What Does it Mean to Have True Faith?

I remember doing a deep study on what it means to have faith. After finishing my study, I looked back at my notes, and I was pondering on if I actually had true faith in God or was I just saying I did. I realized that it was just something I was saying I had but I really didn’t. I feel like I didn’t have true faith in God because when He took me through the storms, instead of calling on Him I decided to take things into my own hands to get me out. When I looked back at my notes, I observed that I had faith in myself instead of God. I depended on myself a lot of times when I should have been depending on God. This is when I was determined that I was going to apply my faith in every aspect of my life. Meaning, whatever trials and tribulations that came my way I wanted to be prepared to have faith in Him through that season. 

Of course, I’m human and there were times that my faith still wasn’t there, but I understood and knew that I was wavering in my faith so, I would push myself harder to make sure I was prepared the next time. And trust me, there will always be a next time. If you start by growing your faith early on you will be ready to take on anything even in your waiting season.

I feel the hardest thing to do is to have faith while you wait on God. Someone once told me in certain situations you are waiting because God wants to develop your faith, meaning He wants to strengthen it. In most cases, yes this is true; but I think in other cases God is just preparing a blessing for you and He wants to also prepare you for your blessing. That is why we wait sometimes. 

What does it mean to have faith?

Having faith means you trust God with your all and you believe He can do whatever he says He can do. When you pray, you trust that God will answer your prayers (Matthew 21:22) and you know that if it isn’t for you God won’t bless you with it. If we look at Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) it says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” This I believe gives us the definition on what faith means and what it also means to have it. We have full belief in God’s plan for us and we KNOW that “it will work out perfect for our good” (Jeremiah 29:11) because we have faith.

How can we apply faith?

I think applying faith can be the challenging part of it all. It’s almost like I just told you I had faith there is nothing else left for me to do; but that’s wrong. I say that because in order for you to have faith you must apply it and that is the only other option. To give an example for a better understanding, if my dad came up to me and told me he has a plan for something that’s just for me and I responded with okay, great thank you so much I believe your plan is dope. Then, I turn my back and plan something else that didn’t go with the plan that my dad said he had for me. Did I really believe my dad or was I just telling him I believed him? That goes perfect with our relationship with God, right? When God tells us He has something planned for us or just to simply trust Him with our lives and we answer with okay; then go behind His back and do the opposite of what He planned for us doesn’t show that you applied your faith. 

In the book of Hebrews the anonymous writer tells us, without faith we won’t be able to please God (Hebrews 11:6 NIV).

We must be able to apply our faith, to live a peaceful joy filled life we need faith. 

Below I left a few scriptures for you to read if you are looking to read more scriptures on Faith: 

Mark 11:22-24

Proverbs 3:5-6

1 Corinthians 2:5

2 Corinthians 5:7

Be blessed loves! 

Why is Prayer So Important?

Today I decided to take a scripture from Mark and meditate on it. I truly enjoy talking to God, it gives me a sense of peace and hope. I think prayer is so important because it allows you to spend time with God and focus on growing a stronger relationship with Him. Often times I don’t even pray to Him, in some cases I just talk to Him. But too often I find myself not doing a ton of listening because I talk so much. My focus this week is going to be not only praying and talking to God more but also listening to Him. It’s no different than a friendship, sometimes your friend wants to get a few words in as well if you guys are having a conversation. 

Mark 11:24 states, “Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” I like this scripture because if you have strong faith you should be able to pray to God KNOWING that whatever you asked for will be yours. And that’s IF it’s in your best interest. God knows what’s best for us. We can plan our future all we want but at the end of the day God will ALWAYS remind us that He’s in charge and He makes the final decision. And you know what…I’m okay with that. I can say that confidently because I trust Him. I know that He is ALWAYS right. 

So, what does prayer look like? I can’t tell you how to pray, but I can give you different tips that has helped me in the past and is still allowing me to have stronger prayers.

Tip #1: Meditate

I didn’t realize how beneficial this actually was until I tried it. I actually got this from a Youtuber I use to watch a while back. Meditating in God’s presence allows you to focus your mind, center your spirit, and thoughts on Him. In this time God might or might not reveal things to you, sometimes He does for me and sometimes He doesn’t. In Psalms 77:6 it reads (read full scripture if you’d like), “I remembered my songs in the night. My heart meditated and my spirit asked:” This is the perfect scripture that connects with us meditating in God’s presence.

Tip #2: Pray strategically and intentionally

This sounds so simple, but often times I found myself praying to God asking Him for the same things in my prayer and not really being intentional about what I am asking Him for. God knows what we need, but it’s different to pray and ask God for something and allow your faith to work.

