| || |
I am a minister. I am called to spread God’s Word uniquely. I have lots of different gifts and I allow God to spearhead how I will use that gift every day. It’s unique. I’m not on a pulpit. I don’t give Holy Communion. Not exactly traditional all of the time, but it is authentic. And guess what? You have a ministry too.
I think part of the problem is believers think of theology as ministry. Rarely do we look at a person’s heart and character as an indicator. We assume if a person knows a lot about the bible, they MUST fit the criteria of a “true” minister, forgetting that Jesus looks at the heart and not how well you memorize scripture.Biblical knowledge is awesome, but it doesn’t mean you know how to love. You can have many titles and many degrees, but LOVE can’t be bought. It’s work. And it requires your heart, kindness, humility, patience, forgiveness and so much more.
We are ALL ministers. That’s why God created us…to minister love and to spread the Gospel uniquely. Much of what you do has ministry (purpose) already attached to it, but we don’t think of it as ministry because we’re not in the pulpit. Ministry is how others can be blessed because of you through your gifts. Whether it's in a recipe, playing basketball, DJing, mentoring, writing a thank you note, praying for your enemy, doing a hip hop video (hint), deciding not to gossip, smiling when it hurts, praying for a stranger, or praying with co-workers, God is ready to use you to minister. If inspiration and love are attached to it, God is in it. And that my friend is ministry.
I dance. I do these videos with a hashtag #healthyheartsforhiphop. But when I dance to classic hip hop, I’m ministering freedom, joy, getting fit, learning to let go and be you. I’m ministering to young ladies that you can be a LADY in hip hop and be admired with clothes on! I'm ministering to Hip Hop moms and dads that we have to get our health together and we can use hip hop to do it! This might not be shown in a pulpit. But God can show up anywhere! Why? Because Love is viral. Love is mobile. Love and ministry are everywhere.
So moving forward, answer the call and find your ministry aka purpose by thinking outside the box. Ministry is bigger than Sunday morning. Look for it.
Matthew 22:36-40 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. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
I am born again. I realize for a lot of people their born again experience is different from mine. In my case, I had a supernatural experience with sudden change. Still, there were areas of my life that took time, work, prayer, fasting, studying and purging to become new and move forward.
One area that I see with some people who turn their life around is that they forget the damaged trail they left behind. This could be a deadbeat parent, a dysfunctional friendship or even a romantic relationship. For example, a person might have sex with women or men they had no intentions of committing to or marrying. These women/men might have thought they were the one, but in their partner’s mind they were just a “meantime” fling until the “real” one came along. So now, they’re married, happy, on the right path and saved, but they left behind some broken hearts-a trail of hurt, damaged men/women. While God doesn’t want us to live with guilt and condemnation, it will help free others by reaching back and simply saying, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry I used you. I’m sorry I had no intentions of marrying you. I am sorry that I didn’t value you and honor you. I am sorry I didn’t value our marriage because I didn’t understand its holiness. I am sorry I wasn’t a good parent. I am sorry because now I am changed and realize how I might have hurt you. God has forgiven me and I hope you can too.”
Leaving the past behind is exactly what God wants us to do, but when we leave a damaged trail, we have to keep in mind that some others might be “stuck” in grief because of the hurt we caused. You might not be able to ask for forgiveness from everyone in your past, and in this case, receive forgiveness from the Lord and don't look behind. But when you can reach back, saying I'm sorry blesses people and releases them to move forward. So today, pray for those you’ve hurt along the way and ask in Jesus’ name that they be free to become new in Christ just like you! And then, let it go moving FORWARD without regret one day at a time.
(2 Corinthians 7:10) For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.
I am so excited about 2015! I am excited because I am NEW in Christ and God has given me another day, another opportunity to know him; another opportunity to get it right through Him. At the top of the year, most of us are excited about the possibilities, but somehow we lose some of that excitement along the way because prayers aren't answered the way we want them to or as quickly. Don't allow satan to distract you. God is still the author and finisher even when we don't see all of our prayers being answered our way. Remember that God always has a plan and we should have a daily plan too by seeking the Lord FIRST for guidance and direction. When we seek money, marriage, pregnancy, career choices, education and our dreams FIRST, our priorities are out of order. God should never get our leftovers because all of our dreams start with Him! He is the author and the finisher and excited about answering our prayers at the right time, in the right season. If only we can trust Him to deliver.
