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May 2014

Pillow Talk

Good morning! Today's power scripture comes  from Psalm 121:4 (AMP)-“Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

There are times when we have secret, special thoughts that we cannot share with anyone.  It isn’t that we have some sordid, ungodly thing running through our head; but simply there are ideas, thoughts and desires that we can only share with the one who is most intimate with us.  We can only share these desires, hopes, ambitions, anxieties, uncertainties and frustrations with our Creator God.
David spoke about times when he drenched his pillow at night with tears as he languished before God about his life and ordeals. Scripture reminds us of how God collects our very tears in bottles and knows the amount of every sorrowful wail.  We have a brother, Savior and Good Shepherd in Christ who is always caring for us.  We have a wonderful advocate and comforter in the Holy Spirit who guides us and provides conscious clarity to life’s little nuances. We have a father, Lord and master who created us in his image.
         God longs to have an intimate relationship with you.  He wants you to spend quality time with him nurturing that relationship.  Morning prayers at the breakfast table are good; lunch time and dinner grace are special; prayer meetings, bible studies, sermons and messages on CD all help to teach, inspire, and encourage...but nothing, absolutely nothing, substitutes for on old fashioned conversation with the God of the universe who knows all about you, your trials, tribulations and potential testimonies.  There is no need for pretense or cover-up.  You don’t have to be politically correct; speak in complete sentences or even know what you want to say.  The Holy Spirit will go before God and represent your ideas when you just cannot speak up for yourself. 
        Take some time to speak to God in a quiet place.  When you retreat to your prayer closet (wherever or whenever it is) isolate all distractions.  Do not turn on the television; mute your phone and just wallow in the love of God who cares for you deeply.  It might seem a bit uncomfortable at first.  Your mind might wander a bit, but the more you mediate and focus on God; the more you pour your heart out to him, the more you will yearn for even more time to spend together. Today share some pillow talk time with God.  He already knows (who, what, when and where)…but share with him the desires of your heart, the frustrations of the day; and your dreams for tomorrow.  Watch as you develop greater clarity and insights into plans and purposes of your life.

Every day is a good day; it is up to us to make it a power-packed GREAT day! Be blessed! Dr. JoAnn 

Suffer the Children

Good morning! Today's power scripture comes  from Matthew 19:14(NCV) –“but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me. Don’t stop them, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to people who are like these children.”
       Across the country many schools are coming to the end of the academic year and the children are preparing for summer vacation.  For some this summer will include fabulous family trips to fun locations, family reunions and great getaways. For others this summer might be a struggle to find something constructive to do in order to keep busy and out of trouble. Some children will attend sports or technology summer camps while others will dream of visiting a local community theater and joining in fun “Glee”-like scenes How our children and grandchildren see themselves and dream of what they want to be is critical. Please let it be important on your ‘to-do’ list to help reinforce to our young ones just how special they are.  Children are steadily bombarded with negative talk, paparazzi newsflashes and hours of unbridled immorality on television.  They can experience school life that is tormented by bullies or be placed in local schools that are struggling to maintain the minimum of state requirements for accreditation. 
        Our children play too many videos games where life is restored by the push of a button; they believe friendships are contingent upon whether they have the right type of phone or popularity is determined by how destruction they can act. All of these things are distracting blockades preventing them from being in the presence of the Lord.  The closer they may want to get to Jesus, the more they are isolated by these trappings.  It is our responsibility to our children and to the ‘village’ we support to protect them as we guide them to move closer into the presence of Jesus.
       Find a youngster you can help today – encourage them to stay focused and seed into their lives in a tangible way.  The seeds we plant today will provide for our future. Every day is a good day; it is up to us to make it a power-packed GREAT day! Be blessed! Dr. JoAnn  

Quit Playing!

