Monday, February 13, 2017

Apostle John, C.L.O.

Greater love hath no man
than this...(John 15:13)
Steve Harvey (the clean version), is one of my favorite comics, and is fond of referring to himself as C.L.O. (Chief Love Officer).  His Chicago-based T.V. show routinely features men and women with relationship problems and as a best selling author and cultural icon, Steve considers himself an expert in matters of the heart! 

Well, I found another that has more experience, whose advice is more reliable, and who has been on the World's Best Selling list for years!   It's the Apostle John of the New Testament!

John, the Apostle, not to be confused with John the Baptist or the others you'll find in the Bible has long been known as the Apostle of Love!  It could be because love is a favorite theme in his New Testament writings (Gospel of John,  First, Second, Third John, and Revelation) or because he had the privilege of walking, talking, leaning on, and learning from its Original Creator, Our Savior, Jesus Christ!

Depending on when you're reading this, Valentine's Day may already be fading fast, but here's a message about True Love that never gets trite or stale and John is just the one to remind us!

***True Love is Experiential!  Are you still trying to figure out why someone says they love you but their words and actions don't seem to jibe?  Maybe you're basing love on worldly perspectives rather than Christ's!  Okay, so he forgot the card and candy! Didn't make dinner reservations and you ended up eating take-out or leftovers! I'm not saying you're not deserving of more and certainly not giving Brothers a pass for being insensitive, but hear what the C.L.O. says in John 21:15-22.  He recounts Jesus restoring His fellowship with Peter, 
an apostle who denied and abandoned Him in His time of need!  We often learn how to love others as we have been loved in the past!  Your significant other may not be able to give you what he has never experienced.  Your compassion and willingness to forgive him of this flaw, may be a critical first lesson!

***True Love is Unconditional! How faithful has your loved one been the other 364 days of the year? Can you depend on him to work and pay bills?  Is he there when you're sick? During times of crisis or when you need emotional support?  Now here's the faithful are YOU?  If he drops the ball, even once on any of these...does he dread having to face you!  We are all imperfect in some area! Yet John tells us in I John 4:18-19, There is no fear in love.  We shouldn't be afraid to make mistakes, fall short in areas of weakness, especially if past behavior proves that our real intent is to be true to our roles and responsibilities. We hang in there and believe the best about our loved one!

***True Love is Sacrificial! Let's be honest, we don't always get our way when it comes to how we want to be appreciated!  As Gary Chapman, says in his book, The Five Love Languages, our love tank may be on "E" most days!  But do we stew in frustration, let the Enemy have his way or do we continue to Pray, Communicate, and Look for opportunities to rescue our relationship from certain death?  John 3:16, says it all:  God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life!



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Monday, February 6, 2017

MORE HIDDEN FIGURES: The Women Behind Great Bible Events!

There's nothing hidden
that will not be revealed...

(Mark 4:22 (GWT)
Black folks got a wonderful Christmas present from the film industry in 2016.  Two outstanding movies portraying authentic black experiences... Fences and Hidden Figures! I tell you, I've never been prouder or in the case of the latter, so inspired!

I was quite familiar with playwright, August Wilson (Fences, The Piano Lesson), but like many, I'd never heard of these extraordinary women: Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson.  What's more incredible is that I lived through this dramatic time in history.  Watched it all go down on television and never knew that  black female mathematicians and a budding engineer made it all possible!

It started me wondering, how many other women made significant contributions (skills, intellect, finances) to well-known historical events but go unrecognized and uncredited.  I discovered them in every field of study and not too surprisingly, even in the BIBLE! 

