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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Leave it behind in 2013

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 3:13-14

But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.  Genesis 19:26

Leave it behind

Now is the time people reflect and assess how well 2013 was.  No matter your assessment – good or bad one thing for sure you are a live and have an opportunity to clean the slate, “turn the page” and leave it all behind in 2013. What can you leave behind in 2013?

Unfulfilled goals

Just because you did not LOOSE the desired WEIGHT, improve FINANCES, EXERCISE, get a new JOB, or eat HEALTHIER life still goes on.  Count your blessing and leave all unfulfilled goals behind and don’t look back. Where the mistake is made,  people tend to hang out in the past, waddling in their defeats, and disappointments.  They take on the spirit of Lot’s wife. 

God’s angels told Lot and his family to leave the wickedness of their past but one has to believe that there was something about the past that keep Lot’s wife looking back or standing and watching oppose to pressing toward the mark. The end result she was turned into a pillar of salt! As tempting as it may be let go of the past and follow God’s lead.

"Turning the page"

For the last sermon of 2013, Pastor Stafford Wicker used the aforementioned scripture from Philippians as a subject.  His message to the congregation was to “turn the page.”  His take away points were:

  1. “Don’t be a slave to your past”
  2. “Don’t let your past dictate your future”
  3. “Keep your eye on your goal (God) and don’t turn back”
  4. “Don’t be bitter get better”

In the book of Philippians Paul wrote  how faith can work in practical terms and during troubled times.  Paul had every right to be bitter, angry, and frustrated.  Because of his Crusade for Christ and letters to the first church, Paul was persecuted and placed under house arrest in the name of Jesus.  In his darkest hour he did not dwell on his current conditions. He forgot the past and reached forward to greater opportunities.  

Steps to a Happier New Year

The dawning of a new year – 2014 – is on the horizon.  Press toward the mark (God) by setting new goals and aspirations. Here are a few steps that can help make 2014 a Happier Year.

  1. Leave the past in the past
  2. Keep eyes focused on future – God
  3. Surround yourself with positive and spirit filled people who encourage
  4. Praise God always – during the good and bad times
Redirect your thoughts by focusing on the savior and not the past.  He will direct your path and lead you into a happier new year in 2014!


Dear heavenly father,

I look around and see a beautiful world which you have given me. I thank you for seeing me through 2013 – the good, the bad, and misfortunes.  Despite it all your Grace and Mercy kept me.  Thank you for allowing me to see the dawning of a new year. May this year be prosperous – filled with good health, joy, blessing and your favor!  This I claim in your son Jesus Christ name. Amen. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The words we speak echo


Image provided by: Dr. Diva Verdun
 Read: Ecclesiastes 5:2-3

Whatsoever a man sow that shall he reap.  Galatians 6:7


Do you remember as a child hearing your first echo?  The fascination of yelling hello and hearing the repeated sound was fun.  The echo returns to the sender what it hears. Paul told us of another type of “echo” when he said, whatsoever a man sow that shall he reap Galatians 6:7.

Harsh words hurt

Words we often speak or receive from family, friends, coworkers, and children can be harsh. They are sowed in the spirit and harvest hatred, anger, and quitters.  “You are just like your father, a failure, no good, an idiot.”  Those words reverberate like an echo stabbing and cutting the spirit deep. 

Children also echo their parents, repeating what they hear by inflecting words of destruction – “You are ugly, fat, and no one likes me.”  The tongue is powerful. Our words, positive or negative, once spoken into the universe, there is recourse – they will return as an echo.

The tongue is fire

The bible tells us the tongue is fire; it is evil and can corrupt the whole body. So, it is imperative to guard our lips for what we speak, our words can ruin a person.  In anger, a fit of rage or when disciplining children people say damaging expressions. Once spoken the words echo in the recipient’s mind. Watch the words that you say.

Echoes can be destructive and hard to stop. They negate what God has in store for a person.  They tear down God’s temples – the person. Only God can end the negative noise and unless he does individuals will live in a perpetual hell.   God will heal and help change speech by using loving, encouraging, uplifting, and words of blessings.

