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Offended? Pray This Way…

Father, I am offended and hurt by X’s behavior toward me. I realize that each time I rehearse the situation, it prevents me from experiencing Your peace. I know that in this life, offenses will come— intentionally or unintentionally. Help me to remember that all things work together for my good because I love You and I am called according to Your purpose (Romans 8:28). You could have prevented this offense, but You have allowed it to come into my life for a specific purpose. Please do not let me miss the spiritual and emotional growth, the improved relational skills, or any other benefit that will result from my handling this situation Your way.

Your Word says that those who are merciful are blessed and will obtain mercy (Matthew 5:7). Father, give me a merciful heart toward X. Help me to extend to him the same mercy that You so faithfully extend to me when I violate Your commands.

Proverbs 19:11 reminds me that wisdom gives me patience and that it is to my glory to overlook an offense. Father, I do not want to get stuck in this offense for it is just a trap of the evil one to set me back spiritually and emotionally.

Give me the wisdom to determine when to overlook an offense versus when to confront it. If a godly confrontation is indeed Your will in this situation, then give me the courage to go privately to X and tell him his fault (Matthew 18:15). I pray that I will use the right words—Your words—to express my true feelings and bring closure in a way that honors You. I know that Your words, spoken through me, will not fall to the ground, but will succeed in accomplishing Your purpose (Isaiah 55:11).

Father, as much as it depends on me and as Your grace prevails, I will make every effort to live peaceably with everybody (Romans  12:18). Therefore, by the power of the Holy Spirit, I let go of this offense now. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

A Prayer for When You Have Been FINANCIALLY DISADVANTAGED or RIPPED OFF

robber-holding-money-bags-while-running

Father, I have been financially disadvantaged in my dealings with X. By Your grace, I lay down my anger, frustration, disappointment, and unforgiveness. Because You guard all that is mine (Psalm 16:5), this outcome did not catch You by surprise. Help me put the loss in perspective and to remember that You can restore exceedingly and abundantly above all that I can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

Father, I need Your wisdom for how to proceed in resolving this matter—through legal channels or by simply forgiving the debt. I do not want to enable X to continue in her evil, dysfunctional,  or irresponsible ways, but neither do I want to destroy her emotionally, financially, or otherwise. Show me where I may have failed to communicate or formally document my expectations. Help me to see if I set X up for failure with terms or conditions that were too vague, too onerous, or even too lenient.

O Lord, You know the current state of X’s finances and whether she has the ability to repay me now or in the future. If she has dealt with me deceitfully, convict her of her sin. Your Word declares that bread gained by deceit is sweet, but afterward the deceiver’s mouth will be full of gravel (Proverbs 20:17). I pray that X will find no satisfaction, profit, or peace in the fruit of her deception.

Give her the courage to come forward and resolve this issue in a manner that honors You. Let her not be named among the wicked who refuse to pay back what they owe (Psalm 37:21). Rather, help her to become an upright person guided by integrity (Proverbs 11:3).

Father, thank You that You have made me a lender and not a bor rower. I acknowledge that You own everything I possess (Psalm 24:1). I want to be a good, discerning  steward of all You have entrusted into my care. Please do not let a root of bitterness spring up in me and stop me from helping others because of this disappointing outcome.

I submit this financial loss to You. I choose to walk in forgiveness and in the freedom-giving truth that You are the avenger of every wrong. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

My Most Eventful Month of the Decade!

Forgive,-Let-Go,-and-Live_bI hope that you’ve all had a great summer. August has been an eventful month for me.

On August 1, my new book,  Forgive, Let Go, and Live,  was released by Harvest House Publishers. I’m really excited about its potential to free people who are stuck in their story of hurt and offense. Here is a capsule of some of the key content:
• 25 Real Stories of the Tragedy of Revenge and the Triumph of Forgiveness
• 10 Signs That It’s Time to Let Go of a Hurtful Relationship
• A 12-Step Mini Program for Forgiveness
• 5 Rewards of Letting Go of an Offense
• 20 Scripture-based Prayers to Release Specific Hurts and Offenses

It is so critical that we guard our peace of mind and make every effort to have harmonious relationships in the various circles of our lives. Nothing gets accomplished without people.  You may read an excerpt and purchase the book at Amazon.com (https://goo.gl/dG761w) –or if you insist on wanting an autographed copy, order it from my website: www.ConfrontingIssues.com.

