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God Sent You a Valentine’s Card!

Written by Calvonia Radford 2/14/2018

A Valentine's Card from God

It is Valentine’s Day! 

For some of you, it is a good day.  Anticipated words of endearment and demonstrations of love will come to fruition.

For others it will be an isolated day of recognition. Just because the calendar tells him to.

In addition, for many, today is a dreary day. Filled with thoughts of “what if” and “when” or “never”.

The children of Israel must have had a plethora of emotions and thoughts on Valentine’s Day. (Do not send me emails; I know this holiday did not exist in their day)

These people, God’s beloved people had been to hell and back.

Given their valley type situations, were brought on by their own disobedience. Yet, the warm hugs and listening ears of their heavenly father seemed null and void. Just like some of our earthly relationships.

Just as Israel was on the verge of hopelessness, God steps in with a word in due season.

“A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!” Proverbs 15:23 KJV

Through the Prophet Jeremiah, God gave hope to the nation of Israel, telling them that he would deliver them from captivity and restore the whole nation to their own land. Then from his throne on heaven, God spoke these heartwarming words.

“The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” Jeremiah 31:3 KJV

Allow me to pick one word from this beautiful passage.

Lovingkindness

Did you notice that was one word? He did not say I was loving and kind to you.  He said he drew them to him with lovingkindness.

In the original Greek text, the word ha-sed is used. Which means with covenant loyalty. This is deep!  Let me unpack it for you.

God is a covenant keeper.

A covenant is much more than a contract. In the biblical days, when two or more people entered a covenant, they would sacrifice an animal and cut it into two pieces. They would then walk between that carcass, looking up toward God to say, “If we break this covenant, do unto us what we have done to this animal”.

What God was saying through the Prophet Jeremiah to his beloved nation was this.

My love for you is not temporary, manifested merely to a single generation, but it is an everlasting love, that will continue through all generations.

God’s everlasting love, which flows from his covenant loyalty, is unconditional.  Remember, he is a covenant keeper.  He cannot fail to do what he said he would do.

The apostle Paul stood confidently on God’s declaration of inseparable love in Romans 8:39.

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

So today, if the thought of Valentine’s Day leaves a bitter taste in your mouth, remember God’s unfailing love for you.

I suggest you write the scriptures out and read them repeatedly until you digest them.

“O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” Psalm 34:8 KJV

The bible is God’s love letter to us. It is the biggest Valentine Card on the market. It is not corny and it is beyond sentimental.

God’s words are life altering. His words heal broken hearts and give hope.

Happy Valentine’s Day my dear sister. I love you. However, God loves you more!

 

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I Choose to Agree With God!

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Published February 2, 2018 by Calvonia Radford 

I’m joining Kate over at Five Minute Friday, a community of writers who write for five minutes on a prompt. Today’s Five Minute Friday free writing prompt is AGREE

Setting my timer for five minutes, and . . . GO. 

I choose to Agree with God!

I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved. Colossians 3:12

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.   Romans  8:38-39

I have struggled most my life with the lies satan tells me.  You have probably heard the same lies. Know body loves you! Nobody wants you! You are not good enough. You will not fit in. They want pick you.

It started when I was in elementary school and I was always the last one chosen for the kickball team. Those feelings of inadequacy grew deeper and deeper.

I did not do well in math  -feelings of defeat.

I did not receive an invitation to the school dance – feelings of rejection.

I praise God for his written word, which penetrates my spirit, quickens me and sets me straight up on a solid foundation.

God love me!  Unconditionally.  Well shucks!  He chose me.  His vote of approval is a lot more important than being chosen to kick some stupid ball.

God dearly loves me.  His love, will never stop!  It does not matter what I do, what anyone else does, what situations come and go.  He said NOTHING can separate me from his love.

How reassuring

It warms my heart.  Dries my tears. Encourages me and motivates me to love others the same way he loves me.  Unconditionally!

So satan, you and your nasty imps,   I resist you and all the lies you try to make me believe.

I choose to agree with God!

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Know Your Name!

