Author Archive for: Candimmarsh

About Candi Marsh

  • Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines the word “faithful” as steadfast in affection or allegiance.  A few synonyms to faithful are: Dependable Reliable Loyal Faithfulness is a necessary quality to have in any relationship (employee/employer, friendship, romantic, etc.). In the context of marriage, being faithful is critical for the sustainability of that marriage.  When a person is […]

    Remaining Faithful Through Despair

    Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines the word “faithful” as steadfast in affection or allegiance.  A few synonyms to faithful are:

    • Dependable
    • Reliable
    • Loyal

    Faithfulness is a necessary quality to have in any relationship (employee/employer, friendship, romantic, etc.). In the context of marriage, being faithful is critical for the sustainability of that marriage.  When a person is unfaithful, that dismantles trust. Without trust, there can be no true intimacy.

    The same is true for us as it relates to our relationship with God.  To fortify our relationship with God and have true intimacy with Him, we must remain faithful and not leave Him. Being faithful to God starts in our hearts. The way we remain in Him is by being dependent on His Word, reliant on His truth, and loyal to Him in our faith.

    In scripture Psalms 12, David starts the verse praying to God about the disappearance of the faithful.  He states, “Help, Lord, for no faithful one remains; the loyal have disappeared from the human race.”

    David felt alone, how we can feel sometimes while on our Christian journey, wondering are there any “real Christians” left. However, before we go searching for other “real” Christians, let’s first look at ourselves, at our own hearts, to test our faithfulness towards God. We can think we are all good, but we must filter every action, situation, or experience with God’s truth.   

    Here are some practical scenarios that can tempt someone to give up on God:

    • An unexpected death (parent, child or loved one) resulting in depression
    • Loss of a job causing worry and stress
    • Ending of a friendship, relationship or marriage that can stir up bitterness, anger,  unforgiveness, and resentment

    If we can be real for a moment, let’s take the scenarios a step further:

    • Engaging with a rude co-worker or boss leading to pride, arrogance, and a mean spirit
    • Being cut off on the freeway resulting in anger, rage, or resentfulness
    • Disagreement with a sibling, friend, or spouse causing pride, anger, bitterness, or forgiveness

    Have you ever experienced any of these scenarios?  What was your response? Did you remain faithful or did you leave God? Remember we have already left God when the motives in our hearts, our attitudes, and emotions are not in allegiance with God truth. This is why it is important to guard our hearts at all times (Proverbs 4:23) and not be lured away by our own lust (James 1:14-15).

    Now by no means am I saying that you should not have any emotion when life happens, but we must always overcome everything with truth. The scripture James 1:2-4 says “Consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature to complete, not lacking in anything.” As children of God, we do not lack anything. God has equipped us with everything we need. We can handle any situation life throws us through the gifting of the Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22).  

    Let us look at those scenarios again and see how we can respond God’s way:

    • An unexpected death (parent, child or loved one) – allow the Spirit of patience to guide you and lean on God’s love during this time of grief and loss.
    • Loss of a job- allow the Spirit of faith to trust God’s provision.
    • Ending of a friendship, relationship or marriage- allow the spirit of love and kindness guide how interactions with this person.
    • Engaging with a rude co-worker or boss – allow kindness, goodness, and love to guide how you will respond with this co-worker
    • Cut off on the freeway-allow the spirit of self-control to guide your words and actions
    • Having a disagreement with a sibling, friend or spouse –allow the spirit of love and wisdom to guide your conversation and resolve the situation.

    This is how we should respond to life’s challenges. Things may not always go our way, but what we do not want to have is a deceitful heart. In the Bible, David continues his prayer about how the unfaithful respond; “Everyone utters lies to his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart, they speak” [Psalms 12:2]. When we respond against the Word of God, the only person we are fooling is ourselves.  Remember, we remain in God when our motives, attitudes, and emotions are in alignment with God’s truth.

    Read More
  • I was eighteen the first time I fasted. I was a sophomore in college and really did not know exactly what it meant to “fast”.  At the time I had just joined a new church and fasting was something they did every year around September. It was a three day fast (no food, no water). […]

    Fasting 101: A Beginner’s Guide

    I was eighteen the first time I fasted. I was a sophomore in college and really did not know exactly what it meant to “fast”.  At the time I had just joined a new church and fasting was something they did every year around September. It was a three day fast (no food, no water).  When it came time to actually do the fast I was really nervous and not even sure it was healthy, but I was determined. Although in it was difficult, I am happy to say that I did it.  Fast forward to today, I am 38, and proud to say that I still fast. Fasting has played a major role in my life and has greatly contributed to my spiritual growth.

