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No Matter What 

Flight Write: ATL -> DCA -> PVD

No matter what, God is good. 

His goodness is not contingent upon my feelings,  reactions, or justifications. He is good. Period. And His mercy endureth forever (Psalm 136:1) – which means whatever I’m going through, whenever I’m going through,  wherever I’m going through it, He is still good. He transcends time and situation. There is nothing too far where God’s mercy can’t reach; He’s already tHEre. There is nothing too hard for Him where His goodness will not reign.Psalm 136.1 YouVersion

I have a list of things that went wrong in the last 7 days, but I also have a list of what went right. They combat each other, and then they balance each other out.

How can you laugh when your license plate was stolen off of your car in broad daylight? You get grateful that your car wasn’t missing too.

How do you not be upset that you have to work on your day off? You become grateful for employment. 

How do you breathe when someone leaves your life? You begin to thank God for the time you had, knowing that s/he could have been born on the other side of the world and you would have missed out on her/his awesomeness.

I’ve grown in this area, this No Matter What territory. Life’s challenges continue to improve my agility. I’d like to think that I came straight from heaven with it, but it was forged in me through my parents and mentors that served as night lights along the way. 

CAUTION: This No Matter What mentality is not for the faint of heart. It comes with distractions sprinkled like glitter on a carpeted floor, luring your focus away from your purpose as you attempt to walk forward. It has splashes of anger as you recall the sacrifices you made while fighting your demons… alone. It requires you to acknowledge the bad stuff, square up, and say that all things work together for the good of those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28)… and believe it. It means crying tears of courage that leak from your broken heart.

No Matter What takes practice. Expect bruises. Check for sores. They’ll be there, but keep walking, keep praying, and keep fasting from the feast of your fears.

Believe, no matter what.

Give, no matter what.

Go, no matter what.

Love, no matter what.

And while you’re standing there braving the winds or bent over wounded from the blows, remember that Jesus is Immanuel. He is with you… all the time…

no matter what.

Peace and thanks for listening!

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Holey Folks

A visual I saw on Sunday, May 7th: A man is walking on a deserted small town street. He’s dressed up for church – suit, shoes, trench coat, and hat – but, there were holes in his chest. Perfect round holes with the circumference of an aluminum can. It was a windy day and his posture slanted forward as he pressed into the force. As the wind whipped around and through him, green bacteria grew in the holes. He kept walking, but his pace grew slower. Then I saw the same man, in the same scenario, only this time the holes didn’t exist and the bacteria bounced off his chest as he walked into the wind.

What I Heard:

God wants to clean the holes in our heart left by others and fill it with his Love and Light. You were not designed to walk around with holes in your soul.
You were not created with a deficit in mind.

The truth is that we have a lot of holy folks with holes in their hearts. They’ve learned to breathe around them, look pretty around them, and even preach around them. Those holes are lined with bacteria of hate, prejudice, lies, and unforgiveness. And some bacteria is good for you, even the bad ones, for they help build your spiritual immune system. But imbalance and infestation is what causes death of the soul.

I am not exempt. I have had many moments where I didn’t want to love someone, didn’t want to extend myself, didn’t want to be kind, and definitely didn’t want to forgive. But I realized a funny truth about this badge called “Christian” that I wear. I don’t have a choice in representing His character. I have a choice to trust, but I don’t have a choice to forgive. Once I said “You are Lord of my life. Take me as your own. I’ll do what you say. I want to love people like you love. I want to be like you.” I relinquished my duty as a free agent of this world. I now have a duty to show Christ in everything I do. I’m an ambassador, and I don’t choose when and where to take off that title. So, when He says “Call her/him,” I do it. It doesn’t matter if I was wronged or if I know they have spoken ill of me… when He commands it, I do it. It’s frustrating, yes. It’s unfair; yes it is. It’s aggravating; indeed. But, I don’t always get it right either, so I only hope that I receive the same diehard response when it’s my turn. I don’t want the bacteria to stick. I want the Love of God to repel it.

We can’t continue to walk around in garments of gold pretending like we aren’t rotting wood underneath. We’re holy by His grace, not by our standards. We can’t give place for the Body to be infected. After all, infections spread fast, but they don’t have to. We don’t have to die holey.

I’ve been on this Body kick lately. I’m interested to hear everything God has to say.

Peace & Thanks for listening.

