Wednesday, April 14, 2021

THE FIRE NEXT TIME: Can We Afford to Wait?

If the title of this post caught your eye, it's probably because it rendered thoughts of James Baldwin's 1963 novel, The Fire Next Time,  published by Dial Press or perhaps the 2015 inspired work by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between The World and Me, published by One World.  

I suggest you read both.

I thought it intriguing that the authors, both black men were giving their analysis of race relations in America 52 years apart (one at the birth of the Civil Rights Movement and the other struggling in its aftermath) describing the same issues.  It can't get more relevant than this!  No, not as we sit in front row seats viewing the George Floyd murder trial; video after video of  the assaults and deaths of black men by police or the relentless attempts by senators and representatives to roll back the basic rights and privileges of people of color in America.  

By all means, read Baldwin and Coates, but also read two other great authors, the Apostle Peter of the New Testament and Moses of the Old Testament for greater understanding of what is really happening:         

Above all, you must understand that in the last days, scoffers will come,

scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, 

"where is this 'coming' he promised?  Ever since our ancestors

died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.

But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the

heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water

and by water.  By this waters also the world of that time was

deluged and destroyed.  By the same word the the present heavens

and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of 

judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

(2 Peter 3-7 NIV)

Peter is simply saying that God destroyed the world once because of its corruption, violence and unbridled wickedness (Genesis 6:11-13) but showed mercy and allowed its renewal in grace. He chose one man, Noah and his three sons: Ham, Shem, and Japheth.  The offsprings of these sons, scholars believe are the progenitors of all the ethnic groups of the world today. (These same ethnic groups that are killing each other!) 

With renewed hope, mankind was allowed to live out God's original promise, sealed eternally with a rainbow as a sign, and a covenant from God, Himself.  This hope of peace, civility, wisdom, and acceptance among humankind is quickly fading away.

Maybe the following will refresh memories as we rush foolishly into what can only be described as self-annihilation!

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: ...

Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters 

of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy

the earth.   And this is the sign of the covenant I am making  

between me and you and every living creature with you, 

a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow

 in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant

between me and the earth.

 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow

appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant 

 between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. 

 Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.

(Genesis 9:8;11-15)

The implication here is that, when God's patience has worn thin, as it did in the days of Noah and He decides to exercise His vengeance on the earth; that it will not be by water....but fire! This is corroborated in Malachi 4:1; 2 Peter 3;7; and Revelation 21:1.  Bible skeptics in the past have found it difficult to see current events in light of bible prophecy.  I wonder if they find it so when once again, children are murdered in their beds.  A trip to the supermarket for ice cream results in a return ride in a hearse.  Who would believe that NOT having a rear license plate on your car or HAVING an air freshener on your rearview mirror would be cause for being pepper sprayed and humiliated or shot in the front seat of your car.

Is this how we repay God's mercy and grace?  
Will our past sins continue to ruin our future?
Is this how we keep hope alive for our children?


🔥🔥🔥

A PROPHETIC UTTERANCE BY JAMES BALDWIN
 [Emphasis is mine!]

It demands great spiritual resilience not to hate the hater whose
foot is on your neck, and an even greater miracle of 
perception and charity not to teach your child to hate."

― James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

🔥🔥🔥


PRAY FOR GOD'S PEACE IN JUSTICE NOW...WE CAN'T AFFORD TO WAIT!!!


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Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Finding Your TRUE Identity in the GREAT I AM!!

 

IDENTITY: Who a person is, or the qualities of a person or group that make them different from others. - Cambridge Dictionary
******

One of my favorite quotes, comes from a 1984 movie starring Howard Rollins, Jr. and Denzel Washington--A Soldier's Story!  One of the characters, C. J. Memphis is berated by the protagonist, Sergeant Waters and sheepishly says nothing to defend himself!

After, Waters makes his exit, C.J.'s army comrades begin to harass him, asking why he took the beat down so casually!  With all the wisdom and empathy of his backwoods training, he replies...

"Any man ain't sure where he belong,
gotta be in a whole lotta pain!"

My friends, I guess a lot of people are in pain! I see people everywhere, EVEN Christians who don't   know where they belong!  Some are on the wrong side of history in their socio-political views!  Too many on the wrong side of the Bible in their cultural habits and life styles.  I get it!  Life is hard....the struggle is REAL! And like C.J. Memphis, I too, want to be empathetic but I grapple with conflicting emotions.  Sometimes I'm outraged.  Sometimes defensive.  But mostly I'm confused!  