“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” 1 John 5:13-15

Tip #3: Have Faith and Trust God

This will allow you to pray without ceasing (1Thessalonians 5:16-18), it will allow your faith to grow stronger, and honestly this will help you feel more connected with God because you are trusting Him and asking Him for things in confidence.

“And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” Matthew 21-22

My overall message to you is trust God, allow Him to guide you, and pray ALWAYS. Lack no faith, allow God’s wisdom to dwell in your spirit and heart as you read His word. 

Helpful resources:

Fervent: A Women’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer 

By: Priscilla Shirer

Seek God and Watch Him Work

It’s been a while, but I am so excited to be back!

What have I been up to? Honestly, my focus this past year has been to keep God first and focus more on my relationship with Him, so I am able to be a blessing to His people. I won’t sit here and make it sound like I had an easy year because I didn’t.  However, I decided to not dwell on my tough year because there were many blessings that came out of 2020! I never knew what God was fully capable of until last year came. 

I want to talk about why it’s important to seek God in your waiting season, in your storm, and even in the midst of Him blessing you. Over the past year I’ve been through a lot, but what has honestly kept me sane was seeking God throughout the entire year. I had to fully rely on Him because I truly didn’t know what was to come. I was faced with many trials but like James said, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12, NIV

How do you think this scripture can benefit us as Christians? James is telling us, those who show themselves to be strong (using God’s strength) and fights through their storm will be blessed on the other side. Honestly, I didn’t realize how beneficial this scripture is until it happened to me and I meditated on it. God will ALWAYS show up and show out no matter the situation. But when God shows up and shows out AFTER you’ve been through so much…I can’t help but to say how different it feels. 

So, you’re probably wondering what are some ways you can seek God? I know I say it like it’s so easy (trust me I know it’s not, we’re human). But one thing that has helped me was honestly keeping that communication with God through every trial I was faced with. When my bank account was showing up with $0 in it, I stayed at peace and sought God. When I didn’t know if I was going to be able to graduate from College (Go Warriors!) I still prayed and hoped that God would come through. Even when I didn’t know if I would get a job straight out of college, I knew I had to seek God and know that He would come through. This allowed me to grow closer to Him because each time I sought God He showed Himself to be present. 

Another way would be to cancel all distractions out and TRULY focus on God’s Word, worship Him and meditate in His presence. Anytime I felt overwhelmed because I truly didn’t know what the future (still don’t) would hold in my chaotic waiting season; I would sit (still do) and put my worship music on and meditate in His presence. I would pray to God asking Him to continue to guide me and to give me HIS strength to keep me pushing and moving. Each and every time I did that, I felt like I was getting stronger and stronger, stuff would go left, and I would just sit and laugh talking to my mom saying, “Watch God work.”

So, when you think about what to do and how you’re going to get through your waiting season, go straight to prayer and I mean deep and FERVENT (Def. Exhibiting or marked by great intensity of feeling) prayers, and allow God to enter in. Let go and allow Him to take full control. I promise once you do that you are going to really see what He is capable of.

Scriptures to meditate on:

“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

“For nothing will be impossible with God.” Luke 1:37

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

Is Life Really Meaningless?

Should life really be seen as meaningless? Or are people being a bit dramatic when they use the word meaningless to describe life? To be honest, I myself see life as being meaningless. Sure you might think it’s a big statement to make but after we take a look at Ecclesiastes you will see why life is meaningless.

To give you a brief summary of the book Ecclesiastes. There are two voices you will hear in Ecclesiastes, the story is told by a teacher, then you also hear another voice in the book which is the author. Nobody knows exactly who the author of Ecclesiastes is, but the guess has always been Solomon. However,  his name was never stated in the book so it isn’t for sure. The theme of the book is the search for life’s meaning. When I first started to read Ecclesiastes, I assumed the teacher was depressed. I didn’t really understand why he kept calling life, “meaningless.” Then as I continued to read further, I started to wrap my head around what he was trying to say. 

He started the book with, “Meaningless! Meaningless! “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” The Ecclesiastes writer seemed to have gotten to a “so what” moment in his life where he thinks life is meaningless and the things in it as well. To me when I think of the word meaningless, I think of empty or worthless. The critic pretty much feels like we are constantly running on this treadmill and it never stops. Life continues to repeat itself. “All streams flow into the sea yet the sea is never full.” He says, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:1-11)   There is nothing new in this world; the water gets recycled into the ocean and it just keeps on going. Kind of like the treadmill, the track that is connected to the treadmill constantly makes its way back around.

