You made it! It is now July which means part one of this crazy year has bypassed us. God, I am grateful for the time you have given us, and I’m happy that that time is passing! I’m switching it up a bit today! Most of my posts tend to be serious. They are often ministry or scripture related or analyzing some social issue. Today, let’s make some healthy yet sweet dessert! it’s not Halloween or even fall, but I love pumpkin! My very very picky son even likes these pumpkin donut holes, so here we go!
These Pumpkin Donuts don’t taste like diet food and the texture is moist and satisfying, even though they are low in sugar, fat and high in protein…heaven!! This recipe is also a great way to enjoy a sweet treat while doing the 21 Day Fixprogram!
The perfect breakfast to start a crisp, fall morning! (I like to make up a double batch and have them ready to grab and go on a busy, work morning.)
Hint: You can also make these into full size donuts if you have a donut pan! Bake for 5-10 extra minutes and you’ll get a full size donut for about only 80 calories!
I do not sell for or technically endorse Beachbody and their products. I do still love plenty of them and will always be grateful for and 21 day fix and other programs and the coaches who got me back on track healthwise though. So, I’m still sharing! I would probably still recommend themI do nottechnically endorse Beachbody and their products. I do still love plenty of them and will always be grateful for and 21 day fix and other programs and the coaches who got me back on track healthwise though. So, I’m still sharing! I woul still recommend them
Greetings of peace, joy and solidarity! Today’s entry is actually a post I posted on Facebook. And Instagram. As you may know if you’ve been following the blog, I’m going through a Bible in a year project. I’m on is the book of Job at the moment. I always receive great inspiration and hope from this sometime is very dark and very disturbing book. The most powerful message is that God is always with us and for us. When life is suffocating and difficult, God is still working God’s will. I pray for all of us that as we continue living through this epidemic of COVID-19 as well as the epidemic of rampant racism and police brutality we remember that God is with us and for us. I pray for you. I pray for the souls of those who have been murdered. I pray for peace and assurance as well as the bestowing of hope upon those left behind. I pray for the police and lawyers and lawmakers that they would be given wisdom and hearts of compassion and justice according to the will of God. Amen.
BLACK LIVES MATTER
MotivationMonday – Black fathers are losing their wives, daughters and sons. Black daughters and sons are losing their fathers. Black mothers are losing their husbands and children. Black children are losing their mothers. Loss, murder, and countless numbers of tragedies and travesties befall people of all creeds and stations. #LordHelpUsAll.
Most authentically though, I speak from my own social location and to the issues burning most on my heart right now, which include the suffering and injustice perpetrated upon black bodies, minds and spirits.
I am a black daughter, mother, wife, sister, niece, aunt, friend, mentor, minister/teacher/preacher and advocate, and I want a better world for my people. We don’t know why horrific things happen and evil, power-hungry and vindictive people gain and maintain power. We wonder where God is in all of this and why setan is giving so much freedom to torment God’s people. We blame ourselves and we blame others and we seek solutions. Some of us are already in states of despair and some may be considering or have given into the temptation to self-destruct or comit suicide, because the pain is too much.
We’ve had enough for a very long time!!!!! I can’t answer your questions just like the book of Job doesn’t answer your questions, but I can help be the friends as they were at the end of chapter 2 before they started giving such fearful and condemning advice, they were good friends who sat silently with Job for seven days. I am with you not only for seven days but for as long as we need each other, which will be as long as there is life breath in you, because we are gods answers to each other’s prayers. As I read these verses from Job chapter 2, this is the message GOD put on my heart for you.
Greetings to you from this warrior mom, wife and minister of our Lord Jesus Christ! Today, the prophet and advocate in me is alive, well, and bursting to get out. So, here she is! To some extent or other, we’ve all had to struggle with locating and securing employment. In our society, it’s a struggle to obtain anything from housing to childcare to employment… If you happen to be “different“ that challenge is tenfold.
At some point and in someplace or other I have addressed issues such as sexism, racism, disability-ism, and more. Today, what is on my heart is to address the injustice those with visual impairments face when seeking employment. One day, employers and others in power and Without power will be able to look past surface differences and prejudices they have assuming they understand the abilities of others and the world will be a stronger, more just, well-rounded, truly inclusive and glorious place. When we look at each other, may we come to automatically ask ourselves “what unique ability and gift does this person have to contribute to my life or the lives of others?” It’s time we did more than give lip service to the reality that God has created all of us in gods own glorious image to bring God’s Kingdom to earth. Amen
From My Heart
I’ve had enough! 😞😫🤦♀️ I know I’m not the only one.
Yes, I have two B.A. degrees! Yes, I have a
M.A. (M.Div.) degree! Yes! I have experience working with diverse populations of children, women and men! Yes I am resourceful, creative, compassionate, determined and resilient! Yes, I am a skilled teacher, presenter, public speaker and will successfully pass any background screening you require. Yes, I have been trained in CPR/first aid. Yes! Yes! Yes! I meet and likely exceed most of your requirements and recommendations.
No, I DONT drive!.
“Oh, we’re sorry, although you sound like the perfect candidate, … this position, which does not require you to transport patients or anything else really requires that you have a valid driver’s license and a good driving record, so not hired!”
My sisters and brothers who have visual impairments, are deaf or hard of hearing, have speech challenges, perhaps struggle with learning disabilities or criminal records, know that I am with you and stand in solidarity with you. You are strong, courageous and beautiful and Waze many are in capable of seeing, yet be assured that God always sees.
Employers and boards/Committees may not even realize this is prejudice and discrimination, but in large part it is. When we fail to look beyond our own context and outside of our own boxes, we are acting according to fear, prejudice and comfort zones. God is the God of the marginalized and the demonized and the rejected. with God by our side, #WeShallOvercome #YouAreNotAlone
I’m not sure if there’s practice is UNORTHODOX, but I’m going to leave the hashtags in as they were in the FB and IG post I did earlier.
Come, Holy Spirit, come! As we with various abilities, gifts and graces bring them to the table, grant those in power and authority with your wisdom and vision for a kingdom which embraces all your children! May your peace, assurance and love accompany those of us fighting the fight to be excepted and loved for who we are and whose we are.with your wisdom and vision for a kingdom which embraces all your children! May your peace, assurance and love accompany those of us fighting the fight to be excepted and loved for who we are and who’s we are. Lord, you are making all things new even as we speak and you have rejected the oldest structures of oppression and domination. I pray to be part of the rebuilding of a more just society. We are tired and need your strength to hold us up and send us fourth.
Thank you, Lord, for your affirmations and your assurances. Thank you for being with us and loving us. Thank you for the will to continue to fight for ourselves and for all those who are marginalized and forgotten and left out. This world belongs to you, and so there is hope for justice to prevail. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus’name, Amen!
Psalm 88:11–13 another prayer for deliverance. Jesus made God‘s wonders known below the earth on that day! But we pray for deliverance, because we can only make God‘s wonders known by living since we are not Jesus.
Hold on sisters and brothers! The sun, the hope, the light, the joy and the promise is coming. Don’t rush it! The shadow, the pain, the isolation, the grief, the uncertainty and the feelings of abandonment only make the glory more intense. Are you able to sit here for the last moments of Holy Saturday (or revisit) and resist the temptation of rushing onto Resurrection Sunday? It’s difficult, but I’ve always found it enriching and helpful.
I have found that suffering does build character. It does build endurance. It does create a deeper capacity for compassion and empathy
So I started this blog with Psalm 6:6 and 88:11-13 as prayer of lament. For those who are, by chance, not feeling sorrow or pain, perhaps you can pray for those who are. Thanks be to God. Amen.
What Does Scripture Tell Us About Ehere Jesus was on Holy Saturday?
Not surprisingly, the Gospels tell us little, because the original disciples did not know where Jesus was on Saturday. They believed that he was in a tomb waiting to have his body prepared for burial. Then, it was discovered that his body had disappeared and they thought someone stole him. At this point in time we pause and experience their Fear, uncertainty and great grief. Good Friday was bad enough, and now this.
As we today fight this coronavirus pandemic and see life around us all but stopped, and as we fear for ourselves in our love ones, we experience some of the same emotions as we live the story we find ourselves in.
What I did to put together material for this blog is I searched the Internet. Big surprise! We find information in Matthew, John, Acts, Ephesians, Philippians, Hebrews, First Peter and First Corinthian’s.
Jesus Foretells What Must Happen
Just as the original apostles/disciples forgot, I had, too! I was happy to find this.
Oh yes, and John has a prediction as well! The dead who serve God and have faith in God yet who had died/fallen asleep before Jesus came to earth will hear Jesus his voice and live. He has gone to rescue those held captive. That part comes in a liter photo.￼
Peter cause us to repentance for the wall we played in Jesus being crucified and so part of good Friday is sitting in that repentance for that shared seven, and the continued sin. Peter speaks from his own place of humanity, because he was as close to Jesus as anyone could be and yet he denied Jesus three times. Lord, and your mercy!
Paul also supports the truth that Zjesus descended before he assented. Jesus had to descend from earth in order to ascend from earth since we know he did make appearances back on earth.￼
Jesus came as a human in order to overcome death on our behalf. He had to experience the entire human experience, which does include death, but then he went beyond that and stuff and give us eternal life! Thanks be to God! I can shower over but he had to Indore and I’m grateful that it was done.
And finally, Firdt
Peter is the scripture I found that the Catholics and Methodists, and probably other “protestants” agree is critical to understanding Holy Week. It talks about Jesus descending into hell to break the chains and set the captives free. This is a powerful statement, and if I think about it, I feel it even more poignantly, because it points out that Jesus was so far from heaven at this point.
People love the simple scripture that says, “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). The people who find comfort and reassurance in that scripture would likely find assurance from this passage. Only Jesus can do this: break her heart and heal them at the same time.￼
Until The Marrow
Jesus, I thank you for dying on the cross for us, for me! I love you because you first love me. You are the author of life and the finisher of our faith in the saver of our souls.￼ What amazing love and forgiveness. Grant us a restful night that we might wake up in the morning willing to praise you through the storm, through the separation and isolation and through our enemies who seek to seporate us from you. Speak to us through the scriptures that we may feels a full range of emotions from the disciples, to the early church all the way through to the current church. Help us bring other people into this Victorious story. In Jesus name we pray, amen!￼￼
“One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. ”
Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.””
Father/Mother God, thank you for sending your only begotten son! He would not come down from the cross to save himself. He decided, O God, to die just to save me! May we learn to be so loving, so gracious, so courageous and so selfless. Change us, O God! Create in us clean hearts that we might truly be Christians who love selflessly, forgive endlessly and die to self purposefully as did the one we follow, Jesus the Christ. Amen
Story of Self (personal story)
Troubled, violent, bad-mouthed, out-of-control, hard-to- place! These are the words foster children hear carelessly and cruelly aimed at and about them. Apparently, I used to think, they also think we are death and dumb! When I was 16, I served time at McLaren Hall, which has since, thank the Good Lord, been closed. It wasn’t technically Juvey, but from what I gather, it wasn’t much better. At the time though, I didn’t know it was a harsh environment, because I was so used to abuse, it was only another form of the same. In fact, at least I was in a group institutional setting and the staff did not have as much time as foster parents had to home in on me. I was simply another case! Another teen with a bad attitude and a lack of gratitude for what the state had done for me. This makes me bleed for mercy upon the criminal on Jesus’ left. Some are blessed to find the light shining in the darkness, yet others can’t see, can’t rise and thus cannot hope. But for the grace of God go I.
