Have you ever been in a relationship and realized that you just can't get into it like you want to because your mind keeps telling you to hold back?
What does it mean to be free to love? Don't we experience love everyday? How can you love God and not be free to love man? While talking to a good friend of mine, someone whom I love and admire, when I realized that I am not free to love.
I create all of these rules from past experiences to protect myself, when all I am doing is shutting myself out. I am in bondage - self inflicted bondage, because I bound myself by these thoughts that if I do this or act a certain way I will be safe from the foolishness that awaits. In reality I am going against everything I believe in! Christ came so that I might be free - yet I have taken that freedom and given it back to him thinking that I can protect myself. Where is the trust I should have in God that he will protect my heart, that he will provide what I need? How do I pray to him everyday, sing songs of praise to him and walk around in bondage?
Paul speaks about this self-bondage in Galatians. "You foolish people of Galatia! Who has put you under an evil spell? When I preached, I clearly showed you that Jesus Christ had been nailed to the cross. I would like to learn just one thing from you. Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law? Or did you receive the Spirit by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? You began with the Holy Spirit. Are you now trying to complete God’s work in you by your own strength?" Galatians 3.1-3
Oh foolish Keisha! Who has cast an evil spell on you? All of these broken relationships I've had lead me to this aweful place. This feeling of entrapment within myself, the constant struggle between my heart and my mind. I usually take time after each relationship to get through the hurt with the intentions of not bringing it into future relationships but all I do is put them away and tell myself I'm good, I'm ready to move on, never realizing the state of denial I am in. When someone wants to love me I begin to discredit them because of certain triggers that cause me to compare them to past relationships.
What a messed up state of mind when love is who you are, yet you are unable to give of yourself lovingly to one person. You open your heart to so many others but shut down when someone of the opposite sex shows interest.
I am not free to love.
The more I say it, the more I realize a deeper need for deliverance, the need for God to remove these strongholds. How can I expect people to see God's love in me when I won't allow myself to love and to be loved - fully without restriction. I keep telling myself I have to be in control of my feelings, in control of me, I can't like him too fast, I won't fall in love, falling hurts I would rather walk into love with someone. I've been told several times by different people that I'm holding back and when I let go how powerful I would be. I understand what they are saying now, I'm realizing what I need and only God can truly free me from this hold I have on myself. These thoughts that permeate my mind and cause me to turn away.
Paul alerts us to true freedom and while I experience true freedom, I go right back to slavery out of fear. But God has not given me a spirit of fear but of power, so why do I consistantly fall back in? Because I am not consistantly seeking his face, I am not putting him first in EVERYTHING! I pick and choose when I include him and most times it's after the fact. I act first and then think. How many of us have been there?
The Bible specifically says "Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need." Matthew 6.33
But seek first - not second, not after it falls apart but first. God have your way in me today, guide me in your will, lead me where you want to go. What is it that you will have me to do today? This should be my daily prayer. I want to be free to love, to trust God more than I do now. I want to consistantly seek his face. I need to be free, otherwise I will die in bondage and Jesus' sacrifice will have been in vain for he died to set me free. I must repent and ask God to forgive me for mocking him and for abusing his love.
"So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don't get tied up again in slavery to the law." Galatians 5.1 "What is important is faith expressing itself in love." Galatians 5.6
I will be free to love and I will start today. I will pray and ask God to help me let go of anything that is holding me back. I will forgive everyone who has hurt me and forgive myself. I will open up a little more each day with someone new and allow myself to be. I will trust that God has me covered and will show me where I need to be. His word assures me that he is in control and I will accept that. I will practice depending on him and not me, move myself out of the way so that his work can be revealed through me. I wrote a song a while back called "Ready for Love" and I am ready, God's love will lead to true love and so I will continue to read and study the word and watch as he reveals himself to me even more allowing me to love greater than I've ever loved before. If you are dealing with this same issue I want to encourage you today. God will and he can, you just have to choose to let him into your heart and let him have his way in you. I know that once we keep him in the front everything else will be just as it should be.
Keisha Natalee Cole
What do you do when you are feeling blue? Put on a happy face! What do you tell people who are concerned for you? Put on a happy face!
