It’s amazing how from the day we’re born until we gasp for our last breath we seem to always be taking orders from someone. As a child we take orders from our parents, maybe older siblings, teachers, etc. Then we think we’re out of the house and can do what we want. NOT! If you go to college you’re taking orders from professors when each assignment and exam will be due. Once in the work world, always taking orders from bosses. Then one day we all dream of the day of bliss ~ marriage ~ which once again leads to what? Taking orders. Then life becomes even more twisted when you’re giving orders as a parent, only praying that your guidance will make a difference.
Following orders is the hard part of life. In the military there is a specific chain of command and everyone, no matter the rank, is always taking orders from someone else. Respect is shown to those in authority due to protocol, whether you agree with them or not. It’s a shame that in every day life people tend to lose that aspect of showing respect to those in charge. Then again, there’s always consequences when one doesn’t follow orders; not just in the military.
Take a look back at Jonah and where He ended up by not following orders. Just a small example but it makes the point. In the Bible we are given guidelines as Christians but do we follow them? Are we praying a lot? Are we in the Word a lot? Oh, and then what do we do when God does call on us? Are we obedient as Abraham was or do we run like Jonah?
In my book, “The Naked Truth”, in one of the chapters I touched on answering God’s call and how vital it is to do so. There are three people who have impacted my Christian life because they did answer His call ~ Rick and Tanya Curren, and Bob Stacy. If they had not answered His calling, I tremble at the thought where my life would be now. Not only did they talk with me about my spiritual walk, but were all very encouraging about me writing the book and following God’s call for my life
As a pianist, after you perform you hear by applause if people enjoyed your performance. As an author, sometimes you hear what people think but it’s few and far between. It was because of lack of response there has been a dead space in my writing and blogging. I was beginning to wonder if I misunderstood God’s calling ~ until this last weekend on Valentine’s Day.
I spoke at Ardenwoods in Arden, SC. In January I spoke there and took copies of my book to give to the congregation as they had become family to me. Saturday, the 13th, I received a phone call asking for more books and if I would bring them for those who weren’t there to receive one. That in itself put me on cloud nine with all of the compliments that followed in the voice mail. Of course, I was happy to take some more! I spoke Sunday morning on God’s love for us and how we show our love for God. Afterwards, the gentleman who plays the organ started talking privately with me. He’s 94 years old and cancer now has hospice visiting him once a week. He talked with me about what he’s going through and stated he wasn’t ready because he wasn’t assured of his salvation. We spoke for a while, Bob Stacy joined in and tears were flowing. We prayed and then we all went to brunch. I was informed then that they have been trying to talk with him about his salvation for 12 years, yet I made the difference. To be blunt about it, God used me as His vessel.
What I’m trying to emphasize is how important it really is to follow God’s orders when he calls on you. If I had not written this book, started speaking and gave some away, this wonderful man may still not be assured about his salvation in his final days. Seeing how God works using just one willing person to help someone else in their spiritual walk was truly a blessing. Others have affected mine and I saw the difference ~ but to think that God could use me? He can use anyone!
I shared this with you to remind you how much of a difference you can make in someone’s life. You don’t have to be an author or speaker, just be you ~ the perfect you that God created. When you’re feeling that tug to speak to someone about Jesus, don’t be afraid for the Holy Spirit will guide you. We are all witnesses and it’s everyone’s job, not just the pastor, to be talking with others about Jesus. I urge you to look beyond yourself, step out of your comfort zone ~ make a difference today.
This is Devaughn ~ bringing it home.
Famous quote ~ “To be or not to be..” ~ my friends, that IS the question of the day. Lately I have experienced a lot of tragic circumstances in my life, the main being the passing of my mother. I still tend to pick up the phone to call her. Especially on these days that the walls of life seem to feel as if they’re caving in. Yes, I miss her and especially talking with her and getting advice from her; yet, the answers come to me as if she were on the end of the phone ~ always pointing me in one direction ~ God and His Word.
Yes, to be or not to be, it’s all up to me ~ and you. First, let’s take this in the mild top layer, success and happiness. It is totally up to us as individuals whether or not we will be successful and happy. To rely on someone else for either is a mild form of either ignorance or stupidity. Was that blunt and to the point? Yes. Does that make it not true? No. I have to continuously remind myself when I start feeling bummed that it’s up to me to make myself happy. Yes, there are those “low” days and sometimes phases that no matter how hard we try, for some reason we’re feeling bummed. Answer: pray it away. If not for yourself, pray for someone else. Repeat until all better. LOL. Sounds simple, it is. See, there was a time where I hated being alone and one particular night really stands out. I was dating someone who was agnostic and I didn’t want him to leave because I just felt so alone. His response before leaving, “If what you believe is true, you’re never alone.” Wow!!! That truly hit home! Why? Because it is the truth!!! A lot of times our unhappiness comes from the ‘feeling’ of being alone. Put on some good upbeat music, after praying of course, and start dancing, cleaning, whatever may take your mind off of how you ‘feel’ for it’s just that ~ a feeling; and feelings come and go. Tomorrow’s another day.
