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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My Trip to Paris #newbeginnings #love

I met him for the first time a month ago…in Paris, of all places! I arrived first. Hours later, a little past midnight, he arrived too. As he approached, I was amazed. He looked exactly like his pictures, and I found him to be so handsome; my handsome. Tears fell instantaneously at the sound of his voice. My prayers (and the prayers of many others) had been answered. Finally, he was here and the wait was over. *sigh*…FINALLY.

It’s the dream of many girls to fall in love in Paris. Who would have thought that I would be one of the blessed ones it actually happened to?! I would say it was love at first sight, but that only sounds nice.  The truth is, I loved him before we ever met face to face. I had talked to him and prayed for him countless times. Seeing him just changed my life forever. Now, I might be showing my age here, but I undoubtedly have a greater appreciation for the song, “I Knew I Loved You” by Savage Garden now.

I also have a greater appreciation for God’s sense of humor, because unlike many other girls, I fell in love in the unforgettable city of Paris, Texas! Below are a few photos of my handsome nephew, Zion. My brother’s new little family of three are all doing well! My sister-in-love did an amazing job delivering this blessing for us! God is good y’all, God is good.

 

 

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

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

 

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Back to Basics.

Society convinces us that we have to be the masters and creators of our own destiny. We are consistently urged and praised for being trendy, multi-tasking go-getters, that ride or die, hustle and flow, with faces that are “beat” and “eyebrows on fleek”. Social, economic, and educational systems have been installed like conveyor belts to strategically move us along through life like lab rats, with little allowance to function outside of them. Death seems to be the only way out, and somehow, we have to get back to the basics. What does God say?

Wait for Him. (Psalm 27:14)
Be Still. (Psalm 46:10)
Trust Him. (Proverbs 3:5)
Seek Him. (Matthew 6:33)
Don’t Worry. (Philippians 4:6)
Your Beauty is Internal. (1 Peter 3:3)

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. – Romans 12:2 (NLT)

I find myself having to ask God often if He is pleased with me, and I find myself often shocked to learn that He is. I’m shocked because His way seems to strike such a nerve with so many people, that even I doubt at times, hmm…maybe I was wrong. I am grateful for his affirmations of the truth. I guess Jesus had the same problem on earth as well. He challenged the thoughts of many hearts and upset a lot of people by bringing His sword.

Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. – Matthew 6:10 (ESV)

The truth forces people to make a knowledge-based choice that they are accountable for on the day of judgement. It disrupts their ignorant bliss, while making God smile. So if the world is unhappy with your decisions, you’re likely doing something right. You go, girl!

Sadly, we have gotten so used to the glory that God has bestowed upon us, that we seemed to have forgotten where it is from. “We woke up like this”, remember? No longer are we humbly asking our Father to move on our behalf. Instead, we are abusing His power and making demands and declarations to get what we want in our own timing. We’re moving on our own behalf, taking matters into our own hands, and although it’s unholy, it works.

“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. – 1 Corinthians 10:23 (ESV)

We have to get back to the basics. There’s much forgiveness to be asked of God and so much unlearning that needs to take place within us, but gratefully Jesus left us with a beautiful gift of help for the process; The Holy Spirit.

The masses want to be rich, and many are slowly dying, trying. We’ve allowed money to come in and take the wheel and drive our actions, when the most liberating path of life is one under the control of God. We all have desires within our hearts— some that God has placed there, and others that we may need to let go, if serving Christ His way is our goal. We must embrace the truth that we all have different God-given portions as well. Our portions may or may not even require that we have certain natural or spiritual gifts. That is the beauty of being a member of the body of Christ; we all have a different beauty mark.

With our variety of beauty marks, we share the beautiful promise that God will supply all of our needs. That’s a promise to rejoice over! Have you ever wanted something that you just didn’t need? I think we all have. I have found that grateful and content people are the richest people! Dollars are on the bottom of their list of things they perceive as valuable. Their enjoyment of life is not contingent on a paycheck or salary. They praise God when they have little and when they have much. They praise God for who He is, not for what He can do for them. They go back to the basics as often as necessary, returning to their first love, Jesus Christ.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)

God is on your side, and I do genuinely believe that one of the many ways that He wants to bless us is financially, but He knows the truth within our hearts and for some us, let’s face it: money is a god in our life. It has way too much value! If God gave us all the money we could ever dream of today, and asked us to give it all to our neighbor tomorrow, He knows that some of us would struggle with obeying His voice. That’s a problem. So, He’s sweet and very patient with us. He tests our faithfulness on smaller scales. He’s a good Father who well prepares and equips His children. So when He pops the question on a larger scale, the truth in our hearts (regardless of the dollar amount) will be, a cheerful “it’s a small thing”. God is a jealous God, so if money means too much to you (and He knows if it does), then the chances of you getting it (from Him) are slim.

Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. – Philippians 3:8 & 9 (ESV)

We have to get back to the basics. At the end of the day, despite the many disguises, there are only two masters to choose from and serve; God or money. Every choice that we make is linked to the servitude of one of those masters. We have to decide if we want to know the truth, and be honest with ourselves about what we’ve been embracing as a lie. It can all be a humbling experience, but it births something beautiful and it is amazing how God’s grace and love remains constant through it all. You can do it.

*Special thanks to the LYBM team for allowing me to contribute this post!

© 2016 • Chan’tel Nikole Grayson

Darn, Mammon! #Money #God

I feel an urgency to write this before I go on any further with my life. That sounds dramatic, I know (lol), but it’s true. I just have to get it out and I have to let you or whoever else that needs to know, know.  It’s about mammon again.

