An unfamiliar long distance number rang at our house this morning. On the other end was an apologetic manager, who gently approached me regarding an unfortunate incident that took place revolving around our now deceased daughter, KaShanta. It happened on the morning of the day she passed.
I knew on June 11, 2015 that it would be an inevitable trek down 'forgive them lane' so I did - by faith. Periodically, I would be tormented by reliving the incident and being unable to suppress it. Retreating to my prayer closet in worship and praise would lift me up for a season. However, my inner conflict continued unresolved. Another two months would go by and I would be confronted with it yet again.
Finally, on February 11, 2016, I started writing a letter in hopes that it would act as a systemic cleansing for me and I would no longer be haunted by this ghost of my past - figuratively speaking. At the time, I was unaware that it had been exactly eight months since KaShanta's death. That unveiling came after the letter was sent. I believe numbers are of significance to God. On numerous occasions, He has used them to confirm and reveal things to me. According to my studies, the number eight is for new beginnings. It was definitely indicative of a new beginning for me.
The director, of the same company, called an hour after the manager did to apologize for the agony that our family was experiencing. There is really nothing that they can say that will change anything, but at least, they showed genuine concern, which spoke volumes to me.
Last week, I was gathering information for The KaShanta Sims Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization, when I heard the Spirit of the Lord say, "Forgive!" I stopped typing, repeated the word, "Forgive" and said, "Yes, Lord, I do". At the time, I wasn't aware that he was not speaking of forgiving others, but of forgiving myself.
Many pray according to Matthew 6:12 without understanding what it means. We are really telling the Lord not to forgive us if we don't forgive those who wronged us. No one has ever suffered the things that Jesus did in His body, soul and spirit - at the hand of men. Yet, He humbled himself, forgave His creation, and prayed for them. As the greatest example who ever walked on the planet, inhabited the heavens, or descended to the depths of the earth, He has earned the right to tell us to do as he has done.
Forgiving does not mean that you will forget everything. Nor does it mean that you now have to become bosom buddies with the perpetrator. It does mean that you will be set free. When you hold unforgiveness in your heart, ironically, you become the prisoner. Furthermore, when you forgive, you set yourself free.
I thought I had forgiven all who injured my daughter and myself. Nonetheless, I found out today that I was holding myself captive with. I was so overcome with guilt, shame, and regret that I did not realize that I blamed myself for several things that happened - many of which were really beyond my control.
The Lord has such a sense of humor and wanted so much for me to be free that He even showed me a picture of KaShanta doing something silly that only her sister, daughters, and I could appreciate because we have all been targets of her practical joke. Once clarified, I realized she would never have wanted me to be tortured by the past - no matter what. I started laughing - all by myself. In my minds eye, I saw her smiling face and her action as she was accustomed to doing. Later I shared it with her sister, Milia, who agreed with me about the conclusion that I finally arrived at. We took turns crying and then laughing together - giving ourselves permission to be human beings.
Included in our daughter's obituary was a poem she penned. The last line reads, "My morning is finally here". Indeed, her struggle with HER2 triple negative breast cancer was over at age 38. She is free from all torment that was ever inflicted on her - be it mental anguish or physical trauma. Today, I can say, "I forgive myself. My morning is finally here"!
...Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes
in the morning.
It's okay to forgive yourself.
In Him we live, move and have our being!
The BLITZ is designed to come against our marriages, our families, to destroy our children, our nation, friends and loved ones. It is designed to cripple the unity in the body of Christ and to stop the advancement of the Kingdom of God on this planet.
So what is the blitz? Adolf Hitler used the term blitz, which means relentless attacking and bombardment
. Hitler’s Luftwaffe, a generic German term for an air force, bombed London in World War II. It was one of the most tenacious, most advanced, and most battle-experienced air forces in the world. Although, the aircraft that were to serve in the Luftwaffe
were technically superior to that of most nations, Winston Churchill encouraged the citizens of London to make it their finest hour. They endured and survived Hitler’s onslaught.
Football is another arena where the term blitz is used. It means to rush the quarter- back and put pressure on him - to crush him. This technique involves several defensive players.
Satan has called the BLITZ. He wants to kill you. His purpose is to stop the mandate that God has assigned to you. He’s bent on destroying as many souls as he can. Get ready believers, the pressure is coming - stronger. We must be devoted to both resisting and preventing aggression.
