Where Do You Fit?

Peace Sign

Where Do You Fit?
Written By Felicia McKnight
7/9/2016

1 Corinthians 12:14-19
For in fact the body is not one member but many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be?

I normally write on Wednesdays, but my heart is heavy. Like many of you I was at a loss of words and grieving for all of the events that have taken place this week as a result of gun violence. The other night I woke up around midnight to see a gazillion notifications on my cell phone that read “multiple Dallas officers shot”. My eyes couldn’t believe what I was reading. Was I dreaming? I turned the TV on to CNN only to discover this was really happening. I watched in disbelief. I was first saddened to hear about Alton Sterling. I wake up the next morning to be saddened once again by Philando Castile and now 12 police officers (5 who lost their lives). Each incident saddened me and angered me. After hearing about the Dallas Police Officers this incident broke me. I couldn’t sleep. I cried all night. I was scared. I cried throughout the morning. I don’t know the last time I cried so much, but my heart aches for the families and for this nation. All I could think is that a war has broken out in our nation. I didn’t know how to pray or what to say. I’ve watched the news. I’ve watched people put blame on guns, police, President Obama and the black lives matter movement. Frankly I am disgusted at all of the finger pointing. The bottom line is NO HUMAN deserves to have their life taken from them for minding their business, having a good time at a club, getting their hustle on, driving down the street, or doing their job to the best of their ability. There is no excuse and no reason. As I pondered on this entire matter the bottom line is EVIL is lurking. EVIL is the root issue. EVIL is what causes people to kill other people for no reason.

As I pondered on what could I do to make a difference my heart lead me to do what I do best is to pray. God placed 1 Corinthians 12 on my heart as people shift the blame and post that we all need “to do something to make a difference.” That is very true. We all need to stand up and do something. But your something may be different from another person’s something. If your something is peaceful protests, then know that your voice makes a difference. If your something is to lobby for change in gun laws, then please know your something makes a difference. If your something is to stand behind the scenes and pray, then know that God hears and your prayers are NOT in vain. Now is not the time for a separation because of how we each choose to make a difference. As the scripture reminds us today our something, our calling, and our gifts on these matters collectively can make a difference if we all unite for the betterment of humanity.

You probably won’t see me protesting and that’s OK. I may not see you praying or writing letters to congress and that’s OK. But whatever we chose to do as long as we are doing it peacefully and with the love of Christ together we can all make a difference on these matters.

I’m tired like the rest of you of picking up my phone and seeing so many breaking news notifications or turning on the news to another tragedy. My heart aches and my heart is heavy! Even as I write this I hurt still and I cry. I just want it all to stop! Just a few days ago we were celebrating the 4th of July Holiday. We were singing about freedom and America the Beautiful. Right now America is broken and hurting. Our nation needs peace again, and love, and justice, and most of all unity.

This is my view, but I know these tragedies can be looked at from so many angles, and that’s what makes us all unique and different.

1 Corinthians 12:27
Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.

I encourage everyone reading this today to do what God created and called you to do. If we each do our part individually we can make a difference collectively as the whole body of Christ!

“May that which unites us be greater than that which divides us.” – Bishop T.D. Jakes

God Bless You. God Bless This Nation. God heal this nation. Be blessed, be encouraged, and be in peace!

I love you and God loves you!

RIP
Alton Sterling
Philando Castile
Brent Thompson
Patrick Zamarripa
Michael Krol
Michael Smith
Lorne Ahrens
Pulse Night Club Victims
All those whose lives have been lost to senseless, unjustified violence


Prayer

Heavenly Father, Our Nation Needs you like never before. We pray for your healing on this nation. We pray for your strength, comfort, and guidance for all those who mourn those whose lives were tragically lost this week. We pray for peace, unity, love, and justice. We pray for your word in Psalm 46:9 to come to pass over our country and that you will cause this war to cease amongst humanity. In Jesus Name. Amen

I Am SECURE in Who I Am

I Am SECURE

I Am SECURE in Who I Am
Written by Felicia McKnight

I recently attended a women’s conference and the theme of the conference was “I AM”. I was reminded at this conference that our words have power and when we speak whatever follows “I AM” is who we will become. As I sat and listened to one of the ministers speak one of the statements she made sat with me and I pondered on it for quite some time as I reflected on who I AM.

