Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware.
One day as I was working hard to cross off things on my ever growing to do list for all the many facets of my life that I manage, this popped up in my notifications in my memories on Facebook:
I can't remember what specifically happened to make me post this, but I do remember my last traditional marketplace job was ALWAYS filled with hate, drama and it sucked the very life from me. Reading this made me even more grateful that I said #nomoredrama and took the leap of faith 7 years ago to live out my destiny in a context that is challenging but yet has left me fulfilled. No, this journey in being a business owner with my spouse hasn't been easy or without its share of risk and uncertainties but I wouldn't go back to the dreading and drama I would feel each day walking into that toxic stifling environment. In 7 years, I accepted the calling on my life; started a viable business that serves a segment of the real estate marketplace; started a ministry that reaches across the nation and abroad; completed a undergrad degree in Religion; and currently completing the last year on my Master of Divinity. Yes, it was the best decision I ever made was taking my Father up on His offer to be a woman focused on living out His purposes thru my vocation.
I am sure you have heard the saying, "I was born to do more than pay bills, go to work and then die." How many of us have felt the sting of these words as we realize that this one sentence summed up how the vicious cycle of our lives. I know I can raise my hands and say that this is were I was 7 years ago. I worked in the traditional marketplace from the age of 18 years old. I was born in a time when we were told to go to school, find a good job so that you can pay your bills and be a productive citizen. You will vacation about 2 weeks out of the year if you have a decent PTO plan and you will also have the 10 paid holidays, 11 if your employer recognized Veteran's Day. Those gifts and talents, that thing you are good at or passionate about, you take that up in your spare time or later in life. But you never have the spare time and your later never comes because we are to tired and to burned out to explore it. We are never really encouraged to utilize our gifts in the marketplace to earn money or a living when we are seeking our vocation in life.
It has been made clear in the Word that every believer has spiritual gifts. Our Creator gives us each a different combination of spiritual gifts, and as we grow in Him the gifts we have develop and mature. In fact, we may even see that the gifts change over time as God uses us in different capacities in the vocations and ministries of our lives. These gifts have been freely bestowed by the grace of God, we didn't earn them, and we certainly don’t deserve them He has gifted us with everything we need to serve Him not just in a church context. He understands our limitations, and by the power of the Holy Spirit within us, He has given each one of us unique gifts that enable us to build up and advance the Body of Christ to glorify Him. Our Lord is gracious! He never asks us to do anything we are unable to do. But He does give us bigger task that stretches and challenges us to show His glory by doing them through us. Its almost as if our Father doesn’t want to leave us any room to say, I really would serve You if I could, but I just don’t have anything to offer. The decision to allow Him to work through us, is the stimulus from which we move from the ordinary lives to the extraordinary.
When we use our gifts wholeheartedly for Him giving Him glory for all He is doing in and through us we experience an extraordinary, joyful life. I can attest to this. I have such joy teaching others in my mentorship and empowerment programs how to heal as I did so that their gifts and talents can emerge into profitable and purposeful streams of income. I am most fulfilled when I see the fruit from our #TrueVisionTour and witness women breaking down barriers and living with #nolimits.
Reading this memory is reminder that everyday I am blessed to see the sunrise and able to work the land I have been given I will #pursueandbuild it with a passion and drive that will be pleasing and profitable to my Father.
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.My covenant sister/partner/friend/homegirl/confidant/rider, Natosha sent me a meme after I taught about our annual Ezra Financial Fast in August, “Whenever you have a need, plant a seed.” She sent this meme as it confirmed the seed that she had planted before our Bible Study for the fast. By the end of our Friday Bible Study she had harvested her seed back plus additional in her CashApp account. Her seed was harvested within two hours to meet her need! The power of the seed is mind blowing.
In the Book of The Beginning, we are given the first glimpse in the power of a seed. Genesis 1:9 that on the 3rd day that God brought the earth together in one place and the waters together in one place and He spoke that, “The earth would bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so." (Genesis 1:11) And the earth did exactly what He commanded, Genesis 1:29-30 says, “Look, I have given you every seed-bearing plant that grows throughout the earth, along with every tree that grows seed-bearing fruit. They will produce your food. I have given all green plants as food…” Then on the 6th day, he made man and then gave man every seed-bearing plant. These passages of scriptures have really resonated with me as I have been believing God will allow me to manifest a seed of life, as well as a harvest from seeds that have been sown for our family, ministry and business, and I have been expecting that harvest with every ounce of faith I have. Moreover, this expectation has brought such deep thought that has harvested rich revelation. A true revelation of God’s Word is the single most important element of a triumphal Christian life.