I'm sure you've heard this said or read somewhere that people wear masks everyday, and depending on their mood will determine which mask they put on. No one knows the true feelings of anyone but God. Sometimes we walk around keeping all of our feelings inside because we don't want anyone to know how much we are hurting or we don't want to admit to ourselves that we are hurting and so we... sing it with me.. put on a happy face.
This is so wrong, you should always have someone to talk to, someone to let it all out to. Most of us choose to let it partially out to a friend and completely out to God, I am definitely one of those people! I used to keep everything in until one day one of my best friends Janine said to me, I can't help you if you don't tell me something is wrong. She was so right! I was so used to keeping everything in that I would be deteriorating mentally without even knowing the impact it had on me. I finally broke down and told her everything and just having her there to listen and comfort me made all the difference in the world. This was about 8 years ago and while I still struggle with letting it all out to certain friends, I exercise my right to break down every once in a while.
Take this moment of liberation and let it all out! We don't always have to be strong and breaking down doesn't mean that you are weak, it means that you are human, you have feelings and emotions and you don't mind showing them. I consider myself to be a very strong person, but every know and then when I am hurting I fall on my face in front of God and let it all out, I mean no holds barred, crying and carrying on, rolling around on the floor, stomping and pouting, just acting ugly! LOL! I need God to know that I am crying out for the healing that only he can provide. Then I talk to my Bestie and vent, I don't cry in front of people too much, maybe every once in a while, but definitely not often.
I have even cried in front of my children before because I needed them to understand how much their actions were hurting me and to let them know how important their relationship with each other is, the difference it made was wonderful.
Why am I writing today, because sometimes we live behind our masks so much we forget who we really are. Don't lose yourself in trying to hide from the world, be honest about how you feel and allow yourself the chance to heal.
Rest in God's arms and allow him to help you through the healing process. I know most times when people ask you how you are doing they aren't really interested, but please be sure that someone hears you out, the release is important and talking it out helps. Now hear me on this, you do not want to talk to someone who will only make things worst. For example, you are venting about someone who has done you wrong and all they have to say is "slash his tires girl!" Please do not heed the advise of negativity, it won't make you feel better and you might end up in jail with the way the justice system is today! Seek the wisdom of those who are in the Lord and who speak positive things.
I am sending a hug to all of you who may be hurting and I am telling you that everything will be alright!
Thanks for reading! If you like what you read, please share it with a friend, comment or if you want me to write about a certain topic, please feel free to email me the topic and I will get right on it!
As always, be blessed,
Keisha Natalee Cole
Have you ever wondered why somethings just won't work out in your favor? Ever been working somewhere and things just keep messing up regardless of how hard you try to do better? Been in a relationship that seems to be going no where? Maybe it's not meant for you to be there.
Maybe God is trying to tell you that you are not where he wants you to be. Sometimes you just have to walk away! It's like the people of Israel, when they were rescued from Egypt and they began their travels, things were going well because they were where they were supposed to be, but then they began complaining and growing impatient and they began to go astray. They were no longer where God wanted them to be, it took them 40 years to get to the promised land! Let's learn from them and not take 40 years to be where God wants us to be.
I don't know about you but I am experiencing some craziness in my life. I don't understand why I am going through certain things, why I am feeling certain emotions, why my stomach is in knots more often than not. I dread doing certain things and I stress unnecessarily. I never stress, usually I'm like God's got it and I move on. There have been plenty of situations that have occurred in my life where I didn't know where I was going, or how I would manage but it didn't concern me because I knew God would take care of me, and he always did.
When my ex-husband left me, I was no longer able to maintain financially my household, so naturally I had to make moves, downsize my apartment, create a tighter budget, you know the usual things we deal with when our financial status changes. I packed up my things, put them in storage and moved in with my Bestie until I was able to figure out where I was going and what I could afford comfortably. Eventually I ended up moving into an apartment in the same house as my Bestie and I stayed there for a year. I ended up having to move because my landlord didn't want to allow me to live there with my niece. We were not allowed to have any additional persons living with us that were not originally on the lease. It didn't natter to her that my niece was only 8 and I was her guardian at the time, so I lost the apartment because I took in my niece.
