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But I will establish My covenant with you, and you will enter the ark - you and your sons and your wife and your sons' wives with y...

Thursday, June 30, 2005

What Song Are You Feeling?

You know how sometimes you ask a question that you think is just out of the blue and the answer you receive speaks to something inside of you?

Well the following lyrics was the response I received to asking "What Song Are You Feeling?" to a friend.

It was exactly what I needed to hear.

Moral of the story? You have not, because you ask not. Ask what's on your mind today.

Peace,
Dee

YOUR WILL - Words and Music by Darius Brooks

Scriptural References: (Psalm 119:10, Deut. 31:6,8 and 33:27A, Hebrews 13:5-6, Luke 12:34, Phil.2:13)

Lyrics:

I wish I could tell You just what I want,
And You'd give it to me just like that.
The truth of the matter. What I want just might hurt me.
And You won't let me go out like that.
You know my end before my beginning.
Calculated blessings down to the penny.

Chorus:

So I'll cry 'til You tell me let it go let it be.
Cause oh Lord, Your will is what's best for me

No rubies, and no Diamonds,
no silver or no pearls.
There are some lessons
that I had to learn.
That I would not trade in for this world.
You told me that trials, Only come to make me strong.
And with this You promised,
You promised never to leave me alone.

Chorus

So I'll cry 'til You tell me let it go let it be.
Cause oh Lord, Your will is what's best for me

Bridge:
Lead vocal (Darius): Oh, Your word is true ... .(Choir: Your word is true.)
Lead: And it will last...(And it will last)
Lead: You will guide the future...(You will guide the future.)

Lead: Just as You have the past..(As You have the past)
Lead: My Lordy, One of these old days,
I'm gonna have just what I want,
'Cause I'm gonna trust You every step of the way.
And You're gonna lead me all the way home.

Chorus

So I'll cry 'til You tell me let it go let it be.
Cause oh Lord, Your will is what's best for me

Bridge: Your word is true And it will last. You will guide the future as You have the past.

There were times that I could not see, But I know that I know that I know it's so. You love me more, You love me more, Than I'll ever know. Chorus.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Step Aside. . .Let Faith In!

by Kenneth Aveirls, Sr.

“Caleb stills the people and said," Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it. But the men that went up with him said, WE ARE NOT ABLE TO GO UP against the people; for they are stronger than we.” ~Numbers 13:30-31

Faith or Reason? I wonder. . . whose report are you believing?

Science and faith went for a stroll one bright and sunny day. Science pointed towards the sky and said, “Hey Faith! Do you see those clouds? They are called “Cumulus clouds”. These are the puffy clouds that look like puffs of cotton, and if they do not get very tall, it is a sign that we will have fair weather today!” Faith replied, “You should become a contestant on Jeopardy! You are so smart!”

As the two moved further along the trail, Science pointed to a very beautiful flower. He said, “Look at that flower, Faith! It is called Cherokee Rose, and its name was derived from the Cherokee Indians who widely distributed the plant. This flower can bloom twice a year, under favorable conditions. It is also the State flower for Georgia.” Faith stood there in awe, and responded to Science. . . “Man you’re smart!”

Further along, the trail the two of them stopped at a river bank. You could see where the trail picked up again, on the other side of the river. Science told Faith, “We have to turn around. We can’t go any further. The trail ends here.” Faith looked at Science, and said “Step aside. . .this is where I come in!”

Just because you don’t see how, doesn’t mean it can’t be done!

“Faith ain’t faith, until you’ve run out of all other options!”

Copyright (c) 2005 by Kenneth Aveirls, Sr.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Divine Appointments

I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. ~ Matthew 10:16
"Chris is now taking over this division. He will be managing all of these activities from now on. You should know that he has a different management philosophy than what you may have experienced before. He has a biblical management philosophy. Chris, would you like to explain what they could expect from you in this regard?"

These were the words spoken to me by a non-Christian CEO recently when he decided to increase my responsibilities in the company. We had never spoken of spiritual issues before.

Each business day, you and I will have the opportunity to stand before presidents, marketing directors, secretaries or other coworkers to create a defining moment. When that happens, there is a good chance you will be thought of as someone to avoid. You might be considered "religious" or "fanatic." If so, consider this a great compliment because it says you are standing apart from the crowd.

Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. On My account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you ~(Matthew 10:17-20).
You may never be flogged for your faith. However, you may very well be brought before others to give account for what you believe. It may be at a water cooler, or it could be during lunch with a coworker. In whatever situation you find yourself, the Holy Spirit awaits the opportunity to speak through your life to that person who needs to hear. Ask the Lord whom He wants to speak to today through your life.

Copyright (c) 2005 by Christopher Donaldson, Sr.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Burn Your Ship!

“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 3:13-14

Five hundred years ago, Hernando Cortez sailed to conquer Aztec Mexico. Keep in mind the lengthy travails of an extended sea-voyage in that era. His men became disgruntled on the sea-trip, and some wanted to return home. They weren't sure the promise of gold was worth entering the strange land. They finally arrived. When the supplies were safely unloaded on the beach – Cortez burnt the ships! This removed the possibility of quitting, and concentrated the energy and attention of his men on successful survival in the new land.

In Philippians 3 the apostle Paul made the same choice spiritually. His past, with its success and its shame, he chose to forget -- he set fire to his ship! What mattered to him most was keeping his eyes on the goal of gaining Christ's approval.

It is very easy. . . . to become paralyzed with fear! You are terrified of the past, too petrified of the future, so you are trapped in the “now”!

Reverend Paul’s mindset is one sure mark of Christian maturity. It's what God is working to develop in our lives (Phil. 3:13-15). We can't forget our past, of course, but we don't have to live in it.

Broken Dreams? Leave it behind you!
Broken Promises? Leave it behind you!
Broken Home? Leave it behind you!
Broken Heart? Leave it behind you!
Broken Health? Leave it behind you!

What do you choose? To be stuck in the past or move towards your future?

