Sweet Victory

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“I feel thorns where my crown was
(I be weak but I’m alive)
From the dusk until dawn yeah
(I’ll survive ’cause I got) sweet victory
Nobody can take it from me sweet victory
‘Cause I got (sweet victory) ” – Trip Lee

This past season has been a very  difficult season, where I honestly thought I wouldn’t be able to make it. But I now know that I wasn’t in it alone. Despite how I felt during those few months and how I feel now, Jesus was with me during every moment. As I was listening to this song I could relate on so many levels to his experiences here as he navigates the reality of the life of a believer. Things get hard and sometimes we feel like giving up. But I’m reminded of glory which shall be revealed in the end. Though I experience hardships now, the truth is that it won’t be for long. I may have scars and pain inflicted by the enemy and sometimes myself, but I am purposing to go to the finish line victoriously. Pain may come, but joy will come in the morning. And the victory that I will experience is a sweet victory.

“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.”
— Hebrews 12:1b

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Being Grateful+Giving Thanks

Eucharisteo (yoo-khar-is-teh’-o) is a Greek word that means “to be grateful; to give thanks”

One of my favorite poets highlighted this word in one of her books early last year, and ever since then I have been thinking about this word, am I ever in a state of complete gratefulness?  I think back to the many moments when I was anything but grateful, forgetting the goodness of God in my life and His mercy over and over. It is so easy to forget, but that’s when we have to cultivate a grateful heart for everything; the big things and the little things.

Where does joy come in? We know the frailty of happiness in our lives. It doesn’t last, but joy because it is not created, but freely given by God it has so much more meaning. And I think, when we are consistently giving thanks, and being grateful for the many things that  come our way, whether good or bad; we are allowing joy to take root in our lives.

 “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Here Paul is reminding the Church to constantly be grateful, whether during trials or good times, for little and for plenty. Paul knew more than anyone the reality of our life here on earth. There is no such thing as perfect life. He too walked through trials and great times. But he knew that joy was his reward, and it can be ours too; joy in the midst of difficulties. 

I have been challenged to make a list of the so many things I am grateful for, I’ll name a few below. To me this is a reminder to cultivate a heart of gratefulness in everything, to remind myself to always be thankful for the opportunities my Father has given me, and the doors He has walked me through. Here are a few:

  • For the opportunities to speak freely about Him.
  • For His unconditional love for this wayward child.
  • For disciplining me, because I know it’s because He loves me.
  • For the many gifts He has entrusted me with.
  • For blessing me with a family that can handle the craziness of who Remeca is.

I pray that this word sparks something in your heart as it did mine, and as we approach our different seasons, I hope we never forget who brings us in, through, and out of them. Love and Peace to all!

Praise+Worship

There is just so much that I have been learning during these past few months at Ocean’s Edge, and understanding what Worship really means besides singing to God. So I will share a bit about what I’ve learnt so far.

There are 3 aspects of worship:

  • Thanksgiving – Provision of God
  • Praise – Power of God
  • Worship – Person of God

 

Thanksgiving: This is an expression of gratitude for benefits received and experienced. 1 Thessalonians 5:18. In thanksgiving we thank God for what He has done, doing, and what He is going to do. Hebrews 13:15; Colossians 3:15. Thanksgiving leads us to praise God: Psalm 92:1, Psalm 105:1, Psalm 107:1, Psalm 136:1.

Praise: This is an expression of approval and admiration. We praise God for who He is while acknowledging God’s perfection and works. Psalm 150:2, 1 Peter 2:9, Revelation 1:6 -Praise Him for His works and character. To praise God is to magnify – Psalm 34:3. praise is an act of your will; the will (Psalm 34:1).

Worship: This is honor and respect combined with love and reverence. To worship is to bow down, to kneel, to prostrate, to position in humility. Extravagant Admiration: Psalm 95:1-6, Psalm 111:1, Psalm 138:1-2. Preparation and Progression to Worship: Psalm 100, Psalm 95:1-6, Hebrew 11:6, 2 Corinthians 6:16, Romans 12:1, Psalm 141:2, Psalm 103, psalm 92:1, Psalm 48.

 

 

 

God And His Nature

Knowing God spans more than just knowing His names, and their meanings, but learning firsthand what they mean to me personally has helped a lot with my walk with Him. Here are a few that has impacted me throughout last year, and this year. He is such a loving, and giving Father; but even more so He protects us!

