Archives for category: faith
God never makes a promise that He won’t keep.

By: Taren Vaughan

Promises…What is the true meaning behind them? Are they verbal agreements that we make amongst ourselves that we must follow through with?

“I promise I’ll pay you your money back”

Or are they things that we say only because they sound good coming from our mouths?

“I promise I will change my ways”.

As the true definition of a promise may vary from person to person, there is one thing for sure that we all know about them. And that is that just like a glass plate hitting the floor, they can be broken, sometimes by those that we least expect. Relatives that share the same family tree with you on down to childhood friends that you have known practically all your life can be the very ones that are in the business of breaking promises. Sadly, a lot of times, it is the closest ones to us that can let us down the most. It starts to make you feel like everyone is like that. Makes you feel like no one is to be believed when that “promise” word begins to surface. That may go for the people that you deal with down here on Earth but it surely doesn’t apply to God.

God is one who doesn’t take promises lightly. If He makes one to you, then you can believe that He will follow through with it. Now He may not show up as soon as you get up off your knees from praying or as soon as you call out His name but He will show up. And when He does show, the answer to your questions and the blessings that He has in store for you will be revealed.

People in your life, or even those that you barely even know, are not perfect beings despite what they or you might think. Flaws they do possess, mistakes they will make, and promises just might be things that they can’t seem to hold on it to save their lives. Although this is true, we must not confuse that with the promises of God.

Our Father is very serious about these things called promises. They are not things that He takes lightly at all. He does not make them to break them. He makes them to keep them. To God, promises hold truth and value. His are true and will be brought to the light to those who keep the faith in His doings and listen to His voice.

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

Hebrews 13:5

This promise He will always keep.

The key to a successful year is simple…It’s God.

By: Taren Vaughan

2011 has come and gone with the quickness and a brand new year is now upon us. Way before it even arrived, many of us created these long, drawn out lists of resolutions, pinpointing things that we are going to do differently for the next 365. Our personal pledges to self-improvement include all sorts of things from losing massive amounts of weight to making drastic career changes.

We know hard work and dedication is much needed in order to meet any of these goals for success isn’t found overnight. Although these things are vital, the key to success doesn’t depend on those things alone. The key to you reaching your goals is God.

When we think of New Year’s Eve celebrations, a mixture of wild partying and large consumptions of alcohol comes to mind for many people. That is their way of ringing in the New Year. While the party goers are jam packed in a sweat box or on the streets of New York City, there are those who choose to bring in the New Year in a more spiritual way by attending watch night service at a local church. And what better way to bring in a year than in the house of the Lord.

Sound like a bash to those who don’t go to church on NYE?

It’s not because the very same people who went to a watch night service could not step foot in a church for the rest of the year. And a person who partied until the sun came up could be front and center for all of the remaining Sundays. Aside from the activities that people partake in on the eve of the New Year, some people eat certain things as a way to gain prosperity in the upcoming year.

A bowl of Mama’s black eyed peas and collards is all you need to make your pockets a little thicker or come up on some amazing string of good luck. The only thing that is doing is making your stomach thicker, not your wallet.

Whether we are the party crashers, the church-goers or the black eyed peas and collard greens eaters, the point is that in order to truly be fulfilled and prosperous in a new year, your life and all that you do has to be filled with God.

He is the one responsible for the “luck” that you have financially. He is the one that should be credited for the advancements that you make in your career. He is the one who provides you with the strength and willpower to reach your goals.

If you don’t start your year off with God, you should find a way to incorporate Him in the days that remain.

Your TRUE success and livelihood is counting on it.

Can you praise God without a drum or piano to accompany you?

By: Taren Vaughan

As believers in God and His word, many of us make it a point to attend church services on a regular basis. And like most church services, there is a lot praising going amongst members of the congregation. And it is done in many different ways. Some people praise God silently, praying quietly to themselves and speaking to Him privately. Others clap, shout and scream His praises to the top of their lungs for everyone around them to hear. The one thing that is always present in a church for the most part no matter how you give God the glory is music.

This music, just like the praising that goes on, is shown to us in many forms. Organs and drums being played in the background as the preacher reaches the peak of his sermon. And music from the choir, with them bellowing out moving gospel songs that touch the hearts of congregation’s members.

But what if that wasn’t the case though?

What if no song was ever sung by a single solitary person? Or no key was ever touched on a piano?

Would you still be able to praise God just the same, give Him the glory A capella?

