Ruth 1:20-22 (Amplified Bible)
And she said to them, Call me not Naomi [pleasant]; call me Mara [bitter], for the Almighty, has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, but the Lord has brought me home again empty. Why call me Naomi, since the Lord has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me? If you have never read this story, here we have a woman whose life was drastically changed. First, she and her husband, Elimelech, and their two sons left Bethlehem because of a severe famine. Looking for a better life, they journeyed to Moab. While in Moab, Naomi’s husband, Elimelech, dies, and ten years later, her two sons die, leaving her to care for her two daughters-in-law. Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem, but upon returning she has no husband or sons, instead, a bitter heart.
I can’t recall how many times I have read this passage of scripture and each time God would speak to my heart. I believe all the scriptures are written to teach us valuable lessons that will be taught through life’s experiences. I had no idea the one day I had to practice applying this principle to my life.
Just as Naomi did not understand why God had chosen to take her through one of the most challenging experiences in life, I pondered as well. Just like a child growing up in life you have expectations and plans that usually don’t include bruises and bumps in the road. But I found that even when the unexpected things in life do occur, God has a plan and purpose to make something good out of the worse situations.
While going through the hardest times in life, I found hope, encouragement and a renewed spirit while going through a divorce. Although my plight was not one in which I welcomed or embraced, I had to accept that God had already known about this part of my life before the foundation of the world.
He was taking me through one of the most unpleasant times in my life, but I had to trust that the one in which I had given my life to, knew exactly what was best for me. There was something about my life that He was going to reveal and what I had faced and conquered was really going to alter my life forever.
I had one choice to make either I was going to allow myself to be bitter with what He had allowed to happen, or I was going to let the situation develop and make me into a better person. I decided to use the situation to make me better.
God was using my circumstances to bring me to a place of maturity, confidence and total dependency on Him. I learned not to look at my current condition, although quite hard at times, but I had to realize that someday God would show me why He had chosen me to carry this particular cross.
So many times I wanted to give up, throw in the towel and quit but something inside me would not let me. Gods’ spirit was constantly bringing comfort to me, guiding me and assuring me that everything was going to work out for my good. God had a wonderful plan and purpose for my life even when I couldn’t see how things were going to turn out.
I encourage you, even if things don’t go according to your plans, that God has a plan that is so much bigger and better for you. Trust Him you will not be disappointed.
Paulette Harper, an award winning author, bestselling author, writing coach, and speaker. Paulette seeks to inspire women from all walks of life. She is a, mother, grandmother, Bible teacher, and owner of Write Now Literary Book Tours. She has been mentoring and teaching women for years though seminars, workshops and conferences. Website: www.pauletteharper.com
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For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”
I don’t want to go to Hell. So, the reality of being saved from Hell is a beautiful comfort. I don’t want to live in unrighteousness, either. And so, being saved from this is also a beautiful comfort. In the same way that I couldn’t save myself from Hell, I couldn’t save myself from unrighteousness behavior - I needed God for both salvations. We all do.
If we want to live in the way God has called us to live, we can’t “muscle” our way through. We need the Spirit of God. It is too easy for you to fall back into the ways of the World; lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. God never intended for you to go back.
Jesus died on the cross in order to free you from both Hell and unrighteousness. The Bible warns us not to return to our “vomit.” Did you know that vomit is the body’s way of getting rid of things that disagree with your stomach? Jesus has saved you for righteousness. You are a new creation, so don’t return to the things that have been expelled for having been in disagreement with the new Spirit inside of you.
There is more available to you than a “Get out of Hell Free” card. There is power to live righteously, the same way Jesus did. God has not destined you to return to the sin that he has freed you from. He has equipped you to stay free from the grip of sin. The Bible will supernaturally fill you with faith and wisdom to avoid the enemies traps but you must be aware.
When we learn of all that Jesus died for we can walk in victory. We have the Spirit living in us; the same one who raised Jesus from the dead. Let’s not take the Spirit back to where we came from (and the very reasons for which Jesus died), instead let’s allow the Spirit to take us to new places.
Ryan A. Sturgis is founder/writer @ At the Fountain Ministries, author of Working Out What God Has Worked In, and blogger at @MeetingJesusBlog (FB).
My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style”
Maya Angelou - R.I.P.
Sometimes, life can feel like you are only recovering from one crisis after another. You get through one event just long enough to take a breath before the next one comes at you. Other times, it can feel like a dodgeball game; just trying to keep the ball from hitting you in the face. This is especially true for those who have had to overcome a traumatic event; child abuse, rape, domestic violence, etc. The very essence of the trauma causes a person to lose hope and the desire to continue living. Navigating through the myriad of obstacle courses within one’s mind can cause sheer exhaustion. Combine that with juggling work, family and life in general and you have the perfect ingredients for a bad case of ‘Merely Existing’.
Merely Existing can be explained with one word…Blah. There is no real excitement in the depths of your soul. You breathe. You move. Your eyes blink. You even grunt sometimes just to let people around you know that you are still in the land of the living. But is that why Christ came? Did He come to give life and that more blasé? The bible that I ascribe to says that “Christ came that they might have life and that they might have it more ABUNDANTLY!” (Holy Bible, KJV) You can’t be a believer and be alright with your life being blasé.