Let me test your Bible knowledge and challenge you when reading God's Word again, to pause and give Him praise... for they too are Hidden Figures:
  • The Hebrew Midwives in Egypt (Exodus 1:15-17) - When ordered to kill all male babies of the Hebrew race, they stood up to Pharaoh, defied his orders and saved many, making them incredibly important to the Exodus!  Shiprah and Puah are named but two million Hebrews left Egypt. Thousands of babies were born during this time. Reasonably it would take  hundreds of unknown women acting as Midwives to save a generation which by the way, included the tribe of Judah, from whence our Savior, Jesus Christ claims human ancestry.
  • Tabernacle Tapestry Weavers (Exodus 35:25-26) - God's dwelling in the wilderness was a fantastic display of artistry and skill.  Every tent covering, table cloth, wall hanging woven to decorate or adorn its rooms, from the tent entrance to the Holy of Holies was magnificent. The scriptures tell us that they were woven by the hands of unknown womenGifted artisans filled with wisdom! This beautiful representation of God's presence kept Moses, Joshua and the Israelites moving forward to the Promise Land and women were a part of the movement too!
  •  Women Disciples of the New Testament  (Luke 23:49; 24:10, 22;  55; 24:24: Mark 15:40-41, Acts 1:14, Acts 16; Romans 16: 1-27) -It is in the New Testament that we get a greater picture of the significance of women.  As followers of Christ, some are named outright: Mary His mother, Mary Magdalene, Mary and Martha, Joanna, etc.  But there were more only referred to as, The Women! These Hidden Figures were with Christ at every juncture of His ministry, some contributing finances and monetary assets.  We find them at the   Cross of Calvary; the Tomb of His Resurrection, and present in the Upper Room before and after His ascension.  The Women were praying with Lydia in Acts 16 when the gospel came to Macedonia and from there Asia Minor, and Europe. Unknown and Unsung Heroines!

 These Hidden Figures of the Bible:  Praying Women, Praising Women, Prophesying Women! A verse here and there or silent Serving Women in the background THEN and NOW...will one day be known by us all!  For as Jesus explained in this Mark 4 parable. A lighted candle is never meant to be lit and then hidden under a bowl!  

(The World Needs to See Your Light!)


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Monday, January 23, 2017


Ever felt like you just don't belong? In a place way, way out of your comfort zone?  PRAISE GOD!  You might be just where He wants you to be!

It's been said that Complacency is the Enemy of Success! After all the hard work, time, energy, and money spent reaching life goals you're now faced with the to maintain and stay on top of your game!

Or, perhaps for you, it's the opposite! You don't WANT to do anything different than what you're doing now!  You've earned the right to go to church once a week, Praise awhile, Pray a little bit, Enjoy the sermon and then Tip God on the the way home! You paid your dues long ago (teaching, ushering, committee work, and the like)...let the young folks take it from here!

 To both groups the Lord is saying ... It's time to get a bit uncomfortable.  Time to get off the Career track and off the Church pew and back into serving the needs of others!!!

Listen, my sisters! The world is hurting and if the Church is to make a difference we ALL have to do our part!  TWO GREAT RESOURCES ARE A.W.O.L. FROM SERVING NEEDS: The Wisdom of the Aged and the Energy and Expertise of  Millennials (18-34 year olds).  Let me remind you: 

Everything you have is because of the Lord! (Psalm 24:1) Your talents, your gifts, personality, and ability to achieve is from His hand (James 1:17).  If you are seeking significance and sustainability and disappointed with the world's definition of success, come on back to the Lord!  Use what you've learned IN the world to SAVE the world and be richly rewarded in the process! 

God's work has no Glass Ceilings! And Senior Saints, God's work has no Retirement Plan! (Jeremiah 29:11)

Don't Let Complacency Keep You From Being Your Best:

1.  Keep Learning- Challenge yourself to try something different! Take a class in something of interest, learn to play an instrument, travel then share these experiences with others. Keep your mind and body active as you grow older!

2.  Welcome Change -  Don't close your mind to new ways of doing things!  Get a fresh perspective from those who may be younger,  do things a bit different but have a common goal!

