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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Racism And The Church

File:Protesters gather for Black Lives Matter march (20946900494).jpg
Fibonacci Blue Creative Commons Black Lives Matter

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I toyed for a while with the idea of writing on this subject, not sure how it would be received. You just have to turn on the news these days to realize this is a very hot topic. So hot, in fact, that the church doesn't seem to want to touch it. In recent times, the number of unarmed black men killed by white policemen has grown to alarming proportions, and the response from the pulpit and from Christian media has been a deafening silence.

 But this morning, I was very pleasantly surprised to hear a young, white, visiting preacher to my church speak on the subject. The young preacher spoke about the racism and injustice being played out on our streets gave rise to the "Black Lives Matter" movement. What he said was not anything we don't know already, but it was nice to hear a member of the clergy say it.

So my question is, what is the role of the church in society? Now, don't get me wrong. The church is very vocal about things that need to be spoken about - homosexuality, abortion and politics- to name a few. The church is always in the forefront when there is a natural disaster, distributing food, water and clothing to those in need, even providing shelter in some cases. This is why the church's silence on this national man-made disaster is so disturbing.

This article in the Florida Baptist Weekly not too long ago is encouraging. The opening sentence of the article, "Panel:Racism Cure Resides With Church" by Diana Chandler reads, "Racial reconciliation rests at the doorsteps of the church and can only be achieved through the Gospel in action." This was at the 2016 SBC annual meeting of Baptist pastors in St. Louis. The panelists touched on a lot of core issues, such as the link between racism and sin and the need for the church to "pass the Salt and turn on the "light." All good words, but they are preaching to the choir.

What we need is more visibility from our church leaders - black AND white - in dealing with this matter. Instead of meeting behind closed doors, how about using your vast platform to bring the matter out in the open? How about having dialogue with police and government officials?

Jesus did not shy away from tough issues. John 4: 4 says, "... He had to go through Samaria." Jesus could have gone anywhere else to get water, but He went there to bridge the racial divide that existed between the Jews and the Samaritans, and to spread the Gospel. After Jesus had spoken to a Samaritan woman at the well, she went and told the people what He'd told her. Many of them came to see Him and believed on Him. (v 29; 39)

Jesus also told the story of a man who had been robbed, beaten and left for dead on the roadside. A priest and Levi - church leaders - passed him by. But a good Samaritan went out of his way to take the man to an inn and pay to have him looked after. Luke 10: 30 - 35

Can the church in today's society reach out across the racial divide and demonstrate that "Black Lives Matter" and "All Lives Matter?" We may have to watch and see.


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This is a reminder about my novel Coming Out of Egypt, Book 1 of the Egypt trilogy now available on Amazon kindle. The book is a compelling story of two sisters who were sexually abused by their father. Marva, the older girl, accidentally kills him and she and her sister embark on a roller coaster journey trying to evade the law while trying to forge a new life for themselves. Through all of this Marva's teacher introduces her to Jesus and she accepts Him as her Lord and Savior. However, while she hopes for love and forgiveness, she expects only judgement. What will she get? Click below to read the exciting outcome.

Coming Out of Egypt 





Sunday, July 10, 2016

Hasta La Vista, Baby

photo bucket




The above words from the movie The Terminator made popular by Arnold Schwarzenegger are well known to movie goers everywhere, but what occurred in Dallas, TX on Friday last was no movie. It was shockingly real. And in the end, the sniper, Micah Xavier Johnson, a supposedly deranged human being, was blown to smithereens.

According to an article in the New York Times, Dallas police chief, David O. Brown, said, “Other options would have exposed the officers to grave danger.” The article went on to say that some law enforcement officers were stunned by the decision to use the robot, while others supported it. Without being present at the scene, it's hard to say what really went down on a night when emotions were raw and officers were expected to act.

Others have questioned whether the robot could have been used to deliver some type of non-lethal substance that would have knocked out the gunman and allowed the officers to take him alive. The NY Times article cites two examples where robots were used as assistive devices rather than destructive:

  • To take pizza and a cellphone to a man with a knife who threatened to jump off a bridge in San Jose, California.
  • To “deploy chemical munitions,” to a man who had barricaded himself in a motel room with a gun.

In a hospital where I worked some years ago, a robot - a very polite one, I might add - was used to deliver medications from floor to floor.

Were the officers who dispatched that robot justified in their actions? Was the sniper justified? Were the two white police officers who killed the two black men justified? As has happened in the past, there may be no legal consequences for these actions. Only God has the answers.

It's no coincidence that our scripture reading in church this morning was from the Sermon on the Mount. One of the things Jesus taught was, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God" (Matthew 5: 9). He also said,  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor  and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you," (43 - 44)
We must do no less.  

