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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Learning to surrender, again

Teach them to do everything I have commanded you. "And remember that I am always with you until the end of time."
Matthew 28:20 (GWT)


I am grateful for my faith, even when its lessons are beyond my control; even when it feels that my entire life is beyond my control. 

Control is the lesson. 

Not taking it, but rather, letting it go. This is not a lesson I like.

As Karen Clark Sheard sings “God is here” as I am reminded that “HERE” is not a place of which I am particularly fond. (That’s not what she means when she’s singing, but I bring my baggage to the listening. It is what it is…)

A wise dear friend (or so I hope) challenged me to write on this…

“Where we’ve been is not where we are, and where we are is not where we’ll be…”

What is clear during this lesson is this….wherever I am right now, wherever HERE is, this is not my final destination. I don’t like it, but it’s not my endpoint.

I am quietly, soberly, losing my mind.

I had to stop writing because I was getting caught up in the words. If I am going to surrender, I just have to do it. Let go. Stop. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Going to war…

                      
I read recently the confession of a woman struggling to celebrate African-American History Month with relevance; my nodded head at the screen in agreement. African-American history is just that-history to me, and while I am grateful that Carter G. Woodson’s Negro History Week became a month and is now nationally celebrated as an opportunity to teach those who don’t know the things on which I was raised, I’m mostly over it. America, we’ve got to do better. (I am struggling with my patriotism right now; that’s another matter.)

This is not a time for peace. It's time to go to war. Disturb us, Lord. We need You, Lord.
We all do. Hear our prayers.
CLICK AND TWEET THIS
I needed a war cry. I have it now. I am using what remains of African-American History Month to pray over the men in my life (My Beloves a war on African-American men, and I stand in horror as my country places them at risk to become gravely endangered. History is repeating itself, and not in a manner that warrants any do-overs.d, the Professor, my little/big brother, my nephews and cousins among others), because itit feels like there is a war on African-American men, and I stand in horror as my country places them at risk to become gravely endangered. History is repeating itself, and not in a manner that warrants any do-overs.
 

I recently saw the movie Selma, and the death of Civil Rights activist Jimmie Lee Jackson called to mind the deaths of Emmitt Till, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and the marginalization of African-American men. In the words of Jonathan Capehart writing in the Washington Post,  black men are under siege in America.

What do I intend to do about it? I intend to pray. If the enemy wants a fight, I’m taking it to him, and I’ll take all the help I can get. There are always at least three approaches to a problem-making things happen, watching things happen, and wondering what happened. I’m going to war.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
~Ephesians 6:12 (NASB)

What am I asking you to do? Join me in praying for the men in your lives, for the men in all our lives. It’s our fight, and it is the fight of our lives. We cannot do it alone, and I do not want to…

Ecclesiastes 4:12 teaches us that
And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart. (NASB)

I close with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr,’s prayer from Thou, Dear God: Prayers that Open Hearts and Spirits

Eternal God,
out of whose mind this great cosmic universe, we bless you. Help us to seek that which is high, noble and good. Help us in the moment of difficult decision. Help us to work with renewed vigor for a warless world, a better distribution of wealth, and a brother/sisterhood that transcends race or color.

We need You, Lord. We all do.


Selah and Amen

Will you pray with me? Will you add your prayers to mine?



Wednesday, February 4, 2015

We’re on the Outs again….

Seems everyone has a pair in their friend circle, married couple, BFFs, siblings, who have the kind of dynamic relationships where either everything is rosy, or they’re at each other’s throats. Those are NOT my relationships. I appreciate an easy flow and rhythm, particularly as I age. I strive to be the river circling gently around and over the stones; I am averse to drama. Unfortunately, that is not my faith story.

I am grateful to have developed what I describe as a frank, honest relationship with Christ and my faith. I’ve stopped being polite. I confess when I am angry (He Always Knows). I try at all times to be clear. I realize that in the Grand Scheme of things an Omnipotent God does not direct the Universe based upon even a single whim or mood of mine; His is an Eternal Perspective. He Loves me and knows, Wise Creator, that I’ll get where He has designed me to be positioned in my own right time (His) AND I do not have to like it. God and me…we’re on the OUTS again.

weary and afraid, I’m with Job.
And with Jacob. And with You. #FixItJesus.
CLICK TO TWEET
I do not blaspheme…please stay with me. I am grateful for Divine expansion of my faith albeit at great personal expense. I am losing my ego and my desire for control. I am surrendering, and like all inevitabilities, it is not easy to go gently.

