None of These Things Move Me.

 None of These Things Move Me….

Acts 20:24-But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

Yesterday I was stuck in traffic for well over an hour. I mean stop and go and most times stand still traffic. To compound my problem I neglected to put gas in my car earlier during my commute, so it was essentially on E.

You better know the enemy began to whisper all kinds of foolishness in my head. You should pull your car over and walk, so you don’t run out of gas. And when he wasn’t trying to convince me to get out of my car on a busy eight-lane highway. He was trying to assault my mind about how stupid I was for not getting gas and how sorry I’d be when I finally ran out.

While sitting there, I began to pray and rebuke the devil. The Bible tells us we should cast down every imagination and the high thing that tries to captivate our minds. In 2 Corinthians 10:5   Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

I do not have to allow the enemy to beat me up and play games with my mind. And even when he tries it none of those things move me.  None of those things to move me from my relationship with God. None of these things move me.

Romans 8: 38-39 gives us a list of things that will try to come and move us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I submit to you today, we don’t have to be moved by any of the tricks and traps of the devil. We can cast down all of those things that try to separate us from God. When the enemy comes with his foolishness, tell him, none of those things move me.

 

Cassandra Durham @ 2017

 

 

One Lord and One Faith

 One Lord and One Faith

Ephesians 4:4-6 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

For the last year or so I’ve noticed a split or tearing away in the body of Christ. No doubt it has always been there, but now it is more noticeable. When the church is divided, we send out mixed messages. One church/division says one thing is acceptable while another church /division tells us it is not.

God has not called us to be split. He sent His Word.

The infallible, unchanging Word of God. It is our guide. It is our rule book. It is how we are supposed to live our lives.

So why the division?

I think we’ve gotten so caught up on the grace that we have forgotten that the wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23) The consequences of sin haven’t changed. It’s still going to be death, in one form or another.

Yea we can repent of sin, but that then brings me to do we continue in sin just because we can repent? Do we continue on the treacherous path of willfully sinning just because we can ask for forgiveness? Do we continue to wallow in our own faults and messiness because we know God will hear us?

I submit to you Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

God forbid.

God forbid. God forbid. That’s the answer the Word gives us. God forbid.

We have to get back to basics. I don’t know how we thought we deserved promotion when we haven’t mastered the elementary tenets of the faith. We’ve been going along in our own way and becoming our own masters. We’ve left the interpretation of God’s Word to folks who aren’t Christians.

Let’s get it together church. If we are indeed one like the Word says… we need to act like it. We should walk alike, talk alike, and act alike. If the Body of Christ ever get on one accord, we will put the enemy on the run. He will have no more dominion over the earth. But first, we’ve got to repent and turn back to our first love.

Cassandra B. Durham 2017

The Big Head

 

Sometimes we get the big head. We start believing our own press and our own hype. We’ve allowed the enemy to creep in with pride. For whatever reason we begin to believe we have achieved a measure of success on our own. Yes, you may have written the book, but the words were not your alone. Yes, you solved a difficult problem at work, but the revelation came from God. Yes, you helped save someone from death or destruction, but it is God who truly saves. Every single thing we do must point back to Him.

At times we forget, God uses us to reach His people.

It is not us.

In fact, if we be in Christ, then we are NOT our own, we too have been bought with a price. We’ve made an exchange. It is in Christ we live, move and have our being.

Am I telling you to stop being great. No way. In all of your greatness don’t forget WHO gave the ability for it to be. Consider for a moment the Bible tells us in Isaiah 64:6 and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. Yep, our works and all of our doing is described as filthy rags.  A filthy rag, something used to clean something else. Wow, that puts it in perspective. After we’ve been used to preach a mighty Word, to witness to a thousand, to lift up hundreds, to speak an encouraging Word to a coworker (cleaning them off, helping them become fit for the Master’s use… we become a filthy rag He used.

We cannot allow “our doing,” and our “filthy rags,” to lift us up in spiritual pride.

To help us to keep it in perspective the Apostle Paul tell us in 2 Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

The way to avoid getting the big head and becoming a filthy rag is to remember Who gave you the gift and allowed you to do the work. It’s God. It has always been Him. It will always be him.

 

Copyright © 2016 Cassandra Baker Durham

www.cassandradurham.net

 

Get Out Of The Comfort Zone

 

eagleDaily Reflection: Genesis 12: 1-3 Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew theeAnd I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Generally, I do not like to be pushed. I don’t. I don’t like to be pushed in a line. I don’t like to be pushed/backed into a corner. I think that it is the out of control feeling that disturbs me in the pushing process. And, to be honest, I don’t like it. I don’t like it when people push me and yes, I can admit I don’t like it when God pushes me either.

