Monday, December 6, 2010

The War on Principles

God Morning Believers!

Week one of the Sacred Season of Success (S3) has come and gone and week two is well underway. Praises to God for the marvelous things He has done! I pray that you began week two with a renewed sense of purpose, clarity, power, and peace to carry you through the next 12 days. God is healing, transforming, and preparing us for His purposes and His glory.

Someone emailed me and said they had been praying last week about the attitudes, behaviors, habits, ways of believers that displeased God. They were unsure if God had given them a revelation of these and they asked me for examples. You might be asking the same question...Can We Talk?! 

Certainly we are all aware that God is not pleased with sin. Most of us know sin when we see it, especially in the lives of others? Why is that? What may not always be obvious are those behaviors, attitudes, habits and ways that remain unchecked and unaddressed for years as we travel this road of salvation. As sanctified believers we should always be on guard and in the process of eliminating these behaviors from our lives because they keep us bound, damage our testimony, and prevent us from looking and acting like Jesus. I provided a very short list below.

Grumbling and complaining
Anger and rage
Fanning the flames of other's anger
Critical and judgemental spirits
Lacking integrity
Making Excuses
Always blaming others for our issues (no personal accountability)

I believe that God is teaching us to manage our emotions. Those emotions that spill out onto others causing them hurt while accomplishing nothing. Settle down! One example of this is the notion of fighting for the "principle of the matter." Oh you know, so you have done this before, right?!

How often have you said or heard someone say "it's the principle of the thing". Very often we allow "the principle" of the matter to move us right out of our sanctification process and right out of the will of God. For example, we have all had someone ask us to do something at the last minute. We might get all worked up about this request, start grumbling and complaining already knowing that we are or are not going to complete the request. This may also happen when someone promises to deliver something and then backs out or delivers part of what they promised, leaving us in a lurch. Our behavior and attitude about the situation is often related to the principle, not to the request or disappointment. Meanwhile the behavior or attitude we display does not please God and may leave others, particularly unbelievers questioning our relationship with Him.

We have to stop fighting the war on principle. It is ONE that can never be WON on our salvation journey. It only serves to delay our sanctification by distracting us and getting us off course. Satan loves to distract us and a principle war is a great weapon in his arsenal to divide us through some unnecessary and trivial conflict.

Think about all the times you waged the war on principles. Did you win? Was God pleased with your war waging tactics, countenance, and language?

God wants us to fight where fighting matters...fighting for the souls of the lost.

Are you fighting a war of principles right now? Are you the cheerleader in someone else's war on principles? Is it really worth it?

Let Jesus Lead

Season of Success (S3) Day 5-Time for Sanctification

God Morning Conquerors!

Whatever God showed you this week about yourself KNOW that He already has a plan to help you change...IF change is your desire! The apostle Paul said that God chose us to become like Jesus and that we were called, justified, and glorified by God (Romans 8:29-30).

Justification is the work of the cross. Jesus died on the cross so that we would have a relationship with God and so that we could live full, rich, abundant lives...right now, today!

Glorification is the work of God. Our glory is the essence of who God created before the world got a hold of us. Before we were born He had a plan for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11). Are you living in your purpose?

Sanctification is the work WE must do WITH God through the power of the Holy Spirit. Sanctification is the process of being cleaned up and living a saved life daily. It is the stripping off of those attitudes, behaviors, habits, ways and turning away from sin, accepting the newness that Christ's death and resurrection afford us. It is what the old folks called "working out your soul salvation". The process helps us get back to the glorified self that God created. Sanctifying ourselves pleases God and draws others to want to know the God we serve.

Justification and glorification were done without our help. Sanctification REQUIRES PARTICIPATION.

We can die justified, never being cleaned up and never getting to our glorified selves, AND still go to heaven. Chances are we will also live in HELL on earth, our lives in disarray. Jesus did not die JUST so we could go to heaven. The work of the cross promises us a life of peace, love, prosperity, and joy on this side of eternity. Are you ready to live your best and blessed life NOW?

Gotta run...time for some sanctification! Anybody?

