How I endure…..

In our world…I mean the world we live in right now…We scarcely like to think we are “blessed”.  But then again…don’t we call everything “Blessed”, take the general greeting…”How are you today?” “Chile I’m blessed and highly favored” we like to reply. But we think “blessed” means trivial things like..We got the good parking spot up front at the mall that day it was completely packed and we didn’t want to walk in that heat at the grocery store, so we were blessed that we had that parking spot…We don’t count the  fact that we have clean running water, “a blessing”, while there are those in other countries dying for lack of it..We normally don’t think of ourselves as blessed if we have a roof over our head with carpeted floors and central air for summer and central heat for winter..We normally don’t count ourselves blessed when we live to see another day and we have health and strength to hit the gym…I don’t think we think through the math when we are able to go and buy groceries and fill our pantries with food for the week or even month, while there’s someone sleeping under a bridge somewhere in our cities..We tend not to think much about the safety of our children…Although real blessing isn’t found in things at all..
While the truth of the matter is, right around us…in our own city, state or even community.. some little child is being sold into trafficking and used as a sex toy because the PARENT wanted “Drug”  money..not a stranger sold and kidnapped them but their parent, and what of the parent’s that would tie their children up to a backyard fence with a dog chain link..Their are real atrocities going on all around us…like what of the person in the hospital tonight on their last leg and their parents or siblings or children are praying for a miracle healing from the cancer or organ failure…and what of those who don’t have the luxury of going home and sleeping in their own bed tonight, they can’t go behind their own boundary called a door, lock it with a key and walk away and not worry about their things being taken..their under the bridge and all they have is that bag, while we are bragging on our 30th pair of shoes.

As we watch those few in the “top percentile” that are “smarter than others” get all they can, can all they get and many once they get their can, on their cans they’ll sit… We watch the atrocities of a society that is cold and brutal and not willing to be kind, fair, or give mercy or patience and we lack forgiveness and take offense at any little word someone says… There’s pain all around us…I heard on the news last week someone was simply driving their car and in a tussle for a spot on the road now people are pulling out guns and shooting drivers in the head. Where has the respect for human life gone, the love for one another seems to be waxing cold and it’s hard to think about anyone but ourselves as we watch others suffer around us we make excuses about why they should have saved better or made better choices…or prepared well…As we watch Isis which is a spirit of evil strike again and again..we don’t try to kill the spirit of evil with the spirit of love.we simply try to snuff out this person or that group thinking that will stop the spirit behind it..

 

I make no comments about these things because my focus is in a different place..I’ve set my affections on a higher plane. I know that sounds really crazy, the young girl at Columbine was killed and many others because they simply set their affections on something higher…something they were willing to die for..There’s a crown..they call it the crown of righteousness..and what of the one who endures until the end. The one whose love doesn’t wax cold, who doesn’t stop fighting for justice in a perverted political and educational system, what of the one who stands up to make a difference and be a trail blazer, the one who has higher values and is bold enough to say something about it. What of the person who says I want to stop trafficking so let’s start a movement, because in all essence…ALL LIVES DO MATTER…Black, White, Brown, Red, Green, Blue…whatever you want to call it…if there’s a person dying of cancer…they matter, if there’s  a person being gun down in the street they matter, if there’s a child whose being abused by their parent so badly they have no self esteem and no hope they matter..if there’s a loveless judge or lawyer who takes bribes the person who was innocent he ruled against…they matter.. We used to have parents just leave their babies outside in dumpsters or on others footstools but these days they are drowning and killing them…yes, we have an eye opening reality where laws are being  made my grandparents would have never imagined..

When I say I set my affections on things above, it doesn’t mean I do nothing..it means I know where the ultimate answer lies. This world is not my home, the days I live are going to be few I live them the best I can and with all the joy I can no matter the circumstance.. but how I endure is I have a set focus a ready aim..on a crown …that will endure forever!

The issue of security

In our society, we are ingrained in the mindset that we must feel safe. It’s the reason we lock our doors to our homes, it’s a barrier, a boundary, which let’s others know this is where they stop and we start.. We even go to such extents that we look for homes in “nicer” neighborhoods (gated communities) so that we feel safe from “those” kinds of people. You know the kind, the kind that break in people’s houses and steal their things, and we pride ourselves in living in neighborhoods where there are “safer” schools for our children. We often invest in spending thousands of dollars to send our children to private schools, why? It’s an issue of security. We want our children to be insulated. We don’t want them around “negative influences” after all, bad company corrupts good character and “environment is everything”, further more if we gather enough wealth to “come up” we don’t want poor people living in our neighborhoods and going to our schools because it just “messes up the status qua. In our society, we love safety and security, we not only lock our doors to our homes and cars when we exit them because we want a sense of safety when we aren’t there… We buy dogs sometimes and train them to “protect us” granted some people have Pit Bills as companions and others have German Shepherds,Rottweilers, and Pinschers because they want to feel safe and they want their homes to be free of robbery when they are away. As a precaution, we buy alarm systems for our homes just in case, someone tries to break in. Some people keep guns in their homes, just in case someone ever thought to break in,

