Monthly Archives: May 2014

Aborted Dreams

 

Dreams shattered by inactivity

they were meant to be mine

meant to bless me

aborted dreams.

 

Dreams, not yet ready to give birth

timing was all wrong, went to the clinic

dreams shattered in one instant

aborted dreams.

 

Dreams fueled by purpose

planned, examined, and broadcast

nevertheless, distracted, discouraged, detoured.

aborted dreams.

 

Predetermined, Preordained, Predestined

but my choices

Fun, leisure, undisciplined behavior

aborted dreams.

 

Written in the book

Joy, Prosperity, Peace, Success

left unattended, left on the pages

aborted dreams.

It Came to Pass!

Discouragement and intimidation hinder us from being our best selves.  To be discouraged is to “be deprived of courage or confidence; disheartened; to hinder by disfavoring.”  In other words when you are discouraged you cease to live courageously.  Secondly, intimidation.  Intimidation means “to make timid or fearful; to compel or deter by or as if by threats.”  For example, Christians who are intimidated will not pursue the call of God in their lives for fear they will not reach their goals; for fear they are cursed or living outside the grace of God.  They often fear that God is against them rather than for them.  And these twin enemies, discouragement and intimidation, paralyze the believer from standing their ground as it pertains to their faith in Jesus Christ.  Lord, have mercy!

This is serious because discouragement isolates you and intimidation keeps you from boldly proclaiming the gospel of Jesus
Christ.  To know how to navigate this life is something every Christian needs to know.  1 Peter 3:13-22 gives us a path through suffering.  He cites three things we should do to battle against discouragement and intimidation as we do the work of Christ in the world.  Those three things are (1) expect to suffer; (2) don’t be intimidated; and (3) expect the victory.

During a Sunday class the question was asked, “In your time of discouragement, what is your favorite Scripture?”

A young man said, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” Psalm 23:1. A middle age woman said, “God is my refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” Psalm 46:1. Another woman said, “In this world you shall have tribulations, but be of good cheer, I have overcome this world” John 16:33-35.

Then old Mr. John who was 80 years old, with head of white hair and dark black skin, stood up and said with as much strength as he could muster, “It says, ‘And it came to pass…’ 85 times in the Bible.” The class started to laugh a little, thinking that old Mr. John’s lack of memory was getting the best of him.

When the snickering stopped, he said, “At 30, I lost my job with six hungry mouths and a wife to feed. I didn’t know how I would make it. At 40, my eldest son was killed overseas in the war. It knocked me down. At 50, my house burned to the ground. Nothing was saved out of the house. At 60, my wife of 40 years got cancer. It slowly ate away at her. We cried together many a night on our knees in prayer. At 65, she died. I still miss her today.

“The agony I went through in each of these situations was unbelievable. I wondered where was God. But each time I looked in the bible I saw one of those 85 verses that said, ‘And it came to pass’ I felt that God was telling me, my pain and my circumstances were also going to pass and that God would get me through it.”

When you expect suffering; when you refuse to be intimidated; and when you expect the victory, whatever you face in life, remember “It CAME to PASS!”

Things are never as bad as they seem!

Things are never as bad as they seem. Challenges always first appear overwhelming. Even if challenges come in as ferocious as a hurricane or tsunami, still challenges are not as bad as they seem. Now this is the testimony of the person who believes in God. Things are not as bad as they seem because we have a God who is accessible to us through prayer.

Jehoshaphat discovered this to be true when he was challenged with being overthrown by his enemies. Not just one enemy but a coalition of the sons of Lot came against him. Their armies outnumbered and were better equipped than those of Judah. But Jehoshaphat remembered the power of prayer.

Listen to this snippet of his discourse with God: “If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before you— for your name is in this house—and cry out to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save.” And now behold, the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom you would not let Israel invade when they came from the land of Egypt, and whom they avoided and did not destroy— behold, they reward us by coming to drive us out of your possession, which you have given us to inherit. O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” (2 Chronicles 20:9-12 ESV)

Jehoshaphat said “we do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” That’s the strength of the believer, our eyes are watching God in times of challenge and distress. Because our faith is in our God and not our selves we have unseen resources working on our behalf. God answers prayer and God intervenes in human affairs. That encourages me in discouraging situations. I hope and trust that you too will keep your eyes on God when challenges arise in your life. Remember, things are not as bad as they seem. You have a God waiting to help you when you call. Amen.

