Author Archive for: Candimmarsh

About Candi Marsh

  • Happy Independence Day! For many in America the 4th of July is a much-appreciated day off from work to celebrate the Independence and birth of the United States as an independent state. The Fourth of July for me has always been a time filled with good company, good food, and a good time.  As we enjoy […]

    Happy Independence Day! 

    Happy Independence Day!
    For many in America the 4th of July is a much-appreciated day off from work to celebrate the Independence and birth of the United States as an independent state. The Fourth of July for me has always been a time filled with good company, good food, and a good time. 
    As we enjoy the barbecue and the beautiful fireworks, it’s hard not to ponder on the awe and wonder of freedom. What exactly does it mean to be independent?  Independence is having the autonomy or liberty to take care of your own needs and to assume responsibility for your decisions while considering both the people around you and your environment. 
    Let me describe it to you this way.  Do you remember when you got your first apartment or car? The sheer joy you had when you knew that you would be calling all the shots because you paid the rent or the car note. Nowadays we call it adulting. Independent means not being dependent on another person to take care of your responsibilities.   
    The fourth is a great time to rejoice in our natural and physical freedom, but what about our spiritual freedom? It can be hard to be truly free when our spirit is being held hostage by our bad habits and sins.  
    Think about it, have you ever found yourself asking these questions?
    -Why am I struggling to reach my full potential?
    -Why am I not able to accomplish the goals I set for myself?
    -Why am I still making the same mistakes, repeatedly?
    The reason you are not able to live up to your full potential may point to a heart issue.  If your heart is not right, nothing will ever be right! “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” -Galatians 5:1
    Slavery is a condition in which individuals are owned by another, who control where they live and work. Our bad habits have a tendency to enslave us and control our lives, dictating how far we will get in life. We are only as good as our worst bad habit. If you do not break free from your bad habits eventually you will find yourself feeling like, you are chained down, unable to move, just stuck! 
    It’s horrible knowing that you have all these wonderful gifts, but they are being held hostage by our bad habits. You do not have to remain stuck as mentioned in Galatians 5:1. Of course, this is often much easier said than done.
    Nonetheless what this verse tells me, is that we are in control of our independence; We have the power to make the decision to remain free. Christ already made you free, now you just need to stay free!  
    How do you stay free? 
    You will need to remove pride, and remain in a position of humility.  Humility is a posture you must have in your heart to keep your independence:
    -Instead of holding grudges against someone choose to show love.  Choosing to love means to not to treat a person any different based off the actions they have done to you.  You still make the choice to love them in spite of their actions. 
    -Instead of telling someone off seek to understand the other’s persons perspective.  When you seek to understand, you put yourself in a place of the bigger person, you are seeking to keep peace for the betterment of the relationship. When you understand each other you both can grow and learn from the miscommunication that may have occurred. 
    -Instead of secretly having joy in your heart, about someone else’s misfortune, demonstrate and show empathy.  You can do this by praying for that person. I am sure you know what it feels like to make a mistake, it is not the best feeling.  Knowing that someone was praying for you, I am sure was reassuring, what not extend the same love.
    Christ death on the cross resembles those fireworks that fill the night sky every fourth of July.  It was Christ blood that came cascading down the cross to not only set you free from your bad habits, but from
    The past
    Your mistakes
    Your addictions
    Your negative mindset
    Your hurt and pain
    Your fear, guilt and shame
    and your bad habits
     
    It was for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then and you do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1.   
    Happy Independence Day!
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  • God has promised us that He will do exceedingly, abundantly, and above all that we could ask or think(Ephesians 3:20). However, if your heart is not postured in the right position, you become the very person responsible for blocking your blessings.    You may be wondering how could you be blocking your blessings. Well, we […]

    Are You Blocking Your Blessings?

    God has promised us that He will do exceedingly, abundantly, and above all that we could ask or think(Ephesians 3:20). However, if your heart is not postured in the right position, you become the very person responsible for blocking your blessings.   
    You may be wondering how could you be blocking your blessings. Well, we can do this through pride and ungratefulness. The moment we forget to thank the person who provided us with the blessing, we put our heart in a posture that will block God’s ability to bless us.  When our heart is blocked, pride sets in and there comes this sense of entitlement that blessings are owed to us.
    Greed is yet another thing that can block your blessings. Greed is the inability to be satisfied. We can become ‘blessing gluttons’ who are always busy consuming more and more that we never take the time to stop and take in all that God has already given us.
    Not that we can ever deserve a blessing from God, but in order for us to be qualified for another blessing, we must resist the urge to be greedy, especially for the things this world will tempt us with; that is, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, (1 John 2:16).

