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Saturday, September 12, 2009

You Must Suffer

I will be the first to admit, the above title is not very appealing. Who wants to hear that they must suffer when suffering is taking place all around us nowadays? But the fact is, suffering is a part of life. My heart breaks when I hear about poverty, sickness, death, injustice and abuse of children and the elderly. It is no comfort to anyone who is suffering to tell them that their suffering is inevitable. Yet Jesus said, "... In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).

Jesus spoke these words just before going into the garden of Gethsemane, not to relax and enjoy the beauty of His surroundings, but to experience the type of suffering we cannot even imagine. Yet He said "I have overcome." Jesus knew that glory awaited Him once His suffering was over. He knew that He would soon exchange the crowm of thorns the soldiers would put on His head for a crown of glory in heaven.

"But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour (Hebrews 2:9).

So I could have titled this blog "We shall overcome", because we shall, but only if we endure. This seems impossible when we are under tremendous pressure and are barely surviving from day to day. Paul suffered a lot during his ministry but he said, "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings ... (Phillipians 3:10).

So there you have it. Suffering for the Christian is inevitable. We don't enjoy suffering, but we endure it because we know that God will one day deliver us out of it and we will experience the joy that comes to those who have endured.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

What about the golden years?

Elderly Comments - Elderly Comments

The summer holidays are almost over and soon cooler weather and shorter days will be here. For those of us who live in warmer climes, this may seem strange, but most people who live in the United States and other temperate countries will know what I am talking about. We expect, and in some cases, even look forward to the changing of the seasons.

We human beings also change, but more than likely, the changes that take place in our bodies and our minds are not in the least welcome. Weakened muscles, stiffened joints, slower faculties are not what we would consider the "golden years." However, this is according to the natural law, but what about the spiritual law? Are we supposed to change in our relationship with God? Yes. Only if it means that we are growing closer to him, loving Him more every day and depending more and more on His strength, rather than ours to see us through.

As we grow older life seems to get more complicated. Sickness, losses of friends and relatives, dwindling finances, all take their toll on us, but James 1:2 says "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." And Paul says, "If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer" (2 Corinthians 1: 6). And in this verse that should be the mantra of all Christians, he says, "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us" (Romans 8:37).

Dear friends, if life seems to have you strung out and feeling run over, take refuge in God's word. Not only will it give you hope, but it will strengthen you for the challenges you face. So I leave you with these words of the great apostle Paul: "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" (Romans 15: 13).

Sunday, June 28, 2009

God's Grace And Mercy

It’s amazing how we can read the scriptures many times over and then one day something jumps out at us that we never noticed before. This happened to me one night as I was reading Psalm 90. This Psalm was written by Moses, appealing to God on behalf of the children of Israel.

For those of you who may not know it, God had sent Moses to bring the children of Israel out of Egypt where they had been in bondage for four hundred years. After many trials, Pharoah, the ruler, finally agreed to let the people leave Egypt. However, no sooner had they been freed, they began to rebel and complain. Their journey into the promised land which should have lasted a few days took forty years to complete. During that time God became so angry at their rebellion, he threatened to wipe them out, and would have had not Moses interceded for them. They were bitten by snakes, and many other troubles overcame them.

The children of Israel suffered the wrath of God. Hence the reason Moses wrote this Psalm. In verse 7 he writes, “For we are consumed by thine anger, and by thy wrath are we troubled.” Again in verse 9 he says, “For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told.”

I read these verses over and over, then I thought, we are no longer under wrath, but under grace. When Jesus gave His life for us on the cross, He got rid of the curse that we had been under since Adam fell. When Jesus died, He restored us to a right relationship with God, the Father. When Jesus shed His precious blood for us on the cross, we obtained “grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Timothy 1:2).

“But God, Who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-6). “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13). Had Moses lived in Jesus’ day he would never have written that Psalm the way he did, for he would have realized that God hath dispensed with His wrath and bestowed grace and mercy on His people.