Copyright (c) 2005 by Kenneth Aveirls, Sr.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Ruminating

Today, no organized (and maybe even long-winded soliloquy)...just an over-riding thought that just bears expressing:

My post: I Received my Song Today brings up the issue of "firsties."

Why do we have that sense of entitlement?

How is it that we're a set aside group, yet still conform to the mores of society?

Recently, I offered to lend my sister a new Fendi bagpack, that I'd not used as yet and she absolutely refused to borrow it. While I knew that I'd bought the bagpack purely because I was at a house show and my supervisor was the hostess (yeah...still a little bit of people pleaser in me). The fact that I needed a new bagpack was of secondary importance to me. I just didn't want to be the poor, black, person at the show, who couldn't afford to buy something. (ah, pride).

Maybe if I'd communicated to my sister the story behind the bag, and that it had been sitting in my room for about 3 weeks already, she might have borrowed it? But I still doubt it, that firstie's mentality is a hard one to crack.

The scripture basis for today's post: My Prayer Today (aren't links grand?) puts a different spin on the firstie's mindset and it's wrapped up in one word...Love!

Peace,
Dee

My Prayer Today


If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn't love others, I would be of no value whatsoever. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. ~1 Corinthians 13:3-5 (NLT)

Gracious and Almighty Father
I just want to thank you for life, health and strength
You've been Provider, Comforter, Visionary, Friend
Your tender mercies just never end

When I act up
Your love is constant
When I give up
Your strength sustains me
When I’m afraid
Your love protects me
When I’m confused
Your mind instructs me
In all my phases
You’re there to bless me

As I go about my daily tasks
Help me to look beyond the masks
Of the hurting, afflicted, oft worn down husks
Lord help me not to betray your trust

Let my steps be in order
My tongue be for praise
My hands be for good works
And my thoughts aligned with yours
When pricked by impatience
Let kindness reign,
Overshadow envy, pride, rudeness, and anger
With your abiding love
This is the prayer I pray today
Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen

Copyright (c) 2005, D.S. White

Friday, June 17, 2005

I Received My Song Today

11:30 a.m.
I just received the mp3 of my first song written today via eMail. It was sung by the vocalist who will be singing it on the soundtrack. It was a bittersweet moment. No the deal didn’t fall through, as my ex-fiancĂ© and mom expected, (“Because this music thing never works out for you.”)

So what was the problem exactly? Well…she hadn’t sung it exactly as I did. And she’d changed the feel of the song. (How dare she? What was the demo tape for, if she just ups and makes it her own?) Doesn’t she know it’s my song! She just gets to sing it first…that’s all.

The insecure child in me immediately begins wondering, does she sound better than me? When I complete my CD and folks hear me singing it, will they say she did a better job? Should I even use it anymore since she’ll be recording it first?

What should I do? I can’t ask my family, ‘cause they just might lie.

Everyone knows how important firsties is. First is what it’s all about isn’t it? I mean, who lends stuff out before we’ve even used it first? It’s an unwritten law of society. “Thou shalt not give up the right to first use of your property.”

12:28 pm
Okay, I’ve listened to it about twelve times now and it’s really not bad. Different from my version, but it’s okay.

1:20 pm
Alright…it’s good. There I said it. It’s good!

I guess amidst the surprise of it not being a clone of my version and my minor disappointment that I wouldn’t be singing it for the soundtrack I temporarily lost sight of the big picture. Not only had I been requested to write this song expressly for this soundtrack, at the inception, it was made clear that I would not be the vocalist.

So how did it become about my ego? Quite easily. Anytime we take our eyes off our purpose (enlarging God’s Kingdom) we become prey to our emotions and desires.

Can I handle just taking credit as the songwriter? Heck yeah. Up until a month ago…I didn’t even know I had it in me to be a songwriter. And as to not being the first to sing the song I wrote. I’m thankful that anyone wants to sing it all, and most importantly, the sooner it is sung, the quicker it’s invitation to healing and restoration begins.

But what if my interpretation is better? So what? The many interpretations of the Bible increase not decrease it’s reach and appeal.

2:30 pm
Leaving work now and I’m content I worked through my angst. (But I still think my version, is better).

Peace,
Dee

Thursday, June 16, 2005

The Greatest Test

by Christopher Donaldson, Sr.

I know, my God, that You test the heart and are pleased with integrity. ~ 1 Chronicles 29:17a
God tests His children to know what is in their hearts. God's desire for each of His children is to walk in relationship with Him, to uphold His righteousness and integrity. It is a high calling that we will fail to achieve without complete dependence on Him.

The greatest tests come not in great adversities, but in great prosperity. For it is in prosperity that we begin to lose the sensitivity to sin in our lives. Adversity motivates us to righteousness out of a desire to see our adversity changed. Prosperity fails to provide this motivation for obedience. We fall into a satisfaction and confidence in life that is based on our prosperity rather than on God.

Hezekiah was a great godly king. He was a faithful, God-honoring king most of his life, but toward the end he became proud. God wanted to find out if he would still honor Him and recognize His blessings in his life. He failed the test when God sent an envoy to his palace to inquire about a miracle that God performed on behalf of Hezekiah. The test was designed to find out if Hezekiah would publicly acknowledge the miracle performed on his behalf.

But when envoys were sent by the rulers of Babylon to ask him about the miraculous sign that had occurred in the land, God left him to test him and to know everything that was in his heart (2 Chronicle 32:31).

Hezekiah's failure resulted in his children failing to carry on as rulers of Israel, and the nation would eventually be taken over by Babylon.

The lesson of Hezekiah is clear. If we are to remain faithful to our Lord, we must remain steadfast in our obedience to Him. Prosperity can be our greatest test. Ask the Lord to give you the grace to be a faithful follower during times of prosperity.

Copyright (c) 2005, Christopher Donaldson, Sr.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

"Spiritual Necrophiliacs”

by Ken Aveirls, Sr.

Ezekiel 37:8-14

A “necrophiliac” is a person who is in love, or obsessed with a corpse; dead things. A spiritual necrophiliac is a person who has lost their “fire”, and has elected to embrace the dead areas of their life!
- In a relationship, that you KNOW will not be beneficial to you – DEAD!
- Employed on a mediocre job – DEAD!
- Blaming your parents, or lack of, for being the way you are – DEAD!
- Having to get “high” to get up, and excessively drink to get “down” – DEAD!
- Filled with lust – DEAD!

