Family Life, June 2017

Humble Thyself


Humble Thyself

by Tonya Woodridge-Jarvis

You’re running a hundred miles per hour trying not to become your father’s son. Why is that? Your father will catch up with you, he’s faster, stronger and mightier than you are. Humble thyself to your father for the legacy must go on even if you have to rewrite it…

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son.” But what are you giving back? If you were told to give up your first born son, what would you do and how would you feel? Jesus was given up for a good cause but we as people are forgetting the because
in the cause.

Being a believer doesn’t mean that you become so religious that you don’t live life to the fullest, or so judgmental of your religious beliefs that everyone who’s not participating in your man-made group is condemned to hell. Everyone doesn’t praise God the same way, but that doesn’t mean that they are not praising. He is different to everybody. He gives more grace. Therefore, the Bible says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6)

Does riding in your car with the air conditioner fill you with gratitude
to God and compassion for the man standing at the corner with a sign? Are you thankful enough that this isn’t your struggle? What about the small towns in South Africa where the houses are one roomed huts made of tin with little to no running water? Are you thankful you’re able to drive up to a luxurious house with brick and several rooms with running water, cable TV and a working toilet? But these people are all too eager to praise God anyway with little to no money or vehicles. What’s your excuse?

Are you praising God just for more stuff? I know everyone wants nice things, but is it a need? Sure, you work hard to accomplish things but who are you really doing that for because when “ashes is to ashes” and “dust is to dust” you’re just a mere wooden “box of bones” waiting to be eaten by the bugs that get inside the coffin, and none of that materialistic stuff can go with you. Oh, but your soul, the everlasting spirit is what God is concerned about. He doesn’t care about your riches and glory especially if you’re not using what you have to assist and encourage his people. He cares that you’re doing right by his son who gave his life so you could breathe.

So, I am challenging everyone for a week to go without the luxury and live solely from the bare essentials. I bet half of you guys won’t last a week without your cellphone. Sometimes you have to declutter to realize what really matters. I beg you to please humble thyselves to Christ Jesus.

Father, I beg your forgiveness for my proud ways. I know everything I have is because of you, Lord. Please forgive and enable me to live a life of humilty in Jesus’ name, Amen.

TonyaHeadshotNew

Tonya Woodridge-Jarvis, affectionately known as “The Refresher,” is an american author, empowerment speaker and a life catalyst. She launched The Refresher Course to educate and empower others to dramatically shift the quality and direction of their lives by using spiritual principles as well as the Life Catalyst curriculum.

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August 2016, Family Life

Examining Faith

by Tonya Woodridge-Jarvis
Tonya Woodridge-Jarvis, The Refresher
Tonya Woodridge-Jarvis, The Refresher

If you’re reading this then you’re currently riding this thrill-seeking, terrifying ride filled with joy, laughter, heartache, stress and pain, called life …

It is said that believers undergo a change when they become children of God. As new creatures in Christ, they draw near to God much in the same way mosquitoes draw near to a light. God is the light, and born again believers prefer the light of the gospel to the darkness of the world (Ephesians 5:8-14).We can also affirm our born again status by watching all of the old, sinful behaviors pass away one by one.

With that being said, have you ever been in a situation where you felt like God wasn’t answering you? You’ve prayed, you’ve cried, you’ve sown seeds into others, but nothing tangible has happened as of yet. You feel like your faith is wearing as thin as water, and you really start to examine your faith.

I like to say that you need a ‘faith recharge,’ because while you never really stop believing for your dreams, you may put them on hold. But, the Bible says that faith the size of mustard seed is all God needs to see in your heart, and He will do the rest. We’ve all been in those situations where you are experiencing trial by fire. So what do you do when this happens? Pray, cry, scream and pray some more … As believers, we must learn to stop starting and stopping our faith!

You’ve asked God for something, but because it hasn’t happened yet, you get discouraged and stop exercising your faith, and then you begin to move outside of the will of God on your own accord. When we move outside of the will of God, our steps aren’t ordained or ordered by Him, and it becomes a bigger struggle than necessary. Have you ever been there?

In our faith journey, we must learn to pray and have faith about everything no matter how big or small. So, although God may not have answered you yet, that doesn’t mean He’s not working on it. In certain areas of our lives, God has to work out the particulars behind the scenes before He can do the big reveal for us. Blessings are tailored made for believers, and it takes time and patience for the manifestation to come to fruition.

The bottom line is to never lose faith in God, because He will never move in your time, but He will always be on time according to His watch.

Here are 4 things to do when examining/recharging your faith:

  • Have a faith plan. (Pray about the situation.)
  • Follow the voice of Jesus. (Read and meditate on a scripture daily.)
  • Dance like David. ( Praise God and dance like you’ve lost your mind.)
  • Stand. (Patiently wait for the supernatural to happen.)

Family Life, May 2016

Create Your Own Journey

by Tonya Woodridge-Jarvis

TonyaHeadshotNewLord, I’m on my knees calling out to you. Can you hear me? Where are you? I need you? I can’t do this alone. I’ve tried it my way, it didn’t work. I have no guidance. I can’t figure this out. I want to trust you. I want to have faith. I want to renew my strength and identity in the likes of you but …

This is where a lot of people become stagnant. They wholeheartedly want to trust God, but fear stands in the way of faith.

There are several types of generational curses. Generational curses are behaviors that have been passed down from generation to generation and are prevalent in homes today. We all believe in a higher power, but others my call it something different according to how their generation was raised.

One type of generational curse is the behavior of non-compromising in relationships. Maybe you’ve noticed behaviors that seem not to be removed no matter what you’ve tried. There are things in your life that are not your fault. For example, my mother’s mother and father were divorced when she was young. So, naturally, my mother and father divorced when I was young and guess what, my first marriage also ended in divorce … it seems a pattern has developed. When you go to your mother and father for advice about your marriage, what are you being told?

