Body Shame

I have a post to share with you ladies and gentlemen. I am purposeful to share it here for growth purpose not for Facebook mania. This post is from one of my role models of my youth. As a teenager, my aspirations were to become an anchor. I wanted to broadcast the news on a local or national platform. Maggie Wade, little did she know that she was my inspiration when I was completing my internship at WLBT, TV station in Jackson, MS. In fact, she was the object of many lessons in my broadcast journalism class at Alcorn State University. Maggie was a class ‘act’ then and continues to be one now.

Who is Maggie, “Maggie Wade is an Anchor for the WLBT-TV3, Jackson, MS with two videos in the C-SPAN Video Library; the first appearance was a 2011 Public Affairs Event. The year with the highest average number of views per program was 2018 with an average of 2,901 views per program”(https://www.google.com/search?q=maggie+wade&oq=maggie+Wade). This is just a snapshot of who this beautiful woman is and is becoming.

I admired her as a professional, but the following post has made me admire her all the more. Ladies and gentleman as you read this, please do some self-reflecting and ask yourselves have you been guilty of anything pertaining to this article. If so, confess, repent, and grow from it as I have. There are so many nuggets from this, don’t let them go to waste. Thank you Maggie, for sharing and being so transparent.

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:29-30a;32

The journey flows..

Maggie Wade, WLBT (From Maggie Wade’s Facebook Page).

September 16  ·From Maggie: I must admit there are days that I don’t like the way I look. I have bad hair days and yes I struggle with my weight. I am not getting perms as often because I want to keep my hair healthy. But when will people learn it is never positive or constructive to body shame another person. I share this only as a learning opportunity. Because we all should think twice before taking the time to use email, social media or the phone to body shame or criticize the way another person looks. We are all beautiful and unique in our own way.

The Email to Maggie: Here is the email I received today and my response is at the bottom. I continue to pray for people! Email sent to me at work this evening: Maggie, I have struggled with what to say to you regarding how you represent yourself as a professional black women. I remember in 1991 when I first moved to Mississippi and saw you on the news and in public I was impressed and I called you and asked you where you got your hair done. You were kind enough to tell me since I was new to the area. Over the years I have watched your appearance change and I wanted to reach out to you and let you know that young black and brown girls are watching you hoping that one day they might be able to be a newscaster in prime time. Please do not take my observation negatively because you impact young women. Your appearance has been on a rapid decline year after year. Specifically your hair, your weight and how you dress. I want you to know that your hair looks terrible and your weight gain is offensive. You used to look like someone that my daughter used to strive to be like. She asked me what happened to Maggie? So I’m asking you to please take more time with your hair, try to loose some weight and consider what you wear. You do impact a large number of women. I’m only writing because I tried to call to speak to you but I was not able to get through. A little constructive criticism does not hurt, don’t you think?

Maggie’s Response: My response: Thank you for your email. While I don’t think it is constructive or positive to body shame any woman, you have a right to your opinion and I respect that. In this day and time women choose many ways to wear their hair, it does not define who we are. My goal each day is to look professional, and pray that each viewer will focus more on the information than what I’m wearing, my weight or how I wear my hair. It is my hope that you will tell your daughter that I am proud of who I am and what God has blessed me with including a career that I love and continue to work hard in each and every day. I am a wife, mother and grandmother, my greatest blessings. I would hope that we would be proud of each other for what’s in our hearts and our brain rather than appearances. One of the reasons I have volunteered for years and worked with young people is to remind them they are beautiful no matter the size, what they wear or how society tries to identify or label them. I want them to love themselves, to be healthy and to strive to be the very best people they can be which means being compassionate, respectful, and treating people the way they want to be treated. One of my very favorite quotes is from the amazing Maya Angelou, “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I try to live by that and making every single person feel valued, important and relevant regardless of circumstances. Thank you again and blessings to you and your family,

Maggie,

May the Lord continues to bless you Maggie!

Being a Good ‘Thang’

Shavuos: When Torah Was Given and Not Received - Jewish Holidays
…and He brought her to the man. Gen. 3:22c

“… And God saw that it was good.” Over-and-over-again during the six-day creation, God repeated this statement after specific segments. Finally, after speaking everything into existence (…and it was so), He made a final analysis of His creation; it was not just good, but indeed, it was VERY good. “31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day” Gen. 1:31.

