Natasha’s Daily Scripture, Prayer, and Reflection for 4.30.18

Dear Breaking Bread Family:

I want to continue praying and reflecting on the word shared in 1 John 4:1. If you recall, last Friday I shared this passage. Today let’s explore this scripture in another way.

Today’s message was originally shared on October 12, 2011. It has been modified to align with current standards and formatting, to include an audio message. I hope that it helps someone as it continues to help me.

Audio Message

Scripture

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

1 John 4:1

Reflection

There are a lot of false prophets, false images, false paths to enlightenment and salvation, false testimonies, false servants, and false tools and resources that are placed before us as a test of discernment, faith, belief, understanding, love, devotion and loyalty to God and His son Jesus. Even to those of you who are not Christian, but of a different faith, even when you remove Jesus from the above equation, it still does not detract from the fact that we have tests of our devotion and loyalty to God.

Can you tell the real from the fake? Can you tell God’s angels from pseudo manifestations? Can you discern God’s voice from other voices? Can you tell when God is directing your path and when you have strayed and began following the lead of another? Can you tell the genuine prophets from the false ones?

Are you following God’s Word, or words created by man who maps out stars, planets, symbols, and numbers as a prophecy of your future?

No one can tell you what’s in your future but God. No one can tell you the right person to love, date, or marry but God. No one can point you in the right direction and keep you there except God. So you must pray to God for discernment to ascertain if the source that comes to you with prophesy is one sent by God or one sent by the enemy.

If someone calls themselves a prophet, you must pray to God for discernment to see clearly if that person was sent by God or if this person is self-appointed, speaking their own words, and stating their own pseudo prophecies in God’s name. Are their visions from God or just make believe? Only God can provide you with that answer. He will guide you and provide you with the skills to test this person, test this spirit, to see if they are who they claim to be.

We have a choice given to us by God, follow Him and His Word, or follow mortal mind, the “enemy”. The choice is ours. This isn’t a Coke and Pepsi challenge…there is most definitely a distinct and clear difference!

Prayer

Father-Mother God please continue to bless me with the gift of discernment, increasing my ability to see and understand the differences in and of the world, and Your light and Word through the clutter. Father I want to focus on doing right each day, not selfishly for myself and my salvation, but for Your Kingdom and in my devotion to You.

Lord I know each day I am tempted by thoughts, voices, and words in books, magazines, newspapers, and online, but I know that my discernment will help me to connect with You and disregard the rest.

Lord I pray for the discernment to see and learn my lesson at the rate and pace You expect, and not at the delayed contemplative pace I would prefer out of comfort and convenience.

I want to know sooner than later which person is right for me to walk beside, to trust, and to continue building a relationship with.

Let me rely upon Your Word, not numerology, tarot cards, horoscopes and other astrological mumbo jumbo–even when concepts seem to connect the dots, for the only way to put the puzzle of life and love together is through, by, and with You Father.

Do not allow entertainment to conveniently become my learning tool, guide, and answer to life and what I need and want from it. Let my relationship with You and Jesus be all that I need for spiritual comfort, enlightenment, and guidance. Thank You Father. Amen.

With that we part until tomorrow. May your day be blessed with discernment, strength, courage, grace, and gratitude.

