The Power of Our Words

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. ~ Ephesians 4:29

Words can communicate infinite meanings. Whether through sign language, written, or in braille… But especially when spoken—words have spiritual energy. Words are powerful! Isaiah 55:11 states, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it (NIV).

Continue reading “The Power of Our Words”

The Nails of Jesus Christ

He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. ~ Matthew 28:6

A simple object—the nail—shows just how powerful Jesus’ death on the cross was for us.  Crucifixion is one of the most painful and excruciating forms of punishment leading to death ever contrived. Jesus’ arms were stretched wide and His feet crossed. Nails… Made of heavy, tapered, square shaped iron about 5-9 inches long were used. One nail was driven in each of His wrists (not as most paintings portray in the hands) and one nail through His feet. In agony Jesus hung His head and died for us.

Continue reading “The Nails of Jesus Christ”

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”

Remembering the Sacrifices: Promoting the Legacy

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.

Continue reading “Remembering the Sacrifices: Promoting the Legacy”

Sometimes You Have to Encourage Yourself

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).

Continue reading “Sometimes You Have to Encourage Yourself”

Answering the Call of God

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.

Continue reading “Answering the Call of God”

Nothing Shall be Impossible to Those that Believe

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).

Continue reading “Nothing Shall be Impossible to Those that Believe”

Behold a New You

Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. ~ Isaiah 43:19

When I was much younger, I was always in a hurry. I’d set goal after goal. Then complain to my brother about how hard I tried, yet… still hadn’t succeeded. One day, my brother looked at me and said… “It’s not by your might, or by your power, but by the Spirit of the Lord… that you will accomplish your goals… read Zechariah 4:6”. He encouraged me to continue to work hard, do what’s right, and trust in the Lord’s timing.

Continue reading “Behold a New You”

You’re Not Forgotten on this Christmas Day

Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? ~ Luke 12:6

This is my first Christmas without my mom. A day that is bittersweet. A day that I count my blessings and give thanks for my life, family, and friends. A day that is entrenched in joy, sadness, grief, love, gratitude, hope, and serenity. As I prayed this morning, I tried to describe to Jesus how I felt… but, no words seemed adequate to express the bundle of emotions gripping my very soul. Then I realized that Jesus didn’t need my words to understand the desires of my heart. So, I cast my cares upon Him, because He cares for me (1 Peter 5:7). Continue reading “You’re Not Forgotten on this Christmas Day”

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”

The Greater Good: Perspective, Promise, & Prayer

And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. ~ Romans 4:21

Years ago, I took a lay theology class. The theologian, who taught the class was fond of saying, “The devil is not creative. He takes what God has given us [to use] for good and finds a way to corrupt it… which leads to sin”. For example; eating is good, but gluttony (Deuteronomy 21:20) is a sin. Love is good, but narcissism (2 Timothy 3:1-9) is not. Continue reading “The Greater Good: Perspective, Promise, & Prayer”

The Favor of Being Graced by God

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: ~ Ephesians 2:8

In our… it’s all about me… self-made state of mind. We sometimes remember that we didn’t make ourselves. In humility, we see our smallness in the vast universe. We thank God for feeling the harmony of life. When the rhythms of this world flow in our favor. In the fiercest storm, we see glimmers of hope. These are the times when we feel the grace of God in our lives. It’s in such moments of clarity, we thank God for His amazing grace.

Continue reading “The Favor of Being Graced by God”

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”

Dealing with Mean-Spirited People: Hurt People Who Hurt People

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, ~ Matthew 6:14

In the book Hurt People Hurt People, lingering childhood hurts and generational patterns of being hurt is what causes people to hurt others. In other words, people who are hurting… hurt other people. Through their mean-spirited behavior… they show how they feel on the inside. Romans 1:28–30, list several mean-spirited behaviors that include malice, gossip, slander, rudeness, heartlessness, and cruelty. It’s inevitable… most of us will meet people driven by such behavior at some point. So, how do we deal with mean-spirited people? Keeping in mind that we’ve all stumbled (James 3:2).

Continue reading “Dealing with Mean-Spirited People: Hurt People Who Hurt People”

Wisdom Abandonment?

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. ~ James 3:17

Is wisdom still valued? We can google for information and have the data in seconds. And the knowledge gained from this data is all well and good. (My apologies to all the elementary school teachers who told me never to begin a sentence with the word ‘And’.) And this quick and ready reservoir of knowledge serves its purpose most of the time. But, how do we engage this knowledge? Does gaining knowledge lead to wisdom?

Continue reading “Wisdom Abandonment?”

