"Empowerment Through Education"

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Posted on January 20, 2015 at 6:48 PM Comments comments (139)

EXIT- This Way!

Posted on January 8, 2015 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (42)
Exit- This Way!
1 Corinthians 10:13 – “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful, and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape so that you are able to bear it.”
            Fire Marshalls do routine inspections of buildings and facilities and look for records of emergency evacuation plans.  Schools and businesses are required to practice fire and emergency drills.  Hospitals and health care facilities must know how to transport non-ambulatory patients in care of fire, flood, or any life-threatening assault.  All of these actions require that personnel responsible must know the layout of the building; they must have an action plan in place and they must practice the plan so that when or if an emergency does arise, they will not be unorganized, panicked or ineffective in securing the lives of those under their care and their own safety.
            God gives us many instructions in his word of what we need to do to live productive and safe lives.  He gives warnings and precepts about fear, pre-marital sex; infidelity, greed, covetousness, and even laziness.  If we follow these guidelines we are more likely to steer clear of many ills and dangers. But God knows our nature and therefore he also has some added assistance -in case of emergency.  When temptation or testing or just the vicissitudes of life bear too hard upon us, God does factor in plans for our ‘escape’.  Just like the lit signs above doorways, these EXITs are strategically placed to make sure that we not only see them, but that we can use them in times of need.  The only way to make the best use of these EXITs  is of course  to 1) know that they exist;  2) know where they are;  and 3) know where they lead.
            God’s plan for us includes EXITs to help us escape from areas that are too taxing upon us to allow for our success.  Before you might fold under a certain pressure or succumb to a temptation that could ruin your life or set you back tremendously, these little EXITs  light up and if you are wise you will “Exit – stage right” and use the opportunity to regroup.    Don’t’ be ashamed to bow out for a moment and get your head on straight; it is better to run than to burn.
         You are out with friends and want just one more ‘little’ drink to cap the night off; but somehow the bartender just can’t seem to make it just the right way and you keep sending it back….take that EXIT.  You meet someone and there is just somethingggggg about them that you can’t quite put your finger on, but red flags start waving and bells go off in your head….take that EXIT.  You feel like just skipping out on work early or going someplace you really don’t need to visit and you can’t find your car keys right away or you keep fumbling and dropping them…take that EXIT.  Like the song from the Color Purple – “God is trying to tell you something”.  Every day is a good day; it is up to us to make it a GREAT day.  2015 is the Year of Manifestation. Be blessed!  Dr. JoAnn

Trust God

Posted on January 8, 2015 at 12:13 AM Comments comments (35)
Hebrews  (ERV)- "These two things cannot change: God cannot lie when he says something, and he cannot lie when he makes an oath.So these two things are a great help to us who have come to God for safety. They encourage us to hold on to the hope that is ours."
    As we move into this year I joyfully remind us that we are so blessed to serve a God who not only loves us but always keeps his word. Remember his promises and rest assured that he is working in front and behind the scenes to bring every good work together for our greater good. Of course his ways are so much higher than ours and his thoughts more divine; so we may never actually follow his line of reasoning or thoroughly understand his actions. It is key for us to trust him.  
       I am not sure to whom the credit goes but I have often heard it said that "when you can not see God's hand, trust God's heart".  In essence, we may not see how things are unfolding or how our prayers are being answered but our hope and trust are anchored in the fact that God is good; God is love; God rewards those who diligently seek him; God wants great things for his children; God is powerful and is a provider. There many, many more wonderful traits of God but just these few I listed gives assurance that our All-powerful Father loves his children (us) and wants the best for us; and is able to grant it.  
       God is not capable or culpable of lying. His word is sure. So put away any fears, frustrations, anxieties, doubts or uncertainties and TRUST God.  You may not see results right away but like any good gardener once you plant a seed (asking in prayer) you don't go back every day and dig the seed up to see if it is growing; you trust that the soil is right, the seed is good and you wait for the sprout.  But even then when the little plant emerges from the top soil you don't pluck it out. You leave it, fertilize and water it and the most important thing is you keep the weeds around it from choking it out. Get rid of the weeds of 'impatience', 'doubt', and 'distraction'.  God has got you and your prayers in mind. Trust him!  Every day is a good day; it is up to us to make it a GREAT day. 2015 is The Year of Manifestation! Be blessed! Dr. JoAnn

Relax... Everything Is In Divine Order!

