God is my Judge – GIMJ

Ever since Daniel was in my womb, he has never stopped tapping and rapping. Literally, this boy would tap on my belly every time the worship music was on. He came out of the womb an overcomer as he had to undergo heart surgery for Transposition of the Great Arteries, which simply means his arteries were not in the right place. He is a miracle and God has had a strong calling on Daniel from an early age to be His messenger to this generation.

Daniel is now 13 and has went through many trials already. He has went through extreme poverty with me, being homeless, living in the projects of Toledo. While living there he witnessed someone getting shot, drug transactions, and our house being broken into. He has walked through rejection from his dad leaving when he was just a baby. He watched for many years how drugs can destroy a person’s life through seeing his very own brother make choices that affected him as well. He has experienced a little bit of it all and now this kid is on FIRE for God!! He knows this world has NOTHING to offer him. He has found his true source of peace in Christ alone. He is bold about his faith and he will not walk away from a heated debate because He has a confidence in his relationship with God. He knows what it is like to cry out to God and be comforted, and no one can take that away. He loves God and His Word, and he knows how to meditate and apply the Scriptures. Since his brother has been set free from drugs our home has been a place of worship. Our living room has become a sanctuary where our conversations about God have become so rich and deep, which gives Daniel wisdom for the years to come. I often refer to him as my little prophet.

Daniel is a songwriter and a rapper now. He has written over 40 songs and every single lyric in his songs is beyond the scope of a teenager. His rap name is GIMJ ( pronounced Gimage). Daniel’s name in Hebrews means God is my Judge (GIMJ). He also said GIMJ means to him that he is God’s image. He is producing an album called Redemption that is due to release sometime this fall. If you continue to follow my blog then you will receive the updates on his progress.

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Please take a few minutes to listen to his very first single. Listen here!

 

 

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Meet Queen Chelsea

With only 12 days left until the retreat, we have been super busy preparing for an amazing weekend. We are just so excited how God is working everything out. I left off a little while ago introducing the members of the team, so I would like to continue what I started until you have met everyone who stand by me in this ministry. They give of themselves to be a blessing to others. I just love all the ladies on the team, and I want you to get to know them a little better as well. Truly great friends I might add!

Without further ado, I would like to introduce another one of our team members, Chelsea Dawson. She grew up in Piqua, Ohio. She met and married her husband (of 14yrs) in Georgia, where she lived for nearly ten years. After her mother passed they moved to Toledo, Ohio, where she resided now for just over 10 years. She has two brothers and five amazing children.

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She has been a member of Calvary AOG for almost as long as she has been back in Ohio. She helps people find jobs as a recruiter and she loves it! She has always enjoyed helping people, whether it’s through her job, organizing fundraisers, or being involved in events like the beauty treatments retreats. She has been blessed to be asked to assist in a variety of ways at a number of the retreats. Being on the hospitality team is easily her favorite. The Lord has called her to serve and this is her heart’s joy. Each experience has helped her to grow in Christ and is helping her to overcome obstacles in her walk. She is looking forward to what God has in store for her at the Beauty Treatment Retreat  and during our preparation.

Check out her testimony:

Next Beauty Treatment Retreat

October 7 -9, 2016

Held at the Christian Retreat Center

Bradenton, Florida

For more information email Jodie Dye

Follow the Facebook Event Page for updates!

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Who is My Mother and My Brother?

It is my delight to introduce to you a guest blogger, Thasia Awad of Lord Make Me Good Ground. Thasia is a beautiful writer, and a motivational speaker. Thasia (Aka Tay) does a great job of documenting her journey with Christ on her own blog. She is married with three children and one of her favorite things to do is to drive around and go sightseeing. Her hobbies and interests include spending time with my family, exercising, reading, writing, researching and watching debates . Thasia spends much of her free time studying and writing material that will reach the hearts and minds of all God’s children.

So without further ado…Hear what Tay has to say!