After God allowed Man to make a ‘go of it’ (life without a comparable helper), He saw that it was not good. The first negative in the garden. 18 And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Gen. 1:18. God had created everything from the earth, but woman was uniquely designed and created from the rib of Adam. Rib in the ancient Sumerian language means life. 22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. Gen. 1:22. Again, God had created another life from the living.

Eve was created comparable to Adam, her husband. The Lord had given Adam a precious gift… a helper, a wife, a ‘good thang’. Proverbs 18:22 says, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and receives favor from the Lord”. How significant, vital, and essential is the wife to marriage, to her husband, and to the Lord. This is not only an important position, but a powerful one.

Wives, we have been described as a ‘good thing’. We were created to make the life and existence of our husbands good. Our husbands need us. It is difficult in life to ‘go it alone”. God gave Adam & Eve both a charge, to have dominion (radah) over the earth and to subdue (kabash) it. As our husbands exercise their rule over the earth, by making it a safe and productive place for their fruitful offspring, i.e. humanity. wives, we are helpers in this charge, even down to the subjugation of it, especially when things get out of hand.

God handed Eve to Adam. She was a gift. We are a gift to our husbands, whether it was a divine setup or a permissive mess-up (disobedient choice). Wives are good gifts and we should understand the sweetness of such a position as a form of stewardship. The outcome should bring God glory and the betterment of His creation.

What our husbands need: a friend, a helper to respectfully encourage him agriculturally, environmentally, and/or vocationally, a partner to speak words that adds to his life not tear him down or subtract. They need a listener, not someone to talk, talk, talk, and talk, yet failing to listen and hear him, (ladies, please… silence is golden) too much talking can become an irritant. They need a wife to feel safe enough to express tender emotions that may produce tears, a physical partner to desire him and to express it, a recreational partner to release energy and laughter. Last, but not least, a spiritual partner, one who prays with him, but has her own personal prayer life to stand in the gap when he gets weary and falters. That can be a tricky assessment; sometimes this can appear as one thing and means another. Always, the key is reconciliation. After all, that is our ministry; we are called to be peacekeepers. We must seek forgiveness (giving and receiving), all covered by grace. “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” Romans 12;18. Finally, never keep score. Scorecards are unreliable and one-sided.

This is not an inventory… only the quintessence of a portrait of marriage. I could go on and on. I know you have more examples of what it ‘look likes’ to walk out being a ‘good thang’ and a God given gift to your husband. Marriage is beautiful, don’t allow anyone to tell you differently, that’s what I call false teaching. Marriage is not easy, but it is possible. Lord help us all!

The journey flows…

Your Slip is Showing

I grew up in a very small humble community in Mississippi in the latter sixties through the mid-eighties. During those days of my youth, we had a ‘clothes line’ or in some areas it was called a ‘washing line’.  Even though we had a washing machine and eventually an electric dryer, my mom insisted that we continue to hang our clothes on the clothes line to allow them to air-dry. Not like in many homes of today, there was no room inside the house to accommodate the machines, so there was a literal wash-house behind our house where the machines were located. Inside the wash-house was an indoor clothes line for our unmentionables. You know the kind of clothing that, ‘back in a day’,  were either too embarrassing or too offensive for accidental viewing. You know like your underwear, bloomers, drawers, panties, brassieres, etc. Of course, there were four females in the house and I could assure you neighbors or pedestrians did not want to have an extended visual of our underwear flapping in the wind creating a neurological pathway for later recall.  Hence the name, underwear… not meant to be a public spectacle.  

Unlike then, now we are allowing our underwear and our unmentionables to flap in the wind, metaphorically speaking.  We have allowed social media to create an environment of relaxation to where our comfort level, when it relates to private thoughts, have become way to public. Too much information is a gateway to confusion, arguments and disagreements that can escalate to violence and death. Everybody is not mature enough to handle our thoughts. We had a phrase for when people allow their words and behavior to self-condemn. You know how when you let certain things slip, sometimes due to rage and impulsivity, it was coined as ‘letting your slip show’. There is a lot of offensive information just hanging out there on social media. It did not get there by itself. So before you post anything on social media, ask yourself: Can I verify validity, could it actually be a lie since I wasn’t there, do I have the entire story or is this a clip, am I a pawn for Satan, is this bringing restoration or division, am I being a good witness for Christ?