Reading through the Gospel of John, something my pastor challenged our church to do during Lent; I found a simple way to affirm OUR TRUE IDENTITY and KNOW WHERE WE BELONG! 

No Psychologist, Sociologist, or Life Coach Required
Only The Great I AM

🔎 I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE (John 6:35) - Our identity is NOT in our job, career, or work ethic.  Although, colloquially speaking, money and financial security is based on how much bread we make; Jesus tells us in this verse that He is our Sustainer. Our livelihood has always been secured in God's will and grace! He is our Provider. He reminds us, as He did Satan during the temptation that, Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).  Material things will never satisfy the heart of carnal man, only spiritual bread will suffice!  

🔎 I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD (John 8:12) -Our identity is NOT in belonging to secret societies.  Over the past six years mainstream media has been engulfed with the antics of conspiracy theorists.  They claim to have knowledge that is privileged and secretly coded in a way that only the very intuitive can decipher.  These theorists are extremely popular as they prey on the ignorant and the lonely. They were around at Jesus' first coming and they will exist until He comes back again.  But we do not have to be duped by this form of evil in the world.  Jesus IS the LIGHT and the WAY out of this darkness all we have to do is follow Him.  (John 3:19; I John 1:7).

🔎 I AM THE GOOD SHEPHERD AND DOOR (John 10:9, 11) - Our identity is NOT in our achievements, academic degrees, or credentials. All these things depend on our own intelligence and abilities.  It is better to put your trust in Jesus, like a sheep does with its shepherd.  Sheep depend on the shepherd for food, guidance, health, and protection.  They are not hunters!  There's no stress, competition, or wrangling for power with sheep because they know they're going to be taken care of. They sleep well at night without fear because the Shepherd is the DOOR.  Jesus. our Good Shepherd shows us the same care. We will always remain relevant and valuable to Him because we are the Good Shepherd's loving priority.

🔎 I AM THE RESURRECTION AND LIFE (John 11:25) - Our identity is NOT in living large in this life but having peace and joy in the After life.  Million dollar homes, luxury cars, bling for days. Personal chefs, stylist, and hair dressers available at your beck and call.  This is what some call the Good Life!  But is it?  The suicide rate and drug addiction among those living this life is astronomical.  What many have found is that amid all the glamorous trappings their lives were actually dead! They were like zombies only going through the motion.  BUT JESUS!  He came that we may have true life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10).  When the dead things of this world has ceased, Jesus promises us another that is filled with hope. Glorified bodies that will not know pain or death.  Mansions that won't need security cameras. Relationships that are authentic and lasting. Instead of red carpets, we'll walk every day on gold, encased in precious jewels.  This is a life worth waiting for!

🔎 I AM THE WAY, TRUTH AND LIFE (John 14:6) - Our identity is NOT in a position, title, gender or sexual preference. It is very human to desire what is pleasurable to the flesh and feeds the ego (I John 2:15-16). The god of this world knows this! So he twist these desires in a way that is not only acceptable but deemed normal.  But a Lie is never normal! With his limited power, Satan places aberrations in positions of authority or celebrity to make them appealing to the darkened mind. He then creates division among  Christians, pitting groups exalting their natural heritage against those who cling to their spiritual one in order to weaken our Spiritual witness!

🔎 I AM THE TRUE VINE (John 15:1) - Our identity is NOT in our on-line persona, or social media connections.  Working hard for the perfect selfie; staging backgrounds for a more interesting and appealing image, doesn't mean others think you are! Jesus tells us that we make our best impression when we stay Connected to Him. We do this through reading, studying, and meditating on His Word and sincere prayer.   Do your really want to know how you are perceived? Forget your natural face and look intently into the Word  (James 1:22-25). See yourself as God sees you (I Corinthians 13:12) not the dull, blurry images of shares and likes!

YOUR IDENTITY IS NOT IN ANY OF THE ABOVE SO LET GOD TELL YOU WHO YOU ARE...


You are a chosen people,
a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, God's holy nation,
God's special possession,
that you may declare the praises of Him
who called you out of darkness 
into His wonderful light.

(I Peter 2:9)

 

UNTIL NEXT TIME...

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Tuesday, February 16, 2021

A GOVERNMENT YOU CAN TRUST: It's Not Just About Politics!

