Forego your past and live anew

Foregoing your past and living anew is easier said than done, particularly for some who have experienced significant pain. But coming out of significant pain is a good thing especially when you have a bright future ahead of you.

I believe that one way of viewing past hurts is looking at what you have learned from your past experiences that you can bring to your current and future life. For example, if you have been accustomed to being taken advantaged of, look at the key signs for this behavior and do not be a victim again.

A second way of looking at your past is having the opportunity to become a new person in Christ and to be awakened to everything God has for you. Your past can never hold you hostage because you have obtained your freedom in Christ (Gal 5:1).

Thirdly, understand that because of your past, you have opportunities to help others in similar situations, since all things work together for good to those who love God and who are called to his purpose (Rom 8:28).

 

How to climb over your mountains.

By Joan M. Blake author.

Does anyone have mountains they need to climb? I was praying early this morning when I visualized myself standing at the bottom of a large mountain and realized that I had a choice to make: either stand there or find a way to climb up that mountain. Since I will never climb an actual mountain, my visualization was metaphorically related to a mountain of life- issues that I face.

Let us discuss the preparation involved in climbing a real mountain, and see how those tools can help us deal with our mountains of real life-issues. Aiming to climb a mountain calls for getting the needed training to enhance strength and perseverance. Looking at a youtube Alpine training video, I learned that training includes weighted step up, weighted sit ups and side bends to help your legs, lungs and core.

Weighted step up improves your symmetry and balance, fixes muscle size imbalances and strength imbalances. Weighted sit up improves and strengthen your core muscles. The Dumbbell side bends work the muscles of the trunk, particularly the deep spine muscles, help contribute to a stronger core, reduce the risk of back pain and improve functional movements such as a serving a tennis ball or carrying a heavy object on one side of the body. It is recommended that the three workouts be combined and practiced three times per week, a month or two from your climb.

How can we translate the tools used in preparing for mountain climbing to the tasks of dealing with a mountain of life-issues that we face? In order to prepare, we need to step up to the challenges that we face by putting some things in place and establishing a routine of practicing. If you are facing financial problems, seek out a financial expert to help you plan, balance your budget, or pay off your debt. Put the tools that you have learned into practice. To obtain a new job, you must prepare yourself for an interview. If you are changing careers, you must prepare for that new career by going through a course of study. If you are having relationship issues, get help to deal with the issues at hand. If you are dealing with overweight, begin to plan healthier meals, do more walking, weight and strength training to put your body in balance.

While I have worked on exercising and eating healthy foods, I have found a few areas that I need to work on. I have to put aside more time to write in my journal daily. With respect to my books, I can no longer stay dormant, but I must put together, a marketing plan so that my books could get in the hands of more readers. In the case of Christian Resource Network, a non-profit organization that I founded, and which had been dormant, I need to plan ahead and establish programs to help people in need. Regardless of our issues, we need to move forward with inner strength. We can no longer worry about being at the bottom of our mountains, because according to Edmund Hilary, it is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.

Disappointments Lead to Incredible Opportunities

Do you remember how disappointed you felt earlier or even later in life?  You felt sad or depressed, because you didn’t make the mark or reach your expectation. When you were younger, you faced competition, for example: in sports, in a spelling Bee, in a musical talent show and you wanted to win but you didn’t. As a high school student, you competed for the post popular girl or boy and felt disappointed when you didn’t get what you wanted.  As you became older, you realize that the same system exists even today; there is competition which leads to achievement or disappointment.

Let me discuss some of these. Today, you experience competition as a small or large business owner, as an applicant for a job— to become a senior pastor of a church, to become a school teacher, to become a computer engineer, to become a police officer or whatever you wish to become.  To obtain a job, you went through the interviewing process until you became the top applicant and achieved the job of your dreams only to be disappointed years later. This same disappointment played out in your marriage and after five years or less, your marriage ended up in divorce.

In this world of competition and disappointments, we must come to the realization that our issues have a way of balancing themselves. We must believe in the good in ourselves, that all things work together for the good of humankind (Rom 8:28), and that disappointments lead to incredible opportunities. My own life attests to these facts.

I landed a job many years ago during the same time that my daughter needed care and, therefore, I resigned from the job shortly after.  I could have complained or bathed in disappointment, but instead, I chose to attend Seminary at night and was elated to be among a student body and faculty who were supportive. During my trials, I graduated from Seminary and found new life—getting involved in women’s issues.

My new life led me to creating and writing in The Christian Connection Newsletter alongside community leaders. Eight years later, in 2008, I continued writing and sharing my story with others. I also found time to assist my daughter in profound ways.  Maybe your situation is like mine; you had to leave your job to care for your son or daughter. Maybe, you are disappointed with your marriage, with your job or with your friendships. Do not lose heart, for you have hope (Rom 5:2). God loves you the same, whether you experience disappointments. He has never left you or forsaken you; He has been with you throughout the entire process and will see you through (Psalm 139:7-10), but you must trust Him to do it. Do not lean on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5), for in doing so, you depend on your feelings rather than your faith and belief in God.

