Living A Good Life

Living a Good Life, often times, is easier said than done.  In fact, in this day and age, many of us find it hard to be “good” when everyone around us is acting badly.  It’s hard to do right when everyone keeps doing you wrong…when everywhere you look and everywhere you turn, all you can see is bad — bad things on your job, bad things at school, bad things on TV, bad things in the news, bad things in our community, the Nation, and the World.

But this is where God’s grace and mercy comes in.  See, no matter how bad things get in this world that we happen to live in, God’s calling on our lives remains the same. God calls us to be good and to do good – to live a good life.  Galatians 6:9-10, Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give upTherefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

And just so we are all on the same page, Living a Good Life is not about what we have (that might be called living ‘the’ good life).  And be sure of this as well, Living a Good Life is not just about what we do.  For good works alone can’t and won’t save us.  Living a Good Life is about our faith…it is about who we are and whose we are.  Living a Good Life is the natural overflow of a heart that is yielded and submitted to Christ.  It is about giving and receiving the blessing (or the fruit) of His Spirit, “…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”.  For the Bible says that, “…against such things there is no law”Galatians 5:22-23. 

Are you Living a Good Life?  If not, please start todayFor you will surely reap a harvest if you do not give up. Amen.

Your Sister in Christ,

Min. DiOnetta Jones Crayton

Jesus Lives!

When I was a little girl in Louisiana, we used to sing a special song on this day. In fact, the words to the song have stayed with me all my life, because I found myself singing them again today, “Where would I be if Jesus didn’t love me? Where would I be if Jesus didn’t care? Where would I be if He didn’t sacrifice His life? Oh, but I am glad, so glad He did!” 

Is that your testimony as well?  I don’t know about you, but I am so glad that Jesus lives!  Jesus’ love for me saved my life; and His love is saving me and refining me more and more each day. The Apostle Paul said it best in 1 Corinthians 15:20-22, Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.”  If you know Jesus, then the truth of the resurrection is also a promise. We too are alive! We have life (and not just any life); in Jesus, we have life anew. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17)”

I will be the first to admit that I am far from perfect, but I know that I have been changed. I am truly a new creation, and by the grace of God, I am getting stronger, wiser, and better (so much better).  I entreat you today to accept the blessed assurance and the power that comes in knowing Jesus the Christ. Get to know our Savior…for our Savior lives!

Your Sister in Christ,

Min. DiOnetta

 

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Don’t Worry, Be Happy –  for some, these words are reminiscent of Bobby McFerrin’s 80s hit by the same name.  Here’s a refresher for those of you who are little less familiar with Mr. McFerrin.  The song starts with these lyrics, “Here’s a little song I wrote. You might want to sing it note for note.  Don’t worry, be happy.  In every life we have some trouble.  When you worry you make it double. Don’t worry, be happy.”   It was a catchy song, easy to sing, happy and uplifting, and it didn’t take long for the phrase to become quite commonplace.  In fact, it seemed like people everywhere were saying or singing “don’t worry, be happy”.   But in the end, once life and reality set in, it was just that – a phrase.  Words to a song rather than words to live by.  After all, Bobby McFerrin is just a man.

Interestingly enough, this song came to my mind this afternoon as I was driving home after our 11am church service.  Our Bishop preached a sermon entitled “What’s on Your Mind?”.  It was an encouraging word about the detrimental aspects of worrying – how it really can’t help us, and more often than not, it hurts us mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  The scripture, Matthew 6:25-27, were the words of Jesus, himself. Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

Unlike Bobby McFerrin, Jesus is not just a man.  If Jesus tells us not to worry – if He tells us not to be distracted by the cares and anxieties of this world, then we can believe Him.  His words are not just a trendy phrase that will soon be forgotten. On the contrary, His words are eternal.  The Psalmist told us that the Word of God is a “lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our paths” (Psalm 119:105).  God’s Word holds truth and light.

Whatever is on your mind, if it is holding you back, getting you down, distracting you from the things of God, the things that truly matter in this life, let it go and rest in your faith.  Know this – God loves you, and He will take care of you.  Don’t Worry, Be Happy.

Your Sister In Christ,

Min. DiOnetta

 

In Times Like These

Today, I was reminded of the words to a very familiar hymn.  You may remember it as well, the lyrics go something like this: In times like these you need a Savior.  In times like these you need an anchor; be very sure, be very sure your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock.  This Rock is Jesus, Yes, He’s the One; This Rock is Jesus, the only One! Be very sure, be very sure your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

In times like these, I find myself asking the question, why?  So much has happened and continues to happen in this flawed Nation of ours (and the world for that matter) that I can’t help but ask myself and my God, why? Why so many senseless and untimely deaths?  Why do these injustices prevail?  Why do the guilty go unpunished? Why do racism, sexism, and all of the other “isms” still persist?  Why so much hate?  Why so much fear?  Why so much pain?  Why Lord? Why?

And what I’ve learned is that asking “why” is perfectly okay with God.  Often times, His answers will come in the form of a scripture and/or a gentle but much-needed reminder.  And one of the biggest reminders or lessons that God has taught me, particularly over the last year, is this – do not become confused or discouraged about God because of people, situations, and circumstances.

