Tuesday, May 24, 2016

News for Inspiration When You Need It...

Hey guys!

I know that I haven't updated here in a while, but I wanted to give you a head's up.

I'm officially moving over to my other blog, http://ebarnes23.wordpress.com.

It's getting a little difficult to keep up two blogs, so I think it will work out best to just combine both. So, I hope you'll all join me over there. It's easy to follow me. I have a follow button and an email sign up. There is no GFC, but I do hope you'll follow me. :)

Thanks for sticking with me.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

When you're not a Jonah...Speaking about Angels

I stand in front of the congregation. My voice is shaking. My hands are shaking, and I just *know* people are judging me. (But they weren't. I have the best church family. I was just in my own head.) I was afraid that I wasn't good enough. That I was too fat to stand in front of the church. That I wasn't good enough.

But...I once I began to speak - things changed.

Back in November, I wrote a blog post, I Don't Want to Be a Jonah. I talked about how I was nervous about speaking in front of my church about angels, something that I didn't feel qualified to do. Well, I finally spoke at my church back in March, over a month ago. (I know. I'm late with this post. I'm sorry to those who were expecting it sooner.) And, I did better than I thought I would. I was nervous, yes, and it was evident in my shaky, breathless voice. But I did it. I did what God asked of me. I wasn't a Jonah.

I think that's the thing that makes me the happiest. God didn't have to get my attention by me refusing to do what He has asked of me. Even though I was nervous and scared that I would screw up something, He helped me through. He gave me the words to speak, and I did it.

And it helped others. God used my words, words that He had given me, to help people in my church and their families. That night, I received word from someone who had used what I'd said to call on angels to help her family when a tornado tore through their community.

I mean, come on. How awesome is our God?! The timing was perfect, and I was even blessed by a sweet couple in our church just for being obedient to God.

The thing is, I wasn't qualified for this job. I wasn't, but God qualified me. He has given me insight into angels that I didn't even realize I knew about until I was preparing to speak at my church. And it was then that I realized that God could use me, my voice, to change things. Okay, well, I've realized that He could before then, but I always thought it would be in a different way, such as using my voice to spread the #loveyourself message that has become so important to me. And I can still do that, but I can also speak about angels and what I know about them. Or whatever else God has me speak about.

It's silly to think that I can only speak about one thing, if I really think about it. Pastors and speakers don't only speak about one topic, so why should I be any different? I don't write blog posts that are the same when I post on here. Why would speaking be any different?

My biggest fear was that I didn't know what I was doing and would say something totally unrelated to what God said about it. I know it was probably just the devil messing with me, and I let him. I let him tell me that I would make a mistake and accidentally tell something that wasn't exactly right.

I don't really remember what I said that night, but I do know that many people stopped and talked to me, telling me their own angel experiences or how much they enjoyed what I said. I loved hearing their angel experiences, and if you have one, let me know! I would love to hear about it!

Since I can't exactly remember what I spoke about, below is my speech. I hope you guys enjoy it and let me know your experiences!

If the embedded file doesn't work, here is the link to it: Speaking about Angels 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Where is my faith?

At times, I find myself wondering where God is. Why isn’t He listening to me? Is He truly answering my prayers? Why aren’t they being answered in the way that I’ve prayed? Jesus said, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:24 ESV) So why am I not getting what I’ve been asking for? The question isn’t so much as “Why?” as I have figured out but more so, “Where is my faith?”

Faith is hard. There’s no denying that. It’s believing for something that you can’t see. It’s “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) You’re essentially just hoping and believing for something to happen that you can’t see happening. Sounds easy, right? *sarcasm intended*

When you know that God has everything in control, you tend to have more faith. You know that God will do anything, whatever it takes to help you in your time of need, but there will always come a moment of weakness when the devil steps in and whispers quietly, “Why would your God do that for you?” And then you start wondering, why would He? Who am I? Why would He give me something that I want or need? I’m unworthy!

God didn’t tell you it was your job to worthy. No. None of us is worthy but Him. It’s your job to have FAITH in God. Faith activates God. When He knows that you believe irrevocably that He can move a mountain, it will happen, but what happens when that little bitty grain of doubt sets in? It grows, and the mountain stays.