I struggle with trust. Not because I do not like to trust, but moreso because I believe myself to be relatively self-sufficient. I feel little need to be catered to, because usually, I got it covered (I resisted the urge to write, under control. I am trying…). I am learning to accept assistance. I am learning to receive compliments. I am learning to relinquish the reigns. But there is something new. I refuse to give up. 

Yesterday’s sermon was the oxygen my fire needed to keep from flickering out. When the disciples became afraid in the boat (Mark 6:45-50) there is a voice clearly speaking, “Take courage…Do not be afraid.” My pastor paraphrased it this way, “you will not fail.” So, while we’re on the Outs, I’m not throwing in the towel.

It’s time for some Ol’skool, Job-type faith. At the worst possible time in his life, Job declared,

Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him;
    I will surely defend my ways to His Face.
Indeed, this will turn out for my deliverance,
Job 13:15-16(NIV)

OK, Job, I’m in. I get it. My BFF and I were considering the deep bonds that exist among some families. They can be in the middle of a “somebody call de Law” argument with someone they love, but LET some outside try to get in the middle of that. “Naw, homie, thas family.” They will turn their backs on the fight they’re in to defend the very person they just threatened...don’t care. That’s family, and they never give up on each other. I get that. It is as clear to me as gravity and blue skies and warm biscuits on a Hallelujah Sunday morning. So, Lord, while I’m pouting, while I’m struggling impatiently to really get the lesson (at least in part so I don’t have to learn it again), I know that You Will Not Fail me. I will NOT FAIL when I put my trust in You. So, while we’re on the Outs, I’m not throwing in the towel.

I am stubborn like Jacob. You know, Jacob that fought all night with the Angel?

So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”
Genesis 32:24-28(NIV)

So Lord, I surrender. I am throwing in the towel. You are sovereign, and I cannot fight anymore. I trust You and I trust Your Word, and though I am weary and afraid, I’m hanging with Job. And with Jacob. And with You. Even on the Outs, I’m begging, #FixItJesus.




Sunday, February 1, 2015

Waiting….

Circumstances press us down; we seek immediate relief. My morning devotion reminded me that the Holy Spirit is not an emergency resource, but rather That Which Dwells within us, resting, ruling, and abiding in our midst. God’s Omnipresence does not mean we engage Him as we should (hello, somebody). This morning, I was convicted by the Internet.


What? While I left behind me my season of brokenness, while I no longer sit in the crucible, while I am experiencing a fresh anointing and enduring the sweet fragrance of Petrichor, God is NOT through with me yet. While I am changing, He Changes Not. I am not where I was, but God continues to temper my will (temper being polite for BREAK) to remind me Who is in control. This morning, I was convicted by the Internet.

According to the article “Instant America” and Our Waning Patience for Everything, for my demographic, I am completely normal. I have the patience of a gnat. An infographic created by onlinegraduateprograms.com tells a sad story. Conviction is where you find it, y’all. 

Fortunately, God sends Lessons wrapped generously in Grace. At the moment of my impatience, at the end of my rope, just before the tantrum, I am reminded of the words of the prophet Isaiah as he teaches the people of God the tools they need to endure their captivity in Assyria.

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Isaiah 40:31(KJV)

This message I well know. This is the mantra I often repeat at the end of a long day, or along the last few miles of a long run. This time, Fred Hammond sung it in my ear, and it was necessary. It was fresh, I thank God. What made it new? Perhaps Fred Hammond singing this?

I'm so glad I've learned how to wait. In the midst of my waiting, I'm gonna bless His Name. 
Praise in the midst of it all. Well, at the very least, it is something to do in the meantime. At its highest, it is what we were created to do, what we should be doing with every breath in every moment. It challenges me to be mindful of my responsibilities to my relationship with God. What am I doing? How am I participating? Suddenly (once again), it’s not just about me, and that is my refreshment.

Call it an attitude adjustment. I still do not like waiting. Thatnotwithstanding, in an instant world, we serve an Eternal God, and while we are ever changing, He Changes Not. So I wait. I will bless His Name as I wait (Lord, let it not be too long…) and, because of Fred Hammond, I will DANCE.


C’mon….get your praise on. You know you want to….what better thing could you do in your meantime? 


OneWord 2015

OneWord 2015

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