Things To Not Say…

Someone may be experiencing a loss, burnout, anxiety, depression, consistent stress. And when someone expresses his/her heart, issue or struggle, offer compassion and a listening ear. (If saved) Let the Holy Spirit lead you from there.

But do not say these things:

Just pray about it.

Stop saying that.

Everyone has anxiety.

Be strong.

These statements can sound dismissive. They can sound insensitive. How do you know the person isn’t praying and that fight to get out of the bed or talking with someone was the answer to their prayers. Yes, sometimes a person saying things out of habit or unloading on another can be frustrating or even overwhelming. When it is too much, you have the right to protect your boundaries and your own mental health. However, don’t leave your compassion to the wayside.

Don’t tell someone “everyone has anxiety or depression right now”. You took the focus off of the person needing someone to listen and put the focus on everyone. It seems dismissive and one can be left feeling that they should have never said anything. Even moreso, one can feel like what he/she feels doesn’t matter or isn’t of concern. “If everyone else is dealing with this why I am complaining. Just deal with it.”

“Be strong.” As if expressing yourself and struggling is a sign of weakness. And one must learn to process everything they feel instead of ignoring it.

In any event, let us show compassion. Not every time someone needs advice but if you must, use wisdom, preferably Godly wisdom. And most importantly, listen. Sometimes, people just want to be heard and some of us are doing the work to overcome. We just need perhaps a hug (upon permission), a prayer or encouragement, patience, or just to be seen and heard.

Thankful Journal Entry

I don’t know if it is because of the Christmas season and day or because I am having some writing flow this week (been having Writer’s block for a while), but here is another post.

As I lie down in bed and after finishing composing my previous post, I am filled with thoughts of appreciation and gratitude. I thought of an elder who took time to teach me how to drive and pass the driving test. To this day (although unfortunately, I have anxiety and driving anxiety), I still remember the things he taught me as well as his kindness and patience. Mind you, I got my license late in the game. Another person I am grateful for is another elder who I endearingly called my god granny. Her humor, wisdom, kindness, and jazzy spirit was so amazing. I miss both of them, Elder Heath and Sister Dixon.

There are a lot of things that you may still be dealing with, but I challenge you to make a list of things and people you are grateful for. Let’s go! I just named two people. I am also grateful for a new day, a warm house, and family… The list goes on. I am thankful especially for my Jesus!!!!! Without Him, there is no me or no hope.

What or who are you grateful for?

Merry Christmas And A New Year Is Loading…

This year went by quick but seemed so long. It is like 2021 copied and pasted 2020. The struggle was real. And we are continually learning to deal with the new normal. I was going to do a post about my year in review with more pictures, but naw. I don’t need to post anymore selfies or photos or make it all about me. This year was stressful and blessful at the same time for me and I bet for many of you all also, and that’s that. I just pray as we approach a new year that the things we need to fall off fall off so we can walk lightly and respond well in this new year as well as receive what God has for us. And learn what we need to learn to pass some tests and overcome some more things. I pray for those of us struggling with anxiety and depression to pack on courage to keep going and to take one day at a time, trusting God all the way.

Anyway, I am elated to say if you are reading this that you and I both made it to December and we are close to a new year. Although our finances may not be where they need to be, we still have a roof over our heads and food on our tables. Although we still have some more healing to do along our healing journey, we have come a long way. This year was not easy. It was stressful and heavy. This year also, I anticipated feeling depressed again on my birthday (12/10), but I actually felt ok. I even looked better despite having Covid and being in quarantine. My entire immediate family had Covid with mild symptoms and towards the end of our quarantine, we believe we also got food poisoning. But we are well today and grateful.

I know the holidays may be hard for some and many are going through right now, but I pray you have a joyous day. I pray you hear laughter, feel loved, and reach out to someone that God has just for you to touch your heart and lift your spirit and vice versa. I pray you have enough to eat. I pray that you remember those lost loved ones with a smile and that you understand that it is okay to grieve too. I pray that you are healthy or getting well. I pray that you start new traditions like watching a Christmas movie that you will watch every Christmas. Or cook a new dish and share it with your elderly neighbor or single mom. I pray that you embrace yourself through your healing journey and take one day at a time. I pray you won’t be so hard on yourself and know that you are worthy and loved by God, the Great I Am.

