Sunday, March 15, 2015

Notes On A Sermon-T.D. Jakes

I often read through my notes from sermon's that I listen to on podcasts or from church.  I love listening to podcasts by T.D. Jakes and Joyce Meyer the most.  Here are a few bullet points that I have from several T.D. Jakes' podcasts.  Some of them to name a few are: Your Opposition is Your Opportunity and Defying The Urge To Quit.

1. We damage what we are trying to save trying to go after something we are trying to kill.

Can I get a Amen?  And again?  This reminds me of the damage caused by chemotherapy and radiation trying to kill cancer.  So many other parts of our body are affected and must be repaired by our immune system.  The process must happen if we want to eradicate cancer and hopefully end up with a better quality of life.  Sometimes the cancer comes back and sometimes it destroys us.  The good new is, cancer cannot destroy your soul or take away eternal life.  You have the choice to spend eternity with God no matter what happens to you in this life on earth.  Choose wisely to take up your cross and follow Jesus. "God may remove His hedge of protection from your stuff, your health, etc... but not your soul."

2. Don't miss an opportunity because of opposition.

Because we are caught up in a war between 2 worlds, opposition will always be a factor.  But God always provides an opportunity around the opposition.  You can't get more blessed w/o more problems.  They grow up together. The more you get, the more you need.  More anointing means more crushing.  Your source is greater than your situation.  Your source is greater than your circumstance.  God is your source!

3.  The enemy of your soul attacks you because you have value.  Wherever you see a thief or a robber, there has got to be some value.

4.  Nothing that the enemy has planted in your life can destroy what God has put in your life.

This goes back to opportunity vs opposition.  Keep hope alive no matter what happens in life.  Giving up is not an option.

5.  Dont miss your season worrying about your situation.  Everytime you try to fix your situation yourself, you mess it up.  God said, "Leave it alone."

Sometimes our circumstances can distract us from our goals.  Every time challenges creep up, nail them to the cross.  We were not designed to carry burdens.  We must learn to lay our burdens down to achieve the purpose that God has planted in our life.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Kick Your Pride to the Side

Is pride really all that bad?  I mean really.  There are so many things that we can't help but to be proud of.  You hear sayings like, "Team Pride" and "I'm so proud of you" and those terms make us feel...well.....pretty darn good.  But then the bible warns us about being prideful.  God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble.  So what's the difference?  Is there a good pride and a bad pride?

I am here to help sort all of that out.  This is something that I have both studied and written about.  Humble Pie Anyone?  This post is about humility which is the opposite of pride.

In the concordance to the bible, usually found in the back of the bible, pride is defined as:
  1. inordinate self-esteem or deceit; disdainful behavior or treatment of others.

In the wikipedia aka world dictionary, pride has 2 definitions.  One negative and one positive:
  1. Negative connotation: an inflated sense of one's personal status or accomplishments.
  2. Positive connotation:  a satisfied sense of attachment toward one's own or anothers choices and actions, or toward a whole group of people, and is a product of praise, independent self-reflection, or a fulfilled feeling of belonging.

Do you see how the negative definitions between the bible and the world are very similar but only the world's definition has a positive side which when carefully dissected is not all that great from a biblical perspective for many reasons. 

A satisfied sense of attachment, a product of praise and an independent "self-reflection" are in opposition to God's word.  Please don't confuse this with being happy about something good that you did or happy for someone or sharing their joy.  Those are obviously good things.  This is about wicked pride.  Let me explain. If we are exalting or elevating ourselves by putting ourselves on a pedestal, God might lower us because it is not our place to put ourselves or anyone else on a pedestal.  God will elevate us when we humble ourselves.  

Here are 2 biblical examples of 2 kings that became powerful and prideful and God's wrath as a result:
  1. Uzziah was a king who did many great things until....he became powerful.  His PRIDE led to his downfall.  He was unfaithful to God so the Lord afflicted him with leprosy.  He had leprosy until the day he did.
  2. Hezekiah was a king who had very great wealth and honor.  But his heart became PROUD and he did not respond to the kindness shown to him by God.  Therefore God's wrath was on Hezekiah, on Judah and Jerusalem. Then Hezekiah repented of the PRIDE of his heart as did the people of Jerusalem; therefore the Lord's wrath did not come on them.
Wow, did you see that?  King Uzziah did not repent of his PRIDE and he had leprosy until the day he died but God's wrath was lifted from king Hezekiah who repented of his what.....PRIDE!

