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Distinguished members of the
~ Frederick Douglass
St. Philip’s African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
Be Joyful Always
We are grateful for the ability to do good works
For do I now persuade men or God? or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10 KJV)
A gospel Group named the Consolers sung a song that my Uncle used to love to listen to and the Choir at the church where he was the Pastor would sing. May the work I’ve done speak for me The Lyrics are “May the work I’ve done speak for me, when I stand before my God I want to hear him say well done, may the work I’ve done speak for me.” It is nice to have people appreciate and admire what you do, but sometimes man’s accolades depend on who you are, if they like you or not, a whole lot of head games. Just plain old foolishness. I am going to keep working and keep planning so that I might please God. Some things from man’s eyes are not successful, but by God’s standards, I hit a home run. The scripture reminds us to store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal; and if I am doing good work for the kingdom of God, it is well with my soul. The Holy Spirit has a way of reassuring me of this, so my spirit does not get low. Another verse in the Consolers song says “The work I’ve done; they seem so small, looks like nothing at all. When I stand before my God, I want to hear Him say well done. May the work I did speak for me.” Do not look to persuade men, but just please God.
Sometimes my fellow laborers in Christ get discouraged, but when you’re doing things to please man you’re not a servant of Christ and are bound to give up. We are to remember who we are in Christ, if you look at the world, we would as soon as not go to service. Make sure your faith is not Lukewarm because that means you are neither hot nor cold and the scriptures state the Lord will spew you out of his mouth. How many people enjoy a beverage lukewarm, we either drink it cold or hot, such as coffee, tea or hot chocolate. Do not concern yourself with people who tell you God is not real and your scriptures are fairy tales, they are entitled to their opinion, that’s choice, let them folk stay over there, please make sure you’re anchored, serving and pleasing God and not man. Stay encouraged. God bless you.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NIV)
Today on the Christian calendar is Ash Wednesday, and on the secular calendar, it is Valentine’s day. What an awesome combination love and repentance. Some are finding this difficult because it is the first day of lent and a time to sacrifice, therefore how do we wrestle with dinner, movies, and chocolate over ashes and sacrifice. I believe it is how you look at it. The sacrifice that Christ made is better than any valentine’s day. No one has sacrificed their life for me that I might have a right to the tree of life and paid the price that I would not die in my daily sins. Repenting is the least we can do to recognize our weaknesses as humans. Every day we should repent and love one another as Christ has loved us. It is not often that both fall on the same day. We have gotten so far removed from sacrificing our time, gifts, and talent for the body of Christ. We do not always enter his gates with thanksgiving and courts with praise, we come into Gods house like it is a chore like washing dishes or doing the laundry. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes tragedy and pain to draw us closer to God who wants us to seek first the kingdom of God. Pain has redeeming qualities; pain has a way of allowing God to get our attention. The gift of eternal life is priceless. The ashes today are symbolic of how much we owe to a loving God that formed us in his image and has blessed us in ways that we see and in ways that we do not see, So, love and repentance are an excellent combination for believers this year. Remain encouraged God’s continual blessings upon you.
For the past couple of Sundays, I have preached from what John Ortberg called in his book God is closer than you think, the concept of recognizing God during our spiritual winters. The text used for this subject is Job. The Lord said to Satan, have you considered my servant job. Just think, who would think it’s a badge of honor to be chosen for tragedy, a severe diagnosis, financial struggle, and a host of other life trials and tribulations. Many of us would prefer to say move over job and sit on the heap of ashes with him. What good would that do? And how effective would that be? No one said the struggle is easy, but it is better to turn your pain into praise and your worry into worship and trust God for the outcome.
For twenty-two chapters job complained and listen to the peanut gallery tell him he must have done something wrong, what theologians call the theology of retribution. So, if Job repented, God would forgive him and restore what was lost. Job was able to stay strong enough to let his friends know this was not the case and then the Lord showed up on his behalf to rebuke his friends Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar. The Lord knew Job was a man of faith, upright and blameless, who loved the Lord, not just when the sun was shining but during his spiritual winter. The great hymn of the church lyrics states, “hold to his hand Gods unchanging hand, therefore if God is holding our hand when its good, the Lord is still holding our hand when its bad. Sometimes it does not feel like it, but the Lord is. Job said to his wife when she wanted him to curse God and die; he said to her” “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” Life is full of trouble and sorrow, but it is so much more palatable when you learn how to lean and depend on God. There is a bright side, God has other seasons, and the sun does come out. Remain encouraged. God Bless.
There are so many scriptures about wisdom in the Bible that can apply to our lives. I would hope I ask God for wisdom and knowledge in all areas of my life and pray and seek wise counsel. I miss the mark on some things, and I know it, but I ask the Lord to have mercy upon me according to his love and kindness.
This past weekend I went to a friend’s ordination service in the Baptist church. I was ecstatic for her she is indeed one of Gods favorites, and I might seem bias, but I know she was the one who packed that church out because that is just the type of person she is. Anyway, three women were being ordained into the ministry and one male who was entering the diaconate. I noticed there was not one woman on the pulpit; this did not come to my spirit until the next day when I was driving to work. While I was there, there was not one woman who blessed the offering, did the charge, sing a solo, preach the ordination sermon, I was thinking if three women were being ordained it would have been nice to have a few women of the cloth represented. We were in the congregation because my friend invited friends in ministry. The pastor even noticed it when we greeted the candidates as we went around for the offering. I saw his smile, and after the offering was blessed, he did the politically correct thing and recognized the clergy and pastors sitting in the pews. There were several seats in the pulpit, and there was not one woman there. I think it would have been nice to have seen a woman representative since the candidates were women. Listen I do not tread upon this subject, because of the pushback and quite frankly ignorance, but if we are going to be forward thinking, proverbs tell us Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding. As a business owner, I have many students from the continent of Africa who patronize my training school. I have a staff member who speaks French and is from the Ivory Coast; this initiative increased traffic from the African diaspora to my school. I also have Spanish employees, from the Latin island and South America; because most of the people who support my business are from the Latin community. The Lord is advancing the kingdom, and there are many reasons why churches are not progressing forward, and one reason is the lack of presence and diversity of women clergy in strategic planning and implementation for kingdom building. Yes, there are those who have gained wisdom and understanding and kudos to them, but there is much-needed work. Sometimes if you take a step back, and see how things look through another set of lenses, there are specific ways of doing and being that is archaic and does not advance the Kingdom of God for such a time as this. A few years back, I was in the Bahamas a Leadership Institute. My beloved Pastor, who is now the Bishop Darin Moore organized the institute. One of the Key facilitators of the workshop was Rev. Dr. Kevin Cosby, Senior Pastor of St. Stephens Church in Louisville, Kentucky; one thing Dr. Cosby said that will always stay with me; God designed cradles and coffins. If leaders and decision-makers in the church, refuse to shift for the advancement of the kingdom, God will do the shifting. The book of James states if any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. As a woman of God, I get claustrophobic in those dominant male settings it conjures up so many memories of my youth. No, I was not molested or raped, it was just too controlling and sexist for my spirit. I ask God to help me and continue to pray for those who think they are losing position and power and afraid of change and progressive thinking. Remain encouraged, and God bless.
Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! Psalm 139:23-24 ESV
This week we took the time out to celebrate Martin Luther King’s Jr. holiday, my mind was racing with so many thoughts with everything that is going on in the world today, such as Racism and bigotry at an all-time high; and natural calamity in the United States and abroad, rumors of wars. Should I say something about the beloved community, should I say something about one of King’s primary themes of Love being the cure for hate. We must continue to remain vigilant and speak truth to power and remind one another about staying encouraged and hopeful.
I am in a place where I want the Lord to search me, to work on me, I need to love and be more forgiving and forget what is behind, I also need more patience, it does not take much to turn me off and then I’m finished with you. That’s not Godley behavior or exhibiting the fruits of the spirit. I can hear someone saying, “oh, don’t be so hard on yourself,” maybe, but as Tamala Mann sings “Change me oh God Make me more like you Change me oh God Wash me through and through Create in me a clean heart So that I may worship you.” We let love and forgiveness roll out of our mouths, but if to thine own self-be true, we do not like some people for a number of reasons and forgiving them is so difficult. Yes, I am aware there is grace in the process, and as the Lord said to the apostle Paul, my strength is made perfect in weakness. All of this is fine, but I am praying for the lord to do a new thing in me, and lead me in the way of everlasting. This is my way to Honor Dr. Kings Legacy, asking God to search me and clean up the grievous ways in me, so that I can be lead in the way of everlasting and become an agent of love and apart of the beloved community. We may have sufficient grace, but as Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes about in his book discipleship, we should not cheapen God’s grace. Remain encouraged. God Bless.
Several years ago, I was sitting in a human resource area of a hospital, waiting for an interview. The phone rang, and the administrative staff answered the phone, and I heard the staff member say to the person on the other end of the phone, you must be a licensed nurse to do the job. Some people want to do a job but are not aware of the qualifiers for the position. Some people never knew that specific jobs require a license or quite possibly a degree in the field. There are always a few exceptions to the rule, but most of the time a position involves some experience. I have heard preachers say God does not call the qualified; the Lord qualifies the called. There is something about those the Lord calls, a uniqueness for the assignment and the position. Jeremiah 29:11 states 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.
Many people hold positions, but that does not mean they are qualified, doing more harm than good. Sometimes we want to cheer for people to take a job and they make a complete mess of things, because they are not qualified. We live vicariously through people, and we say to ourselves “well if he or she can do that job, there is hope for me.” Preparation is key to success, not coveting someone’s gifts and talents. We may have issues with how people do things, but they are qualified for jobs they hold. There is something to be said for experience.
I remember orientating at another medical facility, and they needed nurses to work in the ventilator room, and they quoted the salary, I was sitting next to another nurse, and she said, “I want to work in the ventilator room.” I asked, “do you know ventilators,” She said “no,” I said “why would you want to work in a room with ventilators that control patients breathing, and you are unfamiliar with the equipment, because of the salary? I said “I don’t care how much they are paying, until I learn ventilators I will not work in a room with machines that controls patient breathing, because of money. Being unqualified and not obtaining the knowledge for the job is dangerous; regardless of the position, from the white house to the emergency room in a hospital, especially when it has impact over peoples’ life. This is what psychiatry calls having delusions of grandeur. A delusion of grandeur is the fixed, false belief that one possesses superior qualities such as genius, fame, omnipotence, or wealth. It is most often a symptom of schizophrenia, but can also be a symptom found in psychotic or bipolar disorders, as well as dementia. The Lord does qualify the called, but there is something about the individual called that the Lord chooses to qualify them for the assignment and or position; all throughout the Bible from David as a shepherd boy, Paul who persecuted Christians, the first disciples who were fishermen, and the list goes on and on. The Lord specializes in unique qualifications for who we might see as unqualified, but preparation is possible for an assignment or job, you must be willing to do the work. Remain encouraged. God Bless.
One thing I always enjoy about bringing in the New Year, it is an opportunity to set a few new goals, whether you keep them or not, that is a different story. The fact that we think about goal setting is still a good thing. I not only like to set goals, but I want to complete them. I enjoy getting to the finish line, leaving something unfinished is not a very comforting feeling for me. So, if it’s a book I am reading, a course I am taking, I want to complete it, no matter how unbearable the class might have been. There have been some things I started, and God knows I tried to walk away. I no longer wanted to be challenged, but God was in the plan, so I forged ahead because I knew God had something to do with the course charted; so, I strapped in and allowed Jesus to take the wheel.
Since becoming a Pastor my brother who is finishing up his PhD in Texas, visited the church and when he stood up, surprisingly he mentioned my goal setting characteristics. Thanks, my brother what a compliment, he was competitive, and I would say “I am not competing with you buddy, do you.” Having three brothers I guess that is bound to happen. I never considered myself competitive, unless I was playing a team sport. The keyword for me is “team” Unfortunately, there is competitiveness in the body of Christ, and I want nothing to do with it, I am working for Jesus. So, keep that crap away from me unless we are on the same team, the God squad.
Anyway, it is nice to always have a plan, but as the proverb mentions, the Lord determines one’s steps. I thought I was going to law school, I became a Registered Nurse and because of my nursing, I opened a few related businesses in the service industry relating to healthcare. I thought I was going to college in the south. Instead, I went to school upstate New York. There were many plans in my heart, but the lord determined the outcome. I am glad today that the Lord established my steps, they were not always easy steps, scripture speaks of the actions of a righteous man are firm when the Lord delights in his ways, thanks, Jesus.
