Sediments of The Heart

I drink of lot of homemade and store bought natural beverages. As many of you know, for optimum taste, appearance and health benefits, it is recommended that they be shaken well, as the product settles naturally. Same for liquid medicines and vitamins.

Products not well shaken display a separation; having a murky, darker pigment at the bottom of the beverage. This is so, even if shaken and only left still for a period of time. What’s heavy sinks to the bottom. I mean, just look at the bottom of a lake!

Hmm. What’s heavy sinks to the bottom. Isn’t that true about the sediments of our heart, too? Not only does what’s heavy (painful, traumatic experiences, spoken and unspoken words and emotions) sink to the bottom, but they also get stuffed down by us way too often. We put them on reserve to address never, because we obliviously direct our focus elsewhere. Then, years pass by and we forget that that “thing” was ever a “thing”, because we’ve got so many other things going on floating above it. Just me? Oh, Lord, I hope not (lol).

Like natural beverages we do not function at our most optimal potential when we don’t allow the Lord to shake things up and let whatever issue float to surface. Stuffing is not a solution for anyone with a goal of freedom, and it’s also not an easy pattern to break – believe me, I know! With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can have healthy self-examinations. We can deal with issues of old…and new, because let’s face it, offence will come (Luke 17:1). But, we must first be willing to humble ourselves and look at it (2 Chronicles 7:14). Not being wise in our own eyes, internally belting, “Not I!” (Proverbs 3:7). Forgiveness and weeping are almost always counterparts in the process too.

Even Jesus had moments of lamentation, and He is the greatest man to have lived on earth!

It’s time for us to start getting to the bottom of things! Maturity welcomes the trigger and stirring that leads us to Christ. May the Holy Spirit shake us well and make us good!

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. – III John 1:2 (NKJV)

©2019 • Chan’tel Nikole Grayson

8 Scriptures To Keep You From Turning Back

It’s the first day Fall and it’s hard to believe we’re nearly finished with 2019. Whoa! Time for a check-up. If you had a resolution for the new year, it may or may not be out the window at this point. By this time, you’re either growing strong or possibly looking forward to 2020. For those who feel they have let themselves down, I thought I would dedicate this post to you as encouragement. How about we stop condemning ourselves, repent, and start over right here and now? Finish the rest of the year strong, and don’t look back!

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The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. – John 10:10 (NIV)

That “they” Jesus is talking about is you, boo! What I have found is that many reasons we fail to stick to things is because we attempt to do things in our own strength. Since we’re naturally sinful, jacked up people, we need God’s help…like big time! That being said, before anyone attempts for the umpteenth time to walk this narrow path and follow Christ, my greatest recommendation is that you ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit which enables us to produce all of that good fruit listed in Galatians 5. Get you some of Him before you try again, okurrr! Your will may get you started on the right path, but the Holy Spirit will keep you on the right path.

My second recommendation is to use your sword (the word of God) as your weapon. I don’t know about anyone else, but the enemy has used plenty of words, labels, images, people, you name it to beat me down, and I have successfully used God’s word and other weapons of warfare to beat him down and reaffirm God’s truth. Boom! The example of Jesus being tempted in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 4) teaches us how to fight in spite of our feelings. Victory through Christ Jesus is guaranteed. So, below are 8 scriptures to help you fight and keep you from going back to nowhere-land.

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 (NIV)

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
– 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)

I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
– Psalm 119:11 (ESV)

Stand-fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
– Galatians 5:1 (NKJV)

Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
– Luke 9:62 (NIV)

As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness.
– Proverbs 26:11 (NLT)

Anyone who continues to live in Him will not sin. But anyone who keeps on sinning does not know Him or understand who He is.
– 1 John 3:6 (NLT)

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.
– Romans 8:38 (NLT)

Writing these scriptures out alone has been helpful, but inserting my name in the passages and pinning them in frequented areas, reciting them aloud as prayers and affirmations (as a means of downloading them internally), has helped tons! When the word is in you, the Holy Spirit has something to recall. Whenever negative thoughts pop up, your spirit man can pop up too. Now, that’s how you shoot your shot! If you’ve ever been haunted by the past – Go ahead and sling these rocks at your giant. They do fall (1 Samuel 17:49).