The Biblical Role of Civil Government

To maintain a safe, just, righteous, and compassionately responsible environment for freedom to flourish - Dr. Tony Evans, Kingdom Politics Sermon Series 

With the world watching, 43 U.S. senators voted to acquit and 57 senators voted to convict a former president of the United States on charges of insurrection.  Sixty-seven votes, a two-thirds majority was needed for a conviction.  Although those who voted to acquit admitted the evidence was factual; the president was guilty; his actions and conduct despicable even dangerous to U.S. citizens and this country...they acquitted him any way!

SOMETHING IS REALLY  WRONG 
 IN AMERICA....BUT SHOULD WE BE SURPRISED!?

Humans have been trying to get it right....this idea of human government for thousands of years and we've botched it every time.  

For quite some time, I've been juggling mainstream media with the Word of God to gain insight into this political mess we find ourselves in.  This is my way of managing my emotions and keeping a godly focus. What I’m finding is that the parallels between present day events and bible history are astonishing! 

BIBLE REWIND:  I Samuel chapters 8-10. God's people, the Israelites make a power move that puts them on a course of unending failure and disappointment.  Disillusioned with theocracy (a government ruled by priests or judges in the name of God) they ask for a king (I Samuel 8:1-5). They wanted a political system of government in which a person or family ruled--a monarchy.

They felt they had good reasons to complain.  After all, time and time again they were on the losing end of leadership failures of every kind (see the Book of Judges). Even their current leaders, sons of Samuel the priest were immoral and corrupt.  Yet their belief in  flawed humans rather than God remained unshakable.  And like today, their faith it turned out to be a case of false hope.   A sick heart  just doesn't get better without repentance (Jeremiah 17:9). 
 
BE CAREFUL WHO YOU VOTE FOR!


In the Bible you'll see that God granted their wish, but as usual the people chose unwisely. They wanted someone who fit their ideal rather than God's.  They wanted status, social, and economic stability regardless of the cost (I Samuel 8:11-20)  They chose Saul, someone who later became so consumed with power that he turned into a maniac. His behavior became so erratic and outrageous that God rejected him as king. He refused to accept this decision and spiraled down into a cesspool of anger, lies, and deceit. (I Samuel 18-20)  Sound familiar?

God replaced Saul with David, a man after His own heart (I Samuel 13:14). But David’s reign like all others after him were traumatic with much political fall-out!  The Old Testament records David's failures as well as those of every king that followed.  David's abuse of power and struggles with pride are well known but far from rare. (II Samuel  3:1-39; 12:7; and I Chronicles 21:6).  Even his own son plotted an insurrection against his kingdom (II Samuel 15:1-20:22).


FAST FORWARD TO THE PRESENT:  Debates continue between proponents of bigger government (too intrusive and liberal for conservatives' taste) and those wanting smaller government in order to protect their personal rights and freedoms but are not as diverse ethnically or economically. Which is best for our country?  Neither side has demonstrated they can solve the societal ills entrenched in our nation’s history.  The angry and sometimes violent protests shown last year tell us that people are frustrated on both sides. 

Truth is getting harder and harder to recognize.  Promises made to get our vote rarely kept. And everyone is pushing some kind of hidden political agenda. Look again at Tony Evans’ definition of the Biblical role of civil government. To maintain an environment of peace, righteousness, compassion, and freedom.  So far we've seen very little of this in our government but don't be discouraged.

 THE WORLD'S GETTING READY FOR A BIG REVEAL!

There is a government coming that can be trusted --It is the 1000 year Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ. It has only one Ruler, the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is not dominated by any particular political party, only those He chooses to reign with Him.  There is no need for P.A.C.s, ( political action committees) to raise money or awareness for special interests. No courts or protest marches to litigate practices of injustice because all will be treated fairly.  There will be prevailing peace because Satan will be bound the entire time.  People will be healthier, the environment cleaner, and everyone will be held accountable for their actions!  

(Click the link below for more information and scriptures.)

What we are experiencing now is not as historically shocking as portrayed.  It was prophesied thousands of years ago. We only have to look at the bible and world history to see it coming.  We don't need impeachment trials or special investigations to root out these derelicts. We all know who they are.  They are not as ignorant or blind to the facts as they pretend,  just prideful and selfish. 