Good morning.- What a great new week…Today's power scripture comes from Psalm 39:8 (NCV) – “Save me from all my sins. Don’t let wicked fools make fun of me.””
       When I relay some off-the-wall information to one of my good girlfriends about any outlandish action or deed that I have learned about, she will often quip  "stop playing". She tells me in essence to stop trying to trick her mind and give it data that just can't possibly be true.  We usually laugh it off because whatever it is that I am telling her is usually something funny that I have seen on some television show where they have caught someone doing something so foolish it is not hard to see why they were caught.  I remember telling her about the man who attempted to steal an ATM machine by tying a chain around it to his truck bumper (not the pickup truck, but the bumper) and sped off.  Well needless to say the police found him at home with his bumper-less truck parked in the driveway because they easily traced the license plate that was still attached to the bumper - what an idiot!  She hollered "quit playing" and we both laughed out loud.
         The devil will do foolish things in attempts to thwart the plans of God.  One of his often tried plots is to whisper ludicrous suggestions and taunts to you.  He will use foolish statements that talk about your trials, stumbles, fall and failures.  He will constantly rehearse ideas of things you have attempted that might have fallen through or relationships that turned sour.  He will use people close to you to torment you with “I told you so” and other babbles that will distract you.  Do not let it sway you or throw you off schedule.  When these foolish statements come your way…do like my girlfriend does and shout “quit playing” and laugh it off.  “Quit playing” is a cynical way of expressing to the devil that you just can’t believe how stupid he is for trying to come between you and what God has ordained for your life.  It reminds him that his foolishness is not going to affect you because you know what he is saying is madness.  He is a liar and the father of all lies. When you place whatever the devil says up against the Word of God it loses all of its power and turns to dust.  So shake it off from the beginning and do not let it take root.

Every day is a good day; it is up to us to make it a power-packed GREAT day! Be blessed! Dr. JoAnn 

Give and Take

Good morning. TGIF!- Today's power scripture comes from Proverbs 21:26 (AMP) – “He covets greedily all the day long, but the [uncompromisingly] righteous gives and does not withhold.”
This weekend I am celebrating my 35 class reunion from Spelman College in Atlanta, GA.  Over the past few months classmates have communicated via emails, postal notes, texts, phone calls and Facebook their thoughts, ambitions and desires for this special time together.  Our class officers have worked diligently to host events that will be enjoyable, inspiring and memorable. Although many have arrived early for the festivities to spend time with local family and friends, the bulk of us will arrive later today for the more ceremonial parts of the reunion.  We will dine together; worship together; honor those who laid foundational paths of excellence; cherish the memories of those who have died; remember the hard work of our former teachers and administrators; and most of all we will give gifts back to our school.
        Charitable giving provides many young women who otherwise would not be able to attain higher education, opportunities to acquire college degrees. While at Spelman I was one of those young women who benefited from financial assistance. Thank you to those who have sacrificed through giving to help others who want to make a difference but need support.   I give thanks to all the organizations, companies, philanthropists and my alumna sisters, who in the 1960’s and 70’s harkened to the call and gave so that Spelman could provide scholarships, stipends, grants, awards and work study for students like me.
       On a more personal note, thank you to my family and friends who have always supported me through the ups and downs, uncertainties and idiosyncratic moments of my life.  Whether it was providing shelter, assisting me with raising my sons; supporting my developing Gospel ministry or helping to put food on my table or gas in my vehicle, I love you and appreciate your open hand and open heart
       Every day is a good day; it is up to us to make it a power-packed GREAT day! Be blessed!  Have a wonderful weekend.  See you on Monday!  Dr. JoAnn
 

