Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Blessed beyond the curse

Blessed beyond the curse
(penned 3/21/14)

I was listening to Israel Houghton last night, and one of the phrases he uttered was that we were “blessed beyond the curse.”  Now, I have been listening to Israel for years, have probably heard that line dozens of times, but this time the seed found fertile ground because it kept rolling around in my mind until bedtime and is still with me.  So as with most of the “words” that the Lord ministers to me, I unload it onto paper.

I didn’t even recognize that I had asked the Lord for its meaning, because almost immediately after “receiving” that word into my spirit did explanations and examples start pouring out.

The first one was Saul and David.  Although Saul had sinned in the eyes of the Lord, and the Lord had begun to send him troubling spirits and various forms of madness, he was still an anointed man of God, and David recognized that fact.  Even when David had ample reasons and opportunities to avenge the wrongdoing Saul had perpetrated against him, David acknowledged that his was not the hand to come against God’s anointed.  Even though the Lord Himself had sent curses against Saul, those curses still did not outweigh His blessing on Saul’s life.

Another example is the Hebrew boys, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.  Those boys were blessed and anointed to carry out God’s plan.  They recognized this, and even came against the highest authority in the land, King Nebuchadnezzar, in recognition of this fact.  They let the king know that they served the God of Heaven, and would by no means serve or bow down to any other god, and whatever curse or punishment was meted out, that would neither change their stance nor their minds.  They even went to so far as to tell the king, “Even if He doesn’t save us from the fiery furnace, we will still never bow to your image.”  Well, we all know what happened after that!  Those boys were so anointed that not only did they survive the furnace, burning up their enemies in the process, but the very Son of God stopped by to be with them in their time of need.  Now THAT’s blessed beyond the curse!

I’ll give one more example, the apostle Paul.  Even though this man, as Saul, committed some of the most heinous hate crimes against the Christians of his day, his life was still anointed to become one of the most prolific writers of the Bible.  His works and words today influence so much of what we do and say as the “new” church of Jesus Christ.  His physical life as Saul you could say was cursed by misunderstandings, hatred, prejudice, small-mindedness, etc., yet the blessing of the destiny God had already preordained for him out-weighed all that to bring his life and life’s work, to its rightful conclusion.

Are you living under the shadow of a curse right now?  Has your life taken such a wrong turn that you cannot see your way clear?  Have things gotten so dark and gloomy that you can’t even see the tunnel, much less the light at the end of it?  My friend, don’t despair.  You are a Word of God, spoken into existence to fulfill your purpose, and you know that God’s word does not return to Him empty, not accomplishing what it was sent to accomplish!  Keep reading His Word.  Keep speaking words of encouragement to yourself.  Keep putting one foot in front of the other.  Keep forgiving.  Keep loving.  Keep smiling.  Keep being the vessel of God He has called you to be.  When it’s all said and done, your blessing beyond the momentary “curse” will shine through.  I know it seems unbearable at the moment, that the burden seems too heavy and you have no more tears, but thanks be to God who not only gives us the victory, but always causes us to triumph.  He reminds us that with every temptation, He has given us a way out, so that we will bear the temporary afflictions that come our way.    Keep your head up, and your face to the Holy Spirit.  Seek Him while He may be found, call on Him while He is near.  And when He is silent, don’t believe that enemy’s lies that He has forsaken you (He will NEVER, EVER do that!), but stay the course and pass the test, knowing that He is still by your side, watching your every move, prepared to jump in if you go too far afield.

Always remember that you are blessed beyond the curse, that your life is not for naught, you were created for a purpose, and God’s got your back!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Wake Up And Get A Life!

Originally published October 2, 2009

Wake Up And Get A Life!

Scripture focus is Faith. This lesson deals with the woman with the issue of blood as recorded in Mark 5:25-29.

"And there was a woman in the crowd who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal from many doctors through the years and had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she was worse. She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched the fringe of his robe. For she thought to herself, "If I can just touch his clothing, I will be healed." Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel that she had been healed!"

Many wonderful lessons have been taught from this scripture on the woman's faith in the healing power of Jesus, and her temerity, and many of us have benefited from those lessons. Today however, I would like to shift the focus a little and go back to the beginning of the story rather than focus on the end so that some of us who are currently struggling may finally turn toward the Holy Spirit's tapping on our shoulders, trying to redirect us.