Love your sister in Christ,

Natasha

Copyright 2011-2018. Natasha Foreman Bryant. Some Rights Reserved. ALL PRAYERS AND REFLECTIONS ARE COPYRIGHT PROTECTED BY NATASHA FOREMAN BRYANT, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED. PRIOR POSTS FROM 2009-2013 ARE COPYRIGHTED UNDER THE NAME NATASHA L. FOREMAN. BREAKINGBREADWITHNATASHA.COM
SCRIPTURE QUOTATIONS TAKEN FROM THE AMPLIFIED® BIBLE, COPYRIGHT © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 BY THE LOCKMAN FOUNDATION USED BY PERMISSION.(WWW.LOCKMAN.ORG)
SCRIPTURE TAKEN FROM THE COMMON ENGLISH BIBLE®, CEB® COPYRIGHT © 2010, 2011 BY COMMON ENGLISH BIBLE.™ USED BY PERMISSION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED WORLDWIDE. THE “CEB” AND “COMMON ENGLISH BIBLE” TRADEMARKS ARE REGISTERED IN THE UNITED STATES PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE BY COMMON ENGLISH BIBLE. USE OF EITHER TRADEMARK REQUIRES THE PERMISSION OF COMMON ENGLISH BIBLE.
SCRIPTURE QUOTATIONS MARKED HCSB ARE TAKEN FROM THE HOLMAN CHRISTIAN STANDARD BIBLE®, COPYRIGHT © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003 BY HOLMAN BIBLE PUBLISHERS. USED BY PERMISSION. HOLMAN CHRISTIAN STANDARD BIBLE®, HOLMAN CSB®, AND HCSB® ARE FEDERALLY REGISTERED TRADEMARKS OF HOLMAN BIBLE PUBLISHERS.

Natasha’s Daily Scripture, Prayer, and Reflection for 4.27.18

Audio Message

Please Note: The audio message contains more content than what is written below. Please listen and enjoy!

Scripture

1 John 4:1

Reflection

We have a tendency to gravitate to people who speak frequently and confidently of God and His Word. But how do we know if this person is a servant of God, or a servant of self––or worse—a servant of the enemy?

It reminds me of the movie The Devil’s Advocate starring Keanu Reeves, Al Pacino, and Charlize Theron. Al Pacino’s character was the devil, but Keanu Reeves’ character didn’t realize this until it was too late. Even though his wife, played by Charlize Theron, could discern the evil, Keanu’s character was blinded by words, carnal pleasures, and material possessions.

When the truth was revealed to him he was so shocked and dismayed to realize how many people he had interacted with in life had actually been the devil in disguise. Each time he ate the proverbial apple that each of these individuals gave him, he had no clue that he was being lured in by the devil and losing his life and soul to evil.

That can happen to any of us. As humans, we are not immune to the enemy’s attacks and seductions.

You have to stay prayed up and you have to keep your eyes and ears tuned in to God’s voice and light—so you can distinguish Him from all others. We always need our armor on because we are always under attack. The enemy doesn’t take breaks, vacations, holidays, or sick days. We can’t afford to either.

My dad used to always tell me that the closer we get to God, the stronger our relationship with Him, the more the enemy attacks us. And let’s be clear, the enemy attacks us through our loved ones. It attacks our loved ones to break us down. Stay prayed up and don’t give in to the pressure.

Prayer

Father I pray for discernment to see and differentiate real from false, truth from lies, light from dark, Your voice from that of the enemy’s; Your voice from my flawed, weak, fear-based human voice; the mortal mind that convinces me that those false experiences and false evidences are actually real. Father help me to see through the clutter and chaos, and the fog. Help me to remove the blinders from my eyes. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Questions of the Day

1. What would you like to add to today’s prayer and/or reflection?

2. Share a time when the gift of discernment opened your eyes about a person who wasn’t being honorable.

3. What are your thoughts about people who use religion for personal gain, and how you think we can protect ourselves from these false prophets?

4. What is a prayer that you recite to protect yourself from the enemy’s attacks? Or do you have an affirmation, song or chant, that you recite to use to guide you as you step forward, progress through, and end your day?

Feel free to share your answers, prayers, comments, and reflections in the comment section below. You can also send me an email to: breakingbreadwithnatasha@gmail.com

Please also feel free to share this post with others. We’re never quite sure who needs to hear and see what, and when! It would be awesome if whenever you run across a prayer, message, scripture, picture, painting, or sculpture that moves you, you would kindly share it with the rest of us. You can post it on this blog or send me an email.