In his PRIDE, the wicked man does not seek Him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. Psalm 10:4.  No room for God?  May it never be.

You see, pride comes before destruction.  Our hearts can deceive us into seeing pride as a great thing but honestly we should seek to avoid pride in our hearts at ALL costs.  The result of human PRIDE is never worth the consequences.  God wants us to give Him glory by praising him and not ourselves or others for the kindness and mercy that He faithfully gives to those who love Him and trust Him.  PRIDE, evil thoughts, greed and foolishness come from within your heart and defile you.  Mark 7:22  I don't know about you but I don't want to be defiled because of PRIDE.

I must confess that I constantly come dangerously close to being prideful but thanks to the Holy Spirit who dwells in my heart, there is no room for PRIDE.  Yes I tell my children that I am proud of them all the time.  But that's not what I am referring to.  I'm talking about when people praise me for the gifts that God himself has blessed me with such as knowledge and wisdom.  If I am not careful pride can slip in and I can become judgemental, complacent and downright rude.  I find myself complaining about my position and other people.  Then God's spirit reminds me of my place and warns me about exalting myself and becoming arrogant.  I have no right or reason to think of myself as all that because in due time, God will and always has exalted me.  He does it in a way that brings glory to Him while allowing me to shine at the same time w/o worldly thoughts in my heart such as.....PRIDE!

One final thing I want to touch on is a verse from 1 John 2:15-17.  It says:
  • 15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you (I can think of a few things), for when you love the world you do not have the love of the father in you.
  • 16 The world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and PRIDE in our achievements and possessions.  These are not from the Father, but are from this world.
  • 17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave.  But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever!  Amen

Saturday, October 11, 2014


I am warning you ahead of time, dear friends. Be on guard so that you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing.  2 Peter 3:17

A few years ago on my way to work I saw 2 women hitchhiking on the freeway.  I couldn't believe my eyes.  They were actually sitting on a concrete divider in a construction zone near one of the on ramps.  People are already driving 35 to 40 mph at that point and increasing speed in preparation to enter traffic between 55 and 65 mph.  There is no where for a person to pick them up even if they wanted to.  My first thought was the potential danger they were in.  I immediately started praying for them that God would guide them and protect them.  They appeared to be in their mid to late 20's. 

I'm assuming that they were desperate to get where they wanted to be.  It takes desperation to even hitchhike and I would say extreme desperation to be a "freeway hitchhiker".  Either way, you are purposefully putting your life at risk in more ways than one. 

As I talked to the Lord about these girls I began to think about how many times I have done something risky, or shall I say risque (risk-ay) to get somewhere or something?  Hitchhiking requires you to trust a stranger.  When I think of it this way, the same concept applies when you hire someone like a plumber or contractor to come and work on something in your home?  How about babysitters and child care either in your home or another location? 

There are many reasons that we have exercise trust in another human being but we don't have to freeway hitchhike.  You know, stick our thumb out and risk our own safety or the safety of our loved ones.  Choosing child care for my girls was one of the most difficult times of my life.  I'm so glad they are older now and no longer require constant adult supervision and I thank God for watching over them then and even now.  God will give you discernment in situations like this if you go to Him and ask for His direction and guidance.

Do you think those women asked God for discernment?  I'm thinking they chose their own route and I honestly can't stop thinking about them.  I hope they made it to their destination safely and I prayed that God would place someone on their path to lead them to Him.  And if they already know Him, I pray that He would speak to their hearts and they would listen to Him and know that with God, they never ever have to hitchhike on the freeway again.

As I write this, another thing that comes to mind is the hitchhiker of our soul.  The devil has many ways of doing this, no thumb necessary.  His minions have easy access by way of certain shows on TV, certain places, certain kinds of music, certain websites, etc........  You know what I'm talking about.  Most of it isn't even obvious and sometimes we don't even know they have hitched a ride until it's too late.

