Tag Archives: christian living

1 Good Reason God May Remove Someone From Your Life

This afternoon, I was perusing my FB timeline for content when I happened upon a post from The Praying Woman. It was adequately titled, “3 Reasons God May Remove Someone From Your Life”.

As I clicked on the link to prepare myself to for a nice, quick read, I found myself scrolling over the times in my life where friends or significant others seemed to float right on out the picture. For some instances, the reasoning was clear, but for others, not so much. When I read down to the last reason listed in the article, I found this:

3. Because sometimes our loved ones become more of a distraction than our enemies. This is God’s way of keeping us focused.

Today, I ask you this: Where does God fit in your life? Is He #1, #2, #3, or a better question would be… Is He even a priority in your life at all?

Sometimes we place our relationship with God on the back burner without even realizing it. We don’t give it our all like we do everything else.

Try not to be so focused on earthly relationships that you forget about your relationship with God. Switch the energy you’re currently putting into your distractions and refocus it where it’s needed, on Him!

You know those times where you have a “feeling” you might be right about a situation but talk yourself into thinking you’re over analyzing it too much? YES? Then you’ll know that this is exactly what BINGED in my mind when I read this.

A recent loved one who parted ways falls into this category, and not bashing them, but I realized our personalities mixed with the constant need to ‘upkeep’ our friendship/relationship ultimately brought it to a close. I was willing to overlook a few struggles in order to maintain consistent communication while obliviously overlooking the fact that my focus on God was creeping down to 2nd place. I found myself not feeling like my jovial, bubbly, NORMAL self as fear and doubt hopped into the front passenger seat of my life; all the while ignoring the signs that God was sending me.

YOU WILL HAVE NO OTHER GODS BESIDES ME!!!

I was making my friendship/relationship with this person an idol without knowing it and found myself more preoccupied with pleasing them and MAKING myself BE the right companion for them, that I totally ignored God! Yep, it’s a hard thing to admit, but I had to repent because I pushed God aside without even knowing it. I was all up and in works of the flesh trying to MAKE this thing work. That’s why God shut it all down! After a series of arguments and disagreements, this person and I parted ways and almost immediately, an entire ton of feathers lifted! By the time the sun rose, I was almost back to my former self. Sure this person is a great person as a whole, but here me when I tell you God will allow NO ONE to block the works HE desires to do in us. So whether that’s a sibling, friend, significant other, co-worker, even a parent — if we place anyone above God in ANY way, God will show up and cool it down. He’s not a “backburner” God.

So whether you’re doing it intentionally or not, stop making people idols in your life. If you find yourself thinking about them more than God — chances are you’re placing too much importance on them. If you spend all of your time with them (even to the point whether you just go work/school and stay up under them or call them) — then you’re probably making them an idol. There is nothing wrong with a good healthy investment into your relationships, but when it consumes you…. handle it before God does; because He will.

Be blessed, Joc

 

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Christians, Sinful Living, and Grace: Why It’s Impossible For Christians to Live In Full Victory While Habitually Practicing Sin

About a week ago ( go ahead and say it lol ‘ week ago, week ago’ ) one of my college friends posed a question:

Why is it impossible for a Christian to live a victorious life while habitually practicing sin? 

She tagged me in a Facebook status to get my thoughts on it. This was my reply…

Though God clearly shows us grace daily, ACTIVELY living in sin doesn’t line up with what He wants for us. Yes we may fall short, but there is a CLEAR difference between struggling with breaking away from sin and actively living in it. Every promise of prosperity and good fortune doesn’t include ACTIVELY living in sin (at least last time I checked). We as Christians are expected to “pray, seek the Savior’s’ face and TURN from our wicked ways” so God can bless us to the max! We can not FULLY access total victory if we are still conformed to the world. But one thing I’ve found, is that many people tend use the term ‘Christian’ loosely. They are more about religion than relationship — meaning — they identify themselves as Christians because they ‘go to church’ every Sunday and say all the right scriptures at the right time, but the thing they fail to realize is that a Christian is a “follower of Christ and His teachings” and He teaches us to live holy and to follow His example. Not saying we are going to be perfect 100% of the time, and yes, good things can still happen to you while you’re still living in bondage; but God will NEVER fully release every drip drop blessing and victory to us if we don’t leave that sinful living alone. Ok I think I’m done lol

There were many other great responses like this one…

The Christian can only be victorious through Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57). There is a wedge that is driven between God and man, which is sin. This wedge, or gap, divides Christ from man, which in essence, also causes us to no longer be victorious. Moral of the story? Being separated from God through habitual sin causes one to no longer be victorious because of the divide that it creates between God and man. Victory is only accomplishable through Christ, His Shed blood and His Finished work!!! #okay#imdone!!!