Let me say this. It’s okay to have a moment where faith is hard. It’s okay to be human. God gave us emotions for a reason, but it’s our place to, as my mother would said, “Suck it up, buttercup,” and move on, build that faith back up and believe that God will give us whatever we ask for.

Again, it’s not easy. Faith is probably one of the hardest things to have because Satan knows that he’s good at his job. He knows how to wriggle his way in and make us doubt anything and everything. He can put us in our place and cripple us with doubts and fears. That’s what he does because he doesn’t wanting us believing that God will save us, that God will give us everything that we ask for. Once we doubt, getting an answer out of God is more difficult because it takes our focus off of Him and moves it to the problem.

So why is it easier to believe the lies than it is to believe the truth? For as long as I can remember, I’ve always known the Bible to be true. I’ve always believed its words, yet I can’t force myself to believe that God will take care of me? What’s wrong with this picture? Those are God’s words, too. I mean, I can’t believe the Bible and then not believe that my prayers will be answered. So why do I? 

It’s simple. The devil comes in at my weakest and makes me doubt everything I’ve ever known. Again, he’s good at his job, but we have to be better. We have to rise above and believe that God is faithful, even when we aren’t.

I know one thing for sure. My faith can be low at times, and at times, it can be very high. What I need to work on is keeping it high. God works when there is more faith. When I praise Him, I’m saying, “God, I know You got this. Thank you.” And I need to leave it at that. I need to tell the devil, “Not today, man. I’m done with you,” and move on.

Smith Wigglesworth woke up one night to see a demon at the end of his bed. He said, “Oh. It’s you again,” and rolled over and went back to sleep without worrying what that devil wanted. That right there is #goals. I want to be able to say, “Oh. It’s you again,” roll over and go back to sleep without letting anything bug me. I don’t like doubting my Father, and living in fear isn’t the way I want to live.

We need to start believing in God’s faithfulness to us more. Don’t stay in doubt forever. Put on your worship music and believe that God’s words won’t return void. It’s time to look at that mountain (fear, doubt, whatever), speak “move” full of faith, and watch it move.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

When God rewards your bad behavior…

I am ashamed to even write this, but I think we’ve all been where I was a time or two.

For a few weeks now, I’ve been in a financial need for one specific bill. The minimum is extremely high, and I’ve had a hard time getting the money because work is slow. That’s no one’s fault. I just haven’t been able to get any business and pay my bill. (I’m also ashamed to mention that, but for this story to be told, you have to know it.)

Back in January, I began to pray that God would send me the money I needed. I was sure that He told me, “Watch Me.” The money never came. They added a late fee on top of February’s payment. And now, even more money it due. It was due on Saturday, and I had faith that it was going to come. God is always faithful to deliver, right? It didn’t come.

By now, my faith had begun to waver. Well, it wavered on and off since January 20th when the bill was due the first time, but at this point, the pressure of not having money was bearing down on me. The phone calls hadn’t stopped of them asking me to pay the money I owed. I finally told them I’d try, but I still wasn’t able to pay it.

Dummy me, I asked God why He would say, “Watch Me,” if He wasn’t going to do anything. I didn’t get a direct answer, but God did tell me to trust Him. Easier said than done, right? I have difficulty placing my trust when I feel like I’ve been rejected. I’m not saying that I thought God had rejected me, but I felt like my prayers hadn’t been answered. What’s the point of praying when He doesn’t?

Like I said, I was a big dummy. God has a plan for everything, even when it doesn’t seem like He is even answering prayers, He likely has something bigger and better planned, something our small, human minds can’t comprehend. My mind can’t possibly comprehend anything, apparently.

Well, things happened, afterwards, and I’ve had a migraine headache for days. My emotions are at their highest, and my nieces and nephews fell ill. Three of five had strep throat after having it two or three weeks ago. One of those nephews had strep throat, developed pneumonia, and then got strep throat again. Then, three of the kids had ear infections as well. So, that makes one with strep, two with strep and ear infections, one with just an ear infection. Then, after they were diagnosed with this, they ended up with the stomach virus.

If you know me, you know that I’m a huge baby when it comes to the stomach bug. I can’t stand it. I cry every time I come down with it, and I basically beg and pled with God each day to never let that happen to me. Like I said, huge baby. Anyway, three of the kids ended up with that, and since we all live together at the time being, I’ve been put at risk of getting it. (I'm claiming victory and NO SICKNESS though.)

