Take Shelter Now

Take Shelter Now
Written by Felicia McKnight

Jeremiah 16:19 (New Century Version)
“LORD, you are my strength and my protection, my safe place in times of trouble.”

Yesterday morning, I was getting dressed for work. I had the local news on and the traffic reporter was showing the bad road conditions due to the thunderstorms in the city. There was flooding in some areas of town as it rained the night before. I proceeded to get dressed quicker knowing I was probably in for a long and ugly commute. When I opened my garage and looked outside to my surprise there was not a drop of rain. The ground had some remnants of water still left from the night before, but nothing like the reporters had described. The day light was normal however I could see the grey clouds. When I watched the news I assumed the weather was on the opposite side of town. Little did I know those grey clouds were warning signs for what was headed my way. I proceeded down the interstate. I was about 10-12 minutes from home when it all of sudden became dark. It was 7am, but it looked as though it were 4am. All of a sudden the rain came down with a vengeance. My visibility was low. All of the cars immediately slowed down as we could hardly see in front of us. The winds were high and I could see the water blowing across the road ways. It was beginning to look like a parking lot because we could hardly move. I decided to reach into my purse for my cell phone to see where I had missed the severe weather alert five minutes prior which said “Tornado warning in Cloverleaf. Take shelter now.” I immediately looked around and fear settled in when I realized I was 2-3 miles from the area of town known as Cloverleaf. There was no way I could take shelter now. I looked at the sky and thought to myself this was definitely tornado weather. The dark clouds and the high winds scared me. I looked around and fear became greater. There were 18 wheelers around me. There were several cars on the road. If a tornado popped up it would take a lot of people out including me. The warning said to take shelter now, but there was no shelter to take. I contemplated exiting the highway to head back home. After speaking with my mother I could not head back east. The storm was headed that way and the tornado warnings were also for the city I lived in. I analyzed my situation again. I can’t get off the freeway, there is no shelter to take and the rain and the winds are coming down full force. What do I do? I did the only thing I knew how. I PRAYED and then went with the only option I had which was to ride the storm out to work with the rest of the drivers on the road. I prayed a prayer of protection for myself and the rest of the drivers and proceeded on. Once I got to a certain point down the interstate the rain slacked and the rest of the commute was fair. I made it through the storm and I arrived to my destination safely. Whew!

As you go through life there will be times when the storms of life come at you with a vengeance like the hard winds and the rain. There will be times your vision will become cloudy due to the storms and you can barely see your way through. You don’t know which way to go and how to deal with them. What do you do when the raging storm hits? WARNING: TAKE SHELTER NOW! Yesterday the only shelter I had was my vehicle in which I was still in danger in the event a tornado would have developed. As a Christian you always have a place of safety and shelter to run to when your storm comes. Jeremiah reminds us that God is our strength. He is our protection. He is our safe place in the time of trouble.

Some storms of life seem to take forever to get through. There are times when the enemy will attack with a vengeance. There are times things come up unexpectedly. For some you will receive a warning for and some you will not. There are times your hurricane season has multiple storms named “If it isn’t one thing, then it’s another.” There are times you don’t know when it is going to end and you grow tired. However just as that point of exhaustion comes God is your strength. He gives you the strength to stand and endure.

In order to receive the strength you first have to seek shelter. You have to run to God. John 15:7 NKJV says, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” Run to God by way of His word and know what His word says about the circumstances you are going through. Pray God’s word back to Him. When you pray the word you are asking God’s will for your life. According to His word He will do it for you. It may not be immediate, but don’t give up. Continue to trust God. While you are going through the storm and abiding in God He promises to protect you and keep you safe. He promised that “No weapon formed against you shall prosper.” (Isaiah 54:17 NKJV) The attacks keep coming and hitting hard, but you are protected by our Heavenly Father. Even though you may be walking through the valley of the shadow of death there is nothing to fear. God is with you. His rod and His staff are there to comfort you. (Psalm 23:4)