     

    The Lust of the Flesh

    The lust of the flesh is the temptation to do something sinful that will bring physical pleasure to your flesh.
    For example, God blesses you with a relationship. You make the decision to have sex without being married. Sex outside the confines of marriage is a sin, and this may block God’s access to bless you with the deliverance, and peace you’ve been wanting.  
    God blesses you with a healthy friendship. You engage in gossip with others about those same friends. Speaking bad about others, will block God’s access to bless you.
    Outside of sex and gossiping, the lust of the eyes can manifest as use of illicit drugs, excessive drinking, violence, domestic abuse, and much more.

     

    Lust of the Eyes

    The lust of the eyes is coveting something that does not belong to you such as another’s car, house, appearance, or lifestyle. “Thou shall not covet” is one of the ten commandments.  When we desire or want what others have, this again means we are not satisfied with what God has already given us. We fall into the trap of thinking we need more, but the truth is you will never be satisfied if you have the lust of the eyes. Even if you do end up getting the very thing that you covet, you will still want something else.  

     

    The Pride of Life

    The pride of life involves the desires to get glory for something God did.   We must remember who is the one passing out the blessings. This goes back to having a heart of gratitude.  The moment we try to take the credit for something God did, we have blocked our future blessings.
    It also involves the desire to have a position of power over others in a way that puffs up our ego for the sake of bragging rights. There are some people who are moved by titles; they believe that those titles defines them as a person. Pride in titles such as doctor, lawyer, director, or even wife, can put us in a place of blocking our blessings. We can be thankful for the skills, and gifts that God has blessed us with but still remain humble.
    The desire to feel valued or more important than others around you is also a manifestation of the pride of life. This goes hand and hand with being in a power position, but takes it a step further saying that you need to receive special treatment because of the title you carry.  If you have this attitude or a sense of entitlement because of your title, this can block your blessings.
    In conclusion, being ungrateful and prideful can always block your blessings. God blesses to give us an opportunity to give Him thanks.  When we have a heart of gratitude and appreciation for all the things God has done, our hearts remain open and ready to receive the next blessing. God can bless us with many things, but the biggest blessing He gives is a changed heart.  Now it is your responsibility to keep your heart open to receive. Don’t block your blessing.
     
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  • Hear The Voice Of God God is ALWAYS speaking! I know- shocker, right? I can’t be the only one who finds it frustrating when you’re waiting to hear the voice of God, but it seems like He is not answering. Then when you finally hear something the challenge becomes how to know if it is […]

    God Is That You? Learning to Hear The Voice Of God

    Hear The Voice Of God

    God is ALWAYS speaking! I know- shocker, right? I can’t be the only one who finds it frustrating when you’re waiting to hear the voice of God, but it seems like He is not answering. Then when you finally hear something the challenge becomes how to know if it is God’s voice.
    It would be nice if God had a huge mega-phone to speak to us down from heaven.  It would make life so much easier and the answer to our prayers would be clear and direct. We would know whether to take the job offer or not, pursue the relationship or not, or start the business or not without having to second-guess if is it’s God voice, or us wanting it to be God.
    Unfortunately, God does not use a megaphone, but indeed he is always speaking and giving us the guidance and direction we need to move forward according to His will.  There are different ways we can hear the voice of God, we just have to be in a position to hear.
    Our ability to hear from God starts with our relationship with Him. The core values of any relationship are but not limited to; love, trust and intimacy.  I love you is not only something we say with words, but with action. Therefore, if we love God, then everything we do and every decision we make will align with our core value of loving God.  Just like with any other relationship, the way we get to know someone that we love, is by spending time with that person and finding out what they like and do not like. The same is true with your relationship with God. Get to know His word, his character, and his likes and dislikes. Figure out ways to make Him happy.  Spending time with the Lord will not only show that you love Him, but it will also help you learn to distinguish his voice.
    Then there is trust.  
    Trust is a firm belief in the reliability, ability or strength of someone or something. Trust deals with the matters of the heart and our ability to be transparent and vulnerable with others. The more, and more we are transparent and vulnerable with God regarding the matters of our hearts and the areas that concern us, the stronger our level of trust with God will begin to build. The Bible, in Proverbs 3:5-6 says: trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and he will direct your path.  When we have a strong sense that God is at the center of our situation, we can trust that His leading will always be for our good, even in things we do not understand.  
    Next is intimacy.
    Intimacy is closeness.  By nature when we are in close proximity with a person, it is easier to hear them.  God wants us to get close to Him. In James 4:8 “Draw closer to God, and he will draw closer to you.” The closer we get to God, the better can hear and recognize His voice.  In John 10:4-5 states, “He goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger, in fact; they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
    Once you are in posture to hear from God, then you will be able to recognize the different ways you can hear from God.  There are different ways to hear from God, through His word, people and circumstances:

