Sweet 16: A #Reflective #Poem and #Prayer for a #HappyNewYear

Whew.

You grew me up sweetly through the times that were bitter. I mean, I moved four times, wrote two books, and forgave seventy times seven, all while being a sitter.

Instead of buying, I traded. ‘Cause the new things I wanted didn’t cost dollars, they cost souls; something way more valuable than silver and gold. It’s just a fresh perspective on a word that is old.

Death was but a shadow that couldn’t stand the light, so we won. The truth? It made me free to soar over seas, flowers, and trees, pollinating like bees, please believe I ain’t the same because of it; see me. You will…when you start seeing Him. When He opens your eyes and your vision ain’t grim. It will be beautiful, and I smile at the thought of being a part of the giving of the gift that I got.

Like Mali said, “I fight for you, I’m right for you, I’m here on purpose”. And I’m not waiting to the end…of the year for the storm to be over and your heart to repent. By faith, I welcome the rainbows now, and before ’17 comes, I pray God makes it happen somehow.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
– 2 Chronicles 7:14

© 2016 • Chan’tel Nikole Grayson

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Can’t We All Just Get Along?! #Harmony #Unity

As I browse through the timelines and hashtags of social media, I see so many saints distracted. I see celebrity headlines and discussions highlighting Kirk Franklin, Kanye West, Kylie Jenner, Meagan Good, Donald Trump, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera! *gag*. When will it end?! It’s always someone, and if we’re not careful when engaging, it certainly has the potential to destroy our fruit.

weapons of mass destructionLook here: All of these people need Jesus, just like you and I. Where’s the remnant that is praying for them instead of reading and talking about them? We don’t need to indulge past the headlines to do that. Forget pop culture. Where is Jesus culture? Must we mix?!

 

Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” – 2 Corinthians 6:17 (NLT)

Let’s be honest, some of us are just feeding our flesh with these discussions. We gave up “Scandal”, but we’re still “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” (no shade, I used to keep up with them too! lol). This type of chatter just fuels our sinful nature and employs gossip and drama as horrible department managers within our temple. We live in an era where fasts from social media are at times legitimately necessary, and sometimes harder than fasts from food! Believe me, I know. Been there, done that, do that!

 

blah blah blahI see Christians debating over justifiable topics too like what day the Sabbath is, or whether or not Christmas and Easter are pagan and should be celebrated; *sighs* my spirit is grieved. Meaningless! Meaningless! Meaningless! Here’s a suggestion: Keep every day holy. When we feud with one another we don’t represent our new spiritual identities in Christ. No! We shine light on our carnality, and remind the rest of the world why He was crucified.

Now, I’m not saying shut up and don’t ask anything. Questions are the devil, chile! Noooo. But, I do recommend that we check our heart motives for asking, stop relying so heart-check.jpgheavily on people for the correct answer, and we stop judging one another based on what we believe is the wrong answer. It’s meaningless!

This reminds me of the historical bickering in Paul’s day regarding the circumcision of Gentiles. Remember? This is what he had to say about that:

So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law. Listen! I, Paul, tell you this:
If you are counting on circumcision to make you right with God, then Christ will be of no benefit to you. I’ll say it again. If you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised, you must obey every regulation in the whole law of Moses. For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace. – Galatians 5:1-4 (NLT)

Let’s forget about the legal nonsense and keep God’s grace in the race! Our reasons for wanting an answer should be purely for the edification of the church. In all honesty, some answers will likely vary from person to person, or season to season. I’m ever discovering that God is much more out of the box than I think. If you’re hollering that Jesus is the reason for the Christmas season, yet you don’t feel like it’s Christmas unless you have a tree, that’s a heart matter to address. Do you see what I mean, here? It’s much deeper, and what may be sin or inappropriate for me, may not be sin or inappropriate for you.  The heart of the matter and the preservation and growth of our relationship with Christ should be priority.

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. – Philippians 2:13 (NLT)

So, How about we put an end to all of this dissension and choose to agree to let God reveal His truth to us and make us right? There is power in that agreement. We don’t have all of the answers. We are but little children seeking an Almighty Father for keys to His Kingdom.

 Let us remain focused on this simple sum of instructions given by our Savior:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. – Matthew 22:37-39 (ESV)

i'm for truthA person who loves God keeps His commandments (See John 14:15), and a person who is filled with The Holy Spirit, and heeds the convictions of the Spirit, wants to be right for the right reasons. They don’t want to argue. They just want the truth to win, and one who loves God will rejoice when it does! ( See 1 Corinthians 13:6)

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. – John 16:13 (ESV)

Some things we don’t need to know, but the things that we should, I pray that the Lord would reveal them to us, so that we won’t suffer ignorantly due to lack of knowledge (See Hosea 4:6). If you happen to be that person in the body of Christ that The Holy Spirit reveals it to for us all, please do share it in love. In the meantime, the only question I have is…Can’t We All Just Get Along?!