See you at the top!

Sacred Season of Success 2010 Day 1 Take A Look At Yourself

God Morning Believers!

This morning at 0600 we started our Sacred Season of Success (S3) 2010. We are so so excited about what God is going to do with us, TO US, and through us during this fasting season. Turn your attention to Isaiah 58:1-10 for foundation for the fast. We will be loving, serving, and giving to God and His people like never before in this season!

This year's fast is deeply personal. We have to start with ourselves so that we can be useful to God's people in transparency and with integrity. God wants us to be different and behave differently at the end of this fast. Use this time as an opportunity to fall in love with Him again and through that intimacy allow Him to transform your life. God is speaking to us clearly saying, there are attitudes, behaviors, habits, and ways that we have as believers that do not please Him and this is the time to surrender them so that we can be used more effectively for Kingdom building. He has greater works for us to do, but we are hindered by these attitudes, behaviors, habits, and ways.

I will not be sending a daily focus this year. I will check in frequently. Start this week focusing on identifying areas in your life that need God's attention and where you need deliverance. Honesty with Him AND yourself is key. Don't be afraid to confront what you see. "The truth requires confrontation"...Where are you falling short? Damaging your witness? Making excuses? Wearing your weaknesses as a badge of honor, instead of addressing them? Where does Satan have a stronghold on you or your family? Are you a vehicle and vessel for His Word, grace, and love?

No doubt this process will be painful, but the truth will make us free!

See you at the top!


Monday, September 27, 2010

An Unfolding Relationship With God- Guest Blogger Michelle Copeland

God morning! Yes, it has been awhile since I posted or even had a guest blogger. I wanted to share this email (daily inspiration) that I received from my sistah and friend, who just happens to also be my sister-in-law for more than 20 years. (My brother is a blessed man!)

Michelle shares her perspective on hearing from God. This piece spoke to me because so many people ask when we talk about hearing from God " How do I know it is God speaking?" Well, you have know Him and be in relationship with Him to hear Him speak and know that it is Him (and not your own ideas and desires leading you). So the next questions might be " How do I prepare to hear from God and What do I do once I have heard?" I am glad you asked, Can We Talk?!
Good morning saints! In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct thy path.

''The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines even brighter until the full bright of day''.(Proverbs 4:18)

I've come to know that one of the best things about hearing God's voice is that it is progressive. It's not a skill that we can master; it can be an unfolding relationship we enjoy. As the relationship unfolds, we learn to communicate with him more often, more deeply, and more effectively; we learn to follow the holy-spirit more closely; we learn to pray with more confidence; and we learn to hear His voice more clearly.

Have you ever been happy in your relationship with God, feeling that is was going quite well for a while and then, for no apparent reason, you start to feel restless, bored, distracted and unsatisfied? Have you ever felt a nagging in your spirit that something was just not right about your fellowship with God, or you had a stirring inside of you to do somethings differently? Most of the time when we experience such impressions, it's the Holy-Spirit trying to tell us something.

The inner man (your spirit, the part of you that communes with God) knows when something is not right in your prayer life, because the Holy- Spirit lives within your spirit and will let you know when something needs to change in your relationship with God. When this happens you must to have it in your mind to be obedient, and be bold enough to follow the Holy-Spirit. God knows when we are ready for more and is urging us on to a deeper place of communing with Him and hearing His voice. Our great and wonderful God is always on the move and He desires us to move with Him. God would not have our relationship with Him to remain the same. I'm learning for myself through studying His word, that there is so much more about God that I must learn in order to better my relationship with Him.

Knowing God and being able to hear from Him is the way for us to know what plans He has for us.

How is your relationship with God progressing? Can you hear Him when He speaks? When He speaks are you listening? When He speaks are you bold in the way you respond to the Holy-Spirit? Most importantly, Are you choosing to be in the light of His righteousness and obedience ?

In God's Love, Sis. Michelle

Michelle and her daughter, Cierra

Thursday, May 27, 2010

He Loves Me Enough to Nudge Me!~ Guest Blogger Shawn Givens

Wow! It is has been a long time since I posted and you will have to wait a little longer to hear from me. (Don't judge me! I am busy!) Today, a friend posted a note on Facebook and I asked her if she would share. She graciously agreed!

