“Perseverance”.

This past month has been a whirlwind of changes and growth. God has revealed so much to me in what my flesh is still desiring and what my spirit needs to desire. This morning I read this powerful “sticky statement” (a statement that sticks out the most in an author’s piece or work) and it struck the rift I have been feeling in my spirit right out: “God leads us all into situations, circumstances, and experiences that break me, but mold me into a better version of myself.” We all can agree trials and tribulations are down right awful. None of us like the feeling of disappointment, failure, or my favorite word this week: perseverance. Today, I want to write to you what I have learned from our friend of the bible James, and how trials should be counted as “great joy” in our personal walk with God.

I entered into the dating arena again with hope in my heart and excitement in my brain. The last relationship I had been in was almost 2 years ago! I have been fresh out of the game for quite some time. I will tell you on a personal note that the last 2 years of being single were the best couple years of my life. I grew so intimately with God, learned heavily about forgiveness, and I found a love for myself I never knew I had instilled within me. I prayed for months to share what I learned with the opposite sex (of course, a relationship). God eventually did lead me to someone who was incredible. His mind, body, and soul attracted me so profoundly. I desired to be in this persons’ presence, sadly, more than I did with God. The relationship abruptly ended, and I surprisingly did not leave the relationship empty or broken. I felt two things I have never felt in my life over a break up: hope and peace. I quickly began to understand and truly see how much work God has done within my heart when I had to endure multiple trials of perseverance. James, incredible book of the bible, teaches us that very thing.

James 1:2-3:

Take Hope When Tests Come

My Christian brothers, you should be happy when you have all kinds of tests. You know these prove your faith. It helps you not to give up. 

What a bold statement, right? “Be happy when you have all kinds of tests”. I am currently enrolled in school, and I can gladly tell you I do not find any joy in tests. In fact, I LOATHE tests! But… what would be the point if we did not have tests? How would I be able to see if I understand what I am learning and able to retain it if I do not endure tests of learning? The same exact principle is used when it comes to our faith. We are commanded by our Lord to read His word and apply to our lives so that when we do enter into “trials of tribulation” we can have a hope that surpasses all worldly understanding. We can have joy in knowing that we can endure all attacks because of the living Spirit inside of us.

James 1:4

Learn well how to wait so you will be strong and complete and in need of nothing.

Patience is one of the most used words in the bible. We are called many, many times to be patient. I sometimes like to explore many different versions of the bible, and one version replaced patience with “long suffering.” Wow! My mind immediately went to the cross. Jesus endure an immense amount of long suffering. He was so faithful to God’s will, even though He was in great anguish. That powerful, loving example is what Jesus expects of us. Waiting is an act of obedience; trusting God to do the possible when contradictions around us say impossible.

James 1:6

You must have faith as you ask Him. You must not doubt. Anyone who doubts is like a wave which is pushed around by the sea.

Trials are stepping stones in our faith. We must endure pain and tribulation, so that we will rely on God more and more. Just like the butterfly must complete the whole stage of metamorphosis, we must endure the whole trial of perseverance. We must allow God to mold us into His perfect character!

“Do Not Have a Feeling Based Faith.”

“And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” Hebrews‬ ‭11:6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Feelings are one of the most powerful, shifting aspects of our minds. Feelings can make us want to dance in the puddles after a afternoon shower. Or they can make us curl up under the covers, while watching the heavy rain drops clash against our windows. Feelings are overall dangerous. Especially when it comes to walking with Jesus. If we base our faith with only feelings, we never experience the Truth and will always submit to our flesh. Here's a chart I found that adequately describes feelings/faith.

Look at the left side for a brief moment. Do any of those things match to what is going on in your personal life right now? I have had to examine my heart on a few of them. When we have a feeling based faith, we are not living up to God's standards. We pray, do acts of goodness, and follow God. But in most cases it's for our gain. For example, I went through a season of "forgiveness" last year. I did all the things I was expected to do. I seeked God, I read His word. I still felt impatient. I examined my heart just now on that Melodie last year and I realized that I was doing those things in order to gain what I wanted. That's not what our season with God are supposed to be like! Every season is like a steeping stone towards our true identity, and being closer to Christ.

