Don’t know why

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I heard some heartbreaking news yesterday that is still lingering in my mind today—families are suffering great loss and calamity.  Although I do not know them personally, they are still family because we are all connected as part of God’s family.

It’s during times like this that no matter who you are, how long you have been a Christian, how spiritually deep you think you are, the questions arise, “Why?” “Why did God allow such tragedy to happen, especially the tragic death of children? Truth is, we don’t why and may never know why. We try to give spiritual answers as believers, but I can tell you from personal experience, it does not ease the pain at the time.  The journey from mourning to joy must be traveled by each of us on a timeline determined by our total dependence on the supernatural power of the God we profess as our Healer.

Nevertheless, until we are healed, delivered and set free, the ambush of thoughts is like stray bullets in our mind.  We are unable to sooth the nauseous feeling of sadness when we stare at beautiful pictures of vibrate, happy, smiling faces of children that we dream of growing into adulthood. We try to rationalize, but cannot.

Senseless.

Incomprehensible. 

It hits too hard! It affects Christian believers and of course, nonbelievers, who often use unexplainable events and tragedy as reasons for not believing that a loving God would allow such horrendous things to happen to good people. Yet, no one is able to answer the why questions. Unfortunately, if we seek for a reason too long and do not come up with one, our soul will become exceedingly sad and discontent.  Our inability to rationalize the horrific tragedy along with our emotional instability cause us to sink deeper and deeper into a pit of darkness. It is there in the pit that we are entrapped.  Depression grips our soul with its gnashing teeth and refuses to let go.  Consequently, we conclude we have no hope. It is in this pitfall where many give up and surrender to the spirit of defeatism.  They cannot fight for themselves nor dig themselves out of the deep, dark, cold, pit of hopelessness.

Therefore, the need for intercessors is great!  Intercessors are those will pray and stand in gap (spiritual gateway) and make up the hedge on behalf of those who become defenseless against the kingdom of darkness because the pangs of sorrow have become unbearable.

As believers, let us pray fervently for one another; and resolve that we may never know all the “whys” in this evil world nor understand even if God in His sovereignty chooses to tell us.  But we must trust God to walk with us on our journey from mourning to joy. We must know we are victorious and believe what Jesus said even through our heartbreaking, painful experiences…

 “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33).

Trust God’s Heart

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Like me, you have probably said, “I don’t know what God is doing. I don’t understand why God is allowing this to happen.” Our finite minds cannot fully comprehend God’s wisdom and unsearchable judgments. And some things are not for us to understand, but to simply obey and trust Him to reveal to us when and if He chooses to do so. Our limitations often keep us from grasping some things that happen in our personal life and in the world. Therefore, God hasn’t told us everything beforehand. He does so on an ‘as needed’ basis.

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! (Romans 11:33)

If He told us everything we would have no reason to have faith in His word or to trust Him. In our humanity, we have a tendency to be totally independent and do things our way rather than God’s way. Over the years I have learned that as painful and disappointing as life events are, I must trust God.  The words of Babbie Mason’s song, “when we don’t see His hand, trust His heart” ministered to me during my “why” days.

“The LORD our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us, so that we may obey all the terms of these instructions. (Deuteronomy 29:29 New Living Translation)

In chapters 27 through 29 of Deuteronomy, Moses summarized a review of God’s covenant with the Israelites.  He outlined the curses and blessings that would result based on their choice to obey or disobey the terms of the covenant. The essence of his review was to remind them to obey the terms of the covenant so that they will prosper in everything they do. He rehearsed their past experiences in Egyptian captivity. He explained the blessings for obedience and the consequences of disobedience. He told them about the devastation and desolation of the land if they didn’t keep the covenant. The question of the surrounding nations would be, “Why did this happen?” The answer would be because the terms of the covenant were not obeyed.

The above passage quoted from verse 29 of chapter 29 ended with the matter of accountability relative to Yahweh’s sovereign decision. Here is the relevance for us today: There are some things that God in His Sovereignty, infinite knowledge and wisdom do not reveal to us; therefore, He does not hold us accountable; but we are accountable for what He does reveal (uncover) concerning His instructions, plans, and purposes. Ultimately, we have a choice just as the Israelites—obey and be blessed or disobey and suffer the consequences. Yes, even under the dispensation of grace, if you’re wondering.

