We’ve Come this Far by Faith – First of the Last

secondhalfoftheyearday

It is the first day of the second half of the year. That’s right ladies, today we are entering into the last 6 months of 2015 – we’ve come this far by faith!

How many of you have allowed your New Year’s Resolution(s) to fade in the wash of daily living? Don’t feel bad because you are NOT alone.

Statistics show that a whopping 92% of New Year’s Resolution(s) fail within about 30 days of making them. Why? After doing a little research I discovered a few reasons. 1. Unrealistic goals (including too vague or too many) 2. Unprepared (ill equipped, lack of faith, little/no support 3. Unmotivated (wrong/negative intentions, resolving to stop bad habit(s), actions, gestures, etc.)

Now that we know the why, let’s follow up with a why not – why not, rekindle those New Year’s Resolutions? The year 2015 is only half over which gives you 6 months to beat the odds. Let’s resolve to be counted among the 8% that don’t fail because our determination stems from the One who has never failed – God!

 

Do It Scared Pt 1

doitscared1

Starlet Ware on Encouragement and Prayer

And regarding the question friends, that has come up about what happens to those already dead and buried, we don’t want you in the dark any longer.  First off, you must not carry on over them like people who have nothing to look forward to, as if the grave were the last word.  Since Jesus died and broke loose from the grave, God will most certainly bring back to life those who died in Jesus.  I Thessalonians 4:13-14 (MSG)

Wonderful verse to cling to when love ones step over into the presence of God and see Jesus face to face.  It has been stated my response is sometimes quite different than others in the faith.  The focus of funerals seems to have changed from sadness to home going celebrations.  It is now; “Let’s celebrate my loved one is at home!”  Yes, we will miss them but we will be there soon enough so we will keep living until we die (as opposed to being alive but walking around as though we’re dead)!

Do you find yourself in the “I can’t go on because my loved one isn’t here” or “I will live till I’m called home?”  Let me hear from you.  My brother says I am his emotional sister so there is a heart in my chest cavity.  Both categories have held my attention.  Tears have rolled for near strangers when their relationship with Jesus wasn’t clear.  I know only God knows their heart and knows if they repented just before that last breath.

Years ago, a friend’s brother was on his death bed.  She kept me informed of his progress.  One night, she called really late.  She was crying and could hardly speak because her brother had taken a turn for the worse.  I asked if I could come see him because she wasn’t sure if he knew Christ.  She said yes but warned me he wasn’t able to speak.  Praying occurred letting God know I was going even though afraid since evangelizing skills were lacking.  This young soldier prepared a list of verses from the Roman road, verses that tell of God’s love, repenting and then accepting Jesus prayer.

Armed but quaking inside, I walked in the house.  It was quiet.  She introduced her family and then led me to her brother’s room.  His room was dark and quiet.  Memory fails if she left the room or not because prayer was on the mind.  I introduced myself to him, asked if he wanted to see Jesus when he breathed his last breathe and instructed him to roll his eyes back and forth for ‘yes’ and no movement for ‘no.’  Not sure he could hear me, I kept talking, asking questions, reading scripture and praying.  I was so nervous.

Thank you God, his eyes shifted when I asked if he accepted Jesus in his heart.  Hallelujah!  I squeezed his hand, prayed out loud and I left.  In the car, emotions came flooding through, excited, unsure and thankful I had obeyed God to go in the first place.  He will be in Heaven.

Tune in next week for the rest of the story.  Father God, thank you for allowing me to be in your plans.  What a blessing you are.  You are awesome, worthy, confident and sure.  Bless each reader and let them do what you ask of them whether they are confident in it or afraid.  In Jesus name.  Amen.

Justified=Just As If I Never Sinned

Starletjustified Ware Encouragement and Prayer

 At church a few Sundays ago, a man was ready to pray and he asked the question “do you know you are justified?”  He went on to define it: ‘just as if you never sinned?  He kept repeating the question and definition.  I was able to hear it over and over and ask myself: do you know this?

I have heard it before.  I accept it as truth (head) but do I believe it in my heart?  I am mulling it over and pondering.  While I was sitting at church, I prayed: “Father, I know it is true, help my unbelief.”

My transparent moment is I am working on living as if I believe completely that I am justified.  I thank God for his word especially in Romans because these verses made sense as to why I can believe.

Romans 3:24

Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

Romans 3:28

Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

Romans 4:2

If Abraham was justified by works, he has something to brag about—but not before God.

Romans 5:1

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ

Romans 8:30

And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified; and those He justified, He also glorified.

