Focus Friday – Promise Made, Promise Kept

Not many of us experience “a promise made, a promise kept” with other people. But the good thing is that we can count on God to keep every promise He has made.

God has made many promises to you and He will do what He said He would do. Find His promise about your situation in His Word. Expect Him to fulfill it!

Speak this Word to yourself throughout the day– by doing so, you’ll encourage yourself and maintain clarity about His will for you.

Promise

 

Real Comfort Food

Who doesn’t love comfort food?!

comfort-food-from Goodtoknow.co.uk

We all have some favorite dish that brings us comfort as we eat. Not only does it taste good, it has a seemingly magical power to help us unwind. It soothes us. It seems like a source of comfort  in our suffering and when we’re dealing with the daily pressures of life. It can  bring back good memories from our childhood, a first date, a special celebration, etc. Sometimes, we even use food as a means of escape. In general, most comfort food dishes are not the healthiest.  They are not very nutritious and tend to make us pack on the pounds when we eat to much of them.

However, I know of the true source of comfort; one that will never add too many fat calories or leave you gassy. It’s the most enjoyable food you could ever have and best of all, it nourishes your soul. It’s the Bread of Heaven– the Word of God. This is REAL comfort food!

The Word contains the promises of God and they are the ultimate source of the comfort that we can receive from God Himself.

This is what comforts me in my trouble, for Your promise revives me. Psalm 119:50 NET

Jesus came to comfort us; it was part of His divine mission. He comforted us by showing us how much the Father loves us. Our comfort is such a high priority to Him that He didn’t go back to Heaven without having Another to come be with us and comfort us. His Holy Spirit shows us the way to the Father’s love when we look to the Word as our comfort food.

What uncomfortable issue are you dealing with today? Find your comfort in Him.

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of ALL comfort. He comforts us in ALL our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 2 Corinthians 1:3,4 NLT (emphasis added)

 

 

An Adoption Story of Hope

I subscribe to a number of emailed newsletters that help me become a better author, a better business woman, and especially, a better person. I recently received one from life coach, Valorie Burton. In it, she shared exciting and encouraging news—along with her struggles of conceiving over the age of 40 and a miscarriage. This is her personal story of how her dream to become a mommy has come true. I share it, with her permission, because I think it will encourage you to not give up hope, even if adoption is is not the path to parenthood that you choose.



 Valorie’s Story:

My lifelong dream has come true. Our lives have changed dramatically and beautifully in the last month. Since marrying my husband in 2013, I’ve been a “bonus” mom to two sweet, energetic, loving little girls. And now, God has seen fit to expand our family with a beautiful baby boy we’ve been privileged to adopt!  That’s right. I’ve become a mommy.

If you’ve read my books or followed me for a while, you know this has been a dream deferred, but I have never given up on the vision I’ve sensed deep in my spirit for marriage and family.  At times, I have felt frustrated, helpless, and discouraged, but I refused to give up hope. I could not.  To give up hope would be to give up on God. As I stand in the midst of this vision of love that has unfolded, I feel led to share my lessons learned so I can encourage you to persevere towards your own vision – whatever that vision might be:   

  1. Keep hoping.
    Without hope, there is no vision. When you stop hoping, you start settling. Be relentless and focused. At times, it may even appear you are delusional to keep hoping. So what! Keep believing in your vision and make your decisions, whether about relationships, finances, career, that honor your ultimate goal.
      
  2. Don’t let disappointments become your destination.
    Separation and divorce. Navigating the tumultuous dating landscape of Atlanta. Trying to conceive over 40. Miscarrying twins. All have been my reality in the last seven years. Each could have become a bitter destination, except for this: I refused to see my disappointments as a permanent destination.  Some were devastating detours. I had to stop journeying for a while and recover. But I made a decision to be better and not bitter after each one. I made a decision not to get stuck staring at the obstacles before me, but to look up and remember the vision in my heart. That vision compelled me to keep hoping and keep moving forward.
      
  3. Be open to a path that looks different than you expected.
    It is easy to be rigid about how your dream must come together. Don’t. Be open to divine orchestration. Let go of your need to control the “how” of your vision so you can stay focused on the “why” – which leads me to this last point …
      
  4. Stay focused on the PURPOSE of your vision more than the excitement of it.
    At points, I began to doubt whether I would ever become a mother, and before that, whether I would ever find the kind of love I believe in.  A transformational message emerged from my doubt, though. I asked myself, “What if you never marry?” “What if you never have a child?” And I answered my “What if” questions. Here’s what I realized:  The world would not come to an end, so I better learn to be happy regardless of the outcome! If I didn’t get married or have children, I would live my life single without children and I would choose to have an incredible life. There are many women I greatly admire who are single without children – and happy, purposeful, loved and loving. So then, what would be the purpose of marriage and family in my life?  That is the question I needed to answer for myself.  I don’t believe that having a child is about me becoming a mom. I believe it is about having the blessed opportunity to nurture and grow a child God has seen fit to place in my care.  What an honor. It is about him, not me.  And perhaps that is the shift in thinking that shifted my life and brought us this amazing, perfect little boy for us. 