Love always,

Natasha

Please note: This message was originally written and published on February 22, 2016. It has been modified and aligned with current standards and formatting, to include an audio message.
Copyright 2013-2018. Natasha Foreman Bryant. Some Rights Reserved. All Prayers and Reflections are Copyright Protected by Natasha Foreman Bryant, unless otherwise noted. Prior posts from 2009-2013 are copyrighted under the name Natasha L. Foreman. breakingbreadwithnatasha.com
Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission.(www.Lockman.org)
Scripture taken from the Common English Bible®, CEB® Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Common English Bible.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. The “CEB” and “Common English Bible” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Common. English Bible. Use of either trademark requires the permission of Common English Bible.
Scripture quotations marked HCSB are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

Natasha’s Daily Scripture, Prayer, and Reflection for 4.26.18

Audio Message

Please note: This audio message includes additional content not reflected in the written message below. Please listen and enjoy!

Scripture

Therefore, through Him let us continually offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of our lips that confess His name.

Hebrews 13:15

Reflection

(A condensed message from what is featured in the audio message)

Even if you don’t think you have anything to be grateful for, to consider a blessing, or find worthy of praise, you do!

There may be storms in life that rain down on you pretty hard, but in your obedience to God, you begin to realize that even those storms are lessons to be learned and grateful for.

If God didn’t love you and didn’t want the best for you, He would not allow you to receive one blessing—even the air you breathe this very moment. If He didn’t love you then He didn’t have to bring life to you. You weren’t an option given to Him. You were the choice that He made. No matter how long or how short your life, no matter how bumpy or how smooth—all of it is possible because of His loving plan for your life, and how you and others will be impacted by it.

You must learn—we must learn—to praise Him through ups and downs. Don’t praise Him in good times and curse Him in bad times. Praise Him!

Prayer

Father thank You for waking me another day.

I give You all the glory, for only You have the power to change me and my life.

Thank You for the lessons and opportunities, and for the successes and failures.

Thank You for believing in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself—even when I don’t believe in myself. 

I don’t want a day to go by where I’m not praising You for all that You have done, and for all You have in store for me. 

You don’t need to hear me rattle off each thing that I’m thankful for, just by saying, “thank You Father!” You and I are both on the same wavelength. But still, I pray for those conscious moments that I’m aware of your grace and mercy, and in these moments may I pause long enough to thank You. For without You all that I have and all that I am would not be possible.

Thank You Father!

Love,

Natasha

Please Note: This message was originally written and published on April 26, 2012. It has been modified to align with current standards and formatting, to include an audio message and visual scriptural image.
Copyright 2012-2018. Natasha Foreman Bryant. Some Rights Reserved. All Prayers and Reflections are Copyright Protected by Natasha Foreman Bryant, unless otherwise noted. Prior posts from 2009-2013 are copyrighted under the name Natasha L. Foreman. breakingbreadwithnatasha.com
Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission.(www.Lockman.org)
Scripture taken from the Common English Bible®, CEB® Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Common English Bible.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. The “CEB” and “Common English Bible” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Common English Bible. Use of either trademark requires the permission of Common English Bible.
Scripture quotations marked HCSB are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

Natasha’s Daily Scripture, Prayer, and Reflection for 4.25.18

Audio Message

Please note: This audio message includes additional content not reflected in the written message below. Please listen and enjoy!

Scripture

But now, this is what the Lord says— He who created you… “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine.”

Isaiah 43:1 NIV

Reflection

God chose you, set you apart from everyone else, and appointed you to do specific things in His name.

He didn’t tell you your time limit. He just reminds you that there is one, and every second of the day you have to choose how best to use that time.

What will you do?

I’m making an effort each day to place God 1st, me and my family 2nd, and my career 3rd; in all that I do I’m working to make sure that every decision is God-centered, and that I keep my priorities in order. I can’t have family and career without God.

How can I ask to be a priority for God, to be healed and protected by Him, but then put Him anywhere and everywhere except first in my life?

What place, what role, what position does God stand in your life?

Prayer

You have great plans for me Father and I’m excited at what You still have in store for me.

There have been times when I’ve stumbled, fallen, stalled, lost my way, ran away, and froze in absolute fear.

There have been times when I doubted, questioned, and even tried to reason with You. You love me so much that You have forgiven me, laughed at my silliness, redirected my steps, picked me up, and protected me even when I foolishly disobeyed You. Thank You Father. 