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

Christmas In The Winter Available Now At Amazon

How Anxiety Feels

I was briefly reading Psalm 55 before a meeting this morning, and as I came across verses four and five I realized it described how anxiety feels. I am grateful that David was able to share his heart with God and thousands of years later, many us, if not all, can relate.

My heart pounds in my chest. The terror of death assaults me. Fear and trembling overwhelm me, and I can’t stop shaking.
Psalms 55:4‭-‬5 NLT
https://bible.com/bible/116/psa.55.4-5.NLT

Anxiety can be felt in your chest as it pounds to the beat of stress and sorrow. Anxiety can be a lump in the throat making it hard to swallow the fear that does not want to submit and go away. Anxiety can be sweat and chills with tension and rapid eye blinks. Anxiety can be in the trembles of the body and the mind wandering a mile a minute with a plague of worries and thoughts. Anxiety can be in the avoidance of necessary activities in life to social and step out on faith moments as well as a desire to run and hide, costing you freedom and joy. Anxiety can be the mind stuck in the past or stuck in the future. Anxiety can feel like death is following and no one can help or understand. Anxiety can feel like a death sentence as well as a life sentence. But God…

There is hope. And we are anxiety fighters. Thanks to God we can take one day at a time and fight through. We can develop courage and joy because the joy of the Lord will be our strength. We can learn about ourselves, how to endure, and learn to see ourselves the way God does. We can heal and grow, and many of us will receive the deliverance from the spirit of fear because God did not give us a spirit of fear, but that of power, love and a sound mind.

But I will call on God, and the Lord will rescue me. Morning, noon, and night I cry out in my distress, and the Lord hears my voice. He ransoms me and keeps me safe from the battle waged against me, though many still oppose me. Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.
Psalms 55:16‭-‬18‭, ‬22 NLT
https://bible.com/bible/116/psa.55.16-22.NLT

God is our safe place. God can and will sustain us. God cares about us and is concerned about everything that concerns us. God hears our cries and collects our tears. He is the answer to our problems. He loves us greater than anyone ever can. Jesus is a testament to His love for us. God reminds us to not fear. He is with us and He will never leave us nor forsake us. He is a present help in the time of trouble.

Let us ask God where we have not been trusting Him. Let us take a deep breath and rest in the God who loves us beyond measure and wants us to receive the life and life to the full He came to give us. Share with Him, like David, the contents of our hearts. And let us remember how good God has been and worship Him through the good times and bad, the certainties and doubts, and anxiety.

Be encouraged, loves. We are anxiety fighters.

Have you gotten your copy of Bring It To The Surface Poetry & Journal?

Was I Really Free?

Around the time I was promoting my first self-published book, Setting The Captive Free poetry book, I did a promo photo shoot with some friends. I had us list what God had delivered us from. And I, myself, listed several things including anxiety, depression, generational curses, etc.

Looking back, maybe at that time that was true as life during that time was most likely okay and breathable. And I could honestly say God did deliver me from depression and even a suicide attempt years prior. I also know there were generational curses that were broken. But I wondered to myself as I saw a reminder of the I Am Free promo, photo shoot and post if I truly was free or capping as they say. Or maybe I felt free at the moment.

In any event, I notice that a lot of believers know that Jesus can and does set us free. Although we may still sin, sin no longer can reign in our lives. And although the world may never have the solutions to our problems, we have access to the throne of grace of the One who is the solution. But some of us are still walking around bound. The joy of the Lord is our strength but we rarely experience or spread joy. We are worried and stressed while God is ready to be given our cares and burdens because He cares for us.

Anxiety has plagued me for years. I would not realize until years later that even in college and teen years anxiety was present. It was present when I would get sick to the point of having to go back home after almost making it to the bus stop. And when I say I got sick, it was sick to my stomach… nevermind. Lol, I will stop there. It was present when I was lightheaded and hitting the floor. It was present at every moment of overthinking and worry. It was present with negative thoughts and self-pity. It was there when I felt like I disappointed someone. And anxiety is still present.

However, now that I know it is anxiety and what fuels it and what triggers it, I can have those informed conversations with myself and a professional. But more importantly now, I realize I don’t want to just feel and look free. I realize I can come to God and ask Him to help me to realize that I can be truly free.

