Perverse and Cursed

“For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” ~2 Timothy 3:2-4

I shouldn’t be, but I am. I am simply amazed at the way  people conduct themselves in today’s times. It is literally mindboggling, lacking any form of logic or human decency, and is plain frightening. When I hear about what makes the news I am often devastated. In my city of Indianapolis, just in the last week we had a myraid of homocides-seven people killed in 24 hours, a group of nine arrested for supplying heroin, crack, and synthetic marijuana to the homeless at a local shelter, an eight year old girl remains missing, and the remains of a 30 year old mother of two was found by a fisherman who reeled in her severed foot instead of a fish. And those are just a few local stories. The national news is even more bizarre, unsettling and heartbreaking.

On social media the hate filled comments, blasphemous language and images, sexually charged memes, and mere lack of compassion is troubling.  I refrain from making comments to those who speak negatively. It would not be well received and would only create an opening for attacks against me. The gossip is more than malicious. It is usually downright murderous to one’s character. Recently a beloved rapper and community activist was murdered. He had two children. The mother of his first child is being villified for not posting anything on her social media pages immediately following his death. Since when does one has to “post” anything to validate how they truly feel? I was deeply bothered when I learned of his death, but even more so when I skimmed through thousands of harsh, judgmental, mean-spirited,  indecent, and slanderous comments directed at this woman. I was in true disbelief at the hatred directed toward her.  And I’m sure the vast majority of those who left such scathing critiques on her character did not know her personally. The tongue is truly a lethal weapon. “It is an unruly evil full of deadly poison” according to James 3:8.

I’ve also  noticed that celebrity worship is at an all time high. I’ve never quite understood this phenomenon. Yes, there are entertainers that I enjoy, however, I understand that they are no different than you and I. In God’s eyes, we are all equal. Thus, I do not see the need to place them on a pedestal. I do not follow any “stars” on social media either. I like to use the one platform I am on to stay connected with those I actually know in real life-friends and family. I do not wish to engage is this seemingly innocent form of idolatry.

Many accounts are boastful and proud. There is little humilty on most social media sites. Even professional networking sites such as LinkedIn has been infiltrated by the same mentality. People are desperately seeking attention and validation and will do almost anything to get it. The desire to be the “cool kid” is still a thing.  I was scrolling through my LinkedIn feed this morning and noticed that a professor posted a video of himself teaching while one of the student’s infant child is strapped to his chest. My first thought was why did his good deed need to be announced? Did not Jesus say, “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.” Matthew 6:6

Another sickening trend I’ve noticed in teenagers is the usage of the expression “On God” as a way to show they are serious about what they say. As a teacher, I hear this phrase all day long.  I ask the students not to use the term in my class. I find it to be distasteful and disturbing. Nothing should be “put” on the Lord as we are not to take His name in vain. His name is holy. His name is a “strong tower.” His name should not be profaned. Galatians 6:7 provides a warning to those who continue with this reckless speech, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.”

Last Friday when I was leaving work I noticed that I had a low tire. I saw a male coworker and asked him if he had seen the automechanics teacher because I needed some assistance with my tire. He looked over at my truck and mentioned that the teacher was still there but was getting ready to leave. He walked away without even inquiring if I would be fine or even offering assistance with my dilemma. Obviousy the day and age has passed in which we show love or even concern for our neighbor.

Sadly people opt to do what is pleasing to them versus what is pleasing to God. I constantly have to check myself. My flesh is very weak and I often find myself being short tempered with others. Especially so when I forget to eat from the fruits of the spirit and find myself dipping in the world’s bowl of fruit.

All of these things are simply signs of the time that we are warned about in the Bible. This type of loathsome behavior makes me long for the day that Lord puts an end to this strange day that we live in.

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Testimony Tuesday

” I will speak of Your testimonies also before kings, And will not be ashamed.”

                                                                                                                   ~Psalm 119:46

Yesterday I posted about some current struggles. I mentioned that it is difficult for me to pray at times because I don’t get a spoken response from God and it makes me feel as if he’s not listening. So instead I wrote a prayer and asked for Him to help me with this and some other things, anxiety being one.

The Lord is on an on time God. Almost immediatedly after I blogged, I received a call from my tenant that the heat was not blowing. Normally this is one of the things that produces a lot of anxiety for me. Yesterday was 11 degrees-far too cold to go without heat. I also wondered how much such a repair would cost me. In the back of mind I am always expeting her to call without warning about some major repair. Of course, me being the property owner, would be responsible for covering the expenses.

