Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fashionably Late

I don't really know or understand why the term "Fashionably Late" came into being. It became a way of showing up for the rich when they were seen on the red carpet and coming to highly publicized soirees.I suppose the point of it being when the person who was anticipated in showing up finally did, he/she had the attention of the room and now the party and/or event can begin. As if it wasn't anything until then.

Well, how arrogant for anyone to come to an invited event intentionally late for the purpose of taking the attention away from the purpose of having the event. Does any of us in the body of Christ do such things? Would we dare have the arrogance as to keep people waiting for the purpose of having their undivided attention?

Personally, it would not be tolerated. I didn't do such things to obtain employment, in keeping an appointment, nor attending church services. I was trained this way as a child. It is the polite thing to do. It should be expected. If I am kept waiting, I leave. I don't like it when the doctor's receptionists deliberately overbook the patients for the slightest chance that someone would cancel their appointment. What if they didn't? What about the possibility that everyone made the appointment given and the waiting room is so full that the medical staff doesn't have the man hours to attend to everyone in that same given day that he/she set the appointment? What about the inconvenience of the patient that is sitting there expecting to get medical attention? Can the patient be as cavalier about paying the bill?

This also happens in church services. I visited a ministry one Sunday morning with my mother. I don't like church hopping because I don't know what to expect especially if the ministry doesn't practice basic principles set in the Word. We were ushered to the front of the sanctuary, being friends of a friend of the pastor. There we sat waiting for the choir to begin singing. They had congregated in their usual positions and the choir director waited for the designated soloist to come to the front of the pulpit. "Oh, Oh...okay." What? She didn't know she was singing this morning? Why did the congregants have to view that dramatic scene? After the soloist sung her song, they were ready for the second selection. The same singer remained in place and the rest of the choir rustled around as if they didn't know what to do. At least 10 minutes passed that I was never going to see again, when the two sisters of the soloist came and joined her to sing. If I had not been with my mother, I would have left. It wasn't cute. It did not keep me captivated and church time is not the time for anyone to launch their acting career.

This also happened at another ministry. Oddly enough, it was a choir event. I was apart of that choir and was excited at our first music program. The choir and the directors were all ready. The church was full. All that was needed was for the director to give the organist the cue to begin our marching music to come into the sanctuary. He peered in to see if the organist was where he was assigned to be. No one was there. We were all given specific instruction to be and have on what we all were supposed to do and have. We did as we were told. Now the very one who was a pinnacle part of our assembly was missing. Why? He never was missing for regular services. After 15 minutes we no longer thought that he was in a car accident but was deliberately trying to make a scene when he finally showed up. It was 20 minutes that we waited and tried to keep the audience pacified. The organist came in with beige ridding pants,(you know, what the equestrians wear), leather boots to the knee (it was July), and a cane. He gave the cane to the director, made no apologies, and opened both doors to walk down the middle aisle, take his time to get adjusted on the organ bench, and then began playing his version of our march in song. The director contemplated for us to do the entire program acapella.

There is a term that is irritating to me in the Christian circuit that has been said for many, many years: God may not come when you want Him, but He is always right on time. There is absolutely no scripture for that phrase and I thank God there isn't. Why wouldn't God come when I need Him? Maybe because I annoyed my brothers and sisters in Christ being fashionably late. It is the fruit by which some of us have chosen to live (Proverbs 1:31 KJV). You can't complain when God takes His time with you no matter how long it is. If you would like the timing changed - YOU CHANGE FIRST!!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Food Spoils, Not Children

I have heard grown people speak about children in a variety of ways. If they are good, there is some sort of tangible reward and for the moment it makes the child and parent feel compensated for their works. But if the child doesn't meet any of the adult's expectations, that one issue, work, behavior, or event, is expounded upon in detail. Words are spoken over and over. If the child is offended or angry, there is a possibility of the child speaking back harshly in defense or it is suppressed for someone weaker. In this, sticks and stones break bones but words can, in as much, kill the spirit of a child.