As always, everything has it’s layers. Let’s take a look at our Spiritual life. To be or not to be an every day Christian ~ yes, that choice is always up to me, and you. What does that mean? Have mercy people, open up your Bibles and read what that means! Loving and forgiving others, giving to those who are in need, not judging others; and the list goes on. Now, some people think that there’s so much you can’t do if you’re a Christian and living a Christian lifestyle. Again, read the Word ~ if you look closely you’ll find there’s a whole lot more do’s than there aren’t don’ts; so if you spend your time doing the do’s you don’t have time to even think about the don’ts. Ever feel like your life isn’t ‘exciting’? Go ahead, start walking everyday with Jesus and get ready for the ride!
Digging down deep now. Let’s take a look at our home lives as spouses. Our marriage, to be or not to be. “Things just aren’t like they used to be.” Nope, sure not. People grow up, have children, responsibilities and all of a sudden there’s the feeling of “I don’t have a life.” My friends, yes you do. That IS life! Satan continuously attacks in the home putting thoughts of what we’re “doing without” and our fleshly desires and he’s good at it. You have to realize it for what it really is. All of us have a tendency at some point or another of bringing up the past when disagreeing. Stop it! Satan wants you to look at the past so you can’t even believe in a wonderful future that God has in store! We’re human. We have flaws and we make mistakes. In 1 Corinthians 13 there is a verse that specifically states, and I’m paraphrasing, that love does not keep count of wrongs. Look it up! That’s God’s instructions! So, at this point we have a choice when we feel like all hope for our marriage is gone: our way or God’s way. To bring this “Christian” lifestyle and thoughts into our marriage will make your decision whether this marriage is to be or not to be.
Yes, we need to look back once in a while so we don’t continue to make the same mistakes. At the same time, don’t pitch a tent and camp there ~ there’s too much of a future ahead of you and you don’t want to miss out on what God has in store for us! God loves you and forgives you daily, show this love to others, especially within your own family. In every aspect of your life you have a choice. To be or not to be ~ you decide.
This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.
As I wait for the answer from filing for disability our financial reigns get tighter and tighter. I called my attorney and was told that there was a small amount I could bring in and it wouldn’t affect the case. There was a restaurant that was thinking about hiring me to fix the carry out bags. Once they realized that Sunday morning and night and Wednesday night was out of the question due to my commitment to the church choir I was not what they needed. Anywhere I went I was not able to lift certain amounts and stuck to my guns about the time I have set aside for worshipping God. It didn’t bother me at all that things didn’t work out because of me sticking to my guns about my prior commitments to the choir; although, having to admit what I am not able to do has yet torn me apart again.
Having limitations after being independent my whole life has been, and still is, quite a daily struggle. I have always been able to do whatever it took to make ends meet and get the bills paid. Now, my whole life is twisted 180 degrees. Accepting that I have to file for disability was hard enough; much less to continue to have to try to explain to others about invisible disabilities. I don’t mind explaining; what I do mind is people judging what they don’t understand. My qualifications are off the chart between college degrees and previous job experiences. For financial stresses to be as they are and not being able to take the jobs offered to me because of my qualifications, I truly look in the mirror and wonder ‘why.’
So ~ the question boils down to what can I do? Well, yes I am disabled. As the title also reads “yet abled.” I am able to continue to put my faith in Jesus. I am able to worship His name and call on Him for the comfort I need through these emotional dark moments. I am able to witness to others how great our God is with the disabilities as a part of my life. I am able to share my experiences with you praying that it may touch at least one of you. Yes, I am disabled but definitely abled as well! Remember Phil. 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.”
This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.
God has blessed me with His grace but left me out with grace walking in high heels. OK, so not just high heels, more like walking itself. My parents even found out it would be cheaper to buy me a pair of crutches when I was young. Unfortunately, sprained and broken ankles followed me into my adulthood as well. If nothing else I learned the one fact about pain ~ it reminds you that you are alive! Even emotional pain reminds you of this. Many times we get our heart broken and don’t feel we can go forward. When we take a moment to look back in time though we realize we obviously found a way. There’s always good that comes from pain. Sounds strange, doesn’t it? If someone hurts your feelings at least it shows you have a heart that is caring and loving. That in itself is a sign of life.
