Friday, March 29, 2019

And A Little Child Shall Lead Them...

"Suffer the little children to
 come unto me...for such is the
kingdom of God." (Luke 18:16)

With milder temperatures on the horizon and the promise of Spring in the air, I am at last coming out of some winter doldrums!  Just taking a quick survey of my own family and thinking about all the sickness and calamities we've been through  this winter, I'm  praising God for a change of season! How about you?

Speaking of a change, my heart was so encouraged as I tuned into my church's 6:30 a.m. prayer line this week and heard young people, one as young as 4 years old reading God's word and praying for the needs of our community and country!  Now that's something you don't usually see kids do on Spring Break!

It certainly sparked a ray of hope in my life and a bit of optimism for this world!  With deeper thoughts on the matter, I got this insight...youth have always been in the forefront of hope and change during times of darkness. Throughout history the greatest moves of social activism and human rights have been led by young people! The civil rights movement, marches for gun control, women's education in the middle east, are just a few! 

 It sure gives credence to the many scriptures that point to youth vitality, strength, and value in the world.  Perhaps that's why the enemy is so determined to wipe them out!  He perceives them as a great threat to his evil campaign and anything he can do to deny, extinguish, or destroy their potential in Christ is on his agenda.

Even as I type this blog, scripture after scripture tells me this is so!  In the Gospels (Matthew 19:14; Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18:16), Christ's own disciples discounted the importance of children to His kingdom!  Incredible when you think that the Lord, Himself at the tender age of 12 was found in the Jewish temple schooling the Rabbis (Luke 2:45-50).

It's true,  present day young people are sometimes hard to understand!  Their lives are so complicated.  Their thinking is beyond what I can decipher.  Their outspoken, sometimes ill-mannered speech and conduct a bit offsetting at times.  But I still respect and honor and I am generally inspired by them for the most part. 

That's why I tend to stop and listen, even while gritting my teeth when they are passionate about something!
Psalm 8:2 (NLT) says, You (God) have taught children and infant to tell of your strength, silencing your enemies and all who oppose you. Youths can be sources of wisdom!  We may have to check our ego a bit and get beyond what we see on the surface.

We see the Apostle Paul encouraging a younger generation in I Timothy 4:12 (NLT): Let no one despise or think less of you because of your youth, but be an example for the believers in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.  He warns those of us who are mature in the faith to heed Ephesians 6:4 (This is after admonishing children to be obedient in 6:1) - do not exasperate (frustrate) the children by being too harsh in discipline but take them by the hand and lead them (Message Bible Translation).  It's hard to imagine isn't it that we can frustrate our children as much as they frustrate us!  Maybe that's why in Isaiah 40: 30-31, he says that that even the youth grow tired and weary...

So then maybe our prayers should become a bit more focused.  Yes!  Continue to pray for their safety and protection!  Yes!  Let's pray that they obey the voice of God rather than culture and return to the faith of their parents!  But let's also pray that we may be a voice of influence to help guide their energy and passion toward things that are wholesome and character building.  Let's help them use their passions for Christ!

Youth are not the leaders of tomorrow, we need them right now!  Our young adults are called Millennials.  This makes me think of the role Spirit anointed youth will play during the Millennial kingdom (the time when Christ returns and sets up His kingdom on earth). 

The prophet Isaiah describes a scene in Isaiah 11:6, that shows  a time of peace and harmony in the world. We are told symbolically that those with natures like wild beasts (wolves and leopards) and deadly and poisonous snakes (cobras and vipers) will be changed and under the submission of Christ. When you read carefully the text you see that children have no fear of them.  They are quite comfortable and confident in their midst.  I see this boldness and confidence foundational to the prominent role they will be playing. 

We don't know when Christ will set up His kingdom but what we can do in preparation for it is  set a godly example before our young people and continue to show unconditional love when they fail!  OUR YOUTH NEED PARENTS NOT FRIENDS, so let's make sure we're doing our part before THROWING SHADE!

Why not start by encouraging a young person you know with a kind word! Catch them doing something good and tell them so!  I'd like to start with the young people who hosted my church's prayer line this week: 


 Chris, Mason, Daniel, Joshua, Lexxus, and A'via


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Monday, March 11, 2019

Celebrating Women Who Make a Difference!

