Writing


I wrote this piece for our church newsletter back in February 2001.  I felt led to do so after reading essays that had been submitted by our youth for a Black History Month Essay contest and realized there was some bitterness that needed to be addressed.  I feel led to share it again.  So, here goes!

 introspection

No doubt about it, we as a people, have come a “mighty long way”.  We have a history that is as rich with loss as it is with triumph.  We have shed tears of joy as well as agony.  Many would ask the question, “Why so much pain…so much injustice…so much intolerance…such abuse…such a struggle?”  Why did we, as a people, have to sacrifice so much?  When we ask questions such as these we have a responsibility as Christians to look a little deeper.

You see, looking a little deeper is not an easy thing to do.  Yet, it is required of anyone who has a true, living and thriving relationship with God.  Looking a little deeper may cause you to see the work of the adversary for what it really is…a way to destroy your life, your past, your heart and your soul.  Looking a little deeper will have us questioning what kind of effects (un-Godly effects) the adversary’s work has had on us.

Has the pain made us blind to the pain of others not of our own race?  Has the injustice justified our own sins against those whom we perceive to be the cause of our pain?  Has the intolerance afforded us the ability to tolerate bitterness in our own hearts?  Have the abuses prompted us to allow an unforgiving spirit to reside in our souls?  Has the struggle brought you closer to God in your actions or has it caused you to sin mercilessly against Him?  Has the struggle been in vain?  We can only answer this question after we have taken a deeper look- a look with our spiritual eyes.  I can’t answer for you, nor can you answer for me.  The answer to this question is as personal as your relationship with God.

So, as we take time to consider the sacrifices of those who have gone before us, we must also look a little deeper into our own lives…our own past…our own hearts…our own souls.  If you start to feel at least a little insecure…look a little deeper….The Holy Spirit will show you a cross…and a savior…and your soul shall find rest as you realize…there was a purpose…and a plan…all along.

My son, keep your father’s [God-given] commandment and forsake not the law of [God] your mother [taught you].  Bind them continually upon your heart and tie them about your neck.  When you go, they [the words of your parents’ God] shall lead you; when you sleep, they shall keep you; and when you waken, they shall talk with you.

Proverbs 6: 20-22

It is so important to immerse ourselves in God’s words, His will, and His way.  I think a lot of times we have failed to realize the creative and life-giving power of His Word.  After all, how did God create our environment?  He spoke words and heaven and earth were created as well as plants and animals, etc.  We need to carry on in His pattern and speak life to our situations, circumstances, and each other.  We learn how to do that by digging into the Word of God and keeping it in our hearts, minds, and even in our mouths.  We need to sleep, eat, drink, and speak the Word of God- that’s called meditating on the Word.  When we do this, we’ll find it easier to be led by the Holy Spirit thus resulting in protection and wisdom amongst many other benefits. Do you want to travel highways of pleasantness and paths of peace even through the worst of circumstances?  Try engrafting your heart with edification- God’s Words.  Then you’ll begin to travel the road ahead of you assuredly….”When you go, they [the words of your parents’ God] shall lead you; when you sleep, they shall keep you; and when you waken, they shall talk with you.”

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 

Philippians 4:8 NIV

 

This verse really struck me today.  Probably because quite a few times in the past week, I’ve actually caught myself thinking negatively and have quit as soon as I realized it, and used my mind to go in the opposite direction.  For instance, I could have been thinking about a loved one driving a car, then my thoughts would trail off into that person having an accident, visions of the accident scene- who responded to it, the subsequent fight for life and death at the hospital, who would be called in what order, etc. – and sometimes all of this drama even has a soundtrack… my own private little mini-drama for one. 

Why do we use our imagination like that?  I must say I have done it all my life.  But why?  Why do we torment ourselves with a million different scenarios that could possibly occur but haven’t occurred ?  Life is tough enough- just putting yourself through the tragedy of whatever your mind throws at you is extra wear and tear for the soul.   No good can come of it.  However, what if we consciously made an effort to utilize our God-given imagination?