Trusting and believing in God’s provisions for your life is key to overcoming your life-issues, for He is your Master (Mark 12:32), and He has a master-plan for your life. Because all things work together for good (Rom 8:28), I want to encourage you to look at disappointments in new ways, for they often lead to incredible opportunities.

By Joan M. Blake (Author)

 

We Have Victory Through Jesus Christ.

 

We know the story of how the Lord, Jesus, for whom John referred to as the Word (1 John 1:1), came down from heaven as the Son of Man and lived among us, identified with our pain, died, and rose again the third day (1 Cor 15:4) and brought hope (1 Tim 1:1) to a dying world. By His death, Jesus spared us from the wrath of sin (Acts 15:11), and by His resurrection, we have abundant life (John 11:25). He Who descended, also ascended to heaven, and is now seated at the right hand of God, the Father, interceding for us all (Romans 8:34).

This is the same Jesus who said, “I will not leave or forsake you” (Joshua 1:5) and that He would go away and send the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to be our guide (John 14:16). Apostle Paul reminded us that “all things work together for our good (Rom 8:28).” In other words, regardless of the intensity of our struggles, we must take them to Jesus who has made a promise that He will not forsake us; He will fight our battles (2 Chron 32:8) and cause the situation to work out for our good.  While we are surrounded by a tumultuous world, we must not lose heart, for we have victory through Jesus Christ, our resurrected Lord and Savior.

Would a parent forsake his/her child?

This year 2018, has started out very busy for me, with a lot of doctor’s appointments for my daughter and myself. I felt that I was consumed with going to the doctors, but thanks to God, we are doing well.

Life continues to be hectic, but I refuse to give up, because my family and I belong to God. He knows the end from the beginning and He knows your destiny as well as mine, so I take comfort in knowing and believing that.  God is no respecter of persons; what He has done for you, He will do for me. We are important to God and his love for us is infinite.

I want to encourage you if you are experiencing the storms of life as I am, not to give up, but to hold on to God’s unchanging hands, for what you are experiencing is just a test and you will come out as good gold. God will not leave or forsake you or me, (Joshua 1:5) for we are His children. Would a parent forsake his/her child? In today’s world we are bombarded with evil and so the question to ask ourselves is: “Should a parent forsake his/her child?

 

 

Trust God When You Cannot Trace Him

This is a familiar phrase that my prayer partner would remind me of, as she prayed for me. This means that we should not try to figure out what God is doing in our lives but instead, we should trust God during the process.

We should trust God because God is the author and finisher of our faith (Heb 12:2). He is the Alpha and the Omega (Rev 22:13), the Beginning and the End and knows what each person’s purpose is. God is who opens doors that no man can shut (Rev 3:8). He has numbered the hairs on your head ( Matt 10:30) and knows everything about you and me. Where can you and I go from God’s spirit (Psa 139:7), the Psalmist asks, for nothing is hidden from him. If you and I sin, He knows about it; He knows about our rebellious acts and helps to rid us of these sins.

God allows us to go through challenging times to humble us, to change some aspect of our lives and to bring us to himself. When you are being tested, trust God; don’t try to trace Him or understand where He is going with your lives. Trusting God is the Key to living a life of faith.

 

 

 

 

Christmas Message

THE GIFT OF LOVE-JESUS’ BIRTH

Hello everyone and welcome to another Christmas celebration where family and friends come together not only to share gifts, but to show love for one another. On this day, we commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ, God’s gift to us.

GOD’S REDEMPTIVE PLAN           

The all-knowing and mighty God (Psalm 139:1-4; Isaiah 9:6) allowed his Son, Jesus Christ, the miracle of love, to be born of Mary, a peasant girl who gave birth to him in a manger (Luke 2:4-7). Jesus came into this world to live among people like you and me and to identify with our pain and grief. God’s plan was to redeem the world from sin and death by sacrificing his only Son, Jesus, who died on the cross and was resurrected on the third day; and is now seated on the right hand of the Father, forever making intercession for us (Romans 8:34).

HOW TO OBTAIN THE GIFTS OF SALVATION AND ETERNAL LIFE

When you confess and repent of your sins and accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, God forgives you of your current and past sins; you are restored to a rightful relationship with Him through his Son Jesus Christ, regardless of the nature of your sin; and you receive the gift of salvation and eternal life (1 John 1:9).

MY PRAYER FOR YOU

Let me pray for you. Father, I come to you on behalf of this man, this woman, this boy or girl and I ask you to look down with your heart of compassion and help them as they go through the trials of life. Take them out of the miry clay and put their feet on solid ground dear Father in the name of Jesus. Renew their hearts so they can live again, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

  YOUR PRAYERTO RECEIVE THE GIFTS OF SALVATION AND ETERNAL LIFE

Lord, God of the Universe,

Creator of Everything

I come to you in Desperation,

Desiring to have an intimate relationship with You

And to Invite Jesus Christ to be my Lord and Savior.