“A Woman who is secure in who she is will shout over another woman’s blessing.” ~Dr. Jazmine Sculark

I love this quote! It is so important for us to be secure in who we are when we face various trials and attacks by the enemy. I thought about last year when a new colleague that I was training had some negative words to say about my training style and came at me in an unprofessional manner. Because I am secure in who I am as a professional I knew that nothing was wrong with my training style. Matter of fact I have always received compliments. I thought about earlier this year when a Christian woman attacked my character and the Feevotionals that I put out every week. Because I am secure in who I am I knew that everything she tried to say was simply the opposite of the truth and I didn’t even bother to entertain or have that debate with her. Everything she said I was confident that these Feevotionals and my character has been a blessing to so many. I have so many e-mails and text messages to prove that opinion wrong. I thought about how I was attacked last week by an executive. They made the mistake but they tried to downgrade my work style. Fortunately I knew I had all of my documentation to back up what happened so I was secure that their verbal attack by no means accurately described my work ethics and style. I bring up these examples because, when you are secure in who you are and you know who you are then what others have to say should be the least of your concerns. A good friend helped me with this by saying that “whatever negative things others say, then the opposite must be true.” In these examples I can rejoice over who I am and who God has made me to be.

I can specifically speak for women today because I see and hear about so much of it, but why must we tear one another down? Some of my greatest challenges in my career I can pin point back to another woman trying to tear me down and stop me from my destiny. Looking back they were all footstools to where I am at today. As I continue to live this life I have observed that typically the ones that are doing the hating, the tearing down, and the displays of jealousy are the ones who are not secure in who they are. This goes for women and men. When you are secure in who you are then you can celebrate another individual’s accomplishments and journey. When you are secure you don’t have to hate on another individual’s appearance because according to God you are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14) You don’t have to hate on another individual’s favor because you would know that you are favored by God too. (Psalm 90:17) You don’t have to hate on another individual’s grace because you would know that God’s grace is sufficient for you too. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

There is no need to be jealous or intimidated by another person’s accomplishments, their ministry, their marriage, their business, or their life period. God has given each of us a measure of grace and anointing for what He wants to accomplish in all of our lives. Chances are that person had to go through some type of hell to get to their destiny. Every great person had a struggle and a journey. If you knew what they went through some probably would have more of a compassionate heart rather than a hateful heart.

God made us all unique and with a specific assignment. He designed us all with our own journey. Let’s celebrate who we are and celebrate each other’s differences. Let’s be secure in knowing that whatever God has given each of us is designed to have a major impact in the community and in the kingdom of God. Rather than tearing people down with words celebrate and encourage. When you are able to appreciate what someone does send them an encouraging word by text, e-mail, or the old fashioned way a handwritten note. I can say as a recipient it is such a blessing. I appreciate the e-mails, the text messages, and verbal comments regarding what I post each week. They keep me going when I want to give up. God desires us to be encouragers of one another. “So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

When you are secure in who you are it becomes so much easier to celebrate someone else. Your life may not be where you want it. You may be in the middle of a struggle now trying to get to the dream someone has, but now is not the time to throw out negativity. More than anything you want to throw out positive words. Remember what you put out just may come back to you. Rather than tearing someone down seek them for advice on how they made it to where they are. When someone asks for advice we have to be secure enough to give it. For those who have accomplished your dreams and goals you didn’t get there by yourself. A secure person will also help another person to their dreams and destiny and not try to keep it all to themselves.

