Discerning the Voice of God In a Noisy World

Today’s post is a simple devotional on discerning the voice of God. 

As I began to mature in faith, I wanted to know that I was hearing from God.  I remember getting so frustrated when my pastors would tell me that in order to discern the voice of God, I had to study His Word.  How else would I know who was speaking? Was it my own thoughts, the enemy or was it truly God?  

That was sound advice. I have now learned that in order to discern the voice of God, we must study His Word so that we will know what God actually sounds like. God is a spirit and he communicates with us through the Holy Spirit.  What we’re listening for is that inner unction we receive from His Spirit (the Holy Spirit) to ours.  All believers have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside.  

Now, let’s tackle a question a lot of believers have asked at one time or another, and that is “how do I know when it’s God speaking to me when there are so many voices vying for my attention?” Many fear that it could be the devil whispering in their ear and not God.

First, Jesus tells us in John 10: 1-5 “Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.

Jesus is our Shepherd, and He lets us know in the above verses that those who are His, meaning those who have accepted Jesus as Lord and savior, know His voice and follow His voice only. Sounds simple enough some might say, but for some of us, it is cause for all kinds of anxiety. There are many voices competing for your attention, those are the thieves and robbers that Jesus speaks about, including the enemy.

One way to tell who is speaking to you is by paying attention to what they say. Jesus will never tell you to do anything that does not line up with His Word, so that means you must be a student of God’s Word. The devil loves to mix a little truth in with his lies, making those who lack knowledge the most susceptible to mistaking his voice for the voice of God. Therefore, God lamented in Hosea 4:6 (NASB)

 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…”

We also have an ever-present help that lives in all believers, the Holy Spirit. Jesus told us in the Word that when He left that God would send another comforter to lead us into all truth.(John 16:13) When you hear Gods voice you here truth, and the Holy Spirit gives witness to the truth and with truth comes the freedom to be obedient to whatever God is telling you to do or say. As you grow in Christ and his Word you will learn to trust Him more and you will know whose sheep you are, and who’s voice you are hearing.                                                                                 

It’s Time to Set Boundaries

Do you know her?  She’s the friend who seemingly always has a plate full of “projects” going on.  You know the one – right?  The one that’s always running around with ‘hair on fire’.  The one that’s always at church and always tired when you ask how she’s doing.   

I know her well.  She was once me.

That is, until the wheels fell off my wagon and I had no choice but to sit down.  Hence, I’ve learned to say “no” to projects, meetings and sometimes even people when I foresee there is a propensity for my time to be wasted or my peace of mind disturbed.  God has allowed me to learn this lesson the hard way by bumping my head a few times.  Nevertheless, I’m the wiser for it.  I believe the root of my problem was centered in trying to please everyone while not prioritizing my own need for self-care. I was afraid of what “they” might think of me if I declined to participate.  Alas, I’ve learned.

I believe it was Oprah Winfrey who once said, saying “no” to one thing actually means saying “yes” to something else.  In my case, it meant saying “no” to time wasters and saying “yes” to the projects and plans that God had for my life.  That’s not selfish but rather a revelation that God never intended for neither you nor me to be the answer to EVERYONE’S problem.  

Does this scenario resonate with you? Are you struggling with a “yes” when you know you should have declined the invitation?  If you’re struggling to find the courage to say “no”,  I recommend listening to my interview with Minister Alicia George.  She offers important advice for every woman to consider.

Blessings!


In this podcast, Minister Alicia George provides sound advice on the importance of establishing boundaries. Take a listen!

Books I Recommend for Your Personal Library

Like it or not, we live in a highly-charged digital age. It seems there’s an app for practically everything necessary to manage our day-to-day activities.

From grocery shopping to banking, there’s an app ready to move you from long lines to modern day convenience. Nowadays, it takes only a swipe and a click to shop for clothes, a car or even apply for a home mortgage! Handling personal affairs with ease is now the rule and no longer the exception.

While I’m jazzed about technology, I also love curling up with a warm beverage and a good book. I have a long list of favorites. Here’s a list of four good reads that I recommend adding to your personal library:

In Pursuit of Purpose by Dr. Myles Munroe. I’ve read several books by the late Dr. Munroe and this one is an all-time favorite. It’s a practical and easy read. It’s a great reminder that thee’s no need for you to try to be like someone else. Embrace your own unique talents and run your own race.

Commanding Your Morning: Unleash the Power of God In Your Life by Dr. Cindy Trimm. We know that the words we speak have power. In this book, Dr. Trimm helps you achieve victory over your circumstances through spoken declarations that activate God’s power.

Battlefield of the Mind: Winning the Battle in Your Mind by Joyce Meyer. This is Meyer’s all-time best-selling book, and for good reason. It is timeless material that has remained relevant since it was first published in 1994. In this classic read, Meyer teaches how to deal with thousands of thoughts that people think every day and how to focus the mind the way God thinks.

Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ by Neil T. Anderson. If you’ve ever struggled to believe that you are a new creation in Christ, this is the book for you. Straight-forward and humorous at times, Anderson helps readers overcome Satan’s attempt to convince us that we are less than what Christ empowers us to be.

Do you have a list of favorites too? I’d love to hear about them. Please leave a comment in the Reply section.

Now is the Time for Promotion in the Workplace

By Benita Barrozo, Founder/CEO Carrier Ministries

For the majority of Christians in the Body of Christ, God uses secular jobs as a vessel to bless us with the resources we need to provide for ourselves and our families. Keeping this thought in mind, do you believe it’s His will for us to prosper and promote in the workplace? If the answer is yes, the next question is why aren’t we experiencing promotion? After all, we are tithing, giving, walking by faith, and confessing the Word. The answer to this question is found in three scriptures:  1) James 2:26For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead.”  2) Hosea 4:6My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” 3)  2 Timothy 2:5and also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.”

In addition to tithing, giving and walking by faith, there are rules of engagement we need to master if we are going to see promotion come into manifestation.

Although it is important for us to be skilled in our professions when it comes to promotion, we also need to have the knowledge and an understanding of:

  • How interviews are scored

Did you know each interview question is assigned a value based upon how important the question is to the position? This explains why you can answer the majority of the interview questions correctly and not land the job.

  • How to answer interview questions correctly

Did you know employers have moved away from asking skill-based questions to asking behavior-based questions? Behavior-based questions are questions that start with phrases like, “Tell us about a time when or describe a situation where….” There are four key points to answering these questions correctly.

  • How to distinguishing ourselves

Did you know there are things we do must do to distinguish ourselves in the workplace if we want to promote? In the book of Daniel, we see that God had blessed and anointed Daniel, but he had to distinguish himself. One of the ways we distinguish ourselves is found in the way that we manage conflict. We must renew our minds to God’s method of conflict management.

  • Barriers to promotion

Did you know there are invisible roadblocks or barriers to sustained increase and promotion? They include not tithing, failure to submit to authority and poor planning.  These and other barriers must be removed.

  • How to work in a team environment

Did you know conflict within a team is not only normal but it’s to be expected? There are five stages teams progress through as they move towards working effectively together and producing results for the company. The third stage is characterized by a high level of conflict.

  • Attitudes that attract promotion

Did you know the Bible provides examples of people who displayed the right attitudes in the midst of adversity and they promoted in the end? Joseph provides us with a great example of an attitude of forgiveness when he forgave his brothers for selling him to a band of slave traders. Esther provides us with a great example of an attitude of service in her willingness to die to save the Jewish people. Finally, Daniel provides us with a great example of an attitude of excellence when he refused to submit to the King’s decree and stop praying to God for 30 days.

In addition to tithing, giving and walking by faith, these are the rules of engagement we need to master if we are going to see promotion come into manifestation.

Do You Know The Will Of God For Your Life?

There’s countless books, articles and blog posts about finding the will of God. Even with all the Bible-based material available online now days, I used to believe the “will of God” for my life was some mysterious code that I had to crack in order to live a fulfilling and fruitful life.

Not so.

I’ve come to understand that the will of God is very simply, the Word of God.

To say it another way, God’s will is God’s Word.

So what does that mean for you and me? It means that the quickest way to God’s will is to follow His Word. If a situation doesn’t line up with God’s Word, it isn’t His will. Period.

Remember, confusion is a trick of the enemy. It’s not of God. Here’s a few scriptures that I like to meditate on during those times when I feel like I’m losing my way:

“For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in al the churches of the saints.”– 1 Corinthians 14:33

“For God has not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” –II Timothy 1:7

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” — James 1:5

Gratitude is Always in Style

If you’re into fashion, then you know styles come and go. What’s fashionable this summer may be old news this time next year. Thankfully, in the midst of all the changes, there are timeless classics like a nice pair of black slacks or a well-made leather purse that will never go out of style. You won’t go wrong by adding these two staples to your wardrobe.

Fashions may come and go, but a spirit of gratitude is always in style.

The spirit of gratitude operates much the same way. You can’t go wrong by expressing gratitude or thankfulness. By doing so, you create an atmosphere for more good things to come your way. There’s all kinds of research that supports this theory.

Fashions may come and go, but a spirit of gratitude is always in style.

One of my former pastors often shared a great reminder that what you’re complaining about is someone else’s answered prayer. That job you hate; the children that won’t clean their rooms; that clunker of a car you drive….You get the picture – right? Someone else would gladly trade their present situation for yours. You may not believe it, but it’s true.

I believe an attitude of gratitude opens the door for more goodness to enter our lives.  I believe it pleases God when we express gratitude for even the seemingly small things in life.   After all, everything we have comes from Him.

May we always remember that no matter the season an attitude of gratitude is always in style. You can bank on it!

Selah.

Meditate on this:  “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” — Psalm 34:1

Beloved, does this message resonate with you? If so, I’d love to read your thoughts in the reply section below.

