Prayers of Faith

PRAYERS

This month, my pastor is doing a series on Prayer. Since it was announced that we would be focusing on prayer during worship services and bible studies, I have been thinking a lot about prayer and what makes our prayers effective. And one thing that keeps resurfacing during my meditation time is FAITH.  That led me to wonder how a “regular prayer” is different from a prayer of faith.
Verses on which to meditate:. 
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 
Mark 11: 24
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1
If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.
Matthew 21:22
Before I forget, if you are in the Atlanta Area and want to hear an awesome word, from an anointed man of God, I invite you to to come visit us this Sunday.  

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In my life, here is what I have learned about faith:
– Faith gives you supernatural confidence.
– When we take a leap of faith with God, we have everything to gain (and nothing to lose but fear.)
– Faith allows us to believe that God has a plan for our life.
– .Faith allows us to genuinely believe that ALL things work together for our good. 
– Faith allows us to be genuinely happy for the achievements of our family and friends because we know that if God is blessing them, He most certainly can and will bless us.
– Faith reassures us that in our loneliness, God is enough.
– Faith calms us despite discouragement and anxiety.
– Faith allows us to pursue our respective purposes with reckless abandon even when we can’t see where we are headed.
Additional Verses on Which to Meditate:
But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
James 1:6
Without faith, it is impossible to please God.
Hebrews 11:6 (I’d really just recommend reading the entirety of Hebrews 11. It’s all about FAITH!!
Knowing what I know about faith and about prayer, here are my tips:
1) Always Pray (1 Thessalonians 5:17) – Remain in constant communion with God. 
2) Don’t Lose Heart (Luke 18:1) – Persevere; you already have the victory. 
3) Give Thanks in All Circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18) – Praise God for His goodness. 
I pray that your prayers shift from “regular prayers” to prayers of faith. Remember, God is not a man that He should lie, not a human being that he should change His mind. He will do just what he said!
A Prayer For You:

Dear Father, I thank you for each reader of this post. I pray that each reader will have full faith and full trust in You. I know that if we abide in you, you will abide in us. And that if you abide in us, we will fulfill our respective purposes and live blessed lives. Grant us the desire to spend time in your word and in your presence. Increase our faith so that we are comfortable coming boldly to your throne. Increase our faith such that we pray prayers of faith and know that what we ask will be done. We know that you are a God who is able to do more than we could ever ask, think or imagine. For that, we are thankful. Amen.

Peace,
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P.S. I’ve been away for so long because, well, life happens. But, in large part, because I am building a law practice. I entered private practice with my dad in January of this year. It is definitely an experience. But, I would’t trade it for anything. If you need a great lawyer or two, give us a call. If you’re in Northeast Georgia, call our Elberton Office at 706.283.9732. 

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Fearless in Your Faith

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Merry Christmas!! What better day to talk about faith than today – the day of Jesus’ birth. Mary and Joseph both had strong faith. God sent angels to prepare Mary and Joseph for Jesus’ arrival. Mary and Joseph believed what the Angels said and had faith that God would do just what he said. Earlier in history, Abraham  (Jesus’ ancestor), left everything that he had and everyone he knew (except for his wife and nephew) to obey God’s command. Out of their obedience and faith, greatness and miracles occurred.

Many of us profess to have faith in God, His will, His power and his timing. But, faith is also something that a lot of us seem to have a shortage of when things become uncertain (or so we think) or there is change in our lives.  We often give God our plan(s) and then become confused when He doesn’t lay our lives out the way we gave it to him. When the rubber meets the road, we talk to our friends about the possible outcomes of various situations. We worry. We doubt. We question whether God is going to answer our prayers and supply our needs.

In the past few days I have determined to be more fearless in my faith. Last week I gave my letter of resignation to my boss. Initially, it was a difficult decision. But, it was the right thing to do. When I first joined the office, I had a 5 year plan. I got comfortable and outstayed my 5 years by 2 years and a couple of months.  I am leaving because I have become uncomfortable. It was all God’s doing. He had to push me out of my comfortable position in order to effect change in my life. I am leaving to go into private practice with my father, something I used to talk about doing all the way through college graduation. But, I never did. A few months ago when I decided to take this huge leap, I began to have doubts and what ifs. What if I don’t make enough money? What if I don’t have enough clients? What if this?  What if that? What if, what if, what if?  But, because of my decision to be fearless in my faith, I feel better and better (read: less stressed :-)) with each passing day.