Before you write the obituary;
Before you purchase the coffin;
Before you make the tombs your place of residence;
Before you embalm your dreams;
Before you read last rites over your love life;
Before you lay down in the sarcophagus of sickness;

I serve a God who specializes in reviving the dead areas of our lives! Look at Bishop Ezekiel as he is sent down to the Chebar Valley Community Church. God sends him to a situation which seems hopeless. . .dead! Reverend Doctor Ezekiel looks at the church and the lifeless state that it is in, and informs God that the “Church” is dead. That’s part of our problem. . . we see one thing, and God sees something totally different! Dr. Ezekiel saw bones. . .God saw an Army!!

We see the problem, God sees the solution!
We see sickness, God sees the cure!
We see poverty, God sees a window, and pours out a blessing for you!
We see mediocrity, God says. . .everything that I created. . .I called it “GOOD”!

Whatever that “dead” area is in your life, turn it over to the LORD! Remember, God created us to be the head. . .and not the tail! To be above. . .and not beneath!

Serving the Master!
Copyright (c) 2005, Ken Aveirls, Sr.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Compassion: God’s Introduction

Earlier today I saw a bedraggled, obviously down-on-his-luck man in town. Amidst the heat and bustle, he was crouched against a lamp post, the very epitome of a “man brought low.” Beside him was a can of God-knows-what.

My first instinct, to reach into my purse for two dollars, was curtailed when I remembered that I only had a ten dollar bill. If I gave it away, I’d be left with nothing. The thought quickly followed that I was on my way to pick up my mom’s prescription. I could charge that and get cash back. But…give away a whole ten dollars?

As I neared the man, I gritted my teeth and braced myself to make the final decision--to give or not to give? He didn’t look up, nor did he volunteer a word of supplication. As I sidled past him, a slice of Sunday’s sermon came back to me. Pastor had spoken about us (Christians) being the body of Christ, physically representing Him here on earth. I hesitated, until the sensation that my deodorant was about to expire propelled me across the street into the dollar store to rectify the situation. My change came to seven dollars. I figured five for me and two for him. When I came out of the store, there was no sign of him or his can. I looked up and down the street to see if I could catch a glimpse of him, for I’d only been gone five minutes, really.

Flitting through my guilty mind came the conversation where Jesus said that his followers turned Him away when they did not feed the hungry or give to the needy. Convicted by my thoughts, I repented.

Twenty minutes later, after a quick pickup at the pharmacy and twenty dollars cash back, I was off to catch my bus back to town. As it turned out, there was no bus for another forty minutes. I was stuck in the heat. Spotting the unprepossessing Woody’s Pizza across the street, I decided that pizza for dinner, and more importantly, the air that hopefully came with it, was in order.

I gave my order twice before anyone deigned to acknowledge me. (Not a good starting point in my book, but I let it slide and kept my goal of cool air firmly in focus, because a sistah doesn’t glow, she straight up sweats.) I again ordered a slice of pizza (which, had it been a chicken, would have been considered, really dead) and a Pepsi. Warmed, the pizza looked slightly better. Subscribing to the West Indian motto that a little pepper will fix anything, I added some pepper seeds, garlic, and oregano for good measure. But alas, the culinary creation Woody had the nerve to call Hawaiian pizza was beyond saving. I manfully (or is it womanfully?) crunched my way through the pizza while sipping delicately at my Pepsi.

Finally done, I checked my watch. I had twenty more minutes to kill, so I whipped out my pen and rummaged through my bag until I found a scrap of paper and began trying to write my response to “If there is a God…why do bad things happen to good people?"

At the sound of the door opening, I looked up to note two adorable little boys, around ten or eleven, wearing matching basketball outfits. (They’re always adorable when they’re someone else’s, aren’t they?) They sat down and one proceeded to ask the other to buy him a slice and he’d repay him upon receipt of his allowance. My immediate urge was to pull out two dollars to give them, but I bided my time and watched as the first boy pulled a pill bottle out of his bag sack, with what appeared to be quarters only inside. My immediate thought was, “Heck, he doesn’t even have enough for himself, much less for his friend, poor little guy.” The top came off the bottle to unveil two severely folded dollar bills. They began doing the math aloud, figuring out the possible combinations their meager funds would allow. The owner of the pill bottle timidly stated that they didn’t have enough, to which the borrower responded, “Why, what are you having?” “What nerve!” I thought.

I glanced once again at my watch. It was now time to cross the street to get my bus. I reached into my purse, pulled out two dollars, and quietly walked over to the boys' table. Smiling pleasantly in what I hoped was my non-crazy lady face, I asked the borrower if they had enough. He said, "We don’t know yet.” I opened my palm to reveal the two dollar bills I’d placed there and handed it to him.

His face lit up and his eyes opened wide as he said, “God bless you ma’am.” I don’t know when I’d graduated to a ma’am or how I felt about that exactly, but I exited Woody’s Pizza feeling quite a bit better about myself, and resolved to write about it tonight. Then the thought occurred to me--hey, did you give those two dollars just to have something good to write about yourself? Nah…as a former people-pleaser, I’d identified with little Mr. Pill-Bottle. I’d sensed that he was about to cave in to his assertive friend, and I’d given the funds to little Mr. Borrower to spare him the necessity of doing without. Maybe I'd misinterpreted the situation and broken up an opportunity for the little pill-bottle holder to express his selflessness? Somehow, I didn’t think so.

Also at the back of my mind were the many occasions as a teenager when I’d found myself in a fix, wishing a benevolent stranger would show up to magically whisk me away, or to find the lost money, watch, earring, bracelet… (I was always losing stuff). Add to that the thought that you reap what you sow. I have a daughter out there in this big scary world, and I figure that her crop could come in in a needy situation because of the seeds I’ve sown.

