The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. ~ Psalm 23:1

One of my favorite books, God is More Than Enough by Dr. Tony Evans, describes explicitly why we need not be afraid… when we trust God. The scriptures referenced below are from Psalm 23:1-6 (NIV).

The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. In this verse… David, the Psalmist, uses the Hebrew word for Lord, which is Yahweh—God’s formal name. Declaring that God is right now present as his shepherd… the One who cares for him and provides everything that he needs.

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters. This describes the normal nature of David as a member of Yahweh’s flock. Safe and protected in His care, forgiven from all anxieties. David is confident of the freedom to enjoy all the simple pleasures that makes up his life—the freshness of the meadow, the coolness of the stream—he feels satisfied beyond his own capacity.

He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. When David is exhausted and weary, Yahweh renews his strength and leads him in the paths of righteousness, pleasantness and peace. So that David can magnify Yahweh’s name as a gracious and merciful God.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  When in the midst of dangers, deep as a valley, dark as a shadow, and dreadful as death itself, David will not give way to his fears. He will trustingly rely upon the Word and promises of God… persuaded that His grace shall comfort him.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Yahweh supplies David with plenty, and a variety of provisions and comforts. While his enemies seeing, envying, and fretting over it—cannot hinder it. With aromatic ointments, David enjoys an abundant portion—signified by his cup overflowing.

Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. David has God’s favor. And due to the blessed and comfortable effects of it, justifiably concludes that God would continue to show him favor. Thus, David rest assured that he shall constantly enjoy the loving commune of worshipping and praising God in his sanctuary—now and in the future. For the divine goodness and mercy that has been following David all the days of his life… would surely follow him into the house of his heavenly Father forever.

As sheeps in the care of Jesus Christ, we know that He will seek and protect those that belong to Him—no matter where they may stray (Luke 15:1-7).

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.

For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe. ~ Deuteronomy 10:17 (NIV)

February is Black History Month or National African American History Month. A time to emphasize the wealth of knowledge passed from generation to generation. An occasion to remember the men and women, who are worthy of celebration. Some whose contributions were ultimate sacrifices—because they had a dreamed. Others who continue the dream—who promote the legacy. Working for a better life for African Americans… for all Americans… for humankind.

As a child of about seven, I remember reading with misty eyes. A story about a little boy who would sneak beside the chimney’s fire—late at night with a tattered primer—because he wasn’t allowed to learn to read. Back then… I couldn’t comprehend why a child was denied the right to read. I was a child and I loved to read. That’s one of my earliest memories of African American history.

So, I feel the passion of Frederick Douglass’ words, “I set out with high hope, and a fixed purpose, at whatever cost of trouble, to learn how to read” (Douglas, 1845, p.29). For a long time… I thought about those words every time I would read something. I understand “an expression of feeling…found its way down my cheek” (p.12) because I feel empathy every time I read Douglass’ autobiography. His words move me with compassion, understanding, and gratefulness.

Frederick Douglass wrote with clarity—eloquent, discerning and expressive—a testament to God’s grace. Hope that took a slave to freedom. Faith that turned illiteracy to literacy. And God’s favor, which flowed in the harshest of circumstances. A remarkable man who experienced an extraordinary journey. A man determined, courageous and inspiring—unapologetically who God created him to be.

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:13

There are times in life when we look around… and those we depended on to encourage us are gone—in need of encouragement themselves—or just not helpful. What shall we do then? Let us remember David’s reaction when he faced difficulties. As David looked around him, he saw nothing but discouragement and despair. No one to encourage him, so… David encouraged himself in the Lord his God (1 Samuel 30:6).

In that moment… when we ask ourselves, “Is it gonna be all right?” On the day, we feel stressed out—thinking we’re too young or too old to accomplish our goals. In that hour, when we hope trouble don’t last always because it seems like every time we get up—we get knocked down. Feeling desperate, afraid, and alone… no one to call on. In times such as those—we must encourage ourselves! Remember Paul and Silas (Acts 16:25) and the wise Elihu, who reminded Job that God gives songs in the night (Job 35:10).

We must turn to our faith and seek God (Psalm 13:5; 1 Samuel 30:8, Philippians 4:6 & 8; 1 Peter 5:7; Ephesians 2:18). Listen to God’s voice and follow (John 10:4; John 10:27). Pray our worries away (Philippians 4:6-7; Isaiah 26:3; 2 Corinthians 10:5; Psalm 105:4). Believe God’s Word and rejoice (Psalm 13:5-6; 1 Samuel 30:9; Psalm 28:7-8; Psalm 56:3; Psalm 42:5; Psalm 16:11; Psalm 105:4; Numbers 6:25; Philippians 4:13 Colossians 1:13-14). Meditate on God’s goodness and His promises… give Him our praises (Psalm 13:6; Psalm 22:5; Psalm 40:1-3; Ephesians 1:3; Ephesians 5:1).

Through praise and worship, in our prayer closet… we find joy and change our focus. We see the situation in a new light. We gain a closer relationship with God, through Jesus Christ. We come to realize that our situation is not strange. We know many others who have come before us and survived… prospered and grew in grace and favor. By God’s mercy, we will too. We will overcome… with testimonies worthy and strong. Hallelujah! We know how to encourage ourselves in the Lord.

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.

In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: ~ Ephesians 1:11

God uses our strengths, weaknesses, heartaches, successes, failures, and experiences to shape our hearts and minds… In order to bring us closer to him and prepare us to fulfill our calling. For a calling is a specific part of our purpose—born out of faith and conviction. Like Paul (Acts 9:15), we too… can hear the call of God. A call that may seem great or small. A call that can affect the life of a single person… or change the world for everyone. A call that is not limited to influential leaders, the educated, the rich, or the famous.

God can call anyone—who need only answer and obey. A courageous, wise, and caring man or woman of faith, can be transformed from ordinary to extraordinary. As he or she personifies the will of God. A man or woman answering the call knows that he or she isn’t self-sufficient because a call requires God’s guidance from beginning to end.

On Monday, January 15, 2018, we pause to acknowledge life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. A man who advanced civil rights using the strategies of nonviolence and civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs.

Dr. King’s I Have a Dream, If vs Though Faith, When Jesus Becomes a Reality (Sermon Jam), Overcoming Discouragement, and Love Your Enemies, along with many other speeches  show his courage, wisdom, and faith.

Thank you, Dr. King. May we remember the dream… as we journey along this way.

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.

Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. ~ Mark 9:23

Scientists estimate the probability of you—being born you—at about 1 in 400 trillion. The chance of you winning the Mega Millions lottery… 1 in 259 million. Those are amazing odds. Yet, here we are… and for those who play the lottery, someone will win. We are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) and none of us are here by chance (Jeremiah 1:5).

For when the mountain seems too high to climb and the task seems impossible. Whether you’re praying for a breakthrough in your personal health… the health of a family member or friend. Or you’re desperately seeking God’s guidance and wisdom because you don’t know which way to turn. Maybe you’re praying for love, peace, and happiness. Perhaps you need a financial blessing. Possibly you’re worried about getting divorced or being married. It could be the salvation and protection of your children that keeps you up at night.

No matter the circumstances you’re facing… keep a godly perspective. Even our challenges serve a purpose (Peter 4:12-13). Continue to pray and trust God, through every situation… because if you can stand the pull… He will pull you out. According to Oswald Chambers, God “will tax the last grain of sand and the remotest star to bless us if we will obey Him”.

So, if things seem impossible—the task unattainable… find wisdom in the words of Nelson Mandela, “It only seems impossible until it’s done.”

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.