There’s More to Your Story

Copyright: erika8213

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We need to spend a little more time in Jeremiah 29, because remember, God exiled the good and the bad.  So, when you take a moment to look at the chaos of this life and you feel like God has sent you into Babylon, you have to know that “There’s More to Your Story”

10 This is what the Lord says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:10-11 NLT

Now let’s focus on Jeremiah 29:11. The Message translation says it this way, “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for”.

The KJV says it this way …11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

No matter the translation, from the moment that we took our first breath, there is nothing in our lives that has caught the Lord by surprise and from this moment forward with every breath we take, we must know that, “There’s More to Our Story”, because we know that God plans to give us….

<> a future and a hope

<> a future that you hope for

<> and an expected end.

In Isaiah (paraphrased), he says, as far as the heaven is from the earth are God’s thoughts from our thoughts and God’s ways from our ways.  How He does, what He does will not make sense… but God is Still God. 

But we can’t stop there, we must read a little further because there’s more to the story.  Let’s take another look at verses 12-14. 

12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. 14 I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. 

We may not have realized it, but God’s promise comes with an expectation, that we will pray and seek Him, in other words He wants our love and attention. We play a key role in our story.   It’s unfortunate that, at times, we don’t want to believe that God has expectations of us, just as we have expectations of Him. I truly believe the He desires that we love Him as much as He loves us. But at times, we make it so complication, He simply wants to hear what on our hearts.  Our prayers may sound something like this… “Good Morning Lord!  I love you and I am so grateful for everything you do and will do.  Please anoint me this day for whatever you have for me to do. In Jesus Name Amen”. 

So, although it may look like Babylon and it may even feel like Babylon, there’s not only a miracle after this, there’s a miracle in this, no matter what your “this” looks like right now, because you know that “There’s More to Your Story!”

I pray that you will see Jeremiah 29:11 with a new spiritual perspective.  May the eyes of our understanding continue to be enlightened. 

The Holy Spirit is always talking, which is why we just need to find those quiet moments to listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying…

“Stick to Your Story”

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We all have a story, with the good and the not-so-good; the ups and downs; the detours that take us off course and the roadblocks that stop us in our tracks.   Although we would rather not acknowledge that God allows the unexpected tragedies, He continues to give us miraculous blessings.  So, when He said, “I know the thoughts that I think towards you” … He already knew our story.  Yes, He’d already read the book, cover to cover.  I believe that many of us are in a chapter of our story that we would rather not be in, but may I suggest that we are just where God needs us to be, because God Knows our story and now, we have to stick to it!

In order to better understand Jeremiah’s story and to put verse 29:11 into context, we must go back to Jeremiah 27:22 NLT, where God said…

“They will all be carried away to Babylon and will stay there until I send for them,’ says the Lord. ‘Then I will bring them back to Jerusalem again.’”

God told Jeremiah to tell ALL the nations of Israel, the good and bad & His decision was non-negotiable. This story reminds me so much of where the world is today.  Unfortunately, we have no control on how God chooses to do what He does … but a pandemic though?!?! 

Let me ask you a question, “Are there things that you’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t and now the conditions or disciplines that have come with this worldwide pandemic has caused you to rethink your priorities?  I had heard that we used to spend 5 times more time at work that we did at home with family and friends.  Not anymore… at least, I hope not.  Has time at home been enlightening or frustrating?  It’s all about your perspective…

Well, back to the story…. So fast forward to the beginning of chapter 29, where Jeremiah is told to write a letter…

This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says to all the captives he has exiled to Babylon from Jerusalem: “Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce. Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away! And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.”

As the children of Israel were, so are we today, in a very difficult, extremely uncomfortable situation, but the Lord says, Don’t stop living… Continue to Flourish and Prosper!

God has a very unique and detailed plan for each of us.  Many times, God has to strengthen our faith in preparation for what’s ahead, because He knows our Story and we have to Stick to It!

NEXT WEEK… We will talk about His “Expected End” for us!