By Thasia Awad

“As usual, here Jesus was, speaking to a crowd of people when his mother and brothers summonsed him from outside of where the crowd was. Then someone said to Jesus, “Your mother and your brothers are outside asking for you” (Mat. 12:46-50; Mark 3:31-35; Luke 8: 20-22).  Jesus then replies, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?”.

Some scholars assume the brothers, who were outside with Jesus’ mother, to actually be in reference to the cousins of Jesus while others believe them to be literally, Jesus’ brothers just as the text states. Nevertheless, all professors of God’s word agree that this group who beckoned Jesus to go out and speak with them, were his relatives.

However, I’ve got to stop right here and admit that every time I read this, it baffles me how Jesus so blatantly ignored his mother’s summons. I can bypass his refusal to acknowledge his brother but I had to go deeper to get where Jesus was going with this. We used to live in a world where honoring and respecting our parents was a high precedence within every culture. In the Jewish culture it was and will always be a chief statute for every son and daughter to reverence their parents. In fact, a Jewish son and daughter is to go a step further by keeping the Kavod of their parents which goes beyond honor by also maintaining the dignity of the parents at all cost.

Therefore, when Jesus responded by asking who his mother was, he comes off to most readers as being quite ill-mannered. When his mother called for him, as an obedient Jewish son, Jesus was supposed to get up and go open whatever entrance way for his mother to enter in.

What is Family?

Some scholars believe that Jesus made this statement as a result of his family trying to pull him away from his ministry because they thought he’d gone crazy and was embarrassing the family name (Mark 3:21; John 7:3-5). Although this may have contributed to him asking this question, when studying Jesus’ character, I doubt he was trying to disrespect his mother. However, he did use his rhetoric to lead him to introduce a revolutionary view on family– a view that extends far beyond the connection of the flesh.

After he asked the question, he then pointed to his disciples and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers” (Matthew 12:49; Mark 3:34; Luke 8:21). I think that the majority would agree that no matter if you came from a humble yet close-knit or dignified and prestigious family, this would be a slap in the face to hear another family member say this. In most societies, blood relatives trump every other relationship in our lives- some won’t agree but with our actions, we show that our families and other earthly relationships we’re connected to, sometimes prevail over our relationship with God himself. Offensive to think that we’d put any relationship over God, right? But we do!

Nevertheless, if we don’t continue, this message may seem like a big ball of confusion. Now, what was Jesus really saying? Was he telling us to forsake the very people who has taken care of us and to only embrace our Christian brothers and sisters? Not at all!

Jesus honored and respected his own family. He actually emphasized the importance of honoring family and he made sure his own mother had security before he left this earth, not only that, but his mother and brothers ended up following him because we see them present on the day of Pentecost (John 19:26-27; Acts 1:14). The only thing he refused to do was allow his connections to his culture, traditions and relatives to get in the way of God’s will for him. God values earthly families. He places us in families because they play a special role in our lives and a healthy family is supposed to reflect our relationship with God.

In an article from Thriving Family Magazine, the author points out elements within a family such as parenting and marriage, that are essential for us in understanding our relationship with God and can only be found in the framework of a family (Bruner, K. 2010). So, God isn’t for us forsaking our families for no reason but in these few passages he wants us to recognize that our earthly family should never take the place of or supersede our relationship with God and the spiritual family he’s engrafted us in (Matthew 10:37; Luke 14:26). After Jesus pointed to his disciples and declared them to be his family, he said,

“My mother and my brothers are all those who hear God’s word and obey it.”