Arrows Away

Good morning.- Today's power scripture comes from Psalm 18:14 – “He sent out His arrows and scattered the foe, Lightnings in abundance, and He vanquished them.” (NKJV)
       Have you ever felt as if you have been pulled to the farthest of your ability to stretch?  Felt as if you have bent over backward so far that you could easily see where you have been? Or how about things being so tight that you could not give another inch?  Well believe it or not those are all good signs. Yes...great signs. It means that you are just about at the point of letting go. Not the kind of letting go where you give up or give out, but the kind of letting go when you give ‘over’.  Give whatever it is over to God.  He has been patiently waiting of you to exhaust yourself to the point where you will now Let Go and Let God!
       What do you think all of that sacrifice and torture was about those 2000 years ago?  Why do you think Jesus bore those gruesomely abusive stripes?  Blood was shed and a random paid and you were redeemed.  Time to cash in and God has been waiting.  We must not keep struggling to operate in our own strength or we will be guilty of trying to negate the work of Jesus as the Savior of the world.  We must let God be God and do his wonderful Godly things of never sleeping; always protecting; healing; nurturing; teaching and guiding. Sovereignty requires some really big shoes and you and I can in no way even think about how to begin to fill them.  Let God – Be God.  He is really good at it and although you think you have the best answer let him do his ‘thang’.
       An arrow by itself, though sharp and full of potential, has very little power unless it is pulled and positioned.  The greater the pull; the more the tension; the higher the angle; the farther the arrow will fly.  So if you feel like you have been stretched to the limits of your patience, abilities and wits…guess what??? It is time to soar.  God knows just the right amount of tension and resistance for you to bear; he knows where he wants you to land and how much force it will take you to get there… Let God be God and enjoy the flight.`

Every day is a good day; it is up to us to make it a power-packed GREAT day! Be blessed! Dr. JoAnn 

Lift Up

Good morning! It is a Worshipful Wednesday.  Today's power scripture comes from Genesis 13:14(NIV) – “The Lord said to Abram after Lot had left him, Lift up now your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward".
      Things had gotten a bit sticky and touchy between the servants of Abram and the servants of Lot because they were having clashes over grazing land for their flocks and herds.  Abram gave Lot the first choice of which area he would select and of course he chose the prime, well-irrigated land of the Jordan Valley.  As soon as Lot left, God spoke to Abram and reiterated his promise.  He told Abram to lift up his eyes and to look in all directions.  God would bless him mightily. We can take a few lessons from this scripture.
       First of all let me point out that it states that when Lot left then God spoke to Abram again.  Earlier in chapter 12 we see God visiting Abram and telling him to leave his home and countrymen and go to a land where God would direct him.  He was instructed to separate himself from his family and follow God’s command.  Well… in comes Lot, Abram’s nephew… throwing a monkey wrench into the operation. So we see from the beginning that there is a fly in the ointment.  Who do you have tagging alongside you that might be hindering your progress?  They are familiar; they are loved; they mean you no harm, but their very presence might be slowing God’s promise for you to a standstill.  Re-evaluate your purpose in life and the promises and instructions given to you by God.  Do they include any special clauses that need to be adhered to specifically?  Be careful for God does follow his own rules, even if we don’t. If God told you to attend a certain school or work at a certain job or avoid a certain activity and you alter your ‘assignment’ -your blessings may be hindered.
       Secondly, God told Abram to lift up his eyes and see his future.  Sure, we must live in this world and be in this moment, but God gives us the authority to look beyond our circumstances and see the hope of our future. We need to stop focusing on where we are at ground level and peer into the starlight. We must look above the storms and see the calm of the heavens and forget about the mischief, mayhem and mockeries of everyday life. What we see at ground level can deceive us into believing there is nothing greater. Don’t worry about taxes or bankruptcies or unplanned pregnancies or medical reports - these are all lower level concerns. Think on the lovely things, the promises of God, the things of a higher calling.  When we focus on these, the other ‘stuff’ falls into place. 
        Lastly, Abram was told to look in all directions.  We sometimes are so focused on pinpointing one specific way of doing something that we get pigeon-holed into believing that our blessings are only going to come through one particular avenue.  There are some who think that it is only by working hard, long, unrelenting hours, that they will be successful in caring for themselves and their families.  God’s grace could provide a new concept or idea that could make them a millionaire overnight if they looked up long enough to see it.  Some might believe that it is only through education or through marriage that they will be able to achieve their dreams and desires.  God’s plans may be in a totally different direction.  So look up and look around – great things are on the horizon.
        Every day is a good day; it is up to us to make it a power-packed GREAT day! Be blessed! Dr. JoAnn 