That light for me came in the form of two female ministers who would come to McLaren to speak with the residents. Unlike most of the adults of my acquaintance, they seemed to see and hear us. They helped us find empowerment and constructive ways to voice and express our guilt, shame, rage and need for belonging.
In return, we gave them bad attitudes and disrespect. We challenged them, because we did not trust them or their God. If your God is real, tell him to give you something better to do and get us out of here! They warned us, as the man on the right reminded the man on Jesus’ left, not to test God, and to take responsibility for our own actions. We mocked them and God, at least I did, at least at first.
These women couldn’t save us or change us, or could they? Well, they, or rather, the Holy Spirit within them, did. I stand as a living testimony that God speaks through angels on earth, and years later, I give thanks to those ministers. We don’t know if the man on the left accepted Christ in the last moment, we are not told, and I do not know the fate of the teens I lived with at that time, but as the man on Jesus’ right, and as Jesus himself most of all caused many hearts to turn toward God, these women spoke power, truth and love into my story, and I have decided to ask Jesus to remember me when he comes into his Kingdom. Glory to God
Story of Us (scripture story)
Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, today, you will be with me in paradise.” Having seen experienced the cruelty and injustice humans were/are prone to, Jesus the Christ made this astounding promise. Bloodied and beaten, already bruised for our transgressions and abandoned by many of his disciples, Jesus made his way to the Cross. Jesus is guilty of a multitude of sins. You ask how? Or perhaps you already know. Jesus, the lamb of God, the scapegoat, the Son of David has agreed to take upon himself the sins of the world! How could he stand and walk? As difficult as the walk would have been anyhow following the abuse suffered and with the physical heaviness of that old rugged cross, those burdens would have, I believe, been nothing in comparison to what Jesus the Christ carried in his spirit and in his heart; the guilt of humanity throughout history. Stoically, Jesus went on. Without protest, Jesus was hung and nailed painfully to the cross. And here, we stop to consider, the criminals hanging with him.
The words of the criminal on the left remind me of the temptation of Satan when Jesus was in the desert after receiving Baptism. Satan challenged Jesus at that time saying, “If you are the son of God, jump from this cliff. Surely, God will not allow you to stub your toe on a rock.” Jesus responds to Satan, It is written “do not put the Lord your God to the test.” The criminal on the left is definitely putting God to the test, rather or not he sees God as his God, and he is trying to tempt Jesus Christ who has been pushed to extreme limits, yet Jesus does not respond. Thanks be to Jesus, for he chose not to come down from the cross.
The man on the right is no less a criminal, yet he has the one vital key to salvation: he knows he is a criminal who deserves no less than death, and yet in faith and repentance, he asks Jesus to remember him and his acknowledgement of Jesus as an innocent man. Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom. We are all guilty and fall short of the Glory of God, but we pray nevertheless, Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.
We may not be able to see ourselves as worthy to sit in the seats of honor or even to enter the Kingdom. We may only ask to be remembered; remembered with compassion and perhaps affection. Yet Jesus offered the criminal on the right more. Jesus offered entry into that Kingdom. Jesus offered immediate words of forgiveness and absolution. Jesus offered immediate acceptance. He saw the heart of the criminal and Jesus sees your heart and mine!
We aren’t on the cross. Most of us aren’t on death Rowe or on a cross. Most of us are still carrying our crosses. At the same time, many of us are bearing the crosses of those who have fallen and stumbled, and some of those who have too many emotional and physical wounds to make it up life’s hills with the burden of their sins and decisions on their backs. So, we may understand a little of Jesus’ pain and understand our place in this grand story of love and sacrifice. Jesus’ has a message for us: don’t stop! Don’t let go! Just a little further! It hurts but letting go will hurt more and for longer.
Hold on my sister! Hold on my brother! Ask Jesus to remember you! Confess your crimes and acknowledge his sacrifice and the injustices done to him and countless of our powerless and marginalized sisters and brothers, and the reward may just be more than we dared hope. Jesus may turn to us and say, “today, tomorrow, whenever your time comes to end your race, you will be with me in Paradise.”
Story of Now (shared calling)
Today, we are under the shadow of coronavirus. We are not in physical churches, because we are under “shelter in place” and “stay at home” orders. Yesterday, we partook of the Lord’s Supper and observance, some of us, of Maundy Thursday, at home alone or a few family members or roommates. We hear the criminal on the left taunting us, “if you are the daughter, if you are the son of God, get down and save yourself and save us.” We have, I hope ignored that lying voice of self-centeredness, faithlessness and pride. I have heard louder the voice of my Savior saying, truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise” because you have run a good race and stood firm until the end. Jesus sees my bad temper and cabin fever, and he loves me anyway. He sees every fear we allow to control us, and he loves us anyway. He is waiting for us to see our wrong-doings, confess we deserve nothing good and once we empty ourselves, we may be welcomed by him.
I don’t know how much longer I, an extrovert, and all the rest of us, will be forced to shelter in place. I do know we are invited to ask Jesus to come into our shelters and be our shelter. If we are homeless, Jesus wants to be our shelter. We have the opportunity to come out of this a more just, humble, merciful, faithful and loving community. But are we willing? We will overcome. This is my prayer.
Holy God of love and life, we are gathered from around the word via technology. We thank you for this virtual community as well as our physical communities. We thank you for the example of the criminal on the right and the criminal on the left. May we be more like the man in the middle; more like Jesus, the Christ! Thank you for the graciousness and mercy of Jesus Christ. Infuse us with the Spirit that we may come through these current struggles stronger, more faithful and ready to be instruments of healing and peace. We love you. We pray all this and more in the name of Jesus Christ by the Power of the Holy Spirit, giving you, O God, all the glory and honor forever, Amen!
Greetings of fellowship and peace, today, we celebrate the #LastSupper. Jesus ate in the presence of his friends and his enemies. This is community on earth for better or for worse. We are called to bring healing and reconciliation the best we can with many as we can. Holy Spirit, impart the grace, mercy, wisdom and sacrificial nature of Jesus to each of us. Amen!
Jesus knew at the Passover feast that Judas would betray him. Who won broke bread with, especially the Passover meal, would’ve been a big deal in a big declaration, and yet Jesus made it for the one who betrayed him as well as those who did not. We are remember Judas, Thomas and Peter most specifically, because Scripture tells us of the ways they turned their back on Jesus. Still, they aren’t likely the only disciples who stumbled, and that the one of us who have never stumbled be the first one to cast the first stone. I find it more therapeutic and healing to discover when I have been Judith. That teaches humility and wisdom, and empowers me to move forward and never seen in quite the same way again by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Tonight, I don’t wanna focus on the disciples, though. I want to focus on Jesus and his actions. Jesus broke bread symbolizing the breaking of his body and just hours now. He poured and drink the blood, symbolizing the pouring out of his blood for us in hours from now. He predicts his death and that he would not drink or eat with the disciples again until he returned and then they go to the mount of olives. Jesus lead the action as Jesus leads to the church today. If Jesus is not the head of the church, we are not the body. Let us choose tonight, tomorrow and forever more to be the body of Christ with Christ at the head.,, Holy Spirit, come! Thank you that you hear our prayers! Amen!￼￼
Now, after finish prepping for tomorrow Good Friday service! Yes, #GoodFriday! it is not good because we are good! It is not good because the disciples were good. It is good because we have the promise of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ if only we would take hold of the promise and clean fast to the promise. Good God who loves us so much that he came in the form of a helpless human child, grew up as a human boy and died The criminals death we all deserve. He for gave us! He pleaded for mercy and grace to be given to each of us. We pray that we all believeregardless of our sins Would be forgiving and excepted into the family. This is why Friday is good.
Tomorrow at noon, we will host a special worship and I’ll include the YouTube link below for any who want to view. I preach on Luke 23:43:
Greetings of peace and hope! Happy Passover to my Jewish friends. We are all tight together in the circle of life and I am eternally grateful for the Jewish people throughout history who have done so much to stand for justice and equality for everyone. As I write this line, I am thinking back to the interfaith dialogue’s I attended every year in seminary. I am thinking back on human history and I am thinking of my connection with Clergy-Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE). In this group welcome clergy and lady from our faith traditions United for purposes of justice bed for youth, and the immigrant, the imprisoned, the ethnic minority, etc. Thanks be to God for such connection, commitment and unity.
Warning of Persecution – Matthew 24:9-10
“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other,” (Matthew 24:9-10 NIV).
This prediction almost immediately proved to be true. The nature of Biblical prophecies is that each usually has an immediate and a future fulfillment. They are also true to the nature of God as revealed in history. The prophet Daniel especially comes to mind especially since I chose the image of the lion, as women who especially endeared and persecution because of his God. We’ve seen it throughout history until this day. Jesus in most of his disciples were killed in hideous ways.
Lord grant us the strength, courage, faith and wisdom to stand strong when we are challenged to publicly Profess our love and faith in you no matter the cost. It may cost us reputation, employment, freedom or even our lives, but all of those gifts belong to you anyhow, and maybe be able to interest them back into your hands if they are demanded of us. Amen!
Warning to Be Ready & Stat Ready
This current crisis has made it blatantly apparent apparent that many of us were not ready for cOVID-19 or anything of its magnitude. We weren’t ready emotionally, because everyone panicked. We weren’t ready physically, maybe, because we didn’t have emergency kit and food supplies stocked up. And some of us are good even months into this thing without having to take any extraordinary shopping trips. It’s hard to know when we’re ready and we were unnecessarily fearful and panicked and that goes into the whole emotional readiness factor. Each of us need to evaluate regularly what our emotional, spiritual as well as physical readiness is.
I hope that you feel prepared and ready to finish coping with this epidemic, and I hope you have r you areemaining connected with God who is the source of our strength.
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour” (Matthew 25:13 NIV).
No, don’t look at the time I post these blogs or you will come to the wrong conclusion regarding my timeliness and readiness. LOL! All of us run out of supplies or forget things we need at times, but God wants us to make sure that we are spiritually ready when he comes back. as we journey with Christ to the cross now, we are required to have open hearts and open minds, seek justice, love mercy and have faith. These things are what it means to be ready. And well the five who had enough oil refused to share with the five who didn’t out of fear or concern that they would not have enough, but that same fear not stop us here in today from doing everything we can to get others ready so that at the crucial point, everyone who wants to be ready will be ready.
Lord, help us be ready for your return and for you to take us to be with you at all times and every place. Amen.
Woe to the Blind Guide
These woes deal so much with hypocrisy, misleading teachings, pride and greed. For some reason, this segment is what jumped out at me. The section of scripture is called “Woe to blind guides” and it talks about how the teachers of the law and religious leaders have missed the point entirely in our misleading the people. They do things like worshiping the altar instead of the lamb, Jesus Christ, on the altar. Today, we might say worshiping the church building instead of the one who caused us to be church. We need to go deeper and deeply understand who it is we worship and why we worship in order that we do not lead astray the people.
“Therefore, anyone who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. And anyone who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. And anyone who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it” (Matthew 23:20-22).
First, there’s the issue with the swearing in any case, as we are told in Scripture that we should let our yes be yes and our no be no, and not swear, because we have no power to make anything happen or not happen, it is all by the power and grace of God. This also seems to be warning against idolatry and materialism, because Coveting and loving objects does most definitely distract us from worshiping God. In my own life, I see the current stage is being a time of pruning. It’s pretty painful! I hope you’re coping well. I hope at the end of this and even through this God is being praised and thanked, because God never makes a mistake or Misstep.
So, A Closing Blessing
Father God, help us stay ready, protect us from the temptation of greed and idolatry and shortsightedness, Help us endure until the end. We don’t understand your message or your timing, but we know that the world is in your hands and we ask that you grant us the faith in the insurance to walk in the truth as we run, walk, crawl and sometimes fall on the way to the cross with Jesus Christ. Amen!