I know that I don’t deserve all that You have given me and all that You have done for me. Thank You for Your unwavering love and patience.

There is no source greater, more loving, more giving, or more capable than You. I praise You in the name of Jesus and in the name of those who sacrificed in obedience to You. Amen.

Questions of the Day

1. What do you think of today’s message?

2. What would you like to add to today’s prayer and/or reflection?

Feel free to share your answers, prayers, comments, and reflections in the comment section below. You can also send me an email at: breakingbreadwithnatasha@gmail.com

Please also feel free to share this post with others. We’re never quite sure who needs to hear and see what, and when! It would be awesome if whenever you run across a prayer, message, or scripture that moves you, you would kindly share it with the rest of us. You can post it on this blog or send me an email.

Love always,

Natasha

Please Note: Today’s message was originally written and published on September 17, 2015. It has been modified to align with current standards and formatting; it now also includes an audio message and scriptural image.
Copyright 2015-2018. Natasha Foreman Bryant. Some Rights Reserved. All Prayers and Reflections are Copyright Protected by Natasha Foreman Bryant, unless otherwise noted. Prior posts from 2009-2013 are copyrighted under the name Natasha L. Foreman. breakingbreadwithnatasha.com
Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission.(www.Lockman.org)
Scripture taken from the Common English Bible®, CEB® Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Common English Bible.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. The “CEB” and “Common English Bible” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Common English Bible. Use of either trademark requires the permission of Common English Bible.
Scripture quotations marked HCSB are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

Natasha’s Daily Scripture, Prayer, and Reflection for 4.24.18

Audio Message

Please note that some content shared in the audio message is not reflected below. You must listen to the audio message to hear this additional content. Thank you.

Scripture

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Romans 5:3-5

Reflection

Through uphill battles and downhill falls we persevere, grow, and develop our character with a restored sense of hope that tomorrow will be better, and that after this storm will come the rainbow and the beautiful rays of God’s light shining brightly.

Never lose faith and hope that God will always see you through life’s issues, failed relationships, economic downturns, personal hangups, and moments of fear and frustration.

Praise Him. Thank Him. Sing and dance as though you don’t have a care in the world- because you know that God is taking care of you and your needs- even if you can’t see the solution, know it’s there. All you need to do is keep up your part of the deal.

Keep working. Keep praying. Keep praising. Keep being the blessing that you hope to receive. Keep being the blessing that you already receive—as your cup runneth over you should share so that others might fill their cups.

If you cannot see your blessings even through painful times, then you need to remove your blinders; because every single day God blesses you with things big and small—with things you can see and with things that you can only feel. Look at your glass with optimism not pessimism—with gratitude not dread.

If you’re honest with yourself, God keeps your cup full—-you may just be the one bumping it or knocking it over.

Prayer

Father I praise Your name through good times and in bad because I know that through life’s trials and tribulations I grow stronger, wiser, and closer to You.

Father I know that every time I fall and get up, every time I face a setback my perseverance is helping to build my character as Your ambassador; and every day that I rise to see the sun I know that I am truly blessed. So I thank You Father. Amen.

Love always,

Natasha

Please Note: This message was originally written and published on May 23, 2011. It has been modified to align with current standards and formatting; to also include an audio message and scriptural image. The audio message may include additional content than what is referenced above.
Copyright 2011-2018. Natasha Foreman Bryant. Some Rights Reserved. All Prayers and Reflections are Copyright Protected by Natasha Foreman Bryant, unless otherwise noted. Prior posts from 2009-2013 are copyrighted under the name Natasha L. Foreman. breakingbreadwithnatasha.com
Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission.(www.Lockman.org)
Scripture taken from the Common English Bible®, CEB® Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Common English Bible.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. The “CEB” and “Common English Bible” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Common. English Bible. Use of either trademark requires the permission of Common English Bible.
Scripture quotations marked HCSB are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers

Natasha’s Daily Scripture, Prayer, and Reflection for 4.23.18

Audio Message

Note: Today’s message is a deep one that some of you may not be ready to read, hear, and digest. So I’m letting you know upfront that if you are one who is clearly naive to the majority of things around you, or extremely stubborn and close-minded, this message may be difficult to take in and run with. Today’s message is also not a quick paragraph per section, so don’t think that you will zoom through it. I just want to make this perfectly clear. Today’s message is long. I’m serious. It will take far longer than normal to take it in. But if you’re ready to break bread with me, then I’m ready to share.

