read and Meditate on:

Titus 2

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Commit Thy Way

Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him... Ps. 37:5




Commitment is a big word so many of us are afraid to utter. It requires us to give up parts of ourselves and time that we would ordinarily not give. It threatens to strip us bare because in order to commit we must be intimate- another big word. We must lay ourselves bare to another imperfect soul and entrust to them our feelings, fears and foul-ups.

Yet we all need to commit in order to grow and move forward. We all need to take that step of faith where we say “I am not comfortable being this open but I’m willing to take that step.” The process is hard and, in some cases can be disappointing when we place our trust in the wrong things and people. Hearts can be broken; shattered to a point where it seems impossible to mend or to be able to trust again.

I am glad that even though committing to people can be a ‘hit and miss’ affair at times that committing to God is a sure thing. The bible says that God’s ways are not our ways and his thoughts not our thoughts. That means that He will not take us for granted and abuse our trust as we sometimes abuse His. It also means that we can be comfortable exposing our true selves to God because He already knows us inside out yet loves us and seeks after us. If there is one thing I’ve learnt so far in the midst of my stumbling around it’s this: There is nothing we can do or say that will change God’s love for us. Isn’t that a sure reason to want to commit our way to God?


Be blessed
GretaMichelle

Meditate:

Isaiah 55: 6,8,9

Why not take a few minutes to read:

Isaiah 55

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

God Does Not Make Mistakes!!

I did not possess a lot of confidence in myself as a child. I was cruelly and continuously teased by some of my classmates in high school. That, coupled with other experiences, left scars whose depth I didn't recognise until I was an adult and had to deal with other issues that threatened to push me over. By nature I am not much of a talker. I prefer to listen, to observe. Writing and painting are my preferred means of communication. People might think I'm a snob; some have thought so for years. That may sometimes be the case but, I am by nature shy. Meeting people for the first time is a difficult thing.

I share this information with you because as a teacher, I encounter a lot of different personalities and one thing is clear in most of them. Their self-esteem, their confidence has taken such a blow that the only way to make themselves feel better is to act out and make others feel bad. Some take refuge in promiscuity, still others becomes junkies and addicts to one thing or another. Then there are those who prefer to just melt into the background and disappear. Our world is fast becoming a place of pain and fear and if we do not wake up and get with it it will soon be run over by pain and fear.

How do we arrest it? Simple. Follow the guidelines set down in the greatest best seller ever written; the bible. Start with our children. Affirm them everyday as often as you can. Not to make them haughty but to make them feel loved and appreciated. By doing this we teach them to respect themselves and others.
Affirm your husband, affirm your wife. Bosses, affirm your employees, teachers affirm your students.
Just in case you think God does not affirm us I leave you with some gems on which to ponder. When He said them, He was thinking of you.

Surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Jeremiah 29:11

But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob (insert your name) he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine......
Because you are precious in my sight and honoured, and I love you...  Isaiah 43: 1-7

O Lord you have searched me and known me... I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made... Psalm 139

Being confident in this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you, will preform it until the day of Jesus Christ.  Philippians 1: 6 (KJV)

These are just a small indication of what God thinks of you. Why not search the scriptures and find more. Learn the truth that you are not a mistake. God does not make mistakes. You were thought of even before your parents thought of you; you were loved even before they loved you.

Be blessed.

GretaMichelle.

Reflect:

Take time to find some more promises and claim them as your own. When you feel the need for an injection of Godly confidence you can pull one out and claim it as your own.
Take the time to share one with someone else who may also need an injection of God confidence today.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Good News!

Wars, violence husbands beating and killing their wives; the ones they have vowed to love honour and cherish in sickness and in health till death do them part. (Somehow I don't think that was the death God had in mind) Child molestation and rape, children killing children, the traffic in human beings for purpose of slavery, or sexual depravity and all this is on a good day.

The scent and sound of violence and death has become a cloak we wear daily; ever with us; ever surrounding us. Remember when the news of someone dying a violent death was big news? Now the big news is which star is sleeping with whom and what they're wearing to which award show. Murder and rape is the norm.