And there’s the operative word- His. Those of us who belong to Him through Jesus Christ are assured of His grace, but those outside of Christ are still exposed to His wrath. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). So that’s the key to escaping God’s wrath-accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and you will not perish. God bless.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Please Pass The Salt

Have you ever cooked something and forgotten to add the salt? I bet you realized your ommission the minute you tasted the food. Salt has such a distinctive taste that just a tiny pinch can make or break a dish. I know some of you may have to omit this precious ingredient from your food because of your medical condition. I sympathize deeply, believe me, but for those of us who don't have to, we even include it in sweet dishes, such as cakes and pastries, to enhance the flavor.

Jesus knew what he was talking about when He said, "Ye are the salt of the earth, but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men" (Matthew 5:13). If Jesus were here today would he call the church "the salt of the earth?" Are we critical to the flavor of the world in which we live? Or can the world go on without us and never miss our taste?

In the same sermon, Jesus spoke about us being "the light of the world" (v 14). He went on to say "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (v 16). The church today has become a major part of the entertainment industry. We have the lights, music and the action, but are we impacting the world with our presence? If we really are the salt and light would there be all this ungodliness that is taking place in our society? I think not. We have lost our flavour; our light has grown dim. People don't taste us, neither do they see us.

If the church has to be "the salt and light of the world" it has to start with each dish, each candle. Each one of us has to do his/her part to "season" and "light" our world. Let's begin by asking the Holy Spirit to help us be all we are supposed to be, then let us go out and impact our world for Jesus Christ. He is coming soon and He needs you and me to prepare a dish that is flavorful for Him to take back with Him. Are you ready?

Sunday, June 07, 2009

God Is Good All The Time

I was talking to someone the other night about the way things have changed for me financially over the years. I told him there was a time when I never thought about money because I always had more than enough. I concluded, "But God is still good." He replied, "No, He's not always good, because if He was, you would still be seeing His goodness."

Shocked by the response from this Christian young man, I felt the need to clarify what the goodness of God really means. Pointing to the overhead light, I said, "See this light? We are standing under it and we can see its brightness. But if we move to the other room where there is no light, this one becomes dim. The further away we move from it, the dimmer it gets until we may not see it at all even though it's still shining as brightly as before. God is like that. He never changes. He shines brightly all the time, but if we move away from Him, we cannot see His brightness or His goodness."

I also hastened to reassure him that there is a lot more to God's goodness than financial prosperity. Because I am not as well off financially as I once was, it doesn't mean that I'm not experiencing God's goodness. I feel closer to Him than I did then and I'm secure in the knowledge that no matter what happens He will take care of me.

Later, as I reflected on that conversation, the Holy Spirit laid a piece of scripture on my mind: "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" (James 1: 17). God never changes. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Yes, He is good. All the time.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Cry for Help

Many of you may have read the story of blind Bartimaeus who was healed of his blindness by Jesus. As the story goes, Jesus was passing through Jericho and when the blind man heard of it, he becan to cry out loudly, "Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me" (Mark 10:46). The people who were there tried to shut him up, but he cried out even louder. And we know what happens when we cry out to Jesus. He heard the man's cry, had Bartimaeus brought to him and He healed him. A happy ending.

Now my point is, what about those who are crying out day after day and no one hears them? I'm talking about children who have been abandoned by parents, those locked up in a prison cell, those who are dying of AIDS, hepatitis and other illnesses. The widows, orphans, poor, homeless, divorced right here in our society. And if we think of overseas, we have fields upon fields overflowing with grain ready to be harvested. Jesus said,"The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest" Matthew (9:37-38).

What are we doing about those silent cries that go unheard? Are they our responsibility? Jesus said, "For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me ... Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (Matthew 25: 35-36, 40).

Let's not ignore these cries for help all around us. Jesus didn't, and He commissioned us to do as He did. Will you pray for God's leading to help you hear and answer the cries of those less fortunate than ourselves?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

What He Means To Me

If someone were to ask you what does Jesus mean to you, what would be your response? I guess you might say something like, He's my Savior. He's my Lord. He came down from heaven, suffered and died on a Roman cross so I could be forgiven of my sins. That's true, but is that all? I mean, that's more than enough, isn't it? To know that you don't have to spend the rest of your life in hell is enough to have you shouting and dancing all day long, so what else is there?