So, as we begin this New Year, let us continue to have a tentative plan in our heart, but allow Jesus to take the wheel and sign off on the intended course. The outcome is usually more outstanding then we could have ever imagined. So, with that said, I pray that you have a blessed year, regardless of what happens, know the Lord will establish your steps, and that is a blessing
in and of itself. Remain encouraged, New Year an opportunity for a few new goals!!
But he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts; for what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God. (Luke 16:15 RSV)
When I was younger, one of my brothers would always tell our father that I was the culprit of things missing from the refrigerator that he brought being more specific Reese’s peanut butter cups, which is one of my favorites. I would tell him it was not me who took it, but for some reason, he never believed me. I did not learn until later in life, that my brother would fault me, and he was the one who ate my Dad’s Reese’s peanut butter cups. If I wanted the Reese’s peanut butter cup I would just ask, especially if I did not purchase them. My brother thought it was funny, but I did not think it was a laughing matter. It seems as though this line of defense followed me throughout my life, people would always run to others and tell them, Jairite was the culprit, I was the bad guy, “look what she did to me, “Jairite said this to me” constantly playing the victim before I could plead my case; after a while, I would just fall back, because I know the routine, It was her, Jairite did it, whatever “it” was.
My Ex-business partner always played the victim. Eventually, the truth came out, and the parties involved knew I was not the perpetrator. It’s funny how the tables turn, if she hears of something in the field of my business about me, she is one of my staunchest advocates. The bible did say your enemies would be your footstool. Today, even in ministry it is still happening, folk playing the victim, but I am grateful to God that he knows our heart, a man or woman may justify themselves in front of others, but ultimately God knows our behavior is an abomination in his sight. Watch those who always act like the victim, there is usually another side or sides to that story. Remain encourage that God knows the truth and you will be vindicated. God Bless you.
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel (Matthew 1:23b)
The Christmas season is for some an exhilarating time of year, and for some people, it is not so exciting; maybe they lost a loved one or perhaps it’s overrated or their childhood did not bring them good tidings, just coal. I am grateful for the warm memories of the Christmas season that my family afforded me without leaving out the real reason for the season. I want my son to have great memories of Christmas as well, but teaching him that Jesus is the reason for the season and the actual gift, that keeps on giving, that will never break or become outdated or get lost.
Ultimately, we should remember that no matter how we embrace or reflect upon this Holiday season, if you are a Christian, we should be grateful that the creator came in the form of man to redeem and offer us a new life. I am first thankful that God the son has come to be with us. I believe in the virgin birth because I accept Christ as my savior. I look to the hills from which comes my help and my help does not come from man, it comes from an all-powerful and gracious God. This season is a time not only to expect but to reflect upon what the coming of Christ has meant for my life. I hope that I am doing my part as a disciple of witnessing to the glory of God and his goodness and mercies toward us.
I also look forward to all the songs of the Christmas season because they reflect the coming of Christ, the songs we sing throughout the holiday is one thing man’s commercialism of Christmas does not overshadow because the songs tell the story of the real meaning of Christmas, the birth of Christ the King. I am glad the angel of the Lord spoke to Mary and Joseph so that we could have Immanuel, with us. Remain encourage and remember, Jesus, is the gift and the reason for the season.
“The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.” (Nahum 1:7)
Throughout my life in church, we sung the lyrics to the song “I will trust in the Lord until I die…” we did not just sing, we belted it out. The passion that went into singing this song, was not always demonstrated in ones walk with God, but I guess it felt and sounded good at the time. In the book of Job, the Lord said to Satin, have you considered my servant Job, The Lord knew Job trusted him. That is why the scripture ask Satin did you consider my servant job. When will the Lord be able to consider you? Does the Lord know you trust him or is it just lyrics to a song that sounds good when we sing in unison during a Sunday morning worship service? Today, When I sing this song, it is much different than years ago, I may have trusted God, but not to the extent that I trust the lord today. Today, I can stand boldly and sing I will trust in the Lord and know that the lord is good to me and a stronghold in the time of trouble and I believe the Lord knows I trust him. The Bible reminds us that Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. Because our days are full of trouble, I encourage you to trust the Lord and know that he will deliver you from all your troubles, as he did with King David, as with Job and like he has done with you and me, because we are still here able to give our testimony. I trust the Lord and I have experienced the goodness of the Lord. Man might mean well, but as the Apostle Paul said, “When I would do right, evil is always present.” When you trust in the Lord, you will not be disappointed. I pray that as you mature in your faith, the Lord will know you as one who believes in him. And you will be able to say as David did Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. God Bless you.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. (Psalm 118:1NIV)
Today is Thanksgiving, we pause to say thank you Lord and reflect on the Lords goodness and mercies toward us, blessings seen and unseen and too numerous to name. So much is going on in this country and when we gather together with family and friends and break bread, let us remember the pastor and congregation in Southerland Texas, the earth has no sorry heaven cannot heal, let us not forget those ravished by hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires. Despite trials and tribulations, Psalm 118 reminds us that the Lord is good, and the Lords love endures forever. In all circumstances give thanks because our Lord will work it out in your favor if you only believe. No matter what it looks like, the valley reminds us there is a mountaintop, and it keeps us humble, and the mountaintop is a reminder that the Lord will work it out and we have the Victory in Christ Jesus. When we have done all, we can stand back and see the salvation of the lord. This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for my family and strength in the Lord, no matter what I go through, I know the lord is trying to grow me and strengthen me for what the Lord has planned for my life. But as the song’s lyrics state if the Lord does not do anything else, he’s done enough. Let us always give thanks because the lord is sovereign and although we cannot trace the lord at times, we must continue to Trust the Lord like King David, because the Lord is good, and his Love endures forever. Remain Encouraged. God Bless you.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18 NIV)
My heart broke for the people in Sutherland Texas at First Baptist Church. The Enemy is real; this is not the first attack at a house of worship. Whatever one wants to label it mental illness, crazy, etc. the bible tells us Satin comes to kill, steal, and destroy. As a Christian I know they are in a better place. Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal, but it still hurts, no matter how much we quote the right scriptures, the Bible reminds us that Jesus wept, and I am so glad the Lord is close to the broken-hearted. The enemy came to the house of worship, not the mall, not the bank or supermarket, not the bar or a strip club but a place where a body of believers worships our risen Savior. I will continue to leave my house and worship with a family of believers because the enemy wants us to stop gathering together, let us remain vigilant as the Bible instructs and keep our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ in Prayer as they begin the healing process regarding this devastating tragedy. Remain encouraged, God Bless.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28
This verse characterizes God’s welcoming attitude. This reminder was written to the early church. It went against their culture to welcome people different from themselves (Greeks, slaves, etc.) – just like in today’s world, there are some people we might find it hard to welcome based on our cultural expectations. But if someone is a believer in Christ, they are the same as we are, and they are welcomed.
Many Preachers and Pastors have emphasized there is only one heaven, there is not a black heaven, white heaven, Latin heaven, Asian heaven, and the list continues; how we segregate ourselves on a Sunday morning. As a body of believers, we need to set the example to help eradicate racism, and we can demonstrate this in Christendom, we must fellowship one with another.
When I was working on my Doctorate in ministry, one of my classmates was a co-pastor at a Non-denominational, diverse church in Ohio. They were diverse alright, but they segregated themselves by culture and ethnicity in the sanctuary, and this is how they also fellowshipped. Yes, we do like to fellowship with what is familiar, but I am letting all know that you are more than welcome to fellowship with the body of believers at St. Philips AMEZ. Our denomination is our covering; it does not run through our bloodstream. The word of God reminds us in 1st Corinthians 1:10 (ESV) I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. We can learn from one another, if we are to be more like Christ, we must realize we are all one in Christ Jesus. The church name has a wealth of history, but heaven will be our home one with another. God Bless you and remain encouraged.
“For I, the Lord your God will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you'” (Isaiah 41:13).
Throughout life, we will have different experiences, some good and some bad. Our minds begin to have so many thoughts especially when the experiences in life are not so pleasant. We can attest to being rejected, verbally attacked, terminated from a job, written up, relationship break-up, children disappointing us. The list can go on and on regarding chaotic life experiences. No matter what people say about faith in God, this is my place of refuge, my safe place, my faith in God. The Bible tells us his name is a strong tower and the righteous run in and hide. There is no other way I can live without the Lord.
Many of us are not far from snapping like the gunmen in Las Vegas, but if it had not been for knowing the Lord has promised us through his word, to fear not, I will hold your hand through every trial and valley in your life, I am not sure where some of us would be. There is nothing too hard for God even when we make a complete mess of things. The Lords grace is sufficient and his strength is made perfect in our weakness, and we are weak. Life will gut punch you, and I am so grateful that my reaction is to call on the name of the Lord and he is my help in the very time of trouble and will deliver me from it all. I have been the recipient of Gods amazing grace and victory in my life, and no matter what happens as painful as it might be, I am blessed to know that the Lord promises to hold my right hand and whispering to me through the comforting holy spirit fear not, I will help you. Beloved remain encouraged no matter how hard it gets continue to look up and trust God.
I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed. (Psalm 119:46)
Sometimes in life, I find myself reflecting on how did I end up here, pastoring? The Bible reminds us in Jeremiah that the Lord has the plan for our lives and ultimately God is in control. Many of my friends are not surprised that I am a pastor, I always had a word, testifying to the goodness of God and how the Lord has blessed and moved in my life. Our testimony is a part of our witness to the glory of God and His goodness and mercy towards us. I often hear, “how do you do it,” “I need to step my game up,” etc. my response is, “I did it with God.” When I took one step, God made two. Some people want it to be something else other than crediting God, or for me to take the credit because of their cynicism and lack of faith.
I will continue to tell of the Lord’s miracles and guidance in my life. But it’s funny, no matter how much you share with some people how you got over, People will not adhere to the prescription prescribed. It is just like the Doctor telling a person with diabetes the consequences of not changing their diet and taking their medication. I will continue to speak of my testimonies as it relates to the promises of God; if you seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, but I am also aware that the Gate to the kingdom of God is Narrow. I encourage you to continue to speak of your testimony of the presence of God in and around your life because if it had not been for the Lord on my side, I do not know where I would be. God bless you.
He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD. (Proverbs 18:22 NKJV)
Lately, I am starting to get asked for guidance related to finding a man, marriage, do I know anyone, UGH!!!!! Help Jesus. I am a pastor, so this was bound to happen. I am not a psychologist, a relationship coach or an expert in this area. My reference place is the Word of God and my life.
Proverbs, the book of wisdom tells us, he that finds a wife, finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord. For the women who these questions tend to come from, let “him,” find you. I put first the things of God, I was an active church member, and I was Kingdom busy. The Gospel of Matthew instructs us to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all other things shall be added unto you. I focused on my education, business, and goals. Besides, I was not good at navigating matters of the heart, so I turned that over to the Lord because you just end up at the heart break hotel far more times than we need to be there.
When my father in heaven was ready for his daughter to have a mate, the Lord sent my husband who found me. I prayed and stayed focused on me. Did I kiss a few frogs, of course, I did not always resist or flee and was not always looking for a way out, but thank God, the Lord had the plan for my life? The Lord loves me better than I love myself so I did not park there for too long. Praise God!!! was I rolling down the church aisles, no, did I go out sometimes even with my busy schedule, of course, I did. Keeping it 100, since I am getting the questions, I love the Lord, and my first and most important relationship is with my Savior. My prescription comes from the word of God. This is what I know, and I am grateful that I know the Lord, but better yet, the Lord knows me. Whatever craziness was going on in my life, right or wrong, I gave time to God because the Lord gave me more than time!!!!! Until I see Jesus, I will always be a work in progress.
I pray that you develop your relationship with the Lord so that you can learn about all the lord’s promises, his love, goodness, and mercy towards us. Falling in love with Jesus is the greatest thing that ever happened to me. Trust the Lord for what, and who is best for your life. God Bless you, remain encouraged.
Cast your cares on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. (Psalm 55:22 NIV)
I can remember one evening I was working in a nursing home and it was time to give out the medication. So, I began to push the medication cart down the hall to administer the drugs, tube feedings, wound care and a host of other responsibilities. That night I must have gotten cursed out and hit in at least four rooms. One right after the other. I said to myself, “finished, I am quitting this job, I did not sign up for this level of abuse.” By the time I went to the fifth resident, a beautiful spirit was in the room, and the resident was so kind, grateful and pleasant that I decided to stay. The Lord provided the healing for my soul, the balm in Gilead. I believe this resident knew about each of the people I was going to encounter before I came to her room. She was Strategically placed on the battlefield before I went back out in the trenches. The Lord knows just how much we can bear.