There’s a LOT more to this story…

In the meantime, Always take a quiet moment to listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying…

God Has a Plan

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I don’t about you, but I have soooo many questions right now!  We all are looking for answers… We ask God for an explanation and He says “Trust Me”.  We often ask Him Why and He says “Just Obey Me”.  So, we tell God, this just doesn’t make sense and He says “Walk in your Calling”!  To be honest, I often wonder why do I keep praying? 

I believe that it’s because there’s something deep inside of us that just won’t let me give up.  I was reading a devotional the other morning and it said “He still rolls away the stones to allow us to enter places we never dreamed possible, to go beyond barriers we never thought crossable, and to minister to people we thought unreachable.” I started to tear up when I read those words, knowing that with all the challenges that we face, He continues to Bless us, because God Has a Plan!

One of my favorites, if not my very favorite scripture is Jeremiah 29:11 and it may be yours too.  But early in 2020, the Holy Spirit gave me a whole new revelation regarding the content in which that scripture was written.  For us to begin to get a better understanding we have to look at verses 10-14.

This is what the Lord says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. 14 I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”

I hadn’t realized that God had sent the children of Israel into captivity…. So, over the next few weeks, I would love to share more of the story with you and get your thoughts and comments. 

In the meantime, always take a quiet moment to listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying….

Don’t Assume!

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I feel like I can breathe again! I must update you on the week of anxiety that I experienced the week before last. As I mentioned, the issue was on instant replay in my mind for the entire week. Ultimately, I realized that I had made an assumption, justified my assumption and drew my own conclusion. Some of you may be able to relate… or maybe not. In the midst of my self-induced mental chaos, the Holy Spirit was trying to direct me to the truth when He said “Set your heart on things above”. But I’m the first to admit that I’m a work in progress. Obviously, I’m an overthinker, but I can allow that to be my excuse to attempt to resolve issues on my own. Here are a few of my lessons learned I continue to learn and I’d like to share with you….

  1. DON’T ASSUME! We can not afford to muttle in the realm of reasoning as we attempt to figure it out on our own. Our minds are not meant to be trusted.
  2. Seek the Truth in every situation. The Truth comes in the form of guidance, direction and instruction from the Holy Spirit. If you are ever unsure if it’s Him speaking, He will always confirm His voice with God’s Word.
  3. Get the Facts! There are specific details that you may need in order to take action, if you are so directed by the Holy Spirit. However, He seldom gives you all the details.

I truly believe that these three simple steps would have saved me a lot of anxiety and worry about something that was ultimately out of my control. Sound familiar? Our thoughts and behaviors can become toxic, IF we let them. They will literally poison our minds and bodies, if we don’t…

Copyright: solomnikov

It’s ALWAYS extremely important to listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying….

Set Your Heart…

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I’ve been a tad preoccupied this week. I’m an overthinker and whenever I have an issue, it has a tendency to go into instant replay and it continues to play until I feel that the issue has been resolved. So, it has been difficult this week to focus on the still quiet voice of the Holy Spirit. But although, I wasn’t listening with intent, He found a way to say to me “Set your heart on things above!” I began to see that scripture in various places. So even when we are not listening the Holy Spirit, He is always talking… trying to get our attention. He is trying diligently to convince us that we just need to let Him handle it and trust me, He is capable of doing a much better job than we ever could.

It is so very easy to get distracted with life situations and circumstances that dominate our thoughts or worst yet, we get sucked into Yahoo News or the deep dark hole of YouTube. We have to be constantly reminded to “Set our hearts on things above”!

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.

Colossians 3:1-2

Copyright: jpegwiz (123RF)

Now before I leave you today, I’d like you to think about those that may need a touch… Unfortunately, we may not be able to touch physically, but a simple phone call or text will go a long way. It may be that person that pops into your head that you haven’t spoken to for a while or it may even be that person that gets on that last nerve and remember, this doesn’t just apply to just your sister girls, but your brothers to…

Reach out and touch
Somebody’s hand
Make this world a better place
If you can

(Just try)
Take a little time out of your busy day
To give encouragement
To someone who’s lost the way

– AND –

Always take a quiet moment to listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying…

