Monday, May 21, 2018

Fresh Vision 2018: Secret Places, Daniel Fasting, and Wow

Whew.

This has been quite the experience.  I wasn't sure what I was expecting but I have learned so much and gained so much insight into my own life, getting into alignment with God, and received a lot of encouragement.

The Secret place

When Brother Richard prayed for me and told me that I would not die an old maid he also made mention of something called the Secret Place.

In our Church's prayer reset book by Bob Sorge he mentioned the Secret Place (He also happens to be the author of the book called Secrets of the Secret Place)  Finally in our Bible Study Nicki mentioned the Secret Place.

I thought:  What is this Secret Place?  Maybe I should learn about it.  So I did what any diligent woman of faith would do.  

I went on Amazon and ordered the book.

Well I learned what the secret place is and I also came to the conclusion that as long as I keep coming back to the secret place everything will unfold as it should.  

Bob Sorge's book:  Secrets of the Secret Place is incredible.  It's 52 short chapters and when I tell you that it has been super super super encouraging to me...I am not giving you the whole story

Why Fast?

To be perfectly honest my main motivations for fasting are to work on spiritual discipline and because I think that is what serious people do.  Mark Batterson said there are some breakthroughs that can only happen when you double circle with prayer and fasting.

That is true but I love what Bob Sorge said in his book the Secrets of the Secret Place
There is no spiritual merit in fasting; It doesn't earn extra points with God. But it does tenderize your spirit, sensitize your hearing, and accelerate the pace of divine flow in and through your life. - Bob Sorge, Secrets of the Secret Place
This is true and I have to say what I have experienced through my fast.  I haven't fasted in about 3 years but in the past 7 days it's all been flowing.

Creativity

People continue to talk about the creation.  Pastor patrick mentioned God bringing Adam into a ready environment.  The creation wasn't completed but it was ready for him.  He didn't have him out there in the void....thus Pastor Patrick said:  God brings us into ready environments.

Then yesterday at church we've started a new sermon series: Beginnings - The Book of Genesis

Pastor Dawn Humphrey preached a magnificent sermon from Genesis Chapter 1. She too used the word creative and how we are earthen vessels.  We are the earth.  God is creating creating creating something within us just like how he blew on Adam and gave him life so the Holy Spirit wants to blow on us as He did on that Pentecost where the church was established and the Holy Spirit had come.

Creativity.  We don't hear much about that in Religious Christianity.  It all seems so dogmatic and and based on ritual.  Not a lot of room for creativity but that's the antithesis of scripture.  We serve a creator so everything he does is creative.


Keep sowing them seeds cause it ain't in vain

Bob Sorge says in his book the secret place that the actual impact of the secret place is not evident until a later time.

What we sow today requires seasons of growth. Sowing is usually extremely mundane, boring, and mental. Rarely are the benefits of sowing seen at the time. - Bob Sorge Secrets of The Secret Place

Let's pause right there

I was a fan of Bob Sorge before but after reading that passage, I am a fan for life. This is what many people fail to admit. The same way grocery shopping, meal preparation, drinking water, going to the gym, saying no to desserts and all that is not always the most exciting but when done consistently produces a healthy lifestyle with amazing results.  

So goes it with sowing into our spiritual fitness. A lot of it feels boring and like you're not going anywhere but performed consistently over time produces a lifestyle change that harvests amazing results.

As Bob Sorge points out, authentic spiritual harvest is rarely instantaneous.

There are no quick fixes for anything.

The Wow part came for me when he said that intercession accelerates God's purposes in the Earth. That caused a total mindset shift for me. Rather than complaining about not getting any fruit from the seeds I've been sowing, maybe it's time to be excited because my seed sowing in the form of prayer is causing acceleration and preventing further delay.

Wow.

To God be the Glory



Proverbs 31 OBS: Why Her? Week 6 - Wrap Up

This has been a fabulous Bible Study.  As I have had my own personal experience with the pitfalls of comparison and how it is all a waste of time, I looked at the Bible study through wiser eyes.

I personally connected with Truth One, Truth Two, and Truth Four

My time spent in the wilderness of comparison was a result of having to be honest, understanding that I didn't do anything wrong (losing the legalistic performance based religious mindset) and seeing how it really is.  Sometimes you don't see how it really is until years later.


