Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Go Climb A Tree

I can’t see much right now.  It’s one of those times in my life where it seems like I can’t see what the Lord is doing and my only choices are to trust and to worship.  And it can be a challenge to trust and to worship when you feel isolated and shrouded in darkness.  We are always taught to press through these times, forget about what’s going on and focus on the Lord and what He has done in the past.  We pull out those platitudes that while true are quoted to placate us in times of trouble.  The ones like, “God is never late, He’s always on time!” or “He did it before, He will do it again!”  Like I said, true, but not always what you want to hear when you’re so crowded by troubles and issues that you can’t even see a glimpse of the hope that you know can and will deliver you.

At times like these, you gotta just climb a tree.  I loved to climb trees when I was younger although I didn’t climb to many growing up in the Bronx.  And I never went very high when I did because I was always afraid of heights.  But when I did get a chance, I would clamber up as far as I dared to get a different perspective of the world below.  So that’s what I’m going to do now, climb a tree.

In Luke 19, Verse 1-10 Zacchaeus the tax collector climbed a tree because he was too short to see Jesus through the crowd.  Zacchaeus was so determined to see the Lord that he even ran ahead of the crowd and climbed the tree.  And Jesus saw him in the tree, called him down by name and came to his home blessing him with salvation. Zacchaeus’s entire life was changed because he climbed the tree. He changed his outlook on life and changed his actual behavior because he met Jesus when he climbed a tree.


Well, I can’t literally climb a tree and wait for Jesus to pass by.  But what I can do is go higher and change my perspective about what is going on. I can believe that Jesus will see me when he passes by.  Going higher simply means that no matter how I feel, I should worship more, I should trust more, I should read my word more, I should serve Him even more.  I have to change my perspective and trust that at the end of this trial I will be changed.  I am going to hang out up high so I can see Jesus when He passes by and most importantly because I’m hanging in a tree up ahead I believe He will look up, call my name and my life will be changed forever.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

When The Walls Have Fallen

Together we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ himself.  Ephesians 2:20, The New Living Translation

I love the book of Nehemiah… when I think about how he worked to rebuild the walls of his beloved Jerusalem despite opposition, oppression and a lack of resources I feel encouraged.  It’s been a rough winter and everything that I thought I knew, all the places I thought I was going turned out to be wrong… We have been sidetracked, wandering, displaced and knocking on every door we knew to knock on.  And in one of those times that are maddening to the believer, the Lord has been pretty silent.

I’ve tried to worship while I wait for answers.  I tried to explain to people that sometimes all you can do is wait on the Lord and trust that he will answer in his own good time.  But sometimes doubt creeps in and it cripples, and stirs up bitterness and it finds you wiping tears from your eyes as you try to go forward despite not being exactly sure where you are going.

So where are we? We are waiting, we are rebuilding, we are shoring up some things that the Lord has shown us are important to our character.  The walls have fallen, but the chief cornerstone still stands, and on this rock we will go forward and rebuild.

Dr. Nay’s Random Life Lesson for April
When it looks like the walls have all come down, remember the chief cornerstone is still in place – and on Christ, everything can be rebuilt.
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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Worship While I Wait

Less then two months ago I stood on the stage at Samantha’s Lil’ Bit of Heaven testifying about how good the Lord had been to Jon and me. I shared that for the first time since we had been married we found ourselves at the turn of the New Year not having to move due to some crazy circumstance that had befallen us.  There would be no frantic search for a new home with very little provision to pave the way.  We were in the best place we’d ever been financially, the Lord had provided a warm home that we had lived in for a year.  I even remember telling Jon in the car on the way to New York that although I did want to move in the spring, I was really glad that we didn’t have to move anytime soon.

Then we pulled in the driveway after our trip home… and every light in our house was on.  The coldest winter in years had crushed my dream.  We had three pipes burst in a three week period.  Water rained down at the most unexpected moments ruining mementos, flooding rooms with inches of water, defiling the air with that wretched wet smell and forcing us to sleep in the living room.  Our landlord was no help, as a matter of fact he said he wasn’t going to fix anything until March when the weather finally bottomed out and Spring returned.  We were incredulous; it was the middle of January!  Who could live in this stench and the poor puppies were banned from the back of the house because I did not even want them walking on the carpet.  We had fans going and two dehumidifiers running and the heat turned up on high, but nothing helped as pipes continued to explode.

And then the Black Mold set in… and I found myself asking the Lord what was up with this!  Hadn’t we been in this place before?  Hadn’t I learned all the lessons I needed to learn?  Were we truly going to have to move out and find someplace else to live again?  And that’s exactly what we had to do.  Pack up everything we owned, put it in storage and revert back to the gypsy life until the Lord opened up a door for a new home.  It’s been almost five weeks and we are still vagabonds.