But this time I listened and simply replied I would send someone over immediatedly. I told myself that it would be okay and remembered that God would not want me to be anxious about anything. I called a furnace repairman and made an appointment. I texted her to let her know that someone would be there at 2:30pm.

At 2:26pm she called again to let me know that the heat was working fine. She apologized for calling and said she had no idea what happened. I was puzzled but attributed to a glitch in the furnace.

It didn’t dawn on me until I got home that it wasn’t a simple snafu. God had sent me a test to see how I was going to respond. Once I realized that, I began laughing gleefully. God does listen because He cares. I believe He used the issue with the heat to convey the message to me. He hears everything I say and don’t say, reads every letter that I write to Him and even longs to hear from me. Hallelujah!

Still

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

My heart is still a tablet…I have so much to say regarding my faith that I don’t fully know how to say it. Or cannot find the time to write it is more likely the truth. I am weary.

I am still struggling with many things-prayer, forgiveness, and imbuing the fruits of the spirit. I can very much relate to Paul when he describes his weak flesh in Romans 7:15. When I take two steps forward in my walk, I end up taking two steps back-back to square one I go.

I am currently reading The New You: A Guide to Better Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Wellness by Nelson Searcy and Jennifer Dykes Henson. While reading I was reminded of this promise from God found in Psalm 139:5-10:

You go before me and follow me.
    You place your hand of blessing on my head.
 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too great for me to understand!

I can never escape from your Spirit!
    I can never get away from your presence!
 If I go up to heaven, you are there;
    if I go down to the grave, you are there.
If I ride the wings of the morning,
    if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
 even there your hand will guide me,
    and your strength will support me.

These words are comforting and beautiful. No matter what I do or don’t do, God is still there. He is faithful when we are not. It also helps me with prayer. Sometimes it is difficult to pray because I do not feel that God is listening. He doesn’t “reply” with literal words which makes the exchange feel onesided. Sometimes I feel like I am simply talking to myself which then makes me feel silly. I am working on believeing that God is listening and forging ahead in communing with Him. So I want to close this post with a prayer. If you feel so inclined, please touch and agree with me.

Father God,

I am thankful to have an amazing, omnipotent, omniscient God who goes before me in all circumstances including death. Thank you for Your loving kindness, Your faithfulness, and Your provision. I am clearly aware that I’ve done very little to earn your grace and favor, yet You freely let it flow from Your Superior Being to mine. Lord I ask that You guide me, ease my anxieties, fill me up with You. Take my hurts and use them for something good. Help me to make Godly choices in all circumstances. Let not my flesh get in the way of Your glory Lord. Lord, I ask that You make my heart forgiving and giving. Remove the bitterness from my mind and spirit Father. Allow me to record Your word on the pages of my heart and not the wrongdoings of others. Make my enemies my footstool so that I may rest. Soothe my soul Lord God as only you can. Today I am still, knowing without a doubt that You are God! Lord I am listening for Your voice. In the Holy name of the Lamb, Amen!

Tribe

“…there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” ~ Proverbs 18:24 NKJV

As the holidays approach I think more and more about my fragmented, distant family. Although there are only a handful of us left, we rarely connect with each other outside of tragedies.

I have five siblings that I seldom see. I have not seen my youngest sister in years nor have I met her last three children. The same goes for my youngest brother. My middle brother only contacts me when he is in need. I communicate the most with my middle sister which is still only marginally. My brother who is the second child reaches out more than the others. I suppose because it was only us for the first two years.

I have three aunts and a smattering of cousins. I talk to two aunts on occasion and my cousins when I run into them on a rare outing.

It is hurtful to be estranged from family. I have spent many days pondering our fragile connection. However, lately I have made peace with the way things are and instead try to focus on nurturing the relationships that I do have.

The other day my seven year old asked if we could have a “real” Thanksgiving dinner with friends and family. He referenced an end of summer party that we attended, “like the party at the big, blue house.” It took me a minute to recollect and figure out that he was talking about my friend’s party. We had a great time surrounded by both good food and people. It made me sad that I cannot offer him such a setting. We simply do not have the family for it.