I guess God had something else in mind for me and did not want me getting too comfortable. At this time I had already left corporate to pursue my music and I was receiving unemployment trying to make things work. I wasn't sure what I could afford and where I would move but I knew that I had to move. I remember praying and asking God to help me, I needed an apartment at this rate and in this area. The next day I looked in the newspaper and I began circling apartments, I noticed an apartment in Union for the exact cost that I was asking for, oh but look how good God is, not only was the apartment the amount I asked for, it was also with all utilities included! I immediately went to look at the apartment and was happy with it, I applied and I prayed that I would get it. I was the fifth person to request it and the landlord told me she would let me know. That same day, she calls me back to tell me that she wants me to have it! I screamed, I was overjoyed and I thanked God all the way there to give my deposit. I said all this to say that not only will God direct you where he wants you to be, but he will see to it that you are taken care of. My landlords are truly a gift from God, they are patient, loving and extremely kind. She welcomed me as her family and not as a tenant, her exact words were "we can be sisters, not landlord - tenant", and she meant every word because this is how she treats me.
Situations may get uncomfortable, you may feel stressed, nervous, worried, scared, you may feel like if I leave where I am I will fall. I know how that feels, I have had God tell me on numerous occasions that I shouldn't be where I am, and I out of fear I stay, forgetting that God will take care of my needs. I am in that situation now, I know I am not supposed to be here, yet because I am scared that I will be without I haven't left yet, despite the fact that I dread going every day, that my stomach is in knots from the stress the environment creates.
I have made a decision that I will trust God and let go. I will walk away and know that he has me covered. Even in my relationships I have learned to listen and to trust him. I wrote a song titled "I Choose You", and it basically states that no matter what my thoughts are Lord, I am letting go and choosing you, even though it hurts Lord, I am still choosing you!
Let's make a conscious decision to choose what God has for us and let go and trust him. After all, he is a God of overflow, not only will he bless you, but he will bless you more abundantly, more than you could ever ask or think. He will do it! I know, I have seen his work in my life over and over again despite my foolishness. That's what love will do!
So I say to you, you know when it's time... listen, be obedient and reap the wonderful benefits. I am letting go and looking forward to good things! I love you all, thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment. I would love to hear from you!
Blessings to you,
Keisha Natalee Cole
I came across this article I wrote years ago and it has inspired me to write another article on Dr. King. Enjoy this one and stay tuned for the next one!
"If you want to be important, wonderful. If you want to be recognized, wonderful. If you want to be great, wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That is the new definition of greatness. Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve."
Powerful words spoken by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This powerful man of God was a living example of being like the Christ, the anointed one. Jesus the Christ was a servant. He was sent to serve God by dying on the cross for our sins. Did He not act as a servant to mankind when he healed the sick, raised the dead and ministered to the people? He even served His own disciples, those who served Him, by washing their feet.
Martin was a servant of God, he was sent here to die for our civil rights. We all have a purpose here on earth, Martin knew his and accepted it dangers and all. A true martyr for what he knew we deserved. He fought for opportunities not only for "blacks" but for women, women of all nationalities and he also fought for poor people as well. He believed that all people should be able to live the "Dream". He fought for what God promised us in His word - Life more abundantly. That abundant life is now, while we are on earth.
In his speech "I've Been to the Mountaintop" Martin discussed the threats on his life and like the Moses he was, he said "...Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will, and He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over and I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight, that we as a people will get to the Promised Land." Did Moses not see the promised land? Didn't he also serve God despite his revelation that he himself would not be able to enjoy the promised land?
Incredible! God continues to show himself, yet we refuse to see, we refuse to acknowledge Him. Martin labored as Moses did for God's glory - "let His will be done."
Martin was a man for the people, he preached love, he lived love, he was self-less yet powerful. We as a people, all people, should strive to be like Martin, like Christ. A faithful, loving servant to God and His people. In his sermon "I've Been to the Mountaintop", Martin proclaimed ..."The question is not "If I stop to help this man in need, what will happen to me?" The question is "If I do not stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to them?"...
We should all at this point know who Martin is and what he was about, some of us may even know how many awards he has received and listened to a few of his speeches, but do we know the lesson being taught by his life? Can we truly say that his dream has been realized? I write this article not to retype his biography but to affect change in someone's life, so that they may begin to exude the life of Martin, imitate the life of Christ and share in the love that God has for us.