God manifested Himself through different names in the scriptures, not to confuse man but to reveal the different phases of His nature. And how man can be helped through accessing these attributes.

  • Elohim– Translated God. Means The Strong One! Used over 2500 times in the Old Testament.
  • Jehovah– Means The Eternal One! Derived from the verb ‘To Be” includes the past, present, and future tense.
  • Jehovah Nissi– “I Am Thy Banner” (Exodus 17:15)
  • Jehovah Rapha– “The LORD That Healeth” (Exodus 15:26)
  • Jehovah Shalom– “I Am Thy Peace” (Judges 6:24)
  • Jehovah Tsidkenu– “The LORD our Righteousness” (Jeremiah23:6)
  • Jehovah Jireh– “The LORD THY Provider” (Genesis 22:14)
  • Jehovah Roi– “The Lord Thy Shepherd” (Psalm 23)
  • Jehovah Shammah– “The LORD is There” (Ezekiel 48:35)
  • Jehovah Mekeddeshem– “The LORD who Sanctifies” (Exodus 31:13)
  • Jehovah Sabaoth– “The LORD of Hosts” (Amos 4:13)
  • Jehovah Ezer– “The LORD our Help” (Psalm 30:20)
  • El Shaddai– “God Almighty” (Genesis 49:24-25)
  • El Roi– “God Who Sees” (Genesis 16:7)
  • Adonai– “My Lord, My Master” (Genesis 14:22)
  • El Elyon– “Most High God(Sovereign over all)” (Daniel 4:34)

What I Want to Know and Believe For Myself

So, God has just been speaking to me through different verses and key points from sermons, and even random phrases and quotes; and I would love to share them, hoping that they impact you, the way the have impacted me.

  • God’s way will never fail you.
  • “Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” –Matthew 7:13-14
  • Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore, having set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame. (paraphrased Isaiah 50:7)Setting His face like flint, Jesus faced harder things and He conquered them including death to redeem us. God’s way will never fail us, even when they make us uncomfortable for awhile.
  • I am a slave for Christ.
  • I am called by God the Father who loves me and keeps me safe in the care of Jesus Christ.
  • Awakening is the powerful work of our Sovereign and Gracious God.
  • When God awakens, He doesn’t simply awakens us from sleep, but from death.
  • He regenerates our hearts, gives us the gift of new birth, and makes us alive.
  • He always brings revival to our dead lives.
  • Coram Deo
  • Nothing built for the glory of man will survive his scrutiny.
  • But what is done for God’s glory will endure forever.
  • I am covered by Your Grace, and You called me justified.
  • Be faithful to the end.
  • “Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” –Psalm 34:5
  • I’m no longer a slave to fear because God is with me. Remeca, be strong and courageous. God is with you!
  • “You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.”
  • “Your inability to trust Me, let Me change that today! All things are found in Me, so lean on Me.
  • “Like David, who faced a very distressing period in his life, when the Amalekites took the women, children of Israel, including his own. ‘But he chose to encourage himself in The Lord.'” (1 Samuel 30)
  • I am full of goodness, I am full of knowledge. I am competent to instruct.” God help me to believe that about myself.
  • I pray when I look into the mirror, I see me, the me that God created me to be. Not a version of myself that I have forged based on society’s expectations, but a me that reflects God’s unique character!
  • “Hardships strengthen the heart…and joyful experiences enrich the mind.” – Piano No Mori
  • Grace releases and affirms. It doesn’t smother.
  •  Grace values the dignity of individuals. It doesn’t destroy.
  •  Grace supports and encourages. It isn’t jealous or suspicious.
  • “This is what the LORD says: ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.’” Jeremiah 6:16a (NIV)
  • At times, we have to say ‘no’ to good things to be able to say ‘yes’ to the most important things. We can’t do it all. Pray and choose wisely. Then, invest deeply. #NoteToSelf
  •  I’ll sit under the palm tree for I know the victory is won. I’m resting in His assurance and believing that it is well.
  •  “There is such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.” – MARTIN LUTHER KING JR
  • “Those who seek him will find Him; If you are seeking with all your heart. Trials will come, be of good cheer He has overcome the world and so do you in Him. Let patience have her perfect work. Wait. Wait. And you will be equipped for every good work. Strive to enter His rest. He corrects those who He loves. You are His Beloved. Taste and see that The Lord is good. Blessed is the woman who takes refuge in Him. Grace upon grace.” – Anita
  • “The best things in life comes to the good things in life.”
  •  I’m still the sinner you rescued, a sinner who is nothing without you. O Lord, rescue me still.
  • “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
  • “Remeca, You are a beloved daughter of the King above all Kings.”
  • Lord, thank You for choosing me and loving me despite my flaws.
  • Help me to remember this truth on days when I’m feeling like I’m not enough. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Isaiah 42:1a, “Look at my servant, whom I strengthen. He is my chosen one, who pleases me.” (NLT) 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.”
  • Heavenly Father, thank You for creating me in Your image. This Easter, help me remember that it’s because of Your Son’s death on the cross that I can fully accept the gift of being deemed “awesome” in Your eyes, not just here on earth, but for all eternity. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Psalm 139:14, “Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous — how well I know it.” (NLT) Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (NLT) While we are being sanctified, we are being perfected forever! (Hebrews 10:14).
  • Teachable people succeed!
  • “Hope is being able to see that there is light, despite all of the darkness.” – Desmond Tutu
  • “Why ask for respect when you can earn it?”