Life is tough. The Bible even warns us that our days will be full of trouble and I can say that this has certainly been true in my life. But I also know that is why the Lord, in His infinite wisdom, gave us families. Our family are supposed to help smooth life’s frayed edges.

I too, know that we can’t force our blood relatives to be kindred. However, we can create our own tribe-another blessing from our Father who connects us all. I’ve done this in a sense. My motley crew of a family does not resemble the traditional model. It is composed of my two boys, a few true friends, coworkers turned comrades, some church saints, girlfriends now sisterfriends, and past and present students.

As a bonus, we get the families of my tribe mates as well. Sometimes I sit back, reflect and wish it could be different with my biological family. These people are blood of my blood, flesh of my flesh after all. This will never change. But too much time has elapsed which has allowed the distance to widen. Things are strained and tense to the point that I do not even wish to attempt to sew the rip that’s torn us a part. Obviously no one else wants to either. Being family should not be a seasonal affair when it is meant for a lifetime. Now they are almost like strangers to me. I only know them by heart.

Makes Me Wanna Holler

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God…” ~2 Timothy 3:2-4

“See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” ~Matthew 24: 4-8

So disturbed I am by the things going on in this world. However, I know God is still good and still God. Jesus warned us these types of things would have to pass and instructed us not to be afraid. Lord, I trust You. 

Walking

“Do all things without grumbling or disputing.” ~Philipians 2:14

Today I had to take care of some business downtown. Much to my dismay, places to park were pretty much nonexistent. 

I ended up having to park twenty minutes away from my destination. I was appalled to say the least and my attitude was not admirable 

How dare I have to walk so far I fumed as I made my way to the government center. I bemoaned the irony of new places being built on what used to be parking lots. 

Poor me. 

​  
But on the way back, a few things dawned on me. 

1.) I was thankful to have the ability to walk to where I needed. 

2.) I had a vehicle that made it possible for me to walk a relatively short distance. 

3.) The weather was nice. 

4. I was able to see downtown through the eyes of a pedestrian. 

5.) I was getting exercise for the day. 

Yes, I was hot and sweaty by the time I made it back to my truck. However, once I got my attitude together, I actually enjoyed it. 


I stopped and had breakfast at one of my favorite spots. 

Checked out a new bakery.


Saw the new transit center named after the late Julia Carson. 

Admired the artwork and architecture and met some friendly strangers. 

And before I knew it, I was back to where I started.  

It just goes to show we can be thankful in all things as long as we approach it with the right attitude. 

Going Viral

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” ~Romans 12:2

Social media can be both a blessing and a curse. A blessing in that it allows some to keep in communication with long distance loved ones, network with others, provide much needed encouragement and a forum to learn new things. However, it can also lead to posturing, vanity, idolatry, gluttony, envy, debauchery, gossip, bitterness, pride and hatred.

It is common for users to do things solely for “likes” and attention. Some women post pictures with very little clothing or make provocative “twerking” videos. Others fall in the comedic  group and make it their mission to turn everything into a “meme” just to get a laugh at anyone’s expense as well as to gain a myriad of followers in the process. Many male social media users are overtly looking for lust  and encourage female followers to let it all hang out so to speak and showboat their various material possessions. And in the midst of it all is a group of very impressionable kids and teenagers, wanting to fit in and follow the lead of these irresponsible, self-serving adults.

I actually have one social media outlet and I am always AMAZED and not in a good way at how far people will go. Everyone wants to be cool, chic, smart, beautiful, rich and well…liked whether they admit it or not.


I am very selective about what I post and who I interact with online. I do not accept 99% of the requests I receive. I never want my account to control my life or misrepresent who I am and Who I belong to. I don’t want to be one of the confused, crazed, misguided people who put their godly qualities in the bio section but their accounts are so far removed from the One Most High.  We are cautioned not to set our eyes on anything worthless. Nor do I want to interact with those who may pervert my walk on the narrow path. The Bible clearly says in 1 Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” And since celebrities are not my role models, I follow none of them either.


I’d even argue that social media is a tool of Satan. He knows how weak and vain the human mind is. He is all over Instagram, SnapChat, FaceBook, Kik, Tumblr, Twitter, LinkedIn (and the other sites I failed to mention) just as he is loose all over the world.

