God’s Barrier of Protection

Brandi’s Nighttime Reflection

Written by Brandi Spyies and my 13 year old nephew Hunter Hernandez

Today my little doggie got spayed. When I picked her up from the veterinarian she had an Elizabethian collar around her neck and boy was she unhappy about that.  Everytime she wanting to go into on particular direction that may have been dangerous for her, the collar prevented her from sudden and potentially dangerous actions. Sometimes this would make her really impatient, anxious and upset. She realized that she was not longer in control of particular movements. She didn’t realize that the purpose of the collar is to prevent her from licking, biting or opening her surgical wound. Many times in our lives, God will use protective barriers to prevent us from reopening wounds that need time to heal. Like Bailey, it can cause us to become impatient not understanding why we can’t progress in a certain direction, but it is all for our protection. So the next time you are wanting to re-open doors that have clearly been closed, wounds that have clearly be sutured, remember Bailey and her E-Collar–IT IS ALL FOR YOUR PROTECTION.

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STUCK IN NEUTRAL–THE NEW STATE OF THE CHURCH?

This probably won’t be one of my most popular blogs, and it’s okay, but it’s my duty to share, what God is revealing to me, through my studies. 

I’m so sad to hear about the man who was shot at Creflo Dollar’s church today. Hearing things like this going on in churches has taken me to a level of prayer for not only believers but non-believers as well.  

Last night during my small group class, the question was asked–IS THE CHURCH WINNING? From the inside the average “church-goer” would assume that the church is indeed winning. Let see–just using my own experiences as an example–you have packed out ministries, packed out services at various times during the weeks, especially Sundays, people praying in the most eloquent ways that one has ever heard, so seemingly it looks as if we are in fact winning; however, winning isn’t defined by your enrollment of members in classes, number of members on your rosters, amount in the building fund or tithing envelopes, or the activities I stated above.  You can have all of that and still far way from the mission of Christ. Believe it or not this is what is seen from the outside. Judgement, manipulation, hypocrisy, backbiting, pretense, people out for quickie feel good messages treating their relationshp with God like any other casual relationship–feels good for the moment, but doesn’t add any long-term quality to your life because you haven’t taken that relationship with him to that deeper level. It’s sad because though this is a partial representation of what’s in the church–it is far from what the original state of the church was designed to be. IS THIS A TRUE EXAMPLE OF CHRISTLIKE LIVING?  Matthew 28:19-20 states, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age”. So if this is the goal of disciples (Followers of Christ <—what “church-goers should be”–the question still lies, IS THE CHURCH WINNING

Being a winning Church begins with being a winning individual for Christ.  It starts at the head level. We must first accept Christ as Lord (person of deity, control and power) of our life. As our mind shifts, changes within our heart are made–our actions and priorities began to line up with what we already know…and as our heart changes, our behavior changes–we become more intentional about the work of Christ. 

With the new perspective God has given me on why I have a second chance at life, I am constantly checking myself and asked myself this very question: If I weren’t a Christian, and someone introduced me to myself–would I want to follow my own lifestyle? Weirdly worded question I know, but a serious self reflection for me.  It made me examine my life more closely to see if what I really “preaching” I’m truly practicing–because it’s not only by our words, but also our actions that will either repel people away from the life of Christ or draw them near. 

So it doesn’t surprise me that we see all of this activity that is disconnected from the mission of Christ (Shootings, accusations of homosexuality from leadership, men spreading HIV to single women in the church, married pastors having affairs and getting women pregnant out of wed-lock). SIN is SIN; however, my Pastor described sin perfectly last Sunday–STUCK IN NEUTRAL…Until we get out of our own selfish desires and in tune with what we were designed for as individuals–the vehicle to winning souls  (THE CHURCH)  in the Kingdom of God will be in this exact position STUCK IN NEUTRAL and in this position, we as a body will never be driven to go the distance in discipleship as God has so commanded. 

 

HAS REAL LOVE BECOME PREHISTORIC?

Today, my parents celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary. As I celebrated this occasion of love and longevity in marriage, I began to ponder how one can grow up in a household filled with so much devotion, loyalty, and commitment, yet still not be able to stumble across real, mutual love, as if this type of love has come prehistoric to my generation?