This last comment that Jesus makes seems as if he was letting the crowd know that those who do the will of the Heavenly Father are more ken to us than that which is born of flesh. The Benson commentary says that it was like Jesus was telling the crowd, “I regard obedience to God so highly, that I prefer the relation it constitutes, and the union it begets, to the strongest ties of blood. They who do the will of my Father, have a much greater share of my esteem than my kinsmen, as such. I love them [the family of God] with an affection tender and steady, like that which subsists between the nearest relations…”

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Take Heart Family of God

This message may be difficult (even offensive) for some people because Jesus seems to be impressing us to make a choice whenever the time calls for us to do God’s work. It’s difficult for those of us who come from cultures, backgrounds and families where family honor means everything-to the point where the will of God has no room in our individual lives. This message also may be difficult for those of us who have a hard time moving forward in the things of God because we care too much about our cultural pride, the dignity of our family name and what others will think of us if we choose to follow Christ. But then again, this message can be seen as comforting to those who have already made the choice to do God’s will. If we look all around the world, we’ll see many of our brothers and sisters in Christ who has either forsaken or either been abandoned by their families for the sake of following God’s will. Because they said “yes” to the will of God, they’ve been ostracized, isolated and counted as nothing by the very families who raised them. In their cases, it’s as if Jesus is telling these, “Because you’ve chosen to follow the will of the Father and as a result, lost all things and now seen as nothing, I’m now your everything and the people who labor in the things of God with you, are all your brothers and sisters. Take heart because you have a family- a family that I esteem higher than any earthly relationship that you’ve lost- who I behold before God Almighty, the most intimate of all kinships- the body of Christ.”

 

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Do I want to be Accepted or Changed?

While I wait to compose some more biography’s of the team for the next Beauty Treatment Retreat, we are treated today with a guest post from Thasia Awad. I always love to her what Tay has to say, so grab a cup of coffee and enjoy today’s read.

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“When I take a moment to look around me, I see that every living organism-whether it’s plants, animals or bacteria- is constantly being faced with the inevitable phenomena of changing. I’m not talking about the kind of change that we have anything to do with either. If I had it my way, there would be a few things I’d like to adjust or modify in my personal life and if other’s had their way in my life, I’m sure they’d like to change a few things about me as well.

The kind of change I’m talking about is the kind of change that produces spiritual and emotional growth- an internal, divine evolution which can only come about by yielding to the work of Christ-not the work of man. I’ll call this kind of change, growing change. I have to make the distinction because not all change will result in us growing and maturing. For example, we can change physically, we can even change when it comes to positions, titles or situations without ever changing our heart, which is the very thing that needs changing in order to propel any kind of growth.

Hindrances to Growing Change

I’ve found that there are many factors that can get in the way of this kind of change. Trying to fulfill society’s expectations of us, the desire to live up to proud traditions, unresolved trauma and issues, are all examples of things that can get in the way of this kind of change.

King Saul is a perfect example of a man who may have outwardly changed in all kinds of ways but never allowed himself to change to the point of transformation. Although this was a man who was anointed by God to be king along with a promising future of his kingdom being established over Israel forever (1 Samuel 13:13-14), he continuously chose the comfort of being accepted and praised by his community rather than developing an ear to hear the voice of God then follow. Whenever the people of Israel showed dissatisfaction in his decision making as King, Saul always did whatever he could to appease them. He craved the comfort of being accepted by the people over being changed by God (1 Samuel 13:8; 15:3).

One of the biggest hindrances to growing change is the struggle of wanting approval or acceptance from others and I’m confident enough to say that the struggle of being accepted is more prevalent in our societies than what we consider. I say this because if you’re not accepted then you’re rejected and most people don’t have the tools to cope with rejection very well. However, those who may have tools, more than likely will still live a lifestyle that avoids such emotional distress.

When it comes to wanting acceptance, the Holy Spirit knew that I had been struggling with this particular issue during these past few seasons of my life and that it had been a major hindering force for my spiritual growth. So, He lead me to a sermon that was preached by a well-known pastor as I was cleaning the house. His sermon was geared towards helping people to recognize why they’re not growing. As I was listening and cleaning, he said something that addressed exactly what was hindering my growth which was, ‘people would rather be accepted than to be changed’.

I’ll be the first to admit that it doesn’t feel good when you’re forced to confront yourself. However, I truly believe that God loves us so much that he refuses to allow us to live our lives, always changing but never growing.