JOHN 10:10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
Idle believers pose no threat to the devil. Actually, he has a fetish for lukewarm Christians and enjoys toying and manipulating them. When one is lukewarm, he knows they are not serious enough to suggest a threat to him, because they are too involved with the world, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. Many will suffer because they were unprepared.
Ephesians 6:13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness…
The Word of God tells us to stand; having done all, ‘STAND’. It’s time to make a solid front - one that cannot be breached. We must lock arms. Lock and load regardless of our denominational backgrounds. Satan has monopolized division in the body, and has succeeded in the art of divide and conquer. To break this yoke, we must sound the alarm. The trumpet must be heard in the Church. The world is asleep in the dark. Leaders must fall on their faces before God. Christians must awake in the light. Let us make this our finest hour!
"Forgiveness is not an emotion. It is a choice. If we choose not to forgive, we are the ones in bondage." Bishop Ken Sims
I am reminded of what a child said when he prayed, "Forgive us our trash baskets as we forgive those who put trash in our baskets." I laughed so hard when I read that - knowing, of course, that the child thought adults were saying trash baskets when they said trespasses. But wasn't that appropriate?
Matthew 6:12 "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us".
In essence, when we pray the above verse, we are telling the Lord to only forgive us when we forgive those who wronged us.
Some people have a lot more garbage to dispose of than others. Little or much, the Lord has made provision for us to free ourselves by utilizing His word.
I John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Forgiving is not always an easy thing to do, but it is vitally important that we do so for our on health - both spiritually and physically. Jesus taught us how to do so before the cross, on the cross and even after the cross. No other person has ever suffered the things that Jesus endured on our behalf. On the cross, He asked His Father to forgive those who crucified him for He perceived that they did not really understand what they were doing or who they were now indebted to. He humbled Himself and allowed His own creation to crucify Him. We often say that we want to be like Jesus and we mean well. Frequently, we find that it is easier said than done. Even so, the grace necessary to be victorious has already been provided. As previously stated, forgiveness begins with a choice. Mine! Yours! It is a mental ascent of our soul, but more importantly a matter of the heart - our spirit. When we make the confession, God accommodates us with the strength that only He can give.
Forgive! It's not a suggestion. It is a command.
In the twenty-first chapter of St. John, one of Jesus’ disciples whose name was Simon Peter, decided to go fishing. His fellow disciples said, “We will go with thee.” After toiling all night long, they caught nothing. Jesus called to them from the shore the next morning, “Have you any meat yet?” They answered, “No!” Jesus responded, “Cast the net on the right side of the ship.”
They toiled all night and it profited nothing; but when Jesus showed up the next morning, everything changed. Psalm 30:5b ...weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
There are many who are toiling today through a dark season. Doing the same old thing, the same old way – day in and day out. Nothing seems to be working. Jesus’ disciples were plagued by the same fate. Jesus told them to cast their nets on the right side of the boat. When they did, they pulled in 153 fish. It was supernatural that the net did not break from the heavy load. What happened? They received a fresh word from God. Obedience to the fresh word resulted in a large fresh catch.
Is that you doing the same thing and expecting different results? If so, ask the LORD for a revelation. The moment it comes, act upon it. When Jesus gave his followers a fresh word, they immediately acted upon it. They received illumination that not only changed the way they fished, it changed their lives.
Listen for the instructions of Jesus in every endeavor so that you don’t spend your time casting effort to the wind. All of the elements they needed were in place. The water was there. The fish were in the water. They had nets. They had a boat. What they didn’t have was a divine word causing a paradigm shift. When God gives you a fresh word, know that the elements are already in place and be prepared to have your life changed also. The word to them wasn’t just about fish. It was about their commission. It was about catching souls for the Kingdom.
My question to you is: Have ye any fish yet?” If not, do as Jesus instructed, “Cast the net on the right side of the ship.” The right side will always result in enormous blessings for the kingdom of God.
JOHN 21:6 And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.
JOHN 4:34 Jesus saith unto them, "My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work."