IT’S PRETTY SIMPLE HOW THIS COULD HAPPEN ACTUALLY…

THE HISTORY OF MY PARENTS

My dad had been previously married–the details of that marriage shall remain family information only; however, it unfortunately lead to the dissolving of that marriage. That marriage, birthed my brother. As a single father {TAKING CARE OF HIS RESPONSIBILITY}, my father didn’t give up hope on finding the love that he desired. Like a true man, when he stumbled across that which he knew he wouldn’t find again–he didn’t hesitate, regardless of the parts of his past that remained. He would soon find that a blessing that occurred in his past, would graciously be accepted into his future.

My parents met at  funeral some time in about 1977. My mother wasn’t really feeling my daddy at first. She wasn’t really excited about him, but yet, he didn’t give up–he persevered. After about 3 months of dating, he experienced enough of what he desired to make a SOUND decision to spend the rest of his life with her. By month 6, they were married.  Truth be told, he actually knew before he asked her to marry him that she was THE ONE. 

ONE BEING THE OPERATIVE WORD

It didn’t really take long. I always wondered how did he know so suddenly?

After studying the history of my dad’s relationship, I finally got it. He experienced so much of what he did not desire in his previous marriage, that it was easy to recognize not only exactly what he wanted, but exactly what he needed.

The problem in society today is that we are so OVERINDULGENT. There are so many options available, I had quite a selection of synonyms I could have used for that very word!

It’s hard to tap into what we really desire, because it’s so simple to appease our appetite settling for the things that birth momentary gratification. Everything is so easily accessible these days. If you don’t feel like cooking, all you have to do is step outside of your yard into any main road and have access to a plethora of dining facilities that will surely meet the needs of your hunger. Technology is ever-changing. A cellphone or computer that you obtain one month ago, pretty much becomes obsolete after a few months–no longer satisfying the need you had when originally purchased. Can’t find a man/woman in the “real world”?  DON’T FRET!  There are a plethora of dating sites available to meet the needs of what you most desire–interracial dating, single mom, black men who love white women, white men who love black women, bromance…

YOU NAME IT–IT’S AVAILABLE!

Dating has birthed a buffet mentality–having access to a smorgasbord of “goodies” without investing much to get it. Golden Corral Relationships-For a little of nothing, you can have ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT!

SO WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT TO SETTLE DOWN THESE DAYS WITH SO MUCH ACCESS TO TEMPORARY FIXES?

I reminiscence on the many times I’ve gone to buffets of the sorts, and typically my eyes are way bigger than my stomach; however, just because I have access to it–I continue eating. Finally, which satisfaction hits, I’m stuffed, not wanting to look at food again for a good while. Actually the sight of food sickens me when I’m stuffed at that level.

Dating, has become like this. We overindulge in the variety that is available, that the simple pleasure of sitting back and savoring a five-star opportunity that is palatable and just enough to satisfy that hunger is non-existent.

I received a text message from a close guy friend today, who sent encouragement, not even understanding the season I was in–a season of deciding not to date casually–almost nearing giving up the hope of the possibility of something fruitful. I share this to encourage someone who feels like, what they have inside of them is constantly over looked for “situations” of momentary gratification.

“Ms. Spyies, you have the spirit of pouring into a man and don’t ever take it lightly. I know we’ve had many discussions about you being tired of pouring into someone and it not being reciprocated, but please believe that at the end of the day someone will catch on. Better than the fliest outfit, the fliest makeup, the best smelling perfume, the greatest cooking, or the most mind-blowing sex, the greatest gift I believe a woman gives a man, is in the way she ministers/prays with him through his stormy seasons and her undying loyalty to him–but ONLY a “MAN” will recognize this! BE ENCOURAGED”.

SO, HAS REAL LOVE BECOME PREHISTORIC?

I truly don’t think so. You can’t expect a man/woman with a “buffet” mentality to be able to appreciate the investment in a “five-star” man/woman. That’s just the truth!

What’s written above by a man  is highlighting the character of a five-star woman. Many of your are that FIVE-STAR PERSON!

At times, I truly believed that the ability to obtain such a pure relationship such as my parent’s marriage had become ancient history. But then an unlikely source pours into my spirit–MY HOPE IS RESTORED.  I look at my parents marriage and MY HOPE IS RESTORED. I return to the Word of God and review His promises unto me and again, MY HOPE IS RESTORED.