Obviously security is an important issue in American life, and with great reason. This week I audited a medical record of a young lady who was only 30 years old, she was careless, she drove without a seat belt on, she was unfortunate enough to not only get into a major automobile collision, she was ejected from her car, and rolled over on the street. This woman was brain dead by the time her husband ever got to her, and he was facing the lost this month of not only a child, but a wife. We care about those we love and we want them to be safe and we care about others enough to be as safe as we possibly can. So, by all means buckle up every time your in the car, you never know whose on the road while your out there.

we may even carry around Mace, as females when we travel alone, we don’t want to be caught up in the wrong situations. We take “self defense” classes because we want to always be prepare and have taken the proper precautions so that “if” we find ourselves in a compromising situation we have a tool we can reach back and grab to defend ourselves. Some People carry guns in their car. Just this week there was a young lady who was about 20 years old, she got into a tussle for a spot on the road, the man shot her in the head, road rage can be bad out there so be careful. I guess that was the reason he had the gun in the car in the first place, in case anyone wanted to test his limits, he had to keep himself safe if you know what I mean.

Airlines are now taking extra steps to keep people safe, they are making a digital scan of your fingertips possible, at this point it’s not mandatory, now on some jobs they are putting little chips in their employees shoulder to clock in, but that’s not mandatory yet either. Just a few short weeks ago I learned someone at a tire shop had completely ripped me off and used my credit card to his own benefit. Well, there are ways now to guard against that, banks are making a chip available for those who so desire. Restraining orders are another method we use for safety.

All of these technologies are being created because we need more safety today somehow than what we needed 50 years ago. It is true times are changing. We are living in such a nostalgic generation, even the phones are going out of date the week after we buy them. And we are needing more and more safety to keep the things we have because others are seemingly more jealous and have more at their disposal to take what we have.

But, what if we lived in a culture where everything we had didn’t have us. Where we were more concerned about others than ourselves. I met this couple once many years ago as a stay at home mom, they were a lot like this family I knew when I was growing up. The Armitage’s  were much like the Carr’s.  These were the 2 families I knew that left everything they had open to whatever gain and profit it could mean to others. I rarely ever went to any of their homes and the doors were locked. It was amazing, I was astounded that people actually lived that way. They would feed people who came over hungry and they would keep company with those who were just lonely and needed somewhere to go…especially on holiday’s if they weren’t invited to someone else’s house. The only time they locked their doors were when they left. And amazingly, no one ever broke into their homes. Granted they didn’t invest their lives into owning the most expensive plasma screen and they didn’t have the bombing radio systems in their cars to attract others but they had enough for themselves and whatever they had was opened for others..The one thing they had in common, as The Armitage’s were white and the Carr’s were black was that they loved Jesus in such a way that they felt like this life was so not worth trying to protect things they could replace and most certainly they regarded their lives as those that  Christ was the epitome of.

I’m not saying that these people were perfect or that they never sinned or did anything wrong, but this one thing they had in mind at all times..It’s not I who live but Christ who lives through me. I prayed for a lady on yesterday, she lost her job earning 180,000 a year…that’s right this lady was making 6 figures and the only thing she could think of was her 400,000 home and her daughter..how would they now make mortgage and the expensive car note they now have.. Don’t see what I’m saying wrong, It’s okay to have a 500,000 home and it’s perfectly fine to drive a 53,000.00 car, but when those things have you to such a point where if you lost them you became suicidal, “Houston, we have a problem”! These are great things to seek for, I think we should all have hope and aspirations but when it becomes so serious we are forced to get microchips as animals are just to use our bank account I think security has gone way too far. I believe the day is coming when people will have chips put in them just to work for certain companies to keep track of every place they go…When security becomes that important, it’s not security anymore..It’s imprisonment!

Let us be clear, we should put on our seat belts, let’s not be reckless, we should lock our doors and car doors, for we do live in such a time in certain places where people may take what you have “worked so hard” for.. but by all means…have the things…don’t let the things have you!

 

 

 

That’s not in the bible!