Ever since then, I’ve been really letting this discussion sink in and word “grace” was the principle that resonated throughout each of my thoughts. Many individuals who identify themselves as followers of Christ abuse the true meaning of grace by twisting it to excuse blatantly sinful living. They claim because they are ‘covered by grace’, they can successfully function as good Christian witnesses while simultaneously living a lifestyle that is birthed out of the world.

I have taken note of the state of the Christian church today and while sometimes discouraged, I’m not surprised at the misuse of heavenly gifts like grace because this was prophesied millenia before! 2 Timothy 3:1-4 ESV read, “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…” So it’s clear and already established that haul of these ‘personal’ interpretations of scripture to fit selfish desires is to be expected; BUT the fact that it’s going on within the Christian church is the thing that needs to be addressed.

Which circles back to my thoughts on my friend’s question and the true understanding of how grace works. I will tell you what grace is not.

Grace is NOT:

– a license to act a fool and still claim  total victory because you go to church

– a magic hall pass that gives you reign over anything you’re big and bad enough to have

– contrary to the Word of God

– a “get out of jail free” Monopoly card

Many people who call themselves Christians (followers of Christ Jesus and His teachings) fit the profile of my friend’s scenario. They are “Christians” who expect to live a fully victorious life while habitually practicing a life of sin. If you’re offended right now, you may be one of those said Christians. (not trying to be mouthy, but I love you too much as a brother/sister in Christ to let you lose out on your future.)

It’s often misunderstood that grace is, simply put, the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner — but that is not so! God’s grace, TRUE GRACE, does not leave us where we are. It brings us up out of our slip ups into a walk where we no longer make those same mistakes. God is the perfect Heavenly Father who understands that we as His kids are gonna mess up! We were ‘doomed’ to being born into sin because of Adam and Eve’s disobedience — BUT God left us His Word, gave us His Son, and His Holy Spirit to help us make the choice to LIVE righteously for HIM and grow to the point where if we DO trip up, we’ll learn our lesson and take steps to not do it ever again. After you keep making the same mistake over and over and over…it’s not a mistake anymore. Sorry Not sorry to break it to you, but that’s the way our God is set up. Grace is not going to keep covering up foolishness — grace desperately pulls at your heart strings in the way that leads towards Christ. If you ignore that, you’ll start missing out on blessings and victories that God originally intended for you if you would just wholeheartedly follow Him.

You’ve gotta know that I’m not saying this from a “over zealous, self righteous ” point of view, but from REAL LIFE personal experience! I’ve lived it. I first accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior when I was in the second grade (aka super young), and growing up into my teen and young adult years, I thought since I was ‘saved’ yet did the sinful things non believers did, it wouldn’t be as bad because God knew my heart and I sang in the church choir so I was fine. I really thought I had my life figured out with this ‘grace thing’! I resolved within myself that I would do all my dirt and live a socialite’s life while I was young and get my life ALL THE WAY right when I got older so I could have a testimony. NO LIE! As silly as this sounds (I’m actually laughing at myself right now as I type) this is the way I used to and a trillion other self confessed Christians operate. Even though bad things kept happening to me, I just chalked it up as ‘trials and tribulations’ instead of realizing them for the consequences of sin that they were. Good things were still occurring here and there, so I felt like I was okay to keep living my worldly life. A Russian Roulette if you will. 

It took almost dying (multiple times) for me to wake up and realize that I had grace all wrong! God was trying to wake me up and get me to turn from my wicked ways. I wasn’t truly living life as a Christian/follower of Christ because I was allowing sin to separate me from God’s will and His promises. I tell ya, once I seriously gave my life to Christ in the summer of 2011, my life has NEVER been more fulfilling! Now I purposely take steps to avoid temptation and to limit my time with or stay away from people, things, and places that could lead me back into a life of sin. Other than that, my life is better! Yes, I have hard times, but there is a difference when you know it’s not a consequence of your sin, but a test of your strength and faith.