I encourage all of you in 2015 to keep praying and keep dreaming until God answers! If you want a New Year, it must start with a NEW you and only Christ can do that. May you move forward putting God first in everything you do and let go of what is behind. God is excited about blessing you and so am I!
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
I love the Lord. God's favor rests on me. I am chosen. I am anointed. My love for God and His love for me is unique. We are connected and talk all day every day. This is what I know. But there's so much I don't. Every relationship is GROWING. Maturing. Different. Ups and downs. And that explains my relationship with God. Our relationship is a marriage. Sometimes I hurt because I FEEL He didn't stick to His word. That He really doesn't love me. All of these emotions I feel in my relationship with God-in our growing marriage. Our love is active. Growing. Moving. And a journey. And that is a relationship.
When I was born again I spent hours in my bible every day. I had an incredible desire and deep passion for Christ. And one of the gifts I prayed for was discernment. There are different spiritual gifts, but I specifically prayed for the gift of discernment and it’s a gift I now have. You can develop this gift or decide you’d like to take it slow. I use it to pray for others and also to be better myself.-to become stronger and a better Christian.
Because I have the gift of discernment, I am sensitive to spiritual atmospheres. I can see ugly little spirits attached to people and beautiful ones too. I can sense God's goodness and satan's trickery. There IS a spiritual world. There are angels and demons everywhere. In fact, there are too many to count. And every day of our lives, we are in a battle. There is spiritual warfare taking place and I know when I am under attack or trying to be harrassed. Often this attack will occur by someone approaching me or talking to me with demons attached to them. I know it sounds spooky, but not really. I can simply see a spirit of jealousy, pride, selfishness, lust and countless others. And often, a person isn’t even aware that these spirits are attached to them. But I can see intentions and motives.
Just keep this in mind, when we are not our best, we should go inside of ourselves; pray; and ask for clarity. There is sometimes a wickedness trying to attach to us because satan wants us. Even though I am saved and covered by Jesus Christ, satan still fights for me and he hates when I am showing the love of God to others. Much of the time when we dislike someone, it’s not THEM we don’t like, but an ugly little spirit attached to them. Sometimes this demon sticks around and sometimes it doesn’t. But be aware that when we are operating in God’s love, this light should be seen by others. That “something different about you” should be God’s precious love. This is why it’s so important to SEARCH OURSELVES. When we’re “experts” on other people’s sin, we are missing the most important person of ALL.
Today, search yourself and be more aware that the battle in this world is first a spiritual one. Spiritual baths are important too. Read the Word, pray, worship, speak healing, repent, and praise God so that the good angels have a place to rest among you.
Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
1 Corinthians 12:7 7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,[a] and to still another the interpretation of tongues.[b] 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
Most people who know me; love me; or admire me don't WANT to hear this, but they can't figure out why I'm single. I lived a lie for 25 years. I fell in love in my teens/early twenties and spent 25 years trying to rekindle it and make it work. Tied to a man who wasn't my husband and just became someone else's. I dated, married, divorced, ran but my heart always went back to the same place. Recently, the man who I thought was “the love of my life” married someone else and then it became clear, he's the love of someone else and my lie. Through that journey, pain, and experience, God has comforted me and is healing me to move forward by accepting that if he brought this man and I together, he would have been more of a burden to me than a blessing and vice versa. Yes, I loved him and he loved me. BUT it wasn’t God’s will and I often say that God’s will is bigger than feelings. And today, I trust God that who this man married was God’s perfect will. She is the blessing; and I would’ve been the burden. I respect and honor their marriage. For years, I never could completely share my heart because I felt TIED to Him. Today, I know he was never mine to begin with and I am moving forward with God by my side. I am stronger, better, wiser, and more beautiful. I am healing.