The need to be in the limelight is at an all time high. Everything done is in an attempt to make it “go viral.” It makes me wonder when I hear about a “good” deed via social media  if it was done out of kindness or for the attention such a act will garner once it has been viewed and shared thousands of times. I’ve seen people taking pictures with the homeless they have helped, money they’ve tithed at church, visiting babies at the hospital, even paying for someone else’s drink at Starbucks.

On the flip side of going viral for a good deed is the public shaming that one incurs for a bad act. Many people feel inclined to leave judgemental, abusive, hate-filled comments.  The individuals in the hot seat are harassed  publicly and a bullying frenzy begins. A recent example of this can be found in the case of the mother of the child who made his way into the gorilla exhibit at the Cincinnati zoo. I’ve even heard of suicide resulting in extreme cases of online attacks.

The Bible says to do all things in moderation and thus I don’t believe that social media is a bad thing per say. However, too much of ANYTHING is a bad thing. It is definitely something that must be used with caution as we are instructed to focus on “… whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” Philippians 4: 8 We cannot afford to allow our minds and hearts to be sullied by the ways of the world.

End of Days

“Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”Ecclesiates 1:1

Life has a way of fooling most. We get puffed up with pride and form a false sense of self sufficiency. Oftentimes we believe we are too “evolved,” too smart and foolishly decide we do not need the Lord. 

We are reminded of the fragility of life and how insignificant we truly are in the face of tragedy-particularly death. Death, the great equalizer, has a way of forcing us to come to terms with who we belong to. It isn’t ourselves, our parents, or even our spouses. We belong to the Lord. The Bible records in Romans 14:8, “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.” 

At the end of days, the only thing that matters is our service to the Lord. Not titles, degrees, pedigrees, celebrity status, riches, cars, clothes, or any other material aspects of the world we inhibit.

When I was in junior high school, I remember watching Cosmos: A Personal Voyage narrated by Carl Sagan in my Earth Science class. All these years later I can still here him saying “we are star stuff.” The thought of being celestial fascinated me as a youth. But now older and wiser, I have to disagree. We are but mere dust-truly nobodies in terms of the Creator of all things. Remember that “faith without works is dead.”James 2:26 It’s not enough to praise God and profess your love for Him without serving Him through loving and serving His people. 

I was watching the coverage of the death of famed boxer Muhammad Ali and heard the quote below:

“I conquered the world, and it didn’t bring me happiness. The only true satisfaction comes from honouring and worshipping God. Time passes quick; this life is short. I see my daughter Maryum. Yesterday she was a baby. Now she’s grown and ready to get married. My hair is grey…God doesn’t allow you to go back and live your life over again. But the older you get, the wiser you get; and in the time I got left, I’m living right. Every day is a judgement for me. Every night when I go to bed, I ask myself, ‘If God were to judge me just on what I did today, would I go to heaven or hell?’ I can’t save other people’s souls; only God can do that. But I can try to save mine.”

I am thankful that he was eventually able to have such a revelation. Before his end of days he saw past the mere mirage and vanity of stardom. 

Nowadays when I hear of someone dying-whether it be a prince or pauper, my only concern is whether they have made themselves right with God. We are quick to idolize celebrities and place them on a pedestal. But they are no different than us as we were all made from the same body of Adam. They have to answer to the same God as we do. Let us not forget this. 

EVERYTHING else is vanity. 

RIP

“And because of his glory and excellence, He has given us great and precious promises. ” ~2 Peter 1:4

This morning I woke up with my mother on my mind and felt heavy hearted. Coincidently,  Mother’s Day is in four days. 

However, before I could become too consumed with gloom, God put the thought RIP in my mind. 

Most of us are aware that RIP stands for “rest in peace” and is an abbreviation for the Latin phrase Requiescat in pace. 

But today God graciously gave me a new meaning and replaced rest in peace with rest in promise. Thus there is no reason to be sad when I can infinitely hope in the Lord. 

The Bible says that “the dead know nothing” Ecclesiates 9:6  which is true. But our omniscient, unchanging, constant God “cannot lie” and is “the same yesterday, today, and forever” Hebrews 13:8. With this knowledge we can be assured that even in death, His promises remain the same for us. Hallelujah! This revelation brought so much joy to my heart I almost shouted! 

Psalm 37:25 says “…Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken” thus death has “no sting” or victory in the face of God and His word which can never return void. 

May my precious mother continue to RIP until “the Lord Himself comes down from heaven!” ~1 Thessalonians 4:16