Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Follow Who?

When I had the understanding of salvation under my belt, I needed to know what was expected of me in the form of change. I couldn't possibly remain in the same state that I was in not after knowing what has been done for me (Matthew 6:33 KJV). Now what was I suppose to do for Him (Hebrews 11:6 KJV)? Consider that it took some doing for me to accept that I needed salvation. When I was first asked, I said without hesitation, "no". I didn't like what this new found "Christianity" principle were doing to people especially when I thought he/she was cool before they even knew who Jesus was (Luke 18:18-28 AMP). After they started to profess Christianity, their whole demeanor seemed like the love children of the 60's and frankly it was freaking me out. No, No, No, I said to the greasy looking minister in the light blue polyester leisure suit - No! Course, I was 12 at the time.

Since then, along with the way I look, my overall view on life, experience, skills, an education in the public school system, a college education, and attending church services regularly, I am a changed person. What I use to think as a child is completely different as to what I think now. How I see people is differently. Who I trust and listen to is not without much scrutiny, which is something that is taught by adults or learned through trial and error (Proverbs 2:5 KJV). Change has come about in many different ways and I am still in the process of being more like Him rather than speaking from emotion, reacting to every action that is sought against me, and listening more intently then ever before (Ephesians2:1-22 AMP) . These changes have made me a more calm, happier person, and I like it.

Wouldn't this also be true in the Spirit? What I mean to write is, what we learned as children in Sunday school or if attending church service later in life, we learned somethings that held fast to our life style. Yes, Jesus loves us and we love others - this is without question. Is there a limit? Do we put up boundaries to this love that has been richly given to us. And if not, when do we say when? Won't people take advantage if we don't. Is there a tough love in Christ? If there is, show it to me in the Word of God. The answer, even if found in the scripture, would then constitute more change for us to do (Luke 10:26-28 KJV).

This post took me a little while to put up because I had to stop being so angry of the years that have passed with me admiring men and women of God that have taught me only to find that they hadn't really believed what  they were teaching. What would you call it if the very person teaching the principles of God in order to stay in fellowship is wrapped up in all sorts of scandal (1 Timothy3:1-13 KJV)? If it isn't scandal then its a phrase that happened to slip out while ministering the Word. Babies in Christ may not have caught those little tid-bits in their spiritual food because they are babies and their trust is in who they see. But when you come into the knowledge of the truth and start putting aside the milk of the Word and start chomping down in the meat of some things, faith at work is what is seen more and more. Scrutiny in those tid-bits becomes a ministry in of itself and is a responsibility for you to watch out for them and pray for that minister. I don't know if the scandal is a direct result in the constant disobedience of the minister or the harvest of a congregation not praying. What I do know it has an affect on the spiritual growth of the church because it had an affect on me (James 3:3-18 AMP).

Let me paint a hypothetical picture for you. A pastor of a rather large church states that it is a man's responsibility to protect his family. He stated the weapons of warfare to the congregation and then says what was the weapon of choice in biblical times was the sword (2 Corinthians 3-5 AMP). These days we use a gun. He went on stating things of this nature until it became common knowledge that if you approach this pastor it would be best that you come correct rather then in any state of confrontation. I found this disturbing on so many levels but I waited to see if he was going to have an epiphany and change some things for the sake of those who never carried a gun and was set on doing everything the pastor does to get what the pastor has. You know there are people who think this way - don't you? That didn't happen, well not when I was attending those services. What did happen was in my previous place of employment, one of the teenage girls that I looked after as a youth specialist, was devastated at the death of well known rapper, Tupak Shakur. She cried and the rest of the girls residing there with her chimed in with their grief. It was reported that their beloved idol was murdered and the police didn't have any leads at the time. While they speculated as to what happened, I wasn't in any sort of emotional state at what I heard and was slightly irritated that the staff was allowing the regular routine to be disturbed over the foolishness of this one singer that spoke of violence and justified his behavior in that lifestyle set to music. It was as if they were indulging these girls to behave in the same manner as a tribute to this man, so I spoke without thought to their grief but maintain the routine of the day, "you live by the sword, you die by the sword." It all of a sudden became quiet. Not staff or the children said anything. Just when the silence became almost deafening, the very girl that started the grief process bellowed out in such defiance, "how can you say that?! You don't understand! You don't know what he has been through!" She went on and on with some other things. I just stopped listening to her and the other girls did as well going on with their day. Once they did, so did staff. That one girl continued to grieve and listen to the radio as they played Tupak's music over and over as memorandum. Then the disc-jockey spoke low and somber in recognition of this music icon. Just before playing another song, he stated the very same scripture that I did  (Matthew 26:52 AMP). That girl jumped up out of her bed and came looking for me. She was smiling and apologetic. I asked what brought about the change and she mentioned what the disc jokey said. Now, she was able to function and the grief was complete for her as well.

Change came about for the teenage girl. Would that also be true for a minister who has committed himself to serving the Lord by way of passing a message to lead a group of people to live a better life that would be pleasing unto God? Would that be true if the same group of people decide to live by the sword - in this case, by the gun? Jesus walked through throngs of people that looked to harm him because he made them think about Him being the Messiah. How dare He, they all thought and so they looked to kill Him. But because of the calling that is on His life to be Lord and Savior, He knew it was not His time yet (John 7:1-6 KJV). It would be in God's time. So because of that trust, that faith, that assurance in Him, there was no need for Jesus to walk with any weapons to defend Himself against what He said or had done. He was to go about His Father's business knowing that it was Him who was going to control the matter for His good. Why wouldn't ministers have this kind of faith and if they don't, how then are they suppose to teach a congregation of people to behave in such a manner that not even the ministers are willing to do?

The extramarital affairs of the ministers, the illegitimate children that came from them, the double lives, embezzling funds from the church, the accusations of drug usage, sex offenders of children, and all of the other dirty secrets that have been hidden over the years but have not come to the light as of yet, still coming to the pulpit and telling the faithful people what they should and shouldn't do with the utmost conviction. It isn't until the secret behavior is reported for public knowledge, then there comes the remorse and that we are expected to forgive and allow for bygones to be bygones. Would that it could be all that simple. We all have to go through change to be more and more like Him. Forgiving a minister or clergy that was misplaced on a pedestal and not having the expectation of said clergy to ever make a mistake is a wound that takes longer to heal then it would if actually stabbed (Matthew 19:26 KJV). God sees him/her trying to make a horrific matter into distant memory but along with those efforts, he/she also has to recover from not placing anyone that high ever again - unless it is God (Deuteronomy 5:7 KJV). No one deserves to be in that position but Him.

Change comes quick with some things and much longer with others. It takes only a mere 18 years to change a child into an adult- on the outside. It might take longer for the change to happen for the child to function as an adult when keeping in mind any other factors like outside influence, faith in God as opposed to parents having their own issues, liking one's self, loving others, and so forth and so on. People being what we are and who we are, this is even more of a reason to be patient as others have been with you. The Word is there for those impasses when patience is being tested and not for just using pretty words when it seems necessary. If you truly live by this kind of sword, your life will be full of prospects and opportunity. It is, after all, what pleases Him (Psalm 35:27 AMP).

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


I write another blog for Christian singles. In it I make sure to show all of the reasons why a person should marry, why a person shouldn't and the warning signs for the decision made. The goal is for no one to go through rough patches and to struggle to get to the abundant life that Jesus promised we can all have (John 10:10 KJV). With every life given to Jesus there has to be some sort of significance for it. What sacrifice was made? What did the person do to assist someone else in making their life better? I use these blogs to partially answer those questions. It is a sacrifice for a writer to do what he/she does. The material and how much of it to write takes time. To do so with the right conditions has its own sacrifices. Personally, if one person's life is changed by the words written here, it was all worth it (Luke 15:3-7 KJV).

As Christians, we have much to consider, not only about ourselves but for those that watch and are influenced by what we do. The bible tells us to watch and pray (Ephesians 6:18 KJV). Prayer as we know is a humongous part of the faith life style. The watching part has much to do with specifics. Exactly, what are we watching and for what and for how long (Luke 21:36 KJV)? We watch the way people treat one another. We watch current events and the prophetic word come to life. We watch where to walk and when it is the best time. We watch the fruit a tree bears and govern ourselves accordingly. We watch how to conduct our own lives to be pleasing unto God. Basically, we watch what to pray for and the changes that are made because of those prayers (James 5:16 KJV).