Well, when I think of Jesus, I see more than a Savior. I see a Friend. I see someone I can call up in the middle of the night and say, "Hey, Jesus, I can't sleep. I have this problem on my mind, and there's no one I can talk to about it but You. I tried explaining it to my friend, Jane, but she looked at me with a kind of a blank stare, like she didn't really get it, but you do, don't you, Lord?" Before you know it, you are fast asleep. When you wake up next morning you've forgotten what the problem was.

And the next night. "You know, Lord, I've gotten myself into one sticky mess. I feel like I've been rolled in silly putty. I didn't see it coming, or maybe I didn't think before I said the things I said, and now everyone is talking about me. I might even lose my job. Lord, what am I going to do? Help me, Lord."

A week later. "Lord, I took your advice and did what you told me to do and now everything is cool again, but I have something else to tell you. I met this really cute guy and I really like him. Lord, you should see the shoulders, and when he smiles, well, the sun hides behind a cloud. Oh, I'm sorry, Lord, I didn't mean that. But, anyway, I think he likes me too. Lord, I'm going to let him meet You, okay? And then You'll tell me what you think. Okay, Lord?"

Silly? No. Not when you have a personal relationship with Jesus. He becomes your Friend, Brother, Confidante, Healer, whatever you want Him to be. He's the One you can call upon in the middle of the night because He "neither slumbers nor sleeps". There's nothing too small or too great that you cannot discuss with Him. He hears, He understands and He makes interecession for us with the Father. Won't you call on Him today, or tonight? He will listen, and He will answer. He said, "Henceforth I call you not servants ... but I have called you frends" (John 15:15).

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Rest And Relaxation

This weekend I decided to take some much needed time for R&R and spend it with God. You know, we rush around so much doing this and that, and sometimes when we should be relaxing we find it hard to just unwind and do nothing. Well, this weekend with my grandchildren away at a camp, I decided I would do something I had been postponing for a long time.

I think God was pleased with my decision, because even the weather conspired to keep me indoors. If you live in Atlanta you know what I'm talking about.
So with the rain gently washing my window panes, I sat on my bed, read, prayed and sang. When I tired of that I lay still and just meditated on God and what I had read in His word.

Want to know what I read? Exodus. One of my favorite Bible stories. The part where God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses. Then I flipped over to Matthew and read where Jesus said, speaking of the Law, "... I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill" (5:17). Then on to Romans where Paul explains that "a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law" (3:28). And then he sums up how the law is fulfilled in the life of a believer: "Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law" (13:10).

Rest, relax, love God, love your neighbor as yourself. It doesn't get any better than that.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

What About Tomorrow?

President Obama has described the current recession as the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s. He may be right. Never in all my years (and I've lived quite a bit) have I witnessed such widespread helplessness and despair as hundreds of thousands of people lose their jobs, their homes and their hope. But as Charles Dickens wrote: It is the best of times, it is the worst of times.

The best of times? After the statements in the first paragraph, this sounds like a paradox, and yet, if we look at the Bible, this can be the best of times. This can be the time when we learn to depend on God and His infiite resource. It can be the time when we draw near to Him and He will draw near to us. It can be the time when we reach a level of intimacy with Him that we never had before.

The Bible is full of stories of the way God dealt with people during times of scarcity or famine as it was called. Abram (Genesis 12:1); Isaac (26: 1-4); Joseph (41:27); David (2 Samuel 21:1); Elijah (1 Kings 18:2) and countless others all experienced famine at one time or another. But through it all we see God taking care of His people. Psalm 34: 17 says, "The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles" (Psalm 34:17).

That's all well and good, you might say, but what am I going to do if I get laid off tomorrow, or if I don't find a job soon? Jesus said, "... Take no thought for your life what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficent unto the day is the evil thereof" (Matthew 6: 25, 34).