We are love, we should live love, teach love, share our love and strive to live the "Dream" that Martin fought and died for. Yes equality, yes integration, yes freedom, but what about love? Only through love can we see past racism, only through love can we truly walk hand in hand, side by side - together as the "One Nation Under God" the government use to boast about.
Dr. King was chosen by God to live a life of violence to show us that while we may be effected by our environment, we do not have to be affected to react the same. This man preached non-violence, he lived non-violence yet he died violently. Looking back at Jesus' life, He suffered the same, a violent death for a non-violent life. Dr. King, a great activist but also a man after God's own heart. So what lesson have we learned here? It's not the way he died, but how he lived his life that's important. His entire family lived as King lived, despite the violence that surrounded them, they did not allow themselves to get caught up. Martin's father was quoted saying "I can hate no man." Can we say the same?
We are constantly surrounded by hate, by violence, by people who refuse to grab hold of Martin's dream, but it is up to us to affect them to react differently from what they know, from what they were taught.
So how will you spend this holiday? Will you use the day to get things done around the house? Will you attend a service and then go home? Or will you show someone you don't know love? Let's commit to affecting the lives of those we meet. Let's be great and be the servant Martin spoke about, serve someone in need. Let's fulfill God's purpose for our lives and share His love. Let's serve others lovingly and witness the change, one person at a time.
"You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love, and you can be that servant." From Martin's lips to your ears - Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!
We salute you Martin, for the great man of God you were during your time with us. We recognize your charge and we accept it.
So, where do we go from here? Let me know, I'll be posting this on my blog, post your comments and share with me how you plan to help bring Martin's dream to fruition.
All speech excerpts were taken from the King Center website http://www.thekingcenter.com/DrMLKingJr/.
Written by Keisha N. Cole
In the beginning of Luke chapter 7 the Roman Officer sent Jewish elders to lobby on his behalf, it's as if he felt that Jesus wouldn't listen to him if he went. These Jewish elders begged Jesus, they even went as far as pointing out he "loved the Jews" and "built them a synagogue," as if these things made him worthy of Jesus' help. "If anyone deserves your help, he does."
I wonder what Jesus was thinking when they were lobbying for this Roman officer - what really caused him to go along? He must have thought if you speak so highly of him, he must be worthy. Side bar thought that just popped into my head and is taking me in a totally different direction for one moment... bare with me... this just goes to show that EVERY ONE is loved by God, Jesus shed his blood so that ALL might be saved, there isn't anyone God is not willing to help, you just have to be willing to accept him. A fair exchange I think! Here we have this Roman officer who didn't know Jesus at all, yet upon hearing about him, his faith was ignited in trusting this man to save his servant. He already had hope because he was searching for a way and when he heard about Jesus he knew his search was done, he knew that all he had to do was get to him and his servant would be healed. Isn't that wonderful? What faith, what love... what trust this man had in Jesus. We should be like this Roman officer, trust God and know that his promises hold true, you are not excluded from his love, even if you are not a believer, or a part time believer, an atheist, Muslim, Buddhist, whatever you are he still loves you and wants you to believe in him, to trust him, to love him and obey his commands.
Ok, I digress... back to the original post.
So the Roman officer didn't feel worthy enough to be in Jesus' presence, so he sent more people out to speak on his behalf. First the Jewish elders and then some friends. "I am not even worthy to come meet you." He had his friends explain to Jesus how trusting he was, how deep his faith was by discussing Jesus' authority, he felt he could relate since he shared that same authority over his servants and fellow officers who were under him, all he had to do was say the word and they did what he said. In that same way he told Jesus that all you have to do is speak and it shall be done. He truly believed this in his heart.
Jesus never even met the man but because of who he knew, he got Jesus' attention and his servant was healed. Now don't get me wrong, I don't think that Jesus was impressed by these people, but I am sure that he was intrigued by their persistence and their high regard for this officer. Never the less, Jesus showed up and showed out! We know God and we know who Jesus is, we don't need anyone to lobby for us because we have direct access to him, yet we walk around like we don't know him.
We tell everyone but God our problems in hopes that Jesus will show up. We feel that we ourselves are not worthy to be in God's direct presence and so we go to our Pastors or ministers for intercession. We don't need anyone to speak highly of us, no one needs to explain on our behalf - we have direct access to God; our faith needs to be as strong as that Roman officer. We need to know that all God has to do is speak into our lives and it shall be done!