After standing on the stage at Samantha’s and proclaiming the faithfulness of the Lord and how finally, for the first time in three years we didn’t have to move and how stable things had become I was faced with the same situation.  I could contribute it to a Job Complex, we often fall back to believing this when faced with trials and tests.  I could believe that I had fallen short and hadn’t learned everything I needed to learn the first two times around with this test.  I could say that I needed to be rock solid in my faith, more consistent, a better steward, that I needed to learn to worship no matter what the situation was.  I could even blame it on my husband selfishly thinking there’s something he has to learn in all this and since I’m his wife, I’m along for the ride.  I could blame it on so many things and point the finger to try and give myself some peace.


But the truth of the matter is that there is no place to point and no one to blame.  Maybe it’s all the things I’ve mentioned and maybe it isn’t.  This is a moment when the scripture that the Lord’s ways are much higher then mine is truly relevant.  My responsibility is to worship and to obey no matter what is going on.  To take a step in faith and trust that the correction will come if I am out of line.  Right now I feel like a homeless gypsy, but I am so much more then that.  I am a daughter of the King, and even if it does not feel good or it makes no sense, I am determined to worship while I wait.  I will look up and live and trust that this is all working together for my good, and that the glory of the Lord draws near.  

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Turn To Praise - A Word From Our Sponsor



Psalm 42:11 
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

It is easy to control how you appear on social media sites. I think that can be detrimental in that people gain a false perception of who you are and how you are all the time. I choose to be selective about what I share with the world, not because I am concerned about what people think, rather I choose to cherish and protect those relationships and issues that are dare to my heart. You won’t get a rant about what’s wrong in my life, political issues, my husband, or how others have treated me badly. Because I don’t share everything, doesn’t mean that everything is always spot on.

I have plenty of struggles and today, I was feeling overwhelmed, discouraged and misunderstood. Instead of letting my struggle define me, I turned on my music and began to praise. I started out with head down, tears pooling and ending up dancing and shouting, I know my neighbors think I’m crazy. In the midst of this praise my spirits lifted, I found a lost bracelet, my attitude changed and I began to rehearse in my mind all the GREAT THINGS the Lord had done! When you are in a place of darkness turn to praise. It can be as simple as a muttered, “I trust you Lord.” It’s ok to sometimes share the bad, it may encourage others. Today I realize, praise is not only what I do… praise makes me who I am!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Kicking It Will Get You Kicked and Other News from the Homefront!

The Calling, January 2014 The Official Newsletter of Broken Box Ministries and the Ministry of Naima


Did You Know!?
Happy New Year! I pray that you had a wonderful Christmas. I am looking forward to 2014, I believe that there are great things in store for the people of the Lord. Would you pray for us, that the Lord would use us to evangelize, encourage, uplift and educate all those we come into contact with this year? It is our desire to impact the world with the truth of who Christ is and see many people inspired to a worshipful relationship with Christ. We love you all and we are thankful for your continued support in 2014. There are lots of exciting things going on and we want to encourage and meet your needs! Hang out at www.facebook.com/ministryofnaima and www.twitter.com/NaimaJohnston.

Dr. Nay’s Random Life Lesson for January
Have you ever heard or used the term kicking it? It means to be hanging out, messing around, having a good time, just chilling. We all need to kick it once in a while, rest is good for the soul and spending quality time with loves ones always is a blessing. But sometimes when we know we’ve been called to do a great work for the Lord we find ourselves kicking it to much and not working on the things that we have always dreamed of achieving. So if you want to achieve your God given dreams in 2014 and not be kicked off your assignment remember, “Too much kicking it, will get you kicked!”

Report of the Ministry
This year we are on a mission build this ministry and employ new programs and projects that meet the needs of the people we are called to encourage and uplift. Through much prayer and wise council we have revamped our ministry tagline and mission statement. We are also recording new music, having a new logo designed, launching our T-shirt line and putting together a new website! Please let us know what you think about our new mission statement and tagline – do you feel it accurately describes who I am and what Jon and I do with Broken Box Ministries? Our new tagline is: The Ministry of Naima, Worshipping God, Encouraging People. Our new mission statement: Inspiring the world to a lifestyle of worship through music and ministry.

Did You Miss?
I know Christmas has passed, but if you missed the last Worship Note or the Broken Box Ministries end of the year please take a peek!

Are you in the Year in Review Christmas Video!? http://youtu.be/7xHL4zFG3Ds  

Check out the Worship Note, Christmas Everyday for a worship reflection on the true meaning of Christmas. http://youtu.be/e1GjpVzy5iU

Don’t Forget!
Are you a Creative Christian Woman? Are you seeking support, fellowship, educational opportunities and spiritual growth? Then join the Creative Christian Women’s Network with both online and in person meetings and educational seminars! For more information email me at naimasbrokenbox@yahoo.com for more information!

We are now booking for 2014! George or Kim would be happy to book a date! Call 901-409-5505 or email them at info@vincentcreativegroup.com if I can be of service.
Praying blessings on you all! Now go out and achieve… Your Calling!