As stewards of what God has given us authority over meditate on your conversations. If you have spoken harmful words repent seek forgiveness and rebuild confidence in those harmed. If that child are friend is an adult it is not too late to rekindle the fire which was smothered by harsh echoes.


Eternal Father in Heaven, words I speak is manifested in the universe and the spirit. Your word states what a man sows he also shall reap. Help me to guard the words I say about myself as well as others.  May they be words to uplift, encourage, and bless. Rekindle the fire in my heart to see good in self and others and not bad. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your eyesight Amen.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Am I My Brother’s Keeper?

Submitted by: Keith Johnson - Guest Writer
Read Geneses 4:1-15

…Am I my brother’s keeper Geneses 4:8

Are you your brother’s keeper?

Everyone has heard that question before. It would appear to be a simple question that should be able to be answered one of two ways. Yes or no.  The answer given may not be as straightforward as yes or no. Yes, with an explanation. It could be no with an explanation. There could be a why. Or even the possibility of a maybe.

Cain and Abel

In the Bible, when brothers Cain and Abel brought their offering to the Lord, the Lord respected Abel and his offering, which came from his flock of sheep. His brother Cain also presented an offering to the Lord, which was fruit that came from the ground. The Lord did not respect Cain and his offering. Cain got very angry and his countenance (his face or features) “fell” as Scripture says.

In Genesis 4:7 (NKJV), Cain got instructions from the Lord. “If you do well will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you; but you should rule over it.”The instructions were direct and to the point. Cain, however, did have choice of free will. The choice Cain ultimately made has continued to affect mankind as much today as it did then.
He chose not to follow God’s instructions. In Genesis 4:8 it says “Now Cain talked with Abel his brother, and it came to pass, when they were in the field that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him”. God already knew what had happened but asked “Cain, where is Abel your brother?”  Then Cain used the line that has been used for centuries. Verse 9 says “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper? The Lord asks in verse 10 “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the Ground.

Voices cry out from the ground

How many voices, like Abel’s, cry out from the ground? Over time, there are too many voices to count that cry out. The voices of Trayvon Martin, Jonathan Davis, most recently and Renisha McBride cry out. Unarmed young people whose lives were lost to gun violence and laws allowing for deadly force to be used based on the assailant’s fear. Despite the confusion and chaos from these earthly laws, God hears those voices. Awareness through social media, non violent protests become voices to move the legal system to speak for these victims...

Australia is not a brother’s keeper

Here in Australia, refugees from war torn countries like Afghanistan, Iraq and even Syria risk their lives to come to settle where there is peace and no war. The current government, which just came into power, says “we will stop the boats”. These refugees come to Australia, risking their lives, but most will never step foot on the Australia soil. The “boat people” as they are called, are processed in detention centers off the Australia mainland. Most will be sent to Papua New Guinea as a result of this new “immigration” policy. Am I my brother’s keeper? If you are a refugee and expect Australia to be your “keeper, it is highly unlikely.

We as people can not exist alone or in divided groups. We all need one another. There are voices that are not in the ground, that are among the living that are crying out. When we are asked the question “Am I my brother’s keeper? Our answer should emphatically be “YES I AM!” Be blessed.

Keith Johnson is native of Minneapolis, Minnesota currently residing just outside Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. A mass communications graduate of Morehouse College and a elementary education trained teacher. Keith is a Christian, who believes "God's will" be done by "loving thy neighbor as thyself".

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Good Morning! - A gift from God

You are a Gift from God.

God has given you a gift...

Employ it.

Serve one another as good managers of the Grace of God.

Always strive to do your best!

Make it a great day!!!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Good Morning! - Believe in yourself

Believe in yourself!

Learn to believe in yourself!

Know that God planted a SEED - a DREAM in YOU.

Tap into that dream and connect with God

Always pray and do your best!!!