The 6 Truths of the Why Her?  Bible Study with quotes by Nicki Koziarz

Truth One: You Need to Be Honest"Comparison is a battle to see whose truth — ours or God's — we'll allow to rule our thoughts and actions."
Truth Two: See It Like It Really Is "We need to remember when looking at people's lives that appear perfect to us, there's probably a not-so-perfect story happening there that's never going to be told."
Truth Three: You Don't Always Have to Be Okay"Choose God's Promises, Fight for God's promises and Walk in Truth."
Truth Four: You Didn't Do Anything Wrong "to trust God so much that if He doesn't give it to us, we don't want it."
Truth Five: Her Gain Is Not Your Loss"Even if it feels like everyone else is winning and you're losing, the goodness of God is at work in you because the goodness of God is at work in all His kids."
Truth Six: Let the Success of Others Encourage, Not Discourage You
 "God's purpose isn't a battlefield for competition. It's a safe haven of calling.


Practical Life Application



What is for me is for me.  Period.  I don't need to compare myself to anyone else nor will I allow myself to be compared to anyone else.

It may not look like what I thought it would or even how I thought it should look but it is right for me.

There is  enough for everyone.  There are enough clients, there is enough provision, there is enough.   Our callings are a safe haven.  They aren't the battlefield of comparison

My Bless Her Prayer

Nicki had us do a Bless Her for a woman that we wanted to bless.  That woman we compare ourselves to so instead of comparison we bless her.

I chose to pray for Ingrid because one day I hope I can be like her and prophesy to others to take action. I pray that I can speak encouragement, strength, and wisdom into people's lives.
My bless her prayer had nothing to do with jealousy, envy, or bitterness.  It was out of a sincere desire to see this woman flourish and continue to change lives.

Here's what the Bless Her  Prayer says:

God, today I’m praying for [insert their name]. I am grateful You have gifted her with the ability to [insert their gif/opportunity]. You are a good God who gives each of us good gifs. I pray that today would be a day of increase with the ability to use those gifs in her life. Help [insert their name] to use her time, resources, and gifs wisely today. Surround her with what she needs most. And bless her greatly. In Jesus’ name, amen.
This is Truth 6 wrapped up in a nutshell: 
 Let the Success of Others Encourage, Not Discourage You

Ingrid and her gifts have done nothing but encourage me to continue my walk and to begin to be brave enough to speak into people.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Proverbs 31 OBS Why Her? Week 5 - Her Gain is not My Loss

Her Gain is not my Loss

Woooo...This one is a mouthful right here.

This truth hits right on my scarcity mentality.  With a scarcity mindset you think when someone gets a promotion, then that means you have lost.

This is a big problem for me as a single woman.  When I hear that someone has gotten married, I feel like it's one less prospect for me even if the groom is nowhere near my type!  Scarcity mindset all the way around.

Learning to have an abundance mindset is challenging when scarcity is your default mode.  You have to remind yourself that there is enough.

As Nicki writes in the book there are PLENTY of God Given Assignments to go around!  We don't need to compare ourselves to someone else who may already be doing what we believe we are called to do.

When we have scarcity mindset we think, "Oh.  She's already doing that.  I guess that means my shot is over." OR we think, "Wow. I could do x,y,z 100x better than this.  I should be doing x,y,z instead of her

I'm more guilty of thinking the latter statement.  

We don't need to compare and compete.  There is enough to go around and besides she may be able to reach certain people doing x,y,z that you cannot reach.  Everyone is not for everybody.

Striving and Success as idols

"The desire to succeed, of course, is a great goal.  In fact, I don't see anywhere in the Bible that doesn't encourage us to work toward success.  But we need to be careful that all our striving doesn't
1) Mask our insecurity in success
2) Lead us away from thriving in the season we're currently living." - Nicki K, Why Her?
I've said on this blog and I'm learning more and more how much of an idol success is to me.  I'm a striver.  I want to be successful and have financial security because I look at that as my security when I know that is not true.  I've seen people who are executives who have cushy C-Suite Jobs be told on Friday that their services are no longer needed and they haven't been able to find steady work with as good a compensation plan since being let go.

You can't serve both God and Money

So even though I know intellectually that success and financial security are fickle, I still look to them as idols. I  think, "If I just had more money and I was successful, then everything would be okay"

I really believe this is why this year I've been challenged in this area.  As much as I like to hold on to money and I'm so afraid of letting it go I've had several incidents where that's been targeted.  What am I going to do?  Stop giving and being generous because I'm afraid that will be it or will I say, "God will provide and I am going to be all right."

