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Answered Prayer Awaits You 

 

Answered Prayers Await You By Ramelle T. Lee ©2012 

Meditation Scripture: (Psalm 138:3 NLT).  "When I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me the strength I need." 

                       

What does it take for God to answer your prayer?  What are you afraid of?  Do you think He will not listen to your plea?  Do you think that when you cry out to Him that He will not come to your rescue?  Do you think that you are so self-sufficient that you can do it by yourself?  Do you have a crystal ball that can give you the answer without seeking God first? 

Well, it's time that you awaken from your sleep.  It's time you face the truth and understand that God is standing at attention to hear you pray.  You don't need a crystal ball.  You need to rely on God, for your very existence in this world.  You have been sitting there in your unresolved situation, and not believing that you can get a prayer through to God. 

The enemy has clouded your vision and you are far off track.  The enemy has caused you to revert back to your old ways and not believe that you must rely on God for your answers to life's issues.  Prayer changes things.  Prayer is the key to the kingdom of God. When you realize that God holds the world in the palm of His hands you can shake off the weight, and stand firmly, believing that your situation can be fixed. 

Your heavenly Father has the right course of action for you to take.  He has the right answer to your prayers.  Will you yield to the Voice of the Holy Spirit and relinquish the control to resolve your problems by yourself?  You have been given a wide open window into the heavenlies.  But it's up to you to take up your cross and follow the Master of the Universe.

God will deliver you from the hands of the enemy.  He will deliver you from the storms of your situation.  He will cause you to be strengthened in your inner man daily, as you walk by faith and not by sight.  Can you believe God for your breakthrough?  Can you believe that God will turn your situation around?  Can you believe that God will give you the ability to face the giants in your life? Can you believe that God will provide you with blessed hope to defeat those battles in your life that cause you to mistrust? 

God wants you to be strong in the power of His might. He desires you to believe that you can have mountain moving faith. However, you must firmly stand on His Word and rely on Him to help you conquer fear, that attempts to defeat your spirit and keep you from having victory in your life. Pray for guidance daily and seek the Lord to deliver you from a spirit of selfishness.  Release your cares to your Heavenly Father and allow Him to show you the way to truth.  God will show you how to resolve your issues that have come to defeat your spirit.  God answers prayer!  Believe it and walk daily in the revelation knowledge that you are given everlasting hope. 

Walk in the assurance that God will be there to guide you every step of the way.  You will not fail. You will not fear!  You can climb that mountain of hope and believe that God will hear you when you pray.  God will deliver you and give you the liberty to walk in total victory. Follow His leading one step at a time. Stretch your faith and move towards the promise that has already been established in heaven just for you. 

Thank God for answered prayer and stand in obedience with your head held high.  Watch God show up and rescue you. Give your appointed heavenly angels their chosen assignment to deliver your soul from trouble.  You will receive miraculous blessings, as you believe God for your breakthrough.  Stand and see the salvation of the Lord this day, says the Spirit of God. 

 

Ramelle Lee is a poet, author, radio host and the founder of Touching Your Heart Ministries. Her first book, Step Into His Greatness is filled with 35 refreshing meditations to encourage and transform.  You can contact her at: ramelleskip@aol.com. 

 

Picking Weeds... 

Picking Weeds by Dr. Naima Johnston Bush, Founder, Refreshing Life with Naima

When I was a little girl, I thought that dandelions were the most beautiful flowers in the world.  Every spring they would pepper the project grass plots and I’d climb over the little chain link fence to pick a few and hand them as an offering of love to my mother. Bless her heart, my mom would take them up to our stuffy New York apartment and put them in water.  Can you imagine how hurt my feelings were when I discovered that those perky little yellow buds were not flowers, but in fact weeds? 

Life is like that… it’s all about perspective when you think about it.  What do you see when you look at the wide world and the life you are blessed to be living? Do you see your life as a garden overgrown with the white wisps of future weeds? Or do you see flowers that spread like wildfire with the ability to express the sacredness of love? 

I have always lived by the mantra that, “What you call it, it will become.” 

