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Roll With The Punches

One of my favorite biblical figures is the Apostle Paul. His story fascinates me. It’s filled with so many twists and turns. It’s unpredictable. What you expect to happen to him NEVER happens! It makes me think of how we sometimes view our own lives. We have timelines filled with joyful milestones and ends happily ever after. We forget the Author of our stories pens no two stories the same but rather chooses characters with flaws and traits that we deem unattractive or undesirable and uses them to accomplish His will. It doesn’t look pretty at first glance. With deeper insight and loss of selfish desires a greater story reveals itself.

I can relate to the apostle Paul. His story in the book of Acts tells of an educated, zealous, and passionate young man. His passion for persecuting Christians was so extreme he earned a reputation that struck fear in the hearts of followers of the Way. How deep must a man’s hatred run for a cause that he would hold the coats of those that stoned an innocent man to death while looking on with pleasure and consent? Reading Paul’s story I often wonder about what he must have been thinking on his way to Damascus before encountering Christ. Was he thinking about his career path? Perhaps wondering what was the magic number of Christians he needed to tyrannize in order to receive a promotion.  Maybe he was daydreaming about how quickly he would advance in life like many of us do today and calculating how to achieve his next set of goals. Nevertheless, his plans were aborted and replaced with more rewarding ones after a transforming ordeal.

The man who turned the world upside down in his pursuit of annihilating the spread of the Gospel would turn the world upside down again in the quest for sharing it to the ends of the earth. His transformation after encountering Jesus was so drastic and unique no one knew what to make of him. He preached the Gospel with intensity and devotion. Yes, one of the greatest persecutors of the early church was now its biggest promoter. Was this the life Paul dreamed for himself? A life full of rejection, stoning, beatings, imprisonment, and suffering. One without comfort, riches, and ends in a violent death.

Sometimes we can look at our lives and become discouraged because they don’t resemble our dreams. I admire the apostle Paul because he rolled with the punches. Jesus said this about Paul, “…he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. “ The zeal and commitment Paul exhibited as an apostle was genuine because he was living the dream.  He was fulfilling his purpose in life. His testimony was shared numerous times and carried him places he may have never travelled to before his conversion. His experiences shaped him into a mighty missionary. Debates only fueled his drive for sharing truth and dispelling myths. He lived a life of uncertainty but was secure in his faith and belief in the resurrected Savior. He surrendered himself completely to God to be used for His glory.

Paul’s story may sound daunting to you but He says this about the life he lived, “And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” Paul’s satisfaction was found in obedience to the will of God. Life is filled with uncertainty. Roll with the punches. Be passionate. Give it your all. Live! Fulfill your life’s purpose. It’s one of life’s greatest rewards.

-Kilra Williams

 

Acts 20:22-24 “22 And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, 23 except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. 24 But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself,[b] so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. (NKJV)

Acts 9:15-16 “15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.” (NKJV)

Acts 14:22 “…We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” (NKJV)

Prayer and Scripture

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So often we go to God in prayer for the desires of our heart but often we are no specific.  Ask God for the wisdom and discernment to teach you how He wants you to pray and for what He wants you to pray for.

Here is a starter list of prayers you should know when you are asking God for something when you are trusting and leaning on your faith what he will give you what you ask.

Matthew 7:7  ”Ask, and it will be given to you seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

Matthew 21:22 And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

Mark 11:24  Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

John 14:13-14 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it

Mark 9:29  And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”

Acts 9:40 But Peter put them all outside, and knelt down and prayed; and turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up.

James 5:14-16 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

~LaToya Murchison

Book Review: There is Purpose in Your Valley: Understanding Life’s Struggles

There is Purpose in Your Valley: Understanding Life's StrugglesThere is Purpose in Your Valley: Understanding Life’s Struggles by Dr. Arlene Kearns Dowdy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There is Purpose in Your Valley: Understanding Life’s Struggles I can’t say enough great things about the book. After only reading the first few page it had me in tear because I am dealing with some things. This amazing book truly ministers to your heart and soul. Dr Dowdy breaks down the word of God so that it is easy for every one to understand. All of lessons in There is Purpose in Your Valley: Understanding Life’s Struggles are backed up by scripture from God’s word. This is not a book that you read in sitting because if you try you will miss the true blessing of its message. I high recommend this book and know I will be reading it again very soon.

LaToya Murchison Author of A Praying Heart: Learning How to Pray Your Way Through

View all my reviews

A Praying Heart-Testimony

On December 19,2015 I received this beautiful testimony from one of my readers Pamela Forster Fraim on Facebook. Her message reminds me of why I must continue to keep writing and using the gift that God has given me no matter what I may going thought. With Ms. Fraim I am sharing this message with you in hopes it will bless you as it as a blessing to me.

Dear Latoya, I just bought your book, A Praying Heart and THANK YOU SO MUCH for it! I have never prayed to God and I am finding now that I would like to start, but where and how I wondered. YOU dear have helped me and thank you from the bottom of my heart! God Bless YOU each and every day and I look forward to any of your other things smile emoticon heart emoticon I have a special needs daughter who is a true Earth Angel as I call her, her name is Crystal Litton and she has Rett Syndrome, would you please say a prayer for her in your prayer group and for all the other Earth Angels as well?

