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Aug 23

Eight and a half months into this year that seems to be flying by at the speed of sound. At the beginning of each new year, I create a list of goals or "resolutions" if you will that I hope to achieve. I try to be as realistic as possible with these goals, and typically I do fairly well with accomplishing them. This year, I started off strong, as you would imagine. I got up early every morning and spent my regular time in God's word and studying my devotion. I also added to my list of "spiritual goals" that I would set aside at least one afternoon a week in private worship time with God; this was in addition to my worship time spent at church, and individual prayer time each day. I would simply come home one afternoon a week, sometimes turn on some worship music or sometimes just enjoy the silence, and simply raise my hands and being to worship Him. This new special time I was having with The Lord stirred something inside me. It made me fall even more in love with Him, and I feel my intimacy with God grow stronger each day.

In March of this year, I began my annual 21 day Daniel's Fast. This is something I look forward to every year. While it has its' ups and downs and some days I may dread it, I always love how refreshed I feel in my spirit when it is over. This year, however was quite different. The very first week of my fast, the spiritual attacks began. I woke up every morning so down trodden, for no reason whatsoever. My spirit was completely broken, I was discouraged everyday. My commutes to work became more and more difficult, as I would begin every day in tears. I had never experience anything like this before. The best way I know to describe it is, it felt as if I was nursing the worst broken heart I had ever had. By day 21, I was spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. I was so relieved when the fast came to an end, and to be honest, I kinda gave up a little bit. I said to myself, "Thank God this is over. I have fought my fight, and now I am done". How naïve of me to think that just because my time of spiritual discipline was over, that I was done fighting?

The next few months began a whirlwind. A complete roller coaster of emotion overtook me on a daily basis. I was hit harder and by more things than I ever thought possible. I began battling loneliness and worthlessness. My mind was constant battlefield of thoughts, such as "you are forgotten", "your presence doesn't matter to others", "you no longer impact people in your work or ministry", etc. I was legitimately convinced that if I never fulfilled my work responsibilities (which I love), or never sang another song again, it would not matter.

On the days these thoughts did not overtake, I battled a life of insignificance; feeling as if I was living a dead end life. Nothing I did had purpose. I tried to tell myself every morning that I was destined for bigger and better things, with no clue as to what that may be. I craved a place where I could feel worthwhile. I was 100% completely and totally lost.

I began praying harder than ever before for God to give me the strength to overcome; to help me find my worth in Him, and to be confident in my worth in Him. Then one afternoon, after a very long, emotionally taxing day, I began singing this song that I had known for a while, but had forgotten. I was reminded of my true purpose in worship. God created each and every one of us so intricately and so special, with an innate drive to live a purposeful life. We were created by Him to worship Him. When I have questions, He has the answers. He heals all wounds, supplies every need, and His strength is made completely perfect in our weakest moment. I began to tell myself that I am defined by HIS greatness; not in the accomplishments or accolades I may or may not receive on the job or at school. I am DESTINED to live each day to love Him, and to show others His love through me, no matter the circumstance. I designed to pursue Him with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength; to know Him as I never have before. This is the greatest accomplishment anyone can achieve. It is my destiny today, and forever more to worship Him in spirit AND in truth, with a humble and broken spirit, so that each encounter with my Lord is one in which is molding me into who He wants me to be.

Ephesians 1:4-6
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having PREDESTINATED us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise and glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

Feb 10
Hands forming a heart

He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. - 1 John 4:8

The Love favorite month of all! I get so excited every time February 1st hits. I become an annoying little Valentine's Cupid, spreading my joy for this holiday every where I go. I go so far as to decorate my workplace, go above and beyond to get family members and friends Valentine's goodies.

For the average individual, this holiday, and time of year in general is despised. People view it as a marketing scheme to monopolize cards and chocolate. It is viewed as a time of year to make those who have no special someone miserable, and those who do go into a panic spiral trying to go above and beyond to appease their significant other.