Growing as You Change

I believe our problem with growing change is that this kind of process challenges us to face (and in some cases forsake) the very conditions that actually accepts us. Although we may find it difficult to keep up with their expectations and demands, these very systems give us the comfort, support and validation we need to feel worthy.

While God has been taking me through this extremely vulnerable process, I’m realizing that my desire for acceptance from others is actually making them my god. When we are changed and moved by anything or anyone other than God, we are not growing- for God alone is the only one who can cause growth through our changes and He alone is the One who can increase us (1 Cor. 3:7)! This is why Paul says,

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2).”

The Greek word for conform means to assume, accept or adopt a certain form or figure. Now, if we have a habit of basing our decisions and living our lives solely on the perceptions and feelings of others, then we are assuming and accepting a role that didn’t come from God- it’s like putting on then claiming shoes that don’t belong to us and this is why Paul tells us not to conform to it. Next, Paul said that we need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, so that we may prove what the will of God is. However, we can’t prove God’s will for our lives if we are strung out on living other people’s. If we are conforming to standards, traditions or roles that God didn’t approve of, although it may be accepted by others, if it’s not God’s form fitted for us, then we are not being transformed and whatever motivation we are trying to carry out will not be accepted and perfect unto Him- as a result, not growing.

Most of my writings are inspired by my own personal journey with a desire to provide insight for others who may be going through a similar process. What I’m learning on my journey with King Jesus is that everything starts and ends with the heart and if we truly want to grow while being changed, we must confront the place where everything starts and ends. While doing this, what I’m discovering is that every season that brings about these changes is actually challenging me to grow and eternally abide in Christ- this is the destination to the highest level of change.”

Written by Thasia Awad

Author of Lord Make Me Good Ground

 

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Meet Queen Jamie

Continuing my introductions of the Florida team, I would like you to meet an incredible woman of God who I had the pleasure of spending some quality prayer time with at the last retreat. I am excited to have Jamie Tiller on my team.

Jamie describes herself as a simple gal from KY, who is a lover of Christ. She was born and raised in Frankfort, KY. She relocated to Toledo, Ohio in 2005 before moving back to Kentucky in 2008, where she now resides in Lexington. Her interest and hobbies include reading, singing, blogging, traveling and exploration, watching movies, social networking, football, and spending quality time with friends and family.  She’s been married to her loving husband Terrance since 2010. They have a blended family with 4 children- Anissa, Marcus, Quinten, and Aniyah.

Through her secular work, she serves as an account manager and liaison for a Benefits Administrator & Consulting Firm.  In ministry, she has served through leading bible study, intercessory prayer meetings, and facilitating home group ministry for single and married couples. She’s passionate about women being free in their identity, by receiving the satisfying love and acceptance in Christ- by becoming one with Him and not just knowing about Him. She strives to be an example of a virtuous woman by not filling “shoes” that she’s not called to fill. She attests that if you borrow someone else’s shoe, they feel awkward- why?? Simply because they were shaped and molded by the original owner.  Therefore, she embraces the freedom of being the woman God designed her to be and loves the way her shoes fit!

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Photo Credit: Beverly Liner

Jamie attended her first Beauty Treatment as a guest, in March 2016.  Although she enjoyed all of the beauty treatments, the Beauty Treatment of Contouring continues to prepare her the most for the coming of her King. It encourages her to be content with who she is and what she has. She adds that the entire retreat was refreshing and renewing to her faith. It has reassured her to stay focused on God, surrender self-sufficiency, and not allow the pressures of life, or the influence of society to divert her from God’s amazing plan. Jamie will be a small group leader at the next coming retreat in Florida. Whoever the Lord places in her group will surely leave the retreat knowing who they are in Christ, healed and restored in so many ways.

Next Beauty Treatment Retreat

October 7 -9, 2016

Held at the Christian Retreat Center

Bradenton, Florida

For more information email Jodie Dye

Follow the Facebook Event Page for updates!