The second weekend in August, I traveled to Orlando, Fl for the culmination of my training to become an independent, certified John Maxwell Leadership Coach! I’m delighted to be associated with John and his team. He has been named the number one leadership guru in the world. John has set the bar pretty high and by the grace of God, I’ll try to keep it there. I plan to conduct corporate masterminds, seminars, and other gatherings primarily around the issue of connecting effectively with people and adding value to their lives.

Finally, on August 15, I was delighted to participate in the commencement ceremony of Next Dimension University, a private accredited Bible college on a mission to stamp out biblical illiteracy. They awarded me an honorary doctorate in Theology along with gospel greats Yolanda Adams, Fred Hammond, and others who are making a difference in the world. And no, you don’t have to call me Dr. Deborah!

I pray that you are pursuing your God-ordained purpose and being fulfilled in every way. Don’t be a victim to procrastination or fear—and for goodness sake, don’t wait until you feel “totally qualified” to step out on faith. Know that God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that you could ask or think—according to the power that works IN YOU (Ephesians 3:20). Be blessed and thanks for being a part of my “tribe”.

“Forgive, Let Go, and Live” ….Coming August 1, 2015

To “Look Inside” the book , go to Amazon.com, cut and paste this link:   https://goo.gl/dG761w

Here is what’s waiting:

25  Real Stories of  the Tragedy of Revenge and the Triumph of Forgiveness

 6 Questions to Ask Yourself When Contemplating Revenge

 5 Things to Consider Before Restoring a Relationship

 10 Signs That It’s Time to Let Go of a Hurtful Relationship

 12-Step Mini Program for Forgiveness

 5 Rewards of Letting Go of an Offense

 9 Essential Acts When Seeking Forgiveness from Another

 20 Scripture-based Prayers to Release Specific Hurts and Offenses

How to Pray When Overwhelmed


The Word of God is the Will of God.
 When you feel overwhelmed with the pressures and trials of life, try  praying the Scriptures. Here’s an example to get you started:

“Lord, I am beset with trouble. It seems that more problems arise each day. I am weary of my own sighing and can find no rest (Jeremiah 45:3). From the end of the earth I will cry to you.  When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I. You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy (Psalms 61:2-3). It seems that the weight of the world is on my shoulders.  I know that this is not your will. Please teach me how to cast all my cares and concerns upon you for you care about what happens to me (1 Peter 5:7).  Give me the courage to change the things that I can, the grace to accept the things that I cannot, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Let me bring glory to your name by doing only the things that you have told me to do (John 17:4) instead of being stretched in every direction by the wishes and demands of others. As pressure and stress bear down on me, let me find joy in your commands (Psalms 119:143).

Lord, do not allow me to become so busy that I eliminate my quite time with you. Teach me how to be still and to know that you are God (Psalms 46:10). Thank you for being my refuge, a very present help in a time of trouble (Psalms 46:1). In the name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.”

A Tribute to My Dad…

Far from being perfect, my dad left a legacy of astute financial management. He cautioned against having “yearnings” that exceeded your “earnings”. He probably never made more than $100 per week when we were growing up but he stretched that money to meet all the needs (food, clothing, transportation, and housing) of our 9-member household. There was no lack. The food budget was $25/wk and there was no such thing as going over because $25 was all he gave my mom or me to shop with (I sometimes did the shopping as my mom was often sick and couldn’t walk.) I learned then the money management skills that I still use today–and one overriding principle: you can always live off less money. Further, I learned that if you decided to lend someone some money, they must sign a PROMISSORY NOTE (he required COLLATERAL and a PROMISSORY NOTE!). You didn’t want to owe him; he was coming for his $$$ and your credit was FOREVER ruined with him. Even today, when I caution, “Don’t forget that I’m Rube Smith’s daughter” everyone knows what that means… no-nonsense when it comes to my money. Oddly, as Executor of his Will, I discovered in his papers that he balanced his frugality with a big dose of generosity to struggling churches and to people who were incarcerated.

