Sunday

30 Days of Thanksgiving: The Church

20121104-130502.jpgThe local church is one of the greatest blessings to the world today. The love and giving that God has called us to is a precious gift and great responsibility. We have been given the gift of grace and the responsibility to be His hands and feet in the earth. Every Sunday, and throughout the week, I look forward to gathering together with my brothers and sisters in praise & worship to God. I pray that one day I can join together with churches around the world in this way. Today, I'm thankful for my pastors & leaders that selflessly shepherd the congregations of the world and teach us God's word, and the gift of the family of God.

There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. (1 Corinthians 12:4-6, 12, 27 NKJV)

So, what are you thankful for today? Did you join in worship with your family today? Leave a comment below and join me in thanking God for His goodness today!

Emonne Markland Leave Your Beauty Mark

Promise

the promise is worth the rain

Yesterday, it rained. All day.

My husband and I made use of the rainy weather by staying inside and cleaning up our home. Later in the day, I faced the rain and went out to Starbucks for some quiet time and reading. (By the way, I tried a pumpkin chai tea latte as suggested by the barista and it was delicious!) I decided not to take my laptop, which I usually never go to Starbucks without, and simply brought my bible and favorite book: Beauty Will Save the World by Brian Zahnd. In chapter 2, “The Greatest Wonder of All,” he shares a glorious moment he had atop a mountain. As he took a moment to breathe and bask in the beauty that surrounded him, a deer came alongside him and his antlers formed a perfect frame to the sunset. It was a moment of glorious wonder that he said he will never forget.

As I read the story, I could only image how beautiful that sight must have been. My imagination ran wild as I tried to place myself in his viewpoint, visualizing a mountaintop sunset framed by brown antlers. What a sight that must have been. After I finished reading, I headed home and noticed that there was a festival going on in my city. A large ferris wheel was going round and round and the tents covered the street to keep the goods dry. Amidst the rain, the contrast of flashing lights from the fair rides was an interesting contrast to behold. Is this my “wonder moment”? I thought. I parked alongside the festival gate and snapped a few photos of the scene with my iPhone. I used various filters on Instagram to enhance the shots, but didn’t care for the mood that was captured.

I continued home and prepared to go out again to the grocery store with my family. After about an hour and lots of team work, my husband and I completed our shopping trip and headed outside. As we looked into the sky, we were captivated by the most beautiful, bright, full rainbow we had ever seen. We gasped as we beheld this unexpected display of glorious wonder amidst an ordinary Sunday afternoon. Customers all throughout the parking lot were taking photos and gazing into the sky, grocery carts pushed aside as the priorities of the evening were delayed in this moment of divine beauty. THIS was my wonder moment.

As I beheld the rainbow, this thought entered my heart:

The promise is worth the rain.

Every rain drop that fell from the sky throughout the day was worth the display of the magnificent rainbow. I want you to know that the rain in your life will be worth the rainbow that’s coming. Although storms seem to last forever, and there seems to be no end in sight, there is a promise on the other side of your storm.

Hebrews 6:13-14 tells us that God gave Abraham a promise and swore by Himself, because there was nothing higher to swear by, saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you and multiplying I will multiply you.” Psalm 12:6-7 tells us that the words of the Lord are pure, like silver tried in a furnace purified seven times and that He will keep His words and preserve them forever. We all have received promises from God, spoken directly to our hearts and found within His word. God is not a man that He should lie, and He’s not toying with our emotions. If He said He'll do it, He will do it! The question is, are we willing to wait? There’s that gap of time between when God spoke and when the promise manifests when we must trust God and not allow impatience and murmuring delay the process. Hebrews 6:15 tells us that after Abraham patiently endured he received the promise.

In Psalm 27, titled An Exuberant Declaration of Faith, David proclaims,

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord! (vs. 16-17).

My encouragement to you (and myself) today is not to lose heart! Don’t try to make a “wonder moment” happen by creating your own promise in a time of impatience, as I did with the ferris wheel photo. God is bringing your promise in His timing. A promise that will be worth every teardrop of rain we’ve cried and every loud roaring storm that we’ve endured. In the meantime, our job is to stand firm by faith, patiently endure and wait for God. The promise is coming. The rainbow is worth the rain.

Emonne Markland

Leave Your Beauty Mark

No More Abuse

Abuse: improper or excessive use or treatment; misuse.

Every day, products and goods are created all over the world for a specific purpose. Forks are made to eat with. Chairs are made to sit on. Computers are made to type on and create documents and images. But what if you took your laptop and tried to cook your lunch on it? Imagine becoming angry when your chicken and vegetables don't sauté. That would be completely ridiculous right? Well, often times, that's what we do with our own lives. Each of us has been created for a specific purpose. And yet, we spend year after year in abuse, misusing the gifts and talents that God has given us by seeking after whatever we want to do and be. Sure, a fish may want to be a roaring lion, but outside of the water it won't survive!

This year, we MUST discover and devote our lives to God's purpose for our existence. There is no more time to be a fish out of water. If people around you have been holding you back and forcing you into a box that your "circle" doesn't fit in, let them go! God is doing a new thing in our lives! It's not going to be a bed of roses, and along the journey to purpose there will be many inconveniences and pressure, but we will come out of the fire like gleaming, pure gold. Today, make the decision to seek God like never before and allow Him to reveal to you your true purpose. Not your plans. Not what your parents, husband, friends or professors always said that you would be. God's divine purpose for your existence! He has such great things in store for us! You won't even recognize yourself by this time next year! You are equipped with God's power to do great and mighty things! I have prayed for you this morning and called many of you out by name. I pray that you will be all that God has created you to be, and never misuse the gifts that are inside of you.

That is why I would remind you to stir up (rekindle the embers of, fan the flame of, and keep burning) the [gracious] gift of God, [the inner fire] that is in you...(2 Timothy 1:6 AMP)

God doesn't want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible. (2 Timothy 1:7 MSG)

Emonne Markland Leave YOUR Beauty Mark

*This post is inspired by the Sunday morning sermon by Bishop T.D. Jakes from today. Every Sunday on my Instagram account (beautymarkedmom), I write a "Sunday Recap" post from what I learned in church that morning. I have encouraged others to do so, and a number of IGers have joined in and shared what God spoke to their hearts in their Sunday morning church service. It's a great way to review your notes and share what God has spoken to you. If you are on IG, join in and add hashtag #SundayRecap to your post! If you're on Twitter, you can do the same there too! It is great to see what God is speaking to His people around the world.