Archive for the ‘Spiritual’ Category
Thanksgiving starts the holiday countdown. We start preparing meals, giving gifts, attending parties, and being festive. Happiness and joy fill the air.
But … what about those people who don’t have anyone to celebrate or share their time with? What do they do? How can we help them?
There are so many pointers that we can give to those who are lonely at the holiday times.
Take a look.
1. Understand that you are not all alone.
2. Rethink your expectations.
3. Get connected.
4. Cultivate gratitude.
5. Give to others.
6. Examine your feelings.
7. Remember, alone doesn’t mean lonely.
8. Change up things.
9. Make someone else happy.
10. Don’t be afraid to initiate. Reach out to family and friends.
11. The holidays are not a time to open up old wounds.
12. Limit how much you take on.
13. Send care packages.
14. Volunteer. Get involved.
15. When no one is around, you always have God.
For those who have recently lost loved ones, these holidays will certainly feel different because they will not be here as they traditionally have been to cut the turkey at Thanksgiving, open presents at Christmas, or bring in the New Year. Let’s pray for strength.
In closing, here’s a shout out to those people who may feel lonely and a little down and out this holiday season.
Don’t have a pity party.
As difficult as it may be, be uplifted; be thankful; stay prayerful.
May God Bless you and relieve your loneliness during this holiday season.
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“Do not judge and you will not be judged. Do not condemn and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37
Who are you to judge?
Who made you the superior watchdog?
Did you know that in God’s eyes that you are not any better than anyone else? Don’t let your valuable material possessions and fat bank account fool you!
Because of a misguided spirit of superiority, some people spend too much time monitoring and judging other folks while letting their business go astray.
In fact, many wait on others to make mistakes so that they can be the first to bring down their gavel pronouncing condemnation!
Sad, but true!
There are a few things that all should realize.
1. First, only God can judge because he sees all actions; those that are visible as well as the hidden and disguised.
2. Secondly, if we properly utilize our time to keep our lives on track, we won’t have the time to judge others.
3. Thirdly, it is a huge job to do the right thing. It is tough to stay focused and remain on course.
4. Lastly, we all want to be able to stand before God on judgment day and have him say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant!”
In other words, because of the weakness of the flesh, it is easier to do what’s wrong instead of what’s right.
In Matthew 26:41, we find –
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
We have to constantly work at it.
There are so many challenges.
Minding our own business is one!
Forgiveness is another.
When people error, it is critical that we possess a forgiving spirit.
We must stop looking at others to find their dirt.
Isn’t it a monumental task to just keep our “house” clean and life in order?
If you are like most people, that is a job in and of itself.
Do your work and let God do his!
Judge not; condemn not; forgive – yes!
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Prayer is powerful!
Prayers change things!
If you don’t believe me, try it for yourself!
Years ago, the Isley Brothers had a hit song, “Nothing but smooth sailing.” How we wish that living and life were just “smooth.”
Bumps in the road occur.
Navigating through and around difficulties can be challenging until you put God at the wheel.
We have to learn to surrender and give our troubles to him.
Talking to God intimately through prayer is the first step.
* Ask for your needs.
* Ask for guidance/direction.
* Ask God for his protection.
* Ask God what your heart desires. It is your one on one time.
Prayer allows you to speak directly to God
You’ll get a chance to see first hand God’s goodness!
You become an eyewitness to his greatness; his healing powers; his making your crooked paths straight.
Yes, cruising through life’s journeys, you may have “down” days, but with prayer and God’s help, you have the ability to rise above your difficulties!
Nothing beats coming to the Father with incessant prayer.
The Lord hears you; he will not leave you or forsake you.
Get to know him.
Read the Word and find comfort therein. Sing praises that will be calming to your soul.
When we come to God in prayer, humility is imperative. We must realize that we are not perfect.
In Gospel great Donny McClurkin’s words. “We fall down, but we get up. Saints are just sinners who fell down and got up.” God will provide.
He will not leave us to go it alone. As Matthew 6:26 reads: Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Hallelujah!
Thank you Lord for your love, grace, protection, and covering.
Thank you Lord for forgiveness and second opportunities.
As I fall on my knees in prayer, I ask you Heavenly Father to order my steps. Amen.
Happy Sunday to my followers!