The song says, in times like these, we need an anchor; but, what does that really mean?  Here’s what I believe – it means that when times look bleakest, when the storms rage highest, when the pain hurts deepest, when anger’s fire burns brightest – we have to trust in the Character of God. We have to remember who God is.  See, if we only see God through the lens of His “blessings”, then we will be quick to blame God (or turn away from God) when those blessings are not apparent (to us).

The Bible tells us that we will never fully understand what God does or how God operates because “His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts”.  This in reality is what it means to “walk by faith and not by sight”; and that faith, brothers and sisters, is soundly and irrevocably based on God’s love for us (all you have to do is read John 3:16). But it is so much deeper than that my beloved, because our God is not just a God of love…our God IS love.  That means that everything God does, and even those things which He allows, are all out of His great love for us.  God can’t act in any other way.  People, on the other hand, can act out of ignorance, stupidity, hatred, fear, pain, selfishness, wickedness, lasciviousness, hedonism, and all types of sin…but God, God ONLY acts out of love. So, we can trust Him and His divine plan for our lives – even in the face of the darkest, most painful displays of evil.  Jesus warned us that these days would come when he said, “In this world, ye shall have tribulations, but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world”. 

In times like these, we have to remember that evil cannot and will not win in the end.  We have to remember that our lives matter to God, for He loves us with an everlasting love; and our faith, my beloved, is anchored firmly on that redemptive truth.

Your Sister In Christ,

Min. DiOnetta

My prayer – Let there be peace on earth…and let it begin with me.

Patience Is Still A Virtue

Today, I want to share a gentle reminder – Patience is still a virtue.

Today, we live in a world of advanced technology; and because of these advancements, we have naturally come to expect products and even people to be faster and smarter. We expect to get our food fast but we want it to be good too.  We want fast cars, fast computers, smart phones, smart classrooms, fast customer service, faster response times, and so much more.  We are a want it now…a need it now generation.  And admittedly, I must say that I sometimes (maybe most times) fall into the same category.  I am a “why put off until tomorrow what you can do today” kind of person.  But here’s the thing that we all have to remember – faster doesn’t always mean better.  Patience can and often does yield even greater results.  Consider the scriptures below and meditate on them this week:

  • Proverbs 19:11    A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.
  • Proverbs 25:15   Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone.
  • Ecclesiastes 7:8  The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.

Have you been impatient, pushing too hard, trying to get others to move at your speed – to do it your way?  Maybe it is time to fall back, slow down, and have a little patience.  People may be smarter today, but they are not perfect (and neither are we).  Sometimes, having patience gives the other person a chance to think and make even better decisions.

I love you with the Love of God today and everyday.

Peace and blessings,

Min. DiOnetta

All Things Work Together for Your Good

The focal verse for today is Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (King James Version)

Today’s devotional is really just a short and sweet reminder…if you love God and you know in your heart of hearts that you are striving to live your life according to his Word and his divine purpose and will, God offers you a very special promise.    This promise is a simple but powerful testimony to the goodness of God, and here’s the promise my friends – no matter what you encounter, no matter what you go through, no matter the problem, situation, or circumstance…God can AND will work all things together for the GOOD…for your good and for the good of the Body of Christ.  So be encouraged, God is still on the throne, and he is still in control.  It doesn’t matter how many mistakes you’ve made.  God has not forgotten you and though you may not see it or feel it right now, God is already helping you navigate the situation that you are in.

God is faithful to us, so our job is to remain faithful to him.  In other words, we have to trust God and stand on his Word, and Romans 8:28 assures us that it will be worth the wait.  The Message Bible puts it this way (Romans 8:26-28), Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”

So today and throughout this week, take a moment to reflect on this passage.  In fact, it requires great reflection and introspection.  For it is a promise, but it is a promise to a specific group of people – those who love God and those who are called according to his purpose.  If that is you my beloved, Good is definitely coming your way…rejoice and be glad!

Peace and blessings,

Min. DiOnetta

Take Care of Your Heart

The focal verse for today is Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (New International Version)

Trouble with the Heart (whether it be heart burn, heart-break, heart ache, or a heart attack) is a serious matter.  And if left unattended, trouble with the heart, or heart trouble, can lead to heart disease; heart disease can lead to heart failure; and heart failure, like the wages of sin, can lead to death.   According to the John C. Lincoln Hospitals of Arizona website, “The health of your heart is one of your most prized possessions.  Quite literally, you should guard it with your life.”  On this point, the Bible and medical professionals agree — it really does matter how we treat our hearts; and more importantly, it matters how we allow others to treat our hearts as well.  So, if you really want to lower your risk of heart trouble, guard your heart with all diligence…physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Peace and love are two very powerful cures for heart trouble.  The Bible says in Proverbs 14:30, “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”  “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment…” declares our Lord in Matthew 22:37-39.  My dear friends, fill your hearts with the peace and love that can only come from God; and then and only then, can God’s peace and love flow from it.  Take care of your hearts — your very lives depend on it!  I love you with the Love of God today and everyday.

Peace and blessings,

Min. DiOnetta