If you call a child stupid or ugly or unwanted long enough, they will listen and believe what you say and act accordingly.  If you call yourself stupid, or ugly, or unworthy, then pretty soon you’ll take on the false attributes of these titles. Even though the Lord has never called you any of these things… 

What if we took the ugly bits of our lives and began to call them great things, what if we called them God things? What if instead of us always complaining about our bodies, our eyes, our voices, our jobs, we began to call ourselves fearfully and wonderfully made?

What if we started looking at life and instead of thinking nothing will ever change, we started thinking about the promises of God – that all things were working together for our good? That we could cast our cares upon Him because He cares for us, that we were fearfully and wonderfully made? 

What would life look like if we started seeing flowers instead of weeds? 

And what joy would we have if we gathered those weeds and handed them as an offering of love to the Creator of the Universe? 

April 5th is National Dandelion Day… (Seriously) what are you going to do about it!?

I'd love to hear your feedback, feel free to leave a comment below or shoot me a message.  And if this blog blessed you, please share it with someone who might benefit from it. 

#nationaldandelionday #findingmorejoy #joyonthejourney #fearfullyandwonderfullymade

Let Go of the Weight 

Let Go of the Weight, Guest Post by Alicia Terry

Some years ago I wrote a blog post titled, Get Rid of Those Keys. I referenced a key chain I carried that had a lot of keys, but they no longer gave me access to the doors, vehicles and anything else they unlocked. So, why did I continue to carry them? Good question. At the time I thought for sure I would get rid of the keys after I published the blog post.

But, I didn’t. I continued to carry them out of habit, a sense of nostalgia and being comfortable with the weight. It wasn’t until the other day when the leather strap to my automatic car door opener tore and the keys fell that I had to acknowledge the weight had been too much. Years ago I knew the weight was too much, but ignored it until things broke and I found myself picking up the pieces.

Have you ever done this? Are you doing it now…carrying weight that serves no constructive purpose and only wears you and things out over time? Let’s stop doing this to ourselves. We have the power to live in and from victory and accomplish what we’ve been put on earth to do.

Hebrews 12:1 says: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. (NLT)

You and I, we can do this. The Bible is full of stories of people who serve as examples for us. They are the great cloud of witnesses, who, by faith, dropped the weight of their circumstances and moved forward with great focus and determination. The lighter load enabled them to endure to the end and win the race God intended for them to win.

We can experience this too. Let go of the weight. Run with endurance. Complete your race!

 

As the owner and founder of Idea Haven, a communications and training practice, Alicia Terry helps entrepreneurs, teens and women clarify the message around their mission so they can attract and connect with the people they are meant to serve. You can learn more about Alicia at aliciaterry.com and connect with her on Facebook. She is a frequent writer for the Refreshing Life Blog.

#crushfear #overcominglimitations #nolimits #Aliciaterry #livingalifeofjoy

In The Pit 

In The Pit by Dr. Naima Johnston Bush, Founder of the Refreshing Life

I promised myself that I would never return to this place.  But I look around and find myself halfway back to the start. What is it that is so broken in me that seems unable to walk in the fullness of Christ’s healing? 

Yep, I’ve found that I’ve picked up quite a few pounds. I can blame it on the sudden move last year, dealing with aging puppies who have been like children to me, infertility with my own advancing age, family illness or the sudden death of three loves, or just being super busy.  But that does not cut it. 

The truth of the matter is that I’m a food addict. And when I take my eyes off Christ, there is trouble ahead.  Addiction is a tricky thing. Just when you think you’ve conquered it, when it’s under your feet, when you’ve given it over to the Lord, you blink and find yourself deep in a pit. 

Living in a pit is not ideal – seriously.  You can’t see what’s going on around you because you are down so low.  

You can’t go where you want to go because you don’t have the physical strength to climb the walls. 

And you find yourself slipping even deeper in a hole because you keep making choices with a shovel and the dirt is piling up around your knees as you sink lower and lower. 

I hate pits. I have no desire to be Joseph stuck down below waiting to sell my own self back into a slavery that I have already escaped.  There really is only one solution, to get on my knees in this dark dank place and scrape a little foothold into the side of the wall. Then to take a step up and dig another little place for my hand to rest. until I find myself climbing up, up, up! 