Many of us can relate to Marvin Gaye when he sang the Lyrics: Make me want to holler and throw up my hands. When you are doing the work of the Lord, the enemy will attach to a friend, stranger, employee, employer, child, superior, spouse, sibling and a host of others; the enemy has no respect a person. The attack comes to kill, steal, and destroy. The Lord will sustain you, so you will not be shaken when you are doing good work. You will begin to recognize the enemies strategic planning, but you will also see the hand of the Lord. Sometimes I start to laugh because I know when the Lord sends a sign reminding me, I got you, keep going. I encourage you today when you want to give up, look up and know that the Lord can sustain you for your life’s journey. Remain encouraged, God bless.
He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. (2nd Corinthians 1:4 NLT).
Life is full of so many highs and lows, sometimes we do not know whether we are coming or going. Sometimes we feel alone and empty and we want to fill up those empty and confused places so that we can camouflage our hurt and pain. Some of us turn to alcohol, food, drugs, sex, but because they are temporary moments of pleasure; which becomes more trouble then it’s worth, and we end up in double the trouble. There are times when many of us who you think have it so together want to num the pain. There are times I want to check out when things get to be a bit much. I have concluded that I prefer to turn my issues in life over to God. The Lord is my comforter in my troubles and The lord can see you through some of the most difficult life challenges if you would allow the lord to come into your life. Once I sober up from the drink and the cake is gone I am still left with my same troubles. The song says trouble does not last always. Quite often it’s the choices we make that lead us into trouble. No one told us to get with that man or women which eventually led us to the heart break hotel. No one told us to smoke and sniff all those drugs and now we are addicted. No one told us to drink all that liquor now we need to detox at the rehabilitation clinic. I have learned how to go to God in prayer, to draw closer to God when troubles come, when I am hurting and when I am lonely. We have to be intentional about not turning to vices that numb the flesh instead of turning to God who will fix those broken spaces and places in our lives; if we would just develop our relationship with God and learn how to be patient in the process. We live in a society that desires immediate gratification. Quite possibly if your smoking three blunts you can work your way down to one, than none if you allow God to come into your life and comfort you and turn your pain into praise. Many things we go through in life is a process, followers of Christ would benefit the Kingdom if we stop being so heaven bound and no earthly good, if we live in truth instead of hocus-pocus and abracadabra. We must allow our testimony to be a witness how God has come into our life and we no longer turn to the worlds vices to numb our pain and loneliness. Lord help me to find joy, peace, comfort, and love with you, because worldly vices lead to death. Lord please come into my life and heal all of my broken places and spaces, Lord teach me how to pray and read your word more instead of pick up a blunt, a drink or hook-up with a stranger for sexual gratification, Lord please comfort me, I need your loving arms around me because it hurts so bad and I do not know what to do. lord teach me about your sufficient grace in Jesus name amen.
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid do not be discouraged. (Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV)
There’s a hymn we occasionally sing in church the lyrics say “you will understand it better by and by.” Some things in life are not meant to be understood until you mature or God is ready for you to comprehend the life lesson. The more I live the more I realize some experiences will be with God going before me and with me. Everyone can not go with you or ride with you. Soon as the going gets tough or you have to stand for something, many people are Luke warm. The Bible says in revelation, ‘so I will spit you out my mouth, because you are only warm and not hot or cold. The Lord has no use for lukewarm people nor should we. Folk want to ride with you when it’s good, when the sun is shinning, don’t worry be happy mentality, “take it teasie” as my husband would say, but soon as the circumstance requires boldness, their not equip with the full armor of God, their not willing to stand for something, not willing to upset the status-quo, people pleasing, instead of God pleasing. Paul and Barnabas parted ways over a disagreement concerning letting John Mark come along to help on a missionary journey. Paul felt that John Mark deserted them on the first missionary journey. Paul and Barnabas disagreed and went their separate ways, but they were not discouraged because the Lord never left them and went with them to continue spreading the gospel. I have learned that God will put the people in your path to assist you on life’s journey when you have a relationship with the Lord. I encourage you to never be afraid to make some moves in your life without people, it always with God before you and with you. The Lord promises to never leave you and with God before you no man can be against you. There will be weapons that form but they will not prosper with God on your side. Remain encouraged beloved and keep the faith.
Whoever says he lives in Christ (that is whoever says he has accepted him as God and Savior) ought to walk and conduct himself just as he walked and conducted himself. (1st John 2:6 AMP)
I have many friends and associates who often talk about how their relationship is personal with God and we should all have a personal relationship that is constantly evolving. I would venture to say the relationship my friends talk about is casual. I do believe my friends and associates love the Lord, but I want all of us to do better in a loving relationship in Christ. When you are striving to be in right relationship with Christ, you want to work out your soul salvation and a major component of this personal relationship is ascribing to follow the tenants of the the word of God. God wants us to have personal devotion and prayer as well as worship and fellowship with other believers. When one truly has a growing relationship with Christ you’re concern for the foolishness in the church does not bother you, because you are following and pleasing what thus says the Lord. We should try to be like Christ as this scripture states; will we be perfect? No, but we should strive to walk and conduct ourselves like the one we “claim” to have the personal relationship with. Kyle Idleman, the Pastor at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY wrote the book, Not a Fan explained how many people claim to have a relationship with Christ, but they are actually fans. People treat Christ like he is a rock star. They say things like “I love what Christ represents and what the word of God expresses, but I do not want to take up my Cross and follow Christ.”
Bob Marley is known as a musical genius some call him a Prophet, but are we living in peace, love and harmony or just singing the popular poetic lyrics. We would be considered fans of Bob Marley, and this is how we treat Christ.
When I look at the world, dictators, rumors of war, poverty, destruction, financial selfishness and greed, many are fans and not followers. If we live in Christ our light would shine with the light Christ left for us and walk and conduct ourselves as followers and not Fans. Lord help us who claim to live in Christ not form our own theology, but keep you as our focus and do what is pleasing in your sight and not consider it such a chore.
I, the Lord, search and examine the mind, I test the heart, to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds. (Jeremiah 17:10 AMP)
My girlfriend and her daughter spent a few days with me on vacation. My husband has relatives that came over to enjoy the pool and have dinner. My friends daughter has an American girl doll and one of the visitors who is about ten years old, the same age as my girlfriends daughter; asked to see the doll and my friends daughter told her no. The young girl on the island will never have an American girl doll. My College roommate can buy her daughter five more over priced American girl dolls with outfits and hairdresser appointments. I was disappointed and I told her as such and why it would have been a wonderful, kind gesture to share her American girl doll with someone who will not have the opportunity to own an American girl doll.
If we do not train our children to be kind and have a heart for God, they will display this behavior in all areas of their life. There were other alternatives, my friends daughter could have been a “helicopter parent”and monitor her doll; if she had concerns related to the safety or destruction of the doll.
In this scripture, the prophet Jeremiah is letting the people know that God test mans heart and gives to each man according to our ways and results of our deeds. It is more blessed to give then receive. I hope I am reflecting right behavior with my child and using teachable moments to reflect the heart of God.
Some parents would have thought this behavior was satisfactory, by staying out of it, she choose not to let the little island girl look at the doll. I told my friend this was a teachable moment. I believe it could have been a lesson taught about sharing. Truth be told, my friend has-exhibited this behavior in the past, so until I explained my position, she did not see anything wrong with her daughters objection to sharing her American girl doll. Sometimes our adult behavior matures and sometimes we exhibit the same childish, selfish behavior as an adult. We must be mindful of how we navigate our children’s independence in making choices that reflect godly behavior. Lord, help me navigate my children’s independence that prayerfully reflect you’re presence in their life.
Then Jesus said, “let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat. (Mark 6:31 NLT)
I can remember working in the emergency room at the hospital and on some days there seemed to be intense emergency situations one right after each other. Many people coming and going, on some days when I tried to sit down and have lunch, I could get less then three bites. I would take three days to finish lunch, portion control does work.
Sometimes we get so busy that rest becomes a luxury and if we do not practice wisdom, our bodies will demand rest through illness. Bestselling Author and Pastor John Ortberg said in his book, God is closer than you think “arranging to get enough sleep is actually an act of discipleship.” When I did work as a Registered Nurse before pastoring, I needed to take at least two weeks on vacation, because the first week off I would sleep and was unable to enjoy sight seeing or the cruise activities or maybe even just a good book. Jesus practiced wisdom and went off on several occasions within the New Testament to rest. The creation story in the beginning speaks of rest. Once in a while, it is necessary to get away, to refresh and replenish to be the best you can be mentally, physically and spiritually. I find that when I do not get the proper rest and solicitude needed I am short fused and irritable. After a much needed vacation I come back home with fresh ideas and recharged ready to give the best of my service in all areas of my life. I encourage you to find that quiet place to rest for a while to give the best of yourself in all aspects of your life. God bless you.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9 NIV)
I remember years ago there was something we did during devotional service, people would testify regarding the goodness of the Lord and answered prayers. Today, we are too fancy for that, and anyone who gets up and gives a praise report might be accused of test-a-lying. Most churches have praise and worship service and have excluded the witnessing of the saints to encourage someone in the body of Christ that there is still hope and no matter what you are going through the Lord will make it alright. We as believers must stand on the promises of God.
Presently, we are working on renovating the sanctuary; the goal is to make better use of the space and give the worship area a brighter more modern look. I honestly believe my testimony will be God has provided the ram in the bush as he did for Abraham because he was obedient. The Apostle Paul wrote these words of encouragement to the Galatians to continue doing good. As followers of Christ, we look to the word of God for our standard, not the world, we do not always get it right, as Paul said when I would do good, evil is always present. Let us continue to look to the hills from which comes our help and our support has always come from the Lord. I know what it is to reap a harvest and I will remain faithful because I serve a God that has showed up and given me the victory repeatedly. I encourage you that even though the enemy wants you to get weary in doing good, continue to do what’s right and I know you will reap a harvest and you will say from your mouth “Look at God.” Remain encouraged beloved, in the face of the enemy despite his or her bag of tricks; you will be victorious in Jesus name amen.
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. (Romans 12:15 NIV)
There have been times when I looked at the nightly news and there was a Murder of someone’s family member, I was able to empathize, but I was unable to Sympathize. Eventually, I came to identify and understand people victimized by this tragic way of losing a loved one. I now had a change of heart and started to realize that when they mentioned the death on the news, you want the reporter to keep talking about your family member. But instead, they go on to the next story, and it just seems so cold; that one’s family members death is followed by the local weather. You start to wish the reporter would be able to spend a few more minutes talking about how your loved one impacted the world around them.
In this text, Paul was writing to the Roman Christians who were experiencing persecution, and just reminding them not to pay evil with evil, but also rejoice and mourn with fellow believers when they are going through good times as well as difficulties. One of the Eulogist at my family members funeral said something to me that resonates to this day; sometimes it does not matter how they died, it is more important how they lived. That was the balm in Gilead for my spirit, to think on the good things; during all that chaos, there was a rainbow shining that enabled me to rejoice even though it was a time of mourning. We do not know what tragedy we might experience in our lifetime, so it is good not to be callous when others are going through the storm clouds of life. If we just live a little, we are going to have experience’s that break our heart, and we will want someone to cry with us. But do remember, when there is no one, God will heal your broken heart and dry your tears. I am grateful that I serve a God of comfort, who has taught me how to comfort and support others during their storm. Remain encouraged. God bless you always.
Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me: O LORD, make haste to help me. (Psalm 40:13 NIV)
Lately, I am noticing an increase in heroin addicts near and around my office and an increase in the homeless population. These individuals belong to somebody; someone gave birth. I cannot begin to tell you that I know their story, but we all have a story, maybe not their story but by the Gods grace, we have been delivered from something or someone. This is an opportunity for us as believers to witness and encourage someone that our God can do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, knowing that our God has delivered many from drug addiction and have lived to tell their story. Let us not look down on people, the only reason to look down is to help someone up, who struggles with addiction, some of us are just “neat sinners,” we do not wear our struggles on our sleeve, or so we think. We have addicts in our family, and we have associates whose children are struggling with drug addiction. Some of us struggle with substance abuse; let us continue to be a beacon of light in a dark world, and as a disciple of Christ, our Lord can heal, deliver and set free from all addictions and struggles. We must continue to pray and not look down on people struggling with drugs but let them know the Lord loves us despite our addictions and struggles. If you allow the Lord to be the captain of your ship and navigate your life, you are more than a conqueror and victorious, and the Lord can heal and mend those broken places in your life if you would give him a chance. Ask, and ye shall receive knock, and the door will be open. When the doors of the church were open on Sunday morning after the sermon, we would sing “Come to Jesus, just now, he is able just now, only trust him just now,”…… the invitation is always open to turn your life over to God, the master craftsmen. God bless you, remain encouraged.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1st Thessalonians 5:18 NIV)
Sometimes in life when we can find a quiet moment, it is good to reflect and look at our lives and give thanks. We can get so busy sometimes raising children dealing with conflict, trying to handle every aspect of adulthood that we often forget to pause and give thanks to God for all things. Sometimes I like to sit in my living room and reflect upon how far the Lord has brought me; knowing that all things were not good but all things have worked together for my good. The storms that have come in my life have been for correction and growth. I want the Lord to know that it was not of my own doing, but by his grace, I am grateful for his blessings. When I was a staff nurse working in Hospitals and nursing homes, I was responsible for caring for people who could not do anything for themselves, something as simple as scratching their nose, if they felt a tickle, therefore by the grace of God go I. So, I just need sometimes to give thanks to God for all things. As a preacher of the gospel, I remind the congregants when you begin to think about the goodness of Jesus, begin to thank God for how he brought you through every valley and every storm when you thought you were not going to make it the Lord kept you and would not let go. When you were close to losing your mind, and did not know which way to turn, God kept you. So, I encourage you sometimes to take the time and reflect upon your life and the many blessing you have, trouble will come, but through the clouds are many rainbows of God’s presence and amazing grace. So, let’s remember to give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you. God Bless you and stay encouraged, the Lord will make it alright.
