Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Have you ever taken the time and watched the seasons change? I mean really see the trees and the flowers go and come again? Does your mood change along with the seasons? Do you feel better or worse? Are you happy when the change happens or do you regret the change? Here's a better question that most can relate to, do you think of what could have been?

A woman who keeps a garden every year told me that when she picks her collard greens it is just at the beginning of frost. She said the greens are almost sweet when she waits for the time to come rather than being impatient and picking them just because they seem to be large and ready for the harvest. I had a garden too but I wasn't as experienced as she is and didn't take what she said to mean anything else but what she initially said, "don't pick the collards before the first frost." Fine, I planted spinach. It was a variety that grew hardy and very quick. It wasn't long before I had bushels in the kitchen ready to wash and have set in the deep freezer. I kept a bushel out for that night's dinner. I washed and prepared them as I would do any green leafy vegetable. Then I took a taste of them after been seasoned and cooked for the appropriate time. I expected one thing and the taste I received wasn't that. I couldn't even describe what that taste was. Bitter would be too tame of a word. They smelled good. Looked good. But tasted as if I didn't know how to cook. I tried to doctor them up... you know, try to remedy whatever was wrong. There was no use. As much as I detest waste, there was only one place for them. It was much later in life I recalled what that woman said about those collards. I realized it was true for all green leafy vegetables. Well, why didn't she just say that?

Actually, the whole ordeal proved to be a life lesson. When my husband and I divorced, I had to take my children and move back home. It was one of those rock and a hard place situations. I went back to school and finished my education so I could get a good job and get a place of my own for my children. Once I got the job, everything got in the way of me finishing my goal. Children have all of their needs met not to mention the expectations of the schools they attended. As hard as I tried including working double shifts, I couldn't get past living paycheck to paycheck (back then). When I saved, something happend and the savings were pilfered until there was nothing left. As much as I was still determined to find that home for my children, landlords weren't so eager to have a single woman with five children come and stay in their property. It was the most frustrating time in my life; and more than likely not a picnic for my mother either. I wailed during those years when I prayed and just when I got close to getting a property, something would jossle that landlord in his sleep for him to change his mind.

It took years before moving. I still can't think of those days and laugh, neither can my children - well, not yet anyway. During that time, I heard of a woman who attended the same church I was, had taken what little she had in the bank, packed up her children and left to go to a state where she had never been and had no family there. She prospered. I heard several stories just like that and as much as I tried not to look up and ask, I couldn't help myself.

After graduating I got a job that I really liked more than any position I ever had. I received an accomodation letter, people that trained me came and praised my work to my superiors, I was going to keep this job no matter what. No sooner did the thought pass my mind, trouble came with both barrels and a mixing bowl on the side. I was investigated and as much as the director stated she tried to find another position in the company, I was regretfully let go. The use of profanity, something I stopped soooo long ago came for me to use. It would have been so simple the choice words and phrases that for the most part I only thought about - I said, for the most part. My car got stripped. I got another car, it got a flat and then stolen. I had no money, no car, no job, and barely a place to live.

And then something changed. After 2 years and so many hundreds of resumes later, I got a job but it wasn't for the right person and I had no choice but to leave. I then packed what I could to see if I could do what that other woman did and leave to a state where I had no family just to start all over. It was one of the worst decisions I ever made. Before all of my money was gone, I moved back. Too tired to do any more wailing in frustration, I got quiet, got still, and waited.

God said we are like trees planted by the rivers of the living water (Psalm 1:3 KJV). Trees don't grow over night. I had to stop panicking and see what resources I already have and use them. Nothing else was working for me at the time. My anxious efforts weren't doing well (Provebs 12:25 NIV). I gained some insight from my neice who started making purses from simple materials. I knew I had other talents and once I became still, I drew from them and was able to gain other insights into other things I had allow myself to be dormant. One of those insights you see here with the art displayed.