I confess and repent of my sins

And ask for your forgiveness.

I accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior,

The One Who died on the Cross and rose again,

Paying the penalty for my sins,

So I could have salvation and eternal life.

I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

(Prayer taken from Prayer and Meditation Finding Comfort, Hope and Purpose in the Midst of Your Storm, By Joan M. Blake Copyright 2017)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When it seems that nothing is going right, know that God is orchestrating your steps

This past week I was extremely busy; I felt like I was riding on skates non-stop. Sitting in the beauty parlor and  having my beautician take care of me was soothing and relaxing. Knowing that when I left there, that I would be having lunch with a dear friend, was comforting; she traveled more than two hours just to meet with me. God has a way of  turning things around when we need it.

Our meeting was a God-moment and I will always remember it. We shared and laughed together and spoke about our difficult journeys. What I learned from our meeting was that we all experience trying times that make us feel empty, and that cause us to feel that nothing is going right. But even at our lowest points, God is orchestrating our steps. When you experience low points, I want to encourage you to put the following into practice:

  1. Pray unceasingly, and have a spirit of thanksgiving regardless of how you feel. The prayer of a righteous one avails much and you must thank God because this is his will regarding you (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
  2. Study the word of God and put on the full armour of God when you face tribulations (2 Timothy 2:15; Ephesians 6:11).
  3. Trust God in everything (Proverbs 3:5-6); he knows your beginning and your ending and he will see you through, for He is faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9). He will never leave or forsake you (Deut 31:6).
  4. Have faith and allow God to orchestrate your steps so you will have good success (Psalm 37:23).

Saints, regardless of where we find ourselves, God has us in the palm of His hand, for we are his children (1 John 3:2).

In Christ,

Joan M. Blake

 

Learn four ways to brace yourself and overcome the storms of Life

For the past few weeks, we have seen and heard of the massive devastation that hurricanes Harvey and Irma have done in the Caribbean, and now, Hurricane Irma has moved to Florida, particularly moving to the Florida Keys and major areas in Florida. The storm comes with excessive rain which leads to flooding and winds that result in trees, debris, houses, cars, boats being thrown around. Residents have prepared for the storm, boarding up their homes and businesses and seeking shelters where they can be safe. But what is worst, is the aftermath of the storm; when people return to their homes and find out they have lost everything and find it difficult to pick up the pieces of their lives.

Characteristics of a physical or an emotional storm:

  1. You want to seek shelter from the storm
  2. You experience devastating effects from the storm
  3. You have loss on the aftermath of a storm
  4. You must pick up the pieces of your life after the storm.

Ways to brace yourself and overcome a physical storm or the storms of life:

1. Whether you have been through a divorce, a death of a loved one, caring for a loved one, you have been through a storm or still going through a storm, and people do not understand why you are overwhelmed. But the Almighty God is your shelter (Ps 91:1); He knows your pain, your weakness, and you can turn to Him to help you through your difficult times.

2. Unless you have gone through divorce, separation, the death of a loved one, the caring of a loved one, you do not know what your brother or sister is going through. He/she may feel the devastating effects of  a storm and may feel lonely, exhausted, guilty but in turning to the Lord, he/she can receive strength and peace (Ps 46:1; Phil 4:7).

3. You may feel an emotional loss on the divorce from a spouse or the death of a loved one but God promises that you are not alone and that He will never leave or forsake you (Deut 31:6).
4. You may feel overwhelmed picking up the pieces of your life, but, by turning to the living God, you will be renewed; because God makes all things new again (Isaiah 43:19).

When You Are in Doubt, Seek God, and Trust Him

Friends,

I have come to a time in my life where I must seek God and trust Him.  Sometimes, we need God to shape our lives and tell us what our next step is. We need to stop, look, listen and obey Him, so we can be assured that we are on the right road and will not have to turn around or go off-course. When God has directed us, or we have been put in a situation that we simply do not understand, we should not doubt God, just trust Him.

We remember in Genesis 37, the fate of Joseph, one of Jacob’s son, who Jacob favored; and the older brothers envied him and later sold him to the Ishmaelites, who in turn sold Joseph to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and captain of the guard. God blessed Joseph to a high position, but Potiphar’s wife was attracted to Joseph and when she could not get her way, she lied about Joseph and Joseph was put in prison.

While in prison, Joseph interpreted dreams for the chief butler and the baker. The chief butler remembered Joseph two years later when Pharaoh had a dream and no one could interpret it. God used Joseph not only to interpret the dream about the seven year famine that Egypt was going to experience, but also to be Governor  in charge of storing the food. He was instrumental in providing for the people of Israel during the famine.

God knows everything about us and He is the author and finisher of our faith (Heb 12:2). We should feel confident and not be worried when we go through trials. God’s plans will come to fruition (Jer 29:11). When we are in doubt, we must seek God and trust Him.

In Christ,

Joan M. Blake