Shawn is a mother, wife, sister, daughter, and friend. She is a woman of God and a child of a King! She finds herself at a cross roads in her faith journey. If you find yourself dealing with consistency, obedience, and hearing from God I think this post will touch you and hopefully move you to take action. What do we do with the gentle nudges from the Lord? Do we recognize and respond to that still small voice? Great questions! Can We Talk?! As you read Shawn's post hear a still small voice we have to follow very closely AND be quiet! Enjoy!

I was pulled out of a deep sleep by God's voice speaking the word "CONSISTENT"! WOW!! Maybe I didn't hear quite right.. 2 more times I heard..CONSISTENT! Oh, okay Lord I hear you loud and clear. So I got out of bed and began to pray, and I began to do some research!

Consistent: Possessing firmness or coherence, marked by harmony,regularity,steady continuity, free from variation or contradiction and showing steady conformity to character, profession, belief or custom.

~Deuteronomy 4:24 - For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God!~ OMG.. God loves me enough that he is JEALOUS!

{I also came across the word INTENTIONAL: to have in mind a purpose or plan; to direct the mind and a determination to act in a certain way} Which caused me to question myself... Am I being intentional in all that I do?

Consistency is the key, but it requires some effort EVERYDAY. It requires a plan.. no matter what is happening in our lives.

I "intend" to do alot of things every single day that I don't get around to doing. I continue to hurry about my life, seldom taking time to focus. Even before I am fully awake my brain is already running crazy! The thing about intentions is this.. IF YOU NEVER ACT ON YOUR INTENTIONS THEY WILL STAY JUST THAT.. "INTENTIONS" Which means we have no purpose, plan or direction!

I want to be intentional and consistent about everything: My life, walk, talk, marriage, parenting, relationships, career, appearance, showing love/support, my health, my worship, studying God's Word and living a life that is pleasing to God.

As a part of my plan to be a "Consistent and Intentional Woman" I challenge myself to wake up each day and make my intentions into realities by doing the following:

~Getting a clear plan and writing it down
~Sharing my intentions with someone that will hold me accountable to taking action.
~Acknowledge that I did what I said I would do (Being a woman of my word)

By setting an intention and being consistent about my plan, I will make it clear to myself and others that I intend to redefine what it means to me to be CONSISTENT.

I Thank God for loving me enough to nudge me when I am not following correctly!


Shawn R. Givens

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Randomness about Grace

I watched the Olympics for the last 2 weeks. I enjoy watching figure skating and ice dancing. The 2010 Winter Games did not disappoint and had all the talent, excitement, and drama a spectator could want. “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat”!

During one of the skating events the commentator explained what the judges were looking for in terms of scoring one of the elements of the program, the jumps. A “clean” landing is crucial on a jump in order to receive maximum points for that jump. He said… the judges will review the videotape and if there is any doubt as to whether or not the jump was landed cleanly, the judges give the maximum points to the skater. In other words, the judges err on the side of skater. This made me start thinking about grace and how God extends His grace to us. Should we also choose to err on the side of grace? I’m glad you asked, can we talk?! 
Many of us know that we do not get “do overs” (Some people still think they do). Once we have done something or said something that may hurt someone else it is out there. The damage is done and we cannot take it back. The person we hurt does not get the chance to review our videotape to determine what we really meant to say, what our intentions really were, or what we really meant to do. In that moment, they (We) have a choice. We can choose to respond in anger and retaliate or we can choose to err on the side of grace.
In our relationships, on our jobs, and in all of our interactions with others (our jumps in life) we will not always have clean landings. We may say and do things that we do not mean, but the behavior was the only arsenal and ammunition we were carrying at the time (our unresolved stuff). Our intention may have not been to offend another, but because of their unresolved past, baggage, and issues something we said or did “felt” offensive. In those moments of regret, most of us want to experience grace (We want that elusive do-over).