3.  Keep a Future Focus - The world's future may seem bleak but in Christ yours is as bright as ever! Shake yourself out of the habit of complaining, criticizing, and negative thinking.  No one wants to be around this attitude!

Don't Let Complacency Keep You from Giving Your Best:

1. Discover and Use Your Gifts For God - If you don't know your Spiritual gifts, take a class or access one of the free gift assessments online:
It is relatively easy to transition technical, communication, and social media skills used on your job to ministry and it is much more rewarding to do so.

2.  Learn From the Best, Not Books! - Find a mentor who may not have your education but has experience; godly wisdom, and valuable insight gained over years.  Learn from her, share your thoughts about where God may be leading you to serve, but most important.. LISTEN!!!  There's a big difference between Thoeory and Practice!

3. Stay Humble and Persevere - Today's culture is known for providing formulas for success, building you up with lofty expectations, then telling you to wait for a speedy outcome!  That's not the way it works in real life!  In ministry as in life, you must be willing to stay the course, stretch yourself, reinvent your method of outreach occasionally, and when things don't turn out the way you desire be satisfied that God will work it all together for His good! (Romans 8:28-29)

God's Purpose and Passion is  embedded in your very soul!  Your gifts have already been earmarked for success  (Ephes. 2:10; Joshua 1:8)  Don't squander your life on that which has no eternal value. (I Corinthians 3:13)  The Body of Christ already has a place for your unique Talents and Gifts.  All You need to do is....



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Monday, January 16, 2017


Erratic winter weather this year has caused my poor little Boxwood shrubs to sprout with what looks like new leaves!  Here in the Midwest we've had days that felt like Spring complete with rains that come with it; below zero temperatures, and forecasts nearing the 70s!  Not your typical winter is it?

SMH (Shaking My Head)! It makes me think about the old folks of my childhood who would point to the bible and warn:  Time is getting short.  If you've got something you want to do, you better be about it! 

Now learn a lesson from the fig tree: when its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near.  In the same way, when you see all these things, you can know His return is very near, right at the door." (Matthew 24:32-33 NLT)

Biblically speaking the use of this verse in that way is out of context. Yet, I take the sentiment to heart! Now is the time to Seize Your Season in Life, for the future in so many ways is very unpredictable! 

I sometimes look back at the various seasons in my own life, those times I took a big bite of  luscious looking fruit and found it bitter because it was out of season for God's plan in my life!  (Song of Solomon 8:4). When I was discouraged in a season, thinking I would never realize my dreams for college, a career, spiritual, and cultural enrichment, but in its appropriate season got it all! (Matthew 6:33)  

Even now as I am aging, I wonder if my season has passed for fruitfulness and significance! Can I still add value to others. Is it foolish to entertain these dreams I still have! While I would admonish every young person to: Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say,  I have no pleasure in them...(Ecc. 12:1).  I am also comforted by these words of King Solomon: (Ecc. 3: 1-5)

There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die,
A time to plant and a time to uproot,
A time to kill and a time to heal,
A time to tear down and a time to build,
A time to weep and a time to laugh,
A time to mourn and a time to dance
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
A time to embrace and a time to refrain 

Perhaps after reading this you've concluded as I have....There's STILL a lot left for me to do in MY Season!!!!   A lot of planting, a lot of healing, a lot of building, a lot of serving, a lot of living

 This is my Prayer!  (From the lyrics of a popular song)

"Lord, whatever You're doing in this season, Don't do it without me!"


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Monday, January 9, 2017


This is my Father's glory that you bear much fruit..
(John 15:8)
Sitting in Sunday service yesterday, the Spirit of the Lord moved  powerfully on my heart!  I heard my pastor wax eloquently on the virtues of Joseph from the book of Genesis who was able to achieve such greatness, in spite of the horrible situation he was in! (Genesis 39-.50)!