Make no mistake, I believe in being transparent, however even with transparency there is a responsibility to know your audience. Every thought isn’t meant to be shared with the public. Has it become taboo to keep your anger and verbal lashings from public consumption? Some thoughts should only be shared with pre-approved audiences.  Whatever happened to bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 2 Corinthians 10:5b?

For example, if I totally disagree with someone or believe an individual’s behavior is not in line with human reasoning, must I call the person “stupid” or “dumb”? Although, this would be considered a mild form of verbiage that has become acceptable among the public, even from the lips of the Saints. 

Loving reminder: Saints our speech should be edifying at all times. This does not preclude personal opinions or agreeing to disagree, but what it does preclude is putting limits on edification. Someone could argue that edification is subjective. The goal of edification is considering how to spur on each other into love and good works, Hebrews 10:24. Therefore, if that end goal isn’t met then the communication that is coming from the mouth is corrupt, to say the least. Ephesians 4:25-30, “25 Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. 26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil. 28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. 29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” 

I realize this is the era of the information age, but the word of God transcends any era and cannot be put on a shelf to satisfy and justify the carnal desire of simply being heard. Please allow your words to stand for something other than a personal agenda. If you must have an agenda, make sure the goal and the motivation benefit the kingdom and it reaches eternity. After all, only what we do for Christ will last. I had to delete my face-book account because my heart was breaking daily as I read posts from my brothers and sisters in Christ that did not resemble stretching across the aisle to offer long-suffering, grace, mercy, compassion, love and peace. I don’t know if anybody told you… but, “your slip is showing”. Pray for me as I pray for you.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, Lord have mercy on us all. In Jesus name, amen! 

The journey flows… 

The Imbalanced Scales of Life

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If the reaping and the sowing were truly fair for all today, which would you prefer, justice for all or do you prefer grace & mercy for all? Hmm…

There are certain things in life that one can predict and there are other times that situations in life simply happen. The simplistic nature of the discovery or revelation is not happenstance to God. He is sovereign and nothing that happens in this life escapes His knowledge. Man has studied variant phenomenon to arrive at theories relative to cause and effect and coined as laws. For example, some of these principles are known as Laws of Physics, Laws of Nature, Theories of Relativity, Laws of Gravity, even the old adage that if something can go wrong, it will… Murphy’s Law. Even with these systematic structured physical and/or natural studies of behavior, man had to observe an organized level of experiments before considering it science. However, with God’s word, we can take it at face value, no further proof is needed, we must take Him at His word.

With that, if the latter is true… taking God’s word as the truth, then we should respond as such. There are several verses in the bible that reflect the law/principle of ‘reaping and sowing’. It has been tried and is true. Galatians 6:7-10 reads, “7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. 10 So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.  

The principle: do not fool ourselves to believe that God does not see the motives of our hearts when we sow seeds, God will not be mocked. If we sow fleshly seeds that appears to be seeds sown to the Spirit, only God can assess justly. Man can only see and attempt to assess the outside actions with incomplete knowledge and tainted biases. Man has the potential to see the beautiful blessings which God graciously gives. Even in that, how is man to know that all ‘good fortune’ comes from God? Man doesn’t know. Man can try to assess others’ blessings or demise, in the case of sowing, for that matter reaping as well. If we are spending that much energy, time, and passion in other people’s business that would mean that we are not putting as much time needed with God to make sure that our own sowing is in the Spirit. After all, we do want a bountiful harvest. “6 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good word, 2 Corinthians 9:6-8.  