Photo courtesy of Human Anatomy Chart. They have awesome images for biology nerds like me. Check them out.

#bloglikecrazy: Day 22 – Make Room

A short stop for your Christmas Day and Any Day

Luke’s account of Jesus’ life on Earth is one my favorites. There’s something about his physician perspective that humanizes the experiences I read.
This one in particular instantly opens the camera lens to a new mother that clothes her newborn in rags in unsanitary conditions. All because the inn was full. Why would God give Joseph a heads up that his family was in danger and not direct him to better accommodations? On a journey where it was already uncomfortable, here is a mother having contractions in a stable and having to trust that the feeding trough would be sufficient for the King of Kings. What a humbling and terrifying experience. Talk about faith… whew.

I’m always stuck at the “no room in the inn” part. Certainly there was a better option than an animal shelter, but apparently, Mary and Joseph knew something we didn’t.

No matter where Jesus was birthed, He was destined to fulfill His purpose. They just had to make it work. The hay, the rags, the filth, the trough… she made room. That’s all were required to do.

Whenever you are in life, make room.

Create space for purpose to grow. Stop making excuses for what you don’t have and use what is given. The purpose is in you, not the things. God will provide the necessary items in order to bless the readers of your story.

Whatever you do this week, make the room and prepare for it to be filled.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

#bloglikecrazy: Day 1 – Slow Down

slow-down-quotes-favim-com-2618639Am I crazy to #bloglikecrazy for 30 days straight?

Yep.

I’ve accepted a challenge by my writer’s group guru Javacia to unblock my writing potential through this annual exercise. I’ve always wanted to do it, but I didn’t expect it to be here already. Day 1. *eek*

So, what have I heard in my spirit today? SLOW DOWN.

It’s not enough to be a machine, but people expect you to be an energizing, self-sufficient, non-emotional android while getting catapulted by life events at the speed of light. Not an easy feat if you ask me. So today, I slowed down. I have a lot to do this week, and I’m sure you do too. For once in a significant amount of time, I ate my lunch at work… comfortably. Not in a car while thinking about my next stop. Not while on a conference call. Not taking a bite then answering a request. But sitting in a chair… at my desk… with minimal noise. It felt good to taste my food instead of inhaling it. Furthermore, I could have easily postponed lunch until after my afternoon meeting (which is my normal), but I looked at the clock and said – I need to eat before I do anything else. It was as if my body and my spirit agreed and aligned in peaceful matrimony. I enjoyed every bite of my bell pepper and grilled chicken.

Have you ever been like that? Not hangry (hungry + angry), but resolved that the absence of food was no longer an option? That was me today. That was the guilt-free me standing up for herself. How often do we do the same with God’s Word and our relationship with Him?

I need to pray/study/listen to God before I do anything else.”

What a difference that would make! Unsupported decisions would decrease and broken souls wouldn’t cry as often. We would think of our actions before they commence. Our canned responses would have more depth and loveliness woven between them. Perhaps your heart is aching in that place of resolve for you to ____ before you start whittling your to-do list.

I guarantee that you’ll have a better sense of direction after you’ve consulted the Compass.

Blog like crazy, huh? Well, I’m game. Let’s see what the Lord has to say, or better yet, what I’ll have to slow down to hear. lol

Peace & Thanks for listening!

Photo courtesy of QuoteAddicts.com

Resting in the Delta

After listening to a sermon by Pastor Larry Paige at Zion Church (Landover, MD).

Humor me as we tiptoe through the land of psychology for a minute. God spoke to me through a reminder about the sleep cycle.

Most agree that are 5 stages of sleep – 1, 2, 3, 4, and REM (rapid-eye movement). The higher the stage number, the deeper the sleep. For example, it is more difficult to wake someone in stage 4 than in stage 1. As you slip deeper into the sleep cycle, your muscles relax, heart rate slows down, and your body temperature decreases. The autonomic nervous system is in parasympathetic mode, otherwise known as rest and digest. Still with me so far? Great! Let’s keep going!

Your brain makes the trek as well. An electroencephalograph (EEG) tracks its activity through a range of waves. Generally speaking, your brain activity transitions from small beta (β) and alpha (α) waves to elongated high-peaked delta waves (δ). Delta waves appear on the EEG before REM sleep, which is also known as paradoxical sleep because brain waves show up that resemble wakefulness. This is the stage of dreaming and while the body is predominantly paralyzed, the mind is active and the sympathetic mode of your nervous system (fight or flight) can activate during nightmares. Ever  woke up to a rapid heart beat and the sweats? There you have it.

sleep-cycle-psychology-today
Courtesy of Psychology Today

Here’s the LATSOL moment:

You would think death was the next step after slipping into Stage 4 attributes. After all, sleep is also referred to as being as half-dead. Regardless of what it looks like, the cycle is far from over. A mixture of alpha and theta waves pop up because we’re dreaming. God can give you strength and dreams in the midst of darkness. The internal organs are awake while the body is paralyzed, just like the Holy Spirit is yet alive in you despite what is happening to you. Your situation is not the end of you.

“Rest in distress.” – Pastor Larry Paige

Sleep. What a beautiful thing. Through the eyes of children, naps are viewed as a waste of time or form of punishment when the truth is they need it to recharge and repair. Our bodies were designed to reset after a certain number of hours, and too often we press the snooze button on our circadian alarm clock and cram more into the day. Sometimes the dark times force us to rest…and to dream.

“God does addition by subtraction sometimes.” – Pastor Larry Paige

According to Dictionary.com, the delta is a nearly flat plain of alluvial deposit between diverging branches of the mouth of a river, often,though not necessarily, triangular. Nearly flat and often flooded, but soil enriched for growth. Your seemingly dead places are ideal for growth. Ideal for the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the almighty God to show up and flood your flat plain with vibrant activity. Dreams you thought were dead can sprout in the dark.

We can rest in the delta instead of stressing in it. There is more life there than meets the eye. I am so grateful for that lesson.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

 

The Chorus

Thank you, Dictionary.com.

If I could let you hear the voices that visit my mind, this is what you would find. A host of negative vibrations consistently try to pimp me out of my promise. The offense could be legitimate, but my heart will want to forget it. The chorus steps into the sanctuary of my thoughts and proceeds to sing the same song, in the same rhythm, using the same poison. As definition 1d states, intervals are its mode of choice. The chorus is never constant, relying on the fact that I have breaks of solitude in the midst of my busy life. I hold them dearly close and seek to protect them at all costs. Unfortunately, I am not always successful and there I am, battling in the middle of my sanctuary.

I hope this peeling-back of the curtain encourages someone to know that s/he is not alone in the fight within the frame. It’s real, but so is God’s power. This isn’t a cry for attention or pity, but a step forward to reinforce that the weapons we use are not carnal because the enemy we fight is invisible as well. So, here they are, in no particular order of degradation.

*pressing play on the broken record player*

  1. “They don’t care about you. If they did, they would call. They would act like it.”
  2. “If you died today, you’d be missed for a moment, but not for a lifetime.”
  3. “Better watch out for her/him. She always let’s you down. That’s why s/he’s so carefree.”
  4. “You keep trying and they keep showing you where you fit on their totem pole.”
  5. “They don’t make time for you now, so why would they make time for your funeral?”
  6. “Put the phone down. You’re bothering them.”
  7. “Forever is a long time to wait for their reciprocity.”
  8. “You’re not good enough. You’ll fail in front of millions.”
  9. “Why are even trying? You are not equipped.”
  10. “What you just did was horrible. Everyone is going to remember that.”
  11. “You’re annoying everyone. It would best if you just went home.”
  12. “What’s the point? Bad things happen to good people. You’re wasting your time.”

Anyone claiming that suicidal thoughts are for weak has never experienced a “paper cut” of the mind and spirit. That’s all it takes. Sometimes the smallest cracks can cause the most damage. Am I going to kill myself? Emphatically no, but it doesn’t change the fact that demonic influence can override the will to live.

Evil seeds are often planted in the soil of our mind, then our broken insecurity waters the ground and we start sinking in the darkness.

The lifeline? Your mouth. I encourage you to talk. Keep talking until your voice quiets the chorus. Keep speaking up until your shaky words sends shock waves of freedom beneath the battlefield of your mind. Don’t let anything silence your will to dream, hope, and live. You have so much to be awesome for. You were handcrafted by an awesome God. That’s how I know you’re supposed to be here…right now…reading this. Flick the dust off your clothes and wash your soul in His Word and what He says about you.

Below are 15 doses of strong reminders that I use for my battles. The quoted phrases are what I tell myself. Feel free to say them aloud as well.

Philippians 1:6 (NASB) – “He will finish what He started in me.”

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

Deuteronomy 31:6 (NASB) – “Fear is around, not within.”

Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”

Proverbs 3:26 (NASB) – “YOU are my confidence.”

For the LORD will be your confidence And will keep your foot from being caught.

Joshua 1:9 (NASB) – “The Lord is with me wherever I go.”

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Isaiah 41:10 (NASB) – “I am upheld with His righteous right hand.”

‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

Matthew 11:28 (NASB) – “I am tired now. I won’t be tired forever. I have a place to go.”

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.

Ephesians 6:12 (NASB) – “Focus on the culprit, not the distraction.”

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Psalms 34:19 (NASB) – “All means all.”

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all.

Psalms 143:10 (NASB) – “You lead me on level ground. I am sure.”

Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.

Psalms 1:1-6 (NASB) – “I am planted. I am strong. I am fruitful.”

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,

Nor stand in the path of sinners,

Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!

But his delight is in the law of the Lord,

And in His law he meditates day and night.

He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,

Which yields its fruit in its season

And its leaf does not wither;

And in whatever he does, he prospers.

The wicked are not so,

But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,

Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,

But the way of the wicked will perish.

Isaiah 40:28-31 (NASB) – “Don’t forget His greatness.”

28 Do you not know? Have you not heard?

The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth

Does not become weary or tired.

His understanding is inscrutable.

29 He gives strength to the weary,

And to him who lacks might He increases power.

30 Though youths grow weary and tired,

And vigorous young men stumble badly,

31 Yet those who wait for the Lord

Will gain new strength;

They will mount up with wings like eagles,

They will run and not get tired,

They will walk and not become weary.

Proverbs 23:18 (NASB) – “I am sure and I am convinced. I have hope.”

Surely there is a future, And your hope will not be cut off.

Romans 8:37-39 (NASB) – “Nothing shall separate me.”

37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Proverbs 18:10 (NASB) – “You are my safe place.”

The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous runs into it and is safe.

I hope these encourage you to build up your speech arsenal and fight back. What are some of your biblical bullets to cast down imaginations? What are you favorite verses that you chew on to remove the taste of doubt?

Peace & Thanks for Listening.

 

Churchified

african-american-gospel-choir-clip-art-51544
Photo Courtesy of ClipArtHut

 

Written after a conversation with a friend about empty, poisonous church antics. It burned my biscuits.

I don’t want to do church.

I don’t want to play church.

I am the Church.

The Church is me.

It has to breathe.

It has to be.

It has to reach beyond what my eyes can see.

It has to feel the Truth in front of me and slay the dragons I have yet to defeat.

I still have victory over the enemy, but I fight for the prize of the high calling, while boxing these rabid thoughts behind my eyes…

Everyday, I rise.

 

I am the Church.

I am the walking, living, breathing mouthpiece of the most high God.

I inhale His goodness and exhale His obedience.

He is in me and I in Him.

So, I am His hands.

I am His feet.

I am everything He created me to be

Impeccably.

I’m tired of noise in sanctuaries filled with hungry souls.

I’m tired of watching aching bodies leave with gaping holes.

I’m sick of seeing the sick and tired, dying inside pretending to be inspired.

I’m sick of boils bubbling from despair.

Hope expired.

 

Applause! Applause!

A round of applause for everyone on stage

for everyone engaged in cinematic display.

I’m not looking for actors to fill a role.

I’m looking for the Church

the crease

the Fold

the boundaries drawn with blood stained veins

the lines that separate the road from the Way.

 

Do not tempt me with your tinkling cymbals.

Do not entice me with your exclusivity,

But draw me in with Love unscathed

Draw me in with the beauty of His Name

Draw me close to heal my pain

Rain motivation on me

Protect me with your arms of prayer

Don’t manipulate my heartstrings and tell me you care.

Bottom out with me at the feet of Jesus.

Let our souls pour into His Hands until He feeds us

His joy, His love, His strength, His faith.

I’m not interested if it’s any other way.

I am the Church and so are you.

If we can’t be real,

then who are you?

I was always taught that Church was a hospital and an oasis for all to leave better than they arrived. Unfortunately, this isn’t happening every week. Instead, we attend as spectators of a traditional requirement or as mindless participants of a circus act. In a way, we have become conditioned to be churchified.

What do you think?

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