My euphoria was cut short when I realized how eager I'd been to share my two dollars with two obviously clean, well-cared-for little boys, yet I’d waffled so stubbornly over the bedraggled man in town that the opportunity to make a difference was lost. I’d even told myself that my little two dollars couldn’t, wouldn’t make a difference anyhow.

Why is it that we are still so caught up in externals? That we still have images in our minds of who is deserving of help? Maybe at the back of my mind was the thought that I didn’t know what was in that can. Alcohol maybe, and I’d just be giving my money away to support his habit. So what? Is it really my place to judge? Heck, if I were living on the streets, I’d probably need some form of escapism as well.

How is it that we forget that we yet live in a state of grace? I began to sing a song, and my eyes pooled with tears as I was reminded anew of my own story. Two years ago, I’d exhausted every financial avenue available to me. To call my mental state shaky would just be a kindness on your part. Yet I continued showing up at church, conducting choir rehearsal, and attending Bible School as my world crumbled around me. My standard answer to "how are you" was still a bright smile and a “Blessed…and you?”

Not only was I financially bankrupt, I also existed in a miasma of confusion. I'd been abstinent for over three years, and my formerly obedient hormones were jumping all over the place. My thoughts were chaotic and raced non-stop. It took what felt like a Herculean effort to pull a coherent thought out of the babble, much less a series of organized thoughts. A simple Bible School paper that would have taken three hours the previous month, now took three weeks to complete or went undone. My business was being challenged by a competitor. It seemed that now that I was doing the right thing, God had turned His back on me. How could He allow all of this stuff to assail me? Wasn’t I His chosen vessel, living holy and upright?

I got mad, really mad (in more ways than one). I was angry and about two steps away from being loony like a toony. I was not sleeping. I became addicted to IMing (counseling sad, lonely, crazy folk, and getting my mack on too…ain’t gonna lie). I paid no bills (not that I had anything to pay them with), I did no laundry, I did even less housecleaning than my usual reluctant contribution. My daughter was away at her first year of college at an Ivy League school and I had not a cent to contribute, when I’d promised that her first year of college would be on me. I was suffering from empty nest syndrome and was scared to pieces about my own mother’s medical and emotional state. She too was exhibiting signs of depression, uncertainty, and bewilderment. She was shaky on her feet and eating less and less. She lost weight, I gained weight. She prayed and read her Bible; I ate and chatted and chatted and ate. We were behind a month-and-a-half in the rent, and I was aware of it; but when our precarious position tried to impinge on my consciousness, I simply turned on the computer and dialed up. I think I hit a wall of reality (or else it fell on me) when the phone company finally cut off the phone and my final means of escape was gone. The phone was followed shortly by the lights…

In the midst of the darkness, I was forced to acknowledge the fact that I’d sunken as low as I could go. Instead of taking care of my mother in her advancing years, I was now little better than a leech. I eagerly anticipated the mail which would herald the arrival of her social security and disability checks to pay our rent, and of course, they weren’t enough…

Then one day my pastor asked me to come by the church to assist him with some administrative work. It was a trick. I was in for a heart-to-heart. Thoughts racing, about ready to jump out of my skin, I was forced to sit still and hear that he was concerned about me. I hadn’t been out of the house all week, to work or even to get some fresh air. He wanted to know what was going on with me really. I tried the old blank stare and dead silence which had worked well for me as a child. But wouldn’t you know it…he stared me down. Not in a menacing or judgmental way--his caring just seeped through and my defenses crumbled. Then the durned floodgates opened.

I cried and cried, while he hugged and rocked me. He asked me how much was owed in rent, bills, etc. When I’d settled down enough to become coherent, I told him I owed about eleven hundred. Not a huge sum by ordinary standards, but as a street vendor, when you’ve seen your income dwindle slowly from five hundred on a good day and two hundred on a bad day to seventy-five on a good day, eleven hundred becomes as attainable as a million dollars.

He told me that he would bring my situation before the church, anonymously of course, and ask them to contribute. With the money situation out of the way, he again asked me what was going on with me…really?

After listening to me, tears began running down his face as well, and then he asked the question of the day: “Why would you suffer in silence and not tell anyone? You of all people?”

“I dunno? Asking just hadn’t occurred to me.”

My pastor broke it down to me that considering myself to be a mucky-muck, spiritually speaking, was the beginning of my entrapment. Because when I present myself as someone who’s got it together and on top of the world spiritually, when I actually do hit a glitch, as I did, I’ve painted myself into a corner with nowhere to go and no one to turn to--and the devil loved that. He also mentioned that part of the relational make up of a congregation is the fellowship and burden-bearing aspect. But come on now…who in the black community really wants to stand up and say, “My name is Dee S. White and I’m bi-polar, broke, and hormonally challenged?” No takers? Didn’t think so.

I finally wrought up the courage to quietly tell him (as though if I whispered God wouldn’t hear me) that I felt betrayed by God, had in fact become angry with Him when a competitor set up her bookstand in the middle of the same block I occupied and immediately cut my profits in half. I just didn’t understand why He would allow that to happen. Pastor pointed out that my sense of entitlement was my first mistake. To consider that God owes me anything is to put God in the place of servant instead of master. Yes, He is Jehovah Jireh, my provider. That promise is true. Any appearances that seem to contradict His promises do not in any way negate, diminish, or dissolve what He has promised me. The key is to hold fast to His promise, which will be fulfilled in His time, and not in my perceived timing. In Abraham’s situation, all that God promised was contrary to Abraham's circumstances at the time the promise was made, but he wavered not.

I was all too ready to waver. In fact, not only did I waver, I crumbled and fell… for a time. But as the phoenix rising from the ashes, I was a humbled, repentant witness to the grace of God as my brothers and sisters in the congregation rallied around the “anonymous” member and raised fourteen hundred dollars within two weeks. This was a sizable amount for a congregation of thirty on a good day. (I don’t know how anonymous I was sitting in the front row blubbering while Pastor reiterated that we fail as a congregation, and we fail God, when one amongst us is in need and we do nothing to aid her. But who knows, since I blubber easily, they might not have figured it out…'cause ever proud, I pulled out my checkbook too and wrote me a check…yes I did.)