No Doze

Good morning.  Today's power scripture comes from Judges 16: 19 (NIV): “After putting him to sleep on her lap, she called for someone to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him.And his strength left him.”
     This of course is the story of Sampson and Delilah or what we can call Devilish Delilah and the fall of Sampson. After many other attempts to find out the source and secret of Sampson’s strength, Delilah kept nagging and persisting and needling Sampson until she wore him down. All the times before he was on his P’s and Q’s but finally he let down his guard.  In similar fashion the devil is unrelenting.  He wants you to fail and he will continue needling and nagging and prodding and pursuing you until he wears you to the point of fatigue…then he lulls you to sleep.  And he will put you into a deep sleep and steal what is rightfully yours if you try to operate in our own strength. Sampson became cocky and this arrogance led to him thinking he was in command of his gift instead of realizing that the gift was a point of grace to be used by God.
       Do not be deceived that the power, poise,  intellect, charm, commanding voice, melodious tones, speaking prowess, healing hands, leadership ability, cooking dynamics, hair styling wonderment, academic skills, athletic ability, acting acumen, business savvy, curvy body, smooth skin, tall statue,  or ability to whistle and chew gum at the same time has anything to do with you.
      All of what we are, do and can become is for the glorification of God. When we lose sight of that we become easy prey to the devil to use our very gifts against us.  In your own time, read the entire passage about the wiles of Delilah, you will see that in every other instance when she asks Sampson for his secret of this strength she did the deeds herself; whether it was binding him with bowstrings or braiding his hair. But when she realized that she had finally gotten the real truth from him….she called for reinforcements. The devil will do the same. As long as you stand strong in the Lord the devil will keep chipping away because he knows that even if he brought an army of thousands against you as long as you are operating in the strength of the Lord - he is defeated.  But when you lose that edge -  and he knows it - he rushes in with reinforcements to make sure he cuts you from your source. Stay on guard. Do not be caught sleeping. Remember that the battle is the Lord’s and do not try to operate in your own strength, relying on your own abilities and instincts – you will lose every time.  Abide in the Lord and he will abide in you.
       Every day is a good day; it is up to us to make it a power-packed GREAT day! Be blessed! Dr. JoAnn

Be Ye Ever Ready!

Good morning. Welcome to another wonderful week.  I pray all of you had a fabulous Mother’s day whether you were on the receiving or giving end of the celebration.  I am truly blessed to have two great sons who showered me with love and favors.-

Today's power scripture comes from Matthew 24:36 and 44 –“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.”
       On the Mount of Olives Jesus was telling his disciples about the signs of the end times and warning them through the use of parables that they must always be prepared for no one knows the exact time that it will happen.We chide about global events that spurn discussion of the end times.  When bizarre things occur or strange events seem to happen in succession we often say: The signs are getter closer  - time to pull out the broom  - better get your house in order - Because Jesus is coming soon.
      We may joke about the CNN reports and the world news updates…but as Christians we all know that our Savior has promised to return and that we do not know the day or the hour…but that we must be prepared and we must be ready. In the next chapter (Matthew 25) Jesus tells the parable of the 10 bridesmaids.  Only half were considered wise; the other half foolish.  All were deemed for perfection, yet when the test came they were split in half…5 being the number of grace.  When the time came…when the rubber hit the road...when the stuffing hit the fan…when the final buzzer rang…when the gift of grace was put to the test  - 5 knew how to use the gift of grace that was given and were prepared…5 because of their inability to be ready fell short.  They had in their hands the lamps that they needed, but were still unprepared because they had no extra oil.
       What is in your hand?. Do you take for granted the tools God has provided to light your way and give you direction? The foolish took their lamps yet made no provision for the uncertainty that was sure to lie ahead. The coming of the bridegroom was not something that was a usual occurrence; this was a once in a lifetime event and yet to them it was not important enough to treat with the special forethought that it deserved. God places things in our hands for us to use in preparation for the uncertain yet important events that lie ahead for us. Because the tools…gifts…talents, that we are graced with become second nature to us…do we forget their prime purpose?  Do we overlook or take for granted their importance. Or do we always make sure that WHAT we have in hand maintains its value and use. God gives us certain skills, we must not let them wear thin, get rusty or dusty, outdated, lose credibility, grow dull, lapse, become invalid, expire, need tuning or go flat.
       Lamps without oil are as useless as incomplete school transcripts, unfinished projects, neglected relationships, untapped potential and untamed egos. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them.  A gun without bullets cannot stop a charging beast,  a pen without ink cannot sign thoughts into law, a dull blade is useless in cooking, the wheels of ingenuity cannot turn with rusted parts.    Don’t let your God-given gifts go awry. They have a specific purpose in your destiny. Keep them ready and sharp for God’s glory.
       Every day is a good day; it is up to us to make it a power-packed GREAT day! Be blessed! Dr. JoAnn