In a nutshell, the law of reaping and sowing is all about the heart. Sowing with a good and cheerful heart takes work. The amount of time and effort it takes to respond to other people’s actions in grace does not leave time to passionately asses the dealings of others’ blessings or demise. We can only be responsible for our own actions and our own responses. However, we can spur others to love and good works, but we can’t make people do right. The harvest from good seeds will produce eternal rewards, but also produce a rewarding and abundant life on earth/partial reaping. The beauty of reaping is that God is ‘just’ (right) in His rewards, yet gracious. We never get exactly what we deserve (punishment/discipline) and always get more than we deserve (rewards/blessings). Since we know this to be true, trust God and do not grow weary and faint in doing what is right and good. God will bless us with a harvest according to His will and the purpose will always be for the kingdom and His glory.

Finally, let us look for opportunities while we still have sound minds and capabilities. Keep doing good to all of mankind, especially to our brother’s and sister’s in Christ. Leave the reaping to God and be mindful of our own personal sowing. God is so good, The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever.10 He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us,” Psalm 103:8-12.

Heavenly Father, thank you for never giving me the discipline that is according to my times of wickedness and fleshly seeds. Thank you for the grace that is so amazing day after day. Forgive me for when I have taken for granted your grace and rebelled against that which I know to be right and times in my ignorance failed to tread with your wisdom and guidance, but that of compromise and weakness. I am your daughter and you are my God. Thank you, Jesus for opening the door for me to have a relationship to your Father. Now God, help me not grow weary in well doing and to press and not faint as I wait for the harvest. Help me look not to what kind of harvest, but trust that it will a gracious and right one. You are so good to me in your sovereignty. Thank you for hearing my prayer, in Jesus’ majestic name, I do pray and believe. Amen!

The journey flows…

What Really Happened That Day?

The current state of affairs may resemble mayhem to almost borderline anarchy. When the condition of society is without government and law, there is political and social disorder due to the absence of governmental control. What can follow is anarchy. Even if there is not a full-blown anarchy, lack of respect and refusal to follow official mandates has the potential to cause similar affects.

 In the Old Testament, from Genesis to Malachi, from the priesthood of Melchizedek to Jesus the High Priest, from prophets, to judges, and kings, the Lord was the governing authority in a theocratic system. God, the King, Lawgiver and Judge was the voice of influence and divine authority. With that, even with God’s chosen men and women in leadership, the environment still seemed to consist of unrestrained chaos, confusion, and disorder. When the leaders did right, the people thrived, but when the leaders were disobedient and idolatrous, the people looked a lot like their leaders and suffered greatly. The people either benefited or lost at the hands of their leader. When a platform is the embodiment of ungodly principles with a pattern of blatant self-centeredness, people tend to operate as if there is no leader at all. “In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did that which was right in his own eyes”, Judges 21:25. But, how could all of this be if the Lord was considered the governing authority?

In the New Testament, we began to read about Jewish sects and catch a glimpse of the subtle encroachment of separation of church and state. The leaders were Sadducees (priests and wealthy influential people), Pharisees (more common people, traditionalist, religious leaders expecting Torah application in life based on their understanding) and Essenes (self-identified as sole and faithful remnant of Israel, generally shunning marriage). There were also kings, nobles, emperors, etc. etc. My point is that before there were presidents of countries, there were governing authorities that began with Adam in the Garden of Eden, “Then the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and keep it” Genesis 2:15. We all know what happened next. God’s plan for His theocratic system of ruling was perfect and would have remained perfect until Adam disobeyed God. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” Genesis 2:16-17.  

I believe that sometimes we forget what really happened on that day. 12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— 13 (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come” Romans 5:12-14. Sin entered the world on that day and has continued. It is perpetual and universal. The evil that is before us today that looks as if it is unchecked should be no surprise. The same enemy that wreaked havoc in the Garden of Eden is the same enemy that is upsetting the world today and attempting the same to your personal peace. Do not let him!

“12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places Ephesians 6:12.  Our battles are not simply against a physical enemy. Even in the Garden of Eden, evil was brought to Adam at the hands of Eve and its originator the serpent because of Satanic influence.  If Eve had only known what she was about to contribute to… e.g. the state of the world that we are in today. But God…

There is no leader from the past, present or future who will govern in a way that will promote personal or universal peace. Look to the Lord.  As long as we look to leaders for remedies and expect consistent impartial protection and safety from any governing authority, we will continue to be disappointed. After all they are ‘men’. I know… I know… you are not expecting lasting peace here on earth… really? Now search deeply, not even a little bit?