The Joy of Hymns

There is just something about really old hymns that makes me feel like I’m in the calm of the storm around me. I grew up in a church that loved singing hymns, and honestly I never liked singing them until my late teens. But the words that made up these beautifully scripted songs always made me aware of my deep rooted sins, and made apparent God’s redeeming love at the end of each song. Now I’m older, and I really love hearing the heart behind the hymns. Why were these hymns written? what’s the story behind it? Whatever story it was, it always pointed back to Jesus making all things new, despite our flawed actions and behavior.

I looked up the word HYMN: “a type of song, usually religious, specifically written for the purpose of praise, adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a deity…” and this meaning made so much sense to me, now that I’m singing these songs that often time resonate with my aching heart, that’s prone to wonder and prone to sin. My acts of worship toward God, should reflect Him in every way possible. Filled with praise, adoration, prayer, it should all be done with a pure heart! Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD?And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.” (Psalm 24:4)

One of my favorite hymns, Come Thou Fount, by the 18th century pastor and hymnist Robert Robinson. this is one of those hymns that always give me a reassurance of God’s love, despite my constant wandering far away from Him:

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.

When Robert Robinson was just a small boy his dad died. Without a father to guide and steady him, he fell into bad company.
But one while making trouble, because of something, a drunken Gypsy said to him, he decided to change his ways.
So, he decided to go hear the Methodist preacher George Whitefield. and he was convicted instantly after hearing the message:  “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” (Matthew 3:7). Robert left in dread, under a deep sense of sin that lasted for three years.
Finally, at the age of twenty, he made peace with God and immediately set out to become a Methodist preacher himself. Two years later, in 1757, he wrote a hymn which expressed his joy in his new faith, This hymn we now know as ‘Come Thou Fount’.

Just as Robert expressed his joy in his new faith by writing this hymn, I think we should also express our joy in Giving praise, adoration, and glory to The One who deserves it.

My Journey so far…

“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You.” -Psalm 139:13-18

 

It is such a wonderful feeling to know that The God of the universe knows me, my thoughts and how I was created. He knows me out of all the 7 billion people present in our world today. He knows everything about me, and because He knows me, He also knows what’s best for me, because He knows my future. This simple fact can be intimidating but also beautiful because I now know that he always wants what’s best for me; and being at Ocean’s Edge School of Worship has shown me that in so many ways.

I may not have an ounce of idea as to what I want to do when I’m finished, but what I do know is that despite how I feel, I know that as long as I walk in His will for me and obeying Him, things will become clearer as I walk on this journey of discovery. A new discovery of myself, and the things that I have been afraid to do for so many years, and having the courage to overcome so many fears that have kept me in bondage for so long. Just being in an environment where I’m constantly challenged, loved, encouraged, humbled, and moved to do things out of my comfort zone. I can’t say every moment was blissful, but so far I am learning to appreciate the sufferings because I am propelled to cling to hope which is in Jesus.