With that simple instruction, why would there be any anxiety or a reason to be discontent about anything? I listened to Joel Osteen, pastor of Lakewood Church in Texas, last Sunday. He talked about all he use to go through with constructing a sermon before he became computer savvy. As many times as I have heard him, all of the messages he ever spoke on seem to be simple and care free. It wasn't like he had to develop anything. Most of the time, it's as if he was just talking rather then reciting something that he had to create. Very simple instructions on having a joy filled life. Such practical application, almost as if it were common sense and yet too many people make mention of how he is tickling the ears of his listeners (2 Timothy 4:3-4 MSG). He doesn't talk about Jesus as he should and why He died for the sins of others, they say. The criticism for not being so hard core like all of the other pastors before him and even now is almost comical. I didn't debate these view points with the individual; however, I did tell him that if Joel Osteen wasn't for him, he could move on to someone that was. For all of those that came to listen, their lives had to change for the better other wise, why keep returning? Applaud his efforts rather than try to put your foot on his throat. He has a coliseum full of people every week!

What efforts do you make to have that joy-filled life? Have you given up and decided to crap on someone else's parade because no one came to see yours? Did you lend a helping hand or do something else to be productive or did you criticize and delude yourself in thinking that would be your version of productivity? The point is, there are very simple matters that could take your life from the mundane blahs as it has been into something you could look forward to. I noticed something so simple and that most people would more then likely not even give a second thought, nevertheless, have you ever noticed the effort that someone takes  after giving you an invitation somewhere...anywhere. The fact that they thought about you at all is pretty nice, but when they make certain accommodations for you because it was you that was on their mind, most people try to reciprocate those efforts. This came to my attention when I was asked to certain places and these people (all separate occasions) said that they would pick me up and do the driving. When I came to the passenger side of the car, it was filled with something. If it wasn't a purse, it was their meal from hours earlier. If not that, then it was all of their crap from days prior. I felt like I was more of a burden then a welcomed guest. My question was, if you didn't want me there, why ask? One person did this so often, now, if she asks to take me anywhere, I decline the invitation. It was a small change, but it made my life easier.

What changes can you find to make your life easier and more joy-filled? How many changes will there be? Will it get you closer to the abundant life that Jesus promised or did you think it was suppose to happen with a snap of your fingers, if that much effort at all (James 1:22 KJV). The word tells us to examine ourselves and consider our ways. If this is instruction for us to do, why scoff at it?

The second part of the holidays are practically breathing down our necks. There will be family reunions and gatherings that is the highlight to some and for others a reason to crouch in their closets, close the door and start mumbling to themselves. Why do it, if there is no joy in it? So what if your family will expect you there. Would you rather compromise your peace and joy to make your family happy for those few hours or would you rather be happy for the entire time? Did you enjoy your childhood or is it something you would rather forget? Memory Lane isn't for everyone. This could be one of the those small changes that can be made. Make some new family traditions of your own. Who are you allowing to write your story. Let it be you and make your own happy ending. Live forever after. Amen.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


There is a reason we all have favorites. It is so that we can tell others. There is just something in having a favorite this or that. Does it change over the years? Sometimes depending on what that thing is. Some of us have a favorite  food and when we have eaten it so much, the fondness of it sort of changes to the point of wishing that particular food never existed. Some have a favorite color where friends and family notice such things because it is either in the car he/she drives, in the entire home decor, or what is worn most often. Whatever the favorite is, it makes us feel good and we enjoy having something we can call - just ours.

With people, there is a difference. We cannot have our favorite people around us all of the time even when we hope they could be. This is stalking and can get a person in some serious trouble. As parents, it is a dangerous thing to have a favorite child because what will the other children do to compete for attention or did we all forget the story of Joseph and the coat of many colors? We can have a favorite speaker in church, only won't that cause us to judge all of the other speakers that the pastor invites to teach? We can have a favorite in friends. We call them our best friend because he/she knows us so well and is there to support us no matter what the endeavor. Those friendships we cherish and hope to have through out the rest of our lives - only those relationships are too few and far between with as many people there are on the earth. If only I can get through this post with the glass completely full. Right now its sounding pretty bleak.

I was thinking about the subject matter wondering what the verse meant that God is no respecter of person (Acts 10:34 AMP). What does that mean? He loves us all just the same? So why does it seem that some people have more favor then others?
You mean that God has absolutely no favorites? Then why is David called a man after God's own heart? Why was Pharaoh's heart hardened when the scripture states that God can turn the heart of a king? Why did Job lose everything when he was a priest and could have received instruction to have a different outcome? Is there favoritism in the scriptures in God? Was Jesus the favorite? 
Speculation would have people thinking all sort of things, but there is only one way to get the real answers. It is in the bible.

If one was really interested to know if God has favorites, one would have to do some serious investigating into the Word. He is not a man that He should lie nor a son of man that He should repent (Number 23:19 AMP). Therefore, we would have to rely on the verse that He is no respecter of person as being the truth. It just doesn't have to stop there. We know that it is impossible to please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6 AMP). In order to receive, we have to believe. Now, if I were to answer the questions above based on faith, we have our answer. Can you see it? David wrote most of Psalms and he was noted as one who was a keeper of the sheep. As he was out in the field guarding what he was assigned to, he studied, thought and meditated on God and wrote poetry and song with Him in mind. Who else did that? Who does that now? Was it favoritism that David became king or was it the blessings of God because of what David did secretly (Matthew 6:3-5 AMP)?

Pharaoh was not a believer. He had idols and expected answers from stone, wood, or metal. Moses was assigned to do a task and had many excuses as to why he couldn't do it. This sounded much like Adam blaming the woman for the fall, the woman blaming the serpent, and the serpent had no one else that could speak. Did God need to be reminded of that? Wouldn't it tick you off just a tad even when you brought your child out from disaster over and over again? Where is his faith? Ah, can you see it now?

Job expressed fear much like Moses. Only Job being who he was in the community as he reminds his friends, he thought he could do something about the unknown iniquities of his children even before they do anything. He then began atoning for sin that was never confessed. It was an action based on fear. This action caused him to lose everything he had. God originally blessed him and Job's action of fear rather then faith caused him to lose it all.

As I studied to see what is pleasing in the sight of God, I pondered over the prodigal son. The youngest son squandered his inheritance while the older son stayed and did what he was told. When the younger son returned after realizing his mistake, the father commanded for a festival to welcome him back. The oldest son seemed jealous that his obedience was never celebrated. As many times as I heard this preached and I have read again and again, I still sympathized with the oldest son. I understand the celebration, it is what all of heaven does when there is one soul saved. It is written that the good shepherd will leave the ninety-nine to get the one sheep that left the fold (Matthew 18:12-14 AMP). Its that same jealousy of the older brother of the prodigal son that caused Joesph to be sold into slavery. Its the same jealousy that shows immaturity in the Spirit. Its jealousy that keeps us from getting all that God has for us. While the oldest son could have been pleased for the return of his brother and have fun in the festivities, he more then likely sulked.

If we would keep our entire focus on God, we should then find the things that would be pleasing to Him. We know its impossible to please Him without faith. Did you know that He receives pleasure in the prosperity of His servants (Psalm 35:27 AMP)? Why then would Jesus tell the rich young ruler to sell all he has in order to follow Him (Matthew 19:16-24 AMP)? Wouldn't He have been pleased at the young man's wealth? Question is, how did this ruler get his wealth? Was it by the instruction of God, by his own hand, or given to him with no effort from him at all? Let's test it. Sell all you have. If you know how to obtain wealth, you will get it again. He was rich and young and more then likely was given an inheritance too soon. If he has the faith, then there would be no problem with giving all he had to the poor (Proverbs 19:17 AMP). If he asked to follow the Lord, then he would have no issue in doing what the Lord told him to do. He did have issue with it, for he went away grieved. It is one of the saddest parables in the bible and still one of my favorites to use.

Those that study and believe in the power of prayer have favorite scriptures to use. Why are they favorites? The Word has different things to different people. We don't all go through the same things at the same time. While the 23rd Psalm is what people used as children to memorize in an Easter pageant, it still has impact to a senior citizen born and raised in the church pews. Personally, I cleave to the verses that have practical application. I like the suddenly impact. In studying about following my Lord and Personal Savior, I couldn't help but to see the similarities with His ministry and the things that David did when he was assigned to care for the sheep. Do you see where I am going with that idea? So in answering if Jesus was the ultimate favorite... I would have to see that God called Him His only begotten Son and He said David was a man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22 AMP). He blessed Abraham as the Father of many nations and used Moses to lead His people out of Egypt. He told Joshua to be strong and courageous and said to Saul that he was head and shoulder's above the rest. Mary is favored as well as Esther. All of these people are in the lineage of Jesus and if you believe to receive, you are as well. So I would think that if you wish to also be pleasing in the sight of God with an adjective that would have you beaming for the rest of you life - why not just ask? He's waiting to hear from you.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Yes, Forgive... But Forget?