Guard Your Ear Gate

Posted on January 5, 2015 at 11:22 PM Comments comments (23)
1 Chronicles 17:20   - “O Lord, there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.”
        We have to be very careful about what we allow to impact us; especially things that come in through our ears.  The design of the ear is for stereophonic perception of what enters into our ear canals. We hear and are able to locate the magnitude, intensity, and direction of sound. What bombards us impinges upon us; and takes on many forms before we actually get to the point of deciphering what is heard. Our anatomy is designed to take sound waves and transform them into mechanical, chemical and eventually electrical energy.  
        Unlike our mouths which have lips or our eyes which have lids to close off any unwanted entrance; our ears are passageways open to the external environment. We can try to ignore certain sounds and even focus on other things to try to draw our attention away from things we do not want to hear, but the reality of it is that there is the opportunity for things to enter our ear gate.
       Of even more importance is that we must be aware of how what we hear affects us; our well-being and emotional state.  There is a direct correlation between what we hear and how we feel.  When we hear tragic news we often carry the sadness upon us.  When we hear jovial music we might even get into the beat by rocking and moving to the groove.  When we hear sounds that are too loud or traumatic we often jump with surprise and our hearts will race. When soothing sounds of ocean waves or birds singing in the morning caresses us, we may take on a serene feeling of splendor. 
   Be careful what you allow to enter into your ear gate.  Be cautious about the music  or people you listen to and television shows you watch; even if you only have the boob tube on for company while you do other activities, your ears are still open.  Be aware of the music, conversations and even street sounds that you permit to consistently penetrate you through your auditory canal.  Constant discussions of terrorism, infidelity, misogyny, adultery and murder can wear on the soul.   Reality shows, night-time dramas and even some television evangelists and boot-leg preachers will clamber for your precious ear time to fill it with garbage.  Be aware that some preachers were called; some just went.  Be mindful of what is really being said to you and over you.  And be a watchful ear for what is bombarding your children and your family.  If in doubt – ask the Holy Spirit for discernment and believe me when irrational or ungodly things try to come your way; they will irritate you so much you will know without a shadow of doubt that they need to be dispelled.  Guard your ear gate and protect your spirit. Every day is a good day; it is up to us to make it a GREAT day. 2015 is the Year of Manifestation! Be blessed! Dr. JoAnn

It's Your Time

Posted on January 2, 2015 at 11:01 PM Comments comments (20)
It's Your Time!
Joshua 3:7- "And the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses."
      After the death of Moses, Joshua took on the role of leading the nation of Israel into the promised land. He was faithful in following and serving Moses and capable and courageous for the task, but God knew that was not enough. In order to be truly effective the people needed to "see" that Joshua did not just inherit the position because he was next in line, but because it was his God-ordained and appointed time to be in the lead position. Joshua did not ask God for favor nor did he command the people to listen to, obey and respect him. He simply kept doing what he had been assigned to do and God made the royal decree and backed it up with signs and wonders. 
    2015 is your time.  You have been faithful, on point, serving and doing God's will; often without recognition, reward or even compensation. You might have even taken some hits because you chose to stand on the side of righteousness; but alas your time is now. God is working right now to exalt you so that those who might doubt will have no recourse.  This is your year... this is your time. All that you have done is not in vain; but don't try to force your hand; let God work on your behalf, if you want to be frustrated put your hands in it -if you want it fixed let God handle it.  Trust God - you have sacrificed and been faithful - it's your time.  Every day is a good day; it is up to us to make it a GREAT day! Be blessed. See you Monday! Dr. JoAnn

Relax... Everything Is In Divine Order!

Loose Lips Sink Ships

Posted on December 9, 2014 at 1:05 AM Comments comments (23)
Proverbs 11:13 –(HCSB) “A gossip goes around revealing a secret, but a trustworthy person keeps a confidence.”
   During the World Wars, before the age of GPS, satellite imagery, 3-D scanning, underwater photography and computer radar detection; when battleships and submarines used simple listening devices to figure out the locations of enemies; the decree given when danger was perceived was for the crew to go into radio silence. They would cut the engines and everyone would cease all unnecessary movement.  Talking was replaced with hand signals because they knew that ‘loose lips’ could cause their location to be detected and the possible sinking of their ship.
      Unnecessary talking can be extrapolated to also include the unneeded and unwarranted banter of gossip. If what we say does not edify, glorify, magnify or rectify a situation then chances are what we have to say never really needs to be said.  There is a place of course for whimsical chatter often referred to as ‘girl talk’ or ‘barber shop heckling’; but when the words that we share reveal secrets that should not be disclosed; or expose truths that are not ours to bear witness to; then we are no longer involved in the art of conversation, but in the jaws of rumor and innuendoes.
     Spreading gossip or even just talking to be heard can cause problems not only for the poor victims but also for us.  It can tarnish our reputations and damage the trust that others place in us.  If we open and spew out the details of what others have told to us in confidence; we might escalate a situation to a fever pitch and cause anger and resentment when the source of the leak is found. As the young generation now says…’snitches get stitches’.
      Be careful also to not share too much of your own personal information with a ‘motor mouth’ friend.  Fast talkers, who seem gregarious and really spirited, might be masked rumor-mills in hiding. When you talk to someone who openly tells you everything about themselves or others; chances are if they can’t be discerning about their own affairs, they surely will not keep yours either. God gave us two stereophonic ears but only one mouth.  Listen more, speak less.  Every day is a good day; it is up to us to make it a GREAT day.  Be blessed! Dr. JoAnn

