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Motivation Monday: What About Suffering?

Commissioned UMC Deacon #ForSuchATimeAsThis

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.

Job 2:4-5, NLT.

Dear Sisters & Brothers

Sisters and brothers, #JesusLovesYouAndSoDoI #Job245 #Job2 #RejectTheLies #BlessingsAndCurses #NoEasyAnswers #NotAlone #LordInYourMercy #BlackLivesMatter #RebukeSatan #HoldOn #IllStandByYou #BlackLivesMatter

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Holy Week 2020 Motivation Monday: Light and Love

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.

Image for Matthew 22:39

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

Text image for John 12:46, from Bible.com

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.

“I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark” (John 12:46, NLT). https://www.bible.com/bible/116/jhn.12.46.nlt

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.

Image for Matthew 22:36–40 from Bible.com

“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!

Monday Prayer

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!

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Knowledge Is Power;; Wisdom Is blessing; Coronavirus Resources for California & Beyond

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.

these resources

Colorful letters on a purple background saying resources for coping with COVID-19

Resources for California and Some Beyond

National Domestic Abuse Live Chat Website: – https://www.thehotline.org/2013/11/14/live-chat-services-have-arrived/

California Health Corps (volunteer and hire for medical personnel):
https://covid19.ca.gov/healthcorps/

Unemployment Programs:
State of California Employment Development Department (EDD)
https://www.edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019.htm

IRS Economic Impact Relief Program:
https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus

SBA Small Business Loans:
https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans

General Info (including shelters) : Call 311

Representative of California’s 37th Congressional District, Karen Bass: 323-965-1422

General CountyInformation in LA: https://covid19.lacounty.gov/

For Testing Appointments – https://covid19.lacounty.gov/testing/

For housing and homelessness questions and information , and to obtain resources, call 211 or go to the site: https://covid19.lacounty.gov/covid19-2/homelessness-and-housing/

Congresswoman, Maxine Waters (Rep. of 43 District):
323-757-8900

California Govener, Gavin Newsom: https://www.gov.ca.gov/916-445-2841

Centers For Disease Contro (CDC):
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html

Up-To-Date CA Resources, COVID-19 cases, ets.
https://covid19.ca.gov/

Control What You Can

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

Isaiah 43::2 text

“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);

My Prayer

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!