SO RECAP:

If you constantly keep cussing folk out and getting drunk or sleeping with that man/woman you know you shouldn’t be dealing with — you probably deserve all the trouble coming your way. Grace is not a license to do those things over and over and expect God to keep bailing you out and covering your sinful living. Grace will reproof and convict you and show you a better way so after that first or second time — you stop and walk the other way for good.

I know this was a long post — and believe it or not it’s not even HALF of what I have up my sleeve — but hopefully you’ll have some better understanding of what grace is and how to appreciate it by living a godly life the way God intended. If you struggle with actively living in sin, reach out to someone — shoot, you can even send ME and email if you really want another Christian’s support! It’s okay FOR NOW to be in a bad place, but it’s not okay to stay there. God wants you free and on the right path so you can live fully in victory — and I want the same thing for you too!

– Be blessed, Joc 

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In What State Does Your Heart Live?

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While checking my messages and updating my Facebook business pages, I came across a post that simply asked “which one is your heart now?” You can imagine how many varied responses flooded the comments section. I was almost tempted to respond with whatever immediately came to my mind, but then the Holy Spirit ( yeah it tends to make you really think about some things) told me to pause. The following breakdown was revealed to me:

HEART #1 – WHOLE & HAPPY         HEART #2 – ONCE BROKEN, BUT PATCHED        HEART #3 BROKEN

A no brainer right? WRONG. I’ve been healing over the past several years from a few traumatic experiences and bad relationships — so my impulse was to choose 2. But the Holy Spirit opened my eyes a bit to notice that the heart was mended by band-aids; which means the heart is not TRULY healed. Just covered up. I’ve worked hard and have been through hell and high waters during the process of God healing my heart. Even though my love life is not PERFECT and a few ’emotional scabs’ are drying up….I can honestly say that my heart is #1. Yes I’m single. Yes I’ve been through a lot.  But it’s not enough to simply patch over your emotional wounds with a band-aid.

As a Christian, and a human being; a wound (especially deep a deep one ) can never properly heal if you don’t medicate it, give it fresh air, and treat it. Throwing a band-aid on it and keeping it there doesn’t allow the healing process to truly take place; it only creates an atmosphere for your wound to sit in the same residue that caused it in the first place!

When I allowed God to spiritually and emotionally heal my heart, that didn’t totally erase the fact that bad things had happened to me. Those terrible relationships DID happen and DID hurt me. Allowing Him to heal me meant giving Him access to the depths of my anguish. These past few years HAVE BEEN A CHALLENGE, but just like any wound that gets a little disinfectant and air — discomfort is part of the process. Now for the first time in a while, I’m exuberantly and wholly happy in being single! My heart is whole and healed for the man who will never demolish it.

So take a little time to really think about your current emotional state and how you would describe your heart. If you say #2 or #3, start opening up yourself to the healing process by letting go of unclaimed baggage, forgiving, renewing your faith in love, and most of all loving yourself.

– Joc

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Beware of #TeamNoSleep

I was listening to the Yolanda Adams Morning Show this morning (as I always do on my way to work) and they were discussing this delusional statement #TeamNoSleep. Now I have to be honest, I lived by this mantra up until 8 months ago. I have a full time job, own 2 businesses, and I do volunteer work. I figured the only way to be able to live life making a living from my dream career would be to work myself dry now and reap the benefits down the road.

I WAS SO OFF!

Fact: Americans put emphasis on the notion that hard work and workaholic lifestyles equal success.

But the truth is God did not design us to live that way. If we were capable of doing everything on our own, there would be no need for Him. AND SINCE THAT ISN’T REALITY and we DO need God for everything, we need to know when to work and know when to rest. Since I was 19 years old, “late nights, early mornings” were second nature to me. I sacrificed friend time, family time, my love life, and even more alarmingly…my health if it meant getting work done.