    There are many different types of fast as well as various reasons why people fast. My only precaution with any type of fast, is to consult your primary doctor or a healthcare professional to make sure you are not putting yourself in danger.

    The purpose of this article is to discuss what exactly is fasting, how you should approach fasting, as well as the benefits of fasting.

    What is Fasting?

    According to Merriam Webster’s Dictionary, fasting is defined as abstaining from all or some kinds of food or drink especially for religious observance. However, I define fasting as anything a person is willing to give up for God. Therefore, that means you do not necessarily have to give up food and liquids for it to be considered a fast.  You may choose to fast from anything in your life that serves as a distraction from you being able to focus on God (i.e. social media, television) for any given amount of time or days. Whatever you choose to give up, the impact of the fast comes not from how long you elect to abstain from those things. It’s rather determined by the attitude and the posture of your heart as you go into the fast.  

    Fasting is not magic! Just because you fast it does not mean your prayer will be answered. If you enter into a fast with that approach the posture of your heart will need to change. Before you enter a fast be sure to do a heart check. Make sure your heart is in the right place. You can do this by challenging yourself and asking yourself some tough question (s) such as:

    • Is my heart full of anger?
    • Is my heart full of bitterness?
    • Is my heart full of unforgiveness?
    • Is my heart full of pride?
    • Is my heart full of resentment?    

    If you can answer no to all questions listed above, then proceed with your fast confidently knowing that nothing is going to obstruct your prayers. Fasting is about building your trust and faith in Christ, when approached properly overtime you will start to see the benefits of your sacrifice.  

    How should I approach a fasting?

    Pray before you fast. This can be a simple prayer such as “Lord, I surrender this time unto you and ask that you give me the strength to get through this fast.  In my weakness, you are made strong, I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me.” By praying you also put God in his proper position during the fast.  You allow him to lead and you can take the passenger seat.

    Ask God to lead and guide you during the fast.   Pride cannot be the present during your fast.  There is no need to advertise to everyone that you are fasting, or boast about your fast.  Allow this time to be sacred time to develop a more close and intimate time with God.

    Have a fast focus.  What are you fasting for?   By having a “fast” focus, you have an opportunity to be intentional. Without intentionality, you will just be dieting or not watching tv for a couple of days. Having a fast focus gives you something to pray for specifically. An example of a fast focus could be fasting for generational curses to broken in your life, fasting for spiritual maturity or strength to maintain sexual purity.

    Meditate on God’s Word. When you are fasting find a scripture or several scriptures to reflect and ponder on.  Take this time to allow God’s word to nourish you. Allow scriptures to get into your heart, mind, and spirit to give you strength.  Fasting is not easy at times, but God’s truth will be your strength when you get weak.

    Expect God to answer your prayer. For somethings only happen by praying and fasting.  Fasting is an act of faith. Fasting is a mature response to your fast focus. There is no guarantee that immediately after your fast, your fast petitions will be answered.  However, your sacrifice builds up your faith and allows you to trust in God’s sovereignty, even after your fast ends.

    Benefits of Fasting

    Breaking strongholdsOne of the benefits of fasting is that it can break longtime strongholds that you may have present in your life.  When you are seeking for a stronghold to be broken in your life fasting is the appropriate response to break that stronghold. An example of a stronghold could be financial generational curses or sexual strongholds. Strongholds are not always easy to break.  Fasting for strongholds to be broken sometimes will take a process and a series of fast coupled with prayer will probably need to occur. Do not get discouraged if you don’t see breakthrough immediately. Over time God will truly honor your sacrifice and in due time that stronghold will be broken.  In Jesus Name.

    Spiritual clarity Another benefit of fasting is that your spiritual eyes and ears will be developed. John 10:27 states, “My sheep know my voice.” When you fast, you are spending quality time with God. It’s during this time that God teaches you how to hear His voice. Having the ability to hear God’s voice is important and allows you to be able to make sound, and wise decisions concerning all aspects of your life.

    Develop an intimate relationship with God– Fasting can be the building blocks of building a deep and real intimate relationship with God.  During your fasting experience, you will find yourself falling deeper and deeper in love with God.  As you start surrendering your heart, mind, will, and emotions to God, your relationship with Him will continue to grow.  You may even find yourself being more transparent and open to God about your feelings and how you feel. Further, he may begin to share his secrets with you. It will be during these times that your love will become more intimate and your time with Him will be personal and real.  