Are you ready? Okay let’s do this…

Scripture

“This, then, is the judgment: The light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who practices wicked things hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed. But anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be shown to be accomplished by God.”

John 3:19-21 HCSB

Reflection

There are a lot of wolves in sheep clothing and there are a lot of wolves walking around in plain sight. Pray for negative people, greedy people, self-serving people, toxic people— and let those that you associate with know that you are praying for them. Lovingly keep your distance from those who refuse to embrace God’s Love, but don’t stop praying for them. Your prayer is your faith in God and your belief that He will always be with these troubled souls, even if they aren’t fully open to Him in their lives.

Entertainment with Negative Ulterior Motives

There are entertainers and athletes who either wholly embrace or find it fashionable to worship, advertise, and/or promote the enemy and those that serve it. Either they are motivated by those executives that pay them, motivated by peers, or always found it fascinating growing up—they have taken to subtly or overtly displaying signs of darkness for the public to view.

It is not fashionable to walk around with satanic or cult symbols and words. It is not fashionable to say you are possessed by demons, spirits, etc.

It is not fashionable to have music videos with images of demons in it, unless you are showing the Light casting out those demons. Even in horror movies, the focus is on destroying evil not surrendering to it. No one in the movie is turning to Freddy Krueger and saying, “okay Freddy I’m ready to hang with and be like you!

To uplift and celebrate darkness shows a person’s character and their allegiance. The line in the sand has been drawn.

I’m not referring to an actor pretending to be a character in a movie, I’m referring to actors who outside of their roles in movies (who in their everyday lives), wear images and throw up hand gestures that are symbolic of the occult. In their daily walk they are clearly saying “I’m team satan” but in your idolatry you just say to yourself, “ah their just throwing up a cool symbol”. Wrong. They are sending a message to others that also follow the darkness, to reinforce who they are and who they serve. It’s not just actors either, I’m also talking about musicians, singers and rappers who cleverly and creatively massage demonic and satanic propaganda and messaging into our minds.

Our minds are like sponges. You must be mindful, you must be careful of, what you absorb.

There’s nothing cute about putting up hand signals or displaying any other element of darkness that are symbolic of and represents the enemy. Doing so clearly signifies your allegiance against God, as you most definitely are not a Christian, Jew, Muslim, or any other peaceful and loving religion. You are not a believer and follower of Christ. Christ has never been on satan’s team. Your practice of darkness means you do not walk in and reflect the Light. You instead have pledged an allegiance to the enemy.

Don’t tell me it’s just a marketing ploy, because you can’t explain that away to Jesus or God. You can’t justify it, rationalize it, or outline any logical reasons why one would freely promote evil.

Children and adults are naively listening, watching, and purchasing music and clothing from people who have chosen to serve darkness. Every cent that goes towards that purchase endorses this belief system, and indirectly gives relevance to the enemy—because your money continues to pay for the marketing and promotion of this nonsense.

I have made a decision to destroy and delete all music that clearly or subliminally glorifies the enemy and darkness. I don’t have it in my catalogue. I will no longer support these artists on any level. My hard-earned money will not be invested in their dark campaign.

I don’t care how attractive they are (and many of them are very attractive) or what songs they include on their albums that appear to be positive, I will not knowingly support a lie. I will not pay for a ticket to an event or film they are participating in. I will not knowingly support the enemy.

Pay attention to what you are listening to, singing, dancing to, reading, reciting, mimicking, reposting, and retweeting. This is not entertainment it is a battle for your mind, heart, spirit, and soul.

I don’t say this to scare you but to empower you to think, question, research, and to pray for discernment.

Do not be a slave to the system that believes you are too ignorant, dumb, or busy to pay attention to what they are selling you.