God loves you and so do I

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Sounds of Blackness: The night before Christmas musical fantasy

Minneapolis MN – ‘Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house The Sounds of Blackness could be heard all about….

The Sounds of Blackness

The Sounds of Blackness is a group known for their soul filled music with inspiring lyrics, and for over forty years they have maintained relevance by the Grace of God. 

This holiday season the Sounds of Blackness will light up the stage with their 35th performance of the Christmas poem – A Visit from Saint Nicolas, better known as The Night before Christmas. December 12, 2015 8:00 PM 
Doors Open: 7:00 PM,
at Minneapolis' famous 
The Fitzgerald Theater
.  It is a family friendly production featuring Santa, Mrs. Claus, and Rudolph the Rappin' Reindeer. A show chocked filled with love and fun through music.This musical fantasy is a testament to God’s bountiful blessings.

The Night before Christmas in Minneapolis

The Night before Christmas is musical fantasy which stays true to the poem’s original story-line but with a few fresh adaptations.  The musical tells the real meaning of Christmas from an African-American perspective. Gary Hines, the ensemble’s founding director, stated “The musical is true to the poem but the Lord gave us inspiration to put our spin on it.” The three live mice will come to life as well as stockings prancing about. But oppose to visions of sugar plums dancing in the children's heads, there is a new twist with a hint of Black heritage to boot – visions of chitterlings come to life!  Sit back and enjoy soulful music, hearty dialogue and a healthy dose of comedy.

”Once a sound always a sound”

The Sounds of Blackness consist of a thirty members who are believers in Jesus Christ.  Their ministry through music is always about glorifying God and bringing a message of inspiration through music to people everywhere. “No matter what presentation or performance our music always portrays our heritage from Gospels, spirituals, jazz, blues, hip hop, Rhythm and Blues.” All genres can be experienced in The Night before Christmas.  As long as God continues to bless them there are no signs of stopping now.

The future looks very promising for this multi Grammy group. Their travels have taken them worldwide performing to sell out crowds. Their goal is to take The Night before Christmas on the road in the near future. 

So, as you plan your Christmas season festivities schedule a date to check out The Sounds of Blackness musical fantasy - A Night before Christmas.  If you don't get a chance to witness this spectacular show this year reach out to the group and request them to bring the musical fantasy to city near you!  "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

Ticket Info: The Fitzgerald Theater
Office 651.290.1200 and online at  
Tickets On Sale NOW - Dont Miss It

Good Morning! - Success & Failure

There is nothing you cannot do. Surround yourself with positive people. If you hang wil successful people
you will think success!

Think positive, change your way of thinking, pray, and seek God!

make it a great day

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The poorest sermon has a message – just listen

Read Psalm 85:6-13

I will hear what God the Lord will speak… Psalm 85:8

Poor sermons

When listening to a sermon or choir sing have you ever been agitated? The preacher seemed lost and unable to deliver?  The choir’s tone was terrible and “They didn’t sound like so and so choir!” Though well-meant they lack certain qualifications. Several years ago I learned how to enjoy the poorest of sermons and tone death choirs simply because God’s servants delivered the message.

God speaks to you

I ran across an article which proclaimed “At one point in every sermon God breaks through the words of the preacher and speaks directly to the people.”  It may be a phrase or sentence when God speaks directly to you.  Understanding this logic one cannot afford not to listen to the entire sermon or song.  Or neglect hearing that one illuminated moment when God speaks – bringing conviction, hope, strength or renewed faith.

Ignoring God’s word

So many people ignore that one word of God because they are comparing the preacher or choir with another recently heard.  For every person who God called to preach or sing it was based upon their unique personality, knowledge and aptitude.

Boring preachers

What would the world be like if all preachers and choirs sounded alike? It would be boring! God’s word can be like your favorite dish of food or the sound of good music that stirs the soul. One word, phrase or song can be the conduit to unite with God. It is us who often unplug from God the Father.