We may never know, like or understand the why in a situation or the what about circumstances. Nevertheless, what we should do is trust Him completely, draw closer in our relationship with Christ, be confident in His promise to never abandon (forsake) us, and be assured that He will carry us through our wilderness wanderings, provide for us and comfort all who turn to Him as our loving Father.

God has a purpose for everything! I know it is easy to blame God for the painful things that happen in this fallen world. However, blaming Him does not change anything. God is still God and He is not intimidated or threatened by our feelings. He still loves us unconditionally. Remember, He knew us before we were conceived (beyond your understanding, right?) He has planned that all things work together for our good. 

Dearly beloved, you may not know, like nor understand the what or the why God allows things to happen in your personal life and this world, my encouragement to you is please trust His heart, which is filled with unconditional love for you.

When you don’t understand God’s plan and can’t see His hand, you can trust His heart.

Think about it! Talk to Him honestly about your feelings. He listens and He cares.

Copyright 2017. All rights reserved. Majestic Worldwide Ministries, Inc.

Black History Commemorative Prayer

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God, our Father in heaven,

Hallowed is your name! Thank you for the privilege and access to come in confidence to your throne of grace, where we can obtain mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.  We come in the name of Jesus today. We rejoice in saying, you are our God; we worship you and you alone! Thank you! Thank you for daily provision, naturally and spiritually. Thank you for the plan of salvation through faith in your Son, Jesus the Christ, in whom through His blood is the remission of sin.  Thank you for forgiving us and for your enabling power that’s available so that we can forgive others. Father, thank you for the trials and triumph; for bringing us through the dark and evil days of yesteryear.  Thank you for those who bore the burden and paid the price for freedom as a people.  Let us not forget their sacrifice of life. And we pray for this generation to be willing to stand as they did; to stand for righteousness, justice, and equality.  Lord, open the eyes of our heart so that we understand as they did, the fight is not just for the present, but for generations to come.  Help us to not be so focused and selfish concerning our rights now, but to pray for your kingdom to come and your will be done in future generations.  Help us to realize that just as we stand on the shoulders of those who fought for us today, so must future generations stand on our shoulders. Therefore, we must be vigilant and alert, knowing that our adversaries are many, but you, O Lord is with us when we stand for righteousness and justice. Let us be the light that shines in this dark world! May we have the fortitude, boldness, and tenacity to stand fearlessly in the face of opposition and fight for what is right, speak out against what is wrong; that we will speak the truth in love, being confident that there is an invisible host much greater than those opposing us. We praise you, our just God, who sees all and knows everything; nothing is hidden from you; and in perfect timing, you will expose lies and reveal hidden truths that will set many people free! Father, as we commemorate Black History, we pray, let the good that we do today be a legacy we leave for tomorrow. May the truth that we stand on and declare today be words that will empower and transform lives tomorrow.

Thank you, Father, for empowering our ancestors, and our elders, to endure persecutions, to stand in faith and survive great adversity so that this generation could have a great cloud of witnesses cheering us on saying,

“Fight the good fight of faith! Sound the alarm and declare, ‘Let justice roll down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.’” (Amos 5:24). 

We pray, let us not grow weary in doing what is good and pleasing to You.  In the name of Jesus, we pray with thanksgiving. Amen.

Dealing with Transition in 2017

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Where God is carrying you in 2017 some in your inner circle cannot go with you.  He will not allow them to go. Therefore, do not try to force them to go with you. Release them in love and follow Jesus! Remember that God’s plan for you is not the same even for those in ministry with you.

God’s plan for each of us is personal although we may be serving in ministry together now. We have a tendency to try and hold on to people we are connected to not realizing it may be only for a season.  You may have worked together in unity and had an effective ministry.  However, once you have completed that particular assignment, God has another assignment for you that requires transitioning to another place and with other people.

**Side Note: the transition may be a spiritual one and not a physical location. For example, God may increase you spiritually through divine revelation, wisdom, and insight for the purpose of completing another assignment, which requires greater responsibility. You should not expect everyone to understand, and you should definitely not become proud arrogant, and condescending.  Always remember it is about Kingdom business and God’s glory.

We tend to welcome a change of scenery and transition when we have been under scrutiny, dealt with envy and jealousy, and had difficulty working with our brothers and sisters in the church’s ministry.  Unfortunately,  many individuals leave for the wrong reason without considering God’s plan.  Consequently, they risk being out of God’s will and doing things their own way.