What is the message that God is sending?  If we miss it this time what will come next?  God's message is clear!  It is timely and it is purposeful.  It shows without a shadow of doubt that mankind is incapable of governing ourselves without God's help. He is preparing hearts and raising up witnesses to tell the world to Surrender and Turn To Him!  The Solution to corrupt governments here and abroad is already here:

For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given,
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end. (Isaiah 9:6-7a)


UNTIL NEXT TIME...

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Sunday, January 31, 2021

EQUIPPED, EMPOWERED, AND ANOINTED FOR THIS MOMENT!

Of all the emotions one must deal with in life, there's one that really messes with my head--the overwhelming feeling of helplessness!

In a world where self-sufficiency is prized above  many goals to achieve in life, any lack of control feels like failure.  Yet, over how many things do we really have absolute control?  Our health? Our finances? Our future?  (Speaking of emotions, what about our thoughts?)

This feeling of inadequacy can quickly morph into depression and hopelessness.  You just want to give up or give in to whichever seems easier. But this state of mind my friend, according to God's Word is...Not where you want to be.  Not where you were meant to be.  Not where you have to be.  You just have to  believe in the promises of God! 

The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy.
I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it 
in abundance {to the full, till it overflows}
John 10:10 (Amplified Bible)


 YOU'VE BEEN HERE BEFORE!

This is not your first encounter with the Enemy, the Joy Killer and Peace Destroyer of your soul!  He shows up just when you think you've got it all together!  After you've survived the unthinkable! Right at the moment you slip safely to the other side and there he finds you relaxed, confident and comfortable with self.  Therein lies the problem with self-sufficiency, one can never lose sight of Who's really in control!

Not that we are sufficient of ourselves 
to think anything as of ourselves;
but our sufficiency is of God.
2 Corinthians 3:5 (KJV)

This is a hard lesson Christians must learn.  To be at ease with our helplessness; be comfortable in our inadequacies, to actually enjoy not being in control!  It is often a painful and tedious journey although eventually we all come to the same conclusion, to delay is a waste of time and energy. 

This kind of vulnerability is not popular among Bootstrap Pullers [a faulty motivational technique] of the old days. Haven't we've been taught this from a child: God helps those who help themselves!?  Sorry, but I find that nowhere in the Bible!    

THIS THING IS NOT GOING TO BREAK YOU!

Whatever you're going through, whether it is a devastating loss; continuous disappointments culminating into frustration after frustration.  Whatever the seemingly impossible situation.  Hang in there!  Your limitations are only opportunities to grow stronger giving God room to exercise His infinite power. Your search for Life's Absolutes is not a reality you can depend on.  Are you not convinced of that yet? 

The Ultimate Absolute is your faith in God and He tells you in His Word that He has a purpose and plan for you (Jeremiah 29:11) and that you can be confident of thisthat what He has begun in you, He will complete. (Philippians 1:6).  He reminds us to fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18)

YOU ARE READY FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS!

God has prepared you for this very moment! It started when you placed your confidence in Him and not yourself. From that time on He's had your back! (Hebrews 13:5b).  Throughout every struggle,  His vision for you was being manifested.  Like a Master Craftsman, He had you on the Potter's wheel shaping, molding, and trimming you to perfection (Jeremiah 18:1-4).  Now you are released to be that Chosen Vessel for His own use!  Nothing is left for you to do but endure.  So, let endurance have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:4).

His divine power has given us everything
we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him
Who called us by His own glory and goodness
(2Peter 1:3 NIV)

Tough times will continue.  Betrayal and disappointments will come once again but because of Jesus, what, then, shall we say in response to these things? God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31).  Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us. (Romans 8:37)

IT'S NOT OVER!

With an army of problems behind us, a sea of troubles before us the temptation is to give up!  This is not the time to do so.  We must hold firm to God's promises: When the Enemy boasted, I will chase them and catch up with them.  I will plunder them and consume them. I will flash my sword, my powerful hand will destroy them (Exodus 15:9)  Stand confidently and say as the Prophetess Miriam declared in this scripture...NOT TODAY!

Truly, No weapon fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD and their vindication from me, declares the LORD (Isaiah54:17).  