Jesus is not dismissing our cares and concerns. He understands that we have real problems and difficulties in this life, more so during a recession such as this. However, by telling us not to worry about tomorrow, He is saying to us that worry will not improve the situation. It only magnifies the problems, makes everything seem worse than it really is and clouds our vision so we cannot see our way out of the crisis. Instead we are to "cast all our cares upon him; for he careth for us" (1 Peter 5:7).

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Nor Too Young

Last week I wrote about Sarah who had a baby at the unlikely age of ninety. When God told her she would have a child she laughed, thnking she was too old. But God proved her wrong. God's actions have always defied human logic. He is no respecter of persons. If He says a ninety-year-old lady is going to have a son, it will happen, and if He says "a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son" (Isaiah 7: 14), then that's the way it's going to be.

The Bible does not tell us Mary's age, but we know that she was young, engaged to be married and that she did conceive and give birth to the Savior of the world. What an honor! There are some who disbelieve the virgin birth. Then they would have to disbelieve Sarah's story and Elizabeth's story. Elizabeth was Mary's cousin who was already pregnant with her first child, John the Baptist, when the angel first appeared to Mary. They would also have to disbelieve that God called Samuel when he was a young boy serving under Eli in the temple (1 Samuel 3: 4-10). Samuel went on to become a mighty prophet of God who anointed King Saul and King David.

Jesus Himself at the tender age of twelve, astonished the doctors in the temple by listening to them and asking them questions(Luke 2: 46-47). And when He began His ministry, He made a point of blessing the children who were in His presence. On one occasion "he called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18: 2-3). In the next chapter we see His disciples rebuking the people who had brought their children to Jesus for Him to pray for them. "But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven" (19: 14).

What are we doing with the children that God has entrusted to our care? Are we encouraging them to be all that God created them to be? Are we bringing them up in the fear and admonition of the Lord? Are we training them in the way they should go: so when they are old, they would not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6)? God can use anyone He chooses to do His will, whether old or young. Let us be open to His leading in our lives and the lives of our children.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Never Too Old

In my last blog I wrote about Sarah, Abraham's wife, who had a baby when she was ninety years old. It is a fascinating story, not just because it defies scientific logic, but because it shows the power of God to do the impossible. As He said in Genesis 18: 14, "Is anything too hard for the Lord?"

Many elderly people resign themselves to a life of uselessness, thinking that no one needs their services, their talents or their time. But that is not always true. Older people have a wealth of knowledge and experience to pass on to the younger generation. They are still capable of producing, sharing and giving of themselves to the world. If life has deprived them of their physical abilities, they can still tell stories to their grand-children or great grand-children and give valuable advice to younger people around them. In fact, as we grow older we discover new talents we never knew we had.

Remember Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, who advised Moses how to delegate authority?(Exodus 18: 14-23); Lois, Timothy's grand-mother, who brought him up in the Christian faith? (II Timothy 1:5); Simeon, an old man who was promised by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death until he had seen the Lord's Christ, blessed Jesus and prophesied to His parents about Him. Anna the prophetess, eight-four years old, also paid tribute to Jesus. Much more could be said about Noah who was six hundred years old when he finished building the ark, Enoch who walked with God for three hundred and sixty five years and Moses who was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, having led the children of Israel out of Egypt.

You are never too old to be used by God and for God. If you are elderly and feel that God is calling you to do something for Him, do not be afraid. God says, "And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you (Isaiah 46:4). Isn't it wonderful to know that we serve a God who doesn't abandon us even when we get old? So don't be afraid, for "He who has begun a good work in you is able to complete it until the day of Christ"(Philippians 1:6).

Sunday, April 05, 2009

The Faithfulness of God

I've been thinking of Sarah, wife of Abraham, a lot this week. For those of you who don't know the story, God promised Abraham that he would have a son, and that his seed would be like the stars of heaven (Genesis 15: 5). "And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness" (v 6). However, there was one small problem. Sarah was a ninety-year-old woman who had been barren all her life, and Abraham was even older. When she heard what God said she laughed. "After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?" (18:13).