Maybe for your family it’s teen pregnancy. Often, teens become parents because their parents were also teen parents. Or maybe it is a chronic communication issue of some kind — some men weren’t taught to talk about their feelings. They were taught to be strong and to be good providers, but not good husbands. And that’s because their fathers were taught to be good providers and to be strong, and that those things were the elements of a good husband. But if you ask any wife, that is not enough to classify someone as a good husband.

Another generational curse could be striving to be something that you just don’t want to be (career-wise). You feel the need to carry on the family legacy, which might be practicing law, because your grandfather was a lawyer and your dad and brothers are lawyers as well, but you’d rather be a fireman. Being a lawyer is their destiny not yours. So you must learn to go against the grain in a positive way in order to construct your life the way it was meant to be, which is following in the footsteps designed for you by God, not your family’s legacy.

Sometimes the foundation you have isn’t your fault. Some of those generational curses date back so far that you’re still fighting your ancestor’s demonic spirits. But all of that can change. When you are in your prayer closet, you must declare that all generational curses are broken. You don’t have to be what your parents were — you can be whom you were created and designed to be.

I know you’re wondering if you’re strong enough to break the cycle. The answer is yes, but only with God’s watchful eye. Do you believe in God? Do you have enough courageous faith to see the process through to the end? Everything in life worth having is worth praying for. So get on your knees, cry out to God and tell Him you want to receive what He has already promised you; because you’re not who your mother or father was, you are so much greater than that. Sure, things will get rough but don’t throw in the towel. Believe in yourself and create your own journey.

April 2016, Family Life

Dare to Trust

by Tonya Woodridge-Jarvis

TonyaHeadshotNewLord, thank you. I don’t always do what I should, but I thank you for quickening my spirit when I’m wrong. Allow patience to have its perfect work in me. Amen.

Dare to trust God and step out on faith! The power of trust is not accomplished overnight. The ability to trust comes from your central nervous system, which houses your subconscious mind where previous experiences have been placed, and when certain situations arise in your life you begin to search your internal database to compare the current situation to a past joy or pain you’ve experienced. But I can tell you that God can renew any of those past joys and give you rest for past pains.

 

Listen to this story:

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand,” Isaiah 41:10.

Growing up in the church you often hear people saying, “I’m stepping out on faith,” but what does that really mean? I’ve often wondered how faith is measured or how much faith one needs to have to begin stepping out on it. Well, God put the test of a lifetime before me, and it was either follow his path or do my own thing and wait for this season to come around again.

Several weeks ago God began sending me on a journey. And on this particular journey, I had God, my faith and myself in tow. I was prompted to apply for law school, but I hadn’t taken the LSAT. I began making plans to move to Nashville, Tenn., to pursue law school, but my job wasn’t transferring me. (Aside: Anyone who knows me personally, knows that I already have steps A-D planned and E is on reserve waiting for my queue.) As I began to take my first step, I must admit, I was a little afraid. I mean stepping out on faith is easily said but less often courageously done.

So, I began to prepare for my assignment; I convinced my husband to sell our home and move into an apartment, took the LSAT, passed, and applied to Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. We started looking for houses in Tennessee and put an offer in that was accepted, but we never went to closing. Devastating, right? Surely, Lord I’m doing what you’ve prompted me to do.

How do you handle a situation where God tells you to do something and it falls through the first time? Surely God wouldn’t lie. At this point, I needed answers; I longed to seek His face even more. I found out that my hands, feet and soul were wonderfully made to worship Him. I was told to stand out, to go against the world. I found out that I could be in the world, but not of the world, and I should remain consistent within God’s Word to receive my reward.

God was preparing me for something far greater than I had ever imagined. The lesson in the story was to see if I could put everything on the line for Him and do what I was told even if I didn’t have a clue about the end result. See, when God tells you something, you need to act on it not react to it. More often than not we as Christians react to His promises instead of acting on His promises. God’s faithfulness is waiting for you, all you have to do is activate it and act on it.

Dare to trust God and step out on faith!

Family Life, March 2016

God’s Mercy

by Tonya Woodridge-Jarvis

PicutureThere’s an old song that says, “God’s mercy kept us so I wouldn’t let go!”

“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness,” Lamentations 3:22-23.

He hung, bled and died for our sins. He gave his only begotten son for our sins. They whipped him all-night long for our sins. They pierced his hands and feet for our sins. He went through all of that so we could continuously win.

In the 1962 Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Harper Lee, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” a well-respected white lawyer defends a black man against fabricated rape charges. The trial exposes children of both races to the evils of racism and stereotyping.  In this era, blacks and whites were segregated in some parts of the world. But as the story goes, the well-respected white lawyer represented a black man and won. While this could easily be a piece about courage, think about the adversity they both faced during this time. Think about the mercy and compassion the lawyer clearly had for his client, and the trust the client had, which would have been quite difficult during this era. They threatened his family and threw burning bricks into his home, but he took the case anyway. This book sparked so much controversy that it was banned in some places.

In today’s society, we are still faced with racism and various adversities on a daily basis. But in the Kingdom and on judgment day neither creed nor color will matter when God says, “well done.” God extends his mercy to us through his love. Shouldn’t we do the same for all of God’s creatures? He provides for us when we’re not worthy; he protects us when we’re not worthy, and he keeps giving us chances to start over with another day.

So tomorrow when you start over, ask yourself, “Since God grants me mercy through his love on a daily basis, whom shall I grant the gift of mercy to today?” If God saw fit to redeem you, shouldn’t you see fit to redeem someone else? Show God’s love in action on a consistent basis not only to people you know but to strangers as well. After all, you can’t live to your fullest potential without God’s gift of mercy and love.