Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A Chronic Pain

Unless you have a chronic illness, you will never know what it is like for someone who does. You will never understand how on one day you can be on top of the world feeling no pain to the next day being taken down by the invisible attacker.  Chronic pain comes in many forms. In my case, it is due to a condition called, cervical spinal stenosis. This is caused by the cervical bones in the neck pressing on the spinal cord causing anything from numbness in the limbs to shutting down the activity in your brain. Yes your spinal cord along with your heart is the central parts in your body, if they are not working properly, the body is tossed into confusion.
Today I feel defeated. I feel let down and totally unable to comprehend the capacity in which my life is being lived today, yet I strive to remain in a state of peace and faith. I don’t wear a mask for the world to see. Today I am feeling vulnerable in the fact that I want to give up. Give up on dreams and passions. Give up on faith. But check this out, that will not happen. You see, we are flesh first and then spirit beings. God has created every detail, every cell, every blood vessel, and every organ. God created us and He knows exactly what trial we will face and how we will face it. It is up to us to choose how. It is up to us to gird up our loins and stand firm in the peace that passes all understanding. Chronic pain is past our human understanding, but it is not for God. And this trial as with others will be used for His glory, and that is His ultimate plan.

As I watch the news and see the travesty of lead based drinking water in Flint, Michigan, the snow blizzards along the east coast that have claimed over 50 lives, especially the young mother and her infant child passing away in her car, can I really complain about the pain dancing up and down my spine? Can I really complain about the inability to have multiple good days instead of one or two in any given week? Just thinking about a young man who lost his legs due to a drunk driver, changing his life due to no fault of his own. Just thinking about the many elderly who are alone and without assistance. Thinking about the homeless and hungry, shelters filled to capacity. Looking not to myself, but to the many catastrophes taking place around the world, I absolutely should not dare fix my lips to complain. Complain I will not, but serve notice that I too suffer, yet alive. I too feel pain and discouragement, yet alive. I too feel broken and defeated, yet still alive. 

2 Corinthian 3-4 NLT says this, All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.

As I write, I am feeling encouraged. Not because the pain is lessoning, no, but because one of you will read this and say, that is me and I am not alone. I write it out because that way, my thoughts, ideas, and negative suggestions are emptied from my spirit and placed into the atmosphere serving notice to the enemy that, he will not win without a fight. Oh yes, I fight, but the battle is not mine. The victory is the Lords, and as long as I remain in that space, I win and so do you. We win by the blood of Jesus.

My brothers and sisters, get out of your way. Step back and really take a hard look around you. Nothing is promised us. We all in some form have taken this life and those in it for granted. We at some point whether knowingly or unknowingly turned a blind eye to a situation or person. This does not make you a bad person, it makes you human. Because you are exhausted and fed up, because you at this moment just don’t give a hoot as to what happens, because you have surrendered to the enemy by talking yourself into a fit of rage, you want to tap out. Guess what, you can’t and you won’t. You are needed. Your journey is not about you. Only the narcissist creates a bubble around him or herself creating an all about me song. Scratch the record and toss it out of the window. Get up and take your place. Share your story and sing a song of praise. Why? Because you are alive.

Be Blessed

Sunday, January 24, 2016

His Presence Will Go With You

For months, I have been in an uneasy place in my spirit and my life. I have also been on some great highs and enjoying much more. I have allowed my imagination to consume me to the point of not taking much action. I have let myself flow in the joys that God has provided. Even though I know that the Father is with me, I have been in a dark and muddy valley. In this valley, my self-talk is not all that blessed. My self-talk is of frustration and admonishment. My self-talk jumps on the back of depression and shuts me down. It is a great and awesome wonder that God is the great revealer of all things, because He no doubt knows everything. I understand that it is all par for the course in which He has already predestined specifically for me.

In my journal writing on Friday morning, all I could write was praises to God thanking Him for all that He has saved me from, pages of praise. I gave Him my heartfelt desire and pain acknowledging that my flesh has grabbed hold of the negatives that I have magnified and took off on a course all of it’s own. I allow flesh to choke the daylights out of spirit even if is imagined. As I was writing, my heart began to pray for others. I knew that I had to get my mind off of me, and praying for others was and is the best way to do it. I know that the best way to run the enemy off is to start speaking the Word of God, boldly. Start pleading the blood of Jesus and off running, he and his imps must go.

Now, why is it so hard to get in that lane when we know that the Almighty is right there in the valleys with us?  Why is it so hard when one hiccup can cause an avalanche of emotion and toss us off course?  We are not in Kansas anymore Toto. All of it is par for the course to strengthen us and prepare us for the greater that is in store. I am not where I desire to be, but I know I am where God REQUIRES me to be. No matter how uncomfortable we will be, no matter how frustrated we will become, no matter how unfulfilled and unappreciated, no matter the lot, we have to KNOW without a doubt, that all is well.