I’m sharing this journey with you because it's part of my testimony and there are too many people in the world who are tied to others who are NOT their husband or wife and never will be. That's not love; that's living a lie. That's fear. That's running. I know. I lived it. I don't care how beautiful, rich, honorable, holy, awesome you are; if God says no, it is no. Often when we go through a break up, people throw up their hands and tell us to move on and to get over it. As a result, we share our brokenness with others and leave behind fragments of ourselves. I attempted to heal myself through other people instead of through Christ. I tried moving on over and over again until I walked away numb, broken, and causing more brokenness in others because my heart wasn’t REALLY available. And the only way to heal from this; the only way for any of us to have the type of partnership and marriage God wants us to have, is by surrendering to the Potter who created us to begin with. Being single and celibate isn’t tragic to me, but married couples who wish they weren't is. It’s tragic to me when people marry thinking they’re a blessing to their spouse, when really they’re a burden. It’s tragic when I see men and women who struggle to be faithful. It's tragic in my opinion when men use women for sex and validation and women attach just because Daddy wasn't there. That's tragic. Adultery is tragic. Lust is tragic. Marrying because you're afraid to be alone is tragic. Soulties outside of marriage are tragic and singleness, in my opinion, until God says you're ready is a gift.
Is singleness always easy? No, but I think living a lie is harder. I am grateful for my singleness and alone time with God-grateful for the healing and being made whole so that I can experience true love again. It’s during this time that I have learned about true love versus lust. Through this alone time, I am being made WHOLE in Christ and when and IF God chooses to bring me a mate, I will be ready. Beautifully ready. Ready to make love to a man and not secretly wish someone else was there. When people ask why I am single and celibate, they assume something is missing. And I couldn't be more FULL because God is always there. God for me right now is ENOUGH.
There is life after a soul tie and bad relationship choices, but you must give God your entire heart.. You must undergo heart surgery in the Spirit so that true love can take place again. And that starts with LOVE himself. #God
John 4:18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true."
Psalm 34:18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
More on Soulties - "No More Sheets" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4VpzfsEjN4
I’ve been angry at God quite a few times. We have a typical father-daughter relationship. It’s loving. It’s honest. It’s growing. And sometimes I just don’t like what my father is doing. I am spoiled. I want God to answer my way. All of the time. But that's not love. And I am so grateful that God love's me without conditions.
Because I was raised in a Catholic School where we were taught that God’s love was attached to what you do and good behavior, I really never believed God loved me. Whatever was going on in my life, I assumed that that’s how God loved me that day. If I sinned or was out of character, I thought God took back His love because of my behavior on that particular day. To make matters more complex, I suffered from thinking my own natural father hated me. Because of divorce and his career keeping him very busy, I just didn’t know what love was in a clear, consistent way. You might’ve been like me-confused about true love because of brokenness in your family or wrong theology and receiving mixed signals about love. Today, I know what God’s love is and I have to remind myself on occasion that we must separate our circumstances from God's love. We must separate how others treat us from God’s love and even our own behavior. God’s love never changes. His love isn't built on feelings or emotions. It is steady. Consistent. And True. So today, choose to believe that God loves you no matter what. Ask Him to heal your broken heart so that you can be clear on what true love really is.
Romans 8:38-39 For I am persuaded , that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present , nor things to come , 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We were sisters. We grew up together. We became mothers together. We cried together. We lost together. We did it all. While we had our close friends outside of this circle, in fact I have a best friend who was not raised with me, we were sisters. Our circle was tight. Like any biological sister, we had our fights, and times where we weren’t on the same page, but we loved each other. And so we were always able to find our way back to sisterhood.
But then it changed years ago during a family blowout. All of us with our separate pressures, and mine being a born again Christian with a specific calling to fulfill; we were changing. And one day I was visiting home in New Jersey, and my Boricua sisters (three in total) and I were no longer connecting like we typically do. One sister in particular and I argued. I’ll call her Eve. We screamed. I hung up. And I walked away. Eve and I never recovered.
Months passed. And through prayer, I decided to forgive and seek forgiveness, but Eve wasn’t ready. Eve had hurt the other sisters too. BUT that hurt didn’t take hold. Eve forgave the sisters and they forgave her. But Eve shut me out. I wasn’t a part of the package. I wasn’t good enough to forgive. As time went on, the two sisters and Eve continued in sisterhood, broken, but it was THERE. As for me, Eve moved forward as if I didn’t exist.
I believed we were both wrong during that blow out. But only I was able to see my fault. She didn’t want to see herself. She only wanted to see me. And what occurred is not really important. Hurt is hurt. Wrong is wrong. Sin is sin. And forgiveness is forgiveness. It’s all the same ingredients no matter how you cook it. But here is the lesson.