My parents marriage is a ministry to me and to many others. It’s like opening a history book, just to remember-how everything begin. Their wedding album like historical artifact–evidence that true love can happen and is still alive and well to date. It’s not prehistoric…real love is historic! I BELIEVE IT! #readytomakehistory

My Encounter with God: 5/16/12- God’s Novocaine for Heartache

Today’s word of the day for me is \numb\:

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To deaden or place in a state of sleep, whereas to be conscious about what is going on around you, yet not feel pain.

Not necessarily a Webster’s Dictionary definition, but as I began to ponder on this word and definition that was placed in my spirit today, I began to see more and more of the character of God.

When I woke up this morning, I didn’t think this was the greatest place to be. For about a week now, my tolerance has gotten REALLY low. The things that used to make me sorrowful, I began to take on the feeling of “it is what it is”. I began to clean out my address book, delete old emails/texts, just rid myself of all of the non-productive interactions that I’ve accumulated over many years.  God began to reveal to me this morning that I’m not necessarily going into a place of where I don’t care, but instead going into a place where I place the burden upon him.

He gave me this vision of my cousin who is a dental surgeon.  For the longest time, I hated going to the dentist, because I was mistreated by one in the past. I went in to this dentist when I was about 21 years old to have a cavity filled. The dentist began to start the procedure and did not numb me all of the way. I told him that I felt the pain. He didn’t care and kept on drilling. Tears streamed down my face. I felt violated in some way, as if what I felt didn’t matter. Shortly after the procedure started, the secretary came in and told the dentist that I was no longer covered under my father’s dental insurance. When the dentist found this out, He told me that unless I could pay for the charges out of pocket, he would not be able to complete the procedure. Here I was, this 21 year-old, completing college, not making much money on the little full time job I had. Here I was vulnerable, trusting this professional to take care of a problem that was causing me pain. He started the job, only not to finish but leaving me in more pain. It took me a very long time to trust a dentist again.

Ironically, I’ve been to this dentist over and over again in my relational life. Meeting individuals who say they are qualified for the job, but only to leave me hanging in deeper pain than I was before I encountered them. BIG WOW MOMENT!

As time went on, my cousin had now became a dental surgeon. My problem had gotten so bad that I couldn’t go on anymore without assistance. I had to get the source of the problem examined. When I went to my cousin, he had a still calm voice that relaxed me. He explained to me what was going on and proceeded with the procedure. He numbed the general area in which he was going to work and said, “okay, you’re going to feel a little prick”. I jumped just a little, but after a while, I said to myself “was that all”. “Okay, you’re going to hear and see some things going on around you, but don’t be alarmed”. I sat there calm, conscious of all that was going on around me, even felt a little pressure. As he injected the novocaine my heart raced and I became a little anxious about what was going on, but I understood that I was in the hands of a person who loved me, who cared about me, and who was going to do everything in his power to help me not to feel anymore pain. As I relaxed and placed the burden of my toothache in the hands of someone I trusted–all went well, he was able to start and COMPLETE the work left by someone else.

Eventually, I no longer felt pain.

God reminded me of this very thing experience this morning. I had been feeling as if I was becoming numb to the thought of a relationship. I’ve had really no huge yearning to spend my time meeting someone new. Had no tolerance for starting something only for it to leave me into disappointment. I haven’t really felt bitter, but more so, “I just don’t care anymore”. As I stated before, I thought this was a bad place, but now that I’m writing, I am understanding that this is such a great place to be.

When God numbs your heart and mind–he’s not numbing your emotional entities to cause you to become nonchalant or indifferent or closed to possibility of falling in love one day.  He does it so that He can have the ultimate control to do what he needs to do to fix them from the aftermath of life. Life hurts. Our interactions with people can sometimes hurt. THIS IS A REALITY.

Though we are aware of what is going on around us, his spiritual novocaine shields us from feeling the things that would cause even more pain. It places our heart in a state of numbness, so God can go in a clean out all of the sources of heart, betrayal, aggravation/irritation <—all the things that if not handled can be responsible for making us irritable and bitter individuals.