God has been speaking to me so much lately about how much he wants us to know he loves us and how much he wants us to display love to one another. I encourage everyone today to remember who you are in Christ. If you don’t know open up your bible and start reading to find out. When you are secure in who you are and you know the word for yourself you can stand on the word and know that the attacks of others does not line up with what God’s word says. Instead of hating let’s celebrate the goodness of God in one another’s lives. Create your affirmation today so that you can become who God desires you to be. Begin saying to yourself “I am secure in who I am!” Be blessed and encouraged!

Prayer
Heavenly Father may every reader of this word be a doer of your word. May we all remember the grace you gave us that while we were yet still sinners you loved us enough that you chose us and you redeemed us in spite of. Help us to display that same type of love towards others. Rather than tearing people down give us the words to build them up. When we don’t have the right words give us the wisdom to not say anything at all. For those who are struggling through their journey send a mentor their way to help build them up and encourage them to their destiny. Guide us to your word that we may all know who we are in Christ and that we are all in a place of being secure in who you uniquely designed us to be. Guide all of our steps to walk in love and to remember love is an action and not just a word. In Jesus Name. Amen

Love As God Loves

Love As God Loves
Written by Felicia McKnight

Matthew 22:39
And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

God has given us two commandments in the New Testament. Last week we discussed the first and greatest commandment is to love God with all of our heart, soul, and mind. (Matthew 22:37-38) The second part of that commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:39)

In order to know how to love your neighbor you first have to explore and master loving yourself. If I were to ask you to make a list of what you like about yourself and what you dislike about yourself what would you list? Which side would be greater, the likes or the dislikes? It’s amazing how we can sit down to complete a task like this and many will find all the negative things wrong verses the positive things that are right. We all have flaws and quirks and areas we need to work on, but we also have some great things about us. We all have been through some things and done some things we are ashamed of, but we also have some amazing things to brag about.

Sometimes that list of negatives can cause us to look down on ourselves and make us feel less than who we really are. The enemy will cause us to dislike ourselves when our mind goes to that negative place. The good news is “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1 NIV). When Jesus died on the cross as each nail was hammered so was your guilt and shame. God is a forgiving God that has wiped away all of your sins and remembers them no more when you receive His forgiveness. If God can forgive you then you have no choice but to forgive yourself and let go of all guilt and shame. When you look at the negatives remember that God said in His word that you are the apple of His eye. If God thinks this about you, then surely you can think it of yourself. (Zechariah 2:8) I encourage you in your quiet time today to reflect on yourself and dwell on the amazing, wonderful, person that you are. Love on and encourage yourself. Leave a love note for yourself as a reminder that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:14)

Loving yourself is to see yourself as God sees you. When you see yourself as God sees you, then you are able to establish loving your neighbor as yourself. You love your neighbor as yourself by seeing them as God sees all of us and loves all of us.

Because of our human nature loving your neighbor has its challenges. When you love as God loves you have to be able to see people for who they really are the good and the bad? God loved us while we were yet still sinners. (Romans 5:8) Despite the bad, can you love them anyway? Our neighbors will hurt us from time to time and not respond to us in a loving way, but how many times have we hurt and disappointed God? He still loves us anyway. He still forgives us anyhow. Can you still love your neighbor in spite of?

Love is not always challenging and at times it can be very easy to love thy neighbor. It is a blessing to have loving, caring individuals in our life who show love to us. These are the special people that we should always cherish and let them know from time to time how much they are appreciated.

Happy love month! Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Prayer
Heavenly Father, thank you for the greatest gift, LOVE. Thank you for choosing us and loving us first. Strengthen us to look beyond our faults and to love ourselves as you love us. As we love our selves more and more strengthen us to love our neighbors as you desire us to love them. Give us the strength to operate in a place of obedience and LOVE. In Jesus Name. Amen

Loving Him With All of Me

Loving Him With All of Me
Written by Felicia McKnight

Matthew 22:37-38
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.”

Last week we focused on the love that God has for us. He loved us so much that He gave up His one and only son for us on the cross. How do you love someone back who gave up such a great sacrifice for you? Jesus tells us we love God back by loving Him with all of who we are: our heart, our soul, and our mind.