How can you be safe from the soul hitchhikers?  There is only one way that I know of and that is God through the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit of my soul gives me discernment about certain situations and warns me when danger is near.  The Holy Spirit guards your soul with the "shield of faith" like the best anti-virus program available on a computer.  When something does try to sneak in, your anti-virus program aka shield of faith will automatically block entrance and warn you not to go there, an intruder is there attempting to hitchhike and destroy the network of safety that surrounds your soul.  Now, you know you can override the Holy Spirit just like you can override the anti-virus program on your computer and choose to go there anyway.  If you do, it can wreak havoc on your hard drive aka your soul.

The best way to avoid and defeat the tactics of the devil is to be on guard and ready for anything.  God's word is your weapon that provides you with many ways to fight off the "soul hitchhiker".  That's why it's so important to study His word and obey the boundaries that He has placed in our lives.  We need to avoid being "freeway hitchhikers" and protect ourselves from the "soul hitchhiker".  There is a free ride through Jesus Christ.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Is There No King In You?

Life is a song.  At least for me that is the case.  I write songs and I love music so much that I taught myself how to play the piano.  I learned terms like scales, octaves, and how to read music.  A lot of people learned how to play by ear which is amazing as well but I'm better at learning a song by reading the notes first.  Once I get it down, I memorize it forever.  There is a song for everything.  I find myself using song lyrics for almost every situation.  "Wrote a song about it.  Like to hear it?  Here it goes."

When I think of life's challenges, one song that I love is There Is A King In You by Donald Lawrence.  Every time I turn around I find myself facing a new battle.  But despite all that, God is teaching me who I am.  How to recognize that I was born to rule.  You see, I answer to the King of all kings.  This King knows me better than I know myself.  I am His daughter so that means that I come from royalty.

That means that I don't have to let the challenges of life keep me down.  Why?  Because I come from royalty and I know who I am no matter what the enemy's goals are.  There is a King in me.  Is there no King in you? When you have the King in you there is no room for defeat in you.  When you have the King in you there is no room for low esteem.  

So embrace your King.  

Sing that song, dance that dance.  
Talk that talk and walk that walk.

No more feeling like you are beneath.  You are fearfully and wonderfully made.  You are a lender and not a borrow.  You have an inheritance.  You have been adopted into the royal family.  

If you are not sure if the King is in you, say these words out loud:

I trust you Lord with all my heart.  I believe Jesus is your Son.  I believe He died for me.  I believe He rose from the dead and He is the Risen King.  I invite Jesus into my heart.  Please help me to crucify my unsurrendered soul every day.  

Help me to know your voice and to hear you when you call.  Amen.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Paul/Faith vs James/Works

Our women's bible study group is currently studying the book of James.  I did some in depth studying on our last session:  The role of good works in the believer’s lifeThis has always been an interesting topic regarding salvation because sometimes we read one or 2 lines of scripture and come to a conclusion that can be a little skewed.  

In reference to the scripture below from James 2:14-26, here are some interesting points that I found.

James talks about the external results; James says this is what saving faith looks like.

Faith and Works
14 What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can [n]that faith save him? Works bears testimony of the inner-man. 
15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, [o]be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is [p]dead, being by itself.  The cause must come before the effect.  As evidence of a changed life, salvation must come first.

18 But someone [q]may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” 19 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. 20 But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? James speaks to the man who is all talk and no show (actions).  True salvation always proves itself.
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith was working with his works, and [s]as a result of the works, faith was [t]perfected; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God.  Abraham’s works mentioned by James were a result of justification which came by faith 25 years earlier.  Abraham was not being saved again.  He was showing evidence of his salvation, confirmed in the justification by faith, accomplished years before.  Paul and James cite 2 different times in Abraham’s life, events separated by 25 years. 

24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.  “Works” are the result of true “faith”.  Jesus Christ and His righteousness is the standard.

Salvation is the result of God’s grace and your faith. 

Paul looks at what goes on internally; Paul says we are saved by “faith”. 
Ephesians 2:8-For by grace, you have been saved through “faith”; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.

Romans 10:6-But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works.

Galatians 2:21-If Righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died needlessly.

Titus 3:5-He saved us not on the basis of deeds, which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy.

I hope this helps others as much as it helped me to gain a deeper understanding of the importance of both faith and works in a believer's life.  I touched a little on Ephesians 2:8 in my blog post titled: Salvation Is A Free Gift.  As humans, we believe that nothing is free and everything must be earned.  After all, hard work is everything and we really seem to struggle with accepting unmerited favor aka grace. Well T.D. Jakes helped me to realize that "Favor Ain't Fair".  This means that God shows grace on whomever he chooses and it's never about earning it.  We just aren't good enough, period.  