WE ARE:

  • EQUIPPED - The Word of God is our sword.  All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correction, and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work, (2 Timothy 3:16-17) 
  • EMPOWERED -With a Powerful Helper.  Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (I John 4:4)
  • ANOINTED - For This Moment of Trial, Confusion or Devastation.  As for you, the anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit -just as it has taught you, remain in Him. (I John 2:27)

Do not think that you must be a preacher, bible teacher, or awe-inspiring servant of God to avail yourself of these promises! As frail humans living in a fallen world our experiences are common. The feeling of HELPLESSNESS is natural but the remedy is spiritual!  What is unlike the many we share these feelings with is our FAITH in the ONE who controls EVERYTHING.  That is why the Apostle Paul reminds us, no matter the situation even the DEATHS so prevalent today, HOPELESSNESS IS NOT AN OPTION: 


Brothers and sisters, we want you to know,
  about people who have died so that you won't
 mourn like others who don't have any hope.
(I Thessalonians 4:13 CEB )

UNTIL NEXT TIME...

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Friday, January 15, 2021

UNDER THE SPELL OF SEDUCING SPIRITS!


 When one with honeyed words but evil mind persuades the mob, great woes befall the state. 
-Euripedes, Orestes

How could this Greek playwright from the 5th century express so eloquently the tragedies of our modern times?  Could it be as another wise man said: The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done; and there is no new thing under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

Every news pundit I've listened to since Wednesday, January 6th when our nation's capitol was stormed by insurrectionists, have asked the same question:  Were you surprised at the events occurring in our country today?  And no matter the response from the guest, mine is always - OH YEAH, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?!

 Like many, I shake my head [almost] in disbelief when I see some still believing proven lies.  Expressing faith that in a democracy of loyal, patriotic citizens, no one would dare turn on their own government.  Even those having just experienced death literally pounding on the door, got up  and pronounced these were merely a few radical extremists!

In a rage, no Christian ought to have, I turn off my television.  Tired of hearing men and women deny accountability and condone evil.  Weary of them rationalizing what they saw and twisting their version of truth into something that would soothe their conscience.  So quickly they were able to create for themselves a comfortable reality they hope would profit them in the next election! Yes, I was angry!

BUT THEN I REMEMBERED...

We are living in a Fallen world!  Fallen from God's intended purpose (I Peter 1:15-17).  Fallen In our treatment of others (Matthew 7:12). Fallen as stewards of all our natural resources (Genesis 1:26-28).  Fallen short in every aspect!  By our own unrighteousness we willfully suppressed the truth (Romans 1:18).  So am I surprised by this national shame: the violence of an insurrection; the double standard in administering justice, negligence in the face of a pandemic, and the impeachment of a POTUS twice!  Surprised?  Not at all!! 

Paul's admonition to Timothy in I Timothy 4:1-2 (NKJV) is a warning to us in this present time:

Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,

  • Deceiving or seductive spirits: to be seduced is to find attractive, alluring, enticing, even hypnotic something that appeals to our fleshly nature. It is not as overt and aggressive as one would think, but is a slow, intentional teasing with carefully placed rewards along the way.  Our nation's desire for power and dominance resurrected sinful ethnic pride and was spoon fed to the hungry as patriotism. The promise of low taxes for the wealthy, low unemployment, and a booming economy was the carrot on the stick leading us to destruction!
  • Doctrines of demons: Saying it is okay to be outwardly religious without a godly spiritual life is an example of demonic teaching. Holding the Bible while violating U.S. citizens' first amendment rights for peaceful protests using tear gas and violence is another example. Cherry-picking what sins God deems abominable is one more. And senators denying constituents the right to vote by suppression and then disavowing the results is yet another. All have been done in the name of preserving Christian values, upholding patriotism, and maintaining conservative ideals.   Have we learned nothing from our past? 
  • Lies and hypocrisy  The Devil is the Father of lies, lying is his native tongue (John 8:44).  When he lies it is so convincing that even if one knows the truth, it will not be accepted for  the mind has been deceived (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).  Lying consist of making false promises; purposely manipulating the truth to fit a particular narrative; pretending to be trustworthy while cheating and  undermining those most loyal to them. The gullible become enchanted and enamored by the liar's delusions.  They hear them so often that to them it becomes truth!  
  • Seared Consciences:  A person under the influence of seducing spirits are not moved by the pain or struggles of others.  They have no remorse for their wrong doing, in fact in their minds they have committed no wrong.  They are insensitive to the guilt of immoral behavior.  If they are in the faith, they have quenched the Spirit so often that He no longer has an affect upon their heart or mind. (I Thessalonians 5:19)
WHERE WE ARE AND WHAT TIME IT IS...
 