A Call to Action for you:  Don’t give up on God (Genesis 18:14). Stay connected to Him through His promises found in His Word. Hear His quiet voice within you giving you wisdom about how to proceed along your path. You can find more encouragement in A Seed of Hope: God’s Promises of Fertility.

A Seed of Hope

A Seed of Hope: God’s Promises of Fertility by Evangeline Colbert

Focus Friday – Believe It

Believe - FaithBelieve.

It means to be fully persuaded by someone or something. Are you fully persuaded by what God has said and what Jesus has done about your situation? Have you cut off all other options and decided  to believe that God’s Word is your truth?

Focus on the following scripture throughout the day because God’s Word is Truth. Speak this Word to yourself throughout the day– by doing so, you’ll encourage yourself!

“I have sworn by my own name;

I have spoken the truth

I will never go back on my word.”

Isaiah 45:23a  [NLT]

Monday’s Marinade – Wise Words Give You Life

Monday’s Marinade is provided to you as a means of “soaking yourself” in the hope-filled Word of God at the beginning of your week. Start your week by meditating (thinking and muttering to yourself) these words from the Bible.

Here’s your spiritual marinade:

Wise Words - Proverbs 10

What life-giving words will you allow to come from your mouth this week?

Thought Stopping :: Guest Post by Kamilah Giraud

Kamilah Giraud - Thought StoppingIt’s my pleasure to have Kamilah Browning Giraud as a guest on my blog today. I’ve known Kamilah a long time– since she was a baby! Recently, she has experienced a very challenging time with the illness of her mother. She shared with our church how she had to use “thought stopping” to get through that life-threatening time so that she could depend more on God’s Word than she did on the doctors’ diagnoses of her  mother’s condition. I hope her words encourage you to “STRIKE” out your negative thoughts and live with the hope, positivity, and power that God’s Word brings!

Strike ‘Em Out by Kamilah Giraud

How many times do you go through a day and have “random” thoughts that are completely unrelated to your job, or to the task at hand? I’m sure there are some statistics that give an average, but I can even share with you that in the few minutes it has taken me to sit down and share the first few sentences with you, I have already thought about; how cute my co-worker’s shirt is (as she walked by my door), whether or not I will eat the salad I brought to work, or go to the cafeteria (as my stomach growled), and I even thought about what color I should get my nails painted next (as I looked down at the keyboard while typing). Now as trivial and harmless as these “random” thoughts may be, they all still served the same purpose–taking my focus away from what it is I have set out to do.

While some may perceive these “mental vacations” as healthy breaks, others might find them as nuisances. I tend to ignore them most of the time because if I gave those thoughts much thought, then I would not have time for anything else. This scenario can be a little entertaining, but what about more disturbing thoughts that sound like, “Why bother running, you’ll always be fat”, or “It’s too hard to save money and pay my bills, so I’m probably never going to buy a house.” And what about the thought that comes up that sounds like “Why keep trying? It hasn’t happened yet. I am fooling myself.”

These  less trivial, less mundane, and certainly less entertaining thought can so easily surface throughout the course of the day and yes… they too serve the same purpose of taking your focus off that which you have set out to do. So then what type of recourse do we have against these thoughts? Well a good friend of mine name Paul, (whom I have actually never met) was imprisoned and wrote some most amazing letters that reflected how in spite of being in a place of true suffering, we can still choose joy. Even though I never met my friend Paul, and although his letters might originally been written in about 62 A.D, you cannot tell me that he didn’t address me directly in his letters too!

Thought Stopping - Philippians 4:8

Philippians 4:8  says “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”  Paul understood how these “random” thoughts can come to steal your peace. See, I can bet while he was imprisoned he had more than a few thoughts that popped up serving the sole purpose of stealing his focus off of spreading the gospel.

Paul said to fix your thoughts, which to me implies the need to replace “broken” thoughts. Broken thoughts are the ones that shatter your dreams, and distort your promises. Broken thoughts are lies from the enemy, and broken thoughts are contrary to the truth. So let’s do what my friend Paul urges. Let’s fix those broken thoughts by using thought stopping, or what I call the STRIKE method.

Stop the Thought
Replace it with God’s word
Imagine what it looks like
Keep seeing it
Embrace the truth

As the broken thoughts begin to surface you can stop the thought. Many times that is an internal stop, but I have had to audibly say “Stop” in order to refrain from repeating the broken thought in my head.

As soon as you “stop the thought”, you need to replace it with God’s word. The truth–those thoughts that are honorable, right and pure. Replace it with things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

As you think on those things, imagine it and see yourself in the manifestation of it.

Keep visualizing the thoughts and keep seeing it. This is a faith walk, and we cannot be moved by what we see in the natural, so allow yourself to keep seeing through the eyes of Christ, and know that He sees His promises.