Isaiah 41:10 NLT says this, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious hand.”

Isaiah 43:2 NLT says, this, “When you go through deep waters, I (God) will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” That is a praise break word right there.

My brothers and sisters, do you see what God has said? You will get caught up and side tracked. People will have words to say about you be it good or bad. You will become extremely frustrated in your current situation. I was speaking with a friend the other day, and I told him this, success cannot be rushed. That comment just popped up in my head at that moment, during that conversation. That was God, not me, reminding me of His perfection. God is a god of order and He will only bless the obedient whom He has chosen. God cannot in any way bless sin, it goes against His word that He Himself created, and God cannot lie. Don’t be fooled that we can do it our way, this will only lead to the delay of the everlasting blessings and also guaranteed disasters in our lives. If you need a reminder of God’s warning about disobedience, read the book of Deuteronomy and then dig deeper into His word. We must stand in complete obedience of God and praise Him all the way to the end.

We will cry, shout, and scream. Go ahead, God already knows that we will. We may want to give up and do it our way because we think our way is better and quicker, don’t do it. You may have already stepped out of the will of God, turn around and get back under the Father’s will. Run towards His outstretch arms with humility true repentance.

Your greater is on the way. Press forward.

Be Blessed

Monday, January 18, 2016

Lift Every Voice

As we celebrate the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we reflect on his vision and purpose. We reflect on all that as happened and will happen in civil and human rights. Many celebrations are under way and for that, I think it is important for the youth to be present in learning their history, full and an uncut.

As we cry out and mourn the loss of the young and old due to senseless violence, let us continue to lift our voices for justice and peace. The voice and message of Dr. King still rings truth today, and as we see in the media, we are a long way from that promise land spoken so eloquently by Dr. King. Though the nation celebrates the man whose voice was silenced due to the fight for justice, we should continue every day the journey in the same pursuit.  We should shout loud every day for justice and peace. We should not let a tragedy drive us out of the shadows. We must step forward boldly and with confidence bringing awareness to that which we know is right.
As we celebrate, let us take into account the message, the life, and legacy of a man whose loud voice was a beacon of hope. Though his voice was silenced, we must rise up and stand in the gap. This can only be done in unity. Divided we all fall, united we can all stand. Look at ways that you can be a part of the solution. Create a business, write a book, and help someone you know in business. Learn financial literacy and investment. Education is key. Purchase and read books by our black historians. Attend and support local events that are in the pursuit of building community. As I was listening to one of Dr. King’s speeches, he spoke on putting black money into black business and to stop putting money into businesses that do not serve the black communities. It starts with us if we are going to see change. We must without a doubt be the change we desire to see. We cannot be the solution if we are burning down businesses and destroying the lands on which we live. We cannot be the solution if we are turning a blind eye to the injustice that is in our faces, up close and personal. No, this will not be the solution. Destruction of any kind is just that, destruction.

My brothers and sisters, we have work to do, not today but every day. We have doors to knock down and windows to pull out by its frames. We must educate and be educated on the cause and effect of let freedom ring. We must stand proud and support the causes that enrich our communities. God’s word tells us to leave a legacy for our children’s children. This will take hard work and tenacity. We must break the cycles of mediocrity, racial hatred, and generational destructions. We must embrace and unite boldly and without apology. Our culture story has been and is still at risk. If, Black Wall Street of Oklahoma can be snuffed out, what do you think can still happen to us as an African American people? What will you do to be a part of, lifting every voice?

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Singled Out

The greatest joy we can have going into this new season is understanding our position as God’s children and knowing where we should place all of our hopes and dreams.  We are not in any way responsible for another’s actions or the lack of, however we are in fact responsible for our own actions, we are responsible for showing the love of Christ and knowing that in many cases our actions will be judged. Our wisdom shared will not be met with praise by another who only sees from their limited understanding.  Don’t let this become your trophy. Don’t let others dictate to you how you will respond to the wonderful gifts that God has for you.

The only guarantee that we have as human beings is death. None of us will escape it. Some will meet death prematurely and some by natural means.  This is the end. The end of placing others on a pedestal. The end of expecting an action from someone who clearly has no desire or capacity to fulfil. The end of reaching out and not seeing a hand reached back. Now, when I say this I do not mean it in the sense of doing for another. I mean this in the sense of reaching out to people who make the excuses of, I am so busy, etc. You must be specific in making connections and friendships with those who show a desire to have and be the same.