“If Only for One” …

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It was early Friday morning and I hadn’t received my Holy Ghost Download for this week.  I have to admit that I was a tad discouraged and in the midst of convincing myself that it was time to stop doing the podcast, because only 2 or 3 would read it anyway… and the Holy Spirit said, “if only for one”!  Of course, I got up, but what’s interesting is that instead of opening my computer, I started writing in my journal that is right by my bed.  The Holy Spirit does everything on purpose.  On the bottom of the page of my journal was “Share-A-Prayer”

Lord, please open the eyes of our understanding, so that we can find some semblance of order in these chaotic times that we find ourselves in.  Help us to refocus on the things that are truly important.  The small things like taking the time to breathe and gather our thoughts, to rest with a cup of tea and a good book… to hug our spouse, kiss our kids, play a game, facetime a friend or watch a movie, maybe even write a book, start a new business, the possibilities are endless. 

Lord, you’ve allowed a pandemic that has changed the world forever.  Please don’t let us go back to Egypt, to that place of stress and anxiety, back into the hustle and bustle of life before.  We don’t have to wander in the wilderness, because you’ve laid a path for new things. Lord, I believe that you have given us more time for what’s really important, the small things that matter most… Your love for us and our love one for another. Lord, this is my prayer In Jesus Name.  Amen

As I continued to write and wrap up this episode, on the bottom of the page of my journal, it says “you are loved more than you will ever know by someone who died to know you”. Romans 5:8

In my moment of pride, I found myself being driven by today’s culture, which measures success by the numbers, especially in the world of social media.  Unfortunately, the Holy Spirit had to remind me that the Lord determines our success.  So, I guess that I will have to continue to take a quiet moment to listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying, “if only for one”!

No One Talk about Bruno!

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Yes, this is another movie reference from Encanto. In the movie, Bruno, the son, had a gift that was perceived to have a negative effect on the lives of not only his family, but that of his community. So Bruno left and no one was supposed to talk about Bruno! During our family conversation after the movie, someone said “no one talk about Kevin!” and we kinda chuckled. But in reality, I’ve not seen Kevin, my son, is almost 3 years. Unfortunately, this is not the first time in his 43 years on this earth that he has just walked away from me. I used to ask often, “what did I do”, but then I had to stop, instead I decided to ask the Lord, “why do you leave this thorn in my flesh”? We often interpret this scripture with negative feelings, but as the Apostle Paul explained,

…even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.

2 corinthians 12:7 nlt

So, I have learned to see my thorn as a gift that God has given me to help me realize just how much I need Him. He matches my thorn to my course, to my calling, not “to torment, but to mentor me”. It is what God has given me to teach me and to show me His extraordinary Grace, as He honors me with His presence. There are some things that God can’t teach us by advice only, so at times, we must endure adversity. It’s in those times that we must learn to boast and celebrate in God’s Glory for His Grace.

Copyright: gracel21

Is there someone that has simply walked away from you? Someone that you held close and you just can’t understand why they would leave. Is there a situation or circumstance in your life that God has allowed and it just makes no sense? Well, it’s ok to talk about Bruno! God already knows how we feel and He’s there to listen. The pain doesn’t go away, right away, and to be honest, we may never truly understand why God does what He does, but Paul said it this way …

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 corinthians 12:8-10

In the movie, Bruno does come back, but that’s all I’m going to say. I guess you’ll just have to watch the movie. As for Kevin, I don’t really know, but when I get a little anxious, I have to take a quiet moment and listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying…

For more about my revelations regarding my son and I, please read my blog post, Restoration

The Walls Must Come Down

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2022 has had a very interesting start for the Speight Family. I must begin by saying that God has graced our family with a love that cannot be described. During this pandemic, we have grown even closer, if that was even possible. As I’ve said before, the last 10 years have been amazing and even though there has definitely been some drama, God has transformed us in so many ways. But getting back to how our new year started, it began with us watching the movie, Encanto. By the way, I love animated movies and cartoons. 😀

I can’t tell you a lot or I’ll give the story away, however, the movie was about a family of very gifted people, but one of them did not have a gift. The family did not realize how difficult and hurtful life had been for the one without the gift. They did not intend to hurt her, but they constantly reminded her that she was different. So as always, we talked about what we gleamed from the movie and then something happened that we never expected. We began to discuss how other family members have hurt us in the past and many of those past hurts are still pretty painful, but just like in the movies, as we talked and walls started to fall down.