    Types of Fast

    There are various types of fast you can do as you continue on your spiritual journey.  Before you start a fast pray. Ask the Lord what type of fast you should do. If you are considering going on a fast here are a few resources and types of fast you may want to consider:

     

    Read More
  • As the culture changes, so do its standards and its values. A typical romantic evening has been reduced down to a Netflix’s & chill vibe, lust is the new “love,” marriage is losing its value while the other woman, or better known as the “side-chick”, is being glorified and glamorized.   It is no wonder why […]

    REAL LOVE PURSUES

    As the culture changes, so do its standards and its values. A typical romantic evening has been reduced down to a Netflix’s & chill vibe, lust is the new “love,” marriage is losing its value while the other woman, or better known as the “side-chick”, is being glorified and glamorized.   It is no wonder why it is hard for so many singles to find love. The key thing to remember is real love will find you if you let it.

    Love and the idea of love is something that has always fascinated me.  Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite days of the year and not because it is my birthday either (well maybe a little). I am truly a hopeless romantic; movies like the Titanic and the Notebook are high on my list.  I love a good love story and always have been enamored when married couples share how they first met and when they fell in love.  

    However, before you or anyone else for that matter can be found by love, you first need to know who and what “Real Love” is. Let me start by saying what love is not:

    Love is not a feeling or a strong overwhelming emotion

    Love is not flowers, candy, and a beautiful card

    Love is not jewelry or an expensive gift.

    Love is not a romantic dinner

    Love is not a trip to a beautiful island

    Love is not a beautiful poem

    This is where having a hopeless romantic attitude can be deceptive if you are not too careful.   All of those things that love is not, aren’t necessarily bad things. Those are all actually wonderful things. I am sure anyone would want someone to give them those things as an act to demonstrate or profess their love, but that is not love.

    Love can be tricky. If you look to external factors to define love, you will always be dependent on someone else to validate love for you.  Same is true with physical attraction.  When it comes to love, lust can easily be confused with love.  Now attraction is an essential factor to have in any relationship, but that should not be the only factor.  This is how you can tell the difference between love and lust.  Lust never wants to wait while love is willing to wait. I know this was an issue for me. My logic was if a person was attracted to me physically that equaled love. However, that was low self-esteem. Further, when I couldn’t find it in a man, I took to masturbation in order to grasp that affection that I longed for. I put myself in these compromising situations to find love, only to be left with the feelings of guilt, shame, and regret. This cycle and patterned continued to where masturbation became my vice.My vice was separating me from God.

    God wants us to have a relationship with Him. However, we are not able to actively pursue love, if there is sin in your life. What is your vice? Is it lying, cheating, stealing unforgiveness, hatred toward others, pride, envy, laziness.  Be sure to identify your vice and lay it aside. Your vice can be the very weight that is hindering you from pursuing an intimate relationship with Christ. God tells us to lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily separates you from real love. When you lay aside your vice and pursue God you will come to discover that love is already actively pursuing you.  This is when I learned the real meaning of love.

    Allow me to share what love is from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

    Love is patient

    Love is kind

    Love is content (not envious)

    Love is quiet (not boastful or loud)

    Love is humble (not proud)

    Love honors others (rather than dishonor)

    Love is giving (rather than self-seeking)

    Love is patience (not easily angered)

    Love keeps no record of wrong

    Love delights in truth and not evil

    Love always protects, trusts, and hopes

    Love never fails

    Real love will be patient enough to wait for you and kind enough not to put you to shame! Christ is love and He has pursued us through HIs death for our sins in order for us to have a relationship with him.  

    Now, talk about a bomb love story! Real love pursues.

    Read More
  • Are you good at following rules or do you like to break them?  Rules, for some, are difficult to follow because they can appear to be restraining.  Most people would prefer to do whatever they want. In the natural, when someone refuses to follow the traffic rules (i.e. run a red light) it would be […]

    The Great Benefits of Obedience To God

    Are you good at following rules or do you like to break them?  Rules, for some, are difficult to follow because they can appear to be restraining.  Most people would prefer to do whatever they want. In the natural, when someone refuses to follow the traffic rules (i.e. run a red light) it would be considered “breaking the law”.  Appropriate consequences such as a suspended license or a traffic ticket may follow.

    What if you were to look at the concept of rules from a spiritual vantage point?  If you refuse to follow God’s rules (or Commandments)  you are walking in what is called disobedience. There are some people who refuse to obey God’s commands.  The mere idea of following God’s word seems to be overbearing, a straight up fun snatcher, or just plain ole boring.   

