Faith

Don’t Bother

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Have you ever cringed at the thought of being a bother. If you’re at a restaurant and they don’t get your order right; if you’re trying to pass through a big crowd and you have to inch your way through; if you need to ask the busiest person in the world for yet another word of advice? Have you ever just felt bad about being a bother? Well I feel like this often. I absolutely hate to worry other people with my troubles.

I can’t help but think of the woman with the issue of blood. (Luke 8:40) I wonder if she practiced several times in her mind how she would approach Jesus and how she would get his attention to heal her. I mean, he was already surrounded by a crowd of people.  So many people, with so many needs and wants and only one person who could give it to them. I can’t help but wonder, did she think she would be bothering Jesus to ask for a healing?

I guess it all boils down to not only how desperate you are for what you want, but how deserving you think you are of it. I’m sure the woman went back and forth in her mind on whether she was even worthy of healing or not. Unfortunately, we do this to ourselves a lot. We never feel worthy of getting the things we want or even the things we desperately need.

If you are paying for a meal, don’t you deserve to have it exactly how you want it? If you’re walking through a crowded room don’t you deserve to get where you need to go? If you have an issue don’t you deserve to have it solved by someone who can help you just like everyone else? I think so.

I’m going to challenge you and myself to be like the woman with the issue of blood. Believe that you are worthy of whatever you want or need and go after it with your whole heart. Even if it’s just getting your foot in the door, being in the right place at the right time like the woman. Do what you need to do to get what you deserve. Nothing illegal of course! 🙂 You are worthy of all you desire. Be brave enough to go after it! 

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Faith

Take Every Thought Captive

Take Every THought Captive

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

Thousands of thoughts swirl through our minds each day. Some negative, some positive, but mostly negative. With those negative thoughts come a flood of emotions. Frustration, anger and sometimes depression. It’s hard to get a hold of those feelings and make them positive. In other words take them captive.

Recently in my life I’ve experienced some great disappointment. Disappointment usually provokes negative thoughts. People have stolen from me (more than once), broken promises from people I thought were friends, and hopeful expectations of things I’ve wanted to pursue have fell through. Needless to say, those negative thoughts kept trying to creep in.

After coming across this scripture, I refused to let those negative thoughts take over. I refused to let those negative seeds plant roots and make a home in my head. Even surprising to me, blow after blow, I still felt this certain peace. Certain that all of these things were temporary and everything was going to be alright. I knew everything was going to work out for the best no matter what.

The key for me was taking things little by little. One step at a time. This way I would not and could not be overwhelmed. As soon as one negative thought popped into my head, I quickly counter attacked it with a positive more rational thought. For instance, with the broken promises from a friend, I refused to dwell on what they did to me. Instead I focused on the positive of the situation. Like the fact, that the person was only meant to be in my life for a season and God was making room for more loyal people to come into my life. As soon as I felt the negative thought coming on, I quickly rebuked it and planted in my head a more positive thought instead.

At the end of the day it’s all about your perspective and practice. The more you feed your soul, spirit, and mind with positivity, the more likely you are to be able to manifest a positive thought when negative things occur.

So I challenge you, the next time you have a negative thought, take it captive and make it obey what God says about you and your circumstance.

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Faith

Christians vs. Humans

Christians vs. Humans

Are christians allowed to be human? Can christ followers ever had a bad day, say a bad word, not be nice, do or say the wrong thing?

It’s unfortunate that some people think humans who proclaim to be christians are not allowed to do any of those things. The behavior of christians is constantly scrutinized and judged. Sometimes even by other christians.

There is a misconception that once we become saved we have to be perfect. We are not allowed to get tattoos, drink, swear, sin, or do anything else deemed “bad” in the eyes of others. The great news is good deeds don’t get us into heaven neither will bad deeds send us to hell. Even once you are saved, sin is still present. (for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God Romans 3:23) Confessing your sins and believing that Jesus died for you and your sins is what saves you. (If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9) Being saved is what leads to your relationship with God and your willingness to live and be more like His son Jesus.

Now, just because you are willing doesn’t mean you won’t make mistakes. We are all allowed to make mistakes, we are human. Learning from those mistakes and coming into who God says you are helps us not to make those same mistakes again.

At the end of the day only God can judge, according to Tupac and James 4:12. 🙂 It’s up to you to develop your own personal relationship. As a believer, you cannot impose your own personal convictions onto others. Your job is to help lead people to Christ not push them away with your judgments. The same goes for non believers. You cannot impose your personal norms and values onto others. Be led by our own moral compass, don’t try to be one for someone else.

In the grand conflict of christians vs. humans, if you didn’t already know, they are one in the same. The next time you see a christian, even your own pastor, do “bad” things, or have a bad day, remember, they are not only christians, but humans too.