The best we can hope for is the person that we offended is willing to forgive us, extending grace. We cannot take it back and they cannot pretend as if it did not happen. God also extends us His grace when our landings are not clean. In fact, He extends His grace in abundance. In the 6th chapter of Romans, Paul asks the question should we sin more because grace is available to us. No, we should not. Likewise we should not take advantage of the grace extended to us by those we have hurt or offended.

So I had some random thoughts about grace…

Hold your tongue! If you have the chance to retaliate with words or walk in humility, choose to take the high road and hold your tongue.

Err of the side of grace! Grace always prevails!

(Like an Olympic athlete) Practice your “jumps” and make your best attempt at “clean landings”. Be transformed by renewing your mind.

We are all in different places on this faith journey; we have to meet people where they are.

Grace is not a 50/50 agreement. It often means giving more than 50%. You cannot meet a person half way when you extend grace. Go the extra mile.

We are all unique. God designed us that way. Embrace the differences and uniqueness of others.

Do not always look to assign blame. Blame leaves no room for grace. Sometimes things happen, simply things happen. Stop looking for a scapegoat!

Do not keep score or tally of the wrongs you have experienced.

Extending grace does not come naturally to most of us. Look for opportunities to extend grace. You will surprise the person AND surprise yourself.

You never know what other people are going through and dealing with in their lives. Very often, their behavior and bad attitude is NOT ABOUT YOU. Do not personalize everything.

Do not use your humanity as an excuse for your insanity. “I am only human”. Seriously?!

Grace is a gift. Do we keep gifts or do we give them away?

Feel free to add your own random thoughts about grace by leaving a comment. Until next time... 

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Guest Bloggers...The Faith Journey

Continuing the guest blogger series with Melanie and Crystal Monae'. We are all in different places on this faith journey, we have to meet people right where they are (Jesus did that for all of us), and God's grace is sufficient. Interested in guest blogging? Holla back, let's talk!

Written by Crystal Monae’

There are no cookie-cutter Christians. In fact all Christians have differing levels of faith. However, these differences are increasingly preventing Christians from being truly set apart from nonbelievers. The light that once shined brightly is becoming dim. We must keep the faith nonetheless since Light shall forever prevail.

When I came across Mellanie’s blog post last week, this very subject reignited a passion to continue letting my light shine to draw men unto Him. Who is Mellanie? She is a hip, bright young college student who tells it like it is, and her popular blog is sought after by hundreds of readers daily. You can check her out for yourself at

Here is what Mellanie said in the post that got my attention. I asked Mellanie’s permission to share it with you here:

I'm a Christian but...
I was reading one of my friend's blog posts about his journey through Faith (Check it out @ Ivy League Neck Tats: End to Beginning: My Battle to Find Faith), and I decided to write a post explaining how I feel about religion. Here's a little background on my religious experiences...

1. I rarely go to church.
2. I don't believe in prayer as heavily as the average person does.
3. I went to a Catholic elementary and high school.

Religion- a strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny; "he lost his faith but not his morality"

My definition of religion: A means of faith in a higher power which causes others to put themselves on a pedestal and look down on others who do not believe in the same beliefs as they do.

Church. It's ok. Nothing too special. I don't need it to be able to have a good week and it doesn't make me feel any better about life after I leave Church. I mostly go once I come home and want to make my mom happy if I go with her. That's it.
I have a hard time at church because I feel that church is full of hypocrisy and judgmental people. Church is only a reason for some people to feel that they are better than others. I've met too many people who look down on those who aren't really interested in church and for what?? Just because you never miss church makes you no better than the person who doesn't go at all. I don't think so. And i'm not pointing the finger at anyone specifically, but most of my church going friends actually do more "sinning" during Monday through Saturday than the average person. I'm not tooting my own horn but I consider myself to be raised ALOT better than most people my age and I don't participate in alot of things that people would consider "bad", yet I don't go to church. I've had a pretty good life for the past 20 years without much church activity and I'm just fine.
I also believe that Church is about making money. The pastor can preach the word for about 10 minutes, but when it comes to giving tithes and offerings, he will talk for hours. The Bible says that everyone should give 10% of their earnings to the church. I don't agree. Not at all. Times are hard and I don't believe that you will go to hell because you didn't give your money to the church. Most people could really use that 10% towards alot of other things that would be more useful in their lives. Too many people don't hardly make any money but yet still giving 10% to the church. For what?? Use that money to pay your bills and keep your lights on. I think God would understand.

