Wrestling Angels (A Poem)



Wrestling Angels

A Poem by Nichole H. Stewart

I’ve been wrestling angels…

against the whispered words
speaking truth
into my soul

against the calling
I know is mine alone
to pursue

a soldier
on the wrong
a warrior
evading the cause

to arrest the fear
fluttering in my heart
the doubts
coursing through my mind

WHY ME!!???

It would be so easy
to run and hide
to leave the task
to one better than I
but I am Yours, God
and You are mine
and if You call me…
I will come

I’ve been wrestling angels
Just one swift strike
And I am felled

I rise
now set apart
to take the path
You’ve set before me

I am flawed
I am afraid
but I am Yours
and I will fight
for You.

Isaiah 6:8 – Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Genesis 32:22-31


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This work by Nichole  H. Stewart is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

Whom Shall I Fear?


Angel Army


 John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly.”

Reflections: Jesus warned us to be vigilante and on the lookout for the attacks of the enemy, who comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. He will try to rob you of your joy, stifle your hope, and extinguish the fire of your faith. This is particularly true when God is on the verge of taking you to a new level. In those moments before your breakthrough, the distractions, temptations, setbacks, and discouragements will often seem to come at you at an alarming rate.

When you feel as if you are under a barrage of attacks from all sides, stand firm, and take hope in the knowledge that the very next step may take you into victory. Hold on and know that God is always with you, and He has sent an army of angels to defend you and guide you through. You never have to face a battle alone. You are protected by the Creator of the universe, the God of angel armies, the Father who loves you unconditionally, and who will move mountains and part seas to fulfill His promises to you.

Isaiah 12:2 – “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord Himself, is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation.”

SongAngel Armies by Chris Tomlin

under the shadow of his wings_wide_t

Moving Forward…



So, today marks a new day for me, and this blog entry is the first since the completion of my 40-day fast that began in January. As I move forward into this new year, I am excited about what God is doing in my life, and anxious to see where He leads me. I’m expecting big things in the coming weeks and months!

Though the 40 days are over, I believe that I am going to continue journaling and blogging for as long as the Spirit moves me. These reflections have been as cathartic and instructive for me as I hope they have been for others, and I hope that you will continue with me along this journey for the next 325 days…(Note the new blog title! 🙂 )


Philippians 3:13-14“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Reflections: I know a lot of people who, like me, are hoping that God will move them forward into bigger and better things in 2014. In this new year, so many individuals are hoping for renewal and restoration, to put the old things behind them and press on towards the mark…the goal(s) that God has put before them.

So often we petition God to help us move forward to a new level in our lives, but how often do we inhibit the process by getting in the way? We hold on to the old things that keep us bound and stuck in the same old place, and wonder why God hasn’t stepped in and lifted us to a higher level. We have to do the work, first, and we have to let go of those people, behaviors, or beliefs that did not serve us in 2013. Are you holding onto habits or relationships that continue to hold you back? What about old grudges or people you have yet to forgive? Whatever is keeping you from moving forward in 2014, now is the time to make a choice to release these past things and press forward to those things which are ahead. Experience the freedom of letting go, and clear the way for God to do a new thing in your life!

Let Go and Let God…

Shine bright!

Thoughts, reactions, or testimonies? Leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

Song: Moving Forward by Israel Houghton


Everlasting Love


Love Hearts

Jeremiah 31:3 “The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness.’”