I refuse to fall all the way back down the rabbit hole, not when I have a song to sing and a God who hears and comes when I call out to Him – so I guess I’d better get to scooping and climbing. 

 

I waited patiently for the Lord, He inclined to me and heard my cry. He lifted me up from te pit of destruction, out of the miry clay.

He set my feet upon a rock and made my footsteps firm.  He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see

and fear and put their trust in the Lord. 

Psalm 40:1-3

I'd love to hear your thoughts! Leave me a comment below or check us out on Facebook at: The Refreshing Life With Naima

#weightloss #healthandwellness #foodaddiction #escapingthepit #josephinthepit

Jesus Loves Iris! 

Jesus Loves Iris by Dr. Naima Johnston Bush, Founder of The Refreshing Life with Naima

I stood in the line at Wal-mart, nervous, hesitant and tongue tied.  She checked my items, scanning the incidentals that meant nothing to her but would feed my dogs, clean my bathroom and wash my clothes.  A young girl with ponytails and a bright smile, she chatted about how she couldn’t wait to get off her feet, how tired she was.  I laughed back and informed her, she was much to young to be tired. 

But no matter how I tried to focus on the conversation, the rising costs flashing across the register, and my own nervous knots, I could not block out the little voice that was whispering in my spirit. 

It was my own fault. I’d been praying those dangerous prayers again. You know the ones you pray with power and simplicity, truly meaning them when you lay them bare before the altar. Then boggled and challenged when those very prayers start to be answered in ways that throw your entire life into a whirlwind. 

For example, I’d been praying, Lord, break my heart with the things that break your heart… now I’m busting out crying when I hear something that I know tears the heart of the Lord to pieces.  But the prayer that brought me in front of the young cashier at Wal-mart was, “Lord help me to be bold!” Yeah, ok…. 

It wasn’t even anything major that the Lord was asking me to do. He wasn’t whispering, lay hands on the woman right here, or ask her what her prayer needs are and rebuke the devil on the spot… nope, He wanted me to do one small thing. Simply tell her, that He loved her. 

So why was this so difficult? Why couldn’t I get my mouth to work? I can get on a stage and preach a sermon, teach a lesson based out of the word of God, sing before hundreds of people and I could not tell this young lady this one little thing? 

She scanned the last item, I paid and she handed me a receipt and a little card that said if I had a good experience today, I should let Wal-mart know and that her name was Iris.  I took the paper glanced down at the paper and looked her in the face and said, “You have a great day Iris… and remember, Jesus loves you.” She smiled brightly and I took my bags and walked out. 

In the blink of an eye, I realized that I was afraid of many things, what she might say, what she might think, what others around me might say, if I did this one small thing would the Lord require more of me the next time around? Yep, that’s the big one, because if you prove to the Lord He can trust you, He will… and next time it may be something more then just a simple I love you, it may be the difference between life and death. And of all the things I was afraid of there was one thing I was even more afraid of… not hearing, Well done, good and faithful servant.   

 

 

Thank you for hanging out with us over here on the Refreshing Life Blog! If it blesses you please consider, writing for us, sharing the post or commenting below! And don't forget to grab your Refreshing Life Prayer Journal! They are on sale now! Click here to purchase your six Month Prayer Journal.

 

 

#witnessing #evangelism #overcomingfear #sharinggodslove #naimajohnstonbush

Would Santa Punch You In The Face? 

Would Santa Punch You In The Face? by Dr. Naima Bush, Founder of The Refreshing Life

Who knows how a Turkish bishop named Nicholas, who was orphaned at a young age and had a penchant for gift giving and died centuries ago, became an eternally living, jolly fat man, who lives in a snow covered wasteland, riding around with magic reindeer while managing to defy the space time continuum that the Good Lord put in place. 