As years went on, it often angered me that the other sisters continued in their relationship with Eve because I felt Eve was selfish; sometimes a user. In fact, I told my other sisters, “Eve is that boyfriend that has sex with you; tells you that they love you, but once they hit it; they’re out.” Eve was that person to me, I’d tell the sisters in my hurt. She was a good friend when she was in need, but not good when others needed her. “Doesn’t anybody see that?! Don’t you see how she’s treating me! Are you going to continue in a friendship with her when she’s treating ME this way?!” I’d shout. The answer was yes. In time I realized, that’s how I SAW EVE. That was my story and my journey with Eve. While the other sisters were also disappointed with Eve’s behavior as well, they had their own journey and kinks to work out. They stayed connected to Eve and that HURT me. But then I realized they were accountable to God for their own forgiveness and THEIR own journey. In time, I was able to forgive Eve and move on. Why? Because that's what God required for ME to do. And the smartest.
The most important lesson in all of this is, don't get caught up in someone else's unforgiveness. I remember on another occasion when a friend of mine remained a member at a church that I felt hurt the name of Christianity. Could I be angry with her for sticking it out with a church that I felt hurt people? No…because if God told her TO STAY, it’s more important for her to be obedient to God than it is to worry about hurting me or living up to my standards or opinions. When God tells you to move forward; forgive AND begin anew. When God tells you to be still, be still. If my sisters were to die tomorrow with unforgiveness on their hearts because of how Eve treated me; that wouldn’t be a good thing. Right? In fact, the Bible instructs us not to take a wrong and share it with others. If someone mistreats you; that's between YOU and the other person. Not the world. Another piece to this is, we often pray for things and wonder why we're addicted; lonely; childless; unmarried; in debt; depressed, and sick. The Aramaic word for forgive is to untie. When you're called to forgive; forgive. Forgiveness opens doors and it unties you from junk. You're free to receive the goodness of God.
Today, I am glad my sisters and Eve remain connected. People are reasons, seasons, or our lifetimes, and Eve was seasonal for me, but a lifetime for others. And I am okay with that. So again, don’t hate others because of someone else. I’ve lived this lesson a few times and there is always a bottom line- the answer to our prayers often lie in forgiveness and your journey is yours and no one else’s lesson to carry. p
1 John 4:20
Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven.
A few months ago I started posting videos as part of Healthy Hearts for Hip Hop. Two years ago my friend @Iamericksermon had a heart attack and I said to him we need to do something for Hip Hop, which is when I created the name (HHHH). I have other friends Marley Marl, Hev, and mentor Mr. Magic who passed away young as well. Eazy E was my homie and heart and Tupac, my extended family, who inspired me to be where I am now. He loved the youth, the poor, and the broken. Today, I'm over 40 remembering when I was 14 years old with nothing but love for music. And that was ENOUGH to dance on the corner for hours everyday. Sometimes to men who drummed on buckets. Those were some of my first break beats. Today, it's gone what I saw 30 years ago. Hip Hop is no longer healthy. Our youth thinks twerking is hip hop; I've had a few friends and family murdered who were hip hop legends and greats; I left my career because hip hop music was no longer healing and I just didn't feel like smiling on the red carpet anymore. I don't do fake very well. So, I post videos that show where I began-no money, no budgets, no fame, no resume, just hope and a love for music and a RESPECT for those who paved the way for me. I can't pick up the phone and talk about French or Nikki, so life changes dramatically. Unlike a lot of people I know in the music business; I'm not rich or have the powerful titles to receive the support to make this initiative big. I'm not going to beg people to support me in change. I stand for God when it's not popular and so, I knew when I made a stand for God, that meant people not calling you back. We like to thank Jesus on award shows, but not support people unless we get a LOOK for it. The music business is what it is today-when people are stars and rich, we support them. I can't share a flyer and say LeBron will be popping bottles with me in VIP-in fact, I don't drink. And that's what makes people move today. Breaking records, but not breaking movements. The music doesn't move people anymore; just money. We'll talk about Beyonce all day on Facebook. We'll talk about VIPs, but when it comes to breaking movements OUTSIDE OF OURSELVES, supporting the little people, we don't make it happen. Not one person I ever made rich, reached back and the ones that did, have passed on. And so, it's no longer hip hop for me. It's a write-off. It's Bull. I realized that the reason why hip hop lost a lot of it's roots is because now it's all about the rich and famous and not the poor young man with one pair of adidas who was super talented and ambitious. With this said, let's go back to