What if we used that imagination to think “good thoughts”?  That same mind that so easily churned out thoughts of a horrible car accident and a loved one fighting for their life can be redirected in seeing that loved one as safe and protected as they go along their way.  It can envision strong angels surrounding that loved one as they go about their business and the mercy of God hovering over them all the days of their life.  That God-given imagination can be used to see that loved one traveling highways of pleasantness and paths of peace.  Once again, the choice is up to us. 

Now, how about that?  We can actually choose what to think and how to think.  I didn’t always know that.  Thank God for the revelation of it!  Have I mastered it yet? – Oh, noooo!  Will I keep on working on it?- Ooooh, yes!  Why?  Because the word of God tells me to and I have every confidence it is the best for me- because my Daddy wants nothing but the best for me.

So, the next time your mind tries to get you wrapped up in a horrendous melodrama- take the time to nip it in the bud – that’s right!  Just cut it off…but don’t stop there!  Take the time to replace it with a promise from the Word of God.  If you can’t think of a promise regarding the mini-drama in your head, just pull out the Word and find one!  That way, you can be prepared the next time that “melodrama” tries to play in your theatre!  Remember, it’s up to you to choose which thought is going to be the trailer and which will be the blockbuster with star-billing.  Make the right choice and be blessed!

I was just sitting here reminiscing about roller coasters and me.  An acquaintance mentioned that she was building roller coasters.  I laughed and commented that it sounded like fun.  Then went on to say that I hadn’t ridden a roller coaster in years.  I gave them up a long time ago because they made me miserable!  I would be in the midst of a ride, hanging on for dear life and wanting to kick myself for getting on the silly thing in the first place.  Why did I do it to myself?  Because I had the opportunity and opportunities like that didn’t come along often.  Then, of course, sometimes, I felt pressured to ride them… other times, it just seemed like it would be great fun, although deep down inside I knew better! Finally, the time came when I said, “No!” to roller coasters.  It was simply not worth it to me!  Why go through the agony just to say you did it.  What does it matter, when it’s all said and done?  I don’t enjoy roller coasters.  It’s no crime. 

Some might say I gained wisdom and a backbone.  Others might say I just wimped out.  I say I took a stand for what was right for me… over something seemingly insignificant- after all, it’s not like I go to an amusement park everyday of my life!  But, I say “despise not small beginnings“.  We have to start making right choices for ourselves sometime in life.  Well, we don’t have to, but it is needful.  Start making a stand for yourself on some of the smaller things which will help you when it’s time to make a stand for something that’s really important.  Don’t just fall in with the gang when you know you will regret it.  Exercise your freedom to make a choice!  God has made us all free agents and we don’t have to do anything just because the gang wants to.  There should come a time when we stop worrying about what our peers will say about us or think about us if we don’t agree with whatever they think is right.  You have to be your own person.  Friends, co-workers, and, even, family are not responsible for the choices you make for your life.  The benefits and the consequences of your choices belong to you.  They may affect others (and usually do), but the responsiblity remains with you.  If you’ll practice with smaller things, it will be easier when it comes time to stand your ground on something of the utmost importance.  

Skillful and Godly wisdom is always calling out to us.  From reading Proverbs, it becomes obvious that God wants us travel highways of pleasantness and paths of peace. He desperately wants to get the wisdom to us, but it’s up to us if we’ll do what it takes to tune into it.  If you’re one who’s easily swayed by the opinions of others, you’re going to have a difficult time grasping onto God’s wisdom.  What’s the point of hearing wisdom, if you ignore it- if you choose to go the way all your friends are going …when you know deep down inside God is telling you to go another way…  Wisdom is wasted on the foolish.  Maybe, it’s time to get off the roller coaster?