Both of my grandfathers were farmers. I spent a great amount of time with my paternal grandfather watching him farm our family land in South Carolina. My mother loves plants and flowers; our homes were always overflowing with plants and vegetation growing up. Today at her ministry Beauty for Ashes in Charlotte, NC she has grown fruits, vegetables and plants from the soil of broken bottles and trash. I was exposed to the power of a seed and how our hands can produce literal life or death my entire life! As I have matured in my walk-in life I have grown to be quite the gardener and have learned to appreciate the wisdom and knowledge acquired from my elders and ancestors about seed sowing. The physical act of planting a seed opens your mind and spirit to the power of the Spiritual act of seed sowing. Every action we take in life is a seed. The Word of God often refers to itself as a seed. There are a total of forty-four verses in the New Testament that refers to the Word of God as a seed. The Lord uses these agricultural references to compare His Word as this is a natural law that is unchangeable, not an institution of man. Its immutable. It can't be changed.
I constantly meet people who pray and believe for God’s intervention in their lives but remain frustrated with the results of the Harvest. It’s because they are missing the seeds of conception; they just don’t know the power of the seed. To conceive and give birth the Blessings you need, you must first plant God’s Word like a seed in your heart. Conception cannot take place without first planting the seed in the right season. And the seed must be planted in good soil. This is a valuable lesson I learned from my earthly father, you must open your spiritual eyes and be mindful as to where you sow your seeds if you expect to yield a major return on your investment. The soil of The Sanctuary has been the place that I sow in my time, talent and treasures and I have and like many that are a part of this ministry has yielded an amazing crop.
This system of reaping and sowing cannot be manipulated. You can cheat or manipulate nearly all systems that men have created. The legal system can be beaten, letting the guilty go free. Our educational system can be beaten, passing students who haven’t really learned the material. But you can’t change seedtime and harvest. What you reap you will sow. If you haven’t sown, regardless of how sincere you are or justify not sowing seeds at the proper time, you will not reap a crop. Case in point, NaTosha sowed in the right season, in the right soil and in the right teaching and she received an immediate harvest. Today, I want to encourage those who haven’t been faithful in sowing. If you want to see a need met, sow a seed. And this is just not for finances, I am referring to relationships, heart needs and desires in your life. In need of kindness, sow kindness. In need of goodness, sow goodness. The law of seedtime and harvest cannot be violated.
Then for those who have been faithful in sowing seeds, that have been diligent in nurturing, watering and fertilizing them in the natural and spiritual - especially in the last 8 months it has NOT been for naught or in vain. All of the hard preparation, long waiting have brought us here to the season we have been anticipating - the season of fruitful fulfillment. Finally, the season of fruitfulness is here for those who were faithful in the prior seasons. The expectation of a thousand-fold harvest stands ready to be reaped. This is the season of the manifestation of the seeds of prophetic Word rooted in our Father’s Words that “if you faint not you will reap a harvest” is here! You will become a blessing to others because you sowed out of obedience. This is the season where His Hand and faithfulness will shine forth on your good work even in bad soil. This is a season of thankfulness because you are able to witness the fruit of your labor. I pray for endurance, faithfulness and that you maintain an attitude of gratitude as you walk into your season of epic reciprocity and compensation! What you have sown shall return back to you in GOOD MEASURE.
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I had a family member ask what I did for a living. When I explained all the many facets of what I do for a living, they asked the question again in a different way, “Do I work?” I guess my answer did not meet the traditional views of “working.” As I've spent the last eight years navigating the balance between the distinct parts of who I am; the full-time student pursuing a Master’s Degree of Divinity, a full time Pastor/Mentor/Encourager of a unique virtual based ministry and entrepreneur working to grow a business from the ground up, I’ve experienced this response quite often. And I have learned a few things that might be of encouragement to those living on purpose.
I have learned in the last eight years just how true this statement is, some people will not understand the unique calling on your life, and it is not for everyone to understand. Those people will question you and try to talk you out of pursuing and living in your unique calling. I have also learned they many will not support you. A few will ignore you and will make a concerted effort to not recognize any progress you make. Others will outright criticize you. In times like this you have to pray for grace and discernment to not go in on them and discernment to know who is motivated by ignorant love and who is motivated by malice. There will be times where you have to look the other way. Life is full of well-intentioned people who think they understand you. It's also full of people, like the people who criticize or don’t support the way I have been called to reach people across the world, it isn't really ministry or “church” since church happens in the confines of church building. As you work harder at fulfilling your God-given calling there will be plenty of awkward relationship moments. It may be difficult to cope. You might feel hated, isolated, alone or misunderstood. You might feel confused, frustrated or angry. Your confidence might even take a hit. I encourage you to learn not to major in the minor and keep this in mind, many stood in the crowd mocking our Christ as He hung on the cross. So you are in good company!