Sometimes miracles and healing can happen overnight. Sometimes it takes time. I didn’t get this way overnight and there are a lot of components to address when someone struggles with anxiety or depression. So, I know this is going to take some time. But at the end of the tunnel, I pray that I am truly free. And that I heal from every stronghold and trauma and circumstance that is holding up the anxiety fear. I have to understand that deliverance sometimes is continual and I have to learn to trust God through the process/journey. As well as surrender every area and layer of my life to God.

So if the Son sets you free,(B) you will be free indeed( John 8:36). Our Savior granted us freedom, grace, mercy, and an unfailing love. It is time we walk fully in such.

Get your copy of Bring It To The Surface today!

Photo from my first book promo, I Am Free Photoshoot

Learn How To Fight

Just recently, I had the privilege of getting an awesome word from my cousin-in-law. We talked about anxiety and fear, and we also talked about being afraid to fight and not being use to fighting. She encouraged me so. My heart was full.

I went on to talk about these topics with my sister and we concluded that sometimes it may not always be we are used to not fighting but that we are afraid of conflict. And sometimes we are afraid we won’t be able to respond the way we need to or even hold up during the fight or conflict.

And just this morning, as I prepared to walk the dog, I walked past the tv that had been left on and saw a clip of Divergent. One of my favorite movies. The clip was Four getting ready to take Tris in to the landscape of his mind to show her how to prepare for the final test. She can’t just do things how she would normally do them. She can’t just rush through or even avoid some things. She must show that she is indeed Dauntless and not that she is (spoiler alert) Divergent. And so this clip made the lightbulb go on in my head. I immediately thought about fighting. Not the throwing up fists and releasing punches but getting back up and persevering. Fighting with wisdom and faith and resilience. Fighting strategically.

Just maybe during this season, God is teaching me how to fight. We can’t always avoid a fight. We can’t always run. And we can’t, like Tris, rush through it and respond the way we normally would. Each fight may require a different strategy. And my cousin-in-law said something similar. Oh my, I am getting full again. This fight may be different than the previous fight. You may need to do more than praying, sis. You may have to fast. You may have to cut some things off and out.

It is found via Google search that “fear not/do not be afraid” is written in the Bible 365 times. God has to remind us daily to not be afraid. God wants us to remember who we belong to and that the war has already been won. He wants us to also know that we have a strong defense team (He, His Son and Spirit as well as His angels) and the best tactical gear (the armor of God and prayer as well as worship) in the world and heavens.

So, why is God teaching us how to fight or to fight in this season?

1. God wants us to face our fears. Just like Four and Tris had to face their fears in the landscapes of their minds, God wants us to face ours. He also wants us take every thought captive. Destroy every proud obstacle that keeps us from knowing Him. There is a war going on in our minds and the best way to bring peace to our minds is to train our minds to catch, check and change certain thoughts that do not line up with the word and will of God. Or the love of God. We should even check thoughts that may not seem detrimental or harmful and see if they are sowing seeds of confusion, distraction and complacency with the world, fear, etc. Fears as they say are false evidence appearing real but to our minds it feels so real. And our fears can stem from so much trauma in our lives that it is normal to feel the way we feel. But God doesn’t want our identities and lives to be rooted in fear. He wants us to overcome and live fruitfully. We can’t fully live if our lives are fully rooted in fear.

2. God wants us to learn how to fight. God has strategies to overcome and to persevere. He has plans that always succeed. And He has promises that awaits us. His wisdom is supreme and it can aid us and save us from making poor decisions sometimes made due to fear and emotions. And like I mentioned before, the next fight may be a different kind of fight and may need a different kind of strategy. God may want us to be still during this fight to learn that He will defend us and to build our confidence in Him. Or He may want us to increase in prayer and fasting. We may need to be much bolder and let some things fall off of us. We may be carrying so much pain and so many distractions that prevent us from fighting effectively and consistently. So, He may call us away to Himself to heal and reorganize our priorities. We need to seek Him diligently and saturate in His Word. Find scriptures concerning our issues, problems, battles and meditate on and pray these scriptures. Just because we are afraid of the backlash from the enemy, afraid that our loved ones will be uncomfortable or afraid that no one in our circle will fight with us doesn’t mean the battle will go away. And God is Almighty and with us. The devil’s fate is sealed. And he already lost the war. God got you. We must learn to fight and learn to trust God.