Clear the Way

 Good morning! T.G.I.F.  Today's power scripture comes from Colossians 3:13 (NIV):  “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”  
       Today’s message is short, sweet and to the point. You must forgive. It is often not easy, but oh is it necessary. Will you feel better right away once you open the lines of communication and start the forgiveness process?  Maybe so and maybe not.  Some of us might have to let some time go by between the act of forgiveness and the release of feelings associated with the person we forgave.  Others of us will start to experience a newness of life just from the through of clearing the way for healing past hurts.  Whether your forgiveness will require major surgery or just a simple bandage will for the most part be dependent on how open you are to total surrender in Christ.  Even as Christ hung on the cross for our sins he first spoke of forgiveness.  You show true power when you give others the chance to be shown the love of Jesus through the act of forgiveness. Holding grudges only holds you captive. Forgive, forget and move on in victorious freedom.  God will be your vindication. You have a destiny to get to – do not let the chains of unforgiveness hold you back.
    Every day is a good day; it is up to us to make it a power-packed GREAT day!  Have a bold and beautiful weekend.  Happy Mother’s Day to all our great moms!  Be blessed!  Dr. JoAnn

And then. . .

Good morning! Today's power scripture comes from Job 1:17 – “Before this man finished, still another messenger rushed in: ‘Three bands of Chaldeans have driven off your camels and killed your servants, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” (TLB)  
      Poor Job was bombarded with bad news after bad news.  Before one servant had the opportunity to completely report all that was dismally happening within Job’s household, yet another calamity was on its heels.  Each servant was frantic to tell Job of the disasters they had witnessed and that they alone barely escaped with their lives to report back to him.  Recently I have heard from family and friends from the four corners of the country about how the slings and arrows of misfortune have been constantly aimed in their direction.  We will not give Satan any publicity but we do know that he is busy running to and fro stirring up trouble.  Before one bill can be paid, another greater expense mounts around us. When you think you have your in-laws figured out; they stay one day too long and the heavenly beings have to serve as referees. As soon as you get the transmission fixed then the cooling system goes out. When one child seems to have finally ‘found’ themselves and are now back on track…here comes their sibling, who could not work their way out of a wet paper bag with a sharp machete, but they are bringing you into their madness.
     God reminds us in 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18 to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (NKJGF)  Regardless of the pattern or uncanny circumstances surrounding your daily walk with God, stay steadfast in your faith. Yes it is true, for some of us tragedy, disagreement, chaos and frustration seems to be a norm.  We might not be able to function wholly in modern society because our truth lies in the will and word of God.  If we rejoice always, we do not have time for despair and depression.  If we pray without ceasing, our minds are occupied and unable to process negative thoughts.  In everything we must give thanks. The simplicity of its power is just awesome.  A simple ‘thank you’ can open doors of hope and shut windows of downheartedness. God reminds us that he is still on the throne and that nothing is ever outside of his watchful eye.  God does not slumber nor sleep. And aren’t you glad that God never has an ‘A Ha” moment.  Nothing comes as a surprise to God or catches him off guard?   We get caught up quite often.  We fix the dishwasher and then a pipe burst.  We expensively service our car engine...and then we find out we need new brakes. One bad issue following another… and then, and then, and then.  Although you might feel as if things are just mounting up and piling up around you  - relax …AND THEN consider your options (praise, prayer and  give thanks)  When you take your hands off of your problem, then God will put his hands in it to win it!   Every day is a good day; it is up to us to make it a power-packed GREAT day!  Be blessed!  Dr. JoAnn
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