“Precious Lord” was written by the Rev. Thomas Dorsey after a family tragedy. His wife’s died in child birth. Days later, his baby succumbed. In a downtrodden state, Dorsey penned “Precious Lord” in 1932. A viewing of a younger Thomas Dorsey and Mahalia Jackson in this vintage photograph sends goose bumps down my spine as it depicts two of the best performing artists at their craft. Can you imagine hearing this dynamic duo? “Precious Lord” is one of those “pick you up” gospel songs. Indeed, it was Dr. Martin Luther King’s favorite! When he wanted to “hear the voice of God,” King called upon Mahalia Jackson to sing “Precious Lord.” At his request, she sang at many civil rights rallies. Mahalia also sang “Precious Lord” at King’s funeral! The lyrics are soothing, comforting, and magically transport the Holy Ghost spirit to your presence.
“Precious Lord, take my hand
Lead me on, let me stand
I’m tired, I’m weak, I’m lone
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on to the light.
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home.“
My late Mother’s favorite song was
With her apron tied around her waist as she cooked, my Mother would sing that song. Yes ma’am that woman could “take you to church standing in her kitchen.”
Now she and Mahalia can sing “Precious Lord” together in the heavenly choir.
Happy Sunday to my followers.
Thank you for tuning in!
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It seems as if that lick came out of no where.
It was so hard that it knocked me down.
I lost my balance and fell!
I am curiously baffled.
Where did that punch come from?
I’ll tell you where!
It came from life; from living.
Yes, that’s right.
We are not insulated from troubles.
Our lives can be easily bruised with anxieties from varied issues. They run the gamut – Pain from the loss of loved ones, betrayals from friends/family, jealousies, upside down finances, job losses, health issues, wayward children, infidelity, disloyal friends, among other things. You name it and someone can claim it!
Our lives are not problem free.
Quite the contrary.
We are also not born as warriors.
We have to condition, equip, and prepare ourselves to deal with the problems that accompany living.
Sometimes, we think that we can rely on our own intelligence to solve our problems.
Sometimes, we think that we can do it all, be everything to all people, and win all the battles by ourselves.
We need to keep God front and center in our lives.
Reliance on the Lord will help us with our balancing act.
It will also give us the needed confidence and strength to pick ourselves up when we fall!
We can then see clearer who is with us and who is not.
Nothing is worse than being knocked down and expecting someone to help you up when instead they desert you.
So often, do we hear, “it’s not my problem!”
If you have heard those words, raise your hand.
We have to gird our loins everyday … that’s for sure.
I leave you with several quotes that have inspired me. Maybe, you will find inspiration from them as well.
1. “Sometimes it takes a good fall to really know where you stand.” Hayley Williams
2. “It’s not up to you how you fall. Its up to you how far you let yourself fall and how long it takes you to get back up and stand on your own two feet.” Sr. Tac Jeffrey Mitchell
3. “Keep on going, and the chances are that you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I never heard of anyone ever stumbling on something sitting down. “. Charles F. Kettering
4. “Being defeated is often temporary, giving up makes it permanent. “ Marilyn von Savant
5. “Fall seven times. Stand up eight. “ Japanese Proverb
6. “It’s hard to beat a person that never gives up. “ Babe Ruth
7. “ A Quitter never wins-and-a Winner never quits. “ Napoleon Hill
8. “For every failure, there’s an alternative course of action. You just have to find it. When you come to a roadblock, take a detour. “ Mary Kay Ash
9. “Success in life is the result of good judgment. Good judgment is usually the result of experience. Experience is usually the result of bad judgment. “Anthony Robbins
10. “In order to succeed you must fail, so that you know what not to do the next time.” Anthony J. D’Angelo
11. “Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.”Confucius
12. “Everyone falls down. Getting back up is how you learn how to walk. “ Walt Disney
13. “When life knocks you down, try to land on your back. Because if you can look up, you can get up. Let your reason get you back up.” Les Brown
14. “No matter how many times you get knocked down, keep getting back up. God sees your resolve. He sees your determination. And when you do everything you can do, that’s when God will step in and do what you can’t do. “ Joel Osteen
15. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. “Winston Churchill
Keep living! Keep the faith!
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Without question, life and living are not without troubles or its accomplice, worry. Sooner or later, they walk through your door. Sometimes we worry about issues that do not directly concern us, but if they affect people that we love, they naturally becomes an extension of our lives.
