Asking the Right Questions

Last week, I was having a conversation with my friend about some decisions she needed to make regarding leaving her job to go back to school full-time. Of course, the questions/thoughts ran the entire gamut:

“Why does God want me to do this?”
“Why does it take another degree to do xyz?”
“I have to know why things are working the way they are.”
“I know I probably shouldn’t be questioning God by asking why but I want and need to know!”

I listened intently to her series of questions and the holy spirit brought something up.

“The problem with a lot of believers is that they always have to know why. They need to know every intricate detail before they can move forward with what I’ve told them to do. Instead of focusing on the why, focus on the how.”


My friend and I, as we always do, got to squealing and hollering about such good revelation — but it wasn’t over yet.

“Focusing on the why reveals a trust issue. If you truly trust God, why question the details? You say you’re in faith but you prove each and every time you’re not if you have to spend countless days wondering why something is the way it is.”

Say word! We stay playing “20 Questions” with God.

I was reminded of the story of David and his battle against the Philistines in 2 Samuel 5. David was the newly appointed king of Israel and hadn’t been in his seat for very long before he was faced with an uphill battle against those who hated him. He captured Jerusalem (verses 6-9) and by verse 17, was up against a HUGE army of Philistines.

When David learned that the Philistines had covered the valley of Rephraim, he went to God and asked:

“Should I go out to fight the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?”

The Lord replied to David, “Yes, go ahead. I will certainly hand them over to you.”  (verse 19, Amplified version)

Notice, David wasn’t all like, “Lord, I just got here — why these folks hatin’ on me? Why I got to do all this? Why? Why? Why?

He simply wanted to know HOW this thing will happen. He sought God about how things would go — would he be successful? God told him “Yes.” That was all David needed to move forward.

But check this: in verse 22, David was faced with the SAME problem — those big head Philistines were back (after getting their first crew’s tail whooped) to try to take David down.

David inquired of God of what to do (the HOW) and God said:

“You shall not go up, but go around behind them and come upon them over opposite the mulberry (or balsam) trees. And when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then  bestir (or move around) yourselves, for then has the Lord gone out before you to smite the army of the Philistines.

And David did as the Lord had commanded him, and smote the Philistines from Geba to Gezer.” (verses 24-25 Amplified version)

God gave David instructions on HOW to defeat the Philistines again (and notice, it wasn’t the same instructions as the first time — this is why we have to seek God daily on what to do and how to handle things. What worked in the past may not work this time around.) The second time, all David and his crew had to do was hide behind the trees and move around like there was tons of folks behind the trees hiding. Made no sense (the why), but David’s obedience to the how is what made him victorious.

What my friend (and even I) learned in our conversation is that the only thing we have to focus on is the HOW. She believed God was moving her into preparing for a new season in her life where education would be the focus — instead of asking why, she’s decided to ask God how: what do I need to do? How do I need to prepare? How should I best position myself for what’s coming next?

And don’t you know God will answer? Just as He did for David! He will give specific instructions on what to do, how to do it, and when to do it!

Let’s shift the focus of our questions. No longer should we ask why, but how. God’s promises are true and will come to us — we just have to know how to get them to manifest.

On the How Chase,

Alisha L.

LeAndria Johnson and the Lessons We All Should Learn

Over the weekend, I fished around on Facebook and Twitter to get an idea of what people thought of LeAndria Johnson’s recent announcement that she is pregnant with her fourth child. If you don’t know, LeAndria Johnson was the third season winner of the BET hit show Sunday Best, has won a Grammy, produced and sung on #1 Billboard albums, an entire gamut of successes that many new Gospel artists will never see in their lifetime. Her story is one that we hear frequently; a single mother whose life was heavily centered around the church and has had her own share of ups and downs prior to the bright lights of the stage.

Her recent announcement has caused many to praise or rebuke her for a number of reasons. A recent Twitter search of her name proved that some church clichés will never die, i.e. “He who hath no sin cast the first stone”, and while others feel that at some point, we should grow in the things of God to the point where making mistakes of this magnitude are a thing of the past.

I don’t want to make this post about LeAndria and her shortcomings.  I do, however, want to use this as an opportunity to explore the responsibilities that come with being a believer and leader in the body of Christ. This isn’t limited to those who are in big positions, either. This is applicable to all of us who say we believe and even those of us who don’t.

The overarching themes of this post are growth, responsibility, and obedience. There is much to explore and there’s no way I can hit it all, but here goes…


Hebrews 6:11-14 (NLT)

There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food.  For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.