From selfish moments, to selfless moments; I’m thankful for them because I am learning to see beyond me and what I’m capable of doing. From prideful moments, to humble moments; I’m very thankful for because it is in those moments that I realize I have been depending on my weak self to survive, while Jesus has been beckoning for me to let Him love me and guide me and give me the strength to go on. I am still in the process of realizing my worth, and how important it is to find it in Him, and not man. How easy it is to focus on what man will think, and do; when God is just wanting me to accept what he has to offer, and be pleased with Him alone.

It is a process. And I love that through the pain, and through those moments where I just can’t go on that He is still there to help me go through those moments of despair. I’m so thankful for the people He has placed in my life to teach me, to mentor me, to encourage me, and to push me to walk in my purpose. I have never been so loved on in my life, and it is a gift that I don’t want to ever take for granted. Praying that I walk in obedience and go when He tells me to go. I’m excited for the next months to come, and how much God will prune us  according to His plans. Looking forward to share more of my story!

PS: Just wanted to share  few pics of the year so far:

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Orientation Day! 
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Our first time singing with the choir! Loved the unity.
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A bunch of us at the Nick Vujicic evangelism event, where we helped  our church family in sharing the gospel in so many different ways!
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Our first time as a band playing at the Plantation campus! Looking forward to many more opportunities like this.
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Fun times at the CCA dance concert, we loved playing, and we’re humbled that we were given the opportunity to play.
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Before we go out to worship at  our Christmas concert! #NSSN15
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After leading worship at eikon!

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After leading worship at eikon! Girl shot!
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Beautiful moment for us as we declare that Emmanuel, God is with us!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Theology in Worship

How important is proper theology in worship?

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Imagine what would happen if all our worship songs were based on only how we feel? There would be no truth revealed, no growth, but just more reason to remain comfortable in our sins. Our sins? yes the dreaded word that I personally as a believer often underestimate. The Word of God brings truth (2 Timothy 3:16), “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” it sets us free, and it sanctifies us (John 17:17);  but if we’re not incorporating it in the songs we sing, how are we going to bring the truth to those who need to hear it? There has to be a proper balance.

     I think to start off we have to understand the definition of theology. The word theology put in basic terms; the study of God, our attempt in understanding God as He is reveals Himself to us. We learn about God, His character, His personality, what makes Him so unique by reading His Word and understanding what He has to say. Picture learning about The infinite God! (I can’t even begin to, but he wants us to atleast try).

     Our worship should reflect our gratitude to God. We get to live our lives for Him by following what His Word says we should do, and what we shouldn’t do. Singing in our local churches is a privelege we have in sharing with the body Christ of God’s goodness, His healing, His grace; but also reminding each other that He is a just God, who needs us to repent of our sins; becasue He is righteous. “One thing I have desired of the Lord,That will I seek:That I may dwell in the house of the Lord, All the days of my life,To behold the beauty of the Lord, And to inquire in His temple.” (Psalm 27:4).

    In essence our worship should be driven by the knowledge of God, His sovereignty, and the truth that comes form His Word. Everything God wants His church to hear, should not be hidden under our attempt to make songs more appealing. We should be more inclined in leading our brothers and sisters into a deeper relationship with Jesus, with truth (John 4:24) through repentance. Nothing needs to be sugar-coated, not the Word, not our songs. that could only lead to shallow faith and belief. The focus of our Worship should always be Jesus, and He is the Word, anything less than that is selling the gospel short. “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.”(Hebrew 12:28). When we lead worship are we giving the body of Christ the opportunity to enter the presence of God in communion with Him, in holiness, with a repentant heart, and a reverencefor Him that He rightfuly deserves. We should always seek to let the Word of God guide us when are leading. We can’t influence the body with our own thoughts, and personal feelings, and expect them to grow spiritually. We are flawed human beings who need need Jesus just as much as the congregation does. We have to allow God to lead through us. We are mere vessels,  in ‘The Potters Hand’, that do what he asks us to do based on His will, not ours. Grateful to our Father for His Hands that are always there for me and you!

They were not ashamed…

“I sought the Lord, and He heard me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
   They looked to Him and were radiant,
                           And their faces were not ashamed.”  ~Psalm 34:4-5

     Fear, if you allow it, it can consume your thoughts, paralyze you and keep you stagnant. Everyone has fears, some we’re unaware, some we’re downright scared of. It takes more than boldness and courage though to overcome these fears. In Psalm 34, King David is doing what he does best, praising God. This Psalm promises a happiness to those who look to God, and trust in Him. Placing our trust in God, requires us to not just believe in God but to also depend on Him completely for everything.