Inside this body of ours lies our soul which is made up of our mind, will, and emotions. This is the part of us where our choices are made and where the sanctification of God in our lives takes place.
Our Mind – What we think.
Our Will – What we choose.
Our Emotions – What we feel.

We have choices in each of these areas in our lives. By loving God with all of us we have to consider some things.

In our mind, are our thoughts pleasing to God?
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)

In our will, are we making choices pleasing to God? Are we demanding our will to be done or are we allowing God’s will to be done in our lives?
“I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.” (Psalm 40:8)

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)

“By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.” (John 5:30)

In our emotions, do they line up with the word of God?
“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” (Luke 6:45)

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

To love God with all of who we are is to give God all of who we are. We have to surrender every part of us to our Heavenly Father. We have to die to ourselves daily. “Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23) It is certainly not an easy task to do and is a process to surrender all to God. “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” (1 Corinthians 4:16) God still loves us anyway whether we have it all together or not. God gave up so much for our salvation and a relationship with him. In return we can make daily attempts to honor His greatest commandment by loving Him back with all of us. When we can align the way we think, choose, and feel with God, then we are honoring Him, but loving Him with all of us. Be blessed and encouraged.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, thank you for loving us so much that you gave up your only son. Give us the wisdom and the strength to die to our flesh daily that we may be pleasing to you by fulfilling your greatest commandment to love you back with all of our heart, mind, and soul. In Jesus Name. Amen

HOLD ON!

Job 6:11 NIV
“What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects, that I should be patient?”

HOLD ON!
I will publicly admit, “I refuse to get on a roller coaster!” I do not go to amusement parks because I am terrified of those things. You get into the little car or seat depending on the type of ride, then you are strapped in with a safety harness by the amusement park personnel. Once given the green light, the roller coaster slowly creeps up a hill. You can hardly see the peak and without warning you suddenly drop at a high rate of speed, you go through twist and turns, ups and downs, more sudden drops and then finally the speed slows down and you come to a stop. The ride is over. The safety harness miraculously kept you secure through the ride, and you have a racing heart as a souvenir for a two minute roller coaster ride. Whew! Personally I don’t understand the purpose and excitement of the ride and good luck convincing me to get on one.

Unfortunately I don’t have the same option to refuse the roller coaster ride called life. At times we can go through life minding our business and then suddenly and without warning something happens that knocks you down and sends you round and round until you have a breakthrough. Sometimes you may be hit with one issue and other times you have a season of “If it ain’t one thing it’s another.” The trials of life are definitely not fun and there is no thrill in the journey. There are times you won’t understand why you are going through what you go through and you don’t see your way out. The good news is in the trials of life you have a safety harness called “God’s promises” to keep you safe and secure so you do not fall off of the ride.

In our scripture passage today Job asked the same question many of us have asked when life is not looking in our favor, “What strength do I have that I should still hope?” There are times when we go through the storm and we don’t understand the circumstances. There are times we get so knocked down one can’t imagine ever smiling or happy again. It can get rough, painful, and dark, and hope seems far from the imagination. My friends, I am here to remind you today there is a reason to HOLD ON and there is hope.

First, we are not exempt from hard times. 1 Peter 4:12 says “dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you.” John 16:33 says, “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.” Jesus suffered a great deal and his last account of suffering was at the cross. Jesus overcame the cross through the power of His resurrection. Through the power of His resurrection He overcame the attack of the enemy and He overcame whatever it is you are going through right now. The scripture says that “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.” The things He has left for us are the promises in His Holy Word, the Bible. Whatever you are going through there is a promise, our safety harness, for you to HOLD ON to as you go through the trial of life. John 16:33 says “that you may have peace”. As you meditate and HOLD ON to the promises of God He promises that “you will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because you trust in God.” (Isaiah 26:3) As you HOLD ON to your promise you have to trust God that His word will not return to Him void (Isaiah 55:11).