However, God's promise was fulfilled in their lives. Sarah gave birth to a son, whom she called Isaac, and the rest as they say is history. But one thing that strikes me is that Sarah didn't really believe. She wanted a son as badly as Abraham did, so she took matters into her own hands and sent him to sleep with her maid so she could have the promised heir. However, when the child was born, Sarah became angry and made Abraham throw the child and his mother out!

Does God bless us even when we don't believe? Let's examine what the Bible says. "Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations" Deuteronomy 7:9).

And again, "My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him. His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven. If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; if they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips" (Psalms 89:28-34).

Isn't it exciting and comforting to know that God is a covenant-keeping God who doesn't change His mind or renege on His promises because we don't believe or because we fall into sin? He will punish us, that's for sure, but He will always be faithful. Sarah endured some punishment after she gave her maid to Abraham, but God didn't take back His promise because of what she did. He remained faithful then and He remains faithful now. Halleluiah!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Alphabet

Someone sent me this very inspiring forward. Thought I would share with you wonderful people out there. Enjoy!

A lthough things are not perfect,
B ecause of trial or pain,
Continue in thanksgiving
D on't even think to blame.
E ven when the times are hard,
F ierce winds are bound to blow,
G od is forever able
H old on to what you know.
Imagine life without His love,
J oy would cease to be,
K eep thanking Him for all the things
L ove imparts thee to see.
Move out of ' Camp Complaining ',
No weapon that is known
O n earth can yield the power
P raise can do alone.
Quit worrying about the future,
R edeem the time at hand,
S tart every day with prayer
To 'thank' is God's command.
U ntil we see Him coming,
V ictorious in the sky,
We'll run the race with gratitude,
X alting God most high.
Y es, there'll be good times and yes some will be bad, but...
Z ion waits in glory...where none are ever sad!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Proud To Serve

I arrived at church this rainy morning to find my pastor impeccably dressed, wearing a black overcoat, and with a broom in hand sweeping away the water that had collected on the porch. I said, "Pastor, what are you doing?" He replied, "I'm just trying to get rid of some of this water." Minutes later, he stood in the pulpit and delivered a dynamic sermon.

His action reminded me of Jesus' words: "And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many" (Matthew 20: 27-28) Jesus spoke these words after the mother of James and John had requested that He allow them to "sit, the one on thy right and the other on thy left, in thy kingdom"( v 19). Jesus' reply was to remind this woman of the grave responsibility that such a position carries.

Many of us aspire to lead in the church and elsewhere, but are we prepared to sweep the floor or take out the trash, if necessary. Or are we like the Pharisees of Jesus' day, who expected to be given the best seats in the synagogue and to be bowed and catered to. Jesus reminded them, "But he that is the greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted" (23: 11-12).

Being a leader is an awesome privelege, but it carries with it certain responsiblities. If you are a leader today, try to emulate Jesus' example. Humble yourself and become a servant first as He did.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Where Are You?

This morning I woke up around five o'clock and had some difficulty going back to sleep. It was much too early to wake up on a Saturday morning, especially the last one before Daylight Saving Time. But as I lay there, this scripture came to my mind: "And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?" (Genesis 3:9). A strange thought at that hour of the morning. I knew where I was. In my warm, cozy bed, but immediately I understood what the Holy Spirit was saying to me.

The past month had been a busy one at work. That, plus the unusually cold days, seemed to have taken a toll on my no-longer-young body. I wasn't praying as I would have liked to. Oh, I still prayed, but my prayers were sketchy, half-sleepy mumblings at nights and even less so in the morning. And God was saying to me, "Where are you? I want to speak to you. I want to commune with you and have fellowship with you. I want to wrap my arms around you and comfort you and ease your burdens, if you will let me."

I turned over in bed and said, "Lord, I'm sorry. Forgive me for being so busy that I do not have time for you." Right there and then I became wide awake and I began to pour out my heart to God as I hadn't done in a long time. I spoke, I listened and He spoke back to me. It was a beautiful moment of interaction with my Heavenly Father, and when it was over I felt relieved, refreshed and restored. Before I knew it, I was fast asleep.