Prayer. I believe people rely too heavily on prayer and less on personal actions. Just "praying about it" isn't gonna make things better and fix everything. I believe that prayer should be a means for encouragement and an emotional uplift, but I don't believe praying solves every problem or dilemma. When things go wrong, people's first thought is prayer and they think that's all it takes. No. How about making things happen on your own? Don't just sit and wait for God to help you get out of difficult situations-just because you "prayed about it" doesn't mean anything is gonna happen. YOU have to do something. You're failing all your classes. Praying about it isn't gonna make you start getting A's. You need to go to the library and study or get a tutor.

Baptization. I don't believe that being baptized will do anything for me. Most people become baptized because they want to start living their life right and sorry if this offends anyone, but I'm already living my life right, baptized or not. I'm not saying i'm perfect because I am far from it, but I don't need it to finally give me that push to start doing right.

I do believe in a higher power and that being God and I want to become closer to Him and have a stronger faith and that's my own personal journey that I am taking, but as for right now, this is how I feel.

How do you feel about the issue?

Here is the comment that I left for Crystal Monae’


Thank you for being transparent because there are many more people who feel the same way that you do but they are embarrassed or afraid to admit it. Religion has in fact too often become commercialized which takes focus away from God. The “church” is not the building but the people in it. They all have varying degrees of maturity which is why there is discord among members giving them an appearance of being hypocritical. The “church” is a hospital for sick people. It is a fantasy to assume that the people in it should be perfect or 100% whole. None of us are. The reason that people need to consistently assemble is so that we become healthier individuals that can lead people to God instead of away from them. We are all unworthy so no one should think better of themselves. Sin is sin, whether you cursed someone or murdered someone, sin is sin. The Bible is God’s word for us, and he commands us to do certain things like tithing. He did not say that we had a choice in the matter. Tithes are suppose to go towards building the Kingdom (drawing people unto God), but like I said the “church” is full of sick people and unfortunately this sometimes means that the leadership is sick too. However, if you find yourself in a church where there is corruption monetarily, God is only concerned about if you are doing what he asked. He will deal with the misappropriations of funds in His own time. God is not a God who dangles us over Hell waiting for us to fail. We would all be gone by now if that was the case. He loves us. A special part of being in relationship with Him is that He gives us grace for when we mess up. (However, sometimes there are consequences for messing up.) You are right, the Bible says that prayer without works is dead so you must couple your faith with action in order to have effective prayers. Baptizing is not a necessity, it is symbolic of accepting your salvation. All we have to do is confess with our mouths that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior and that He was raised from the dead. If we believe that in our hearts, then we are saved. End of story. At that moment you receive the Spirit of God. It’s just that simple.

Now Mellanie, you woke up this morning…not on your own but because God did it. You pass exams at school because God allowed you to retain information, not on your own. Prayer is a petition for God’s help and an acknowledgement that you need Him. You can do NOTHING independent of God, so we go to church to worship Him for being so wonderful to us…allowing us to live on His Earth and providing for us. Also, to be a light for all of those messed up people that are in the building too!  I love you Mellanie. The Bible says to work out your own salvation. Work it out lil’ sista. You can email me if you ever want to talk about anything, but I’m pretty sure that others need it too so be bold as you are and lend it transparently as you have done here. BTW, I have an older sister named Mellanie!

How is your faith?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Be Still AND Know-Guest blogger~Josh Copeland

I have been thinking about having guest bloggers on my blog for about a month or so. My purpose is to encourage my readers, share some useful and practical information, and provide other perspectives of how God lives, moves, and breathes in our everyday lives. I read this piece (originally posted on FB) and thought it would be great for the first spot. If you want to guest on my blog, send me an email at The guest blogger is Joshua Copeland in the picture below with his aunt, Cheryl. Enjoy!

