Monday, January 31, 2011


This is the last day of the 1st month of 2011.

If you made resolutions and/or set goals, how are you pacing thus far?

Did you resolve to lose weight, eat right, eat better, and/or exercise more? Have you been?

Did you resolve to be a better steward of your finances, save more, spend less and reduce debt? Status please?

Did you resolve to spend more time with your family and make that time quality? How's it been going?

Did you resolve to pray more, attend church regularly, tithe and give offerings? What's the verdict?

Did you resolve to be more about your business (professional and otherwise) and stay out of other people's? What's your progress?

Did you resolve to return to school or simply do better in school? What's been going on?

I can go on and on but only you know what goals/resolutions you have set for yourself.

Now let me say if you made resolutions/goals and have yet to get moving or you were on fire the 1st week of January and by week 2 your drive and motivation dwindled? Choose today to get back on track and work toward your goals.

I read somewhere people who share their goals with others are less likely to achieve them. It seems that simply saying it somehow translates to the person they have already achieved the success.

Whatever it is you are looking to accomplish in 2011 write it down, read it off, affirm it regularly, add some faith and action and NEVER GIVE UP!

I will be checking in with you on February 28th and I want some good reports! As for me, I am working towards my goals. There are some areas I need to improve in and I plan to do right now.

Be a blessing and be blessed,
Epiphany Essentials


I JOHN 4:19 "We love Him, because He first loved us."

Be a blessing and be blessed,
Epiphany Essentials


"If you don't OWN your power, you'll always be lending it out to the wrong people. Your worth is not for sale."

(from Twitter!)

Be a blessing and be blessed,
Epiphany Essentials

Smokie Norful - Um Good


I was watching Creflo Dollar yesterday and he was talking about our reasoning for praising, worshipping, and praying to God.

He used an analogy of, what if you had a friend that was only around you because they wanted something or vice versa? How would that make you feel? Then he asked do you only pray, praise and worship God because you want something from Him or simply because you love Him?

It was truly something to think about. The biblical text he referred to was:

Acts 16:25-28 "25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

Creflo Dollar's point, Paul and Silas were not praying and singing hymns to God because they knew or wanted the earth to shake. They were doing it because they loved God. Creflo then went on to say that many of us therefore pray and sing hymns because we know the earth shook for Paul and Silas and we want the same for us, not necessarily for the love of God.

This doesn't take away from the fact that God wants to bless us and give us an abundantly life. It does however, convict us to praise and worship Him simply for who He is and not for what He has done or can do but because He is God and God alone, the Most High, the Great I AM, Elohim, El Shaddai.....oh I could go on and on.

Be a blessing and be blessed,
Epiphany Essentials

Friday, January 28, 2011


My son started Kindergarten this past August and it was a tumultuous process in the beginning. I wrote a blog back in September as his school was interested in sending him to a mental institution in place of school to deal with his "behavior" issues. They felt that was needed as in their professional opinion he was out of control.

As parents we were at our wits end trying to figure out how to make his transition into Kindergarten better and deal with the issues at hand. Since the behaviors his teachers and school officials described were above and beyond things he would do at home as parents we decided to take our sons side and be an advocate for him as that is our job.

So we transferred him to a different school. Now in no way were we running from the issues at hand. We made adjustments necessary as parents for him. We realized however, his school was not willing to do the same.

Well, his father picked up his report today and the report is.... 3 A+s (Science, Writing, Reading), A (Math), B+ (Behavior), B (Homework, his dad and I fault he didn't complete his Christmas break packet nor turn it in so that brought his A down). Now has he been on 100% perfect behavior at this school not at all. Nevertheless he is in the classroom 100% of the time learning and developing. Oh yeah, he also scored above level on his standardized tests and his school has increased his goal for the spring test and expects him to meet and exceed those as well.

You may be wondering what did I know as a mother? I casted my cares on the Lord for He cares for me! I speak life into my son everyday and over him everyday. I am leaning on the one who is able to do exceedingly and abundantly above all I could ever ask for or imagine. For I know my sons future and it is blessed and prosperous. I know my son is a mighty man of god, a godly man, he is a faith man, a believer of Christ. I know it because I speak it and we as his parents are training him in the way he should go so when he is older he will not depart from it. I choose to keep a positive attitude no matter what and not speak what I see but call those things that be not as though they were!

Be a blessing and be blessed,
Epiphany Essentials

Israel & New Breed - I Know Who I Am

Thursday, January 27, 2011


I received a text message that troubled my spirit it stated....

