Category : Devotion of the Week
Category : Devotion of the Week
Today’s guest blogger is Kandi Rose who is an evangelist, author, and TV Host. Kandi knows firsthand the power, love & forgiveness that comes from making a whole heart choice to live for the Lord. She was a former stripper & prostitute who had multiple addictions. Her freedom & new life began when her mother led her to the Lord over the phone in 1984. At that time she owned a strip-o-gram business in the Chicago area, as well as advertising on billboard, radio & TV commercials. This is why God is using her through her TV program, “Addiction Free.” Along with all her guests they encourage others, testifying they too can be forgiven of anything & have a brand new life. She is a credentialed minister through the Assemblies of God.
Her TV talk show, “Addiction Free,” broadcasts on three networks, four times a week to over five million homes.
VTN Victory Television Network~Little Rock, Arkansas
WHTN Christian Television Network~Nashville, Tennessee
TLN Total Living Network~Chicago, Illinois
Kandi interviews guests whose lives have been set free from various addictions through making a whole heart commitment to Jesus Christ. This is a “Traveling TV show.” Kandi brings her camera equipment to churches & interviews the pastors and his members who have been set free from any habit. She also goes to Christian rehabs & films their staff and students on location.
You can find out more about Kandi’s ministry at: www.kandiroseministries.com
Isa. 61:3 The Garment of Praise
The presence of my enemy was very evident during a very heart breaking time in my life. He orchestrated a crisis that was meant to devastate me, to spiritually wound me from my purpose as an evangelist.
As I walked into the bedroom a sick feeling overtook me. A strange woman was in bed with my husband. I yelled to him, “Who is this?”
She yelled, “Who is she?”
I said, “I am his wife and how long have you been sleeping with my husband?”
Before I was a Christian, the old me would have snatched her up by the hair of the head and beat her while cursing. I did not though and realize it was only because the Holy Spirit was in me now.
As I drove away that morning, the enemy of my soul was present and speaking into my mind thoughts of bitterness and hate. I recognized if I gave into that, I would be a prisoner of his and it would quench the anointing on my life as an evangelist. The Holy Spirit reminded me of the times I committed adultery on my first husband before I was saved, plus all the other sins he forgave me for. The word says if we do not forgive, we cannot be forgiven. So through heart wrenching sobs as I drove away, I outstretched my hand to Heaven and confessed out loud, “I forgive them.”
I went home and as I sat down, the enemy was rejoicing. His plan for bitterness may not have worked, but now plan two was succeeding. Self-pity, isolation and depression were having their way in my mind. I felt I couldn’t go to church and be my joyful self. I am thankful for the Holy Spirit, the Comforter. The scripture, “Greater is he that is in me (the Holy Spirit), than he (Satan) that is in the world” (1 John 4:4) arose deep within me. I had not sat there very long when I felt compelled to get up and get to church. I drove there in a lifeless state of shock, like a robot. I sat in Sunday school with no joy, just a numb feeling. My enemy was still present, tormenting my mind.
My God came to my rescue. When church service started I found myself taking my usual place on the worship team. The angels must have helped me get up, as I felt drained physically, spiritually and mentally.
An amazing thing happened. This once spiritually dead woman came alive. The more I sang and played my tambourine and maracas, the more joy and enthusiasm came. As I listened to the words being sung, the word of God and life sprang back into my soul. The hopelessness was replaced by hope. Heaviness was replaced with joy and peace.
When we praise and worship in the presence of our enemy, he has to flee. You see he wants our worship and when we give it to God, he cannot stand it. His plan is to depress us, but God’s desire is to bless us.
Note: Praise and Worship is one of our greatest tools against our enemy! God did heal my broken heart. It was a process but amazingly the time it took was probably not as long as it could have been because I kept worshipping My God, who I love! My husband did divorce me, but I am happy and content, fulfilling the purpose He has for me.
“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” I repeated Philippians 4:13 again and again as I sat in the dentist chair.
Normally, I get through my time in the torture chamber, uh, I mean the dentist’s office, but yesterday was different. With an uncomfortable “retractor” in my mouth that nestled under my nose, a tube in my mouth and allergies causing havoc in my throat, I wasn’t sure I could get through it. A popular airline commercial flashed in my mind, “Wanna get away?” YES. RIGHT NOW.
The dentist asked me, “Are you doing OK?” I shook my head to say “no.” He responded, “Just breathe.”