So today, I’m embracing the numbness. It’s just a reminder that I’ve placed my cares upon God. Though I’m well aware of what’s going on around me–people developing new relationships, transitioning to new stages in life, getting married, having children–all the things that I do desire, there’s great comfort in knowing that everything is taken care of because He really does cares about me and everything concerning me.

There are some other people out there experiencing this very numbness. Understand that this is a GREAT place!  Embrace it!

Love, peace and many blessings,

B.

Cast all your cares {burdens, desires, anxiety, thoughts, behaviors} upon God, because He cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7

You’re Covered. Prove Your Faith and Sleep

As I am sitting here watching The Weather Channel, observing active severe weather and tornado warnings that are sweeping the region, I can’t lie, a little fear set in as I saw the city of Atlanta highlighted in red . There is something about the peace that God gives in the midst of storms.  I have never been in a tornado in my entire life. I find myself at a loss scrambling to get my “emergency preparations” together for the worst case scenario. As I am sitting in my apartment alone, vigilant and prayerful for our nation as a whole, my mother calls me and said, “Brandi are you sleep?” “No, ma’am”, I replied, wondering how she could think I was sleeping at a time like this. She laughs at my response and says calmly, “You’re covered, prove your faith and sleep”. Simple words that hold so much power, only because I don’t believe it was a fleeting word only for this very moment. Those were words that transcends throughout life.

So many times in life we go through things various storms…some with warning some without. However, one thing we must remember is WHO IS IN CONTROL.

Knowing this very thing provides much peace, if one grasps it. I can’t tell you how many storms I have been involved in lacking peace because I have tried to control everything. I have tried to manipulate via words, behaviors, guilty of using persuasive tactics to get my way…not out of malice, but out of wanting what I want when I wanted it. Each time was an EPIC FAILURE.

Through time, mistakes, pain, and growth, I have learned and I’m still learning that God is calling me–He’s calling us to do exactly what my mother said. If we say we LOVE Him, say we BELIEVE Him, and say we TRUST Him–in the midst of chaos and confusion, we should be in a state of peace and rest when storms come our way, Understanding and having full confidence that God has it all in control.

So in the midst of your stormy situations–even if you are observing the rummage in the aftermath of the storm, don’t worry–

PROVE YOUR FAITH AND SLEEP…

Mat 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 

A CHANGED POSITION

Many times in life we become defined by society’s perspection of us. We get so bent out of shape that we began to obtain a one-dimensional view of ourselves–a ground-level view. We began to see ourselves as the world tries to make us feel–like dirt. Sometimes, we stay in this position so long, we become locked in–in bondage–unable to get a clear view upward and hindered from moving forward.

Today, I am reminded that I am NOT defined by how the world sees me. I am NOT defined by statistics. I am NOT defined by culture. I am NOT defined by my enviroment. I am NOT defined by my health status, social status, financial status, or my educational status!

I AM A WOMAN DEFINED BY GOD!

In coming to terms with this, I was brought to a scripture in Luke 13: 10-17. In this story, there is a woman who had been crippled for 18 years. Though the Bible doesn’t give descriptive details about what is causing her to be crippled, it does describe as an evil spirit that had her bent double.

The dictionary defines the word evil as:

-something causing injury or harm
-something that is considered bad by report
-someone/something marked by misfortune/luck
-someone looked down upon -wickedness

Ironically, I have personally battled similar spirits. Have you? Perhaps, one of poverty, hopelessness, feelings of inadequacy, sexual immorality, depression?

These spirits definitly fit the definition above. As I continued read the passage, I wondered if in fact the spirit that fell upon this woman was similar to many of the evil spirits we face today? The great news is that, just like the woman in the passage was in bondage&nbspI know and have experienced a God that has ALL POWER.

Let’s look closely at His character.

1) HE’S A GOD WHO SEES:

Regardless of her physical condition, Jesus saw her! She was a woman worshipping Him despite her affliction. He was going to use His mighty power to allow her to get into a better position-one of freedom.

2) HE’S A GOD WHO CALLS:

Typically in this culture, women were not necessarily held in the highest regard. Having visible disabilities only made society’s view worse. At this point, Jesus called someone whose physical condition was distorted and whom society had a distorted view. He did not just see her as just a spectator but an opportunity to make her a spectacle to show God’s power. That’s how it is
when he calls us to a particular assignment. His ability to work through us is not hindered by our own limitations nor the limitations others put on us–HE IS GOD!