Have you ever heard someone say:
“The bible says, God helps those who help themselves” or “if you take one step He’ll take 2″ Sayings like this have really been prevalent, and the sad thing is most people believe the bible actually said..”Money is the root of all evil” When in fact if you read the text it actually says: “The love of money is the root of evil” We like to say those famous man made quotes, you know the ones that are no where in the bible like..”Spare the rod spoil the child” Some of these things we’ve even taught our children having no real understanding of what they mean..Come on, don’t we say lots of things we take at face value as truths that are not truths at all..We seem to accept things too easily for instance the saying that “People will forget what you did but not how you made them feel” What you did made them feel the way they did.. And what about this one.. “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” Well, when I was younger I knew my parents cared about me..but I still didn’t care how much they knew..

Is there a possibility that the things we thought we absolutely knew was either incomplete or totally wrong?  How can you know what those things are unless we are opened to gain more understanding than what we currently have.

 

Although sometimes there are principles.. That work every time, whether you give them a scripture verse and a text or not. There are some things we should do further research on.

Pictures of children

Last week my children bought home their school pictures, I looked at them and thought they were really cool..So, I went and bought frames for them and not only did I hang the 8 by 10’s in the living room…I put the 5 by 7’s into frames and took them to work to put on my desk..You heard right..I didn’t take the wallet sized ones or the 4 by 6 that would be too small and everyone that passed my desk wouldn’t see it..They had to be noticeable..they are pics of my children..

When people would pass they would make comments …”Look how cute”, “They’re getting big aren’t they”, “they look just like you” You know those comments that make you smile…but then there’s that one person that stops you and wants to have a conversation about your children..that happened this morning..One of my co-workers stopped and said…”So these are your little ones who are still home with you..and this is the infamous Benjamin…..heyyy Benjamin” she said with a smile..I started to tell her how proud I was of them.. they are taking the Staar test this week, but they are doing great..And this one’s on the honor roll and that one is playing basketball and he made a lot of points last week and made player of the week..

Let me tell you nothing brings joy to a parents heart and brightens their face more than talking about their children…they suddenly become assets…Even when our children are younger, we don’t complain about how tired we are from being up all night..we want the cute picture of them walking for the first time..that’s where we build memories…

Beloved…Our Father is the same way with us..If He had a wallet I’m certain He’d have all our pictures in it.. Picture it, He calls Gabriel to Himself and says..Take a look at my son/daughter…and Gabriel says something like..”Yes Lord I’ve seen them 20 times today” Just as we like to make mention of the good things our children do and not really the bad..God is that way with us. He’s not constantly rehearsing the things you’ve done wrong..A parent wants to show everyone their children because of one reason..They’re their children, and they love them, and they want everyone else to know it..

I look at my children’s pics periodically throughout the day…and it reminds me of how our names are written in the Father’s hand. Our names are written in His book of life if we have accepted Him, and He loves us unconditionally, I see my children and think..look at how mature your becoming..now it doesn’t mean your perfect but my I remember you from when you were so small you could fit in the palm of my hands…and here you are…growing up, and sometimes it’s really neat when you start seeing your resemblance in them and you know your children were placed here to live your legacy and it’s worth the investment.

Who does that?

Remember that movie Les Miserables…I relished in that one scene when the thief Jean Valjean  breaks in and steals the silver from the priest..

Did you notice that in the scene the man wakes up…and walks into the room and sees the thief…he looks him directly in the eye…and Jean actually slaps him.

He wakes the next day as though nothing happened..
Personally, I would have been offended..but not this man..something was quite remarkable about him..
It was only right for him to require justice as the man was caught..but knowing what had happened with the police ready and willing to do justice…The priest looks him in the eye being apprehended by the authorities and says..”You forgot these candle sticks they were most expensive”
Who gives away more of what’s valuable to a thief who has robbed them??

This story reminds me of so many things I could make commentary on right now..but the mercy and the grace of the priest..everyone knows that this is a crime deserving a penalty..and possibly of death, but at least jail time. After all this man is as a commoner…and the priest well, at least he has status..but the man of status forgives..and he releases someone who offends him greatly…even violently assaults him..

Would you let it go?? Would you have done this..Just a thought?
Do you know anyone who has?

When Enemies Become Footstools

This morning I felt compelled to write regarding what I studied in my quiet time..although many mornings I’m awake and in the world before the break of day..and there’s always something wonderful that comes out of that time…It’s my personal date time with God..and some things He shares that are truly amazing I keep to my self..while other things I tweet throughout the day…

This was one of those moments I felt impressed to share in hopes this will bless someone..

Is there anything in your life that seems too big for you to overcome on your own…get that in your mind..Just think through this..do you need anything to be bought down to a size where you can walk on top of it as opposed to it lurking over you..

