I. Feel. Black.

I. FEEL. BLACK.  

I feel BLACKER than I’ve felt in a very long time. I’m conscious of how melanin affects my skin when I walk into a shop, when I see a law enforcement officer, when I’m pumping gasoline, etc.  I feel Black – and that’s okay, because it is who my Creator decided I should be. But feeling black is not okay when it means that I feel like it automatically makes me guilty of something that just might cost me my life.  

No, it’s not okay when I fear what might happen to my sons because their work requires them to be out sometimes when its dark and they might match the description of a black man who really IS  guilty of something.

But I also feel vulnerable, laid bare, exposed. I have a heightened awareness about the whereabouts of my grown children — my sons and my son-in-law just because they are black.

I feel ashamed that people really do believe that my people don’t care about all lives, because we most certainly do! It is just that at this moment in history we are feeling the onslaught of injustices that we can’t quite put our minds around.

I feel desperately dependent upon God — and that’s a good thing too, because only He can make any of this right!

But I also feel loved — loved by those of my “majority culture” friends who have reached out to me in meaningful ways to admit that they cannot understand – but that they love me and care deeply about how I am feeling and what I fear. We have to be right with one another to make a real change.

I feel confused because I’ve said to my children when they were just kids that they can always trust those that enforce the law; but I’m not sure that is always going to be true.  Don’t misunderstand me – I have dear friends who are LEOs and I know they are good people doing the right thing; but I’m concerned that no one is weeding out the bad eggs.

I feel grief for so many lives lost – but especially today for George Floyd; the family left behind, the futures cut off, all of it! I feel grief for the sad truth that our culture is still quite ill as relates to racial relations.

I feel hope – because my life is hidden in Christ with God; because He promised me a hope and a future; because when it’s all over I shall see Him face to face.  Hope because this world is not my home, I’m a sojourner here.  The place He has prepared for me, no man can take away.  The life he’s given me is eternal, no one can take it away.

Praying that this nation will know the hope and love of Christ and praying that the church across the world will take her place and bringing both healing and peace.  Praying that our justice system will be changed in the ways that only God can change it. Praying everyday that my sons, my nephews, my brothers in law, my black male cousins will live and not die!  Praying that this will get better – even if it must get worse first!  Praying for His mercy!!!! Praying that righteousness and justice will truly overtake our nation. As the Body of Christ – I am praying that we will represent the Kingdom of God in true ways to push true change. I’m praying that the Body of Christ will speak with one voice about both healing and justice. Kyrie Eleison!!!!

Many are called …

So many churches are becoming mega churches. During the coronavirus some digital international churches have grown tremendously! Believers all over the world are praising Our Father for this. We are all filled with joy that many are coming to know Him.

The question though is — do many of them just come … just because it sounds like a good idea? A smart idea to be in community with others? Do many of them come because they see the grace and generosity of the Body of Christ as a wise place to be? The truth of the gospel is an invite to all people — ALL People!! Only the ones who are coming with a commitment to live with and for Him will truly experience a different life. A life full of the gifts of peace, mercy, grace, salvation, and so much more!

There is true commitment that pulls us into His presence!

There was a person close to me who loved the gathering of believers. They were invited — and they came to church. They sang in the choir, went to all fellowships, cooked meals for many people, and even gave themselves to people, just as a place to share troubles. There came a time, however, when people were becoming more knowing of the life being lived. As this person was truly seen, they felt compelled to walk away. They never again entered a fellowship with God’s people because the commitment was not to God … so …. what about you?

I mean … His message calls us all, but are you truly letting Him in there to make you one of His own? When accepting the invitation of the gospel, we are not truly redeemed and truly blessed until we both accept invitation and comply with its condition.

When you come to Him, but choose to embrace your sin and not let them go, its like being invited to a wedding and showing up with pajamas on. In the world of my Ghana pastor, Rev Steve Asante, “You’re not serious OOOO!!”

Don’t secretly turn from Him! Give Him all of you! Your life will forever be changed.

Father, please open the minds and hearts of those who know but don’t believe. As your child, please use me to speak and live truth in ways that help people open their hearts. When you call them, I pray that You will help them to answer with hearts that want You in them!