    It is imperative to know that anytime you disobey God to do your own thing you leave yourself open, vulnerable, and defenseless.  Following “the rules” may appear to be restrictive, however, if you read Psalms 119 you will learn that obeying God’s commands produce the exact opposite results.

    When you choose to operate in obedience you will receive 3 main benefits:

    Protection

    Freedom

    Peace

    Protection

    One of the first main benefits you obtain when you choose to obey God’s word is His unfailing protection.  Psalms 119:114 says, “You are my hiding place and my shield: I hope in your word.” The author of Psalms was David and he understood the key to obtain God’s protection is obeying His word. Similar to a parent-child relationship, God will do anything to keep His children safe. It is any parent’s hope that the wisdom they instill in their children will be obeyed and their child will make the right decisions by taking heed to their advice, especially when there is some perceived danger.  For example, a parent might tell their child don’t run across the street, touch the hot stove, or go to that party. The reason the parent communicates these things to their child is because the parent is well aware of the consequences that may arise if the child does not listen to them.

    In case you forgot, God has a vested interest in keeping you safe. He will do anything for you to make sure you remain under the shadow of his protection. He has already committed the ultimate sacrifice of dying on the cross to prove his love. Don’t ever think for a moment that God is not going to protect His investment, but the only way to remain safe is if you listen to what He tells you. He does not speak just to be heard; he speaks to be obeyed and with the hopes that His children (you and me) will make the right decision and listen to Him.  God expects us to heed His instructions not to punish us, but to take it as a warning because he loves us and does not want to see us hurt. This revelation gives new light to the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:1-17.These commandments were not established to restrict you but protect you.

    The best way to remain under God’s protection is to do the following:

    1. Read the bible daily.  Study and learn God commands.

     

    2. Obey His commands intentionally.

     

    3. Remind yourself that each word God speaks is out of love and protection for you, not out of restriction and punishment.

    Freedom 

    The second benefit of obedience is freedom.  Psalms 119:95-96 states, “the wicked lie in wait to destroy me, but I consider your testimonies. I have not seen a limit to all perfection but your commandment is exceedingly broad.” Again, David understood that if he did not obey God’s word he would be left vulnerable to attacks of the enemy (in his mind, physical body, finances, emotions etc). Therefore, taking heed to God’s word was critical and resulted in freedom.  The last two words, exceedingly broad, does not sound restrictive or confining at all.  Instead, they mean limitless or with endless possibilities. This means when you make the intentional decision to trust God at His word, you are liberated. The trick of the enemy is to lie and plant seeds of doubts that obeying God’s word will create enslavement. The truth is when you disobey the voice of the Lord and His righteousness you become a slave to the enemy and his unrighteousness.  Paul, the author of the book of Romans, wrote in Romans 6:16, “Do you know that if you present yourself to anyone as obedient slaves you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death or of obedience which leads to righteousness?” He then goes on to state in Romans 6:22, “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end eternal life.” Simply put, disobedience leads to death while obedience leads to eternal life. Just remember it was for freedom that Christ died on the cross. He did his part but it is up to us to make sure that we stay free and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law nor to sin. The only way you can walk and live in complete freedom is by listening and obeying what God tells you and by Trusting in Him.

    The best way to remain in freedom is to do the following:

    1. Cut out people, places, or things in your life that keeps you bound.

     

    2. Renounce to the lie of the enemy when he tries to plant seeds of doubt and unbelief of God word

     

    3. Consistently obey God no matter what.

    Peace

    The third and final benefit of obedience is peace.  Psalms 119: 165 states, “Great peace have those who love your law, nothing can make them stumble.”  This means peace is contingent upon obeying God’s word.  The moment you stray away from His word you will find yourself in chaos and confusion. Have you ever experienced a time when you had to make a tough decision but something about it did not seem right? You kept wrestling over it, thinking about it in your mind, but for some reason, you could not get any peace?  

    The best way to maintain your peace in God is to do the following:

    1. Pray and ask God to give you guidance on what you should do

     

    2. Look for scriptures in the bible that may be a point of reference on how to make the right decision

     

    3. Rest in God’s word and believe that whatever He said will reap the best results from your decision

    Obeying God’s word does more good than harm. Don’t allow the enemy or the standards of the world to deceive you into believing that there is a better, faster, or more exciting way of doing things if it is not aligned to the word of God. Just like with the traffic rules, following the laws may not give you the most instant gratification, nor may it get you to your destination the quickest, however, you will be protected and have peace knowing you are doing the right thing and don’t have to be anxious about consequences.

    Read More

Showing 1–4 of 8 results