The Bible tells us that not only had she suffered from the hemorrhage for twelve years, but she also suffered at the hand of the many doctors she has visited, seeking help. How many of us use Jesus as our last resort for help? (I know, I know, if you can't say "Amen" say "Ouch!"). Some of our problems today could have been solved a long time ago if we had not only gone to Jesus first, but followed the instructions He laid out for the solution.

Many of us feel that just because we live in a certain neighborhood, work in a certain type of environment, send our children to certain types of schools, run with a certain type of crowd, that these surroundings give us the excuse to become "undercover" Christians. We don't shout like we used to, we don't dare praise God openly, and to dance for the Lord in the open, in the presence of unbelievers, has become unthinkable.

Some of us are running from the very commandment we've all been given, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." We feel that just because we don't have the official title of preacher that this is not our responsibility. Do you realize that just openly thanking God for a sale price on a necessity is a form of preaching the gospel? You're letting those around you know that you serve a God Who is so into the little details that He set aside an item according to your current situation (your manna, if you will), and you are letting Him know that you are grateful.

We are letting the world dictate to us how we should praise the very God who created it! We, who have insight into how amazing He really is, are allowing those ignorant of His grace, mercy and love to tell us where and when we should show our devotion and appreciation. We're allowing the "doctors" of the world to drain us of the very power Jesus left for us to use to heal the sick, free the captive, and deliver the bound. We're turning to the atheist for advice on how to word a prayer "politically correctly." The devil is a liar!!!

When are we going to realize that Jesus is passing by and standing by looking cute is not going to get it? Follow the example of the woman, who said, in essence, "Bump all o' y'all, I'm gon' get mine!" Following the world's example and living by the world's rules for so long, only got her so far. In truth, the Word says, that she got worse. How many of our situations (now looking back with 20/20 vision) have gotten worse just because we did "what the doctor said" instead of "what THE DOCTOR said?"

Saints, it's time to become disentangled from the enemy's web of lies. We must extricate ourselves from those who seek to keep us in a downtrodden state simply because they're afraid to praise God openly. We've been given the victory in Jesus and denying Him openly is denying this very victory. It's been given to us; it's a gift, so why would we forfeit a fabulous gift just because it doesn't "go with everything else?" Please, get a grip!

Get a Life! And you know I'm right!

Boldly going in Jesus Name, where none have gone before!

The Psalmist. 