David had such a situation in the text I read on this morning. I’d just finished the story of Nabal and Abigail..and saw how God stretched out Nabal on behalf of David, even though David intended to raise his hand against this man an all his men..God took care of that enemy immediately..but there was yet another…more powerful, more significant enemy that David had to contend with almost daily. From living in his father’s lavished house where he could go out and come in as he pleased shepherding the sheep, to the palace playing his harp for the king..right up to killing a lion, a bear and a philistine champion David is now on the run for his life from a king who has position but no power..Ever had some situation like that in your life. It appears that this thing/person has the last say..but they really have no power at all unless power if given from God.

Well, there had been several occasions Saul left the lavished comfort of his palace with ALL his fighting men to pursue a man who didn’t even care to harm him..

And on occasions even though God would never turn David over to Saul….it was apparent God was favoring David in this context..

Put a pin there..I wanted to tell you..there’s nothing like God’s favor!

David had opportunities to hard the man who was literally chasing him to harm him, but he chose against putting his hands on the Lord’s anointed..

Put a pin there… how good are you about not putting your mouth or pen on authority or others who seems to be out to harm you?

This time I’m reading 1 Sam 26 and we can clearly see that God has did it again..He puts Saul clean into David’s hand and Saul and ALL his 3,000 men are literally like footstools under David’s feet, that David could have chosen either way and walked away unscathed…because He was a man of war…not that little boy his brother criticized for coming out to the battle against Goliath to check on them and bring food…David was a warrior..but he also was a man after God’s own heart..and because of this his enemies were made his footstool…even though it wasn’t as fast as with Nabal…David predicted that Saul would die at some point, either by old age, in battle or some other way at the Lord’s hand as with Nabal…the Lord struck him down..David realized there was a reason Saul was staying alive..and however long God wanted he was okay…
Put a pin there and let’s have a side bar as I close…
David was willing to run for his life some more..instead of just killing his enemy…How many of us are willing to do that…As opposed to having guilt on his hand..He took the water jub and spear..and called King Saul on it..but this man was in no way trying to harm his king..we should learn a lesson from this since we have seen by this example if we have  God’s favor the king can’t harm us anyway regardless of his position..he had no power!

Putting God First

Have you ever heard people say…”I put God first” when you ask them a question.. For instance you may ask How did you become so rich…and they say…”Well, I honored/put God first” This could mean they tithed with their money or gave to the poor or gave to missions at the church before they spent anything on themselves or for any other necessities…but either way they are acknowledging God in this particular area of life..Or what about those married couples that have been married 55 years and you ask them…How did you all stay married so long?? they don’t say..Well, you know couples in our day didn’t believe in divorce..this new generation is something else…no there’s something they acknowledge had to be constant…They say they “we put God first” in their marriage..as a concerted effort they are saying this is what will work for you..WE didn’t put our riches or our marriage before God…we put God above it…

Jesus says in such an amazing passage that we are to seek first His kingdom and all it’s righteousness and all these things would be added unto us..I think this is where these people lodge their claim…

They are saying that…in effect without me putting God in the forefront I would not have seen this moment when you get to ask me this question…

Now think with me for a moment about our society today…Every body who receives an award goes up and first says…”First I want to thank God for my success” And that could mean many things…you probably listened to their album or watched thier lifestyle and heard about them in the tabloids and said to yourself..this can’t possibly be right..Which God are they first honoring…For if they had any relationship with Yahweh God They wouldn’t be cussing and talking such foolery in their songs …or lifestyle.. it is true to put God first means this is what you are ultimately going after..

Let me tell you something ….Putting God first can be seen in this worldly example… Let’s say there’s a single mother, she is trying to rear up her children and her first goal is to provide for their needs.. this drives everything she does… Because her children are first it generates everything else she does, just as for the gang banger, robbing someone is their goal for the day because they are after one thing money..that’s the thing they are seeking above all else..so just as the mother gets up each morning when she doesn’t feel like it and when she does and she sacrifices to be at all the events with her children…and to do all she can to keep a roof over a head..she had a noble goal..and that’s what she wants to accomplish and it dictates all the decisions she makes…as a good mother…

So it is when we seek God’s kingdom first it dictates everything else we do because it is first…over and above all else..As the mother who gets up each day and goes to work and pays the bills and whatever she does affects her children..so it is with putting God first..He becomes the reason for everything else we do..and if we don’t see Him as purpose behind what we are doing.. we have ceased to keep Him in His proper position and have become like the world..
Every decision should be dictated by that which you honor and value most…so if that is God…Every decision is filtered through His philosophy not yours.. I believe that we should seek First His Kingdom..for if we get that first button right..all the others will follow suit..and we will be well prepared for each day we live!