Yes, Question So-called “Christians”

Question everything and everyone. Yes, even so-called “Christians” need to also be questioned because they could very well be serving two masters knowingly or unknowingly. You have folks preaching one thing and then sneaking off doing the exact thing that they told others not to do (or worse).

You have preachers, pastors, ministers, elders, bishops, deacons, priests, and so-called prophets who are adulterers, child molesters, abusers, drug users, alcoholics, rapists, porn addicts, participants in prostitution and human trafficking, those who are into beastiality, and other things that they preach against in their pulpit. Yes, they are hypocrites. Yes, they are serving two masters. Yes, you are to question them.

Remember that they are not your Master or Wayshower, but they are merely servants who have claimed a commitment to serving God and spreading His Word, to build His Kingdom. They are not to be worshipped or showered with expensive gifts, etc.

Read your Bible and recall how appalled Jesus was at how religious leaders had taken advantage of the people, taken the money of the poor instead of serving the poor.

Yesterday, my sister visited a church where the pastor bullied the congregation to give all that they had, without a care if they overdrafted their bank accounts, without a care if it put them further in debt, without a care if they could end up destitute. He stood in that pulpit and told them that they should give everything that they have in faith, in trusting that God would take care of their needs. He guilted members to come forward with an offering of $500—he wanted them to each walk forward with $500 in their hands—a number that he claimed he just randomly thought of. My sister said that several people actually walked forward with what appeared to be their $500 offerings. This pastor refused to let the church services move forward until he was satisfied that enough people had given all that they could.

That is plain foolishness. That is blatant financial, psychological, and spiritual abuse. This is more darkness than it could ever be perceived as light.

This isn’t the only church engaging in this sinful practice. I know of churches that have allowed members to take out second and third mortgages on their homes to help finance the building of a larger church or to build the pastor a home. I know people who have lost their homes and cars while trying to help their pastor, their church, reach some financial goal. That is sinful. That is the enemy manipulating things and sadly no one sees what is happening.

We have people going financially broke to ensure that their pastor has a private jet, an estate, vacation homes, and a life of luxury. Now this is acceptable if 100% of your congregation also is financially wealthy; if it’s a millionaire church life with billionaire-focused dreams—then it’s basically a flock of birds hanging out together. But this is rarely the case. In most houses of worship, the poor, far outnumber the financially wealthy. While the church leaders are flossing their designer clothes, the majority of their church members can’t even keep the utilities on in their homes—let alone walk around in high-end clothing and footwear.

It’s bad enough that churches are abusing the tithing practice and using it to benefit the church and the church leaders, not the poorest of congregants—as outlined in the Bible. But we have these wolves out here, draped in religious garments, claiming to be the mouthpieces of God, and telling blatant lies to people who are most vulnerable—most likely to surrender to the enemy’s temptations and manipulations, just to ease the temporary pain. These so-called religious leaders are out here manipulating people to bankrupt themselves in order to build larger buildings and finance these leaders lifestyles. You have some religious leaders pimping their congregation, telling them that they will become wealthier if they give more to the church. God said to care for the least of His children.

Do you recall the story in the Bible where Jesus made note of the poor woman who gave the most that she could, while the wealthy members gave what they had in excess? Jesus said that the woman actually gave more than the wealthy contributors, because she didn’t have more to give, while the wealthy were merely giving the excess of their riches—they had plenty more to give, invest, throw away, or lose if they wanted.

I think back at the church that my sister visited and I think of his call to action for members to parade to the front with their $500 offerings. It was psychological manipulation to motivate others to do the same. It also made the poorest congregants feel bad that they don’t have that kind of money to give. So then the message that becomes embedded in their minds is, “if you give all that you have then God will provide for you so that one day you too can have $500 or more to give to the church“. It plays a trick on the mind to believe that the wealthy somehow give and have given most or all of what they have and that is why they are blessed with more financial wealth.

The truth is, those individuals who walked to the front with their $500, if that’s actually what they did—and not what they wanted the congregation to believe they did—these individuals were presenting their excess. They weren’t giving their all. They weren’t giving all that they could. They weren’t overdrafting their bank accounts, risking their homes and vehicles.