Jesus died on the cross so that we could have direct access to God, use him and trust that he will answer. No more weeping, no more wailing, let go of depression, of anger, let go of that person that is weighing you down, invite God in and let him work in you. I know for a fact that he will show up and show out in your life! He always does with me! He makes me eat my words sometimes, hang my head in shame for even doubting his word. God is the same yesterday, today and forever more, he is always faithful and he keeps his word! It's not what you know, it's who you know! And knowing God makes all things possible!
Don't be afraid to talk to him, he wants to hear from you. So what if it's been a long time since you called his name for the purpose of prayer, we all know we call his name on several occasions and no prayer follows, I'm just staying! Get on your knees and call his name... Jesus, I need you. Start there and let the rest flow from your heart. Even if it's just for a minute, talk to him. Invite him into your heart and watch how he moves.
I love God and I know that he loves me, the same as he loves you and wants to be in relationship with you. If you feel that tug, that pull towards Jesus, it's ok, take the plunge! You don't need a minister, you don't need to be in church, all you need is your sincere heart and your willingness to have him come into your heart. Tell him and he will send his Holy Spirit to lead the way.
Romans 10:9-10. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
If you want to know God for yourself, if you want to give it a try, here is a little prayer you can say to get started:
Dear God, I come to you in the name of Jesus. I acknowledge to You that I am a sinner, and I am sorry for my sins and the life that I have lived; I need your forgiveness.
I believe that your only begotten Son Jesus Christ shed His precious blood on the cross at Calvary and died for my sins, and I am now willing to turn from my sin.
You said in Your Holy Word, Romans 10:9 that if we confess the Lord our God and believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead, we shall be saved.
Right now I confess Jesus as the Lord of my soul. With my heart, I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. This very moment I accept Jesus Christ as my own personal Savior and according to His Word, right now I am saved.
Thank you Jesus for your unlimited grace which has saved me from my sins. I thank you Jesus that your grace never leads to license, but rather it always leads to repentance. Therefore Lord Jesus transform my life so that I may bring glory and honor to you alone and not to myself.
Thank you Jesus for dying for me and giving me eternal life.
We are all sinners saved by grace and I am just grateful that he allowed his son to die for me and for you!
Thanks for reading, be blessed!
Keisha Natalee Cole
God has a beautiful way of reminding you that he is in control.
So this morning I'm at work minding my own business when this guy walks in, he sits down and he looks at me and asks me if I sing. Well it was more of a confirmation if you ask me. He said it as though he already knew the answer. His friend who was sitting next to him asked him why did you ask her that? His answer was "the Spirit told me."
Im looking at this guy saying to myself, you dont know me. Now it's not that I don't believe in the Spirit speaking to people, I do, I'm just leary sometimes because there are those false prophets out there. So I smiled politely and I said yes.
He then asked me if I had been singing since I was four, my answer was no, I started singing at the age of 14. His friend made it a point to highlight that there was a four in my answer, so I smiled again. Then he asked me did I graduate from college. I answered him yes and explained that I have my Masters. Then my coworker interrupted us and asked for my help. As I excused myself he said very bluntly, "that's your problem." Curious I asked what did he mean, he said "there are too many distractions stopping you from reaching your goals. "
Convicted, I smiled and told him that he was right. Now this is conviction number two, earlier this morning while I was getting ready for work I hit my iTunes playlist and put it on random and my song "Why?" came on. For those of you who have never heard it, go check it out on my website... www.keishanataleecole.live, I know shameless plug lol, but seriously, I was convicted by my own song. Smh
Anywhooo back to the story. I walked away to help my coworker and when I got back to my desk he told me that I had a glow about me, almost like a halo, that there is a big blessing over me. He basically confirmed my ministry.
Yep, I was told about myself by a complete stranger! I love how God uses people to confirm his will for you, that was the second time that a client walked in and told me about my anointing.
It's important that we know who God is and what he is capable of. We walk around aimlessly wandering because we don't know, when all we have to do is ask. He answers, it may not be when we want it but he answers.
He will use whoever he wants to speak to us, we just need to listen. Don't get too caught up that you don't hear him speaking.
