Only Words…

Words fascinate me. They are immortal—unforgettable. Scripture speaks of the power of words—Proverbs 18:21, John 1:1, Matthew 12:36—to name a few. And while a picture is worth a thousand words… it’s words that we use to describe a Picasso… Renoir masterpiece… or a magnificent sunrise. Even our universal language—music—has an alphabet!

Words can be weaponized to destroy or they can be mobilized to safeguard and call into existence good things that are not as though they were. There is inherent power in words; whether written or spoken. Words have the capacity to help, heal, hinder, and hurt—what they do—depends on how we use them.

Words can carry our thoughts across space and time… to those we’ll never meet and places we’ll never go. It’s with our words that we shape reality, form opinions, and express ideas. When we use our words in prayer… they can travel into the future, go behind locked doors into secret rooms and leap over mountains to reach their intended destination and divine purpose.

For it is words that can change hearts and minds. Then, shall we speak kind words? Shall we speak life, love, health, an abundance of well-being and prosperity upon ourselves and others? For words are like mirrors that reflect the images from where they came. Words are like seeds that produce the fruit of its own kind.

“Be careful of the words you say, Keep them short and sweet. You never know, from day to day, Which ones you’ll have to eat.”—Anonymous

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”— Nelson Mandela

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter!

Daunting Options that Led to Courage

Growing up in Greene County, Alabama, I learned early on that the concept of pro-black didn’t mean anti-white or anti any race or culture. It meant having a mind to promote a people who struggled to overcome—a people—who still struggles to overcome injustices. Oftentimes, the idea is misrepresented because of a lack in understanding the historical context. It is essential to remember that many valuable figures throughout history were white men and women who stood with blacks—then and now—in the struggle.

emma_rev_gimore3In recognition of Black History Month, I would be remiss not to recognize an individual whom I considered a friend and mentor, the late Rev. Dr. Thomas E. Gilmore. Rev. Gilmore was the second black sheriff in the state of Alabama and the first black sheriff elected in Greene County. The movie, This Man Stands Alone [a.k.a. Lawman Without A Gun] (1978), portrays Rev. Gilmore’s road to becoming a sheriff in the deep south. Today, the court house square in Eutaw, Alabama is named in his honor.

During my tenure in divinity school, Rev. Gilmore and I discussed much theological dogma, which often led to conversations about Black History. I enjoyed listening to Rev. Gilmore, lift up brave men and women that he knew from the struggle. One such individual was Rev. Frederick Lee “Fred” Shuttlesworth .

Rev. Shuttlesworth led the fight against segregation and other forms of racism as a Baptist minister in Birmingham, Alabama. He was a co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). This summer I visited the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute while back home in Alabama. It was humbling to stand beneath the statue of a man who was such a giant among men.

No one need ever have to apologize for the greatness of who they are. To be uniquely oneself is powerful. Genesis 1:27 affirm that we are created “in God’s image”. As God’s image. . . we should be an official, visible, and comprehensible representation of who God is and what He is really like. Therefore, we should treat others as we wish to be treated (Luke 6:31).

For there are many men and women of great character who have dreamed and practiced what is good. Yet the dream that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. envisioned and the dream that we envision for ourselves—our world—has yet to be fully realized.  Harriet Tubman said, “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”

Living in Alabama, there were things you knew… about the dream… by the time you got to third grade. Even if you weren’t sure whether you learned it at school, church, home or from Uncle Bob. Things like (Oh and yes you knew the dates too):

      • the first slaves were brought to the New World in 1619
      • people of color fueled the cotton industry of 1793
      • abolitionism and the underground Railroad started around 1831
      • civil war and emancipation 1861
      • post–slavery south began in 1865
      • separate but equal 1896
      • NAACP founded in 1909
      • Harlem Renaissance started in 1920
      • Brown v. Board Of Education May 17, 1954
      • Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott, December 1955,
      • Freedom Rides of 1961
      • Birmingham church bombed, 1963
      • “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963 by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
      • Coretta Scott King is from Heiberger, Alabama
      • Civil Rights Act of 1964
      • Selma to Montgomery March in March 1965
      • Voting Rights Act of 1965
      • rise of Black Power Movement late 1960’s & and early 70’s
      • Shirley Chisholm runs for president, 1972
      • Jesse Jackson runs for president, 1984