Take a professional singer for example. Here is a person that can sing well when accompanied by music but sounds even better when the instrumental stops playing; all we hear is their natural melody. When they sing A capella, it is truly coming from the soul. It is coming from them and them alone.

Now relate this to the way you praise.

Uplifting His name with your voice alone is more than enough for God. He can hear your voice loud and clear, giving Him thanks for all that He has done for you and what He is on the verge of doing in your life. And He can recognize that with or without the music playing behind you.

Hearing music can increase the level of showing your love for God. A lot of worshippers will say that their spirits are moved just that much more when they hear a touching song being sung. As that may be true, praising God ultimately can be done with no background noise at all.

Your willingness to shout out your praises to the almighty may be fueled by music.

But when the piano stops playing and the voices of the choir members begin to fade, will your praising of God be just as strong?

Your company could hinder you from receiving your blessings.

By: Taren Vaughan

Your inner circle, your clique, your homegirls and homeboys…There are so many different titles that we place on those that we consider friends. These are the individuals that we spend a lot of time around, maybe even years at a time, and share countless memories with. The ties that we have to these people can become so strong that we even begin to act exactly like them, mirroring everything that they do. From the way that they dress, talk, and carry themselves, we find ourselves picking up our friends’ habits. Some of these habits can be good ones and can help us move towards self improvement. Then there are those habits that are not ones that anyone should want to pattern.

When the bad habits of your friends start to rub off on you, could their negative influence keep you from reaching your goal? Could they be the stumbling blocks between you and your destiny?

We all know that no man can stop what God has in store for us. Whatever is in His will shall be and no matter how hard we, or anybody else may try there is no changing that will. As true as that is, there can be people who serve as “blessing blockers”. A blessing blocker’s role is to distract you, throw you off track from reaching your goal and receiving the blessings that are waiting for you. Often times, they are mistaken as friends when in actuality, they cause more harm than good; some of them taking on enemy qualities. And most of all, a number of these people don’t even have the same goals that you do; they aren’t looking for the progress that you are.

So if that’s the case, why are these people even in your circle?

If you are one who is serious about your education, then why are you surrounding yourself with people whose transcripts and report cards are flooded with D’s and F’s? Haven’t cracked open a book in God knows when.

If you are a person who is a go-getter, why does your clique consists of those who settle for less? The bare minimum is all they are striving for while you are constantly looking for ways to improve yourself.

If you are about change, then why are you in the midst of individuals who are complacent, no change necessary? They’re clearly not fans of President Obama’s theory.

Sometimes the people that we are associated with are the ones who are keeping us from receiving our blessings. Good people, yeah they may be. But do they hold the same things that you do in high regard? Are your values similar at all?

We don’t always notice it right away. It can take months or years for us to realize the truth about our company. The truth is that our company is not always helpful. They don’t always encourage us to do the right things. And when we think that these people are positive influences, they really are more of a hindrance to us.

We should be wary of the individuals that we hang around and choose our company with much caution.

They can be the very thing standing between us and the blessings that God has in store for you.

All things are possible because of God and God only.

By: Taren Vaughan

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Ephesians 2:8-9

Despite the clear message that the above scripture is relaying to us, for some strange reason, there are numerous human beings in this world who have come to the conclusion that they are powerful. The sun rises and sets when they say so and if it weren’t for them, nothing would be possible. Some of us really think we are the ones that run the show. We have really got it twisted.

Do we honestly think that we are the sole ones responsible for these long lists of accomplishments that we have under our belts? Does the outcome of a situation happen the way it does because we think that’s how it should be or does God have the ultimate say so overall?

It seems to me that we forget sometimes who made it possible for us to achieve anything period. It is God and no one but Him. God has ALL power and has control over the situations that we are or aren’t placed in. And because of that, He determines our rises to success and our struggles to get there. But that lack of humility that we develop once we get a little change in our pockets or start raking in degree after degree and promotion after promotion keeps us from remembering that important part.

So is it not okay to be proud of yourself for what you have done?

I have had my own personal struggle with this. Not because I am known to be an overly arrogant person who thought the world revolved around her. It was because I had that fear that if I expressed any ounce of pride in the things that I achieved, I would be deemed as an individual who lacks humility. But after a heartfelt conversation with my mother and over the years, truly learning and knowing the difference between being cocky versus being confident, I realized that being humble yet having a sense of joy about what you have done is not a bad thing at all.