 

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Faith

Be the Change You Want to See

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Have you ever gone through a period in your life when you constantly asked why God why, when God when? You continued to ask these questions for what seems like an eternity. Then finally, you say God I give up. Have your way.

I recently went through a period like this and God told me, be the change you want to see. The change you are so desperately longing for starts with you. You already have everything you need to change your life. I have already equipped you with the tools and talents you need to make your life better.

I was in a place where nothing fulfilled me. No matter how much I engaged in social media, no matter how much YouTube and TV I watched to escape, I could not find any relief for the void I was trying desperately to fulfill. Finally, God gave me an assignment, a desire and a passion. He told me, spread the love of my son Jesus. That is your sole purpose in this life I gave you. Be a light in dark places. Be a vessel to help lead others to Jesus.

I thought to myself “How Sway?!” 🙂 I have no platform, I have no influence, no one will listen to me. He said follow my instruction and I’ll do the rest. I reluctantly accepted the challenge. Every since I did, I’ve notice that I am slowly but surely becoming the change I want to see in the world.

There is nothing more fulfilling then doing the work of Christ and fulfilling your purpose in life, no matter how big or small you may think it is. Be the change you want to see. Whatever God has put inside of you, use it to change your own life and eventually you will help change the lives of others, and hopefully the world. 

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Travel

Cruisin’ The Sequel

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This past fall, my husband and I embarked on our 3rd Carnival cruise to the Caribbean. Our ports included; Amber Cove, Dominican Republic; Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos; Half Moon Cay, Bahamas; and Nassau, Bahamas.  This was a 6 day cruise with only one day at sea which was awesome, because in my mind that meant we got more bang for our buck.

This cruise was a bit different for us, because we had every intention just to relax and try not to do too many activities. For the most part, that’s exactly what we did. At our first stop, Amber Cove, we really wanted to see the city. We’ve always wanted to visit the Dominican Republic. We decided to take a taxi tour. Some of our stops included Fort San Felipe, Macorix House of Rum, the “rich” area, the not so rich area, and the local market.20171219_124156.jpgFort San Felipe was beautiful. This was a great place to take photos.  There were wide open scenic views with the ocean and mountains all around us. The only downside to this attraction is the solicitors that bombard you as soon as you get out of the taxi. Also, there is a small fee to walk around the fort. To me it didn’t seem like it was worth the price, so we did not go inside of the fort. Other than that, I would definitely recommend visiting this attraction, if nothing but for all of the photo opportunities.

 

20171219_114412.jpgThe next place on our tour was the Macorix House of Rum. This was a very nice rum factory.  Not too big and not too small, just the right size for a tour. They show a quick video in the beginning of the history of the rum factory, which was actually pretty good and informative. Then came the good part, the rum tasting! My favorites were definitely the fruity flavors such as apple and pina colada. They also have rum popsicles that you can buy in each flavor. Very tasty, and very much needed in the Caribbean heat.

The rest of our time there was a tour around Amber Cove (Puerto Plata) through the wealthy areas and the impoverished areas.  It was truly eyeopening to see how much of a gap there was between the wealthy and those who were less fortunate. Seeing those who didn’t have very much made me grateful and reminded me to count my blessings daily.20171220_120836.jpgOur next port was Grand Turk on the beautiful island of Turks & Caicos. We didn’t have anything planned at all for this port. Our only plan was to eat some good local food and relax on the beach. There are many options for dining at this port. By recommendation, we decided to try Jack’s Shack and we are so glad we did. We ordered fried grouper fish, conch fritters, and a couple of margaritas. Everything was so delicious. The people there were so hospitable and the portions were huge. If you ever visit this port, I definitely recommend giving it a try. For the rest of the day, we enjoyed the beautiful blue ocean and lounged on the beach.20171221_123640.jpgNext was Half Moon Cay Bahamas. To be honest this was not one our favorite ports. It was a Carnival owned island and for the lack of a better word, seemed fake. The water was beautiful but shallow. Not suitable for water sports or snorkeling. The only dining option was the buffet provided by Carnival, which had a very limited selection of burgers, hot dogs and an assortment of salads and fruit. There was really nowhere to go and explore so we had another relaxing day at the beach.20171222_123321.jpgMy very favorite port on this cruise was Nassau, Bahamas. This place had the best food, the best beach, the best tour and the best people. We really wanted to see the city so we decided to do another taxi tour. We could not have chosen a better tour guide than Mr. “Showtime.” He was so full of life, energy, and personality.  He took us to some great spots in Nassau.20171222_114000.jpgOur tour in Nassau included the Queens Staircase, the Rum Cake Factory, Atlantis, and Cable Beach. The Queen’s Staircase was built by slaves to access Fort Fincastle and was named in honor of Queen Victoria and her help in the abolition of slavery in the Bahamas. Our next stop was the Rum Cake Factory. The line was out the door for this place and for good reason. They have an assortment of rum cake flavors that you cannot resist. If you’re not sure if you want to purchase, they have samples to taste. One taste and I was sold. We ended up leaving with two mini cakes, pina colada and coconut flavored. 20171222_120902.jpgAfter the rum cake factory, we stopped at Atlantis. There we took a quick walk around the property and took some photos. Of course, you don’t have access to the entire property unless you have a room or pay for certain attractions. The main attraction for us was the “big chair.” The chair is a great place to grab a quick photo if there isn’t a line. After Atlantis, our tour guide was gracious enough to drop us off at the nearby Cable Beach and pick us back up after a couple of hours. They truly saved the best for last with Nassau as our last port. 20171222_134534.jpgDuring the cruise, on most nights, we would go to dinner, grab a seat at the show for the night and then on to late night comedy show.  The shows were musicals, which we really enjoyed. If you do nothing else on the cruise, please go to the comedy show. We have always had a great experience and the comedians have always been really funny. It’s a great way to wrap up the night. 20171221_204351.jpgAlso, another tip, if you are vegan, vegetarian, or have any special diet, please be sure to let your waiter(s) know at dinner. Most of the time they are more than happy to recommend items specifically for you or even alter a dish to fit your dietary restrictions. Also, don’t be afraid to request milk alternatives at the buffet or in the dining room. For me, it was soy milk. They almost always had some on hand.

