Guess what my pastor preached the following day? ENDURE: Running the Race. I included some of my tweets below. It’s one of the ways I like to take sermon notes.
(Sidebar: I love it when God layers His Word. Don’t you? 🤗)
Hebrews 12:1 (NASB) – Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
One of my highlights was Ecclesiastes 4:12 – Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.Essentially, we fight better together. That’s what church services are to me. Yes, we are there to collectively worship God, but I also like to think of it as a pit stop where you can pause and regroup with other runners. Knowing that you’re running in the same direction, having similar experiences along the way, and celebrating our different journeys forge our faith. It strengthens the spiritual muscles.
Running together. What a beautiful, yet simple solution to many of our problems. What do you think?
#ValentinesDay may be over, but the love doesn’t have to end!
If you subscribe to my blog and/or email updates, you’re not only a member of my #LATSOL family, you’re my Sweetheart and I appreciate your support so far.
That’s why subscribers get a special discount for my new fiction book The Morning After. Click here for details on how to purchase. After you subscribe, you should receive your discount code within 48 hours. If you subscribe via your WordPress username, I do not have access to your email address to send your code, so please subscribe to my e-list so I can honor you as well.
I was about to watch an episode of The Good Wife entitled Conjugal. I expected a lot of steamy scenes that ultimately had a point to the storyline. The opposite happened. Not to spoil it for you, but the episode wasn’t about sex at all. It was about exchange.
So, I paused the episode before it reached a minute and looked up the word. Conjugate also appeared. I read through the origins and various definitions. I had never put the meanings of conjugal and conjugate together as linguistic relatives until that day. Then it hit me. That LATSOL moment that made me be still.
Whether it was Biology, Chemistry, or Mathematics, or Language, the definitions were symmetrical – the act of uniting or joining together. I, then, saw a group of people passing each other in a common area like a train station atrium. Each time they walked by each other, they spoke. There were various topics, but they were all quick. Cordial, informational, inquisitive. A random hodgepodge of conversational buzz. But when they spoke, there were colors of light coming out of their mouths and the lights were twisting and swirling around each other like leaves dancing in the autumn wind. It was fascinating. This space between their mouths was occupied by visual music.I took note as some exchanges were red with passion (some sweet, some angry), blue with calm, orange with laughter, and even a mixture of two colors as two people spoke with different feelings. They were more than conversations – there was a mixing of souls. That’s what happens when we speak to one another in any capacity. We sometimes forget that we are spiritual beings in earthly bodies. Our words allow our lives to conjugate, even if for a moment. That moment allows energies to exchange and lives to intermingle, which creates a new experience – a conjugated life. That’s how our tongues hold the power to uplift and to destroy. We have the power to spiritually conjugate.
God knows that I am a visual-linguistic learner, so I appreciate his care in talking to me in ways I can understand. Who knew that one word would spark a picture that explained a spiritual concept about speech? LATSOL moments are everywhere. We just have to look and keep our hearts open.
In response to The Daily Post’s One Word Prompt: Open
When we leave food uncovered, it becomes susceptible to anything surrounding it.
Gnats. Fruit flies. Ants. Bacteria. Grubby little hands. Grown man fingers. Just to name a few.
I’ve noticed that when hearts and minds are open, we experience the same challenges. Good things can come out of us when the walls of our hearts are open enough to let them out. Sometimes a crack is all it takes for a beam of light to shine on a dark situation. Also, the mind can be exposed to great intellectual seeds just waiting to burrow into our soul’s innermost concerns and germinate into solutions for our problems. When our being is open, fruitful results flow out of us and attract others. Like a beautiful cuisine on display, it is pretty to behold and smells deliciously divine, so it draws in the likes of those who wish to partake in its expected excellence.
On the other hand, this can pose an issue when it comes to matters of the heart and the fragility of the mind. Whenever the opportunity arises to expose greatness, there is also opportunity for disgrace and contamination.
We shine in hopes of receiving confirmation that we are authentically exceptional in our strengths and talents.
We spill our gifts and let them run freely to open hands in the audience; however, it comes with a price. The ants come to feast. The hands seek to devour and the bacteria is just along for the ride. Suddenly, the greatness becomes emptiness. The shine is dulled. The once beautiful cuisine appears in the imagination as the eyes see the crumbs. Being open sucks sometimes, and there’s not much we can do to prevent this ravishing to be brave in our openness.
Polish-French Pianist Chopin (Szopen in Polish) had his share of this phenomenon. In addition to his musical brilliance, his performance style wasn’t well received at larger concert spaces in the earlier stages of his career; nevertheless, he continued to pour his passion into his composition and flourished as a well-known as an artist. One fact most do not know about Chopin is that his body is buried in France (his creative home), but his heart was interred in Poland (his birthplace). Interesting.
There’s something to be said about the emphasis we place upon our giving. We can’t afford to mope around, focusing on the empty vessel we could become over time.Somehow the more we give, the more we obtain to give. The mere fact that we’re a vessel at all should be a graceful honor.
The world depends on our open door to greatness, but there’s nothing wrong with a gate to maintain its luster.
We have the opportunity each day to affect the lives of others in a positive magnitude that could send shockwaves into their future. Could you be abused and misused? Possibly… but those boundaries are up to you to uphold. Do what it takes to continue the flow.
I’ve only felt it twice in my life. A soul baptism. It supersedes any experience you could try to achieve within an order of services. My first one was at Noccalula Falls in Gadsden, Alabama a few years ago. The second occurred two weeks ago at Niagara Falls, New York. Absolute. Exhilarating. Freedom. That’s the best way to encapsulate what I felt. Let me tell you how I fell into this cleansing experience.
Niagara Falls is a tourist attraction for a reason. Since 1846, visitors and dignitaries have marveled at this horseshoe bend of water shared by Canada and the United States. If you’ve never seen it in person, put it on your to-do list. You can hear it before you see it and there are various ways to enjoy its power. I chose to experience it via boat with members of my traveling group and a plethora of tourists from all over the world. The result was an amazing memory.
I boarded the Maid of the Mist as a wounded warrior with dented armor, but optimism and excitement were in my pocket screaming to get out.
I was finally at the Falls and wide awake to enjoy whatever the Maid had to offer. My wishful replays of pictures and cinematic interpretations were at last coming to an end. I was ready… so I thought.
Our blue ponchos couldn’t have protected us from the magnitude of glory we are about to experience. Cell phones and selfie sticks sprung in the air to capture as much as the human eye could record. My priorities? 1) Don’t get wet, and 2) Snag a quick video to share with my parents when I returned home. That was it. I despise drenched jeans and soggy shoes, so I convinced myself not to go to the helm of the ship.
Insert more chatter. More selfies. More live feeds via social media.
The helm of the Maid beckoned like a siren and I answered her call. I saw an open door of opportunity amid the sea of royal blue plastic and I walked through it to seize the space. I captured every visual I could with my cell phone. The plethora of birds perched on the rocks resembled a white furry blanket in the distance. The Falls roared as if to warn us of his majesty as the Maid bobbed to the soundtrack of her 170-year-old dance on the river’s dance floor. She wasn’t afraid and he didn’t hold back. As we approached the pillows of fog ahead, she swayed her hips and dipped in front of the Falls with sweet watery seduction. Deeper we sailed until the view of the cliffs were no more. All you could see was Greatness. Heavenly Greatness.
The spray of misty Niagaria air landed on every inch of my face like wet kisses. I put my phone away and tilted my head upward to inhale the moment… this resuscitating baptism. More than I ever imagined. The Falls enveloped his bride and covered us with showers of his blessings. It was impossible not to be awestruck and relish in their union. I was injected with divinity like a medicinal I.V. and I accepted all of its release. For the second time, I was overwhelmed by the sheer majesty of God’s Handiwork and it felt like the Falls were within my chest. My respiratory issues were no more. My body didn’t ache. Headache… gone.
No physical restriction existed between my Creator and me. I was a soul.
This must be what Heaven feels like, I said in my heart.
I was alive and I could feel it after being dead since February. The water washed my being more than my shoes. It circulated throughout the dark places I had closed to everyone else. Every corner, every door, every room was opened and I let Him in. One of the tourists had a wardrobe malfunction with her poncho as the residual winds billowed around us. We laughed and her Asian cheeks were beautiful. Then I heard it…
“No matter where we are in the world, Majesty will always yield respect.”
There were no translators to help us communicate, but laughter, respect, and pure joy needed no liaison. We were one in that space in time. No sugar added and no preservatives necessary. I helped her with her covering and her friend joined in the fun. We weren’t strangers anymore, but neighbors.
The Maid turned her skirt to the right and the Falls sang softly to her as we sailed away. God’s words rang in my core as I walked to the lower level alone. It was a bit of a thuggish tone actually… Majesty will always yield respect. Wow. That’s how unphased He is of our troubles. He hears our cry, but is not bothered and will be respected for the El Elyon He is. That’s the Power in which we are to trust. The overtaking, overwhelming, and engulfing Power that can silence any critic, touch any heart, and command the attention of many…all at the same time. Just like He did on the ship.
I fell at the Falls. Madly in love with all of His splendor. Head over heels for His immaculate care for me and all of my bruises. My El Roi. I’ll happily oblige Him to baptize me anytime He wants to. So should you.