On the other hand, when we have a healthy working relationship with others in ministry, have seen great progress and effectiveness in ministry, we risk missing God’s next assignment for us because we think we are in the set place for life and that God’s plan and will for us is collective rather than individual.

In addition, when God reveals His plan for us individually, we want to know His plan for those in our inner circle that we’ve worked with for some time. We must be careful with this mindset.  We never want to do the work of ministry based on convenience, ease and without opposition. That is unrealistic and unbiblical in the Kingdom of God. Jesus always faced opposition and was constantly being scrutinized by others. Ministry is never about comfort!

In fact, God’s individual plan for you may require leaving the comforts of ministry and the good working relationships with co-laborers to move forward in fulfilling your next assignment for the Kingdom.  However, it may not be as comforting and glamorous for you as you expected, but as long as the Lord is with you, it will be well. 

Here is a biblical example that always amazes me when I read it. Consider Peter’s revelation from Jesus concerning God’s plan for him (John 21:20-22).  Jesus restores Peter back into fellowship after of him three times just as Jesus predicted (Matthew 26:69-75).  The restoration consisted of Jesus questioning Peter about his love for Him. After the validation of Peter’s love Jesus gave him his “life” assignment with specific instructions, “Feed my sheep.” Furthermore, Jesus revealed the great cost that would come with Peter’s great responsibility—Peter would die as a martyr for the glory of God. Can you imagine after being affirmed and restored for ministry and now to hear God’s final plan that included how you would die after your ministry assignment? After receiving “in part” his revealed destiny, and God’s will for him, naturally, Peter wanted to know God’s plan for John. He asked, “What’s going to happen to him?  How is he going to die?”

In essence, Jesus said to Peter that God’s plan for John is not the same as yours.  Just focus on your relationship with Me.  The place and work assigned to you are for you.  This is your lot in life.   Peter and John had been together from the start of Jesus’ earthly ministry.  Peter, James, and John were Jesus’ inner circle; they had shared their lives together and spent intimate time with Jesus, but that was for a season.  Now there would come a time of separation based on God’s individual plan, purpose, and will.

As I stated, the tendency to want to continue working with individuals we have shared in ministry with for a while is natural.  We make assumptions about God’s plans based on working relationships and experiences together.  However, there may come a time when what you have witnessed and shared in ministry together was God’s plan to prepare you for your next.  Seek to know God’s will for your and not your co-laborer so that wherever He has purposed to carry you, although it may mean separating from the familiar and comfortable, you will submit to His will.

Where God is carrying you in 2017 some in your inner circle cannot go with you.  He will not allow them to go. Therefore, do not try to force them to go with you. Release them in love and you follow Jesus! Without question about His plan for your co-laborer, you say, “Yes, Lord. Here am I send me.”

(Read John 17:20-22 and may the Holy Spirit enlighten you).

© 2016 Queen Phillips. All rights reserved. Majestic Worldwide Ministries, Inc.

Is it a Good Thing?

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When it comes to the idea or thought of what is good for us opinions and beliefs vary. Usually, the differences are based upon personal preferences, experiences, and environments.  Oftentimes many are persuaded by the opinions and beliefs of others for various reasons—relationships, shared experiences, similar backgrounds, etc.  Regardless of beliefs or how opinions are formed, in many instances, we know, to a certain extent, if something is good for us or not. Unfortunately, our human nature gravitates to the “not good” more often than the good although we are fully aware of the risks. For example, take a look at the picture.  I am sure you can agree that as good as it looks, too much fast food in our diet is definitely not a good thing. However, the decision is personal.  If I know eating too much fast food is not a good thing, will I change my eating habits and discipline myself for my own benefit—a healthy lifestyle?  

This same illustration can apply to our spiritual life. When it comes to our personal relationship with Christ, we have an innate problem with discerning if it’s a good thing. We are in a constant struggle with our carnal nature.  For example, in our carnal mindset, we agree that being afflicted is not a good thing.   However, this is what the psalmist concludes in Psalm 119:71: 

“It is good for me that I have been afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes.”

The word afflicted in this passage does not necessarily mean physical sickness or disease.  Instead, it means various troubles, unfavorable circumstances and conditions that put you in a lowly place, a humbling position, which is against our human nature.  In essence, when our back is against the wall, we are in a good place to learn something from God that will change us as well as our spiritual perception.