Obedience tested

Originally published September 3, 2009

Obedience Tested

Daniel 3 (NLT)
Nebuchadnezzar’s Gold Statue
1 King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue ninety feet tall and nine feet wide and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. 2 Then he sent messages to the high officers, officials, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates, and all the provincial officials to come to the dedication of the statue he had set up. 3 So all these officials came and stood before the statue King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
4 Then a herald shouted out, “People of all races and nations and languages, listen to the king’s command! 5 When you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes, and other musical instruments, bow to the ground to worship King Nebuchadnezzar’s gold statue. 6 Anyone who refuses to obey will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.”
7 So at the sound of the musical instruments, all the people, whatever their race or nation or language, bowed to the ground and worshiped the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
8 But some of the astrologers went to the king and informed on the Jews. 9 They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “Long live the king! 10 You issued a decree requiring all the people to bow down and worship the gold statue when they hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes, and other musical instruments. 11 That decree also states that those who refuse to obey must be thrown into a blazing furnace. 12 But there are some Jews—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—whom you have put in charge of the province of Babylon. They pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They refuse to serve your gods and do not worship the gold statue you have set up.”
13 Then Nebuchadnezzar flew into a rage and ordered that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought before him. When they were brought in, 14 Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you refuse to serve my gods or to worship the gold statue I have set up? 15 I will give you one more chance to bow down and worship the statue I have made when you hear the sound of the musical instruments. But if you refuse, you will be thrown immediately into the blazing furnace. And then what god will be able to rescue you from my power?”
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. 18 But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”
The Blazing Furnace
19 Nebuchadnezzar was so furious with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face became distorted with rage. He commanded that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual. 20 Then he ordered some of the strongest men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So they tied them up and threw them into the furnace, fully dressed in their pants, turbans, robes, and other garments. 22 And because the king, in his anger, had demanded such a hot fire in the furnace, the flames killed the soldiers as they threw the three men in. 23 So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, securely tied, fell into the roaring flames.
24 But suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, “Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?”
“Yes, Your Majesty, we certainly did,” they replied.
25 “Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted. “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!”
26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came as close as he could to the door of the flaming furnace and shouted: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!”
So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stepped out of the fire. 27 Then the high officers, officials, governors, and advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke!
28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel to rescue his servants who trusted in him. They defied the king’s command and were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore, I make this decree: If any people, whatever their race or nation or language, speak a word against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they will be torn limb from limb, and their houses will be turned into heaps of rubble. There is no other god who can rescue like this!”
30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to even higher positions in the province of Babylon.
This present economic state has so many of us going through valleys, some of us have almost given up looking for the mountaintop experiences that are inevitably supposed to flank each valley experience. The road ahead looks so bleak, we think the light up ahead is only that of another truck barreling toward us to do us harm. Let's face it, life can look really grim when your finances are in question. Let's be real about this.Some of us know that God is our source and the job is our resource, but some days it's really difficult to tell our flesh to be quiet and stop griping! We want the creature comforts. We've gotten used to certain luxuries and will fight hard to hold onto them We may even compromise our standards just to hold onto some of those creature comforts to which we have become so accustomed. Sad part about that is, after the compromise has been made, the consequences are often much more dire than that for which we bargained.So then we go right back into the dark cycle we just exited. Let's take a lesson from the four Hebrew boys and stand firm, even in the midst of the hottest fire of our lives; we have to believe with every fiber of our being, and when that belief fails, we have to beg God to help our unbelief and help us hang on with that mustard seed of faith He gave to us.
V. 4: "Then a herald shouted out, “People of all races and nations and languages, listen to the king’s command!" Even when the laws go out for the country, or the rules go out for the company, or the leaders create a new policy, if it goes against what God has decreed, be prepared to take a stand that may cost you everything. Everyone else may line up with what “they” say, but if you have to stand alone, follow the instructions to the Corinthians and “come out from among them.” If you are acting in obedience to God, then stand, even if it is alone.


V. 8: "But some of the astrologers went to the king and informed on the Jews." There will always be informers, reporters, gossips, and backbiters who are watching your every move, waiting to pounce on your first mistake. Be encouraged that if you’re walking upright before the Lord, let them talk all they want; only God’s Word will stand at the end.
V. 16: "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you." You do not need to argue, debate or defend your position or stance; God will do it for you, as long as you remain obedient to His Word.
Because of your refusal to bow to satan’s will, he will throw a fit! He will try to kill you, literally or figuratively, but however he comes at you, his aim is to take you out! Be prepared for the fight of your life! Be assured, however, the fight is not one where you battle the enemy on his terms; the battle will be against your own flesh wanting to rise up in retaliation to the attack. Again follow the example of the Hebrew boys and continue in your obedience to God. Let God do the fighting for you. Only He can defeat the enemy on every hand in an all-out war.
V. 24-25: "But suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, “Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?” “Yes, Your Majesty, we certainly did,” they replied.“Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted. “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!” Rest assured though that even in the midst of this firestorm, you won’t be alone. Even your enemies will see God walking with you, and be astounded as he helps you make it through this firestorm. While you serve God under the current assault against your obedience, you will find your freedom restored—you’ll be able to walk around unfettered, unencumbered, unbound and unconcerned, even in the midst of the worst storm you’ve ever encountered.
V. 27: "They didn’t even smell of smoke!" When you finally emerge, no one will even find evidence that you were in the fight of your life. Those around you, friends and enemies, who know you were going through a trial, will crowd around wondering how you made it over. You will be so engrossed in your obedience to God, the very ones who attacked you will be the ones who will have to call you out of the furnace; you won’t even be aware that the trouble and immediate threat that was supposed to have put you under has passed!
And then! Even the heathen, the witches, the sorcerers, the purveyors of the very evil that tried to take you out, will have to admit that not only is there a GOD, but that the very GOD you serve, to Whom you have been so obedient, to Whom all honor, glory, dominion, power, strength, prayer and praise belong, is GOD and GOD alone! Then and only then will promotion come. And not the type of promotion that comes from a job (although that may come as well, if you serve the GOD Who gives most liberally), but the kind of spiritual promotion that even man will recognize as favor. That’s when people will start to ask “well, where did you come from? Seems like you just “appeared” out of the woodwork.” This from the same ones who just saw you emerge from the fire. Check the record. Ask Moses, Abram, Elijah, Joshua, Paul, Peter...they all went through a “fiery furnace” before their promotion.
So know that you do not go through a trial for no reason. God does not allow needless suffering. He doesn’t like to have His children suffer, but sometimes our disobedience brings about consequences that He as a Father, although His heart breaks at our suffering, knows that this suffering will drive us closer to Him. All He can do is wait until we have reached the point where we turn to Him and listen to Him alone. He doesn’t like the suffering any more than we do, but He knows that it will bring about the best result in the final analysis.
There are also the circumstances where we have been obedient (look at Job!), but we need our focus to be “kicked up a notch” and a firestorm is the only way to “kick” us out of a place of comfort. Again, God doesn’t like the suffering, but as in the other circumstance, He is there every step of the way, guiding us and waiting for us to look to Him for the way out, or at least the comfort while the storm is raging around us. Our obedience in the midst of each and every circumstance will either grow or wane, depending on our faith and focus.
God has given to each of us a measure of faith, and He is the Author and Finisher (or Perfecter) of that faith, so it would make sense to go to Him to help make that faith grow and carry us through each circumstance in life. Sadly, not all will do that, and the end result for those who fail to go to God will be confusion and resentment because they do not see the reason for the suffering. But it is those who go through each trial with their eyes focused on Jesus who will see the victory. They may not get an immediate answer, but the peace that accompanies their journey will be the proof that God has been there at every turn. God is a Rewarder of them who diligently seek Him, and our obedience is part of the evidence of us seeking Him. It is up to us to cultivate and nurture our obedience, so that we do not even consider disobedience as a viable option. Not saying it’s easy, but it’s not impossible, and with the help of the Comforter and Guide—the Holy Spirit—it can be done.
The Psalmist