Possessing self pride and self confidence are things that everyone should have. God doesn’t want us to hang our heads when we are doing positive things in His sight. He wants us to rejoice in our blessings. But often times our rejoicing turns into boasting and bragging. God frowns upon this type of behavior because in His eyes, we are all equal. We are all His children. Having multiple letters in front of or behind your name or having a fleet of luxury cars lined up in your driveway makes you no better than the next person. And it surely won’t save you from the burning flames of Hell if you are not being obedient to His word. Not because I said so but because God said so.

Having that shear excitement and thrill of knowing that your hard work has finally paid off is okay. Those things are only frowned upon when they are taken too far, when a person’s humility has gone completely out of the window.

Be subtle in your celebration of the things that you have accomplished. And let others speak of your greatest.

Don’t let dating websites and friends fool you, God is the ultimate match-maker.

By: Taren Vaughan

Looking for true love can be quite a tiring job to say the least. And it’s something that some of us are blessed to find quickly. On the other hand, there are those of us who have to search far and wide for Mr. or Mrs. Right, running into a few unpleasant characters along the way. Yes, the dating world is not an easy one to be apart of. And after a countless number of disappointments, it can lead to bouts of loneliness but most of all, desperation.

Memberships to online dating services start to look more and more appealing to you when before using them was not even a thought in your mind. You have even found yourself taking your friends up on blind date offers that you would have normally shut down with the quickness at the mere suggestion of them. Never thought you would resort to these routes a day in your life right?

Not to mention the fact that during our droughts, we start to seek advance from the worst possible sources ever. Since when did players and “the single yet salty” crew become the know-it-alls when it comes to finding the perfect soul mate? That rarely turns out well for most of us. We can become so desperate to find love that we look for guidance from any and everybody that is willing to share their “wealth of knowledge”. But the one that truly can solve our dating troubles is God.

So often, we ask God to bless us with material things like fancy cars, beautiful homes, money and any other things that we desire to have. But why is it that some of us never ask God to bless us with a good partner? Why don’t we ever send up that prayer for companionship?

If God is the one that has all the power, the one who controls everything that goes on in this world from the rising of the sun to the rain that falls down here on Earth, why would He be incapable of delivering a soul mate to you?

Some may say praying for companionship is silly, that God wouldn’t take a prayer like that seriously.

The response that: All prayers hold importance, not only to you but to God as well. He listens to us when we talk Him about our troubles and the things that we want to happen in our lives, including finding a good person to spend the rest of our lives with.

So when online dating has failed you and blind dates always seem to turn out horrible, it’s time to call on God for that soul mate you are looking for. Pray to Him that He shall send you a person who will honor and keep you, respect you as a human being and treat you as their equal, be your backbone when you are weak and take care of you when you are sick. Be sincere in your prayer for companionship to God for if it is truly in your heart to find love and you believe in His power, your dating troubles will be solved.

How easy is it for you to extend your hand to people who don’t care for you?

By: Taren Vaughan

“No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me,” Says the Lord.

Isaiah 54:17

Our enemies, those persons whose sole purpose in our lives is to cause us harm or stand in the way of what we are trying to accomplish, are all around us. We often mistake these people for friends because they appear to be so genuine when we first meet them. And because of their initial “good behavior”, we let these pretenders get a little too close to us. Sooner than later though, these people will reveal their true selves to us and the true way that they feel about us will come to light.

That’s when the underhandedness starts to happen. The talking bad about you to other people and they try to do everything in their power to mentality or physically stifle you. Yet and still, we are supposed to be kind to these folks? People who bring nothing but negativity into our lives?

According to God’s word, we are to treat everyone with kindness, even the undeserving in our eyes. Easier said than done though right? Showing love to those who show it to you in the same manner is something that we can all manage to do with great ease. When people are pleasant to you and are always treating you with respect, really how hard can it be to do the same in return? Not hard at all I’m pretty certain of that.

But for those who mistreat you and constantly try their hardest to ruin your good name with no reason at all for doing so, turning the other cheek and showing them love is difficult to do.

Moments like these, we should stop and think about what Jesus would do in a situation like this.

Jesus Christ had enemies just as we do down here on Earth. Big difference is though that he had more enemies than he could count on his hands and toes alone. He had those who called him crazy, a liar and caused him bodily harm up until his death. And as Jesus Christ endured the things that these individuals did to him, he still stood his ground and followed God’s word and believed in His promise to take care of him. And despite all of the things that his enemies put him though, he still found it in his heart to pray for them and their wrongdoings towards him. So when our enemies come at us, full force with a mission to defeat us or tear us down with all their might, take the time out to pray for them. Show them love regardless of how they treat you for you want to do right unto others even when it is not returned.