How had I so quickly gotten into such a state of complacency that I struggled with giving up ten dollars to someone who needed it, when others had given up more to assist me when I was not even in such dire circumstances as the man on the street? Maybe I’d begun to take credit for the blessings of God, attributing them somehow to an ability of mine. Maybe in the attempt to put the depths of my slide in my past I’d forgotten to hold fast to the lesson learned from the ordeal.

How could I so easily forget that God is spirit but He exists physically in Christians, in you and I, who make up His arms and legs while He controls the thoughts and actions as the head? This truth means that when we’re in distress we are surrounded by people who are ready, willing, and able to assist us. On the other hand, we who aren't in need at the moment can’t live in an isolated world, blind the needs of others. We can’t forget that we ourselves live in a state of grace; that we were delivered into the same because of the compassion of God, who didn’t wait to be asked but acted on our behalf before we were even conceived.

Compassion is a useless emotion if we don’t move past the feeling of empathy and kick into action. The onus will not always be on the person in need of compassionate assistance to ask. We cannot use the silence of others as an opportunity to avoid acting on their behalf.

Let’s not be forgetful or complacent about the needy among us, whether the need be apparent as in the case of the downtrodden man, or hidden as it was in my own life. Let’s listen to the Spirit of God and be cognizant of the fact that when we feed the hungry, clothe the needy, and house the homeless, we’re introducing them to God.

Peace,
Dee

Freedom

by Faga Samdumu


JOHN 8:31-32 NKJ
31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
The promise of Jesus is clear: The end result of staying in His Word will be freedom.

So, if you are not becoming more free, you need to examine if you are accurate in your understanding of the Word of God.

Whether the Greek word is translated as continue, abide, or remain, the meaning is clear. You need to stick with the Word; not stop and start; not try it for awhile; but jump in with both feet and stay there.

"What do you mean by freedom, preacher?"

I don't mean a license to sin. Sin produces bondage -- the opposite of what I am talking about.

I mean freedom in every area of life. Freedom from having to sin. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from doubt. Freedom from strife. Freedom from confusion. Freedom from family problems. Freedom from oppression. Freedom from poverty. Freedom from disease.

Note that Jesus did not promise that everyone who called Him Master would automatically and instantly be free. Instead Jesus indicated that time would be involved before those who truly followed Him would see the full result of the freedom His Word would produce in their lives.

If you continue....

If you abide....

If you live in....

If you remain in....

Don't forget the "IF." And don't forget the "CONTINUE." This Scripture promise is NOT for everyone who claims to be a Christian. Only for those who are willing to spend the time and effort required to feed on God's Word.

While I do not wish to criticize any group of Christian believers, I do think we should all individually judge our own situations. If the Bible teachers you have been listening to are not producing freedom in your life, you should prayerfully
examine whether the message they proclaim is accurate -- or distorted.

Remember that it only takes a tiny amount of poison added to an otherwise wonderful and nutritious meal to make it dangerous.

SAY THIS: I will continue, abide in, and remain in the accurate message of Jesus Christ, without ever giving up, and it will produce freedom in my life.

Copyright (c) 2005, Faga Samdumu


"The shortest distance between a problem and a solution is the distance between your knees and the floor."

Monday, June 13, 2005

Humility in Relationships

by Christopher Donaldson Sr.

All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." ~ 1 Peter 5:5b
I'll never forget the first time I discovered what a feeling was. It was in my early thirties. Surely not! …you may be thinking. Yes, it is true. Since then, I have discovered many men still live in this condition. It took an older mentor to help me understand the difference between information and a feeling. Wives are frustrated because their husbands share information, but not their feelings. They want to know what is going on inside their man. The fact is, most men have not been taught to identify feelings, much less how to share them. It is something that men must learn to do because it is not a natural trait. If they do share their feelings, society often portrays them as weak. No man willingly wants to be portrayed as weak.

In order to become an effective friend and leader, one must learn to be vulnerable with others and develop an ability to share feelings. It is a vital step to becoming a real person with whom others can connect emotionally. This is not easy to do if your parents did not teach you to share your emotional life with others. Emotional vulnerability is especially hard for men. Author Dr. Larry Crabb states,

Men who as boys felt neglected by their dads often remain distant from their own children. The sins of fathers are passed on to children, often through the dynamic of self-protection. It hurts to be neglected, and it creates questions about our value to others. So to avoid feeling the sting of further rejection, we refuse to give that part of ourselves we fear might once again be received with indifference. When our approach to life revolves around discipline, commitment, and knowledge [which the Greek influence teaches us] but runs from feeling the hurt of unmet longings that come from a lack of deeper relationships, then our efforts to love will be marked more by required action than by liberating passion. We will be known as reliable, but not involved. Honest friends will report that they enjoy being with us, but have trouble feeling close. Even our best friends (including spouses) will feel guarded around us, a little tense and vaguely distant. It's not uncommon for Christian leaders to have no real friends.

If this describes you, why not begin on a new journey of opening up your life to others in a way that others can see who you really are? It might be scary at first, but as you grow in this area, you will find new freedom in your life. Then, others will more readily connect with you.

Copyright (c) 2005, Christopher Donaldson Sr.

Alphabetized

I've provided a short list of hotlines and websites below so that you may either find the support you need or the information you need. No need to go it alone, reach out, click and latch onto what's yours for the taking. Whether you're victim or perpetrator isn't it time to stop the pain?

Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence
PO Box 4762
Montgomery, Alabama 36101
800-650-6522
www.acadv.org
acadv@acadv.org

Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
130 Seward, Suite 209
Junea, Alaska 99801
907-586-3650
www.andvsa.org

American Art Therapy Association
888-290-0878
www.arttherapy.org
info@arttherapy.org
Refers you to the association's chapter in your state, which will provide the names of local therapists.

American Association of Pastoral Counselors
703-385-6967
www.aapc.org
info@aapc.org
Provides online listing of pastoral counseling centers accredited by the association that offer counseling and psychotherapy services. Also gives phone referrals to pastoral counselors in private practice and other settings.

American Dance Therapy Association
410-997-4040
www.adta.org
info@adta.org
Provides information on dance therapists.

American Music Therapy Association
301-589-3300
www.musictherapy.org
info@musictherapy.org
Provides referrals to music therapists.

American Red Cross
877-272-7337
www.redcross.org
Primarily a disaster relief organization. Provides various types of assistance to people in response to emergencies.

Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence
100 West Camelback Street, Suite 109
Phoenix, Arizona 85013
602-279-2900
www.azacadu.org

Arkansas Coalition Against Domestic Violence
#1 Sheriff Lane, Suite C
North Little Rock, Arkansas 72114
501-812-0571
www.domesticpeace.com

Breaking the Cycle
http://www.breakingthecycleinc.com/
Offers domestic violence and sexual assault seminars and workshops for social service agencies, health care professionals, mental health professionals and community organizations.

CALIFORNIA
California Alliance Against Domestic Violence
926 J Street, Suite 1000
Sacramento, California 95814
916-444-7163
800-524-4765
http://www.caadv.org
caadv@cwo.com

Southern Office
8929 South Sepuleda Boulevard, Suite 520
Los Angeles, California 90045-3605
310-649-3953

Statewide California Coalition for Battered Women
3711 Long Beach Boulevard, #718
Long Beach, California 90807
562-981-1202
888-722-2952
http://www.sccbw.org
sccbw@sccbw.org

Child Abuse Hotline
800-4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453)
www.childhelpusa.org

Child Advocacy Center
334-432-1101
A multi-agency facility in Mobile, Alabama, that provides comprehensive services for children and teens who have been sexually or physically abused.

Child and Adolescent Protection Center
202-884-4950
Provides physical and mental health services for children. Located at children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

Child and Adolescent Sexual Abuse Resource Center
415-206-8386
Provides rape crisis services, including SANE exams, for children and youth up to 17 years old. Located at San Francisco General Hospital.

Children's Hospital Boston-Division of Emergency Medicine
617-355-6637
One of the largest emergency/trauma centers in New England

Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence
P.O. box 18902
Denver, Colorado 80218
303-831-9632
888-778-7091
http://www.ccadv.org

Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence
90 Pitkin Street
East Hartford, Connecticut 06108
860-282-7899
888-774-2900
info@ctcadv.org

Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence
100 West 10th Street, Suite 703
Wilmington, Delaware 19801
302-658-2958
http://www.dcadv.org
dcadv@dcadv.org

D.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence
1718 P Street, NW, Suite T-6
Washington, DC 20036
202-299-1181
http://www.dccadv.org
dswartz@dccadv.org

Emergency Contraception Hotline
888-NOT-2-LATE (800-668-2528)
www.not-2-late.com
Provides information on emergency contraception and a national list of doctors and health care organizations that prescribe emergency contraception.

Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence
425 Office Plaza Drive
Tallahassee, Florida 32301
850-425-2749
850-621-4202 (TDD)
800-500-1119
http://www.fcadv.org

Grady Rape Crisis Center
404-616-4861
Provides rape crisis services, including forensic exams, for adults. Located at Grady memorial Hospital in Atlanta.

Help for Offenders
http://www.atsa.com/
Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers--An organization founded to foster research, information, and further professional education and standards for those who treat offenders.

Justice for Children
800-733-0059
www.jfcadvocacy.org
info@jfcadvocacy.org
Provides legal advocacy for abused children, court watching, and community resource referrals. Intervenes on behalf of abused children when child protection agencies and courts fail to protect them. The book Long and Mature Considerations: A Legal Guide for Adult Survivors of child Sexual Abuse is available for purchase by calling the Washington, D.C., chapter at 202-462-4688.

National Center for Victims of Crime
http://www.ncvc.org/ncvc/Main.aspx
Provides sustained victim advocacy support, referrals, information for emotional, physical and financial concerns, legal assistance, safety planning and shelter.

National Crime Victim Bar Association
202-467-8753
www.victimbar.org
victimbar@ncvc.org
A network of attorneys and allied professionals dedicated to facilitating civil actions brought by crime victims. Refers crime victims to civil atttorneys in their local area.

National Domestic Violence Hotline
800-799-SAFE (800-799-7233)
www.ndvh.org, ndvh@ndvh.org
TTY: 800-787-3224, DEAFHELP@NDVH.ORG

National Hopeline Network
800-SUICIDE (800-784-2433)
www.hopeline.com

National Mental Health Association:
http://www.nmha.org/
Resource Center - More than 340 affiliates nationwide. NMHA works to improve the mental health of all Americans, especially the 54 million people with mental disorders, through advocacy, education, research and service. Referrals to community mental health services and information on medications, treatments. Website features an online help desk for specific questions.

National Organization for Victim Assistance
202-232-6682
800-TRY-NOVA (800-879-6682)
www.try-nova.org
Provides referrals to state compensation boards, state bar associations, crisis intervention, and sexual assault programs.

National Organization for Women (NOW) Legal Defense and Education Fund
212-925-6635
http://www.nowldef.org, info@rainn.org

National STD/HIV HOTLINE
800-227-8922

Office for Victims of Crime Resource Center
800-627-6872
TTY: 877-712-9279
WWW.OJP.USDOJ.GOV/OVC/OVCRES/WELCOME.HTML
askovc@ojp.usdoj.gov
An information clearinghouse for victimization issues that provides referrrals to victim assistance and compensation programs by state.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America
800-230-PLAN (800-230-7526)
www.plannedparenthood.org
Through its more than 850 health centers in 49 states and Washington, D.C., offers low-cost women's health care, including emergency contraception and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

Rape Crisis Advocacy Project
434-244-2630
A student organization at the University of Virginia School of Law in Charlottesville, Virginia, that provides legal advice for survivors.

Rosa Parks Sexual Assault Crisis Center
323-751-9383
Provides counseling, advocacy, and other services for children and adults. Located in Inglewood, California

Self-Defense
http://www.awsda.org/
American Women's Self-Defense Assoc.--Rape prevention/Rape awareness courses for groups, high schools and colleges in the New York metro area. Nationwide referrals.

Categorized

I've provided a short list of hotlines and websites below so that you may either find the support you need or the information you need. No need to go it alone, reach out, click and latch onto what's yours for the taking. Whether you're victim or perpetrator isn't it time to stop the pain?

Hotlines:

National Sexual Assault Hotline800-656-HOPE (800-656-4673)
http://www.rainn.org/, info@rainn.org

National Domestic Violence Hotline800-799-SAFE (800-799-7233)
http://www.ndvh.org/, ndvh@ndvh.org
TTY: 800-787-3224, DEAFHELP@NDVH.ORG

Child Abuse Hotline
800-4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453)
http://www.childhelpusa.org/

National STD/HIV HOTLINE800-227-8922

National Hopeline Network
800-SUICIDE (800-784-2433)
http://www.hopeline.com/

Child Advocacy Center
334-432-11-1
A multi-agency facility in Mobile, Alabama, that provides comprehensive services for children and teens who have been sexually or physically abused.

Child and Adolescent Protection Center202-884-4950
Provides physical and mental health services for children. Located at children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

Child and Adolescent Sexual Abuse Resource Center415-206-8386
Provides ripe cr4isis services, including SANE exams, for children and youth up to 17 years old. Located at San Francisco General Hospital.

Children's Hospital Boston-Division of Emergency Medicine
617-355-6637
One of the largest emergency/trauma centers in New England

Emergency Contraception Hotline
888-NOT-2-LATE (800-668-2528)
http://www.not-2-late.com/
Provides information on emergency contraception and a national list of doctors and health care organizations that prescribe emergency contraception.

Grady Rape Crisis Center
404-616-4861
Provides rape crisis services, including forensic exams, for adults. Located at Grady memorial Hospital in Atlanta.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America800-230-PLAN (800-230-7526)
http://www.plannedparenthood.org/
Through its more than 850 health centers in 49 states and Washington, D.C., offers low-cost women's health care, including emergency contraception and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

Rosa Parks Sexual Assault Crisis Center
323-751-9383
Provides counseling, advocacy, and other services for children and adults. Located in Inglewood, California

American Red Cross877-272-7337
www.redcross.org
Primarily a disaster relief organization. Provides various types of assistance to people in response to emergencies.

Websites:

American Art Therapy Association888-290-0878
http://www.arttherapy.org/
info@arttherapy.org
Refers you to the association's chapter in your state, which will provide the names of local therapists.

American Association of Pastoral Counselors703-385-6967
http://www.aapc.org/
info@aapc.org
Provides online listing of pastoral counseling centers accredited by the association that offer counseling and psychotherapy services. Also gives phone referrals to pastoral counselors in private practice and other settings.

American Dance Therapy Association
410-997-4040
http://www.adta.org/
info@adta.org
Provides information on dance therapists.

American Music Therapy Association301-589-3300
http://www.musictherapy.org/
info@musictherapy.org
Provides referrals to music therapists.

Breaking the Cycle
http://www.breakingthecycleinc.com/
Offers domestic violence and sexual assault seminars and workshops for social service agencies, health care professionals, mental health professionals and community organizations.

Help for Offenders
http://www.atsa.com/
Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers--An organization founded to foster research, information, and further professional education and standards for those who treat offenders.

Justice for Children
800-733-0059
http://www.blogger.com/www.jfcadvocacy.org
info@jfcadvocacy.org
Provides legal advocacy for abused children, court watching, and community resource referrals. Intervenes on behalf of abused children when child protection agencies and courts fail to protect them. The book Long and Mature Considerations: A Legal Guide for Adult Survivors of child Sexual Abuse is available for purchase by calling the Washington, D.C., chapter at 202-462-4688.

National Center for Victims of Crimehttp://www.ncvc.org/ncvc/Main.aspx
Provides sustained victim advocacy support, referrals, information for emotional, physical and financial concerns, legal assistance, safety planning and shelter.

National Crime Victim Bar Association
202-467-8753
http://www.victimbar.org/
victimbar@ncvc.org
A network of attorneys and allied professionals dedicated to facilitating civil actions brought by crime victims. Refers crime victims to civil atttorneys in their local area.

National Mental Health Association:
http://www.nmha.org/
Resource Center - More than 340 affiliates nationwide. NMHA works to improve the mental health of all Americans, especially the 54 million people with mental disorders, through advocacy, education, research and service. Referrals to community mental health services and information on medications, treatments. Website features an online help desk for specific questions.

National Organization for Victim Assistance202-232-6682
800-TRY-NOVA (800-879-6682)
http://www.try-nova.org/
Provides referrals to state compensation boards, state bar associations, crisis intervention, and sexual assault programs.

National Organization for Women (NOW) Legal Defense and Education Fund
212-925-6635
http://www.nowldef.org/
askovc@ojp.usdoj.gov
An information clearinghouse for victimization issues that provides referrrals to victim assistance and compensation programs by state.

Rape Crisis Advocacy Project
434-244-2630
A student organization at the University of Virginia School of Law in Charlottesville, Virginia, that provides legal advice for survivors.

Self-Defensehttp://www.awsda.org/
American Women's Self-Defense Assoc.--Rape prevention/Rape awareness courses for groups, high schools and colleges in the New York metro area. Nationwide referrals.

The Ten Commandments (Ebonics style)

  1. I’m God. Don’t play me. (I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have any other gods before me)
  2. Don’t be makin no hood ornaments and charms outta me, or like me. (Thou shalt not have any graven images)
  3. Don`t be callin` me for no reason. (Thou shalt not use the name of the Lord thy God in vain)
  4. Ya`ll betta be in church on Sunday. (Remember to keep the Sabbath day holy)
  5. Don’t diss or cuss out yo` momma....and if you know who ya daddy is, don`t diss him either. (Honor thy father and mother)
  6. Don’t be goin` on no drive-by`s (Thou shalt not kill)
  7. Stick to ya` own Boo. (Thou shalt not commit adultery)
  8. Don’t be borrowing stuff and not give it back. (Thou shalt not steal)
  9. Don’t be snitchin` on the other man to save yourself. (Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy brother)
  10. Don’t be eyein` ya homies`crib, ride or woman. (Thou shalt not covet anything that belongs to thy brother)

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Fasting: You Mean No Food?

You ever notice that you can skip breakfast most days of the week, but the day you’re called into a fast you wake up starving or you head straight for the cafeteria at work?

That was my experience this past Easter, hardest corporate fast I ever endured. (And only to hear stuff, I didn’t want to hear. You’ve got pride issues and that anger thingy? Not gone, just deep undercover and manifesting itself in another direction, [changed from being angry at myself to being angry my mother]. I was like, what a gip! LOL)

Seriously though, the point here being. If you’re not prepared to hear from God, don’t go into a fast. If you’re not going to do what He says, don’t go into a fast. If you just want to hear good things about yourself, don’t fast.

On the other hand, if you want direction, to know who you are (in the flesh and in Christ), to find out what controls you, to get on an intimate level with God. Then by all means, join me in meditating on the scripture below till 6 pm today.

"We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose." ~Romans 8:28 (Amplified Version)

For those of you thinking...fast? What and why? Check out this link:

Peace,
Dee

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The Gift of Aloneness

In Rev. Hale's essay below, she gives us her take on this worrying topic. (At least for us singles). I'm working on my take/response to her point-of-view and my opening begins:

Aloneness: A Gift?

Does it come with a gift tag?

Okay people talk to me...my take will be posted in a week.

Peace,
Dee
The Gift of Aloneness

"You are single, but you aren't sure you want to be. You have read or heard the Word as recorded in Genesis 2:18, where God said, "It is not good that the man [or woman] should be alone." But the reality is, you are alone.

As singles, we struggle with being alone. Some of us hate being alone, going out, coming home, and eating alone. We can't stand being alone. But while we may be alone, we don't have to be lonely. Loneliness is an attitude; it is a state of mind. We can be lonely even in a crowd. Loneliness is decision; we can choose to be lonely or not.

When we are lonely, it may mean that we have not yet learned to enjoy our own company. We have not yet realized the gift of aloneness.

Everyone needs time to be alone. Aloneness is an investment. It is time to recharge one's emotional and spiritual batteries; a time to think and pray; a time to gain insight or find a solution to a pressing problem; rest after a battle or a long day; time to find grace to deal with life and all of its challenges; and time to hear from God.

Jesus took full advantage of His singleness and moments of aloneness or solitude.

Mark 1:35 says, "In the morning, rising up a great while before day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed."

It is when we are alone and still that God can speak to us most profoundly. Did He not tell the psalmist as recorded in psalm 46.10. "Be still, and know that I am God"? We all need moments of aloneness to hear from God, reflect, meditate, and recreate."
Read Genesis 2:18, see also Mark 1:35; Psalm 46:10

-C. Hale
Women of Color Study Bible


Sunday, June 05, 2005

"If There Is A God...Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People?"

This question was first asked on my BP page and I've gotten a few nice responses which I've included below. Feel free to give them a holler to let them know if you agree with their opinions and why or why not.

Then let me hear your opinions. Oh and please come with something to back it up!

At the end of the week, I will conclude with my take.

Peace,
Dee

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Single Parent of Two...Ages 19 and 74

I may sound a bit facetious, but bear with me, it's my way of coping. I mean, how do you handle the responsibility of being parent/guardian/caregiver to your own parent? I could mention the gutwrenching fear I experienced, when I first noticed the first signs of forgetfulness, or the increasing reliance on my opinion or decision making/problem solving abilities. I could also mention the fact that between work, Bible School, and elder sitting, I feel I no longer have a life. Or I could take it one day at a time, knowing that all things work together for good for they who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose...

Screeech...this is keeping-it-real-for God blogspot...so that's what I'm going to do.

I was bogged down in guilt, thoughts flashing through my mind at my inability to cope and the all time favorite, "There are six of us alive, why me? I'm the baby!" The one time when I figure being the baby should work for me...and it doesn't.

Like a lifeline to a drowning man, going down for the third time, I was hipped by a co-worker, during one of my rants, to an agency that exists just to assist people like us. (Don't act like I'm the only one). The agency is called Area Agency for the Aging. They provide assistance, (monetary), guidance (one-on-one in-home consultations) and referrals (to nearby senior homes for activities and Agencies that supply home attendants).

For those who thrive on it...a support group or two might be found posted at your local library or on the web. In addition, I found this nifty little article from AARP. Although geared to Maine residents, it addresses the situation nicely...

As for me, I prefer to sing, write or rant about it. I'll eventually get around to praying about it. We always (and I say we, because it helps to have an inclusive feeling when I know I'm dead wrong...lol)leave the best for last...don't we? When in essence "we" know we should fret about nothing and pray about everything.

Peace,
Dee

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

DIVINE

Continuing the theme of "What Is In a Name" I came up with the following acronym:

D = Destiny:

1 : something to which a person or thing is destined : FORTUNE
2 : a predetermined course of events often held to be an irresistible power or agency.

We are all destined for eternity...the choices we make now...determine where we spend eternity.

I = Integrity:

1 : firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : INCORRUPTIBILITY
2 : an unimpaired condition : SOUNDNESS
3 : the quality or state of being complete or undivided : COMPLETENESS

Integrity...more than a character trait...a way of life.

V = Victory

1 : the overcoming of an enemy or antagonist
2 : achievement of mastery or success in a struggle or endeavor against odds or
difficulties

Sometimes the greatest victory...is the battle won against ourselves

I = Immutable

: not capable of or susceptible to change

Perfected love...no matter how we act up or out...His love for us is never swayed.

N = Nature

: native, inborn, or inherent character; innate disposition.

It is impossible for God to lie...ergo...knowing His truth towards us...
gives our life purpose.


Okay...now I know y`all see where I`m going with this. E is next...I'm kinda stuck...any suggestions?

Peace,