Remember, I’ve had a migraine for days, which makes me sick to my stomach. My head is literally sore to the touch, making me dizzy and all the other symptoms that migraines cause. (Look it up if you don’t know. It’s awful.) My sister hasn’t slept in two days. Her husband gets a touch of the bug as well, and I’m doing my best to help her with the kids who don’t have it and trying to keep things clean. I’m emotional. I can’t stand it anymore. I'm literally breaking down, crying and begging God to end the sickness.

I have prayed like I’ve never prayed before. I’ve convinced myself I’ve gotten the sick stomach, or I will get it. Then I’ll talk myself out of it. I’m a bit of hypochondriac when it comes to this sickness. Anyway, I ask God for an answer, for confirmation that this over. I feel like I get it, so I go to bed not worrying. I wake up to a nephew with it, and I lose it.

“God, You said it was over. Why aren’t you answering my prayers? God, why? Why would you lie to me? Why would you tell me that it’s over when obviously it isn’t? Why, God? Why?!”

I don’t even wait for answer. I decide that it isn’t worth it. I’m not hearing God right when He talks to me anyway. What’s the point? Why even bother? I don’t pray. I don’t feel like praying. I’m over it.

“I’ll talk to you later God, but right now, I’m done.”

Let me remind you, yet again, of how much of an idiot I am.

I call my daddy. I’m such a daddy’s girl, y’all. We have a close bond, and he’s my spiritual guide as well. So if I have a problem, he’s the first one I turn to. Anyway, I call him, and he doesn’t give me the answer I want to hear. I obviously want him to side with me, but he’s much better than I am and sides with God.

He reminded me of Daniel when I asked him why God wasn’t answering my prayers. A messenger of God, an angel, was hindered for twenty-one days, yet Daniel stood fast, waiting for his answer. I wish I could say that I was that strong. I wasn’t. I broke. My faith had been shattered.

I shut God out. I believe that He was trying to speak to me, but I wouldn’t listen. I kept thinking, “Well, if I didn’t hear Him right this time, what else did I get wrong?” So I was determined not to listen. I didn’t pray like my dad told me to or even talk to my mom and get her to pray with me like I dad asked me to (because he was at work). I just whined and cried about my situation. I was an emotional wreck all day long.

My mom and I had to run a few errands and she told me to put on Yolanda Adam’s Victory and praise God. I didn’t want to, but if Momma says do something, you listen to Momma. I felt much better by the time we got into town, and I wasn’t even worried about the things that had been weighing heavily on my mind. 

As I was price matching peanut butter at the check out, the cashier said she needed to do the same thing with it because she just ran out of peanut butter, too. I gave her my paper because I was done with it, so she’d have it and remember to price match it. She thanked me three times, and then said, “You came to my line for a reason,” and then she said later on, “God will bless you for giving me your paper.” I didn’t think much of it. It was just a paper, and I was going to throw it away when I got home anyway. It was best for her to have it if she really needed it.

When we finished loading the groceries in the back of the van, Mom looked at me, seriously, and said, “Pick that money up off the ground.” I turned around, and there was a $20 lying there. It didn’t belong to anyone around because there wasn’t anyone around. We looked. There wasn't anyone near us.

It was just there, soaking wet from the rain. As soon as I got into the van, I started crying. Momma said, “God just said you weren’t broke anymore.”

It was a reminder that He loved me and was still looking out for me, even when I was an insolent child who had forgotten how much He actually loved me. 

I was ashamed, but I knew that even though I was ashamed, He would tell me not to be ashamed because that was one of the many things that Jesus had hung on the cross for. As I relayed my story to Dad, laughing, he said, “Condemnation isn’t part of a Christian’s life. God doesn’t condemn you.”

He doesn’t, and He shows us mercy, grace, and favor even when we’re unmerciful in blaming Him for forgetting us and/or not answering our prayers.

It is my goal to try and be more faithful, to remember that God is watching out for me even when I don’t think He is. It’s my job to put faith where my worry is and remember that God loves me. In the end, that’s what matters. That’s what causes Him to work. My pleading and whining and crying won’t do any good if I don’t believe that He loves me. And He does love me. He loves me, you, us more than we could ever comprehend.