When Jesus walked the earth, he was selfless. He performed miracles, taught his disciples, and what I love most, drew to lonely places to be with Christ. Jesus led by example of a spiritual based faith. Jesus knew all along that He would be betrayed by the same hands who praised Him. Yet, he still chose to love them and now love us. When we decide to forgive someone, we can't just take it back because we don't like how they're treating us! When we attend fellowship, we can't single someone else out because they don't have that "church attire" look. Let's love on them and embrace them into the kingdom! After all, we are all going out the world the same way as dry bones.

My prayer for you and me today is to stop living a feeling based faith. We cannot just praise God when things are great. We need to seek God even though there are blockages in our path. We need to love other people, despite how they treat us. Because one who loves knows God, because God is love (1 John 4:7-8). Start today by creating a list of things that's keeping you from having a spiritual based faith and begin to ask Jesus to remove the flesh feelings out of your spirit and replace them with His love, kindness, patience, hope.

“Living with Integrity.”

“The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭20:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Jesus really went to home on me today on my past. I feel like I've been in a spiritual slump this week, but Jesus took me down a detour of my past sinful self. I was analyzing my thoughts and I actions I displayed before, and I'm not proud of any of it. I realized that I used to be a "personality splitter." Meaning, I acted one way with the groups I encountered. When I was around people who were negative, I'd catch myself saying something downing just to get some feedback. Or if I was with a group who loves to gossip, I'd catch myself rambling words in my brain to create a poisonous outcome just to fit in. And at the end of every day, I'd sit, Bible open, just praising Jesus and asking for forgiveness, just to repeat the same pattern.

I feel so silly for being that way! I was always afraid of being my real self. I wanted people to see different versions of me so I would receive approval. Do you know what that got me? Disappointment. There's just one verse and word I want to leave you with and three reasonings why Jesus wants us to live a life of integrity.

  1. A life of integrity leads to a hopeful future: "The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them.” Proverbs‬ ‭20:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

That verse speaks volume to me. I have been striving to be a woman that resembles integrity. To be an example of a woman who exempts godly measures. To pray for my enemies, to not only read the word, but to apply it physically to my life. As I become a wife and mother one day, my children will see the path I've lived, and I'm praying right now they would want to live that way too! Our children need to be showing a life of respect not neglect!

2. When we show our enemies integrity, we show Jesus's love: "I know that you are pleased with me, for my enemy does not triumph over me. Because of my integrity you uphold me and set me in your presence forever." Psalms 41:11-12. It is one of the most trying acts of faith we endure daily of choosing to show integrity to those we have resentment. I have learned from personal experience that showing complete hatred to someone we have hurt is literally murdering ourselves. We burn a hole in our souls with Jesus and strip our true identity away when we show any act of worldliness to our foe. I recently, actually today, realized living that way is so exhausting. We all know that acting out purposefully towards someone who has hurt us is doing nothing. That person does not know or care about how you feel. But, Jesus does. And he told me and now you, love your enemies, be kind to your enemies, and pray for them. Showing that act of integrity grows your heart to love more and it grows your heart closer to Jesus.

3. A heart of integrity beats the strongest:“People with integrity walk safely, but those who follow crooked paths will be exposed.” Proverbs‬ ‭10:9‬ ‭NLT‬‬
The enemy is never at rest, even when you are. When your bible is staying closed, collecting dust, your heart becomes more vulnerable to his devious plans. Your mind begins to create thoughts that do not come from heaven. We need to stay near our lord, my friends! It's better to be on your knees in prayer, than on your feet in despair. Let Jesus guide you down the path of integrity and strength. Let God shape your mind, heart, and spirit to be of heavenly things, not earthly.

Let us all remember this: we are a chosen few. Following the challenging, narrow path God has created is not easy, ever. It takes hard work, discipline, and faith to conquer every trial. Just when you survive one, another creeps along. Each trial we face tests our character, builds our strength, and grows our integrity.

Desperate Times Do Not Call for Desperate Measures.” By: Melodie Rose Jordan. 

I have a question to ask you friends: what do you do in desperate situations. You know the situations that keep you up late at night because your mind will refuse to stop running. The situations where you try to make up plan after plan only watch each one of them fail. I have often times in my own life just choose to run away from my adversities, and I have ended up in the hands of the enemy. Can you relate? 

