Tag Archives: God

Mother’s Day Tribute 2017 #6

12 May

I celebrate my heritage because of my mother. My mother is proud of her Jamaican heritage. My parents’ deep love and loyalty to the land of their birth was palpable. They grew up in a Jamaica that was still a colony of Great Britain. Becoming American citizens took nothing from their love of Jamaica.  To this day, Mom does not take kindly to any one speaking ill of the British Royal Family or Jamaica…especially if the person speaking is not Jamaican. Just hearing or seeing the word “Jamaica” makes her smile with great pride. She celebrated her heritage through her cooking, her clothing, her belief in hard work, her belief in strict discipline, her high standards of excellence, her British shaped grammatical rules, her beautiful accent, her dedication to help others, her love of the ocean, her traditional religious values and so much more. Jamaica was home…is home. We had an annual cookout at the house to celebrate Jamaican Independence Day. I cannot find the words to tell you how good the food was at this cookout. I would look up and see my friends from the neighborhood with a plate full of food. It was quite the event and EVERYONE was welcomed!  Fellow Jamaicans would come from near and far to join in the weekend long celebration..some even came in their RVs!  The weekend included LOTS of patois, sightseeing, rehearsals, cooking and eating, a cookout, so much laughter that my stomach would hurt, some serious dominoes matches and card games, stories of Jamaica and updates on friends and family still there, and a worship service on Sunday with many of the guests participating in the choir and other aspects of worship. It was held and the beginning of August and kicked off the family’s month long vacation for the month of August.  I didn’t matter how tight money was, this cookout happened year after year. It was a celebration of family, friends, history, culture, God, and Jamaica (the pearl of the West Indies)! I knew the words to the Jamaican National Anthem and Pledge as well as I knew the American National Anthem and Pledge. Want to win my heart? Bring me a platter from Pimento Grill, a milkshake made with Sangster’s Rum Cream and have some Bob Marley playing!

I was born in the US and I am proud of that but let’s be clear, there is nothing but Jamaican blood (with all the cultures and nations that come with it) running in my veins and I am equally proud of that.  I celebrate my mother for passing on her pride in her heritage.

The Jamaican National Anthem

Eternal Father bless our land,
Guard us with Thy Mighty Hand,
Keep us free from evil powers,
Be our light through countless hours.
To our Leaders, Great Defender,
Grant true wisdom from above.
Justice, Truth be ours forever,
Jamaica, Land we love.
Jamaica, Jamaica, Jamaica land we love.

Teach us true respect for all,
Stir response to duty’s call, strengthen us the weak to cherish,
Give us vision lest we perish.
Knowledge send us Heavenly Father,
Grant true wisdom from above.
Justice, Truth be ours forever,
Jamaica, land we love.
Jamaica, Jamaica, Jamaica land we love.

The Jamaican National Pledge

Before God and all mankind, I pledge the love and loyalty of my heart, the wisdom and courage of my mind, the strength and vigor of my body in the service of my fellow citizens; I promise to stand up for Justice, Brotherhood and Peace, to work diligently and creatively, to think generously and honestly, so that Jamaica may, under God, increase in beauty, fellowship and prosperity, and play her part in advancing the welfare of the whole human race.

 

Mother’s Day Tribute #4

10 May

My mother taught me to celebrate the freedom and power of submission and surrender. Whew! Now let’s all breathe. Submission has become a word associated with weakness and antithetical to empowerment.  My mother is many things but weak and lacking power are not words that anyone who has encountered her would use to describe her. So much so that when her nurse came to check on her she commented that mom is the strongest woman she’d ever seen. NOTE: Mom was asleep and was still exuding strength.