Remember when our children started walking and got many bumps and bruises, and it was up to us to ‘kiss and make better’ and yet we encourage them not to give up and keep trying. That lesson we teach them is the hardest to apply in life. The bruises will go away. The one saying we’re used to hearing is to take life one day at a time, one step at a time. Again, go back to an infant learning to walk. Part of walking is falling. Take that concept and bring it into your adult life. You’re going to fall, you’re going to get hurt, and that is life. There will be pain in your life and tears. These are all signs of life.
The wonderful part is that Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted. When we become saved, we are born again ~ once again learning to walk. As Christians we will fall, we will hurt, we will be hurt, we will have tears ~ we also have Jesus to turn to for our healing just like our parents were there for us, and we are there for our children. Remember, this is God the Father. As long as we keep getting up each time we fall, there’s always a sign of life.
This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.
Day by day we encounter the unexpected, otherwise known as life. The budget looks great on paper, until…; the trip was going smoothly until…; break it down even smaller, the day was going great, until… Yes, life happens and we are never 100% prepared no matter how hard we try. Those who live with faith in God tend to handle these times a little better than those who try it on their own. Then again, remember most of us have learned by trying on our own to have that faith.
Is there proof that faith in God really helps? Look in the scriptures. Noah was told to build an ark when there was a serious drought going on. By having faith and obedience in God he did and was saved from the flood. Moses was at the Red Sea with armies chasing to slaughter all of them. Through obedience and faith he raised his staff as instructed and the seas were parted. Abraham just packed everything up and left not knowing where he was going to go but had faith in God that all provisions would be taken care of. Serious paraphrasing here ~ Jesus does tell us that if he would take care of a sparrow’s needs, don’t we think we’re more valuable than that sparrow to him?
Now it’s time to take a look at ourselves. When we encounter an until…do you panic? Do you worry? Do you immediately pray or do you take it on yourself and then if you can’t work it out, then pray? Most of us fit into the latter category. We always tend to want to be in control and just jump in and take care of it, no matter what it is. How many times do you stop and pray for guidance before you do?
In closing, my thought/question for the day is ~ do live your life with faith in God or just claim you have faith in Him? Can others who know you see this faith as they could with Abraham? Does your life show others proof of faith? Always remember, the way you live your life is a testimony to others.
This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.
With Thanksgiving coming up in two days everyone is planning their meals and beginning to prepare their side dishes for everything to be ready and on the table for the yearly feast. The Thanksgiving Dinner has been a tradition for many years which follows with the agony of overstuffing yourself. I am sure there are many of us who never learn the lesson to eat moderately and we eat to the point that our bodies cannot hold anymore ~ then we follow up with dessert. 🙂
This is about the only time, other than Christmas dinner, people nowadays take the time to prepare a home cooked meal. In today’s fast-paced world running through a drive through and grabbing some fast food for dinner has become more and more common. Along with eating the fast food comes the decrease in society’s health. Scientific studies have shown this over and over. The people who live in what we consider ‘poor’ countries survive with raw diets, fruits and vegetables and nuts, and by far healthier. For most of us it takes the decline of our health to really start doing something about our diet, not just how much we eat but what we eat as well. More and more it is becoming popular to eat a raw diet and people are experiencing those side effects ~ they are healthier!
In our spiritual life our diet, if you will, is what we put into our minds. Take a close look at what music you listen to, TV shows you watch, etc. and do a reality check of how positive they are. God’s Word is the best ‘diet’ one can mentally have, to engrave His words into your heart and mind. Take a little closer look though. Even with the Word there is what I call ‘fast food’ and ‘raw diet.’ There are many who will be reading and come across a scripture that really hits home, something they don’t want to hear or change, the page is turned immediately or the Bible may even be put down at that time. Ah, the fast food kicks in. Read what you want and makes you feel good for the moment about yourself. When you take the time to read the rest though, you get the raw diet. There are no additives, no preservatives, no sugar coating ~ just the raw truth. You will find that if you start to switch from fast food dieting in your spiritual life to the raw diet, your daily walk with Jesus will be more filling.
I urge you to look closely at your Spiritual diet and see if you have the fast food diet. If so, start the raw diet today. Your Spiritual life will be healthier and you will be happier.
This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.
How many times do we continuously, whether conscious or subconscious, compare ourselves to others? It is so human to do especially in this competitive world we live in today. The sad part is when our self esteem is affected by this. Being a woman I can so relate to this!!! Peter is always getting onto me about comparing myself to someone else when I see their figure, smile, and the list goes on. Once again I am reminded that God has made each of us the way we are for a reason and we need to be happy with ourselves. That doesn’t mean not to do the best you can to improve but it does mean don’t compare yourself to someone else.