Greetings of peace and hope! Yesterday, on Holy Monday, I told you I would name today/Tuesday #TellTheTaleTuesday. Instead, I have dubbed it #TellTheTruthTuesday In honor of the refrain “truly I tell you…” occurs here in Matthew 25 as well as throughout the Gospels. May the truth of the word of God guide your life today and every day.
Please read the entire Scripture passage by clicking the Button below to open the scripture in a new tab.
I hope we are able as a community to rejoice when we are the sheep, repent when we are the goats, and ask for the Holy Spirit to increase the frequency which with which we identify with this sheep, and Eradicate those times we are or are tinted to be the goats. May justice and mercy guide your life today and every day along your journey.
Sheep on the Right & Goats on the Left
As we journey to the cross, it is vital that we realize we serve a God of action; not in action. Many times we think it is OK or sufficient to avoid doing harm not realizing that in non-action itself often causes harm in matters of justice and social well-being. So, here we are given a contrast of good versus evil, action versus in action, Justice versus apathy and right versus left.
I’m a United Methodist, and in the beloved words of our founder, John Wesley, let’s say it together!
Just recently, one of the social justice agencies I am a part of hosted and event where they went to Los Angeles City Hall and honk their horn‘s for release of immigrants, and I wasn’t able to attend. I don’t drive so I miss out on a lot of these sorts of events but what I could do and it therefore I do is post on social media, talk to friends and family about it and pray. Those are things almost all of us are able to do. In my apartment, we’ve spent entire days clearing out our closet of perfectly good clothes that we will not wear to donate to shelters and clothing closets. We don’t have much money, but both my husband and I have been known to buy food or donuts for those in need in our neighborhood and drop spare cash and change when we could. Getting around is difficult, but I am really good at technology and I love doing research and writing and composing letters, so I often do those for family, friends, church and other places.
I’m not tooting my own horn. What I’m doing is showing that being a sheep requires only that we have open hearts and minds, are willing to love our neighbors, think outside of the box and commit to following Jesus.
No, I’m not always a sheep, and I don’t think any of us always are. Lent is a time for confession, so although you may not look up to me anymore after I confess, I will model what we all need to do regularly. I frequently lose my temper with my husband and son, which may not seem like a deadly sin, but it is. It is not loving. I’ve been guilty of passing judgment on homeless people or on immigrants because I don’t understand them and haven’t always wanted to. That is unjust and unloving.not Loving. So not surprisingly, my goat qualities aren’t popping to the forefront right now, but I have them in God knows! I can be self-centered, angry, fearful and anxious, lazy and unmotivated, and abrupt. Create in me a clean heart, Lord, and help me to have the spirit of Jesus. Amen!
What Does Jesus Say to/about His Faithful Sheep?
This is the perfect time to ponder when we have done good to Jesus through doing good to those Jesus died for.
What are some ways you can clothe the naked, feed the hungry, visit/communicate in writing with the sick or the imprisoned during this time?
When we do all we can for as many as we can however we can for as long as we can, when we asked Jesus when we showed love to him, he will tell us that we did our holiest and most just work when we served the needs of the least amongst us.
We Don’t Want to Hear….
The opposite of the blessing, which is the curse. When the judgement comes, it is too late to change our actions. FEAR NOT, for if you are reading this, you have time. I have time! Though, None can know how much.
Holy spirit, please help me where I am weak, help us were we are weak and have failed to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned, provide for the widow and orphan and immigrant in our midst. Amen! Please help us so that we do not hear the rebuke
Whenever we have not been just, merciful and loving to other people, animals and even creation, we have not been just and loving to God. As we continue this journey toward the cross, I pray that we think more about this and about ways we might still change and thus change the world.
UNTIL NEXT TIME
May God bless you for all the good you have done in the world and all the good you will do. May God remove any tendency we have to overly criticize ourselves for what we have not done as well as remove any pride so may have for what they have done. May the glory be given to God always in in all places for our victories. Our victory is in Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit granted us by God. May God protect you and hold you up as you continue toward the cross and Contuie following the light and love of Jesus Christ and the cloud of witnesses and disciples in his wake. Amen!
Greetings of peace, love and hope! I hope you are finding you are continuing to stay on the sunny side of life as the rain and clouds continue to make life messy. In these challenges of “Shelter in Place” and covid-19, there are opportunities to love a little deeper and shine a little brighter as the reflections of God’s life we are called to be. Perhaps it helps and motivates and emboldens you as it does me to remember that Jesus, a flesh and blood man, was headed facing his own challenges this time so many years ago. Let us take up our crosses and follow our commander and champion.
Throughout this week, I will post daily as your journeying partner.
MONDAY – Today, Holy Monday, I aim to motivate you with pointing out how Jesus is the light and direction. Jesus has told us how to remain strong. So, we will focus on the light of Christ, and the greatest commandments of Christ Today.
TUESDAY – Tomorrow, on Holy Tuesday, we will explore some of the paribles Jesus told in the Temple of Jerusalem as he continued to prepare the people for his coming crucifixion and resurrection. I am calling tomorrow “TellTheTaleTuesday.
WEDNESDAY – On Holy Wednesday, we will observe what I am calling #WoesAndWarningWednesday. In Jerusalem, Jesus reprimands the prople–especially the religious leaders and teachers of Jewish law– for dishonoring the spirit if not the letter of the Mosaic Law. Since knowledge is power and sometimes ignorance causes us to sin, Wednesday will be spent exploring the follies we fall into and will avoid when we full-heartedly follow Jesus and by the power of the Holy Sprit.
THURSDAY – Thursday is called Maundy Thursday. On this day, we celebra the Last Supper in remembrance of the Supper Jesus celebrated with his disciples before his crucifiction, so I invite you to reflect on this event with me.
FRIDAY – Good Friday is the day we commemorate the crucifiction of Jesus Christ. It is good, because without Jesus’ willing death on our behalf, we would have no hope of eternal life. So, we will pause to remember, reflect and repent on Friday.
SATURDAY – Saturday is vital though it seems to be a day we often overlook. It is a day people set up their Easter Egg Hunts and make last-minute preparations for Sunday Festivities. People cook, play and engage in other activities. I mean to condemn noone. Jesus came to save the world; not com=ndemn the world. My aim is to make us findful of the fact that on Holy Sunday, Jesus is fighting the forces of death and damnation, and rescuing the souls of the prophets and other faithful persons who had already died. It is a day of silence, because the disciples did not yet understand this, and only knew their leader and beloved teacher was gone and their hopes with him. Even once the apostles and Early Church understood, we they observed the silence of Jesus’ desension. So, I will find a way to help us reflect upon this time of silence and seporation of Jesus from God. Jesus died that we might live and live abundantly.
SUNDAY – That rest and silence empties us for the joy of the Resurrection of Christ on Resurrection Sunday/Easter. We will rejoice on that day. Come rejoice and give thanks with me on that day, and share with me how you and yours celebrated!
Motivation Monday: Love and Light
Before we are strong enough to not only carry our own crosses and help carry those of others, we must recieve the mental, spiritual and physical nourishment for the journey. Am I right? Scripture gives us the spiritual nourishment and armor. Jesus reveals that he is the Light and the way back in John 3:16. Here, in John 12:46, he re-affirms he is the Light, and when we commit to keeping our eyes upon him, we will get where we want to go.
Jesus is the Light. Jesus sheds light on those behaviors, attitudes and heart conditions most pleasing to God! In the Jerusalem Temple, he is asked what the greatest command is. He answers not only with the greatest, but adds a second command, which actually is a second part of the whole. Jesus sheads light upon the truth that we cannot love God with our whole being without loving our neighbor.
“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:36-40, NLT). https://www.bible.com/bible/116/mat.22.36-40.nlt
Especially now, I am mindful that the most powerful demonstration of our love for God is our love, service, mercy and kindness to our fellow human-beings. Love is the only light, which will bring us through this epadimic stronger and more whole than ever before. Without love, we will make it through, but we will be broken and destitute. Love, my sisters and brothers! Love! Love, as Jesus practiced it, is emotional, yes, yes, it is also active and consistant. It gives to each what she or he needs. In this way, LOVE! And may that love come back to you in abundance!
Jesus Christ, thank you for being love and light. Thank you for coming to brighten and straighten the path for us on this journey to the cross. We need you, O Lord, to be with us. Heal us Lord, and empower us to be the healing force for those around us. You know our prayers, our sorrows and our fears. Lord, take our sorrows and fears and transform them into hope and faith. May your faith and love infuse us, Lord Jesus. When the sick, homeless, orphan, imprisoned and immigrant see us, may they see you. We love you! Amen!
Greetings of peace and hope: I hope you acknowledge the blessing of being here and being functional in this moment. Because I am here, I am here for you. Please feel free to leave any prayer requests in the comments below. because there is so much information and false information out there, I’ve been inspired to provide a list of resources I’ve found helpful, and have been recommended by both governor Gavin Newsom and congresswoman Maxine Waters among others. As I said, these are resources I have personally found helpful. Now, I know some of you are beyond the borders of California. Some of these resources are national. Let us all use our powers of reason, experience and intuition to discern the best resources for ourselves, our families and our communities.
My prayer is that the resources you see here help direct your searches for information. My prayer is that what you find here helps you relax and control aspects of your environment, which will grant you a greater sense of peace and purpose. My hope is that you will lean into God for true healing, and lean into the understanding that God has granted certain people gifts and graces to get us through this time. Those gifted people include you. Never forget that.
And at the last, remember Jesus’ parting words to his disciple which include the promise that he will always be with them. When Israel was still going through their trials and tribulations, not that they’ve ever fully stop in during hardships, the prophet Isaiah spoke to them words of comfort. No, God would not remove all of the trials and tribulations and consequences, but God would be present in them. Take piece from Isaiah 43:2
“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” Isaiah 43:2 NLT);
Father God, thank you for your blessing that when we are going through the waters, you are right there with us. Thank you for holding us up and giving us yet another day. May we be granted the power, wisdom, strength and endurance to be your hands and feet in a world filled with darkness in pain. We pray for those who are ill, those who heal and those who have no hope. Please protect our children, our homeless, our orphaned and our widowed. May we embrace the marginalized instead of demonizing them and pushing them even further away during this time. Remove our fear, O Lord! ￼May we convey to the world that you are the help and you have overcome all death and disease, even the coronavirus. amen! ￼￼
I am thankful. While I have my struggles with these shelter at home orders, I realize I am thankful for the opportunity to spend time with, good to know, and get to teach and encourage my 12-year-old son. I am grateful for the opportunity to spend so much time with my husband. I am thankful for the spirit of resilience and for my health. Remember that the best way to deal with these stressful situations is to control what you can and contribute where you were able to the welfare of yourself and others. Here, I am taking my own advice because Isee myself as a resource queen!
And, I am grateful for the opportunity to share with you some of my favorite resources for Aeducating and motivating children be at my own son or children and youth served by the churches I have ministered with. I hope these are of service to you or those you know and love.