"I glorified you on earth having
accomplished the work you gave
me to do," (John 17:4 ESV)
Greeting Sister Soldiers!  The fight continues as we enter into another year of successes and defeats both secular and within our Christian circles.  

On a good note, a record 117 women won political elections in the November 2018 elections.  Forty-two of those were women of color.  So 2019 started off with more feminine faces than the year before....maybe now we'll get some things done!

 Women still constitute more than half of the congregants in mainstream Christian churches according to a recent Pew Research poll.  That means that God is definitely using our gifts and skills and our ministries are making a Kingdom difference!  However,
 women the most religious worldwide, are also the most persecuted!

In an Open Doors report on persecution of Christians it was found that atrocities visited upon women are much different than those for men.  Women are kidnapped, raped, and sometimes forced to marry their captors.  If they are later rescued some must leave their children behind and are then shunned by family and community.  This is a type of sexual warfare resurfacing and being used (see link below).

Cheaper to Rape A Woman than Waste a Bullet

But praise the Lord! The world just can't keep us down!  I am so happy to be part of a gender of survivors!  And that's why I welcome the opportunity to celebrate women not only this month, International Women History Month, but every day of each month!

My February post featured Black History reflections in recognition of the month.  Yes, it was a bit on the negative side but I truly believe what George Santayana said:  Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it!  So let me redeem myself by sharing with you something more positive this time.  

I mentioned in that post, The Green Book by author, Victor H. Green. It was a traveler's guide for blacks from 1936-1967 in racially torn America.  I'm ashamed to say that I'd never heard of it!  Now that a movie by the same name has won an Oscar for Best Picture, more of us are acquainted with its significance.  I've still not seen the movie but was fortunate to catch a documentary on the Smithsonian Channel the other day: The Green Book: Guide to Freedom.

It showed the ingenuity and business prowess of many blacks forced to fill the void of decent accommodations for black travelers, i.e.,  hotels, restaurants, rest stops, etc.  Advertisement for these businesses were published in The Green Book, and many of the most successful ones were owned by black women! One in particular was entrepreneur Alberta Ellis, owner of Alberta's Hotel in Springfield, Missouri, a prominent establishment on the famous Route 66 of the 1940s and 1950s.

Miss Alberta, as she was known, worked for the Bell Telephone Company.  She used her wages to initially start an eatery, and then parlayed those earnings into ownership of a hotel.  With $10,000 in cash, she purchased and renovated an old hospital up for auction.  The finished project included a beauty salon, barber shop and dining room.  It was frequented by celebrities such as Nat King Cole and the Harlem Globetrotters.

She later acquired a farm and was positioned to build an empire of sorts until racism reared its ugly head.  Alberta eventually lost the hotel through eminent domain and the various stresses she endured hastened her demise.  She died in her early fifties.  But what a trailblazer she was for young business women today who now have a model for both brains and beauty!

Another firebrand personality featured in the documentary was civil rights pioneer, Modjeska Monteith Simkins, owner of Motel Simkins in Columbia, South Carolina.  She too  owned a hotel but was also co-founder and employee of Victory Bank, the first black-owned bank in South Carolina.  Her passion for better health and education for the poor caused her to start the South Carolina Conference of the N.A.A.C.P.   This conference held planning meetings that championed the renowned Brown vs. Board of Education court case ending school segregation in America.

Modjeska Simkins, endured much discrimination in her lifetime.  Her hotel was attacked several times by local racists.  Her name was besmirched during the McCarthy Red Scare era, and suffered many other forms of harassment.  Yet, she like Alberta Ellis were among the unsung heroes of the twentieth century who left legacies that inspired men and women for years to come!

As a Christian blogger you may wonder why I chose to highlight these two since I have no idea of their religious background.  Unfortunately, none of the resources I came across mentioned their personal histories.  But this I know.

These women discovered their purpose early in life and hatred and bigotry could not deter them.  They knew that they were fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14).  Their passion was fueled by a spirit of service  and kindness to others -  For I was hungry and you fed me.  I was thirsty and you gave me drink.  I was a stranger and you invited me in (Matthew 25:35).  They persevered and accomplished the work God gave them to do (John 17:4).  And To God goes all the glory!!  These attributes among others make them as much like 
Jesus as any Christian I know!


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