© January 2014, The Calling is a publication of 7thirtyseven Logos, a division of BBM, All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication can be republished without express permission from the publisher.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Deeper Project!

Last year I found myself in a place where I was so desperate to discover God’s perfect will for my life that I determined that the only way to find it was to get so close to Him that we were face to face. It seemed to me that if I could get that close to the Lord I could actually get past all my fears, frustrations and issues and live in the center of His will.  And if I could live in the center of His will, I could accomplish anything and everything He had created me to do.  I wanted to get past the surface and get as deep into the Lord as I could. And in the midst of that moment I started to sing the song that became, Deeper (Center of Your Will) the title track of my new EP releasing winter 2014.

As a songwriter I express myself best through lyrics and music.  In the melody, meter and rhyme I craft the things I want to say but often don’t, share the secret desires of my heart and present it to the world in hopes that they will understand.  I want to sing to the world in hopes that they will see that in the middle of all the messiness of life, there is a God who can heal, restore, give hope, love and keep them.  I want them to meet the beautiful Savior who died on a cross so we could have a true relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ.

Jon and I decided to start recording this project two years ago, as artists and ministers we don’t often have extra money, and although sometimes it’s difficult, we would not trade the life we live for anything.  We found things came to a standstill as we transitioned back to Nashville and had to find a new producer.  But the scripture that tells us that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8 Verse 28) is so true.  In what first seemed like a delay, I wrote new songs that were much more suited to the current place I was in – a place where I was learning joy, to overcome fear, to see the Lord work his marvelous wonders in my life.

I now have a collection of songs I humbly ask for your assistance in recording.  Although we’d love to do a full length album at this time, we are starting with an EP of 5 or 6 songs that both Jon and I truly believe will encourage all who hear them. We’ve tried to come up with some fun gifts to give back to you for believing in us so much that you would donate to this new project and any donation of any amount you make is more then appreciated.

We face some possible challenges, anytime you set off on a journey; you can do nothing but your best to get to where you are trying to go.  And I promise to do my best.  There may be delays in the recording process and other administrative hold ups and life moments we may need to pause for.  But we go forward trusting the Lord and relying on Him to get this new project into your hands.

I’m working with a dynamic producer, Evan Sieling who has seen past my insecurities and musically pulled out the best in me.  Between Evan and the constant encouragement from Jon, I am facing my fears head on, singing with a new found freedom and from a perspective that truly understands who I am and whose I am.  Before I sang because I was compelled to, now I sing for joy!

Our plan is use the money raised to record 5 to 6 songs, duplicate the project, shoot a video and do some basic promotions.  If we exceed our goal we will record more music then we originally planned.  I always have more songs then I have resources to record.


Thank you for taking the time to consider donating to the Deeper EP.  Words can’t express my excitement about sharing these new songs with the world.  I hope that you will partner with Jesus, Jon and I so that we can encourage the world to go deeper and explore the riches of our matchless God.  And together we will live fearlessly, singing for joy, in the center of His will.www.gofundme.com/Naima

Thursday, September 19, 2013

What I Learned Waiting For Boaz, Part II

Lesson 3:
Don’t Pass a Counterfeit Bill

I’ve heard 99% of the time the counterfeit comes before the real thing.  Do not get caught up with a brother (or sister) you know is not the one for you.  Unless you’re Haggai, (if you don’t know the story read it) run quickly from those who don’t met the standards that the Lord ordains for your life.  I wasted precious time running after, praying for, mourning and desiring several men who were not ordained for me. 

If they are married to someone else, they are not the one.  If your statement of faith does not agree they are not the one. If you think you can change them, they are not the one. If they told you that you are not the one for them, believe them.  People who use counterfeit money can get in a lot of trouble. When I think of what would have happened and where I would be if I had married several other men I thought was the one I would have wound up in prison for passing bad bills.

Lesson 4: What’s Up With Your List?

Women often share with me their lists of what they are looking for in a mate.  They go over details telling me that Mr. Right has to have all of these attributes. Many of them are still waiting.  I had a list once, it included the obvious: saved, on fire, in ministry and supportive of the call on my life.  Real things that should never be compromised.  Then there was the superficial: great cook, frat boy so we could do ”Greek” stuff together, similarly educated, love to read, dress nice, be a musician/producer! And Lord don’t let him have no thug life past. And red hair, yes you read that right, red hair!


I came to understand that it was fine to have preferences, but what if those preferences were keeping me from meeting my Boaz?  So I threw the list out and prayed, Lord send me what I need, not what I think I want.  Because if you send me what I need it will be a million times better then what I think I want!  My hubby showed up not in the package I was expecting, he’s got a testimony, a serious past (but that’s his story to tell) he does cook, but he sure ain’t no red head.  But the Lord sent me the man I needed and the man I needed is the only man I’ll ever want.