3. God wants us to know that we are not alone and that we are joining the fight with other believers and for others, saved and unsaved, who need us to step up to the battle line. Tris had Four to help her. Tris had to realize that Four and many others like her needed someone to stand in the gap and make a difference. There are generational curses that need to broken in our families. There are children who need our intercession. There are churches that need revival and marriages that need reviving. There are sick people that need healing. There are people that need deliverance. There are some people that just need to experience God’s love and joy, especially during the uncertain moments of their lives.

So, be encouraged. Today, you may not feel like fighting. That is okay. Say thank You, Lord, for a new day. Start there. And then continue to listen for His voice on how to proceed throughout the day.

Scriptures For This Post:

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
II Timothy 1:7 NKJV
https://bible.com/bible/114/2ti.1.7.NKJV

Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!”
Nehemiah 4:20 NIV
https://nehemiah.bible/nehemiah-4-20

They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.
Jeremiah 1:19 NIV
https://jeremiah.bible/jeremiah-1-19

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
II Corinthians 10:3‭-‬6 NKJV
https://bible.com/bible/114/2co.10.3-6.NKJV

These are the nations the Lord left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Canaan (he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience): They were left to test the Israelites to see whether they would obey the Lord’s commands, which he had given their ancestors through Moses.
Judges 3:1‭-‬2‭, ‬4 NIV
https://bible.com/bible/111/jdg.3.1-4.NIV

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
James 1:2‭-‬5 NIV
https://bible.com/bible/111/jas.1.2-5.NIV

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
Ephesians 6:10‭-‬18 NIV
https://bible.com/bible/111/eph.6.10-18.NIV

❤,

Tannika🤓

Bring It To The Surface available now at Amazon.

What Comes Before The Exodus?

Exodus

While reading this morning Exodus chapter three again, a question and a statement came to mind. The question was “What came before the Exodus?” And the statement was “you need an encounter with God before your exodus out of whatever it is God wants to deliver you from.” So, what is an exodus? An exodus basically means mass departure or going out. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word itself is derived from the Greek word Exodos which literally means “the road out”. We know that in Exodus three that God commissions Moses to lead His people out of years of oppression and suffering. God saw and heard His people and He said to Moses, “I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering (Exodus 3:7 NLT). He then goes on to say that I have come down to rescue them. This is where Moses fits in and gets welcomed to join God in His mighty work.

Does God See Our Tears?

Exodus had to remind me that God hears and He sees. Often, many of us saved or unsaved cry out that God does not see all of the suffering in the world or even in our individual lives. He does. He is aware. That is why He sent His Son to bring His Kingdom here on earth and bring salvation and reconciliation. We now have an opportunity to one day no longer suffer and be in agony and turmoil.Moreover, as I read Exodus three, it dawned on me that some things preceded the exodus of the Israelites. For one, Moses had an encounter with God. And some other things took place also but first let me encourage you that God sees your suffering and He hears your cries.

Circumstances Don’t Have The Last Say

Circumstances in life, especially ones that won’t let up, won’t let you sleep, and keep popping back up, will make you feel like running and throwing in the towel. I have had days where my conversations with God are full of tears,  pleas and cries of wanting to just give up. However, a Bible plan I read left me with the impression that God will either deliver you from it or see you through it. The line in the Bible plan actually read “that sometimes God doesn’t deliver you from the trial. Instead He saves us through it.” In my struggles with anxiety and fear as well as other circumstances presented in my life, I sometimes think that this would be a lifelong struggle that eventually I would lose. But the devil is a liar. And John 16:33 reminds me that Jesus has already overcome the world, and therefore, He has already overcome the issues that plague it too. We may lose some battles in our human experience but Jesus overcame the war.  I may deal with anxiety for the rest of my life, but I know one thing God is teaching me through all of this, and that is to trust Him one day at a time.Shoot, the second thing He is teaching me is that He sent me a helper, the third person and He is called the Holy Spirit. He is my Comforter and constant, unparalleled peace in the midst of any storm. Three, I must surrender all to God. I must surrender to His love and lordship. And four, God does want to deliver me. There will be times I will be afraid and anxiety will rear its ugly head to challenge me to run and hide, stand still and give up, or tremble and fight. But the Holy Spirit will help me to get to the point where fear will not control me. And I will take my focus off of fear and anxiety and put it back on Jesus. I will live in the presence of God. The spirit of fear will not choke out my destiny or become my identity. The spirit of fear will not dictate the quality of life I will have or shall I say lack thereof. God did not give me a spirit of fear, but that of power, love and a sound mind. I will receive the life and life to the full Jesus came to give me. I will see myself the way God does. I will experience the joy that comes from God here on earth instead of believing I have to wait to experience it in heaven. The joy of the Lord is my strength. I will be fulfilled by only the One who can fulfill me and that is God. Life is not and will not always be comfortable. In fact, storms come and go. But I can walk in the freedom and wholeness of God, knowing that in His presence and with His grace, I can live simply, fruitfully and purposefully.