Finally, remember Adam, Eve, the serpent, and satanic forces on that day.  There is sin and death in Adam, but salvation and life in Christ. “17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.) 18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous” Romans 5:17-19.

Be encouraged and marvel not at what we see with our eyes. “Be angry and sin not“, Ephesians 4:26a. Do not forget what actually happened in the Garden. What you see now is clearly evidence of the fall of man. Let’s be the light and salt so the world can see the resurrection of Christ. Make the gospel attractive in the midst of mayhem so there won’t be a total anarchy. God is still in control… try to live righteously and let Him reign. 

The journey flows…

Feels Like Chains to Me

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ. Phil. 1:3-8

I woke up this morning longing for my church family and friends. The Lord led me to spend time in Philippians. While reading, I began to inwardly relate to Apostle Paul being in chains. Initially, I began to have a ‘pity party’.  After I meditated on Apostle Paul’s joyful attitude while in prison, I settled into confession and repentance after owning up to my sinful attitude accepting my conviction by the Holy Spirit. Paul was illegally arrested, beaten, placed in stocks, and humiliated before the people; instead of dwelling on the obvious which led him to his chains, he meditated on the fellowship of the Saints, which he was enjoying even miles away being in chains.

Paul’s fellowship with the church of Philippi transcended the chains and distance. His fellowship with the Saints began with the Gospel and ended there. From which there is no ending, only eternity. Paul understood that it didn’t matter what happened to him as long as Christ is glorified and the gospel being shared with others. Paul rejoiced in spite of his chains. His rejoicing included the gift of fellowship of eternal life within the heart, fellowship of the gospel, and fellowship of the same sufferings.

This passage and Paul’s example comforted me by reminding me that Christian fellowship is much more than being present at a worship service in a church building or the anticipation of a new worship format. It doesn’t matter what the new format will be, what matters is that no matter the chains, (COvid-19, isolation, social distancing… no hugs, or no smiles from behind a mask), true fellowship has not been affected. Basically, that which I grieve is no comparison to the true fellowship of that which can never be lost.

Like Apostle Paul, I will continue to serve, worship, remain joyful with the Christian fellowship that we as believers have within Jesus Christ.  Paul was in Rome with his friends/brethren being miles away in Philippi. Their spiritual fellowship, being distant, was still satisfying. I am learning to rejoice in having a unified mind and not be anxious in my spirit about the situation. I embrace what God is doing in each individual life to strengthen the fellowship of the gospel.  I am confident that He who has begun a good work in me (us) will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus, Phil. 1:6.

I thank God in all of my remembrance of you in prayer and supplication with joy in my heart for you all. It is ok for me to grieve, but focus on God not the situation or the uncomfortable affects of the current state of affairs.  With all of this being said, I still struggle with and pray about so many aspects of my position and the position of the church during this time, but for now, I will take a pause and enjoy the peace of today. Lord help me as I look to you for all of my help, Amen! 

The journey flows…

Live Each Day to the Fullest

There is a song by a Country music singer that has lyrics with the potential to influence perspective on living each day to the fullest. A poor diagnosis can change one’s perspective and shift priorities for many, if not all. We do not know what life will be like tomorrow, James 4:14a.

The lyrics:

Verse: He said,
“I was in my early forties
With a lot of life before me
And a moment came that stopped me on a dime
I spent most of the next days
Looking at the x-rays
Talkin’ ’bout the options
And talkin’ ’bout sweet time”
I asked him
“When it sank in
That this might really be the real end
How’s it hit you
When you get that kind of news?
Man, what’d you do?”