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I seeking to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10 NIV)
There are times in life when we may have unintentionally disappointed a family member or a friend. They may have had an expectation that we handle a situation the way they wanted it to be dealt with in their mind. We may have been available, but it was not good enough, they may have expected us to give more of ourselves. I have been in this situation a few times in my life. I have friends who felt I should have dropped everything and ran to be by their side. Again, that’s what they wanted. I was available, but not to the extent they wanted me to be. I have a business, a family and I am a Pastor of a church, I would have wanted more understanding of everything going on in my life. You get to the place in life where you learn how to please God, and not man. In this text, the Apostle Paul was letting his enemies know, that maybe before his conversion he was seeking man’s approval, but by the time of his preaching to the Galatians that was no longer the case. I encourage you today, seek Gods approval of your life. Do the best you can and if it is unacceptable by man standards, do not worry yourself for the Bible tells us in the Gospel of Matthew, and do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. God Bless.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2 NIV)
Many of us have so much to do on a day to day basis, people to interact with, situations we must involve ourselves in, decisions we must make for ourselves, our loved ones, in my case, thoughts and decisions for the business, school, and church. Our Minds are sometimes on overload, and every situation is not peaceful, at times conflict arises. The rapper grand master flash wrote: “Don’t push me cause I’m close to the edge, I’m trying not to lose my head. It’s like a jungle sometimes; it makes me wonder how I keep from going under.” Grandmaster Flash was spot on because so many have gone over the edge, some have lost their mind, but the word of God reminds us that the Lord will keep us in perfect peace if we keep our minds on God. Let me testify right now, People it works!!!!! Whenever I am going through, refocusing my thoughts on God strengthens me. Whether its scripture, whether it’s a hymn or just going to God in prayer. The enemy is real and sneaky and wants to mess you up. The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run into it, and they are saved. We may not need the mourning bench, but it worked for our parents and great-grandparents. I can remember singing “Oh, how I love just calling his name, Jesus.” Sometimes I just call on his name to keep my mind when the enemy is up to his or her bag of tricks. People play all types of head games, because of their insecurities, envy, and jealousy, especially when you are on the battlefield for the Lord, keep your mind renewed daily. Know that no one will love you better than the Lord. Stop focusing on people who disappoint you, and that you cannot change. People say that I am a strong woman, I know my source of strength, leaning and depending on God I tested and approved what Gods will is for my life. When I detour, I suffer, but I go back to my source to get and pull me through. The patterns of this world can be cruel; I will not live my life without Christ because Gods will is perfect. I encourage you to look to God, and your life will be happier, and we can get through problems easier and sometimes faster because there is a bright side and as the great hymn of the church states no never alone he promises never to leave me no never alone. God Bless.
The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace. (Psalm 29:11 NIV).
I was in a rental office today, waiting for the owner to get off the phone so that I can make a few arrangements for an upcoming event. I was viewing the different decorative designs on the wall; I noticed a quote that stated, “when you are looking back, you’re depressed, when you are looking to the future, you’re anxious, when you are in the present, you’re at peace” I choose peace!!!!!! I do not want to live in the past because then I cannot look forward to what God has planned for my life. There’s a big world out there, do not limit yourself fly with eagles, even if you must travel alone. I do not want to ponder to long on a broken heart or self-centered so-called friends. I would rather read a good book, watch a movie or take a long walk. Someone once told me I act like I do not want to be bothered, when discerning foolishness and “I” “me” not “us” people, no I don’t.
Paul wrote in Philippians, forget what is behind. Beloved the great hymn of the church states “yesterday is gone and tomorrow will never be the same, give me the strength to take one day at a time.” I do not want to look far into the future because the Bible reminds me in Matthew, do not worry about tomorrow for each day has enough trouble of its own. We should want to seek peace, it is one of the fruits of the spirit, and Paul reminds us in Corinthians that we do not serve a God of confusion. I encourage you to seek peace in your life if it means that you must remove yourself from certain situations and allow seasons of friendships to be over to maintain the peace in your life because some relationships have expiration dates. Allow God to bless you with his peace. So much can be accomplished in life when there is the peace of God surrounding you. Keep your mind stayed on God, do not allow the enemy to take your peace, the Bible tells us in Philippians and the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus, priceless. God Bless.
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? All day long they twist my words; all their schemes are for my ruin. (Psalm 56:3-5 NIV)
As a follower of Christ, trying to be about my father’s business we must always be mindful, that Christ was not the only one with a Judas in his crew some of the people right around you have Judas tendency. The Lord has an assignment for each one of our lives if we want to be used by God. There is no need for me to desire someone who has anointed vocals for God’s glory or someone who can play the organ and piano and have the angels in heaven dancing and singing. So, because I do not have those gifts, better yet the qualifications, I am going to covet and scheme to ruin them? The devil is a liar. I stand in high expectation for what God has in store for my life and how the Lord will use me for his glory. I remember working in a maximum-security prison, and it was not always the inmates who were the problem, it was my colleagues and coworkers sometimes acting worse than the prisoners. The same can be true in the body of Christ; if we can all get on one accord, for God’s glory and stop trying to tear people down and keep our focus on what God would have for us to do for such a time as this. There are so many lost souls and individuals who have powerful, strongholds in their lives such as drug addiction, prostitution, and mental illness. Instead of allowing the enemy to confuse the body of Christ, we must do whatever it takes to stay focus on the work of God.
I will remain optimistic and hopeful that we can put on our team glory t-shirts physically and spiritually. Someone told me, not everyone is in Christendom for Jesus, so true. Let us who are indeed working for the kingdom, put our trust in God and know we are victorious, despite the obstacles and foolishness. Weapons may form, but will not prosper. Grant, it, I may not like a lot of things that I see and have experienced in the body of Christ, we must all be humbled for we were born in sin and sharpened in inequity, but for his grace and mercy that has brought us through all our mess. We must continue to remain prayerful for those fighting the good fight of faith. Let’s remember we all have sinned and fallen short of Gods glory, but do not forget to build people up not tear them down, especially when it comes to kingdom business. My mother use to say if you cannot help, stay out of my way because it will be more of a mess. Stop allowing yourself to be used by the enemy if you say you belong to the colony of heaven. Let us cease to be a part of the problem and ruin of people in the body of Christ, which is the work of the enemy, let your hands be clean. Start being a part of the solution. God Bless
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusted in thee. (Isaiah 26:3 KJV)
One of my favorite things in life is to go out to the ocean on a hot summer day and hear the wind on the waves, just the Lord and me. A quiet, peaceful time; the opportunity to shut out the world and all the chaos that it brings, business, church, family, meetings, conferences, remember this, remember that call this one, and that one. So, I treasure my time alone, a time to reflect on the goodness of the Lord, despite the many blessings God has given me, favor is not fear. I am grateful for my mind staying in perfect peace because I continue to trust and commune with the Lord; and ultimately that’s all that matters to me because what God has for me is for me and if the Lord does nothing else, he has done enough. I can indeed say the Lord has done great things and I can testify to the hand of the Lord on my life, let the church say Amen!!!!!!!
The Lord will order my steps in his word, I don’t always get everything right and who does, but my heart is in the right place and I am reminded not to fear anyone or anything for the Lord is with me, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Also, a host of other promises of the Lord keeps me in perfect peace. I trust the Lord, and I encourage you to put your hope and confidence in the Lord and do not allow the enemy to have you second guess yourself because sometimes man’s agenda is not Gods.
Lord allow me to continue to keep my mind stayed on thee because it keeps me focus on what you would have for my life for your glory and when I get distracted Lord forgive me, but I will trust you for everything. God bless
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (Proverbs 4:23 NIV)
The Scripture often reminds us of the greatest gift being the gift of love also the importance of the fruits of the spirit, which is being Christ-like in all your ways; especially since we are followers of Christ. I cannot speak for anyone else, but my preference is to be kind, to treat others the way I would like to be treated, but many people do not feel this way. Quite often negative behavior stems from experiences from childhood and on the journey of life. The scripture reminds us to stop putting the wrong behavior on the devil; sometimes it’s just our evil desires and ways. Quite often people are manipulative, unkind and outright nasty, they start out one way and end up another. In psychology, it is called presenting the false self, but eventually, your true self-supersedes who you tried to be. We must be vigilant and not put our pearls before undeserving people
We cannot fix people, but we can guard our hearts and continue to pray for individuals who are struggling with strongholds in their life. We serve a God that specializes in the things that seem impossible. Anything or anyone that causes us unhappiness and to lose our joy and our peace and loving kindness that God continues to show toward us, put your sneakers on and run. God has given us the opportunity to live an abundant life, and we should pray for wisdom. I Encourage you to guard your heart and do not allow the enemy to steal your joy, take it back, snatch it back and live your best life. Lord God continue to surround me with your love and help me to radiate your love in a cruel world, but remember to guard my heart in the process, because when you want to live your life reflecting God, the enemy is never happy. God Bless
And to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you. 1 Thessalonians 4:11 ESV
Periodically I remind the members of St. Philips you have six months to mind your business six months to stay out of someone else business and twelve months to seek Jesus while he may be found. As Christians, the word in the old testament and the new testament gives details about how we should conduct ourselves as men and women of God. The word also reminds us to stay busy, to work not just for Kingdom business, but work so that we may have food on our table and clothes on our back and a roof over our head. There are 24 hours in a day and as the bible says we should work, occupy our time, while it is still day. When we spend, our life minding our affairs and the work of God, we have no time to get into other people’s business and as well as idleness. For we know, idle time is the devil’s workshop.
Most Psychologist would tell you that individuals who meddle in other people’s life are miserable and not satisfied with their life. To have life is a blessing from God, we should honor God by living our best lives. We should work our way up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and strive to get to self-fulfillment. Go to school, get a hobby, travel the world, volunteer our time, read a good book, join a church ministry, the harvest is plentiful, and the laborers are few. When you treasure the life that God has given you, and know that each breath is a blessing from God, we will not meddle in other folk business. Lord God allow those of us who call ourselves children of God learn how to live our best lives so that our life will honor you. God Bless.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16 ESV)
Jesus came in the form of a man on assignment so that we could have access to eternal life and so we would not die in our filthy sins. Jesus also came to be a beacon of light in a dark world. As followers of Christ, we are supposed to work hard at reflecting the light that Jesus left for us. Jesus came to show us the way. This information is basic Christianity 101. We are limited, and Christ is limitless, the Bible tells us even in our righteousness we are still filthy rags. We must strive to extend the grace to others that Christ has extended to us. We are connected to the vine; we cannot always hide behind the vine. We have attached to the vine no need to hide, but we must let our light shine before others and show forth the fruits of the spirit as Christians; love kindness, long suffering, joy, peace, goodness, gentleness, self-control, faithfulness.
If someone asks me for directions and I Know the way, I should do my best to not always fall back on Jesus Is the one who will order your steps and direct your path. If someone asks me for help, I should try to help them, not always let them know that their help comes from the Lord. If someone needs me to listen to them, I should try my best to listen and not always tell them Christ is available 24 hours a day when no one will listen to you. Many people know this already, but what about being Christ-like. We ask the question what would Jesus do? Jesus would give directions, Jesus would help, and Jesus would listen. As followers of Christ, we can do the same. Do we get this right all the time, NO! But we should pray about our behavior when we just do not want to be bothered, or we are having a bad day or just outright nasty. What we do and how we behave gives glory to God. Lord continue to work on me because I do not always reflect your light as a follower of Christ. Thank you for being the light in my life and showing me how I can reflect your light in a dark world. God bless.