Youth and children resources are abundant, and if you have some, I welcome you to share. This is what we use a lot. They are apps and websites. #KeepYourHeadUp #Resources
This one is why I put K-12+. My I love using this app probably more than my son does even. You can learn French, Spanish, Portuguese in almost any other language I can think of.￼ my son mostly works on French, and I’ve worked on Spanish, French and Italian. Mostly, I’ve been building my skills for years in Spanish with this app.￼
This is a great math games with levels to attain and characters they can purchase. I think my son has gotten about as high as the game currently allows, so we’re still waiting for some new developments. It’s a great site for learning math and having fun.￼
Here you can create an account and create classrooms if you have one child or tons of children. You can assign the articles and the questions that go along with them. The articles are on all sorts of subjects and are geared toward age groups that you select. Have fun! Let’s teach our children about science, developments in the medical field, space travel and so much more. I love this.￼
Current events including the current coronavirus latest news are here. The stories are customized based on age level. My son uses this in school and we’ve continued using it at home. Just this week, we’ve learned about penguins in the aquarium in Chicago which was forced to close, and Jean therapy, which could help those who have genetic blindness receive their vision.￼￼
This app has games designed to help sharpen focus and increase brain function. If you have a preteen or a team, I know you are invested in helping them increase their focus! LOL! If I hear I didn’t know where I didn’t remember one more time…￼
We all have Library-‘s in our counties, of course! My son still loves physical books although we have Audible and Kindle and all the other digital formats. It’s interesting and will continue to be interesting to see how the library’s answer this current challenge. I pray for our library’s in librarians as keeping brick and mortar library is open was probably already a challenge.
My prayer is that each parent and guardian take this opportunity to learn with and learn from their student. Children are blessings from God and even when they are at their most challenging, they encourage us to be at our best. I hope these resources help you enjoy your time just a little bit more. I’d love to hear any of your stories in the comments. enjoy the journey. You are not ever alone.￼￼￼￼
Lenten greetings of peace, love and joy! Today is a special day! It is the 13th day of Lent. It is also the day that my devotion entry has been published by #PictureLent. I will include the link to it below so that you may see my contribution as well as the contributions of the other authors all the way up through Easter. I’ve also included the text here, because what are our personal blogs for it not to showcase the gifts and talents God has blessed us with??? Make sure you let me know what you think of what you read, and how God is blessing you through this look at Psalm 128.
Gardens, Children and Ministry
Walking this journey to the Cross with Christ is often demanding, rigorous and disorienting. I pray that you also experience Lent as hope-filled, energizing, and life-giving. On this, the 13th day of Lent, let us take a moment to breathe in that hope and life God provides as we breathe out the struggle and disorientation life sometimes offers. As the Psalmist prays for abundant blessings on Israel, I pray for abundant blessings upon you, your family and community.
As we walk, work, eat and drink, play and love, we seek to find the balance most pleasing to God. If we have children, we hold their hands so that they remain close to us and close to Christ. Scripture says we are blessed if we walk in the way of the righteous. So, I implore you to persevere on this journey to the Cross.
The Psalmist confidently asserts that all who fear/revere/respect and obey the Lord will be abundantly blessed. For Israel, if a person had fruitful lands and many sons, these were signs of God’s favor. Thus, the man blessed with a wife who bore many children who in turn worked the land and bore more children would have been seen as most highly favored.
Today, bearing numerous children and working the fields and vineyards may not be the symbols of fruitfulness in our culture. However, many of us, myself included, find happiness and blessing through our relationships with others, including our spouses, children, family, and friends. Lent is an ideal time to ponder the gifts God has given and still has in store for us. Now may be an ideal time to identify the gifts and talents we possess and how God is calling us to employ them for the journey.
Even today, we identify with the blessing of fruitful soil. Many of us live in urban areas where we are fortunate if we have small gardens where we may plant flowers, cucumbers, squash and potatoes. Yet, when we look around, we see the land bearing fruit. Down the street from my apartment, there is a family who grows oranges and another who grows grapefruit. Thank God for this fruitfulness.
Every summer, the children who participate in Saint Mark United Methodist Church, Los Angeles’ summer enrichment program work in the garden. We provide cups/containers and they plant and water their projects. At summer’s end, they take home the fruits of their labor. The children also help tend the garden and sometimes take home vegetables if they are ripe. God’s ministry through us is bearing much good fruit: literal crops planted, harvested and eaten; children and families who have the means to plant and eat healthy food; and a church and community better able to appreciate the amazingness of God’s creation and the vitality of our service as stewards. Inthese endeavors and others, only God truly knows how fruitful our prayers, plantings and plucking-up will be. Lord, bless your faithful people with fruitfulness.
Let Us Pray
Lord, take our stumbling, sometimes grudging and often uncertain steps, infuse them with your grace and assurance, and remind us that you are the source of our blessings and fruitfulness. You have given us Scripture to make straight and give light to our path. We give you thanks. Bless us, O Lord, as we scatter the seeds you have entrusted to us. May they bear fruit for your Kingdom for generations to come. Amen!
Let Us Do
Fruitfulness Bag: Put together at least one non perishable food bag to give away to a person in need. Please include applesauce or some other non perishable fruit cup, and if you include a juice pouch or box, please make sure it is 100% fruit juice. Preparing one bag for each household member or group member (if you are participating as part of a group or household) would be ideal.
Let Us Reflect
In which ways has your life been fruitful (children, spouse, ministry, acts of kindness, answers to prayers, etc.)?
How is your observance of Lent pruning you for greater fruitfulness for God?
Discuss Holy and fruitful fear vs. debilitating and counterproductive fear. Which fear does God desire of us, and how does our understanding of fear impact our understanding of and relationship with God?
In the photo, you will notice that I put one verse above the cross and the other below. This is to highlight the importance of the cross in our journey with Christ. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, and we can find contentment in any situation that life throws at us. It is through the Christ and through his cross that we have this joy and assurance.
How To Thrive By 45
“How To Thrive By 45” is a pretty good study plan. It’s one of the YouVersion ( https://www.bible.com/en/reading-plans/3457), and study devotions I’m doing. I’ve decided to include that here and in my scripture journal today, because the scripture is my favorite. Philippians 4:12-13.
When Jesus is truly our Lord, we can find contentment and all sorts of adverseconditions as well as the more pleasant ones, and remember to glorify God in all of them. I have a ring thanks to my husband that reminds me of Phil. 4:13 which is that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. He really understands me.
Me & Hubby After 2020 Primaries
I think these are vital verses to remember as we journey with Christ and each other toward the cross and beyond this Lenten season.
God Bless You
Blessed be! Today and every day, be thankful! Be courageous! Be humble! Be love! Yes, I said “Be“ Love.
This passage has always made me sad. It’s just a for shadowing of the sadness I felt at reading of Jesus on the cross or experiencing the lamb who is the only one who could open the seven seals. We are to repent! And mean it!
https://www.bible.com/bible/111/lev.16.20-22.niv““When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat. He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the wilderness in the care of someone appointed for the task. The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a remote place; and the man shall release it in the wilderness.”
Leviticus 16:20-22 NIV
Lord Jesus, I thank you for inviting us on this journey. I thank you that those of us who have made it this far or at least this committed to the journey and we thank you for the power we know you will give us to go all the way with you to the cross and glory. Thank you for being the ultimate scapegoat, sacrifice and atonement for our sins. May we be better and may we become more like you. In Jesus precious and holy name we pray, by the power and the gift of the Holy Spirit bestowed upon us by God the father, amen!￼￼
Greetings of peace, love and joy! It’s been a while and I’m hoping to start blogging regularly once more. HMMM… I wonder if anyone noticed I haven’t posted in a while.
Well, it’ll be great to get back in here. A lot of exciting things has been happening as far as passing my interviews for commissioning as a united Methodist deacon, finding the Faith Foster Family Network (3FN) and CrossRoads United Methodist Church and more! I’ve even been certified as a monitored visitation coach for Department of children and family services. For today though, I’m just going to drop a little line of reflection on Psalm 127:1 Dash two. Be wise, be faithful and be courageous until next time!
Life can be tedious, hectic, drama filled and challenging. Life can be joyful, inspirational, amazing and full of laughter. My goal is to remember what Psalm 127:1 tells us: we need to live life on purpose and according to God‘s ultimate purpose. #Psalm127 #YourWillBeDone #ComeHolySpirit #LiveOnPurpose #InVain #NotInVain #LordLeadMe
“Unless the Lord builds a house, its builders labor over it in vain; unless the Lord watches over a city, the watchman stays alert in vain. In vain you get up early and stay up late, working hard to have enough food — yes, he gives sleep to the one he loves.” Psalms 127:1-2 CSB https://www.bible.com/bible/1713/psa.127.1-2.csb-
We are in the second week of Eastertide, and I haven’t blogged in weeks. Lent was so heavy this year. So much death, so much injustice, so much disillusionment and of course so much to do! I know my sufferings were nothing compared to that suffered by our Christ on the cross, but Lord!!! Jesus, it was tough. I hope you made it through intact, and that your struggles, Temptations and blessings remind you of the Jesus who chose us and loves us whoever and wherever we are. I’m praying for us all. It is a season of resurrection, new life and new Hope and I hope you are experiencing just that today.
So, What Do I Have To Say Tonight?
Confirmation Experience 2019 is taking place as a partnership/collaboration between Saint Mark and Holman! These are both united Methodist churches in Los Angeles. Let’s pause for a brief exclamation for those who may not know what Christian Confirmation is. No, it isn’t only for Catholics. (A Question/sentiment I get a lot).
In the United Methodist Church, we believe in infant baptism, because we believe that baptism is a gift of grace from God. Just as God chose us even before we knew to choose God, the infant is baptized into the body of Christ without knowing to choose to do so. However, at some point, everyone must make a choice. So, at adolescence, we have a right of passage where youth choose to accept the grace freely given and accep membership in the church inherited. These beloved young people take a series of classes where they learn about God and the church, receive practical instruction on discipleship and ministry and experience life as members of a community and at the end we pray they choose to become full and active members of the church. The choice is theirs.
Session ONE Is Tomorrow
Session 1 is going to be fun, and if it goes well, it’ll definitely set the tone for the rest of the sessions. It will of course be the longest, because it includes our mission project. The youths and their teams, including a mentor and parent/guardian per youth, will work together to create Manna Bags.These bagsWill comprise of non-perishable items the families can carry with them and pass out as needed when out and about in their cars. Following that, we will have pizza, and then, our first class, which is all about loving together, living together and traveling together will take place. Rather befitting! A huge part of this will be starting off by identifying ways we can pray for one another and our world, be present for each other and those hurting in our world, share our gifts with those who need them, serve each other and others, and bear witness to the grace and the love of God with all we come in contact with. This is all life together, and we hope to impart to our young people and those who surround them with the belief and knowledge that Christianity is an active faith calling for active discipleship and storytelling. We have to know who we are before we can tell others and invite others to travel together with us. So, keep us in your prayers!
Until I Write Again….
Be wise, gentle, courageous, bold, faithful and hopeful. When we seek God, God is found and when we don’t feel the presence of God, let us keep reaching and praying and asking that God reveal God’s self to us. Christ has risen and so too have we. Not fully, but within from the holder of the grave. God bless you.
Greetings of peace and joy to you! It’s been a long day, yet a satisfying one. I was able to collaborate with a colleague from a different church, which I always love. I got to play around with Google forms which, believe it or not, I’ve never done before. I enjoy that kind of thing. And I’m sitting here with a headache and thought Maybe I can skip my blog for today. After all, I’m writing most days for Lent, but not every day. Still, it was on my heart to write and I didn’t have a good reason not to. As my title suggests, The quote is on my mind that those who are successful do what must be done, and realize that certain tasks are eato do but just as easy not to do. If it encourages you that I am right in the trenches with you, it’s worth it! If you’re feeling like life is one never ending series of upcoming events and emergencies and everything is critical, take a deep breath and know I am fighting these battles as well.
Jesus, teach us peace, balance and give that’s proper perspective so that we can run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint,… Or burn out. Amen.
Surprise, I Have Been Reading!