What Comes Before An Exodus?

Now back to what comes before the exodus. 

  • God heard and saw. He sees your suffering. He feels your pain. He acknowledges what you’re feeling. Then the Lord told him, “I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. Exodus 3:7 NLT

  • God remembers His covenant and promises. “Now go and call together all the elders of Israel. Tell them, ‘Yahweh, the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—has appeared to me. He told me, “I have been watching closely, and I see how the Egyptians are treating you. I have promised to rescue you from your oppression in Egypt. I will lead you to a land flowing with milk and honey—the land where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites now live.”’ Exodus 3:16‭-‬17 NLT

  • You have an encounter with God. One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock far into the wilderness and came to Sinai, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up. “This is amazing,” Moses said to himself. “Why isn’t that bush burning up? I must go see it.” When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!” “Here I am!” Moses replied. “Do not come any closer,” the Lord warned. “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground. I am the God of your father —the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” When Moses heard this, he covered his face because he was afraid to look at God. Exodus 3:1‭-‬6 NLT

  • God invites you to join Him in His mission. Look! The cry of the people of Israel has reached me, and I have seen how harshly the Egyptians abuse them. Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.” Exodus 3:9‭-‬10 NLT

  • You get His instructions and encouragement. Then the Lord told him, “I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.” But Moses protested to God, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?” God answered, “I will be with you. And this is your sign that I am the one who has sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God at this very mountain.” But Moses protested, “If I go to the people of Israel and tell them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ they will ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what should I tell them?” God replied to Moses, “ I Am Who I Am . Say this to the people of Israel: I Am has sent me to you.” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: Yahweh, the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you. This is my eternal name, my name to remember for all generations. “Now go and call together all the elders of Israel. Tell them, ‘Yahweh, the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—has appeared to me. He told me, “I have been watching closely, and I see how the Egyptians are treating you. I have promised to rescue you from your oppression in Egypt. I will lead you to a land flowing with milk and honey—the land where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites now live.”’ “The elders of Israel will accept your message. Then you and the elders must go to the king of Egypt and tell him, ‘The Lord , the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. So please let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord , our God.’ “But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand forces him. So I will raise my hand and strike the Egyptians, performing all kinds of miracles among them. Then at last he will let you go. And I will cause the Egyptians to look favorably on you. They will give you gifts when you go so you will not leave empty-handed. Every Israelite woman will ask for articles of silver and gold and fine clothing from her Egyptian neighbors and from the foreign women in their houses. You will dress your sons and daughters with these, stripping the Egyptians of their wealth.” Exodus 3:7‭, ‬10‭-‬22 NLT

Lastly, I would like to say that God is right there with you in your healing journey. He is our Shepherd and we have all we need because He cares for us and He will always provide for us. He never lies and never fails. Before our exodus, we must also come to let our flesh die daily. This means that with God’s grace and prayer, to humble ourselves before God and surrender to Him as well as keep renewing our minds with His word to transform our hearts. We must take time to spend time with God and make sure we keep our prayer altars lit. Let Him guide us and prepare us for each day as well as our deliverance, however that deliverance looks like to God. God is an amazing God and He loves us so!Tannika Nikeya 🙏🏾

Lioness

There are times anxiety and the issues of life make me forget how big my God is and that He is God Almighty. Sometimes, I am riddled with so much fear and stress that I can feel powerless and lethargic in moving forward. Subsequently, my prayer life and ability to trust Jesus wanes, and I am left unable to see myself as the warrior God sees me as and unable to walk in His authority confidently. I have learned, however, that I don’t have to rely on my own strength to push through. In fact, apart from God I can do nothing. He is my strength. Everywhere I go, He is there. Every concern I have, He cares. Every need I have, He provides. With His armor, I can roar His Word through prayer. I am more than a conqueror and no weapon formed against me shall prosper. Before I present to you my poem, first read these scriptures and be encouraged.