You know your name.  Refuse to answer to anything else.

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Written by Calvonia Radford 1/29/2018

It’s so fun watching my two-year-old granddaughter grow.  It seems she gets taller before my very eyes and every time I’m with her, she uses new vocabulary words.  Recently she started speaking in full sentences, so we enjoy holding short conversations with her.

I was eavesdropping on a one-on-one she was having with her Pappa this weekend when I heard him refer to her as a baby. This spunky toddler responded confidently and with a quickness with these words,

“I’m not baby, I’m Moziya!”.

She didn’t stammer or stutter. There was no hesitation in her voice nor stumbling in her stance. She positioned herself with confidence in her minimal knowledge and spoke with clarity. Even though her arsenal of knowledge was limited, she knew what she knew.

We are children of God. Reborn on the day we accepted Christ work on the cross and made that confession of faith in him. (Romans 10:9) In some ways, we too are toddlers. Growing taller before God’s very eyes.

The more we spend time with God, building an intimate relationship, our spiritual vocabulary increases.  We speak less world speak and more God speak. Yet, we tend to answer to names that don’t represent who we are. We are Christian.

Maybe you sang this children’s song,

I am a C, I am a CH, I am a CHRISTIAN. And I have CHRIST in my HEART and I will LIVE ETERNALLY.

Christian, is much more than lyrics to a song.  It is our new name, our identity. We must become just as confident in that identity as my granddaughter is in her name.

“I am not baby, I am Moziya!”.

Oxford dictionary describes Confidence as the state of feeling certain about the truth of something.

My dear sister, we must be confident. We must feel certain about the truth of who we are.

Remember who you are. We are daughters of the Most High God!        

We must know that we know we know who we are and whose we are!  When God saved us from our sins, he adopted us (Ephesians 1:5) and made us joint heirs with his son (Romans 8:17). We are indeed his daughters.

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:” John 1:12 NKJV

Position yourself with Confidence

We must tap into the confidence that only comes through Christ and take a bold stance. Remember, he has our backs.

“in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.” Ephesians 3:12

Speak what you know with clarity

Finally, open your mouth and declare the truth. You know your name.  Refuse to answer to anything else. More importantly, let your actions speak louder than your words.  The world will believe you are a Christian when they see your Christ-like behavior. Act like you know who you are.

“A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, And a word spoken in due season, how good it is!” Proverbs 15:23

We as women, for the most part, are vocal. If you’re like me the more confident you are in the subject matter, the more animated and louder you get. There are women in our sphere of influence that need to hear our confession.  If we don’t speak, they may never know!

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Did You Forget to Give Jesus a Gift?

It’s never to late to bring him our gifts.

12/26/2017 by Calvonia Radford

wise men still give him gifts

Have you ever forgotten to get a gift for someone very special to you?

I wonder if you know this feeling.

The stores have closed for the night, so you scurry around the house looking for something to re-gift or some cash to stuff into a card.

This one is too cheap.

That one too gaudy.

And, none of them fit the recipient’s personality.

Unfortunately, you have procrastinated too long, you must swallow your pride and give the last minute impersonal gift or nothing.

Have you waited too long to give Jesus a gift?

God gave us a gift when he sent his son to die for our sins. It is never too late to offer a gift in appreciation to what he has done for us.

15 Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. II Corinthians 9:15

Remember the Magi? The men in the bible who traveled from afar seeking the Christ child after seeing a very unfamiliar star in the sky.

We could take a few lessons from the Magi.

1. Our pursuit

When the Magi saw the star in the East, they identified it as supernatural and committed to following it until they found the Christ child. We too must actively pursue Jesus? We should read his letter to us and quiet our minds to let his thoughts become our thoughts? He has promised if we seek him we will find him.

13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

2. Our praise

Upon their arrival to the house where the child lived, the wise men presented gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to Jesus as an act of worship. These Gentile men made a sacrificial trip to bow down to the one who came to the Jews bringing salvation.