I pray you are encouraged like I am and use the verses to remind you of God’s marvelous love and grace.

Faith for the Falling

faithforthefalling1I was angry at God for years, starting at age nine, because He didn’t stop my dad from verbally and sexually abusing me.  I didn’t tell anyone what dad did to me because he told me not to tell.  I believed with all of my little girl heart that He COULD have stopped dad but He just WOULDN’T stop him. Since He didn’t, I decided to take care of myself. I was all alone and on my own.

I still went to church, read my Bible daily, and stayed out of trouble as much as I could. I wanted to follow Jesus. To be “a good girl” meant stuffing all of the pain deep down inside so I couldn’t feel it any more. It went so deep that I finally convinced myself the bad stuff never even happened. The truth is that all of the pain and misery still boiled inside of me. My pain came out in wrong behavior. I didn’t get addicted to drugs or alcohol, but I got addicted to my own adrenaline. I believed the lie that a man broke me so a man had to fix me. Men became my god, and I pressured them into stopping my pain. They never lived up to my expectations. When I found out that dad had molested my two daughters and my daycare girls, I could no longer deny that something was dreadfully wrong in my life. I didn’t seek help for myself, but I swallowed my pride and looked for help for my girls. What a surprise! Getting help for my girls started my own healing journey!

I believed one of the biggest lies the enemy Satan tells us is that we are alone in our suffering and misery. He tells us that no one will ever care, especially God. The enemy is correct in one respect. We stay alone in our suffering and misery as long as we believe his lie. Satan doesn’t want us to reach out to God. If we take one tiny little miniscule step in faith toward God, if we can believe there is the slightest hope that God has the answer for our pain, the enemy knows his game is over. God already gave us the answer for all of the hurt, for all of the pain. He gave us His one and only Son Jesus Christ, who is willing and able to exchange our pain for His perfect peace.

“For God so loved the world (that means you, dear reader) that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

May you be faithful to God…even if you fall,

Valerie

See You at the Pole 2014

lilbynumsseeyouatthepole2014“See You at the Pole” is an annual day of global student prayer. It’s where children in schools worldwide come together at the flagpole and pray usually about an hour before school starts. Hands down it is one of the most powerful teen movements I’ve encountered that’s student lead.

I’m not sure if you’ve heard about this worldwide event but as Christians and especially as parents, guardians, or loved ones of a student, you MUST get involved and support. If you can’t be at the poles at the designated time/date of the event, at least be in prayer at that time. We are quick to talk about this generation of children when they do something bad, instead let’s talk about it even more so, (not only) when they do something good but when they do something godly.

Today was the first time my husband, our youngest son, and I were able to participate in SYATP, however, our older two have been doing it for a few years now. God used our children to teach us, the parents, a valuable lesson and we’ve vowed to be involved with *See You at the Pole* from this day forward.seeyouatthepole2014lilbynums

Our youngest son shared with our entire family, his desire to participate in See You at the Pole. However, as he continued to talk about it, his body language and facial expressions conveyed something contrary to what he was saying. Initially, my husband and I couldn’t quite figure out what was going on with him. Finally, we began to ask him questions:

Husband and I: Son, are you okay?

Youngest Son: Yes, I’m okay.

Husband and I: Are you sure you want to be involved?

Youngest Son: Yes, I really want to do it…(his head dropped down).

Husband and I: What’s wrong? Is anything stopping you from wanting to do it?

Youngest Son: Well, it’s just that, I mean, I want to do See You at the Pole and pray at my school, but I’m afraid to do it.

Husband and I: Why are you afraid? You are great at praying! The best eleven year old prayer warrior we’ve seen!

Youngest Son: I’m afraid because may get into trouble. We are not allowed to pray at school. Plus, I’ll be the only one at the flagpole.

Next, before my husband and I could answer, our two other children chimed in on the conversation.

Older Son and Daughter: You won’t be alone baby brother. We’re coming with you. If you get in trouble, we’ll all get in trouble.

There were several lessons learned from this incident:

  • we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us
  • where two or three are gathered together in my name I will be in the midst of them
  • stand strong in the Lord and in the power of His might
  • without faith it is impossible to please God
  • love the Lord your God with all your heart
  • lean not to your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path

I could go on and on. God is constantly watching over His word to perform it. He is definitely a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. I am truly grateful for orchestrated opportunities created by the Lord to instill godly wisdom from unorthodox methods – all for my/our benefit.

May we all unapologetically have faith in Him, until the day we see His face.

M.A.D. – The “My Adam” Deceit

hisherweddingsetSingle women – “I’m waiting on my Adam.