The next time you attend your place of worship listen intently for that one portion in the sermon and hymns which God intended for your heart. Hear what God the Lord will speak to you!


Father God,

Open my ears that I may hear a word from you. Speak to my heart and refresh in me a renewed spirit.  Remove all interferences which impede me from hearing a word form you.  This I pray in your son Jesus Christ name. Amen

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Testimony of Victory: A Breast Cancer Survivor

Felita Smith - Breast Cancer survivor
Read Matthew 8:5-13

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

Life’s detours

Life is filled with unexpected detours that take us to momentous highs and devastating lows. These by-passes come without warning, disrupting finances, relationships even health. “Lord why me?” 

It was late April, a dear friend was laying heavy on my mind.  I’ve known Felita since birth. Born two days apart, lived on the same street, only eight houses separated us. We grew up attending the same church and schools. She was the younger sister I never had.

There was no apparent reason Felita was on my mind, I just called. I received the usual warm and hearty greeting, always joyous and genially happy, “what’s going Tigner Rand.” During our catch up, in a matter-of-fact type a way, she dropped the “big C - word” – Breast Cancer.  The statement took me by surprise.  My heart sank and eyes began to swell.  The day was warm and picturesque yet a cold chill overwhelmed me. Thoughts of disbelief ran through my mind. “Not Felita, how could this be?”

Jesus heals

How deep is your faith?  God’s word reminds us of his willingness to be with us – just call his name. Today’s scripture bares witness to how a Centurion soldier who knew nothing of Jesus but from his servant. The servant’s faith was so deep the soldier had to find Jesus so he could heal him.

My friend’s journey began November, 2012 after an annual mammogram when doctors asked her to come back. “Because of the tissue in my breast it was not unusual for a second visit” stated Felita.

Thinking nothing of it, a second procedure was performed.  This time, unlike any other, the radiologist wanted to meet again. “We see something that looks unusual.”  A follow up appointment reveled a biopsy was required.

With Thanksgiving looming and the family planning for travel, Felita suggested, “Let’s schedule biopsy after the holidays.” An unpredicted, “No we are not waiting I will schedule you for next week,” confirmed something was wrong, followed by numbing words no patient want to hear - “You have cancer.” 

Breast Cancer affects men and women

Breast Cancer has no enemies.  It roams the earth seeking men and women whom it may devour. Unexpected cancer (circumstances) in life can create disbelief and denial. “This must be wrong.” “How did this happen to me?” Rationalization with self overtakes the mind trying to make sense of a bad situation. “How could this be?”

There are various types of Breast Cancer

Felita had Estrogen positive which feeds off estrogen found in the body. Tamoxifn combats estrogen build up reducing the source which could cause breast cancer to return.

In the middle of a storm

Experiencing cancer can be distressing, even harder without the support of family and faith in God. In a storm God is often questioned – “why did this happen to me?” Felita was no different. But her fear was eased from prayer, and support from family and friends. 

“This ordeal made my relationship with God closer, without God’s strength where would I be?”  “It was only through God that I made it through,” confessed Felita.

Seven millimeters

Surgery went has scheduled and seven millimeters of tumor extracted. After surgery came radiation and the Oncotype DX test. Oncotype DX diagnoses the probability of cancer returning.  It also determines if chemotherapy is needed. Doctors use a scale from 0-100 to assess test results. Felita’s came back 26.  “In my mind 26 was very low.” But the doctors saw it as a seventy-four percent chance cancer could return.

Fear of chemo warranted a second, third, and fourth opinion from local oncologist as well as a close doctor friend back home in Texas where she and her colleagues suggested chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy is known to wreak havoc to many.  Despite the fact chemotherapy was recommended, Felita did not want the treatment. The main reason was fear of sickness, nausea and of course loosing the hair.

Crazy with no hair

Appearance and image weighed heavy mentally. Felita did not want to look bad. There was a job, husband, and two boys to take care of. “Lord, I don’t want to walk around looking crazy with no hair.” Faith was put to the test.  Affirmations and prayer prevailed.  God spoke and comforted Felita… “Go ahead take chemotherapy,” the voice within spoke.  