My drive time to work yesterday morning was longer than normal, because I had to go through the storm. The good news is I eventually made it to my destination. It wasn’t in the conditions I desired. The good news is a tornado didn’t sweep me away and my car did not get stuck in the flood waters. I made it safe to work and into my office building. Whatever storm you are facing today, be encouraged and know that this too shall pass, and you will eventually see the promises of God come to pass. Just like I made it to work, you will make it through the storm. Be blessed and encouraged.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, thank you for being our strength, our protection, and our safe place in the time of trouble. Thank you that just like a weather storm trouble is only a temporary season. Some of us have been in the storm longer than we desire and some of us the rain just started pouring. We ask according to your word that you would give us the strength to endure the storm until we see your promises come to pass in our life. As we abide in your word and commune with you in prayer give us comfort on every side. Be Jehovah Shalom and give us peace that surpasses all understanding. In Jesus name. Amen

Woman of Grace

MWM_May Blog

This month I am honored to be the blog contributor during the Month of May for The Church Without Walls Mosaic Women’s Ministry.

Woman of Grace
Written by Felicia McKnight

When I read the story of Hagar in Genesis 16 I was reminded that as mothers and women in general God has given us so much grace to survive every challenge we will face. Hagar started off as a maidservant. After completing that “other job duty as assigned” she found herself a mother unexpectedly. After Hagar became pregnant with Abram’s first born son, her boss, Sarai, began to despise Hagar. The unwelcomed pregnancy and hostile work environment became overwhelming for Hagar and caused her to run away from home. She ran to the dessert where God appeared to her. God informed Hagar to go back to her hostile work environment, give birth to her son, Ishmael, and because of her obedience she too would reap the promises of increased descendants.

I can relate to Hagar in so many ways. I have been a single mother for fourteen years now. This journey has been an overwhelming one trying to single handedly juggle bills (juggle meaning which ones will I pay with this check), having to deal with maintaining a home, a vehicle, unexpected trials, health issues, job issues, relationship issues, and family issues. I have experienced circumstances hitting me from different directions that have overwhelmed me enough to want to run away from home. I have had my fair share of tears that sent me to the prayer closet.

When Hagar was in her prayer closet, the desert, God sent an angel to minister to her. I thank God for the angels He has sent along my journey. I was raised by a single mother and Growing up I never seen her cry. As I walk this journey too I know she had to experience what I have. Maybe while I was in the living room playing with Barbie dolls and watching the Smurfs she was secretly letting it all out in her prayer closet. I am grateful to have had a woman of strength to show me how to secretly deal with the emotions so that it did not affect my daughter. Along this journey I have had my grandmother, aunts, sister friends, and Titus Two women to encourage me, pray with me and remind me to go back to my circumstances with the strength and promises God has given me.

When life becomes overwhelming the first step is to cry out to God. The Bible instructs us to “cast all of our anxieties, our worries, and our concerns to God because He cares.” (1 Peter 5:7) Yes, even when you think your world has flipped upside down there is one standing by your side that cares about all of it. As I look back over my single mother journey I can see God’s hand of favor and grace. All things have worked out for the good and they will continue to do so, because that is what God promised in Romans 8:28.

Dear Woman of God, I want to encourage and remind you that you are a Woman of Grace. Just like Hagar was blessed out of her storms God too will give you the grace to keep on pressing through it until He blesses you with His promises. God sees your tears and He knows your circumstances. God’s grace is sufficient. Be Blessed and encouraged.

I invite you to click on the link to visit the blog and participate in the discussion questions.

Mosaic Women’s Ministry Blog Website: http://www.churchwithoutwalls.org/blog
* What actions do you take when life becomes overwhelming?
* Do you have a support system that you can turn too?
* What advice can you offer to mothers when they reach a point of meltdown?

#BringBackOurGirls

#BringBackOurGirls
#BringBackOurGirls
Written by Felicia McKnight

Exodus 1:22 NIV
“But you may let the girls live.”

Mother’s Day, a day set aside to honor mothers and the blessing of Motherhood. I had the opportunity to spend the day with my mother and my daughter. Next to salvation motherhood is one of the greatest gifts God could have given me. There is nothing like loving a child unconditionally. Motherhood is also my sensitive spot. I can’t imagine anything or anyone harming my daughter. Most of us can agree that When something happens to our children it cuts the heart and the soul.

