GODSPIRATION

 

Godspiration is an arts outreach organization dedicated to bringing high quality and culturally diverse performances, workkshops, and projects to schools, seniors, communities, and special needs populations throughout Maryland, the District of Columbia and Virginia. GODSPIRATION Ministry - We believe that we are each called to respond to God's love by serving God's people.


5 Ways to Grow Closer to God in the New Year

By Cindi McMenamin


Do you have a plan for growing spiritually in the next 12 months?

I had to start writing out a plan every January to ensure I didn't end the year in the same place, spiritually, as I was when the year started. Year by year, we might not notice a lack of spiritual growth in our lives. But you'd be surprised how quickly ten years can pass without having memorized one verse of scripture, without confronting a habitual sin in your life, without having shared the gospel with an unbeliever, without having experienced a point in your walk with God that lit a fire under you and caused you to live differently

Instead of making "new year's resolutions" each year, I sit down with God and ask "How will I grow more in love with you this year?" By being intentional about setting goals to prioritize my relationship with God, I've found the result is growing in my relationships with my family and friends, as well. Setting some spiritual goals for the next year also helps me ensure that there is fruit developing from my life each year instead of being a sponge that continues to soak it all in, but gives little out.

Here are some examples of a few of the spiritual goals that I've set through the years, many of which repeatedly stay on my list from year to year. Try a couple of these, and maybe even come up with some of your own, so that you are one year closer to Christ -- and to those you love -- by the time next January rolls around:


1. Meet with God before anyone else. Do you have a plan, first thing in the morning, to meet with God before anyone else? It's one way of prioritizing Him above anything and anyone. It's also a way of making sure you're at your best, emotionally, by the time you start interacting with your family. My devotional book, God's Whispers to a Woman's Heart, is designed to help you meet with God for a few moments every day and get into the Word at the same time.


2. Get into God's Word every day. If you've owned a Bible for years but have never read the entire book, this is a great time to start. There are several good resources available to help you read through the Bible in a year. Try it in a different translation than you usually read. Or, ask yourself where you want to be in your relationship with the Lord by the end of the year and then set tangible goals for getting there through study. For instance, if you want to know God better, consider a study of his names in the Old Testament and Jesus' "I am" statements in the New Testament. If you need to slow down and learn to listen for his voice, study all the Word says about "rest" or "hearing" or his "voice." If there are character traits you know you need to work on, consider an in-depth study of some or all of the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).


3. Participate in a weekly small-group Bible study or lead one among your friends, neighbors, or co-workers. We can grow at a faster rate in community because we are able to share our experiences with one another and hold each other accountable. Find a small group study in your local church or be the catalyst to start one among friends or neighbors or even co-workers during your lunch hour.


4. Record your blessings and answered prayers. Keep a "blessing book" in which you record every blessing that comes your way throughout the year, adding a prayer of thanks or praise. In addition, write out your prayer requests and record the answers as they come. By writing out these types of things, you will not only be more keenly aware of how God is working in and around your life, but you will become a person who is able to "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:18).


5. Pick a 'theme verse' for the year. Say it aloud every day. I guarantee if you do this, by the end of the year - and probably a lot sooner - you will have memorized one more verse of Scripture. Choose from Psalm 90:12, Psalm 119:32, Psalm 119:133, Galatians 5:16, Philippians 1:27, Philippians 4:6-7, or find one of your own. 


Make some of these action points priority in your life this next year and hopefully, by the end of 2015, you'll be not only another year older in your body, but another year older in your faith and walk with Christ.


How will you grow in your faith and walk with God this next year?



 

 

Stay Planted!

Minister Tawaunna L. Jones

Psalm 92:13

            Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God.

 

           Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. Those that be planted, not those that are in the house. There is a difference in being in the house and being planted in the house. 

Once I placed twelve beautiful roses in a vase of water. They were red and beautiful with a pleasant aroma. They added to the room.  When I walked in that room a week later, those same roses with all of its beauty, the same roses that smelled so good, now they smelled up the room. They were dead, withered, and lost their fragrance.

