Friday, December 23, 2011


I haven't really blogged in a while. There are several different reasons for that....reasons I won't get into right now. But I'm kind of in a reflective mood today, so I decided to put my thoughts in ink...

It's funny how life comes full circle. And the past year has been a tornado for me. I've had people come into my life, seemingly, out of nowhere. That's strange for me, because I normally keep people at a distance until I figure them out. That's the way I've always been. But for some reason, this year, I allowed a few new people to enter my heart without doing my due diligence to figure out their intentions. I wish I could say it's been all good and I'm glad I did it. That's not honest though....and my goal with this post is to be transparent. So, I'll be honest and say that I wish I had not allowed, at least, one of those people into my life at all....much less my heart. See... one of my biggest flaws is that I assume people say exactly what they mean and are exactly who they present themselves to be. I gotta stop doing that. If I've learned nothing else from this year, I've learned this: Most people will say anything to get you to do what they want you to do. And, people present themselves to be the people they desire to be...not, necessarily, the people they actually are. I know that sounds cynical and I hate to come off that way because it's really not a good color on me. But, that's real. You can't really give people credit for anything about their character. You have to make them earn it. And it doesn't really matter how you came to be acquainted with them. Remember, even the devil himself can quote the Word of God. That's all I'm going to say about that.

On friendship....

Life happens. People change. They just do. It happens for many different reasons. But, because people change, friendships evolve. The important thing to remember is that evolution does not necessarily mean dissolution. All good things come to an end. They either evolve into a new good thing or they end altogether. I've had some friendships evolve into new good things.... and I've had other friendships come to a screeching halt. I used to feel bitter about that. But I've learned that for everything, there is an appropriate season. Now, I accept the fact that...for whatever reason.... the friendship I had with these people is not appropriate for this season of our lives. I understand that doesn't mean we won't ever be friends again. And it's because of that understanding that I am able to let go graciously with the trust that God will reunite us in a season that will allow our friendship to flourish. And if that season never comes, that's ok too. I wish them well. That's all I'm saying about that.

On spirituality....

I love the Lord. He heard my cry. LoL. But seriously, he did. I've prayed over a lot of different things this year and while not all the things I've prayed for have come to pass yet, I know that God has heard every prayer. I understand that delay is not denial. But, more importantly, I understand that denial is not always punishment. There are some things that are just not meant to be. At this point in my life, I have complete trust in the will of God. I will not go unless he gives direction. I will not speak unless he gives me the words to say. No compromising. His will is where I need to be. There's nothing else to be said on that.

On health....

People that know me know I've had some struggles with my health this year. At one point, I was told I have MS. I have now, officially, been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Wow. I can't believe I'm sharing this like..this. It's something that I haven't even really shared with a lot of my family. It's not because I don't want anybody to know. It's because it's not that important. I know what you're thinking: "How could it not be important?" Well, it's not that important, because I'm in denial. (I told yall I was being transparent). The other reason I haven't shared it is because I don't want anybody to feel sorry for me or think of me as 'sick', because I don't think of myself that way. However, I do realize that this is something I need to let people in on so that they will understand why I'm always tired, why sometimes I really don't have the energy to do some of the things they ask me to do, and that the 'serious' look on my face is often just a reflection of the general fatigue I'm often feeling. I've declined to be put on 'uppers'. At this point, I don't believe I need them. That's not to say I never will. But right now, I don't. Here's the thing: I believe God. Not, necessarily, that he will take this thing away. But that he won't allow this to be debilitating for me. And that's all I need to say about that.

On romance...

You have to do what makes you happy. And you have to be ok with the fact that sometimes your friends won't 'get it'. But it's not for them to 'get'. Here's the thing: Stop telling people your business before you even figure it out yourself. I'm not going to tell you not to tell your friends everything. Tell them as much (or as little) as you want. If they're your friends, they won't judge you. But don't tell your friends your business before you figure it out yourself. Do with that whatever you want. That's all I'm saying about it. heart is clear. Have a Merry Christmas. And a Happy New Year. Hey...that rhymed! Good for me!

Be blessed :)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Don't Worry About Judas (M2W Devotional)

One of the worst feelings in the world is finding out that a person you consider a friend is behaving as though you're enemies. And even worse than that is having that person still come around you, laugh with you, and talk with you as though they haven't behaved that way....or as though you don't know that they have behaved that way. What I'm talking about here is pure, outright, blatant betrayal...a Judas-type betrayal. You completely opened your heart to them and they sold you out to the first person that was willing to buy. This is what Jesus went through with Judas. But Jesus handled his situation a lot different than we, typically, handle ours.