Yesterday God pushed me. At first I was upset about it. I didn’t want to leave my comfort zone. Have you ever had the experience of being pushed? The uncertainty, the unknown, the fear that tries to creep in, just in that one moment of time, that one blinking of an eye when you actually believe that you may fall.

The reason that most of us do not like being pushed is that we are afraid that we might fall. The funny thing is most the time that we are pushed, we do not fall. Yes we waiver, get jostled around, and we stumble, but usually we are able to right ourselves and keep on walking. We’ve got to keep on walking.

The pushing makes us move. I can understand now, why the eagles make the next uncomfortable for their babies. They want them to soar. And so does God. He wants us to soar to higher heights and deeper depths in Him. We can get comfortable in jobs, in relationships, in the daily grind of our lives that we pack our wings away. We pack our hopes and dreams away. We pack away all the promises that God has spoken over us because we have gotten comfortable with where we are at. God doesn’t make us comfortable. He makes us move.

Prayer of Thanks: Lord thank you for the moving and shaking that is going on in my life. Help me to be open to the new, fresh and exciting opportunities that you will present to me. Help me not to become bitter, angry and frustrated in my process. Thank you for what you are going to do in my life. In Jesus name, amen.

 

Thought for the day: Getting out of our comfort zones requires us to move.

 

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My Top Ten Reads of 2015

top-ten-booksCompiling my list of the ten top reads of 2015 is one of my favorite things. It gives me the opportunity to look back over the books I’ve read and in some cases to go back and read them again. This list is in no particular order and I hope you will consider reading each of these great titles by great authors.

 

 

 

Stand your groundStand Your Ground- Victoria Christopher Murray- I found myself making statements on my facebook page while reading this book such as, “Victoria Christopher Murray’s New book Stand Your Ground has opened with a throw a flip flop at your cousin bang…..smh @ her.”
and…
“I can’t believe Victoria Christopher Murray has me standing in these people living room with my heart constricting and tears rolling down my face- Stand Your Ground Novel… I feel like I have a stingray barb in my chest and its slowly twisting the life out of me….”
This book is so good, I think I experienced every emotion known to man.

 

Mamma’s Boy- Reshonda Tate Billingsley

What do you do when your child is in big trouble? Do you help him? Do you turn him in? Does your motherly instinct to love and to protect kick in? A white police officer is fatally shot in a scuffle with three black youths—and a cellphone video captures Jamal Jones. This book is like non other I’ve read. You really need to read this one.Mamma   Rich Woman’s Fetish- Naleighna Kai 

This authors writing always, always, always makes me stop whatever I’m doing and give her book my complete and devoted attention. I started this book last night and could not put it down. At midnight I said just one more chapter, the next thing I knew it was 2am. At 2am I again said I’ll put it down after the next chapter… by the time I looked at the clock again it was 3am and I have to be at work at 8am. Talk about a book hangover.
I loved Gina’s story, she dared to dream that her life could be better than it was at that moment. After loosing each of her family members, she developed an unconventional plan to set herself free. The choices and decisions she makes comes back to haunt her in more ways than one. You have to pick up this startling book to get the outcome. You’ll keep this one in your library to read again and again!

Playing With Fire- Deborah Mello

Visually I could see Deborah Fletcher Mello stretching out in the book. The nuances and musical quirks had me believing that I was sitting in a dark, dank jazz and blues club in Raleigh. Let me tell you this book has me totally book wasted I stayed up all night reading. I loved. Romeo Marshall would make any woman droll and perhaps a few men too. Whats not to like about someone strong, cocky and good looking. He has everything he needs except the balancing out of a good woman.
Taryn Williams is the confident, sexy, independent woman who doesn’t necessarily ” need a man.” But Romeo shows her that wanting a man is not a bad thing at all.
James “Piano Man” Burdett holds the key to a devastating secret that could either pull the two lovers together or destroy at least one of them. If you are ready for a grown up love, this is the book for you!

The Favorite Son- Tiffany Warren

WOW what a great story about family and faith. This book was so good that when I got to the end of my kindle copy, I kept mashing the button hoping for more of the story. There were several laugh out loud moments in the book especially where the father was concerned. I enjoyed Camden’s low key ways but there was a time or two I was guilty of questions some things about who he is. Blaine was a mess, just a mess. He felt like as long as he was straight up with folks that he could not be liable for their​ feelings. I am hoping that Tiffany will write a follow up story the secondary characters were just as strong as the main characters. Excellent read!

