A Father’s Love

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Let’s talk about fathers and what they bring to the table. As a little girl in elementary school I was often teased on the school bus. Not being familiar with the word bullied, we called it teasing. Regardless of the word used, I was being treated in a way that made me feel uncomfortable. I recognized if I told my father the situation would be taken care of. Anytime something wasn’t right, I could count on my dad to handle it. I never discerned or cared how he handled the situation. The mere act of telling him my woes made me feel better.

The same kind of relationship with the Heavenly Father is available to those who are born again. He doesn’t have to tell us how He will handle our request; just telling Him will make us feel better. Our faith in God allows us to leave our troubles with Him. We have the confidence that He hears us and will answer. We don’t have to worry about the details because we trust that our Heavenly Father’s love for us will move Him to act on our behalf.

I didn’t identify it as a little girl, but I was demonstrating faith in my natural father. I had confidence that he would handle any situation and I didn’t focus on the solution. I had done my part by telling dad. Once my concerns were expressed, I could rest in his love for me, confident that he would act in my best interest.

After I was married, I prayed asking God for girls and that they would have a strong relationship with their dad. I wanted our daughters to have the same daddy-daughter experience I had enjoyed growing up. God answered my prayer far beyond anything I could have predicted. One of the great joys in my husband’s life was being a dad. He treated our daughters like royalty and they enjoyed many great moments with him. My challenge was teaching them responsibility because their dad desired to do everything for them. We often discussed my wish to prepare them for adulthood while he wanted them to always be his little girls.

Not being a dad, I couldn’t understand the logic behind his thinking. But being a daughter I understood that even as an adult, daughters always feel like daddy’s little girls. We always want to bring our cares and concerns to our dads. The impact of a good father in the life of his children is invaluable. My husband, our daughter’s father left us on June 20, 2018 but the love he poured into them will never diminish. How do I know this? My father has been absent from this earth for nearly 30 years and I’m still living out the many things I learned from him.

It doesn’t matter how old we are, we can always bring our cares and concerns to our Heavenly Father. If you didn’t have a good earthly father, God your Father is there for you. Maybe like me and my daughters your earthly fathers are no longer alive, but Father God promise never to leave us. We can rest in His love knowing He will cover and protect us always.

Would you please share a memory of your father?

Evelyn Johnson-Taylor Ph.D.

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Remembering my dad and husband this Father’s Day. 

Bishop Martin Luther Johnson 12/04/1908 – 09/10/1990   

Pastor Scott Barry Taylor 09/23/1959-06/20/2018

Mother’s Day

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During my years of elementary school, our class would go on at least one field trip in the spring of each year. Traditionally on these trips there would be time to shop for souvenirs. In appreciation for our parents’ contribution we would bring back a gift for our mom or dad. This was our way of recognizing that their generosity made it possible for us to go on these trips. The field trips were not free even though we were in a public school there was a cost to ride the bus to the designated location and perhaps an entry fee to whatever site we were going to.  And spending money made the trip more fun. On one particular field trip, I don’t remember where, or what grade I was in but I do remember the gift I brought back for my mother. It was a poem that she proudly displayed in her bedroom. I am not sure who the author is of this poem. My research reveals author unknown. If you know who the author is, please let me know so I can include the name in this blog post.

To One Who Bears The Sweetest Name, And Add Luster To The Same, Long Life To Her, For There’s No Other Who Takes The Place Of My Dear Mother. Author Unknown

When my mother went to heaven ten years ago, imagine how pleased I was to be the recipient of that same plaque still proudly displayed in her bedroom. The gift I gave my mother over 50 years ago I now humbly display in my bedroom.

On this Mother’s Day, let’s honor the women who have graced our lives in such an unforgettable way. There is no one who can take the place of a good mother.  I am thankful that God blessed me to have a good mother who always put her children’s needs before her own.

I would say two of my mother’s greatest qualities were her patience and her attitude of gratitude. She was so appreciative of anything that anyone did for her. Never responding in conceit or “you owe me” mentality, but simply grateful. It didn’t matter the size, from the smallest gesture to the largest gift. Always, “thank you, I realize you didn’t have to.” Even as I write this today, it suddenly became clear to me, why it was so important to us as children to bring something back from each field trip for our parents. All the time, my mother was teaching us by example, “thank you I realize you didn’t have to.” we were only demonstrating what had been modeled. A good mother is truly a gift from God. What would you say was one of your mother’s greatest qualities?