#Life, #Love, & #Heaven on #Earth

Hello loves! It’s been a while, I know, but good news…I’ve been growing tons and have a bit of it to share.  Since my last post, I’ve raised my standard of living quite a bit with attention to a couple of key areas that I’ve outlined. Now, let’s see if I remember how to write ha.

I feel the need to share this because I think people frequently admire or develop a bit of hate towards a person based on what we do not know. We covet another’s physical and spiritual gifts and blessings, without fully understanding why they have what they have or what they did to get where they are.  Few are ready and willing to make the necessary changes to come higher.  Noses get turned up at those with high standards, while bitterness festers in their heart as if salvation isn’t free. Friends, you have to know and embrace this as truth: You can have as much of your inheritance that you tap into. To whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48).  This is simply how I carry my cross, today.  Carry yours as you see fit.

music_notes“…Day and night they never stop saying:
‘Holy, holy, holy,

is the Lord God Almighty,’ 
who was, and is, and is to come.”

~ Revelation 4:8b (NIV) ~

MUSIC…

For years one type of fast that I have partaken of is a fast from secular music where for a period of time: days, weeks, month(s) progressively, I would replace all secular music I habitually listened to with worship music honorable unto the Lord (i.e. Contemporary Christian, Gospel, Christian Rap, etc.). As these fasts became easier, I noticed during them, that I also became stronger. I saw clearer. I heard better. I was further from the world and I was closer to heaven. That’s the goal, right?

This may come to a shock to some of you, but the angels in heaven are focused on eternal things that matter. They aren’t bumpin’ your favorite Kanye, Jay Z, or Beyonce jams. The fallen “angels” on earth however, are producing them (but that’s another post).

Media comes at us with junk whether we want to consume it or not. At some point we have to take responsibility for what we choose to filter.

Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own, You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own]. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body.

~ 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (AMP) ~

So, in raising my standard of living and finding a new expression of love for My Abba, aside from minimizing television watching and narrowing selections, I have chosen to toss out all of my secular music that does not honor God or heaven. Now this doesn’t mean I don’t sing a random hook that’s already been downloaded in my spirit or bop my head while shopping, but hopefully one day, I will be able to be a bit more “not of this world”. I’m a work in progress. For now, I am proud of me. The praises of God are considerably outweighing any other sound in my life. He is worthy.

Since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting.

~ 2 Corinthians 4:8 (AMP)~

CAREER/EDUCATION…

I work in the legal industry, and recently, I was accepted into an outstanding paralegal program at a well approved university. Exciting, right? Yoddler_359_LargeYes, God is so kind.  God is kind because he honors our requests even when they are not necessarily best. The very day that I received acceptance, I was up late sharing intimate time with my Beloved, studying His word, and embracing His love. I suddenly became overwhelmingly saddened by the thought that in a few months, the bible I was holding would soon be replaced with a textbook. It would only be a year, but I couldn’t help but wonder in anguish how many souls that meant. In fact, I was praying fervently for a precious one that night!  If but one was lost, my heart would hurt forever.  The financial debt for career advancement was worth it, but the spiritual debt for potential hell advancement of God’s people? That is not.  One soul is too many.

 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?

~ Matthew 16:26 (NIV) ~

I made the best destiny decision of my life that night. I decided to seek first, the kingdom of God, and trust God to add unto me the rest (Matt. 6:33). My heart is still smiling at this decision and the idea of my Heavenly Father receiving maximum glory for all of “my” accomplishments. I’m just striving to get more names written in the book of life.  I’m going hard before I go home.

“LOVE LIFE”…

I am mentioning this because my “love life” for lack of a more fitting description, seems to always be an amusing blog segment and I dare not let ya down haha. I am happy to say that I am currently single and open to being pursued. Last year, I was crushing, but not open, and I requested in hopes of not limiting God, just one solid year to just establish myself all-around. He has granted my request. He’s so sweet like that.

loveDelight yourself in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

~ Psalm 37:4 (ESV) ~

All conceit aside, I am the strongest and most beautiful that I have ever been. The more I learn of my God, I learn of myself, and love me. I don’t hold the hands of time, but now seems like a pretty good one. In Christ I am assured that there is no need to rush on my end, for there is no delay on His; love is patient.

 [He said] I charge you, O you daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or by the hinds of the field [which are free to follow their own instincts] that you not try to stir up or awaken [my] love until it pleases.