My mother and I have had many discussions about submission and surrender. When you boil it all down to low gravy here’s what she taught me. Submission and surrender to God and her husband freed her to soar to great heights as a woman, as a Christian, as a mother, as a wife, as a leader in the workplace, as a professional, as my father’s partner in ministry. She made it clear that one cannot run around submitting and surrendering to everybody all over the place. There are levels to this thing! LOL She was submitted to God 1st and then she submitted to her husband who was also submitted to God. I believe the phrase was, “Submission to your husband is simplified if you and your husband are submitted to God and you are pursing God together.” The caution was always stay or run away from anything and anyone to whom submission and surrender equals pulling you away from God. Submission and surrender should increase intimacy with God. Now when you put it like that, it’s something that’s worthy of pursuit. Go ‘head Mom! Bring submission and surrender back! Is my mother a feminist? NOPE! My mother submitted to God and her husband and that set her free and gave her the power to soar!

Mom and Dad at Church Anniversary Celebration

Let’s Talk About TRUST, Part 2

17 Mar

Trust God

Are you brave enough to confess that you are afraid to trust God? Are you beat down enough to admit that you are afraid to trust God? Are you afraid to trust God? I confess that I have been, I am, and I am hoping to stop this cycle. Trust has been a major issue for me overall.  As I’ve stated before, my trust issues went into overdrive when my father died suddenly. I clung to the belief for YEARS that God had made an error and was simply too embarrassed to admit it. I can kinda laugh about that whole way of thinking now but there is still a part of me that is open to accept God’s apology for ruining my life! LOL  I let that pain fester and grow into a deep lack of trust for anything that made no sense to me, that could not be documented, or that materialized outside of what I found logical even if not my taste.  All along though I still acknowledged God, loved God, and kinda sorta served God (insert side-eye here).  There is no way to fully serve God without trusting God. There is actually no way to be engaged in a healthy loving relationship with ANYONE without trust.

Trusting God requires passion and commitment. I’m not just trusting God to hold my hand as I cross the street. I’m trusting God to BE THE PATH. I’m trusting God to reveal my future and guide me as I do what God says do. I’m trusting God to be my everything. The trick though is that I have to give up all of my notions of who and how I should be. THAT’S MAJOR! This must be why God sent His Son, Jesus, to be our example. This trusting God thing takes sacrifice and not just giving up Ben and Jerry’s for Lent. It requires giving up your life so that you can live. It requires seeing God in everyone. It requires knowing the will and Word of God. It requires embracing a love that is not always cuddly, but a love that disciplines, that corrects, that cuts to the bone, that sheds blood, that comes with HIGH accountability. That kind of love demands and breeds passion and commitment.  Now that I think about it, the question is not just will I TRUST God, it’s also do I LOVE God. Do I love God enough to TRULY surrender all of me to all of Him?

I Surrender All  – Judson W. Van DeVenter 1896

  1. All to Jesus I surrender,
    All to Him I freely give;
    I will ever love and trust Him,
    In His presence daily live.

    • Refrain:
      I surrender all,
      I surrender all;
      All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
      I surrender all.
  2. All to Jesus I surrender,
    Humbly at His feet I bow;
    Worldly pleasures all forsaken,
    Take me, Jesus, take me now.
  3. All to Jesus I surrender,
    Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
    Let me feel the Holy Spirit,
    Truly know that Thou art mine.
  4. All to Jesus I surrender,
    Lord, I give myself to Thee;
    Fill me with Thy love and power,
    Let Thy blessing fall on me.
  5. All to Jesus I surrender,
    Now I feel the sacred flame;
    Oh, the joy of full salvation!
    Glory, glory, to His Name!

Those are some POWERFUL lyrics! In my heart I want these words to be more than a plea. I want them to be a testimony. I want my love for and trust in God to be a complete surrender.  Let’s just marinate there for now

Let’s Talk about TRUST

16 Mar

Trust me

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. There are many reasons for that but we can discuss those later. Today I just wanna talk and hopefully hear back from you.