God Still Hears the Sinner’s Prayer

The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. ~ Psalm 145:18

Sometimes we forget that God still hears the sinner’s prayer. Cloaked in self-righteousness and a judgmental mind, we forget to remember Mark 2:17. Where Jesus said “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Can we remember when we fell to our knees? Do we recall when Jesus heard our desperate cry for help? Continue reading “God Still Hears the Sinner’s Prayer”

Noblest Dreams are Born in the Struggle

O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. ~ Psalm 34:8

“It is in the quiet crucible of your personal, private sufferings, that your noblest dreams are born, and God’s greatest gifts are given in compensation for what you’ve been through” is a quote from Wintley Phipps. Profound words of wisdom at the beginning of the video It is Well With My Soul.

We often don’t have control over the things that we suffer in this life. The devastation of a natural disaster… The loss of a loved one… The dishonesty of trusted family and friends… Cynicism and heartaches that shake our world and cause us to weep. Nevertheless, when we’ve done all that we know to do. Remember, we still can change our lives and restore our joy. Continue reading “Noblest Dreams are Born in the Struggle”

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”

My Daily Bread

Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: ~ Proverbs 30:8

“Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me my daily bread” a powerful and simple way to interact with the world. Yet, some practices embraced by many Christians, seem to seek bread by the weeks, months, and years. Gluttonous… wasteful excess for personal gratification that lives in the prosperity doctrines found in many churches. An ideology that most often produces greed. Continue reading “My Daily Bread”

The Ephemeral Nature of Life

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1

When a loved one dies, rarely do we feel the time has been long enough. Compounded by circumstances, each bereavement has its own set of griefs. The sorrow of an unexpected death… the sadness from a gradual loss due to illness… can be heartbreaking and soul-wrenching… even, after many wonderful years shared together. Distressing situations, whereby… through our tears, we’re forced to witness the ephemeral nature of life. Continue reading “The Ephemeral Nature of Life”

Be Anxious for Nothing

grunge-2667529_1920Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:6-7

For as long as we live, we face the cares of life. Those thorns that choke the spiritual life (Matthew 13:22) and disrupt our world. Yet, in 1 Peter 5:7, Jesus tells us to cast all our cares upon Him because He cares for us. Whether the struggle is financial, physical, emotional or spiritual… a minor discomfort, an unexpected setback, or a major heartbreak.

In prayer, we make our requests known… then receive the peace that surpasses all understanding. By taking up the shield of faith (Psalm 7:10-17), trusting in Jesus the Saviour (Matthew 8:23-9:13) and thanking God for his provision (Genesis 21-23) we can overcome the cares of life. We can depend on Jesus to preserve our peace of mind.

Even when the cares of life rage into a storm… remember Joshua 1:9, which tells us that God commands Christians to be strong and courageous… not to tremble or be dismayed, because He is with us where ever we go. According to Psalm 46, God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

So, as we wrestle with the cares of life… we might not understand why God permits storms. Yet, we must thank Him… for it is in storms that we learn to trust Him and stand on His word. Psalm 37:4-5, tells us to delight ourselves in the Lord and He will answer our prayers… as we commit our future to Him and trust that He will defend us.

In other words, whatever we need… to overcome the cares of life… even when they become a raging storm… God’s got it. He gives us courage, takes away our fears and leaves us anxious for nothing.

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.

For the Love of God

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. ~ John 3:16

For the love of God, we proclaim, journeying along this way.
Endowing us with wisdom, to love one another, day-by-day.

Let us find grace, peace, and favor in God’s eyesight.
So, that mercy teaches us to think, speak, and do right.

Let us be charitable when we can.
And offer kind words, help, and hope as somebody’s friend.

Let us love our neighbors.
And break bread with strangers seated at our tables.

Let us seek peace, health, and wealth for all.
And not cause others, to feel belittled, downtrodden, or small.

Let us be quick to forgive.
And value everyone, demonstrated, by the life that we live.

Let us have enough joy to not be tense.
And always act, with prudence, gentleness, and good sense.

Let our little light shine for the world to see.
And then shall we declare, our Savior, has set us free.

Let us pray and never lose hope.
And face each challenge knowing, because of our faith, we cope.

Let us count our blessings.
And consider setbacks, heartaches, and failures, as life’s lessons.

Let us be renewed each morning.
And be careful to give God praise, with each sun rising.

For the love of God, we will persist, be happy and do good.
So, that we can live this day as Jesus Christ taught, we all should.

~ by E. L. Louie

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.

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.