"Be thankful that you aren't insecure, be thankful that you know the direction that your life is heading, be thankful that you have options, be thankful that your nights are spent losing sleep, be thankful that you don't cry at the drop of a hat because something triggers an emotion you are trying to suppress. Be thankful you are not me."

The only difference between this person and myself is that I believe what God says. I walk by faith and not by sight and I choose to focus on the positive instead of dwelling on the negative. My life is far from perfect. I am not necessarily exactly where I want to be nevertheless I know that I am blessed and highly favored. I refuse to give in to the enemies tactics. I choose to fill myself with the word daily to build myself up and plant the right things in my subconscious to become better and better daily.

Now let me pick this text message apart,

Be thankful you aren't insecure......

I Corinthians 3:16 "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?" Now why would anyone be insecure we are children of God which makes us gods (Psalm 82:6), now we aren't Elhoim I am not saying that but as Pastor Winston put it dogs produce dogs, cats produce cats, goats produce goats, so God produced us....gods (John 10:34)! Not only that his spirit is alive in us. Not only that Jeremiah 1:5 "I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations." We have a purpose and a calling that is bigger than us, our "problems/circumstances."

Be thankful that you know the direction your life is going....

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Be thankful that you have options.....

Yes I have options, everyday when I wake up I choose happiness or I choose sadness. The joy of the Lord is my strength (Nehemiah 8:10). The bible says let the weak say I am strong and let the poor say I am rich. So in the morning I choose to thank God and speak His Word, life over myself, my son, my household.

Be thankful that your nights aren't spent losing sleep....

Psalm 127:2 "2In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—
for he grants sleep to
a those he loves. " He gives me sleep because he loves me, he loves you too but you have to recognize and accept his love. "We love Him because He first loved us."

Be thankful that you don't cry at the drop of a hat because something triggers an emotion you are trying to suppress....

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

Be thankful you are not me...

I am thankful that I am only me as God created each of us differently yet with a purpose! In a way though we are the same for Genesis 1:27 "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." I heard a preacher say once while in college, when God created you he broke the mold. No one on earth has your fingerprints nor your exact DNA make-up for a reason because Romans 12:6 "We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith." I attended a conference for women at Mars Hill Baptist Church and the 1st lady stated that when we look in the mirror and speak of all our "imperfections" we are telling God he didn't know what He was doing when he created us. Then she had us put together a puzzle of a butterfly. Each piece of the puzzle was different yet they all came together to make one beautiful butterfly. That is how we are to God, we are all different but each of us and our different talents and gifts are needed.

Be a blessing and be blessed,

Epiphany Essentials


God delivered the Israelites from the hands of the Egyptians, killed all the 1st born sons of Egypt, sent them on their way to their promised land with gold, silver, camels (they were rich), parted the Red Sea and drowned Pharoah and his entire army. What did the Israelites do? They built a golden calf to worship, they needed an idol they could see!

Something to ponder.....
The Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years before they made it to the promised land. What should have been an 11 day journey took them 40 years because they complained and were disobedient to God! How long will it take us to get to our promised land? Our God does deliver but will we be responsible for the delay?
How many times has God delivered us, protected us, saved us, and made a way out of no way? Then yet, the next time we feel ourselves in a jam/dilemma we forget about the promises of God and what he has done and look for an idol we can see and touch? Or we succumb to worry, doubt and begin to complain and speak death with our mouths? You think that you are waiting on God, what if He is waiting on you?

Be a blessing and be blessed,
Epiphany Essentials


2 Corinthians 4:8-9

8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (NIV)

8We are hedged in (pressed) on every side [troubled and oppressed in every way], but not cramped or crushed; we suffer embarrassments and are perplexed and unable to find a way out, but not driven to despair; 9We are pursued (persecuted and hard driven), but not deserted [to stand alone]; we are struck down to the ground, but never struck out and destroyed; (AMP)

Be a blessing and be blessed,
Epiphany Essentials


Realize you have nothing to chase & everything to become. Once you're it, everything will find YOU! (The Daily Love, @thedailylove)
Be a blessing and be blessed,
Epiphany Essentials

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

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I Corinthians 10:12-13 "12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation[c] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[d] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,[e] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
Be a blessing and be blessed,
Epiphany Essentials

Kirk Franklin - More Than I Can Bear (LYRICS + FULL SONG)

Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People?

As I was going down my timeline on twitter yesterday, I saw a tweet "why do bad things happen to good people?" Of course that was not the first time I heard that question but this is my first time at attempting to answer it using strictly scripture. My question is who is considered good? What is the definition of good? Then what is considered something "bad" happening to you.

