…New Blog

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Thank you for walking with and thinking enough of JBA, through the years, to take this journey. It has been my absolute pleasure to connect in such a way.

Although it’s been quite some time, I have continued to pray for you. So much so, that my heart has been turned to create a new blog. Please visit me at A Joy-filled Day, where my hope is to champion women to live their lives of joy, one day at a time.

…Lifestyle of Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

“Thanksgiving increases the proximity of God in our lives.” Shakirah A. Hill

When we take time to reflect and thank God for the things He’s done, our hearts soften and become more sensitive to the essence of who He is. We give ourselves the opportunity to recognize the favor and intention in everything around us; we change our less than positive thinking to that of a renewed and peaceful mind; we move our focus from us to Him.

What are you thankful to God for? What can you take the time to praise Him for, even in this moment?

When we praise Him for all that He’s done, we acknowledge His sovereignty over our lives, we defeat attempts of the Enemy and we set the atmosphere for the work of His Living Spirit within us. Thanksgiving, essentially, draws us closer to Him and in turn, Him closer to us (James 4:8 NLT).

With the prompting of the holiday, let’s create/continue to lead a lifestyle, not solely a day, of Thanksgiving. In thanksgiving, we gain more of Him! In it, we win!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Be thankful.

On your feet now—applaud God! Bring a gift of laughter, sing yourselves into his presence. Know this: God is God, and God, God. He made us; we didn’t make him. We’re his people, his well-tended sheep. Enter with the password: “Thank you!” Make yourselves at home, talking praise. Thank him. Worship him. For God is sheer beauty, all-generous in love, loyal always and ever. Psalm 100 (MSG)

…Life Source Connection

stay connected

Well, I’m gonna go ahead and pull the pregnancy card here, and ask for your understanding in why I’ve been away for some time. I haven’t forgotten about JBA blog in the least bit, but with all of the competing to-dos, it’s been a challenge for me to prioritize these days.

All that to say, pregnancy, parenthood and all things baby have been occupying my mind over the last 7 months! Recently, the hubs and I took a child birthing class and learned (and saw) way more than I think either of us wanted to. At some point in the class, we were walked through the purpose and importance of the umbilical cord – which, in lamest terms, is the conduit between the baby and mother, via the placenta.

A fetus’ growth, development, oxygen and blood supply are all supplemented through this cord. Essentially, the cord sustains the baby’s life. If the flow of nutrition through the umbilical cord is inhibited (e.g., by being cut or severely tangled), the life of the developing fetus would end.

“I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much abundant fruit. However, apart from Me (cut off from vital union with Me) you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (AMP)

Jesus, aka the True Vine, is our umbilical cord. Just like the fetus who is nourished and developed via the cord, we are fed and in turn produce through the True Vine. Just like the unborn baby who cannot grow without constant connection through the cord, we cannot grow without constant, daily, minute by minute connection to God through Christ. The only way to get Who and what we need in order to walk this life out in the way He intended us to, is through Jesus (John 14:6).

Now, I realize that those of us who strive to live our lives as disciples, are familiar with the aforementioned concept (for lack of a better term) imparted in John 15. Yet, I do not want any one of us to take for granted the value in being intentional in remaining connected. Otherwise, He tells us that “Anyone who does not remain in Me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.” #notaboutthatlife

So, how do you purposefully abide in Him, so that you may be fruitful? How do you allow the sustenance, that only He can provide, continue to flow in your life? What will you begin doing, differently, to connect to the Source of abundant life?

My prayer today is that the Lord would encourage our hearts and increase our desire to make our constant connection, with Him, priority. To give us a thirst for His will and for wisdom, that we will in turn seek through the daily study of and meditation on His Word. That we will remain in Him by spending time with Him and conversing with Him, not just each day, but throughout our days. And, that we may grow in understanding and appreciation of His love by loving others with His heart.

Stay connected.

…Day Worked For Your Glory

Will Work for Jesus Sign

After a 16 day partial shutdown, last Thursday, federal government employees and others affected by the shutdown began getting back to their regular days at work. As the majority of my company returned to business as usual, my colleague, boss and I came together to reprioritize our plans for the current fiscal year – including what tasks were essential; which we could defer to a future date; which projects may be reassigned to other team members and whether or not we would continue to engage co-sourcing staff. As we weighed this and that option over the other, we put the focus on what would prove our team most valuable. Once our new plan was in place, I went back to my desk with the charge to get the absolute necessary tasks done and done well.

This new, determined course of action required that I take the time to realign my personal and managerial job responsibilities. As I adjusted budgets, estimate to completions and a number deadlines, the work at hand appeared more and more feasible to get accomplished. And, I realized that all it would take was a change in perspective on what is currently most important.

In turn, my heart was prompted to consider the perspective on what is always most important — His glory.