Flowers, particularly roses can be calming / soothing. Although they don’t wash our troubles away, roses brighten up our space.
They are such beautiful flowers and come in an assortment of colors. Often, I think that roses, particularly red ones, have magical powers. A dozen delivered to my door can heal emotional wounds and bring instant joy and jubilation. A delivery of two dozen once made me jump through hoops.
To its recipient, roses show thoughtfulness from the giver. They can definitely liven up your day and spirits with their fragrant delight.
As beautiful and fragrant as roses are, rose bushes have thorns. The piercing of a thorn against our skin hurts. When that happens, we have God’s healing hands to give us relief.
Sure, life is not a bed of roses, but thank God for his mercy, love, grace, protection, and covering.
Thank God for continuing the breathe of life in us and our loved ones. Thank God for a tomorrow!
As we feel the smooth petals, smell the fragrant scent, and adore the beauty of red roses, we can digest God’s words and take in the beauty of his garden of life that is filled with many flowers along with life’s varied assets.
As we stand, sit, and walk in God’s rose garden, we are provided with all of the necessities that we need in this life. Oh yes, we are truly blessed! James 1:12 tells us – Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
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Miracles … God’s incredible miracles … We have all heard and read about them.
Our faith brings these ancient miracles to life. Visually, because of faith, you can see them take place in your mind. Spiritually, the power of the Lord and all of his greatness is right before your eyes as the scenes lie buried in your heart. Let’s walk back in history and see God’s greatness in the form of miracles.
This list looks at ten of the more amazing miracles described in the Bible.
*Jesus Exorcises Legions.
*Ten Plagues of Egypt.
*Jesus Walks on Water.
*Balaam and his Talking Donkey.
*Crossing of the Red Sea.
*Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand.
*Jesus Raises Lazarus from the Dead.
*Joshua Stops the Sun.
*The creation – “Let there be light.”
10. Jesus exorcizes legions.
There was this particular demon-possessed man as he calls himself, “Legion, for we are many.” The Son of God simply tells them to leave the man. They beg to enter a nearby herd of pigs, and Jesus permits this. The herd goes insane and swarms off a hillside into the sea, all drowning.
9. Ten Plagues of Egypt
This one has been subjected to scientific analysis, but we know that it was the power of God. The interesting part is that the first plague is blood. The Nile runs red, and all the fish die. This could have been red toxic algae (red tide), or a volcanic eruption depositing red-colored earth and silt into the water. Once the fish die, the frogs, leaving the dirty water, would die on land. Then the flies would increase terribly to feed on the frog carcasses. Then the livestock would die from fly-bites (anthrax, malaria, etc.). Anthrax transmits from cattle to human in the form of boils and sores. Then fiery hail, perhaps from the volcano eruption. Then locusts descend to feast on whatever crops are left after the hailstorm destroys them. Then darkness, perhaps via eclipse or the locusts themselves. The death of the firstborn is not easy to explain, but the oldest child of a family, at that time, was given first choice of food, which by then, would certainly all have been diseased. Although there is this scientific analysis; for certain, it was definitely a miracle from God.
8. Jesus walks on water
It is one of his most famous miracles. Jesus does it to show his Disciples that they can do anything, if only they will believe in themselves as his Disciples. Imagine seeing a man walking nonchalantly 3 miles across the northern tip of the Sea of Galilee at night, and arriving at his Disciples’ boat just before they reach the other shore.
7. Balaam and his Talking Donkey
Balaam tries to curse the Israelites 3 times, and 3 times God changes his curses to blessings. But this is after he has a vision of an angel standing in the road. Actually his donkey sees it first, and refuses to go near it. Donkeys are quite smart, and this story is written quite accurately to that end. Three times the donkey refuses and three times Balaam beats her. “Then the LORD opened the donkey’s mouth, and she said to Balaam, ‘What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?’Balaam answered the donkey, ‘You have made a fool of me! If I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.’The donkey said to Balaam, ‘Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?’‘No,’ he said. Then the LORD opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown. The angel of the LORD asked him, ‘Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me. The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If she had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared her.’”Imagine sitting on the roadside and seeing this all happen. Only the donkey, and then Balaam, can see the angel. But the donkey plainly opens her mouth and speaks Hebrew! With proper grammar! Priceless.