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Follow The Leader

It gives me joy to give my husband the space and support he needs to be the head of our household and to lead me as I submit to Him according to God's will.  Because of that, our relationship is much stronger than it would be if I didn't choose to obey God's will for our marriage.  If you don't allow a man to do what God has called Him to do as the head of the house, you could be setting him up to fail.

As we all know, in dancing two people cannot lead.  One must be willing to follow or both of you could trip and fall.  The same applies to married couples.  When you have a wife trying to control her husband or usurp his authority as the leader, disaster is in the mix.  Trust me, I know from experience.

As the wife, trusting your husband is trusting God.  You know that your husband will make mistakes at one point or another.  Finances, children, discipline, ego, etc.... That's why trusting God is essential when it comes to being a submissive wife.  What does it take to be a submissive wife?  I will share with you how things look for me personally as a submissive wife.

For the first 3 or 4 years of our relationship, I tried to control every aspect of my husband.  You see, he didn't believe in God.  He was angry at God for many understandable reasons.  Well I thought that I could somehow make him be a man of God and I actually viewed him as a control freak.  Guess what I learned in the process?  Not only was I the "control freak", I would never be able to control him w/o first surrendering to him.  But how do you surrender to a man that doesn't want a relationship with God?  You take him, your children, your finances, your household and you place it all in God's care.

By totally surrendering everything you care about to God, you are setting the stage for abundant blessings in all those areas.  When I disagree with something that my husband does or says, I try to remain silent until I know I can address him w/o being disrespectful or saying the wrong thing out of anger.  That is what I used to try to do and it only made things worse.  We used to argue all the time, even in front of our kids.

As I finally started to grow up,  God saved my husband and our marriage and I allowed myself to agree with God and let Him minister to me through His word.  I learned how to see things through God's eyes.  Of course we don't always agree but we try to work through it w/o disrespecting each other. I talk to God and I ask Him to help me get my point across the right way. But not before God shows me where I'm wrong or need improvement.  This has worked for us for years now.  My husband almost always sees things as God sees them and as a result we are actually in agreement most of the time.  That's what it's all about.  When we do struggle with each others decisions or behavior, we ask God to help us see the situation through His eyes.

Tips for married couples:
1. When we learn to humbly trust and obey God, He brings personal transformation.
2. Give 100% no matter what the other person does.
3. Do not make mountains out of mole hills.
4. Respect your husband-a man needs respect like a woman needs love.  He feels valuable and esteemed which is very important to him.  Be his cheerleader, believe in him and appreciate him.

There are no inferiors or superiors in marriage.  Your husband is accountable to surrender his own agenda and hobbies to serve and meet the needs of his wife.  He should be willing to deny himself for the good of your family.

Family Life Marriage Bible
Dennis & Barbara Rainey-Best selling authors and co-founders of FamilyLife.

My husband and I are best friends, partners, lovers and companions for life.  We treat each other like royalty.  He will always be my King and I will always be his Queen.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

My Contract To Myself

This is my life.  It matters to me.  I was born to do great things. Through my veins runs resilience, determination, fight, drive, faith, and a hunger to get better each and every day.  I can't change yesterday, but I will have a massive impact on today and tomorrow.  I take my life serious.  If you choose to be a part of my life, I need for you to support me, push me, challenge me, and to encourage me as I seek my greatness.  This is my life.  I will not waste it.  My future dreams matter to me.


Those will be the words that drive me.  I have a destiny to fulfill.  I will always strive to be better.  Mountains, barriers, and challenges are temporary; I WILL NOT BE STOPPED.  I am a force for God.  I will intensify my focus.  I am what I am now, but I know that THE BEST IS YET TO COME!

These are words from a contract that I received from a safety class held at my job by a very beautiful and inspiring woman that I have known for a very long time.  When I finished this class, I felt like I was ready to make some big changes in my life and my career path.  I have big, big dreams and I know that God is growing me and pruning me for the right opportunity and the right moment.  It's amazing how far He has brought me in my life.  I know that as long as I continue to lean and depend
on Him, to trust Him, to hold on to His unchanging hand, I can face anything and I can succeed in everything!

From My Soul To Yours,

Starla E.