     

    Struggling to Develop Intimacy with Christ? Click Here for Practical Ways to Develop Intimacy With Christ.

     


    The Word of God
    One of the best ways you can spend time getting to know God is by building a relationship with Him through His word.  When you know the word, you will begin to understand the character and ways of God. His word is powerful; it can bring things into existence from nothing. (Genesis 1:3) This means that God can truly speak into your situation.  By reading His word, you will always receive truth and direct communication from God. Here are some potential concerns, where God speaks to you through His word:
    Uncertain about which career path to take. Should you quit your job, and start a new career?
    -Psalm 46: 10 states, “Be still and know that I am God.”
    Uncertain about a particular love interest. Should you pursue this new love interest even though he/she is not your type?
    -1 Samuel 16:17- But the Lord said, unto Samuel, look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him; for the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

     

    People
    When it comes to the matters of our hearts and the various challenging circumstances we face (job loss, health complications, a new love interest, starting your own business), making the right decision can come with alot of pressure.  You wonder endlessly about what to do and you’ve sought God, yet you are still unclear as to which direction you should go. It is always best to seek God in prayer but after you have prayed and sought God, there are times when He will use people to deliver the message to you.  These people can be your spiritual leaders (pastor or mentor), a family member, a close friend, or even a stranger. For instance, your pastor may preach a message on stepping out on faith and you think it’s a coincidence, yet it’s the very answer you needed to make the choice to start your new business, or give your love interest a chance.   
    However, whether it is your pastor,  a family member, or a close friend it important for you to continue to draw close to God in order to discern that this is indeed his voice.

     

    Unexpected Circumstances
    God can also speak through circumstances. When unexpected circumstances happen such as: the loss of a job or a loved one, depression, a car accident, a breakup/divorce, or miscarriage, it is important that you remain alert and stay focused.
    Any unexpected life events, can cause anger, depression, or even fear.  However, you must be cautious of our feelings, not allowing our emotions to deafen us to what God may be trying to say. It may be hard to see in the moment, but the closer you get to God, the better position you are to hear what God wants you to know through those rainy seasons. No one really likes for ‘bad things’ to happen to them, but the Bible says, in Romans 8:28, that “all things are working together for the good, to those you are called according to His purpose.” Therefore, it is in these unexpected circumstances, that we have the ability to lean on God and trust Him. As we continue to draw closer to God, we put ourselves in a position to hear Him say,
    You, loss your job, but God says, “trust me, I am your source.” Philippians 4:19
    You, loss a loss a loved one, but God says, “I will always be right there, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
    You, recently divorced or had a miscarriage, but God says, “I will heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
    In conclusion, God speaks to us in different ways.  However, to hear the voice of God, you must posture your heart in the right position. When you draw close to God out of your relationship of wanting to hear from God, through love, trust and intimacy, you will able to hear His still, small voice loud and clear.  

    Hear The Voice Of God

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  • As you are scrolling through your Instagram feed you notice yet again, a well-known public figure. As far as your eyes can see, it appears this person is living a fabulous, pristine life.  Each post screams, they are living their best life, and their two thousand subscribers also agree.  You can’t help but to read […]

    Social Media Induced Low-Self-Esteem?