Key to the Road Map

Posted on November 23, 2014 at 11:30 PM Comments comments (18)
John 16:13(ISV)  “Yet when the Spirit of Truth comes, he’ll guide you into all truth. He won’t speak on his own accord, but he’ll speak whatever he hears and will declare to you the things that are to come.”
      In these days of global access and GPS, we often do not have a need to actually look at and try to decipher a printed map.  One of the main objectives of studying a map is to find locations, estimate distances and to chart routes from point A to point B.  The map itself is usually a bird’s eye view to the terrain with different signs and symbols of varying shapes and sizes.  Some objects are outlined with BOLD lines; while others have dashes and wavy lines.  Some places have stars or triangles over different locations; while others simply have a series of numbers. To one who has studied maps for a while, these symbols are second nature, but to a newcomer to map reading, it can be quite confusing and of little use. Somewhere on every map, usually tucked away in a corner is what is known as the ‘key’.  These are the instructions which help us decipher the map and discover its hidden secrets.  Solid lines will give us hints about land borders and distances and dashes let us know that boundaries might be waterways. Stars might represent capitals of cities; while triangles can tell how high the terrain is above sea level. The maps hold the true data but without the ‘key’ we might not be able to easily unlock the treasures that it holds. 
      Many of the lessons that Jesus teaches us have hidden meanings that the world can never figure out no matter how hard they try. But Jesus provides assistance to his followers by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus tells us that he is the Way, the Truth and the Life and that through our association with him we are able to have access to the Father.  Through the glorification of Jesus by his death, burial and resurrection, we have been granted the presence of the Holy Spirit which lives within us as our present help and comfort. When you are feeling uncertain and not sure of what your journey will entail; do not stay in confusion- that is not what God wants.  Use the resource that is as close as a whisper, a thought or a bent knee.  Ask the Holy Spirit to direct you to all truth about your concerns and he will be sure to speak that which comes directly from God on your behalf.  He will show you Jesus in all of his glory in whatever situation you are facing.  The Holy Spirit is your ‘key’ to using the roadmap (lessons of the life of Jesus) to have victory in moving from point A to point B.  Unlike GPS units which can malfunction in certain ‘dead zones’ or weather conditions; the map that Jesus provides and the keys that the Holy Spirit gives are sure each and every time.  Ask for the guidance you need and faithfully follow the clues you are given to reach your ultimate goal in Jesus.  Every day is a good day; it is up to us to make it a GREAT day!  Be blessed. Dr. JoAnn

Make Me Clap My Hands!

Posted on November 20, 2014 at 1:00 AM Comments comments (45)
Psalm 95:1-2 - “O come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation! Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise!”( AMP)
      Ever drive down the street and pull up next to someone who is really enjoying the beat of whatever is playing on their radio or MP3?  Their head is bobbing , hands drumming on the steering wheel and if they are really into it, they may throw a shoulder or two into a ‘bounce’ move that would make M.C. Hammer stop and take notice.  Most of us have no problem singing some popular songs to the top of our lungs while we are in the isolation of our cars or our showers; and I invite you to break loose today and sing some praise songs a little louder than usual.   
     Tell God that in the words of John Legend, you will surrender “ALL of Me” to his will and his way.  Kick the devil to the curb and let him know like Beyoncé says, he and all the rest of the goats, can go “to the left, to the left”. Trey Songz admits that God “Knows what best for you” .  Although Nicki Minaj sings about “Touchin, Loving”  which may make you feel like a “Natural Woman” only the love of God is real and lasting.  So today, take a moment and lift your voice in praise.  God does not care about the quality of your tone or whether you remember all the lyrics or even have the rhythm just right.  He just loves to hear his children vocalize our joy through song.  So while you are “Riding down the freeway” or kicking it at home; stop for a few moments and tune out the world and turn up the volume of your voice and belt out a few numbers to God.  If you can’t remember all of the words to a popular gospel or spiritual or hymn…make up your own song.  Thank God for his love for you.  Thank and praise him for your life and the wonderful people who love and respect you.  Praise him for just being him and the Creator of all that is or ever will be.  Just sing…  Just sing.. Just sing!