Reflections: It’s that time of year, again! That time when hearts and minds turn to love and the celebration of all the things that make it grand… 🙂 People have a wide variety of opinions about Valentine’s Day—while some look forward to taking part in this time-honored day of romance and gift giving, others see it as a commercialized holiday that simply serves as a boon for the retail industry. Whichever camp you fall into, though, it’s hard to deny that there is something to be said for taking a moment to acknowledge and celebrate LOVE. Whether you’ve enjoyed 50 blissful years of marriage or are still waiting for God to bring your mate into you life, we all have at least one great love in our lives that we can celebrate each and every day…

In one of my favorite Bible verses (Jeremiah 31:3), the Lord tells us, “I have loved you with an everlasting love. I have drawn you with loving kindness.” I smile every single time I read this verse, and my heart melts a little. I am loved…with an everlasting love…AND SO ARE YOU! 🙂

No matter who else is in your life–regardless of whether you are giddy in love, recovering from heartbreak, comfortable in a long-lasting relationship, getting to know someone new, or enjoying your singleness–YOU ARE LOVED BY GOD. You are the apple of his eye (Psalm 17:8, Zechariah 2:8). When He created you, He drew every line and curve with loving kindness. He knew you, and LOVED you…flaws and all…before you even knew yourself.

You will never, ever, in your entire lifetime, find another love like that. And that love, my friends, is surely something to celebrate.

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY to you all! Know that you are well and truly loved, today and every day!

Shine Bright!

Song: Love Song by Canton Jones

Love - John 3-16

Thoughts or reactions? Leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

Changing Your Perspective…


A Different Perspective


 2 Corinthians 1:3 – “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

Reflections: One of the greatest things about serving others is that it really gives you a new perspective about your life, particularly when you work with children and youth. These little ones (and even the ones who are not so little 🙂 ) require so much of your time, attention, and care that they take you outside of  yourself and require that you focus fully on someone else for a little while.

When we experience times of trial and turn to God for comfort, I think that at times, He purposefully presents opportunities for us to go, give, and serve. The reason? When our minds are focused on the world and the people that exist beyond our circumstances, when we see that we can make even a little difference in someone else’s life or brighten their day, it makes our own problems seem a little less daunting and overwhelming and…well…important, in the grand scheme of things.

The next time you find yourself stressing, worrying, or feeling consumed by a challenge in your life, seek out an opportunity to help someone else. You’ll be surprised how much it will soothe your spirit and change your perspective about the situation at hand.

Shine your light!

Thoughts, reactions, or testimonies? Leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

Song: The Things We Do by Yolanda Adams

Falling into Freedom


Broken Chains


Galatians 5:1 ­ – “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

Reflections: Freedom. Christ’s gift to us, through salvation, is freedom. We can be freed from sin, from strongholds, from unhealthy behaviors, situations, and relationships, IF we choose to accept this gift. But how many of us cling to the habits, people, and circumstances that keep us bound instead of releasing it all and falling into freedom? I know I am guilty. Even though my heart truly desires to be free in every area of my life; on occasion, I will look up and find myself making the same old mistakes. It’s actually really frustrating, and I tend to be pretty hard on myself when it happens.

But I have a close friend who always encourages me to look back and see how far I’ve come. He reminds me to be encouraged by my progress and helps me remember that God knows my heart. As I continue to seek Him, and the freedom that He promises, I WILL find Him…And I will find His peace.

So, the next time that you turn around and find yourself slipping back into old habits, don’t beat yourself up. Acknowledge and learn from the mistake, then pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep pushing toward the mark—the goal of total freedom in Christ Jesus. It’s yours for the taking! Just keep pursuing Him with all of your heart, and one day, you’ll look up, and you will be free of that yoke forever.

Thoughts or reactions? Leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

The Seed Inside You…


Seed SproutingPOTENTIAL

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.”

“Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the number of apples in a seed.” ~ Robert Schuller

Mind. Blown. 🙂

Reflections: I don’t know why I was so affected by this quote, but it really gave me pause this morning. Maybe it’s because I know what it’s like to feel inadequate for the task that God has put before me, or the role he wants me to play. I also know what it feels like to be chastened by the Spirit for my doubt and reminded that God does not make mistakes. He knows what he’s doing and calls the perfect person for each endeavor. Now, this does not mean that the person is perfectly prepared for the task at hand in that moment of calling. On the contrary, the exact opposite is often true. But that truth does not matter, because God looks beyond our present level of preparation to see the seeds inside us just waiting to bear fruit. He knows that we are capable of far more than we ever imagined, as long as we stay connected to Him and allow Him to use us and equip us for the calling. Apart from God, we can accomplish only a fraction of our potential, but with him, we can achieve the seemingly impossible.