JOHN 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
(Scriptures from KJV)
A prophetic word began to flow from Bishop Ken Sims (my husband) after a counseling session I had with a sister-in-the-Lord in March. I placed a microphone to his mouth to capture and share it with her, but I'm also impressed to share it with you. It came just two months after his two-week hospitalization. He was still very weak and was not expected to live:
"God said to stand
still and see the salvation of the Lord. Stand
still! This is not your fight. Stand
still and see the salvation of the Lord; and when you're stand
ing still, there's no need for your knees to buckle or knock together. Stop listening to what the enemy is saying and start taking the Word of God at face value. What the enemy says is nothing but a threat. You shouldn't even be at the point of wondering how is God going to work this out, or where are the finances coming from? This is His battle. This is not your battle, and you're not going to be able to figure this one out. He wants you to stand
still and see his salvation and that means total dependence on him; that means not trying to figure him out in your finite mind - how is all of this going to transpire and who is going to get what advantage over what situation. God rewards faithfulness and God is a just God.
What you need to do and continue to do is pray and watch the salvation of the Lord. Just stand and watch God do what he does best and what he does best is just being God.
Goliath and David are symbolical for you right now. You have to really, really just take a step back and see the whole threat that David was dealing with. See what it is all about and then you can adjust that in the spiritual. Step away from it and let God fight your battle.
This is not a situation where one day you are believing and one day you are not. It is important to keep your feet fixed. Keep yourself anchored in the promises of God and don't be like the person that you discuss and don't be vindictive. Watch your attitude. The best thing you can do right now is to pray for your enemies because they don't know what the nature of the threat is that they are bringing forth against you. They could get into a lot of trouble. Just let God take care of them and keep your focus on the Lord. Keep your eyes on Him in the whole scenario so that in the end, it will pan out the right way - the way it is supposed to go. You focus on becoming whole and dealing with your own life and just be very careful that your anger doesn't come through in a way that you're saying wrong things that could withdraw the hand of God's judgment away from your enemies. So guard your anger. Pray for them and you are going to see God work a miracle.
To every person that is involved in your whole situation: you don't need to be numbering troops. God is well able. Don't look at what you have and what you don't have. Don't let your knees buckle and don't shake in your boots.
We have the chief lawyer. The Lord anticipates what the enemy is going to do before he even does it. God is not going to allow you to fight by yourself - that's why he has placed Giants in the faith all around you. We have WON! We don't have anything to fear. Your enemy is restless and fearful. He doesn't know what your next move is. You hold the trump card."
STAND! Jesus is our trump card.
What did Franklin Roosevelt mean by the proverbial statement, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself?"
First of all, what is fear? Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real.
Now, let's remember that there are some things that demand our respect. To walk into a 600-pound tiger's cage is not exercising respect for that animal's strength or his size -- let alone his sharp teeth.
If a woman is fearful of snakes, that's a legitimate fear. If the snake does not strike her and yet she feels his fangs biting into her neck, that's imaginary fear -- categorized as such because it has not happened yet. The way she can prevent it from becoming reality is to remain a safe distance from the threat.
Satan is legendary for manipulating his host with fear.
Webster defines fear as:
1) a feeling of anxiety and agitation caused by the presence or nearness of danger.
2) timidity, dread, terror, fright, apprehension, panic
3) a feeling of uneasiness or concern like it is going to rain.
There is nothing that you can do about the rain. It's beyond your control. This would be a prime opportunity to rehearse the Serenity Prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.
We can fear what hasn't happened yet or we can eliminate the image from our minds, move forward and make this our finest hour. Fear doesn't work unless we give attention to it.
In I John 4:18, the Word of God says that fear It is great mental or physical pain or anguish.
Fear paralyzes - meaning to render helpless or inoperative, to lock up, freeze, become motionless, unable to respond
This exactly what happened to Peter. Matthew 14:27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”
28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”
29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.
30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”
31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.
The wind, the rain, and the waves brought Peter to a stand still - a place of helplessness. Every negative factor ganged up on his faith. He saw himself sinking before it happened. Again - imaginary fear. However, his fear went from unreal to fact. Notice, it wasn't until he saw the threat. He saw himself gagging already - lungs filled with water. He conceded to death.
Mark 11:22 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God.
23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.
24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
Fear and faith cannot co-exist. It is imperative that we keep our eyes on Jesus for it is impossible to please him without faith. According to Romans 10:17 faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. It is mandatory that we starve our fears and feed our faith the word of God.
I expect that most of you, if not all, have had a challenging -- yet wonderful work week. There have been numerous oppositions: evil reports near and far. Nevertheless, we have peace and joy!! --characteristics of the Kingdom.
