…Library

If you know anything about SH and I, then you know we’re lovers of a good read! We truly enjoy spending our free time getting lost in amazing books. And, with the summer holidays, days off of work and vacations in your future (or present day for some of us), SH and I wish to share a few of our favorite books, from our personal library, as recommendations to include in your summer reading list:

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
“A story of love that won’t let go – no matter what!” A real-life story of God’s unconditional, redeeming love for His people.

The Shack by William P. Young
“If you only read one book in the next year…read The Shack”. A true story, allowing you to see and experience God in a fresh, new way.

The Book of Proverbs by Solomon, wisemen, Agur and King Lemuel
From the ultimate Book. Old testament. Full of axioms of wisdom and virtue.

Character Makeover by Kate Brazelton and Shelley Leith
“Get the kind of makeover that will transform your life!”  Focuses on character traits essential to living a purpose-filled life and becoming the best ‘you’ God intended you to be.

King’s Cross by Timothy Keller
“A vividly written and very moving presentation…” of the life of Christ through the Gospel of Mark.

Fearless by Max Lucado
“…showing us that a peace filled and courageous life IS possible~with God!” Imagine your life without fear.

Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick
Pastor Furtick uses the story of Joshua…”to activate your audacious faith. To inspire you to ask God for the impossible. And in the process, to reconnect you with your God-sized purpose and potential.”

A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson
“…reveals that we can all create miracles by accepting God and by expressing love in our lives.” Understand the facets of the Bible’s definitions of ‘love’.

The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis
A candid exploration of the possibilities and problems of the four basic kinds of human love. “Immensely worthwhile for its simplicity…a rare and memorable book” 

We pray that you thoroughly enjoy these listed above. And, as you do and if you have previously read any of them, please share your thoughts with us! How did they speak to you? What did you learn?

“So I commend the enjoyment of life…” Ecclesiastes 8:15

Enjoy!

SM.

P.S. What books would you recommend, to us, from your library?

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…Birthday Wish

I am so elated! Today is an amazing day! SM is celebrating her 30th birthday. I woke up with joy in my heart because I have the pleasure of being apart of another one of the many milestones SM is going to experience in her life. Being her friend–her Little Boo as she calls me–has been one of my greatest joys. Every so often we are blessed with the opportunity to come across people who change your life for the better. Their love, presence and friendship gets to your core. It makes you want to be a better person because of the example they set. SM has been that for me. I can’t thank her enough for all she’s done in our time as friends. I can’t thank God enough for placing her in my life.

As I was reflecting over SM this morning, the legacy she and MM are creating and the family we as a friends and family in Christ are building, I was reminded of Jesus’ birth. We typically celebrate the birth of Jesus during Christmas, but honestly His birth is something we should celebrate everyday. We’ll never be able to repay God for what He did in giving us Christ, but everyday we should embrace the reconciliation, freedom and salvation that we were awarded when Christ was born, died and resurrected. I know SM pretty well now. And know that what she is celebrating today has less to do with herself and more to do with Jesus’ love for her–His love for us all.

Birthdays are not special just because we have made it another year, but they are special because we get to experience a rebirth as we grow closer to Christ. We get closer to the destiny and purpose God has called us to.

SM if you are reading this, my birthday wish for you is that you will experience the fullness of God. I pray that you see His amazing love and warmth surrounding you. I hope you know how much you mean not only to me but all the people whose lives you have touched. Continue being the amazing little star you are. Happy birthday. I love you.

“Before I formed you in womb I knew you. Before you were born I set you apart.” Jeremiah 1:5.

Please join me in sending SM love and birthday wishes.