Everything in this world is constantly being repeated. So, what is the point in even trying to keep up?

Could this critic be right? Is life really meaningless? If so, what makes life so meaningless? Do you think we care too much about the wrong things in this world? I feel like often I get too caught up in trying to prove myself to others or even keeping up with the trends. These are all things that aren’t going to the grave with us, so why do we care so much about them?

 In chapter 3 of Ecclesiastes the teacher goes into talking about how there’s a time for everything. This chapter has to be my favorite one because it starts to dive deeper into why life can be meaningless. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born again and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal… (Ecclesiastes 3:1-15).” Each and every activity has a proper time ordained by God. There are three things about time I heard a pastor say, time cannot be stored, time can’t be saved, and if your clock doesn’t work time keeps going. God is timeless, meaning he has the ability to put us on a time frame. Now, you’re probably wondering if God is timeless how come we are put on a time frame? To answer your question, because He’s God. He is the beginning and the end, he had no creation so he can’t be held to that standard. We, however, had a beginning and a creation so, we by logic have to have an end. When we are given time we are meant to do something in a timeframe whether it’s our work or our hobbies and it’s no different with God. But what does that mean for us? That means we need to figure out what we need to do in this time right now. God only assigns time when we have a purpose, which means we need to figure out what our purpose is, so we aren’t wasting the time God is giving us. 

But the big question here is how does this relate to chapter one on how life is meaningless? Jumping Straight to the end of Ecclesiastes the author brings it all together. He talks about how life is meaningless without God. If God isn’t involved and if we forget and fail to serve God while we are here on earth, life starts to become meaningless. The conclusion of it all is to fear God and keep his commandments, what we do now on earth will be brought into judgement. (Ecclesiastes 12:1-14)

So, live your life with purpose. Since our time here is so temporary, ask God what your purpose is so you are able to fulfill it. We have to remember that life isn’t just about temporary pleasures, it’s about fulfilling our purpose. If we don’t find a way to fulfill our purpose what is the point? We aren’t here to live for ourselves, it’s not about us. We’re here to please and live for Christ. 

I remember at one point in my life, I used to struggle with focusing on me, me, me. Nothing was about God, I started to live for just Jada and not God. I didn’t know what my purpose was, and I also didn’t focus on trying to bring people to Christ. Then a couple of months ago I was in Bible study and a group of us were asked if we knew what our purpose was, and I couldn’t even answer the question. After that, I wanted to challenge myself and really spend my time with God in SILENCE so he could tell me what my purpose was. I found this to be very important because I wanted to live a purposeful life, so I could be able to pour into people. Of course, God revealed

to me what my purpose was, and I was able to move forward and do his will. Your life will start to feel different when you are fulfilling God’s purpose. Why? Because you are living for someone other than yourself, you’re living for Christ. 

If you ever get a chance, I would encourage you to take some time to read Ecclesiastes, it makes you look at life in a totally different way. If it becomes confusing below, I have inserted a video from the Bible Project to help you gain a better understanding of Ecclesiastes.

The Book of Ecclesiastes

If you have any prayer requests, please list them in the comment section. Don’t forget to like and subscribe!

Jada Olivia

Self-Love: Choose Happiness First

She was in middle school and she use to be considered one of the bullies in her 6th and 7th grade class. At that time, she didn’t really look at herself and think she was one, but this little girl knew people looked at her as a bully and probably wanted to write “Bully,” right across her forehead. Honestly, she couldn’t even blame them, looking at who she was in middle school hurts her heart; all she saw was a broken little girl that had low self-esteem. So, in order for her to feel good about herself she felt the need to bully and be mean to the people around her. As women we face so many challenges in our life, loving ourselves is one of them. The little 14-year-old girl didn’t love herself, in fact she hated herself; she hated her body, she hated her face, there was nothing positive she had to say to herself.

Fast forward to now, the girl couldn’t tell you what sparked freshman year of college for her, but she began to turn into this young lady that had nothing but love for herself. She had so much respect for herself, and she started to walk with her head held high. Confidence was the new thing for her.

That young lady is me. I couldn’t even tell you how bad I would feel when I started to think about the 14-year-old mean girl. There were so many thoughts running through my head. There was that little girl in me who wanted to apologize so bad to the people I hurt, but I felt too embarrassed to even reach out and say something. Here’s my moment, if you are reading this, I want to send love and my deepest apologies to those I offended in the past. I wish nothing but blessings on your life and I pray to God you can forgive me. 