In that same room there was a potted plant, just as beautiful but there was a difference.  A week later, the potted plant was still as beautiful. It was not because they are prettier than the roses, but they were planted. They were not just sitting in the pot. There was some dirt; plant food and quick grow in there with them. They lived because they are not just in the house but they are planted in the house!

One reason why some of us are serving in what appears to be dead ministries is we may not be where God planted us! How did you find that church anyway? Are you a member because it is the same church that your family attends? If you are in a dead house, it may be that you are not where God planted you!

Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. In the house of the LORD! The house of the Lord symbolizes the presence of God. We are to be planted, where we abide in the presence of the Lord. In His presence, rooted and grounded in His word! It is by his word and Spirit, that we will receive His anointing that makes us fruitful. The anointing is for those who are planted in the presence of the Lord. In the house of the Lord!

Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God.  They shall flourish!  You flourish under the anointing of the house that God plants you in. The bible says that your blessings come when you are planted in the house. If God planted you there, you should be growing, you should flourish and be fruitful! 

Some of us are not planted in the house! We are like dead stinking roses! We use to look good and smell good, but now, because we are not planted or rooted in the word of God we stink! We are in the house but we have no power.  We are not walking in the word or having quiet time with the Lord. We are stinking and smelling up the nostrils of God! We have lost our power! You are in the house but you are not planted in the house!

Stay planted!  Jesus said, I am the true vine, and my Father is the husband.  Abide in me, and I in you. If you abide in me, and my word abides in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.  Stay planted! 

 

 

 

Reasons Not To Worry

Ryan Duncan

It’s hard not to worry. As someone who frequently struggles with anxiety, the urge to worry can sometimes border on addiction. It can start with anything: your health, your finances, your family, your job, and suddenly this factor becomes your entire life. You try to go about things like normal, but terrible thoughts still manage to creep into the background. But what does God have to say about our fears?


Kevin DeYoung of The Gospel Coalition knows what it’s like to worry. In fact, his latest article opens with several scenarios many Christians might recognize. To help readers who frequently feel overwhelmed, DeYoung offers seven pieces of advice, including the following,          


“God cares about you (Matt. 6:28-30). God makes the wild flowers grow. Why? Because he wants to. Because they’re pretty. Because he’s creative. Because he likes beauty. Because he wants people to enjoy them. Because he cares about flowers. And he even cares about grass. The grass is going to die. Your lawn will be brown. It will be cold, frozen, dead–probably is already. But in a few months, it will all come back. And you won’t have anything to do with it. Maybe you’ll plant some more seed. Maybe you’ll get a lawn care specialist out to help make things super great. But even if you do nothing, the grass will come back. Because God is God and he likes green grass.”


“Do you see what Jesus calls worriers? He calls us ‘little faiths.’ Our worry is an insult to God’s character. When we worry we are not believing the truth about God. We are doubting that he sees, that he knows, that he cares, that he is more than able. Faith is more than a vague notion that Jesus existed and we are going to heaven if we ask him into our hearts. Faith is a practical way of looking at the world. Biblical faith extends to all of life, not merely to the salvation of our souls. When we worry, we are telling God, ‘I don’t trust you to run my life. I don’t think you’re really in control. I had better worry about these things. I need to do everything to take care of myself, because I’m not sure you will.’ But think about it: God takes care of wild animals. He takes care of wild flowers. He even takes care of grass. Why wouldn’t he take care of you?”


This can be a difficult message to accept. Like I said, the urge to worry can be addicting, and just because God loves us does not mean that bad things will never happen. Still, it should encourage Christians to know that they are not alone. God does not ignore or dismiss our fears, but knows them rather intimately. As DeYoung stated so adamantly, God cares about you!


I’d like to close with a familiar Bible passage that has helped me in times of distress, I hope that it reciting it will give readers the same peace it has often given me.    