Luke 18:19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. (to me this scripture is self explanatory)

Mark 1:10-13 "10 Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
12 At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, 13 and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted[g] by Satan." (Immediately after his baptism, Jesus was tempted for 40 days and 40 days and he was blameless and without sin, later in his life and many know he was betrayed by a friend, beaten, flogged, hung, and crucified!)

Daniel was thrown into the lions den by the King. On the next day when the King called for Daniel, Daniel was still full of joy and said oh King live forever. (Daniel 6)

The three Hebrew boys were thrown into the fiery furnace. Daniel 3:16-18 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us[c] from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Now the three examples above some would consider bad things that happened to good people. However, there is one common denominator in all of these people of the bible. They remained faithful to God no matter what, they did not bow down or worship any other God, they kept their joy, and they only spoke the Word of God! In all of these situations God received the glory in the end.

If we stopped focusing on me, myself, and I and started focusing on we, us, and our, the Kingdom of God and building His Kingdom, staying faithful and full of joy despite our circumstances and speaking the Word only we could see greater things in our lives and draw more people to Christ. answer to why "bad" things happen to "good" people?

Matthew 5:45 "45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."

Matthew 7:24-27 " 24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

James 1:2-4 "2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

Be a blessing and be blessed,
Epiphany Essentials

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


There is some knowledge that only comes from God through the spirit and without this revelation knowledge we can be decieved.

Matthew 16:13-17
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

These apostles answered based on what they were hearing other people say. At this point they had been walking with Jesus and seen the many miracles he performed and heard him speak. Yet they were unsure as to whom he really was, but Peter....

15 “But what about you,” He asked; “Who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in Heaven.

Peter was no smarter than the other apostles, he hadn't studied more, learned more, read more nor did anything differently than them. He however did receive revelation knowledge from God, he believed it and spoke it, Jesus, You are the Christ! I am sure Peter had heard the same things the other apostles heard yet in this instance he was led by the Spirit.

Saul (Paul) was also decieved, he was one of the biggest persecutes of Christians before Jesus revelead himself to Saul on the road to Damascus. Before Saul received revelation knowledge he was deceived and was a follower doing what others in the world were doing, persecuting Christians. (Acts 8 & 9)

So, before jumping on a band wagon and persecuting/judging a person, idea, anything. Seek God and let the spirit lead you as the last thing you want to be is deceived. If you ask God and believe in faith there are things He will reveal to you in the spirit. After all, we are spiritual beings having a natural experience!

Romans 8:14 14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.

Be a blessing and be blessed,

Epiphany Essentials

What Will They Think?

There are some things in my life that I desire. Therefore I have found scriptures to read aloud that line up with what I desire and the will of God. Usually I read in the morning before I leave home, however my schedule hasn't permitted me to do so. So this morning I decided to read on the train. Well, this morning the train was late so something said just read it aloud on the train platform.

The first thing I thought was what will they think? Who are they? The other people waiting for the train.

Then I had to remind myself, they can not give me the desires of my heart, only God. They cannot save nor deliver me. I also thought about this scripture Matthew 10:33 "33“But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven. "

So I went ahead and read the scripture aloud on the train platform. Of course I was screaming to the mountain tops, I read it to myself but I wasn't worried about what they would think for when it is all said and done I am living to please God not man!

Be a blessing and be blessed,
Epiphany Essentials


2 Timothy 1: 7 "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." (NIV)

1 Thessalonians 2:12 "We pleaded with you, encouraged you, and urged you to live your lives in a way that God would consider worthy. For he called you to share in his Kingdom and glory." (NLT)

Be a blessing and be blessed,
Epiphany Essentials


"Most of us hold one of two contradictory beliefs that limit our ability to create what we really want. The more common is the belief in our powerlessness - our inability to bring into being all the things we really care about. The other belief centers on unworthiness - that we do not deserve to have what we really want..." (Think Like A Millionaire, Mark Fischer)

Be a blessing and be blessed,
Epiphany Essentials

Monday, January 24, 2011


A friend and I were talking this weekend. Someone told my friend loosely quoted "do you realize who you are? I don't think you do or you would represent yourself better." My friends response loosely quoted "my bank account doesn't reflect that so I don't believe it."

Money is not the sole determining factor of success. It bothers me that in the African American community we feel the need to have big homes and fancy cars in order to show the world that we are successful. Do not get me wrong there is nothing wrong with having these things however, none of these things give you happiness or joy nor determine success. There are people who have those things and they are struggling financially trying to make ends meet.