Forgiveness is right up there with loving your neighbor as yourself. Its something that we automatically know to do as well seasoned Christians. It is why we have tests in this area because non-believers try to tempt us to do anything but (James 1:13 KJV). How foolish of them because we know where our focus is and our mindset is stayed on Him (Isaiah 26:3 KJV). Hah, what folly to convince a Christian otherwise. We can laugh hysterically knowing that it is one of the first things we've gained strength [wiping tear from the laughter].

So once the forgiveness takes place, we can forget that which was done against us....well, because....its...well... you...oh crap! For the longest time, before I became a Christian, I actually prided myself in remembering all of the malicious things done to me and even after apologies had taken place and I accepted their apology, I never  forgot what they did. And when they thought they even looked like they didn't agree with me for what ever the reason, it reminded me of what they had done before and why I didn't like them in the first place. With my siblings, I recalled things they had forgotten about. I thought it was quite remarkable that I had such a brilliant mind to recall it all, verbatim. While I believed all listening were astonished, they were more then likely embarrassed. It didn't matter though, to those who believe they are brilliant are also diluted to believe that the embarrassed are also jealous.

Once coming into the knowledge of the truth, I could see who really was deluded. When I understood the concept of forgetting the matter, I had to justify why it was necessary for me to continue to remember the wrong acts perpetrated against me because I couldn't release the idea of me having such the brilliant mind. I believed that if I forgot what was done, then the person that did what he/she did would continue to do these things and I would look like the fool. What idiot allows for someone to keep smacking him in the face without walking away or defending themselves? Yes, I agreed that we all should forgive one another but to forget was synonymous to being a wimp...a punk... and lamoid (if that's a word). Forgetting was like allowing dementia to come in and have a place to reside. I just couldn't do it. It was too much....way too much.

Then you start growing up and finally digesting the meat of the Word rather then only sucking on its juices. For years I was settled in the forgiveness of others, but forgetting, especially in relationships meant it was alright to be a doormat (Ephesians 4:32 KJV). It took for me to be quiet and rest in the things I learned about God for me to see why it is necessary to actually forgive...really and truly forgive. It is a heart matter. We can say and believe we did this and that; however, bringing the matter up again and again, proves that what we said previously, we didn't actually believe. I recall in having a personal diary. I wrote everything in those books from the age of twelve to the age of thirty-something. Every once in awhile, I would take out one or two and go back and read what I wrote as a teenager or young adult. For the most part, I would laugh at the silly things that happened and how I use to think. But I also recalled what I was feeling at the time I wrote about the particular incident. I would say things like, "oh yeah, I remember that" or just got upset all over again. The matter was over. It was years ago! Just then, I sensed the peace I had become use to, be troubled. I mean really troubled like a physical ailment all of a sudden.

The Word says that if we confess, God is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9 KJV). That which we have committed, He sends as far as the east is from the west, never brings up past transgressions again. The guilt that is perpetrated on us comes from those we have entrusted with secrets that are not worthy to keep them and those who can see that some of us have not studied as we should have so can now be easily manipulated. We then learn things on how to do to others because of what has been done to us. This is not good treasure. God says that He sees the heart of man. If our hearts can justify manipulating others through guilt, you will also be judged by the same manner. If,on the other hand, you can forgive someone and forget their past transgressions, as God has done to us, your heart He will recognize as His own because you are truly exemplifying His mirror image.

To think it is lame or weak to forgive and forget is a means to keep you in a state of childhood. You cannot reach your fullest potential unless you can see what righteousness really is. Once the act has been forgiven, there is nothing to recall. You have not because you ask not... but it has been asked. You are to forgive and let the matter go...just as God for Christ's sake had forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32 AMP).

I have since thrown away all of those journals. I did not wish to have anything written of someone else's past transgressions not knowing when they have asked God for forgiveness (Matthew 6:14-15 KJV). He doesn't bring up their past. He doesn't bring up my past. Why do I have their past and mine written in a journal? The time is drawing nigh when we will stand and be held accountable. Have you asked for forgiveness and turn from the past? Have you forgiven yourself, never to bring up the past again?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Love (part 2)

I was going to write this section of the entry in another blog because it would be more apropos there; however, in order for us all to stay in the blessing of the Lord, we have to walk in the Spirit so not to fulfill the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16 KJV). How else would we do this but by walking in Love in all that we do? Is it possible?

Him being the greater one on the inside of all that believe, I question some of the actions we have taken throughout our lives - don't you? I understand that we are all learning and what we thought was right we wouldn't have known unless we were taught (Romans 7:15-22 AMP); nevertheless, once we have been taught, you do realize the test comes shortly thereafter. Then what is the excuse at the trial? The trial comes after the failure of the test. You have one who is accusing you of righteousness violation. There is only one that would do that (Job 1:6 AMP). But God has appointed to you a defense and a judge who happens to be One in the same. You have no excuse not to know this - none. It is what He expects in that day.

It is the Love of the Father that I marvel at every time I think of the trouble we can get ourselves into and the way He has made for us to escape it. Only one who can love can do that for us all. With Him being the greater one on the inside of us, would we then eventually have that sort of love as well or do we already have it and have not tapped into it yet?

I wondered about this when watching a couple explain the troubles they were having in their relationship. She complains that he isn't at home with her and their children when she wants him there. He says that he works all the live long day and would like some time to himself with his friends. He feels trapped being at home with her all of the time. So she cries thinking that he is really being unfaithful and he swears that he would never do anything of the kind. When asked if he is a good father and a husband, she instinctively retorts that he is an excellent father then continues complaining about the relationship (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 AMP).

The rest of the interview is a quandary to me. How can he be a good father if he teaches his children to disregard the woman that he loves. Would his children respect their mother? If they dishonor their mother, would their days be long? But if a father truly loves his children, wouldn't he see the big picture so that his children would have an easy path to journey in life? Why would the blame be his? It wouldn't be only his but the fact that he is the head of his household and leads them, it is then his responsibility what happens to his household (1 Timothy 3:1-13 AMP). He sowed those seeds of complaint, contempt, and contention. If you don't like the end product, sew better seed. Kindness produces more kindness. Grace produces more grace. Love produces love.

God has an issue with the wife as well. Knowing that God loves a cheerful giver doesn't just applies to the offering plate in church. Complaining doesn't resound love. In fact, the Word says that it doesn't promote righteousness (James 1:20 AMP). Righteousness being an element in Kingdom Living, the disruption in the household has now been discovered at the root.  If you and your house are going to serve the Lord, it will be pretty difficult without righteousness. When the children see that complaining is normal, they could be silent at home but when they are in a social setting with their peers, they just might be terrors. Why? When did they learn about peace? Chaos and torment has been their norm. It is the end product of seed sown (Proverbs 14 :1 AMP).

It is a constant lesson that we must be responsible to go over again within ourselves just to see if we are still falling short. There has to be some things that we will refuse to do. One common thing that we will emphatically not do is rob a bank. We can say with all assurance this is something that will never happen in our life time. Why are we so sure about this? We have learned how God sees stealing. We have learned that there will be consequences for disobedience - some consequences are worse then others and longer. It is something none of us would like to go through; therefore, we avoid of even thinking in that area and know that there is no way we would ever be tempted to do such a thing. Would that also be true when filling out our tax forms ever year? Would it be a temptation if heard there is a way that you could receive a few extra thousand without getting caught? Where is that same assurance that was emphatic when robbing a bank was sitting on the table? What about the continual tasting in the produce section of a grocery store? What about reading a magazine that you have no intention of buying while standing in line at the check out counter? Is assurance in righteousness still there giving you that unequivocal resilience to stay in right standing with God?

There is a love for God that keeps us in right standing with Him. We don't continually fall short of reaching this goal, because we check always of ourselves to stay in right standing with Him. We are accountable (Romans 12:1 KJV). We cannot lose sight of this. Tests will keep coming for us to use what He has given. His love is paramount to be used each and everyday. It keeps the flesh from resurrecting. It keeps us in blessing. It is our source for living.