The last couple days, I’ve been spending a lot of time on professional development. I think God for mentors who can bring that perspective and encouragement. So, remember the other day I told you I took the Emotional Quotient, EQ, test? Well, I also started the Leadership 2.0 Book as well. I took the test, because when I have my next coaching call, I want to be able to discuss it. I’m not really going to read that book right away, because I’m going to focus on Sustainable Youth Ministry. I took the test, because when I have my next coaching call, I want to be able to discuss it. It’s nice to know my leadership strengths and areas of challenge. You have to purchase the books to get special codes to take the appraisals/inventories/tests, there may be another way, but I don’t know it. The company sells the test a standalone, I think, but that’s expensive.
In addition, I started, or restarted, Sustainable Youth Ministry. I’m having some fun imagining presenting some of these ideas and plans to our church leader ship! I’m usually amused! basically, the book talks about long-term strategic planning and hiring staff who are steady, educated, dedicated, committed and have leadership capacity. The book recommend strongly against hiring what he calls the superstar youth minister who is young and enthusiastic, but perhaps less skilled Andy gifted. No one wants to hear that it’s going to take time, teamwork and money, but all of these are crucial to a sustainable youth ministry. As one who is interested in growing with and in my position and sustainable discipleship models, I appreciate this book and it’s perspective.
Let Us Pray
God, we love you. When life is hard and we need love and protection, we know you are here. Thank you for joining in with us as we stumble, Walk, run and fly. Thank you for giving your son with whom we journey. There is none like you. May everything we do and say glorify you forever in the mighty name of Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit we pray, amen.
Greetings! How’s your week going? It’s only Tuesday and it’s already Tuesday! I’m not sure about you, but I’ve pretty much did nothing but work today and it’s been pretty fun. We’re ironing out our Easter production and celebration for the children, still getting ready for summer and for Youth Confirmation. I’m not going to speak a lot on any of that, because I have in previous posts and will again. What I’ll do today is upload some of the flyers for the event so you can see and comment if you wish. Some are still works in progress. I’m rather wordy, which you probably noticed. That might be good for blog posting and for sermons, but not so much for flyers. Still, I know I like to get all my information in one place, so I tend to cram it in.
I also took an EQ, emotional intelligence, test today. I did OK. We don’t need to get into that though. I also purchased the book that goes along with that, which is Emotional Intelligence 2.0. I know they’ve been saying for years now that the IQ is less accurate as a predictor of intelligence and success especially for minority populations, but I was amazed at how much more important EQ is. If I remember correctly, it’s something like only 20% of the most successful people had higher IQ versus EQ, or emotional quotient. That’s vital to this period of reflection, repentance and revitalization.
Let Us Pray
Christ, may we all know ourselves and love ourselves as your children, created in your image and capable of greatness! Your will be done. Amen!
Blessings of peace and hope to you! Today is Motivation Monday, and we need it. Today has been a tough one. Yesterday, I went to church as I always do, led Sunday school, worship and hosted youth group, as I always do. We hosted a table after church desplaying all our activities from now through Summer. We hope this visibility and engagement with the with entire congregation will gain enthusiasm and involvement for our youth programs. We need the adults to donate/invest that God’s love and joy may spread. Pray for and with us.
Today, I called one of my youth to check in with her, let her know about the college prep workshop Friday and make sure she will be at the Easter production rehearsal Sunday. I wasn’t thinking about Nipsey or the impact his murder would have on my students who would know more of him than I do. She is the age I was when Tupac was murdered, so once I thought about it, my heartHURT for her.. That was heart-breaking for me, and this is for her. I hope the support I intended came through. I hope I offered the peace and comfort of Christ to her. I hope she sensed my love. I pray the pessimism I sensed from her will pass. When our young men and women continue to kill each other, it is difficult to keep hoping for a brighter tomorrow, but as God never gives up on us, may we never give up either.
When we arrived home–my husband, son and I–we learned about the murder of wrapper and local hero, Nipsey Hussle. We are in lament over the death of this 33 year-old Black entrepreneur who came up on the streets of LA and worked to bring money, opportunity and hope to our inner-city. We often ask why our young and brightest grow up and leave for greener pastures, so to speak, and then something like this happens, and we know. I do not know all the details of what happened and why, but I do know envy, back-stabbing and alienation is the reality of what many face when they choose to be successful and return to pull others up. Returning to South-Central LA from attending college in Monterey, grad school in Pasadena and my first ministry job in Redondo Beach has been challenging. It is not easy, but it is worth it. Jesus, I am sure, thought the same when he returned to Galalee and faced suspicion and rejection.
At times such as these, Psalm 13:1-6 ceaselessly plays in my head. It is the cry of my heart and perhaps yours, too: How Long, LORD! How long will I be rejected, poor, depressed and anxcious? How long will I/we have to struggle through with little view of the sun to come? I would read this to this student to let her know these questions are timeless and they are okay. We have and serve a God strong enough to bear our sarrows. We need to sit in the grief of Good friday and Holy Saturday. We need to support those in the desert with us, because together, we shall overcome.
Lord, I pray we have the patience, peace of mind, assurance and courage to sit in our pain, and then I pray we also have the wisdom to learn from those hard times to ask for what we really need. When we ask, may our hearts be strong and full of conviction so we recieve our blessing, and may we then remember to return to you with praise and thanksgiving. We love you, Almighty God. You will bring us through. You will heal our hearts. You will use us to bring peace and love to this broken world. Walk with us and sit with us. Never leave us. We pray for those who grieve and those who cause the grief. Heal us so that we do not lash out in rage, anger, greed and selfishness to harm others. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!
Praise God In The Storm
May we never forget that the Psalmist moved from How in the first 2 verses to the concrete request for deliverence of verses 3-4 and ultimately the praises of verses 5-6. Whenn 5-6 were prayed, deliverance had not come; the Psalmist BELIEVED/KNEW it would come. Sit first where you are so that when you pass through the waters, you are sure God has been with you and has delivered you mightily.
Breathe deeply, ask God to provide peace, patience and endurance, and remember why we work and strive every day to build the kingdom of God. Lent Is a season of preparing our hearts and minds for Christ death and resurrection; emptying out so that God can fill up. Advent comes before Christmas, end it tends to be more festive and feels more joyful. Both seasons, however, tend to get too hectic and frantic and busy and it is hard to keep the peace and hope of the season. Like Christianity itself, I see this as backward, but in a good way! God does not value what the world values and conversely, Easter is the season that should bring us much joy, because although Jesus being born as human is a critical point in our history, Jesus dying and suffering so that we can have eternal life is why we are here. Lent, perhaps can never be joyful and festive, because the focus is on repentance and on the struggling walk to the cross. But, Easter is a season, not only a day. Easter Season (50 days beginning with Easter Sunday) deserves at least as much joy and recognition as Advent and Christmas.
So today, I am talking to myself as much as other ministers and pastors. I am speaking to parents and teachers and all those who get busy with the practicalities and duties of the holidays. May we all find those moments to be Mary seated at the feet of the Messiah listening and enjoying the word of God and resist the temptation to always be Martha, hard at work. May we be aware of this tendency to do rather than be so that we can resist. How do we balance the two? Trust me, I am no expert, but I know the ONE who is, and I am praying, come Holy Spirit, come!
I am taking a moment away from work and I hope that this post will calm me and bless you. As I prepare for youth confirmation, Easter and into the summer, may I continue to have the wisdom and ability to take these moments to write and keep this discipline. May be a blessing and not another chore to add to the list.
Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.
Passing On The Faith
Speaking on passing our faith down to the next generations, Every summer, Saint Mark LA Host to summer reading program. This year, I have named it Marks of Heroism 2019. We will learn, play and pray together five days a week for six weeks during the summer. Here is the brochure I created. it is one of the fliers and announcements that will be on display after church on Sunday so that more of our church family made yet involved with all that we are doing and all the Holy Spirit is doing through us.
ince I’ve been focusing on our youth confirmation so much these past days, it is not a shock that tonight my heart is set on why we as Christian leaders focus on making disciples for Christ. It took me back to the Old Testament, of course. After a faithful generation rose and served, an unfaithful generation often followed and I was thinking of Joshua here. After Moses and Joshua another generation died, but people forgot about God and failed to follow. Maybe that generation dropped the baton and got too comfortable. I cannot say. I’m sur the situation was entirely too complicated for us to assume we know anything. I do know that our example today can help brighter tomorrow for our children, and create a more hopeless world for our children. So I press on. We press it on.
We plant, water, nurture and reap, yet only God can really produce the harvest.
Let us rest well so that will have the energy, endurance, patience and wisdom to keep doing God’s good work, praying and playing with our children, and loving God above all! Amen.
I confess you as my Lord and Savior, and yet I continue to worry as if you were not. That anxiety continues to be a thorn in my side. I cannot deal with life, this ministry, this parenting thing without you. I know that you are with me; I am not alone. I am struggling to feel worthy, equipped and valued. This shows a lack of faith, because you said I have been created in your image and beloved and I feel like in a real way I reject this assurance. For all my sin, I repent.
Thank you for your patience, wisdom and grace.
Thank you for my family and friends.
Thank you for women’s Bible Study and wise women to learn from and grow wit.
Thank you for everyone reading this blog.
Thank you for the gift of languages.
Please forgive me and continue to mold me into who I am called to be. Please give us the victory as we, in small and large ways, fight for justice, love mercy and to serve with you and all of your children with compassion And grace. For this walk to the cross and beyond, I need an extra dose of your Spirit. And now, please grant a peaceful, restful and Rejuvenating night. May all of the workers of your field wake up in the morning ready and excited for the day ahead. Please grant us your energy and your light so that we can shine for you. In Jesus name I pray, amen!
Greetings of peace and joy! Now, before I get to five of my favorite apps on the journey through LENT, and pretty much any other season, I have a question.
Can anyone tell me why WordPress seems to have me in a time zone in a different country! I’m in California. Today is still Tuesday, but I think WordPress says it’s about 7 o’clock tomorrow morning. Anyway! It’s just been something bugging me and I can’t figure it out even though I turned on location services, so if you know, let me know.
Okay, now to the point of today’s blog post. Here are five apps, most of which I’ve used for years and all of which I like a lot! There are so many threats and risks associated with the strength and variety of technology we have these days, but technology is a blessing, and like all things, it is one people have chosen to abuse in many cases.
What are some apps you wouldn’t want to live without?
i have had this free app for years, and I still enjoy listening to the dramatized Bible on it even though through Audible I found a versiont narrated by famous actors and actresses. It’s part nostalgia I suppose. They also have an app for kids, which is cool!
This may be my most used app. Of course, you can listen to the Bible if you purchased one of the additions. They have all of the books! I listen to personal development, vocational/professional development, fiction and nonfiction, theology and devotional texts and so much more! Of course, I have my favorite narrator including Sandra Burr and Kristine Hvan. My son, husband and I have listened to the entire Harry Potter series a countless number of times. Come on, you have to! Even if not, I’m sure there something you have listened to or read it over and over again.
Part of being successful in a insanely sighted world is being able to locate and utilize the tools, which make vision possible. For me, it’s always been technology. I used to have handheld magnifier’s and then chargeable magnifiers and desktop magnifiers call the CCTV. Now, even if it requires that you carry around a portable charger to recharge your iPhone, they have the high-power magnifiers right in the App Store. How awesome is that! Of course, the flashlight attached comes in handy. There are no words to express how helpful it is to have a magnifier so small and portable and lightweight enough. It is helpful not to have one more device I have to carry around, especially since I’d probably be the stereotypical person who would lose their head if it wasn’t attached to their shoulders. This is the best one I have found since they discontinued the one I was using for years.