Chorus: He said
“I went skydiving
I went Rocky Mountain climbing
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fumanchu
And I loved deeper
And I spoke sweeter
And I gave forgiveness I’d been denying”
And he said
“Someday I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dying”

Verse: He said
“I was finally the husband
That most of the time I wasn’t
And I became a friend a friend would like to have
And all of a sudden going fishin’
Wasn’t such an imposition
And I went three times that year I lost my dad
I finally read the Good Book, and I
Took a good, long, hard look
At what I’d do if I could do it all again
And then

Chorus repeated… ~ Tim McGraw

If you notice in this song, the man received news that altered his existence (stopped life on a dime). Taking in account the news that he had a progressive illness with a very poor prognosis, the man started to live each day as if it were his last. What will it take for you to live each day as if it were your last? What would that look like? Would you do like the man in the song? His days became sweeter. He began to check-off items on his bucket list: skydiving, mountain climbing, riding a bull, and going fishing. He renewed his commitment to loving deeper and talking sweeter, and giving forgiveness that he had refused to give in the past. He finally read the bible. His relationships became a priority. After assessing them, he realized that he needed to be a better son, husband and friend. Finally, he began to muse over his life with remorse… only if I could do it all again.

When I think of the finality of each day with this man, I asked myself do I live each day as if it were my last. I asked myself what would that look like in the life of a believer. Before the current days of pandemic, COvid-19 and quarantine, my life-lense was narrow with less depth of field. My attempt to look past tomorrow extensively into future destinies was futile. As I experienced each day, by mid-noon, that day was already becoming yesterday. I was already living into tomorrow with plans, worries, anxieties, and celebrations. My afternoons and evenings were filled with “what will I do tomorrow” concerning blah, blah, and blah… you fill in the blank? I neglected to live according to Matthew 6:27 and 34, 27 “Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” and  34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble”. There are times when I am anxiety-driven with excessive worry about the “what if’s” and “what abouts”, and “what will I do” rather than to allow the Lord’s peace to reign in my life. I cannot rest comfortably in today’s peace for borrowing tomorrows troubles.

Lord I thank you for causing ALL things to work together for good to those who love YOU, to those who are called according to YOUR purpose, Romans 8:28. Somewhere within these last eight weeks, my life-lense has become broader with greater depth of field. I don’t gaze so far into my future endeavors but I live in the moment with a broader scope ‘taking in’ the advantages as well as the disadvantages, the splendor and the unattractiveness, also the captivating moments as well as the repelling ones. Life is so much simpler when walking with faith as my retina. If I allow faith to drive my destiny, my only future gaze is eternity. “So we fix our eyes on not what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporal, but what is unseen is eternal” 2 Corinthians 2:18.

I do not know if I would do any rocky mountain climbing, riding bulls, or even fishing for that matter, but there are some things that I would like to do before I transition into my eternal life that I have put off for another day. There are words that I want to say and questions that I want to ask, but have not because of fear. Anticipatory anxiety has been my retina far too long. It is time for me to put to rest life-imbalances, worry, stressful and distracting thoughts to replace them with greater faith, peaceful thinking, and daily contentment. Don’t just live for today, but live for God while living today. Pray for me. 🙂

Finally, planning is essential to life on earth, but that’s beyond current context.

C.S. Lewis, “All that is not eternal is eternally useless.” Hmm….

The journey flows…

Unsung Heroes

I am so grateful for all the workers who are mandated to ‘clock in’ during this season of variant. However, I would like to introduce to you the Unsung Heroes of today. It is no surprise that any task or responsibility that has to do with keeping the family sane and safe holds the position of ‘last but not least’. “I thank God upon every remembrance of you”, Phil. 1:3. To all the mothers and fathers who take risks upon your grocery store visits, thank you. You don’t have a second thought to this matter. It is essential; it has to be done. The initial thought is normally, what must I do to be safe as I go to the store? How must I glove and mask up; are there any disinfectant wipes? Do I leave the items in their original packet or do I change it out before I take it inside? Do I wipe the package off with wipes? Darn it, I have to wash my hands. This mental process is primary when it comes to making sure the family has something to eat. Your love, commitment and sacrifice for your family is to be honored. I honor you !

Another, “thank you” for taking up the mantle for the teachers. Although, there are variations of virtual teacher-student communication to ensure learning, still the parents are much more involved in their children’s learning than ever before. I can only imagine the stress for some of you. You are courageous! Thank you!