I’ll stop here… but there’s much more that could be said about Black History through the eyes of a black person who grew up in the 70’s & 80’s in the South. Today… we might have trouble remembering our children’s birthdates—but I bet—we know the assassination dates of John F. Kennedy (Nov. 22, 1963), Malcolm X (Feb. 21, 1965), and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (April 4, 1968).

As an African-American, I love Black History! It’s a legacy. It’s the love of a people who faced daunting options so that others may have choices. It’s the hope of the past, present and future generations. It’s the gift of brave men, women, and children who remind me of the words of Dr. Maya Angelou. . . “Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”

God Bless. . . I am Wiley’s granddaughter.

Don’t Worry—God’s Got This

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. ~ Matthew 6:24

I’d been trying to grasp the unsettling idea for months. A faint, vague notion floating in and out of my mind. It felt like trying to separate oil droplets from water with a toothpick. Or struggling to recall a dream that I no longer remembered. But today, the idea came into sharp focus. And it caused me to search the Scriptures. Grappling with the question, Why do Christians seem to seek the devil for their blessings?

Continue reading “Don’t Worry—God’s Got This”

Living Water Refreshes the Soul

For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul. ~ Jeremiah 31:25

When weather conditions are just right. Each blade of grass sparkles with tiny droplets of water that seems to come from out of nowhere. Seeing dew in the early morning sunshine, reminds me of the refreshing power of God. That unmerited favor—from living water—that can refresh our exhausted souls.

Continue reading “Living Water Refreshes the Soul”

Embraced in God’s Love

But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.~2 Peter 3:18

God reveals himself in ways that defy set patterns, customs or denominational boundaries. He shows up and shows out at His will. There are days when His presence overflows in our lives. It’s as though our spirit leaps for joy inside our physical body. And we feel invincible—connected to the true vine (John 15:1). That’s when we know… that it’s God and He’s making His presence known. This can be expressed through a supernatural event, a quiet personal experience, or a confirmation from others. It’s that place in time… where we flow in harmony with the cosmos and everything seems to work for our good.

Continue reading “Embraced in God’s Love”

Trusting God that I Shall Lack Nothing

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. Continue reading “Trusting God that I Shall Lack Nothing”

Musing the Bond between Fate and Faith

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. ~ Romans 8:28

Fate is a very complex idea. We’re not the sovereign masters of our fate… Only God is sovereign. Even the things that we sometimes call fate is under God’s control. Yet… Scripture doesn’t teach that fate is predetermined and beyond human control. Therefore, we need not feel helpless to change our destiny or fate. We must not take the attitude that… whatever happens, happens… And, we can’t do anything about it. This way of thinking is called fatalism and it’s not biblical.

Continue reading “Musing the Bond between Fate and Faith”

Staying Inspired for Good Works

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: ~ Hebrews 10:24 

One of the best ways to inspire others… is to let them see that we’re inspired. But, staying inspired as we grow older is much easier said than done. Every disappointment, heartache, or failure chips away at our inspiration. Yet, there are those who manage to stay inspired and do good works.

Continue reading “Staying Inspired for Good Works”

Kindness is Contagious

With lovingkindness have I drawn thee. ~ Jeremiah 31:3

Kindness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. It’s expressed when you genuinely act friendly, generous, or considerate. It involves compassion, tender concern, and uprightness in both thoughtfulness of heart and thoughtfulness of action.