Prayer has been on my mind a lot lately, and I believe that was the reason the Holy Spirit dropped that verse into my spirit. When He asked Adam so many years ago "Where art thou?" it wasn't because He didn't know where he was. He wasn't playing hide-and-seek with Adam. God sees us at all times, but in effect He was saying to Adam, "Where are you in your relationship with me? Why are you hiding from me? Why don't you run to greet me the way you always do?"

He said it to me this morning, and He may be saying the same thing to you. Listen. If you hear Him calling you, don't hide. Run to Him. He won't hurt you. He says, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29: 11-13).

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Walking Beside Him

I decided to contribute to this last Sunday in Black History month with this post about a woman who featured prominently in our society up until her passing in 2006. This woman is none other than Coretta Scott King who walked bravely beside her husband, Martin Luther King. In the midst of their civil rights activities, Mrs. King found the time to juggle housework and babies while her husband spent time pursuing his dream of equality for the black race. And in addition to performing her role as wife and mother, Mrs. King also took part in protest rallies, spoke to scores of people and protected her children from a bomb or two.

Coretta King gave up the bright lights of a singing career to become the wife of a Baptist minister in 1953. She later gave birth to four children. Early in the marriage she worked alongside her husband, or it was more like marched, traveled abroad with him and spoke on his behalf when he was unable to do so. Coretta survived Martin Luther King by four decades, and determined that the work he began would live on, she gave herself no time to mourn. Just four days after his death she led a march through the streets of Memphis, and attended the Poor People’s March in Washington later that year.

Over the years, Coretta King continued to work tirelessly in her husband’s memory, establishing the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, Georgia, and achieving the goal of having her husband’s birthday honored as a public holiday in Jan. 1986. She continued to travel the globe, preaching the gospel of equality and became a goodwill ambassador and advisor to world leaders, including Nelson Mandela.

Like most wives of men in the limelight, Coretta had to put up with the scores of women who admired and followed her husband. Despite rumors of infidelity on Martin Luther’s part, Coretta “stood by her man” and did not allow those rumors to affect their relationship.

As women we can learn from Mrs. King's example of loyalty, devotion and courage. Whether we are married to a world leader or a subordinate, those qualities can be the "wind beneath our mate's wings." God calls us to no less.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Abusing The Petri Dish

Over the centuries Science has proved invaluable to the advancement to mankind. Where would we be without the wheel, the light bulb, the computer and the Petri dish? We cannot envision ourselves living without these necessities, but as with everything else there is always the potential for abuse. By the way, can we manage without the Petri dish? One of my dear friends has three grand-children born by in vitro fertilization, and she thanks God everyday for them.

But the point I’m making is that some things are beyond our reach and we should not try to circumvent God’s will in order to have them. Many married couples agonize over their inability to have children, while others abort babies for one reason or another. What’s wrong and what’s right? To hatch or not to hatch? By the way, hatching is a term actually used in conjunction with IVF. The definition on one website is “Assisted hatching is a relatively new technique used during certain IVF procedures. It is performed in order to help an embryo hatch out of its protective layering and implant into the uterus.” Astonishingly, a term hitherto associated with animals is being used in reference to something as sacred as human conception.

If Aldous Huxley had to write about our society today he might name it “A Braver New world.” A world in which anything goes. You are single and want to have a baby? Go ahead. You are pregnant and want to get rid of it? Go ahead. You want to hatch? Go ahead. Leave God out of it. It’s my body. My right to choose. Sadly, we see the consequences of these misguided decisions. In the case of Ms. Suleman, amazement has turned to ridicule and anger at not just her but her doctor. Book, music and other publicity deals were expected to come out of this, according to one report. But this is one of the sad realities of our “Braver New World.”

So to answer the question above, can we do without the Petri dish? I would say, yes, we can, but let’s keep it. We are not getting rid of the light bulb so we shouldn’t get rid of the Petri dish. But let’s not abuse it. The UK, Australia and New Zealand have imposed restrictions on the number of embryos that can be transferred into a woman’s uterus. Maybe we need to do the same here in the US. After all, we get speeding tickets to help us be responsible on the roads, don’t we? Then why not help us be responsible with the lives of our children?