I knew immediately that I had to share some thoughts to encourage women everywhere who find themselves in their own personal land of affliction!  I don't know what your Egypt is!  Maybe it's sickness, wayward children, a loveless marriage, or worse.  I just know that God is still with you! (Ps. 139:7-10) He has a purpose and plan for your pain and He will see you through it all.  Yet as Christians there are important lessons to learn and mind-blowing truths we need to get settled in our heart first!

1.  We Lve in a Fallen World!  Are you still reeling from the shock of the four teens who mercilessly beat a special needs man this past week? Or the man who went mental and killed and wounded so many in Ft. Lauderdale?  It's not a comfortable thought but more of this is to come!(2 Tim. 3:2; Rom. 6:10-13)

2.  This World is Not our Home but a Place of Service! ( Phil. 3:20) You and I won't be here forever!  The place of pain that you are in won't last forever!  (Ps. 30:5)  Like Joseph in Genesis with a humble heart and an obedient spirit, God can do miraculously things even where you are right now! Look for ways to be fruitful and bloom where you are planted!

--Don't have the money/time to visit foreign lands and see God's glory?  Support a missionary who has sacrificed much to bring others to Christ!

--Chronic health and fatigue prevent you from church ministry? As your energy permits, send cards, make telephone calls, give bedside testimonies of God's faithfulness right where you are! (I can't tell you how many times I've visited the sick and shut in and left more focused and determined to live godly than ever!  I've also left ailing whiners and self-pitiers thinking, what a way to waste such precious time!)

3.  We're Never more like Christ than when We Suffer for His Cause! (2 Tim 2:12). Let's get real with ourselves this year! Sometimes our affliction has nothing to do with God's will or another's malice!  We bring it upon ourselves!  But thank God for His grace and His forgiveness! Even if by our own hands we suffer we can still glorify God by learning from it and sharing the wisdom lesson with others! Pain is a powerful teacher but one that must be shared sometimes to destroy its devastating legacy for others! (Ps. 119:71)   

This Year Even If You have to Suffer - Choose to Be Fruitful!  For It is the Only Way to Make our Pain Count!


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Monday, January 2, 2017


Happy New Year dear sisters!  Hope you made it through the holidays with maximum joy and minimum weight gain! Ugh!!! Those big family dinners are wonderful but boy do we regret them the closer we get to Spring!

I'm begging off the traditional New Years Resolutions discussions sprouting up everywhere this time of year and instead opting for  lifestyle changes with a more eternal value!  This year I've decided to live each day with Purpose and Passion! 

Seems a rather reasonable choice to me since two cities near and dear to my heart  (Chicago and Indianapolis) hit record numbers of violent deaths again in 2016!!  This tells me that somebody out there does not respect or value life...let it be known...I'm not one of them!

Let me share with you what Living Life on Purpose means to me:

First, it's understanding that I have more time behind me than I do in front of me in this earthly life!  (Ephes. 5:16-17So with that in mind I intend to make every moment count.  Simple things like asking myself these three important questions when tempted to take on a new task. 1) Is it necessary?  2) Am I the only one who can do it?  3) Will it help me grow (intellectually, spiritually, experientially) as well as benefit others?  This is one instance in which the old W.I.I.F.M. (What's in it for me?) adage can be applied with wisdom.  Take a look at the places you spend inordinate amounts of time with others.  How many people are doing the same thing but labeling it differently?  It could be that  reorganizing tasks into their appropriate places with the most qualified person or team would alleviate the need for an extra hand?

Second, be intentional in my relationships. I truly believe that the people in my life are there for a reason!  They may be there for me to learn from or for them to learn from me! But there is a purpose!  The investment I make in taking time to really know these people without judgement will teach me important things about human nature; about myself, but certainly, if I commit each relationship to the Lord, it will teach me something about the Character of God! (Jer. 10:12)

Third, God has gifted His children with joy and passion for all things good! Each day I will find something to laugh about out loud; drink truth deeply from His Word; appreciate something beautiful often overlooked in the hurriedness of life, and pursue God's will in service to another with humility, sincerity and fervor. (Coloss.3:17, 23).  