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Rett syndrome is a rare non-inherited genetic postnatal neurological disorder that occurs almost exclusively in girls and leads to severe impairments, affecting nearly every aspect of the child’s life: their ability to speak, walk, eat, and even breathe easily. The hallmark of Rett syndrome is near constant repetitive hand movements while awake. Cognitive assessment in children with Rett syndrome is complicated, but we know that they understand far more than they can communicate to us, evidenced by their bright and attentive eyes, and their ability to express a wide spectrum of moods and emotions.  Click here for more information on Rett Syndrome.

**LaToya Murchison**

Matthew 5:16 – Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Visualize Your Outcomes

Today I would like to share with you an excerpt from my first book A Praying Heart entitled: Visualize Your Outcomes. I hope it encourage and empowers you to not only pray to fully see your desired results of your prayers. Be blessed.

Visualize Your Outcomes

Your prayers are affected by what is going on in your mind at that time. When you mentally picture your outcomes, you increase the power of your prayers. Visualization allows your subconscious to generate creativity, trains your brain to recognize the resources you will need, and increases your internal motivation. Close your eyes, and place yourself in to a comfortable position, and visualization will begin to happen quickly.
To help prepare yourself for what comes next, you can mentally rehearse your prayer answers by lining up your prayer request as different scenes in a movie. It is up to you how much detail you add. To have a deeper impact on your outcomes, you should allow yourself to physically experience them in advance.

Prayer

Lord, I ask for you to help me to no longer worry about what will happen later today or tomorrow. Teach me to understand that you had already created the answers that I needed long before I came to you with the request. Allow my path to no longer be dark; put me at the end of the tunnel, where I am reaching and grabbing hold to my dreams while walking into my destiny. Thank You, Lord, because I have experienced your love, and now I feel free. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Scripture Reading:

 “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you. Because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people The faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel.” Colossians 1:3

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Author Websitehttp://latoyaauthor.wix.com/authorlatoyam

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Amazon Author Pagewww.amazon.com/author/latoyamurchison

~LaToya Murchison

Will the REAL Christians Stand Up

Terrorist attacks. Mass shootings.  Persecution.  Refugees. What comes to mind when you hear these words? Do you see images of armed, masked men? Chaotic crowds fleeing their homes in search of safety? How do you feel? Anxious or perhaps dismayed?  Main stream media has been overwhelmingly flooded with illustrations of hopelessness and fear in recent weeks as it broadcasted multiple stories of insurgent attacks around the world.  I was heartbroken and angered at the response of those who called themselves Christians as these devastating events unfolded. Political leaders and their supporters, identifying themselves as Christians, angrily declared that refugees seeking asylum should not be let into this country.  Social media posts flooded my timeline in support of this view.  Am I crazy or has the definition of a Christian changed?

See, I thought the definition of a Christian was someone who believed in and followed the teaching of Jesus Christ.  Jesus, the one who said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  You know Jesus, the one who declared, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”  The Jesus that asserted, “Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant.  And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all.  For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”  The Jesus I follow made the following statement that brings tears to my eyes and humbles my heart every time I read it.  He said, “For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’  “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?  When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?  Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.”  That’s the Jesus I know.  That’s the Jesus I am committed to.

The Jesus I follow as a Christian would have me readily accept those that are being persecuted.  After all, were not the first Christians heavily persecuted and are they not still being persecuted today?  Is it possible that our own doors could be kicked in, our towns raided, and we displaced from our homes?  Could our lives be changed in an instant?  Does the history of our nation not teach us this or have the events of the past been forgotten?  It could be me or even you tomorrow, next month, or next year.

I refuse to let terrorists win by paralyzing me with fear or silencing my voice.  Will the REAL Christians please, stand up!  Christians believe in the power of God.  They are called to be salt and light.  They are called to serve others.  But most of all they are called to love. We are the body of Christ, the hands and feet that bring good news and hope to those in need.  The world is watching us. Are we accurately reflecting the teachings of Christ in our speech and actions? If so will the REAL Christians, please stand up!

Join me in prayer:

Father, in times of chaos and unrest we fix our eyes and hearts upon You.  Be our peace and calm our fears that we might hear Your Spirit speak clearly to us.  May we respond with obedience to the instructions You give us. Endow us with courage to stand up for those who are being unjustly persecuted.  Forgive us for taking the freedoms and daily pleasures we enjoy for granted.  Now open our eyes to see others as humans, as brothers and sisters in need.  Help us to see others as You see them, even as You see us.  Teach us how to love them and show them sincere love. May we be selfless and use our resources to bring them comfort in this season of despair. Use us to bring hope and restore joy where terror has brought fear.  In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

-Kilra Williams

Scriptures taken from the NKJV Bible.

Matthew 22:37-40

John 13:34-35

Mark 10:43-45

Matthew 25:35-40

Matthew 5:13-16

 

 

Interview with LaToya Murchison

Rivka and Ivory

Today on the blog we’re delighted to be featuring author and poet LaToya Murchison!

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1. What does the term “Diverse Books” mean to you?
To me Diverse Books covers a wide range of topics that do not have a limit on them. They can include poetry, love, hate, grief, race and religions just to name a few things. Have diverse books means that there is something that everyone can read.

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2. You are the founding member of D.O.V.E. Please tell us a little bit about this group and how it promotes diversity and unity.
D.O.V.E (Daughters of Virtue) was established to united Daughters of Virtue who strive to encourage and empower other women and members of their community. To promote unconditional love, peace unity and the importance of understanding and respecting women’s individual’s rights to choose a spiritual path. Daughters of Virtue has a zero-tolerance policy against discrimination among members…

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