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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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Tell The Truth Tuesday: Holy Tuesday

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!

https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=https://2b2gdzjtaey3o01p41qinbri-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/img_0302-700×400.jpg&imgrefurl=https://juicyecumenism.com/2016/02/10/hillary-wesley-reagan-lincoln/&tbnid=ZXu6Ik3sfIXvMM&vet=1&docid=e1pa3nkuGKFBCM&w=700&h=400&q=Wesley+do+all+the+good+you+can+quote+image&hl=en&source=sh/x/

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?

Matthew 25:35 NLT

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.

Matthew 25:40, NLT

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.

Matthew 25:42, NLT

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

Matthew 25:45, NLT

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!

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Give Up Scapegoating for Lent

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!

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Confirmation: choosing A Savior Who Already Chose Us

Greetings of peace and joy!

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 Flyer

Created by Ainise ‘Isama’u
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 bags Will 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!

1Timothy 4:12. Respect the wisdom of the young when the wisdom is God-given.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.

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Making Young Disciples During Lent & Easter

Alpha and Omega - Pass It On
Alpha And Omega

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

Marks of Heroism Brochure, by Christy Ann Clark 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.

SJudges 2:8,10 after Joshua and his generation died, Israel reverted to their old sinful way.

Judges 2:8.10

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.

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If We Are What We Read, What And Who Am I?

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)

Festive In Death Book Cover Amazon

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.

Wrestle with God. God can take it!
Pinterest images for Genesis 32:26

Eat That Frog, by Brian Tracy

Eat That Frog is a book, which has helped me fight my procrastination tendencies. I’m not good at procrastinating, and hate that I’ve developed that habit lately.Eat That Frog Cover

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.

If it’s your job to eat frogs, eat the biggest one. If it’s your job to eat two frogs, eat the biggest one first. – Mark TwainThis quote from Mark Twain inspired the title
  • What do you think? How do you get unstuck?

Finally, I have been titled Sunday’s sermon Indulge Yourself.

Returned to me with all your heart. With fasting. With weeping. With mourning.Bible greeting card for Joel 2:12-13

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!

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Fight With Prayer

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!

Acts Prayer
St. Vincent de Paul

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.

Adoration

Living God, Mighty Savior, Spirit who indwells, I love you!

Confession

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.

Thanksgiving

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.

Supplication

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 of those 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.

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I Need A Stronger Lightbulb So I Shine Brighter

Matthew 5:14 this part of the sermon on the mount. The whole sermon is on how to be the light of the world and about God‘s presence with us in the struggle
Bible.com

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.

I, like Paul, want to set a worthy example so that those who hear from and see me will learn from and follow my example and find price

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!

I Think I Can Think I Can

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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.

True

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?

Noble

my job as Minister Of Children, Youth & Young Families is noble. Thanks be to God.

Right

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.

Pure

My sweet boy asleep.

Lovely

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!

Admirable

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!

Excelente

hard one! I think of the Hymn though “Jesus, Excellent”.

Praise-Worthy

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!

… And the journey continues. Let us walk on.

Blogging to Easter: My intro to Blogging

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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!