(originally published May 8, 2009)

Sometimes... feel like you just can't take some of the things that life lobs at you anymore. J'ever have one of those days, weeks, or seeming lifetimes? It's been one of those "quarters." Oh, it's nothing big, but how many of you already know that sometimes it's the multitude of little, itty-bitty, nuisances that add up to the push that takes you over the edge? Things like annoying people picking at you, or just one more truck swerving in front of you, or one more nasty comment from that co-worker you can't stand anyway, or one more phone call where all "they" want to talk about it themselves and ignore the despair in your voice. You know, those kind of times where it's not a major storm, just the accumulation of tiny clouds that eventually block out the sun. Not a major hurricane, just a tropical depression. Recognize the signs?

 Been there too many times to count, yet today, here I stand ready to face the world again, despite the numerous times I've allowed it to push me to my knees. My secret? Letting it push me to my knees and not onto my back. See, when I find that I'm weakening, and can't stand up under the pressures anymore, I go to my knees, and the Lord invariably meets me there. Whether I'm on my knees literally or figuratively, My GOD knows when I am in need of a tangible bit of evidence of His Presence. I've read, heard and said so many times that "He promised that He would never leave nor forsake me," but too many times my focus is pulled away from that promise and doubt tries to take over and make me believe that He's left. But I KNOW that's impossible, 'cause I'm His child and this Daddy doesn't leave!

How am I reassured? Well, each time it's different, because even though He most often speaks to me through music, it's not always to music that I turn. Yes, I may eventually get to the point where I begin to sing again, but it isn't always the first step. I remember when I used to rush around, asking everyone to pray for me, or for a "Word." Thank God that I've grown some since those times. I know now to lean not to my own understanding, but to go where He leads me. Sometimes it is directly to the Written Word. Sometimes it's to another saint to encourage them. Sometimes it's to a known unsaved soul to encourage them. Wherever I'm led, He meets me there and encourages me during my own journey.

I may not like the potholes, but I continue on the road,
Jesus walks beside me, shouldering the load.
Moving forward, step by step to I-know-not-where.
May not like the view, but the company's beyond compare!


Friday, August 12, 2016

Drop or Hang?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Drop or Hang?