It is more important to build yourself up from the inside and what is inside of you will manifest on the outside. Luke 6:45 "The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks." Unfortunately many of us are looking at this practice the wrong way. We believe that if we can change our outward appearance or outside circumstances we will feel better inside. Let me tell you right now and believe me if you want to, It starts from within!

Scripture tells us that when we ask to believe that we receive and do not doubt and we shall have it. So first you must believe that you have something before you receive it. If you believe it is already yours you will act accordingly.

Walk it and live it before you possess it! And no this is not a fake it to you make it comment. This is a believe and receive comment. Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).

Before many people experienced success and wealth they imagined/believed they had it. To quote Kanye West "before I had it I'd close my eyes and imagine the good life."

"Successful people are inspired by their dreams, and they focus on the means to reach them, not on what's keeping them from realizing them. Inventors see their inventions. Artists see their completed works. Successful entrepreneurs see their businesses thriving. Visionaries, social workers, nonprofit workers, even some politicians see society changed for the better."

Be a blessing and be blessed,
Epiphany Essentials


Be a blessing and be blessed,
Epiphany Essentials


1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16 Rejoice always,
17 pray continually,
18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Be a blessing and be blessed,
Epiphany Essentials

Friday, January 21, 2011

Favor Aint Fair Feat. Kim Stratton


Job 1:9-11 9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

I heard Pastor Joel Osteen preach on this sometime at the end of last year and I began thanking God regularly for being my hedge of protection. Then recently I heard Pastor Bill Winston preach on this as well, yesterday while sitting in my parked car it was side swiped. My first words were Oh My God as I couldn't believe what had just happened. Nevertheless, I remained calmed and thankfully the lady pulled over and gave me all of her information. I called my sister and a friend to tell them what happened, never once did I utter anything negative. As I was talking to my friend telling him what happened I abruptly changed the subject by saying, nevertheless all is well, and I went on to tell him some great news.

While driving I reminded myself that my car was fine and still drivable although admittedly I don't like for it to be dirty let alone a little damaged. I am in good health and no one was harmed. Now I will admit in my mind, some fear creeped in. Fear about parking in that spot again, fear about driving without a driver side mirror, fear, fear, fear!

Yet, when I spoke I thanked God for being my hedge of protection. I repeated the scripture that the Lord did not give me a spirit of fear but a spirit of power and love. Although my thoughts are sometimes contrary I am mindful of what I speak. I chose to speak the Word and speak the Word only. I had joy in my heart yesterday before, during, and after the accident and I still have my joy right now for God is good all the time and he is my hedge of protection!

I remember Pastor Bill Winston saying the devil wants your mouth and he will put you in situations to have you speak contrary to the Word of God. So I am thankful that in this instance I chose to speak the Word only and I pray that whatever I face I remember to speak the Word only.

This morning while riding up in the elevator the spirit spoke for me and told me to pray for the lady that hit my car. I prayed for her, I prayed blessings unto her, I prayed that the Lord was her hedge of protection, and I also prayed that she and I both would be free of future accidents.

Be a blessing and be blessed,
Epiphany Essentials


"If you cherish a vision,
a lofty ideal in your heart,
you will realize it."
(James Allen, As You Think)

Be a blessing and be blessed,
Epiphany Essentials


Thomas Edison made 10,000 attempts before perfecting the incandescent light bulb.

Abraham Lincoln lost 18 election before becoming President of the United States.

Be a blessing and be blessed,
Epiphany Essentials

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Donald Lawrence & Co. | YRM (Your Righteous Mind) feat. Dorinda Clark Cole


(How to Think Like A Millionaire)
Be a blessing and be blessed,
Epiphany Essentials