See, when we find out that a friend has betrayed us, one of the first things we do is cease to identify them as a friend. We make it known, usually, in a very pronounced way that this person is no longer considered a friend. But that's not what Jesus did at all. Think back to when Jesus was in Gethsemane with the Peter, John, and James just before the guards took him away. He knew that Judas was coming to betray him. He even said to Peter, John, and James, "Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand”(Matthew 26:46) just before Judas appeared with guards he led to Jesus. And yet, Jesus still addressed him as 'friend'.

"Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him.” Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. But Jesus said to him, “Friend, why have you come?” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him." (Matthew 26:50)

How could Jesus call him 'friend'? A friend would have never betrayed him that way, right? Why didn't Jesus lay into him...flip out...tell him about himself...or SOMEthing? Well, there are a couple of things that Jesus understood from the very beginning.

1. Jesus understood the nature of Judas' character from the very beginning.

"Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve." (John 6:70)

Jesus was very much aware of the character flaws of the company he kept. He wasn't, at all, caught off guard. How much drama could we save ourselves if we just paid attention to the character traits of the company we keep BEFORE they do something hurtful to US? I know there are times when God allows things to happen, seemingly to us, out of the blue. But, generally speaking, we could discern the character of the people we surround ourselves with if we just took the time to ask God and then, pay attention. We don't do that though. We don't seek God about the company we keep and then, when we are betrayed, we immediately fall into the victim role. 'How could they do this to me? What did I do to them? God, why did you allow this to happen?' When the real question is...Why did YOU allow it to happen YOURSELF? Because had you prayed for discernment, you would have gotten it. Had you asked God if it was his will for this person to be in your life from the very beginning, you would have gotten an answer.

But back to Jesus and Judas...

So, Jesus already knew that Judas would betray him from the start. Why, then, did he even allow Judas in his circle to begin with?

2. Jesus understood divine purpose. He told us in John that no one takes his life, but he gives it freely:

"Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” (John 10:17-18)

Jesus understood that Judas' betrayal of him would, in the grand scheme of things, not be the cause of his crucifixion. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was divine purpose. It would have happened with or without Judas. He was just playing a role. And his role, in this situation, happened to be that of a betrayer. Keep in mind though, that Jesus already knew this. Did he treat him any differently than the other disciples? No. Did he go and tell everybody that Judas was a devil? No. Sometimes God reveals things to us ab people, not so that we can separate ourselves Or expose them, but so that we won't be caught off guard when things happen. Some betrayers are in your life for a reason. They're a part of the divine purpose for your life. Know that they won't affect your outcome negatively. They're just playing they're role. And as hard as it is to know that they are your betrayer and not call them out, know that it would be a mistake to give that situation too much attention.

Don't worry about Judas. Judas is going to be Judas. Judas had already betrayed Jesus BEFORE the last supper. He had already agreed to give Jesus up. He was just waiting for the right time (Matthew 26: 14-16). And yet, when Jesus told the disciples, at the last supper that one of them would betray him, Judas had the nerve to ask if it would be him (Matthew 21-25). But notice that Jesus still didn't really call him out. He knew what was happening but he didn't give it too much attention. That's what some of us need to learn to do...not give negative situations so much attention. Stay focused on your purpose. Everything is not meant to be exposed. Some people will expose themselves if you just let it play out. So, don't worry about Judas. Judas is doing exactly what Judas is supposed to do. You just keep doing what you're supposed to do and keep praying for discernment so you'll know who's playing what role.

Be blessed =)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Glory in Tribulation (M2W Devotional)

Life can be harsh, sometimes. There are unexpected twists, turns, and fastballs….fastballs that can come so hard that they knock you down. And getting knocked down is not so bad when you can, quickly, figure out how to get back up, but getting back up can, sometimes, be a lot easier said than done. It’s easy to get discouraged in those times. It’s human to get discouraged in those times. Being a believer doesn’t mean that you never get discouraged. Being a believer means that you don’t stay discouraged, because you know that God is always working in your favor. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11

Even knowing that, there are times when we become resentful of our trials and tribulations. We wonder why God allows us to go through the things we go through. We wonder what we’ve done to deserve such hard trials. We, sometimes, even wonder if God is still listening to our prayers. We find it difficult to enjoy life at these times. I mean… who can rejoice when the entire bottom has fallen out of their life? But, Paul challenges us, in Romans, to do just that.