When a child has special priveleges because of the financial status of the parent, it is the training the child receives that takes him to social acceptability. Looking at the nurturing of the child from God's perspective, He tells us to state our case and remind Him of His Word (Isaiah 43:25-27 KJV). We know that He hears the prayers of the righteous (1 Peter 3:12 KJV). We know that it is our faith that pleases Him; and we also know that the answers to our prayers is yea and amen (2 Corinthians 1:18-20 KJV). So when we remind Him of the promises that He has for us in His Word. He answers yay and amen being delighted that we are using our faith which comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17 KJV).

As babes in Christ, we want for nothing (Psalm 23:1 KJV). As children of God, we were taught how to deal with a spiritual walk in a world driven by a wallowing pool of self (flesh) (2 John 1:5-7 KJV) (Galatians 5:16 KJV). We are learning of scriptures, which pleases God because of our efforts; however, as sons of God, reaching some sort of maturity, having teeth to chew into the meat of the Word, God's expectations for us has changed because of that growth. The Word remains and now we can endure tests to see if we are moved by temptation or still in the faith (James 1:12-15 KJV). Will patience have her perfect work in entirety with us wanting nothing (James 1:4 KJV) or will we resent all of the time we put into a belief system that doesn't give immediate results?

When a child begins a statement, "but you said..." the parent has the obligation to fulfill what he/she said that would be done. Otherwise, why be a parent if all you intend to do is frustrate the child (Ephesians 6:4 KJV)? How do you expect for God to move and change matters for you when the seed you have sown in your child is resentment? The process God has for us leads to patience (Hebrews 12:1-14 KJV). We don't come out of the womb running.

So when a baby cries for food, attention, or to get a diaper changed - go do it! You are not spoiling him. You are meeting his expectations just as you would your Heavenly Father do for you. To do otherwise comes from the pit of hell causing deception, loss of favor in God, and pilfering from your blessing.

Monday, August 9, 2010

FarmTown (c)

I opened an account with Facebook(C)about a year ago for purposes completely void of playing games. Eventually I got into some of them and others I didn't see the amusement in. However, there is a game that I believe is so closely related to the bible, I became fascinated with the dynamics of it.

Let me first explain why I chose this topic to write about. I am employed to work in a senior community that is predominant in a particular ethnicity. Though I have a college education, the position doesn't require one and therefore there are many preconceived notions not only because of my position but ethnicity as well. I have worked with a variety of nationalities and am not one to sterotype people because of how it feels when it is done to me. With this in mind, picture it: I was sitting in a common area using the computer when the maintenance guy said that he had to clean the room for a meeting. I then started to finish what I was doing on the computer to leave. The women from the same company that I am employed started coming in for the meeting with files and various materials in hand. They spoke to each other when entering the room but said nothing to me. They are very aware that I work for the same company or they would have said something about me being in that room using the computer. But they said nothing. Not even a good morning. I was offended and left so they could have their meeting.

Earlier in the month, the company hired a new social worker. She does the same work I went to school to do. She was introduced to all of the other employees in the building, including myself. Though there were many who interviewed for the job, she obtained it because of her familiarity with the nationality and their observances. As racist as that may have sounded - it is what the administrator said to me. Be as it may, a few weeks into the job, I noticed this same woman only speaking to certain people and not others. While in the small office area, about to start my shift, the new social worker was also in the office speaking to the receptionist. When she was finished, the receptionist said hello and the new social worker said nothing. I said hello, and still not one word. I then stood in her face and resonated my voice. She immediately turned red and spoke. She heard me the first time. Why did I have to go through embarrassing her for her to be civil?

In a meeting that I was apart of where we discussed the residents in the building, with my position there isn't a whole lot to be said. But because of my training, I can spot domestic violence when others wouldn't really notice it much. I brought the subject up to the new social worker only after giving her a brief synapse of my resume. It became quiet and she said if she and I could speak in her office. After that day, it was apparent that my other co-workers forgot that my employment here isn't because it was all I could do. The mood was different and I was treated with respect that I didn't realize was absent from them.