What’s interesting about kindness is that it always involves an action. For God’s kindness gave us salvation (Titus 3:4-5; Romans 2:4; 11:22). In kindness, God provides green pastures, quiet waters, and the renewal of our minds when we’re exhausted (Psalm 23:2-3). God’s kindness leads Him to gather us under His wings, protect us and keep us close to Him in His everlasting abiding love (Psalm 17:8; 36:7; 61:4; Matthew 23:37; John 3:16). Continue reading “Kindness is Contagious”

Brave Cowards  

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”  ― Nelson Mandela

Yesterday, the idea… “Brave men and women without honor and cowardly men and women with honor all look the same, because they either do the wrong thing or they do nothing… which results in the wrong thing”. I grappled with the simplicity of the idea, confident there was philosophical and spiritual aspects that went far beyond my comprehension.

After thinking about it for a while, I thought to take a closer look at the terms, “brave”, “cowardly”, and “honor” in hopes of more insight.

Brave – having or showing mental or moral strength to face danger, fear, or difficulty.

Cowardly – being, resembling, or befitting a coward. Here, coward refers to one who shows disgraceful fear or timidity.

Honor – good name or public esteem :  reputation :  a showing of usually merited respect.

When I felt the concept “brave cowards” materializing in my mind. At first the phrase seemed too contradictory. I kept asking God… am I understanding correctly? Can such an oxymoron as “brave cowards” make sense? Then I was reminded of, 1 Corinthians 2:5,  That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

Is there such a thing as brave cowards? Maybe there are! Maybe brave cowards are just those men and women, who overcome their cowardly ways by rejecting that which is wrong. Maybe brave cowards… sometime act honorable, because they think of others and do what is right. If only for a moment… or a lifetime… or eternity…

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.

Jesus is My Rock

Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? ≈ Matthew 21:42

Lord… You’re my rock, my salvation, and my everything. As I looked back over my life – from where you’ve brought me from, I couldn’t stop praising You. Who would have ever thought… little ‘O’ me? I give You… God, all my praises, in Jesus name. Thank You for the Holy Spirit. I’m grateful. I’m blessed. Thank You for favor. Please grant a special blessing to everyone who watches the short video below.

The short video segment is part of the message that was shared with Zion Brush Creek Missionary Baptist Church, where Reverend Samuel Ezell is the pastor and Mrs. Shirley Ezell is first lady. Thanks to Pastor Ezell and the church family for allowing me the opportunity to speak the word of God with them. I mentioned Super Soul Sunday in the video, because I watch the program all the time and appreciate the messages that are shared by the guests. I’m thankful that Oprah Winfrey shared her personal story in one of the broadcasts. It was inspiring.

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.

Reading Reflection: Multiply

Below is my reading reflection on Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples by Francis Chan and Mark Beuving.

Introduction

Francis Chan is a pastor and church planter based in San MultiplyimageFrancisco, while Mark Beuving is an associate professor of interdisciplinary studies at Eternity Bible College. Their book Multiply: has a statement by David Platt that summarizes the essence of the entire book, which is… “being a disciple of Jesus Christ has always been to make more disciples”.[1] The goal of the book is to help individuals understand Scripture and provide the tools to disciple others.[2] There are two requests by the authors to the reader, which are “teach what is learned and share life—not just information”.[3] A summary and evaluation are included in this reading reflection.

Summary
Multiply is divided in five sections with a final visionary chapter. Section one illustrates what it means to live as a disciple maker. The authors explain that the term disciple refers to an apprentice or student that follows after Jesus Christ in order to be like Him.[4] Jesus gave the command to make more disciples with the instructions in the Great Commission according to Matthew 28:16-20. “A disciple is a disciple maker.”[5] According to the authors the heart of a disciple maker realizes that only teaching is dangerous, love must come first and then teach by examples.[6]

            Section two discusses life in the church. The authors affirm that this is a challenge for Western culture because of self-identification with individualism; nevertheless, Christians must learn to fulfill their call to disciple through the God ordained vehicle the church.[7] Disciples must learn to devote their skills to the members of their local church because it is a responsibility to challenge, love, and serve each other.[8] Additionally, disciples are to take God’s redemptive plan out of their local church communities into every town, city, country and continent on planet earth through collaboration, before the end.[9]

         keep reading!