Thanks Daddy, you always know what I need! I'm excited about what's to come!
This reminds me of the song that goes "oh my brother, be encouraged, he will strengthen your heart, storm clouds will pass away, the sun is gonna shine after a while..."
Thanks for reading! Have a blessed day!
Keisha Natalee Cole
Every year people prepare for this day called Black Friday, a day where sales are so unbelievable that you have no choice but to take advantage of it. It's like your inner bargain senses are being summoned to partake of this cost-cutting treasure hunt.
People skip holiday turkey just to camp out in front of the store with the best deals. They train all year in the art of Don'tGetGot, protecting yourself from being trampled or punked for your merchandise. People recruit the top trainers to learn this sacred art of survival, those first four hours of Black Friday are crucial and anything goes, no holds barred!
People spend their rent money just to take advantage of the holiday deals plunging themselves deeper and deeper into debt as if that one thing you absolutely needed couldn't wait for lay-a-way. Someone posted Black Friday, Eviction Monday! I laughed but it really isn't funny, it's actually quite sad. Thankfully my children know that I love them and when I can I will. I don't go crazy trying to spend all my money on any specific day. Now don't get me wrong, I do have my moments and I do overspend at times, however, I am pretty good with spending responsibly, for the most part. ok, so I haven't always been this way, but what's love got to do with it? Moving on...
I just don't see what all the fuss is about, you can always catch a good sale, especially online! I am not going out there, risking my life for a big screen TV when the one I currently have does just fine. Forgive me for wanting my turkey dinner! Food comes before shopping in my world! I'm just saying. I don't know, maybe someone can help me understand all the fuss. Why do you all participate in this crazy, barbaric, life-threatening event?
"I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn't produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me."
I'm sitting here all sad and depressed because my life isn't quite the way I thought it should be right now. I crave music and my desire to sing increases daily, basically, I am not happy unless I am singing. I keep asking myself, what am I doing wrong, what am I not doing? I pray and ask God for guidance and yet I am not doing what I love. So in my sadness I turn to the only one who can bring me out, God. I begin to think about the sacrifice he made and his death on the cross and I purpose in my heart to study the crucifixion.
I write a brief note on FB about needing a word and I turn to John 19, but before I begin reading, I turn back a few chapters and I notice the subject heading "Jesus, the True Vine." Interested I begin reading and I ask myself, what is meant by vine and why would Jesus be the "True" vine? So I begin to look up definitions of vine in both Greek and English, since I love the Greek language and I am learning how to read in Greek, the Greek Geek in me had to throw that in there! :0) I note that in English vine refers to a plant whose stem requires support and in Greek it talks about Jesus and his fruit of love - redemption. It talks about how the vine imparts to its branches sap and productiveness much like Jesus infuses us with his strength and life. Without the vine we are dead!
As I continued reading the scripture says "I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn't produce fruit, and he prunes that branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more." My curious nature prompts me to ask - what are the procedures for caring for a grapevine? So I turn to my best friend Google and I ask! I began reading up on caring for a grapevine and in my research came across some great information that lends new meaning to Jesus being the True grapevine. Some of which include not allowing the vine to bear fruit in the first year because it is not strong enough to handle the fruit, and not applying fertilizer in the first year because the roots may burn. So I kept reading and researching. Once I concluded my research and finished up my notes, I went back to the scripture smiling to myself because God always answers!
Here I was about to embark on a journey of Jesus' perfect sacrifice only to end up knee deep in grape vines and Christ. I went back to the scriptures and begin writing John 15:1-4 word for word, by the time I was finished the true word God had for me was screaming at me so loud I couldn't help but give God thanks for lifting me up and giving me what I needed. It was a much needed reminder of why I am where I am and a kickstart to my journey once again.
"... you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me."
Simply put and plain to see, I am so caught up in trying to survive and take care of my family that I am once again neglecting my one true vine, the one who can sustain me and place me where I need to be.
Grapes do not ripen off the vine, I need to remember to always stay connected to my source of strength! I am looking forward to writing a piece on "Jesus the True Vine", it will go into deeper details about how God cares for us as he did Jesus when he walked the earth. The word tells us "But if you remain in me and my word remains in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!"