Its not like this is a new concept. It is what we base all of our faith on. So why would it be necessary to even post a blog about it? I guess it is because I was thinking about this sermon that was preached some years ago. I couldn't believe the simplicity of it  and I don't mean it in a good kind of way. It use to take a whole lot for me to gather myself to get up and get ready for church services to leave and get there at a decent hour to get the seat I would feel the most comfortable in to get the spiritual food I have been looking forward to all week and then with all of my expectations at the ready, the minister comes to the podium and says, "God is love and He loves you." Instead of making the incredible-oh-you-have-got-to-be-kidding-me face, I wait to see if she is going to hit me with some rhema. But then she says it again and again. Nothing changed for that message except the inflection in her voice. I couldn't believe this was it! For an entire 40 minutes, it was all she said, again and again!
I cannot even describe how upset I was after the message was over. I expected the pastor to come and say, "what was that?" But he didn't. In fact, he was actually a little blown from what was said. I even watched the other congregants and they acted as if they just heard something for the first time. "Wow, that was so good, wasn't it?" One of the congregants said. As I walked towards the door I kept hearing that same thing over and over again. What did they hear? Frustrated as if I had a Sunday School lesson and was dismissed for the week, why didn't I get what they got?

The following Sunday Service another of the ministerial staff was assigned to speak and the equivalence of that message was the same as the week prior. What was going on? This time when people left there was a slight stagger as if the power of the Holy Spirit came and sat on us all. Why was I not feeling this? I prayed for the expectation and believed to receive. Its how I have been trained and what has always worked for me. When the minister announced that there was a sweet spirit in this place, it was way too obvious and completely unnecessary to say - for everyone else. I was looking around to see if anyone was feeling the same way I was or if there were a couple of folks that just decided to pretend to be going through the experience as well. Nope - seemed like it was just me!

Has any of these things have ever happened to you? Did you ever ask why or why you seemed to be left out of the loop? Knowing that there are many members in the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12 KJV), all of those members having different functions and different experiences in their own personal walk, I can be a testament of my experience and hope that it is rhema for those who read this entry. I believed that week was a great week. I spent much time with the Lord and studying His Word. I received such insight in the many things that I had no clue of before. When the mid-week service or Sunday service approaches, I pray for the speaker and the service as a whole. Many times I have been in my car and received a Word from God. The message was confirmation of that Word or the mirror image of what He gave me the entire week of study. I recall sitting in the sanctuary after services in complete awe of Him. I received so much during the week and I looked forward for the church services not only for the confirmation but for that...you know....I just can't describe it but what it is described on the day of Pentecost - that rushing Mighty Wind.

It was just so simple to receive it. All one has to do is spend time in prayer and study. The sincerity of your heart does everything else. Then watch God! So if I received all of this without having to be around all of the assembly, why then couldn't I be pleased when they received a fraction of what I got? I don't know. I figured it was okay for me to be greedy when it comes to the blessing of God. For it is written to covet the best gifts (1Corinthians 12:27 KJV).

But what if it became a common practice to study and pray or worship and praise, would you ever get use to the outcome of that? If everyone senses that sweet Spirit in the sanctuary, but what if you sensed Him all of the time, would you look around to wonder what everyone was referring to or be glad that they finally got what you have had all along?

I recall when I first came to a particular church service, I contemplated on being a member there or not. Though I sensed the Holy Spirit at the entrance of the building, I was still watching to make sure if this was the ministry for me. A few weeks later, my sister and I came and was seated closer to the front. We were ecstatic to get a place so close and right behind the ministers. While waiting for the services to begin, the pastor's son came in the sanctuary and laid his bible down in the row in front of us. Before he got to the seat, we both leaned back in ours and said simultaneously, "whoa"! Not because he was a good looking man but because the Holy Spirit was on him so thick that it pushed us like a wind would. He looked as if it were just another day. Everyone was smiling up in his face. It could have been because he was the pastor's son or they were experiencing what my sister and I did. We didn't know who he was and asked one of the ministers in front of us when he chose to sit elsewhere. I recall that he didn't stop and close his eyes as if God were speaking to him or even react as if there was a sweet Spirit in the place. He was looking for the right seat to sit in before services began. It was as if, he became acclimated to the Spirit being on him all of the time. Shouldn't we all be like that or don't we believe that He is the greater one on the inside of each and everyone of us?

These days when children are having children and that generation has grown with little to no structure, there is a sense of believing that no one cares - because actually no one has. Structure and discipline show children that there is someone who loves and hopes he/she becomes successful. Can you imagine when a number of that generation comes to church services and becomes saved, there they are actually coming to the realization that there is a Heavenly Father that has been watching all of this time and now are experiencing His Love. It makes sense that a simple Sunday School lesson could cause a generation of people to stagger. We have to watch not to take something that is so easy for granted. We have come such a long way. I know I am not where I use to be or could have been. I won't forget and am so appreciative of Him. What say you?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Process of Elimination

I noticed that in the past posts I made mention of much applicable scripture and even used hypothetical scenarios to make the scripture more plausible. I try to keep my business my own but when  you have your own testimonial, its when the Word really becomes real for some people.

I woke up this morning thinking of you and those that read this wondering about the faith by which believers live and the faith that is necessary to be obtained (Hebrews 11:6 AMP). For many of us faith is faith... either you have it or you don't. Yeah, I thought that too. Like I wrote, I woke up with this on my mind.

Some years ago, I attended ministerial school where the appointed minister teaching a faith class had said something that wrinkled my brow from the moment he said it. He spoke about all he wanted to do and actually mentioned a few things that he desired to give to the pastor of the church as a gift. One of those things was a Lear Jet. He said he had to grow up into that though, he just doesn't have the faith to do it yet. Why not, I thought. Why wouldn't he have the faith to believe that God would give him something that was so self-less to give to the pastor? So after class, I asked him. He said, "I just don't have the faith for that yet. You might, but I am not there yet." What did that mean? After all, he was the one sitting in the teacher's chair. How can he sit there to teach me something that he didn't have?

When my husband and I separated, there was such a transition to be single again and with children, I knew I couldn't do it without the support of family, friends, and the church. I leaned on all of them when  times got really hard and all of them were not so supportive when I had to go to court, go back to school, get a job, minister to my children what they needed - so forth and so on. These people have lives of their own and was hoping I could bounce back quicker then I did. I can see that now. Then, I thought I had to learn to choose better friends. In that bouncing back process, I also had to learn to separate myself from those that didn't understand the complexities of raising children, didn't see the vision God gave me, and couldn't keep a positive word in their mouths. Once I did, my faith increased to do what was necessary and to lean more on God, the only one that changes not (Hebrews 13:8-9 AMP).

Trying to get a degree with children wasn't a part of my plan originally, but I had to go back to where my peace wasn't troubled and work it out from that point. It was when I was in school. As I dealt with the egos of the professors, I also had calls from the schools my children attended. There were teachers making accusations about my children that had no foundation. I don't mean my children are the best and would never get in trouble. I mean teachers out of the nowhere deciding to suspended my daughter, for instance, because she defended herself from a boy's constant attacks on her. Upon my own investigation, the very teacher supervising the class admitted in front of her own administrator that she saw the whole thing. She saw the boy attack my daughter and by all accounts they both should be suspended, she said. Never mind the language I used and my actions upon that discovery. Just know I had to shake those experiences off to get my mind focused in obtaining the goal. It seemed one thing right after the other happened, and then after all of it... no more classes... I received in the mail, a bill for some fees at the college and could not get my degree until those fees were paid. I used a student loan! What fees? Once that was sorted, I received a call from my academic adviser. She said I had a withdrawal on my record that needed a grade before I could get my degree. I cannot put into words the frustration I felt trying to finally finish what I kept my focus on for so many years and all of these obstacles appearing out of nowhere. I went to clear up that misunderstanding as well. When it was all finished and I could make arrangements to walk the aisle in cap and gown along with my fellow colleagues, I opted not to. I couldn't be pleased smiling with the scholars that put me through so much. I waited to get my papers through the mail. It was a long wait. So long that by the time I received that white package, I wondered why would anyone be sending me anything. Yet the dance I never had the steps to do before, was exhilarating and worth every drop of sweat and aggravation. I am reaping the benefits of all of that hard work now as I see my children having the drive to get their degrees.

Had I known that what I need to do was go through all of it to get a piece of paper in order for me to establish my career, would I have done it? Honestly, I don't think so. Would I clearly see the joy I am experiencing now to give me the drive to continue on? No, it would take faith and it is the things we hope for and the evidence not seen (Hebrews 11:1 AMP). I went through it because the choice I had not to do it was worse. I had to do it for me and to be able to make a living to keep my children. If I hadn't, they would have done what they needed to to survive and for children to make their own way, is never good (Proverbs 22:6 AMP). I had to use faith, I got angry with God, I made demands, I had to forgive myself and ask for forgiveness (Ephesians 4:32 AMP). I had do without and eat many plates of dry and tasteless humble pie. But I did it! I acknowledged God in the paths I took and there were times I didn't stay quiet when the path taken wasn't as leisurely as I would have hoped. Maybe all of those things were means of punishment for not listening in the first place. The journey was, to say the least, very interesting.