Don’t get me wrong, I think the idea of Santa is a wonderful thing, and I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t hope to one day leave milk and cookies out for the dude with my own children.  When my brother and I were little we left Santa some Chips Ahoy and an orange plastic Tupperware tumbler of Vodka… don’t ask… 

But this year as I flipped from channel to channel it seemed that every holiday themed movie or TV show that was on was about Santa Claus, or an Elf, or a dysfunctional family. Unless it was a Hallmark or Lifetime movie, then it was about some professional business woman to busy for love and how seasonal magic somehow ushered her into the arms of Mr. Right. 

Not one show about the birth of our Savior, the true meaning of Christmas, the greatest gift ever given, at least not until Charlie Brown comes on, and then we’ll hear Linus preach the gospel message until the day that somebody protests that Christmas tradition as being offensive. We already lost the song, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” and Rudolph is facing the axe because of bullying… but I digress. 

As I was pondering my TV selections, I thought about a conversation I had with a Catholic friend of mine in regards to the true history of Santa Claus. Now Nicholas was a devout man, who loved the Lord with his whole heart.  There are many stories of how he gave away everything he had to meet the needs of others, all in the name of Christ. 

But he shared with me a story I had never head before.  This one was about how St. Nicholas attended the Council of Nicaea in the year 325 with three hundred other church leaders under the direction of the Emperor Constantine. During this major ecumenical event, the Nicene Creed was produced, but before that Santa got a little unruly… 

Arius, a church leader from Egypt had the floor and was going on and on about how Jesus was not equal to God the Father, thus rendering the Trinity as null and void. The longer Arius talked, the more perturbed Nicholas became, until he could take the heresy no more and dashed across the room and smacked in some accounts, or punched in others, Arius in the face.  Which to be honest, makes me laugh uncontrollably, since the only image I have of Saint Nicholas comes from the imaginings of the secular world. 

Well, of course Nicholas, the patron saint of children, repentant thieves, merchants (might explain all the shopping) and pawnbrokers (yes, pawnbrokers)  was punished and stripped of his bishop’s garments and thrown in jail… and then there’s a miracle and restoration… you’ll have to look it up to get the details on this one or we’ll be here forever… But Nicholas does get out of jail and is restored to his office. 

The point is Nicholas was willing to risk it all to defend the truth. Christmas is about Christ, and I believe Saint Nicholas would agree. If he got so upset he was clocking folks in the eye over the importance of the Trinity, what would his response be to how the world has taken this most sacred time and turned it into a Black Friday brawl over a $198.00 TV set? 

Yes, Christmas is a sacred time. It should be more about giving the gift of His eternal love, of forgiveness and restoration then about elves and grinches and stockings. I’m not saying not to put out your cookies, or decorate your tree or hang your Christmas lights. Jon and I watched Elf this past weekend and I laughed so hard I almost choked. But while we are doing these things, let's not forget The One who gave us breath in our lungs so that we could laugh, The One who loved us so much that He left His throne to be born in this barren place to give us hope and a future.

What I am saying is that although many believe that the story of Saint Nicholas smacking Arius is a myth, it still begs the question. A man so on fire for the Lord that he risked everything to tell the world he would not stand for the demotion of his Savior, that he would not stand idly by while someone made the Lord Jesus Christ less then what He Is, that someone would so reckless disregard the gift the Father gave us to restore us, pushed Santa Claus to the brink. 

If Jolly Old Saint Nick was here today, would he be so jolly? Or would he be running around malls, TV stations, Christmas events and even churches smacking folks in the face?

I'd love to hear your thoughts and comments. Please leave us a note below or on our Facebook page! 

#santaclauspunchesarius #saintnicholasandarius #slappingsanta

Does It Have To Be So Hard? 

Does It Have To Be So Hard? by Dr. Naima Johnston Bush, Founder of The Refreshing Life

How difficult can it be to speak by faith to the divine Creator of Heaven and Earth who you may not physically see but who has shown time and time again that He exists. When we think about prayer, we are often caught up in the ritual of it. We sometimes get stuck thinking about how to say the right words or making sure that we pray at the right time or we trip over our language trying to make the cries of our hearts sound lofty and eloquent.   