As believers, we are expected to grow like a child does. When you are young in your faith, God only expects for you to get the “milk”; there’s more room to make mistakes because you’re growing, learning, just like a child does. Verse 14 tells us that as we grow in life and in Christ, we have developed the “skills to recognize the difference between right and wrong” as a result of “maturing”. If you can say that you’ve been a believer for x-amount of years and you’re still making the same mistakes, you haven’t grown as you should. Just imagine if my 7-year-old daughter was still wearing diapers and eating jars of Gerber: wouldn’t that seem strange? How much more, then, should we grow year to year in our walk with Christ? [1 Peter 2:2, 1 Corinthians 3:2-3 supports this]


In recent months, many Christian leaders have found themselves in hot water when the lives they lead behind closed doors suddenly were exposed to the public. From Eddie Long to Pastor Zachery Timms and many other leaders in the Body of Christ, this year has been a year of exposing — that age old adage “what’s done in the dark will always come to light” has reigned true for many in recent months. Some would argue that we are all imperfect, just fleshly beings that can’t be regarded so highly that those who follow these leaders should fall and stumble because of their imperfections.

I beg to differ.

The bible tells us that leaders in the church are held to a higher standard — first and second Timothy both explore the expectations of church leaders (I Timothy 3:11) noting that their failure to be in right standing with God can have a greater impact beyond their own personal lives.

We have a responsibility to people. Yes, we are imperfect, but the charge to live upright even when you think no one is watching is clearly stated in the Word. Ephesians 5:10-14 (NLT) says:

Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, for the light makes everything visible.”

We have a responsibility not only to God, but to the people we lead. If for any reason we are found to be living a life of perpetual sin behind closed doors, we have the responsibility to shine light for the sake of repentance, not ridicule and judgment. I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference. (Revelation 3:19, NLT)

The great and most important part about reproof and reprimand is that it should evoke a spirit of love and repentance to God and a sense of responsibility to the people to make things “right” with them. We (the body) are charged in James 5:19-20 to love people back into the fold (which would require us to acknowledge the wrong publicly, right?) and guide them back to their original standing in God. We are even told to “confess ours sins to one another” so we may be able to address our issues and be made whole. How else do we do that lest we publicly confess them?


At the same time, leaders (and yes, even us regular folk) are supposed to set themselves apart — be different from the world — in order to be used by God. No amount of talent, gifting, or anointing can replace the power of obedience.

 In a wealthy home some utensils are made of gold and silver, and some are made of wood and clay. The expensive utensils are used for special occasions, and the cheap ones are for everyday use. If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work. (2 Timothy 2:20-21)

What sin does is make it harder for us to be used by God. Had I never had a child out of wedlock, it would have been easier for me to navigate my purpose; certain hurdles I wouldn’t have had to overcome had I been obedient to what I knew to be true. Thank God for grace, mercy, and second chances.

What Really Matters

God is über concerned about winning souls — and will win them at any cost. He will use the broken, beat up, and damaged to reach people to bring them into the kingdom. He will use singers, ministers, bishops, pastors, clerks, stay at home moms, firemen, bankers, anyone who is willing to use their life as a testimony to win souls. He is also excessively concerned about our personal lives and wants to see us do and be better. He expects for us to grow and change in Christ every day. He will always deal with our personal lives privately before allowing our sins to consume us and embarrass us publicly. And even then, He will use people to draw us back unto Him in order to get ourselves right and be more effective than we were before — but we must be willing to grow, take responsibility, and be obedient to his direction.

Final Thoughts

I’m a single mother. I know the shame that comes with announcing to friends, family, even strangers that I was having a child out of wedlock. I know the feeling of judgment that even people in the church dish out, in their own way, disqualifying you because of your recognizable sin. LeAndria’s troubles are more than just a sign that she may need to take a break from ministry — it’s a sign that all of us need to take some time to reflect on our own personal lives to ensure that we are growing exponentially in God.

While I don’t know what’s next for LeAndria, I hope there are people in her life who are loving her towards repentance and a change of heart. Her gift is too great, her life too precious to perpetually lose ground in God’s kingdom. God’s grace and mercy isn’t to be “pimped”, used as means to continue in our sin because we know that forgiveness is available. Eventually, we all must grow up and answer for not only our own lives, but the lives of those we are responsible for — directly or indirectly.

On the Chase,

Alisha L.

Brain Dead

Tonight I was talking to a good friend who finally got an answer to a prayer she’d been praying for a long time: a new car.

There were a few hiccups at the dealership, but, as of tomorrow she’ll have a new car.

However, she couldn’t help but think, analyze, and mull over what she’ll do in a few months when some financial situations change. She rhetorically asked “how” she would do it…

Turn off your brain, ma’am.  Continue reading

The Power of “No”

No one likes to hear a “no.”  “No” means you’ve been denied something, put on restrictions, cannot receive what you wanted. We dread hearing “no” from our friends, family, potential opportunities, even our lovers. We especially hate hearing a “no” from God.