I have always viewed this time of year a little differently. I choose to spread love to all. As the body of Christ, that is what we are called to do. "He that loveth not knoweth no God; for God is love." To fall madly in love with God is to know God, and to know God is to love one another. Take this opportunity to wholeheartedly commit your life to God. Fall scandalously in love with Him, and let Him work through you to spread His love to those who are in need. The world is broken and lost, and they need an example of something to hope in. We are called to be just that. We are called to love.


Dec 18
You have never really lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.

December. The last month of the year that seems to pass like a whirlwind. People are running around at break neck speed to find the perfect gift in hopes of receiving the perfect gift in return. It is also the time of year we are encouraged more than any other time to give to those less fortunate. We become explicitly aware of those who are unable to celebrate the holidays with their family, or purchase gifts to place under the tree, or may not even able to purchase a tree. The world monopolizes this time of year to promote their product/business for self gratification.

But what have we, the People of God done to encourage and bring light and hope to others during this season. Have we followed suit of the world's agenda with regard to "giving to others"? Have we misconstrued the idea of "passing it forward"? No, we may not directly receive kickbacks for our "acts of generosity", but how do we react? Do we take this opportunity to exploit the less fortunate by posting our good deeds on various facets of social media for all of our "friends" and family to see? Do churches volunteer to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, or house the homeless so they can brag on church websites and Facebook pages to show up their "brother" at another church? When did acts of generosity actually become acts of self gratification?

I am not against any of these things. We as the People of God are called to give, feed, clothe, and house. But who cares if no one else knows about it? When God robed himself in flesh and came to this world, He came as the lowliest of low, FOR the lowliest of low. There were no parades, parties, or even masses of people following to see this precious baby in a manger. So why don't we follow Jesus' example as instructed in His Word? I challenge you all to give generously this year, but without the hype of recognition. Give selflessly. Give anonymously. Share the gift of Christ's love genuinely.


Oct 19
Gentle as a lamb

Gentleness: A character trait. A fruit of the spirit. Something that is not always easy to exhibit.

About three years ago, my dear grandmother passed away. While her death came peacefully to our family, it was not easy to move past. My grandmother was a soft spoken gem who prayed for her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren continuously. During my time with her, I never knew her to be quick to anger, but she demonstrated a firm hand over her children and grandchildren, keeping them close to God. When she passed away, one thing that constantly came to mind was her meek, quiet, and GENTLE spirit. I began praying to God to instill in me that same spirit, and I pray that prayer even today.

To be gentle does not necessarily mean you are spineless and stand idly by while the world passes you by. To be gentle means to have a STRONG hand with a SOFT touch. It means to be tender and compassionate to others’ weaknesses and limitations, understanding we all have weaknesses and limitations. A gentle person always speaks truth, even if it be a painful truth, but does so guarding his/her tone so that the truth may be well received.

I challenge you all to demonstrate gentleness to others. Do not be quick to anger with your peers or family. I know it is not an easy feat, but in striving to do so, we are practicing the fruit of the spirit.

"But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, GENTLENESS, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. Against such there is NO law."

Galations 5:22-23


Aug 13

Oh, the goodness of God is something I think we Christians take for granted. For those of us who were brought up in the faith, it is difficult for us to fathom a life without the Lord. We have been blessed enough to understand that He is always with us and will not leave us.  We live our lives to the best of our ability, ensuring that our actions are pleasing unto the Lord.  However, sometimes we forget that even at our best, our right ways are just as filthy rags. Often forgetting this tidbit, we take advantage of the goodness, mercy, and grace that has been bestowed to us.  We need to understand that we do not walk the Christian walk in order to "deserve" God's goodness; we are able to walk the walk BECAUSE of His goodness.  All of us are unworthy. 

Psalm 31 says:

19 Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!
20 Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.
21 Blessed be the Lord: for he hath shewed me his marvellous kindness in a strong city.
22 For I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes: nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto thee.
23 O love the Lord, all ye his saints: for the Lord preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer.
24 Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.