3) HE’S A GOD WHO HEALS BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY:

According to the laws in those times, the Sabbath was designed to restrict an individual’s ability to work. It was designed as a day of rest, reflection and worship. When the leader of the synagogue witnessed exactly what Jesus was doing, he began to get upset and tried to call Jesus out amongst the congregation. Just like some people in this world who can’t handle God’s blessings upon your life. The leader tried to argue that Jesus was defying the laws of the Sabbath–but I just love Jesus’ response on this day as well as other times He healed on the Sabbath.

Luke 13: 15 states: “You hypocrites! Each of you work on the Sabbath day! Don’t you untie your ox or your donkey from its stall and lead it out for water? This dear woman has been held in bondage for eighteen years. Isn’t it right that she be released, even on the Sabbath”?

On other accounts, his response was similar-

Mark 2:27-28 states, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people and not peeple to meet the requirements of the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath”.

In Luke 14:5, his response to those who were against it was, “Which of you doesn’t work on the Sabbath? If your son or your cow falls into a pic, don’t you rush to get him out?”

CLEARLY GOD IS ONE WHO DEFIES WHAT OTHERS ACCOUNT AS UNACCEPTABLE. IF HE WANTS TO HEAL HE WILL DO SO BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY. IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT THE DOCTORS SAY, WHAT SOCIETY SAYS, OR EVEN WHAT YOU SAY TO YOUR SELF.

Lastly, the passage shows us the character of the woman. There was a reason why she went to the synagogue that day. She was a woman of faith. Her actions spoke louder than her words. She was a woman who listened to Jesus’ words, she obeyed his command by walking towards Him and in her obedience–her position changed. Lastly, she was a woman of praise.

There are several powerful nuggets attached to this one passage; however, from this perspective, I extract this simple fact: No matter what position society’s view may try to lock you in, no matter how the history of your past tries to bind you. No matter what the doctors report may read remember, God has the ability change your position at any given time if He so chooses.

A God of All Seasons

A GOD OF ALL SEASONS

The seasonal changes in Atlanta have been quite odd this year.  At moments where it should be cooling down in preparation for the arrival of winter, the weather has remained at temperatures akin to spring.  I haven’t even had to break in well my fall/winter attire.  Nevertheless, despite the confusion of the weather, the leaves and flowers all stand in agreement as they are clothed in their garments of autumn.  Yellows, reds, oranges, and minimal greens scribble against the walls of nature as a reminder that regardless of how it may feel–Fall is here.

Recently, while riding with a friend to go get some breakfast, we were halted at a traffic light.  Immediately, before us stood a picturesque view of autumn kissed trees in the distance–slightly glossed with mid-day fog. As I casually talked with him, I stopped amidst our conversation to comment on the beauty of creation that stood before us. He was in agreement. But as this view was momentarily frozen in time, the passage of Ecc. 3 came to mind.

In this moment as I gazed at the snapshot of autumn in the horizon, I was reminded that seasons change. The visual image reminded me that if God can equip even nature in the mist of seasonal changes, does he not even consider us in the midst of seasonal changes in our immediate environment.

God is a God of ALL seasons! What do I mean by thatJust as quickly as God makes environmental changes so that the trees and animals can adapt to shifts in climate…he moves just as quickly in our lives to adapt to the shifts we encounter–hormonal shifts, relational shifts, shifts in finances, shifts in employment, shifts in transition from life to death—from death to life…In every transitional phase of life–God is always present.

It appears that this year has been one of the most fluctuating seasons in my life that I and some of my friends have ever encountered and the passage of Ecc. 3 appears to be so befitting. From new births, marriages, new relationships, severing of relationships and an immense amount of deaths have highlighted our lives over the past few months. It’s a constant reminder that to everything there is a season.

A Time for Everything

1 There is a time for everything,  and a season for every activity under the heavens…

In closing, may God equip you to adapt to the changes in your environment.  May you extract life lessons from each transition that will develop you, enhance you, and advance you as your progress through various stages of life. May you never get weary or lose hope when the climate in your life fluctuates.  Though it may unsettling at first, there will be a time where these shifts will calm and you will be able to enjoy what the individual season has to offer.