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Can We Forgive?

American Idol has become one of the most popular TV show in recent times. I never became a serious fan of the show because quite frankly I'm turned off by Simon's caustic sarcasm. I think that a judge should be able to tell someone their performance stinks without saying, "Is there an odor around here?" The other reason I don't follow the show is my choice never wins.

This happened a few years ago when my choice, Mandisa, lost to someone else, but as far as I am concerned she was a winner in more ways than one because she had the nerve to stand up to the insufferable Simon. You see, he took issue with her size, and in his own inimitable way, made certain remarks which were very insulting.

The charming, talented young woman told Simon in no uncertain terms that she forgave him without needing an apology because Jesus had forgiven her! To have the boldness to say that on national TV is a gift that could only have come from God. When I heard it I thought, I have to see who this person is, so I watched the show after that and was very impressed.

In reading about the trailblazers that shaped the future of African Americans, I came across a story of a young lady who also displayed a great lesson in courage and forgiveness. Six-year-old Ruby Bridges was bused to the Franz Elementary School in New Orleans under desegregation laws, and met with a great deal of persecution from the white parents, so much so that President Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered that she be escorted by marshals to school every day.

As a result parents kept their children away from the school as a mark of protest, so little Ruby sat alone in the school while her teacher taught her. But it is recorded that while she was being escorted she prayed, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Eventually the whites woke up to the realization that their kids were not being educated and they sent them back to school.

I spoke to a man the other day who said, “I will never forgive my ex-wife for what she did to me. Never!” He admitted that he was only hurting himself, and when I told him that Jesus chose to forgive the Roman soldiers who tortured and killed Him, he became even more angry and stormed away. But whether you’re dealing with a Simon, an errant spouse or a whole bunch of enemies, forgiveness wins every time.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Don't Give Up!

This week I want to comment on a book I read some time ago. It’s The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, and it tells of the life of Esther Greenwood, a young student fashion writer, whose troubled life closely resembled Sylvia’s. In the book she says, "I’ve tried to picture my world and the people in it as seen through the distorting lens of a bell jar." The book itself ends on a hopeful note, but as some of you may know, Sylvia Plath committed suicide. Her mother said that Sylvia was overwhelmed by trying to keep up with her writing and with the demands of her domestic life.

The idea of someone at the pinnacle of her success ending her life seems unthinkable, but it happens all too often. In this economy when many people are losing their jobs, their homes and their life savings, it is easy to become depressed. Last week the news media broadcast a story of a man and his wife who lost their jobs. He killed himself and his five children. The wife attempted to take her own life but didn't succeed.

This is why I cannot overemphasize the importance of being anchored to God. It is He who gives us the strength to live from day to day. It is He who helps us to stay on the surface when the currents of life threaten to pull us under. Now, more than ever, we need to "lift up our eyes to the hills, from whence comes our help" Psalm 121:1. Please, don't give up. Don't lose hope. Give your life to Jesus today if you haven't done so already, and watch Him take over.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Some years ago, a case made headlines when a woman was awarded over a million dollars because she spilled a cup of coffee in her lap and sued the restaurant, saying the coffee was too hot. Many people were shocked that someone could actually sue and win for something she had done. But such is the law of the land in which we live.

I remember the word 'responsibility' came up many times in comments about that case, and it came up a few times in President Obama's inagural speech. But what is he really calling on us to do when he asks us to be responsible? I believe he is simply asking us to do what we know needs to be done. The way we tell our children to pick up after themselves and not expect someone else to do if for them. The time has come for each one of us to pick up after ourselves; to hold ourselves accountable for our actions, instead of trying to blame someone else when we spill hot coffee in our laps.

We may choose to ignore the President's call to be responsible, and he won't be able to call us to account, but according to the Bible, there is coming a day when "... we shall all stand before the judgement seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God" (Romans 14: 12). Yes, whether we like it or not, we will one day all answer to an Authority higher than the President of the United States.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

All Things Are Possible

"All things are possible," said the lady on Larry King Live. She echoed my thoughts exactly and, I'm sure, the thoughts of many on this historic Saturday leading up to the inaguration of America's first African American president. I am completely blown away by everything that's happening.