Apart from him we can do nothing! Thank you Daddy for that word. I really needed that reminder!
Remember that God is our source for everything, go to him with your needs and he will answer. We can't expect to be fruitful apart from him, it will never happen. Trust him and always know his word. Are you in need of a pick-me-up? Open the word and let the scripture minister to you, by the time you are done you will be too busy giving God thanks to even remember that you were down in the first place!
I love you and have a great day!
Keisha Natalee Cole
Have you ever seen the movie "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?" Gilbert has to care for his brother Arnie and his obese mother, which gets in the way when love walks into his life. He has to choose between his family and himself. The guilt that he must feel!
Guilt is a terrible feeling and most times the guilt we feel is not on us, and by that I mean, it's not our fault. We can feel guilt about a lot of things, issues that may be going on in our lives, choices that we made, people that we have allowed in our lives, having to carry the weight of your family on your shoulders, there are so many reasons to feel guilty. We may even feel guilty about things that people have said to us or even done to us, feeling that it was our fault and we "asked for it."
The woman at the well experienced this type of guilt. She felt guilty about her circumstances, which is why she went to the well at the time of day that she went. "Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon. When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” John 4.4-7
She went when the sun was high and no one would be at the well, she obviously didn't want to be seen. I can imagine that since her life was an open book that the women in the village would have discussions about her at the well during the normal water drawing hours which was usually before the sun was high. I'm sure she did not feel like dealing with the ridicule, she must have been embarrassed about her life, felt guilty because she had been dismissed not once, not twice but five times! "He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 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.” John 4.16-18
She had been divorced FIVE times and in those days it was the men who initiated the divorce and the women had no say. Can you imagine the guilt she felt in not being good enough to keep a man and then at the same time she was laying with a man who was not her husband. How many of us have been dismissed and felt guilty because we thought it was us and so we run to whoever gives us the time of day because we feel that this is the best that we can do considering no one of worth would want me! The woman at the well had a lot to deal with and here she is about to have her life changed by one encounter, one chance meeting that was divinely orchestrated by God. Jesus made her an offer that he couldn't refuse. He offered her a drink from the fountain of living water, he gave her a second chance. When she finished her conversation with Jesus she left her pot and ran back to tell everyone about Jesus. One thing I noticed about this particular scripture was that she left her pot, everything that she had brought with her to that well, all the guilt, the hurt, the low self-esteem, the feeling of unworthiness, she left behind with her pot. That's what we need to do, we need to realize that Christ came, bled and died and rose again so that we don't have to feel the guilt that is brought on by our past. The enemy uses guilt to keep us in bondage. We need to understand that we are human and we will make mistakes, we will make choices that are not right, there will be people in our lives who try to blame us for their short comings, but we have to pray and ask God to help us forgive ourselves and to help us to forgive others. We must lean on God and ask him to give us the wisdom that we need to stay away from making wrong choices, the power to ignore those who try to make us feel guilty when in fact it is them who have the problem.
Guilt is a serious thing, people kill themselves because of guilt. We must never allow our past, our current situation cause us to feel guilty. "Guilt is a feeling that is very similar to anger, fear, and shame. However, guilt makes one feel trapped by negative forces. It causes a person to feel out of control. It keeps a person in darkness and it makes a person feel worthless. It is bondage." God's Power to Help Hurting People; Colleen Birchett, Ph.D.
The enemy likes to keep us feeling guilty, however, there is hope, if you maintain a relationship with God, who loves you, you can and will overcome those feelings. Know that God wants us to live abundantly and guilt free and if you just trust him, he will keep you. Read the story about the woman at the well, John 4, and see just how Jesus changed her life! Just as he did for her, he can do for you. If you are struggling with guilt, turn to the only one who can help you - God. He promised that he will be with us always, he will never leave you nor forsake you. Try him at his word - you will see and feel the difference. One day at a time, nothing is immediate in life, everything is a process, just be obedient and patient and let the devil know that he can no longer keep you bound by guilt - you are free in Jesus' name!
There is Power in the name of Jesus to break EVERY chain, not some, EVERY chain!!!!
Get free from the chains of guilt! Your life depends on it! I commit to living guilt free! Will you commit with me?
Thanks for reading! Love ya!
Keisha Natalee Cole