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Meet Queen Teresa

One by one I am introducing the team for the next Beauty Treatments retreat being held in Bradenton, Florida:

You have met Marcie, and Thasia. Today I introduce another great friend and sister of mine, Teresa Russell. She is originally from Frankfort, Kentucky (born and raised)!! And let me tell you, she get’s so excited when she talks about her hometown. She is a “country girl at heart.” She is so grateful to God for where she has come from. She moved to Toledo Ohio about 11 years ago, under the direction of God, who called her out of her comfort zone to a place where He wanted her to learn and grow.

Teresa has been divorced for 17 years. However, she desires to be married again one day. Until that day, she continues to receive her own beauty treatments and learn how to be a wife to her future husband. She is trusting in God’s timing to know when she will be ready. She has 3 beautiful children: Brittany 28, Jason 26, and Breana 23. She describes herself as “a young, and cool granny” of 5 grandchildren: Elijah, Bryden, Shayda, Demaya, and Donavon.

In her spare time, she loves to cook and try new recipes, bake, draw, travel, spend time with family, she loves to listen to worship, praise, classical, and jazz music, watch educational documentaries and movies. She is interested in learning how to play piano, write music, writing children’s books, screen plays, and travel around the world.

She works for Paramount Healthcare in the Credentialing Department, in Maumee, Oh verifying primary care physician’s information on a daily basis and currently, she serves on the worship team at her church.

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Photo credit: Beverly Liner

This will be her 4th retreat. She was a guest at the first one, then she served at the second and third as the worship and praise leader, assisting the chef, and the Assistant Handmaiden. In the upcoming retreat in Florida, she will once again be doing the worship and praise, which I’m so excited to see what songs God will drop in her Spirit to share.You will all be blessed when Teresa leads us into worship to the King.

“The beauty treatment that has prepared me the most for our King are all of them, because each beauty treatment represents an important part of letting go of the “old nature,” so the “new nature,” or new man can resurrect; that we may have the mind of Christ and walk in our true identity. As we meditate on the Word of God, all treatments are working together for our good; beautifying us as God’s Queens on the inside, out,” says Teresa.

 

Next Beauty Treatment Retreat

October 7 -9, 2016

Held at the Christian Retreat Center

Bradenton, Florida

For more information email Jodie Dye

Follow the Facebook Event Page for updates!

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Meet Queen Thasia

Allow me to introduce you to my good friend, Tha’sia Awad. She is also known as Tay Awad. She is from Toledo Ohio. She is married with three children (two boys and a girl) and one of their favorite things to do is to drive around and go sightseeing. Her hobbies and interests include spending time with my family, exercising, reading, writing, researching and watching debates.

When it comes to ministry, Thasia puts her family first and taking care of their needs. Next to her family, she is called to the lost and the broken-hearted and she challenges the Believers in Christ to become Followers. With that being said, she spends much of her free time studying and writing material that will reach the hearts and minds of all God’s children. She is the author of Lord Make Me Good Ground, and it is a great book to add to your library for Christian growth. You can follow her blog to hear her heart more often.

This year, will be her 3rd time going to the Beauty Treatments Retreat and every year, God gives her a renewed strength and affirming purpose for the next year! For the first year of being at the retreat, she was a guest then on the following retreat, she became a server and during her latest visit, she was a handmaiden’s assistant. This year at the Beauty Treatment retreat in Florida, Thasia will be a small group leader, and whoever is in her group will be so blessed.

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Photo credit: Beverly Liner

She says of her retreat experience,

“Each experience has brought me closer to who I am in Christ with a boldness to live it out unapologetically and I look forward for more years to come!

If I had to choose only one beauty treatment that has helped prepare me for King Jesus, I would say it was Moisturizing. Since going to these retreats, I’ve realized how important my moisturizing session are for my life, especially during the dark and lonely times of being a Christian-being moisturized by the kind words of others, the word of God and even during my worship time helps keep me lifted up before the King and prepares me to be who I need to be for others.”