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I attended church service on January 2nd and the Pastor announced starting January 3rd we were embarking on a 21 day fast. I immediately knew I hadn't prepared myself to give up food and I also realized that food wasn't keeping me from hearing from God. So at that moment I decided to give up twitter. Since I was giving up twitter, I also gave up FaceBook and then I decided to throw alcohol in as well.
One week into my fast I attended a Bad Girls Club Season Premiere party to support a friend Tiffany who was on Season 3. I brought a bottle of liquor as requested by Tiffany for all who were attending yet I didn't partake. A friend of hers asked me why wasn't I drinking and I told her I was fasting. Her initial response was for what? I just began to laugh. Then she said it isn't lent. I told her I know and I am not catholic. Considering the atmosphere and purpose I didn't feel the need to go into my purpose for fasting with her at that moment. Nevertheless it was interesting to see her take on fasting, its purpose, and when she thought it should be done.
Giving up alcohol was easier than giving up twitter (as I rarely drink even socially). Admittedly twitter consumed A LOT of my time. Before this fast, I would wake up in the middle of the night roll over and check my twitter. Before brushing my teeth in the morning, I was checking my twitter. On my way to work on the train, in my car, while sitting at my desk at work I would be checking my twitter. Twitter had become somewhat of an addiction to me.
My purpose for giving up twitter specifically was to remove the one thing out of the way that was keeping me from spending daily quality time with God therefore hindering my spiritual growth.
During this time, I have realized that I can live without twitter but I definitely cannot live without God (I knew that already yet I was taking Him for granted). Twitter was replacing God and other things much more important in my life. I do confess though I miss tweeting random things that happen/I experience and cannot wait to get back to that. I also have a twitter account that I only tweet inspiration, uplifting things so if you do tweet feel free to follow @epiphanyessent! I follow TD Jakes, Creflo Dollar, and other uplifting inspirational people/ministers that send a word sometimes that seems tailor made for me. There are also ways to make $ on twitter so there are good benefits to twitter.
The time is nearing for the fast to end and I confess that I have been 100% successful. During this time I have spent more time with God. Instead of reading tweets on the train I read the chapters of the scriptures referenced during church the previous Sunday. I also read my spiritual scriptures that I receive via email.
This fast has definitely drawn me closer to God and has allowed me to see the need for balance and the importance to always put God first.
So if you want to hear from God and draw closer to Him, I encourage you to think about what may be keeping you from Him and considering fasting.
A brief explanation of Christian Fasting from

Christian Fasting - What is it? What is Christian fasting? Biblically, fasting is abstaining from food, drink, sleep or sex to focus on a period of spiritual growth. Specifically, we humbly deny something of the flesh to glorify God, enhance our spirit, and go deeper in our prayer life.

However, the purpose of fasting is to take our eyes off the things of this world and instead focus on God. Fasting is a way to demonstrate to God and to ourselves that we are serious about our relationship with Him. Although fasting in Scripture is almost always a fasting from food, there are other ways to fast. Anything you can temporarily give up in order to better focus on God can be considered a fast (1 Corinthians 7:1-5). Fasting should be limited to a set time, especially when the fasting is from food. Extended periods of time without eating are harmful to the body. Fasting is not intended to punish our flesh, but to focus on God. (

Be a blessing and be blessed,
Epiphany Essentials


SMALL STRAWS IN A SOFT WIND by Marsha Burns -- 1/19/11:

Beloved, I have gone before you to open avenues of opportunity necessary to fulfill your purpose on the next leg of your journey. The doors are opening for you even now, but you must be alert to the possibilities and be aware of the leading of My Spirit. This will be true in the small or seemingly insignificant things of life as well as the things that could bring broad, sweeping changes. Your part is to go with the flow keeping your focus on Me, says the Lord, as you maintain complete trust and faith in Me alone. I want you to be like clay, malleable and willing to yield to the pressure of My hand through your circumstances, for there are things that still need to be reworked, shaped, and transformed into My image as you progress.

Jeremiah 18:2 -6 "Arise and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause you to hear My words." Then I went down to the potter's house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying: "O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?" says the LORD.
"Look, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!

Be a blessing and be blessed,
Epiphany Essentials


Listening to God
Renee Swope

"The Son can do nothing by Himself; he can do only what He sees the Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son does also." John 5:19 (NIV)

Devotion:I want to be a woman who listens to God. But, sometimes I'm not sure if it's God talking or just me thinking. And if I'm really honest, when I do sense Him whispering to my heart, I'm not always crazy about what I sense He's telling me to do. Like the time I knew without a doubt God was calling me to share my testimony publicly. I pretty much ran from that assignment for a decade.

Yet, I've learned over the past twenty years that when I listen to God I discover His best for me. And, I grow my trust in Him. I've seen again and again that His ways lead to His goodness. And when I follow Him, His mercy follows me.At the end of my ten-year spiritual sprint away from what scared me most — sharing the story of my brokenness with others — I surrendered to what God was calling me to do. I started listening closely to Him and trusting completely in Him, so that I could experience a day-by-day abiding in His presence and promises. From there, His plans unfolded day-by-day.

Honestly, I thought I had been listening to Him all that time. But one day while I was praying about God's direction in some decisions, the Holy Spirit showed me that I had a habit of asking God what He wanted me to do and where He wanted me to invest my time. Then I went about doing that, without depending on Him for direction each step of the way.