Society Wives- Renee Flagler

You know you are reading a good book when …. (1) while walking out of work you decide to just finish the page you are on , on the way to the car. Then you get to the car in sit down on those hot leather seat ( and it did not stop you). You continue to so sit in the blazing hot sun, on leather seats and read for 30 more minutes… Yea it was that good and I now have the wet, kinky hair to prove it. Pearson/ Niles, Ryan/Anderson Vonnie/ Mike and Nadalia/Sage are four couples all going through their own issues. The men are long time friends, the wives..hmmm not so much, but what happens when all hell breaks loose and they find when scandal erupts one another is all they really have. I loved this book and I highly recommend it for your reading pleasure.

Driving Heat- Zuri Day

Zuri Day does not disappoint in this installment of the blue collar lover novel. Bryon Carter is a run of the mill Los Angeles bus driver who enjoys his job so much some folks get on his bus just to hang out, like his baby momma. Cynthia is a case manager at a local youth help agency. Cynthia’s family comes from the upper crust of society but has a love for under privileged children. In her quest to help her clients she doesn’t think it’s strange to go a rough part of town to find one that has grown astray. While on her dip to the wild side Cynthia encounters Bryon and that’s when the sparks begin to fly. Although Cynthia likes him she has to remember that he is just a bus driver and not the man of wealth her friends and family are convinced that she needs. Can Cynthia lay aside the peer pressure and kick Bryon to the curve…. You’ll have to read it to find out. I loved this book so much…I’m thinking about getting a bus pass. I highly recommend this novel!

The Come Up- Nia Forrester

Great God !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No one and I mean NO one does it like Nia ! That was an amazing ride. Ohhh I’ve got to read it again just to feel the silent thumping of my heart in my chest! Bravo! Nia Bravo… Take a Bow. If I can develop into half the writer you are, then my writer alter ego will be pleased. Jamal and Mikayla would have the perfect relationship if it wasn’t for Madison and Devin. Can these two opposing forces keep the love birds apart….well you’ll have to read it to find out! Excellent ! I highly recommend this book!

Brock’s Redemption- EJ Brock

I was introduced to the writing of EJ Brock and Brock’s Redemption because of the Kindle Unlimited program. After reading the blub, I decided to take a chance.Let me tell you, I am so glad I did. I loved it and I loved the story of Brock and Jodi and how the essentially completed one another. I could not put this book down! I highly recommend this book and now I’m on to the next in the series.

Sing A New Song- Michelle Lindo Rice

Lord have mercy you know you have your hands on a great book when you begin praying for the characters. Tiffany’s cancer is inoperable and she is going to die. But before she dies she is determined to make sure that her daughter Karlie is left in capable hands. In her quest to secure her daughters future she must confront and face the enemies of her past.
Michelle stuck her foot all in this book. I highly recommend that you pick up this book.

Okay so you know I cannot stop at 10 right- LOL- So I’ve got some serious Honorable Mentions..

The Re-Education of Aria Jackson- Angelia Menchan

With a title like the Reeducation of Aria Jackson, one should know that this book is going to be a lesson in being grown. College educated Aria Jackson thinks just a little too highly of herself. Saul is determined to break past all of her defenses one by one. Enter Aria’s good friend Rachelle and I should have known it was going to be some stuff in the game. You’ve got to pick up the book to see how all of this comes out in the wash. I loved it! Angelia once again brought her A game with this story.

The Forbidden Man- Elle Wright

Syd has been in love with Den since her early college days and he rescued her. Den unfortunately has been in love with himself for at least twice as long. No matter how hard he tries his issues will not allow him to “remain faithful.” Tired of the craziness that is Den she calls off the wedding and tried to take stock of her life. But chile let me tell you, she has a bff …ummmmm Morgan is his name and he just happens to be brother to Ummm yea Den. Lets just say thats when things get a lil sticky. If you haven’t read The Forbidden Man you should do it. Its so well written that you’ll find yourself reading it over and over. I loved it and highly recommend it!

Devout- Takerra Allen

Okay I read this in December 2014 and AGAIN in 2015 and it deserves a re-mention..

Once again Takerra has hit a home run. The characters demanded that I fall in love with them while we went on this journey. I am almost afraid to say as anything because I don’t want to spoil the goodness of the story….. I will say Denny gives me life.

I also discovered Beverly Jenkins books this year…swoon… so go get all of her’s..

Also pick up KR Bankston’s Evolutions! It’s about my original book boo Mook!

Happy Reading!

 

How NOT to Crack Under Pressure

 

How-not-to-crack-under-pressure-jpg Two years ago, God gave me a new assignment.

I wasn’t looking for a new assignment. Two years ago while praying about the state of my previous job, God asked me a question.

He said, “Do YOU belong to me?”

