Matters of the Heart 65 – January 2018

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.

Matters of the Heart 64 – January 2018

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.

Matters of the Heart 63 – January 2018

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.

Matters of the Heart 62 – January 2018

The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps. (Proverbs 16:9 ESV)

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!!