Oftentimes, I would seek God for the larger plans in life, convinced that if I figured out what He wanted me to do then I could become the person He created me to be and fulfill the calling He had for me. Have you ever thought: "If only God would show me what job to take; what man to marry; what church to attend, what ministry to serve in - then my life would be complete and I could trust Him with my whole heart"?The problem is that sometimes we get a glimpse of where He wants us to go and then assume we know how to get there. Or we get a peak at what He wants us to do and think we know how He wants us to get it done. How many times have I made that mistake and then wondered why I wasn't getting anywhere?

Over time, God has taught me that He wants my spiritual ears more than my spiritual efforts. He wants daily dependence, interaction and intimacy with me. And He is more concerned with my character than my calendar.You know, Jesus depended on the Father for the large and fine print written in His life plan. He listened closely and obeyed quickly. In today's key verse, John 5:19, we see His absolute dependence: "The Son can do nothing by Himself; he can do only what He sees the Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son does also."Like Jesus, we will discover God's purpose for our lives through dependent hearts that seek to listen to His — day by day, moment by moment. Let's position our hearts, minds and souls to hear Him speak to us today.

Dear Lord, I want to become a woman who listens to You. I come to You today with a seeking heart, asking not only for direction but for discernment, humility and dependence on You -- each step of the way. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Related Resources:

Rest Assured: How to Rest, Be Renewed & Remain in God's Promises and Plans a message on CD by Renee Swope

Do worries and distractions ever drown out your ability to hear God's voice? Visit Renee's blog where she's talking about how we can quiet our run-away thoughts and learn to discern God's voice.

Renee's giving away a copy of
What Happens When Women Say Yes to God, by Lysa TerKeurst. Click here to find out more.

Shaped with Purpose: Finding God's Purpose for Your Life workbook and message on CD by Renee Swope

When you buy resources through Proverbs 31 Ministries, you touch eternity! Each purchase supports the many areas of life-changing ministry we provide at no cost. So, we are extremely grateful when you shop with us!

Application Steps:
Take time today to pull away from distractions and quiet your thoughts, even if it's just 10-15 minutes. Tell God about your desire to hear Him speak to your heart through a verse, a song, a person or a whisper in your soul. Talk to Him about your plans for the day and ask Him to show you His. Give Him permission to interrupt your thoughts and agenda and lead you in a different direction if He wants to. Get ready for a day filled with adventure and companionship as you walk hand in hand with your Maker.

Renee's blog to find out how you can discern God's voice and recognize His promptings.
Reflections:Do I read my Bible so that God's words and ways are familiar to me? Do I intentionally listen for God's voice, or do I assume I know what He wants me to do?

Power Verses:
Psalm 119:16, "I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word." (NIV)John 14:31a, "but I will do what the Father requires of me, so that the world will know that I love the Father." (NLT)

1 Samuel 3:10, "The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, "Samuel! Samuel!" Then Samuel said, "Speak, for your servant is listening." (NIV)

© 2011 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries616-G, Matthews-Mint Hill RoadMatthews, NC 28105

Be a blessing and be blessed,
Epiphany Essentials


Excuses are tools of the incompetent

which create monuments of nothingness

those who specialize in them

are seldom good in anything....

Be a blessing and be blessed,

Epiphany Essentials

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Psalm 150

1 Praise the LORD.[a]

Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens.

2 Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness.

3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre,

4 praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe,

5 praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.

6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD.

Be a blessing and be blessed,

Epihany Essentials

Friday, January 14, 2011


This morning as my stylist and I were talking about the messages we have been receiving during church service and our own personal growth/development. She quoted something to me,

"Discipline NOT Desire Determines Destiny"

Unfortunately I do not remember the originator of the quote. Now you may ask me how does that tie into Faith?

James 2:18 "But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do"

James 2:22 "You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did."

Faith and works go hand in hand, James 2:17 "In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."

I was able to accept that quote and let it marinate in my spirit as it lines up with the Word of God. If you have been following the blog this week it is focused on the importance of the Word that we speak. We also must be mindful of the words that others speak to us and determine if we will allow them to enter into our spirit (heart). We must learn how to rebuke those things that are contrary to and do not line up with the Word of God.

Lets look at one of the famous stories in the bible briefly, David and Goliath:

Goliath said to David 1 Samuel 17:43-44 "43 He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals!”