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Thursday, July 07, 2016

Dare To Dream

This morning I have the distinct pleasure of bringing you this blog post by Mitzi Neely, motivational speaker, blogger and woman of God. In this message, Mitzi reminds us of the importance of trusting God with our dreams and aspirations and waiting on His timing. Read and be blessed.




Dare to Dream
'Oh how precious life is when the desires of our heart come true and we take a bold step in faith to make a dream become reality.'
One of my dearest friends messaged me a few days ago with her ‘over the top’ news. You see she had prayed for many months about the possibility of expanding her home-based business into a storefront location.
She had done her homework. She knew the potential pitfalls, the what-ifs, and the resources needed. But she also knew that the possibilities could be endless.
So she continued to commit her work to Christ and she faithfully prayed that He would honor her requests; all the while waiting on His perfect timing and go-ahead as to the direction He wanted her to pursue.
She was almost to the point that her dream wasn't to be when an innocent comment on social media landed just the right response for an available property.
God’s word tells us in Psalm 37:4 to, “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
She could hardly contain her excitement about this new venture. Oh there is uncertainty too, but she knew from her conversations with God that He had orchestrated every step of this so perfectly.
Timing and circumstances vary for all of us, but if we continue to lay our prayers and praises before Him, we always get His perfect response. We may have to make adjustments along the way, but He makes clear the direction we are to head.
What we do with His response shows our trust and faithfulness in Him. We know we serve a mighty God who can accomplish the impossible.
When we seek His will for our life we are best served when we have an attitude of humility, perseverance, faith, and above all to make sure that our goals and dreams align with His ways.
His word tells us in Mark 6:36, "Don't be afraid; just believe." Jesus is the source of all hope and promise, so give all of your cares to Him. He will make a way.
How sweet the soul that faithfully prays, diligently commits the desires of the heart to her Heavenly Father, and quietly, but boldly trusts Him to provide just the right path for her to travel.
Do you have dreams and aspirations for your life? Take it before God and let Him do his mighty work. The outcome will be His, but it will be perfect for YOU!
Blessings & Hugs to you in the week ahead. I'll be praying for you.
Mitzi
Mitzi Neely is an inspiring motivational speaker who encourages women of all ages through her experiences and shortcomings. She has been blessed with a passion and love for people that stretches across the generations. Her heart is to lighten your load, while conveying her message that nobody’s perfect. So often God places certain people in your life at just the right moment; whether the reason is to help teach you, help you grow in your walk with Him, or to simply love and lift up others. Whatever your struggle or need, you will find encouragement through her words as she refreshes your heart and renews your joy.
Follow Mitzi at www.peacefullyimperfect.net because the joy of the journey is learning in His word together.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

How Independent Are We?

English: fireworks seen across the at Washingt...
Photo credit Wikipedia





Whether you live in America or not, you are probably aware that this is Independence Day weekend. Here in America we do everything lavishly. Food, fireworks and fun are the order of the day - or the weekend. I heard some popping last night and I did my shopping yesterday so I won't have to be in the long lines today. If you are heading for the grocery or the malls, head out early and be careful.

Apart from achieving our independence from Great Britain, Americans are by nature an independent people. We pride ourselves on being "captain of our own ship, master of our destiny." We work hard, play hard and do our best to provide for ourselves and our families. This is one of the reasons America is the richest country on earth. We extend aid to poorer countries, and they look to us when they are in difficulty.

We have every reason to be proud. But let's not stick our noses in the air and think we are okay. Everyday we are being reminded that we are not. Terrorism, stock market crashes and global economic instability prove otherwise. We do not have "freedom from control, support etc. of others," as the online dictionary defines it. We are interdependent on others and whether we like it or not, we are dependent on God.

In Romans 9: 16 Paul says, "It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy." And in verse 18, "Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden."

In other words, all that we are and all that we have are not the result of our "independence," or our hard work, but God's will. He has the power to build us up or tear us down. No amount of leadership, wealth or military power can save us if God chooses to unleash His wrath on us. So, as you enjoy your barbecue with friends and family this weekend ask yourself these questions, "Am I truly independent? Am I trusting in my own strength or God's?"

Happy Independence!

Here are some related posts that might be of interest:

Happy Independence Day

Through A Child's Eyes


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To help you enjoy the long holiday weekend, I'm offering my newest novel Coming Out of Egypt, Book 1 of the Egypt series at a discounted price of just .99c on kindle. Coming Out of Egypt is based on the account of the Israelites' exodus out of Egypt. It tells the story of two sisters, survivors of sexual abuse, desperately trying to put their abuse behind them and forge a new life for themselves. As you read you will see how God delivered these precious girls from the bondage of their past just as He delivered the Israelites from the bondage of slavery. Just click on the image below.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Through The Wilderness

Morguefile





This past weekend, my daughter invited me to accompany her on a trip to a friend's baby shower. Her friend lived in another city several miles away, and since Karon had not seen her in a few years, she was excited about the trip.  I was too because I'd never been to that part of Florida before and, according to Karon, I spent too much time at home. So, armed with her GPS, and my two grand children in the back seat, we set off on a journey that her friend said would take two and a half hours. In reality, it lasted two hours longer because of intermittent heavy rain and road construction.

The latter portion of the journey caused us more anxiety as we drove through the wilderness, over bumpy roads, with miles of forest on either side, and just a few houses here and there. Were we on the right road? Did we have the correct address? Should we turn around? But since the GPS was silent, we figured we had to be going the right way, and so we continued. After a few missed turns, a brand new community with beautifully-designed houses and immaculate landscaping came into view. Karon and I looked at each other and exhaled in relief.

The Christian journey can take us through the wilderness at times. If we are seeking a relationship with Jesus Christ, we may find the pathway to Christianity is long, bumpy and oftentimes lonely. We may wonder if this is what the Christian life should be like.

If we already have a relationship with Him, we may sometimes feel like we have lost our way. Or maybe God has deserted us. God may be silent. Doubts and fears buffet our minds and we may feel like turning around.  But if we know we are following Jesus Christ, then we keep going. No matter how rough the road, we cannot afford to turn back, because if we do, we would miss the beauty and splendor that lie ahead.

Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” (Luke 9: 62).

If you enjoyed this blog post, please share with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. 

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Looking for ways to deepen your walk with God? This Illustrated Faith Devotional Kit by Dayspring will help you do just that. The kit contains thought-provoking prompts to get you started. Here are some of them:
1. Why I love the Lord
2. Favorite women in the Bible
3. Ways my faith has sustained me in hard times
4. Answered prayers
Plus 27 more!

Enjoy!


Sunday, June 19, 2016

A Prayer For Fathers

Happy Father's Day to all you strong, wonderful fathers out there. Today is your day, and I pray that you enjoy it to the fullest. I salute the young fathers especially who bring their families to church and take care of them during the service. I watch as they go off to the changing room, diaper bag in one hand and baby over their shoulder. That's an example of true fatherhood.

I also want to give a shout out to the fathers in my life - my oldest son Kevin, raising three children on his own since his wife's death. My son-in-law Mike, a strong, devoted father who always makes time to spend with his children and care for their needs. Last, but not least, my husband, TJ. What can I say about him? Even now that his children are grown, he remains a rock of support, wisdom, and strength to them.

It takes God's strength to be a true father and so my prayer for all fathers today is this:

Heavenly Father, when you made man, you brought the woman to him and you said, "Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth" (Genesis 1: 28). You also provided the means for fathers to take care of their families, and I pray, Lord, that You will continue to equip these men and give them opportunities so they can provide well for their families.

Give them wisdom and direction "to train up their children in the way they should go so that when they are old, they will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22: 6). In their zeal to discipline their children, help fathers to "provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6: 4). 

May they always lead by example so their children can model their lives after a man who is loving but firm, patient but persevering, and who "will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord" (18: 19).

Father God, when tough times come, as they will, help our fathers to draw their strength from You, "to acknowledge you in all their ways, and You shall direct their paths" (Proverbs 3:6). Help them not to be discouraged but to recognize that they "can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (Philippians 4: 13).

Help fathers to model true love and devotion to their wives, may they love them as Christ loves the church, (Ephesians 5 : 25), may they "dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel" (1 Peter 3: 7), so their sons will follow their example when they have wives, and their daughters will know what qualities to look for in the men they will marry.

And I pray, Lord, that You will bless these men and reward their work richly so that when the time comes they will hear the words, "well done thou good and faithful servant"(Matthew 25: 21).

Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Orlando Massacre

In the wake of this latest national tragedy, I just want to add my thoughts and prayers for the families of the victims in last week's shooting. I also want to say how proud I am to be a Christian. Many times when things like this occur, Christians seem to be MIA or seem to not care. This time, however, I hear expressions of sorrow and horror coming from the Christian community and exhortations to pray for and reach out to the loved ones of those who were murdered. I think we have borne out the true meaning of Christianity as taught by Jesus Christ:
 
If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? ( Matthew 5: 46 - 47)

We are all saddened by the fact that 49 innocent people lost their lives in this senseless act of hate, and I think I speak for every right- thinking person when I say that we will not like to see another repeat of this tragedy. We have had far too many already. And this is why I believe we should have proper gun control. No private citizen should be allowed to purchase assault weapons. I know there are many who, while saying they are sorry about what happened in Orlando, will totally disagree with me. Their reasoning is that criminals will always be able to get their hands on these weapons. True. So let me ask you: do you leave your homes and your cars unlocked and your valuables unprotected because the criminals will always be able to get their hands on them? No. You buy dead bolts, alarms and security systems in order to protect yourselves. We must do the same to protect innocent lives.