I remember seeing a poster some years ago of a kitten hanging on to the end of a rope. The caption read, "Hang in there!" As I considered that caption, I realized that there is more to it for a lot of us. Sometimes 'hanging in there' isn't the best answer, sometimes letting go is what needs to be done. Either way, wisdom has to prevail. The Bible teaches us that wisdom is the principal thing, but that we aren't to lean to our own understanding, but acknowledge God in all our ways so that He can direct our steps. That's where I picked up the rest of the message.

Although what we do all boils down to obedience or disobedience to God's Word and Voice, our faith in that Word and Voice will often determine our level of obedience or disobedience. Take the example of that kitten on that rope. Picture yourself in that kitten's place---barely hanging on. Now you can do one of two things: you can tie a knot in that rope and hang on for dear life, or you can let go. The only way you're going to know beforehand which choice is better is by asking the Lord for His Help. Only He will know what the outcome will be and which outcome is best for you. See, there's the wisdom (yours for looking to His).

You may be wondering, okay, that's really easy looking in from the outside, but no, really, think about this...since God knows what's going to happen anyway, and He only thinks good thoughts towards us, then He always has our good at heart. Now don't get this twisted, the outcome may be for our good, and the actual journey may be extremely painful, but that doesn't mean the decision was wrong, it just means it's going to take tenacity to get to the other side.

Anyway, back to our "kitten" situation. You may think that just letting go may be the best solution, I mean, kittens land on their feet, right? Well, the poster didn't show what was below the kitten. For all we know, there could have been a pool of sharks swimming around below, just out of frame. We also have no idea how long the kitten has been hanging on to that rope, so fatigue may be a major factor. Regardless, we can't just happen upon a scene and make snap decisions about decisions; there is always more to "it" than what our eyes can see. My point is that only God can tell us what we really should do, and to find that out, we have to ask Him. This is where our faith and our obedience really kick in. God may tell us that although we see a pool of sharks below, He wants us to let go. Or, although there may be soft grass just inches below, He may tell us to hang on. The directive offered may seem absurd to our natural eyes, but faith doesn't look through natural eyes.

Remember when I said that our level of obedience or disobedience is all determined by our faith or lack of it? If we believe God, believe on His Word, believe in His Will for our lives, then we'll be obedient. If our faith and belief waver, so too will our obedience. Our level of commitment to follow the teachings of Christ will affect our faith and therefore our level and immediacy of obedience. Not saying it's easy, never will I claim that, but it's easier than making decisions on our own, with no insight or assistance whatsoever.

Yeah, decisions to 'hang in there' or 'just let go' are often life-changing decisions, no doubt, but with the help of the Holy Spirit and the teachings of Jesus Christ, our decisions don't have to be "blind." If we ask God for help, we hear His Answer, and we follow what He says to the letter, we can't go wrong. Others may not get it, but the decision isn't theirs and they don't have to live with the consequences of disobedience (well, maybe they do, but that will be their decision). No matter what it may look like from the outside, as long as the decision is God-led, the outcome will be glorious. Now that's wisdom!

Lovingly posted,
The Psalmist

A God Encounter!

Monday, November 3, 2008

A God Encounter!

About a year ago, I was flipping through channels and happened upon the last half of a movie I think was called "Lunch with Jesus." I have been looking for that movie ever since because the very idea intrigued me on a deeper level than just casual movie-viewing. If you know the title or actors, or can point me in that direction, I'd really appreciate it . Anyway, today, I think I had my own "Breakfast with Jesus." Before I go on, I want to ask a question: have you ever wondered why, out of nowhere, you get the motivation to go somewhere, or do something so different that you stop and wonder, "Okay, Lord, what's this You're getting me into?" Well, this morning was one of those...

I have been getting over a sinus infection and wasn't feeling very well, so my plan for my day-off was just to stay in bed and nurse my aching head. Besides the pain, I've had no appetite (which, if anyone knows me, that's when I know I'm really sick!). This is relevant because, out of nowhere (so I thought) I suddenly had this craving for biscuits with sausage gravy, hash browns and scrambled eggs. This is highly, extremely unusual because 1. when I'm sick, I usually crave soup, 2. when I'm sick there's no way I'm in the mood to cook or eat any of this kind of stuff, and 3. I am not a breakfast person. Also, it was around 11:00 in the morning, well past breakfast time (but who out there knows that when you crave something, time of day doesn't matter?).