For false messiahs and false prophets will rise
up and perform great signs and wonders
so as to deceive, if possible,
even God's chosen ones.
(Matthew 24:24 NLT)

IT'S TIME MY FRIENDS TO BREAK THE SPELL!



UNTIL NEXT TIME...

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Wednesday, December 30, 2020

REFLECT, REBOOT, AND RESET FOR 2021!


An old saying goes something like this....You can't move forward looking in a rearview mirror. 

Hmmm.  I see what they're saying but this year has made me rethink this old adage.  Before putting 2020 too far in our past, I think we should take a long, thoughtful look at what has transpired in our lives.   

IS IT JUST ME, OR DID YEAR 2020 CHANGE YOU? Perhaps your thinking, your habits, or your priorities?

REFLECT

Having survived 365 days of this 366 Leap Year, I'm feeling awfully blessed!  You should too! A lot of horrific things happened this year and I don't have to recount them here to remind you of them.  But hey, look on the bright side, by God's grace we're still here!  That's why STEP ONE in getting ready for the coming year is to REFLECT on the good things that happened.   Here's a peek at my list!

1.  I lost some sweet Christians sisters and brothers this year (not all COVID related) BUT so many more survived and are committed to pray with me, stand by me, and encourage me no matter what happens in the next year! (Ecclesiastes 4:9) 

2.  I learned some key life lessons.  a) I really can be content with less! Less busyness in my life.  Less shopping. Less eating out.  b) Eyes tell you more than mouths! With everyone behind masks, focus is drawn to a person's eyes.  I now know if a person is glad to see me.  Is lying to me, or  impatient to leave a conversation. This keeps me from being rude, duped, or a pest! (Philippians 4:11-13; Matthew 13:16-17)

3. God really IS MY EVERYTHING.  How many times have I glibly said this! This year, I've lived out a great portion of God's Word in a real and tangible way! There is NOTHING that I needed that He has not provided! With Him, I'm never lonely! He's a friend closer than a brother! I've studied more, connected with Him and other Christians more, and learned more about myself!  This is what a trial will do for you if you surrender and I'm here to tell you I'm so thankful!  (Proverbs 18:24; Philippians 4:19)

REBOOT

When computer systems go down you can't get important and often essential things done. It is inconvenient and very frustrating!  Before calling the experts, you try everything in your personal trick bag but nothing works.  You've been here before.  You know exactly what the Pros will tell you.  SHUT IT DOWN, WAIT AWHILE and then REBOOT!

2020 caused major breakdowns in our world systems.  Through the Pandemic, God interrupted work, school, vacations, and businesses of every kind.  Nothing man did worked long term.  But what a blessing in disguise it was for those wise in the Lord!  This was a glorious opportunity to start fresh and declutter all the junk in our lives.  

So much of our routine is filled with things of no value or real purpose.  Shutting things down for awhile gives us an opportunity to take a look at the pit we've dug ourselves in and then ask the Lord to get us back on solid spiritual ground. 

The waiting part for some has been the worst!  Everybody is in a rush to get back to normal!  But what if the "normal" is what was killing you?  Preventing your healing? Destroying your relationships? Time is needed to figure out what is going wrong.   Time is also needed to develop a strategy to fix it.  If 2020 has taught you anything, it should have taught you that time is not always on your side. It is precious and we must use it wisely. (Ephesians 5:15-16)

RESET

Although, I'm separated physically from many members of my local church family, I've been blessed to study, praise and worship with them virtually (via live stream, teleconferences, zoom) every week.  This year however, technology has allowed me to connect more extensively. Over the past year,  I've fellowshipped with Christians in Florida, South Carolina, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Chicago, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, and Georgia. What a major reset to my thinking about service to God and others!

 We are all aware of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) Therefore go and make disciples (learners)  of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.  But most of us think of this as a missionary's calling and never take it literally.  God has workers EVERYWHERE!

We are also quite familiar with Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem (your hometown) and all Judea (surrounding regions) and in Samaria (undesirable locations) and unto the uttermost part of the earth. I've added my own emphasis here but the sentiments remain.  There is absolutely nothing that should prohibit our evangelizing, teaching, and serving...not even a Pandemic.  I realize that now having been a recipient this year!

Reflecting on God's Faithfulness, Resetting my Thinking and my Attitude are actions that make me look forward to Year 2021 and back in gratitude to Year 2020! 