Here’s a ride to consider. Have you ever sat back and thought about the roller coaster of love?  I’m not talking about the kind of Love I often write about on this blog.  I’m not speaking of the Agape or God kind of Love.  I’m speaking of the fast, easy, convenient, loose kind of stuff many people ( mistakenly)  call love.  The kind where there’s no real committment and no real concern for the others well-being.  That selfish help me out right now kind of stuff that never really works out.  No matter how prettily it was dressed up. You know the stuff… if you haven’t had the opportunity to take a ride on that roller coaster then count yourself blessed.  You don’t have to.  Godly Wisdom has another way.  The perfect plan.  It’s the best plan.  Yet for some reason, even in a lot of churches, it is looked upon as not being relevant or realistic for today’s youth…today’s adults… today’s church… oh, I certainly don’t mean to imply that sentiment is coming from the pulpit.  What I mean is amongst the masses that sit in the congregations Sunday after Sunday, I’ve seen too many who don’t think God is concerned about their sex life.  They’re sitting in the pews, they’re lifting up holy hands, they’re praising and worshipping God, and are some of the first ones to speak about God whenever they are going through a storm.  Yet, they think nothing of shacking up with that boyfriend or girlfriend or just having a little activity with a good friend and sometimes even having sex with people to whom they are not even committed.  Come on now, that’s a roller coaster that will take you somewhere you don’t want to go- very quickly!  It’s time to get some Godly Wisdom here!  How can you expect anything better for your children, when you’re setting an example that is so much less than wise.  Godly Wisdom tells us that the act of making love is part of the marriage covenant.  Something to be beautifully expressed between a husband and his wife….a wife and her husband- period!  Anything else is simply riding a carnival ride- no joke.  Except, this ride has consequences that can mess you up for quite a while. Given time, there’s always a harvest on a seed that’s sown.  Foolish acts may be causing you to reap a lot of misery and drama you just can’t seem to get rid of.  Perhaps you just don’t see the link…   Wisdom is wasted on the foolish…but It’s your choice whether or not to be a fool. 

Be Blessed!

Highways of pleasantness and paths of peace have really struck a chord with me…who wouldn’t want to travel those ways?  Why aren’t more of us traveling those ways instead of traveling hard roads filled with DRAMA? 

 It’s not just the “world” that’s riding the drama train.  I’ve seen time and again, bible toting, born-again Christians, living lives riddled with everything except peace. I’m convinced it is due to a lack of acceptance of the reality of God’s Wisdom, His Word, and His provision.  Many trust God for their salvation but they don’t know how to trust Him for healing, for wholeness, for financial provision, for restoration of those things ( including relationships) that were torn apart by the enemy… they don’t comprehend the magnitude of His Love and the scope of what He’s done through our Lord, Jesus.   

He’s not only arranged a way for us to have eternal Life, He’s provided us with the way to have abundance in every area of our lives!  We shouldn’t think for one minute that God is satisfied with us settling for less than His best.  He is an abundant, over-flowing, so much more-than-enough God!  He’s provided His children with the Blessing… however it’s up to each one of us to go after that and grab hold to it.  It’s up to us to pursue God and all that He’s provided for us. 

The common go- to- church- because- it’s- good- for- ya, or maybe, because -that’s- the- way- I- was- raised attitude will get you no where.  You won’t get far on highways of pleasantness and paths of peace with that attitude.  It’s going to take an all-out passion for God to get you on these roads.  However, that passion won’t get you anywhere if you don’t marry it to diligence, patience, and faith.  If you’ll marry these things together along with walking in Love, you’ll have the start of something big….  the start of a Journey that’s worth taking.  So what are you waiting for?… Let the travels begin.

Happy (blessed, fortunate, enviable) is the man who finds skillful and godly Wisdom, and the man who gets understanding [drawing it forth from God’s Word and life’s experiences],   For the gaining of it is better than the gaining of silver, and the profit of it better than fine gold.  Skillful and godly Wisdom is more precious than rubies; and nothing you can wish for is to be compared to her.  Length of days is in her right hand, and in her left hand are riches and honor.  Her ways are highways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.  She is a tree of life to those who lay hold on her; and happy (blessed, fortunate, to be envied) is everyone who holds her fast.

My son, let them not escape from your sight, but keep sound and godly Wisdom and discretion,  And they will be life to your inner self, and a gracious ornament to your neck (your outer self).  Then you will walk in your way securely and in confident trust, and you shall not dash your foot or stumble.  When you lie down, you shall not be afraid; yes, you shall lie down, and your sleep shall be sweet.  Be not afraid of sudden terror and panic, nor of the stormy blast or the storm and ruin of the wicked when it comes [for you will be guiltless], For the Lord shall be your confidence, firm and strong, and shall keep your foot from being caught [in a trap or some hidden danger]. 