I want to add a disclaimer, if I have to go to the dentist, I am going to this one. I think he and his staff are the best around, but it didn’t matter how great of a dentist he was, this time, I was not coping. As a panic attack was brewing, I continued to repeat the verse, and tried to be like the Apostle Paul.
When Paul wrote, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” he was imprisoned in Rome. The word “gives” in the Greek also means “strengthen.” So Paul is saying I can do all things through him (Christ) who strengthens my strength.”
I believe Paul was saying, “I’m a very strong guy and can handle almost anything, but occasionally there’s something even I can’t cope with, and I need God to strengthen my strength.” Isn’t Paul the one who also said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9)? In that situation, the mentally strong Paul was battling with a “thorn in his flesh” that he pleaded with God three times to take away. It was probably an illness, but we do not know for sure. All we know is that Paul said it tormented him.
Do you have something tormenting you right now? Is your strength waning?
God did not remove the torment from Paul because he wanted to keep the apostle from being “conceited.” God knew Paul’s independent nature and forced Paul to lean on him. He didn’t want him to get a superiority complex because of his strength, so he let him be weak at times to know he needed Christ’s strength.
You may consider yourself a strong person, but maybe you are going through something that has zapped your strength. It could be disease, a relationship issue or a death in the family. I have found it is only through the strength of Christ we can get through these things, for when we are weak, he is strong (2 Corinthians 12:10).
Do you need Christ’s strength today?
Meanwhile, back at the torture chamber, you might be wondering if I got through my dental appointment. Yes, as I continued to repeat, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” I believe God slowed my breathing down and gave me what I needed to finish out the appointment. I apologized to my patient dentist and his assistant afterwards, embarrassed by my lack of coping. They were gracious.
But even this strong girl gets weak at times, and it’s a reminder I cannot make it through life without the strength of Christ. He is the one who helps me through the worst of situations. He is the reason I can face what each day has to bring. When I just “wanna get away” he provides what I need to stay planted.
Today, I am rejoicing about Christ’s strength, and thankful for dentists, because without them, I wouldn’t be able to smile. (LBW)
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! (John 7:9-11)
Two weeks ago, I prayed a bold prayer while driving in my car. I asked for the Lord to provide a way for me to visit Israel. I’ve always wanted to go, but for some reason, it hasn’t worked out. Years ago, I was scheduled to go on a trip, but the State Department cancelled it because conditions were not favorable for travel there.
I have numerous reasons for desiring to go. Although I did not know him because he died before I was born, my father was Jewish. I also didn’t know anything about my Jewish ancestry until I came across a cousin’s genealogical research of my Jewish ancestors, the Adler family. I found out my great-great grandfather, Joseph Adler, traveled to the United States from Baden, Germany to Chicago, Illinois where he opened up a clothing business. I saw photos of cousins with yamakas on. I saw the family tree, and a new understanding of my Jewish family opened up.
More importantly, I longed to go to Israel to walk where Jesus walked, to see the sites of so many miracles, and to place a prayer in the Wailing Wall, now called the Western Wall. It was a desire of my heart.
So on Thursday of this week, I listened to the testimony of an area Messianic Jewish Rabbi. Not only was I fascinated by how he came to Christ, his transformation happened in my hometown of San Antonio! I thought that was cool. Afterwards, I told him what a great job he did and shared that his testimony was especially meaningful because of the San Antonio and Jewish connection.
It was then he asked me, “How many times have you been to Israel?”
I sheepishly answered, “I’ve never been.”
He replied, “I think it should be a requirement for everyone in ministry to go to Israel. I am taking a group of pastors to Israel in December and there’s still room. Do you want to go?”
Did I want to go? ABSOLUTELY! But I was worried about the cost. He told me the amount, and it seemed too good to be true. But then the Rabbi told me the price was slashed because it was a group of pastors going, who might bring their own tours back to Israel one day.
I thought, Is God answering my prayers already?
I had one more hurdle to cross before I knew this was meant to be. My husband had to approve. I asked the Rabbi to pray about this, and I prayed that my husband would say yes.
Those who know me, know I am a straight shooter, so I prayed and called my husband on the way home. I needed to know yay or nay right away. When I called him, and told him about the opportunity, which would now be my Christmas and birthday present, he didn’t ask questions, he didn’t say he’d think about it, he said “OK.”
“What?” I didn’t have to justify the trip. I didn’t have to fight for it. I didn’t have to explain how I was going to pay for it. Just, “yes?”