Written by SH. @ Shakirah Adianna

…Jersey

Though I have some level of athleticism, I have never played an organized sport. Dancing has always been my thing. I bartered sneakers and cleats for ballet flats and tap shoes. My jump shot sucks. My arabesque is amazing. Because I’ve never played a sport, LJ finds it hilarious and ironic that I am gung-ho with team spirit. Should you ever have the pleasure of working with me on a project you will find very quickly that I am all about camaraderie. LJ and I have deemed ourselves “Team LJ.” We have a mission statement and principles to help us function in the way we believe God has called us to. At my job I work in the digital practice. On my office door you will find “rules” (which really is there are no rules except to be stellar) for the Digital Team. SM and I function as a team in our ability to hold one another accountable. We never lie to each other. We always speak the truth (in love). We pray together and for one another. And we encourage each other. Without LJ, SM and the other amazing people in my life, I couldn’t be SH. No matter what role I function in; significant other, friend and employee, I am a member of a team.

Everything in life should be approached this way especially our faith. The truth is–as much as we try to convince ourselves otherwise– nothing can be done alone. We are inherently designed to be relational; to walk in tandem as we embark on the journey of life. From the very beginning we see God’s creation of the first team. When God created Adam He knew that Adam would not be good alone.

“It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2: 18

Out of Adam’s rib; his side (reflect on that for a moment), Eve was formed with the task of helping Adam fulfill the calling God gave him. Ecclesiastes 4:12 gives us a snapshot explanation of the benefits of working as a team:

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

It’s not enough to be “good little Christians” who go to church every Sunday and read our bibles occasionally. We are apart of a team–Team Jesus. Unfortunately, our modern society has convinced us that the only way to get ahead is by looking out for self. We’re in the midst of a battle and it can’t be won alone. Though I hate to mention him on our blog, I would be remissed to not acknowledge the truth. Plus, Sun Tzu stated in The Art of War that the best way to defeat your enemy is by knowing their strategy. Satan has three objectives; 1. to steal, 2. to kill and 3. to destroy. Everyday we hear about broken families, destroyed friendships and people who walk away from their relationships with God. How are we working as a team to ensure less of this happens? 1 Corinthians 12:21 reminds us that when one falls, we all fall:

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

The best defense is offense. We have to be proactive in guarding one another against Satan’s lies and attacks. We have to encourage, support and pray for each other daily. And we must remember to do all of it for the benefit of the Kingdom. God has given us the tools we need to win this battle. As you face today remember you don’t do it alone. God has given you teammates to go to battle with. More than that, He has left us with an amazing Captain. Are you ready to put on your jersey?

#TeamJesus

Written by SH. @ Shakirah Adianna

SM and I would like to support each of you in the best way we can. Please email us at jesusbea.email@gmail.com with prayer requests or if you need more information about being a member of Team Jesus.

…An Engagement Ring

One of my absolute closest friends aka. “bestie” got engaged this past weekend, and I am completely geeked about it. She doesn’t realize it (until now of course) that SH and I were actually working toward planning her entire wedding as soon as I figured out that the proposal was nearing. The joy that I feel for her and her fiancé is indescribable. I mean, I have been telling all of my friends about her engagement as if it is my own! And, to top off one of the most amazing proposals, her fiancé presented her with a beautiful engagement ring (not shown above, as I’d like to keep her as one of my absolute closest friends). If people didn’t realize it before, that rock on her finger makes it more than evident that she is taken; that she is a woman accounted for.

While engaged, another close friend of mine inquired, “what is the meaning behind wedding ring traditions”? In my pragmatically designed research aka. Google, I ran across the following:

“The neverending circle of a wedding band symbolizes eternal love by its lack of a beginning and an end…In 860 the Roman Catholic pope (Nicholas I) declared that an engagement ring was required of all those who intended to marry…the rings are worn on the third finger of the left hand because ancient cultures believed that finger had a vein running straight to the heart…The wedding ring is the concrete sealing of the marriage pact.”