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” ~Romans 5:1-5

Paul tells us here that we should glory in our sufferings. What does the word “glory” mean in this context? It’s used as a verb here, which is not the way we normally see it used. The word glory, as a verb, means “to exult with triumph; rejoice proudly”. Another definition is “to boast”. So…wait. I’m supposed to not only, stay encouraged in my tribulation, but I’m supposed to rejoice proudly…even to the point of boasting?! What is there to boast about?! Have you seen my life, lately?! No. But I’ve had a look at Paul’s and if he can say this while he was, literally, being persecuted for the Gospel, we can too. Paul and James, both, give us reasons why we should rejoice. Paul said we should rejoice because we know that suffering produces perseverance. Perseverance produces character. And character produces hope and hope will never put us to shame. I like how the NKJ version says that “hope does not disappoint”.

James gave us another reason why we should rejoice in tribulation. He said, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” ~James 1:2-4  So…wait. My trials and tribulations are helping to mature me? No. It’s the perseverance that you gain through your trials that help to make you mature and complete. Your trials are just a means to an end. And the end is a better you! So, rejoice! I know it’s not easy. I know you’re at the end of your rope. I know it seems like it’s never going to end. But it will! God is working something in you. He has not forgotten about you. You will come out of this…whatever it is…a better you if you figure out a way to glory while you’re in it. So, rejoice today! A better you is on the way!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

You by Amena Brown

This is EVERYthing. This just took me all the way in.

Change is good.

What's up, yall? I know it's been a while since I've blogged here regularly. I've been doing a lot of soul searching concerning my desire to have a career as a writer. In doing so, I've realized that some things need to change. This blog is one of those things. EM started off as a personal was intended to be a place for me to write about how the personal things in my life are affected by my walk with Christ. More and more, tho, I found it evolving into more of a platform for me to share thoughts, ideas, and messages given to me through my own devotion and personal time with the Lord. I'm not mad at this evolution at all. I do, however, feel the need now to allow this space to be that and only that. It's not a secret that I like music other than gospel and I like things that are not necessarily spiritually related. What I'm saying to you is that, from now on, you won't find those things here. It's not that I think these are bad things or I feel bad for liking them, it just comes down to me, as a writer, realizing that I have more than one audience and I won't be able to satisfy them all in one place.

So, to my people that love to read my devotions and spiritual/religious topics, this is now where you'll be able to find that without interruption. YAY!!!!!

And, to my people that love to read my randomness, you can catch that at YAY!!!

And, to my people that love to read it all, YOU ARE AWESOME!!!....check me out at both places.

I want to thank all of you that take the time to read what I write. It means a lot to me. In the next weeks, you'll see this blog begin to look a little different. It'll be more contoured to the needs of its audience. Know that this expansion just means that I'm growing as a writer and that my brand is becoming more diverse. Change is good!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

.....Do It Unto The Lord (Devotional for M2W)

Our lives are filled with commitments. Many of us are in school and/or work full time. We are involved in ministry at our churches. Some of us have children and families to hold together. Several of us are in relationships. On top of that, many of us are involved in organizations, causes, and community service. Amazingly, there are some people that do all of these things. My point is, we all live very active lives. Generally speaking, this is a good thing. But after so long of juggling all these things, sometimes we get into a routine. And along with routine, a lot of times, comes a lack of attention or a slack in the effort we put in. In other words... after so long of doing these things, we begin to place our focus on getting it all done instead of on making sure that we are doing it all well.

Lately I have been in prayer and seeking God, specifically, about his purpose and will for my life in terms of my day to day routines. And one thing he has been dealing with me about is my tendency to over commit myself. Like many of us, I have a hard time saying 'no' to the people and things I love. So when people ask me if I'm available to do things, I immediately start trying to find the time to do it.....even when I know I'm stretching myself too thin. I, normally, end up regretting committing myself to so many things, but I remember what God said in Deuteronomy 23:23... "Whatever your lips utter you must be sure to do, because you made your vow freely to the LORD your God with your own mouth." The next thing I know, I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to complete a task I shouldn't have committed myself to in the first place because I knew I didn't really have the time. Have you ever found yourself here? Then you know what I'm talking about. It makes you a very likable person to do everything you're asked to do. But is God pleased?

I know that, at this point, you're like... 'what does this have to do with God'? I thought the same thing. The answer is very simply... EVERYTHING. The bible says... "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." ~Colossians 3:23-24. Now... I realize that I've taken this out of context just a little. But it's not a huge stretch. The gist of Paul's message to the Colossians in this passage was to make sure that the new life they had in Christ was evident in everything they did, be it work, family...everything. How do we make our lives in Christ evident in what we do? We do that, not only, by being diligent and faithful to completing what we said we were going to do but, also, by putting an honest effort into completing the task well. Everything God does, he does well. He does not get lackadaisical in his covenants to us. We should, therefore, not expect that he would be pleased when we treat our commitments to him that way.