It’s time for us to do an inventory. What gifts do we have for Jesus? He does not require material gifts yet he wants us to give him ourselves as a reasonable act of worship.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”Romans 12:1

3. Don’t become possessive of our positions

When King Herod heard about the prophecy that Jesus would be the ruler of the Israelites, he became disturbed and plotted to destroy this king who he thought had come to dethrone him.

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me. The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.” Micah 5:2

Poor Herod had no idea that Jesus would one day rule the nations as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

“And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. “Revelation 19:16

God is a jealous God.  He will not share his position with us so we might as well relinquish whatever seat we think we’ve earned.

“5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers  upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;“ Exodus 20:5

Of all the gifts we give to all the people we give them to, there is no one more worthy than Jesus.

It’s never too late to bring him our gifts. 

It took the wise men two years to find Jesus and over two thousand years later, we are still talking about the gifts they brought him.  (Matthew 2:11)

Want you join me in wishing Jesus a Happy Belated Birthday and giving him a gift.

Better late than never.

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Are you Ready for Christmas?

are you ready for christmas

There is a question floating around. “Are you ready for Christmas?” I bet you have heard it repeatedly.

I am not sure what the inquirer is asking.

Does she want to know if you have finished shopping for gifts?  Is his quest leaning more toward your decorations or does he want to know if you made your menu and purchased the food for Christmas dinner?

I would wager to say for most people, “Are you ready for Christmas?” is a simple phrase used this time of year.  Maybe a discussion starter or a byword.  Not specifically asked due to interest in the answer.

Honestly, the question sometimes annoys me because, well, I’m not ready.

I have not made the list or checked it twice.  My menu is not planned nor have I purchased any groceries.  I am not even sure whose coming to dinner.

Are you ready for Christmas?

What does this question mean to Jesus?

The prophet Isaiah revealed that there was one coming who would prepare the way for the Lord.  That one he spoke of was John the Baptist.  Remember him?  The son of Elizabeth and Zacharias, cousin of Mary and Jesus.

John was born six months prior to his cousin Jesus.  His calling was to prepare the way for the Jesus.

God must have spoken to this little man in utero because when he heard the voice of Mary, the Bible says he leaped in his mother’s womb.

Years later, the Apostle Mark referenced him in this way, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” Mark 1:3

John was the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy.  He walked out his purpose compelling his generation to, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

Oh if we had some John the Baptist type Christians today!  Men, women, and children who would prepare the way for the Lord. Believers who would make the path straight for Jesus to come in.

Don’t you agree that our 21st Century world could use a little more Jesus?

He is the only remedy for our sin-cursed world?

The more I watch the news, the more I understand the purpose of the great commission and just like John the Baptist, we must compel them to come.  We must prepare the way.

Am I ready for Christmas? No!

The path in my life is not clear.  I have spiritual clutter laying around for sinners to stumble over.  The words of my mouth aren’t always sweet and my thoughts not always pure.  I spend too much time watching people do things on television that I wouldn’t dare allow them to do or say in my house and too little time reading the word or kneeling in prayer.

I am NOT ready for Christmas. Are you?

How do we get ready?  How do we prepare the way?

  1. Leave the broad path and enter the narrow one.

We must identify the sin in our lives, turn away from it and towards righteous living.

“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”                Matthew 7:13-1

2. Let God use us again.

The absence of prayer and bible study causes our flame to go out. Stir up the fire, fan the flames, don’t let the fire go out!

“Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.” I Timothy 1:6]

3. Look for opportunities to share our hope in Christ.

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” I Peter 3:15

Let’s make Jesus the focus of our thoughts this Christmas season. After all, he is the reason for the season. He wants us to be ready for Christmas.  Ready to point the way to Jesus.  The one who brings light to our dark world.

 

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When the Familiar becomes Unfamiliar.

Calvonia Radford, November 25, 2017

Joining my friend Kate Motaung over at her Five Minute Friday link-up. This weeks prompt is Familiar.

familiar becomes unfamiliar.jpg

Setting my timer for five minutes, and . . . GO.

