In grade school, I decided I would become a musician. I selected the alto saxophone as my instrument. My grandfather procured one. My parents sacrificed money, time and their ears to lessons, performances and practices. It became a passion and I worked hard and excelled over the years. My fourth year, the band director really encouraged and supported student efforts. We wrote and scored material. He let us form independent groups. Yes I had one – an all-female group, but I cannot recall the name of it. It was all a blast.

There was a time period when the director brought in seasoned and professional musicians to coach select students 1:1. I was super excited. The expert I was with shared some highlights from his career and asked me what I wanted to do in the future. I told him I wanted to play my horn maybe like Bobbi Humphrey and Sheila E on their respective instruments – didn’t have to be a solo star…..but work in the studio, be a band member, teacher, whatever. His laugh was throat deep. And he ‘schooled’ me on not wasting my time on such a pipedream. My manners stayed intact for all of our sessions, but my pride made sure he saw/heard my abilities and I stayed focused to get from him what I needed to finish that year with top scores and rank in competitions. I am not sure if he was tired or hungry that day. Perhaps he had a disagreement with a wife, girlfriend or daughter. He could have had a recent rejection or he was on a mission to pick off potential new crew one by one. Don’t know. At the end of that school year, I put my horn down. I just stopped. I passed the horn to my little sister and encouraged her through college.

This reflection is not centered around the gentleman’s words and demeanor. Yes – we are to watch what we say and speak to benefit others and glorify God. But I allowed that seed to stay. I evidently watered and nourished it until I acted on it. I came to believe I needed to do something else. Whenever I was asked about why I stopped, this was never part of my explanation.

I am not longing to get back into playing. I just wonder about other seeds. In the Women Walking in Victory Bible Study class, it was reiterated how we have access to Holy power that will help us reject such seeds even demons. It has nothing to do with our power or ability. We just need to recognize at THE right moment when to call on the name of the Father. In HIS name we reject whatever compromises our faith, obedience and growth in God. Going through the motions does not stimulate growth. Laying the start or fault with another person is stifling. Prevention requires upfront and timely action. Excision can be painful and without a lifetime or side effect guarantee.

You cannot become more spiritual until you know who you are.

Central Questions
1. Definition – Who Am I (in this situation here)?
2. Purpose – Why am I here?
a. Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
i. Clear on the destiny in God
b. Matthew 16:18 And I tell you that you are Peter,[a] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[b] will not overcome it.
i. Part of an overcoming church
c. Galatians 3:27-29 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
i. Roots of a saint
We are spiritual heirs of Abraham. All the promises given to Abraham are also to us. From Genesis chapters 1 and 2 we know we are the image of God.
3. What am I prepared to die for?

We are to submit to the will of God.
Ephesians 5:10-20 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” 15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 6:1-4 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3 “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”[a]
4 Fathers,[b] do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

God expects us to think.
Romans 14:5 – One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind.
He expects us to discern His Word. You can only use the mind that has been transformed to come to the right conclusion. You don’t think new thoughts on your own. You must have the Holy Spirit guiding your new thinking. Check with God first, then make your decision. Ask yourself the following (integrity screen questions).
• Is it the right thing?
• Is it for the right reason?
• Is it the right way?
• Is it the right result?
• Will it benefit the right people?
• Will it glorify God?
• Is it according to His Word?

1 Peter 1:13-16 13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

Apply the integrity screen to
1. Words
2. Deeds
3. Thoughts
4. Attitude
5. Relationships

How are you practice the mind of Christ?
Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
1. It is not a surface change
2. It is a metamorphosis – a complete one
3. It is inside – out
4. It is a continuous process
Victory is not assured because it looks like a victory or because of indicators. It is because of to whom we belong and who is in us.
You cannot start it (growth), stop and continue to grow. You will go backwards.

1 Peter 1:13-14 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.


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