    As you are scrolling through your Instagram feed you notice yet again, a well-known public figure. As far as your eyes can see, it appears this person is living a fabulous, pristine life.  Each post screams, they are living their best life, and their two thousand subscribers also agree.  You can’t help but to read the comments such as #makeuponfleek, #couplegoals, #bodygoals, #travelgoals. This just confirms your preconceived perception-  This person is perfect!

    Then all of a sudden, negative thoughts start to flood your mind:

    “I am so broke, I will never get to go to those types places.”

    “I am not pretty enough, I will never have a boyfriend that cute.”

    “I am so fat, my body will never look like that.”

    Social media platforms have a tendency to impact our self-esteem.  If we are not too careful, we could easily find ourselves self-loathing, as we compare our self-worth to someone’s IG post. Each social media platform has a different purpose but the common thread with each platform is that they all have the capability for us to share our life with others.  Knowing that our lives will be judged and scrutinized, we aren’t quick to show their lowlight reel; only the good. It is this picture-perfect image that we fall victim to; putting ourselves at-risk of having social media induced low self esteem.”

    Why are we not satisfied with ourselves?

    Why do we compare ourselves to others on social media?

    What will it take for us to accept ourselves and not find our self-worth in others?  

    In this article I hope to address these questions, and help you gain a better appreciation for yourself and build your self-esteem on the Lord, not on  likes.

    WHY ARE WE NOT SATISFIED WITH OURSELVES? 

    In this social media crazed society, dissatisfaction with who you are, stems from feelings of discontentment.  Discontentment has a way of making you feel less than or not good enough. When you buy into that lie, you subconsciously fall in the trap of self-doubt.

    No matter what material items a person has, what exotic trips they’ve taken, or what they look like, your self-worth should not be measured by someone else IG.  Your contentment in who you are should come from Christ alone. The only opinion that matters is the Lord’s. His love is better than any likes on any given day.

    I would encourage you to recite these scriptures  if at anytime you start to doubt your self-worth:

    “For you are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” -Ephesians 2:10

    “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” -Psalms 139:14

    “You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.” –Songs of Solomon 4:7

    If you ever find yourself feeling discontent or not good enough after looking at someone else’s IG post, along with the biblical scriptures listed, here are some practical tools for you to implement as well.

    1. Memorize one of those scriptures listed above.
    2. Take a break from social media. I recommended taking a break once a month just to focus on yourself.
    3. Spend time with the Lord. Take at least 15-30 minutes of time each day to the Lord, and ask God to fill your heart and mind with His love.
    4. Write down 10 things that you like about yourself that is not physical (i.e. good personality, giving person). Get some index cards and post them in areas around your home as reminders to yourself.
    5. Journal. Take some  time to self-reflect and exam yourself from an internal perspective
    6. Get a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle. On side of the paper write down the areas in your life in which you are discontent (weight, finances, singleness). On the other side of the paper, identify what you can do to change that specific area.  (i.e. I am not pleased with my weight, I can start eating healthier)
    WHY DO WE COMPARE OURSELVES TO OTHERS?

    Comparison is the thief of joy.  When you start to compare yourself to another person IG post, or how many likes or subscribers they have compared to yours, you allow that to rob your joy.  The reason why we compare is because we tend to look for a standard to measure or define success. This many social media likes + this many trip + these many subscribers = success, right? Wrong!  Success is not a formula, and it most certainly is not contingent on how many likes and subscribers you have. You cannot be content and have real joy when you are trying to reach an unattainable standard of success based off of comparing your life to others.  There is always going to be someone smarter, taller, or prettier than you. True contentment comes from loving who you are from the inside out. Again, I highly encourage you to use the six practical tools above to help you do the internal work needed to find your self-esteem in Christ and not in social media.

    WHAT WILL IT TAKE FOR US TO ACCEPT OURSELVES AND NOT FIND OUT SELF-WORTH IN OTHERS?

    The answer to that is simple: it will take us taking God’s word as truth.  Like really believing it. It’s easy to quote a scripture and have that be the end of it.  We have to take it even deeper than that by actually hiding God’s word in your heart. Meditate on it, memorize it, and recite while you pray.  You may start off by referring to those scriptures listed above but you may also venture to find other scriptures. Once you truly understand how much God loves and accepts you, you will slowly start to see that you can start to accept yourself no matter where you fall in the social media hierarchy of popularity and importance.

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