 

 

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Made in 1959

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A few weeks ago, I celebrated my 60th birthday. When I was much younger 60 seems so far away. It appeared to be a huge number as it related to age, but now that I’ve stepped into it, 60 don’t seem large at all. In fact, I would say 60 is still quiet young. Things are seldom what they appear to be when observed from a distance.

Could it be that the obstacles we see in life appear to be larger than they really are? Many of the adversities we encounter in life have one primary goal. That goal is to cause us to take our eyes off the prize. We are already victorious. 1 Corinthians 15:57 KJV “thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” If the enemy can entice us to concentrate on the problem, we set ourselves up for defeat. We lose many battles when we walk in fear. God has not given His children the spirit of fear. 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

As my birthday drew near, instead of looking at it as “I’m getting old” I started focusing on the advantages of being sixty. I am entering a season of life where I can focus less on the small things and more on the end goal. My thoughts were, how can I make this next chapter better? How can I move forward in my Kingdom Assignment? I began to thank God for allowing me to see another birthday. It would be the first one I would celebrate without my husband who passed away nine months ago. The reality of knowing that he didn’t live to see his 60th birthday inspired gratitude in my heart because not everyone is blessed to reach this age.

In this new season, not only has my decade number changed, but life as I knew it has changed.  Although I still feel married, my new reality is, I am a widow. But, I am appreciative to God for blessing me with a good husband.  I elect to focus on what I have and not on what is missing. I have 28 years of memories, some good and some not so good but none of not being loved, encouraged, and affirmed daily by the man who chose me to be his wife. I choose to highlight the relationships in my life.  A loving family and close friends. I’m grateful for kind neighbors, and my sisters and brothers in Christ. I realize that I am a blessed woman.

Life presents an assortment of change and challenge but as we focus on the good things in our lives, the challenges seem smaller. While I know firsthand the difficulty of losing a love one.  I am committed to place the greater amount of attention on his life and the impact he made in mines and so many others, and less focus on his death. In the short time we have on earth, I admonish you, don’t look at the obstacle, but zoom in on the opportunity.

I take to heart the words of Job 8:7 NIV “Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be.” The thought of facing life without my husband seems unimaginable but with each new day, God provides strength and comfort for what’s ahead. I am trusting the all-knowing God that His plan for my life has not changed. So I adjust my attitude and get excited for what God has called me to do. I am aware that my assignment is waiting for me. I was created in 1959 for a purpose and when I focus on that, 60 is not a big number at all.

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Moving Forward III

God, Spirit, Spiritual, Being, Here, Now, Present

As we continue moving forward our next action step is to seek to be in the presence of God daily. When I speak of being in His presence, I am referring to being able to sense His presence, especially during our quiet time. God is omnipresent, meaning He is not restricted by time or space. He cannot be contained. God is present everywhere at all times. God in His whole being is present at every point of our universe.

In Psalm 139: 7-12 David affirms that there is no place he can go where the spirit of God is not present.  Whether David was trying to flee from the presence of God, or simply marveling at the greatness of God’s mercy, we can be assured that there is no place we can go that would separate us from God’s watchful eye and the protection of His hand.

Acts l7.28a reads For in him we live and move and have our being. God has placed within us a desire to worship and seek His presence. He is never far from us and we can depend on Him. For those who belong to Him, we seek to sense His presence continually. We accomplish this by spending time in prayer and study daily. We linger after our time of devotion, waiting to hear what He has to say to us.  We communicate with God throughout our day and most of all we seek to obey His will.

Psalm 16:11 You make known to me the path of life you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. There are great benefits to being in His presence.  In His presence our joy is complete.

*Things to bring to your time with God: Bible, Bible commentary, notebook, pen, highlighters, worship music, and other devotional books.

*Things to not bring: cell phone, to do list, lap top and other distractions.

Pray before you start your quiet time with God; ask Him to help you to focus as you seek to enter into His presence. Perhaps like me, life gets busy and you neglect to spend quality time with God each day. Start leaving something else off so that you can spend necessary time with God.  The benefits of being in His presence are immeasurable.

What other things do you bring into your private quiet time with God?

Evelyn Johnson-Taylor Ph.D.

Moving Forward Part II

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As we embark on this journey of rediscovery let’s look at our first action step.