Chemotherapy – no side effects

Loss of appetite, nausea and sickness are common side effects from chemotherapy and occur within four days after first treatment.  Patients speak of waking up horrified, finding hair on the pillow or combing out large patches.

Following four rounds of Chemotherapy God’s grace and mercy covered Felita.  Not once had she felt sick, if anything an increased appetite.  “Thank you God for getting me through.”

By Round three the inevitable came – hair loss.  In preparation of the metamorphoses Felita wore a wig cap. When it came time to remove the cap, also came the hair – literally. Prayer brought peace and acceptance of the one thing that was feared, it eased the pain of watching hair slowly fall out.  “I didn’t have to cry about it, because I knew it would happen.”

After the storm

Each of us are vessels designed to serve and witness others.  It is our job to speak on God’s behalf and help those in need.  Recently, Felita’s first cousin was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Recognizing her cousin’s pain, Felita witnessed – as a survivor.  The conversations gave strength for the cousin to cope

In life, no matter how perplexing a situation; find a way to be a blessing to others. Do not let situations control you. Persevere through the storm and be in control of your situation through God.

Our task as Christians is to always be prepared to speak words of encouragement, uplift others, and console those in need.  There is no testimony with out a test.

I am a survivor

I asked what did the doctors say about her cancer? The journey is not over but in retrospect Breast Cancer has made Felita more compassionate. Though the cancer has been removed and in remission “I will never be cancer free,” but she will have a message to spread and encourage others.

Never being cancer free are not words of assurance but as a child of God Felita’s belief is “Cancer is never coming back because God made sure the doctor took it all and I am done, I am claiming cancer free.”

Father God,
Cancer can be a deadly disease.  Many of your children have fell victim to its debilitating power.  I speak with authority that your Holy Spirit will touch and heal your children who are suffering from cancer and other illness.  By your word and the strips of Jesus Christ I claim healing and victory.  Cover each family give them strength and let them know that you will never leave or forsake them even through their storms.  This I pray in your son Jesus the Christ name. Amen

For more information about Breast Cancer awareness:

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Speak Life to yourself at all times

Submitted by: Guest Writer


It is when I put CONDITIONS on the WORD OF GOD or on the WORDS of HOPE and TRANSFORMATION that are given to me by others that I impose LIMITATIONS on the POWER OF GOD working in my life.


I CAN’T, BUT, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE, IT MIGHT WORK FOR THEM: All these words minister negativity to my spirit. They negate that:




It is that which I say to myself that opens up the vast and unparalleled possibilities and blessing that God has for my life.

At this very moment, I speak life to myself.

• I ask YOU GOD to increase my faith that I might see past my limitations

• I ask YOU GOD to give me higher thoughts and higher aspiration for my life

• I ask YOU GOD that when I am feeling rejected and unworthy trapped off by self-doubt, self-loathing, and low self-worth that you dispatch the Holly Spirit to witness to heart that there is nothing wrong with me.

• I ask YOU GOD to take me to another level of self-acceptance

The best part of my life is yet to come….GOD SAID IT:







Saturday, September 21, 2013

Self examination: lying to self

Inflated Ego
Read Psalm 69:1-5

O God, thou knows my foolish ways; and my sins are not hid from thee.  Psalm 69:5

We love accolades from others who praise us for our achievements, talents, and knowledge. We gloat mentally patting ourselves on the back and giving high fives. There is little time for self examination because ego has overtaken our thoughts. 

I read a story of a rather pompous man who was trying to impress upon a group of young men the importance of living a Christian life. Swollen with pride he asked “Why do people call me a Christian?” There was a long pause, and then one young man said “Maybe because they don’t really know you.”