Some of you may or may not know that I have been led to leave Houston to attend college in San Marcos next fall. I was led to this decision after asking God what I was supposed to do with my life because it did not seem like I was headed in the right direction. Not too long after my petition was made it was answered in the form of a phone call from a friend. He was excited about finding his purpose in life after he had been looking for so long. After I mentioned how it was “weird” that he called me with that news I explained my concern about my own direction. His said that what really helped him was prayer and lots of it.

So I prayed for the next step and the Lord reminded me of how He told me through His small still voice that I was to be Christian rapper about 7 years ago. He also reminded me that I was very passionate about owning my own studio, producing and recording artists. I attempted to go to school for this but my “young and dumb” outlook on life didn’t allow me to pursue the education with my whole heart. Now God was showing me that it was time to pursue my passion again but this time with His glory in mind instead of my own.

After researching the best school for recording that offered a Bachelor’s degree, I was drawn to Texas State University because it was the only school in the southwest to offer such a degree. My thoughts were a bit excited because I like the hill country but reality also struck. I will be three hours from home which means I will have to live there which means I need a job there! You can imagine the amount of uncertainty I had when I began to realize these obstacles and what it would take for me to get over them. This was on a Thursday.

So I kept my mouth shut about this because I was so unsure. I figured I would wait until church on Sunday and maybe the pastor’s words would encourage me to take the right step. When Sunday arrived the pastor preached a great sermon but nothing really jumped out at me so after church I was still uncertain. So as I go around to shake hands and kiss babies afterwards I go to shake a friend’s hand. As I say hello I notice that he has a strange look on his face. He then explains “God told me to tell you something.”

“Oh man” I think to myself.

He goes on, “He told me tell you that whatever he led you to do you need to do it.”

My eyes bug out of my head and I began to step away from him. “No way man you’re kidding me!”

Waving me back “No, No brother come here you gotta listen to this”

I walk back sheepishly “Ok lay it on me”

“ He said that this is your time to do what He said to do. You have no wife, no kids holding you back. Don’t play it safe just do what He told you to do and don’t look back.”

I thanked him and walked away completely blown away.

I’ve always noticed that the Lord doesn’t always speak through other people to get to me but when He does He is trying to drive a point home. Does this mean that I got the point right away? Not at all. As this process continues to build I have had more and more obstacles come along that have only increased my doubt and uncertainty. What drove me to write this today is that I have had the job issue on my mind for the past couple of days and every time I do I hear the words “Be still and know that I am God”.

I knew I had heard this in scripture before but I had to use help from my mom and to find the actual scripture…

“Be still, and know that I am God!
I will be honored by every nation.
I will be honored throughout the world.” Psalm 46:10

After some research of this scripture there are some key things to pick up. If you read the whole 46th Psalm then you will actually see that this is a reprimand to nations who are warring against God. This threw me off at first because I was trying to understand what this had to do with me worrying about a job. Some of you may already see the problem. Worrying is a very toxic habit to have. Worry is the absolute opposite of having faith in God. It is where our minds war against God and his promises when we don’t understand His way.

His solution to our worry is to be still. Now be still doesn’t mean I need to sit in my room and not move until I have the right job. I think another translation of this scripture helps to understand this better…

Our God says, "Calm down,
and learn that I am God!
All nations on earth will honor me."

Another translation says we need to desist and know that He is God which is the opposite of insist. SO God is trying to tell us today that we have to STOP insisting on thinking we know what’s best for us. STOP insisting on worrying about every little detail and thing we don’t know the answer to. In place of this we have to KNOW that He is God. This kind of knowing means to recognize and to understand God. Recognize Him as leader of our lives. Recognize Him as the solution to our problems. Recognize Him as the supplier of ALL of our needs. Understand that He loves you. Understand that He will never leave you or forsake you. Understand that He knows what is best.