Was that the faith that the minister was talking about that he didn't have? He is a minister! He had to go through something too! So what was he thinking? In order to do something for someone else, you really had to go through something? The Word does say, to much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48 AMP). Look what Jesus did for the world (John 3:16 KJV). Would it then be the same for us to do something for someone else? Would it take much from ourselves to do? Is it worth it? How renewed is your mind (Ephesians 4:22-24 AMP)? If you knew that the road ahead would be a jagged one but at the end of it was a sure treasure, would you travel the road? Where is your faith?

When asking is that all there is to life, why not make an assessment of the decisions that you made in yours? Were all of your decisions to only benefit yourself and no one else? I recall a pastor of a church making a statement I know I have written about before, he literally said to his congregants, "new level, new devil. That's okay. I am happy right where I am. I have the right sized house. My children are happy and healthy. My wife is good. I don't need anything else." I saw that video of him stating this some years ago. I wonder how his faith fared him? Yes, I prayed for him because he still has to live in this world, if he wasn't called home. He has those children and wife of whom has a mind all of their own and will not be still to do nothing. They will make decisions that will affect him. If he thinks that sitting still doing nothing will keep his world like it is, he is mistaken. Naturally, that way of thinking doesn't happen. Scientifically, that way of thinking doesn't happen. And God... hah, if you call yourself a Christian, that definitely will never happen or don't you recall the parable of talents (Matthew 25:15-30 AMP)?

Process of Elimination 2

 I use to be afraid of reading certain scriptures in the bible and not because of that good kind of fear either. I was literally afraid to read any other verses where God was angry, where it stated that He regretted anything, and where punishing those who refuse to adhere what is good and right (Ephesians 5:1-12 AMP). I don't call it the good fear because it kept me from reading the Word which adds life to my life. So I had to get over it a realize it was a ploy from the enemy who would prefer that I not live. If I listen to the sort of thinking not to read what the bible clearly tells me what to do, then I would be repeating what Eve did at the tree of good and evil, wouldn't I?

So I swallowed and rebuked those feelings and got through the verses. I could finally understand God's anger with a people He created and had as much trust in Him as they did for a rock to fly. That would tick me off as well. In fact, most parents do go through that sort of thing when their children become teenagers and think they know it all and should be given more responsibility when they just learned how to wipe their hip without leaving skid marks. I use the analogy with my children all of the time: if I tell you not to touch the stove and I show you all of the marks from when I tried to touch it myself... don't touch the stove! I am not trying to keep you from fun. I am trying to keep you from getting hurt or killing yourself! Would that our heavenly Father, the epitome of good, even more so would have the best for you? So not adhere to the instruction? We can't all be teenagers (1 Corinthians 13:11 KJV)!

Then there is the eliminating part. How can we keep from being left behind or cut off from the vine, or from being considered as tare rather then wheat? The Word tells us that it is impossible to please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6 KJV); therefore, this has to be the key to staying within the body of Christ, right? But there is more... faith in what? Is it more then believing that there is one higher then us? Is it more then believing that Jesus is the Son of God? Is it more then believing to do good to others? Is it more then treating people the way you like to be treated? It has to be because people aren't being raised in the admonition of the Lord like they once were. Some people don't know what is right unless it is taught to them. It is what Paul wrote in biblical times, how much more so is it now (Romans 7:11-23 AMP)?

I was in a Human Ecology class where a nun was teaching that a thief is a thief because he has changed his moral code in believing what is wrong is right. She even used the scripture for the class to believe everywhere in the bible that reads thief it means the change of the norm in the minds of people. I wasn't going to say anything but there was something that just didn't seem right with her way of thinking. Fine, if you don't believe that there is a Spirit world but to think that a thief is the way he is because he doesn't know what right is, is just odd. Why would he steal at night? Why does he look over his back? Why can't he trust anyone or anything including himself? If the thief believed that what he was doing is right, he would have no fear of the police. He would be confused as to why the woman on the street doesn't just give him her purse as opposed to him snatching it from her. He would knock on the door of the house he was burglarizing instead of sneaking in the window. The nun said nothing at my rebuttal of her lesson and just moved onto something else. I wondered if the nun truly believed what she was teaching why wouldn't she try to convince me otherwise?

It is what I believe the farmer meant when he told his helper that even though there were tares planted with the wheat, they might look the same for a little while but when it comes time to reap the harvest, you will be able to clearly see what is the wheat and what is the tare. The tare will be bundled together and be disposed of. It has no purpose. The tare is but a source of aggravation and if not dealt with can choke the wheat from bringing forth a full harvest. The harvest comes after the crop reaches maturity. How can we become more mature in Christ if our source of entertainment is partially nude music videos or soft pornographic movies? How can we maintain a renewed mind when the people we associate ourselves with are the same friends we had before we accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior? How can we receive all that He has for us when we would rather believe a bad report from the doctor, dentist, FDA, news cast, lawyer, or a textbook then what Jesus said? If this is true, it is as if the tares grew up and choked the Word from you. How can the farmer recognize you as wheat when you look just like a tare?

In my travels, there are many highways that aren't maintained as well as they could be. Some use to be farmlands and there are remnants of the wild seed still trying to grow through and develop a harvest. Along the edges of the highway, there were these plants that blew in the breeze looking just like wheat. But when I looked closer to the actual farm that was being tended, the wheat was bent low and these other plants were covering over them. The wheat was golden and the other longer plants were gray-ish mauve. They hovered keeping the sun from them so they would never be strengthened to be any larger then they are. It was just about time for harvest. If I can tell which was which without any training, the farmer can even more so. It was just interesting to see how close some of the harvest came to its demise.

Just like the prodigal son, God gives us every opportunity to get it right. We have a book, churches all over to teach, we can even pray and be led to what it is we need to do all of which means nothing without the confession of Jesus as being Lord. How hard would it be just to believe to keep from the inevitable? If I don't know from what I write, life goes on. If you refuse to believe, its all over!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Everyone Likes a Clean House But Everyone Doesn't Like To Clean Their House

This subject matter has been sitting with me for awhile. I have written bits and pieces thinking that I didn't want to step on anyone's toes or make someone feel bad about themselves, but if God gives it to me, about me, then there are some of you that need to take heed to.

I suppose more of the subject matter became relevant when I heard Bishop T.D. Jakes teach a lesson on incorporating one's self with divine partners and not keeping what God has given to you to yourself. Though the lesson was poignant, I couldn't help but think that just because someone is eager to help you get to that goal doesn't mean that he/she is that divine connection. Bishop Jakes has taught lessons on that as well. If I could paraphrase him for a moment, "how can you take me where you have never been?" There are those that can get excited with you for that new enterprise but are only there with you for the ride. Abraham had Lot that I don't recall did one ounce of prayer, counseling, or one bit of encouragement yet when it came time for the blessing, he was right there to get his share. Once Abraham started growing up in the things of God and seeing that Lot wasn't a help but a hindrance, they had to go their separate ways (Genesis 13:10-12 KJV).

Relationships of all kinds also has their course of action. Once reaching the potential of it, you have to know when it is time to say when. I have mentioned in a number of posts that I watch the hoarding shows whether on TLC or AMC. The justification to live in squalor fascinates me right up and when the light comes on for them to change. There was this man, that I believe I have written about before. He was an educated man in his forties and so nice looking he could have been a model in GQ magazine. He is soft spoken and was interested in finally dating. I don't recall him ever stating that he was in any sort of relationship prior to this woman he met. She was nice looking too, but she thought what all of the other viewers were thinking, "really... all of the women on the face of the earth and you want her?" She was so thrilled that  they agreed to move in together. He moved some of his things in her house and when the relationship started to get serious, they decided to divulge in telling other matters about themselves. Apparently, she went first, because afterwards, she was still there telling the camera her narrative wondering what he could possibly say while he was doing the dishes and keeping everything so neat in her house. He finally told her and she was back at the camera with her narrative. She kept saying, "how bad could it be? He is always cleaning here. He makes me a little uncomfortable." They arrived to the house with it looking so pristine on the outside. She even made comment with it being a wonderful looking Spanish Tudor. He smiled. He didn't say too much once he told her his little secret. Then he unlocked the door to allow her to really see what he was referring to. Her mouth gaped open as she glared at the mountain of garbage that met her at the door and spilled into his sunken living room. He took her hand to guide her up the trail and for her to not step where ever she chose to. You see, the sunken living room allowed for him to pile the mess even steeper until they were only a few feet from the ceiling. She tried to be brave to see it as a minor set back. She decided to assist him in cleaning it all. She emphatically stated that it was not a reason to discontinue their relationship. What caused her to drive away was when he grabbed her hand and they had to go to the outside garbage bin together to toss a half full garbage bag and even with that he had to go back in it to take some garbage out of it. She was in total disbelief and could no longer see herself with him. She left him and he sought therapy.