On this day, Sunday, January 10, 2016, I am in meditation mode. I am reviewing my goals, outlining my steps to achieve those goals, and forgiving myself for not reaching the goals I had set for myself in 2015. Holding on to something that no longer serves a purpose will keep you from pursuing your current goals with joy and peace. We all have fell short in something and we will fall again, and again.  You must get up and bounce back. Don’t give up and don’t give in because you were singled out for a purpose. Pick yourself up and square your shoulders. Put a smile on your face and let it reach your heart. Make connections with those doing what it is that you desire to do. Research, read, write, and lastly, enjoy your living because when death comes, that is the end.

My brothers and sisters, take you rightful place as heir to the throne of grace. Jeremiah 29:11 NLT says this, “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope”.

Stand up and shed the weights. The weights of inferiority, mediocrity, lack, low self-esteem, and loneliness. Get busy being the best you that you can be. Start and end every day with prayer as the Father is the author and finisher. Surrender your will to His will and walk in the authentic purpose that God has for you. Shed the weights of trying to force a connection of friendship, anything real and worthy will not take hard work to achieve. Loving the unloving is a hard thing, but you cannot stop loving them or yourself.  You have a job to do and you cannot drag anyone or anything with you that has no capacity to be fruitful.  How are you living?

Be Blessed

Seasons of Change

For the past few years I have been uncomfortable. Health issues, financial issues, family crisis, uncomfortable. It has been the same thing, day in and day out, year after year, the same. Much growth but no real satisfaction. Routine. Just existing in a space that I know I no longer fit in, by God’s design.  A hexagon trying to be pushed into a triangle. God has been nudging, sparking, and releasing His requests, a mandate to do what He has said to do. Talking with my aunt today she said this, many hear God clearly, but are not willing to be truly obedient to His call. It is like asking the Lord to flick a light to prove He spoke that magic word. Crazy uh? Yes. We all fall short.
For a while now, I have felt the nudge to do some things that I have not done.  I have tried to do some things to avail. Yes, I am doubtful. Yes, I am waiting for the light to flicker. Well, it has flickered and burst into flames. This past Friday, I had a moment that caused me extreme anger. I mean picture Jesus in the Synagogue tossing tables and flipping cages type of anger. My spirit was absolutely vexed by the feelings I had in that moment. Exhausted and on fire, I was ready for battle. Anger engulfed me and I allowed that anger to spark, simmer, and boil.

Looking back, I am aware of my lack of emotional control.  I am also aware that I have held on to so much emotional control that the dam ruptured. Today, I have been reminded. Along with that reminder, a confirmation that seasons change. And just as the season changes, so must I in order to carry out the will of God and the plans that He has for me. I reach back to my scripture for this new season, Isaiah 58:8-9 knowing that His way is better. We must always remain in the posture of, thy will be done Lord, not mine.
My brothers and sisters, listen clearly to the Abram call. We are 9 days into 2016. Let’s not do one more thing as usual, but unusual.  In Genesis 12, God spoke to Abram and told him clearly what to do. God does the unusual. He has told you the what, the when, and maybe the where. Answer the call. As hard and as scary as that call will be, answer swiftly and in faith. The one thing we must always remember, obedience to God is a requirement of the chosen.  As I write this post, I am empowered, encouraged, and assured that God will do just what He said He will do. I am answering the call. Will you?

Be Blessed

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Get Lined Up

With 5 days into 2016, I am right where I need to be. In the presence of God.  In my last post I talked about having too many irons in the fire. I am purging mentally and physically. I have even tossed water on some irons. As the last year was coming to a close, I was already in evaluation mode. When you take serious inventory of your life, you will know exactly where you are and where you are not.

The things I have come to understand at this point my life is hurtful but needed in order for me to grow. I have felt alone, unwanted, unwelcomed, unappreciated and the list is huge. I have allowed situations to overtake me when in all actuality, none of it had nothing to do with me and what I want or desire for my life. I allowed life to sit on my back and choke the life out of me. I surrender it all to Jesus Christ. Fully and completely. I have to learn that firm no when a situation does not line up and shout it from the mountain top. You see, nothing changes unless you change and what I have come to grasp is this, we are the sum of our choices. God gave us free will to make a decision and often times, that decision can be costly. With every action there is a reaction. With every decision there is a consequence. Revelation and acknowledgment is half of the road. Accountability is an absolute must.

In this new season, I am lining up with God fully and completely. Not half way. The work that God has planned is not about me, but about the need to be an active, willing, and obedient participant in building His kingdom. To be honest, I have literally wasted too many years in areas that have served minimal purpose or no purpose at all. Can you be honest with yourself and say that you have allowed some time to be wasted?.