“It is a good thing that I was humbled
    because it helped me learn Your limits.

Psalm 119:71 (The Voice)

 Let’s consider the psalmist’s perspective and what we can learn that can possibly change our view.  First of all, it is a personal declaration…good for me…, that I was humbled…, it helped me… As believers and followers of Jesus Christ, each of us must have personal experiences and encounters on our faith walk that transform us from the inside out so that we grow in the knowledge of God.  God in His wisdom deals with each of us differently just as parents do with their children.  Hopefully, we can all agree that in His sovereignty He desires good for all of us regardless of what it takes for us to realize that goodness is the essence of God’s character.

“No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” (Psalm 84:11b)

Secondly, the psalmist states the reason for his conclusive statement.  He says that having been afflicted (humbled) was good so he could learn God’s statutes (decrees)—established laws that govern; God’s boundaries (limits). Truth is, we become so consumed with our troubles that we complain, whine and beg God to get us out even though we ignored boundaries and pushed the limits. We are a generation that rebel against limitations and set boundaries. Unfortunately, without boundaries and limits, we risk harming ourselves and others. Hence, laws and regulations were established for our good.

Here is the good news!  God’s ultimate plan is to bring us to an expected end—a good outcome.  However, we don’t always see this from a spiritual perspective.  Our sin nature opposes God’s way of doing things.  Therefore, we constantly seek to do things our way.  Unfortunately, we fail to recognize what is good for us until our way has landed us into “no way out.”  It is at the point of “no way out” that we finally get it, sometimes the first time—God’s way is the best because He is good and His mercy endures forever.

 Conclusively, when it comes to the idea or thought of what is good for us opinions and beliefs vary from our carnal nature. Thankfully, from a spiritual perspective, like the psalmist, we mature spiritually and realize that our troubles, bad situations, lowly places, hardships and disappointments were working for our good. (Romans 8:28) Why? God was teaching us!  We learned something about God.  We learned that God’s judgments are right. We learned that God is faithful and can be trusted.  We learned that God loves us unconditionally, and knows and wants what is best for us.  Above all, we learned that God’s Word is true.  Teach me O LORD! I hope in Your Word!

(Suggested reading: Psalms 119:65-72)

Journal Reflections

Journals.NotesOccasionally I review old journal entries to assess where I am mentally and spiritually compared to where I was when I penned the entry.

Why am I sharing this? Because chances are, you are in the same place now that I was then.

If you are, I am in a place now to encourage you! That’s really what it is all about.

It gets better!

God is always working for our good…so that we are better; so that we can get to a place of “rest” in Him.  Our wilderness experiences should change our perspective and teach us to trust a faithful and loving Father who loves us unconditionally and only wants what is best for all mankind.  Note: (Deuteronomy 8:2-5) God’s plan for leading the Israelites in 40 years in the wilderness was to humble them and for them to trust Him completely. It was their unbelief, constant murmuring and complaining that resulted in many of them not entering the Promised Land.

Journal entry on December 12, 2011…

At this moment, I’m really trying to grasp the purpose of this place. For so long I’ve been haunted by this struggle.  So, I ask, is it my fault? What did I do to cause this cycle?  I can imagine how Job felt to some extent.  However, I must pause and say, Thank you.  It’s not as bad as his ordeal of suffering.  Yet, the weight of this can be so frustrating.  I’m trying to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I know You said you’d never leave or forsake your children.  All I have at this point is Your word…Your promise.  Will You fail me now?  I know without a doubt that You are in control of my life.  I know now that You own everything! I understand that You will and can provide for all my needs.  So then what’s my issue?  My question is when?

IT IS ABOUT YOUR TIMING! You know the needs I have.  I also know that for so, so long I’ve always tried to handle things myself. I know I can’t, so will You please come quickly to my rescue?

Does my crying make You come before Your time? I think not. Is it the pity that pushes these tears through so forcefully? Probably.  I admit, I feel so alone; that I really don’t have another person on earth to help me since my mother went home to be with You.  I know You do not cater to pity parties, but You do understand tears of sorrow.  So what do I do? Have faith. That’s what moves You to respond to my need. So, Lord, I believe, but help my unbelief!  My soul clings to You!

Needless to say, my Father kept His promise! If you belong to Him, He will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). HE MAKES ALL THINGS BETTER! Trust Him!