That one episode had so many life lessons in it:
- Just because he says its good doesn't mean it is good.
- The outside of a package can be beautiful, but is it what you asked for?
- Soft spoken and educated can still mean crazy!
- Without God, there are too many blind spots and being side swiped is inevitable.

These same life lessons stems into politics, believe it or not. I was at an impasse as to who to vote for as Mayor of a town where I use to reside. The candidates were nothing to write home about and aside from having an excellent orthodontist, there was absolutely nothing appealing about what they stood for. Both were for getting a casino up in the city and both were for more jobs which was the purpose for the casino. I waited for someone to ask, how was that going to produce more jobs when every manager of every business knows that the best thing to do is hire someone with experience? Having never had a casino in our town before, who was really going to be hired? But no one asked anything. Many people rallied to get this thing built. There were so many other issues at hand like why lay off the police department and social workers, closing down schools, and boarding up libraries. I just couldn't believe the platform was to take the little money that was left and build a casino. It was like putting a band aid on cancer. Sweeping garbage off the floor and tucking it under the carpet. Everyone can see the pink elephant but no one is saying anything.

There were people on every other corner with ballots for citizens to sign to get this casino up and running. Why didn't they remember the promise of getting the lottery put in and the revenues from all of that money was going into getting a better education for the children? 13 billion I saw on one bill board but the news report states that 40 schools were closing down. Were there a shortage of children? Nevertheless, the so called temporary casino was built and then there was another and another. Three casinos in record time. Shouldn't there be more revenue for the city? Where did all of the jobs go? Is the economy better or worse for that brilliant idea? Oh, and where is the mayor who administered the band aid for this? Let's just write for the purposes of this blog, just where you think he is.

I have had friends who appeared to be one way and they were not at all who they professed to be. Every once in awhile, I might see one or two and the conversation will begin as if we missed each other and why hadn't we kept in touch and then within a few minutes on the phone or deciding to have lunch, there it is sitting with us. The very reason we stopped talking in the first place. What happened? It seemed like such a good idea at the time. How could we be so attracted to each other as friends, business partners, and/or a  relationship and then be so different in such a short period of time? Recently, there was an associate who expressed to me that a long termed friendship ended abruptly because she became angry with this person. This associate, when asked why this friend became so angry with her, shrugged as an answer to my question. Really?

We have a responsibility in presenting this body as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1 KJV). While some may think in making the presentation of this body as being muscular or curvaceous, God will be looking at the heart (1Timothy 4:8 KJV). Just like in cleaning the attic to an old home and finding certain childhood toys that were put away, there are things we would rather not discuss or even think about. There are matters that were never dealt with. There are people that tend to annoy us for reasons we could not explain. We are responsible for finding those things out. Some of us wear our pain on the outside covered in extra weight, tattoos, or with heavy make up. All of that doesn't hide the truth. No matter what you do,  the truth will come to the light. It is written (John 3:19-22 KJV).

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Why You Bleepity-Bleep!...And Another Thing... Bleep-Bleep!

"You know..." is how my dad would begin his statements when we asked him something that he would rather not answer or it was going to be some really deep philosophical ideology to get us not to ask him so much stuff again. Many times he would use humor and it would be those times that I retained his words. But when he was angry, I mean really angry, expletives flew. He never used the "f" word and the "c" word was actually vile, but everything else was fair game when he was angry and most of the time, when we weren't around. He curbed his language drastically when it was reported that we used the same words with each other when we thought we were alone (without parents in the vicinity).

One time when I was in the 6th grade, I heard a girl tell a guy after annoying her, to go screw a tree. The other kids started laughing and I thought, not knowing what "screw" meant, that it wasn't cursing and it got the same horror along with the laughter that profanity got. So when I got home, I couldn't wait to say the same thing to my brother, who was eventually going to get on my nerves later the same day. It would seem all he lived for. Once the phrase came from my lips, I felt rather proud of myself, not having said a curse word but having my brother put his hand across his mouth and gasping at how dare I say such a thing in Leonard L. Brown's house. He had that, ooooh-you-are-going-to-be-in-so-much-trouble look. Then I got scared because he was definitely going to tell. I had nothing to negotiate with and Dad was going to be home soon. Mom was right there - tell her! But no. He walked around me with this sneer anticipating my dad's arrival. I had to play like it was no big deal and convince myself as well. It wasn't like I said "heck", which incidentally, did not go over too well when I got angry. Dad came home and did his proverbial grunt placing his brief case at the door and loosening his shirt out from his pants to relax for the evening. Going over to the couch, he loosened his boots and took the garters off that kept the military fatigues up on his calves. His next move after about 10-15 minutes, was to get up with boots in hand to his walk in closet and change clothes for dinner. It was his regular routine. We usually greeted him at the door with a hug but when we didn't, he knew something was up but never asked what it was. I recall my brother waited until after dinner when he was quiet and reading his paper. I was hoping he forgot about it. I was in my room playing records or something when I heard that voice, "LENORA!" I do have a family nickname that is often used. In fact, it was used so often I didn't know what my birth name was until I was registered for school. A shiver went through my body and I immediately got up and ran to the living room where the first face I saw was my snickering brother. Oh-oh, this was not good. I then came closer in the room and saw the grimace on both of my parents' face. My dad asked me what did I say to my brother. I repeated the phrase. His grimace did not leave. He then asked me what "screw" meant. I said, "I don't know." I really didn't know and my dad believed me. He asked where I picked that up from. I told him. Still the grimace didn't leave his face. It was apparent that what I said was as vile as the"c" word. He told me never to say it again and I never did. The sound of his voice when he called me and the displeasure on his face was all the punishment I needed.

Profanity should not be a point in discussion because it is just too obvious for a believer not to use (2 Timothy 2:15-16 KJV). Come on, we know better. We are to speak good things (Matthew 12:33-35 AMP). Never is there a time to use profane language as a believer of Christ destined to live in abundance forever (John 3:16 AMP). Would our language change that destiny? Well, the Word tells us in the Old Testament that God will bless those that bless you and curse those that curse you (Genesis 12:3 AMP). Though you are reading this and can maintain confidence in it, so are other members in the body of Christ that are not so obvious to detect that they belong to Him as well. Therefore, it would be in your best interest to curtail such vile words whether you think the recipient of such language deserves it or not.

Yet beyond what we know is obvious, there are still obscenities that some speak where God would not find pleasure in. These obscenities oppose the Word of God and are so often used, we consider them almost cliches. In a previous blog entry, I listed somethings that are commonly said; however, it barely scratches the surface. This blog is suppose to answer the question, is that all there is? The answer is no, but when we speak in words that oppose the very guide by which we live, then we hinder the blessing we have grown accustomed to having. Here are some common practices that some have done and need to get out of the habit of doing:
1. Looking in the mirror and expressing dissatisfaction with the image (Genesis 1:26 KJV).
2. Making it more important to express what you are feeling (James 1:19 KJV).
3. Justifying your misbehavior when you wouldn't accept the same behavior done towards you (Matthew 7:3-5 KJV).
4. Impatience with those that have less then what you have (James 2:2-4 AMP).
5. Speaking that your finances are less then what you would like for them to be (Philippians 4:19 KJV).
6. Asking why whosoever is blessed and you aren't or that he/she is more blessed then you (Proverbs 23:17, Galatians 5:25-26, James 3:16 KJV) .
7. Trying to be accepted or seeking man's approval (Galatians 2:19 MSG).
8. Complaining (1 Peter 4;8-10 AMP).
9. Minimizing sin nature because repentance and grace is in your back pocket (Galatians 6:7-8 AMP).
10. Allowing past transgressions to rule the present (1 John 1:9 AMP).
As you can see what is listed, obscenities don't necessarily have to be profanity and yet in the eyes of the Lord can be just as profane. The grimace that my dad had on his face because I used language that he did not teach me is the same analogy to be used with you and our Heavenly Father. It is His good pleasure when He finds us in prosperity, yet this cannot happen when we continue to put obstacles in the way of the blessing (Luke 12:31-33 AMP).

God walked with Adam in the garden. Can you imagine Him resting in a place that He was familiar with because He created it. Then Adam does something outside from what He taught His son. He asked Adam where are you (Genesis 3:9)? Why would He ask Adam this? Because Adam did something outside of righteousness and now he changed the image that was given to him. God asked Adam, who told you were naked (Genesis 3:11)? Why did He ask Adam this? Because it was foreign language. It was obscene. God did not give that to him. Has any obscenities spoken took you out of the blessing, off the path that you were on, away from His presence? Being made in His image to speak the removal of mountains is powerful no less powerful to also create mountains and other obstacles to hinder our own progress. What say you?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

You Believe What The Word Says, Don'tcha?

I have come to rely on what the Word of God says for everything. I have studied it and made it my foundation for my life. Sometimes emotions try to make the decisions for me - you know impulsively, but the outcome of those decisions puts me right back to what the Word tells us all to do. Keeping these principles in the forefront of my mind has proven to make life so much easier even when people would have you to believe otherwise.

I wrote about a bible study I started but now can only attend every now and again because of previous obligations. The person that took over the class allowed a visitor to do as she pleases. That visitor now has the class and believes she teaches the Word of God the best way she knows how. In writing about that class in a previous entry, I wrote of this woman trying to get the class to believe that we all suffer and are suppose to experience pain for Christ's sake. She was so mistaken and wished for everyone hearing her to believe the same thing. No one challenged her in the stuff she was teaching prior to me visiting the class, but I just couldn't sit there and allow her to keep saying what she was saying (James 4:17 KJV). She became extremely perturbed with me and after class, she expressed to me what ailments she was going through. She claimed that she prayed when hearing the diagnosis the doctors gave her and that she was in need of surgery. She said she prayed and prayed believing that God would heal her and that no member of her body, no matter how small, would ever have to be removed. I listened to her as her voice changed from annoyance because I disrupted her error filled lesson plan to anger because she had to have the surgery in spite of all of her prayers. She expected me to answer why God didn't do what she asked. I remained quiet as her eyes welled up. I didn't answer because of her emotion and I was trying to figure if she was running game on me or not. Note: "running game" means to manipulate a person to do as the speaker pleases.

At the end of our conversation I gave her a hug and we left for our perspective homes. In the next few days I watched the things this woman did on a regular basis. The diagnosis the doctors gave her, I knew also required a specific diet. She ate what she liked. I made mention of it and she sucked her teeth exclaiming the doctors told her nothing of the kind (Hosea 4:6 KJV). I also heard her tell others of a procedure that would cause her a complete recovery. She refused it. I was  reminded of the joke where the man was caught in a flood and no matter who came to save him, he would exclaim, "no the Lord will come and save me." A canoe came, the man said the same thing. A rescue boat came, he said the same thing. A helicopter came, he said the same thing. The waters rose and the man drowned. When he got to heaven he asked the Lord, why didn't He save him? The Lord answered, "I sent a canoe, a boat, and a helicopter."

When I first heard that joke I laughed too, but then I heard the wording of it, why didn't you save me? When Jesus said, "it is done," before He died on the cross - He didn't stutter! Salvation was across the board. If you believe then you will receive. The song, Whose Report Will You Believe, still rings true today. If you would rather believe the gruesome details of the diagnosis that would have you in the grave sooner then the years that was promised then you shall receive just that (John 15:7 KJV).

There is an enemy that is sent to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10 KJV). It is not written anywhere in the Word that he will make it easier for anyone; not those that live a sin filled life nor those believing that Jesus is Lord. Satan is put on an assignment to do what he does. If you study the first chapter of Job and couple it with the  third chapter of Genesis, you will see once that serpent received his curse, there was no relief. Man; however, became a new creation once Jesus made that possible. Righteousness in Christ Jesus makes all the mess we have done in the past clean. We renew and change our minds from wrong thinking through the Word. We turn from evil and draw nigh unto God (James 4:8 KJV). Because of this action, there has to be a counter action. What would that be? The devil is not allowed anywhere near what belongs to God (Psalm 91:9-11 KJV).

Where do I come up with this stuff? Its in the Word. God tells us not to give place to the devil (Ephesians 4;27 KJV). Why would He tell us this? Because the devil has no place near righteousness (2 Corinthians 6:14 KJV). The devil tells us this when he says it back to God in the first chapter of Job. Did God then give the devil permission to attack Job? Interesting question, isn't it, especially when it is written that God tempts no man to evil (James 1:13 KJV)? Have you ever asked yourself why did the Holy Spirit lead Jesus to the cave to be tempted of the devil? If you can answer those questions, then you can understand why the previously mentioned woman had surgery when she prayed for it not to happen. Now apply this information where it is applicable. Jesus is Lord.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Liberty Held Captive?

How can you be held captive and set free at the same time? Is it at all possible? Jesus came to set the captives free. I understand this is as being free from the laws of sin and death, though there are ministers that get deeper into that understanding to find that we are set free from much more, I like the simplicity of the main idea - free from sin and death. Nevertheless, there are those that continue to hold fast to the ways of this world and because of that belief, the laws that Jesus came to disintegrate has little to no effect on them. It is as if they returned back to vomit that they were once cleaned from.

For instance, this last weekend one of my youngest sons got married in the church that he and his siblings were raised in. I hadn't been there but a few times since their father and I separated and later divorced. The members of the church, the families of both sides, and all of the members that had moved to other parts of the country and in ministry themselves came for the wedding. There were so many people I had not seen in years and age comes into perspective when you see others. I had to be introduced to what I thought were strangers but actually the children I recall still in diapers all grown up. Usually when someone has to help me remember who they are, all that is said is their name and it takes me a little while to see that same little face in the expression of the now adult hoping for a little recognition. One of those that had to introduce himself to me was a man I didn't recognize at all. When he said who he was I remembered that his father was diagnosed with diabetes and had later passed on due to complications from the ailment. His father was a kind, gentleman, and always a cheerful giver. I didn't know much about his son other than him being so quiet and a few years younger then me; however, his sisters and I were about the same age. I really wasn't thinking to see that man this past weekend. I recall hearing that he was diagnosed with the same ailment as his father, his wife had left him, and he wasn't raising his children. He asked me at the precession line if I remember him. I had to be honest, this man asking me the question looked as if he were 70 years old. His glasses were so thick I couldn't hardly see his eyes and his body was so tiny and fragile. I answered him, "no." When he told me his name, I am not one to hide much expression, especially shock, amazement, or inner pain. We hugged each other and I had to quickly get it together for the next family member or guest to shake hands. I got through 10-15 more people before I started to cry. My sons thought it was because of the ceremony and tried to give me words of encouragement. I couldn't explain to them that it was something completely different.

I spoke to another woman who I thought I didn't know. We just began talking and waiting for the wedding to begin. My youngest son came into the room to check on me and saw all that were in the room with me. He saw the woman I was talking to and greeted her. It was a family member! I had to apologize because this had happened at least twice before. I said to her that she looks different every time I see her. She explained that because of the medication that she was prescribed, it has done so many different things to her body. I replied that one drug has one side effect that the doctor gives another prescription for but that one pill has two side effects as well. She agreed. Then I began to tell her that many times, the original ailment could be an allergic reaction that could be defeated with a change in diet. She nodded but the expression on her face told me that she wasn't hearing nothing I was saying. I stopped talking.

As each and every member of the church and visitors came through the reception line, they gave their hand to congratulate me or speak words of adulation about by son, the groom. Some recalled the sour words I heard from gossip in the past and didn't have anything to say. I saw it on their face as they tried to create a sincere smile or force my body to welcome their pseudo hugs of love. I never practiced that but it did give me insight to the house cleaning I still had to do with myself. I watched all of those people and how they have fared over the years. Some weren't walking as straight as they had been 20 years ago while others did a lot of talking to drown out the words spoken to them. There were people that only talked about keeping the weight off of them in years passed and while they did exactly what they said they looked like they were carrying a steamer trunk of regret and other unresolved problems on their backs. Smiling through all of those frowned lines looked so painful to do, still we got through it and the wedding was a success.

My youngest son made a toast that had many in tears. He was very eloquent if I may be so bold to write. The pastor and his wife had finished eating and said their good-byes. Once they were out of the building, the real reception began. Many who attended got up and danced. I use to wonder why the reception couldn't be this way with the pastor there as well. What was being done so wrong that he could see and hear it? Would it have been disrespectful to have the music playing and the dancing with him being there? In the Word, there was a celebration of the marriage. All that came celebrated! Still, it had been done this way for years. If it were up to me, I would like to see what would happen, if the dancing started with the pastor being there. Is he being excluded from the celebration or are we truly set free as the Word tells us that we are? I found that interesting.

Actually, I find the entire concept of freedom interesting. How far can we take this freedom in Christ? Is the sky the limit or are we afraid to venture forth? There is a reason why the angels asked God what is man that He be so mindful of us. Do we hold restraints on ourselves because we don't trust what we will do without the boundaries? If the family member believed that she would be totally healed if she changed her diet as opposed to her taking that same medication as she had been doing for years, would her entire life change? What would she have to complain about? Would all of that free time be too overwhelming? What if the man that was younger then me and looked 70 stopped believing that he didn't have to accept the generational curse of having diabetes because his father had it? What if he believed that Jesus actually did heal him by those many stripes and his health did a complete 180, what would he do with the rest of his life? What would happen if the woman walked straight again and the frown lines of worry disappeared? Could life be good for them again or would she find something to worry about?

When I took pictures of the wedding and the reception, I focused on my son, his bride, my family, and the new members of my family. I couldn't take pictures of all of the rest. It just put things into perspective as to why Jesus wept.

Friday, August 26, 2011

When You Turn Your Head To The Left

In the last 8 years I have come to have this fondness for Public Television. One of my favorite programs is the Antiques Road Show. I watch through all of the stuff that I would normally consider junk if I saw it in a yard sale, flea market, or second hand store and I learn some things and what to look for which could be absolute treasure. My family and I have actually cringed at the things we have seen and knew we had at one time or another and have thrown it away calling ourselves keeping free from hoarding (pack rat-itis).

I still think about the time where I drove for about 45 minutes to this out of the way second hand store just to see what they had. It is one of the reasons why I don't like window shopping to this day. I had a shopping cart, I think just in case I saw something and the clerk could possibly hold the item for me so I could go ask a family member for the money to purchase it (another thing I don't like to do). As I looked around, I didn't see anything I particularly liked and was about to leave as I made my way through the rows and rows of discarded framed art. I saw these two men with a painting, they were discussing if it was real or not and if they should purchase it. Having some education in the field I tried not to look so conspicuous in seeing who signed the piece. It was a Picasso! Holding back a shriek because the signature looked authentic to me, I walked away believing if it is mine to have, God was going to make a way. I had to take a deep breathe and believe to receive as I prayed looking at the picture frames not too far from where the two men were. They left and also left the painting behind. I quickly went to the art and picked up the painting. It wasn't a print. I could feel the brush strokes of the oil painting and the frame looked as if it were crudely made. The front of it looked like some French Provencal design while the back looked as if pieced together with pine board and tacked with entirely too many nails. Even the canvas wasn't stretched very tight across the frame, but I was almost positive the signature was real. I looked at the price of the piece. It was $10.00. I don't recall if I had that amount, I do recall needing gas to make it back home and having both was out of the question. I kept looking at it and right when I was about to put it back, those two men saw me with the painting and started mumbling to themselves. I kept the painting in my cart and walked around the store not knowing what I was going to do. After 30 minutes, I talked myself in believing that Pablo Picasso wouldn't have such a frame as this for his artwork. I put the painting back and forced myself to stop thinking about the matter.

Well, of course I saw on the Antiques Road Show later how the paintings of back then looked one way in the front and as if a third grader put it together in the back. I just couldn't settle on that I had to do my own research. In all of my education, I just couldn't recall Picasso ever painting any scenery. I was at the ready about to look up all of the painting recorded of Picasso...and I stopped. I just couldn't. What if I find it? It took about a year before I could actually do it. Pages and pages, website after website and still  no scenery painting from him. Just when I was about to move on, there it was. Looking back at me in a wall of cubism and abstracts. It was a small thumbnail (tiny display), so there was just a slight glimmer that it might not be an actual...authentic... yeah, right! Don't ask of my demeanor then and for days after. Aaaarrrrggggghhhhhhhh [eye twitch]!

Recently, I was looking at the very same show and saw a woman going to the professional curator to tell her of her treasure and the approximation of what it was worth. Her husband was socking money away for their anniversary. According to her, it was the plan for them to celebrate those years in Italy. While they were shopping and just before leaving for their trip, they came upon this rather horrendous table clock. It was cherry wood with gold painted scroll work around the edges of it. Their son was with them and convinced his mother to use the anniversary money to purchase the clock. He said that if she decided to go on the trip, once it was over - its over but if she purchased the clock, she would have it forever. So she took the $7,000.00 dollars and bought the horrendous clock. As she finished the story, you could tell that she believed she made a sound investment and was waiting for the curator to tell her that the clock was worth so much more then she paid for it. She was literally beaming right up until he told her to get the clock insured for ..... $7,000.00. She tried her best to maintain that smile but she knew as well as anyone watching that she no longer had the Italy trip nor did she have that sound investment she thought she had. If I were her son, I would have packed and left before she got back home!

I asked God, how could the enemy ever get in my camp to take what belongs to me? I have the whole armor on (Ephesians 6:11 KJV). I have the garment of praise (Isaiah 61:3 KJV). I have the blood of the lamb (1 Peter 1:18-20 KJV). I am anointed. I am the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus. I sought Kingdom Living (Matthew 6:33 KJV). How then, how did he get permission to take anything from me and without me knowing it (Ephesians 4:27 KJV)? It is one of the most frustrating aspects of Christian Life to me.

I was reminded of one of those times after prayer where I sit quietly in His presence (Psalm 16:11 AMP). As I sat on my bed, the morning sun shone through the curtains and one of the beams landed on the floor where it just sparkled and caught my attention. The sparkle continued to dance until I got up to see what it was. I picked it up and thought it was a rhinestone at first but the cut was too specific and a rhinestone usually has a glued metal backing. I then did what most of us would do and bite it. I have no idea what that would prove. If my tooth chipped it has to be real? I took a mirror and used that test. Yes, it cut the glass. Ecstatic to have been given such a jewel, I made my way to a jeweler to see if it were truly authentic. The jeweler looked at the stone and I did not take my eyes off of him, thinking he might do some slight of hand trick or drop and pick up a cut piece of plastic. He picked up some electrical device and put the stone in it. The device made a ping noise. He then said, "oh well. That sound tells me its not real. Sorry, but hey, if you are still interested, I could put it in a setting for you." I thought that was an odd thing for a jeweler to say if the stone was a fake. Why would I want a fake in a setting? I thanked him for his time, wrapped up my stone and left the store. Still pleased with what the Lord gave me, I waited for sound instruction (Hosea 4:6 AMP).

Once we have established that we are anointed in Christ Jesus and we have a calling on our lives, we maintain this focus until the goal has been complete. We don't find that what we are talented in and not seek Wisdom on the matter (James 1:5 AMP). This would be foolish; however, also having the wisdom and education and still not relying on the voice of the Lord, is still just as foolish. It is much like a pastor, speaker, evangelist, and or prophet, gaining so much from the Lord with the praise of the listeners from one speaking engagement to the next and then he/she decides that with the next engagement, instead of praying and studying like he/she has done in the past and successfully so, he/she decides to "wing it" or speak from what is already known. The outcome might be taken in well enough but it will never be as powerful as those times when God was acknowledged first (Proverbs 3:6 KJV). When we think we can manage the task at hand on our own, it is giving the enemy permission to have place for him to do his job (John 10:10 KJV). It takes sometime to realize when the talent is being pilfered away; though the listeners are noticing a difference. Don't ever take the chance to think that the success you have been experiencing is because of you. Remember it is the diligent that reap the reward (Hebrews 11:6 KJV).

The woman who spent her anniversary money on a clock that wasn't worth what she spent took the advice of her son who nothing more about antiques then she did (Proverbs 15:22 KJV). she didn't ask the clerk to hold the piece for her until she did some research or brought anyone else to see what she was considering to purchase. Worse yet, she didn't mention at all of saying a word to her husband. He was the one saving the money to go somewhere that they both had dreamed about. She turned her head to the left and what she thought she saw was fool's gold (Proverbs 4:26-27 KJV).

I, on the other hand, decided I wanted to go to that store. I recalled passing by one day but I was not the one driving. The driver didn't want to stop so I was going to make it back there one way or another.  I didn't acknowledge God in my decision to do so, I just felt like going. I knew what I had in my pocket and what the gas tank looked like. There was no reason for me to go to that store but to do something that I don't like doing anyway - browse (Proverbs 10:22 KJV). When I asked God why did He allow me to see something like that and not be able to buy it, I didn't get an answer right away. Why would He answer me now when I didn't ask Him about going there and making that way plain for me? You see how I turned my head to the left and  found a treasure I couldn't take out of the store...at least not without establishing a criminal record (Joshua 1:7 KJV). Lesson learned.