He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved. (Psalm 62:2 KJV)
Ministry for me does not begin and end on Sunday, as a matter of fact, it is just getting started. Lately, I have been receiving phone calls from individuals seeking prayer, advice, and direction. I can draw from scripture and my life experience, but I believe people can chart their course, although I am here to encourage as much as possible. Frankly, I consider it an honor.
One of the most significant components of having faith and belief in God, it keeps many of us on a firm foundation; knowing there is something greater than a man that is a light unto my feet and a lamp unto my path. I can go to God in prayer, some might think it sounds crazy, but what I think is crazy is people left to their thoughts, fears, and anxiety and that’s what they act on, no roots in anything. If they are unhappy or something is not going right, they leave relationships, quit jobs, destroy friendships and the like. When things get overwhelming or fear starts to creep in, I have my faith, I wait on the Lord as the scripture states, and remain encouraged that I will have the victory and hear the voice of God to navigate challenging situations and circumstances in and around life. I know like the psalmist David wrote, God is my rock and my salvation I will be safe and victorious because God is my refuge.
I am grateful for the love of God and promised protection. There are so many people in this world who have no direction, guidance and moral compass and their life reflects it. Whatever I have gone through in life God has kept my mind though it all. Job had a hedge of protection, and I thank God for that same protection. To those who believe in God, stay connected and stay encouraged because your life will be abundantly blessed for your belief and connection to the vine, which is Christ. God Bless
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 1st Peter 5:8 (NKJV)
Many of us who read our scripture and attend church on a regular basis, have heard on numerous occasions paraphrased and otherwise that we must be vigilant because the enemy is going to and from seeking whom he may devour. How many Christians have experienced something just awful and you start having a pity party woe is me, why is this happening to me. I did not consider the enemy on many occasions when unpleasant situations were going on in my life. I would of course pray, but I would get angry. It did not matter who would encourage me and tell me you’re an anointed woman of God; there’s something on the other side of this obstacle, I was not hearing them, I was in the wilderness of confusion and talking crazy.
Just recently, I experienced something, and I said: “Oh that’s just the enemy on my heels, mad because the Lord is using me for his glory.” I wish I made the connection before and I would not have felt like a victim. Many of us have been in church most of our lives. We have heard countless sermons, sang songs of victory and read many scriptures, but until you go through a few things and come out victorious on the other side of the pain and mature in Christ, we will continue to be a victim; instead of walking through your situation victorious. Knowing that on the other side it will get better because ultimately God is in control. That is why the scripture in 1st Peter reminds us to be vigilant, keep watch, stop walking around sleep walking. Songs of victory are not just for the other person, we are more than conquerors, and we are victorious; regardless of how the enemy is on the prowl, God bless you and stay encouraged.
But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31(KJV)
There will be times in life when you feel like you are on one big roller coaster ride and you are wondering when will this ride stop and let me off. There are highs and lows on a roller coaster ride. There are safety measures in place, but there is still danger, as we sometimes see on the evening news. We can cry on these rides, scream and laugh with glee. Life can be one big adventure, and some people look at your life and think you have it all together, but at any time and in any given situation things can be unraveling at the seams. Such as unrealistic deadlines for work or school, uncooperative employees, not enough hands on deck for church projects, calling people who can help you and they are unavailable, children acting up in school, the list can go on and on. I am grateful that God is with me through it all and everything tends to work out just fine when I wait on the Lord and allow God to renew my strength.
Somehow the Lord allows me to stay focus and keep going and not retreat and throw my hands up and say “forget about it.” The scripture says they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. In Isaiah, God is speaking to the people of Israel to keep trusting in him. Knowing that in his timing he will provide the direction we seek, but at the same time do not give up and keep going. Knowing I have the strength of the Lord is comforting when things are becoming overwhelming. One of the reasons I love the Lord, my faith reminds me to stay encourage and every move I make the Lord is with me, and I know that I will have the victory at the finish line. Beloved stay the course and allow God to order your steps; the Lord will provide you with renewed strength to remain in the struggle and allow God to get the glory out of your life. God bless.
And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: Daniel 9:3 KJV
The season of Lent in the Church is known as a time for fasting and prayer. Many have strayed away from this time of seeking a closer walk and developing one’s relationship with the Lord. Maybe the season of Lent is even trivialized by giving up something to gain something in return, but we were already given the gift of salvation when Christ went to the cross. Daniel needed to hear from the Lord, and he reverenced God through prayer fasting and adorning himself with a harsh material such as sackcloth. Until you develop your relationship and learn about the good news of our risen savior, fasting will be a chore, fasting will be burdensome, but as you grow in the knowledge of God, the relationship will supersede what you sacrifice, because there was no greater sacrifice than what the Lord has done.
Frances J. Crosby penned the song: Draw Me Nearer and it speaks to what I am seeking and what I need in the service of the Lord “Consecrate me now to Thy service, Lord, By the power of grace divine; Let my soul look up with a steadfast hope, and I my will be lost in Thine. Draw me nearer precious Lord to the cross where thou hast died, draw me nearer to thy precious bleeding side. Precious bleeding side.” The Lord has been good to me, blessings too numerous to name; as a matter of fact, the Lord is blessing me right now. I hope that you take this time to reflect upon Gods overflowing grace and mercy, and if you are on this side of glory, still have life, there is an opportunity for God’s forgiveness and reflection about putting God first. If it had not been for Gods goodness and mercy towards us, I do not know where I would be or what my life would look like without God. God Bless.
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.
Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Matthew 9:37-38 (NIV)
Many sit back and criticize instead of rolling up their sleeve and get to work. Most people like a finished project, but you cannot find them when it is time to complete the project or even start the project, it is so easy to sit back and complain then be a part of the change so God can get the glory. I can remember when I first bought my house, the bones were good, they do not make houses like this anymore. One because you cannot find the materials that they used many years ago, I remember bringing a friend to the house, and she could not see the vision; she asked was I sure, I just laughed and said yes. Eventually, time passed, and she came back and was amazed at the finished project or almost finish project.
I am finding the same situation when it comes to churches that need renovation. People take up their beds and go where the edifice is beautiful, the choir has professional voices, and everything “seems” so on point, but they did absolutely nothing to get it that way, presently just enjoying the results of the laborer’s that came before them. People can do what they want there’s such freedom in making your choices and decisions, but I do not have to agree when I know you did absolutely nothing to assist in the project. I believe there is a blessing in going where it is not easy and comfortable and your time and talent speaks volume instead of sitting back and criticizing anyone can do that but it takes time, talent and tithes to have the church in your community that you wish to belong too. I pray that wherever you choose to fellowship that you remember the harvest is plentiful and the workers are few. Whether it’s a big church or a small church “when you stand before your God I hope you hear him say well done, may the work you’ve done speak for you.” All churches can use more hands-on deck.” Lyrics ~Mahalia Jackson
So, in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12 NIV).
Several years ago, I was angry with an employee, and my tone and treatment of her were not characteristic of real leadership. Not too long after, I was working as a night manager in a Nursing home facility, and one of the Directors exhibited the same behavior towards me. Wow, I thought to myself, did I conduct myself like that with my employee. The next day, I went up to her and had the opportunity to apologize and express that I know how that feels to be on the end of someone’s unkind words and poor leadership. Sometimes you get back in life what you dish out; therefore, we should treat others the way we want to be treated; this is a biblical golden rule and a life lesson.
Sometimes when I hear leader’s, friends, associates express how they feel when they are on the receiving end of mistreatment, I want to say you cannot be for real, you must be kidding me. You act the same way you have treated people the same way, and now that you are receiving a taste of your own medicine you do not like it; maybe you forgot how ugly your behavior could get. There are people who we encounter on this journey called life, who give us a mirror into our bad behavior; unless your blind and refuse to take notice. It is an opportunity to pray and ask God that if I act like that Lord, please forgive me and help me treat people kindly. It does not matter your position; your rank, life has a funny way of making you feel the way you have done others, no one is exempt from this life lesson.
The scripture uses the word everything, not some things, in everything do to others what you would have them do to you. This life lesson is right in every area of our life with family friends, marriage, school, work, and church. Unfortunately, some people will never apply this golden rule because they do not care and they believe they are exempt. Let’s continue to pray one for another that we are not just hearers of the Word but doers as well. God Bless.
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
1st Corinthians 13:13 (NKJV).
Outside of the Love of God, for many, but not all is the love from parents. This love is so vital to our growth and development because when one experiences good parenting, it helps in so many areas of one’s life. There is a level of confidence that you have that no matter what comes your way, you do not have to seek love in all the wrong places. You also have an excellent example of what true love looks like versus what it is not, especially when it comes to relationships and choosing a mate. One thing I was always grateful for was the ability to communicate when charting unfamiliar territory because not everyone is raised the same or has the same morals, values, structure and discipline. When you have not had the opportunity to experience genuine love from someone we call family. God specializes in love and calls it the greatest gift. There is no greater love than the love of God. The only way to experience this love is to develop a relationship with the Lord. One of my favorite gospel songs is he’s sweet I know Dark clouds may rise, and strong winds may blow But, I can tell the world wherever I may go That I have found a Savior and He’s sweet I know. Many of us who love the Lord know just what we are singing about because we have experienced this love. Some people will never comprehend this love because they do not have that level of faith. Love must be tangible for some people, that’s unfortunate because Gods love never fails, but man’s love does. God’s love is infinite, man or woman’s love has limitations, a man or woman’s love might even depend on the day of the week or come with guidelines or a price. People get tired of you, God’s love never tires, Gods love is always available does not matter if we lose or gain weight, hair falls out if we do not always do or say everything right. God’s love is forgiving and long-suffering, Gods love is not manipulative, we have the greatest examples of love because we were yet sinners Christ died for us so we would not die in our sins. God still loves us even if we do not deserve his love; so, this Valentine, if no one expresses love to you, God expressed his love to us in the bible, and Gods love is eternal with no expiration date. God Bless.
I will lift my eyes to the hills from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. (Psalm 121 NKJV)
I have been told on numerous occasions, that I am “cut from a different cloth.” This idiom/figurative meaning suggest that there is something about me that might give me an edge, that’s special; whatever it might be, I give all glory to God, and it is available I call it faith. For your faith to work, one must put it into action. I am not able to scale buildings; I do not have wonder woman bracelets. I stand on the promises of God and know, with God before me; no man can be against me. Listen, whenever you make moves the enemy is busy, sometimes you might get gut-punched, bruised and injured and it is not pretty. Sometimes the enemy is mad that you showed up, but whatever cloth I am “cut from,” the only source that has kept me through it all was Christ. Continue to look to God and know that you have the victory. The Lord will fight your battles, and as Psalm 34 states, the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.
It is always easy to look at someone and say they are distinctive, and any other adjective to ascribe to a person. So, when you do not pursue you’re dreams your excuse can be that you did not have that special ingredient, hard work and perseverance will not kill anyone, what does not destroy you, will make you stronger. Whatever choices or decisions you make or do not make, be prepared to live with them. Keep your eyes lifted to the hills and have the faith to know your help will come from the Lord, and you will have access to that “special cloth.” God Bless.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12) NIV.
When the enemy has waged war against you, there are occasions where we are not on guard. The Bible tells us to be ready at all times this can apply to so many areas of our life even in the church, but there are times when we are off guard. The spiritual forces will attach itself to friend’s, or family it does not matter especially when the enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy by any means necessary. Therefore, as a body of believers, especially those of us who are on assignment for kingdom business. The Apostle Paul explains further why believers need God’s mighty armor if they are going to stand firm. It is because the battle waged is not against human foes but evil spiritual powers in high places. The supernatural, powerful, and cunning nature of the opposition makes the use of God’s armor necessary.
We must remember to watch as well as pray because when things happen to us, the enemy is doing what the enemy does. Admittingly, I have been caught off guard, at first I become infuriated at the person who the enemy has attached themselves too. But once I pray and spend some quiet time with God and stop asking why is this happening to me, I am reminded it is not flesh and blood; I should not take everything personal they are just a vessel for the enemy. I tell my congregation, do not allow the enemy to use you, stay in your word, increase your prayer life, learn how to sacrifice through fasting, so the enemy cannot use you. There is no time to be caught off guard, and even though the battle belongs to the Lord, we must do our part in drawing nearer to God and activate the power of the holy spirit and know that no weapon formed against you will prosper. Weapons will form, but will not prosper. Someone shared with me that when the enemy is busy in your life, it is a sign that you are busy doing kingdom business, so the enemy is your barometer, if you’re not busy doing kingdom business, you will not have to worry about the enemy, so put on the full armor of God and get busy because it is harvest time. God Bless.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. (Colossians 3:23 NIV)
There were times when I went to my business and thought to myself; these students are getting on my nerves, I do not have to put up with this, I can go work in a hospital with less headache. It was thought, but it was nothing that I let come out of my mouth. The class was a little unruly, but the business was not, I did not have “a mutiny on the ship.” I would then shift gears, and begin to think about how God had blessed me with this assignment and everything is not about money. It became paramount that I did the best that I could, for one, that God would get the glory, two, so that I could sleep well at night because my business is not grant funded and if I was providing a much-needed service, I was determined to do the best job possible. Point number three, I was training people to take care of the sick and the elderly, and I wanted my training program to have a good reputation, and it does; to God be the glory. I believe that I have kept these three components’ over the past twenty years since opening the training program in 1997.