6. Crossing of the Red Sea
Perhaps, this is the most famous miracle in the Bible. Cecil B. DeMille instilled it in the household imagination with his fine 1956 epic with Charlton Heston. But this depiction is not quite right. The parting occurs immediately in the film, but in the Bible, the Egyptian and Israelite armies oppose each other all day and night, separated by a pillar of fire and smoke. All that night, a strong east wind, thus blowing into the backs of the armies, forward across the Sea, blows back the water and creates a narrow path, until by dawn, the seafloor is dry ground and the water stands up like walls on both sides.It would definitely have been an awesome spectacle. The Egyptians were just a tad foolish for following the Israelites down between the walls of water.
5. Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
It is in all 4 Gospels, so the writers must have considered it important. In Matthew 14:13-21, he feeds 5,000 men, not counting women and children, which might have placed the number at 10,000, maybe more. He has only 5 loaves and 2 fish (7 total), after which, his Disciples collect 12 basketfuls of uneaten leftovers (12).He does this a second time in Matthew and Mark, feeding 4,000 men, besides women and children, with 7 loaves, a few fish, and collecting 7 basketfuls of leftovers. The number 7 is interpreted as perfection. 12 is the number of the Tribes of Israel. It certainly would have boggled the mind to anyone watching closely. How did he continue to reproduce the food? There was no description of manna and quail from Heaven. He simply blessed it, broke it, and had his Disciples distribute it.
4. Jesus Raises Lazarus from the Dead
Imagine if you were standing in Bethany, just east of Jerusalem, among the crowd of mourners. Jesus is walking in, and another crowd is following him. But Lazarus has been dead for 4 days. Jesus is too late to heal him. Yet, he breaks down and weeps. The best part is when Lazarus’s sister, Mary, tells him, “My Lord, he has been dead for 4 days. There will be a bad smell.” Yes, the smell of rot. Jesus isn’t perturbed, but tells her to have the tomb opened. He commands Lazarus to come out, and he does so, wearing his burial linens.
3. Joshua Stops the Sun
Joshua does battle with the Amorites in Gibeon, somewhere north of Jerusalem. Not only does Joshua and his army rout the enemy army, but as they flee the field, God Himself rains down hailstones on them, which kill more of them than the Israelites kill. The fight apparently seemed to Joshua as if it would take so long, given the huge numbers of men, that Joshua entreated the Lord to stop the sun and moon, so the day would last long enough for the Israelites to do their thing. Most importantly, Joshua had arranged his army to attack with the sun at its back. Classic field tactic.Imagine 12 hours of midday sun, no shadows, and then: it doesn’t go away! 12 more hours of midday sun! And then the next day begins anyway, so: the Lord acquiesced to stop the rotation of Earth.
2. The Resurrection
You do not need to believe it to understand the awesomeness of what it means. There are, according to the Bible, only two people who did not suffer the bitterness of death: Enoch and Elijah. The first simply walks with God and is no more. The second is taken to Heaven in a fiery chariot and whirlwind. Jesus actually does die. But he is the only person in the Bible who revives himself. For three days, he is dead to the world. 3 days later, his spirit returned to his body and he got right back up. He Goes Home. He defeats death.
1. “Let There Be Light”
It has been depicted many times in films, educational programs, etc., as a massive burst of light in all colors, quickly forming into galaxies, stars, later planets and such. But, the creation of light never made a sound.
What a mighty God we serve!
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When I was a student at Moore’s Elementary school, I had a teacher named Miss Ross.
A petite woman, she was stern and
had an iron hand.
There were several things that were mandatory assignments. You had to learn them or face Miss Ross!
Everyone including me dreaded looking her in the eyes or feeling her black belt on your behind. In Mississippi in the early 1960’s, corporal punishment (as we called it) and religious teachings were still permitted in the classrooms.
If you were disciplined by Miss Ross, you couldn’t turn her in to your parents because in those days teachers ruled – unanimously; no questions asked! My parents felt that if I was punished, it was justified! Go figure!
One of Miss Ross’ mandatory recitations before the entire class was King David’s Twenty – Third Psalms. You had to say it over and over again until you got it right.
Today, I thank you Miss Ross because Psalms 23, “The Lord is my Shepherd” has helped, guided, and uplifted me in so many ways!