Today I’m blessed to have my daughter sitting just a few feet away from me as I write however there are 276 mothers not so fortunate. My heart aches for the 276 mothers who did not have a pleasant Mother’s Day. My heart aches for the 276 Mothers who are helpless and don’t know where their daughters are at. Today Feevotionals partners with the world by bringing awareness to this situation. Today we fight for these young ladies by pulling out the weapons of warfare, PRAYER. James 5:16 reminds us that “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”

We can talk and debate all day about where these young ladies are and how there seems to be more resources looking for the missing Malaysian flight then there are looking for these young ladies. Let’s stop the chatter and PRAY! Be reminded today that we serve a sovereign God who sits up high and looks down low. He knows where these young ladies are and by the power of prayer and touching and agreeing let’s believe by faith for the safe return of these 276 Nigerian girls.

Let us pray….
Heavenly Father we magnify your name on today. Lord we worship you on today. We adore you on today. We praise you on today. We thank you for being a sovereign God. We thank you for being the Most High God. We thank you that you are a God that sits up high and lifted up. We thank you that you see all and we thank you that you know all. By faith today we believe that you know where all 276 Nigerian girls are located. You know them by name. You know everything about them. We lift these young ladies up to you on today. We pray for your hedge of protection to cover them and to keep them safe. We pray that you would impart on the girls heart to call on the name of Jesus, because at the name of Jesus demons tremble and they have to release these girls. We bind the attack of the enemy on their lives and declare over these girls that no weapon formed against them shall prosper. We pray that you be these girls almighty fortress and their refuge. Lord we pray that you would command your angels over these girls to guard them and keep them and protect them. We stand on Exodus 1:22 that these girls will live. We declare over their lives that with long life they shall live. Lord we pray like Paul and Silas. When they prayed the jail house shook, prison doors were open, and chains were broken. Today we pray the prayer of agreement that the enemy that has these girls bound will lose them on today. As we touch and agree on today by faith we pray for a safe release and return of these young ladies to their families. Pharaoh wanted to kill all of the boys in Egypt but you spared Moses’s life. King Harod wanted to kill all of the boys in Bethlehem, and you spared the life of Jesus. By faith we are standing in agreement that you would spare the lives of these 276 girls. Let them come out untouched and unharmed. We lift up their family and loved ones and pray that you would surround them with strength, peace, and comfort as we wait on your divine timing to bring back their daughters alive and safe. We know that nothing is too hard for you Lord. Nothing is too impossible. Nothing is too difficult for you. We are reminded today that the enemy was defeated at the cross. The enemy has no power or authority over these young ladies life. We pray your peace over their minds right now. We pray that these young ladies will keep their minds stayed on you. According to your word you said that if they keep their minds stayed on you that you would keep them in perfect peace. Now to you who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all we could ask or imagine we believe for a praise report to come soon. In Jesus name. Amen
#BringBackOurGirls

Lessons From A Maidservant – Part 3

Lessons From A Maidservant – Part 3
Written by Felicia McKnight

Genesis 16:9 NLT
The angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit to her authority.”

So far we’ve learned several lessons from maidservant, Hagar:
Lesson #1 – Know When It’s Time to Flee
Lesson #2 – Sometimes You Just Need a Break
Lesson #3 – God Will Send an Angel

Today Hagar teaches us Lesson #4 – Sometimes You Have To Go Back.
In Genesis 16 Hagar was in a difficult work environment that caused her to become so frustrated that she left. She ran away to the desert. She was distraught and obviously in some type of emotional pain. Hagar soon realized she was not alone and that God sent an angel to minister to her and to reveal God’s will for her life.

The angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit to her authority.” Then he added, “I will give you more descendants than you can count.” And the angel also said, “You are now pregnant and will give birth to a son. You are to name him Ishmael (which means ‘God hears’), for the LORD has heard your cry of distress. This son of yours will be a wild man, as untamed as a wild donkey! He will raise his fist against everyone, and everyone will be against him. Yes, he will live in open hostility against all his relatives.” (Genesis 16:9-12)