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Jeez, get a room why don’t you

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I don’t like watching couples show affection in public. Once while visiting another state, I attended a church service where public display of affection was affirmed and welcomed.  One couple actually embraced and kissed during the service and I thought it was so inappropriate.  I mean I know you two love each other, but do I have to look at it.  When I see it even now, I mutter,  “get a room” in serious jest.

But in a moment of clarity and focus, I remember.  Once I was engaged in a moment of ecstasy with my true love; we were in public but we were also alone.  I knew people were around but my eyes were filled with her.  At that moment I didn’t care who saw me or what they thought.  That was our special moment to share together.  You see, love has no rules of a sort.  Personal decency for society’s sake is appropriate I suppose, but I wanted to kiss her every time I saw her, wherever I saw her.  I suspect it is no different with same sex couples either and I suspect they care as less about what I think as I did when it happened to me.

No I don’t like it when I see public displays of intimacy regardless of who does it.  But guess what, because I have been in love, I’ve learned to get over it.  Societal norms not withstanding, It’s not my business nor my right to dictate others expression of their love.  I looked myself in the mirror and said get over it; you participated in love too, you know.

 

My Mother’s Strength was My Greatest Need

I didn’t like my mother growing up. Well, that might be harsh. Let me say I didn’t know my mother growing up. There was no time for a relationship. My mother was more interested in respect and obedience than relationship. And so I didn’t like her because I didn’t know her. Here I was a dwarf of a child listening to this woman barking orders and swinging the switch to keep 13 children in line.

Mother was a strong disciplinarian; I assumed she wasn’t capable of loving me because in my eyes she just lived to beat me. I believe I got a beating for waking up in the morning and going to bed at night. The solution to every problem, mother had with me and my siblings was a good switching or backhand or belt or whatever was handy at the time.

Mother could be relentless in her discipline but reserved in her demonstration of love. No, I didn’t like my mother growing up. I didn’t like her because I didn’t know her.

There was no relationship worthy of Mother becoming my friend; someone, I could like. There little time for nurturing in that fashion. There was only time for work, church, and school. The fun we had included baseball, the beach, and festivals about town. She took us to relatives’ homes and allowed us to roam like children.

So I grew up rebellious at times and conforming at times. I stayed in some trouble and people would say I was a problem child because of my nonconformity. I was different; I was alone. I was in trouble at school but a saint at church. My school teachers would pull my ears but my Sunday School teacher would kiss me on my cheeks. I got baptized at 12, sang in the youth choir, and became an orator in plays and programs, a favored poet in my church. I got in trouble at school, in jail at sixteen, and pulled over for DUI as an adult. My troubles intensified when my best friend, my brother Dwight drowned at 15; I was 16 at the time. For many years my life was in a spiral of self-destruction through riotous living.

My mother, however, kept telling me she was praying for me. I didn’t like my mother because I didn’t know my mother. That is until I realized the length she would go to ensure my safety and prosperity in life. I was older before my rebellion turned into reconciliation. My mother talked with me when I grew up; she nurtured my longings and aspirations and became my biggest fan. Always there for the major accomplishments in my life and always visiting and calling to come see her grands. Mother became my friend; I was older; I understood. I realized she had always been, my mother!

You Can Handle It!

No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.”              (1 Corinthians 10:13)

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Life’s difficulties are proportionate to what we can handle.  Getting laid off from your job may seem overwhelming, but you can handle it.  Losing your baby at an early age or at birth may throw you into a fiery furnace of turmoil and pain, but you can handle it.  Being abused by your husband or disrespected by your wife resembles being tossed to and fro by angry waves and fierce winds which propel a hurricane, but you can handle it.  You may have insufficient funds to pay your bills and creditors are threatening or have already come and repossessed what they loaned you, but you can handle it.  That’s right, Life’s difficulties are proportionate to what we can handle.

In other words, whatever you’re going through, God has already worked out a plan for you to be able to handle it.  That’s why you need not turn to the left hand or to the right hand in search of resolution of your various trials and tribulations.  That’s why you need not toss in the middle of the night frustrated and wondering how you’re going to make it.  The answer to your dilemma is found within you, and all you need do is pray and fast and allow the Holy Spirit to show you the way that God has already made for you to be able to bear up under the weight of that burden until the door is opened for your exit.  Is that not why the old folks in the heat of the day exclaim, “I’m so glad that trouble don’t last always.”  Hallelujah!