Love you.

©2019 • Chan’tel Nikole Grayson

Trusting Doors #trust #faith 

I went to Sprouts Farmers Market a couple of weeks ago. It was all a normal trip, and nothing happened out of the ordinary…until I went to exit and approached the automatic sliding doors. They didn’t open.  I didn’t think much about it initially.  I just accepted the fact that they were having mechanical difficulties on this day, and so I gently pried the doors open, exited, and went on my merry way.

As I drove off in my car, I thought about those doors again.  I wasn’t frustrated, but I recalled that this was actually the second time this week that automatic sliding doors didn’t open as they should.  Though both times I wasn’t making haste enough to run into the doors, I wondered who would have.  I couldn’t shake the thought of how many of us trust mechanical doors to open, almost to a fault.  I thought of how many of us walk into elevators, confidently expecting them to open and close, take us up and down and on to our designated floors.  I thought about how many of us trust creations far more than we trust our faithful Creator.

It is too often that we rely solely on what is seen, when the power of our unseen God is insurmountable.  Though His thoughts and ways are higher than ours, and not always making sense to our finite human minds (Isaiah 55:8), He can be trusted more than anyone or anything!  Hallelujah!  Be Encouraged!  Unlike unreliable doors, God has no difficulty in coming through for us.  He does not malfunction, He does not slip up, and gratefully He never takes a day off.  Hallelujah again!  Thanks to Jesus we can approach God with faith and confidence.  And when we walk thoughtlessly through automatic sliding doors that open with ease, may we be reminded of how similarly, if not more, our trust should be in the God who made them.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.
– Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

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Dismissed by a Righteous Judge #Judgement #Mercy #Repentance 

A couple of months ago I traveled through a small rural town of Texas on my way to visit family in Oklahoma. It was good ‘ol Omaha! I quickly went through it and received a speeding citation that would cost me nearly a third of the town’s population in dollars. Dangit! I would so prefer buying an airline ticket.

The police officer who pulled me over asked, “Do you plan on being in the area any time soon?” I wasn’t sure if he was slightly ridiculing me after viewing my address on my driver’s license or what, but I chuckled aloud at the ridiculousness of his question, and belted a “No way!” out of my mouth. My response clearly caught the officer by surprise. He tilted his head like a bewildered puppy and asked, “No way?!”  I chuckled and repeated again, “No way.” In disregard, he proceeded to make hand gestures that gave directions to the courthouse around the corner, where I would be required to make an appearance. I thought to myself, “just give me my ticket, dude”, and he did. Insert low-pitched bitter growls and rolled eyes here.

I went on my way, and with the hour left to drive before arriving at my family’s home, I began reflecting and praying. I confessed my wrong to God. I was speeding and I did rightly deserve that citation regardless of how badly I didn’t want to attend court or pay anything. I was disobedient to His instructions to abide by the law of the land that I inhabit (Romans 13). My beef was not with the city of Omaha, my beef was with God. I pled for His grace and mercy. I knew there were steps that I would have to take to resolve this, but the first step would be to face things with God before attempting to handle them with man.

We don’t get to choose what is considered right, but we do get to choose whether or not we adhere to what is.

After later reading the fine print on my ticket, I discovered that court was only held the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month between the hours of 5 pm – 10 pm. Great. Oh…come…on, Omaha! I had the option to write a letter to the judge to request dismissal by a non-guilty plea, or to request a reduction by admission of guilt and completion of a grueling online driving course. I could lie and plead non-guilty out of fear of my consequence and fight this alone, or, I could tell the truth and hope that God would fight for me and with me. I chose the latter.

I wrote an honest letter and attended court accordingly. Thanks be to God, I found favor with the judge who was pleased with all of my efforts to resolve the matter! Not only was my ticket dismissed in entirety, but because I had to appear in court on an awkward 3rd Wednesday in the evening, it led to an extension of my stay, and the enjoyment of more time with my family. I was even reconciled with an estranged family member during this trip!