Tonight I want us to read in 1 Samuel 27, where David is caught in the midst of his own desperate time. He has been on the run from Saul, the envious king. David hasn’t been relying on God or even speaking of him. David has began to rely on himself, which is the beginning on the road to destruction: “But David kept thinking to himself, “Someday Saul is going to get me. The best thing I can do is escape to the Philistines. Then Saul will stop hunting for me in Israelite territory, and I will finally be safe.” ‭1 Samuel‬ ‭27:1‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I have mentioned before that I was neck deep into pornography. At the time, I thought that was the only oulet open to me The evil desires it caused made me forget this reality and I entered a new one. A one where I felt safe and pleasures. Exactly what David felt when he made his home in Gath; the home of Goliath. How could David possibly think this was a good plan?! Here are six points to keep in mind about David’s close minded choices and what choices God wants us to make: 

1) we will have a season of drought, but we should not remain there. Trust that God will send the rain.
2) depend on God to get us through our adversities 

3) in some situations, we think it’s best to run (our own perspective) instead of remaining still (god’s perspective). 

4) our disobedience can end with on a price on our own life and our generations to come.

5) we can find comfort in earthly pleasure and the “easy road instead of trusting God in the narrow road

6) we can often take safety with the enemy because it’s often more “convenient”

One statement to keep in mind: “Desperate times do not call for desperate measures. They call for prayerful measures.” You and I are going to go through drought seasons. Seasons that will challenge our faith, our minds, and our bodies. But are we going to find life again through Christ, or are we going to continue plotting our own deaths? Our choices always come with consequences, but God is still there in the midst of it all. He still wants to provide us His strength and for us to find him again in our darkest hour. 

“David was now in great danger because all his men were very bitter about losing their sons and daughters, and they began to talk of stoning him. But David found strength in the Lord his God.” ‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭30:6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“Do Not Forget God During the Good Times.” By: Melodie Rose Jordan. 

“Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands.” Deuteronomy‬ ‭8:2‬ ‭NLT‬‬I was reading this chapter today for one reason: reminding my heart not to forget God through this new chapter. On Tuesday, I had the privilege of receiving a full time job I have been wanting for almost 3 years now. I had many nights on my knees, my nose stuck in verses, tears falling onto my pillow case, trusting in God and His endless promises. Well, He came through for me once again and today I caught myself feeling a certain way: prideful. I began to look around and slowly my mind said: “hmph. Why keep trying in this place, Mel? You got the job. You only have a number of days left? You are much better than them! Why other?” As the enemy was working away in my mind, God was working within my heart. 

Deuteronomy 8 is about reminding the slaves saved from the Israelites not to become boastful in themselves. For forty years God fed them, clothed them, and protected them from outside sources and the natural changes. I love verse three because this pertains to us as well: “Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” ‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭8:3‬ ‭NLT‬‬ 

There is not one inch of goodness in our hearts that doesn’t come from God. Sure, we can do good acts, help others, and show compassion. But, where does it come from? Jesus. We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19It is so easy for us to get caught up in our emotions and successes and forget God. We can become prideful and claim it is our own works. This is a dangerous way to live! God detest the pride and punishes them! It shows we have no fear in God, the creator of all, and we can do everything on our own power. 

“So obey the commands of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and fearing him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land of flowing streams and pools of water, with fountains and springs that gush out in the valleys and hills.” ‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭8:6-7‬ ‭NLT‬‬ 

My friends, if you are feeling the way I felt earlier today, ask yourself this question: Am I completely relying on God and praising Him for the goodness in my life, or do I believe it is me that provides? This is such a life or death question. It determines your faith in God. Do not forget God is the one who saved you, God is the one who sacrificed His own son for our ransom, God is the lord over all, and His mighty works are endless. Always remain in a humble spirit, for that is where God will always be. I pray you remind you heart and praise God for everything He has provided, especially in the good times. 🦋🌈❤

“Living in Faith: The Book of Habakkuk Chapter Two”. By: Melodie Rose Jordan. 