Not that I have already obtained it [this goal of being Christlike] or have already been made perfect, but I actively press on so that I may take hold of that [perfection] for which Christ Jesus took hold of me and made me His own. Brothers 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, I press on toward the goal to win the [heavenly] prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:12‭-‬14 AMP

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13 NLT
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:37 NIV

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7 NLT


Lioness

Lioness,

It is time to wake up and roar

There are some things you can no

longer ignore

You have to reach your full potential

You have to seize your destiny

Fulfilling your purpose is essential

To living and protecting your heart and

your cub

You have to seek Him first and allow

His will to be done as it is in Heaven

above

You are to represent Him in every way

You are to impact the world around you

starting today

No time to slumber

It is no longer day

It is the night

You are more than a conqueror

Rise up in all of His might

Written By Tannika Moore

Available in Bring It To The Surface

via Amazon now!

Guard Your Heart Like An Athlete Guarding A Football

I don’t play sports at all and I know nothing about football. Yet, I have seen a football in the hands of an athlete, held tightly like it was a gold nugget, and being carried through the hustle and bustle of other players serving as obstacles aiming for a chance to steal the ball and thwart the player’s chance to make it safely to the opponent’s end zone. And so I think about what if the player, who is carrying the football, fumbles and drops it. He must carry the ball and protect it with his force, focus and perseverance.

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
Proverbs 4:23 NLT

How much so must we guard our hearts, not our physical hearts (which need taking care of too) but the part of our being that carries our souls. Our hearts are more valuable than a football. Our hearts are the breeding grounds for thoughts and seeds to be planted, and prayerfully the right seeds. They are the epicenters of our emotions, wills, desires, intellects, goals and dreams, etc.

Now, I am no expert on the body, soul and spirit either but I do know we are a three part being (1 Thessalonians 5:23). We possess all three: a spirit, body, and soul. All three must be tended to with care in order to function in this earth realm and live a quality life. And moreso to fulfill our God-given destinies.

So back to our hearts. Just like our bodies, our hearts are so vital to our existence here on earth. Our hearts exude our perspectives on things and direct our actions. It is crucial that our hearts our cared for and guarded because they are just as precious, valuable, and imperative to who we are and how we impact the world around us. So, let us protect and care for our hearts. And remember every part of our being matters to God, our bodies, souls and spirits.

Our thoughts, our self-esteem, our goals. Everything concerning our hearts concerns God.

So, why must we guard our hearts. Well, first we must remember that if we have to guard something, it is because it is valuable. We guard our hearts because our hearts are:

1. Valuable

2. Necessary for survival

3. Will impact others in some kind of way.

Our hearts and we in totality are valuable to God and to each other. Moreover, relationships are imperative for our survival, relationship with God and relationship with others. We were all created with purpose, talents and gifts that are to be operated in good stewardship, wisdom, and according to God’s will to help and bless others. We are valuable and we are here to make an impact in the lives of others. And we as the Body of Christ especially should be impacting others through the wisdom and love of God.

Now lets look at the second reason we must guard our hearts. We must guard our hearts because we have an enemy.

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 NLT

1. We have an enemy, the devil, to protect our hearts against.

2. The enemy has come to steal, kill and destroy.

3. The mind is often our biggest battlefield.

Anxiety, depression, and suicide is on the rise. The minds and attention of our youth are gravely under attack. Parenting is difficult more than ever. Marriages are crumbling. Perversion, lovers of self, and haughtiness are growing rapidly. Destinies and dreams are also going to the graves. And a person with a wrong perspective, unguarded heart, and one wrong decision can derail his/her future. Some of us are courting secret sins and shame, and I am talking about those of us in the Body of Christ. Some of us are in despair and straddling the fence with God, losing hope and zeal for God. Let us guard our hearts. Let us repent and draw close to God.

So, let’s look at that again:

We must guard our hearts because they are valuable epicenters that house our thoughts, emotions, intellects, wills, etc. that not only affect us but others. And we have an enemy that sees this and wants to distort our epicenters, derail our destinies, steal how we see ourselves and others, kill our hopes and dreams, and destroy the very things (like relationship) that God created us to use to impact the world around us.