supporting the underground and artists, djs, mcs, producers, dancers and choreographers, photographers, makeup artists, stylists, that don't have a name. I LOVE NO NAME PEOPLE because that's what hip hop was and that is what God expects from us all. Don't get heated up over Michael Dunn verdicts on Facebook and then get on a conference calls to discuss records that talk about destroying our youth. That's not hip hop, that's business. I recall having a Vote in the Hood event with little support during the BET Hip Hop Awards two years ago. VOTING to say let's register felons and let's get rid of laws such as Stand Your Ground. I registered 12 felons, but the music industry? No one showed because I didn't have a Nike Suite or a Monster headphone giveaway. I am saying all of this to say, Healthy Hearts for Hip Hop is about getting healthy and reclaiming hip hop back to it's roots. Children are dying while we're in VIP and on red carpets popping bottles. I'm asking for support to put a hip-hop-a-thon together. I won't do it alone this time, but I don't want to be in VIP for another hip hop event. I want to be in the streets which is where Hip Hop started. I'm asking for you to take your head out of the rich and famous mindset, and help our broken youth. Please pray for us as we plan for a HipHop-a-thon, and if I can't bring Carmelo Anthony or Pharrell, will you show up anyway? Let's Heal. Let's Build. Let's create Hip Hop that is healthy for our youth and the founders of the Hip Hop nation.
Matthew 19:24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God."
I am the most grateful that I know the difference between religion and relationship. There are so many people who know Christ via culture, but haven’t met God’s heart. You’d be surprised. Some are more loyal to the church than they are to God. They have the church thing down pack. They know when to stand in church and when to sit. They know the order of the program and have sold the most tickets for the Women’s Day program. Some know all of the hymns, but still, they don’t know God. They know scripture. They’ve memorized it and so, they’ve convinced themselves that they know God because their lives have been immersed in religion and lots of tradition. Yet, LOVE is foreign to them. Maybe not with people in their circle; maybe not with their own family; but they don’t know the type of love that exercises spiritual muscles. The type of love that makes you pray for your enemies or the kind of love that is not insecure or mean or selfish. People kill each other every day over religion, but it’s relationship and love that covers over a multitude of sins. And it’s love that we were created to do and to master.
My freedom in Christ stems from the fact that I know God’s love. I am imperfect. I have brokenness and it’s this brokenness that allows me to stay humble when pride begins to seep in. It’s this brokenness that allows me to stay in a relationship with God; that’s constantly growing no matter how much knowledge I have. It’s a relationship that allows you to know just enough about God so that you’ll continue to be hungry for more of Him no matter how "smart" or successful you become. And so, I am saddened by confused Christians who think they have to EARN God’s love because they’ve been told for years what Christ looks like; how He loves; and who he loves. Some Christians have spent their entire lives serving a building and not serving God. And I also know Christians who have a wealth of knowledge about the bible, but when I look in their eyes, I don’t see love. I see smart emptiness. Selective love. Conditional love. And sometimes, I even see evil.
Religion is often a barrier. A tool used by satan that makes people feel BETTER than others. But love-love is about service and humility. In order to begin a relationship with Christ, you must serve. Serve the people you like and serve the people you don’t like. To begin a relationship with Christ, you have to lose YOU and religion. Let go of the pride. Let go of having to be RIGHT. Let go of having to know-it-all. Why? Because religion has a way of telling people how wrong they are without loving them through it. The Pharisees were great at this. Yes, they were smart. Wise. Established. But they were empty. And so are many Christians today.
We learn love through brokenness and not lots of knowledge. I don’t expect for religion to teach me about love because that's God’s job. And if you’re not sure if you’re in a relationship with religion or God, you must search yourself. How do you treat people when no one else is watching? Are you kind? Are you loyal? Do you look to serve others first? Do you have to “look” good? Have you WORSHIPED and been in God’s presence? Do people have to be a "certain way" before you embrace them? Are your friends in a church culture, but you rarely reach out to people "below" you? Whose life have you changed? Where is your fruit? Do you forgive? How often does your ego alienate others? Ask yourself those questions and just remember that anyone can commit to a building; and anyone can get A’s in theology, but not everyone can commit to love. Knowledge without love is meaningless.
Matthew 23:3-7 (NIV)
3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.
5 “Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries[a] wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.