Not much of a nurturer, I never heard him say “I love you” until he was on his death bed; I was so shocked I made a joke of it. He was proud of me but never told me so; others later told me he always spoke of my accomplishments. He was especially impressed that I was the Chief Financial Officer for now Presiding Bishop Charles Blake (West Angeles Church) whom the people in the Southern churches called “The BIG Bishop”. An eternal chauvinist, he couldn’t believe Bishop Blake gave such a responsible job to a woman. Once he asked, “You mean they couldn’t find ONE deacon around there to do that job???” I didn’t even try to explain that building a $66 million Cathedral, negotiating the $33 million bank financing, and running a multi-million dollar operating budget were much more complicated than just counting money (which I never did–still ain’t good at actually counting).

Rest in peace, Daddy. I know that you and Mom are both in Heaven so I’m convinced you are finally seeing eye to eye. I knew you two loved each other and that’s why neither of you ever re-married, choosing rather to remain “separated” for over 40 years. By the way, thanks for the financial windfall you left us all when you passed away. I can’t believe you saved that much money! You certainly practiced what you preached. I honor you for that!

A Salute to My Spiritual (Female) Mentors

This past Mother’s Day got me to thinking about the women–outside of my mother–who have shaped my life. Below is a synopsis of each one arranged CHRONOLOGICALLY based on when they came onto the scene and started impacting my life:

LADY JEAN MITCHELL (wife of the late Elder S.E. Mitchell who) during my college years in Denton, Texas taught me how to walk in God’s grace when faced with grief. She helped me deal with the sudden death of my high school sweetheart when I was a sophomore. I still use her principle of crying out, “Help me, Lord!” even in recent losses. Once, when the doctors pronounced her husband dead, she commanded life to return to him; it did. She was and is a powerful woman of faith! My first venture into believing God for good grades, etc.began at St. Andrews Church of God in Christ in Denton.

BISHOP E.C. REEMS was a trailblazer in the Church of God in Christ who DEMONSTRATED that anything was possible; she lit the fires of my ambition by example–going where no woman had gone before in leadership, heading up her own church–never losing her femininity. She is to this day a sharp dresser but most importantly a woman of prayer. I love the fact that she was never dissuaded or deterred by the opinion of others. She is still on the battlefield in her latter years, preaching the Gospel and inspiring women to maximize their potential.

The late DR. MARLENE TALLEY was prayer and love personified. She demonstrated what it meant to sacrifice for others and to “stay on the altar”. I made several trips from California to Philadelphia to be on the altar, to learn to “pray thru”. She was mentored by the late Mother E.J. Dabney. She taught me how to look beyond the faults of others and to just “focus on the good parts”. A spiritual drill sergeant, she rescued me before I was trapped by sinful preachers sent by satan to derail me.

The late DR. JUANITA SMITH: My Elijah… everyone says I caught her mantle. She was my pastor’s wife at the West Adams Foursquare Church in Los Angeles– and later my pastor for a short season after our dear pastor Dr. H. Marvin Smith had a stroke & became disabled. She influenced me to no end. Brilliant, anointed, balanced, caring, fun, funny, down to earth–and the wisest of 10,000 when it came to honoring men, husbands, etc. I have a great marriage to this day because of her teaching. When it came to forgiving others, she always said, “I release everybody”–and she did. I saw her do it. My, how that has helped me. My next book is dedicated to her (“Forgive, Let Go, and Live”)

DR. BARBARA McCOO LEWIS heads up the Dept. of Women for the Church of God in Christ (Southern Calif. 1st Jurisdiction). I love her style. Like Dr. Juanita Smith, she is wise, prayerful, sensitive to the needs of women, beautiful, and has a great marriage. She constantly honors her husband. She has not compromised, but holds to high standards of holiness–such a rarity these days. She knows how to humbly wait for God to open doors—while being eminently qualified to step right in at any time. She fights her battles on her knees. She is an awesome, articulate speaker with a clear message. What a model!
I don’t know what I did to merit the attention and support of these awesome ladies but I do know that I want to be a similar influence on other women. I SALUTE, APPRECIATE, and am ETERNALLY GRATEFUL FOR EACH ONE.