Anyway, since I wasn't in the mood to cook, but this craving kept hounding me, I dragged myself out of bed and decided to go out for a late breakfast. The dilemma was, who served breakfast this late and wasn't too far away from home? Bob Evans! They were about five minutes from home and they definitely did sausage gravy! Okay, that should have clued me in right there, because I haven't been to Bob Evans in about two and a half years, even though it's on my way to and from almost everywhere.

Okay, so I'm at Bob Evans and beginning to peruse the menu. Now remember what I was craving? Why is there something called a "Country Biscuit Breakfast" with everything I wanted, nothing more, nothing less, for under $5?!?!? Hint number 2--okay, that one helped me clue in that something wonderful was going to happen. So I just sat back to enjoy my breakfast and wait for whatever it was. Sure enough, as soon as I took my first bite, the woman in the booth across from me said, "Excuse me, but my granddaughter just looked over at your table and said, 'Yum, Grammy, yummm.' " I looked over and there is this adorable toddler beaming at me. Well, she (the grandmother) and I struck up a conversation throughout our meals and came to find out that she is starting a movies-with-a-message ministry, called, get this, "Steel Magnolias," only my favorite movie in the whole world!

Now, those of you who don't know me yet, I am a real movie buff, and my outspoken nature about the content of most of the movies out there has more than gotten on the nerves of many, yet I know there are more like me who feel the same way. What goes in, comes out, and that definitely goes for movies! Why would you want to pay good money to watch a movie that curses at you, shows you enough gore to make you want to never eat again, and flaunts that which is sacred for all the world to see? You're offended by it (or should be) when you see or hear it on the street or in your everyday interactions for free, so why pay for it??? I have written movie reviews that either recommend or dissuade viewing. I try to be as honest as possible, not hiding my feelings on whatever the subject matter of the movie...but I digress...

This woman and I sat and talked after we had finished eating for another half-hour or so about the goodness of the Lord and the various ministries in which the both of us were involved, and the only reason I left was because I was still not feeling well physically. My spirit was so refreshed and there was a genuine smile on my face that hadn't been there for a good minute. She prayed for me and promised to contact me, and invited me to their next gathering. I know where her church is, so I definitely intend to visit. Now you tell me, was that a set-up or what? There you have it, my period of encouragement brought to me by none other than the Lord Himself!

Lovingly shared,
The Psalmist

Yes, we can! And YES, WE DID!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Yes, we can! And YES, WE DID!

Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” -- Numbers 13:30

In the wake of this most historic election, in the midst of the cheers, tears, dances, praises and other forms of celebration, let us not forget to pray for the man who now carries a most amazing responsibility on his shoulders. We have prayed and fasted to get him into office, now we have to continue to pray and fast, and even more so, to keep his spirit refreshed, his mind renewed, his family supportive, and all the help he can use, because he is going to need it, now more than ever!

He has inspired me. I am one of the most apolitical people you will probably ever meet. I don’t follow parties, candidates, elections, none of that because I can’t stand politics in any form. I didn’t see or hear any of President-elect Obama’s speeches, hear or see Michelle Obama’s speeches when she came to our city, I just wasn’t interested. Now, before any of you stone me, understand that I’m tired of being lied to and having dealt with enough office politics and government officials first-hand, I washed my hands of the whole lot of them. I only know about the election because it was being forced down my throat by the media and well-wishing friends and family. In fact, I didn't even watch the election results, I simply turned on the TV the next morning and there it was.
What politicians do may ultimately affect some aspects of my life, but what I do with my life is still between God and me. Remember, God allowed Israel to have kings when they craved (read: coveted) what someone else had, against His own advice. They pestered Him until God said, and I paraphrase, "Okay, but you're going to pay for it." God never intended for us to be under anyone else’s rule but His, and we have been paying for it ever since. This doesn’t mean that I won’t be praying, and will continue to pray, for whomever is in office or whomever may be dropped into my spirit, but I will not do it simply because a group of people says I should. So there you have it, whether or not you continue to read this post is now your option, just as I have used this blog as my option to voice my own feelings.