This whole exploration of trust started here. There is a note in my mother’s medical file that states: “Failure to thrive”…3 little words…just 3 little words. Her doctor mentioned the possibility of cancer being the reason she is failing to thrive. If I didn’t have a tight budget I would have SMASHED my phone to make her and her words disappear. PLEASE NOTE: To those of you reading this who know my mother this is not a confirmed diagnosis. At this point it’s just an exploration of what is causing her “failure to thrive.” The tears came quickly…tears of anger, confusion and fear all at the same time. Have you ever been there? It’s a painful place to be. It’s a lonely place to be. It’s also an easy place to get off track in every way possible. This question quickly came to mind, “Who and what will I trust?” I am a Christian so that question more specifically for me is will I trust God to be God?

THAT IS A HUGE QUESTION!!!

I knew that I needed to run to God but it was more like confront God. I was angry. I wanted to let God know a thing or two about the way my journey is playing out. My prayer time was not focused on miraculous healing for my mother. I have laid her at the altar before God and I am caring for her to the best of my abilities. There is nothing more that I can do than that. God is a healer and that remains true no matter what. I heard or read this recently, “Everyone who God heals also eventually dies!” With that in mind, I was ready to let God have it. Unexpectedly though, my prayer time was not focused on my anger or my list of grievances against God. My prayer time was focused on trust.

The question I wrestled and am wrestling with is will I trust God no matter what? This is not some undefined trust. I’m talking about a trust that shows up as an unconditional yes to whatever God asks of me. A trust that shows up as unconditional and full surrender to God over what I want. A trust that shows up as obedience to God. A trust that shows up as complete, irrevocable, absolute submission to God. I am clear that I’m using words that many like to steer clear of these days. I’m in my 50’s now. My need for popularity and to be one of the cool kids ended a LONG time ago! I want an intimate and powerful relationship with God…a relationship that gives God glory. I want to be a disciple of God. Those  goals require trusting God.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a fan of embracing reality. Today’s challenge was to embrace the reality that God’s will can be and at times will be painful for me. This pain is in direct correlation to my desire to have what I want, the way  want it, when I want it. God’s will is my joy only if I die daily and in Him alone live, breathe and have my being. We get to heavy blowing, running, shouting, dancing, speaking in tongues and whatnot when we declare that. The truth of the strength and courage of  this conviction though is revealed when life smacks you in the face with a brick or your own choices lead you to run at full speed into a brick wall. Well I’ve been smacked and I got angry with God. That anger surprised me. I went all the way back to things that happened in high school and went down the list of the times I felt that God had disappointed me, forgotten me, abandoned me. When I stepped into the Prayer Room today the anger left and I was left to struggle with trusting God. I cried…and I’m still crying. I recited scripture. I talked with God. I heard from God. I listened to music. I sang. I cried some more. The thing that I am most clear about is that my mother will be fine. The work I have to focus on is me and my relationship with God.

It’s not over. I’m still processing. What gets you through your battles in life? How do you let go of anger? How do you turn life’s circumstances into opportunities to grow closer to God? Do you trust God to be God? What does that question mean to you? Let’s pray for each other as we navigate through this thing called life. Let’s talk about trust.

I hope that this song ministers to you as it has to me and countless others…

My Body is a Temple

14 Feb

1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Your Body, His Temple

by Matt Slick

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your body,” (1 Cor. 6:19-20).

Introduction

    1. This is a body conscious world.
      1. Many products to clean up, paint up, and fix-up.
        1. Great concern about physical shape.
          1. Diets abound: low fat this, low fat that. Diet pills.
          2. Exercise clubs, exercise machines, etc.
      2. Great concern about physical health.
        1. Watch that cholesterol, reduce that salt, eat more roughage.
        2. The Christian adds another dimension to concern for the body.
          1. The day you became a Christian, something happened to your body.   Another dimension was added to your being.

——————

  1. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
    1. “Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit?”
    2. This reminds us of the temple in the O.T.
      1. What great care was given to its design.
      2. What immense wealth was placed into its construction.
        1. “Then King David said to the whole assembly: My son Solomon, the one whom God has chosen, is young and inexperienced.  The task is great, because this palatial structure is not for man but for the LORD God.  2With all my resources I have provided for the temple of my God — gold for the gold work, silver for the silver, bronze for the bronze, iron for the iron and wood for the wood, as well as onyx for the settings, turquoise, stones of various colors, and all kinds of fine stone and marble — all of these in large quantities.  3Besides, in my devotion to the temple of my God I now give my personal treasures of gold and silver for the temple of my God, over and above everything I have provided for this holy temple: 4three thousand talents of gold (gold of Ophir) and seven thousand talents of refined silver, for the overlaying of the walls of the buildings, 5for the gold work and the silver work, and for all the work to be done by the craftsmen. Now, who is willing to consecrate himself today to the LORD?” (1 Chr. 29:1-5).
      3. The people were to know that God dwelt there.  That is why it was furnished with such greatness: because it was to be the house of God.
    3. Note the day of dedication of Solomon’s temple (2 Chron. 7:1-3 and 12-15).
      1. 2 Chronicles 7:1-3 “When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple.  The priests could not enter the temple of the LORD because the glory of the LORD filled it.  When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the LORD above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the LORD, saying, “He is good; his love endures forever.”
    4. But there is no such place in the age of grace.
      1. This building we are in is not God’s temple.
        1. This building is not even a church, just the place the church meets.
    5. The eternal covenant, God’s desire to fellowship with His creation, the walk in the garden,Exodus 25:8John 1:141 Cor. 1:9.
      1. THE CROSS
      2. “Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching.  My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” (John 14:23).
      3. Your body is the temple of God.
        1. Be careful where it goes.
        2. Be careful what it does.
        3. Be careful what it ponders.
        4. Be careful how it reacts.
  2. The Holy Spirit lives within you.
    1. “Who is in you”
      1. A person is in you.
    2. How can that be?
      1. We are not sure.  It is a mystery.
    3. See how clearly the Bible bears this truth.
      1. Jesus makes the promise (John 14:15-26)
        1. “If you love me, you will obey what I command.  16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever — 17the Spirit of truth.  The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him.  But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you” (John 14:15-17).
      2. The Book of Acts describes it (Acts 2:1-44:31).
        1. “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly” (Acts 4:31).
      3. The epistles explain it (Rom. 8:6-17Gal. 3:1-5Eph. 5:18-25).
        1. “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you” (Romans 8:11).
    4. The result: The Holy Spirit is with you where ever you go and whatever you do.
      1. His power is available when you need it. The Scriptures are full of references to the Spirit and power.
        1. Judges 14:19 “Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon him in power…”
        2. 1 Samuel 10:6 “The Spirit of the LORD will come upon you in power, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person.”
        3. Micah 3:8 “But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the LORD, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression, to Israel his sin.”
        4. Luke 4:14 “Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside.”
        5. Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
        6. Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
        7. Ephesians 3:16 “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.”
    5. With the Spirit indwelling you, every word, every thought, and every deed is in His view.
      1. The Holy Spirit knows you.  He knows your strengths and your weaknesses.
      2. He knows your sinful acts and your holy deeds.
      3. He knows you better than you do.
  3. The purpose of the Holy Spirit is to build you up in the body of Christ to the glory of God.
    1. He regenerates (John 3:3-5).
    2. He indwells (Rom. 8:11).
    3. He anoints (1 John 2:27).
    4. He baptizes (Acts 2:17-41).
    5. He empowers (Micah 3:8).
    6. He sanctifies (Rom. 15:16).
    7. He comforts (John 14:16-26).
    8. He gives joy (Rom. 14:17).
    9. He gives discernment (1 Cor. 2:10-16).
    10. He bears fruit (Gal. 5:22-23).
    11. He gives gifts 1 Cor. 12:3-11).

Conclusion

Surrender your body to the Lord.

Glorify God in you daily life.

http://carm.org/christianity/sermons/1-corinthians-619-20-your-body-his-templeImage