But what if prayer didn’t have to be so hard? I have longed to have a life of powerful prayer, one where my life evidenced that my supplications were not bouncing off the wall but were penetrating the throne room of heaven and impacting lives for eternity. And honestly, sometimes it’s not that deep, sometimes I just want to know He is near, that He hears, that He cares. 

When Jon and I were engaged we took a short trip to Texas so that he could introduce me to his family.  It just so happened to be the 4th of July and we spent the evening sitting on the stone embankment that overlooked the Gulf of Mexico and watching the fireworks. Some lit up the night sky from boats on the water, from the professional production that was taking place and some from were being set off by the many families gathered around us. 

I saw that little girl and the potential threat she possessed before the incident even took place. Unsupervised, unaware and much too young to be handling things that had the potential to blow her face off, she recklessly lit color changing, gravity defying fireworks in blissful oblivion as she got closer and closer to where we sat. 

An then there it was. Spinning and puttering, changing colors it flew into Jon’s face, the threat of a third degree burn was all I could imagine.  Jon says all he could think was how he was going to have scars on his face for our wedding pictures… all I could do was to call on the name above all names. 

"Jesus!" I yelled. And that spinning, maddening firework fell to the ground instantly extinguished. It was like I called to Him to sits on the throne and He answered instantly. 

And that’s one of the keys to powerful prayer. It is simply believing that God hears you, regardless if He chooses to answer right away or if it seems the answer is delayed.  

In Jeremiah 29:12 the Scripture tells us: "Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you."

There are a multitude of scriptures where the Lord tells us that He hears us when we call or pray to Him.  Jeremiah, was a prophet for over 40 years, he saw how revival came when the people followed the Lord – and he saw destruction come when they failed to obey the Lord.  But again and again, Jeremiah did not wavier from knowing that God hears and God answers prayer. 

One of the most powerful ways you can get the Lord’s attention is to simply call Him. A call means to give something a specified name – a name denotes or rather it tells us, what something is – not what it does. 

Like a chair. By virtue of experience we know what a chair does, it allows us to sit without fear of falling.  We know what a chair is used for and we’ve given it a name. Chair. 

The same is true with the names of God. We know that His name describes the powerfulness of His character.  So, if you need healing you call – Jehovah Rapha. 

If you need God Almighty, the all sufficient one – you call El Shaddai. 

If you need Him to be with you, call for, Immanuel, God is with us. 

When you need help in the battle or the struggle – Call Jehovah Nissi – the banner under which we are victorious! And sometimes you must simply call – Yahweh – I AM That I AM and He will rush to your aid. 

Remember the name we call tells us not only what God does, but who God is… He is more then what He does.  He is the healer but He is also healing! He is a provider but He is also provision. He is present always with us. 

And the name I love the most… sometimes you got to simply call Abba which means Daddy or Pappa…  and who loves and more protects and cares for their children more then a faithful Pappa?

One of the first keys to understanding powerful prayer is that you must believe that He hears you when you call out with passionate trust knowing and believing that God hears you. And what you call Him, He simply is and will provide.

 

Have you grabbed your copy of Naima's new book, Keys To Powerful Prayer and the six month Refreshing Life Prayer Journal? You can purchase your copy today by clicking here: Power Prayer Book and Journal

Set The Standard  

Set the Standard - Guest Post by Alicia Terry

In May the company I worked for had a lay-off and I was one of the people let go. I was certain I would find work inside of a month, but that hasn’t been the case. As I write this post it is October 3rd and I am still looking. 

I’ve applied like crazy and have had my fair share of interviews, but nothing has come to fruition. At one point I found myself applying for jobs simply based more on my ability to do them. Would I be happy to do any one of them? May be…may be not. 

One thing I do know for certain is just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.  There is a grace, a time and season for everything (Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). 

I wouldn’t advise anyone to take a buckshot approach to job hunting, but there I was doing it. Trying to force something to happen when I really didn’t know what I wanted to happen. My buckshot strategy was totally misguided and I knew it. 

Why is it when stressful situations arise it’s so easy to fall back into familiar bad habits? 

Of course I have people praying with me for the right job at the right time and all according to God’s will for my life. However, when I asked my friend Jackie to pray she requested I give her specifics for what I’m trusting God for. Later that day I sent my specific request to her.  

