Month: October 2016

Dear Younger Me

coffee-tablet-headphones-work-163187Brothers and sisters, I do not consider that I have made it my own yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, (Philippians 3:13)

Experience is not the best teacher, but the truth is, despite the tough love and hard lessons learned, I needed my young adult life to play out exactly as it did beginning at the emancipation age of 18 in order to bring me to exactly where I am—content, possessing peace of mind, and humble knowing that, but for the grace of God my story could have had a different plot. Younger me possessed pride and a rebellion seemingly synonymous with youthful oblivion. My mother, who I now realize was always right, not perfect, but right, used to say, “if you don’t hear, you’ll feel.” I never really cared for that statement or more importantly, never grasped what it meant until I came to myself and acquired a portion of wisdom to be able to reflect on some of my past mistakes and how I had to feel in order to really learn valuable life lessons. If I knew in my youth and young adult years what I know now, it would have saved me from my mistakes, but it would not have served purpose because it would have prevented me from being made. Every past mistake, regrettable choice or decision when viewed through the lens of the present can be seen for what it was, a lack of wisdom or the failure to listen to wise counsel. A letter penned to younger me is futile because younger me is behind me and cannot be saved from the failures of her past. However, reflections on the past can be purposeful if they serve as constant reminders of the goodness, grace, and mercy of God and if they perhaps lead to the establishment of mentor-mentee relationships. Otherwise, I have no time to dwell on hindsight’s perfect knowledge because I cannot change a thing, but I can from experience tell someone else that they are whole, that no man, no matter how handsome and together he is, completes them, as they are already complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10); that God purposely positions people in their life to help you make wise decisions, it is their choice to listen; that they are valuable on their own not by any human association or associations, but by the association of Jesus Christ; they have a purpose that can only be revealed by God, so it is best to be still and seek Him instead of their own agenda; that bad company will influence you to do wrong so choose your company wisely; that God’s protective, unconditional, Fatherly love is the greatest; and that because of His great love, the good and bad in their lives is essentially working together for their good (Romans 8:28). When you have overcome, the choices you may regret, and the things you may now be ashamed of are a tool for you to use to help others realize that their future will far outweigh their past if they are full of faith and put their trust in God.

Dear Younger Me is inspired by a song by the same title that I hear almost everyday on the radio and it forces me to be reflective, realizing how far I have come and how good my Father is: Dear Younger Me by Mercy Me.

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10 Easy Steps to Studying Scripture

pexels-photo-24165But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 3:18

Your growth as a Christian is key to your spiritual livelihood. There is grace to be enjoyed and wisdom to be gained that will make you aware of all of the many different graces that are lavished on the believer by our heavenly Father. If you are spiritually immature then, like newborn babies, [you are to] crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. When you taste something delicious, the natural response is to eat more or to desire more. Similarly, since you have tasted the goodness of God, allow that encounter to produce a constant craving for His word. It is a fact that you will not grow spiritually without spending time in God’s word, because God’s word is a seed that when planted in your heart, produces fruit that matures (Luke 8:11). Any urge to avoid such a crucial part to the development of your new life, or any distraction that keeps you too busy to spend quality time with the Lord threatens your ability to be spiritually productive. It is through the word that we are taught, reproofed, corrected, trained, and made complete, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:17).

No matter your level of understanding, God will give you the portion of grace that you need in order to understand how to walk in his ways and to do His will for your life. While it is true that you can learn from preachers and teachers, from books written by wise men and women, what you are learning is the result of those individuals’ personal study and time spent with God. God gave them what they are sharing with you, God inspired them to write what is in the pages of their books, but He desires time spent directly with you in order to share with you knowledge of Himself and His ways, in order to directly feed you pure spiritual milk. God’s word is God-breathed, meaning He said it all, He just used Holy Spirit inspired men to write it down (2 Timothy 3:16). The contents of biblically sound books you read with your awareness of God’s word firsthand, makes these secondary sources of godly information a useful tool to supplement, not to replace your primary Bible study. So, since you should study for yourself so that you can properly and accurately handle the word of God, how do you study Scripture in a way that is not intimidating or overwhelming? Well, it’s simple, pray first asking the Holy Spirit to guide you into the deep things of God and to open your eyes so that revelation knowledge is yours. Apply these 10 Easy Steps to make the most of your regular, quality time with God:

  1. Limit distractions (Bible reading via technology is convenient because our devices are at our fingertips, but be mindful of alerts and the temptation to rush your quality time in order to surf the internet, return a call, post that picture or status update to social media, etc.)
  2. Think about what you know about the book of the Bible itself (its author, audience, purpose, issues, themes)
  3. Context: do not settle on a Scripture’s meaning by one verse alone
  4. Think about how the Scripture was relevant at the time it was written and how it is relevant today; consider how the Scripture can be applied right now
  5. Use a good study Bible (one that I use is Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible); study Bible annotations are the author’s revealed knowledge of Scripture, that being clear, a good study Bible like the one written by Finis Dake is the compilation of a lifetime of work which resulted in some of the best study notes you will find
  6. Use a concordance to find Scriptures related to a matter of personal importance to you, perhaps something you need God to help you with or a topic you would like more understanding of (i.e. Forgiveness), if you use Dake’s reference Bible, impressive components of a concordance are included. I use Strong’s Concordance which I have recently discovered to be very useful, I will revise this post as I become more familiar with this amazing tool.
  7. Your study of Scripture is not a sprint, it is a marathon, a thorough study is more beneficial than a quick read through; so take the time to thoroughly digest what you are reading
  8. Take notes while reading to record the revelation that God is giving you while you are reading
  9. Read and meditate on God’s word daily; our spirit needs daily nourishment in order to thrive
  10. Always remember that you personally know the Author, pray and ask the Holy Spirit to teach you the deep truths of God…God does not reveal His deep truths to outsiders

Happy Bible Reading!