God has an amazing way of making things better than before. He has an amazing way of righting our wrongs when we acknowledge the truth. He is merciful! He dismissed my sin in heaven, before it was ever dismissed in Omaha. And for that reason, I was at peace with whatever happened thereafter. Knowing that I was pardoned by my Righteous Judge, Christ Jesus was all that mattered.

I encourage you to examine yourself and talk to God about whatever that requires your repentance too. There is nothing too small. In fact, there is nothing small at all. God wants His bride (us) without stain or wrinkle, or any other blemish (Ephesians 5:27). Go to your Righteous Judge in confidence, knowing that Jesus has already made a way for you. His grace is sufficient, and He is ready to hear your case and is able to do exceedingly and abundantly above all you can ask or think.

When the Wound Re-opens #Poetry #Prayer #Healing

When the wound re-opens
It’s a time to heal
In a proper way
While being still

When the wound re-opens
We can’t ignore
The pain that aches
The heart that’s sore

When the wound re-opens
It’s our day
To choose to turn
Whichever way

And dig deeply
To the roots
And to the core
Dig deeper
Deeper
Deeper
MORE

When the wound re-opens
EXCAVATE
And may all we find
Be faced, making no escape

May our ashes turn
To beauty yearned
Filling us with joy
Over lessons learned

When the wound re-opens
Pray for humility
To submit unto
The Potter’s wheel
Pray that all that’s bad
Be chipped away
No matter how much it hurts
Or how much we squeal

When the wound re-opens
Hope for something new
That leaves us unrecognizable in the best of ways
To position ourselves for God’s wonderful plan
And bring Him glory all of our days

© 2017 • Chan’tel Nikole Grayson

Fix your gaze. #focus

The world we’re living in is crazy, and by crazy I don’t just mean Trump in America. We’re in perilous times. As I sit here and reflect on the rough day that I had yesterday, I’m thankful to the Lifter up of my head and my friends and family to remind me where to look.

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. – Psalm 121:1&2 (ESV)

I chose to rejoice and be glad yesterday. I chose to recount my blessings and be grateful for what I know could be so much worse. It’s easy to get distracted by our circumstances and let our emotions take a roller coaster ride. We don’t have to stay there. We can hop off at any moment. God has given us the freedom and strength to fix our gaze on Him instead.

straight-aheadI was thinking…
What if America could no longer rubberneck? What if the tragedies that are so prevalent in other countries were suddenly sweeping our states and dividing like never before? We’re getting there, but FEAR NOT.

It makes me think of how crucial it is that we learn how to fix our gaze on God, now.  That we pass tests, now. That we’re faithful in the small, now. It is crucial that we fall madly in love with the One who first loved us, now. That we become mesmerized by His beauty, NOW! The peace the world gives, my friend, is not everlasting. No matter what, take heart! Don’t you dare turn your head. Keep looking straight ahead at our Prince of Peace who has overcome the world. For when your eyes are on Christ…when the world fails you, you will not fail with it.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. – John 16:33 (NIV)

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14:27 (NIV)

Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil. –  Proverbs 4:25-27 (NIV)

 

I want to leave this world empty. #legacy

Let it be known
That I gave it all I’ve got
And that I kept on walking
Long after I got shot.

They tried to kill me
But He healed me
And now I can surely say
There’s no doubt in my mind
That God isn’t The Way.

He’s not a man that He should lie
So there’s no good excuse
Not to serve Him ’til we die
Not put our gifts to use.

I want to leave this world empty
On time and On “E”
I want to leave this world empty
And full of all of me.

He paid a pretty hefty cost
For our sinful, wretched mess
Then He rose; sent Help
And proceeded to call us blessed.

I thought I lost some here and there
But He said, “Nah, they quit the race.”
He said I chose to keep on running
And they chose to save face.

I want to leave this world empty
Having done all I loved to do
Love God, Love People
Love Me, Love You.

I want to leave flecks of gold
That shimmer within smiles
I want to leave hope, lots of hope
That lasts a great while.

I decided long ago that…
I wanted to leave this world empty
On time and on “E”
So that all would know, truly
That I was naturally me.

So when that day comes…
Let it be known
I didn’t leave early
Let it be known
I hate being late
Let it be known
I’ve waited long enough
For that Oh, so precious date.

© 2016 • Chan’tel Nikole Grayson