It can look very simple on paper but its only by prayer and faith in Christ that we can put this into practice.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Red Hot Smoldering Unforgiveness

Last night I decided to light a fire in my fireplace. The fire was warm, inviting, and relaxing in this unusually cold Texas weather. As all of the wood was being consumed, the fire began to smolder; all that remained was the red-hot embers, white-hot embers, and the glow of the fire on the wood, but no flames. I gazed into the fireplace and noticed how intense, purposeful, and consistent the fire smoldered to consume all of the wood until only cool white ashes remained. I remember thinking that must be how unforgiveness smolders in our lives and our hearts consuming all of us (time, emotions, energy, attention, heart, and money) until only ashes remain. Ah…forgiveness…a great topic to begin a new year! Let’s talk!

If an accelerant (like gasoline) were added to the burning embers of a fire, the fire would likely reignite or at least blaze up quickly once again. Our unforgiveness acts much the same way. Someone says or does something that triggers (adds accelerant to) our unforgiveness, manifested through pain, grief, resentment, bitterness, hatred or, anger and we ignite. We act out in many ways when we hold on to past hurts and offenses. We might live our lives distant and angry, fearful, resentful and bitter, deciding to stop interacting or speaking to the person(s) who hurt us, or even plot revenge for their demise. None of these actions is beneficial to us. They only serve to fuel the red-hot smoldering, causing the embers to burn hotter, and causing our pain, hatred, bitterness, resentment…to intensify.

Forgiveness is not easy, but it is a required of us and necessary for us to live in peace (in our mind) and freedom. Forgiveness may not “feel” good at first, because forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling. Some of us do not want to forgive, because we cannot imagine letting the person who hurt us off the hook or giving them a get out of jail free card. Forgiveness is not really about their freedom, it is ALL about our freedom.

Unforgiveness is the resentful, angry, hateful nurturing of our grievances – it is a harmful transgression against our own being. We hurt ourselves more than we hurt the person who we choose not to forgive. Release THEM and YOU will be set free. (You are probably asking, how does that work?)

Unforgiveness is a blessing blocker that binds us to the person(s) and the event(s) that caused us pain. We unconsciously relinquish control of our emotions, actions, and healing to the person or people who hurt us. They may not physically be in our lives, but emotionally we are trapped in the place where and the time when the offense took place. If we are going to move to forgiveness and live in peace and freedom, we have to acknowledge the pain, (yes, it happened) forgive the people involved, allow God to heal us, and DECIDE to move on.

Forgiveness is the greatest gift you can give yourself.

The red-hot smoldering of the fire in my fireplace eventually stopped. All that remained was cool white ashes that could be touched and handled to clean the fireplace. Once we forgive, all that remains is cool white ashes of the past, easily touched and handled, unable to hurt, burn, or hinder us any longer.

This time of year, people are making resolutions to lose weight, save money, quit a bad habit, or start exercising and eating right. All of those are great resolutions to make, by the way. Unfortunately, more people will fail at keeping those resolutions as early as the springtime then those who will be successful. (This is one reason I do not make resolutions. I seek God’s guidance, make plans, and set goals to change my life). New Year’s IS a time for new beginnings, a time to begin fresh and new, to wipe the slate clean, to start from scratch, to “do-over”, to start over (I know…enough with the clich├ęs already).

A more productive and fulfilling resolution is practicing forgiveness in our lives…leaving the past in the past and not allowing the past to control or dictate our future. Interestingly, change is constant in our present lives; but one thing that change cannot affect is the past. Nothing can change the past. We can change how we view the past and how we let the past affect our lives and we do have the power to change the future by letting go of the past.

As the New Year rings in, make a plan to forgive. Make forgiveness part of your life. As you practice forgiveness, you will learn to forgive in the moment. Yes, that means in the moment the offense occurs, you will have the power to forgive and move on with your life, refusing to be held hostage by the offense or the offender. Do not take anything with you into 2010 from 2009 (2008, 2003, 2000, 1990, 1986, 1970, 1967…you get the picture) that could contaminate your new year’s success, health, blessings, and prosperity.

Happy New Year friends!