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose               under the heaven:” Ecclesiates 3:1

I thrive in structured environments.  I relish the routine. Boundaries bring me comfort. A-Z steps make me happy.

As a mother, I provided an environment of predictability.  I knew what to expect more than not because I arranged my days, their days.  One thing that was not only predictable but sure was the fact one day they would transition from being under my feet to establishing and maintaining their homes and lifestyles, including holiday traditions.

The day to day of having an empty nest doesn’t bother me.  It’s the special days, the holidays that shake my world.

Why? You ask.

Because they move me from the familiar to the unfamiliar.

My three children are all adults living their own lives now.  I am propelled to embrace the new normal.  They have their own families and therefore their territories have been enlarged adding in-laws, new friends and such.

STOP

With this new normal comes a sense of pride.  I reared them with this end in mind.  I worked for the day when my three children would be mature adults living independently.

So I bow to worship today.  I praise God for answering my prayers.  I hold up my head in pride they have arrived at the destination.

So on those days when we are all spread out across the globe, I accept video chats, telephone calls, and greeting cards.  I appreciate shorter visits and every effort to fit me into their lives.  Because they still want to fit me in.  As I transition into the unfamiliar I gain my grandchildren’s hugs and sloppy wet kisses………..

I am truly blessed, even in the unfamiliar.

Giving Thanks in Challenging times.

Calvonia Radford 11/20/2017

happy thanksgiving

Do you remember singing “A Thanksgiving poem” by Lydia Maria Child?  It goes like this.

Over the river and through the woods

To Grandfather’s house we go.

The horse knows the way

To carry the sleigh

Through white and drifted snow.

The millennial generation will have a hard time imagining the “white and drifted snow” of Thanksgiving season. In my day, November ushered in massive snows.  Often we had to cancel our trips to grandmother’s house.

Over the years, while transitioning into my 50’s, I have seen less and less of those snow drifts on Thanksgiving.  I am not a scientist so I will not debate whether the cause is global warming.

What I will stand firm on is my belief that along with the decrease in the snow came diminishing thankfulness.

I have seen a slippery slope of ungratefulness induced by trauma.  We have had our share of trauma this year. Hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions. Mass shootings in places of entertainment, educational institutions and houses of worship. Terrorist attacks and cyber-attacks. Giant sinkholes gobbling up both humans and material possessions. Foodborne illnesses and infectious diseases. Political drama and civil unrest.

All these devastating incidents remind me of the song, “GLOOM, DESPAIR, AND AGONY ON ME” from the TV Show “Hee-Haw” (1969 -1992) written by Buck Owens & Roy Clark.

What do we do?

What do we do when we do not know what to do?  When the care of the world overshadows our blessings and we forget to say Thank you!

What do we do when the turkey meal is more appetizing than the family and friends gathered round the table?

How do we crawl out of the funk and into fellowship and festive praise?

Ponder the Past

The prophet Jeremiah took some time to ponder the doom, gloom, and agony of his past and saw glimpses of God’s hand of mercy over them.  This recollection gave him hope. He then came to the realization that God’s mercies are not extinct, but new every morning.  

“This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:21-23

Position yourself in a Posture of Praise

The Bible records numerous accounts of King David’s tragedies.  Some self-inflicted and others brought on by his enemies. In the midst of all his pain, David found a stance of praise. He knew the secret. Praise invites God into your atmosphere.  Regardless of our situations or circumstances, we must offer up a yet praise.

“But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more.” Psalm 71:14

“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my“

“I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Psalm 34:1

“But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.        Psalm 22:3

Peer through God’s promises into your future.

As God’s children, we have some promises that we can claim. His word is true. We must turn our eyes away from today’s challenges and into tomorrow’s promised destiny.

“To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3

“But you, O LORD, are a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of my head.” Psalm 3:3

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11

I admonish you, to join me this Thanksgiving season looking to God, the one who loves us unconditionally. Though there be unrest, sickness, and disease, though tragedies become more and more common, God is still on the throne.  That in itself is reason to give him praise.

Happy Thanksgiving!