This dynamic with people has also been found virtually as well. We don't see each other (just a personally created avatar) in this game of FarmTown, nevertheless the abilities and attitudes of our environment, genetics, and stereotypes seem to follow no matter what others may think. Those that have achieved a certain status in the game, when they hire workers they aren't as forth coming to speak. They only wish for the worker to get the job done and move on. The worker could have a PhD but who would know that? I have achieved a certain status and have hired people on my farm as well. I speak to them but when they see my farm, they aren't very talkative. I had a woman work for me in the several businesses that I have. She just looked at how I designed my farm and commented on it. Funny, both of us were cordial to one another, she wouldn't extend her conversation any farther then vague information. This was not the case when I began the game and at the beginner's levels.

Now where does the Word fit in this? To be meek and humble (Matthew 5:5 KJV) is a decision as with obtaining life as opposed to death (Proverbs 18:21 NKJV); however, when we make up our minds to be ourselves with people no matter what the status, this comes from the Word as well (James 2:2-4 KJV). The problem is, once achieving a certain level of social or financial status, we can't help but behave and speak differently from those who have not. The Word says, let the Words of my mouth and meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and redeemer (Psalm 19:14 KJV). Well, isn't it obvious that people with a higher social and financial status had a different vision than someone on a lesser level. With a different vision comes a different language - doesn't it? Tycoons don't hem and haw, they get the job completed. It is obvious in real life, as I depicted here and in a virtual game where people don't know where you are from, the color of your skin, or the gender unless you tell them. How could I be offended with them being so rude? They see me at a specific age doing a job that doesn't require a college education. True, they are assuming, but wouldn't you?

Personally in the game, I don't hire as many people as I used to. The men wouldn't complete the task and the women started to get uppity. By that I mean, if I hired more than just the one woman, she would pitch a fit for her to do the job herself or she would leave without completing what I hired her for. For myself, I don't usually accept jobs from other farmers unless I am trying to increase my level. I have more than enough money to do whatever it is that I need to do. Even in the game, it feels good.

The working on the farm with the plowing, sowing seed and harvesting to get to where you are trying to go is just a life lesson for a Christian all the way around. See what God says to you.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

For The Love of Money...

... is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10 KJV). This is written in the scriptures and we have heard it translated in a number of ways. Though God doesn't hate money, He hates what it does. That interpretation is the one that fits the bill the best to me. The thing is, with this understanding, the principle of the matter is still neglected. When did this love affair begin and when will you call it quits?

First establish why there is such a love of a thing that can only produce evil. It all began using the barter system. Back in the early years people bartered for goods by giving other goods or services. Some weren't as forthcoming as others and a handshake wasn't good enough. There use to be a gentlemen's agreement that is no longer in use unless you have the so called "blue blood". It came a time where people were banking that others would be naive enough to still use a handshake or a verbal agreement. With so many deals going awry, there had to be something else in place. Contracts that were notorized and witnessed was one sort of means, yet people were stiffed by those as well. Though enforceable by law, it took time to retrieve the goods that were stolen or retained. Now, there is the money factor. When money exchanged hands,or sought in zeros and decimal points, a once thought of as a bum with money, is treated with respect in hopes a monetary tip is given or at least some sort of business relationship established.

The bible states that as long as a man has money he has friends (Proverbs 14:20 KJV). The bible also speaks of those who are poor (Proverbs 19:4 KJV). Oddly enough, it is not always in a bad light because at least the poor man can be honored by good. Jesus stated that it was easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to make it to heaven (Matthew 19:24 NIV). With these few scriptures (even though there are more), wouldn't just these detour a believer from ever getting to the point of hoarding, obsessing, and finding ways to make even more of it?

Alright, let's get back to the love affair and where it began. It all started with school. I could say our parents but there comes a time in our lives that we will have to make our own decisions. Our parents raised us. Whether it was in the will of God becomes well known after finding what the will of God is in our own lives. Our parents can start us off as to what they believe, but in our hearts it is what we know and what God sees. This becomes well known when we are influenced by what is taught and who we associate ourselves. I recall in high school when I made known to some class mates what I believed was a comfortable salary, at the time, and the kind of career I would like to go to college for. I might as well have been booed. The comments I got back were, "That's no kind of money! You can't make big money with that kind of job! Why would you waste your time like that?" Depending on how secure you are after that display would also be a critical point whether you choose to be a lover of the mere suggestion - big money.