Several years ago I went from having the best boss I have ever had to having the boss from hell. She was a micro manager and knit picked everything. I could hardly get my work done, because this woman was always asking me the status of an assignment. At that time I also had an amazing co-worker who likewise was mistreated and unfortunately she terminated employment leaving me stuck in the work place with the micro manager. I was expected to do the job of two people in the same amount of time. One of my job duties was to approve employee’s interim pay at the organization which was additional compensation for handling the job of two people when they were short handed due to leaves or terminations yet I was not offered any additional compensation. I constantly got in trouble because I was not moving fast enough for management. I recall I was written up for an incident that happened three months prior to the write-up. I could not remember the incident and leadership would never tell me which employee the incident occurred with so I was truly thrown an unexpected blow. I had enough with that place. I was fed up. I would go home crying every day. I was a single mother and this was my only source of income. I couldn’t quit or else the bills would not get paid. What was I to do? I was frustrated and like Hagar I ran away from the job. I was able to go on a paid leave of absence for a short period of time. I got a much needed break and God finally showed up and opened the doors for interviews. While I was on leave I received a job offer. As much as I wanted to call that place and tell them I wasn’t coming back I still chose to do the right thing and go back with a two week’s notice.

I’m sure you are wondering why Hagar and I would choose to go back to these hostile work environments. Why would I be kind enough to give a two week’s notice when I had a new job offer already lined up? For me going back showed strength and endurance. It displayed that I was not a quitter and that I was going to finish that difficult fight to the very end. It showed that I was able to do the right thing by giving a two week’s notice and giving the department the opportunity to hire new staff while I was still present. When I returned I showed who really had the power.

Why, would the Lord tell Hagar to go back to a hostile work environment and to be around people who do not care about her? Why would God tell Hagar to submit to people who are constantly mistreating her? Well here is what I learned from Hagar and from my own personal story.

When we go back we take the power away from the enemy. Real power is when you can stare your enemy in the face and know that no matter what they do they can’t break you and they can’t run you off. If we choose to leave it should not be because the enemy ran us off, but because our departure is God’s divine timing.

When we go back we recognize God is bigger than our circumstances. Remember Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? They were so confident of who their God was that they were able to talk back to a King. They knew no matter what was about to happen that the God they served was able to deliver. This is the same attitude we have to face when we are in challenging circumstance. No matter how difficult or impossible or dead it may seem remember that God is greater that the problem and He is able.

When we go back we have to obey what God has commanded us to do and trust that there is a promise to follow. God told Hager to go back and submit and in turn there was a promise. To have to go back and surrender to Sarai means Hagar completely trusted God. She surrendered the situation to Him. That is what making God Lord of our lives is all about. It’s about surrendering to Him even in the toughest of times. It’s about surrendering our will and our desires. It is about trusting God when it doesn’t make sense. It does not make sense to go back and work for someone who dislikes us and mistreats us. What would have made sense is while Hagar was in the desert crying God was behind the scenes changing Sarai’s attitude. That is not the type of God we serve. It is not always that simple. His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. When it doesn’t make sense to us it makes perfect sense to God. We have to trust that all things are working out for our good!

When we go back God will provide us with everything we need to endure the most difficult times in life. God promised that we would walk through the fire but we would not get burned. God will give us the grace, the strength, the peace, and the endurance we need to stand through difficult times until He is ready to deliver us. The same God who sent an angel in the desert to be with Hagar is the same God who will be with her when she returns to Sarai’s house.

When we go back the turnaround is the turning point. When we go back we do so with new strength, determination and faith. Many times the break gives us the refreshing and the spiritual perspective we need. When we turn around and go back God has us right where He wants us. We are in a surrendered place and now God can perform His miracle.

I recall one time I had a dream that I was trying to get somewhere. In the dream I exited a major highway and I attempted several short cuts that continued to get me lost. Finally, I decided to get back on the highway and it was a straight shot to my destination. When I arrived to my destination I was in a place of peace. I was worry free. When I took the route I was supposed to and when I was at the place I was supposed to be at, then my breakthrough came and I received the miraculous answers to my prayers.

This was just a dream, but it was also symbolic in that we can’t always run and take short cuts in difficult situations. When we allow God to lead us along the journey He will guide us on the exact journey He desires us to take. When we are stressed and worrying and trying to take matters into our own hands that is the equivalent of being lost and taking short cuts. It gets us nowhere. But when we allow God to lead the way He will take us to a place of perfect peace. When we are where God wants us to be, then He can release a breakthrough in our circumstances. Be blessed and encouraged.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, grant us the wisdom to know when we have to go back and face difficult situations. Give us the strength to trust you and to know that no problem is too difficult for you to handle. By faith we believe you are greater than any challenge we face. By faith we believe that you are a God that will deliver us from the hand of the enemy. By faith we believe that all things are working out for the good. In Jesus name. Amen