David's reply 1 Samuel 17:45-47 "45 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the LORD will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” (Now that took courage and faith, thank goodness God didn't give us a spirit of fear! (2 Timothy 1:7)

David didn't argue with Goliath he simply told him what the Lord God Almighty was going to do through him and to Goliath and his entire army.

When people speak things to you contrary to the Word, speak the Word back and the Word only.

The discipline that must be perfected in order to fulfill our destiny is to speak the Word only, have faith and do not doubt!

Therefore I encourage you to "Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses." 1 Timothy 6:12

Be a blessing and be blessed,
Epiphany Essentials

Thursday, January 13, 2011

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In the new year you made a declaration to be more positive and watch what you say. You are speaking the Word and the Word only over your life and others and you feel like nothing has happened.

The first question you must now ask yourself is do you believe and are you staying in faith? There are things in life that we do just because but we do not believe it will work or be beneficial.

If you do not believe how do you expect what you say to come to pass?

Mark 11: 22-23 22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

Now this passage mentions a few things you must have Faith, you must Speak/Say, you must BELIEVE and not DOUBT, and you must FORGIVE.

Faith - is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).

Speak - Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. (KJV) You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. (NIV) (James 4:2)

Believe - Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." (John 20:29)

Doubt - But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. (James 1:6)

Forgive - 15 "But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:15)

So I leave you with this, If God promised it, believe it, speak it and know without a shadow of a doubt that He's going to do it!

Be a blessing and be blessed,
Epiphany Essentials

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Who Does God Say That You Are?

The Word is God, Jesus came to earth as the Word clothed in human form. Before the foundations of the earth was laid Jesus (the Word) was with God and was God! (John 1:1-2). The great thing about the Word of God is that it is powerful, when it goes forth it doesn't return empty it accomplishes just what it says! (Isaiah 55:11). God is not like man, he cannot lie (Titus 1:2).


Romans 3:4 tells us to let God be true and let man be a lie!

So Who Does God Say that You Are?

I am the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

I am an heir of God and co-heirs with Christ. (Romans 8:17)

I am more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37)

I am victorious (1 Corinthians 15:57)

All things work together for my good. (Romans 8:28)

I am confident that God will perfect the work He has begun in me (Philippians 1:6)

I am a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20)

I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7)

I am blessed in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3)

I am chosen before the creation of the world (Ephesians 1:4, 11)

I am given God's glorious grace lavishly and without restriction (Ephesians 1:5,8)

I have purpose (Ephesians 1:9 & 3:11)

I have peace (Ephesians 2:14)

God's power works through me (Ephesians 3:7)

I possess the mind of Christ (I Corinthians 2:16)

I am blessed in the city and in the field when I come and when I go (Deutoronomy 28: 1-12)

I can do all things through Christ! (Philipians 4:13)

I am in good health by his stripes. (Isaiah 53:5)

I am prosperous in everything. (Psalm 1:3)

Looking for your life to change? Start with your tongue and what you say. For your tongue sets the entire cours of your life. (James 3: 3-6) If you don't like where your life is watch your mouth! This includes what you say about others for the greatest commandment of all is to do unto others as you would have them to do unto you. I am sure you don't want anyone speaking death into your life.

Be a blessing and be blessed,
Epiphany Essentials

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I am being abundantly blessed by the Word of God and I want to be a blessing. If anything that I ever write just helps 1 person, I am happy and satisfied with that.

There are sayings we have heard over and over again and we repeat them without fully understanding them. As we grow, mature and develop we can hear something we have heard hundreds/thousands of times yet the impact is different.

I am sure most have heard and said....
Proverbs 18:21 "The Power of Life and Death are in the tongue."
I am sure must have also heard and said these as well....
I am dying to go
My feet/back are/is killing me
You/he/she/it makes me sick

James 3:10 says "Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be."

I have personally decided to be mindful of the words that I speak for I want my words to have power and I want to be able to decree a thing and it be. For when God said let there be light, there was light (instantly as soon as he said it!).

Jesus tells us in Matthew 21:21 "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done."

(Now yes there must be some faith behind the words that you speak and I will go into that soon but not today.)

We cannot have it both ways. We cannot speak life and death with the same tongue and expect one and not the other to happen. If we want our words to have Power, that means when we say you make me sick ( we woud become sick) however, that is not what we want. Yet at times that is what happens for Words are POWERFUL! After all the heavens and the earth were created with words. So your life has been shaped by your words and the words of others that you have allowed to enter your spirit/heart and then spoke with your own mouth as well.

"The enemy creates situations to get our tongues to speak that which is not of God. The devil wants your words, DON'T SPEAK EVERYTHING YOU SEE." (Pastor Bill Winston) For we are instructed to call those things that are not as though they were!