That one exercise was a game changer. Why? Because I now had a standard by which to judge each and every job description before I took action to pursue it. Does it meet the standard or not? Yes or no. It doesn’t get any simpler than that. 

God’s Word is like that too. It sets the standard that brings great clarity for how we are to live in today’s society. It enables us to stop exerting energy on things that rob us of it. God’s Word equips us to focus on the things that matter. That is why we, as Christians, must read the Word, know it, own it and live it. Clarity based on God’s standard is how we will change lives and how we will impact the culture for His glory. 

Let God’s Word set the standard.

 

As the owner and founder of Idea Haven, a communications and training practice, Alicia Terry helps entrepreneurs, teens and women clarify the message around their mission so they can attract and connect with the people they are meant to serve. You can learn more about Alicia at aliciaterry.com and connect with her on Facebook. She is a frequent writer for the Refreshing Life Blog.

#aliciaterry #jobsearch #trustinggod #godstiming #godsstandards

 

Brother Harlow Turns 90 

Brother Harlow Turns 90 by Dr. Naima Johnston Bush

I miss unlimited soup and salad from the Olive Garden. I desire to pop into Barnes and Noble and visit the discount craft store when I want to pay less than Michael’s prices. I long for prepackaged nuts from Trader Joe’s and nitrate free turkey pepperoni from Whole Foods.  And let’s not even talk about skipping down to Disney on a Saturday afternoon, laying on the beach, burying my toes in the sand and roaming the countless thrift stores, vintage shops, flea markets and garage sales that pepper the greater Jacksonville area. 

In these areas JAX – Duval County to be exact, where they bring the RACHET… (yes that is a city wide slogan) has tiny little Leesville/New Llano, LA beat.  But these temporal things mean nothing when I think about the family we have found in this place.  We have been embraced by the beautiful and colorful southern hearted home folks in this area.  In this place I’ve puzzled over crawfish houses, been introduced to finger licking Cajun cooking, been bitten by fire ants, waved at the po po, who always make sure I’m safe when I’m in the yard with the dogs after dark and everybody else who has driven up our street, and had more, “Girl how you doing!” meetings in Wal-Mart then I can count. 

But I knew I was home when I attended Brother Harlow’s 90th birthday party.  Brother Harlow is the sweetest man, filled with faith and a mischievous twinkle in his eye.  He always makes sure that Jon Bush is behaving and seriously insists that if my husband steps out of line I should promptly inform him.  We celebrated him with the most delicious cake, mounds and mounds of food, lots of laugher and a picture to commemorate the event. When we told him we were honored to be invited, he told us we were family. 

As Jon and I left we paused to view the display that had been set up to celebrate his life. My heart filled as I examined a life in pictures that told of triumph and struggle, of love, faith, family and great loss.  And when we left I was overwhelmed with sadness because the last picture I studied was of Brother Harlow and his beautiful wife who had passed away. I remember thinking, I wished she was here to celebrate with him and how much he must be missing her even with all the laughter and the crowded room of well wishers and loved ones. 

And it dawned on me, that one day, if Jesus should tarry, Jon or I would be in the same situation. There will be a day when one of us will have to say good bye to the other one for a season.  I can barely breathe just thinking about it.  How many of us have had to say goodbye to the ones we treasure and have never really recovered even though life and the love still goes on? 

At the end of that wonderful man’s party when grief tried to grip and squeeze me, the Lord reminded me of this simple truth. Death is hard because it is unnatural. How often do we hear death is a natural part of life? But honestly, death was never part of the Lord’s original plan for us, so it isn’t natural at all.  We mourn because we lose something we were never supposed to lose…  each other. That’s why it hurts so bad. And every new person that takes up residence in my heart gets not only my love but will one day be mourned or mourn me. And recently in the tiny town where I now live, many people have made my heart their home by moving in and finding a favorite chair or a place on the couch to chill out. 