It was a sign from God. This is my time to go back to the homeland of my people. This is the time to understand more fully what I read in the Word, and what I teach about to women. This was a blessing from my husband, and is a good and precious gift from my Father in Heaven.
When I opened up my email that night, there was an email from the Rabbi saying, “Israel is calling.”
I write this post with tears streaming from my face because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Israel is calling, and the timing is right. I wait with anticipation for what the Lord will teach me in the land of his chosen ones.
Do you pray boldly for the desires of your heart? If not, what’s stopping you? If your requests are within God’s plan for your life, he is ready and willing to give you, his child, a beautiful gift from above.
“Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!” (Psalm 107:31)
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 Have Been Married to My Husband for 15 Years.
We Have Lived Together for 17 Years.
We Have Been Having Sex for Just as Long.
Just In Case You Had Any Preconceived Notions of Me Before Jesus.
It is a Friday night, or maybe late on a Tuesday, or a Saturday afternoon and all the kids are with my parents and I am so in love with my husband. We have had maybe the best day ever or the best date or watched “Crazy Stupid Love” for the billionth time…it doesn’t matter…I just love him. And we are headed to bed. Our bed. And as things go with married couples, you can imagine the rest of this story. And somewhere in all that love and in all that evening perfectness, I feel the catch in my heart. My husband has no idea. Maybe he does. I do my best not to let it show. And this isn’t about being tired. This isn’t about feeling fat. This is about feeling like a whore in my own bedroom with the man who loves me just the way I am, and is my biggest cheerleader…And I can’t close my eyes tight enough to make the movie of my past go away…the feeling that sex is for half conscious exits from random bars and a need to feel loved by anyone (and maybe everyone) and wake up the next morning feeling like a big ball of crap as you stumble out the door of someone’s apartment/dorm/bachelor pad…and say goodbye aware that they might not call again until it’s around 2am next weekend.
As I have Walked Closer and Closer to Jesus…
The Memory of My Party Days has Become More and More Disgusting…
And So Much of My Party Days was Sex…
And Now I’m a Good Girl, Right?
In my bedroom, in my bed, the only place where I am truly alone with my husband (most nights at least), I find myself drowning in a sea of regret…losing the battle of being forgiven to the late night war of never being able to forget. I want to be wild for him. I want to be the hot, sexy girl of his 40 year old dreams. I really want that…but sometimes it just feels like there were too many bars and too many one night stands and too many mornings waking up to people I barely knew…to ever feel like incredible, unbelievable sex would fit inside this redeemed life.
And y’all, It Stings.
Some Nights I Live Under a Pile of Guilt.
And It Doesn’t Matter Why I Did All Those Things…
It Just Matters that I Did.
And I know he knows every inch of my story. I know he looks at me and doesn’t see the crazy party girl. I know he sees the girl Jesus created me to be. I know that he tells people he won the lottery when he married me. And I know that the pit of shame inside can feel so deep. The story of who I was before Jesus. The story of the girl with a reputation that walked in the door before she walked in the party…And that girl still feels worthless and loves to feel wanted…But I am LOVED now…and where does it all fit in? Where is the part of me that finally won’t want to hide from the phrase “True Love Waits”? Where is the me that doesn’t dread Sunday School sex talks? Or cringe at the thought of answering my daughter someday when she asks if I waited till I got married? And hopes she doesn’t ask too many follow-up questions…Where is the me who is free to enjoy all that I have, and by that I mean enjoy every moment of a spontaneous night of wild sex with my HUSBAND. I mean, he’s crazy about me y’all. He always has been…
I am Married to a Man Who LOVES Me.
I am Married to a Man Who Tells Me I am Hot Every Single Day.
He Still Pinches My Butt, Y’all.
I Know I am Lucky.
I woke up the other morning thinking about Daniel…from the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament. I was thinking about how he was taken into captivity. I was thinking about how all the choices of his people, and maybe even his choices, had lead to this captivity. And here he was a young man living in Babylon, and even his name had been changed from Daniel (which means, “God is my Judge”) to Belteshazzar (which means “Bel, protect his life!”…Bel was a Babylonian god). Even his name did not reflect who he was anymore. He was being stripped of who God created him to be, and inside of this captivity he was being changed and being made to believe he was something else…someone else…meant to serve the king of Babylon and no longer serve the God of the Universe…the only one who was Daniel’s judge. So, Daniel made a choice. And in this midst of being in bondage, he chose to live like he was free. When the king’s officials brought food to Daniel to eat which was against the law given to him by God, he chose to eat only the vegetables and water…not the meat or the wine from the Babylonian King. Daniel chose not to live in his past…a past where his people did not obey God…did not listen to God…chose to do things that brought shame to their lives. Daniel chose instead, in that moment, to open his eyes wide, see the captivity all around him, and live free. He chose to live by the standards set out for him before all the mistakes were made. He chose to live free amidst his captivity by honoring God the best way he could…by eating only the food that was acceptable to God…by remembering who God had created him to be…Daniel did not sit under a blanket of guilt. Daniel’s eyes were open. Daniel CHOSE to live free. Daniel took his life back and gave it over to God, and God gave Daniel the courage to live free even when chained to the enemy’s table.