Has God placed a calling on your life that you are struggling to accept? Do you feel ill equipped to face the road ahead? Find courage in the knowledge that you don’t have to do it in your own strength. In fact, you have access to the limitless power of God, placed inside you by the Holy Spirit through your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Just trust God, and know that you CAN fulfill the vision. In time, it WILL come to pass, and your efforts will bear much fruit.

See Also:

John 15:5 – “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”

Thoughts or reactions? Leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

Shine Bright!

Like FIRE in My Bones!


Baptism of Fire


 Jeremiah 20:9 – “Your Word in my heart is like a fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding back, and I could not.”

Reflections: This scripture really resounded with me today, because I realized that I’ve experienced exactly what he’s talking about. In the story, God is calling Jeremiah to do a great work, but Jeremiah is daunted by the calling, feels ill equipped, and just can’t see how it could possibly come to pass. (Man, have I been there!) But despite Jeremiah’s protests, he cannot deny the Word of God! It begins moving and working and building in him, until it feels like fire in his bones. He tries to ignore it, he struggles to contain it, but it’s no use—God’s Word will never return to Him void!

I was having a conversation the other day about a difficult situation, and how it differed so drastically from where I’d thought God was calling me to be. I was pretty discouraged at the time, but as I spoke about my current circumstances, this feeling began welling deep in my Spirit. I began to see flashes of the vision God had given me, and with each flash, I felt this overwhelming sense of joy! The feeling grew until I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry, or shout! I completely forgot what I’d been talking (okay, complaining) about, and I just started declaring God’s vision with conviction; because suddenly, I had no doubt that it WOULD come to pass. As the fire of His Word built within me, it became impossible to deny, and it no longer mattered to me what other people said, or what my circumstances would lead me to believe. I choose to trust God and to believe His promises; and so I will wait, anxiously, for the fulfillment of the vision.

Are you feeling doubt today about the Word God has spoken into your Spirit? Remember that God is not a man that He should lie. He is always moving, always working, even when we can’t see it. It may not happen the way you are expecting, and it may take longer than you’d like, but He will finish the work He started in you; and in time, His Word will be fulfilled.

Shine your light! 🙂

Thoughts or reactions? Leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!





Habakkuk 2:2: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come…”

Testimony: God calls each of us to fulfill a certain purpose, and at some point or another, He places a vision in our Spirit of a specific role He wants us to play. I’m no exception.

God began revealing His vision of my future to me many years ago, and as time passes, He reveals a few more details about the path that will lead to the fulfillment of that vision. I have to say that so far, the path has not been a cakewalk. In fact, it’s been wrought with challenges, as the enemy tries to convince me that God’s promises will not come to pass. During this time, though, God has shown Himself mighty and strong, and I am amazed and humbled by the way He has cared for me, giving me hope and strength, and constantly confirming that I am on the right path.

Just this weekend, I had a moment of weakness, and I found myself questioning it all and praying to God for help, guidance, and confirmation—and MAN did He deliver! Not only did I receive more help than I imagined (and direct confirmation during the process that the help came from Him); but also during service on Sunday, God truly spoke to me through my pastor.

During a message titled, “Another Day, Another Battle,” pastor spoke about how, as Christians, we are going to face battles; but we must face them with the right attitude, knowing that God is with us and has already promised us victory. He began to encourage us to be determined, stick with it, stay on the path, and refuse to quit, because OUR LABOR IS NOT IN VAIN. Then he just starting saying, “Don’t quit! Don’t quit!” over and over again. He paused to say, “I’m speaking to someone in here who needs to hear this—Don’t. Quit. See it through to the end.” I, once again, was floored by God’s ability to use the people around me to help, guide, and confirm, just as I’d requested!