Embrace the truth! God’s word is true. As believers, we are not exempt from the suffering that’s inherent to human existence, but the good news is our faith gives us a Truthdifferent and hopeful perspective that is based on the truth. God is forever faithful and the truth is that He has plans for you to prosper and not to harm you. He has plans to give you hope and a future. That is the truth and you can embrace it.

Our thoughts may or may not respond to 3 STRIKES and be “out”, but if the negative thought comes to bat again, just as sure as a pitcher’s form and speed improves with practice, yours can too. All you need to do is throw another STRIKE.

 

 

 

 

Focus Friday – Confidence

Sometimes iGod's Promises Are YESt’s hard to trust and have confidence in the plans of someone else regarding the impact of their plans on YOUR life. If someone asked you whether you agree with whatever God has said and planned about your situation, what would be your response? Would you express sincere confidence in His plans for you? Confidence is always followed by action. Consider what actions you’ve recently taken to express your confidence in God’s promises and His love for you.

 

Maybe  David of the Bible can be our example of how to be in agreement with God. David, a man who so openly loved and exuded confidence in God, knew the power of speaking the Word of God. He said in Psalm 17:4, “…By the word of Your lips, I have kept away from the paths of the destroyer.” Similarly, we must speak the Word of God to keep us off of Satan’s paths that are lined with his burdens and devices of deception.  Most importantly, speaking the Word helps us to keep our eyes and mind focused on Jesus’ love for us, which enables us to agree with His plans and receive the victory over infertility or any other trying circumstance you may be facing today..

Be encouraged, speak the Word to increase your trust in God’s promises, and stay hope-filled!

Infertility – Where Does Most of Your Help Come From?

Psalm 121 [NKJV] opens by asking, “Where does my help come from?”Infertility - change your focus - looking unto Jesus

There were countless times when I wondered who was available to help me during my struggle with infertility. Doctors could only do so much in their role as a medical professional. Friends could sympathize but they couldn’t truly understand what I was going through.They had not experienced falling into the pit of infertility. Family members were supportive but couldn’t identify with the struggle either. My husband, even though he was kind and loving toward me, was also in the struggle and therefore  looking for support as well.

It seemed no matter where I looked, there was no one in my sphere of influence that could be the principal source of help that I needed. But, I learned that when looking for help, the quickest way to get it was to look to Jesus (Hebrews 12:2). He could identify with my physical and emotional pain. He was my Savior. He was my Champion.

He was the one who could do something about my problems— when I stopped looking at the problems and fixed my focus on Him.

Focus Friday – Loneliness

Lonliness - God does careHave you ever had a day when it felt as if no one could understand the pain and the struggle you’re experiencing? It may have felt like you’re all alone in your own world laden with sorrow, shame and feelings of inferiority. You probably wondered if anyone anywhere is praying for you?

When this loneliness seems to overwhelm you, be assured, you’re not alone in having those feelings. But even better, know that Someone, who’s everywhere, is praying for you. That Someone is Jesus. He’s sympathetic to your situation. He’s full of compassion. He knows the heartache you’re experiencing. He’s the one who wants to change it.

 

“Therefore He [Jesus] is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through Him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.” ~Hebrews 7:25 NLT

Rest in the truth that you are wholeheartedly loved by God, the Creator of the universe. Find peace in knowing that even if it seems no one else on earth understands your pain or you think no one else is praying for you, there is Someone who does. When you trust Him as your Advocate and Intercessor, Jesus is the One who can turn “one of those days” into a day of heaven on earth.

“My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.”  ~ Psalm 121:2

Why You Need to Have a HOPE-FILLED Focus During Infertility

Hope Filled FocusGod said He wants men and women to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:28). His desire is for humanity to produce godly, prosperous families. He loves us all so much and He wants to bless us abundantly. One of His many blessings includes having children.

Many times, when infertility (“barrenness” as it is called in the Bible) strikes a husband and wife, the couple’s focus tends to only be on their inability to reproduce. Proverbs 23:7 declares that what a person continually thinks about is what he/she becomes. This means what we put our attention to, or what we focus on the most will expand in our lives. What you think about, over and over and over again is what will manifest in your life. This suggests that focusing on your present inability to conceive will not change it.

That’s why it’s imperative that you focus on God and not on the problem of infertility. In the Bible’s account of Abraham and Sarah, Abraham didn’t focus on his own impotence and say, “It’s hopeless. This hundred year old body could never father a child.” Nor was he discouraged by Sarah’s decades of infertility and completely give up on the hope of having a child with her. He focused on God’s promise to him, confident that God would make good on what He had said.

Think and meditate with confidence on His promise in Deuteronomy 7:14. Have confidence in God’s unconditional love for you. Barrenness is not what God desires for His children. Trust His Word and His love for you. Have confidence that He wants you to be fruitful. Focus on that!

“You shall be blessed above all peoples; there will be no male or female barren among you or among your cattle.” Deuteronomy 7:14 NASB