We’ve been so conditioned to believe that being told “no” means we’ve reached end of our quest for what we sought after, that many times we stop seeking all together OR take a totally different approach in a different direction that we never wanted to go in in the first place.

I’d like to challenge our thinking for a bit.

What if every time you were told “no”, you knew that the next answer would be the “perfect yes”? How many “no’s” would you endure to reach that perfect “yes”?


n. [L., to love earnestly; to choose.]

1. Steady application in business of any kind; constant effort to accomplish what is undertaken; exertion of body or mind without unnecessary delay or sloth; due attention; industry; assiduity.

In order to get to our ultimate goal, there will be doors closed in our face. Too many times we think hearing a “no” means we have failed when in actuality, it gets us a step closer to the perfect “yes”.

When you’re striving for God’s perfect plan for your life, He will give you a “no”. While He loves us and even His Word says that anything we ask for, He’ll give us, He must give us a “no”. 


Because every “no” from Him gets us a step closer to what we really want. What we think we want, in actuality, we don’t want. And if you ever get a “yes”, you soon realize that what you initially wanted doesn’t even compare to what you received.

There is power in the word “no”. It liberates us, gives us the power to know that the next job we apply for, relationship we try, business plan we write, school we seek admission to will get us closer to His perfect will.

I have a good friend who was given her dream job! She was excited and, after not working for several months, felt like her prayers had been answered. A week later, she was let go. No real explanation other than they needed to keep the position “open.” Devastated, she took a couple of days to regroup, packed her “no” in her satchel bag, and kept pounding the pavement.

A week later, she was called to interview for another job that paid more money, required less hours, and had more perks.

Had she never gotten a “no”, she would have never gotten to the perfect “yes”.

What “no’s” have you gotten lately? I challenge you to take them, pack ’em up, and get excited. Your perfect “yes” is on the way!

On the Chase,

Alisha L.

Lord I love you more than…most stuff.

Courtesy of Nana-Eddy

This morning I was listening to the song “More than Anything” by Lamar Campbell, one of my favorite worship songs. The lyrics of the song says:

I love you Jesus.
I worship and adore you.
Just want to tell you
Lord I love you more than anything.

The holy spirit reminded me as I sung these lyrics that I was lying. That we are lying.

We don’t love God more than anything, we love Him more than MOST things.

There are things in our lives that we just do not want to relinquish control of. We’ll give God this part of our life but not that part of our life; we’ll sacrifice this but not that.

I had to think about the things in my life that I just refuse to give total control to God about. I was thinking, “man I’ve sung this song so many times, went all the way IN singing this song during worship and was lying every. single. time.”

I don’t want to lie anymore. I don’t want fear to make me a liar in worship. I want to be able to say I really love God more than ANYTHING. Any job, relationship, career move, financial gain, opportunity, ANYTHING.

How much freedom would we have if we truly loved God more than anything?

On the Chase,

Alisha L.

Redemption Road.

In recent days, Ted Williams as become an overnight sensation as he gained recognition as the “man with the golden voice”, after being discovered while panhandling on the streets of Columbus, Ohio.

If you’ve been under a rock and haven’t heard this man’s voice, check out the video here.

After over a decade of homelessness, drug and alcohol addiction, and a few run-ins with he law, Williams has several job offers, sealed a deal as the new voice of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, and countless other opportunities to return to a normal life.

I’ve been late to work almost every day this week watching his interviews on the Today Show, and, when asked what would make this part of his life different from the previous years as a radio announcer, the answer was simple. “I have God.”

The difference between my successes of years gone by is that I didn’t acknowledge the Lord or thank him for anything before,” he told [the Today Show]. “This time around, I have God in my life, acknowledging him on a daily basis. I’ve found a new sense of spirituality now.” –Ted Williams

God is a redeemer. He cares not about our past mistakes or faulty history. He is the one who can take a man like Ted Williams and change his life for the better. The desire to chase after and have a heart for God ignites God’s desire to chase after us.

I am crazy enough to believe, however, that William’s experience wasn’t for him. While he reaps the benefit of his newfound lifestyle, God didn’t redeem him on national television for him.

He did it for you. For us. For the entire world to see a live manifestation of God’s ability, power, and compassion.

Every time Williams is on television, he has thanked God, said that it was Jesus that saved his life; millions of people have seen his story, have heard the name of Jesus, and for those who did not believe before that God was capable to do the impossible, now believes.

From Michael Vick to Ted Williams to countless others, God is showing the world through His power that He is real and desires a real connection to us. He wants to remind us that Jesus redeemed us all through His sacrifice and no matter how far away we stray from Him, He is always calling us home, bringing us back through redemption.


On the Chase,

Alisha L.