Instinctively my answer is/was a resounding “Yes.”

He replied” If you belong to me, I should be able to tell you where to go and you go. Cassandra I have given you a new assignment. Will you accept it?”

With my hands lifted in praise and warm tears running down my face I whispered, “Yes.”

Boy did I NOT know how much the Yes was going to cost.

The Yes has caused me to be under what at times has felt like unbearable pressure. There have been numerous losses and casualties. There were days on the battlefield I was left broken, bruised and bloody. But I could look around and see others on the still waving the blood stained banner of Christ and I chose to preserve through my pressure and pain.

The first lesson I learned on how NOT to crack under pressure… is to choose.

Each day even though I was hurting, depressed or frustrated and angry, I made the choice to get out of the bed and face the day and whatever it held. I know that there are some blows when they land make us want to hide under the covers. But you’ll never truly experience victory in Christ hidden under the covers. We have to stay alert and stay alive to see the victory. God has already promised us victory. So get up, get dressed and hold your head up high.

The second lesson I learned on how NOT to crack under pressure… is to pray.

Not the Most Gracious and All Wise God type of prayer. The Lord, please help me prayer. The Lord I need you NOW prayer. The Lord, help me to stand prayer. The Lord help me to keep my mouth closed prayer. The Lord I am so mad I could hit them prayer. The Lord I cannot believe I have been betrayed again prayer… Yea, those prayers. Those gutter most transparent cries out to God that only He can answer.

The Third Lesson I learned on how NOT to crack under pressure… is to laugh.

The Bible tells us in Proverbs that a merry heart is like medicine. I cannot speak for you, but I needed medicine to heal correctly. I heard to learn to laugh again. To laugh when someone was acting a fool in my office because it wasn’t what they did to me that really mattered, it was how I treated them after they mistreated me is what God was looking at. Laugher reduces stress and lower blood pressure. We have to learn to change our perceptions when we cannot change what we are faced with. In other words, I have learned to laugh at some of my adversities. Not all of them, but a great deal of them.

If we stay connected to God we will NOT crack under pressure. Consider the pressure it takes to make diamonds or gold and they turn out just fine don’t they. Relax you will too.

Be blessed,

Cassandra

 

 

Copyright @ 2015 by Cassandra Baker Durham

 

Do You Know How to Trust God?

Though he Slay me Yesterday my pastor preached a message about Trusting God. As I sat there absorbing the Word. I realized the hardest times to trust God is where there is trouble. No doubt, it’s easy to trust God where there is money in the bank and food on the table. After all, you have just about everything you need.

Trusting God in the bad times calls for radical faith. The type of faith which superseded the ordinary. The type of faith that declares that I shall not be moved. The kind of faith that screams out to God, I need your help. The type that says Lord, I cannot do this on my own/

Some may ask the question, how do you trust God? Your initial trust with God comes what is established in your early relationship with him. Go back to when you first believed in Him and the power of his might. Remember the doors he opened and the catastrophe he adverted. Remember when you saw the evidence of your own prayers being answered. That is the beginning of faith. The moment when you believe God can handle the storms in your life.

The second thing is building truth in God is to get in the Word. How can you know what God’s Word says about faith, promises and blessings if you’ve never read what it contains? You’ll find faith in each of the chapters in the Bible, consider Adam, Moses, Joshua, Hannah, Rehab, Paul and many others. Their lives are a testament to the faithfulness of God. Sssshhhh I want to let you in on a little secret…here lies the secret to your power. The Word gives us power. Yes, Yes, Yes, there is power in the Word of God. It leads and guides us into all understanding. You have a question about something, the answer you seek is in the Word.

Lastly, one of the major components to trusting God is communication. I know that some of us have been taught that we cannot ask God any questions. May I relieve you of that burden? You can ask God anything and everything you want to know. Let me warn you some answers you will like, but most of them you probably won’t. Simply because His ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts.  We have to know with assurance that when we talk with God, he hears us and he responds to us. The answer may be yes, no, or not now. But whatever it is, trust him to know what’s best for you.

Proverbs 3:5 Proverbs 3:5 – Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

 

Copyright © 2015 by Cassandra Baker Durham

www.cassandradurham.net

Does He Deserve Grace?

 

Jesus spells grace

Jesus spells grace

Does He Deserve Grace?

Romans 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

Out there somewhere is someone who has done you wrong? They were low down, dirty, and rotten to the core. Perhaps they betrayed or misled you or someone you love. Perhaps they stole your innocence. Perhaps they publically humiliated you. I can imagine every cell in your body is screaming out for vengeance. But does he or she deserve grace?