Why was my story necessary to tell? Because I didn’t love myself at the time which caused me to mistreat the people around me to make myself feel better. Have you ever had a time in your life where you didn’t love yourself? What did it feel like for you? How did it affect you? And what did you do to change it? Meditate and reflect on these questions. Your happiness comes first; and yes, it may sound so simple, but it is a lot harder than it seems. I do think as women this is something that we all need to learn in order to move on with our lives. We need it in so many situations whether its your boyfriend, your spouse, friendships, co-workers, family etc. So why not try to master it? 

Step one:

This starts with looking at yourself in the mirror and picking out every flaw you can find then smile and embrace them. This may sound so cliché but when you learn to embrace your flaws you start to love them and not pay them any mind because what’s the point? Instead of looking at your flaws and getting sad or upset; look at them and smile, thank God for creating you. Never forget we are all fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). Understand that God makes no mistakes which means he didn’t make a mistake with you. We are made in God’s image and in his likeness (Genesis 1:26-27).

Step two:

Write down the characteristics that you dislike about yourself. Why is this necessary? You can’t fully love yourself if you have negative traits you feel you need to fix. This step could be a process because once you go down your soul-searching journey you will start to learn more about yourself. Then, once you learn more things to work on you will focus on those things for however long you need. You will begin to love yourself after seeing how far you’ve come.

I hope I was able to help you understand what it means to love yourself. These are easy steps to take and go through but in the end they will be worth it. I want you to master loving yourself and having self-love because a woman with confidence is a dangerous woman. The little girl in middle school didn’t love herself and it reflected on how she treated the people around her but I’m not that little girl anymore. That little girl was essential to my growth and who I am today. To remind you, I’m still human therefore, I’m not perfect. If self-love is something you are struggling with today, choose happiness and start your journey in working on yourself. I promise you it will change your life.

How can I pray for you? Write it down in the comments and don’t forget to like and subscribe.

Jada Olivia 

If I Stray Away from God is it Too late to Come Back?

Often times we stray so far away from God and assume it isn’t possible for God to welcome us back with open arms. My Freshman and Sophomore year in college were the two years where I struggled with my relationship with Christ. I thought since God forgives us after we sin then it’s okay to sin right? I was wrong, but in that moment, I thought I was right. Between those two years I got so caught up in living a worldly life trying to please those around me, I didn’t realize my relationship with God was falling apart. I would attend church every now and then and ask myself, “why am I living this kind of life?” I wanted to get back into strengthening my relationship with God, but I just felt since I was so distance from Him, He wouldn’t want me back. There would be days I would cry, asking God to change my ways but then do the opposite of what I was asking Him to do. 

Towards the end of sophomore year I realized it was time I stop living for the world and I wanted to live for God. It was a tough reality because I knew I was going to have to separate myself from the people I use to hang around on campus, but I knew it was for the better. 

After reading Luke 15:11-20 I had a realization of how much grace God gives us even when we stray away and get caught up in the things of this world. If you don’t know much about the story let me tell you how it went down and how everything lined up with how God treats His children.

A man had two sons, one wanted his father to share the estate with him, so the father decided to split the estate between the two sons. One of the sons gathered all he had and left the country and “squandered his wealth in wild living.” He eventually needed to get a job somewhere because he spent all he had; that later fell through, so he decided to head back home to his father. He got to his father and told him, “Father I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.” When he ran into his father his father was filled with joy because his son made it back home. The father’s immediate reaction was to get him clothed and bless him with other things. The father stated, “for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” 

Here is the most interesting part about this story. The other son came back from the field and was trying to figure out why they had music playing as if they were celebrating something. One of the servants told the son his brother made It back home safe and sound. So, the brother came up angry and refused to celebrate or go into the home because he couldn’t understand why they were celebrating if his brother ran away and sinned. He felt as though the son needed to be punished. 

The son told his father, “Look! All of these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a younger goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, and you kill a fattened calf for him!” This last part is my favorite in the story. The father told the son his brother was lost and he is now found and he was once dead and now he is alive. His father wanted to inform the son that this is the perfect time to celebrate. Though, you helped me all this time and stuck by my side your brother has come back and that’s worth a celebration.

This story I feel goes hand and hand with our relationship with God. Though, we may drift away and sin while we are far from God, there is always a place for us in His heart and he will always be there waiting for us to come back with open arms. Imagine how loving you have to be to have that kind of mindset. You know that your kids have done you wrong, but that doesn’t take away the love you have for your kids. 

So, to answer the question, “If I stray away from God is it too late to come back?” No, it’s never too late. The Important part is you make It back to Him before judgement day, and even then God is still giving you an option.

Remember this, when you stray away from God, He will always welcome you back. Your blessings are times 1000 and He will never leave nor forsake you.