Reprobate Silver Shall They Be Called

They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate. ~ Titus 1:16

Apostle Paul stated in Romans 7:21 that he’d discovered… this principle of life… that sometimes, even when he wanted to do what’s right, he inevitably did what’s wrong. That’s human nature. For we’ve all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. That’s why we’ve got a Savior, Jesus Christ. But, what about those who speak untruths and deliberately do evil deeds?

Are their minds reprobated… corrupt and worthless? For, they’ve knowledge of God and His commandments. Still, they live fraudulent lives with little desire to please God. They behave dishonestly and selfishly. Sin’s constantly practiced, justified, and acceptable to them. Their minds tarnished against their faith in God. According to Romans 1:28, God rejects reprobates and leave them to their own devices.

As Christians… we don’t read minds and we can’t judge hearts. Do we dare to gauge the state of a person’s thoughts… based on words and works?  Compare what’s said to what’s done! Do we attempt to decide if actions reflect the Word of God?

Maybe, it’s important to examine the fruits of a person’s labor and the attributes of faith as affirmed by Jesus in Luke 9:1-27. Since, that might be a way to discern, if someone is who they say that they are. Galatians 5:22-23, speaks of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance… as fruits of the Spirit.

For a reprobated mind rejects the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5; 2 Timothy 3:1-8), goes so far in rejection and sin that it ignores the Holy Spirit (Romans 1:18-32), and has no hope (2 Timothy 3:8-9). Those with a reprobated mind have no desire to do what’s right. This fervent desire for wrong… distinguishes the reprobate… from those whom Jesus discussed in Matthew 18:22, who sin, repent, and tries to avoid snares.

However, when words and works don’t agree and fruits are constantly corrupt… who can know a person’s desires, but, them and God? Yet, if God rejects them… reprobate silver shall they be called (Jeremiah 6:30).

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.

Remembering Why… Education Matters

And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. ~ Luke 2:52

Many years ago, a college student asked a philosophy professor, “Why are there no Black philosophers in our textbook?”

The professor’s immediate, casual, self-assured reply sprang forth like a lightning bolt. “Blacks didn’t have time to look up at the heavens and wonder. They were too busy tilling the soil. Struggling with hardships…  Getting to bed early… to get up the next day… to do it all over again! To be a philosopher, you had to have time to reason. Time to ponder man’s complexities and observe the universe around you. It took men of leisure… to gaze up at the starry sky and consider their existence… the scope of the cosmos… with profound insight…”

That student still has that philosophy textbook. However, she seldom opens it up. Oftentimes, she stares at it from across the room. Its prestigious emerald green spine with golden embossed letters perched inconspicuously on the third shelf of a bookcase.

But, this day… she took it off the shelf and thumbed through its pages. Imagining a young girl looking through a majestic windowpane. Her nose pressed confidently against the cool glass. Seeing in and out at the same time. It’s then that she remembers the autobiography of Booker T. Washington.

His words mesmerized, transformed, and filled her with hope. She innately grasped their meanings. Words she memorized years ago. “I determined, when quite a small child, that if I accomplished nothing else in life, I would in some way get enough education to enable me to read common books and newspapers… I was tired, I was hungry, I was everything but discouraged… I delivered my message, which was one of hope and cheer; and from the bottom of my heart I thanked both races for this welcome back to the state that gave me birth.” (Washington, 1901, pp. 27, 49, 319).

The word “education” danced around in her mind…  identified struggles… eased barriers… and gave aspiration to the precious freedom of her ancestors’ dreams.

Education… learned in the streets and down the dirt roads… learned in churches, classrooms, and lecture halls… learned from families, friends, and foes.

Education… questioning fallacies… demanding justice… discerning right from wrong… and choosing good over evil.

Education… revealing the world as it is and as it can be… alleviating poverty… improving health… generating wealth… and increasing prosperity.

For, education had amplified her learning… united knowledge with wisdom through faith… and discerned many nuances.

Abruptly, her reminiscing got interrupted by a knock at the door. She laid the emerald green book with the golden embossed letters down… beside the engraved personalized office name desk plate. She glanced at the letters… Ph.D., exquisitely imprinted behind her name. She smiled, remembering why… education matters.

She stood up and walked over to a window and peered outside. Amazed by the large diverse crowd of students gathered on the University quad… to hear her speak! She walked over to the other window in the room and looked out at the beautiful twilight sky.

Then, she bowed her head and folded her hands in prayer. “Thank you, Jesus, for education. Thank you… for the prayers, hopes, dreams… the courage and actions of those who came before me. So, that even I can look up at the heavens and contemplate the vastness of God’s creation… as my ancestors did!”

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter…