Devotion of the Week | Pearls of Promise | Page 88

Embrace the Season by Cynthia Diggs

Cynthia Diggs Photo

Evangelist Cynthia Diggs, a native of Las Vegas, Nevada, is the daughter of the late Pastor James and First Lady Odessa Diggs, and from birth, she was set apart to serve God in a great way. 

She was licensed and ordained to preach the gospel under the leadership of her spiritual father, Pastor Denny D. Davis. Since she has been a member of St. John Church, she has served in the music ministry; including praise and worship and an associate minister. She also served as a facilitator to the Victorious Disciples Ministry; a one year mentoring program teaching women biblical principles, how to become disciple makers birthed from her first lady. Cynthia has a strong passion for the singles, youth and women’s ministries and teaches all from her own personal experiences.

She is the Founder of Cyndi4RealMinistries…Realistic Expectations about Life. This ministry teaches one how to expect positive results when dealing with negative situations and still “Keep it real” in truth. She lives by the philosophy that “Truth is the key to deliverance”. Under the umbrella of this ministry are several components.

She is the founder of her own mentorship program entitled M.A.G.I.C…Men-tees Accepting God’s Inevitable Call. She is devoted to teaching women how to walk in the area that God has uniquely called them to according to the word of God, daily disciplines, and serving God’s people.

Evangelist Diggs is now hosting and facilitating “Women in Ministry” quarterly workshop classes to edify, educate, enlighten and empower women that serve in any capacity of ministry. This is not only a mandate from God but is truly a passion for Evangelist Diggs as she truly has the heart to teach others relevant information to aid them along the path of their God given assignment.  She spent 8 years as a private school teacher and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. She has received a great background in theological studies from the St. John Bible Institute. 

Of all her life accomplishments, Evangelist Cynthia Diggs would like the world to know her as a woman of God that understands that, No matter what you are faced with, you can make it if you have Christ on your side!” 

Psalms 91:1 has proven to be the foundation of her life. As she abides in the secret place of The Most High God, He also abides in her. To date, she has shared the word of God in various cities, states and countries. Most recently, she was given the opportunity to minister the word of God in Ontario, Canada! She is comfortably using her influential voice to speak to many audiences all over the world as she inspires others through real, transparent messages of hope through the word of God. She resides in Dallas, TX. Stay connected at www.cynthiadiggs.com

Butchart Gardens7

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NIV).

Have you ever found yourself asking, “What is going on in this season?” Not understanding where you are or even how you got there? Our God given life purpose is fulfilled through phases or “seasons” that help us to get to THAT particular place. When we feel bombarded, confused, distraught, hopeless, overlooked, overwhelmed, tired and weary, we are usually in the RIGHT season to be used by God!

The Bible gives so many scenarios of Jesus passing by or going through a certain place to in order to fulfill purpose. Jesus never went to the wrong person. He never went at the wrong time. He always knew what to do and when to do it. Our job is to follow His lead so that we may receive in order to lead effectively and efficiently. Seasons are indicators that dictate to us the direction to our destiny. How we handle the input in each season will determine our ultimate outcome!

Therefore, Jehovah Himself will give YOU men a sign: “Look! The maiden herself will actually become pregnant, and she is giving birth to a son, and she will certainly call His name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). Jesus was born in the right season…When Jesus was born; it was indeed the “fullness of time”. (Galatians 4:4-5). It is no different with you and me. We cannot do anything leading to our God given purpose until it is the proper time. God promised us seasons to indicate “the order of nature”.

But did you know that every person goes through four seasons as well? Did you know that every church goes through four seasons? Did you know that your marriage goes through seasons? Seasons affect all of us and everything we do.

King Solomon was considered a very wise man and what made him so wise was the fact that he understood nothing remains the same. And so it is the same for us, even as women; we must understand the season we are in and proceed accordingly. Seasons dictate our actions and our moods for we relate much better with everyone when the season or seasoning is right. King Solomon teaches us in this passage of scripture that there is a time for every season, seasons change and we must adapt to each one. Knowing what is going on in each and responding the correct way will actually help us to get to the next one a lot easier.

dancing

Although sometimes we may be in a season of crying, it will at some point change to laughter. At some point we are celebrating life and then later, we are mourning deaths. There’s a season to plant and then later receive what was planted. Once we understand that nothing remains the same, we can grow or rather; “Bloom where we are planted!” Seasons come and seasons go so for that alone, there is no reason to despise where you are today. Just remember to embrace the season you are in and watch God cultivate you right where you are. Everything that is needed at that appropriate time will be given as the earth produces what’s necessary.

Do we not know that we are God’s human creation and all we have to do is wait for the seasons to change? Not only will all of the basic necessities be there when we arrive, but our own Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will meet us there as well. Since God is always there, all we have to do is embrace the space we occupy. Don’t get too comfortable where you are, this season will change!