As I begin this week, I am strengthened, renewed, and empowered to move forward in my purpose and keep pressing toward the mark.

Has God placed a vision in your heart and on your Spirit? Does it feel like the vision will never come to fruition, or is the road of preparation becoming too much to bear? Whatever you may be experiencing, don’t quit! The vision is for an appointed time, but in the end, it will surely come. Write it down, remind yourself of what God is calling you to do, and believe that in time, with faith, determination, and the power of God, you WILL see God’s promises come to pass.

Shine your light!

See also:

Proverbs 3:5-6 – “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will [direct your paths].”



It Is Well with My Soul


Philippians 4:11b – “For I have learned to be content, whatever the circumstance.”

Reflections: Trials are an unavoidable part of being alive in this world. That’s the bad news. The good news is that we have a God who promises never to leave us or forsake us, and who assures us ultimate victory over our enemies in every circumstance. Despite this knowledge, actually ENDURING the trials of life with peace and grace is a challenge not all of us are prepared to meet. We cry out for deliverance, and become angry or dejected when God does not immediately pluck us out of our difficult situation and put our feet on solid ground. We forget that sometimes, we must go THROUGH the challenge to learn, grow, and prepare for the greater purpose that God has set before us. And as we weather these storms, God promises that His grace is sufficient for every circumstance. In fact, His power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). The key is to find your peace and contentment in the midst of the storm, riding the raging waves with confidence because we know, without a doubt, that we can do and endure all things through Christ, who gives us strength.

Shine Your Light!


It’s Just No Fun Doing It Alone!



Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

1 Thessalonians 5:11 – “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”

Reflections: You know, there is definitely something to be said for taking the time to fellowship with other believers, particularly those with such sweet Spirits that you literally feel the warmth of God’s love flowing from them, even over the phone. Such people create such a wonderful, nurturing environment that is so welcome during both good times and bad.

I have to admit that I often suffer from the “Lone Wolf Syndrome.” The experience of having some people jump in and out of my life has made me a bit hesitant to open up and depend on others. And if I’m honest, the habit of self-reliance has become a part of my nature (to a fault–this is something I’m working on). I somehow allow myself to consistently fill the role of the rock and strong shoulder for people around me, but play the quiet martyr suffering in silence when I go through times of trial (yes, I’m working on this, too 🙂 ).

There’s a REASON that God cautions us against forsaking the fellowship of believers, and instead encourages us to lean on and support one another. I understand this reasoning every time I leave a gathering of my sisters feeling refreshed, renewed, and strengthened by the Spirit. These relationships gird us up and help us to stand strong in the midst of trials, but they also serve to hold us accountable—to ourselves, to our calling, to our brothers and sisters in Christ, and to God.

If you have not already found a group of believers with whom you can fellowship, or if those with whom you used to break bread  were only in your life for a season (for whatever reason), I encourage you to be intentional about seeking out the fellowship of other believers. We all need that support and love, and it’s always wonderful to know that the people of God are standing in agreement with you and lifting you up in prayer. This journey can be a rough one, but take heart, God never meant for us to walk the road alone. 🙂

Shine bright!

Also read:

Proverbs 27:17 – “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

What Do You Worship?




Exodus 20:3 – “You shall have no other gods before me.”

Colossians 3:2 – “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”

Reflections: Webster defines worship as “the feeling or expression of reverence (usually toward a deity).” So, I ask you, what do you worship? What do you revere? What do you idolize? The reality is that anything that we idolize or worship, in essence, becomes like a god to us. I heard a song the other day that completely changed my perspective about what it means to have idols. The song was Clear the Stage by Jimmy Needham. During the bridge of the song, he sings,

Anything I put before my God is an idol,

And anything I want with all my heart is an idol,

And anything I can’t stop thinking of is an idol,

And anything that I give all my love is an idol…

He goes on to say that we must clear the stage of our hearts and minds to get to a place where we can give God our true worship. (Good song, by the way! If you haven’t heard it, you should definitely give it a listen.)