I know for me, fear has allowed me to miss out on a lot of things that would’ve helped my growth. And thinking about the many things that has affected our world in the span of a year, it would be hard not to fear. Fear the things that I can’t even see, understand, and grasp. But i’ve been learning that it’s not up to me to understand, cause guess what my understanding of those problems won’t change them. I can only trust God, and lean on the truth that His plans are better than mine.

Just like King David’s predicament with Abimelech/Achish, (2 Samuel 8:17) where he pretended to be mad so he could live. And because God saw favor in him, through this ordeal he allowed David to flee with his life. King David replies with a heart of gratefulness towards God and His protecting hands on his life. The truth is, that God is faithful, even when we’re not, but when we are faithful, He rewards us accordingly. He loves when we’re obedient, and when we are completely dependent on Him; and through our obedience and our dependency He wants us to be happy.  He alone understands how much we need Him, and because He is a good Father, he wants to provide us with need; because He is The Only One who can satisfy us.

I want to seek God wholeheartedly, knowing and trusting in Him through all my fears, pressing forward because His perfect love casts out fear. (1 John 4:18). Looking to Him, keeping my eyes on Him when the world is in chaos, when I have nothing left but Him, when I’m lonely, when my fears become overwhelming, when the pain gets out of control, when I’m confused, when I’m powerless (because I always am), when I’m empty, when I’m angry, when I’m weary, when I’m heartbroken; I want to look to Him. When we focus our eyes on God through all that is happening around us, we’re saying: ‘We Trust You God,’ ‘We might not understand, but we trust that Your will for our lives are true and perfect.’ 

The next time fear appears, because it will come. Let’s keep our eyes on Him. Stay focused on the face of our Redeemer and Savior who loves us despite our flaws. let’s look to Him and be filled with His love, His light, and his truth. And we will never be ashamed, because it’s not about us, should never be about us; but about Him, His grace and His mercy. 

 

Be Ready in and out of Season……..

“Preach the word!

Be ready in season and out of season.

Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.” 

2 Timothy 4: 2

Having been in a discipleship course now for the past 12 weeks; i have been urged even more now than ever to be bold and confident in my actions as his daughter. I’ve been really pushed these past few months to get out of my comfort zone. A zone I created to fit my idea of comfort, and safety. I created it, believing that I would never get hurt, or be taken advantage of in any situation….Ever. The idea of our own safe place, is one we believe can protect us, and we are less likely to have all these negative emotions that hinder us. And it is for that reason, why Jesus has called us to be bold in our walk with Him, nothing we do for Christ is ever going to be easy. But will it be worth it? Absolutely Yes!

Now earlier yesterday, I had a to do a teaching sermon on ‘The Gifts of The Holy Spirit’. As a group we had each been given our own topic to study on and prepare for sharing in a group setting. Now, the me last year would have been really scared about speaking in front of any type of crowd whatsoever; but now I can see a different side to what God has been calling me to do. Firstly, stop living in fear, while trying to protect my own comfort. So, I taught on what The Holy Spirit had laid on my heart. The body of Christ working together as a body that is well, and knowing its purpose not only as a group but also individually. I’m not going to say that it was super easy, it really wasn’t. I was worried about not saying the right words, not being clear enough, not presenting it the right way, being boring, having a serious breakdown in front of everybody…..and it was just so much. So many random thoughts flowing through my mind that would have crippled me if the Spirit hadn’t assured me of his strength being perfected in my weakness.

Time and time again, I think I allow my own thoughts to infiltrate my heart, and hinder the growth that God has and wants for me. Being ready in this season for what God has called me to do, is up to me. God equips the called, but it is also up to me to step out in faith and see that step as a gateway for many more beautiful, and awesome things; He wants me, you to be a part of. While speaking in front of a crowd is just one area of my life that I believe God is developing me in, there are other areas that need pruning, and I know if I want to be free from complacency; I have to let God have the control, so that He can work through me. I have to be ready for the plans God has for me, be ready for difficult situations, be ready to let go, be ready to preach His word. There are so many more ways that God desires to use His people, and all he requires of me, of you, is complete submission to Him. All the works He wants to do in me, is more about Him and less about me. I want to be ready for the unplanned…..DO YOU?