Yesterday is gone. Poof. Outta here. Looking forward ahead, I have placed it all at the feet of Jesus Christ and this is where I need to be. I have learned that if you are not in the will of God, all that you do will fail. It may not fail immediately, but it will fail. I have the look of a dear in the headlights when I hear someone say, I did it myself, if it was not for me and so forth. That is scary for a child of God. We cannot take the credit for God’s blessings in our lives.

I have selected a scripture to meditate on for 2016. I have written this scripture down on 3x5 index cards. I will have one in my car, in my bathroom, on my bedroom mirror and as a book mark.

Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT - “My thoughts are nothing like you thoughts, says the Lord. And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than you thoughts”.

My brothers and sisters, get busy and lay it all at the feet of Jesus. Seek ye first the kingdom and all will be added. Search the scriptures, meditate on them. Removed yourself from situations that do not line up with God. Forgive yourself and others. Get connected with those who will and can support and encourage you. Have faith, if you could not do it, God would not have given you the task. It is time to get lined up to get moved up.
Be Blessed

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Redefining The Fire

As I look back over the last year, I can say I have not done all of things I had set out to do. I have had idea after idea, started them and then fizzled out due to mental exhaustion and bankruptcy. One of my favorite author’s, Barbara Joe Williams wrote a Facebook post, something her mother had said to her. “If you have too many irons in the fire, you are bound to get burned”. Ouch!

I had many irons in the fire. I attempted to be superwoman in my attempts to write a book, plan a business venture, take care of my health, and be present for my family as best I could. Be all and do all. Burned and burned out. All of my efforts produced no fruit but a mired of annoying fruit flies. Swatting at the thoughts and desires in my heart. Slapping myself for not moving up the ladder of my goals, but falling off hitting the ground due to emotional frustrations, distractions, and the wavering of my faith.

As 2015 was coming to a close, I pressed pause and took a long hard look at my list of to-do’s and my life. I scrutinized every action and lack of action. As 2015 closed, so did the fire. Now that 2016 has rung, I have a new resolve if only mentally. A new flame if only visually. One burning iron at a time.  Jeremiah 29:11 in the NLT says this, “I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give a future and a hope. Plans to prosper and not to harm you”. This scripture has powerful strength if we pay close attention and submit to His will. We must surrender our desires to the Lord and line up with Him in obedience for in that, He will grant us the desires of our hearts.

I now have a new resolve and a new flame. I will be selective of the irons I place on that flame. Though I have come to realize somethings and those realizations hurt my heart, I cannot be surprised for God is the great revealer of truths and it is up to us to pay attention and see things revealed as they are and not as we desire them to be. I relax in knowing and accepting many truths and because of those truths, I have to take in to account my participation and remove my hand. No longer living by, play the cards you were dealt no, I don’t have to settle for that hand and neither do you. Toss it back on the table and walk away.

My brothers and sisters, God is good and He has it all worked out. Every good thing comes from the Lord. Take some time to put your irons in proper prospective. Let some irons burn to a crisp. Put some water on some irons and focus on the priority of that which you desire to see come to fruition. I don’t know about you, but I am not dawning the cape of, “I can do everything at one time”. Just like a recipe for a cake has specific ingredients and proper heat to bake, we too must have specific steps we must take to reach our intended goal. Remember, gold has to go through the fire to come out pristine.
Be Blessed

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy Kwanzaa - Imani - Faith

As we enter into 2016, today's reflection is more than fitting.

Faith - To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

I wrote the following several years ago and I think it is fitting for today's reflection.

"Desire will create passion and passion will then override fear and limitation. Sometimes you will clearly see how things should be, but realize you are not living in what you see, which will cause dissatisfaction in your soul. Dissatisfaction will then create a determination inside of you to change what is not seen in the natural, into what is only known in the spiritual. Faith".

My bothers and sisters, dig down deep and pull up your faith. Restoration can only be materialized in God's time when we have that faith, the size of the mustard seed. As you go into this new year, rise up and do that which you know you were created to do. Rise up and take your places in your homes and communities. As we hear it said, tomorrow is not promised us. You may close your eyes tonight and wake the next, one less smile, one less "I love you", one less hug, one last breath.

Be Blessed

Happy Kwanzaa - Kuumba - Creativity

Creativity - To do always as much as we can, in the way that we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.

All around us we can see creation. There is not a place that you or I can see where there is no creativity. The mason builds with bricks. The carpenter builds with wood and steal. The baker builds with ingredients forming beauty to the eye and flavor to the palate. The artist of paint creates masterpieces that live for generations. Creativity is in all of us for all of us.

My brothers and sisters, we were created to create. We are to look out for others, build foundations, and as the reflection states, leave this world better than when we inherited. It is that simple. Take action.

Be Blessed