I Want My Bedroom Back.
I Want to Live Free.
I Want My Eyes Wide Open to See All God Gave Me In This Marriage.
I Want to Give God Every Moment of My Life…Even the ones After the Lights are Out.
So, y’all, I am taking my bedroom back. No more closing my eyes and trying to get the movie of my life to quit playing. I am opening my eyes wide and looking into the face of the man God gave me. Yep, I have been chained to the enemy’s table. Yep, my choices and the choices of some others in my past have put me there…But I am choosing to start living free. I am choosing to not let my past ruin my present. I am choosing to not see the girl who stumbled and fell and wrecked her own life. I am choosing to see the me that my husband sees…the beautiful gal Jesus created me to be. And you know what? I have the key to all those chains. I really do. I could forgive the girl in my past. I could remember that she was hurting and heartbroken, and then move on…just move on. And when the chains rattle around trying to tell me I am not free…I’m going to say the name of Jesus out loud, open my eyes wide, see all the freedom He gave me and just plain take back my bedroom. Because I AM free. And I love my husband, y’all. I really really do. And I don’t think it was ever in God’s plan for me to take him captive by my past too…Because MY past is nowhere to build OUR future.
So, let me encourage you. Walk this road with me. If you are a girl like me with a past like mine and a marriage handed to you by God Almighty…take a good look around, and start living in the freedom you already have despite the chains that may feel so comfy…despite the past that may feel so present. Take your bedroom back. Say YES to where you are and where Jesus has brought you and don’t let that old movie play one more second in your mind. I am praying for you. I am praying for me too. This is a new road for me. And I am a little unsteady. But I know my Jesus is here. And I know He brought me here. And I know He loves me big enough to give me back my bedroom. It was never really mine to give away in the first place.
“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13
I Can Even Lay Down Some Chains.
I Can Even Live Free.
I Can Even Take Back My Bedroom.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
Brenham, Texas has been the home of Blue Bell ice cream for over one-hundred years. When I visited the Blue Bell Headquarters, I tried a two-scoop “sample” of a flavor called “Mexican Praline” and I am ready to go back for more.
But Brenham is also the home of a dynamic group of men who are making a difference for Christ. The six-community leaders and pastors meet regularly on Friday’s for Bible study, but over the past year have reached out beyond their little group to the city of Brenham as well. They decided it’s not enough to keep their faith contained in a small group setting, and are using their influence to influence others for Christ through a once-a-month Saturday morning Roaring Lambs Leadership breakfast.
Each month, a speaker, either from Brenham, or outside the area, shares his or her faith story and a gospel message. This past Saturday, I had the privilege to speak at the breakfast meeting, which grew to 53 people, their largest turnout yet. It was encouraging, and unusual to see so many city officials interested in furthering the kingdom.
What if all cities followed Brenham’s lead? What if the Christian leaders in every community took a stand for Christ? This kind of boldness could ignite a nationwide revival.
But you don’t have to be a civic leader to make a difference. God places each of us in positions of influence every time we step out the door. We need to pray for the opportunities to share our faith. We might reach someone at the grocery store, at the gym, or in the workplace. We have to be willing to take a risk and to be bold.
I am a Christian today because a friend shared Christ with me in a high school freshman English class. I often wonder where I would be if she had not ventured out of the boundaries of the classroom environment. Maybe that’s why I am so passionate about sharing my faith. I don’t want anyone to miss out on eternity in Heaven.
1 Peter 3:15 says, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” Do you have hope today because someone stepped out of their comfort zone and shared the Gospel with you? If so, what is stopping you from paying it forward?
The Christian leaders of Brenham are setting the example for the rest of us, and God is blessing their response to the Great Commission. Interestingly enough, next month’s speaker is an executive from Blue Bell. I’m sure that will add a special flavor to a breakfast meeting that puts God at the head table.