  1. Remember to use this time to reflect on the promises of God for your life and to evaluate where you currently are.

Many times we become anxious when life doesn’t seem to line up the way we think it should.  Reflecting on the promises of God will calm our minds and give us peace. In the Scripture when we see the word promise, it refers to a legally binding declaration that gives the person to whom it is made a right to expect or to claim it. According to Scripture, we know that God cannot lie. This gives the believer the assurance that whatever God has said concerning you and me has to come to past. God is not a man, that He should lie, Not a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? Numbers 23:19. Just reading this Scripture gives me a double boost. I receive a huge injection of confidence just knowing that I serve the One who makes good on His promises.

In Numbers 23:19, unlike the other gods, who were often portrayed  as imaginative and easily influenced through witchcraft, Our God was and remains unshakeable. Balak commissioned Balaam to curse Israel in order to deliver the Moabites from possible enslavement and persecution. God’s hand was upon Israel and she would not be cursed.  Notice the words would not this means it is absolutely impossible, no way, and nothing you or anyone else can do to change it. God’s promises are sealed.

Your present situation may look differently from what you desire it to look like. But as you focus on what God has promised, you will notice your mindset shifting toward thanksgiving. Regardless of the place you are mentally, physically, emotionally, or financially remember what God has said concerning you no man can change it. The psychic Balaam became the mouth of God.  There was nothing Balaam could do to bring harm to God’s people. There is nothing the enemy can do to stop what God has planned for you as long as you remain obedient to the Word of God.

What do you do while you are waiting for the manifestation of the promises? You pray, wait, and continue to work. There is much work to be done in the Kingdom. I am confident that God has much more for me in my writing and speaking. There are doors that will be opened to me in the future and it’s important that I do not rush and push what God has not opened. It is also vital that I do not lose heart in the process. My faith is in God and what His Word says concerning me, so I don’t allow the circumstances of life to sway me. There will be times when we need to catch our breath but we must never give up.

Evaluation is good and necessary but remember God has the final word. So while I evaluate my life to see what I can do differently and in some cases better, I do not lose sight on the One who holds my life in His hands.  The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever, Do not forsake the work of your hands. Psalm 138:8 (ESV) The psalmist tells us that God will complete His purpose as it relates to each of us. Be assured that you will never get to a place where God will leave you to go it on your own. He will finish what He started in you.

 

Evelyn Johnson-Taylor PhD

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Moving Forward

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“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”  (Philippians 1:6)

 My prayer focus for 2019 will be in the areas of rebuilding and restoring. 2018 was a year of untold challenges for me. My fifty-eight year old husband went home to be with the Lord on June 20, 2018. When I say “I lost my husband last year,” some will respond by saying “he’s not lost you know where he is.” While that is true — he is not misplaced or nowhere to be found — the loss that I am speaking of is the effects of his death and the lack of his presence that accompanies it. The best way to verbalize this is by using the word loss.  There is a void and I miss the contributions he added to my life daily.

In this new season of my life, I am confident that my purpose remains intact because I know God has a plan for my life. I know I have a Kingdom Assignment, and I know what it is.  There are times in life when we need a moment to refocus. Perhaps you have experienced a death last year.  Not necessarily of a loved one, but death of a dream. Maybe you are feeling confusion regarding your purpose or simply experiencing a void in an area of your life.

Don’t be discouraged by where you currently sit in life. Let us go on this journey of rediscovery together. I am confident that after we have spent quality time with God, we  will reach a new destination stronger, more powerful and with more confidence than before.

There are a few action steps I would like to share with you during our journey of what appears to be silence, but God is at work.

  1.  Remember to use this time to reflect on the promises of God for your life and to   evaluate where you currently are.
  2.  Seek to be in the presence of God daily.
  3.  Position yourself in a space that is easy to hear the voice of God clearly.
  4.  Meditate on this truth: He who has begun a good work in you is able to complete it.

“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6) Apostle Paul uses the word confident, meaning he is convinced. There must have been some previous occurrences for Paul to already be persuaded of God’s faithfulness. This message to the Philippians was a proclamation that he remains persuaded that God was going to do a good work among them. Not just one of them, but among all who believed on the name of the Lord. The word until notes progress toward a goal and shows that a time is coming when God will absolutely finish His work not only among the Philippian believers but among our generation of believers as well. I am praying for your strength for the journey and restoration for the next phase of purpose.

What has God started in you that you are waiting for Him to complete?

Evelyn Johnson-Taylor Ph.D.

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