"The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever." - Psalm 23


May God bless you, and keep you strong in your times of worry.

 

 

 

 

Reasons Not To Worry

Ryan Duncan

It’s hard not to worry. As someone who frequently struggles with anxiety, the urge to worry can sometimes border on addiction. It can start with anything: your health, your finances, your family, your job, and suddenly this factor becomes your entire life. You try to go about things like normal, but terrible thoughts still manage to creep into the background. But what does God have to say about our fears?

Kevin DeYoung of The Gospel Coalition knows what it’s like to worry. In fact, his latest article opens with several scenarios many Christians might recognize. To help readers who frequently feel overwhelmed, DeYoung offers seven pieces of advice, including the following,          

“God cares about you (Matt. 6:28-30). God makes the wild flowers grow. Why? Because he wants to. Because they’re pretty. Because he’s creative. Because he likes beauty. Because he wants people to enjoy them. Because he cares about flowers. And he even cares about grass. The grass is going to die. Your lawn will be brown. It will be cold, frozen, dead–probably is already. But in a few months, it will all come back. And you won’t have anything to do with it. Maybe you’ll plant some more seed. Maybe you’ll get a lawn care specialist out to help make things super great. But even if you do nothing, the grass will come back. Because God is God and he likes green grass.”

“Do you see what Jesus calls worriers? He calls us ‘little faiths.’ Our worry is an insult to God’s character. When we worry we are not believing the truth about God. We are doubting that he sees, that he knows, that he cares, that he is more than able. Faith is more than a vague notion that Jesus existed and we are going to heaven if we ask him into our hearts. Faith is a practical way of looking at the world. Biblical faith extends to all of life, not merely to the salvation of our souls. When we worry, we are telling God, ‘I don’t trust you to run my life. I don’t think you’re really in control. I had better worry about these things. I need to do everything to take care of myself, because I’m not sure you will.’ But think about it: God takes care of wild animals. He takes care of wild flowers. He even takes care of grass. Why wouldn’t he take care of you?”

This can be a difficult message to accept. Like I said, the urge to worry can be addicting, and just because God loves us does not mean that bad things will never happen. Still, it should encourage Christians to know that they are not alone. God does not ignore or dismiss our fears, but knows them rather intimately. As DeYoung stated so adamantly, God cares about you!

I’d like to close with a familiar Bible passage that has helped me in times of distress, I hope that it reciting it will give readers the same peace it has often given me.    

"The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever." - Psalm 23

May God bless you, and keep you strong in your times of worry.

 

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New Year 2016

                    Confess Jesus Christ as Your Savior


God loves us; in fact, He is in love with you, and me too. He loves us so much that He gave to us the best that Heaven had to offer: His son, Jesus!

John 3:16….For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

God's love is not like human love. It's an AGAPE (an unconditional, universal good will) love. That means that He is a forgiving God and His love for you and I never changes. What a love!

God knows that we would never be able to measure up to His standard. "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God."

But He cared so much that He decided to reach down to us. Would you like to reach back to God today? You can, by saying this prayer:

Heavenly Father, I come to you confessing that I am a sinner. I repent from my sins and ask you for your forgiveness. I believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that You raised him from the dead. I confess that Jesus is my Lord and Savior. I believe that through His shed blood, I have eternal life. Please come into my heart and fill me with Your Holy Spirit. Lead me and guide me so that my soul can reach heaven. Father, I pray this prayer in Jesus name, Amen!

If you prayed this prayer in earnest, you are SAVED! Your sins have been forgiven and you are now one in the body of Christ.




 

 

 

7 Ways to Survive the Transitions of Life

by Fiona Veitch Smith

As a writer who makes her living by sending off proposals and waiting for responses from editors, publishers and agents, I know what it is to wait. As a mother of a young child who feels her own dreams and aspirations are so far on the back burner that the gas has almost gone out, I know what it is to wait. As a church member, yearning to see growth and the fruit of outreach into the community, I know what it is to wait. As a child of God who is being led on a journey through hard times and good times and sometimes losing sight of the Father, I know what it is to wait. However, I have learned that there are some things that can help us through our waiting times. Here are a few of them:

1. Be prepared to let go of your dreams

Dreams are wonderful things. They give us hope, they give us direction, they suggest a future where we are fulfilled and God’s plans are working in and through us. What more could a child of God want? But sometimes our dreams are distorted, a product of our own desires, rather than God’s best for us. When the door keeps closing, consider that God might not want you to move forward just yet. Or perhaps he might want you to let go of something before you do. The waiting time is a period where we can discern which it is. It can be a painful time – letting go always is.

2. Seek Godly counsel and support from friends

The waiting times can be greatly helped by the support of family and friends. Sometimes though, our friends can be a little bit like Job’s comforters, not quite understanding where we are and what we are going through. But a wise friend or leader will help you talk through what’s going on in your life. They may be able to suggest a way forward or simply give you the opportunity to offload. I always feel better after I’ve poured out my confusion to my pastor or a good friend.

3. Waiting is learning to rest

“Come to me all you who are weak and heavy-laden and I will give you rest” (Mattew 11:28).

The shalom of God – that wonderful gift of peace, rest and rightness with our Creator – is something we all desire, but to experience it is sometimes so elusive. We need to learn to rest. We need to know what it is to abide in Christ, to walk with him, to allow him to take control. We need to be prepared to “waste time” just being with him. These are all hard lessons to learn and ones that we are unable to grasp when we are rushing forward doing whatever it is we feel called to do. So that’s when the waiting times come in. That’s the gift of this fallow time although it may only be seen in hindsight.

4. See what God is doing in the little things – now!

Every day is a gift from God: every moment, every second. When we are so busy looking towards the horizon we fail to see the beauty of what is at our feet - the snail making its trail, the wild flower pushing its way through the crack in the pavement.  There’s an old hymn that goes, “Count your blessings, name them one by one.” When I’m frustrated with the waiting time and chomping at the bit to move forward into bigger and better things, I take my journal and write a simple list of things to be grateful for now. A phone call from a friend, a chance to help someone reach something on the top shelf at the market, the picture my daughter painted at school …

5. Look back on what God has done before

I have kept a spiritual journal since I was 19. In it I write out my prayers to God. I write out my frustrations and my celebrations. I confess my sins and my confusion. I write out scripture verses that have touched me or something in a sermon I heard that has a particular application to my life. When I sense I’m going into another waiting time I get out my old journals and re-read what I went through the last time. I’m comforted to see how God led me through that, and it gives me hope that he will lead me again. I see patterns of behavior that I recognize as happening again. If you don’t already keep a journal, start one now – it will help you not only to process what is happening now, but to be a guide for the next time it happens, too. Yes, there will be a next time!

6. You can’t see around the bend, but God can

“For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

I hate not being able to see where I’m going. I hate not being in control. I get stressed when I’m going somewhere in the car as a passenger and I’m not convinced the driver knows where he’s going … It can be the same with God. But I have to remind myself that God does know where he’s going. He knows what is around the bend. When I doubt this I turn to the Bible and pray through the many verses and passages that assure me that God is in control.

7. Allow hope to rise again

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:19).


Sometimes we’ve been waiting so long that we’ve given up on ever moving towards our dream. Sometimes we’ve let go of our dreams and are enjoying resting with God, finally content with where we are. But don’t be surprised if that’s exactly the time God will stir something in you again. When he does allow the hope to rise, be brave enough to risk moving forward again. You may be surprised that it’s the same dream, resurrected, with you now just in a better position to follow it, or it may be a new and better dream that you could not grasp while you held onto the old. Learn to recognize the seasons of your life: there’ll be a time to wait and a time to move on and then a time to wait again.