As we begin a new work week, and as we all begin each workday – whether after a major shutdown or dry season; whether at an international company, mom and pop shop, at home or in school – what are some ways that we can best glorify God in each moment of it?

Here’s 10 to start with…

1. Recognize the value and importance in what you do – So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

2. Work for Jesus – Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. Colossians 3:23-24 (NLT)

3. Work with integrity – Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out. Proverbs 10:9

4. Become skillful – Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 (NLT)

5. Do what you do, well – Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men. Proverbs 22:29 (NKJV) 

6. Trust in Him to accomplish the task at hand – “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. He will see to it that all the work related to the Temple of the Lord is finished correctly…” 1 Chronicles 28:20 (NLT)

7. Love and serve those you work with – Let all that you do be done with love. 1 Corinthians 16:14 (NKJV)

8. Speak life and avoid gossip – Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29

9. Be different and shine bright – Always be joyful. 1 Thessalonians 5:16 (NLT); Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16 (NKJV);

10. Go fishing amongst your colleagues – “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” Matthew 4:19; “Therefore, go and make disciples…” Matthew 28:19

…Guarded Heart

guard your heart

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

I first heard this verse during my courtship with my now, husband. And, I frequently refer to it when conversing about relationships and when solicited for any respective advice.

Although we, including me, tend to reference “heart” when speaking of our emotions, the Bible teaches us that the “heart” is so much more.

In turn, guarding our hearts is far beyond, and including, the guarding of our emotions. It is essentially, being intentional in the way we shepard our actions, thoughts, desires, choices and words.

  • Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)
  • For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come – sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. Mark 7:21-22
  • A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. Luke 6:45

Since everything we do is inherently directed by the orientation of our hearts, as followers of Christ, the guarding of our hearts is kind of like a big deal.

Though I realize this, I do sometimes question how to best go about doing so day-to-day. And, just like every other question, the Word gives such clarity in its answers. We simply have to first ask for and receive a renewed heart (1 John 5:14-15); then, walk in and find rest in the protection of our heart that God has given us in Jesus (Philippians 4:7).

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26

…Name Changer, Game Changer

my name is

From Kindergarten to my Senior year in high school, I can remember the countless times when new teachers and substitute teachers paused before attempting to read my first name, aloud, from the roll and peers simply mispronounced it. As I approached college, I vowed to solve that issue before it arose, and in turn, began to introduce myself as Kea. Two syllables are easier than three, right?

Upon entering Corporate America, I figured that I didn’t really want to be recognized by my familial nickname – the name that most of those closest to me affectionately called me (that would be weird) – so I embraced Shekea and went on to introduce myself accordingly.

Now, I can usually tell at what stage in my life I met a friend or colleague, depending upon the name they use to address me.

At work the other day, my co-worker, turned friend, greeted me with a “Hey Kea!” After my initial side-eye, I thought about my personal decision to switch up my name over the years, which in turn reminded me (after I laughed at myself) of a number of the names God has changed. For example, God changed:

When a person’s name was changed by God, it appeared to be done in order to establish a new identity in Him; to better define who He created and intended them to be; to ultimately, change the game.

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)

In 2 Corinthians, Paul (whose name was previously, Saul) proclaimed that we also have and can establish our new identity in Him. While we may not legally change our names to associate ourselves with the new life, the new heart and the new characteristics we inherently have, we are given this gift of change.

Therefore, when your family, friends and colleagues think of, refer to and address you, how do you want to be called differently? Friend instead of foe? Patient instead of quick to anger? Lover instead of fighter? Bold instead of coward? Courageous instead of fearful? Generous instead of stingy? Kind instead of mean? Listener instead of gossiper? Gentle instead of harsh? Producer instead of consumer? Fruitful instead of unproductive? Loving instead of hateful?

Just a thought. Change your name, in some way, today.

…Motivation to GO

Every Nation GO Logo

Last month, me, the hubs and around 100 of our church family traveled to Kissimmee, FL to attend our Every Nation 2013 World Conference. Along with over 60 other nations in attendance, we delved into Every Nation’s mission “to honor God by establishing Christ-centered, Spirit-empowered, socially responsible churches and campus ministries in every nation” by exploring the initiative to GO.

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

Amongst a myriad of sessions topics, we listened to and discussed testimonies and sermons that encouraged us to GO; not only to the nations, but also to the next generation;  our neighbor; and the needy. (Listen to podcasts of these sessions here.)

The experience of worshipping our God with the nations – a resemblance of what heaven will look like – has forever left an impression and motivation on my heart. And, the understanding that my GO does not have to look like your GO, has charged me to to look at my ministry with a different lens.

How are you choosing to GO for Christ? Missions trips to the nations? Serving your community? Discipling your children? Sharing the gospel with your classmates and colleagues?

In this season, I am listening for His instruction, and choose to GO through Jesus Be A…blog, on my job and amongst my family and friends.

Press play to see the EN 2013 recap. Be encouraged to say “send me!” Be encouraged to GO!