A pastor asked me for a response on religion so I sought the Lord. Below is my reply:
Religion is a belief system, attitudes, and practices. It's not a bad word. Everybody is religious. Unfortunately, being religious does not save you any more than going to McDonald's makes you a hamburger. If that were the case then all would be automatically saved -- no matter what their persuasion. Ephesians 2:8 & 9 tells us, "For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God -- Not of works, lest any man should boast." The outward observances of rituals, minus a relationship with Jesus, are just works. The Bible says in Isaiah 64:6 that our own (works of) righteousness is as filthy rags.
Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Religious minds think they are saved by their good works or vain antics (i.e. pushing a bean around a sanctuary with their nose for the forgiveness of sins). We are saved by the good work that Jesus accomplished at Calvary -- period! Our good works are confirmations of our belief in the sacrifice that Jesus made.
Religion attempts to approach God other than by going through Jesus. In John 14:6 Jesus said, "I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE; NO MAN COMETH UNTO THE FATHER, BUT BY ME." He's the door.
I was very religious until I was seventeen years old -- yet on my way to hell. Morally good, but still on my way to hell because my belief system was vain and powerless.
Pure religion (Greek - ceremonious in worship) and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. (James 1:27)
I only found seven scriptures pertaining to religion/religious and 369 to the Kingdom. The emphasis is on the kingdom.
I've studied that religion started with Cain and Abel and thought so for years. However, the Lord revealed this truth to me: Lucifer was the first being practicing religion and it got him kicked out of heaven. Hmm!
In Genesis chapter 3, Adam and Eve were practicing religion in the garden of Eden. It got them kicked out of the garden. God said, there's only one tree (in the middle of the garden) that you are forbidden to eat from. But Eve (Mother of all living) ironically became mother of all dying, because she 'SAW' the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise... vs. 6 What took place here is what I John 2:16 declares, "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world." Religion is us doing things our way rather than God's way. And the moral of this story is -- religion gets you kicked out of the garden of pleasure and leaves you naked and without a covering.
We see another prime example of religion at the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11:6-9. Man endeavored to reach God in his own way. Babel means confusion. Their language became as one babbling. Verse 8 SO THE LORD SCATTERED THEM ABROAD FROM THE FACE OF ALL THE EARTH: AND THEY CEASED BUILDING THE CITY. Religion scatters, confuses, causes discord, disunity...
Religion is from that perverted, lo-down, stinking scoundrel of a devil. (I love to slam his name.) It is Satan's counterfeit for Kingdom principles. Like pride, it originated with him. Satan loves for us to be religious. He doesn't even care if we go to church. He'll even go with us - uninvited. He's only threatened when we start learning who we are in the Kingdom and begin taking up our positions.
Where is the Kingdom? Luke 17:20, "AND WHEN HE WAS DEMANDED OF THE PHARISEES, WHEN THE KINGDOM OF GOD SHOULD COME, HE ANSWERED THEM AND SAID, THE KINGDOM OF GOD COMETH NOT WITH OBSERVATION. VS 21 NEITHER SHALL THEY SAY, LO HERE! THERE! FOR, BEHOLD THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS IN YOU." The Pharisees were looking for the Kingdom in its outward form. (2 Samuel 7:16) The revelation is this .... religious minded people see with the natural eyes (outward form).
Jesus certainly was not saying that his Kingdom was in the Pharisees. The Greek word is entos, meaning in the midst. The Kingdom of God was in the midst of the Pharisees in the persons of Jesus and in the disciples. The Kingdom is not with outward show (at this time) but in the hearts of men (male and female).
Luke 11:20, "BUT IF I, WITH THE FINGER OF GOD, CAST OUT DEMONS, NO DOUBT THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS COME UPON YOU." The Kingdom is established in us by power and authority given to us by Jesus -- the keys of the kingdom.
May God continue to shine upon each of you. Enjoy the remainder of your week!
Love and Blessings!
Nehemiah 6:2 says, "Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in one of the villages in the PLAIN OF 'ONO'. But they thought to do me mischief."
Whenever the Lord gives you a vision, there will always be the naysayers, meaning people in opposition to your vision, people in anticipation of your failure, negative speaking people... You get my drift.