Many people don’t know this but over the past 3 years I’ve been sick and hospitalized more than I’ve been since I was a kid! I thought it was just asthma or allergies getting me down, but what was actually happening was my body was giving me a wakeup call! Working on the go, eating out all the time, getting 2 – 3hours sleep at a time, working all day then staying up all night editing photos was slowly depleting my immune system. I learned THE HARD WAY that our bodies NEED rest and there is nothing glorious about passing out dead from an unhealthy lifestyle.

 

Mark 4: 35-38 NLT reads, “As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”

ALSO…

Mark 6: 30-31 NLT reads, “The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and taught. Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat.”

If JESUS knew enough to rest with all of the ministry He did, we not only need to be concerned about just our spiritual health, but our physical too! I mean come on, Jesus was the SON OF GOD…and He rested to show us what we need to do. After all, a Christian is someone who is a follower of Christ and His teachings correct?! CORRECT!

So the next time you jump on that bandwagon talking about “We hustling ova here” “#TeamNoSleep” “Late Nights, Early Mornings” – just know that you sound dumb and are quickly on your way to being the newest member of #TeamSixFeetUnder and #TeamNoMore.

Take care of yourself folks. TRUE hustlers know that there is a balance to this thing. Levels.

Be Blessed, Joc

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Young Pastor on BGSU Campus Addresses Radical Extremist

 

 

Joc’s Thoughts:

Back when I was at East Carolina University (aka America’s Party Grounds) we had guys like this radical extremist who FAITHFULLY stood at every corner of every restaurant or at Joyner Library preaching fire and brimstone.  Being totally honest, I WAS living a false Christian lifestyle meaning: I professed to live for Christ and had the knowledge of Him (because of my Christian upbringing), but I CHOSE to willingly live in the world. I figured “Hmmph, I know God, I go to church, he ain’t talking to me because I got saved in the 2nd grade.” The underlying truth was that I WAS headed to hell — and if I died at that very second I knew that I would soon meet the devil and his imps. BUT GOD (somebody say BUT GOD) allowed me to come in contact with young Christians who, unlike me at the time, were SERIOUS about their walks with Christ and showed me that I had to ask for God to give me strength to overcome my sinful nature and show me how to walk in HIS Word. They didn’t throw a bible at me or tell me no matter what I was going to hell — like that extremist did. They did it a firm way AND by living lives that PHYSICALLY showed me what it meant to walk as a Christian ought.

Now that I am wholeheartedly living and working for Christ, I now know that there is a way that we should, as Christians, give hope to those who are still in the world or straddling the fence. YES living willingly in sin CAN and WILL land you in hell — I will not be fake about that — but WE ourselves can’t physically put anyone in Hell because we are not God. Every man has to work out his own salvation with God the Father and if a person chooses a life of sin…so be it. We don’t have to be friends with them or spend all of our time with them. We have to be satisfied in knowing that we have done our part as God’s mouthpieces by witnessing and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. If the people we are witnessing to say “We want to live totally for God and escape the grasp of Hell” then we need to rejoice and assist in their transition into a true Christian lifestyle.

As the young pastor explained in the video, we need to encourage those living for the world and let them know that even though they got it wrong today, tomorrow is another day to get it right. NO we don’t want them to continuously live and walk in sin and participate in sinful acts without conviction, but we acknowledge that, “Hey, we were once in your shoes until we allowed God to change our lives.”

I am glad my little sis Jazmine posted this. I don’t agree with the students inturrupting and being obnoxious at time, but hey — the message was brought forth. I hope my commentary spoke to someone.

– Joc

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#SOULTIES

This picture is deep! “Sexually transmitted DEMONS are harder to get rid of than diseases”!!!#SOULTIES!!! Watch who you lay down with!!! Each person you lay down with, a piece of them are with you! #real!!! That’s why so many people are miserable, mean, angry, evil, etc, because there are so many spirits upon them!!!#becareful & #mindful of what/who you are letting enter you!!