This is the Path of Life I Choose: 

                                                 To Walk in Wisdom - Ephesians 5:15
                                               To Walk by Faith Not Sight - 2 Corin. 5:7
                                             To Walk Humbly with My God- Micah 6:8

                                               Won't You Walk this Path With Me?


Monday, December 5, 2016

IT'S ALL IN THE GUMBO, Questions From My Sisters, Part Three

Taste and see that the Lord
is good...(Ps. 34:8)
We're  having  sho nuff gumbo weather in my neck of the woods!  How about where you are?  No doubt you're busy getting ready for Christmas and making plans to lose those extra pounds this time of year brings, but I hope you take a moment to to do some soul searching before we get into 2017!!  Hold your hand up if you're planning a Better You for the New Year!

I certainly am and that's why I've been particularly concerned about the two questions I asked you to think about from last week's blog:

1.  Women couldn't come together and elect a woman president.  How can we unite in church to achieve God's goals?

2.  What can we do about "cyber" bullying on Facebook, Twitter and other mediums?

This whole idea of sisterhood and our lack of unity was mentioned several times in our Sistah Talk fellowship! Why IS it we can't bond with one another in a genuine way?  I mean really value and commit to nurturing the best in each other without the pettiness and competitiveness that so often comes to play?  And then too, when our sisterhood relations fail, why must we play it all out so dramatically on social media?

If you see my point, the two questions really relate to one another don't they?

First, let me give a shout out to the sisters who can boast of treasured, long lasting, sisterhood relations that have stood the test of time--they REALLY do exist!  I've a got a few myself and they are oh so precious to me!

But for those who've told me that you've been burnt, back stabbed, two-timed, mean-mouthed, and abused in Sister Friendships, especially on Social media let's see if we can get to the root of some of it!

1.  Sisters can't give you what they don't have! If your Sister Friend doesn't feel good about herself, does not value or cherish herself, she's not going to be able to value you or your relationship! Use wisdom in choosing those you would call close friends.  Take time to really know them, their character and the place you want them to have in your life,  Maybe they should be only casual or social acquaintances.

2. Don't expect more from a Sister relationship than what a healthy relationship can offer.  Your  Sister Friend is not your man! Respect boundaries and her right to have other relations, other interests!  What you interpret as lack of support and the elusive, she's changed phenomena (what  the heck does that  mean any way?), could be nothing more than the need for some personal space for self reflection or spiritual renewal...we all need it, even married folks!

3.  Practice giving more than you receive. Speak first, give genuine compliments, keep conversations  positive and if possible face-to-face NOT TWITTER OR FACEBOOK!  Always leave with a word of encouragement!  This is especially important when it appears to be non-reciprocal. You'll leave the interaction feeling better and with the knowledge that you did what was right.  The rest is on them!

4.  Instead of judging actions, ask God to help you become more discerning of the cause(s) that could be behind the actions!  Our dear sisters may be suffering from one of these FATAL DISTRACTIONS:  PRIDE, ANGER, FEAR, JEALOUSY, and INSECURITY!  
 (A Bible Study Series shared recently at  Grace Place- Tuesdays, 6am, 12pm, 12am, check it out for future studies: Dial  712-432-1212, Mtg ID: 354-432-328#)

Until we as Christian Sisters really address these deep issues in ourselves and commit to becoming emotionally healthy, our Sister Friend Relations and Ministry Missions will continue to suffer.   If you're wondering whether these tips are appropriate for church relationships, they absolutely are! 

 People don't change their attitudes, emotions, or behaviors just because they are at church! LET'S PRAY THAT 2017 will bring as Radical of a Change Among Christians, as the  2016 Presidential Election is making in America today!  GOD IS ABLE to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we can ask, think or imagine according to the power that is at work within us... (Ephes. 3:20-21)


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