A mere suggestion can be as bold as a Mack truck or as flimsy as a feather. With career choices initiated in high school, it was a Mack truck! Having the lessons reiterated over and over about jobs and careers especially getting the education. College costs but once graduated the kind of money one can make and pay back any and all loans became attractive. The benefits of certain careers as opposed to others became a lure and quite enticing. Songs were made that it makes the world go round, some people got to have it - some people really need it - but you... all you have to do is this and then you will never be in need again. Can't you hear the smooth words beckoning you to come hither or has it become the norm to do?

For me the economy was never really bothersome. I was always employed having favor with my boss and didn't have many problems no matter where I was needed. I went to school for what I believed I was called to do. Then something happened. Companies started to downsize with the rise of upgraded computer software. Costs went up and spending went down. I became unemployed?!! I wasn't worried initially , all I had to do was go pound the pavement as I had done before. I am an educated woman and as I was told in high demand. Funny thing while I was busy being employed, other generations were also getting an education. The high in demand that once was is no longer. It wasn't as important that people got all of the treatment that they use to (counseling, emotional therapy, mental resources for treatment, etc). The government stopped paying for services in order to control the budget. Now what? How are my bills going to get paid? What about my car? What's going to happen to my family? Aren't these questions asked when a divorce is about to occur? Who got divorced? In this case, money left me.

My funds were depleted from my savings in no time. Friends? What friends. Family? Ha, I had one member that gave me a book entitled, "Finding the Thing That's Keeping You Down", or something like that. Was that supposed to be encouraging? Then I was told by family that I should look for janitorial jobs or fast food positions. There is no shame in that. Sure, we can say it and sound all noble but God sees my heart and it wasn't trying to be all noble. I did not struggle through school so I could flip burgers and fry chicken. Clean toilets and sweep floors with a degree? How much sense does that make? But to get that paycheck, I actually completed the application and even changed my category choices on the computer search to include food service type jobs. As is said, money is money.

Not one nibble. My utilities were shut off. My children had to move elsewhere. I was forced to accept live in positions with hardly no pay. The thought of not having was messing with my mind. Prayer? I prayed more than I ever did. Speaking the Word? It is how I know what righteousness is and the benefits thereof. I made a new confession because of that study. Worship and praise? Eh, not so much. What? This is someone's fault and I did what I was supposed to do.

Isn't that whats taught in church services? God will do what you can't. He will put His super on your natural. Well, I went to school. I applied myself and did what I was suppose to do. It is time for Him to do what the men and women of God said He was going to do. I remembered to give and it shall be given unto me... so I gave and gave and gave and gave. Where was the good measure, pressed down and shaken together? When were men going to give unto my bossom? I casted my bread out unto the waters and after many a days it will return. Well, actually how many days was that going to be? A seed will meet my need. So I was suppose to sow a seed in order for it to grow and I could reap a harvest from that seed. Alright, I found some more money to give and then the harvest - right? Well,... how long does it take for "seed money" to grow?

Yes, even in ministry the lure had seeped in and now we were listening to scripture and verse being taught to give the money up to get more of it. Is the money too attractive to resist? I cannot blame ministers for what they do. There is a pressure they endure to be charasmatic. How do they know that they did well with a message? By how many tapes and CD's are sold after every service? Couldn't they also be satisfied with the well being that God is pleased with their obedience?

Warren Buffet, one of the richest men in the country, resides in the same house he had before he started his career. He raised his children in that house. I suppose it keeps him humble. He knows that he should give back and everyone has their hand out. So instead of ruining others, he gives whatever Bill Gates has given in charitable donations and tells Bill Gates to do with the donation as he sees fit. Is that the love of money or Wisdom?

Without proper employment, I thought I was going to crack up. No one would hire me and I was getting tired of trying to be upbeat for the sake of non-believers to see that my faith is still at work - they have jobs!!! I tried to concentrate on the gifts and talents God has given me and found such comfort. With the silence of not buckling under corporate pressures nor having an alarm to tell me when to go to bed and get up, I could then appreciate my relationship with God. Oddly enough, He did not interfere with what I had with money - not until I could realize what I had done (Revelation 2: 3-5 NIV).