Thank you to all of the Pastors, Ministers, and church Leaders who are continuing to minister to the spirit-man. This includes discerning how to keep the body unified at a distance or deciding when to open the church for worship. No easy feat. This also includes ministering to encourage the saints to live holy lives as they themselves remain the same.  Stay encouraged. You are fearless. You are another Unsung Hero.

Thank you to the mental health, addiction, and abuse counselors who are tirelessly finding creative ways to provide therapy for those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to function at their best. Families and the community thank you!

Thank you to the Sanitation Engineers who continue to keep the environment clean from the mounds of trash that would be accumulating in our homes from the excess trash, rubbish, and debris. You are crucial. Thank you!

There are many others in other industries: banks, department stores, grocery stores, home good stores, gas stations, pharmacies, restaurants, coffee shops, mechanics, towing companies, plumbers, electricians, and postal workers. Because of my narrow scope, I am certain that I have left out many.  I congratulate you too! Thank you all and congratulations for being chosen as an Unsung Hero of the COvid-19 crisis and beyond. I honor you!   “…And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves”, 1 Thessalonians 5:13.  May the Lord continue to bless you and your loved ones.

The journey flows…

“Ah…” What a Feeling

Too much of anything in the secular realm is not wise. Do a quick self-examination and ask yourself what is the object of your overconsumption. Truthfully, I could make a list of the top ten. In my effort to encourage you, my goal is not to rattle off a list of what we spend too much time participating in, but I want to discuss some potential effects of overconsumption. The perspective of the outcome is the same. If you routinely spend too much time ‘doing the same thing’ especially around the same time, preceding or following a particular event or activity, you can develop not only a bad habit but also an addiction could be unfolding.

When the word addiction is mentioned, some default is to think of drugs and alcohol and not the many activities that we participate in daily that gives us that ‘happy feeling’. Those activities or ‘things’ that gives us the most comfort has the potential to spur addictive behaviors e.g. repetitiveness, lack of management, and destruction. The simple fact that anything outside of God that gives us that rush of comfort is only temporary and leaves us feeling empty from having participated.

Okay, okay… some of us would not agree that our behaviors are borderline addictions, but for the sake of this exercise, examine your daily routines, especially since you have been quarantined or simply humor me. 🙂

I know this person, (wink, wink) at one time in her life, she would listen to a certain genre of music, other than Christian music, a certain day of the week. This music took her to a happy place, not all bad, but not all good either. The fact that this started out as a day to unwind, was not the issue, but the issue was the development of how this time became her happy place.

During the week when she became sad or depressed, she knew that she could go to that place in her head/mind that would provide a level of comfort like nothing or no none else on the planet. She had even begun to experience the chemical ‘let down’ that accompany sex, shopping, eating chocolate, or even falling in love. You know… Dopamine, one of ‘natures’ happy drugs. It is released with the anticipation with any of the aforementioned activities. Dopamine is one of the ‘big four’ chemicals that our brains release associated with producing that happy feeling. Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Endorphins are the other three.

Soon, what started out to be harmless would become her addiction… her idol. In case you have not noticed, she did not start out to substitute God’s comfort with seeking comfort by fleshly means. My bible tells me that my comfort and hope come from God’s living and active word that He, Himself has given us through reading and abiding. “For everything that was written in former times was written for our instruction, so that through endurance and through encouragement of the scriptures we may have hope. Now may the God of endurance and comfort give you unity with one another in accordance with Christ Jesus”, Romans 15:4-5. Another one of my favorites, Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God”, 1 Corinthians 1:3-4.

A nugget; If God comforts us in all our tribulations so that we may be able to comfort others in any trouble, why would He allow us to find our comforts elsewhere, (in this case, the flesh), since I am to share and utilize it to comfort others? Hmm…

There is no way that I can tell anyone to look at what God did for me through earthly and fleshly means. Do not hear what I am not saying… refocus. What I am saying is that we cannot find lasting comfort and the kind that would not leave us shameful and empty apart from God.

Loving Exhortation: Be consistently, sober-minded. 1. Be careful if you are spending too much time on social media or the internet, even if the goal is to ward-off boredom. 2. Be careful if you are spending too much time consuming COvid-19 information. Yes, this can even provide comfort. How? The more you know about the disease the more comfortable and control you feel; the more you know, the more you think you can prevent it. Live and trust God, quit reading and talking about it so much. 

