Month: January 2020

Taking Hold of Greatness: Being Willing to Take Steps Backward

“Sometimes doing great work requires taking several steps backward.”         ~CANDICE COATES I don’t know of a single human being throughout the span of time who has not desired some level of success and greatness. I am not talking about the greatness that world conquers sought, the empty success that only leaves you with an insatiable high for more in all the wrong ways, the kind that leaves victims wounded, and bloodied in your wake. I am talking about the great work of authentic meaning and self-expression. I am talking about that work that comes from an honest and sincere heart, that one that you can whisper to God with a smile and say, “We did good, eh?” Be it your art, your writing, your marriage, your conquering of the daily grind whereas you force yourself to say, “This is the day the Lord has made, and I will rejoice and be glad in it! I will do well today no matter the odds, no matter the discomfort.” This is the great work I …

How to Make Waves in Life: Stepping into New Seasons

“If you don’t dive in, you’re not going to make any waves.” ~Somebody Awesome Let’s be honest, basking in the presence of something beautiful is a wonderful thing, but being fully submerged within it can be so much more fulfilling and exhilarating. It’s similar to being at the pool, or the ocean on a hot summer’s day. You’re never truly refreshed until you have taken the dive in! The same is true for us and any advancement that we would like to have in life. Talking about an idea or a plan is a wonderful thing, but until you take a dive and actually start implementing the things you are talking about, you are only basking in its beauty. “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.” ~PSALM 34:8 Consider that this truth is relevant in every area of our lives, especially in our walks with Christ. The deeper we go in Him the sweeter we find Him to be, the more we realize how awesome and …

The Secret of the Stars: Reaching For Your Dream

“No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new discovery for the human spirit.” ~HELEN KELLER The only ingredients that you need to fail in this life are Fear, Doubt, and Pessimism. All three of these are the poison that saps out our creative power and imagination. When Christ Jesus created the heavens and the earth, He did so by speaking. He spoke from His imagination. Proverbs 23:7 says as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. Proverbs further goes on to warn us that we will live by the fruit of our lips and above all else, to guard our hearts for out of it flows the source of our lives. (PROVERBS 12:14, PROVERBS 18:21, PROVERBS 4:23) When our hearts are filled with pessimism and doubt, we speak with negativity and bring forth the fruits of failure. But when we speak with faith, when we allow ourselves to dream, imagine, and do by faith, we are giving life to victory. We are …

A Time to Grow & A Time to Rest by Briana Lassiter

This week I was having a conversation with the Lord and telling Him how sorry I was that I haven’t made a lot of progress in my life or grown much lately. It’s been a difficult few months and life has not felt full of sunshine and rainbows. He startled me with His response as He asked me “Why do you think you need to grow right now daughter?” Recently He’s told me how much He dislikes it when I answer without thinking about what He’s asking me so I stopped and thought carefully for a minute. I came up with nothing and finally answered, “I don’t know Lord.” “What season is it?” He responded. “Winter, Lord?” “Yes. It is winter. What is growing now child? Nothing. Nothing is growing right now because it is not the time for growing.” As I realized that day in my talk with Jesus, there is a season for everything, and sometimes you are not in a season of growing and it is time to do something else. Over …

Waging War with the Right Tools: A Word on Effective Advancement

“There are many plans in a man’s heart, but the Lord’s counsel will prevail.” ~PROVERBS 19:21 Idon’t know what to do. I seriously don’t know what to do.” These were the words I recited more than a few times during the 2019 year. I don’t know about you, but last year was a year and season of gaining new territory, creatively, physically, mentally, relationally, and spiritually. These are all great places to take possession of land but I also felt like, not only was the year truly moving at an accelerated pace but that some of the difficulties, trials, and tests I was facing were far out of my realm of knowledge or understanding. My head was spinning. Though joyful and often times happy, I was overwhelmed. I was anxious. I was out of my element. None of my usual ‘go-to’s for success an any of the aforementioned categories were working. I literally told the Lord I didn’t know what to do and He was basically like, “Of course not. This is new territory AND …