Synergy! Collaboration is the New Competition

I love the word “collaborate” because it suggests synergy–the concept that the “whole”  is greater than the sum of the parts.  We are surrounded by synergism in everyday life.  Take our physical bodies,  for example. Using free weights, I can lift about 3 pounds with each finger; thus, I should be able to life 15 pounds with a single hand. Interestingly, when I combine the effort of all my fingers working as a unit, I can lift my 40-pound suitcase!  The concept of synergy is found throughout the Bible. For example, Deuteronomy  32:30 speaks of ONE chasing a 1,000 but TWO putting 10,000 to flight. Hey wait! Something is wrong with the math here. If one can chase a 1,000 then two should only be able to chase 2,000. But not in God’s economy! When we combine efforts, we are 10 times more effective than working as a sole individual.

Corporations are increasingly collaborating, merging or forming  new entities to achieve certain synergies in their operations. Competing is fast becoming an outdated business model. I think it’s time we all jump on the bandwagon and look for ways to work  synergistically with others. We can start in our families. We can abandon the sibling rivalry and the bickering and commit to behavior that makes the family stronger. At work, try becoming the chief team player and to stop fretting about another getting your coveted promotion.  Serve without seeking credit and accolades at church; just cooperate with others and support their programs.  Don’t have a scarcity mentality that says, “If I help X succeed, there won’t be any benefits left for me!”  Such scarcity thinking is an insult to our God of abundance–and it will derail your destiny faster than a speeding bullet.  Surely you know that promotion comes from God (Psalms 75:6). So relax, nobody can get what’s yours. Enjoy the process and leave your  exaltation to God!

I’m Praying for Your Financial Breakthrough!

Although the best things in life may be free, you need CASH to fund or access many of the things that are not… like funding your child’s education, launching a new business or product, paying for assistance/expertise, buying necessary equipment, staying current on mortgage and other debt, maintaining your vehicle, paying dues to be in organizations that expose you to people who can take you to the next level… the list is endless–and individual. I don’t assume that all of you have all your needs met, but I do know that it is God’s will for you to have more than enough (3 John 1:2). So I’m praying for all of my social media community that God will show Himself strong in your finances. Expect Him to do so. When tempted to become anxious or to worry, begin declaring and personalizing His Word:

“And my God shall supply all MY need according to  His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

Now, don’t sabotage your blessing. Walk the F.I.G. path, i.e., be Frugal, Integral, and Generous. In other words, (1) save where you can (and for goodness sake don’t charge luxuries); (2) don’t cheat ever (it’s an insult to God who is just waiting to supply your need), and (3) don’t forget to give to somebody or assist in some way; you’ll reap what you sow!

This past week was full of “favor” & “giving” opportunities for my husband Darnell and me: we got treated to a pricey black-tie affair (actually ended up with TWO invitations) in Beverly Hills, treated to lunch after  Sunday service, donated to two charities outside of our regular tithes and offerings, and blessed a single parent with a quality piece of furniture. Also, I went shopping a few days ago for a pair of “formal” shoes at a great shoe store and found the prefect pair on sale on the clearance rack for only $29; when I got to the checkout counter, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I had a $20 “members only” discount that was set to expire at the end of the month! I think that was God’s way of winking at me!

This is an exciting time for our household. Darnell and I are both now officially self-employed, without steady paychecks, and depending on God. I am so glad to HUMBLY say that, BY THE GRACE OF GOD, we have NEVER missed paying our tithes during our entire 35+ years of marriage. As far as we’re concerned, we are insured against LACK!

Jesus: The Model Celebrity

I’m doing an exciting study from the Gospels on how Jesus handled his “celebrity” (celebrity simply means to be well-known). No matter how much He grew in fame, He consistently:

1) PRAYED (Mark 1:35-37 NKJV : Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. 36 And Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him. 37 When they found Him, they said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.”

2) PRIORITIZED His activities to align with His purpose: (Mark 1:38 But He said to them, “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth.” NKJV)… NOTICE: The crowds didn’t dictate His schedule.

3) PURSUED a life of purity (John 8:29…”He one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I ALWAYS do what pleases him.” {‘ALWAYS???’  BOY, I WANT THIS TESTIMONY!!!}

 This message is to all whom God has given a mandate but who are finding themselves distracted from the MAIN THING because of the pull of others.