When Jesus breathed His last breath and gave up The Ghost, He essentially released The Holy Spirit unto the earth and into His believers. The Holy Spirit resides in us!! Therefore, we are endued with power! Dunamis power at that!! We have authority! Luke 4:36 speaks of it very clearly. The bible also says that the same Spirit, Hallelujah, that raise Jesus from the dead resides in us (Romans 8:11). We are the carrier of THE Holy Spirit. The One responsible for raising Christ from the DEAD!!! Come on now!! You can’t be a believer and not understand the power and authority you yield just be the virtue of accepting Christ as our Savior.
You have been through some things. O.K., I understand. It was painful, hurtful, devastating, life-altering, death-defying and cataclysmic. Yes, I understand too. BUT GOD!! There is nothing that you went through that caught God off-guard. He already knew. He knows your beginning, middle, and end. He knows your going in and coming out. He also knew that one day you would be restored, renewed, rejuvenated, revived, reborn, recharged and re-directed straight into your purpose. Come on somebody! I feel like preaching!!
God is reaching for Y-O-U, now it is your turn to reach right back to H-I-M…reach for Life. When you do that, He will give you an opportunity for a divine exchange. God promises to exchange your ashes for beauty; mourning for the oil of joy; AND the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness (Isaiah 61:3). Give God your trash, and in exchange, He will give you His treasure; Life in full HD color.
In late fall, I am coming out with my second book called “Thrive-ology: The Art of Boom!” The inspiration for the book came from recognizing that thriving in the midst of or after adversity is an art form. Many survivors are unable to hit the thrive-zone, therefore, they are relegated to living a life of mediocrity when a future of pre-destined greatness awaits them. Even more, there are those who will die with unfulfilled destinies in their bosom never to be released. Don’t die in your survival (Olivia Benson, Law and Order: SVU). Instead, reach for Life and attain ALL that God has in store for you.
The etymology of the word ending ‘ology’ comes from the Greek word logia which means the subject of study. Therefore, the word “Thrive-ology” is the study of how to thrive. One cannot just fall into it, it is a learned behavior. There has to be a paradigm shift of a huge magnitude. Victims of abuse, rape, sex trafficking, etc. are taught by the abuser and the circumstances around them that they are not important. They are taught that their life does not matter. Without knowing it, the victim begins to give up all hope of truly living. That is why it is so important to be purposed and intentional about reaching for life and learning how to thrive and not just survive.
Like Maya Angelou so eloquently penned, “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style.” Are you ready to Thrive? Life is waiting…reach for it!
About Min. Annie Bell
Min. Bell was reared in military schools throughout the U.S. and abroad. She furthered her education at Liberty University majoring in Psychology-Life Coaching, Religious Studies and minoring in Christian Counseling. She received her ordination from Bread of Life Ministerial Association and has completed her Ministerial Internship at Bread of Life Bible Training Center. Currently, she is the Founder/Chairperson and Executive Director of Wealth Management Ministries, Inc.
as she endeavors to cultivate financial faith and prosperity through the teaching of biblical principles, financial education, and deliverance from financial bondage.
In addition, as an Advance Life Coach and Christian Counselor, she has opened the counseling arm of the organization in 2015 to offer Life Coaching, Wealth Coaching and Christian Counseling to the underserved communities. I R.E.I.G.N.® is a Victorious Lifestyle Brand (an outreach of the counseling arm of Wealth Management Ministries, Inc.) that serves the national and international communities through: Talk Radio Show, workshops, conferences, books, and workbooks. We endeavor to bring Talk Therapy to survivors of child abuse, sex trafficking, and other traumas. As well as providing advocacy, awareness, prevention, and resources to the community.
She was also the President of Heavenly Music,
as well as a recording artist under the Heavenly Music Label. Heavenly Music made available affordable recording to those who are gifted in the ministry of music. In addition, she served as Pastoral Counselor and Financial Counselor for the residents of Menchville House Women’s Shelter in Newport News, VA.
Min. Annie Bell began her tenure in the business world in the hotel industry where she rose into management and then to an executive level position at Colonial Williamsburg. She made a career change into the Financial Services industry through American Express Financial Advisors where she obtained her Series 7, 66 and Life and Health licenses. Her corporate career transitioned into Wachovia (Wells Fargo) and for eight years she has helped a multitude of people to achieve their financial goals and reach for their entrepreneurial dreams. Min. Annie Bell launched out in January of 2008 toward her own entrepreneurial dreams and opened Wealth Management Financial Solutions, Inc., the parent company of Wealth Management Financial Services, LLC.
Go to www.anniebellministries.com to download a free workbook and join her to get updated information on all of her events, books, devotionals and much more.
For Financial Literacy coaching, workshops, conferences, and other information go to www.wealthmngt.org
“And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth”. Deuteronomy 8:18
Min. Annie Bell
Wealth Management Ministries, Inc.
1st Book: I R.E.I.G.N.: A Survivor’s Guide to Thrive (amazon.com)