Here are a few of my favorites:  "We've Come This Far By Faith"; “Awesome”; “Sovereign”; “Solid Rock”; “Beyond the Veil”;  and it is NEVER too early for Christmas songs!!!  Every day is a good day; it is up to us to make it a great day.  Be blessed.  La, la, la, la, la, la  Dr. JoAnn

Blink, but stay focused!

Posted on November 19, 2014 at 9:26 AM Comments comments (9)
Psalm 1:1-2  - "Oh, the joys of those who do not follow evil men’s advice, who do not hang around with sinners, scoffing at the things of God. But they delight in doing everything God wants them to, and day and night are always meditating on his laws and thinking about ways to follow him more closely."
       Just when you think your actions have been in vain or that you might have wasted time pursuing something that has not yielded the harvest you expected; someone will try to pour into your spirit another (usually ungodly) way to get the results you want. Or they might malign your actions or even the fact that you are patiently waiting on God's timing. Don't be disturbed. Don't move. Don't lose focus! God will not be mocked and his word will not come back unaccomplished. 
     Recently I had an eye exam where I had to focus on a point of light and then make some designations. Well if you have ever intensely focused on something soon the eyes will strain and the very object you are intently staring at will start to blur.  To make sure I kept my eye on the object of interest and closely follow the instructions I was given; I had to blink. That cleared away the particulate matter and moisture that was collecting on my eye surface and allowed me to once again clearly see what I needed to view.
     As we intensely focus on what God has designed for us to do; when we have gotten into a committed  prayer ritual; when we have developed a healthier lifestyle; when we have done anything that furthers the work of the kingdom and we are intimately focused upon it - the devil will try to throw particulate matter at us. Meddlesome, unprovoked, unnecessary and unwarranted "stuff" will just float your way and blur your gaze.  Don't look to the left or to the right. Don't stop doing what you know is the right thing to do -stay on point. Just blink! When dust gets in your eye you blink. Think of it as your eyelids quickly kneeling in prayer! You do the same- don't listen to the babble that you are a failure or follow some 'get-rich-quick-scheme, or believe that he/she didn't mean to hit you (again); trust God and look for ways to follow him even closer.  Do mini (quick) prayers (blinks) all day long and watch God work things out in a GREAT way for you. Every day is a good day; it is up to us to make it a great day! Be blessed Dr. JoAnn

Relax... Everything Is In Divine Order!

Broken Vows

Posted on November 17, 2014 at 11:09 PM Comments comments (11)
Judges 16:20 - Then she cried, “Samson, the Philistines are here!” When he awoke from his sleep, he said, “I will escape as I did before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him.
After much needling and nagging Delilah had finally badgered Samson into revealing the secret of his strength to her.  In essence it was not just the cutting of his hair that caused him to lose out on the special anointing that he had received in his youth; the Nazirite vow involved a special commitment that rested on the sacred relationship between him and God.  Samson was not ignorant of his calling.  He had known all along that the secret of his strength was laid upon this relationship and that his hair was merely a sign of that relationship.  When he gave up the secret to his strength he stated that the relationship between him and this ungodly woman was of more importance than the promise he had made with God.  He interrupted the flow of faith and hope that ran through the lifeblood that was a special tie between him and his creator.  The shaving of his head was a disappointing stab in the heart of God.  In his lust for that which God had separated him from, he lost the virtue which kept him tied to God.  He was so oblivious that he did not even know that the tie had been severed.  He thought he could operate ‘as usual’ but he was sorely wrong. When he stood up without God, he got knocked down and blindsided.
When we accept Jesus as our personal Savior we make a commitment to him.  He has done all of the hard work (beatings, suffering, dying, resurrecting) and our part is simply to believe.  In that belief, our “old self” is done away with and we then embody the new creation. The symbol of our commitment to Christ starts with our public declaration of our faith, our baptism and of course most importantly our ‘walk’, which shows the ‘fruit’ we bear.  How disappointing it must be to our Savior when we toss our commitment to him aside by violating his trust.  He trusts us to treat each other with love. He trusts us to watch out for the helpless and infirmed.  He trusts us to be his eyes, ears, hands and feet to work on the behalf of the kingdom. He trusts us to be good soil so that great things can grow out of us. He trusts us to show the world that faith in him reveals the way, the truth and life eternal. Rethink your commitment to Christ today. Is there a Delilah (temptation) speaking in your ear trying to lull you to sleep? Is there a barber (some ungodly activity) in your midst waiting for the right opportunity to cut you off from your blessings?  Renew your vows and reinstate your promise to God. From the Broadway musical, Godspell, consider offering this prayer-  “Day by day, day by day, Oh, dear Lord, three things I pray, to see thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, follow thee more nearly, day by day”.   Every day is a good day; it is up to us to make it a power-filled great day.  Be blessed. Dr. JoAnn

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