I can't serve both God and Money.
I have to choose one
I am choosing God
One of the values I wanted to strengthen this year was Generosity and I wanted to be INTENTIONAL about giving

Thriving in the season we are in



Someone shared a quote with Nicki that really resonated with me.  "Don't wish the season away".  

Oh how I've been there.  I wanted to be in any season except the one I was currently in but looking back all of those seasons were necessary.  The seasons of extreme financial hardship where I really don't know how I managed and why I didn't give up.  The seasons where I was wandering in the wilderness and not sure of what I was doing but somehow the right people started showing up.  

All of those seasons were meant to teach me something and get me over the hump of, "I can't". 

Even now in this current season where I'm growing and I feel more positive than I ever have with Fresh Vision, this temptation to scream "HOW MUCH LONGER? SOMETHING EXCITING IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN RIGHT?"  is still there.

But I know that I must appreciate all of these moments because they are all apart of the message.

Her Gain is not my Loss

I know I keep going back to this same story of my biggest lesson on comparison but that experience taught me so much.  Perhaps what you think is a gain would actually be a loss for you.  It would not be the right thing for your life and could  lead to ruin.

I believe that God knows best.  He knows what we need and what we don't need.  He knows what would be best for our lives even if it doesn't look like we imagined.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Fresh Vision: Alignment, Reset, Surrender, and Daniel Fasting




This Spring the Leadership at Shiloh Church has decided that as a church we are going to do a 10 Day Daniel Fast and then do a 20 Day Prayer Reset using ReSet By Bob Sorge.

I love Bob Sorge's material so I was in because his stuff is 100% life application.

As far as the Daniel Fast, I feel like I need to get up out of my comfort zone and I also believe that I'm in a season where I need to learn about this fasting business.  Plus as a Healthy Lifestyle expert, I think fasting is great for digestion and also furthering self discipline...so I was in.  Everyone can always use more veggies!  Look at these beautiful veggies that my client Grace prepared.



In my seed sowing declaration I said that I believed so much of my legacy is going to be rooted at Shiloh Church and what better way to get the ball officially rolling by participating in the church wide fast and dedication to prayer.

I want to be in Alignment

The first day Bob Sorge talked about our objective which is "That we may know him".  Yes that's true and I have other objectives such as:

  • Being in alignment with what God has for my life
  • Surrendering even if I don't want to 
  • Going to another deeper level
The main objective is to be in alignment with God's will for my life.  Every single time I've tried to make it happen on my own, disaster has ensued...so I don't want that.  I want to be in the right position so all I have to do is stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.

Daniel Fasting

I know some people act like Daniel Fast is the worst thing ever but for me it's really not that bad.  It's not all that different from how I eat anyway (I don't eat a lot of refined sugars and crap).  The only thing that's tougher for me is to eliminate meat...but even that isn't that bad.  I just have to get creative and plan ahead.

Besides that, I think it's a good thing to eat more plant based anyway both for your digestion, it's also good for the planet and your wallet!

Along with the Daniel Fast, I'm also fasting from my TV shows again and also minimal social media usage (Some instagram for posting recipes, some Facebook posts, and little to no Twitter)  I tell you what I am more productive and my mood is a lot better not hearing about what terrible thing to be outraged about today.


Proverbs 31 OBS Why Her? Week 4 - We didn't do anything wrong

This week's truth was refreshing: I didn't do anything wrong.

I grew up with legalistic teaching and sadly with that type of teaching you think every time something doesn't go your way it's because you did something wrong.

I have had to shed my legalistic viewpoints in the last few years.  I thought that by following some sort of self imposed rules that I would receive what I wanted.  Even after denouncing legalism, I still found myself with a performance oriented religious mindset.

Sold a Bill of Goods

I remember a few years ago I was just incensed because I felt like I was following these self imposed rules and I didn't feel as if I was getting anywhere.

I looked around at people who I didn't believe were as "HOLY" as I was and they seemed to have everything!  Money, Marriage, a great life.  All the things I wanted and all the things I didn't have.  I just didn't understand why people who were living all kinds of crazy had what I wanted.  I felt like I had been sold a bill of goods and the truth is I had been sold a bill of goods.