Engaged/Newly Married Women – “I’ve found my Adam.

This is the phrase I see trending on websites, blogs, social media and among ministries. I must admit that initially my thoughts were…”awe, that’s cute” and the moment the thought entered my mind the Lord lovingly nudged my heart. Later that night, I sought God and searched the scriptures (and vice versa), repeating this cycle for several days. Let me tell you young ladies the truth hurts sometimes, but nevertheless, not my will but His will be done.

May His will free you, in all things, Takiela.

Daughters of God, I love you. As your Father, the King, my plans for you are to give you hope and to prosper you. Even you, being born in sin and shaped in inequity give good gifts to your children, will I not do the same? Listen to Me sweetheart, do not adopt any principle that is not based on My Word, which is rooted and founded in Me. Do not lie to yourself by trusting what is worthless because you will get nothing in return (Job 15:31 NIV), whoever invests in lies will get lies plus interest due before the due date (Job 15:31and31 MSG). There is only one father of lies. I have come to set the captives free, I am the way, the truth, and the light. You must go through My Son to get to Me.

Do you know the story of Adam and the consequences of his decision? He listened to his wife and disobeyed Me (Genesis 3:17-19). Why would you refer to the husband you say I have blessed you with, as your “Adam” and if he is your “Adam” that makes you his…? Do you really want your husband to refer to you as his “Eve” the woman who caused sin to enter the world (Genesis 3:16)?

Daughters of the King, you should reflect no one outside of Me. Likewise, My sons should reflect no one outside of Me. I created mankind in My own image, in the image of Me, I created them, both the men and the women (Genesis 1:27). How can imperfection strive for imperfection, only I am He who is perfect, strive only for Me. I love you and have loved you with a limitless love that outlasts time. Return to your place of royalty in Me.

Holiday Greetings

mrandmrsCan you believe 2014 is only few days away?! Wow! This has been a difficult but rewarding year for the Bynum family. Recently we reflected on all the storms He saw us through this past year and are floored by His power yet again. Last Christmas my husband was in Afghanistan while my children and I were at home…alone. My husband and I celebrated our 17th anniversary on December 28 and we’ve never been apart during the holidays…until last year. I mustlittlebynums tell you that although we already knew Christmas is not about the gifts, last year we live it. We had a tree full of gifts and no desire to unwrap them. Because my husband Skyped us and wanted to see us open the gifts he sent us, we honored his request. We cried during that entire video call.

My children are 18, 13, and 11 and I overheard them saying they had everything they wanted this year for Christmas and it had nothing to do with the gifts under the tree but the fact that God has brought us together again and allowed us to celebrate Him, makes my heart leap and my eyes weep. They aren’t the type of children who ask for a lot, not for birthdays, Christmas, etc. but to say something so profound with so much passion (especially at their ages) is something only the Lord could have placed in their hearts.

Previously, we had head knowledge that Christmas is about faith and family but now we have heart knowledge…the difference is the experience. Lord, we are eternally grateful.

In The Wait of God

terryonepilepsy“I’m sorry Mr. and Mrs. Bynum but your son has epilepsy.”

I knew something strange was going on with my son. He would have these moments of “spacing out” and unresponsiveness and when he came out of it he wouldn’t remember anything. Initially no one noticed but me because I spent the most time with him. I asked my husband about it and at first he hadn’t noticed and then one day he observed this strange behavior himself. We shared our concerns with a few family members and some of the responses were unbelievable, “he’s just being a boy,” “he’s ignoring you,” “boys just don’t listen,” “you’re overreacting,” etc. No matter what they said there was a nagging in my soul that wouldn’t rest, I knew something was wrong and I began to pray. My husband and I both began to watch and pray…and wait.

Can I be honest with you? I am not a patient person. I hate waiting. Unfortunately, the world we live in today completely caters to my inability to wait. Inevitably, there are times in life that waiting is the only option available. Like it or not.

The situation (my family and) I encountered with my sons’ epileptic diagnosis forced me to learn firsthand what it means to be “in the wait of God” and it has given me a different perspective on the subject.

First, let me point out the fact that God is a timeless God. He does not operate within the restraints of time. He is not restricted by time. He is the creator of time and therefore He is not subject to it. Unlike His creation, we are bound by its laws and obligated to function within its realms.

Now, let’s define the word wait. Wait has a several definitions. We will discuss three.

