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. (more…)