~ Song of Solomon 2:7 (AMP) ~

#SALVATION on repeat. #Grace

“For The Lord takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation.” – Psalm 149:4

I was maybe 10 years old when the teaching of my parents transformed into truth for me.  “I got saved”, or accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior and professed that I have come to believe in Him.  I believe He was who the bible said He was and that because He is, I am.  Baptism quickly followed, and communion became a sanctified practice.  Today, the more I grow in the Lord, the more profound his revelations are (and I realize I’ve known nothing lol), and the more I come to realize that salvation isn’t a one time thing.  I don’t know about you, but I want more of Him, I want to be made whole, I want to be healed, I want to be right in His sight, I want Him to look at me and not help but crack a smile and shake his head like, “That’s my girl!”.  I want to be faithful unto Him.

Salvation in my life is on repeat.  Every single time I experience God’s love through His ever so sufficient grace, boom…I’m saved yet, again!  Every single time I repent, boom, there goes my favorite jam!  (ha!)  Every single time he corrects, chastens, and loves me, BOOM!  It’s easier to love someone who in your eyes doesn’t deserve it when you think about how God doesn’t withhold a drop of his love for you.  There’s nothing that we could do or not do to make him stop.  Gosh, that’s amazing! Hellooo..is this mic on? lol

My heart is full of gratitude.  I never knew there was a love like this before. I can honestly say that I know, that I know, that I know, that Jesus’ blood was shed for ME. I know, that I know, that I know, that Jesus is mine. I am here for His delight and find delight in that truth!  What an honor to be called His.  What an honor to work for Him.  What an honor to perform on a daily basis, worshipping in all we do.  What an honor!

“My beloved is mine, and I am His…” – Song of Songs 2:16

I heard this beautiful song at church last week and my spirit can’t stop singing and dancing to it.  I’ve been singing it in the shower, the hallways, the car, you name it.  I thought I’d share it with you today. Have a fabulous weekend enjoying Him!

Check, please! #HeartCheck

 

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. – Proverbs 4:23

I had a vision last night and as much I don’t want to admit this gory thing…Isn’t that what a blog is all about?

In the vision The Lord showed me my heart and half of it was protected, but the other half was kind of outside of me and gnat-like bugs were swarming around it like it would an open piece of fruit. The sight of it was almost unbearable! My spirit squirmed. Gross! How could that be me?! I knew it was though, and I wanted out of this scary vision.

I knew what it meant. I needed to guard my heart. I needed to re-check myself. I needed to realize that I’m not exempt from the toxicity of this world. I am now convinced, and rightfully so, that we are all at risk for contamination if we don’t guard what flows into our hearts. For what flows in, will certainly flow out!
I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford it. Too many souls at stake.

I’m not a big t.v. person, but lately I’d been watching a lot more of it. Nothing crazily inappropriate or anything, but a little unwholesome stuff here and there, easily equates to a lot (or enough) of wholesome stuff! As I reflect…I then found myself listening to a little more secular music, reading a little more magazines, being entertained by a little more of those tweets and few more of those Instagram pics…Are you getting me?

Worldly stuff. Stuff that matters none! I’m so sick of “stuff” that I could just burn my phone right now! Ok, maybe not…I need it to blog 😉

…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:16

As Christians, we need to make sure that we’re not blending with the world. Because when we do, we stop trending in the Kingdom of God. No bueno! Check, please!

Dreams, visions, and prophecies, are nothing to be worried or afraid about, especially when you have an active prayer life. I believe they’re just another form of God’s little ways of putting us earthly folks in the know of what’s really going on in the spirit-realm. They’re his way of putting things on our radar and prayer list. It’s God’s way of supporting us and showing us just how much he cares. When this happens, we should prayerfully seek Him for clarity and understanding.

I tend to get hard on myself, but you know what, as long as we live lives of repentance and accept the fact that we will always fall short. When we delight in The Lord and strive to get it right, whatever our “it” is, He will be honored.

Remember that Jesus paid our gory bill long ago. All we have to do is say, “Check, please!” and be willing to let Him pay yet again.

Love you and praying for us both!

“It wasn’t Him, It was me!” #Easter #Resurrection #Christ

And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.  He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. – Matthew 28: 5-6 (KJV)

This past weekend I’ve experienced many different emotions as Resurrection Day approached.  I woke up Sunday excited.  I smiled and whispered to myself, “He has risen!”  I quickly then found myself crying tears of gratefulness for His bountiful sacrifice, and only moments ago, tears of sadness regarding all He endured.

Tonight, The History Channel aired “The Bible” movie and I engrossed myself in one of the clips nailswhere Jesus was being beaten.  After two lashes with a whip, my face was covered in tears.  I had enough of watching Him endure that, and just when I was going to change the channel, a still small voice said, “Keep watching, He’s had enough too.”  It’s not just a story…this is my history.  I could only imagine how much physical and emotional pain He went through for you and I.  Just thinking about the greatest pain I’ve ever felt and the worst circumstances I’ve ever experienced and knowing that He’s got me beat, and easily is a heavy thought!