(repost via Eboni Sharpe)

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What I’m Learning From My Parents on Their Wedding Anniversary

555768_10151603661910086_2029036310_nToday I had the honor of singing to my parents in honor of their 30th Wedding Anniversary which is tomorrow. They dated for 6 years WITHOUT SHACKING before they got married and are still going strong! Sometimes I honestly get kind of sad thinking on how strong their marriage is because I know that the way society is set up today, that type of marriage is statistically not in the cards for me — BUT GOD knows my heart and I will have whomever He has for me. I have faith. And because my parents instilled the importance of having God in a marriage, I will remain in the ‘fields’ working until my man of God scoops me up. There IS such thing as a strong, black marriage. Once two godly people join together and do things THE RIGHT WAY (no cheating, no violence, no LAHH mess) — a long lasting marriage is possible. My parents are proof of that. Ladies and fellas, don’t let these reality shows and songs and movies fool you — marriage is HARDDDD work, but can totally work if your heart and your soul is in it! 

 

My timeline is constantly flooded with quotes and reposts of Bey & Jay or Marilyn Monroe  from souls who yearn and desperately want to have a love that they only hear of in their grandparents’ stories of how it was back in the old days. THIS IS NOT COOL. I know there will be people who will get defensive as soon as I say this but [we] as a society are responsible for the degradation of marriage.DSC_0019 You have girls who want a boy to treat them right but feel as though there is no “real connection” if they don’t give up the panties or get turnt. You have boys who chase skirts and demand the goods because they (incorrectly) feel and learn from older men in their neighborhood and in hip hop that “this is what real men do”. SO what happens? The girls grow into women who begin sleeping with every dude they like or break their back working to pay the bills for an apartment they share with men who are NOT their husbands YET daily stay praying and wishing and hoping for a commitment. Those boys (who really wanted a good girl all along to inspire them to be better) grow into men who are womanizers and treat women like dirt because they are scared of taking a chance on ONE woman because “there may be someone better down the road”.

 

Watching my parents I’ve learned that there is no such thing as a “soul mate” despite what the secular love songs and movies would have you think — there is that person that GOD has designed for you. Sex won’t make someone stay. Having a child with someone won’t make your relationship stronger if it’s founded on rocky soil. God knows your strengths and your weaknesses and knows who would be the right match for you. All you have to do is keep your heart open to His voice which will let you know if “that person” is the one. There will be many people whom WE may THINK is the one — but are not God’s best for US. Not saying they can’t grow and mature into a great husband or wife, but they are not the one that God has for YOU — maybe someone else. My parents knew how to listen to God’s voice even before they were strong in their Christian walk and as a result, they found each other. DSC_0022And though you can never truly know EVERYTHING about a person, my parents learned each other by taking their time and dating 6 years. Not saying it will take everyone else that long, but the point I picked up from them is that you can’t meet someone and 2 weeks later fall in love. EVERYONE will get butterflies when first dating someone — it’s human nature. The chase is fun — but taking time to hang out with each other WITHOUT SEX or DATING SOMEONE ON THE SIDE will really allow you to know a person well without physical or emotional distractions clouding your judgement.

 

One of the last little things I’ve learned from watching my parents over the years is that you have to be the type of person you want to attract. MEANING, you can’t be slinging dope or getting faded every weekend, but desire to marry someone who is responsible and have their stuff together. You can’t update your FB or Twitter status with every play by play of your life and want to marry someone who is drama free. You can’t look to marry someone who is naturally attractive and is headed for success in their career if you put on 5 pounds of makeup or don’t keep yourself up at all while blowing all your money on parties, alcohol, and weed. Marriage is WORK. You have to put in what you want to get out of it. My parents show me that each time I see them together. Though they have different personalities and interests, they both had common goals — they didn’t just dream of doing something, they both went to school and did what they had to do to make it in the education field. They both shared the same spiritual faith. They both were on the same page with “spare the rod spoil the child” (LORD my butt is still aching from those whoopins. I used to act up ya’ll haha) — they came together and put in the marriage what they expected out of it. They taught me to not date or want to get married out of loneliness because that’s a surefire way to have your marriage fail — they let me know that I needed to build myself up while I’m single and figure out what I want out of life how to better myself so that I can attract a man who is doing the same thing!DSC_0023 If I am giving, faithful, and caring towards my husband — and he is giving, faithful, and caring towards me — then BOTH of our needs would be met. Ok that’s enough of my 2 cents — I am so proud of my parents and am blessed to have them as examples.

– Joc

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