The Host’s Invitation

Word_of_mouth_referrals

A new friend leaned over and whispered, “I have a word for you.” I told the woman I was going to Israel in a few weeks, and she obviously heard something from above about my trip. But we were listening to a speaker at Bible study, so having a conversation right then was not appropriate.

I waited in anticipation for the message, and could hardly concentrate on the speaker. At the next break she finally shared, “You are supposed to know the Host has invited you to Israel, and he has something for you there.”

Who-is-the-king-of-glory

THE Host? I knew what she meant. God is oftentimes referred to as the “Lord of Hosts” in the Old Testament. The “Lord of Hosts” is another name for God that refers to his reign as King of all Heaven and Earth.

The prophet Isaiah encountered the Lord of Hosts, and it was almost more than a human could take:

“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone!
 Because I am a man of unclean lips,
 And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
 For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts” (Isaiah 6:1-4 NKJV).

If Isaiah had unclean lips, what are mine? The word that comes to mind is “unworthy.”

So how does one prepare to meet the Host? I believe through much prayer, study, and anticipation of what is to come.

Israel itinerary

Where will it happen? I looked over my itinerary. Will it be at the Mount of Beatitudes? The Sea of Galilee? The Western Wall?

That’s not for me to know, but I have a feeling it will be in the least likely of places. As you remember, Jesus revealed himself to two men on a dusty road to Emmaus. He reached out to a Samaritan woman at a water well. He called Zacchaeus down from a tree. I want to have my eyes wide open, looking for His glory at every turn.

I’ve been told countless times that I will not be the same after this trip to Israel. Perhaps you’ve already been to the Holy Land, and understand the statement.

How could you be after being entertained by the Lord of Hosts in his House? So with less than three weeks and counting, I am humbly asking God to prepare me to be a grateful houseguest and student. I don’t want to miss anything he has to say to me now, or in the land of his chosen ones.

There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah (Isaiah 46: 4-7). (LBW)

Imitate Good

“Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good” (3 John 11).

Kathy and me

“Give.” That was my word from God for 2014 so I did. For the first time in my life, I became a servant to other ministries, rather than a leader, and I have to confess, it was not natural for me. From working registration at an event to greeting people at doors, I was giving of my time and energy, and becoming disciplined at doing what was good. I even began to like serving.

NBA All star game

I had to also break a bad habit of receiving, rather than serving. I had to learn how to reach out to others because no one was knocking down my door to befriend me. When I was in television, and a public figure, people came to me. I did not have to put out much effort. I also received the fringe benefits of public status: free tickets to the Spurs games, invitations to play in celebrity golf tournaments, and better seats at events. I never had to go after anything, except a good story.

However, standing back and waiting to be served is not how Jesus did it. Jesus had the status, but didn’t flaunt it, and while he had people come to him, he also went to where the people were. According to Philippians 2:7, even though he was equal with God, he “made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant.”

Sometimes serving, and doing good does not come naturally to a person. That’s why in 3 John 11, John tells his friend Gaius, to “imitate” good. The word imitate means: “to follow in action or manner; to make a copy of; reproduce closely.” We have to imitate good until it becomes our nature, and I can’t think of a better person to imitate than Jesus.

John Wesley said, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”

Volunteer

We have to ask ourselves, and God, “Am I doing good? If not, where can I do good?”

2 Thessalonians 3:13 encourages us to never tire of doing good. Occasionally doing a lot of good can burn us out, because we don’t always receive good in return. We have to remember that we won’t necessarily see our good-girl rewards on this side of heaven, so keep at it!

Does serving and doing good come naturally to you? If not, imitate what is good. Study the teachings of Jesus. Learn how to be a servant.

As 2014 comes to a close, I know my word for the year, “give” will carry over. By giving, instead of leading, or receiving, the Lord has opened up a whole new ministry world, and has provided friends I would have never met, had I not given of my time. Instead of waiting for ministries to come to me, I will continue to go to where I am called and say, “How can I help? What can I give?”

Doing good no longer seems unnatural anymore, but it took Jesus changing me for that to happen.

My “imitation” was transformed into “inclination.”

What about you? Does doing good come natural to you? If not, how can you imitate good? Ask the Lord to show you. He will be faithful to do that. (LBW)

 

 

Windows of Hope by Jacqueline Hooks

Jackie Hooks

Jacqueline Hooks is our guest blogger today. This is what she says about herself and her ministry:  “I am an everyday ordinary gal who started following Jesus less than a decade ago, and has fallen madly in love with the Carpenter King who saved my life and my marriage.  My husband and I are raising “four holy moly messes” (Jake 10, Jude 9, Grace 7 and Joshua 1).  I am technically a stay at home mom, but I rarely find myself at home, and the soap opera and bon bon life hasn’t found its way into my living room just yet.  I do occasionally allow for a small celebration when all the laundry is clean AND folded at the SAME TIME on the SAME  DAY…and that is typically twice a decade.

In 2012, God called me to begin Pruning Hooks Ministry.  Pruning Hooks is a grass roots group of “Everyday ordinary women serving Jesus allowing their everyday ordinary lives to become extraordinary”. It is a ministry founded on the principal that Jesus wants your daily life, and following Him is a lifestyle of loving and serving and walking with Jesus…no event needed…just a Savior and our hands and feet.   Jesus has called us to serve lunch and breakfast five days a week to Generation One Academy, provide monthly meals to residents of medical housing, love on teen moms in our area, help and encourage single moms and meet the needs of anyone God places in our path. Pruning Hooks gathers each month to listen to an ordinary woman share her Jesus Story which always encourages and reminds us how our amazing God works inside the every day. Because He wants our everyday …plain and simple.

And I write.  Writing has been the tool Jesus gave me from the very beginning of my life to navigate every treacherous road I have walked.  There are boxes of poetry notebooks and short stories stashed somewhere in my mom’s attic to prove it.  My hope is that my words inspire and encourage you to see Jesus in your everyday too.  He is right here waiting for each of us, in the daily mess, hoping we see He wants so much more from us and for us than we could ever imagine.  I pray my writing will lead you to Him.”

Visit Jacqueline’s website at: http://www.pruninghooks.com or like her on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pruning-Hooks-Ministries/173578226122133 

 

I Took a Van Tour This Week.

A Group of Us.

From the Suburbs of Katy, TX.

Touring the Sex Trade in a Big White Van.

Hearing Stories of Shattered, Stolen, Tortured Girls.

I Will Never Be the Same.

Halloween Kiddos

I live in Katy, TX.  I wake up every morning, and start laundry for my family, brew coffee, make breakfast and sit on my big red chair and write. I pray. I read the Bible. I take out trash. I fill water bottles and pack lunches.  I get backpacks out, ready for the kiddos who use them, and wake up precisely at 6:45. Because I love those kiddos.  I love the living daylights out of their grumpy, groggy faces. I will move a herd of children through clothes, breakfast, teeth being brushed, and out the door. I feel horrible if I argue with them in the morning. I feel like they might live a whole day without knowing how much I love them. It makes me sick to my stomach, and I try to say apologies, and give hugs and kisses before they are out of my sight for eight hours. They are my reward from heaven. And I cannot bear the thought of anything ever making them feel unloved…making them feel unworthy of love…making them feel like love is only for other people…

And I Assume this Is How Most Mommies Feel.

I Assume We All Die Inside When Our Kids Are Hurting.

I Assume that We All Would Run Into the Burning Building,

Weather the Storm,

Climb Any Mountain If That Is What It Took To Save Them…

We heard the story this Wednesday night of a young girl who had been brought to Houston from Thailand. She was handed a plane ticket with the promise of working in a restaurant. And she took the ticket, and the promise and tucked them into her heart, and took a leap of faith hoping for freedom.  She was lied to. She was made a prisoner in a small room in a brothel. She was forced to have sex with 20-40 men a day. She was locked in her room. She was forced to use drugs. She was given no choices, no hope, no job in a restaurant. She was made to feel unloved and unlovable. She was told that no one cared and no one would rescue her. And years passed by. And men came and went. And they knew and saw that she was a prisoner…that she had no hope…and they did not love her…they had sex with her and left her to die another day in her prison. They left her.

I Asked My Children What They Would Do

If They Knew Where Children Were Being Held Prisoner…

If They Knew That Evil People Stole Children and Locked Them Away…

They Said, “Save Them.”

My Children Who are 10, 9, and 7 Would Save Them.

So, the girl lived for years in the tiny room. She lived across from the room where the traffickers “break in” or “season” the new girls. And yes, that is as horrible as it sounds. She lived in the darkness and filth and evil that is the sex trade. And I wonder if she hoped each man would be different, and take her with him when he left. I wonder when she stopped wondering who would lead her to freedom. I wonder when she stopped wishing she had never gotten on that plane. I wonder when she stopped missing the feeling of standing outside in broad daylight with no one watching…to feel the rain or the sun or see the sky.

Those Who Look To Him

The brothel where she lived is no longer a brothel. It has since been converted, by people who love Jesus, into the headquarters for Elijah Rising and Rescue Houston, two organizations standing on the battlefield rescuing children. They are remodeling. They are tearing up floors and tearing down walls.  They are painting. They are cleaning the filth away. And every time they redo another room, another hallway, another prison cell they find mementos of lives lost….of childhoods stolen and gone.