Well….

Let’s hope not. Let’s hope that these individuals were not so manipulated that they would rather shine in the eyes of the congregation than in the eyes of God.

But group peer pressure is an amazing crockpot that can sadly produce the worst and least valuable outcomes.

Wouldn’t it make better sense for a church to tell its congregation, “provide us with one-tenth of your earnings to cover the cost of operating this facility and so that we can afford to provide resources and food to our members and the community who need the most; and then we encourage you to give one-tenth of your earnings to the poor, shut-in, rejected, sick, hurt, and overlooked people within your community.

Wouldn’t that make better sense?

Wouldn’t it make even more sense to say, “and if you can’t afford to give the church one-tenth and the community one-tenth, then please give your one-tenth to the community, and then volunteer one-tenth of your time every month to help us meet the needs of our congregation and others outside of our church doors“.

Doesn’t that sound more aligned with Jesus’ teachings?

Let me share something else with you.

Why not allow congregants to provide resources during the time of offerings? What if the church posted a list of the supplies that it needs replenished each month, like printing paper for the programs and bulletins, ink for the printers, envelopes for the monetary contributions, light bulbs to keep the facilities lit, staples, tape, pencils, and anything else that the church uses in bulk—and then allow the congregation to help cover the costs by actually bringing ink cartridges, reams of paper, spools of tape, so that members are not just digging into their wallets every week to pay for things that they simply can’t see.

What if I don’t have an extra $5 dollars to give but I have two reams of printing paper that value over $5 dollars? Does that paper not have the same value? If you say that you need money to keep the church operating, then can my offering not be whatever that I possess that I believe the church can benefit from?

We need to question and put in check any and all people who stand before us, claiming to be called by God to lead us. You must always remember, that even with their fancy robes and degrees, even with the titles that they were given, they have no hierarchy over you and are no closer relationship to God—we all can talk to God, some of us just choose to serve Him in greater and grander ways. Their so-called commitment to Christ should place higher responsibilities on them and hold them accountable for what they practice versus what they preach.

Check Yourself

We all should be held accountable for the labels and titles that we give ourselves, accept, and proclaim.

Just like you shouldn’t take on the title of Chief Executive Officer, President, or Chief Operating Office, without expecting to be held accountable—do not call yourself a minister, preacher, prophet, prophetess, or any other name and then feel like you should not be held accountable to walk the walk.

The moment you take on a title or role the world is watching, and if we’re watching don’t you think that Jesus and God are also? Think about it. You will be held accountable on Earth and in Heaven.

This is guaranteed!

Whew. Now take a breath. I know it was a lot to read, hear, and take in.

Today is a deep, real-talk message because I think from time-to-time we need to rock the boat, check each other, and check ourselves. Sometimes we get too comfortable and we then begin to overlook things that God really needs us to see, defend ourselves from, and fight against.

I pray for each of you and hope that you also pray for me. We must always stay ready so we don’t have to get ready. Before you start your day, pause for a moment and pray to God to protect your mind, heart, body, spirit, and soul. You are constantly under attack. Your prayer is just you verbalizing to God that you’re in this to win this!

Prayer

Father I pray for discernment to see clearly those who would rather turn to darkness than Your Light. May I see them and keep my distance if they chose not to embrace Your Love.

Those who rebuke You and Your son Jesus cannot be a part of my inner circle. Let me lovingly put them in a separate category and pray for them, but not be subjected to their negative energy. I will not hate them but I will love them from afar, and allow You to work on them.

I pray for the discernment to see the intent and heart of those who are paid to entertain the world. May I see the Truth in their words, images, and behavior. For there are some people who boldly serve another master—the enemy–and there are some who are torn between serving it and serving You. Let me see Father so that I do not invest one penny or one moment in their lie. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Have a blessed day and be a blessing to others!

Love,

Natasha

Please Note: This message was originally written and published on April 17, 2013. It has been modified to align with current standards and formatting, it also now includes an audio message that may provide more or the same amount of content as the written message.