Whatever it is that you’re going through today, just remember that God is faithful, even when we’re not. He’s taking care of His kids, and He loves you.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

I Don’t Want to Be a Jonah

Lately, I’ve been afraid. I’ve been afraid of stepping into what God has ordained for my life. The pastor’s wife, who is technically one of the pastors of my church, came up to me during service one Sunday and gave me a Word from God. In this Word, she emphasized that she believed God wanted me to speak in front of the church one evening service for kind of a discussion about angels because she believed that God had given me a special insight into them because of my book series, Entertaining Angels

Let me pause a moment and say that I’ve felt a pull of sorts to speak about my story after I wrote Entertaining Angels. I always thought it was to help women/teen girls/girls see their worth in themselves and in the eyes of the Savior. I never once thought that I knew anything more about angels than any other person. To be honest, I’m still not sure that I do. 

Okay, let’s go back to what my pastor’s wife was telling me. She believes that God has given me some insight into angels that our church needs to hear. Now, as the mighty woman of God she is, who am I to disagree with her? She knows that God wants me to do this. To be honest, I know that He does as well, but I’m scared. 

I’m a terrible speaker. I get nervous, and I mess up my words. I don’t look at the crowd when I speak, and I sound very canned and unnatural. Not to mention, I feel like everyone is judging me based on my looks and everything about me. (Yes, I know I preach loving yourself, and I do love myself. Some things are just harder to overcome, but I’m working on it.)

Why would God choose me to do this? I’m better at typing out my words than I am at speaking them. I’m no expert on angels, and frankly, I’m unqualified. But then I was reminded of a few things. 

One of them is that none of us are qualified in the technical sense. We’re all as unqualified as can be, but that doesn’t mean that God hasn’t qualified us. He has. God has taken the most unqualified people and qualified them to do a job FOR HIM. I have to remind myself that I’m not doing this for me. I’m doing it for God, and He will give me the words to speak to His people. Whether it’s for this speaking engagement or others. Even with my books. 

Another point I was reminded of was that Moses was chosen to lead the people of Israel, and he felt the same way that I do. He had a stutter, and he wasn’t that great of a speaker, but his brother, Aaron, helped him speak. I have people around me who can help. My dad, he’s my spiritual leader, and as a preacher, he is in this position a lot. The people at my church are super supportive. They aren’t going to cast me aside if I mess up a few words or stutter. They aren’t going to make fun of me, and I know that even though I feel like Moses, I can do this. Just like he did. 

And then, there is Jonah. We all know that Jonah ran from God when He wanted him to go to Ninevah and preach. And we all know what happened to Jonah for his disobedience. He was swallowed by a whale and spent three days in the belly of it before he was vomitted back on land where he made sure he got to Nineveh faster than it was supposed to take! Am I saying that God will cause a whale to swallow me? No, but I’m saying that I can relate to Jonah. I know how it feels to not want to do something that God has asked you to do. I know how scary it is to step up and face your fear. 

Even as I type this, I know I will do what has been asked of me, but I also feel very nervous about it. I’m unsure about the task ahead. How am I supposed to give a speech about angels? What do I talk about? What if  I get something wrong and share a misconception instead of a fact? But I have to remember, God WANTS me to do this, and He WILL equip me for this. I know one thing for sure. I don’t want to be a Jonah. 

Whatever you’re facing today, just know that God is the one who qualifies you. He is the only One who knows what you need more than you do, and He’s the One you’re working for. Because when it’s all said and done, you’re doing this to glorify Him. We have to keep that in mind as we step into whatever God has called us to do. Whether it’s preaching, teaching, speaking, writing, God will provide the answers you seek, and He will give us the strength and means to do whatever He has sent us in the world to do. There’s one thing I know for sure. We got this.

It is God who arms me with strength, And makes my way perfect. Psalm 18:32

As a side note, my books, Entertaining Angels and Before We Say I Do are free. Tomorrow's the last day to get them, though!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

It's okay to be human.

A common theme that I've been seeing around lately is that people are worried that God can't love them because of the mistakes that they've made. I've been on the receiving end of this feeling. I've lived in extreme guilt because of sins that I've committed. I beat myself up daily because I felt like I had let God down somehow, that I had completely messed up my future because I wasn't the perfect Christian that I thought I had to be.