If you read about the Shunammite woman yesterday she is a great example. As a refresher, she sowed a prophets quarters and reaped a son. However, one day her son was out with his father and started complaining that his head hurt the father took him home to his mother he laid in her lap and the scripture said that he died. The Shunammite woman took her son, laid him on Elisha's bed and then went to see Elisha. On the way there she was stopped and someone asked her how was her son and husband, she replied


now that was a prime opportunity to "tell it like it is" Well, my son was out with his father, his head started to hurt and he died in my lap (now that is truly what happened) however, again I REPEAT DON'T SPEAK EVERYTHING THAT YOU SEE! For we walk by faith and not by sight!

No, this wise woman simply replied all is well. And what she said came to pass. Elisha went to her house and revived her son back to life and all was well.

So the next time you feel that you are telling it like it is, just joking, maybe even signifying think about what kind of Power you want your words to have in your life and in the lives of others and ask yourself,

Does the devil have my tongue?

and also understand that we will be held accountable for our words,

Matthew 12:36 "But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken."


Isaiah 55:11 "so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."

This is a process that will take time and effort to alter but it is definitely necessary if we want to experience the fullness of God in our lives.

We are all works in progress! Be encouraged and of good cheer. Speak the Word of God and speak the Word of God only and let God do the Work!

Be a blessing and be blessed,
Epiphany Essentials

Monday, January 10, 2011

You Don't Always Reap What You Sow!

You Don't Always Reap What You Sow...
but you always reap when you sow! I was blessed on yesterday by Pastor Bill Winston as he spoke on the law of reaping and sowing. He declared that when we sow, that is our seed, and we can name our seed e.g. you can sow a seed for your new house, new car, or whatever it is your heart desires. The message was on "The God Factor" and how we alone don't/can't accomplish what it is we want desire in this life. We must not forget about God. Allow God to put some super on our natural. Miracles are still happening every day it is just a matter of belief.

You may be saying yes you do reap what you sow. Well you do reap yet you don't always reap in the manner in which you sowed.

The Shumanite woman was gracious enough to feed Elisha whenever he came to her town. She then told her husband that they should prepare quarters for Elisha in their home where he could stay whenever he came to visit.

She sowed a prophets quarters.
Elisha in turn wanted to bless her, his first offer she declined and then he spoke with someone to determine what it was he could do for the Shumanite woman. He spoke unto her that at the same time next year she would have a son.
She reaped a child for sowing a prophets quarters.
See 2 Kings 4:8-17
While she sowed without an expectation of reaping she reaped anyway because it is a law that works on its own.
So whether you are sowing/giving/doing out of the goodness of your heart with no expecatation or sowing a seed for a specific need.
Galatians 6:7-10 "7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."
One of my favorite Bill Winston quotes,
God is not moved by your need he is moved by your seed. If you have a need get to sowing!
Be a blessing and be blessed,
Epiphany Essentials

Thursday, January 6, 2011

CPS - New Schools Expo

New Schools Expo
Your Child, Your Choice
  • Attend workshops
  • Meet school leaders
  • Don't miss any deadlines!
  • Be a part of a Town Hall forum, moderated by Fox Chicago's Robin Robinson
  • Enjoy a free screening of The Lottery a film about New York City's battle of high quality schools

When: Saturday, January 29th 9:00A - 3:00P

Where: Soldier Field (Indoors) 1410 S. Museum Campus Drive, Gate 6


Be a blessing and be blessed,

Epiphany Essentials

Monday, January 3, 2011


We are 3 days into the New Year already, if you made any resolutions or thought about necessary changes I hope that you have started already to a greater new you.

This year can be the best year of your life thus far, declare it, walk in faith, believe and you shall receive.

I received a mighty word on yesterday that has me filled to the brim with expectantcy and I want to share.....


Mark 9:23 'If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes." There are things God has yet to do in our lives because we don't believe it is possible.

Matthew 9:29 29 Then he (Jesus) touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you."

Matthew 19:26 "Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

So yes there are things that man cannot do, however when you have the Spirit in you, you can do all things through God working in you. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. We just must remember it is not us that does any great works but the God in us.

John 14:10 Jesus said "Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work."

So take you out of the way and remember that with God all things are possible so whatever you have set out to do or accomplish this year and your part, believe and have faith, and let God do the rest. Let me refresh though faith without works is dead so again DO your part and let God do the rest!

Be a blessing and be blessed,
Epiphany Essentials