Copyright 2013-2018. Natasha Foreman Bryant. Some Rights Reserved. All Prayers and Reflections are Copyright Protected by Natasha Foreman Bryant, unless otherwise noted. Prior posts from 2009-2013 are copyrighted under the name Natasha L. Foreman. breakingbreadwithnatasha.com

Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission.(www.Lockman.org)

Scripture taken from the Common English Bible®, CEB® Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Common English Bible.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. The “CEB” and “Common English Bible” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Common. English Bible. Use of either trademark requires the permission of Common English Bible.

Scripture quotations marked HCSB are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers

Natasha’s Daily Scripture, Prayer, and Reflection for 4.20.18

Audio Message

Please note: The audio message contains more content than the written message below. Also, please forgive me for the first few moments of this audio message where you can hear my windbreaker moving across my body as I walked around outside. The microphone was sharper than I expected [*smile*].

Please listen to today’s message, instead paying attention to my words and the blissful sounds of nature in the background. Thank you!

Scripture

Hebrews 12:14

Reflection

Peace comes from within, so we must turn inward, pulling out and bestowing upon others this gift.

The scripture says to “work at living in peace with everyone”.

That first word is “work”, which means that it won’t be easy, but it’s always worth it.

That last word is “everyone”. It didn’t say “someone” and it didn’t say, “your loved ones”.

It said that we have to work at loving every single human being, and it doesn’t matter their gender, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, hair texture, skin color, ethnicity, race, tribe, nationality, education level, capabilities or limitations.

We’re supposed to live in peace with every single person.

There’s a level of effort that we need to invest in order to make this process possible.

Sometimes we won’t feel like sharing much or any space with others, but we must work at it, not for (or just for) their sake but for our own. You can call it a positive selfishness, if you want. The only way we will have peace within is by doing our part to declutter and detox the environment around us.

There’s no way to have peace within if you’re mad at someone else. There’s no peace when you’re plotting and planning chaos towards others. We can’t cause strife and then think we will have internal peace.

It’s just not possible.

Work each day to reflect God’s light, His love, His joy, His steady calm.

Pause and reflect before speaking, making sure the words you use are intentional and come from the heart.

This is something I’m working on.

Oh how I can let the venom flow, slicing and dicing at rapid speed.

It takes great effort to be a jerk. It’s much easier to be loving.

If all you know is arguing and fighting, and you spend a great part of your life with your face in a frown and your heart rate sky high, what peace could you possibly relish here on Earth?

So when that day comes that you transition from this level of existence, what do you think the next level is going to be like?

If you’re a hell raiser here, what are you going to be there?

I recommend you get things right this go around so you don’t face an even tougher uphill battle in the next round.

Just a suggestion!

Prayer

Fill me with Your peace Father, so that I might reflect Your light outward to touch others in love. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Questions of the Day

1. What would you like to add to today’s prayer and/or reflection?

2. What are your thoughts about today’s message? About today’s audio message? About my recording the message outside in nature?

Feel free to share your answers, prayers, comments, and reflections in the comment section below. You can also send me an email at: breakingbreadwithnatasha@gmail.com

Please also feel free to share this post with others. We’re never quite sure who needs to hear and see what, and when! It would be awesome if whenever you run across a prayer, message, or scripture that moves you, you would kindly share it with the rest of us. You can post it on this blog or send me an email.

Love always,

Natasha

Please note: This written message was originally published on September 8, 2016. It has been modified to align with current standards and formatting, and to include the audio message.
Copyright 2013-2018. Natasha Foreman Bryant. Some Rights Reserved. All Prayers and Reflections are Copyright Protected by Natasha Foreman Bryant, unless otherwise noted. Prior posts from 2009-2013 are copyrighted under the name Natasha L. Foreman. breakingbreadwithnatasha.com
Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission.(www.Lockman.org)
Scripture taken from the Common English Bible®, CEB® Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Common English Bible.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. The “CEB” and “Common English Bible” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Common. English Bible. Use of either trademark requires the permission of Common English Bible.
Scripture quotations marked HCSB are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers