Monthly Archives: February 2014

Making Decisions Prematurely

You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! (Psalms 139:16-17, NLT)

I’m still living from the book written about me before I was born.  I’m in Chapter 58. There are many things happening in this chapter of my life. Equally so are the decisions that I’m compelled to make. Each decision will change me in some way; they are unsettling. 

I have wrestled three nights in my sleep.  Tonight I fought myself disguised as my son who drowned and my brother who drowned.  Both of these incidents crippled me. I made a decision,  a subconscious decision to defy life, to rebel against being successful twice.  So I would always do something to sabotage my success.  That was a Book Decision based on Chapters 16 and 43 in my life.  That was a mistake!

Each time it appeared that I had successfully derailed my success,  God intervened with more grace and mercy.  God determined my traumatic, and crippling experiences would not cancel the blessings God had prepared for me. God determined I would live, love, and laugh again.  In Chapter 58,  God keeps knocking my socks off! 

I’ve learned not to make Book Decisions based on the Chapter I’m living now.

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Prayer and Corresponding Action

She came home to be caregiver to her dying mother. Her four children came with her. She quit her job with as a para professional and relocated. For almost two years she was unemployed but the Lord provided. Then her mother died and when the insurance money ran out she only had God to sustain her and her children.

She had a B.S. in Business degree as well as an Associates but she could find no job. The school board in her area wasn’t hiring. Only temp agencies were used by employers. For two years she searched, went on interviews praying and fasting for her breakthrough. This last time the interviewer promised she was hired. But the devil would not let her blessing through.

But she knew what to do; she decided to trouble her trouble. She read this text and decided spiritual warfare was appropriate. Daniel 10:11-13: “The man said to me, “Daniel, you are highly respected. Pay attention to my words. Stand up, because I’ve been sent to you.” When he said this to me, I stood up, trembling. He told me, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. God has heard everything that you said ever since the first day you decided to humble yourself in front of your God so that you could learn to understand things. I have come in response to your prayer. The commander of the Persian kingdom opposed me for 21 days. But then Michael, one of the chief commanders, came to help me because I was left alone with the kings of Persia.”

Her plan was simple. Be persistent; this job would meet her family needs. The temp agency held up her job based on a background check they claimed had not been processed (this proved to be dishonest). She called each morning and afternoon. She did research to find the company performing the background check. She called her interviewer. She was persistent and God used an angel on the inside who first told her about the job to help. It took 30 days but her breakthrough came and she went to work. Persistence is the key to your breakthrough! Faith works when you work your faith. Hallelujah!

The Folly of Foolish Conversation

“The words of a person’s mouth are like deep waters. The fountain of wisdom is an overflowing stream. It is not good to be partial toward a wicked person,thereby depriving an innocent person of justice. By talking, a fool gets into an argument,and his mouth invites a beating. A fool’s mouth is his ruin. His lips are a trap to his soul. The words of a gossip are swallowed greedily, and they go down into a person’s innermost being.” (Proverbs 18:4-8 GWT)

When we belittle, mock, or devalue someone’s life or livelihood, we do a great disservice. Words have power; words are seeds that once planted take root deep in a person’s mind. Wisdom has taught me, “We grow by lifting others up, not by tearing them down.” I’m a work in progress and so are you. The key is to stay clear of gossip; do not allow your mouth to write a check your “ass” can’t cash. The writer of Proverbs says that only a fool does that. I have said much that I regret and have been forgiven. Thank you Jesus!

I know it’s hard to discipline your tongue, especially when your emotions have been charged. But I can assure you, working on this discipline is invaluable. Oh that gossip and slander were not so salacious. Prayer, true prayer, however will help you muzzle unkind words. When you gossip a crowd will gather and chime in; when you pray, they will stay away.

Let us pray: Heavenly Father we confess that our words have often been daggers rather that elevators. We ask your forgiveness and that you strengthen our resolve to be kind. Help us to discipline the words we speak so we may be a help and not a hindrance. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Overcoming Challenges to Your Destiny

How to Achieve Greatness Despite Obstacles in Your Life

“Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master and in high favor, because by him the Lord had given victory to Syria. He was a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper. (2 Kings 5:1 ESV)”

The main character in this story is Naaman, Commander of the Syrian Army. His name, “Naaman,” means “Pleasantness.” Yet, his life up to this point had not been pleasant. Like many of you, he had some important and significant things going well for him, but the most important part of his life caused him great anguish and misery.

First, Naaman had accomplished something great and unique in his life. He had not allowed his handicap, his disease to keep him from becoming a mighty man of valor in his country. He had climbed the military ranks and achieved the status of Commanding General of all the Armies of the King of Syria.

Second, Naaman had gained the influence and favor of the people with whom he served. His soldiers loved him; his king loved him; his wife loved him. Naaman, though a commander in the Army had overcome many struggles to reach this point because of his unfortunate circumstances.

Naaman was a gentle soul; he was a pleasant man most of the time. However, one subject caused Naaman to transform from a pleasant man to a bitter man. Have you ever been in a situation where you could laugh, play, enjoy your friends, but when a certain subject came up, it caused you great bitterness?

Naaman would be having a pleasant day and doing well until his issue kept him from smiling. He would do well until his issue kept him from enjoying the company of friends and loved ones. Naaman, you see was a leper.

Leprosy was a skin disease that was often contagious, but always a cause for segregation and separation. A disease that kept its victims living in isolation and in places where those who were well could make fun of them and be cruel to them.

They were the victims of childhood pranks that caused utter frustration. It was akin to a child in this city with cerebral palsy, a child who is mentally retarded, or a child who has suffered a stroke that left them disfigured or paralyzed. Children and adults could be cruel to the lepers, just as children and adults can be cruel today.

Finally, Naaman decided that he would not allow his leprosy to keep him from self-accomplishment. Therefore, he learned and tested his battle skills, fine tuned his command presence, and perfected his ability to strategize and defeat the enemy. Naaman became a great soldier, despite his leprous condition. Hallelujah!

Therefore, whatever issues you are dealing with, you need to follow the example of Naaman and rise above it to achieve greatness in your lifetime. You should refuse to allow your issue to conquer you. One thing is certain, Naaman did not see himself as a leper; he saw himself as a General – Naaman knew that he was somebody. You can move forward with that same attitude if you will do what Naaman did.

Injustice for Jordan Davis

Jordan Davis stood his ground;  it cost him his life. His crime – refusing to obey a white man.

In March of 1857,   Chief Justice Roger B. Taney of the US Supreme Court opined two things: 1) a slave could never become a citizen; and 2) blacks “had no rights which the white man was bound to respect. ..”  Our justice system has once again revealed that there are some among us who still feel the same way today. 

Wake up people;  freedom of blacks to exercise their citizenship is on trial!  The pot is being stirred for civil war among the races.  Harriet Tubman once said, “I had reasoned out in my mind, there was one of two things I had a right to,  liberty or death; if I could not have one,  I would have the other. ”

The youth have a right to be young: loud music, parties,  rebellion, risky behavior, insubordination.  We’ve all been young, and no one shot us for it. Adults just shook their heads at us or attempted to reprimand us.  They most certainly didn’t go get their guns, come back and shoot us.

People of goodwill must rally against this type of provocation. When good people remain silent during crises that demand a response,  we all suffer.  Dr. King, Jr. wrote, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. ” 

This verdict is unjust!

Settle Your Disputes Quickly

Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. And I ask you, my true partner, to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. They worked along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life. (Philippians 4:2, 3 NLT)

Sandwiched between forgetting the past in his own life and giving us the imperative to “Rejoice in The Lord” is Paul’s plea for reconciliation between two leaders. Euodia and Syntyche had worked together in Paul’s ministry but some conflict separated them.
Satan had caused a rift and Paul was praying for it to be healed.

When two people are effective in ministry, watch for satan to try and destroy their relationship. Beloved be on guard against needless dissension. The Bible says “Iron sharpens iron,” so expect some conflict as you serve Christ, but do not allow it to hinder your mission. Let love prevail over all disputes; reconcile your differences as you continue your mission.

So Live Your Life; Really?

T. I. and Rihanna sang the song “So live your life” as an anthem to one of his albums. It was a song encouraging us to live life to the fullest by achieving our dreams and doing what we determine best for us. At first the song seems to provide sage advice. But I ask “Is that the appropriate way for a Disciple of Christ to live?

Paul an Apostle of Jesus Christ calls that perspective living as “an enemy of the cross.” He writes: “I have often told you, and now tell you with tears in my eyes, that many live as the enemies of the cross of Christ” (Philippians 3:18 GWT).

Living your life focused only on pleasure and materialism is both shortsighted and selfish. Pursuing happiness in this life with no regard for the next is antithetical to Christian faith. Jill Scott says that she’s “living her life like it’s golden.” And she is correct in regarding her life as a precious gift from God. However, living your life appropriately entails living your life by faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

In other words, you choose daily to live your life from a heavenly view. You acknowledge that your life is not lived based solely on achieving your goals, fulfilling your dreams. Rather you intentionally surrender your life to Christ and seek to achieve Christ’s purposes. To do otherwise is what Paul classifies as “living as an enemy of the cross.”

Spend some time thinking about whose purpose you’re promoting and why.