The part of that scripture that really stands out to me is the part where Paul says that it is the Lord Christ that we serve. No matter what we do or what earthly person or reason we do it, we need to always keep in mind that it is Christ we serve. He is watching. Therefore, when we commit ourselves to something, it's not just important THAT we do it. But it's important HOW we do it. Think about your own life and all the things to which you have ongoing commitments....your church, your family, your career, your fraternity/sorority, M2W, ect. Ask yourself if you have delegated your time in such a way that you can fulfill your obligations to these things in a way that is pleasing to God. After all, it is him that you are serving. Is he pleased with the way you handle your commitments? When you say 'yes', do you fulfill that commitment? Or do you find yourself spread too thin and end up having to back out or not perform the task effectively?

It should be our goal that God is pleased with everything we do or don't do. Always remember that when you give your word to someone, you are also giving that word unto the Lord. And he will hold us accountable to it. Here's a challenge. It's something I've challenged myself to do, and now I'm going to challenge you. Every time to you have to back out of something you said you were going to do... or every time you end up not doing something as well as you could have because you didn't allocate enough time, don't just apologize to the person. Apologize to the Lord as well. When I started forcing myself to do this, I started being careful about committing myself to things. I started being more diligent about maintaining my personal calendar so I wouldn't over commit myself. In taking this challenge, I think you'll find yourself a better manager of your time, because the last thing you'll want to have to do is repent for something so avoidable.

Be blessed =)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Destination: Destiny (M2W Devotional)

Let's talk a little bit about destiny.

What is 'destiny'? It's defined as "the predetermined, usually inevitable or irresistible, course of events". The most important word being "predetermined". As believers, we know that the predeterminer of our destiny is God... the Alpha and Omega ...the author AND finisher of our faith. Remember that he told Jeremiah, '“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5). God's plan for your life was already designed before you were even born. Think of your destiny as a destination.

We see the destination but how do we get there? We must, daily, submit to the will of God. A lot of us are in the stages of our lives where we are really starting to seek God concerning his purpose and will for our us. As we start thinking of future plans for our education, our careers, our is essential to make sure that our own wills are yielding to the will of God. Notice I used the word 'yield' and not 'merge'.

All too often we try to blend what we want with God's plan and what we end up with is a major crash because the will of God does not merge. It will not move over and allow your plans to come in. Your will needs to completely yield to God's will. Stop asking God to share the road and just get in his car. By getting in God's car, I just mean making a choice to do things God's way, as opposed to doing it your own way. We've already established that God knows the road to the destination a lot better than you do. Once you make the choice to get in his car, you can think of his will as the GPS.

 It will tell you which moves to make and when, if you consistently seek him through prayer... "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5). ... and the word of God.... "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105).  Remember that God sent the Holy Spirit to guide us. "1But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you." (John 16:13-14) 

We all know that the only time a GPS system really works is when we actually use it. That's where your faith comes in. It's easy to do what God says do and go where God says go when the conditions of your life are pleasing to you or when things appear to be moving in your favor. But what about when it doesn't look so good? What about when the road is so cloudy that you can't even see in front of you? Can you trust God to maneuver as we wills even then? God said go to grad school. But, your GPA isn't good enough to get in. Do you trust God enough to apply anyway? God said the job is yours. But the requirements for the position prefer a lot more experience than you have. Do you believe God and submit your resume anyway? God called you to ministry. But everybody knows your past is questionable. Do you worry about what people will say? or do you trust God and do what HE said? It's time to get serious about exercising and growing our faith. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 1:20 that God's promises are "Yes" and "Amen"... meaning they are guaranteed. We must always walk by faith and not by sight.(2 Corinthians 5:7). That might mean that sometimes you have to move in a way that raises some people's eyebrows. It might mean that you have to go even when everybody else is staying. It might mean that you have to walk alone sometimes. But that's ok. Just remember that there's a destination in mind and everybody won't go with you. Philippians 1:6 says "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Know that if God said it, he WILL perform it!  Remember that every time you do something other than what God says do, he is forced to reroute you to your destination. That doesn't mean you won't ever get there. His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9). But it takes longer that way. You have to go through more when you are disobedient.

As you travel the road to your destiny, know that God has amazing plans for your life! The conditions might not look good right now, but keep in mind that this is the journey, not the destination. And be encouraged! You WILL get there!

Be blessed.