But, then I had to remind myself that God is NOT a God of what ifs. He is a God of provision (Jehovah Jireh). He is not a God of maybe. He is I Am.  He is not a God of uncertainty.  He is a God of certainty. Being fearless in your faith means you have expectant faith. Expectant faith sustains you. Expectant faith gives you peace. Expectant faith changes lives. I reminded myself that God is not a man that he should lie (Numbers 23:19). I also reminded myself that God’s word will not return void; it will accomplish that which he sends it to do (Isaiah 55:11).

Today, I encourage you to have expectant faith. Expectant faith is the best type of faith. It means that you believe that with God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26) AND that He will give you the desires of your heart, if you delight in him (Psalm 37:4). We have to be more like Mary, Joseph and Abraham – believing that God will do just what he has promised.

I am stepping out on faith and walking deeper into my purpose. I am purposing to have Faith in God’s timing. I am purposing to have faith in God’s plan for my life. I am purposing to be fearless in my faith. I invite you to do the same.

Dear Father, thank you for going before us in every difficult situation and decision. Thank you for the ability to rely on your word during difficult times. Thank you in advance for increased faith. I pray that every act that is prompted by our faith in you brings glory to you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Wishing you Christmas Miracles and Blessings,

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God is Good for It

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When I was a child, one of my favorite things to do was to be read to by my parents at bedtime. One of them (I can’t remember which) bought me a book entitled “A Promise is a Promise.” They used it to teach me about the importance of keeping promises. Over the course of my life, I’m sure I have broken a promise or two, as you probably have too. When someone breaks a promise it hurts. It hurts your feelings. It hurts your heart, especially if you are especially close to the promise breaker.

Often, the devil tries to test your faith, especially when a promise is broken. Someone may promise you a job or a promotion, but then they change their mind. Another person may promise to do something for or with you, but then flake. Your spouse or partner may loyalty and faithfulness, but then he or she has an emotional or physical affair. People can be fickle, especially as it relates to loyalties, affection and likes and dislikes. But, something that we can rest assured of is that God never breaks a promise. He is not fickle. We can ask him for something that His word tells us is ours (ex. the desires of our heart) and know that he will make good on that promise. The answer or response we want may not come as quickly as we like. So, we wait and we wait. Then we wait some more. Sometimes we get anxious or impatient and try to take matters into our own hands. That never works – at least not long term. No amount of planning, plotting, manipulating or scheming can ever get us (and keep us) where God’s grace and mercy can take us. He always make good on his promises. He is faithful. His word is tried and true.

If we delight in The Lord, he will give us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4). He is not a man that he should lie nor the son of man that he should change his mind (Numbers 23:19). If we don’t have what we want or what we feel we need. Wait on God. He is good for it. We only have to:

  • Wait Patiently
  • Wait Expectantly
  • Wait with a Heart Filled with Praise

As I was working on this post, I decided to share some tried and true verses. These verses are those that I have tried and as a result, know their promises to be true.

Malachi 3:10 (NIV) – “Bring your whole tithe into the store house, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says The Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”
1 Corinthians 1:9 (NIV) – God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, …. and he has invited you into partnership with his son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Philippians 1:6 (NIV) – Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry t on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
James 4:7-8 (NIV) – Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you…

I don’t know about you, but I don’t mind waiting on something when I know that with God, a promise is a promise and that he is good for it.

P.S. About the sunflower – I made sunflower centerpieces for a baby shower today, and I have become obsessed with their beauty, resilience and sturdiness. So, I thought I’d brighten your day by sharing with you.

REMINDER:
Visit our show – A Kingdom Creation – for all of your natural products and party supply needs.

Great Work

“…I’m doing a great work. I can’t come down. Why should the work come to a standstill just so I can come down and see you?” – Nehemiah 6:3 (MSG)

My great work isn’t your great work. Your great work isn’t my great work. But both are great works. Nehemiah’s great work was rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. Sandballat heard of the great work that Nehemiah and his men were doing and became upset. He wanted to do all he could to prevent Jerusalem from being restored. As a result, he invited Nehemiah away from the safety of the city to meet him so they could “resolve the conflict.” Sandallat’s invitations were potential distractions that would’ve caused the work to come to a standstill had Nehemiah accepted.