This is how I relax. Coming up with words is pretty simple when compared to all the other myriad of decisions we have to make every day. So, perhaps not I will find this earth shattering really exciting, but the wordists amongst us will probably get it! No pressure, play at your own rate or speed, or play with friends, which I don’t usually do.
Last year, I read a book (right???? Big suppressed eyes! LOL) called The Artist Way. In that book, the author encourages creativity. The premise is there is an artist in all of us no matter how technical or stuffy Our jobs might be or our lives might be, we have an artist child with interest. So, she encouraged us to find an outlet we loved. I have always loved Photography. I love music. I love collage is. So, with this app I could combine all three of those, which was really and is really great! So, I, of course, would recommend this app along with any and all of the others on this short list.
I’m Out TIL Tomorrow
As we enter the second half of the Lenten season, I pray that you have an outlet that helps keep the stress away, brings moments of peace and joy into your life, and draws you closer to God and the appreciation of God’s creation. Take care until next time!
blessed fourth week of Lent! I participate in worship leadership weekly, yet only have the honor and joy of preaching a few times a year. I am Minister Of.Children, Youth & Young Families, I usually deliver the Pastoral Prayer and then spend the balance of service making sure our young people are fully engaged in service. This is when I make the scripture activities such as Bible Bingo, and sometimes questions they can answer while listening to the sermon (most usually delivered by Rev. Gary Bernard Williams). Since yesterday was one of those rare days, I decided to take the opportunity to share with you some of what I would’ve shared with my congregation. The link to the MP4 with one of my favorite worship songs (no, I am not singing) and my message are in a link below. I welcome you to listen to that and let me know what you think.
Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David. See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a ruler and commander of the peoples. Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations you do not know will come running to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.” Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’
God is inviting Israel in the eighth century BC to re-enter the Promise Land into remain focused on what is good, pure, life-giving and nurturing. Babylon had been their prison, and much as consumer culture has enthralled billions today, so many of them were inthralled with the idolatry and earthly markers of success of their place and time. Currency and resources were spent on buying and possessing.
Today, we spend money and resources on buying more and more, and on more and more of what will, in the end, kill us, such as junk food instead of healthy food. While all die in the end, there is quality of life to consider highly. We export unhealthy food to those who usually would have eaten from the crops of local farms, and many of our inner-city people have easier and more affordable access to what I called Mess then to the nutrients needed for optimum spiritual, physical and intellectual health. In this section, I quote it from the world health organization and sojourners magazine as well as usin insights gleamed from other theological sources.
My sermon wis about Repentance for individual and collective sin toward God, which is inextricably connected two how we treat each other including the most vulnerable amongst us. We are conversely invited to the table of God where Grace is free, Jesus has already paid for everything on our behalf and everything we consume is good. This is a call and invitation for the church to be hospitable as well, because the church is here as a light on the hill and a foretaste of the Kingdom. Everything else in the message goes back to this core truth. God said come and Jesus continues through the power of the Holy Spirit to say come. By extension, Jesus’ disciples say come to all of those who need to taste and see that the Lord is good.
There is so much mess and clutter in the world. We look for our keys. My son, for one, can’t find his backpack most mornings. We seek approval, acceptance, success and all the rest. Nothings inherently wrong with any of that as long as we remember to seek God first. So, God reminds Israel to seek God in everything they do and that will ensure that they will prosper in the land. They’ve received this message before, but maybe this time it’ll stick. Well, we’re still working on seeking God first. Let us never give up and seeking God first and seeking to do what is right and just.
Guilt is not what God wants from us:
God simply wants us to Repent which is return to God and endeavor to change. This change is possible when we seek true transformation and pray and obey. Lent is a special dedicated opportunity to clean out, rebuild, recommit, and accept God’ invitations to come to the banquet. It is risky. It requires we sit next to people we usually might not sit next to. It requires we admit we have fallen short, which is a hard thing to do. It means excepting we are not the center of anyone’s universe. It means saying no at times to what we really want. The awards, on the other hand, cannot be counted.
If nothing else, being asked to trust God is the most countercultural principle of all. I think, if we could trust God, then the rest of this would probably be easier. I definitely have my moments and those moments definitely need to be repented for. Repentance is the process and practice of emptying out that mess at the cross and making room for abundance. No, not an end to suffering or even hunger, but it opens us to blessings beyond anything imaginable.
We have to choose and constantly make the decision to trust. Faith is something given to us as a gift and when we don’t have it, we pray for it until we do.
As we continue on this journey to the cross and beyond, I pray that you find your faith, that if you have an abundance of faith you keep it and share it. Share your story! Share your savior!
The message can be heard by clicking the link below.
Peace and joy to you! We are approaching the fourth week of Lent! How is it going? As John Wesley would ask, how was it with your soul?
I’ve been blessed to spend the day looking at Isaiah and the prophets and meditating on the word, so my soul is at peace. There still some anxiety, yet faith wins today! They by day!
Joy, Spirit deep joy comes only once spirit/soul deep repentance has happened. Repentance revitalizes, refreshes and returns us to God. So, as I continue to get ready for Sunday’s sermon on Isaiah 55:1-9, where the message will be on delighting in and indulging in food and water from heaven which nourishes, I invite us all to repent in order to make room for rejoice! God bless and happy weekend!
Lord, fill us up and make us whole so that we want no other! Amen!
Engagement anniversaries may not count for most after nearly 12 years of marriage, but we still count.
Marlon and I started dating when I was still in high school. I love him so much and thank God constantly for him. We have a life together I never thought to have and a son together I didn’t know I wanted to have. Now, I know life would be so bleak without them. Thank God for my partner on the journey, Marlon.
Marriage is a bond and promise. It is frustrating and joyful. All of our experiences make us, bring us closer to each other and Christ. I am honored and humbled to be his wife, and help carry his cross/his burdens. It is a good day.
Lord Jesus, your nails mend us together. Your love makes us whole. Your forgiveness demands we forgive ourselves and others as you forgive. Lord, thank you, because you see us, you know us and you love us anyway. So, our life, our work, our rest and play..our everything is yours. We give our all to the one who surrendered all and suffered all for us.
Thank you for walking with us. Thank you for allowing us to walk with you. Thank you for caring our burdens. Thank you for the strength to carry one another’s burdens. May we always love each other as you have loved us. In the name of Jesus, we pray, Amen!
I wonder if I didn’t say anything, would you notice I didn’t post yesterday! Mostly, because my son was out of school, it just slipped my mind that it was even Monday. Still, I got plenty of work done including my worship plan for Sunday, and had dinner with my brother-in-law, who is in from San Franciscot, and the rest of the in-laws. Tacos is always a family favorite though noone makes them quite like Marlon, ask my son! I hope you are all having a great week thus far.
I have to get back to writing these budgets and getting ready for Sunday, but I need it to get to my outlet, which is writing for fun. So, let me talk about a couple of books I am or have read, and influence me.
Festive In Death, by J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts)
Lieutenant eve Dallas is a homicide Lieutenant! She is a victim/survivor of the foster care system around 30 years from now give or take. I don’t want to give away too much of a story in case I’ve wet your intereste, and you’re going to go read this 50 books series! Of course, this is fiction, which allows her to be a super superhero. Nevertheless, she overcomes horrific trauma to become an amazingly dedicated public servant. I can empathize, which is why I identify so much with her and love the series. I, too, grew up in foster care, and it was definitely ugly. I find this example to be both intimidating and inspiring. I can’t figure out if it helps me get to work or if it makes me feel like I’m completely not doing anything. Perhaps both. Still, I’ve read this series over and over again.
I like this book in the series particularly, because it forces Eve to have more balance then she tends to and it forces her to celebrate the holidays, which she would pretty much just let fall by the wayside if it were up to her, or so she’d have us believe. She’s a hard ass, but not brittle. Remember my post of Saturday? If we don’t take a rest, it increases The chances of our being brittle and broken… Well, good thing she has people to give her that same message, because she definitely needs it. My guess is most do; especially if, like me, you’re a Perfectionist/Type A personality.
As Eve gives thanks for Rourke, her husband, I give thanks for Marlon, mine. True LOVE definitely makes a difference and when we find it, we have to hold on tightly especially through treacherous and torturous storms. She is irreverent, belittles even the idea of faith in God and cusses entirely too much… She is imperfect. She lives every day of her life fighting for justice and she definitely knows her WHY. I want that confidence and won’t stop until I have it. Lord, I won’t let you go until and unless you bless me (Genesis 32:26j.
Eat That Frog, by Brian Tracy
Perhaps it was the image of eating a disgusting frog that first got my attention! I love this book and have quoted from it quite a few times on Facebook and Instagram. When I suffer from anxiety, I list everything I need to do and that leads to inactivity, because then I get overwhelmed and anxious and I start to feel so small! It is a vicious and sometimes seemingly endless cycle. Can I get an Amen!
I was just talking to my husband about the fact that I don’t want to take the bus to the gym, work out, then either walk back from or take the bus back from the gym because it takes too long. I realized though that of course I spend so much time worrying about it and worrying about what I have to do that the time I think I’m saving, I’m wasting anyway! During that time, I’m beating myself up for what I’m not doing, and doing things that don’t necessarily need to be prioritized or… So, I have to remind myself daily and multiple times daily to eat that frog.
Which one? Bryan tells us the biggest one, but when everything is vital and urgent, that can’t be that easy to figure out all the time either. So, I am working on it.
What do you think? How do you get unstuck?
Finally, I have been titled Sunday’s sermon Indulge Yourself.
My sermon will actually be on Isaiah 55:1-9, so this is the background text for a series. Lent is a time to unclutter our lives, clean out the junk and mess and return full heartedly to following Christ. Repentance is not a happy emotion in the way we are used to thinking of it, but in repenting, we enter the abundant life. We are invited to indulge in water and bread from heaven, and unlike physical water and bread, when we partake of these, we never hunger or thirst again. I love this promise and I’m comfortable walking and sitting in the reality of the almost and not yet partial for filament of this promise. As long as I am here on earth, I will hunger and thirst again physically and spiritually. I don’t walk perfectly with Christ all the time and sometimes I feel abandoned. Even knowing that I may be doing things to block my blessings does not lessen the anguish of these moments. So , I cry come Holy Spirit, come!
Let Us Pray
God, thank you so much for sending your son to be born and live amongst us, to die and fight for us and to rise up again that we might have eternal life. Thank you Holy Spirit that you continue to walk with us and sit with us and live with us so that we may have the wisdom, courage and compassion of Christ in the world. Thank you that you continue to help us walk in the way of Christ. Jesus, we love you and we praise you. We give you all the honor and glory. Thank you for your sacrifice and for your perfect example. We are not worthy in our own power, and yet, we continue to try and to be our best, because that is what you ask of us. Amen!
See ya Monday! Did you know that Sundays during LENT are considered mini Easters? Now, I know for some, that means whatever you decided to fast from or whatever new behavior/practice you are trying to cultivate to honor God gets halted for a day, but that’s not the way I see it. Take a weekly break from doing good? No! that can’t be right. The mimi Easter is a day in the midst of the contemplation to remember that the Christian walk is one, above all, of joy and hope. So, enjoy tomorrow and make sure to keep Christ first, center and always.
Look, I know I first said I intend it to post daily during the season and I do… Except Sundays. Saturdays might be a little abbreviated as well. It’s a family day, many conferences happen on Saturdays, such as today’s young peoples ministry conference, and then there’s preparing for worship on Sundays. If you also work in ministry in some capacity, you know exactly what I’m talking about! So, I am signing off for the weekend. If we don’t give our minds and souls breaks from time to time, we wind up broken and brittle. Take care. This might help. I am sharing a couple of vacation pictures with you as a way to exude peace and joy.