Sidebar: This is also why I have an issue with these singles ministries.  They tell the women that if they pray, fast, and attend church more then God will bless them with a husband.  This isn't true at all because why is it that  the men don't have to do much of anything but show up and they'll find someone.  
 
The jig usually starts to be up when younger women look around and see their futures in women who are in their 50's and 60's who have never been married but are in church every time the door opens and are often broke, overworked, tired, and bitter.

It's all a bill of goods and that's why women start to believe they did something wrong when they don't receive the knight in shining armor despite being in church 24/7 and being in every ministry.  

I didn't do anything wrong...

A few years ago I woke up and realized that these self imposed rules were just that and had nothing to do with God and had given me a superiority complex to believe that I was deserving of certain things because I had followed these rules.

I also realized that I hadn't done anything wrong and my punishment was to be an old maid.

I realized the issue was my attitude and my mindset.  Once I realized that I wasn't being punished but it was my bad because I hadn't bothered to develop myself in certain areas, my outlook changed.

Comparison is at the root

Once I started comparing what others had and I didn't had is when I started to believe I was being unfairly punished.  

I would think:  "Why does so and so have x,y,z?  That's not fair.  I deserve it more than they do"

First of all:  We don't know what so and so really has.  My greatest lesson on comparison was that you could be comparing yourself to a lie.

Second of all: What's fair?  I didn't need to have money or a husband because I wanted all of those things for the wrong reasons.  I wanted those things to receive all of the glory and honor.  Success was my idol and because God loves me, he knew I had no business with the trappings of success.

Lastly:  What do I deserve and why do I deserve it?   Because I am following some made up rules that make me feel superior to others.

Comparison is the root of  feeling like you were being punished.  Even better is when people want to rub others' accomplishments in your face and you really do start to feel like you're being punished.

"What am I doing wrong?"  you may ask yourself as they go on and on "It's just not fair"

It may not be fair.  It may not even be right.  It could potentially all be lies.  You just don't know.

Surrender

It is what it is.
  1. Life isn’t always fair. We can do our absolute best, and still not get that “thing” we wanted. But that doesn’t mean we did anything wrong. It just means it wasn’t for us. Nicki reminds us that when life takes that unexpected turn, “We have to trust God so much that if He doesn’t give it to us, we don’t want it.” In doing so, we surrender our control for His peace.

I love the above takeaway from this week's study because   Sometimes we may think we've been cheated or missed out but God has SPARED US.  He in his unfailing love and mercy has SPARED US!!  We may not find out for YEARS why we didn't get it but if he didn't give it to us, then we shouldn't want it anyway. 

We must trust that God knows best and he's not going to give us stones for bread, snakes for fish, and scorpions for eggs

On this Sacred Journey that has been one of my most difficult lessons:  Trusting that God knows best and surrendering my life to Him even when I don't want to.

We may have our Plans but God's way is ALWAYS better.  He has unlimited vision and already knows how the story will turn out.  We have very limited vision and can only see day to day.  I would bet on the Unlimited vision of God.  It's so much better His way...Not my will but yours!




Monday, May 7, 2018

Fresh Vision: Finally reached out to Ingrid

I often talk about a woman named Ingrid who was so instrumental in me finally deciding it was time to go and do my business.

Here's the story of what happened on Resurrection Sunday 2015 if you don't want to search

After service on Sunday, this woman stops and looks right at me. She says Are you looking for a job? I said "kinda" she then proceeds to talk about situations, people, and distractions that are going to be cut.

She assured me that God is with me and this is the time of favor and that I will be so focused on what God has for me that I won't have time for these things distracting me. (I wonder if she meant finding a husband)...

she told me to come find her when all these things come to pass. with tears streaming down my face I asked her name and told Ingrid I would find her when it was time to give my testimony. Matter of fact I'm getting up in front of the whole church and going to testify about seeing Gods glory,

I had started following members from Shiloh on Instagram and then I saw a lady named Ingrid.  I thought to myself.  That's her!  That's Ingrid!  You must keep in mind I have not seen Ingrid since that Sunday 3 years ago.

However last week as I scrolled through Instagram I thought, "Maybe it's time to reach out to her to thank her for how she helped me move forward"

Then I said, "No that's way too creepy".


That afternoon she posted about how she was in Harlem at a museum about Black women entrepreneurs and how impactful that was for her.

I thought to myself:  "He gets you every time.  Reach out to the lady"

So I did.