The point is gaining the information to use in the best way possible. The woman with the collards had the information she needed. Whether she knew that same thing for all leafy vegetables was neither here nor there. She knew it for the crop she was going to harvest (Hosea 4:6 AMP). I didn't know the info for my particular harvest and because of that, I didn't have one.

The same is true for anything in life (Ecclesiastes 3:1 AMP). There is time for everything. For some, it is the time for their skills in a particular company and once that time passes those skills are needed elsewhere. How do you find out where? Don't panic and wait on the Lord. He knows where you need to be better then you do. Fear will keep you from hearing that inward witness and if you maintain in that state of panic or anxiety (Philippians 4:6 NIV), the time will pass you completely and you will wait longer for the next season.

How long have you been waiting for your breakthrough? Did you ever wonder if God has forgotten about you? Have you contemplated going back out in the world? Is it taking too long for the frost to come? Know that Jesus studied for all of that time until He was in his 30's before he started His 3 year ministry. What are you doing in your time of wait? Aren't we following Jesus? Shall we do different than what He did? Can you still stand when the storm arises? Will trouble find you down and out? Can you count it all joy when divers temptations are all around you (James 1:2 KJV)?

Saturday, January 16, 2010


There are some things that must be expressed and adhered to above all else so that the believer can maintain the faith. Though faith is the substance of things hoped for (Hebrews 1:11 KJV) , it is as if we are establishing a wish list after realizing that the old has passed away and behold all things have become new (2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV). With this new expression and attitude about life, because it is what we choose (Deuteronomy 30:19 NIV), then the lifestyle must also change. We are no longer selfish but we love others as we do ourselves. We are patient and endure tough times (1 Corinthians 13:4 AMP). We no longer are unnecessarily boisterous just for being so but gently speaking in a manner that upholds righteousness (James 1:19-21 AMP). Knowing that our steps are ordered and delighting in the new path (Psalm 37:23 KJV), we have learned to seek those things that pre-destined for our health and prosperity (3 John 1:2 KJV). God would have it to be this way(1 Timothy 2:4 KJV).

So, with all of this in mind, why would we listen to messages, sermons, motivational lectures telling us that if we don't have trouble then we are living the abundant life wrong? Trouble comes because of disobedience (Ephesians 2:1-10 AMP). Trouble comes because of the words of our mouths (Proverbs 18:21 AMP). Trouble comes because of adherence to lust rather than love (Romans 6:1-17 AMP). Trouble is there because of lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6 KJV).

Who are you (Romans 8:37 KJV)? God gave His only begotten Son so we could live. I don't recall Him saying to anyone else before Jesus that he is a son. Yet, after Jesus we all have the potential of sonship (Romans 8:14 KJV). Jesus walked right through troubled times without being touched. Should He have less than what Daniel could do? Certainly not. Jesus stood by a woman who was about to be stoned because of adultery. With Him being right where she was, was she ever stoned (John 8:1-11 KJV)? Was there anyone close to Jesus ever not healed, restored, or been made whole? So then, what troubles have you? Have not things been offered to keep you (Matthew 6:33 KJV)? What have you been adhering to and what things have you tossed away? In Him, trouble cannot be with you too(Proverbs 21:23 AMP).

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Friendship (part 2)

What if you found out that your friendship with a person wasn't beneficial to you. Would you remain friends with this person? I recall a message I heard from a well known pastor. He said that many times people won't witness to others because of the sacrifice of time it takes to make sure the new babe in Christ is alright. I didn't know how to digest that message at the time seeing that anyone who thought like that did away with Kingdom Living altogether seeing that it is based on Love in the first place. Sacrificing of oneself is the whole basis of Christianity. Isn't it written that we present these bodies a living sacrifice holy and acceptable unto God (Romans 12:1 KJV)? However, would that message apply to friendships?