In our lives, our Sandballats/distractions cause breaches in our respective walls/lives that prevent our great works from being completed. The breach or the thing that could cause you to fail and your work to remain uncompleted could be hanging out, bad habits or relationships (platonic or romantic). Your great work can relate to many areas of your life.

If the great work that God has called you to do isn’t completed it could change your life. The thing is, if Nehemiah had come down, he would’ve been killed. Sanballat and his many (four) invitations were distractions. In addition to the invitations, there were also threats of invasion and other danger. But, Nehemiah and his men continued working. They watched and prayed. If Nehemiah had come down the wall probably would not have been completed, and the people of would not have had their legacy restored. Nehemiah was focused. His heart and mind were set on the great work God had called him to do. We should be the same way.

I have started saying aloud, “I am doing a great work, and I CANNOT come down.” I think about it. I say it. I mean it. I am at a point in my life where friends, fun and excursions, though important, cannot be distractions from the great work I am being called to do.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Ephesians 2:10

I am doing a great work, prepared just for me, and I cannot come down. Another way to say it, You/I/We are doing great things that God called us to do, and we cannot be turned around. Right now, you may not be certain of what your great work is, but believe that everything you do works together for your good and God’s glory.

God is calling us out of our sins and away from distractions to do great things. What has God called you to do? What does your heart or gut tell you you must do? Don’t be deterred from God’s plan for your life. Don’t be distracted from the vision God gave you. Don’t ignore God’s will for your life.

Will you join me in doing great work and not losing focus or being distracted?

Peace,

Nefertara

P.S. I have added two new recipes – Almond Flour Carob Chip Cookies and Seared Ahi Tuna, plus a new craft – all-natural deodorant. Check them out, and try them out.

P.P.S. Friday is the last day to use the promo code HDew10 to receive 10% off the Honey Dew Facial Scrub, which you can purchase by clicking here.

Praise is What I Do – Word of the Year

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Source: godsygirl.com

Happy New Year! Praise is my word for 2014. Praise and worship are sometimes used interchangeably. I am not a theologian, so I’m not here to tell you that they are or aren’t synonymous. In the grand scheme of things, your belief or knowledge of the definition of these words will not get you into or keep you out of heaven. So, let’s not get caught up on that. Let’s just talk about praise.

Ok. Now, when we hear the word praise, we often think of music or the praise and worship portion of worship service. But, God doesn’t mean for us to reserve our priase for church. If that were the case…well you get the point. Praise should be a lifestyle. And, going forward, my praise will be:

  1. focused on God and his goodness (Hebrews 13:15)
  2. fueled by faith (Hebrews 11:1)
  3. fulfilled in my life and my future (Psalm 61:8)

MY DEFINITION — Praise (verb): any activity (thought, word, song or action) that comes from a heart consumed with and focused on expressing thanks, honor, adoration, and glory for our AWESOME God.

In 2014 (and thereafter), as I seek and purpose to praise God in the good and the bad (because of Romans 8:28, I know that God works ALL things together for my good because I love him), I will live with an attitude of gratitude. Psalm 22:3 tells us that God inhabits the praises of his people.  Because of that, God is not attracted to our problems.  He is attracted to our praise! This is also why praise precedes any and every breakthrough. When we focus on God and his greatness, we reflect his glory back to him. You see, I have decided to praise him for who He is and what he has already done. I will also praise him in advance for the things I am expecting (and the things that aren’t on my radar that he is going to surprise me with 🙂 ) Him to do in my life. 

Today, I praise God because he is worthy of ALL of my praise. He is alpha and omega. He is mighty. He is my creator, my strong tower, my way-maker, my peace, my provider, my healer, my comforter, and the list goes on and on.

Praise is not an event that takes place only at church or in an environment with other believers. Praise not only comes forth from our lips in a sway inducing song that causes arms to be outstretched (like the photo above 🙂 ). Praise manifests itself in our faith, in our actions and our thoughts (a.k.a. our lifestyle). Praise is necessary because it refocuses our attention from our present circumstances to the awe inspiring nature, character and goodness of God.