I told her the whole story and what has happened since that Fateful Sunday.

I also told her that whatever God is doing in this season at Shiloh is beyond exciting and that in this hour God's daughters will not be silenced.

She nearly fell out in the museum in awe of God.  I'm sure she didn't even remember what happened.  This goes to show that you do not know what types of seeds you're planting in people as a prophet.  You know it's from God but you have no clue on how it will show up in people


All I knew was that when she said that, I went home and typed up my resignation.  It was scary and yes I had some really dry wintery seasons but Since that day I met Caterina, joined TWIBC, and my life has changed.  I'm doing  nearly everything I have written about.

It was time to reach out to her and as she said we will share a meal soon and fellowship.  

I will make sure to post pics on this blog when it happens.

One of the reasons I have this blog is so that WE (myself included) can look back and see how the dots connected and also marvel at the faithfulness of God.  

It's all so that God can receive the glory...and just think we are going to have more excitement so that we can get even more undignified than this!!




Fresh Vision: Seasons and More Seed Sowing.

What an incredible weekend!

I spoke at a business summit and one of the speakers talked about how our businesses have seasons.  We have Spring where we are growing, summer where everything is in full bloom and ripening, There's Fall harvest, and then there's winter where it can get dark, nothing is growing, there are storms, and it's time to go inside and review and prepare for the spring.

In a society that's always GO GO GO and DO DO DO....it's a novel concept that there are times where it's not growing and we need to pull it back to plan and prepare.

Life is like that as well and I think that flows right on into the whole concept of Seed Sowing.  I am planting seeds that I plan to see harvested.  Now the problem with me and most folks is that we want to see the plant bloom the next day or the next week.  It doesn't work like that AT ALL.

When I get discouraged or down on myself, I have to remember that it may not be happening right now but it is happening.  My seeds are  a declaration of FAITH that I BELIEVE that these seeds will grow.

Generous

Some of the other speakers at this conference talked about generosity and abundance.  My friend Aeriol did a meditation where she mentioned holding on tightly to money and how we didn't need to do that because there is enough.

I told her that message was for me.  So often I end up trying to hold on to my money because I don't think there will be enough.

Another woman named Michelle talked about eliminating our blocks with money.  I have my own money story.  I'm so afraid of being absolutely destitute and so I allow that fear to guide my ideas about abundance. I'm making more money than I ever have and I need to focus on my gratitude for that instead of "It's just not enough". With a scarcity mindset... It's never enough!

That goes right on into what we're talking about at Shiloh Church.  We are talking about Generosity. 

What is our generosity for?  It should be about helping others and making an impact.

Pastor Javier reported that last Sunday Shiloh collected the most money they ever had for a seed sowing Sunday in its history.  

I am not surprised.  Something radical and earth shattering is going to happen at Shiloh.  I think there will be revival like we haven't seen in a generation.  I'm positive this much is true.

Stand still and don't be a psycho chick

Ok...little confession here.  

It looks like my Fresh Vision has noticed some excitement...This is different in so many ways.  For one thing I've been taking those relationship classes so I already have improved in so many areas like not turning into psycho chick.  

The other thing is that I'm not filled with anxiety and like I have to do something.  Sure, I have snooped on Instagram and that's made me even more interested


This also isn't like at the gym where I was listening to Rihanna, drinking pre-workout, and training legs so then anybody started looking good and then when I saw that person again it was...It's a No from me dawg.

Stand Still and See the Salvation of the Lord

Pastor Patrick Kiteley does a weekly Bible study on conference call and since it's only like 20 minutes, I listened.  I really like that guy.  It was powerful because in 20 minutes there is no time for fluff. It's let's get into this word, break it down, and get off the call.

Well he said something that really stuck with me and was the message.

2 Chronicles 20: 17 (NKJV)
17 You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.”

So I do not need to DO anything at this moment to try to make something happen.  I need to get into position aka get into alignment.  Didn't I just talk about that??  

Yesterday during Praise and Worship I felt challenged to get out of my pew during Praise and Worship.  I felt like God was calling me to get out of my comfort zone and get into position.  

It's Spring Time 

Then yesterday at church Pastor Javier prophesied that the season of endurance was over.  A friend of mine prayed for me very powerfully and I just know that those seeds he was praying into me will come to a harvest.

It's spring time.  Things are growing and the sun is coming out.

Fresh Vision for Spring...and even some new excitement.