There were times that I needed to focus on God, instead of the class, so that I could give the best of myself. On occasion, there was a spoiled group. There is a scripture that says in doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you. The scripture means returning good with evil. Regardless of how they conducted themselves, I needed to show them complete professionalism. The students would eventually humble themselves and see that I was serious about the importance of entering someone’s home, nursing home and hospital and taking care of a vulnerable population that depends on you to care for them with morals values and ethics. The scriptures also state, finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. My good thing was making sure the sick, frail and elderly were going to have someone to respect their property and their person. I thought about my frail senior’s as good things that gave me the most joy. There is a song we sing in church that says “when you have done the best of your service he will say (meaning God) well done.” Look for the well done from God, not man. God, bless you.
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1st Corinthians 13:13 KJV)
This past week I had the opportunity to speak at the 33rd Nyack NAACP interfaith MLK Day service. One of Dr. Martin Luther King’s primary themes during the civil rights movement was conquering love with hate. The Beetles wrote a song that said: “All you need is love, love is all you need.” The Bible says in 1st Peter Above all, love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins; this seems easier said than done. When you have experienced love, it might be simpler to understand the call for love. I am not talking about Eros love, which is the physical, sensual intimacy between a husband and wife. It expresses sexual, romantic attraction; I am writing about agape love. Agape is used to describe the love that is of and from God, whose very nature is love itself: “God is love” The type of love that characterizes God is not a sappy, sentimental feeling such as we often hear portrayed. God loves because that is His nature and the expression of His being. He loves the unlovable and the unlovely, not because we deserve to be loved or because of any excellence we possess, but because it is His nature to love and He must be true to His nature.
I believe it takes more energy to hate people then it does to love people, and of course, it is easier to love those who love you back; it is tough to love those who treat you mean for no reason at all when they have never taken the time to befriend you. I even struggle with this, as Michelle Obama says: “when they go low, you go high.” We are all work in progress, but we must strive to love the unlovable and sometimes reach out of our comfort zones and smile at someone and speak to someone and on occasion get to know someone who has pre-judged you. Sometimes we must remember it is nothing we have done directly to them; it could be a person’s experience, where they displace their hate or dislike on you. Everyone was not raised the same way; not everyone comes from a home where love was flourished upon them. Many people have not gone to a place a worship, where the love of God is taught and preach. We must not take everything we experience personally it is not a reflection of you. Continue to show forth the love of God because the word of God lets us know that the greatest gift is love and God is love. God Bless.
“For the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10b (NIV)
One thing I enjoy about my relationship with Christ, I do not stay in a sad place for long. I have even been able to laugh at situations that should have brought about tears. There have been times where a good cry was cathartic, but I did not have a dark cloud of despair lingering over my head for an extended period. There will always be good days and bad days; there will be times when life brings about so much excitement and moments in life when we will say to ourselves when will this nightmare be over. In church, we sing a song that reflects that our joy does not come from things of the world. Therefore, the world cannot take our joy away. If you turn on the news, there are so many people who are in despair, feelings of hopelessness and sadness. I am encouraged by my faith in God that trouble does not last always and because of my relationship I have victory in all situations that I might go through in life, because sometimes what is meant for evil turns out to be for good when you have a relationship with Christ. The Bible tells us to trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
In the book of Nehemiah, the people of God were upset because they were far from obeying Gods laws. Ezra, who was the official religious leader, told them because the day was holy, they should be joyful; celebrate and share their food with those who were in need; this is pleasing to God. Sometimes taking your mind off your situation and focusing on sharing and caring for someone else can bring about great joy. I can remember having a productive day as a Registered Nurse in a critical care situation, and when the shift was over, I felt so joyful I walked to my car on clouds with joy in my heart and a smile on my face that I could bring some comfort and care to someone who was in a vulnerable situation. The joy of the Lord is powerful, and this is one reason out of many I encourage you to develop your relationship with Christ. God Bless.
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. (Galatians 6:9 KJV)
My faith and trust in God has enabled me through the years that no matter how difficult life had become, I remained hopeful. The enemy of doubt and discouragement did find its way into my spirit, but because I know the Lord, the enemy’s weapons could not harbor in this earthly tabernacle. When you have the sword of truth, which is the word, and the power of prayer, I had the authority to bind and cast the enemy out of my heart, mind and soul. There was always an encouraging sermon that enabled me to run on and obtain my goals regardless of what it looked like. Fellowshipping with a body of believers was also helpful in boosting my spirit.
I can remember being in Nursing school and I struggled with the Medical surgical exams. I would go to the tutors the college provided when I was not in class on the opposite evenings. My professor would let my tutors go over my exams with me. There were no other students who utilized the tutoring services until we were close to the end of the semester and then I found out who was struggling with the exams like me. I can remember one of my now longtime friends said “you think the tutor is yours to yourself?” I said “yes, I have been here all semester and now you show up because you are failing.” The professor recognized my determination and my sacrifice and she helped me. I did not grow weary and believe me, at times it did not always look good. I could have given up and changed majors that would have been too easy, I did not want to be defeated. To this day, science and math are not my favorite subjects, but I knew I was more than a conqueror and could do all things with Christ who strengthen me.
As we move forward into the new year, let us remain hopeful and not become weary in doing well, because we will eventually reap a harvest. Anything worth having does not come easy. People will fail you, but remember that God never fails. Some people get tired of you, and ultimately really do not care, but God never tires of you. The Lord never falls the sleep when you’re talking, always pays attention, does not tune you out, has a word for anything you might be going through in your life. At my weakest and most vulnerable times in my life I have called on the Lord and the Lord steps in even when I’m wrong and I make a complete mess of things, because the Lord knows the sincerity of my heart. I hope as we move into a new year remain encouraged and learn about the Lords goodness and mercy toward us. Have a blessed and prosperous New Year. I will continue to keep you in prayer.
Behold! The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel” God with us. (Matthew 1:23).
The World has a way of watering down Christian Holidays. Today, if you do not want to offend anyone, it is proper to say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. Lately, I find myself saying Merry Christmas especially if I discern you are a Christian and celebrate the birth of Christ. The Christmas season is commercialized, gift giving and receiving. To be honest with you, I do not need anything else in this house, if anything I need to give things away that I have not used and are still new.
Two weeks ago, I was teaching Sunday school, and the children attempted to redirect the conversation away from the birth and significance of Christ to Santa Claus; not wanting to seem like a Scrooge, I told them how I left chocolate cake and soda for Santa because I knew he would be hungry. I eventually redirected the conversation back to the reason for the season and the greatest gift of all and the importance of Christ birth.
We must take a minute to pause and redirect our loved ones and friends back to the real reason for the season. We have a responsibility as Christians to profess the priceless gift that God sent his son and they call him Jesus and life is worth the living just because he lives. It does not matter what the world does, we as followers of Christ can do things differently in honoring the birth of Christ. Yes, I am glad that my mother did not let us skip out on all the secular activates around the Christmas holiday, but we knew the real reason why we celebrated Christmas and the significance of the birth of Christ. My mother believed Christmas was every day and we should not wait for one day out of the year to celebrate Christmas. I can recall about three years my mother did not get me and my brothers anything for Christmas. Although I thought she was crazy, I never felt deprived when I received some of my wants during the year. Besides, other family members would bring gifts to the house. I am glad they call Christ Immanuel, God with us because the Lord has never left me alone. Christ has always been with me during my life, so regardless of all the gift giving and receiving, I now know that I received the greatest gift when Christ was born in order the I might have the right to the tree of life. I encourage you to remember the real reason for the season of hope and expectation, which is greater than anything you will ever receive under the Christmas tree. God Bless.
For my iniquities, have gone over my head; Like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me. Psalm 38:4 (NKJ)
As Christians, we should never become comfortable sinning; Paul said when I would do right evil is always present. The word lets us know that we were born in sin and shaped in iniquity; meaning we became bigger sinners as we grew. Sin should be uncomfortable; we should stay in constant battle pursuing the things of God and not of the world. I want to remain humble because even in my righteousness I am still filthy. I need Gods continuous grace and mercy. Sometimes my thoughts are sinful, not just my deeds. We must continue to fast and pray and seek the Lord. The Lord knows that our flesh is weak and although God will forgive us in high places we sometimes must deal with the repercussions of our sinful ways.
The word lets us know that God provides a way out, but if we are honest with our self, we do not always want the way out. Maybe I can only speak for myself. The fruit of the spirit called long-suffering is not always practiced, sometimes we do not want to suffer, but the Bible tells us if we suffer we will also reign with him. Let us not become comfortable with our wicked ways we can do better because the word lets us know we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. Continue to talk with the Lord about your struggles, because the word lets us know his grace is sufficient and his strength is made perfect in weakness. We must stop blaming the enemy as the word tells us it is our evil desires and flesh. David said in Psalms for I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. The day will come, and I do not want the Lord to say flee from me I never knew you. I will continue to confess and repent of my sinful ways. God Bless.
Looking at them, Jesus said, “With People it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God. (Mark 10:27 KJV)
When I look back over my life, there were so many things that looked impossible, but I never started from the position of impossibility. I believed if I put one foot in front of the other I could strive to make the impossible possible. It amazes me sometimes when people see the glory and do not know the story. Good old fashion hard work and staying the course works and for me seeking first the kingdom of God and standing on his promises. When the enemy would attempt to saturate me with doubt and discouragement I would be reminded of Gods promises through the word of God and gospel music. Marvin Sapp would sing “be encouraged no matter what’s going on he will make it alright.” Those words would come right on time. Attending church and Bible study gave me the ability to press on no matter what it looked like and sometimes it did not look good but God is a winner at the finishing line and victory became mine.
I encourage you to stop having a defeatist attitude, speak those things as though they were, encourage yourself look up and stop looking down. If you know you have a spirit of laziness, ask God to help you in that area if you lack faith, ask God to increase your faith. If you cannot talk to anyone else go to God in prayer, for the lord already knows and if your sincere the Lord will grant you the desires and wishes of your heart, but you must do the work. I remember when I first opened the training school, everything came together right when I was in need. My mother’s company was changing their office furniture, so I could get the used office furniture the company was giving away. My Aunt passed away and my uncle never got rid of the hospital bed. The bible says the steps of a righteous man are ordered by God. I encourage you to continue to realize all life’s possibilities that awaits you when you know God. Look to the hills from whence comes your help and be assured your help will come from the Lord. God Bless.
My mother always taught me to consider the source: she would say not everyone can speak into your life, consider who is giving the information. I remember an associate was talking to me about home ownership, but never owned a house or a condominium in her life. Sometimes you politely listen and nod your head so not to get into an argument when someone might mean well.
I am so grateful that the greatest source to consider is Jesus. Hebrew 12:2 instructs us to look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (NKJV). You see Christ endured and suffered on earth so that we would not die in our sins. Jesus was lied on, persecuted, beaten, spat upon and when we start to complain and admittingly sometimes I do complain, I need to remember the cost of the cross just for me. Donald Vails wrote the lyrics: “he would not come down from the cross just to save himself he decided to die just save you and me.”
Jesus has instructed and taught through the word of God words of wisdom that is a light unto our feet and a lamp unto our path. If only we would consider the word of God as our number one source to consider, we would experience more joy, peace, and love. Unfortunately, we go to man instead of God and then expect God to bail us out of what we allowed a man to get us involved in. Some say the word of God is not real it is a fairy tale. Research has proven that people are less stress, have better health and more mental stability due to believing in God, an all-powerful source. One of the devotional songs I grew up singing: “this joy that I have the world did not give it to me and the world cannot take it away.” I encourage you to consider God as your ultimate source for every area of your life. God Bless.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1st Thessalonians 5:18 NIV)
This is the season of thanksgiving, although every day is an opportunity to give thanks, and when I look over my life, I know that I am blessed and highly favored and I do not deserve all that God has done in my life but to say that I have given thanks in all circumstances, key word here is all is certainly not true. I am certainly grateful that God has seen me through all my good days and my bad and despite my inability to be thankful in all circumstances, the Lord continues to bestow me with grace and mercy.