The thought could be unbearable, but that is when hope rose up with healing in its wings. Brother Harlow’s wife was a believer, so we rest assured that we will see her again. And all the separations, all the loss, all the tears will be wiped from our eyes because death, hell and the grave will be over and done forever. I’ve dealt and struggled a lot with death this year, so here is where I dig in and refuse to let my faith be shaken.  I know God is a promise keeper and a miracle worker.  And I know He is not a liar.  

There are many mansions in my Father’s House, if it wasn’t so He would have told me.  And somewhere in that huge dwelling, Sister Harlow is worshipping with my grandmothers, my aunts and my sweet Leslie. Accepting and living for Jesus means forgiveness, unconditional love and everlasting life… so life is like the night and being in the eternal presence of the Lord is the morning. 

Remember, the Lord never lies… fill your heart with love knowing that one day you will face the unthinkable. Because weeping endures for a night, but joy comes in the morning – and reunions to!

 

Dr. Naima Johnston Bush is the founder of The Refreshing Life with Naima and is on a mission to help you live a life of joy, powerful prayer and sincere gratitude! Please leave a comment if the blog is blessing you and feel free to share if you think it will bless someone else!

Have you grabbed your copy of the Refreshing Life Prayer Journal? For more information click here: The Refreshing Life Prayer Journal

Get Yo' Heaven Bucks! 

Get Yo' Heaven Bucks! by Dr. Naima Johnston Bush

Sitting on the front row, doing my due diligence as the Principal’s wife, smiling, nodding, shaking hands and sitting through presentations on class schedules, dress codes and behavior polices – that’s how I spent my first Thursday evening in August.  

As I sat listening to the teachers instruct the parents on the specifics of the discipline policy I found myself in that strange dream like place where unicorns and rainbows and “To Do” lists reside. You know that place- where you are kind of paying attention, but you are also thinking about all the things you need to do, all the things you need to remind your husband to do and pondering those life changing questions, like what really happened to the dinosaurs… 

And then something that one of the teachers said brought me back from the stone age.  In an effort to encourage the students to behave and limit discipline problems, the teachers were introducing an incentive program for the students.  Based on a weighted scale the students would be given “Eagle Bucks” when they met the expectations of good stewardship, citizenship and the community standards. In exchange for this good behavior they could turn their “Eagle Bucks” in for various rewards.  The more bucks you had, the better rewards you could purchase. In other words, if the students stayed out of trouble they would get fake money they could use to buy goodies and prizes and go on trips. 

What, the what!? Ok… I mean it sounded great and all, but my first thoughts were, why are they being rewarded for doing what they should do? What happens when they get older, will they expect “Eagle Bucks” for showing up on time for their jobs? Doesn’t keeping track of all this stuff make extra work for the teachers? And after all, shouldn’t kids just do what adults say anyway? 

Don’t you love moments like that? When you are pondering questions that seem to make sense to you and the Holy Spirit just drops a bomb on you to illustrate how off base you are in your thinking! In the ten seconds it took for me to scroll these thoughts through my big head the Lord had a lesson to teach me. 

Why was I internally fussing about the school’s incentive program when I was on the ultimate incentive program myself?  Instead of a teacher handing me “Eagle Bucks” when I did what I was suppose to do and I exhibited good behavior, Jesus was offering me “Heaven Bucks.” How do we earn these “Heaven Bucks?” 

Matthew 6:33 – If I seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness good things will be given to me. 

Matthew 19:29 – If I leave my home, my family or my work to do the work of Christ I will be given a hundredfold and I will inherit eternal life. 

Luke 11:9 – If I ask I will receive, if I knock it will be opened, If I seek I will find. 

Mark 11:24 – If I ask in prayer and I believe that I have received it, I will receive it. 

John 3:16 – If I believe that God gave His son, I will not die, but I will have eternal life. 

These are just a few of the promises of the Lord that are available to us if we do what we are suppose to do to earn our “Heaven Bucks.”   Seeking the Lord, believing what He says, loving others, serving others, working for His glory, spending time in prayer, committing our lives to Him and most importantly, the promises of eternal life… what beautiful incentives these are! 

Who wouldn’t want to follow a God who gives such good and perfect gifts?