 Proverbs 3:13-18; 21-26

These verses are taken from the 3rd chapter of the book of Proverbs.  I just had to write about them because they list some of the many benefits of pursuing Godly Wisdom.  Feel like being happy, blessed, fortunate, and even enviable?  Then try drawing understanding from a combination of  God’s Word and life’s experiences.  The gaining of this understanding is better than the gaining of silver and the profit better than that of fine gold!  How’s your longevity?  Length of days and honor and riches come hand -in -hand  with this Skillful and Godly Wisdom.  Who couldn’t use a long and satisfying life?  No need to duck out quickly!  The wisdom of God will give you a long life that you’re excited about living.   Why not ride on highways of pleasantness and take your walks on paths of peace?  Wisdom is calling. 

These benefits are too great to pass up for a man of discernment.  People of discernment will not let Wisdom out of their sight.  The Word says, “let them not escape from your sight”. That means to hold Wisdom and discretion captive -always seeking them and not being satisfied unless they are in your view.  Set your eyes on Wisdom and never let it go.  It’s going to bring life to your spirit (the real you) and it’s also going to make your outer self look pretty good as well.  Now, that’s a definite plus!  My goodness, it will even help you to get some rest! I love for my sleep to be sweet.  There’s nothing like having a peaceful sleep- that makes for a good and restful sleep.  No troubles to worry about!- that’s not to say you won’t have any troubles or “storms”- it’s just to say you won’t have to worry about them.  There is a sincere confidence that comes from pursuing God and His Wisdom.  Seek and ye shall find…draw near to Him and He’ll draw near to you.  He’s always eager for our attention, our passion and our love…always.  He hungers for an intimate relationship with each of us.  That intimate relationship will lead you on a journey that’s more exciting and fulfilling than you’ve ever dreamed….and you can have confidence that’s sure and ready as you travel those highways of pleasantness and walk securely those paths of peace. 

Whew!  It’s been a long time since I posted anything!  Well, that certainly needs to change and the change begins today… I was reading in the book of Proverbs the other day and the thought struck me to do something with it on my blog.  Proverbs is one of my favorite books of the Bible.  It is so cut and dry and filled with the wisdom of God.  It gives you tips and pointers on how to act.  Basically, it tells you how to live your life…what are some of the pitfalls to look out for…how to raise your kids…how to have a happy home…how to conduct yourself in various situations… what to value… what to stay away from… etc.  I love it!  Everyone is interested in pointers on how to have a better life!  The Book of Proverbs is definitely a place to start.  It’s like the Dear Abby of the bible except it’s all the answers without the questions. 

Why is the book of Proverbs in the bible?  The answer to that question can be found in the first chapter:

The Proverbs (truths obscurely expressed, maxims, and parables) of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: That people may know skillful and godly Wisdom and instruction, discern and comprehend the words of understanding and insight, receive instruction in wise dealing and the discipline of wise thoughtfulness, righteousness, justice, and integrity, that prudence may be given to the simple, and knowledge, discretion, and discernment to the youth–   The wise also will hear and increase in learning, and the person of understanding will acquire skill and attain to sound counsel [so that he may be able to steer his course rightly]–    Proverbs 1:1-5

There you have it!  In case that went over your head, this book is to give some wisdom to the simple-minded… some guidance for the young ones… and to even increase the learning of the wise.  Now that sounds like some book! 

Alright, I’m getting excited!  Wisdom is something we all need desperately.  It will help us in any given matter.  The most important thing to recognize is stated so eloquently in Proverbs 1:7

The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning and the prinicpal and choice part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence];  but fools despise skillful and godly Wisdom, instruction, and discipline. 

 

So let’s not act in a foolish manner and ignore the book of Proverbs!  I believe this is the start of something big… I intend to go through all of the chapters of Proverbs over the next few days… months… years… well- until I’m finished!  I’m not going to place a time frame on it.  Will it be an indepth study?  No- not at all.  I simply plan to pull some lines out and go with whatever the Holy Spirit gives me.  I’m going to make some personal observations on parts of my favorite book!  Hopefully, it will be enough to whet someone else’s appetite for this oh-so-necessary book of the Bible.  After all, nothing is like reading God’s word for yourself and having it speak to you and your situation. 

So, stay tuned everybody and anybody…Let the Observations Begin!!

Next Page »