Just begin to think beloved, there have been some things in our lives where we certainly did not give thanks, if anything we did the opposite we cursed, we cried, we screamed, as Marvin Gaye said there were some things in our life where it made us holla and throw up our hands, and the question was asked what’s going on? pain is not pleasurable and many of us have not gotten to the place of job where he said though he slay me yet will I trust him. This is good in theory; it sounds good, how do we translate theory into practice, and in all things, give thanks. How do we begin to say I will bless the lord always and his praises will continually be in my mouth? Without a firm foundation in God giving thanks will only remain superficial.
Well, when many of us begin to look over our lives and we know the lord has seen us through each valley, trials and tribulations over again in our marriages, with our children, health related issues, death, tragedies, financial down turns; we can begin to think things over and know that we have had some good days, some hills to climb but all our good days out ways our bad days and we should not complain but give thanks. We must learn how to not waver, to be consistent, and of sober mind, also steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. Be thankful; pray and remain joyful, through all the storm clouds and disappointment’s in life; when we have learned this, we have learned how to trust God with all our heart mind and soul; to understand and know that God is sovereign and we have victory through Christ Jesus. God Bless and happy thanksgiving.
I was talking to a friend the other day and we were reminiscing about our youth and how we use to “run away from home.” She would run away upstairs to a favorite neighbor’s house and it became such a routine, that no questions were asked and the neighbor would tell her what was on the stove for dinner and what was in the refrigerator to eat; eventually her mother would call because she knew her daughter was in a safe place. I would run away to my grandmother’s house and my father would say “good” he did not close the screen door until I entered my grandmother’s house. My father could see my grandmother’s house from our home. I ran away on a regular basis that it became such a routine that my grandmother would never say anything but hand me my pillows and blankets. This was my safe place, my judgement free zone.
Well, there is nowhere to run now, as the saying goes you can run but you cannot hide and when you come out of hiding we still have the same issues before we attempted to find a place of refuge. Our loved ones will call the police and the next thing you know, Eyewitness news and CNN has your face plastered all over the television and a few days away, turns into a missing persons case.
Psalm 91 lets us know that the Lord is our refuge and fortress, in him will I trust. There is no greater place to cast your anxiety and problems because as 1st Peter lets us know that the Lord cares for us even when we feel like we are alone. The great hymn of the church tells us There’s not a Friend like the lowly Jesus: No, not one! None else could heal all our souls’ diseases: No, not one! Jesus Knows all about our struggles; he will guide till the day is done there’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus no not one. When you are in direct relationship with God there is no need to run. Isaiah tells us that the Lord offers a hiding place from the storms of life.
I am grateful that the Lord is my refuge and fortress and when life seems to become a bit overwhelming I have a place of refuge whether I am at work, home, in my car, the grocery store in other public places or quiet places. I hope that you will allow the Lord to be your place of refuge when you might feel like running away. God Bless
He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. 91:4 (KJV)
Many of us at one time or another in life have been caught in a rain storm without an umbrella or a hat. There have even been some storms where we have been prepared with a rain coat, an umbrella and a hat. Unfortunately, the rain and the wind turned our umbrella inside out, our hat blew away and our rain coat did not keep our clothes dry. There are so many other times in life where we may have not felt protected by people and edifices. People live in areas of the country where there have been earthquakes, sink holes and hurricanes. Some have been let down by people in their life who was supposed to protect them and care for them. Whether in childhood or even as a vulnerable senior.
I am grateful that my Lord and savior Jesus has kept me under his wings and covered me with his feathers throughout the course of my life. Job had the hedge of protection, Satin was not given permission to touch Jobs life, because God was confident that Jobs actions in the face of calamity and tragedy would continue to live and trust God. I trust God, as I have matured in my faith I trust God more. I have been caught in many of life’s rain storms and God has seen me through time and time again. The prophet Isaiah said When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. The Lord has kept me through it all and continues to not let me drown and burn. As a Registered Nurse, we have something called evidence based practice, where the individual patients represent the proven research and outcomes instead of a mouse in a laboratory. My life represents the evidence that God has kept me under his wings and whatever storm clouds are ranging in my life, I trust the Lord through it all. I encourage you to trust God through it all. God bless
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua1:9 NIV
I can remember when I went away to sleep away camp and on the night before the last day at camp there were different awards given out. The one that impressed me the most was the Turtle rock award. Not everyone could swim the distance to get out to that big rock in the ocean that was shaped like a turtle. It was anywhere between 3.5 to 5 miles there and back so a total of 7 to 10 miles. I wanted that award; so, the following summer I convinced myself that I could swim the distance. I always enjoyed swimming and would take lessons after school during the fall and winter so I can do more than one stroke. I spoke with the swim instructors and let them know this summer I was going to swim out to turtle rock. When standing on the beach and looking out, that was a far distance, and of course the row boat was behind us just in case one of us gave out or maybe cramped up. So finally, I worked up enough courage to swim to that rock that was shaped like a turtle out in the ocean. I knew a few strokes that in case I became a little tired I could switch to the side stroke in case I needed to rest and catch my breath. That day the sun was shining, the current was not bad and it was time, I was only concerned about getting out of breath because I suffered with Asthma as a child, I was not afraid of my swimming capabilities.
Once we made it to the rock, we sat there for a little while but it was not over we had to make our way back to shore. Well, of course I made it, I was finally going to receive one of the biggest awards at camp, swimming out to Turtle rock. I think I still have that rock in the bottom of my mother’s china cabinet. The Lord was with me in the water, I had the faith to swim that distance.
Whatever you set your mind on we should remember we are more than conquerors. Sometimes people become their own worst enemy because they do not have the faith to know that God will be with us wherever we go and whatever we put our mind too. Do not allow fear to control you because then you will live with too many regrets and “what if” moments. Yes, there will be obstacles but if you keep your hand in the masters hands the Lord will see you through. Will it be easy? no, but anything worth having does not come easy. The Lord commands us to be strong and courageous and God will be with us wherever we go on land or sea. I promise you if you stand your ground, allow God to fight your battles, you will be more than a conqueror. God Bless
The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe. Proverbs 18:10 (ESV)
When I was young, I would always see monsters in my closet, today I know it was nothing but the clothes, but at the time, it was monsters and no one could convince me otherwise. So I would go into my parent’s room and snuggle up because that was a safe place and I would go straight back to sleep with no worries; because my parents would protect me. The Bible says when I was a child I did things as a child but when I became an adult I put away childish things. I am grateful that I can call upon the name of the Lord when the storm clouds of life start to rage. Calling on the name of God has kept me in my right mind, calling on the name of Jesus granted me peace that surpassed all understanding.
We are all going to experience difficult and challenging situations in life and let’s face it, life’s challenges can be very unpleasant. There will be times when no one can help you and sometimes family and friends do not even understand what you might be going through or might not even care, but having a firm foundation in Christ can assure you that when you call on the name of the Lord, he will come to your rescue anytime, anyplace, anywhere. I am grateful for the strong tower and a place to feel safe. I encourage you to develop your relationship with the Lord, so that you will become one of the righteous so that you can go to that safe place that the Lord provides. God Bless.
When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7 NIV
This Election season I must say will go down as one of the most Vulgar, strange and different from anything I have experienced since I became of age to actually pay attention to the candidate’s platform and what their plan is for the future. This Election season had me to reflect upon the different unwanted encounters that I have experienced with men. To blanket all men with Trump like behavior would be grossly negligent, but if most women were honest with themselves, we have all experienced something unpleasant and men are not the only ones who have cross the line with vulgar behavior with the opposite sex, women have been guilty as well.
I am so grateful that my experiences have not turned me off to the opposite sex. I am vibrant and happily married, I have a wonderful son, my dad is still living, three brothers, uncles and many male cousins. Although we are not running for political office, specifically the Presidency, we must be careful before we throw stones and we do not live in a glass house. I certainly do not want my President to have misogynistic behavior holding the highest office in the USA, but Mr. Trump is not by himself, I do not live in a glass house and I cannot throw stones and yes his behavior is disgusting to say the least, but this is a time for self-reflection for a lot of people. Most men are respectful because they have Mothers, sisters and daughters. Let’s continue to pray during this election season and continue to lift up women and men who have felt violated in one form or another by the opposite sex and let us also pray for those who have crossed the line and have not exhibited self-control.
I am grateful for the grace and mercy of God and the word of God which is a lamp unto my path and a light unto my feet. The word gives me direction for how to strive to conduct myself as a woman of God, do I get it right all the time, absolutely not, but I have an eternal source that is forgiving and instructional which is my heavenly father. God Bless
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 KJV)
Mr. Walt Disney along with a host of others experienced plenty of failure before they became very successful. Maybe Mr. Walt Disney did not know this scripture about all things working together for his good and maybe he did, but the race is not given to the swift but to those who endure to the end. Having a relationship with the Lord helps you endure to the end and have a life of purpose. There is no way that I knew I was going to experience many obstacles and challenges in completing school and running a business and most recently ministry. Everything you experience does not feel good nor do you want to believe that God is working it for your good. Sometimes you say to yourself, “you have got to be kidding me, this is crazy, you can keep this blank,” (you fill in the blank); but when you start to read the word of God and learn how to trust him in the process, there is victory on the other side.
It is hard to believe that God allows things to happen, which some of the challenges and difficulties is certainly not of God, it is human behavior, which can sometimes be self-serving, mean and cruel. Sometimes my reaction is “yeah right, you can keep this blank,” (you fill in the blank). After you cry a little and pray a lot, God is watching all of us from a distance and just like God ask Satin “have you considered my servant Job…. but on the man himself do not lay a finger,” God will not let any hurt, harm or danger come near you and you can rest assure that God will not leave you alone through the process. Certain situations are not even worth telling anyone but you can better believe God knows everything, we cannot hide or fool God. We all can fool man but we certainly cannot fool God. I know for sure, when you live for God, he will show up and show out on your behalf because God knows just how much you can bear. I encourage you not to give up and keep your head up and learn how to lean and depend on God and “know in all these things you are more than a conqueror though him that loved us.” All things may not be good in fact it is out right horrible but will work together for your good and make your life’s journey much more palatable so you can begin to pray “Lord if you do not move the mountain please give me the strength to climb.” I guarantee when you stay the course, God will get the glory and you will have victory in more ways than one. God Bless.
But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15b KJV)
When I was young, vegetables were not an option. Vegetables were negotiable, but not an option. My mother would say “before you get up from the table you must eat at least three carrots, carrots are good for your eyes.” “Before you get up from the table, you must eat at least four string beans” and the list goes on and on. I could have sat there for an hour or two minutes, but I knew I was not going to get up from the table until I ate a few of my vegetables. The same application was applied to attending Sunday school and Sunday Morning worship service, it was not an option. My mother said, “as long as you live here, we will serve the Lord.” I tried everything in the book, my little imagination could attempt in getting out of attending Sunday service. I thought service was to long, I could not stand my mother shouting, I was embarrassed and I came from a home where she said no one warms the pew in this house, you will participate in one of the church ministries. I thought she was the worse, but what a difference a day makes. Listen, do I like everything about church absolutely not; I do not like everything about running a business, paying taxes, dealing with employees etc.. but I am glad that my mother did not allow me to run my own show, what did I know at such a young age; I did not pay my parents adult bills or have the weight on their shoulders that I now have on mine; because of my faith and relationship with Christ, I have allowed God to bear my burdens, the great hymn of the church says “I must tell Jesus I cannot bear these burdens alone… Jesus will help me Jesus alone.”
The African proverb says that it takes a village to raise a child, it really does and the church is a part of the village especially historically in the black community. There were so many things that I could call to memory as I moved through life that kept me and gave me wisdom to navigate life’s challenges that I learned from church. My brothers who do not even attend church on a regular basis accept for one of them, will admit to you they are grateful for the parental guidance given to them by our parents. My previous Pastor said if church is good enough for you, why is it not good enough for your children. My son is now trying everything in the book to get out of going to Sunday school and worship service. I laugh to myself but guess what, it is not an option. The older saints would say you will need and call on God before God needs you, just live a little. God Bless
Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Ephesians 6:13 NIV
Today many young people and some older people have a way of throwing up the deuces sign and it means “I’m out,” I am done with this job, I am done with this friendship, I am done with this program, this class and the like. How does anything get accomplished in your life when you cannot navigate conflict and life dilemmas? So when there is someone who gives you drama on the job or a class becomes difficult, you throw up the deuces sign. If we learn how to put on the full armor of God, you will be able to stand when conflict arises or people become a problem in your life, but you cannot accomplish your goals without dealing with them.