 

 

 

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Whisk

 

 

7382 SW 56th Avenue

South Miami, FL 33143

 

Sundays are for Sunday brunch at Whisk as they serve Sunday brunch exclusively until 4pm. I love this especially since most restaurants end their brunch service at 2pm or 3pm and that is too rushed for the modern church-going Girl who lets the real “Sunday Brunch” the sermon and the fellowship digest before heading to satisfy their appetite. Whisk indirectly understands our plight. Now, I have tried the Low Country Shrimp and Grits which were good, but room temperature. If you like your food on the warmer side, do mention that when ordering. I have ordered this twice and the dish was room temperature. I did not send it back because I planned to review the meal and you can better determine whether a dish is good or not by eating it at room temperature; if it is good at room temperature, then it is a well made dish. I must say, the grits were good quality, let me qualify that, they were not “quick grits.” They were the stone-ground type that are more expensive and harder to find; I have only seen them at one local specialty store where I first purchased them several years ago. They are the type of grits that take much longer to cook, but are worth the extra time and effort because the texture is supreme to quick grits. The shrimp were large, succulent, and cooked perfectly. I liked the addition of mushrooms to the dish, but had them omit the bacon since I do not eat pork. I could eat this dish everyday for brunch, and I say that as someone with a pretty mean shrimp and grits dish of her own. I also had the Fried Green Tomatoes which were decent, but the sauce, while it added a freshness to the richness of the fried tomatoes, was a bit on the liquid side. During the same visit, I ordered Papa’s Buttermilk Pancakes with pecan-caramel praline butter and maple syrup. When I read praline on the menu I immediately thought of New Orleans, Louisiana, and therefore I anticipated a crunch factor to the pecan-caramel praline butter, but it was missing. That would be my only minus to the entire dish because the pancakes were light and fluffy. On a separate visit, I tried the Pepper Jelly and Goat Cheese served with toast points and it was delicious and different, but I had heard of pepper jelly from country-cooking style chefs so I was completely open to it as I am with most foods I have not tasted. I would recommend Whisk for brunch again and again, that is why they have made my list of Where to Brunch in Miami. Let me know if you visit by commenting about your experience below. Cheers!



Are You Prepared?

pexels-photo-70298But while they were going away to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were prepared went in with him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut. (Matthew 25:10)

Being prepared is a must in any season. Whether you are preparing for a storm, marriage, college, or to buy a house, you either have your business in order or you are in the process of having it in order because you intend to be ready when the time comes for an event that will affect your life. As words of wisdom or words of warning are shared to emphasize the importance of being prepared for today, likewise, a loving Father, God shares the need for preparedness as it concerns our tomorrow. When I think of people who heed a warning to be prepared and people who procrastinate or show disregard and are as a result left to deal with the consequences of their folly, I think of the ten virgins that Jesus taught about in one of His many parables. These women could not be more distinct. Half of them were wise and the other half were foolish. The bridegroom, who they were awaiting, delayed his arrival for some reason, so they all fell asleep. The wise women ensured that they had oil enough to shine bright at the appointed time. Their display of wisdom is the opposite of the foolish women at such a critical time, lacking oil, and upon awakening to notice of the bridegroom being nearby, they attempted to buy oil at the eleventh hour, but it was too late. As a result of their carelessness, they missed the opportunity to enter into the marriage feast and they were shut out. It is a lot like life itself, when you are prepared, you are ready for any occasion whether it is to receive a blessing or to be one, but when you are unprepared, you are not ready for opportunities that could have otherwise been yours and you are faced with negative consequences that could have been avoided if you would have taken heed. Yet, there is a time to take heed and it is not the eleventh hour. Similarly, Christ’s return is to be prepared for, He has tarried like the bridegroom, but as with the moral of the Parable of Ten Virgins, God advises us to be wise and to watch for Christ’s return in that we continue to be ready, continue to be about the business He’s assigned us to fulfill. The mercy and the grace of God readily available to those who do not know Him, those that find themselves unprepared should heed Love, and not be ignorant to the fact that one day there will not be another day, another hour, another minute, another second to get ready. Opportunities will not always avail themselves. Time is not a commodity. The appointed time is now. If we can prepare for a storm, a successful marriage, a great college experience, to find the perfect house, for this temporary dwelling place, we can exercise wisdom in preparing for the certainty of Christ’s return. Are you prepared?

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