I am striving for a sincere lifestyle of praise, which I believe will increase and release more faith, allow for a more intimate relationship with God, and develop  contentment.

Will you join me in a lifestyle of praising God?

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P.S. This song (It Could Be Worse — James Fortune and FIYA, featuring Le’Andria Johnson and Zacardi Cortez) came on as I was finishing this post, so I thought it fitting to share it with you.

Created to Worship Him

20131113-221400.jpgA few weeks ago I read a blog post entitled Dear Women (not yet) in Worship. This post struck a cord within me. It convicted me. It seemed as though the things that Julianna wrote were written directly to me. Growing up, I was in a teen choir called Teen Ministry. We traveled and ministered through music. But, since then I’ve not really been in a choir…until recently.

I like to sing. People who sit around me during worship service often comment about my singing (and they are nice comments) :-). They tell me I should join the choir. I always have the fall back excuse – “I don’t have enough time in my schedule.” – mixed with “I don’t sing that well” and anything else I feel like saying at the moment. In addition to not wanting to make time, I didn’t want people looking at me (not remembering the fact that worship is about God and and His glory NOT me and my insecurities.) Some of you may be like me. You may feel God tugging on your heart to do a certain thing for HIS glory, but you have all these reservations about why now isn’t a good time or how you don’t have time. But, we must push past all of those things so God can use us.

A few weeks before I read Julianna’s post, I joined the Women’s Day Choir at church. I only intended to be there up until the Women’s Day Service (which was on Sunday). At the second practice, the choir director and one of the members told me they envisioned me remaining in the choir even after Women’s Day. I smiled politely and told them I would pray about it, all the while thinking yeah right. Both of my parents made comments about me liking choir so much that I might consider staying on. I told them we’d see. At the last practice, we were told the name of the Women’s Day Choir would be Women in Worship! Coincidence? Nope. Confirmation? Yep. 🙂 Long story short, I decided to remain. After all, we were created to worship Him! He doesn’t ask a lot of us. Aside from love (for him, ourselves and each other), the only other thing God requires of us is our WORSHIP! 

I encourage you to read Julianna’s post. If it convicts you like it did me, you should pray about God’s call on your life to be a more active participant in the worship ministries at your local church.

Be blessed,

Nefertara

AND THE CELIBACY SERIES GIVEAWAY WINNERS ARE (drum roll please):

Grand Prize: Sacia F. – Edmond, OK

2nd Prize: Lisa L. – Port Aransas, TX

3rd Prize: To be determined (The notified winner didn’t respond, so another winner will be selected.)

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway!

Do You Have a Gentle and Quiet Spirit?

Do You Have a Gentle and Quiet Spirit?

You should clothe yourselves instead with beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. – 1 Peter 3:4 (NLT) So many times we focus on finding the right … Continue reading

Enter to Worship, Depart to Serve

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“You…were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, SERVE one another HUMBLY in LOVE.” (emphasis my own) – Galatians 5:13

The verse above is the signature I use for my e-mail messages.

Yesterday, my friend Apryl was told that she is always busy and that no one can be that busy. Her response was that she was frequently busy because she took her service (to her church, family and friends) responsibility as seriously as she took her job. She went on to say that hearing adults say they are bored bothers her because there is alway s something to be done in your home, in your church, in your community or for your family and friends. Apryl’s position is one we should all take. There is always some person, group of people or non – profit that would appreciate our service.

When I was growing up, a sister church we used to visit had these words on its marquee – “Enter to Worship, Depart to Serve.” When we leave church on Sunday, our work is just beginning. Once we hear God’s word from the pulpit, we should leave the sanctuary and become doers of His word. We are instructed to love God with all of our being (Matthew 22:37) AND to love others as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:39). That means we are to serve our fellow man. When we serve those around us with love, we show our love for God AND them. We demonstrate our complete love for God through the acts of kindness and service we render to others. We serve God by serving others.

We should take service seriously. We can serve anyone at anytime in a variety of ways. And like my friend Apryl, we should serve others with sincerity, love and devotion. Serving with our whole being (especially our hearts) can be difficult at times. But, to serve whole heartedly and to do so without a desire for recognition or glory should be our goal as followers of Christ.