I am so thankful for God's goodness in my life everyday. I challenge all of us to bask in HIS goodness and let it strengthen us and preserve us.

Wallpaper by Jacob Shire

Jul 14
Kindness by Jaky Astik, Flickr.

Several months ago, my sister and I watched a movie in which a mother was on her death bed and was offering instruction to her daughter. "Have courage, and be kind," advised the mother. I thought such words were a fantastic final message for a mom to leave to her daughter; however, the more I thought about it, the more I realized what she should have said was, "Have courage, because being kind REQUIRES courage."

When I was a young girl, my dad taught me from the scriptures to "do good to them who hate you. and pray for them which despitefully use you." So, for your vindictively spiteful haters, do good to them and pray for them. To go a step further, Proverbs instructs us that "if thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: for thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord shall reward thee." These kind actions are not often easy. Kindness takes strength and courage, patience and fortitude. To act genuinely kind when individuals are spiteful requires time spent in prayer.

Let us all follow in the footsteps of Jesus, remembering the Proverb that says a soft answer turns away wrath, so that not only our actions, but also that our words are kind.

Kindness always comes out on top. So, have courage... and be kind :)

Image "Kindness" by Jaky Astik, Flickr.

May 27
Hayley Masters

Hayley Masters grew up in Northeast Louisiana, loving the outdoors, God, and music. At 7 years old, she wrote and recorded her first song. Captured on a vintage Playskool recorder, the song spoke of her belief in the providence of God. Singing in church for most of her life, Hayley quickly realized that music is a powerful thing.

During high school, Hayley participated in a local singing competition, and an independent producer approached her with the idea of recording a project. At that time, shy about sharing her own lyrics, she chose cover songs for her 2008 debut album, "Seasons of Change". As a fan of artists ranging from Britt Nicole and Natalie Grant to Natasha Bedingfield and Taylor Swift, she draws from a rich palette to create her songs. In 2011, Hayley released her sophomore project "Lead Me". Having received extremely positive reviews, the records opened the door for her to perform all over the country, as well as live appearances on radio and television.

Beyond that, while juggling higher education, a career as a medical professional, and her singing/songwriting pursuits, Hayley has also made guest appearances on several tracks, including Ryan John's "Remember Me" and Byron Hypolite's "Redemption". Louisiana Allstate Youth Choir's live album GLAD features Hayley on her song "Breathe Over Me" and "Set A Fire". Her love for Christmas music is evident in her pop version of "O Holy Night" which has received major radio play.

As a university graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree, Hayley works as a full-time Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant and is able to share her musical talent with the residents. "It's my gift to give," says Hayley, "and if I can somehow brighten their day with a ray of hope through my music, then my mission is accomplished."

It was the end of summer about five years ago when Hayley penned a few words and began working on an infectious catchy melody that she knew would be positive and empowering. She and long-time producer John DeNosky were in the prayer room of a church where they had been brainstorming ideas. The simple phrase, "oh from the bottom of my heart and my soul, I love you" spawned the open hearted, powerful tune that actually hinges on the first commandment recorded in scripture:

Mark 12:30 King James Version (KJV)

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

Sparked by Hayley's deep-rooted love for God in the face of everyday life, she continued creating a glowing love song with passionately convincing lyrics. Further inspired by her work with individuals with challenges, whether emotional, physical, or social, she wanted to give her fans a musical message that would shift perspective and actually change lives for the better.

"The single 'Control' is not only my journey, but everyone's," explains Hayley. "It's not just about God's love, but it's about loving God and giving Him complete control of our plans, our dreams, our past and our future." Taking the song's intent forward, Hayley masterfully arranged the deeply honest lyrics and soulfully delivered her breathtaking vocal range to persuade others to propagate the love of God to hurting humanity.

The relaxed image on the cover supports the message of the song. "While we know that God is in absolute control, we have to GIVE Him full control, and when this happens," says Hayley, "we can be at peace in our spirit and in the beauty of His love, and enjoy watching His promises fill our day, and ultimately show His love to the whole world."