Rejected, Feeling Like the Parade Has Passed You By?

Do you ever wonder sometimes if you’ve simply missed God’s will for your life? I mean, you’ve screwed up so bad that it’s just too late for any of your dreams to come to pass? After all, it hasn’t happened yet – right?

Or another scenario….You loved a friend but were betrayed. You served your family but your children were ungrateful and your husband distant. You prayed but nothing happened. Is God there? Is He listening? Does He care?

When thinking about rejection, we cannot allow our own thoughts and feelings to rule. The good news is that God has made His position very clear.

But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.” “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.

Isaiah 49:14-16

Here, God’s people felt abandoned and it’s easy to understand why. Their nation had been conquered and their capital city left in ruins. God’s promises to bless his people in His land seem long forgotten. How could this be happening to them?

Firstly, take comfort from their cry. You are not the first person to feel forgotten by God. Feeling that way does not mean you are a failure. God’s people have experienced those feelings for thousands of years.

Secondly, be encouraged by God’s response. He asks a rhetorical question about a mother and baby. God is your Father, how could He forget you? He says that we, His people, are engraved on His hands. Far from forgotten, we are precious to him. To a people who have been conquered, He says that their walls are ever before him. He speaks right into the situation that caused their fear.

Circumstances don’t mean He has forgotten, they mean He is building something better. Remind yourself of His words – I will never forget you!

“Faith is the art of holding onto things in spite of your changing moods and circumstances”

CS Lewis

Dream Sis, But Don’t Sleep

The other day, I saw a phrase online that said, “Dream, but don’t sleep”.  Well, how profound is that, I thought. I don’t know where the phrase originated from, but it’s  definitely good advice. For me, it resonates deeper than any advice column on maneuvering the corporate world.  I’m thinking of spiritual matters.  “For the things which are seen are temporary…”  

If you asked me how to apply this simple phrase to your life, I would tell you to stay vigilant. I would tell you to stay close to God and never let go of His promises. Dream yes, but don’t sleep on the tactics of the enemy to bring discouragement into your life. Stay full of the Word so when the enemy comes (and he will, trust me), you will have a ready answer for his lies. Dream, but don’t forget the greatest dream giver of all – Jesus Christ. Seek council in His Word. Dream and dream bigger, but trust the Word of God as the final authority over all your circumstances.  Don’t sleep on the promises of God.

Selah!

Meditate on this: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a for more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.  For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”  — 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

When God Gives You A Business Idea: Sista Girl Greeting Cards

Sista Girl Greeting Cards; A True Model for Business Success

Sis, when God gives you a business idea, you can take it to the bank!  And that’s exactly what Rhonda Willingham did after discovering a void in the marketplace.  Check out this inspirational interview she did with me a while back. Blessings!———

Find a need and solve it.  That’s the advice often given to aspiring entrepreneurs. The most successful businesses solve problems and provide much-needed services to the community. Seasoned business leaders frequently attribute such a strategy as being one of the keys to their success.  A perfect example is Sista Girl greeting cards. Rhonda Willingham, a Flint, Michigan native, is the founder and creative force behind the line, which she launched after discovering a void in the marketplace.

“I was working on a thesis for my master’s degree. After completing a series of surveys and interviews with successful black businesswomen, I wanted to thank them for their time,” said Willingham.  “The women told me that their faith in God is what fueled their ambition and made the difference in their careers. They were excelling in fields dominated by white males.  I felt a genuine connection with them.  They were smart, classy and thoughtful women. To show my appreciation for their help with my project, I wanted to send a thank-you card that reflected who they were to me as women and top business professionals,” she said. 

Willingham searched local retailers but couldn’t find cards that she believed were appropriate or even nearly reflected the dynamic women she had connect with during her research.  She settled on basic book markers and sent those instead.  Willingham said that experience planted a seed in her heart. Several years later she decided to launch Culturally Yours with Sista Girl greeting cards as the flagship product.     “I started creating what I didn’t see. When I started the company some of my first customers where white males. They bought the cards to frame and display in their office. The company has evolved and today we’re also producing calendars, journals, t-shirts, and even coloring books, which we just launched last year,” Willingham said. 

Sista Girl greeting cards are hand-crafted using fabric and other specialty materials. Custom orders are also available. Willingham said the cards have been purchased by a diverse client base, including leading influencers in the business and entertainment industry.

“I’ve had women hug me and thank me for creating something that looks like them. From a spiritual aspect those moments are affirming. God is the author and creator.  The cards are a reflection of what God has poured into me. It’s not just a Black woman thing.  It’s a woman thing,” Willingham said. 

To learn more about Sista Girl Greeting cards visit www.sistagirlgreetingcards.com

 

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

This Psalm of David is one of my favorites. In those times when I’m wavering and wondering if God is near, I reflect on these passages of scripture and my faith is renewed. I hope this blesses you too!

“For I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!

How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!

If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.” Psalm 139:14-18