“And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. “Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith.” ‭‭Habakkuk‬ ‭2:2-4‬ ‭ESV‬‬In the last chapter we were introduced to the prophet, Habakkuk, and his great deal of trouble with the evilness caused by sin. He was deeply saddened not only for the lost souls, but for God being distant and not doing anything about it. The Lord spoke to Habakkuk and prompted Him to show the acts of God that would help stop the Babylonians in their dead tracks. Sounds great, right? Here’s the catch though. God put Habakkuk through another faith test: waiting patiently. 

I don’t know about you, but there are times where I just want things right now at the very second I want it! There are some prayers that God answers immediately, but once we grow in our faith, the prayers begin to slow down some. Can you relate? It is difficult to wait for our requests to be answered by God in desperate circumstances. But, the more we worry and rush the process, we miss out on maturing our faith. What lesson would we learn if God granted our requests the exact time we ask and exactly how we want Him to? I am sure we all prayed selfish prayers for our own benefit, but when do we actually stop to listen to God telling us what His best intentions are for us. 

Chapter Two is this concept: evil doers seek selfish pleasures and create deception. The righteous live by their faith and trust in God. We must teach ourselves to trust God is directing us for His purposes, which are always good. When we seek His face and yearn to be like Him, he leads us to a path of peace and contentment. We must be carful not to fall into the pleasures of the world. Habakkuk writes about how the Babylonians create their own idols, getting drunk day and night, sexual immorality. These things may seem fun, but how little temptation can cause massive destruction! We are called to be in the ways of God. To love accordin to His ways, not ours!! His plan is far greater, successful, and leads to eternal life! “But the Lord is in His holy temple. Let all the Earth be silent before Him.” Habakkuk 2:20 NLT 

Your may feel that prayer you have prayed 1,000 times is just floating around, lost and confused as your spirit may be. Don’t give up, beautiful friend! God works best in those who wait for Him! Trust and seek Him! Learn His word, worship His name, pray as many times! God will be there for you and WILL NOT DELAY! 

“For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” ‭Romans‬ ‭1:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” Galatians‬ ‭3:11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“Living in Faith: The Book of Habakkuk Chapter One.” By: Melodie Rose Jordan. 

“O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save?” ‭‭Habakkuk‬ ‭1:2‬ ‭ESV‬‬
I feel God has led me into a different wilderness lately. I know He is with me, but yet He isn’t. Confusing? Basically, I am feeling conflicted. He has been answering my prayers for over the past year tremendously, but lately I’ve been dealing with silence. And Melodie hates silence. Have you been there, friend? Through this time of silence, it’s really important that we stay plugged into God’s word. I have chosen to study with you the book of Habakkuk, because this man is one great example of living by faith, not sight. 

Habakkuk was a man who lived in a Judah, a place ridden with evilness and sin. He became a prophet in 612 B.C, where God led Him to minister to the Babylonians, the ones drowned in there own sinful pleasures. Habakkuk was deeply saddened by what he saw. Chapter One shows how he often question God with great anguish. How could a loving God let evilness that Habakkuk saw keep happening? Didn’t he care? Wasn’t Habakkuk’s prayers being answered? Even though he doubted God and was greatly troubled by his pain, He still approached God only about his sorry.   That is so important, friend. It is so easy now a days to post a sappy status or send rant texts to our friends. But, to approach God and profess bodly about your requests? That is faith right there. 

By Habakkuk approaching God and believing in His works, God responded to him by rewarding him with acts that will help the sinful circumstances he had to face in Judah: “Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told.” ‭‭Habakkuk‬ ‭1:5‬ ‭ESV‬‬ The three “acts” that Habakkuk was granted from God to show the people of Judah were their own independent and prosperous kingdom would become a vassal nation, Egypt’s evil power would be crushed overnight, and the Babylonians would rise to power. 

Imagine if God were to answer your deepest prayer right now. Imagine your pain and problems completely vanishing. That would be great, right? Sometimes God speeds right along in our requests, other times it’s a much slower process. I believe God does that so we can always put our trust in Him. When we are faced with trials, it is easy to feel God has abandon us. That’s a messy trap to fall into. If we believe that lie, we can create a void between us and God. We need to trust that God has a plan for us all, including evildoers. The key fact here is to remain humble before God, and we will see His plan through.