Read more about the article Living by Divine Design  (Leave the Default Zone)
Emptiness Vs Fulfillment Purpose Reason Value Puzzle 3d Illustration
Living by Divine Design (Leave the Default Zone)

We have become his poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny he has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it! Ephesians 2:10 The Passion Translation She’d settled into life as it was and had taken consolation in the words of Paul: “Whatever state I am in...”  She wrapped herself in contentment like a thick wool comforter on a cold winter’s day and nestled into a predictability that, over the years, had slowly and methodically suffocated her dreams, hopes, and desires one by one. Some were still breathing, but barely. Up at dawn, shower, dress, cook breakfast, get kids ready and off to school, battle through the morning rush to just make it to the job for which she was highly over-qualified, a job that had long ago ceased to challenge or draw from the reservoir of creativity within her.  But dutifully, she put in her eight hours and then was hurled into the madness of after-school activities—soccer practices and dance classes.  Then home again. Cook dinner, check homework, go through bedtime rituals with the kids.  On a good night, she’d stare blankly at the TV, watching the Housewives of Somewhere, and wonder how someone got away with murdering her dreams as she watched re-runs of "How to Get Away with Murder" on Netflix.  Pray, read, go to sleep, only to…

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Unapolgetically in 2023 (Sorry, Not Sorry)

Unapologetically (Sorry, Not Sorry) But what I am now I am by the grace of God. The grace he gave me has not proved a barren gift. I have worked harder than any of the others - and yet it was not I but this same grace of God within me. 1 Corinthians 15:10 J.B. Phillips Translation    She’d answer the phone speaking in tongues! “Hello, Mother Clark!” I’d say. She’d laugh with such delight as she always did when I called, and she’d say (as she always did), “Ah, Sister Deborah! Daughter, I was just thinking about you!”  She’d barely give me a chance to ask how she was or if she needed anything before she’d go straight prophetic on me, give me a “thus saith the Lord,” pray with me.  I’d hang up, eyes filled with tears and heart filled with gratitude. I admit I don’t remember a lot of those conversations now. But there are some that I will never forget, for the words lodged deep in my spirit.   They didn’t necessarily take root at the time, but recently those words returned to me to heal, shift my perspective, change me, settle me more deeply, and strengthen my resolve. I came home from work one afternoon and called Mother Clark to check on her. She began our conversation by telling me about a segment of the Oprah Show about birth order she’d just watched. Then she said, “You are bold, full of dazzle and sparkle! Full…

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Read more about the article Out the Boat
Kids jumping off the back of a boat into the water.
Out the Boat

We are fast approaching a new year filled with new possibilities.  The degree to which we will experience the new and all God has purposed for us depends on our willingness to leave the comfortable, the known, and do something we've never done before. It depends on our willingness to get out of the boat.  We each have a boat, a safe place.  The challenge for 2023—Get Out of the Boat.  I reshare my first (and last) snorkeling experience to encourage you... this is the year!   "Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great." –  John D. Rockefeller “I don’t think I want to do this,” I announced with calm resolve. “What you say, mon?” inquired the resort’s water sports expert and my newfound friend Desmond in his lilting, rhythmic Jamaican accent. I looked him squarely in the eyes and repeated – slowly, deliberately, “I don’t think I want to do this.”  The small vessel had motored far from Montego Bay's peaceful, white-sand beaches and had come to a halt.  I looked at the water.  “I can’t do this.” “Yah, mon. You be fine.  Dere’s no t’ing to worry ‘bout.  I be in da water right wit’ you.  I not gon’ let not’ing happen to you.  All you gotta do is relax and breat’e.”  Desmond jumped into the water and bade me come. Sensing my apprehension, he said, “Take you time, mon.  You all right.  I right here.  Come on, mon.” And at his…

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For Such a Time as This

She sauntered into my seventh grade Language Arts class late and loud, flashing an impish grin. Within moments she had hurled obscenities at another student and had lied to me.  My heart sank as I thought, “Lord, I’m not ready for this.”  And I girded my loins, metaphorically speaking, and prepared to do battle with Adrienne, who in the span of ten minutes had become a thorn in my flesh. Adrienne, brown-skinned tomboy with dancing eyes, demanded attention any way she could receive it.  I soon discovered, however, this troublesome and troubled adolescent was smart, eager to learn, eager to be the best (though, at times it was difficult to determine the best at what). She irritated and delighted me.  She plagued and haunted me.  I was drawn to her—to something deep within her crying for release, drawn to the person God created her that had been buried under the life’s circumstances, drawn to the image of God that was sullied.  She became mine from that moment. Others seemed unable to see the diamond in the rough, that image of God hiding within her longing to shine through.  Soon a conspiracy began to get rid of Adrienne.  She was suspended for two weeks, but out of sight was not out of mind. I found myself praying for her, imploring Father to send someone her way that could redirect her energies, show her a little genuine concern and save her from the streets that beckoned her.  Prayed for her grandmother…

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A Simple Response

On Christmas Eve, my pastor, John W. Stevenson, shared a wonderful message entitled Just Say, "OKAY!"  It reminded me of something I'd  written a few years ago. I thought I'd share it as we prepare to enter a new year to encourage you to just say, "OKAY!" Great acts of God are often preceded by simple acts of obedience. —Steven Furtick I was minding my business, going about my merry way, singing a simple song when I heard the whisper. I knew it was God because the idea wasn’t remotely anything I had ever considered. It wasn’t anything I’d ever dreamed of, prayed for, wished upon on star for. I knew it was God because Deborah wasn’t trying to add one more thing to an already jam-packed life, wasn’t trying to add a morsel to her already full plate. Knew it was God because not only was this something I had never done before, I had no point of reference for it…at all! But I’d heard that still small voice. And once you’ve heard it, you can’t un-hear it. You can ignore it. You can choose to disobey it. You can try to flick it away like a fly. But you can’t un-hear it. And I’d heard. So instead of doing what I’ve done more often than I care to admit. Instead of dismissing it as a whim, instead of offering a litany of excuses why I couldn’t or why I shouldn’t, instead of disqualifying myself, instead of seeking…

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Read more about the article The Prayers You No Longer Pray
sunrise in the sea
The Prayers You No Longer Pray

This is the confidence we have before him: If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked of him.  1 John 5:14,15 CSB One of my Christmas traditions is reading the accounts of Jesus' birth. I typically  read from the Narrated Bible because  I like the way it takes the accounts of Matthew and Luke and combines them into one seamless story. But, for some reason, this year I decided to read Luke's account from a different version. I've read Luke 1 more times than I can count. But this time as I read I was arrested by one phrase in verse 13. The angel Gabriel is speaking to Zacharias and tells him not to be afraid because "...your prayer is heard." Holy Spirit seemed highlighted those words.  …your prayer IS heard Then I heard Holy Spirit whisper, "Read the footnote." And the footnote indicated that these words could be more accurately translated "the prayer you no l0nger pray" or "the prayer you don't even pray anymore."  Holy Spirit whispered again, "Deborah, the prayer you no longer pray IS heard!" Tears pooled in my eyes.  I can only imagine the number of years Zacharias had prayed for an heir. I can only imagine how he must have felt as years past and he and his wife, Elizabeth, remained childless. Perhaps as they grew older, he remembered Abraham and Sarah. He may have thought and even encouraged Elizabeth with…

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