We see celebrities with entourages all of the time. Why are all of these people around them? Because of love or of what they can obtain from the celebrity? Remember when MC Hammer had all of those people working for him in his hayday? He said these were his friends that he was helping them achieve a life outside of prison and a life where they had no future (paraphrasing). They worked hard on those dance videos. In fact it was the best musical act to date that Saturday Night Live ever had, in my opinion. But when all of that money was gone and he had to sell his mansion because of taxes, what happened to all of those friends. They made alot of money working for MC. Why didn't he speak so highly of anyone of them that helped him when he needed them the most? Were they even around? If he had a hit single, would he do the same thing now as he did then?

Is it a conundrum when we consider helping someone else for their benefit rather than our own? In the first part of this blog, I mentioned a four year friendship that, at the time, was a waste. I did back flips (exaggeration) to keep the peace in spite of her criticism of everything I did. Sometimes a conversation on the phone was just tiring. She wouldn't listen if what she had to say was more important. I would leave the phone and go do something else knowing she was still talking oblivious to being a blessing or a hindrance. I would then return and she never knew I left. She never stopped talking!

Would it be a sacrifice to maintain such a friendship? She would turn her phone off at night, so if I needed someone to pray with, I would not be able to reach her yet she could reach me at all hours. How much of a sacrifice is too much? When do we say, when. Jesus didn't allow just anyone to walk with Him who asked. He had criteria (as much as we would not like to believe). We think that come as you are means that we follow Him no matter what state we are in. Nope, we come as we are to church to hear the Word and in so doing, we are increasing our faith. Jesus told a certain man to go and sell all he had and then give the money to the poor before he could come follow Him. The man went away grieved (Luke 18:18-25 KJV). The Word doesn't tell us that he came back after following the instruction. The man in the cave that was possessed with many asked to follow Jesus and He said instead to go through all of the provinces and tell of what has happened to him (Mark 5:1-20 AMP). So then why would we sacrifice our own personal peace and well being just to maintain a friendship?

The message the pastor spoke about was of someone being selfish. If you found a baby having full knowledge that baby would be in need of the basics, even if you couldn't do it yourself, you would find someone who could. Could this not also be true of witnessing to someone. You might not have the time to call and check to see if the person is going to church or reading his/her bible on a regular basis, but you know of someone who could. How much does it take to sacrifice some of your time to pray for an individual? My purpose is for you not to be fooled. You might think it is a loving and humbling thing to do to incorporate someone in your life whose whole intent is to leech off of you, but I can write with total conviction, God did not intend for you to do this.

Remember the stories of the Old Testament. God gave and gave to the children of Israel and still they complained wanting more. Solomon was made the richest man in the world and still was disobedient marrying over 700 hundred women that did not have the same faith. Saul was given kingship and still went to look for a psychic for advice. You can only do so much and then when you see that what you are doing is enabling a person not to do for himself, you then are the hindrance. It is the same as helping a defenseless new born chick from the imprisonment of his shell. The moment you take the smallest piece from the chick, the chick stops trying thinking you will do it all if you've done that much. Eventually the chick dies because it never learned the struggle to survive.

Friendships shouldn't be so hard to figure out. You become friends because of initial common interests, the conversation is stimulating, there is a give and take and what you receive is as rich as what you gave. Its easy. Its one of the blessings in life that seem effortless. When you have to start screening your calls and avoiding any sort of contact with the other person - let it go. It isn't worth the acrobatics.

Friday, January 1, 2010


After an intense conversation with a woman my son was dating exclusively, he text to ask me ,what is the point of friends? Initially, I chuckled to myself thinking how even those that are supposedly close to you can take you to a place that God would not consider righteous. Its where questions of common sense are and parents with their hair pulled out wondering where did he/she go wrong? Its the place where we left profanity and feeling anxious. Its where you don't wish to be and yet parenting can tempt us to get there rather quickly.The time it takes to calm down and repent would also cause one to wonder why have that person as a friend if he/she has the ability to take you from kingdom status?