As I watched My Savior, my heart hurt.  My heart hurt so badly.  It was so difficult to sit there and watch my innocent loved one (on a television screen, let alone in person!) being tormented, bruised, beaten, and nailed – no anesthetics, and all for an undeserving me.  Everything in me wanted to get up and run towards him.  Everything in me wanted to fess up and say I’m sorry.  Everything in me wanted to yell, “It wasn’t Him, It was me!”.

I’m still very emotional after watching, but that will pass – I just hope and pray that I’m forever sensitive.  The Holy Spirit reminded me of a song called “Amazing Grace”.  Definitely far from making it on my favorites list ha, but after listening this time, I have a new-found appreciation.  This is what those people were singing about!  That goes to show that, until you know what something means, something will mean nothing.

Amazing Grace

So, Happy Easter…Resurrection Day…Sunday…31st…whatever!  It doesn’t matter what we call it, as long as we know what it means :).  Love you.

 

No worries, I’m fine. #Praise #Worship

“But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.” – Psalm 22:3

I’m on my lunch break and I’m really full.  Not full of food though (Although it sure was bomb!).  I’m full of Christ.  His love overwhelms me — all parts of Him and who He is.  Oh, my beloved, how grateful I am that you are mine, and I yours!  We praise You on today for your goodness, mercy, and unfailing love!

Like I said, I’m on my lunch break.  I’m in tears and my make-up is officially jacked.  No worries, I’m fine.  As usual, I’ve been basking in the presence of the Lord, chatting it up with King Jesus and loving me some Him.  I’m really full.  Now I can let it out like I want to.  As I awakened this morning, I invited the Lord into my room with song.  I sang, “You Are Good” in my crusty, not-so-Kari Jobe-like morning voice.  (I overuse that word ‘crusty’ by the way) The Lord loved it too.  I love that He loves me.  He saw beyond the voice and zoomed into the thought, the effort, the motive, the heart.  That’s what counts.  I began with this part of the song…

Everyday I’ll awaken my praise and pour out a song from my heart

You are good, You are good, You are good and your mercy is forever

I absolutely love praising God.  It comes easy and gives me great joy to do so.  But I do understand that what comes easy to some doesn’t come as easy for others.  I also understand that practice and desire to overcome – the decision to overcome, has power.  At times when I’m worshiping with the music ministry, I’m amazed at how some can just sit or stand (at least they’re standing) and watch you praise the Lord.  No participation.

 Your breakthrough is never contingent on the praise of someone else, and God’s habitat is only as large as you build it. 

Big praise, produces a big environment, making room for a big God.  That’s what we want.  Kick rocks Satan!  If you’re not used to opening your mouth and praising God, that’s okay.  But I can assure you that the enemy would love for you to never get used to it.  There’s power in your praise; power in words period.  Praise tears down walls, kills giants, and socks the devil in throat.  You don’t have to start with a song like I did this morning.  You can start with a “Thank You Lord”, an “I love you Jesus”, a “You are worthy God”.  Better yet, start with the highest praise – Hallelujah!  You can start now.  Trust me, like you and I, He loves to be wooed and will express His gratitude.

I can’t speak for the praise of anyone else, but this is a little about mine.  (Not really sure why I’m sharing it, but let’s roll with it).

My heart often speaks to the Lord in tears. My most deepest and heartfelt prayers for you, others, and myself are in the form of tears. Whatever it is that I’m praying and seeking God for, I want it so deeply, so badly, that it moves me to tears.  Each drop, a petition.  Then at other times, my most deepest and heartfelt thanks and gratitude unto God for all He has ever done and is forever doing presently and in advance is also in the form of tears.  I have huge faith and I truly believe that every petition that I’ve launched into the heavens in Jesus’ name, I do have. I see it in the spirit realm and hold onto His promises.  No take-backs, just miracles.  I’m speechless and in awe, and I cry.  Each drop, a thank you for [insert petition here].  This sometimes turns into a shout or jump (and a crazy ‘Oh my gosh is she okay?’ look to be actually asked later smh).  Shout out to the Holy Spirit for that one.  I’m not complaining.  I’m not embarrassed.  It’s all good with me, because my God is all good to me.  This had to be where the phrase “Oh My Goodness” came from lol.

At church I love sitting at the end of the row (doesn’t happen all the time, but I do). I like it because I can scoot over near or into the aisle and not allow for my praise to be hindered in any way.  Arms out as far as I can stretch them? yes, please (that’s what they’re for).

So the next time you see me praising the Lord, don’t trip.  I’m just  a worshiper washing my Savior’s feet with my tears.  The oil in my alabaster box is costly, my friend.  No worries, I’m fine.