Guarding our hearts mean to protect and care for them. Plain and simple. And now we know from who and why we must guard our hearts. So now how?

Guard your heart by protecting its gates (eye gates, ear gates, etc.):

1. What are you watching?
2. What are you listening to?
3. What are you saying to yourself or others?
4. What are you meditating on?

Guard your heart by taking every thought captive.

We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 NLT

Catch them thoughts and check them?
Is this a thought lined up with the beliefs of God? Is this a thought from God or the enemy? What are you rooting your belief system in: witchcraft, conspiracy theories, what they say, or God? We cannot serve two masters. Are you feeding your spirit with the Word of God? It is so easy to just let your thoughts slide. But we have to have discipline over what we allow in our heads and what we allow to dominate our thoughts. People who are anxious tend to worry about the future. They tend to overthink and worry and struggle with a spirit of fear. People who tend to struggle with lust need to address when they tend to lust and what does the lust feed on. Pray that God destroy every proud obstacle that keeps us from knowing Him and that He captures our rebellious thoughts and teaches us to obey Him.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8 NLT

Guard your heart by reading the Word of God and meditating on it.

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Hebrews 4:12 NLT

His Word cannot return to Him void. Get His perspective, His views, His thoughts and His wisdom on the matter, about you and the world that surround you.

Guard your heart by developing discipline and obeying God’s word.

It is not enough to just hear and read God’s word but we must obey God. Trust His intentions and purpose for us are good. Do not harden our hearts when we hear God’s voice. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide us. Seek God for help. Rely on His grace for it is sufficient. His strength, power and Word enables us to develop the mindset and discipline we need to live pleasing before God. “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8 NLT

Read these relative chapters also.

Ephesians 5

1 Timothy 4

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. James 1:22‭-‬24 NLT

Now mentioning seeing yourself, guard your heart by seeing yourself the way He does.

It is so imperative to see yourself the way God does. If we are unable to see ourselves the way He does then I wonder if we are truly able to live, act and respond from the most authentic place. Can we really dwell richly in God’s love, that is unconditional and pure? Can we wholly communicate and impact from the Creator who created us with such a zeal and impact that is necessary? If we are unable to see ourselves the way God does, are we leaving cracks in the epicenter that let the enemy slip in?

So there you have it! It is not easy to guard something right? We have to have sharp focus. We have to persevere through countless obstacles and not give up. We have to be vigilant in watching and praying. We have to discipline our thoughts and that alone takes work and surrender to God. We have to not naively guard our hearts because we have a constant enemy. We have to remember the value of that which we are protecting. And we have to guard our hearts as we allow God to prune us and develop us in the fear of the Lord and wisdom of God as well as help us to bear fruit and subsequently more fruit, showing ourselves to be disciples of Jesus. Listen. Moreover, every human should not be guarding their hearts to restrict love, but guarding their hearts so that they can truly love. But to guard our hearts we need Jesus and His grace to be able to do so. We need God’s wisdom and Helper to direct us and heal us to guard our hearts and to also be able to walk in His love and receive His love. That is the last reason why we should guard our hearts. To walk in God’s love and receive it. Let us break it down further; we should guard our hearts:

1. to not be hindered in receiving the love God has for us and

2. to be able to love others as we love ourselves, and lastly but not least

3. …”‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’

Start today in guarding your heart by asking God for wisdom and grace to do so. Gather some scriptures to post on your wall or mirror and meditate upon them daily. Set a plan in place to guard your heart and seek to draw closer to God who loves you with an unfailing love.

Bring It To The Surface Bible Reading Plan

We lose a lot of things along the way in our journeys of life like confidence and hope, and sometimes ourselves. Some of us are fighting to regain our health mentally or physically. Some of us are carrying loads of pain and hiding behind masks, no pun intended. But God! He wants us to heal. He wants us to grow. He wants us to be free. I am so excited to bring to you this Bible Reading Plan titled after my latest book, Bring It To The Surface. So, grab your bible and I pray you allow God to bring some things to the surface so that your healing and recovery can start today. And for those already on your healing journeys, I pray this encourages you to not abandon the process and to seek and trust God one day at a time. It is a five day reading plan and its purpose is to guide you towards seeking God for your healing and recovery. So, welcome and enjoy, and let’s draw near to God who loves us beyond measure.

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Bring It To The Surface