Criticism from others can be unkind but if we study what they say it could reveal flaws in our character and testimony. Truth does burn like fire, singing our self-image. If you think you are usually right and believe you are the “it factor” think again. God’s harsh commentary states “Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know” I Corinthians 8:2. How wrong we are. Not only should we take heed to comments of critics, but most important we should let the word of God search our hearts so we will know where the flaws lay and purge them out.

Examine yourself in God’s word. Humbly conclude that there is no such person as you believe because the only good that reside in us is the Holy Spirit. May our prayer be to search the heart daily, our nature be refined and let God’s Holy light in us all shine. May the God in you be seen and not the pretentious thoughts you think of self.

Dear Heavenly Father,
I am full of pride, self love and never truly omitting to my sinful ways.  Search my heart Holy Spirit. Purge and cleanse me.  Mold and shape me into the image you so desire, living by your word so that others can see your light shine through me.

This I pray in Jesus name. Amen.

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Monday, September 2, 2013

A cup of COLD water… Get it yourself

READ: Matthew 10:34-42

a cup of COLD water… Matthew 10:42

Jesus dividing families

Today’s scripture lesson speaks of several things – Jesus coming with a sword breaking up families, fathers against sons and mothers against daughters.  The Prince of Peace goes on to say (me paraphrasing) – whoever finds their life will lose it but if they lose for the sake of Jesus it will be found.  By welcoming a righteous person as a righteous person, and sacrificing to help others we will receive the rewards of prophets. But if anyone gives one of Jesus disciples a cup of COLD water truly that person will not lose their reward.

Digging for cold water

What’s the big deal about COLD water? To us it does not mean much because of its convenience.  It only takes a few seconds for us to walk to our refrigerator and get a bottle of ice COLD water.  Just envision during Jesus time, COLD water was a luxury more of a sacrifice. To get COLD water a person would have to walk for miles to the river, climb rugged terrain, or dig a well. The COLD water was deep. You would have to lower a bucket into the swift currents and struggle to pull it out.  Then the trek back home… COLD water was not found near the surface only tepid and nauseating warm water cooked by the sun.  So would you sacrifice your time and energy in Jesus name to get me a cup of COLD water?

Looking for convenience in God

Some people’s relationship with God is like COLD water today. They look for convenience by lounging at home streaming services on-line, watching on television, or listening to a pre-recorded sermons. If it is raining, too hot or cold stay at home. Where is the sacrifice?  Nothing wrong with either of these methods the problem is people are relying on someone to make it convenient by spoon feeding them the word.   Sacrifice the time to go get it for yourself and take the word to someone else while you at it.

Lukewarm words

I have heard from many of The Soul’s Remedy followers that they enjoy reading my devotions. Thank you, I appreciate it! My devotions are my way of bringing God's message to others as I see it. Yet in translation, my words lose some of its freshness; they are lukewarm in comparison to God’s cooling water.You may have noticed I now include scriptures to read with each devotional. The reason I preface devotions with God’s word, the Gospel is more important. If reading The Souls Remedy is a method to get people closer with God, I have done my part...

But I ask of you one thing - the next time you read a devotional bring your cup to the spring dip it and take a sip. Sacrifice a few extra minutes to pray, study, ask questions and enjoy God’s COLD revitalizing word before reading The Souls Remedy.
Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for your cooling water the fresh word. May your Holy word flow fresh through each reader blessing them in the name of Jesus.  My lives be changed and souls saved today by the reading of your word.  This I pray in Jesus name. Amen.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Life: the greatest challenge of the future

Born on April 6, 1980, in Birmingham, Alabama, Diana Strickland had a gift of writing, speaking, and singing.  She wrote her first book in elementary and was often the poet to represent her class.  Her mother acknowledges that Diana was not a crying baby but she yelled.  

Her voice was very strong then and still is strong now.  Her mother moved her family out of the projects to give them a better and healthier life.  Diana Strickland no longer had her teachers to groom and support her so she became very fearful.  Her fears paralyzed her and she didn’t speak or write until she was a full grown woman serving GOD.