When there’s no light at the end of the tunnel

How long is a little while?

The struggles in life has a way of making you feel there is no end to the tunnel.  Darkness seems to cover you like a blanket with no sign of a light.

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Unashamedly I admit, over the last fifteen years I asked consistently, “Lord, how long is the pain of betrayal, broken relationships, grief from the loss of loved ones and possessions going to last?  When will the struggles end?” Needless to say, He did not give me a specific timeframe.  Instead, He always reminded me of His Word.   After a while, I stop asking how long and started rehearsing the promises He had given me.  My attitude changed. The more I meditated and spoke aloud His Word over my life and situations, the more my anxiety was replaced by God’s peace.  Still there were nights I cried myself to sleep, but I never stopped rehearsing the promises. I held on to them regardless of what I felt, saw and experienced. I believed God!

Like me, have you looked for the light at the end of the tunnel and wondered how long your troubles would last?

Just know you are not alone while traveling through your tunnel a little while longer.

I posted the following status to my Facebook page earlier this week.   Reading it again the next day or so was like getting a burst of energy from an energy drink.

Your suffering is temporary. Go through the “making” process.

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” 1 Peter 5:10 NIV.

During the time Peter wrote to the Christians, persecution was not just confined to the churches in Asia Minor. Christians were suffering from intense persecution almost everywhere in the known world of that day because they were preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ. Peter wrote to remind and console them and us too.  He was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write and encourage them to emulate those who had successfully gone through the test of suffering.  It is important and beneficial to surround yourself with people who have successfully endured some dark days of suffering and can offer you the encouragement you need to stand firm and not give up.

Suffering on this earth—although it appears to be endless—is temporary.  It is much easier to focus on the uncertainty of the length of time we will suffer.  Only God knows the duration of our sufferings.  He sovereignly defines the ‘little while’.  No one’s time of suffering is the same.  Remember Job? He suffered the loss of all things, including his health.  Through it all, he held on even enduring the criticisms and misunderstandings of his friends.

Your suffering is temporary. God through the “making” process.

The duration of your pain will be different from others, but the focal point should not be the time frame.  Focus on the promised outcome after the set time (little while) of suffering is completed.  After you have suffered a little while, here are four (4) things the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself do:

  •  Restore you.  Whatever is broken or missing, He will mend and repair so that you are complete. However long you suffered, afterwards you will be restored.  Your restoration may be physically or spiritually.
  •  Establish you. Suffering affects our mental health; our thoughts are usually focused on our condition and circumstances.  It’s easy for spirits of depression and oppression to control our thinking. God will make you stable in your mind; you will need mental stability. He will make you strong in mind. A strong and stable mindset is essential to your well-being physically, emotionally and spiritually.
  • Strengthen you.  Suffering affects you emotionally; therefore, God will make you firm in your emotions. Where you are emotionally weak and unsteady, He will strengthen your soul.
  • Settle you. Because your whole being has been shaken by your suffering, God will settle (establish) you.  He will lay again a firm foundation to uphold you so that you are stable in all your ways, not wavering, but confident in the God of your salvation.

Why would God do all this after you have suffered for a while?  Because it was never God’s intention for us live in a place of darkness, defeat, disappointment and discouragement .  Again I ask, remember Job?  At the end of Job’s suffering, however long it was, God restored him and all he lost with double.  God’s desire from the beginning has always been for our good. His will is for all mankind to live victoriously through faith in Jesus Christ (John 10:10). His desire is that we be ‘whole’ human beings in a loving relationship with Him.  All that He allows to happen in the life of His children is scripted with purpose. It is usually in times of suffering and adversity that we draw closer to Him through prayer and supplication.  Moreover, He draws closer to us. During suffering is not the time to become bitter; look to God for the better.

Yes, the struggles in life has a way of making you feel there is no light at the end of the tunnel, and darkness covers you like a blanket with no sign of a light.  But, we must remember the promises while traveling through the tunnel of darkness. Get in the Word of God because the entrance of His Words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple (Psalm 119:130). May you be enlightened and encouraged by this post.

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Your turn..

What will you do when it seems like a ‘little while’ has turned into a long while in a tunnel of darkness?

Will you admit that you focus more on ‘how long’ rather than promised outcome after the suffering?  If you admit yes, what will you do differently after reading this post?

Meditate on this Word: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”  -Romans 8:28