WAIT:  1. to remain inactive or in a state of repose, until something expected happens

2. to be available or in readiness

3. to remain neglected for a time

Definition number three jumped out to me because when we are waiting on God to respond to our urgent need, we feel neglected until He moves. As long as He is silent we feel forgotten about which is amazing because He is omniscient or all knowing. How is it possible for an all knowing Father to abandon His child? It isn’t possible. We know this but yet we struggle with it each time we’re met with a situation that we deem worthy of God’s immediate attention. However, while we’re in the wait of God we fail to realize what is taking place  spiritually. Hope, trust, and faith are simultaneously being strengthened or weakened. Often times the outcome of the situation is the determining factor.

Definition number two gave me pause. When we are unexpectedly thrown into a chaotic situation would we describes ourselves as available or ready while we’re in the wait of God? I don’t know about you, but for me the answer to that question is absolutely not! I’ve not made myself available to God for crying out loud I need God to be available for me. Is that how you feel? I’m neither available nor ready for anything but a quick miraculous solution to my problem.

Finally definition number three is probably the most out of character for me sad to say. I don’t remain still until something expected happens. I beg, I plead, and sometimes even bargain with God in a desperate attempt to spare me from whatever awful situation is looming over me.

I realized that I needed to reevaluate this “in the wait of God” concept.

While we were praying, watching, and waiting our son’s “episodes” were getting worse. Lasting longer and growing more violent. He would have these occurrences without any warning. We called his pediatrician and she got him in immediately and sent him to a pediatric neurologist. Well if you know anything about specialist, it usually takes a while to get an appointment, however our pediatrician voiced the urgency of the situation and God opened a door that allowed us to get in within a week.

We checked in to Children’s Hospital on the day of his testing. (The pediatric neurologist wanted to run tests before she would see him.) It was an all-day process. The nurse initially told us that it would take about a week or two for the results to come and they would call us with more information and set up an appointment at that time if it was necessary. When the tests were complete, the nurse pulled me to the side and said, we’ll be calling you tomorrow morning because the doctor will want to see him tomorrow afternoon.

My heart skipped a few beats and I took a deep breath.

One of the longest 24 hour periods (my family and) I have had to endure. Praying. Watching. Waiting. Needless to say, sleep escaped me (and my family) that night. The following afternoon we entered the patient’s room at the pediatric neurologist’s office and waited for the news from the doctor.

“I’m sorry Mr. and Mrs. Bynum but your son tested positive for epilepsy.” “However,” she continued, “if I had to have epilepsy, this would be the one I’d choose.” You see, he’ll grow out of this around the time he’s a teenager. He shouldn’t have issues with obtaining a license either. This type of epilepsy is easily controlled by medication. We already know most of his triggers so you’ll know what to avoid. I want to see him every few months unless something changes or he has a seizure. We’ll teach you how to respond if he has a Grand seizure and write out an action plan for the school, babysitters, etc.

It’s been a while since that day at the hospital. It’s been a learning process. It’s been hard at times (especially when he had a Grand seizure because of a high fever), however, even in sickness, God gave us favor…but we had to wait.

Need an Upgrade?

Have you ever felt like something is missing in your life? I think most of us have at one point or another. We’ve tried filling the “something” with all types of things. We may try drugs, sex, alcohol, food, friends, family, materialistic things, success, or even activities to stuff into that gaping hole in our soul. Soon we realize no matter what we try to fill the hole with, nothing seems to satisfy that missing element in our lives. Sometimes we wonder aimlessly throughout our lives in search of a way to fill a God sized hole.

Let me tell you sweetheart, there is NOTHING on this earth that has the capability to complete you like Christ. Yes, life can be a hard at times. There are days you may feel like everything that can go wrong has gone wrong. Not mention the days when you cry yourself to sleep or feel like screaming at the top of your lungs out of anger and frustration. Plus the times when the blows of life will literally knock you off your feet. Usually during hardships people will turn to drugs, sex, alcohol, etc. to help them cope with the issues they are having at that particular moment. However, this kind of coping mechanisms is temporary and when the high descends, the drunkenness sobers, or the binge has ended, the problem is waiting with an open hand to smack you back into the harsh reality of its unrelenting embrace.

This God sized hole that we long to fill will not be satisfied with temporal fixes, no sweetie that will never be enough. Only God can fill our vessels to overflowing. He doesn’t stop when the void is full, He wants it to overflow. He not only came for us to have life, He wants our lives to be more abundant (John 10:10). He will never leave nor forsake us. Prayer, reading and applying the word of God, and faithfully attending a bible believing church are all ways to help keep that void filled in God. Giving our unfulfilled lives to the Lord is the first step in fulfilling our destiny in Christ.