Anyway, again I ask, what do you worship? What do you spend your time focusing on and desiring with all of your heart? Of course, we are going to want and work for and think about things in this life. We’re human! But we have to be careful not to let our earthly desires take the place of God as the CENTER of our lives. Worries, relationships, responsibilities, aspirations…they so easily consume us and take our minds captive. It’s up to us to guard our thoughts—against stress and anxiety (because that problem is NOT bigger than your God!) and against distractions that may distance us from the Lord. Pay attention today to the course of your thoughts, and be careful to set your mind on things above, and not below. Our God is a jealous God, and He does not like to share the spotlight. 🙂

Worship - It's all about Him



Holding Hands


Ephesians 3:20-21 – “Now to Him, who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory…”

ReflectionsI am constantly reminded of how often I “put limits” on God in my life—through my fear, worry, and lower-than-necessary expectations. Though I know I serve a mighty God, I sometimes find that I’m afraid to hope and believe in the big blessings, because of certain past requests that, as yet, have gone unanswered (or so it would seem). Slowly, though, I have begun to understand that it really is all about (1) motive and (2) timing. The Word says that God hears and answers prayers if we first seek Him—His guidance and direction—before we make our requests. Answers to some requests made in flesh and not in Spirit may very well be “No” or “You’re not ready yet.” However, if we truly desire His will above our own, and make our requests with a Godly purpose and a righteous heart, then we know He hears us, and we know we have the petitions we have asked of Him, whatever they may be. If we have this confidence, the only thing left to do is to wait to be amazed. If we seek God first, and give Him space to bring into our lives our mate, our job, our healing, our financial restoration—instead of chasing after these things in our own power—then we open the door to blessings far beyond anything we could ask or think.

Also Read:

1 John 5:14-15 (NKJV) “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”

Shine bright!

Self - Confidence - Ant

It’s Not Always About Me? Really? (SELFlessNESS)




Colossians 1:16 – “For in Him, all things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and FOR Him.” [emphasis mine]


So…it’s not all about me…

I know!! I was just as shocked as you are! *smile* Seriously, though, when we are in the midst of a troubling situation, it’s easy to forget that our purpose on this earth is not to fulfill our own worldly desires. Our true purpose is to serve God and be obedient to the call He has placed on our lives, even if that calling takes us to or through places and circumstances we would rather avoid.

I think that when we hold desperately to our own plan, instead of letting go and seeking the plan that God has put before us, we end up making our lives much more difficult in the long run. God does not promise that the path He selects for us will be easy, but He DOES promise that He will never leave us or forsake us, that He will guide us through it all, and that in the end, it will all work out for our good and His glory.

So, the next time you find yourself absorbed in your “stuff,” take a moment to remember, it’s not about you, or me, or any of us; it’s about God, and the work that He’s called us to do.

Shine your light!



Full Rely on God

Fully Relying on God (F.R.O.G.)

2 Corinthians 5:7 – “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”

Reflections: This is a popular phrase these days. I see those cute little frogs everywhere emblazoned with the acronym, F.R.O.G. But how many of us really rely on God as we should? Fully relying on God is not just about trusting Him to deliver us from our mess, though that is a part of it. F.R.O.G. also entails seeking Him first, in all things, so we can avoid the mess in the first place. Our goal should be to become totally dependent on God, pursuing Him with fervor, seeking His guidance in every area of our lives. Before we make any big decision, we should first consult God and pray (then wait) for His direction. In this way, we can ensure that we walk a righteous path, and that God will truly bless the endeavors we ultimately pursue.

Also see:

James 4:13-15 – “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’”