They never tried to understand Him or what He came to do. Instead, they labeled Him a lunatic and sentenced Him to death. These are the people of which Christ said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34). It's possible to forgive those who never tried to understand. We must love the well-intentioned but misinformed the way Christ loved those who outright hurt Him. Sometimes it's possible to have close relationships with people who don't fully get who you are but then there are times that you have to press forward to your mark alone. And as you push forward toward the mark and assignment the only person that needs to understand you and be pleased with you is the ONE who created you for the assignment. So as your pressing forward ask Him to give you a Heart like His. A heart that can honestly say “Forgive them, they have no idea what they're doing.” And then continue to press forward thru the mocking, just as Christ did, to fulfill Your calling.
That’s the good news is that the Father ALWAYS puts people in your life to support you, but you don't get to choose where that support comes from. Sometimes you have to go outside the ones you most love in order to find the love you need right now. You have to go outside your normal networks to find your soul tribe and your like-minded folks who will understand you in ways your family and friends can't. It doesn't make them wrong. It doesn't make you right. It just means they don't understand that you are different.
Growing up in church, I heard the seasoned saints sing, "The Road hasn’t been easy. Nobody told me that the road would be easy….But I don't believe He brought me this far to leave me” Many of us can identify with this. We can say as we look back over the years that, “We’ve come too far from where we started from.” And we can only attribute the safe passage on the not so easy road to “grace” and “mercy.”
I am not a stranger to God's grace and mercy. I have seen it show up quite often in the course of my life. Hebrews 13:5 says, “…….For He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” These words have never been more true for me and Monte in the last few months. We have witnessed the dynamic duo, grace and mercy move in an extraordinary way through some pretty turbulent storms along life’s road. And one particular storm we have been in for 18 years. Yes, 18 long years we have prayed for our Father to deliver us from this hard place as it was causing us to be at a standstill in a particular area of our life. And while we were praying about the issue it sent us to the Throne, which is the corner of Grace and Mercy.
The issue we have been dealing with for 18 years was the result of a bad decision in our younger years and although it has hindered us, it could have been so much worse. Mercy is defined as God not giving us what we deserve; a deliverance from judgement. His mercy has been unrelenting and a prophetic fulfillment of what He told us at the beginning of 2018 that we would experience divine acceleration; breakthrough; new beginnings and new doors. And He has guided us out of the mistakes of our past, and right into the fruitfulness of our future. He showered down His gift of mercy and we are certain its because we have been steadfast and did not give up. I am filled with joy that after 18 long years of walking through what most times felt like miry clay our Father has steadied our footing and brought us to safe and sturdy ground. You, see, He has been protecting us and now has lifted us out of eye of the storm and showed us that the storm is OVER NOW! Thank you, Father God for your Son, and Your Spirt!
We are so grateful for our Father‘s mercy and grace!
Gratitude is the normal and natural response to one who has received grace. “Grace” means unmerited favor. Grace is God blessing us despite the fact that we do not deserve it. Actually, “Gratitude” comes from the Latin word for grace (“gratio”), and in this season we are witnessing God bless us "exceedingly and abundantly more than what we can ask, think or imagine" (Ephesians 3:20) with His Grace. On August 1, 2018, after 18 years of praying, many heartfelt conversations asking Him when He was going to do it, in 4 months, move us out of the parking space and lead us to the corner of grace and mercy. And no one can take the credit but Him!
His continued covering of grace and mercy kept us and caused us to learn the greatest lesson as we lived with the ramifications of a bad decision for 18 years and that is that you can’t give up on faith, as faith leads you to the corner of grace and mercy! Our faith is expecting God to do the extraordinary as it’s our faith that moves mountains. (Matthew 17:20) Faith has a confidence in the Words of our Father that His mercy is everlasting, and His grace is sufficient. It's rejoicing through the disappointment and tears. It's being thankful in the midst of the worst storms and knowing that the He will not allow the storm to harm you. It's knowing that while your past may cause them to give you a negative report, His Word will cause every tongue that rises up to be condemned. It's knowing without doubt that He will do what He said He would do.
When you have this type of Godfidence, it doesn’t matter what mistakes you have made, as we all make them (James 3), but if you walk in wisdom and understanding in all your ways He will make your paths smooth and ultimately bring you to the corner of His Grace and Mercy! (Proverbs 3:5-8)
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