I am here to throw something else into the pot. I have good news! The good news is that you are alive and therefore can rejoice in that gift. If you're reading this and I do hope you are, then you did not suffer any natural disaster in your area and can rejoice again. The good news is that while we were strangers and enemies, Jesus Christ called us friends and brothers. (Romans 5:8)  The good news  is that even though it may seem that way right now, you are not alone; there is someone in your corner; fighting on your behalf; loving you and wanting the best for you.

God has given us a tongue and that tongue has the power of life and death. Our tongues can tear down a broken man or it can give him the power to arise out of his self-imposed dungeon. Isn't there enough bad news in the world? Why not give someone some good news today? It's easy. It starts with "Good morning"  " Have a nice day"  "I love you" "Jesus loves you!" Speak affirmations and blessings into someone's life today. Let's start a new trend; a better way. A way that will flavor the air around us and perfume it with the fragrance of peace.

Be blessed.
GretaMichelle


Meditate:

Isaiah 50: 4 (NKJV)*

The Lord has given me the tongue of the learned,
 that I shoud know how to speak a word in season
to him who is weary. He awakens me morning by
morning, He awakens my ear to  hear as the learned.

Why not take a few minutes to read:

Proverbs 25


Reflect:

In this world today, we are so concerned with our own issues that we have forgotten how to be good neighbours. How can we use our tongue to be a good neighbour today? Remember, your neighbour is not just the person who lives next door. It's anyone whom you meet, who needs a helping hand.


To share a thought is to speak a word in season so please comment.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Ripples -part 2

As parents one of our responsibilities to our children is to teach them that what they do and say affects others. Far too many times their actions are an indictment against us and the neglect of that necessary duty. From violent deaths and suicide, to teenage sexual exploits and pregnancies, to drugs. Our children learn from example; whether it is the example of their own parents or someone elses'.

While we cannot say that every single child who has a bad example from their parent is going to turn out to be a dysfunctional child, we can make a case for more often than not. Since these entries aren't about stats I will not bore you with them. Suffice to say, however, that as a teacher, I often wonder at the behaviour of my students; the ones who are labelled as 'troubled' or 'trouble-makers' until I meet their parents. All is made clear then and my job is made even more crucial because now the focus is more on counter-acting the negative effects of bad parenting than on teaching a subject.

You might think that I sound harsh here but the reality is that we have been given the responsibility of moulding the leaders of tomorrow. It's a much used statement that has become cliched  but that makes it no less true. Our sons and daughters are going to be the presidents and prime ministers, statesmen and doctors and law enforcement officers.  The legacy we need to leave with them is that it's okay, even great to be polite; to tell the truth. It's okay to love and respect your wife and family and provide for them. It's okay to be sober and abhor alcohol and not smoke and do drugs. It's okay to want to pray and love the Lord and be a good neighbour and a good friend. It's okay to be on the job on time and give an honest days' work for an honest days' wage.

God is going to require of us; all of us; even those of us who don't have kids, (Parenting is not just for those with children, The onus is on all of us to be an example to children)  an answer as to what we did with the precious little ones He left in our care. Do we have an answer? Can we account for what we said to them; or to and about others in their presence? Can we say for certain they didn't see us messing up with some habit we thought we were hiding from them? Or can we say we have bad habits but our children see us each day gaining the victory over them in Jesus' name?

The bible says that we are to teach them in their going in and their sitting down. We are to teach them dilligently (Deuteronomy 6:6,7). At every facet of their lives we are to teach them; not just maths and english, not just art or science. We are to teach them the most of all to love the Lord and themselves and their fellow men. We are to teach them to: "...do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God"  (Micah 6: 8)
When we have done that then the ripples will be felt all over the world and the Lord will be pleased with us.
Be Blessed.

GretaMichelle

Meditate:

Proverbs 22: 6
Train up a child in the way he should go:
and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Why not take a few minutes to read:

Deuteronomy 6
Proverbs 22

I know I'm giving you two this time but I believe you can handle it.

Reflect:

There have been times when we have probably forgotten the little ears and eyes were there and said or did something we needed to say "oops!" for afterward, cause it was repeated in an inappropriate time and place. It's might be to counteract this in little children but how do we deal with our teenagers who have 'collected' some of the habits that we need to throw away? Is there hope for them?

No man is an island. No man stands alone. So do make an input so that those of us who have teenagers can learn and grow from each others experience.