I was at the movie The War Room the other night and this was one of the questions. For me it called to the forefront every person in my life who had caused me collateral damage. I sat there and examined the silhouette of each person who appeared before me and I almost screamed out YES! See no matter how they mishandled or damaged me, they deserve grace.

Why?

Because I need God’s sho- nuff, extra strength, new and improved, version of grace to saturate every nook and cranny of my life.  See we can be so caught up in our pain, they we delve into self-righteousness. We can slip over into an unforgiving lifestyle. We can forget that we too have been guilty of hurting someone, whether on purpose or not.

Now I know that this is not YOU. I realize that I am the only person in the world that has suffered at the hands of someone else and wanted retribution applied to his or her life. I am not ashamed to say I wished for a rogue band of vigilantes to run across them on night in a dark alley.

Here is the thing, I can spend the rest of my life with that junk in my heart and never see the true fullness of God moving in my life. I firmly believe that holding on to those painful things hinders us in regards to God blessings. For example, there are those among us who refuse to whole-heartedly enter relationships because they have been hurt before. In actually they are holding themselves hostage, not able to more forward or move backwards. They love superficially, only on the surface. That kind of love requires lots of affirmations, coddling and things like sex for them to feel like it is real.

When we come to understand that even our enemies need Gods grace, we are free to forgive and let it go.

Prayer: Lord saturate our lives today with your love and grace. Help us to see those that we need to release and forgive that we may be free to live, move and have our being in you. In Jesus name , Amen!

 

 

Copyright © 2015 Cassandra Baker Durham

www.cassandradurham.net

Ohhhh LeAndria What Has Thou Done??!!??

LeAndria-Red  Ohh LeAndria ~ What Has Thou Done??!!??

I can’t believe my first post on in my new blog location is going to be about LeAndria Johnson, but seeing as things are, it is.  Those of you who have not seen the Periscope fiasco and I use the term fiasco loosely it is a prime example of how the devil will have us on display.

Let us get a few things straight I am not judging her. I know enough about God’s grace to understand that all she has to do is ask Him and He will grant it.

Admittedly, when I first looked at the video I was a little miffed so to speak. But I was miffed at the devil and how he always, always, always comes to kill, steal and destroy. He was in some regard destroyed her witness. He has put out her light. Don’t believe me? Check this out.  She is known for her powerful voice and now when her name is mentioned instead of folks talking about the glory of God on her life, all they will remember for the foreseeable future is her drunken, profanity laced rant on Periscope.

In whose pulpit can she stand now, and preach about Jesus is a keeper of those WHO want to be kept? Well yea, she can, but no one will listen.

The second emotion I felt was sadness. I was saddened that one of my Christian sisters has gotten the wind knocked out of her, publically. It is one thing to struggle privately, but when your sins become public, it is heartbreaking. My reaction was to pray for her, but more importantly, it was to pray for myself to ask God to keep me near to thee. Lord I do not want to preach to others and then myself be a castaway.

Lastly, I felt shame. Because I know, she is ashamed of that video. There is no way, no way we can hold up the blood stained banner and preach this great Gospel and NOT be ashamed when we fall. There is no way we can operate in the things of God and not have remorse when the devil pulls our hold card.

To whom much is given, much is required. I am praying for LeAndria. I am praying that she gets up from this and go further with God. I’m praying that the people around her tell her the truth about the full ramifications of her Periscope moment. I’m praying that God renews her mind. But I’m also praying for me that when the spotlight of the world shines on my life that I will be caught doing the work of the Lord.

Galatians 6:1  Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.

In His Service…still,

Cassandra

 

Stand Your Ground- Victoria Christopher Murray

VCM book5 Star Read- I found myself making statements on my facebook page while reading this book such as, “Victoria Christopher Murray’s New book Stand Your Ground has opened with a throw a flip flop at your cousin bang…..smh @ her.”
and…
“I can’t believe Victoria Christopher Murray has me standing in these people living room with my heart constricting and tears rolling down my face- Stand Your Ground Novel… I feel like I have a stingray barb in my chest and its slowly twisting the life out of me….”
This book is so good, I think I experienced every emotion known to man. I felt sad, angry and scared, for the characters in the book, but for my two grown sons as well.
There were other scenes that made me happy and excited, but you’ll have to read the book to find out what those were.
Tyrone and Janice Johnson will not stop until they find out what exactly happened to their son.
Wyatt Spencer will spare no expense to keep the truth hidden.
But the real story is between Janice and Meredith and how the two women cope with one act of violence that shatters both of their worlds.
Please pick up this book when it is released June 30th. I highly recommend this novel, then I highly recommend you go have a talk with your son or daughter about Stand Your Ground.