I read a post this week on FB by a member of the Christian rap group, Alpha Team, who ministered along with us in a benefits concert for The Lawton Food Bank October 3, 2015. Immediately, I saw myself a few years back. My daughter, Kamilia, and I formed a contemporary gospel group in April 2003 called Pileha, a Hebrew word meaning worshiper and signer of the covenant.
Extremely negative comments were made about me at a concert we headlined. A woman said, " Kamilia would do better to sing by herself and not with her mother." The truth is, several years ago, I felt the same way. She didn't know my story. It was my daughter, who wanted me to sing with her; thus the group was formed. Actually, we sing without each other most of the time because we are hundreds of miles apart - unfortunately. It's always a special treat for me when we are together.
I'm one of those doting mothers who drive others bonkers talking about their kid's accomplishments. There is a reason for my madness, however. The Bible states in James 1:17, "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." I'm so thankful for the gifts that my offspring has been endowed with and love to showcase and glorify Jesus in them.
Kamilia is a prolific writer like, her sister, KaShanta was. Shanta passed June 11, 2015. I envisioned Milia singing on stage - being a blessing to people. While in the kitchen one evening washing dishes in Mississippi - talking to our heavenly Father and asking Him for a platform, I saw an announcement on Trinity Broadcast Network for the very first Exalting Him National Talent Search for Christians - to be held in the summer of 2003. There was a deadline. I have many stories about deadlines, but I will try to stay focused. This was the first time that I had seen the information and there was not much time left. As it happened, I had to leave town and was highly disappointed, to say the least.
Reckon what happened? When I returned, I found that the deadline had been extended for a few more days. I was ecstatic. The Lord did this just for me. Yeah! Yeah! I'm sure there were others believing God, but I took it personally. There was no professional equipment. We used what we had in our hands: the church's microphones, cassette tapes, a player, and a Yamaha keyboard, that accompanied us in over 100 original songs that Milia penned the lyrics and music for. We made a mad dash to church to produce our masterpiece. The next day, I submitted her song entitled, 'Reign Down.' I waited; I would like to say patiently, but I'm not so sure that I was.
Finally, a response came from TBN. Out of several thousand entrants, we were one of the groups chosen from our region to compete. In July 2003, Pileha stepped out on the stage at Trinity Music City in Nashville, Tennessee and competed in the National Christian Artist Talent search made possible by Trinity Broadcast Network, Family Christian Bookstores, Salem Radio Network, and Daywind Soundtracks.
Later in July 2003, we were semi-finalists in a competition sponsored by the Inspiration Network of Charlotte, North Carolina.
Again in August of the same year, Pileha became semi-finalists out of several hundred applicants, for a competition held at the Starlight Theatre in Kansas City. This time, we were unable to attend because my husband had a craniotomy done due to a golf-ball sized tumor embedded in the occipital area of his brain.
We don't count ourselves to have exceptional voices, but the Holy Spirit's anointing makes anyone special. Like in a Miss America pageant, it's not always the prettiest girl that wins the title. There are various dynamics to be considered. We did not win the $50,000 nor the $250,000 prize. Nor did we win a recording contract; but we won an experience that we will remember for the rest of our lives. We won new friends; but most of all, we won the Lord's approval because we took a risk and stepped out in obedience to his leading and had a lot of fun doing it.
Remember! Jesus was confronted with naysayers too. Make no mistake about it! You will always be confronted by people on the sidelines watching other players make the touchdowns and home runs - doing what you are contemplating. You can jump in the water when the angel is stirring it or always wonder what would have happened if you took the leap. Unless you take a leap of faith, there's no reason for the Lord to catch you.
Rest assured! You are going to make mistakes. If you are like me, you will make many. Keep a determined mindset and the next time a naysayer approaches you in the plain of 'ONO', just tell them what God said, "OYES." It's ON! That's no spelled backwards.
For quite some time now, I have lived by this adage, "You can if you think you can." If you think you can, you are already half way there.
Reference scriptures: Nehemiah 6:1 Now it came to pass when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had built the wall and that there was no breach left therein; (though at that time I had not set up the doors upon the gates;) 2 That Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in one of the villages in the PLAIN OF 'ONO'. But they thought to do me mischief. 3 And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?
Don't come down from your post on the wall! Complete the task at hand. Never allow the enemy to talk you out of Jesus' purpose for our life.