If the Lord wills and I make it one more day to hear the clock strike one minute past Midnight, December 31,  I will be in the process of  Rebooting! Seeking God's Plan for me; Storing up His Word, and Sowing His love to all desperately in need!  

REFLECT, REBOOT, AND RESET 
SO YOU CAN
SEEK, STORE, AND SOW!


UNTIL NEXT TIME...

If you would like to leave a comment please send an email to: sisters4sisters@att.net OR  scroll to the bottom of my blog page at  http://alittlewiser63.blogspot.com  click on the no comments by the pencil and it will change to a writing space.  

Monday, December 14, 2020

CELEBRATE THIS PANDEMIC CHRISTMAS IN SONG!

A few people I’ve talked with tell me Christmas doesn’t feel the same this year with the pandemic and all!  They’re not exactly depressed but certainly in a more somber mood. 


Perhaps it’s because all the things they’re used to doing to make the season merry and bright have been halted, redirected, or postponed.  (I guess the Hallmark Christmas movies airing since October and the online shopping ads just aren’t doing it for them!)


Believe me, I get it!  Year 2020 has been unusual for sure.  Still, Christmas is still Christmas if you look at it from a different perspective--God’s perspective! I think it’s time to add Christmas Reality to our long list of New Normals!  Christmas is and always has been about the Birth of Jesus Christ –not all that frivolity, stress, and commercialism we’ve become used to. 

For me there’s no better way to do that than to celebrate the first Pandemic Christmas of our lifetime in song.  Something the Apostle Paul says we should be doing everyday! 

18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ...(Ephesians 5:18-20)


I hope you have some of these favorites on your Christmas play list.  If you do, when they queue up consider these sentiments my personal gift to you and a sincere wish for our nation: 


🎵 SILENT NIGHT🎵

...all is calm, all is bright..


🎁 - With 24 hour bad news bombarding our minds in regard to the election, coronavirus, and rioting, my gift to you is a time of quiet and reverent reflection.  Take a break from the general discord of the world.  Step out on your deck, breathe in the cool crisp air and thank God for the peace that He promises to bring if we would only look to Him!


🎵 WE THREE KINGS🎵
...bearing gifts we traverse afar...

🎁 - Bible scholars believe more than three kings traveled from the east to honor the Savior but agree that among the many gifts given, three were rare and priceless at the time: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  The three gifts that I would love to give the rulers of our world today would be WISDOM, COMPASSION, and INTEGRITY! These are also rare. How wonderful it would be if our youth could again look at men and women of status and see these exhibited in their lives.  I think God is telling us during this pandemic season to stop looking at the White House, The Capitol, or Supreme Court for righteousness....but to Him and our own homes!

🎵 O COME ALL YE FAITHFUL🎵
...joyful and triumphant...

🎁 - Many fellow Christians are fearful, sad, and defeated.  They are falling back from the frontlines of today's battles!  Where has our fighting spirit gone? Others,  are still bowing down to personal agendas in the name of the Lord, but impugn every scripture of love, righteousness, and justice. A gift of unity and boldness is what is needed this season.  The joy of the Lord is still our strength!

🎵 JOY TO THE WORLD🎵
...the LORD is come. Let earth receive her king...

🎁 - The greatest gift you could ever receive is already here (John 3:16)!  It was not hidden under the tree but was hung prominently on a tree (Acts 5:30). Christmas lights could never outshine Him because He is the Light (John 8:12) and you will never walk in darkness again.  Your Christmas dinner table may be missing a few people this year but Christ promises us that one day you will dine at a full table, no masks, no social distancing and all will be sanctified!  All you have to do is accept His invitation:

Behold, I stand at the door and knock,
if anyone hears my voice and opens the door,
I will come in to him and eat with him, and 
he with me. (Rev. 3:20 ESV)

My Dear Sisters,  go ahead, put up your decorations,  dig out that ugly Christmas sweater,  and vibe out on your favorite Christmas tunes.  You don't have to be sad this Pandemic Christmas.  Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever and if He's your King,  He's also your JOY!!! 

UNTIL NEXT TIME...


If you would like to leave a comment please send an email to: sisters4sisters@att.net OR  scroll to the bottom of my blog page at  http://alittlewiser63.blogspot.com  click on the no comments by the pencil and it will change to a writing space.