Blessings,

Nefertara

P.S. Don’t forget to be on the lookout for the GIVEAWAY!
P.P.S. Last night, I was reminded that I haven’t posted any recipes in a while. So, before the weekend is over, I will make it one of my goals to cook something that I haven’t shared yet.

My Journey to Becoming Me

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Yesterday, I was thinking that about my life and the woman I am becoming. I am happy and excited about the woman I am becoming and the journey I am on.  I think more of us should celebrate the women we have become/are becoming. We are all unique.  That is God’s intentional design. As I am on this journey to becoming the woman God intends me to be, I am constantly learning new things – especially about myself.

God is teaching me how to do the hard things (like folding clothes when I’d rather be daydreaming about the next Kingdom Creation 🙂 ), even when I don’t feel like it. He is teaching me that is okay to expose my vulnerable side (to the right people). He is also teaching me that things still turn out ok way better than okay when my life doesn’t go according to my plans. LOL

Today, the preacher said something profound. It is a concept that I’ve heard before (and I’m sure you have too), but today, it was presented in words that stood out to me. He said that God doesn’t give us the blessings we ask for for one of two reasons, 1) He is still preparing us for our blessing or 2) He is still preparing our blessing for us. Honestly, sometimes, it might be a little bit of both. To me, that makes all the sense in the world.

I am where I am on my journey so I can do the many things I do. If I were elsewhere on my journey, I wouldn’t be able to do what I am doing at this moment in time. I’ve always known that about each stage of my journey.  But now, I truly believe and accept it.

As you are on the journey to becoming the you God intends you to be, what have you learned about yourself?

 Amazed by God’s Grace,

 Nefertara

P.S. Happily ever after is all about the preparation.

More to Share:

So, I am opening a business (A Kingdom Creation) with a subsidiary (Sugarcoated) at the beginning of 2014.  A Kingdom Creation is an event planning and management company.  Sugarcoated will sell body products – specifically all natural sugar scrubs that I handmake with love. I have tested, made samples and reviewed the product makeup, and it is just about ready to be shared with the world. 🙂 I have 4 scrubs in my shower as I type – a lip scrub (Chocolate Kiss), a facial scrub (Honey Dew) and 2 body scrubs (Honey Almond and Sugar in the Raw). I am up to my ears in several  different types of sugar, carrier oils (read: safflower, grapeseed, jojoba, etc.), essential oils, vitamin oils, jars, labels, bags and boxes. This is an exciting, nervous and energy filled time! I’ll share more with you in the months to come.

Words and Meditation

Happy Wednesday!! All day, I’ve been saying I was going to post something today. Posting brings me peace. Throughout my day, I occasionally jot down my notes and thoughts. Tonight, I was reviewing my notes, and I came across these words.

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)

I thought about those words. When I was young, I would often hear those words. I didn’t understand the true meaning. But, as an adult, I understand them. I think more of us should think, really think about the meaning of these words.

So many times we say things or think things that are inappropriate, judgmental, unkind or downright mean. We say things without thinking about the effects our words will have on those around us. Thoughts enter our minds and we allow them to remain there without considering how continuing to think about or worry about or focus on certain things will affect us physically, our attitudes and the people in our lives.

If we simply take a moment to stop and redirect our thoughts, far fewer wrong thoughts will pop into our heads, roll around and then come out of our mouths. We must take our thoughts captive. It is possible! If we don’t, the things upon which we meditate become our words. (This is what I tell my Sunday School Students about the music they listen to 24/7).

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:5

So, now that you’ve read and thought about your thoughts and words, you can say and really mean, Lord, please let the words I speak and the thoughts that I think be pleasing to you. I know this is possible because you are God, my strength and my redeemer. With you, all things are possible.

Another verse that is helpful is Philippians 4:8Whatever is TRUE, whatever is NOBLE, whatever is RIGHT, whatever is PURE, whatever is LOVELY, whatever is ADMIRABLE – if anything is EXCELLENT or PRAISEWORTHY – think about such things (emphasis my own).

If we think about true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy things, those are the same things that will permeate our heart and mind. Those same things will flow from our mouths. Just a little food for thought.

Peace and blessings,

Nefertara