The Word tells us that iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17 AMP). This is an excellent verse in describing true friendship. While spending time with one another, you can't help but to get to know their likes and dislikes. You learn personality quirks and become more acquainted with the traits that drew you both together causing you to remain friends; however in so doing there will also be those times where subjects discussed might have a difference of opinion. If the Word is used one of the two things can happen.
1. The Word is the truth and made to set us free (John 8:32 KJV). So the debate becomes nullified. The Word corrects that which is wrong; therefore, the opposing verbage is extinguished and true friendship resumes both having an understanding of the verse.

2. This is the iron sharpening iron part. The Word being analyzed and a sword, as believers, we all have one. Except when we have allowed the enemy to enter into one aspect of our lives (Ephesians 4:27 KJV). He will try to devour other things. If we don't quickly recognize where entrance took place and repent reminding God of His Word in our confessions/prayers, God will still cause our true friendship to hear what we don't. That would be a sign of the enemy at work and the dulling of our spiritual senses (Hebrews 5:11-12 AMP). It is the peace that extinguishes those fiery darts and Kingdom Living replaced where it belongs.

If the debate continues the Word can still be used. This is also a means of God telling you this person is not a real friend. If he/she opposes the Word even after it being made clear, then he/she will also oppose you when you need this person the most (Psalms 1:1 AMP).

Some Christians like to keep these truths hidden because they believe it is their own weaponry against the enemy. Problem with that is, how then would the rest of us Christians grow up? It is our duty to tell the babies and the children what to look for. We all must be alert in keeping the paths of righteousness plain (Proverbs 3:6 KJV), lest we stumble(Proverbs 3:19-22 AMP).

An elderly woman new to the community by which I am employed, asked if I could tell her age. She seemed to be in her 60's but was only too happy to correct me in stating the she is 82. I congratulated her for keeping herself fit. She continued to state that she has a friend of 45. The two of them get along so well. She was pleased to note that her friend takes her places and even paid to go to the salon to get her hair done. Yes, there was a second that I did think it odd for a woman my age to have so much in common with a woman of 82. As this woman continued to speak to me, I didn't think about the common trait of anyone being left alone for so long, would talk about any given subject matter if the one listening is interested or not, hence the reason for the supposed friendship. The next morning, early as it was, a medical alert went off that I had to tend to. In so doing, that same elderly woman was completely dressed and waiting in the lobby for her supposed girlfriend. After completing the medical alert task and paperwork, I was about to go back to my residence when that elderly woman tried to stop me by holding a conversation. Not only did she inform me that she was waiting for that close friend of hers but that she was going to be picked up by this close friend to babysit her children. "Have a good morning," I concluded the conversation with her and went into my apartment thinking what you are undoubtedly thinking yourselves. She is fooling herself!

How much would you withstand to continue a friendship that is only benefiting one? I separated myself from a 4 year friendship after realizing she seemed to be hanging on to receive the overflow of my blessing rather than being one herself. Isn't that what Lot did to Abraham? To a point one might overlook that because of mercy, grace, patience, and the like, but the never being able to live up to all of the criticism and not being perfect herself was a bit too much to tolerate especially if my personal Peace was being disrupted.

The Word tells us to have friends we must first be friendly (Proverbs 18:24 KJV). If friendships still aren't made then it is, again, one of two things:
1. You must be around a certain quality of people to be considered equally yoked to those God would have you call friends. As those who are young and very liberal enough to profess that we can be friends with anyone, I say be realistic. You know you wouldn't have just anybody come into your house because their mind set is not the same as yours. It is the reason your parents moved as the neighborhood changed. If you remain in an environment where people just don't care, then either you will become like them or rebel not knowing why until much later in years. Your parents desired better for you. While others who could not afford to move tried to instill in their children to behave differently even when their children saw something else everyday. To instill better values for that family would be difficult. This is why we choose friends that are better suited for the purposes we have in life and consequently can understand where we are headed. They would more than likely be supportive rather than a burden.

2. The other is that God is telling you to be content in whatever state that you are in (Philippians 4:11 AMP). If you don't have friends right now, count it all joy for you have a friend who is closer to you then any brother (Proverbs 18:24 NIV). He will never leave you alone.