And even though John (1 John 2:6) urged us to strive to be Christ-like, God also understands that we're only human. If you've read through Psalms, you may have missed a few of these verses, but it says that God knows that we're only human.

38 But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath.
39 For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again. (Psalm 78)
Of course, the Psalmist was referring to the Israelites, but I know that it still applies to us today. See, God forgives us because He loves us. He's proved that time and time again, but the biggest proof of His love is when He sent His only Son to die for us.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

Could you imagine loving someone so much you died for them? I can. I would gladly give my life for my family, but He didn't just sacrifice Himself. He sacrificed His Son. Would you give your kid up for sacrifice for the world? I wouldn't. There's no way I would sacrifice my child (if I had one) for the good of humanity.

The point I'm trying to make is that we have to get it into our heart, soul, and mind just how much God loves us. His love for us isn't dependent on what we do. He simply loves us. You can't mess up enough that the Savior can't save you. And if you do mess up, which let's face it, will happen, God will forgive you.

Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin. Selah. (Psalm 85:2)
For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee. (Psalm 86:5)
As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:12)

God will forgive us of our sins because He understands that's we're only flesh. We're just human. I'm not giving you a get out of jail free card to sin. That's not what this is about. We are supposed to try and not sin, but it still happens. We're weak, and God knows that. But, you shouldn't let your past mistakes keep you from understanding that God will forgive you. He understands that we are human, that we make mistakes.

Don't feel unworthy because of your past. That's just the devil trying to keep you from living a God-filled life. The devil will beat you down so hard that you can't see God standing right in front of you, telling you how much He loves you, but all you have to do is reach out and feel the nail-scarred hand that was proof of His love. 

God doesn't give up on us, and we shouldn't doubt His love for us. If there's one thing I've learned, God will always do something to show you how much He does love you. Maybe this post is that. Maybe it's not, but I'm here to tell you, God loves you for you. He loves you so much that He's willing to forgive you and move on without remembering that sin. Can you forgive and forget? No. We can't because we're human but God. Oh, He's a different story. He will forgive and forget because He's just that amazing.

You are worthy to be loved. Never forget that.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

You have the power to speak life and death...

We don't really think about how important Proverbs 18:21 truly is, but it's true. We hold this power. What power is this? The power to speak life and death.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
Our words hold a tremendous power, and I really hadn't thought about that until I wrote this blog post on my author blog the other day. I mean, I knew how powerful words were, but this really drove the point home to me. Sometimes I feel like we need a reminder of it. We tend to forget how important it is.

I was reminded of it, again, this morning when I could have flown off the handle at someone for angering me. This person had their own opinions of something, and I had my opinions. And although I responded once, I refused to respond again because I didn't want to get into a fight with anyone, especially this one. Although, I had come up with this whole speech that I wanted to type up and push "send" (It was on Facebook.), I didn't. I decided to delete the post altogether and let it go. Why? Because arguing would do no good. People have their opinions, and I have mine. They're entitled to share theirs, and I'm entitled to share mine.

But the point isn't about arguing opinions, it's about arguing. I could have said some horrible things in response to this comment, and this person could have said equally horrible things. But I didn't, and I don't think this person would have either. I'm not sure, but I wasn't opening the conversation up to that. It was best to stop the negative comments altogether, and that's what I did.

See, although I have the temper of a redheaded Irish woman, I kept that anger in check - this time. I've been known to not keep my tongue in check. I've said horrible things to people before, and I'm not proud of that. But I can change that now. I can mind what I say aloud about others and myself.

When you speak something, it's out there, and you can't take it back. It's important that we let God have our mouths and speak only good things. Ephesians 4:29 says, "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers."

It's our job to speak life into others and situations. We don't need to start fights, nor do we need to call other people names, etc. We need to speak positively.

In the post that I mentioned above, I ended it with, "Maybe, just maybe, you can change someone’s life, too."

Who's life can you change today by speaking positively? Who's life can you change by not starting a fight? Calling people names? What are you doing to edify others? Let them have their opinions and you have yours. Just don't fight. Don't argue. Don't bully.

Life and death are in the power of the tongue. How will you use yours today?