All that to say…an engagement ring appears to be symbolic of the desire and intent to wed, while a wedding band is indicative of the covenant made between husband and wife. When we spot a ring on the third finger of someone’s left hand, we are immediately aware of that person’s relationship status. Not sure if I sound crazy or not for admitting it, but I know that I sometimes check out a person’s left hand just to see what their deal is. Although it is extremely nosey, to me it seems a little less invasive (or less stalkerish, depending on how you take it) to stare at their hand than to ask the question.

As I broadcasted my friend’s engagement to the world throughout the week and gawked at pictures of her engagement ring, I remembered my own season of engagement and recognized that from the moment that first ring goes on your finger, people just know that there is something different about who you are…people realize that your status has officially changed (from single to engaged; and eventually from engaged to married). And that my dear friends caused me to ask myself, “Self, is it as easy for people to recognize that you have a relationship with Christ, as it is for them to recognize that you are married?“.When we submit our lives to Christ, His Word reassures us that our status officially changes from normal and of this world to unordinary and unlike this world, or [insert your initials here] version 2.0 (as my husband and I like to claim):

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17

In our newness, there should be radical changes and growth in our character — in the way we perceive; in the way we talk; in the way we relate to others; in the way we love others; in the way we love ourselves; in the way we work; etcetera. Inherently, the people you interact with will just know that there is something different about who you are. People will recognize the work of the Holy Spirit in your life and benefit from all that He is producing through you:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness and self-control… Galatians 5:22-23

Have you said “yes” to Christ’s proposal to be in a sold-out, committed relationship with Him? If so, how are you making it apparent to those around you? What ring/new character are you wearing and displaying for everyone to see?

Anyone who claims to be intimate with God ought to live the same kind of life Jesus lived. 1 John 2:6 (The Message Version)

If you have yet to accept His proposal, and want to know how to, please feel free leave a comment or an email to shekea@jesusbea.com. I would love to chat with you.

SM.

…Love Song

We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19 #swoon

David Crowder Band, He Loves Us

Press play and enjoy!

SM.

…Catch

SH and I were recently chatting with each other, swooning over the men in our lives that God has gifted us (again). We also swapped a few stories of friends lovingly proclaiming and confirming that we’ve “got a great catch”. While we agreed that our boos are the greatest boos ever, in our respective worlds, we also wondered “what are we, chopped liver?!“.

Our conversation reminded me that in the world of speed dating, eHarmony, Match.com, etcetera, we seem to always be in search for the peanut butter to our jelly. Even after we make a commitment, one to another, the question “are they really my best match?” may even linger in our minds. We seem to be in a fixed pursuit of finding (or changing someone into) the best/better compliment, or looking for every quick-fix way to make ourselves the perfect verse to go over someone else’s tight beat. Yes, I recently watched Brown Sugar for the millionth time…please don’t judge me.

The reality is, we’ve actually been created to be in constant pursuit of Christ first and foremost; to seek relationship with Him and to grow in His likeness. With this charge, He even provides a 100% (no money back) guarantee, in James 4:8, in that He will reciprocate all of our efforts – “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” That’s a promise that as we seek Him with all of our heart, He will continue to go all in to have a meaningful relationship with us!

As we follow after Him and grow in our relationship with Him, we will grow to be more like Him, “for it is God who works in [us] to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose” (Philippians 2:13). In being more like Him, it will make us realize the value in ourselves as individuals and the value we may/do bring to a team of 3 (1+1=3). And doesn’t that, by default, make us a hotter commodity (aka a great catch)?

So…why not expend our energy chasing after the Ultimate Catch? To me, it’s a win-win opportunity — to have our efforts reciprocated; to be redeemed by the greatest love relationship; and to grow in our capacity to love and be loved by others. Let’s seek Him each and every day — after all, He wants to be a catch!

SM.

P.S. SH and I understand that we’re nothing close to chopped liver. Whew! As our relationship with Christ continues to deepen, He helps us to see ourselves as He sees us (JBA contact lens!). Our prayer is that you recognize more and more of your true value, in Him, daily. Press play & please be encouraged!