What would life be like if we all just threw up the deuces sign? I certainly would have not completed college and I would have hopped from job to job. I have learned how to trust God, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord; and with the full armor of God, I am able to stand against whatever comes my way. The Lord said in his word that he would fight my battles and I know this because I walk with the sword of the spirit which is the word, which I have hidden in my heart so that I can stand on the promises of God.
Yes, on occasion my knees have buckled, but the Lord holds me up and I am able to stand my ground against the enemy. No weapon formed against me will prosper, weapons will form, but they will be defeated when God is on my side. Donnie McClurkin wrote the lyrics “after you have done all you can just stand….” And the victory will be yours because you have decided to put on the full armor of God. God bless.
When I was a young girl, one of my most favorite things to do was watch shows related to super heroes especially female super heroes such as Wonder Women and the Bionic Women. I enjoyed the story line between good and evil, the suspense was breath taking, but good always won. Spiderman and the Hulk was also amongst my favorites. My Husband said to me one day “how many times are you going to watch that Spiderman movie.” I do not know why I kept watching that movie, maybe I wanted to fly through the air, maybe I wanted to defend the weak and defeat evil. Maybe I wanted to have wonder woman’s bracelets and the bionic woman’s bionic strength.
Well, at this point in life it looks like it’s not going to happen. As an adult you realize Spiderman, hulk, wonder woman and the bionic woman are fictional characters, the only superhero and awesome power in our life is the power of God who has the ability to dispatch angels. We can go to God in prayer, no matter our location. Sometimes you might have to call on the name of God on your job, in the grocery store, at your children’s school, no matter the place, God is available. I am reminded of a devotional song that says “when I call on God he will come to my rescue any time any place anywhere.” The bible says The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. (Prov18:10 NKJV)
When I was young in the Pentecostal church we use to call on the name of Jesus, I am so glad that I know that there is power in the name of Jesus and whatever the situation, calling on the name of Jesus brings such peace in the midst of life’s most challenging storms. I am glad that I can call on the name of Jesus even when the storm clouds of life are not raging I can just say thank you Lord, I just want to thank you Lord for being with me through it all, the good and the bad. Some people rely on self and things of this world, but all of these things will pass away and do not offer consistency. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. God Bless.
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Mark1:35 NIV
My husband said to me one day, before I gave birth to our son Joshua, “I don’t know how you are going to have a baby because you do not like noise. I said, “I have to hear the voice of the Lord.” Sometimes in life we need to cut off all electronic devices and the television and get into a quiet place to hear from the Lord for the many things that is going on in our lives before we make decisions. The Lord also wants to speak to us and reveal some things. There have been times when I did not seek the Lord in some situations in my life and the effects of that was evident. We must wait on the Lord and be of good courage and sometimes no answer is an answer. When you have a relationship with God, you will be able to hear his voice like many in the bible. The Lord spoke to David and Mary and Moses just to name a few who were followers and believers of an almighty God. I can remember being in some difficult business situations, because I was a neophyte regarding business dos and don’ts; because of the solitary place and shutting out noise, God could reveal which direction to go in. I am grateful for having a divine connection in order for the Lord to order my steps. Proverb tells us to “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” God Bless.
So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4 But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. (Jeremiah 18: 3-4 NIV)
There are so many layers of life that help shape and define who we have become today. We all have different experiences and up bringing’s; some good, some bad, some tragic, and the like. I am grateful that my foundation was solid. Was I taught everything? Absolutely not, certain aspects of life cannot be taught; one has to experience situations and circumstances that can either make you or break you. Having a family that leaned on the everlasting arms and trusted God, I was able to learn and draw from that foundation when dealing with challenging people and obstacles; i.e. School, business and Church.
Regina Belle sings a song that was a message to her son “if I could” some of the lyrics are: If I could I’d protect you from the sadness in your eyes Give you courage in a world of compromise Yes, I would If I could I would teach you all the things I’ve never learned And I’d help you cross the bridges that I’ve burned Yes, I would If I could If I could I would help you make it through the hungry years But I know that I can never cry your tears, babe But I would if I could If I knew I’d try to change the world I brought you to Now there isn’t much more that I can do But I would if I could….
Most parents would probably love to save their children from the bumps and bruises on this journey called life, but that cannot always be the case, but one can introduce their children to the master craftsmen who is Jesus; who will shape them for his glory. Christ will love us, discipline us, protect us, strengthen us and pour out blessings not room enough to receive. I am grateful for the master craftsmen that helped shape my life and continues to work the clay for his glory. God Bless
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. (Isaiah 43:2 NKJV)
One day a few years back I was sitting in a graduate course at Columbia University and the Professor was talking about different theories and strategies about moving through systems or something along that line and I raised my hand and said “I have a theory it is called bob and weave,” and the Professor nodded her head up and down in agreement; that’s what they teach basketball players. Bob and weaving was one of those drills we would practice when I played varsity basketball in high school. There are some situations and people in life that you can avoid. My mother always told me do not walk into trouble, walk away from it, cross the street if you will, go in the other direction, find a different route.
Well, there are going to be times when bobbing and weaving will not work. In life there are going to be times when we all must go through the water, the river and through the fire metaphorically. I am grateful that God was with me through all of my difficult situations in life such as school, work and even in church; through financial challenges and health issues, family problems and business mishaps; God did not let the waters and rivers overflow in my life that I was drowned and I was not burned or scorch by the fire. The Lord knows just how much we can tolerate. Sometimes when we are in a difficult situation it is not pleasant, but God manages to see us through each and every one of our lives difficult circumstances. I am grateful that I have hidden the word in my heart when I am challenged. I also know that God is watching from a distance and I belong to him. Thank God for his word, that I have hidden in my heart when the storm clouds of life start to rage. I am reminded of those comforting scriptures that bring me through each and every situation that I cannot “bob and weave.” I hope and pray that you will get to know the Lord and those same comforting scriptures that have brought me this far on my life’s journey. There is a song I am reminded of it states “if it had not been for the Lord on my side tell me where would I be, where would I be.” God Bless.
A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24 (NKJV)
All week, I have been thinking about a twenty-dollar bill. Why? Because when I think back to living in New York City after college, it was always a twenty-dollar bill that one of my dearest friends would borrow from me or I from her. I tell you, that twenty-dollar bill stayed busy between the both of us. Pam was working as a Caseworker in the city and during the holidays she would work at Bloomingdales for extra money and at the time she was working on her Master’s at Fordham University. I was working as a Probation Officer and finishing up my Nursing at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. We were single at the time, dating of course, and we did go to church on Sundays. I am glad that we could rely on each other as young adults because we did not want to ask our parents for money, if we didn’t have to. Pam celebrated her fiftieth birthday last year and a friend saw a picture of us embracing and commented on how endearing it was. I believe it was an embrace of how far we have come. A friend who sticks closer than a brother during our young adult years. This is a reminder that if we do not have a friend that sticks closer than a brother, Jesus is our friend who is available any time any place anywhere.
The great hymn of the church reminds us of “what a friend we have in Jesus all our sins and griefs to bear. What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.” There were times when I am quite sure I was not there for her and she was not there for me but the Lord always provided the ram in a bush and the bridge over troubled waters. I am grateful that Pam is in my life and a few others that I can tell a similar story about a friend sticking closer than a brother but I am more grateful that Christ is in my life and sticks closer than any friend and/or brother. God bless.
I can remember when I was growing up on the North Shore of Long Island. I would go with my grandmother to clean white folks home. I guess I called myself going to help, I did not do much, but look at the beautiful art on the walls and marvel at the interior design. I would sit on the step and say to myself one day I will have a home this beautiful.
Well, that was not the only experience I had in my youth. I was impressed with the robing at the graduation ceremonies I attended. The higher the academic degree the fancier the Robe. So again, I said to myself, “I want to wear one of those pretty robes.” Well, With the Lords help hopefully I will be finished with the Doctorate in ministry. There were other dreams I had to influence my life’s journey; traveling the world, having a family and there were some blessings I did not ask for but God had a greater plan for my life. Proverbs tells us where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps the law, happy is he. The saying goes without a plan, plan to fail, so of course I worked and attended College. Just like there is no quick fix to losing weight, besides old fashion diet and exercise; even if you have a bariatric surgery, without diet and exercise, the surgery will be worthless.
Well, beloved there is nothing that beats hard work and perseverance. Just ask those who trained and made it to the 2016 Olympics in Rio. They say on the streets, don’t hate the player hate the game. Disappointment sets in because I find that people want a quick fix an easy solution to obtaining success. Possibly selling drugs or getting caught up in scamming people out of their money. That’s huge today, with all this computer technology. The Bible tells us in the gospel of Luke for with God nothing shall be impossible. Joseph was a dreamer. Josephs dreams were so big his brothers hated him and wanted him dead. Sometimes you have to keep your dreams and aspirations to yourself and just tell God and ask the Lord to order your steps on your life’s journey to make your dreams a reality because there are not only haters beloved but there are dream killers. I encourage you to keep dreaming. God bless you.
When I look back over my life and begin to dissect what worked, it was my faith, the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. I believed and stood on the promises of God but I had a relationship. I activated the Holy Spirit within me. I Knew what I was singing about, when I sang the great hymn of the church …”And he walks with me and he talks with me and he tells me I am his own and the joy we share as we tarry there none other has ever known….” again relationship. Did my faith ever waiver or go as small as the mustard seed? Yes, but I was anchored and I held on. I can remember My Uncle would sing this song: “When you walk by the way I will lead you from the fatness of the land I will feed you and the high place I will bring down. What is wrong I’ll make it right all your battles I will fight and the high place my heavenly father will bring down…” And of course after I looked up the words to the song, he changed them; but it became my praise and worship song in the shower, in church, while walking through the city, while praying.
I knew about those high places, difficult situations in my life that I had no control over. I knew I needed the Lord to fight my battles; there were days when I needed the fatness of the land to feed me because I was broke. I was living in New York City, working and paying for my advanced degrees. This song offered promises that were scriptural for the Israelites in Exodus, Genesis was referenced in this song, and Isaiah was referenced in this song. Throughout scripture God reminds us of his promises.
My Parents did finance the first degree but I had three brothers that came behind me and they needed to help them. The bible tells us that God will take care of us. I came to believe that when I took one step God would help me in taking the next step. Ok, you want to call me a church girl? The club was not my help, even though I would go on occasion. I needed a place of refuge, I needed a source, I needed a way maker, I needed a bridge over troubled waters; I needed a ram in the bush like Abraham. I needed hope when things seemed hopeless, so it was my faith in God; it was relying on his promises. One of my favorite scriptures when things were heavy was psalm 91 I made it personal: He that dwells in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust…..Faith in God works. The road won’t always be smooth; the road will get bumpy, wet and slippery, but learn how to walk by faith and not by sight and God will be with you with every step you take and every move you make. God bless you.
I can remember when I was a little girl before going to sleep my mother would sit on the edge of my bed in my room and I would kneel down on the carpet fold my hands in a prayer position on the bed as instructed, close my eyes and repeat after my mom “Now I lay me down to sleep I pray to the Lord my soul to keep if I should die before I wake I Pray to God my soul to take.” My most favorite part of the prayer was the section in which I did not need any help I would say at the end of the prayer God bless Mommy and Daddy and Grandma and Grandpa my brothers, Uncles, my teacher, my friends and my cat. Amen.” The bible says in Proverbs “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
I am so very grateful for the foundation taught to me as a young child. I know so many who can confirm to the same experience. Many, including myself were not born into families with material wealth, but we were given a solid foundation in Christ; that has been a major factor toward maturation into responsible adults and has helped many of us navigate life’s ups and downs. We know we have an anchor in the Lord. We were given one of the major tools of our faith and that was the ability to humble ourselves before the Lord and pray; when things are going well pray, when life is taking you on a roller coaster ride pray. This was one of the major foundations I was given in my youth, how to pray. The Bible say in James: Prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Prayer was a building block that helped to develop my intimate relationship with God. Prayer has brought me through many trials and tribulations.
One of the great hymns of the church that we sing: “What a friend we have in Jesus all our sins and griefs to bear what a privilege to carry everything to God in Prayer! You may not have silver and gold houses and land; I encourage you to teach your children how to pray and if you do not feel comfortable talking with the Lord, join a church family where you and the children can begin to learn about the goodness of God and how to develop your intimate relationship with Christ because Jesus is the best thing that has ever happen to me. God Bless you.
Grace & Peace,
Grace & Peace,
Grace & Peace,
Minister of Music: Elder Pheifer
Percussionist: Bro. Davonte Footman
Join us for Sunday School at 9:30am and Worship Service at 11:00am.