Now since we’ve touched comparing on the outside and how that can affect your self esteem let’s bring it a little deeper, shall we? How about how we think of whether we are successful or not? Once again, another comparison. Usually people will consider themselves successful by the amount of money and/or assets they have. Even in that sense how do you compare your success? For example, do you compare where you are this year compared to last year, last month, last week, etc.? We need to be careful with how we compare our success but especially by what standards as well. Compare yourself to Will Smith and his success – yeah, well – you see where I’m going with that. As long as you know at the end of the day you have done your best that is success no matter what ‘category’ you think you’re in.
As always there are layers so now we’ll touch real deep ~ thrashing deep. How many people are glorifying themselves as Christians by comparing themselves to others and talking about how they aren’t “stand-up” Christians? There are many that proclaim to be a Christian because they say they believe in God and know the Scriptures. OK, my turn to compare. Satan believes in God AND knows the Scriptures so now, compare yourself to that thought and what makes you stand out differently? Oh, I get it, you go to church. My friends, going to church doesn’t make you a Christian or open the doors to Heaven. Does it help? Of course! It always helps to surround yourself with like-minded people. Also, we are instructed to be around other Christians worshipping. Just always remember though, we are instructed NOT to judge others and where they stand.
You want a real comparison? Compare yourself as a Christian to Jesus. Are you forgiving? Do you love others unconditionally? That list definitely goes on. Being more Christ-like is a goal but also unattainable for we are human and have many flaws. For improvements we compare ourselves to Him but never get discouraged when you do. You can also compare where you are now in your Spiritual walk to where you used to be for a closer look at yourself. Just make sure you’re honest when you do because He already knows the truth.
In closing, I urge you to only compare yourself to you, where you were and who you were to now. Don’t make the constant mistake of comparing yourselves to those of the world or even those you consider Christians. Focus on you for you are the one who will answer to Jesus about your life. One last thought ~ if you truly want to feel and be successful, make a difference in another’s life. Then you have succeeded.
This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.
Here’s the short version of my history. I started having seizures and got epilepsy at the age of 9 and was constantly teased. My music and playing the piano was my comfort. In my teenage years I went through statutory rape from my friend’s father. Later I went through an abusive marriage, got fibromyalgia, died from a seizure resulting in PTSD, got carpal tunnel and had the surgery. I ended up with complications from the surgery and arthritis in my hands, can no longer play the piano and even writing increases the pain in my hands. Wow ~ a lot for one person? Maybe. Sometimes I wish it were different and I didn’t have all of this happen to me but – why not me?
When my son went to war someone once asked me if I was scared – DUH!!! I did tell them I was concerned but did view it as why not my son? Why did it have to be someone else’s? If I did lose him in war it would be honorable. I don’t know, maybe I’ve watched too much Star Trek and got the Klingon view. 🙂
Why am I sharing all of what others see as tragedies in my life? Too many people sit around with the “Why me?” attitude and not enjoy life. They feel sorry for themselves and get to a point where they just don’t care anymore. This is sad. You have to realize that we are here for God’s purpose and it’s not all about us. Also, if you go back and read Job you will realize that you don’t have it so bad. Read a little more into the chapter where Job starts questioning God and you’ll find that God asks him a few questions! I love that part! I am going to do some serious paraphrasing here but it all boils down to who are we to question why? It’s not like we created the universe and are all that and then some; yet, we question God. Did that one hit home?
You see, if God is going to use you the enemy will attack you because you are a threat to him. YES ~ you can become a threat to Satan!! You just have to realize it for what it is. When I went through everything when I was young all I said was I wouldn’t wish epilepsy on anyone, not even my worst enemies. And the statutory rape, well as long as he bothered me he was leaving someone else alone! Yes, my life has been a constant mess. But without a mess you can’t have a message!!! I was able to later counsel many people who went through similar things. I can take something good and ruin it but God ~ it’s so awesome how He takes something horrible and works it all for good. (Romans 8:28)
In conclusion, instead of seeing your life as “Why me?” try saying “Why not me?” God doesn’t call the qualified – he qualifies the called. Remember, because you aren’t sometimes seeing how what you have gone through has somehow helped someone else doesn’t mean that it hasn’t. It’s wonderful to be used by God and remember the ones who make the biggest difference in others’ lives are the ones who have gone through something. Change your view to ‘why not me’, give it to God and start watching what happens.
This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.