He Knows What Lies Beneath

When people are impressed with us – or when they see the “value” in something we are doing – we tend to bring them readily into our circle of supporters. Jesus, however, knowing all things — took a different route — one that should be taken note of.

Instead of allowing the praise to go to our ego — we must take a step back and remember the nature of men. One minute, they love you — the next, they don’t. A man’s heart — yes, our hearts – are deceitfully wicked and not to be trusted. Because we cannot know what lies beneath the praise that man gives — we would be wise no to entrust ourselves to men – instead we must get and stay firmly in the grip of God’s unfailing grace.

Jesus had no issue discerning the hearts of men – because He knows every man and because of this, He did not put His confidence in their faith … only in The Father.

Please Father, do not allow us to be deceived by our own pride when people rush to praise us because of what they see us do. Remind us that it is You, who is at work within us – to accomplish ALL that we do. And that it is You to whom the glory is due. Remind us of our own hearts so that we might judge well the hearts of others. Help us to put ALL of our hope in You. Humbling ourselves as we wait for Your perfect exaltation!

Trouble … Don’t Last Always

Do you know/remember that song? Trouble Don’t Last Always??That is one of my FAVORITES!!

“Weeping may endure for a night. Keep the faith. It will be alright. Trouble don’t last always!”

There have been times in the midst of difficulty that this song reminded me quickly of God’s truth to His children … only He allows trouble … and only He will bring me out. Did you get that?? He WILL bring me out.

It is not an easy thing to go through trials.  In fact – some of the things that we have to face on this earth can cause even the most faithful person to lose heart.  As an heir with Christ, however, we are assured that though our troubles may be many and various – we ARE victorious.

The enemy would love for us to fall for the mind game he plays with us – that God has forgotten us; that God is not aware of our struggles; that God is manipulating us and enjoying watching us suffer.  But we know that this is not the way of our God and King!  It is His will that His children — those who love Him; those who He has called; those who He has justified; those who have received the gift of salvation — live abundant lives.  Not lives free of trouble — but lives in which the trouble brings about change, victory and His perfect will.

This thing that you are facing — the Lord might have put you in the middle of it!  He won’t give you more than you can bear even though it might seem like you can’t take anymore.  He has not forgotten you.  He knows you and loves you.  He will restore your life if you will only trust, believe, and obey.

Of course … I’ve got another favorite song. Victory by Brenda Waters.

“I don’t know how God’s gonna do it. I don’t know when He’s gonna fix it. I only know, God’s gonna make a way for me. I know He’s gonna do it. Victory!”

Well …. just in case you wanna hear them both

No Bible … No Breakfast

As I have been on this journey with my King, I am continually learning what it means to lay my will down for His. I have learned that laying down my will does not always mean that I am choosing not to sin (though that is a choice I make daily) — but that I am choosing to do things His way; for His glory.

Sometimes it’s an issue of whether or not I answer my phone when I know someone needs me to do something I don’t want to do. Sometimes it’s having to leave me house in disarray because I need to get out of the house for ministry. Sometimes it is holding back from rescuing a person – so that they can learn from their issue. Living according to His will all the time is not easy to do, but it IS simple.

Each day I will make the choice to depend upon Him to guide my words, thoughts and actions; when I commit to do this I have found that my will and my way are the LAST things I think about. For me, it looks like waking up each day and going to the Word of God first (my Ghana pastor** used to say “No Bible, No Breakfast”

This simple decision – reading the Word in the morning before I interact with any person or any situation; hearing what He has to say to me first will help me to be less frustrated during the day and help me stand firm against the temptations that I am sure to face throughout the day. 

Galatians 5:16

Simple– practice giving ourselves to Him each day; decide to rely totally on Him each day and we might just find that we are walking in His favor and we might just experience what it feels like for Him to take pleasure in our lives. Ask Him for direction in all things (thoughts, actions, words); I believe we will find that our lives are richer, fuller and less stressful. I’ve tried it – it really does work! **Thank you Pastor Steve Asante!