Next Beauty Treatment Retreat

October 7 -9, 2016

Held at the Christian Retreat Center

Bradenton, Florida

For more information email Jodie Dye

Follow the Facebook Event Page for updates!

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Book Signing Change

Hey Florida friends, so there was a mix up at the library, and another author was also scheduled for today so they asked me to come back next Saturday. So if you were planning on coming to see me today, please come instead on the 9th. Have a safe and happy 4th!

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Book Signing

Hey Florida friends, come see me at the South Manatee Library on 26th street this Saturday to get your copy of Beauty Treatments. This book is based on the book of Esther in the Bible. Esther received beauty treatments and special food to prepare her to meet her king. Come and hear about the inner beauty treatments that I received to prepare me for the KING of kings. Please share with your Florida friends. I would love to meet you, and share my beauty treatments with you. You may have a chance to win a copy. So come see how.

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Meet Queen Christa

Did four months really go by with a post from me? WOW!

No worries, I am still writing. However, I have been super focused on writing a couple of books. I finished one, and it is being edited now. And I am working very hard on the other one. I will announce them in the next couple months, but they are both specifically written for the Beauty Treatment Retreats.

Nevertheless, I had an idea to keep this page fresh. I may not have any content, but the many women who have ever been on a retreat have much to say. So you are going to start hearing from them. They are my queen sisters, and wow do they have some stories to tell. They are called queens because they prepare with beauty treatments and special food to meet King Jesus, and He has called us His bride, which makes us a queen. 🙂

So without further ado, allow me to introduce to you my good friend and sister in the Lord, Christa Brownfield. When I first met Christa I was going through a rough and rocky time in my life and Christa was so easy to talk to. We originally met through our teenagers, and as our teens parted ways, our relationship became stronger. I invited Christa to the retreat, and she gladly accepted the invitation. Little did I know, how life changing the retreat would be to her. She was a guest twice and each time she received a new revelation. Everyone around her could see the transforming power of the Spirit of God changing her from the inside out. Christa is so dear to my heart. She is always there for everyone around her. Always giving of herself beyond her own strength. I just love this girl!

Check out Christa’s testimony:

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Photo Credit: Beverly Liner

“In October 2014, I was craving the taste of spiritual food. I was going to church and reading my Bible, even surrounding myself with only godly friends. My pastor had delivered a message one Sunday morning and he never used the word fast in his message, however, the message was about having victory in our battles and he mentioned the word sacrifice. That’s when my spirit was moved and I felt called to fast. I prayed and had confirmation that I was to start with a 3 day liquid only fast, immediately going into a 21 day Daniel’s fast. For those that know me, know how difficult this would be because I LOVE FOOD!!! I have a passion for cooking, which means I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Also, I was a smoker. Sometimes, I felt like I could just escape to the porch and light up a cigarette and for 10 minutes, it was my time. I chose not to fast cigarettes. I was at a place in life where I was not ready to quit, it wasn’t even an option. Well, October 31, 2014 I began my 3 day liquid only fast. I’m not going to lie, it was difficult. I really had to pray and come into the presence of God. The hungrier I was, the more I worshipped, prayed and just cried out to God. The next 21 days after was definitely a sacrifice, giving up many of the physical foods my body desired. I ate only things such as fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes and drank only water. Some days were easier than others, but each day was a sacrifice in itself. Reaching the end of my fast on November 23rd, I felt at peace. So many things going on in my life and fighting some of the biggest battles I would ever know. I knew God was in control of all things. Three days after ending my fast, on November 26th, I no longer desired cigarettes and have been smoke free ever since. I sacrificed fleshly food to taste the spiritual feast that God himself had prepared for me. Not realizing how He would not only take care of the things in my life that I prayed for, he would also deliver me from things I wasn’t ready to give up on my own.” – Christa Brownfield

Next Beauty Treatment Retreat

October 7 -9, 2016

Held at the Christian Retreat Center

Bradenton, Florida

For more information email Jodie Dye

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