Preparing to Prosper in What Looks Like a Drought

Scrolling through the Stories feed on my author’s Instagram account, @candicecoateswrites, I came across a comedic meme that read, “So in the middle of the Civil War, someone was like “You know what this country needs? A delicious steak sauce.“.” If you are not familiar with what steak sauce I am talking about, it is good ole’ A1 Steak Sauce. Now here is the thing, the sauce, which started to get more widely known in 1862, was actually created by a European chef in Europe and wasn’t even introduced to America until 1895.** Although not American in origin, and actually created three decades before the Civil War, the idea and even deeper truth behind the comedic meme still stands.** What is that meaning? That we must be willing to create and pursue our vision even in the midst of tremulous times. We must have the faith to plan beyond the drought. NOT HINDERED BY THE MOUNTAINS A beautiful example of this can be found in the life and love story of Black American Nurse in …

Falling in Faith: The Beauty of the Balance Beam

“Though a righteous man falls seven times, he will get up…” ~PROVERBS 24:16 Two decades ago, I was a young woman still in her teens but fully adult. I was finally in the world on my own–away from home in undergrad studying art–and learning who I truly was in Christ when the usual comforts of the familiar were nowhere to be found. The choices I made were my own. Where I went, who I hung out with, what I ate, how much detergent I put in my laundry. All the choices–all my own to make. I am grateful that at the very beginning of that path the Lord seemed to shine with a brighter and more defined light than He had been before. No, He was not distant from me before, but things were much clearer. We walked even closer than we had been before but how He began to relate to me was much different. I was growing. I was now an adult. Things were different and with that shift, there were some major …

Plan BIG!: A Word on Vision Casting

“When God is your partner, make your plans big!” ~ D.L MOODY Plan BIG! You’d think that that exhortation would make every person who heard it celebrate with a motivated fire for action when in reality it makes a lot of people shrink back in fear and hide under the heavy blankets of safety and mediocrity. Dreaming is not so much of an issue for most of us. But dreaming big . . . well, that has the power to not only knock the wind out of many of our sails but sink our boats completely. Like me, I suppose you are wondering why that is. If we are honest with ourselves we would have to admit that insecurity and the scrutiny of others are what holds us back. The old ‘what will people think?’ phrase acts as the perfect glitch in our plans of action. The very thought of failing in front of others, especially those who’ve minimalized our former dreams with the constant song of ‘you can’t,’ strikes us immobile. Them witnessing our …

Planning Your Future With Godly Direction

“I had big plans for the future, but the future had bigger plans for me.” ~CANDICE COATES The book of Proverbs tells us that man makes plans but God’s purpose is what stands (PROVERBS 19:21). In the book of Jeremiah, the Lord states that He knows the thoughts and plans He has for our future, thoughts to prosper us and give us hope and a good end (JEREMIAH 29:11). Knowing these things it’s easy to take your stance on one of two sides of a coin; either to plan without including God or to make no plan at all and expect Him to do all the work. What Proverbs and Jeremiah are saying together is that yes, we should make plans but we have to leave room for God to do His thing in us too. We have to let Him lead and edit our steps for the best results. Isaiah even says that His Spirit will instruct us in the way to walk in (ISAIAH 30:21). Ephesians agrees with this notion, that when we share our plans …

Cherishing Every Minute

Time is really the only capital that any human being has and the only thing he can’t afford to lose. ~ Thomas Edison The Prophet Moses wrote in Psalm 90:12, “Teach us to number our days, that we might gain a heart of wisdom.” The year of 2019 has come to a close bring forth the complete end of not only a year but a decade. No matter the challenges, the victories, or the many detours that we have had to face, the very fact that we have been blessed with favor to step into this new season is evidence that Christ Jesus is not done with us yet! My prayer for this new year and decade of 2020,  is that each of us would take to heart what we still have left to sow during this time and all of the blessings that are ahead. Let us make good use of the time we have, numbering each day, loving the ones around us, and creating like the world’s existence depends on it! Let us …