"The songs I write are usually reflective of situations that I'm experiencing. It's cliche' but true that life happens, so I know that everyone is going through something at one point in time or another. I want the songs I write to bring hope," she says, "I try to write songs that will help people to sing what may be hard for them to say."

The young talent has a genuine connection with her supporters. After events, she loves to meet and talk with her fans. Some of her most inspiring moments are when people tell her, "Your music spoke to me and helped me." Hayley knows that, "if I give a voice to my silent prayers, then I give voice to the silent prayers of others."

While working as a medical professional and simultaneously pursuing a musical career, singer/songwriter and independent recording artist, Hayley Masters is also working to help raise awareness about human trafficking by forming The Turquoise Mission.

As always, Hayley loves sharing her music. She will keep singing the songs of hope and wants you to sing along.

Apr 3

As Christians, the Easter holiday is one of many emotions. During this time, we experience laughter and make great memories through our family activities or through church sponsored Easter events. We also experience grief as we take time to reflect on the cross and the solemn day in which our Savior was crucified for our sins. And lastly, we experience immense joy, knowing that Jesus rose from the grave and defeated sin and death so that we do not have to live a life in bondage.

Every Easter, I become more and more grateful for the sacrifice my Jesus made for me on the cross. Knowing that His infinite love was tested in such a manner, and that He overcame, gives me hope. It leaves me speechless to think that He sustained such suffering just so I may know Him. His love was poured out. He paid the ultimate price. He sacrificed His life so that I can feel His closeness everyday. During the Easter season, I challenge you to study and attempt to comprehend the pain and suffering Jesus went through so that He could be our Saviour...our Healer...our Deliverer. And ask yourself this one question: What love is this?

Jesus reached down to save us as INDIVIDUALS, so that we each may have a personal relationship with Him.

Mar 17

On this cold night in March, I am sitting in my local Books A Million. Actually, I thought I would take advantage of some quiet time to catch up on some reading. However, during the past 20 minutes, I have been distracted by a couple in the cafe who appear to be in a Bible study with a minister. I have been so captivated by their innocence, if you will, with regard to matters of the Bible, and the salvation that is offered to us all. To watch, firsthand the joy that comes across one's face when they finally understand why Jesus died on the cross, that He did it to save EVERYONE, and that His sacrifice has made allowances for them to lead a life free from the bondage of sin is invigorating.

At times, I think those of us who have been a part of the wonderful journey that is Christianity for the majority of our lives fail to remember the joy that is at our immediate disposal through God's salvation. We become down trodden with the trials of everyday life. We accuse the enemy of stealing our joy, when really our joy is accessed through salvation. We go through the motions of a "Christ-like" life, and we forget what it feels like to be captivated by the presence of the Most High where we experience pure and uncontainable joy . It is time we revisit the altar where our walk with Christ first began and pray as the Psalmist prayed: "Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit."

Feb 5

The LOVE month is here! I am so excited about February. Valentine’s Day is my absolute favorite holiday, and I also have a birthday this month =). While most find it difficult to become excited over a holiday they view as frivolous, I am bulging with excitement to spread the LOVE! Yes, this holiday may be mostly about letting your significant other know how much you care, but it can also be opportunity for us to live out the mission we were placed on earth for… to spread God’s love to every person we come in meet.

People often ask me why I love this holiday so much, and the answer is quite simple. I am called to LOVE… we all are. I think a day that is set aside for humans to focus solely on love, while the majority of our day-to-day lives are filled with hate and malice, is a wonderful thing.

The world needs to know they are loved… that no mistake nor anything else can separate them from the overwhelmingly unconditional love of God. He was the first to show the world what an act of true love is all about. Sacrifice. He made the ultimate sacrifice, waged a war on death, and won! How glorious is that!

I challenge you all to spread the love this Valentine’s Day. Show the world what a love that is true. Show the world the power of love. Let the world know there is hope and peace through the love of Jesus.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13