In 2004 Diana Strickland was married and moved to New Jersey.  When her marriage failed she cried out to Jesus in her bathtub.  She was tired of a string of mistakes and lies.  Her life was in circles like a roller coaster ride that was not enjoyable.  She threw up her hands and surrendered to Jesus.  She rededicated her life to JESUS and 
became a true Christian.  

God had worked with her and given her another opportunity.  She began to complete her first poetry book and created a ministry website called Believer To Believer.  Things were finally looking really hopeful for her.  She was committed and was taking her life’s choices seriously.  However with all the new love and growth Diana Strickland would have her faith tested with disappointments and heartbreak not far.

In 2007 Diana Strickland was terminated from both of her jobs.  Diana lost almost everything of value in her life except CHRIST JESUS.  She moved around two different homes before settling down in a shelter.  At this point Diana was homeless, living in a shelter, and struggling being poor.  But her faith never wavered although it was tested.  Diana began to write poems to her second book, LIFE, while going through this
 season.  In Diana’s latest book, LIFE, she "provides an honest spiritual analysis of a woman who learns that throughout her greatest challenges, her ever-increasing faith holds the key to a future of unbelievable promise!”

 Today Diana Strickland is a student at Abundant Life Bible Institute to obtain her Associates degree in Theology.  She is employed with two published poetry books and a ministry website.  She also ministers her poetry at different events.  Diana Strickland has her hands full but by the grace of God she will accomplish all that God has planned.

She proudly shares her testimony without looking down.

Diana Strickland

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Sanctuary - Dark secrets become truths

Change can be Terrifying

Change can be terrifying. When adversity disrupts euphoric lives people lose self-assurance, like author, Paulette Harper. A life once filled with bountiful blessings ended tragically with a “kiss of death” – divorce. From her misery came forth a book. But that was not her vision.

Prior to 2007 Ms. Harper’s life was glorious. Married to prominent Pastor for twenty-three years, her world centered around husband, children, and church. Without warning Paulette’s joy turned to pain and she found herself depressed, alone, and suicidal.

Anguish in life can cause relentless distress or it can force one to lean upon God’s promises.  “Divorce was a major transition in my life that brought about many changes; it began a new journey in my life. God took me somewhere which was unfamiliar.”

Out of pain comes great work

Over time Paulette found herself leaning upon God’s word and from the ruins rose a new birth, and a book. Paulette is a living example of my theory - we all have a story buried deep within that needs to be told.

Out of our darkest hour comes our greatest work. Since Paulette’s divorce she wrote her first memoir – That was Then this is now, followed by several books, manuals, and anthologies. Her latest book, The Sanctuary, has led her into a new genre – a Christian fiction novel.

The book - The Sanctuary 

The Sanctuary centers on the lives of Bishop Cedric Jones and his wife Lacy Jones.  This charismatic Pastor founded one of the fastest growing churches in San Francisco California.  Cedric is known for his preaching behind the pulpit but there is also a dark past – internal demons he struggles to conquer. Cedric attempts to embrace people of all backgrounds with an unconditional message of love and grace. It will ultimately put him to the test. How does he deal with Preaching and his past? 

Challenges confronting Lacey compounded by manipulation from a controlling husband she finds herself seeking restoration and joy again. To gain peace is she willing to forsake what she believe called her to do or will she continue to follow her husband?

Readers will be able to relate with Cedric and Lacey. They display many characteristics present in the church today. Ms. Harper attempts to bring resolution not just for the characters but some readers who may be experiencing similar issues.

When reading this exciting novel, remember lessons can be learned and pains can be healed even from a fiction novel – The Sanctuary.

Author: Paulette Harper
The Sanctuary is available online at

Check out other books by the author - 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Trusted with little blessed with more

Read Luke 16: 19-31

Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. Luke 16: 10-11

Thankful spirit

What does monetary fortitude have to do with spiritual responsibilities?  If a person cannot manage his earthly finances and honor God how can He bless you with the desires of the heart?  Mail-room to CEO or shack to castle the progress doesn’t happen overnight. There has to be trust and a thankful spirit before you can gain more.