A Prayer Written in Thai.

A Pipe for Drugs.

Trinkets.

Tiny Treasures.

A Soul Died Here.

Window

And as they remodeled her room…turned it from her prison into a regular old office…they tore down a paper thin wall. Paper thin. And inside that wall, on the other side, was a window. A single window.  A window that would have meant freedom.  A window that would have meant hope.  A window she never saw.

Tiny Windows of Hope.

They are Hidden Everywhere.

And y’all, here is the deal, here is the call to action…a tiny window, behind a paper thin wall, was not found…was not discovered…was not revealed…until people who love Jesus came and tore the wall to the ground. And there are children all over in search of windows, or who gave up searching for windows long ago, and we have to find them…we have to tear down walls to set them free…because in all of us, whether we are parents or not, is this heart beating for children. There is this heart that beats inside of us and cries and breaks and tries not to know because knowing means we have to do something.  And I don’t care what you do…just do something…because we cannot let another window go unnoticed, unfound, untouched, unseen.  And let another little girl go…into a windowless dark room without hope…without freedom…without love.

We Are the Windows of Hope.

We are the Way to Freedom.

We are Made to Tear Down Paper Thin Walls.

Destroy Prisons.

Save Precious Children…

Who Believed Enough in a Restaurant Dream to Brave a Plane Ride to America.

So, tonight, my four babies are sound asleep…they are tucked into beds with special bears, special blankets, special books and cups of water. They were kissed. They were prayed over. They were told, “I Love You,” again and again and again.  And this love resonates in my soul.  It is the love every child should know.  And if we commit to tear down just one wall…just one…and be a window to one child who is broken by the prison of sex trafficking…just one…it is worth it all…it is worth every minute taken out of our lives to save one…One. Each one is worth a window of hope. Each one.

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones.  For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.  What do you think?  If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?  And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.  In the same way you Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.” 

(Matthew 18: 10-14)

Jesus is Big Enough to End Sex Trafficking.

Shalom Y’all.

 

 

Solid Ground

“I waited patently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand” (Psalm 40:1-2).

las-vegas-strip-wallpaper

I was a graduate student attending the National Association of Broadcasters Convention awards ceremony in Las Vegas. I was up for an Alpha Epsilon Rho National Broadcasting Society academic scholarship to be presented by former WKRP in Cincinnati star, Gordon Jump. Never thinking I would win, I didn’t pay attention to directions on how to exit the stage, so when they called my name as the recipient of a $500 scholarship award, I was in shock, but elated! I hurried up to the stage to accept the award, then proceeded to go back the same way I came, down the middle stairs, in front of everyone.

But I was supposed to exit Stage Right.

The house lights went out, I couldn’t see the stairs, and in my beautiful, formal dress, I proceeded to do a face plant in front of thousands of people. It was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life.

Fast forward a few decades, and I am sitting in an auditorium wearing another fancy dress, up for another award, a Christian Literary Award, for my new book with Catherine Weiskopf, If I Only Had… Once again, I didn’t think I’d win, but if I did, I’d have to climb stairs to the stage to receive the trophy. When they called our names, I experienced the same excitement I felt as a graduate student. I leapt out of my chair, and ran up to the stage.  It was a great honor! While I tried to focus on the moment, in the back of my mind, I remembered the face plant, and thought, Please don’t let me fall, Lord.

Christian Literary Award

God was faithful. I floated back to my seat, without tripping.

As I compare the two scenarios, so similar, but with different results, it reminds me of how far God has brought my life. In graduate school, I was not walking closely with the Lord. It took a number of humbling experiences like that one to finally bring me into obedience to his ways. When I eventually surrendered my life to Christ, he lifted me out of a pit, and set my feet on a firm place to stand.

Today, I realize the Lord wasn’t going to let me fall as I left the stage Saturday night. This was His award, for His glory, but the enemy tried to place doubt in my mind, and took my mind to a place years ago when I was not standing on solid ground. He attempted to steal my joy.

thinking-person-md

Has this ever happened to you? You are now following Jesus, but Satan reminds you of those days when you tripped up? You are now standing on a solid faith, but he efforts to snatch the rock beneath your feet by taking your mind to past sin?

Remember, you are no longer stuck in the mud. You are a new creation. When reminders of your past creep into your brain, speak back to them, and tell them those days are ancient history. You are not that person anymore. At some point, God heard your cry, and he lifted you out of the pit. No one can steal the solid ground beneath you.

Maybe you are in a pit right now. Perhaps you long for a firm place to stand. Give your life completely over to Jesus, trust God to rescue you, and never look back, except to see how far you’ve come. (LBW)

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