Overall, this was a fun and relaxing cruise. We can’t wait for the next one. Until next time Bon Voyage! 

 

 

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Faith

The Fatherless Find Rest

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Unfortunately, I did not have the privilege to grow up in a household with my Father. Some ask how did it change you as a person? Were you angry? Were you sad? Do you feel like you have daddy issues? The answer is no.

I never thought, growing up without a father would determine my fate as a human being. Fortunately, God placed specific people in my life to encourage me to know better and do better. To reach for things beyond my community. To want more out of life than what was around me.

I first recognized that I didn’t have a dad when I was about 6 years old. I cried, asked my mom where was my dad, and why wasn’t he here? She explained the situation and I later to came to understand through a series of unfortunate events that my parents did not stay together, and unfortunately my dad was not in my life. I honestly felt like after that moment, I never felt sad about not having my dad around again.

Much later, I developed a relationship with my dad and for me, it honestly felt like no time had passed. We didn’t miss a beat. I was never angry. Being angry never felt like the “right” emotion to have towards my father. True, he wasn’t there, but I never felt like I was missing anything. I always felt like I had everything I needed from my mom and the community around me. I always felt spiritually and physically taken care of.

Feeling close to God at a young age also gave me comfort. For as long as I could remember I was always drawn to God and I’ve always had a relationship with Him. I’ve always felt safe, protected, and guided. Although, I didn’t have my physical father, I’ve always felt the presence of my spiritual Father.

So the words of this song resonate with me so well. “The fatherless, they find their rest at the sound of your great name.” Jesus died so that we could be sons and daughters of God. God knew before we were created that “though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me.” Psalm 27:10

“For He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in His presence. In love He predestined us for adoption as His sons through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will.” If that doesn’t bring you joy inside, I don’t know what will. If you are feeling abandoned and like no one loves you, no one cares, look to God. Cliche and cheesy to some, but very true. I am proof. You already belong to Him and He will never leave you no matter how many times you try to run away.  Feel free to share your stories in the comments below. 

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Faith

Praise & Worship

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Have you ever been having a weird day and decided to turn on some music, and after a song or two your mood totally changes. Well, that’s the power of praise and worship for me.

Sometimes it takes some convincing from myself to actually turn the music on, but when I do my spirit is immediately lifted. In Isaiah 61:3 it describes God giving us the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. We are constantly fighting this daily battle, to think positive, speak positive, do positive and be positive. This verse confirms that God knows us and loves us so much that he gives us an outlet to release all of that negative energy.

Praise not only makes us feel good but it makes God feel good as well. Psalm 147:1 The creator of all things loves when His creations worship Him and spend quality time with Him. Psalm 50:23 Praise and worship is a great way to commune with God and thank Him for who He is and what He has and will do in your life.

So I challenge you today, if you are struggling with anxiety, depression, or anything that’s keeping you down; turn on some music and begin to worship God. If you’re unsure where to start, I’ll list a few of my favorite praise and worship songs below.  Let me know in the comments below how your day has changed.

  1. Holy Spirit – Francesca Battistelli
  2. Here As in Heaven – Elevation Worship
  3. Do It Again – Elevation Worship
  4. The Anthem –  Todd Dulaney
  5. Fill Me Up – Tasha Cobb
  6. Heart Live Heaven – Hillsong United
  7. Oceans – Hillsong United
  8. Indescribable – Chris Tomlin
  9. Overcome – Tye Tribett
  10. Bless the Lord (Son of Man) – Tye Tribett

 

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