3. Are you listening or reading more about the Covid-19 environmental effects than reading or listening to the word of God? Only you can honestly answer that. Do you know more about COvid-19 than you do on how to lead someone to Christ? Do you know more about the symptoms and how the national leaders are trending with their decisions than defending your faith with scriptures? Again, only you can answer this.

4. One more thing to be careful with. That glass of wine that use to be occasional. Since the quarantine, you have more in the house, you enjoy it more than before because you have more time to drink it. You look forward more to a nice glass of alcoholic beverage because it relaxes you. I am not a drinker, but just writing this makes me want a glass, especially if it is going to relax me. Lord have mercy! See what I mean…

5. Finally, the beauty of tickling those taste buds with comfort foods. When working, you did not have time to prepare them, but now, you prepare those big meals with homemade desserts and pastries more regularly, meals with pastas, like spaghetti and lasagnas, because it feeds more people or more leftovers to stretch those groceries for budget purposes. How about, trying out those new recipes; another facilitator of comfort. What I am trying to say is be very careful. The enemy and the flesh working together will create havoc in our lives.

This is not the time to get relaxed in what can become easy living or the proverbial life on a ‘flowery bed of ease’ as a means to avoid complaining or to produce contentment. Be careful of overindulging in things of this world that brings temporary comfort, joy, and happiness. Desire comfort in that which lasts. This can only be found in God though Jesus Christ and His word.

Allow me to bless you as I leave you for today with my favorite benediction prayer: “May the Lord bless you and keep you, may His face shine upon you and be gracious to you, may He life His countenance upon you and give you peace” Numbers 6:2426!

Thank you for reading my free style writing! 🙂 I pray that you are blessed and encouraged by it.

The journey flows…. –

God is Worth the Effort

As I sit and stare out my office window and reflect on the last few weeks, I began to praise the Lord for His grace, mercy, compassion, love, protection, provision, presence, closeness, companionship, patience, gentleness, my every breath, freshness, and so much more. Just thinking of His ‘Allness’, my heart feels full. You know the feeling.

At times, when I reflect on God’s goodness, I fear of forgetting these times of such closeness and stillness. I want to remember them so I can pass the memories and these experiences of God’s ‘Allness’ along to my granddaughters. I desire to share and testify of this swelling of God’s existence and His character to many. God is so faithful in every way.

The Lord has impressed upon me to remember one of His great miracles. The supernatural damming and drying of the Jordan River. This was so the multitude could crossover into Canaan. God spoke to Joshua and told him to instruct the twelve tribes of Israel to erect a 12-stone memorial to celebrate the crossing of the Israelites over the dry-river Jordan. This memorial would serve as an applicable method of teaching their young of God’s ‘Allness’ and it would definitely prove that God was with Joshua and His people.  Joshua 4:6-7 reads, 6 That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? 7 Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel forever. KJV

God commanded them when they cross the Jordan to remember to fear Him and to keep His Laws and statutes and to teach them to their offspring from generation to generation.  4 ““Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. 6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates”, Deuteronomy 6:6-9

How will you remember this time? What will be your memorial and teaching tool to help reflect on these days and how the Lord is helping you to cross over your ‘River-Jordan’? Journaling is an inexpensive practical way to help with recall. There are hard copies, and electronic ways to journal concerning how the Lord is meeting and has met your every need. It is also worth journaling about how He is swelling up into this giant of ‘Allness’ in our lives so monumentally, especially during these weeks of stillness. I encourage you to use this time to catalog how God has shown to be your true ‘Daily bread’.

You don’t have to journal every day. It can even be once a week. Pray about your routine. Make an appointment in your phone calendar with a reminder to journal often.  Journaling can serve as a memorial for teaching future generations about God’s character and how He is our sustenance for life. It also can become a catalyst to praise and worship. It is very therapeutic in many ways. Please enjoy reflecting on God’s goodness during this journey!

Happy Resurrection Day,

With Love,

The journey flows…