I believe I can fly

Many years ago I was a pretty good basketball player.  Deifying gravity allowed me to play above the rim and my unique jumping abilities impressed the coach. Opposed to working harder to prove myself worthy I believed my skills entitled me to start. For three years I complained thinking I deserved more. My senior year coach asked “How do you see yourself contributing to the team?”

I replied “as a starter.” 

Looking back over my life I only relied on my abilities never once making an effort to improve.  “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.”  So, I quit the team…

Self entitlement

There are many frustrated Christians who believe just because they professed Jesus as Lord and quoted a few scriptures they are guaranteed all things will be granted in life.  In part, their belief is true. However, if there is not an attitude of gratitude for the little things why should God bless with more?

Spiritual wealth is far more valuable that earthly wealth.  If a person cannot show appreciation and a willingness to honor God with the little things – job, house, or money how could God bless with more?  If there is always a sense of entitlement – “I deserve more because _____ (you fill in the blank) this is displaying a lack of gratitude.

The flip side

Take for example the rich man in today’s scripture lesson. His wealth enabled him to assist the beggar but he chose not to. Yet in the afterlife he desired water.  One can assume the rich man expressed a sense of entitlement because of his earthly status. The question is if God blessed you with more what would you do with it?

People desire for something greater. Be it wealth, money, or job. Any of theses things can be a blessing or curse.  It is what you do with them which make the difference.

 Desires of the heart

 So I ask the question again – if God granted you your biggest desire would you hoard and lavish self or would you utilize a portion to bless others?

As you seek the desires of your heart consider how you will begin to think more of others than self.  “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.” 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Life seem unfair even when I believe in God?

Read Psalms 73:1-17

…the world passes away and the lust thereof; but he that does the will of God lives for ever.  I John 2:17

Life is unfair

Why does life seem unfair? Why is it that those who hate or ignore God seem to prosper?

Society as well as Christians aspires to be like people of the world. They follow the rich and famous watching them on talk shows, reality TV, nightly news and the internet. Water cooler conversations are often heard of how life would be different – “if I had that much money I would not have a problem in the world.” Are would you?

Worldly people are blessed

It is suggested that worldly people have everything – house, car, job, even the perfect family? Admit it, the thought has crossed your mind – “why other people have it better than I do,” re-read Psalms 73:3-5.

Many Christians, just like the writer of this Psalms struggled with prosperity of the wicked. Why do arrogant and violent people boast of their fortunes and good health while believers struggle?

Questioning your faith

This is when Christians begin to question their faith. They feel cheated and even ask why should I try to live right?  These thoughts harden the hearts of most believers. As long as thoughts are measured by earthly standards - health, wealth, and power then life will appear unfair.

Seek God first

It was when the writer had a paradigm shift did change take place. His thoughts became spiritual rather than worldly (v.17).  A Christian and non-Christian’s perspective of life changes when they enter a relationship with God. A believer’s final destiny is far greater than the riches of this earth.

When a person truly encounters God in a personal way a new perspective of life is revealed. By Seek(ing) first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you Matt. 6:33.

Heaven on earth

God is the true source of life and joy. Submit self to God, develop a relationship and study his word, it can bring clarity to life’s issues.  When thoughts shift to seeking God first from earthly possessions he will rightfully bless his children. By delighting yourself in the Lord he will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4). And once that bond is forged yes heaven can also be found on earth too.

Let us pray:  Dear heavenly Father the wayward behavior of the world has clouded my mind. I question the success and prosperity of the ungodly. Lord, forgive me of my selfish thoughts. Father, help me to learn to put ALL my trust in you and my eyes on you and not the world. Help me develop a relationship with you, keep my thoughts on you and lean not upon my own understanding.  Your word said if I delight myself in you that you will give the desires of my heart. I thank you Lord for your Grace and Mercy. I praise and worship your Holy name! These things I pray in your son Jesus the Christ name. Amen.


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