I would venture to say that over the years, we all have built up defense walls to protect ourselves; our feelings, our emotions, our hearts. It has been our only means of survival. We tell ourselves that it really doesn’t matter, we are ok, but in actuality, we are not ok. Our defense walls are thick, like the walls of Jericho and we can’t allow anything or anyone to permeate those walls or our wounds will be exposed. But the Walls Must Come Down! Unfortunately, the walls not only prevent pain from getting in, but there is also a guard at the door called unforgiveness, that also prevents true love from getting in or out.

As I prayed for my family at the table after all that we had said, I saw that all the walls had fallen, but there remained an archway for the door. In order to pass through the archway, we’d have to remove the guard of unforgiveness from the doorway. First, we must forgive ourselves for any part that we have played and for all the ill-feeling that we may be harboring. Then we must forgive all those that have hurt or offended us. Forgiveness is a decision, not a feeling. Many, if not all of us, will need the help of the Holy Spirit for this one. Understand, this is not to make you forget what happened, nor does it may them guiltless, but it allows you to release any bitterness that may be lingering in your heart and the healing process will begin. There’s already a strong foundation of God’s Grace and Hope to build upon.

Copyright: marganingsih

Once the walls are down and the doorway is clear, love can flow freely in and out. God commands us to love as He loves us. He also specifically says that we must not only love those that love us, but also those that may hate us and despitefully use us. For He knows that if we truly love Him with all our heart, all of soul and all our mind, His Love will compel us to love our neighbor, as ourselves.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT

Unfortunately, this does not mean that we will never be hurt again, but the Lord promises that He would guard our hearts and when we trust Him, the pain will not go as deep and won’t last as long.

Lord, I pray that You prick our hearts so that we’ve sensitive to Your touch and can feel Your unfailing love for us. Then prick our ears so that we’re sensitive Your voice and will hear what the Holy Spirit is saying….

Shout Now and Sing Loud!

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It’s a New Year! Don’t wait Shout Now! Hold Up…. I didn’t ask rather you felt like it! Shout Now and Sing Loud! I may be a little older than you, but I remember those days when I’d be in my car and my favorite song would come on the radio. I may not have known the words but I’d crank it up and sing loud! Even when I didn’t really feel like it, something changed in the atmosphere and I felt like dancing. Today, you don’t even have to be in a car, you can take your music everywhere.

Usually when a new year begins, we start with an unfounded assurance that this year is going to be “better” than the last one…better being relative! So I would strongly suggest that you Praise Him Now Anyhow! We don’t necessarily know what our life will be like this year, but we know that God’s got something even better in store for us. We may not always get what we want, but He loves us so much that we will always get what we need.

There’s an old song that we used to sing that said, “Don’t wait till the battle is over shout now”. It was sung by Walter Hawkins, but I’m not sure who wrote it. The words go on to say, “When you’re burdened down with the cares of life and you’re striving seems in vain. Hold you head up high…”. Now initially the basis of the song is about going to heaven and yes, that’s going to be a glorious day, but I don’t know about you, but God has promised me an abundant life down here and I am definitely not ready to go just yet. But then the song goes on to say (lyrics modified):

Gonna thank Him for the rain,
Gonna thank Him for the pain,
Gonna thank Him for the trials He brought me through.
What is the highest praise? When the battle is over, Hallelujah!
So, why should I wait? Going to praise him right now
Gonna thank him when I’m happy.
Gonna thank him when I’m sad.
Gonna thank him when I’m lonely because he has made me glad.

It’s a New Year and life will continue to have its ups and downs. Remember, God has always been and will always be Faithful. So, although there may be moments when life gets hard and the battles may be fierce…

Don’t wait till the battle is over… Shout Now and Sing Loud!

Remember to always take a quiet moment to listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying…