– Here’s a short stop for your week. God bless! – CJW –
When God breathed into Adam, the Breath kept going (Genesis 2:7). Think of all the people in the world and how many breaths are taken each second. That’s a lot of breathing.
If we look at the Church as the Body of Christ, then inhaling and exhaling take on a new meaning. Church is not a social club. It’s a place for the Breath to resuscitate the Body so it can leave the building and touch the world. It’s a well for the Body to be refreshed enough to share the Living Water with others. It’s a hospital for the Body to be mended during war so that the battle scars become proof of life.
Don’t hold your Breath. It is literally the Ruach Elohim… the Spirit of God. Exhale His goodness. Exhale His grace. Exhale His Word.
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.
It’s created with bells and whistles that go off when things aren’t performing properly. If something is wrong, your body acts like a car and exhibits visual indicators and/or sounds to tell you to “pull over.”
But what if you ignore the signs? What if the check engine light stays on and you think it’s a mistake or you ignore it? What if you, my dear, are the abandoned car passed on the side of the road?
Too often our spiritual system gives us alerts that we ignore. The Holy Spirit that lives within you is that system. He was placed in you to be a guide, a comforter. Most say intuition and I believe we all have that compass in us as well, thanks to the Master Manufacturer. But, Christians have an upgraded version called the Holy Spirit. This gift provides us with the guardrails and night lights needed to navigate through this life at optimum levels. Without this system, we wouldn’t function the way God intended.
You are made with strengths, quirks, and preferences that make you the most beautiful creation to grace this earth.
It is imperative to perform maintenance on your life by adhering to the signals. Pain indicates healing or abnormality. Strain is a caution that you’ve gone too far. Tears are an overflow of the soul, both in good and bad situations.When something’s wrong, you should watch, listen, and take note, not drive in dysfunction and be surprised when your quality of life decreases.
For today, I pray that you check your system and allow the maintenance process to take its course. Maybe it’s as simple as drinking more water or as intricate as writing a letter to someone who has offended you. Either way, you’ve gotten the signal. Now follow up with the Master Manufacturer and follow through with the process.
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
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.
Here’s the LATSOLmoment:
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 nearlyflatplainofalluvialdepositbetween divergingbranchesofthemouthofariver,often,thoughnotnecessarily,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.
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
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.
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 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.
There are few times when I travel backward in my mind and find nuggets of perfect synchronicity in a fraction of a second. Saturday was one of those times, so allow me to walk you through the steps. Bear with the chain link of events below as I bare my soul.
STEP 1: THE PLAN
It all began with an idea to have a fun-filled, let-your-hair-down kinda day for my performing arts troupe, which consists of experienced professionals in various industries. They’re amazing superheroes in their respective fields and on any stage of creativity. A beautiful dichotomy of talent if you ask me. This delicate balance needed a breeze of fellowship, so August 13th was set for Summer Fun Day at Avondale Park. I could hardly wait.
STEP 2: THE CONSIDERATION
One of our members attends graduate school out-of-state and was making the trek to spend time with the team, so I watched the weather closely to ensure that she could travel to us safely. I didn’t see some responses from my crew (which I later discovered was due to a technical glitch), so I considered canceling it altogether. After all, we had received bursts of thunderstorms every day that week and Saturday was going to follow suit. I decided to keep the plan based upon the forecast, and added some extra prayer to the meteorologist’s news. So glad I did. The weather was perfect.
STEP 3: THE IDEA
On the previous evening, we held rehearsal and one of our members brought up the notion of eating at Saw’s Soul Kitchen in Avondale, Alabama. I had never been, so I immediately was intrigued and ready to go. The dance of overcasting clouds and sunshine made for a mean game of volleyball and Uno. We were having fun, exactly what I prayed for. It seemed only fitting that we carry the good vibrations over to the restaurant.
STEP 4: THE GOODNESS
The food was delicious and so was the laughter. We sang along to the old school soul music showering over our cozy little table of five. We were enjoying each other’s company, exactly what I prayed for. Then, enter a smiling stranger who politely asked us if we were about to leave and if he and his family could have our table. If you’ve been to Saw’s in Avondale, you know the severity of this request. There are less than 10 tables in this eatery and the line to obtain one when they open at 11 starts at 10:40 AM at best. I’m ashamed to admit that I shook my head “no.” Thank God for my friend, who apparently was closer to Jesus than I was in that moment, that said yes and my stone-faced look morphed into a smile and a nod. He was kind and respectful, and I was proudly selfish. I’m usually the person that is cognizant of busy hours and needed seats, but on that day, I didn’t want to be considerate. I was marinating in the loveliness of time that our team rarely experiences without the demands of a deadline. I didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want it to end…
but it was time.
STEP 5: THE SUGGESTION
After releasing our table, the same friend that suggested Saw’s pointed our attention to a thrift store nearby that she loves to visit. Sozo Trading Company was the destined place. Being the economical giants that we are, we jumped at the chance to embark on another adventure. Like giddy children filled with wonder, we walked inside and immediately felt peace. Dakota greeted us with a smile and noticed our matching shirts. She inquired of our talents and we agreed to perform a human video before we left.
STEP 6: THE CRUX
Remember when I gave you the demographics of the team in THE PLAN? The challenge that comes with our creative make-up is that schedule clashes are inevitable and not everyone learns the same piece at the time it is taught. In this instance, there was also the factor that one of our members had not performed with us in over a year. So, the suggestions started flowing. “What about this?” “Were you here when we did that song?” “I don’t know that one, but I can learn it.” The communication about the business at hand resulted in my spirit being nudged to return to the first song I heard in my soul stereo – How He Loves Usby Jesus Culture featuring Kim Walker-Smith. It fitted the mission of Sozo perfectly, so I shared those thoughts with my team. So, in true Workmanship Incorporated anointing, we quickly forged as a unit and half of our quad learned the piece in the back of the store. The funny part is that no one batted an eye of curiosity or annoyance. They just shopped around us as if our full-bodied belonged in the setting. In less than 45 minutes, we were all caught up and ready to serve.
STEP 7: THE BLESSING
We ministered. Right there inside of the front entrance doors.
If you’ve never performed a human video, it requires all of your muscles to cooperate and be in sync with those around you in order to present the storyline clearly. Two of us were negotiating with our bodies about previous injuries, two of us had learned the piece in minutes, and all of us were in sync. It was beautifully amazing. As usual, we performed for an audience of ONE – the ONE who gives us Life and the ONE who needs it. Dakota recorded and took pictures. When the song was over and we expired all we had, Dakota was teary and patrons were nearby. A man approached us with watery gratefulness in his eyes and hugged us, thanking us for the message of Love. His courage to be touched is what sincerely touched me. An open masculine heart is said to be soft, weak, or feminine by society’s standards unless they’re crying about winning a championship, but at that moment… he felt loved and reminded, and that was all that mattered. Then, it dawned on me. He was my blessing. Dakota was my blessing. Austin and Amanda (fellow Sozo staff) were my blessing. The gentleman at the restaurant was my blessing. Steps 1 through 7 were the blessing that led to the makarios moment… this man hugging people he didn’t know because of a Message that we said silently. We were presented with the opportunity to eulogeó (to speak well of, praise, or bless) God in the presence of His people and it resulted as a makariosexperience for ourselves and others (refers to the believer in Christ who is satisfied and secure in the midst of life’s hardships because of the indwelling fullness of the Spirit).
What did I learn that day?
That your plans are never yours. They always affect someone else, even when you don’t know it. And you’ll be better off letting God lead the choices you make because He always has a two-edged blessing waiting for you. Blessings are always simultaneously designed. They are never unilateral.
To learn more about Greek words related to “blessing/blessed,” click here and here. I hope you enjoy the insight as much as I did.
Peace & Thanks for Listening. (I know it was a long one this time, so really… thank you.)
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But desire fulfilled is a tree of life. – Proverbs 13:12
Hope deferred… That pair of words reminds me of Harlem, the famous Langston Hughes poem. It was one of my favorite reads in high school.
What truly happens to a dream deferred? That question has been a mystery for years, but the truth hasn’t changed in that the dream only dies when we allow it to cease. When you stop feeding it, it will starve and die within you. Then, you carry dead dreams, dead hope in desperate need of resuscitation. It’s hard to carry broken promises, shredded heart tissue, and withered hope. They’re like cannon balls in your chest, holding you down from flying past your present potential. This is where faith comes in from Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is the substance of things HOPED for and the evidence of things not seen. Faith kicks in and stands at the door when hope runs out and fear circulates the perimeter of your heart in wait of your paralysis.
You can also think of this as a monetary transaction. Faith is the check written to you, while hope is the construction of belief that you’ll receive the cash. You can hold on to faith because it supersedes hope. Hope deferred will make your heart ill in longing to fulfill your purpose on Earth. Now this is where the 2nd part of the proverb makes its impact and where I get excited.
Desire fulfilled is a tree of life. Trees are designed to bear seeds. They can’t control where these seeds go, but they produce them out of obedience to their Maker. It has one job… to produce. The tree stands tall and bears seeds and that’s how forests are formed. When your desires line up with God’s will, not fulfilling that desire/dream will make you feel seedless, unfruitful.The key word is here is FEEL. You are not a sterile spiritual being. You weren’t created to be that.
Once you tap into that TRUTH, you’ll see a tree of life inside of you, not a death sentence. Then, like a tree, the life cycle of your dream will continue well after you’re gone and growth will be inevitable. Your purpose-filled dream will touch many lives after your hands (or “branches”) have aged and produced seeds of great service.Your hope and dream(s) can not afford you to be lazy, discouraged, or spiritually sick. When something is deferred, it is not canceled… so your hope can still be resuscitated.
Keep your hope alive and intimately near so that your rich, customized life can be the gift that keeps on giving to the soil and air around you.
Have you ever felt like your hope was petrified?
Your dream is a gift, so what are you giving?
What can you do this week to oxygenate your hope and aerate your dreams?
Caution: Let’s go swimming in our thoughts for a bit…. 622 words deep to be exact.
I don’t know how to swim (effectively), but I love the beach. I see a swimming pool and I want to jump in like an Olympic diver and scuba diving is on my LTD (life-to-do) List. With all of this enchantment over water, such a simple necessity, it would make sense as to why God would use it to get His points across.
THE LATSOL MOMENT
One morning while I was walking my dog Sammy, I noticed the dew on the grass. My dog loves to slurp it off the grass in order to prolong his morning ritual. It was nothing new, but the temperature had been consistently 90 degrees or more in Alabama for a week and even the evenings felt like a cough of heat from the daytime. On this particular morning, the dew arrested my attention. How was there dew on the grass in the midst of heat?I know the scientific answer, but that wasn’t satisfying at that moment. Then I heard God say gently…
“No matter how hot it gets, there’s always dew on the grass in the morning.
That alone should be proof that I will take care of you.”
Wow. That was my water proof. Finally. See a few years ago, I asked for God to help me understand him more… to make himself tangible to my curiosity and satisfy my itch to learn Him in a deeper way. So in order to understand my excitement about this “theorem,” you must hear my “proof.” (Hey, math teachers… two points?)
We need God. He created water as something that we must consume and depend on in which to live. We need Him.
We are made of God. God created each of us in His likeness.
God can affect, penetrate, or saturate anything over time. He is all-powerful.
God is underneath us, with us, and above us. He is omnipresent.
God has 3 forms and each has a specific purpose. The Holy Trinity consists of God the Father (the Protector and Judge), Jesus the Son (the Savior and Advocate), and The Holy Spirit (The Comforter and Guide).
God was made to move. He is omnipotent and can not be contained.
God can be customized. He manages to speak to anyone who desires a relationship with Him regardless of geographical location and demographics.
Proof: God is like water.
It is a representation of His deity and awesomeness and is not bound by circumstances.
Lastly and personally…
To say that water fascinates me would be an understatement. The shower is my thinking placeand a warm bath is a cozy envelope for my questions and feelings of frustration. I leave them there, in the envelope, to go down the drain forevermore. When I step out of the shower, I am new. I’m ready for the day or evening and mentally prepared for what’s ahead.
So, when I saw the blades of grass with dew and Sammy was enjoying the natural refreshment in spite of the heat, I felt like God gave my proof some recognition. More like I finally listened to what He had been saying all along. I am God. I will provide. I am not affected by your changes. I am always here.
I took a deep breath that morning and my soul agreed… and I felt amazing.