Miss Ross put those powerful words in my head; I put them in my heart.
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In 2 Chronicles 20:15, we read:
“Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.”
Allow me to share in words what songstress Yolanda Adams harmonically sings in praise to the lyrics of “The Battle Is Not Yours.”
“There is no pain Jesus can’t feel
No hurt He cannot heal
For all things work according to His perfect will
No matter what you’re going through
Remember God is using You
For the battle is not yours, it’s the Lord’s.”
Indulge me for a moment if you may.
I know that there are days that you feel down and out; pains that feel to heavy to bear; moments that crucify your spirits, but let me lift you up today, because we have a deliverer.
I heard about him years ago, but I didn’t know his true powers.
As I grew in my faith, things changed. My relationship strengthen with the Lord.
I felt the power of the Redeemer, the Prince of Peace, the man who was born to the Virgin Mary, who walked the streets of Nazareth and Galilee, who died so that we could have an everlasting life; the man that they called Jesus Christ.
Right now, please travel with me this Sunday Morning on an excursion to the banks of Lake Washington in my home town of Glen Allan, Mississippi, a quaint little city where the old folks wanted you to have a better life than them. Walk past the shotgun houses down the gravel paved road with the big ditches on Spencer Street.
Sit on the first row in the pews of Strangers Home Missionary Baptist Church.
Listen to the raspy voice of my Mother’s pastor sing in his heyday James Cleveland style with the pianist pumping those ebony and ivory keys.
Be filled with the spirit; be renewed in your faith; be cognizant of the fact that “can’t nobody do you like Jesus.”
It’s prayer time saints whether you live in Cleveland, Tucson, Milwaukee, NYC, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, Charlotte, Jacksonville, Tampa; Greenville, Yazoo City, Jackson or Glen Allan, Mississippi …. or wherever you rest your head!
It’s time to know in your heart and believe that no weapon formed against you will prosper.
It’s time to know that God will place your enemies at your footstool.
It’s time to throw your burdens upon the Lord & be obedient to his Word.
It’s time to know that God will never leave you or forsake you.
It’s time to know in your soul, feel in your flesh as your heart rapidly beats, and know in the inner corner of your mind – that the battle is not yours, it’s the Lord!
Know that the tasks ahead of you, no matter how difficult are not as great as the power behind you!
Know that God will fight your battles; you just need to sit still.
Believe in him; have mountainous faith; let God show you the way.
His mighty hands will protect you.
Let the church say Amen!
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Now that you have defined yourself as a couple, what’s next.
Your couple closeness should begin with spiritual intimacy.
Worshiping together is a great beginning step. It is also a reminder and an invitation to make God the center of your relationship; the stronghold within your storms.
It’s further recognition of the fact that God will help us through anything and everything.
Keep God first!
Take a moment when you get into your church service to quiet yourself in God’s presence. Take a deep breath.
Then when it is time to worship, hold hands. Let each other know that you are there to support the other. Show and enjoy closeness while worshipping and learning about our amazing God!
Coming together in prayer, reading the Bible together, and worshipping together are key components of a couple’s spiritual intimacy.
Let’s see how we can get even closer.
1. Have a prayer to invite God’s presence before the Bible is opened for worship.
2. Read through a devotional book together.
3. Start worship by telling each other the good things that happened to you during the day or what your blessings were.
4. Set a specific time for worship.
5. Write appreciation notes to each other. Read what the Bible says on the topic of “love”.
6. Invite another couple to have worship with you.
7. Thank God for answered prayer before the prayer is answered.
8. Pray out loud for each other after each identifies his/her needs.
9. Prepare a “Thankful List.”
10. Hold hands and face each other when you pray.
11. Ask for forgiveness for specific mistakes.
12. Have a telephone worship when apart from each other.
13. Have your favorite scripture; memorize it; encourage one another with words from God.
14. Have your favorite hymn. Sing it; play it; let the sounds uplift you.
15. Discuss how to improve certain character traits. Read what the Scriptures say about them.
There are so many varied forms of spiritual intimacy; too many to elaborate.
Do what works for you as a couple to stay grounded in the Word. There is strength in numbers. Sharing in worship helps you to tackle and solve your problems. It brings you closer to each other and closer to God.
Your foundational anchor in our merciful God will always be your saving grace.
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