I say again because the Holy Spirit has stirred me to write and discuss this topic before. I’ve been talking about this darn, mammon (money) for a while! The message has been shut up in my bones and maybe this post, just maybe, it will put it all to rest. My most recent post about it can be found here. God used that post as a confirmation to me that He speaks through my writing, and not only to others, but to me! At the moment I needed it most, my own post, God’s own post, encouraged me. Allow me to explain…

30 pcs of silverLast week, the Lord humbled me with the truth that I had been serving a spirit of mammon. Me? Really?  Yea, really. The truth was a hard pill to swallow. I had to crucify my pride before I could ask for it, and I had to truly desire to know it. Knowing it isn’t enough. I then had to accept it and choose who I was going to serve. I was heart-broken and I chose God, and was humbled again by the truth that He had already chosen me. I’m sharing this because I know there has to be someone else out there who was like me. There has to be someone else out there who needs to crucify their pride, ask God the hard questions and turn after learning the truth. That’s what real Christians do. Real Christians are about Christ, not about themselves.

No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. – 1 John 3:9 (NIV)

After I asked God for forgiveness and then deliverance from that darn spirit of mammon, He did it! Yaaaaay! Let freedom ring! Granted, I still have a lot of mess and consequences I still need to deal with, but He’s with me and goes before me as I cross the Red Sea on dry ground. You can’t have me, Pharaoh! What blows my mind is His love for me. He stuck by my side through it all; married to the backslider. His grace and His favor never left me; not once while I wasn’t serving Him! What love is this?! It’s unconditional. It’s agape.

11 Here is a trustworthy saying:
If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
12 if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
13 if we are faithless,
he remains faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.
– 2 Timothy 2:11-13 (NIV)

garden-of-eden

When you ask for forgiveness, you restore yourself back to the Father. You walk in the garden of Eden again like the good ‘ol days; naked and unashamed. You become one again. Know that God is not upset with you about the sins you aren’t aware of. He has always been and will always be for us, even while we are still sinners (See Romans 5:8). He’s already factored in all of our mistakes and all of Satan’s snares. He knows how heavy His cross is, and knows we have the free will to choose to carry it or not. He is pleased when we pick it up from wherever we are. He’s pleased by our attention to things that matter much to Him. Let’s face it: Satan is good at what he does, but God is greater, bigger, stronger, higher than any other. Our God is the Lord of ALL hosts!

My experience convinces me that there are many other Christians out there ignorantly serving a god and requiring salvation again. I share this with you not to incite nosy questions or concerns, but because I love you and I know that what God did for me He can do for you. If you’re serving God wholeheartedly, great! But I thought I was too. I dare you to ask Him. And if you find that it’s not Him that you’re serving, I dare you to turn and restore your relationship with Him. It may be man, it may be fear, or it could be that darn mammon! Eck!

 

#Kingdom #Business is Booming…

Today, I have the most amount of friends that I have ever had in my life at one time. I mean, I have had plenty of acquaintances, but the number of genuine people that have been a friend to me can be counted on one hand. The number is small, and personally, I like it that way, but I feel God stretching me.

I try to give the people and things that I care about my undivided attention. I’m the person who’s not on their cell phone at breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I also don’t like rationing out my love. I like to give out as much as I can for keeps, and for free, if you’re not a pig, that is (See Matthew 7:6). Up until recently (like hours ago recently…this is fresh!), my analytical mind figured a small number of friends would allow me to strategically drop lump sums of love on everybody, resulting in happiness for all. It was a big fat burrito versus numerous street tacos kind of approach. street taco burritoIf you ask me, it’s a brilliantly inappropriate formula that works as long as the numbers don’t increase. But, Kingdom business is booming, and something’s gotta change. Times like these make me happy. They are those sweet and sour crooked path being made straight types of moments, and I’m all about it! I’m noticing that there are suddenly more mouths to feed, and I am but one chef cooking in the kitchen. There are suddenly more sheep to tend and I’m just a little ol’ sheep myself. Kingdom business is booming, and something’s gotta change.

business booming

cut the stringsMany of my friends, like myself, are probably used to my level of availability. Their level of support and maturity vary, but regardless, it comes down to me. I’ve been the kind, single friend with a different type of busyness that truthfully, I haven’t respected much. I’ve had a willingness to be there and set myself aside. Sometimes it’s a labor of love, which is great and necessary, but mostly it’s been a neglectful puppet act that displeases the Lord, and myself. It’s been an unhealthy form of bondage, like all forms of bondage are…unhealthy. My puppet strings are showing, and I can’t do it anymore.

As I sit here on this threshing floor with Jesus, looking at all the dreams and opportunities that He’s dropping on purpose for me, I realize that there is no way I can attain them with this posture. I am weak and I need His perfect strength to make me strong. I need Him to take it from here.

…He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

Lord, please forgive me for taking Your place, and getting in Your way. It is not my job to meet the needs of my friends (or anyone). In fact, there is absolutely no way that I can do it, for You are their Shepherd! I see that Your family is growing. Your church is growing, and many new relationships are forming that I just can’t keep track of. Thank You for every friend, brother, and sister You have blessed me with. I submit them all to you, Father. Past, present, and future. I entrust them all in Your hands, and ask that You would appropriate each one. I am free to do Your will and mine, and I do not have to apologize or feel bad for doing either one, which are truly the same. I love You, and I thank You for bringing this up. Thank You for allowing me to come to the end of myself and recognize the err in my ways and my need of You, My Savior.

I thank You for these important life changes, and I ask that You would help me to set appropriate boundaries and help all who are affected by them to adjust accordingly . Snip my puppet strings! I remove the pressure off of myself to be someone that I am not, and I embrace imperfect me, and choose to love her. *sigh* Thank You for Your burden that is light, and Your yoke that is easy. You are such a Good Father. I ask that You would continue to do what You do, and help me to follow in Your way. In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.