Secondly, when you go through trials you are not alone. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18) There is another promise to HOLD ON to, “God saves those crushed in spirit.” When Jesus resurrected He left the power of the Holy Spirit to be with you, to intercede on your behalf and to whisper God’s promises to you. I know there are times we as humans go through things that we no way want to share with others, but tell God and the Holy Spirit. They are a safe place. God wants you to cast all of your worries and anxieties to Him, because He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)

When you go through trials “be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer”. (Romans 12:12) In other words you have so many more blessings in your life to count and to focus on. It’s up to you to write them down, count them one by one, and rejoice over what God has done. You’ve been through trials before and God did not leave you there. Rejoice that if He did it before, then God can do it again! Remain patient. God is not a God of details, so he is not going to send you a text message or a calendar appointment saying “your trial will end on this day.” You don’t know when your breakthrough will come, but HOLD ON to the promise that it will come in God’s appointed time. (Habakkuk 2:3) Continue to pray daily. God hears your prayers. (Psalm 66:19)

“But I don’t have the strength to endure. I have nothing to live for.” (Job 6:11 NLT) You may very well feel like Job in that you do not have the strength to be patient and endure, but HOLD ON to God’s promise that “you can do ALL things through Christ who gives you strength”. (Philippians 4:13) HOLD ON to the promise in Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Your suffering is only temporary. HOLD ON to the promises of 1 Peter 5:10 “In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation”. Do you see the hope that you have to HOLD ON to? God will restore you, support you, strengthen you, and give you a firm foundation! HOLD ON to the promises of 2 Corinthians 4:17 NLT “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!” There it is again….your troubles are only temporary and what God has for you far outweighs what you are going through in the right now.

In Job 6:11 Job felt like he had absolutely nothing to live for. He cried, pouted, questioned God, and begged God to take His life, but God was not fazed by Job’s depression or temper tantrums. In Job’s depression he had the strength to endure 36 more chapters. In Job 42 God worked all things out for Job’s good. Job HELD ON to his rollercoaster and as a result God restored Job’s fortunes (v.10), God blessed Job and the second half of his life was greater (v.12), and Job lived a long and full life (v.17)

I have had more than I cared to endure of life’s roller coasters. I have been knocked down, blindsided, financial issues, terminated long-term friendships, relationship issues, family issues, heart break, grief, family deaths, but I am a living testimony that I am still standing with joy and peace that no circumstance or human could ever take away. My Romans 8:28 is that I am now able to share my testimony with others and give them light and hope for their roller coaster ride. If my temporary suffering was meant to bring hope into another individuals life then I gladly count it all joy! My dear friend I don’t know how your roller coaster ride will end. I can only assure you that if you HOLD ON to God’s promises and receive his unconditional love and peace that in time your ride will be over. Just HOLD ON!

Prayer
Heavenly Father, we count it all joy when we face many trials knowing that the testing of our faith produces patience. We thank you that patience will have its perfect work, so that we may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. Lord as we face the challenges of life give us the peace we need, the comfort we need, the support system that we need to endure. We HOLD ON to the hope knowing that all that we are going through will somehow work for our good because we love you. We HOLD ON to the hope that our current circumstance is not the end to our story. We may not see the outcome right now, and we may never know why we had to go through certain trials, but help us to put all of our hope and trust in you that you hear our prayers and will deliver us at the appointed time. Lord, we come lifting all those who are deeply depressed and contemplating suicide because they feel all hope is gone. We pray that you stop their thoughts and plans of suicide right now in the name of Jesus. Overflow these individuals with your unconditional love and hug them with your peace and comfort. Remind them that in you they have everything to live for and nothing to lose. Send your promises our way concerning the matters of our heart that we may have hope to HOLD ON to. Lord, give us the strength to just HOLD ON! We thank you that you hear our prayer and ask all these things in your precious son Jesus name. Amen

Further Reading: Psalm 34 is a scripture passage that brought me hope during times I felt like there wasn’t any hope. Be blessed and be encouraged!

~Written by Felicia McKnight~