May God bless you and keep you now and forever!
Oh Wait!!! One More Thing
If you are enjoying my blog, please let me know By liking or commenting. Are you reading? Is the blog resonating with you? Do you have questions? Do you have ideas? Do you sense I am walking along this path of discipleship with you? Maybe you’ll take a moment sometime and let me know what’s on your mind. THANK YOU!
Fight for it Friday! This one, I love, because it is important for me to keep up a fighting spirit. Sometimes, we all get tired of fighting! We get tired of having to point out which should be obvious: that everyone deserves to live without fear; to have access to food and water; be able to earn a living wage, especially if they’ve earned a Master’s Degree in their field; have access to education; to not fear being shot by the police as they’re walking down the street, because of the color of their skin and/or their gender…and the list goes on. Justice is something so many of us have to fight for: for ourselves and for others. So fight for it Friday always reminds me to keep going!
But what can we do? One thing everyone can always do is pray. So many times those prayers open the door to action. Because I love acronyms and the use of this device is helpful for children as well, , I enjoy teaching my students the ACTS prayer.
Let us pray.
Living God, Mighty Savior, Spirit who indwells, I love you!
You are my all and all, and yet, I have failed to live as I ought!I am weak. I gossip about people and used foul language. I lose my temper however I attempt to control my tongue. Fear gets in my way, which proves my faith is not as strong as I wish it were.I need your strength, wisdom and grace. I confess all this and more.
I thank you, Lord, that you know my prayers even before I do. I thank you that you are working on my heart and disposition. I thank you for my family and for my new candidacy Mentor. I thank you for the young people in ministry workshop that is going on tomorrow. Since I know what it is to be hungry, thirsty and without clothing or a home, I thank you that I have all of these (even as the lack of rent control and the reality of rent increase threatens ) and so many other blessings. Thank you! You have blessed me abundantly.
Oh Lord, open our hearts to see the people around us as we journey with you to the cross. Help us persist and prevail. Help us see the value in the work we do for you and others every day. Please continue to provide the food and water, the shelter and spiritual care we need to survive. I pray tonight for those who live without rent control and in fear of losing their residences. I pray for those tonight fighting drug addiction and violence/impulse control and those who love them. Protect women, children and even men at the mercy ofthose without compassion. I ask that you give us the courage, knowledge, skills and heart to fight tonight to fight our demons and to stand along side of those who are fighting others. We need you and we need each other tonight tomorrow and forever. In Jesus precious name by the power of the Holy Spirit and giving all glory to God, I pray, AhMen.
Thankful Thursday is on its way out. There is so much to be thankful for. I observe this day every week, Because even though we may not need a special day or special holiday or special season to be thankful, it helps to have those special times. The truth is that in the stress and drama and hardship, gratitude, joy and contentment have to be intentional. They don’t come quite as naturally are easy as the more negative emotions and emotional states. So, maybe it seems a little Hallmark or hokey to celebrate Thankful Thursday, but I’m going with it! There’s a lot to be thankful for.
So Thankful For
My new mentor.
My resourceful, patient and amusing friend, Ainise.
Great tacos after a long day.
My Bible Study Class.
Of course, there is so much more than these five to be thankful for. I wanted to make a list short and name things that perhaps I don’t mention all the time.
Do you keep a daily gratitude journal? What are you grateful for today?
I mentioned being thankful for my Bible study class tonight, and I am. I highly prioritize being there every week, because the study, fellowship and probing question of how is it with your soul makes Christ real to me in a way I need. This is what the church is for: to nurture, nourish, equip and then… To send us out to share that peace, joy and wisdom with the world.
Specifically, from today’s class, I want to sit with Matthew 5:40 and Matthew 5:45 for a while. Jesus tells the crowd whatever we have done to the least of these we have done to him and conversely what we have failed to do for the least of these we have failed to do for him. So, as Wesley reminds us, John Wesley that is, we not only have to do no harm but as Christians we are best served to do all the good we can do. There is no more powerful message to carry with us on this Lenten journey as we continue struggling forward and pulling others along with us, and from time to time, crawling or tiptoeing or bellying our way up the steep mountain.
Minus the Scripture, HufPostc published this image with a story about a lost autistic child. The lost, last, least
Pope Francis states rather bluntly at this site that hell awaits those who abandon, ignore and add to the plight of the pooR.
Lord, open my eyes and heart to see all the people especially those who are among the last, lost and least by the world standards. No matter how hard it is to look, give me the strength, courage and compassion to look and see and be your instrument of healin, love, justice and mercy in the world. Amen.
“Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all, who brings forth bread from the earth.”
Blessed and chill! Today was rather breezy. I took a long walk, worked on my Easter play, took the unexpected chance to help a child at church with his homework and get a little bonding time in, and I’m feeling pretty good. I hope you are blessed and enjoying growing closer to Christ during this Lenten season.
What is the quote above? Well, I mention that I am writing a play. It is the Easter play for our church’s Children and Youth Easter Production. There are countless ones already out there, but I love to write, I love to create, and I love bringing scripture a lie, so it was important to me to do it myself. It is a play called Emmanuel and it is an adaptation of Luke 24; the Emmaus Experience in those immediately surrounding it. I thought about putting the whole thing here, but who knows, I may publish it! I know, ambitious, right? But why not? I feel great today!
In short, two of Jesus’ followers–not of the 12, now 11, disciples–were walking on the road from Jerusalem. They were mourning Jesus’ death and probably wondering what to do next. and when a man walked up to them and asked what was going on, They had no idea that this was no mere man, more than an angel in disguise, it was Jesus, Emmanuel/God With Us! In fact, they are unaware of who he is until he breaks the bread and he promptly disappears.
The prayer above Was extracted from the same site the photo came from. In fact, I went to the site searching out the quote, because The verse simply says Jesus Broke the bread and gave thanks. This specific Jewish prayer may not have been his prayer, and he definitely didn’t speak it in English, but it is likely similar to one he might have prayed. If you go to the site, by the way, you will see it in Hebrew.
Be hospitable to strangers and everyone for that matter! Mostly though, what I take from this is we only have eyes to see God, the heart to hear and yearn for God when the Holy Spirit blesses us with that perception and wisdom. It is all by grace, and mercy. None of us can be proud or Self righteous. It is Jesus who invites me and invites you on this journey. We cannot follow Jesus to the cross in our own power, by our own good deeds or even our own zealous pursuit of scripture and knowledge. So, God be with us!
Let Us Pray
Jesus, take us with you to the cross and onto final victory. Amen.
Greetings of peace and joy! Yesterday (Monday, March 11), I wrote about all of the blessings in my life. Well, a lot of them! I reflected largely on Philippians 4:8 and took that opportunity to list things in my life that are beautiful and lovely and just and right. I tried to beat midnight, but didn’t quite succeed since I was trying to reach my step goal amongst other things. I know! I know! I like to save these blogs for night time, because I am a night owl and because it allows me to reflect on the day, but that means the occasional missing of deadlines. Still, this isn’t a class and I’m sure you’ll indulge me.
I’m continuing to count my blessings and today I am reflecting upon Phillipians 4:9, which is, of course, the image I left yesterday’s post wit. I want to sit in for a while.
Whatever You Have Learned
I am a teacher, a mother and a disciple of Christ. In all of these roles, I hope to leave a lasting and positive legacy. As the mother of an 11-year-old, I know, for example, it is so easy for our children to imitate our speech and behavior; especially those we’d rather they didn’t. There is no greater joy and pleasure than when I ask my son to pray and he recited a Bible verse or when praying spontaneously prays l for someone who is suffering, because he has seen his mother and his father do so. But those are the kind of examples we want to leave for our students and children. So, whatever others learn from us that is good, worthy, just in Christ centered, let them do those things. As we journey to the cross, people are learning from us. We are the face in the hands and feet of Christ to billions who don’t know him. That is humbling and honoring at the same time.
Whatever You Have Recieved
See, we don’t really know how people see us and what they receive from us. Sometimes, they tell us or we know, but often we don’t. I have to focus on not letting this raise my level of being Zaidi trusting that this song is I do my best and rely on God, God controls what I put out and what is actually received. My prayer is that people receive encouragement, hope, inspiration and a spirit of determination from me. I hope that my love for Jesus is contagious and I leave that behind it as part of my legacy. Of course, most people close to me received plenty of hugs, kisses and jokes along the way, at least when I’m in a good mood! Whatever you receive from me that is good and godly, receive it with joy and pass it on!
Whatever You Have Heard
This one is why I need to control the words that come out of my mouth and the anger that flies off my tongue. Until then, I can hardl pray that those I influence will hear the grace and peace of Christ through me. Help me, Jesus! Still, I trust The Holy Spirit speaks to people through me, because what is needed is a willing and open heart, which I possess. So as I journey along, May my words become wiser, fewer and more life-giving.
How about you, what do those around you hear from you…for better or worse?
Whatever You See In Me
Now, this one can make one self-conscious. If you hear me, you’re already there and that probably at your anxiety. That simply means that I need to reframe and think about this differently. But I’m afraid people seeing me is most often not actually what they see in me. I often wish I could see myself as I see others: with grace, optimism, giving them the benefit of the doubt and through the land of forgiveness and love. We need to remember the times and people have told us The positive the CNS. m
What’s more though, we must all remember that God looks at us and sees someone worth dying for. If I were to leave these words with a congregation as Paul did, I would mean if you saw in me someone who fights for social justice, someone who reaches out to the stranger and widow and someone who can provide comfort to those who mourn, imitate that. I would want my people to see that I am human and in perfect and also see that that’s OK so that they will except for themselves that it is OK to be less than perfect. I would not want them to see how anxious and I’m sure I sometimes am, but then again, seeing that I am locked in those things yet refuse to be ruled by those uncertainties might give courage and endurance and it in so far as that is the case, have at it!
Lord, you see me and you know me and you left me. May I see, no and that as freely and unconditionally. May this journey to the cross we find me and make me more like you. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
Progress not perfection! That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. It’s easy for me to point out why I was NOT successful in controlling myself today, but the point is I was not! I mean, I tried! I was more positive than I have been lately, and I still have a ways to go! As I say when giving the pastoral prayer on Sunday, Holy Spirit, breathe in and speak through me. May your thoughts be my thoughts!
Acts of the Apostles is so inspirational and formational, so of course I’m thinking of acts 1:8!
Today, as I caved to anxieties over work evaluations, confirmation training coming up, planning for Lent and Easter, getting ready for summer reading program and VBS, I needed the peace of Christ, which surpasses all understanding more than ever, but it doesn’t feel particularly accessible to me at this moment. Good thing my faith in God is not reliant upon my feelings.
So, I will wait and pray and trust. I can’t allow doing the work of the church get in the way of doing the work/will of God and being a woman of God. Holy Spirit, fill what I do and am with you.
Right now I feel like crying out with Jacob, though:
The peace, wisdom, assurance, ability and giftedness I need tonight can come by the power of the Holy Spirit. I have the training, the degrees, some of the experience and network, but I need a sign, and tonight, I am praying for and asking for and expecting one.
Obstacles to Thought Management
Headaches (orado in your ailment).
Lack of discipline.
Practice Thought Management: Armor
Pray or thank God every time I th ink something like ouch! my head hurts! If nothing else, that will definitely saturate the pain-filled days with blessedness.
Catch the stubbornness and refused to allow it tonight. Thank a positive affirmation such ass “I am enough” and make a conscious effort not to the future and argue with those who affirm or complement me. That’s a struggle! Worth it when successful.