As I said, Barack Obama has inspired me, simply by not giving in to convention (no pun intended). Just like within the Israelite camp, there were so many nay-sayers, even among his so-called supporters, yet he pressed on, and gained the prize for which he set out. Just like Moses, he could have given up at the outset, and not even run for senator, but he did that and found a higher goal to pursue. Just like Joshua and Caleb, he could have let society’s labels and statistics and traditions hold him back, but He didn’t, he said, “Yes we can,” and Yes, he did! I hope this catches on as a new expression.
Among some African-Americans, there is an expression, often used in disgust and disbelief that I hope gets replaced. You know the one: “Oh no, he didn’t!”
...Well honey, uhm, YES HE DID!

Lovingly submitted,
The Psalmist

Lord Jesus, help me to do that...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Lord Jesus, help me to do that...

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. -- Philippians 4:8 NLT

I have always had an issue with letting go. Whether it be physical, emotional or spiritual things, I have a hard time giving them up. I've sat in seminars, read books, studied Bible chapters, prayed, fasted, journaled, you name it, I've tried it, and yet, for some reason, as the Bible says, "like a dog returning to its own vomit," I go right back to it, the old habit, the old hurt, the same way of doing things. Don't get me wrong, some things have changed, and I have managed to get rid of quite a few vices, but there are still some things on which the Lord is working out in me.

Let me make it concrete - I have a hard time letting go of past hurts. I used to have a problem with forgiveness and all that went along with it, and now I'm to the point where I can forgive and even allow the people who committed the offenses back into my life, but right now, the Lord and I are still working on my revisiting past hurts. Small offenses, of course, are easier; I'm talking about the deep rooted pain that came from misdeeds against me in my childhood on through my adult years.

There are some people I've encountered who tell me it's so easy to forgive, who say, 'you have to forgive because Jesus says to,' that they don't have a problem with forgiving. These people I approach with caution, simply because I have a hard time believing them because often their actions speak otherwise. I do know that there are some people who forgive more easily than I and they are able to get past the past more quickly than I. Because I see how they are able to do that, I believe not only what they tell me, but I pay closest attention to their advice because, frankly, they're walking their talk. It's the other ones who spout so much advice and their walk belies their stories I stay away from.

See, I'm like most people, I like practical advice. If I hear you say it's easy to do something, yet I see you struggling with it yourself, I'm not going to believe you. On the other hand, if you tell me that you were able to get through something that you thought was going to be easy, that you encountered some obstacles along the way, that you cried or fought, or basically acted like the human being you are, and then you tell me how you did it, and how you are able to still forgive and get past the pain, then I'm more likely to listen to your story and advice.

So here I am, back again, struggling to get past some hurts that were perpetrated against me some time ago. I have gotten to the point where I can pray for the offenders and I can actually say (and believe) that I forgive them. Now, because the offense had such a profound effect on my life, I am trying to actually get past the hurt. I know I eventually will; it may take many years, or it may take a few months, but I am confident that it will happen.

This post came about because I was reading a book and a familiar phrase came up in one of the final chapters. It said, "if you hold on to the hurt of the past, you're just allowing that person to hurt you all over again." I've heard that phrase so many times before, but in that moment, it really hit home. I'd allowed the pain to get so deep that it affected every area of my life. And to make it worse, I kept revisiting it over and over and over again, even to the point of vowing that I would never forgive the perpetrators.

Well, now that the incidents are in the past and I no longer have any direct association with the perpetrators, I am trying to heal, and the forgiveness was the first step. I've taken that step, and now I have to stop revisiting the site of the hurt. That's where the scripture reference comes into play. Do you remember hearing some wise older person say to you at some point, "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all?" Well, that's how I'm healing. Instead of thinking of the bad that was done and constantly spewing venom about it, I now counter those un-Godly thoughts and words with life-infused visions and phrases. When my mind wants to revisit those past hurts and I feel that familiar tightening in my chest, I either let the tears flow and keep my mouth shut, or instead of cursing them, I ask God to forgive me for my own vile thoughts and I thank Him that I made it through alive.

It's been a hard journey, but the Holy Spirit has been with me the entire time, weeping with me, holding me, encouraging me, speaking peace to me and walking me through it. One day, I'll be able to speak about the past without crying or feeling any anger or bitterness, but until then, "The Lord is my Shepherd...He leads me beside still waters, He restores my soul..."
Lovingly submitted,
The Psalmist