Barack Obama electrified the country and the world during the campaign, and he is doing it again with this inaguration. The whistle stop train ride is something that will definitely grace the pages of the history books. The crowds, the festivities and the speeches are all befitting this momentous occasion, but greater than that is the mood of the people. It is one of excitement, hope and expectancy that a new day is indeed dawning in our nation. A new day that goes beyond hopes of change in our economic situation or our image in the world, but a change in the way we see ourselves and each other.

Already we are seeing the spirit of unity preached by Obama sweep through the nation. We see it in the faces of whites, blacks, Asians, Hispanics, Democrats and Republicans, old and young. We see people coming together as never before to begin the work of rebuilding and reshaping this great nation. As the outgoing president said, "The Obama presidency represents hope for the country." I believe that what we are seeing today would not have been possible without God's intervention. So allow me to make a minor change to the lady's words. "With God, all things are possible" (Matthew 19:26).

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Have you ever said something in a group setting, only to have someone who was not present at the time come and confront you about what you said? More specifically, have you ever said something in a meeting, only to have your boss, who was not present at the meeting, call you up about what you said? This happened to me this past week, and it upset me. It was a simple statement. Something I should not have said, although it would not have got me or anyone else into trouble, but someone saw the need to report it to my boss. And I have no idea who the person was.

Gossiping, spreading rumors, backbiting as the Bible calls it may be common in most workplaces, however the Bible has a lot to say about the way we use our mouth to speak about others. "The mouth of the righteous is a well of life, but violence covers the mouth of the wicked. In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise. The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; the heart of the wicked is worth little"(Proverbs 10: 11, 19-20).

Jesus said, "But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man" (Matthew 15: 18). And from James the apostle: "But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison" (3: 8).
And from the apostle Paul: "Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Who knowing the judgement of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them" (Romans 1 : 30, 32).

The Bible is not the only place we can find admonition about our choice of words. This line from the poet Emily Dickinson conveys the idea so clearly. "A word is dead when it is said, some say. I say it just begins to live that day." Just think about that.

Sunday, January 04, 2009


I recently came across a joke about three men who were in a strange city and had no money to pay for their meals. They came up with a creative plan which went like this: The first man entered an upscale restaurant and ordered a very expensive meal. When the meal was over, the waiter handed the check to the man who looked astonished and said, "But I already paid you." The waiter looked puzzled, but not wishing to offend the customer, apologized and took back the check.

The second man came in and the same situation occurred. Not long after, the third man walked in, ordered the most expensive items on the menu and enjoyed his meal. When the waiter brought the check, the man looked angry and said, "What's wrong with you, man? I already paid you." This time the waiter was determined to get to the bottom of the mystery. He turned to his customer and said, "Sir, I don't understand what is happening. I served two other men today who said they paid me but I'm almost certain they didn't. What do you think I should do?" The customer looked at the waiter and said, "I'm sorry you've been having trouble sorting out your payments, but will you please give me my change?"

Change. The word is on everybody's lips these days, especially since the stunning victory by Barack Obama, who stirred up the hearts of the people with his mantra of change. But what does change mean? Many of us, myself included, are still putting the finishing touches to our New Year's resolutions in an effort to change our lives for the better. But in most cases, very little change will take place this year or even the next.

In the Bible we see many instances where God made changes in the lives of His people. He told Abraham to leave his hometown, Haran, and go to the land of Canaan. He caused Joseph to be sold into slavery so he could end up in Egypt and become the Prime Minister of that country. God never allowed His people to lead static, boring lives. He changed their names, addresses and ultimately their destinies.

Why, then, are we so resistant to change? Maybe it's our love for the familiar or fear of the unknown. Whatever it is, change can be scary. But in this new year, this new era, let us look to the One "who changeth not" (Malachi 3:6), the unchanging God, to help us make those changes that are necessary and resist those that may cause us trouble. Happy New Year!