Believe that /we do, when we do it and why we do it matters. Sometimes, it’s easier or more comfortable, I guess, to convince ourselves that what we do doesn’t matter or can be done by others. It doesn’t matter though, if that is what we are supposed to do, we owe it to ourselves and others to always do our best. So, what are some ways you can pump yourself up when completely unmotivated and feeling completely undisciplined?
The road is not easy. How ever we strive, some days, emotionally and physically, life takes it’s toll on us. The key is to acknowledge, except, resolve that tomorrow will be different, and move on. The journey is too important to give up now! I am going on to perfection. Holy Spirit, in your mercy, hear my prayer!
Thank You, God
For an open and confessing spirit.
Water to drink, falling from the skies and all its life-giving powers.
Zoom and voiceover, which made using this phone more possible.
That I got my 10,000 steps in as well as my Spanish practice and completed my Bible Study for the day. Now, I can sleep and rest and be ready for a brilliant day tomorrow.
Keep your head up, heart open and eyes on the call as we journey with Christ to the Cross and beyond to victory. God bless you.
Love, Peace, Joy, Justice and Hope be yours! First Sunday in the Season of Lent is coming to a close! Our culture puts so much emphasis on New Year’s and New Year’s resolutions, but I honestly feel that the greater chance for purifying our hearts and cleansing our spirits happens during this season. Many of us sacrifice, but we sacrifice nothing compared to the One who sacrificed all for us. In that sacrifice, I gain clarity, hope, restoration of relationship and an ever increasing appreciation for life. I am grateful. I hope as we walk through these 40 days and Sabbath days up to Easter you feel renewed hope, joy, peace, love and commitment to serve the needs of others. Justice and mercy are needed in our World, and when we are nourished, we are better equipped to care for our world.
Be blessed and make sure you leave any comments if you need prayers.
I got you!
Onto today’s topic! As I continued reading Max Lucado’s Be Anxious for Nothing, I was compelled to contemplate and write on this concept of
Thought Management (Ch. 9). I put recurring reminders in my phone reminding me that “I am enough.” Reminding me that “Jesus loves me and so do I.” Positive affirmations and feeding ourselves positive reinforcement may sound cliche and soft, but it is necessary. So, the idea of controlling our thoughts in order to control our destinies and lives is not a new one, but it’s definitely one I haven’t mastered. Max gives wonderful insights for how to make this a practical Goal for those of us who tend to suffer from anxious thoughts and anxiety. I want to use one of his tools, which is breaking down Philippians 4:8 Dash nine. There are others in the chapter and I’m sure I will explore them throughout these days of Lent, but my heart is on these verses, especially verse 8, tonight.
The truth is I am blessed. I have an amazing husband. We have been together since August 11, 1998, married June 30, 2007, and we are still in love. We have a wonderful son and share deep love of God. We pray and play together. Thanks be to God. What is true about you life and blessing?
my job as Minister Of Children, Youth & Young Families is noble. Thanks be to God.
I have the heart, fortitude and ability to fight for what is Right and Just. We need those who fight for what is right our children, immigrants, trafficked populations, ethnic minorities and other marginalized people. Thanks be to God we’re all on the battlefield! Myself included.
My sweet boy asleep.
The smile on my little niece, Kaylee and Savanna’s faces. To only have a girl!! Thank you, God, for these girls. Thank you for all our children. Protect them. Keep them!
My mom, sister’s, brother and many friends have experienced so much pain and suffering. Still, our resilient, fighting spirits are admirable. Thank you, Jesus! May we never give up our give t u!
hard one! I think of the Hymn though “Jesus, Excellent”.
My God! God is creator, Redeemer, savior and judge. God is just, all love, always present. The LORD is my all and all! Thank you for this faith and assurance, O God!
Saturdays are for sleeping in and lazy mornings! Well, not today. Since I did have to wake up early, I can hardly think of a better way to spend the morning than supporting future leaders! Marlon, my husband, and I attended Saint Mark LA’s 28th annual scholarship fundraiser prayer breakfast. The guest speaker was dynamic and inspiring. The testimony from the college graduate who had received a scholarship in the past was heartwarming and a prayer stations were perfect. The food was awesome, but what else can you expect! The black church always could do food!
One of the activities they encouraged at this breakfast was to write notes on index cards, which would be sent to scholarship recipients away at college. You know how homesickness works. So the index cards were on the table and we could write messages. This is crucial considering how many of our young people go away to college and how few of them return to our or even other churches. Remember to let your 20 somethings young Adults and your teams know they are not alone and wherever they go or however far they travel, God is with them and so are we.
And this reminded me of a quote I read yesterday in Max Lakato Be Anxious for Nothing:
“What you have in Christ is greater than anything you don’t have in life.” (Max Lucado AFN Ch. 7)
let us remember as we journey through light so that we can remind our children, youth and young adults, that no matter how challenging and rocky life gets, life with God is better than life or death without God. Let us be that presence of Christ in a broken and hurting world today and every day. Amen!
Thursday, March 7! Today was a productive and blessed day. I mostly worked on preparations for Sunday school. My students are mostly middle school! I created a bingo game for the students for the sermon. I hand these out to students of all ages and their generated bingo cards have words that I expect to be in the sermon so the students can listen out for those and try to get bingo! So, of course, we Collett Bible bingo! They seem to enjoy it so I hope they enjoy it this week. I also created a play based on the sermon text, which will be Numbers 10:29–36. My class will enact this play during the Sunday school hour. I think this is a fun way for them to engage the scripture and work off some of that energy that middle schoolers always have! Help us!
When I get home, the last thing I wanted to do is deal with middle school or’s! Imagine, a gym full of middle school students and their parents and teachers. Well, today was my sons spring recital so of course I went, and of course I’m glad I went. As working mothers and fathers, ministers and teachers, lawyers and doctors, we often forget that we are called to parenthood. Adolescents are really good at communicating that they don’t need us, but nothing could be further from the truth. I know in my heart he will remember perhaps not the specific times I was there, but he will remember that I was there. More wrenchingly, he’d remember if I were not there. So, as we journey to the cross with our children and families, let us be present.
Failure to be be present.
Criticizing too much.
ENJOY THE JOURNEY!
Because Jesus bought our freedom on the cross, every day, by grace, I have a new opportunities to be a better mom, better wife, better sister and daughter, better minister and teacher. Today, repenting of the above listed shortcomings, I was able to do better. We’re now, that is good enough. I am enough. Good night and God bless!
Ash Wednesday is about repenting and humbling self to the creator. God created us from dust, and when our time here on earth is over, to dust we shall return. Thanks to Jesus Christ, that is not the end for believers. When we accept God’s grace and salvation through Christ, we rise up once out time here is over. We go, as Christ did, to be with the Father in paradise. Let us, therefore, take up our crosses and follow Christ to the Cross and into Glory.
What do you need to let go, put down and surrender to God? What do you need to pick up, hold on to and dedicate to God?
Let Go, Put Down and Surrender!
Lazy and weary! I get up late, lay around listening to books about the fictional lives of others, put off reading and creating for work, because I am weary, anxious and depressed. Why doesn’t it all matter enough for me to do more; for me to be more? I repent for I have devalued myself and given you and your children less that I am able. Lord, forgive me, purify me and restore my energy, hope, joy and conference. I have not loved you as you have loved me. I have not treated others as you would, and I have not loved my neighbor as I should love myself. I repent. Let me lay this down and march on to victory.
Anger and Wrath! I yell at my husband and son far more than necessary. I am angry if they talk, when they don’t talk. I want them to enjoy life, but get upset when they roughhouse, tell jokes I don’t understand and snap when they distract me, even if it is from listening to or reading a book I have reread and reread again. I am angry and impatient. I have no self-discipline or self-control at these times, and I repent. I lay this down and ask you to purify me, and give me a heart of joy, patience, engagement and love. I love my family and may the words of my mouth and the deeds I perform let them know this every day. Amen!
Procrastination! I am always afraid that what I do will not be enough, so I do nothing think that once I start a project, it will take too long, and I don’t want to take the time. There are so many messages I tell myself and some message I have not consciously identified. Whatever my rationale, I procrastinate and do not get things done. Please release me of this burden. I lay my procrastination down and pray I will never pick it up again. I need you so much on this one!
Pick-Up, Hold On To and Dedicate to God!
Lord, my poor eyesight, inadequate transportation situation and a mission field with few willing laborers make my job challenging. This is my cross to bear. Help me take up these burdens, use them to your Glory, and make lemoniid out of lemons. Lord, you put me here—this church, this ministry, this neighborhood, this time—for good reasons. Please let me see your plan so that I can more gladly take up these crosses and inspire others to follow.
Hold on! I need to cling closer to my Call and Your Word. Lately though, I have been hardhearted and not being fed by the words I read in Scripture. Help me hold on to You.
My work, my family and my life are dedicated to You. Help me be worthy. May my sacrifices of obedience, loyalty, contrite spirit and prayer be acceptable in Your sight; my rock and my redeemer
Holy Spirit, meet us in our Ash Wednesday worship tonight. We are dust and ashes whom You have redeemed and made holy by the blood of the lamb and through the endowment of the Holy spirit. God, I Adore, and I LOVE You! Thank you that Joy comes in the morning. AhMen!
I am, as you are, part of God’s great story. Writing is my way of putting voice to the chapters of my story. I wrote my first little story in Braille in elementary and have loved writing poetry, articles, short stories and even newsletters ever since. I have always had the feeling I should write a book, but no idea has quite solidified yet. Should I write an autobiography, creative nonfiction, the first Systematic Theology Text by a Black female Methodist? What?? Time to try my hand at blogging!
So, as you know by now, my name is Christy! I am a mother to Shaun, who is 11. I am married to my high school sweetheart and we have a Terrior Puppy! All of us are life-long Californians!
Vocationallly, I am Minister Of Children, Youth & Young Families with Saint Mar, Los Angeles. Concurrently, I am working toward ordination in the United Methodist Church as an Ordained Deacon, called to word, service, justice and compassion ministries. As our children, youth and families grow in faith and receive the vital nurture they need to thrive, they will take their stories out into the street and be the bridge to Christ for a broken world who so strongly needs hope, love and healing. My Master’s In Divinity (M.Div.) from Fuller Theological Seminary (2015) and B.A. in Collaborative Health, Human Services and Public Policy/Social Work reflect my conviction that the Child Welfare System and policies of our nation must be overhauled and our children must be protected and defended and the church has a key role in making sure this work is done.
Much of my childhood was spent in foster care, and so I am dedicated to being the light especially for at-risk youth and young adult populations, but also for all of those whom God sends my way. In 1985 at the age of three, I lost my vision and I’m to this day partially sighted, so I also have a special need to serve as a light for those with physical disabilities who the world often pities and/or shuns. We give lip service to justice for all, including children, the disabled, people o( all sexual orientations and races, but this is not the reality in many cases. So, the fight is going strong for social, political economic and all other forms of justice in the world.
For this, my first blogging attempt, I will journey through Lent with you. Starting Wednesday, which is Ash Wednesday, and leading up to Easter, which falls on April 21 this year, I will post daily on my journey to the cross with Christ and you all. I post pretty regularly on Facebook and Instagram anyway and figure it is time to try my hand at blogging. This is also a spiritual discipline and a way to hold myself accountable to daily reflection on journeying with Christ. My goal is to provide you with solidarity, resources, which will help you along your journey and have a lot of fun in the process. I hope to hear from you as to what you think, what would be more helpful for you, and any prayer requests you may have. May God bless you today and always. Shalom!