Tag Archives: 2014

THE AUDACIOUS WOMAN

Woman-RoaringDo you know who Helen Reddy is?  She and Ray Burton composed the song that became the anthem of  the  Women’s Liberation Movement [Women’s Lib] in the 1970s.  The song expresses the collective feelings and attitudes of women who were experiencing an emergence of female empowerment.  It was a time of social consciousness about important “women’s issues, ” such as whether to continue to be a traditional “stay-at-home mom” or work outside the home, to be satisfied with the usual nurturing occupations that  women were expected to practice  or to  enter male- dominated professions that would cause them to challenge and seek to pierce the invisible but real “glass ceiling.” Women burned bras in public gatherings as a symbol of  female liberation from the restrictions of their contemporary society, often singing  Helen Reddy’s  song.  Here are the lyrics:

I am woman, hear me roar

In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back an’ pretend
‘Cause I’ve heard it all before
And I’ve been down there on the floor
No one’s ever gonna keep me down again

You can bend but never break me
‘Cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
‘Cause you’ve deepened the conviction in my soul

I am woman watch me grow
See me standing toe to toe
As I spread my lovin’ arms across the land
But I’m still an embryo
With a long, long way to go
Until I make my brother understand

Oh yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can face anything
I am strong
(Strong)
I am invincible
(Invincible)
I am woman

As you embrace this audacious spirit, consider this acronym:

{W }    –     WONDER-FULL

Are you full of wonders,  doing things that  amaze others and yourself

{ O   }  –      ONE-of-a- kind,  OUTSTANDING

By the way,  what do you know about yourself?

What distinguishes you from every other woman on this planet?  Is there anybody

else  exactly like you?  Shouldn’t be! Not  even your biological child or identical twin!

{  M }     –    MAJESTIC

Do you walk in a regality that calms troubled waters. Are problems more

manageable just because you are in charge?

{   A  }   –     ANGELIIC

Do you  have a close and  direct connection to God so that you operate in either the

heavenly/spiritual or the nether /earthly world as He directs

{ N  }   –     NATURAL, NATURE MADE

Do you treat yourself as a  a divine creation , as made by divine hands with natural /

earthly materials.

Reminds  you of Women’s History Month, you say?  Good deduction.  How apropos!

Let’s go all the way back to the beginning of history.

Let’s go all the way back to the “Let there be’s” in the first chapter of Genesis where we learn that God created light and sky and water and sea and moon and stars and day and  night and  fish and birds and animals.

God spoke many things into existence in the verses of Genesis 1:

2 – LET THERE BE LIGHT

6   – let there be a firmament/sky

9   –  Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together in one place  [SEAS]  and let dry

land appear

14  –  Let there be lights in the firmament  [sun and moon]

20  –  Let waters bring forth every abundantly moving creatures  [fish, birds ]

24  –  Let earth bring forth every living creature after his kind  [animals]

26   –  Let us make man after our image

29  –  God even talks/speaks to the man after  he has made him,  giving him dominion over his entire creation

Yes!  God begins and ends his creative activity  in chapter 1 by speaking and then he rests.

BUT  notice  in in chapter 2,  God  creates by doing .  First we learn in verse 8 that he plants a garden  eastward in Eden, rather than speaking   it into existence.   When he sees man’s  solitary condition ,  he observes in verse 18 that it is NOT good – – everything else has been “good”  and “very good” – –  that  man should be alone, he acts.  In verses 21-22,   God performs the  first recorded surgery in the history of the world by making a woman from Adam’s rib.  Note that God takes special care in making this woman whom Adam will name Eve.  She is indeed fearfully and wonderfully made [Psalms 139:14]  Here is a striking comparison:   At the beginning of history, God FORMED  Eve and she became the most notably renowned woman in the Old Testament, the mother of natural mankind.   Eons later, the angel announced that God CHOSE Mary and she became the most notably renowned woman in the New Testament,  the true mother of spiritual mankind.

I am proud to be in the lineage of these two women.

Therefore, I make this declaration audaciously and in the spirited fervor of Helen Reddy’s sentiments:

HEAR KLARA SHANNON HADLEY ROAR!

Increasingly, I watch and celebrate as more of my beloved friends and “chosen” family members march triumphantly into eternal happiness.

 And increasingly, I commiserate with a few loved ones who limp – – either in torturously agonizing pain or in medically induced insensateness- – – across the final goal line.

How ever way my own last footfall will be, I say, Even so, come Lord Jesus. [Revelation 22:20]

THEREFORE, BE IT WIDELY KNOWN by all in this universe who are under the sound and influence of my voice:

My hope is firmly and unalterably founded, grounded, established, constructed and built in/on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.

Apostle Paul’s confident assertion is mine also: For me to live is Christ, to die is gain.

[Philippians 1:21]

I will never die while Jesus lives

N O W

What about you?  What is your declaration about your uniqueness?

Are you a WOMAN  –  wonder-full, outstanding, majestic, angelic, natural?   Are you audacious?  Let the world hear your ROAR!

GO forth now, WOMAN!

ROAR THROUGH YOUR JOURNEY THIS WEEK!

 

 

 

 

 

 

BLENDED FOCI for F E B R U A R Y

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Blending the focus of the Month of Love with the focus of the Month  of  Black History, what do you get?  You get another question: What is there about your  deep ancestry , your present circumstances,  your future expectations that you love? For all of us who are believers,  love is the key to our time and experience – – past,  present and future.  God’s love for us is the key  – – for his giving his only son as ransom for us; for his only Son,  Jesus,  enduring crucifixion for us;  for the Holy Spirit abiding with us, reminding us, showing us how to appropriate the unconditional love  of our Heavenly Father.  We, believers, can say in the words of the familiar hymn:

Love lifted me!  love lifted me!

When nothing else could help,

LOVE LIFTED ME!

Sharpening  this blended focus, we can think of our collective ancestry past – – the fortitude of the elders during the searing tumult they dealt with as they experienced the  middle passage, slavery, Jim Crow , the civil rights era, desegregation.  In deference,  we must pause to offer a PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING  for what God brought us through as the Black Race.  Let us pause now for a sanctified moment and offer a prayer for covering for you as you navigate these treacherous waters that we call life interactions:

As you  traverse the worlds within your sphere of existence:

At home , in personal relationships with family and friends

At your place of worship, your sacred space

At your place of employment, however you find yourself in the professional arena whatever/whoever occupies that space in your life right now

Go in the spirit of  Job 23:10  – When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.

And of Romans 8:28  –  All things work together for  good to them that love God,

to them who are the called according to his purpose.  This is our prayer.

Looking again, what can we see through this blended focus about our present, collective status as “African Americans”?  We see a race problem.  We see insightfully that our present existence in this country is an  amalgamation,  a “mixed bag.”  That is,  we , self-identified black folks who now call ourselves  African Americans,  are in the process of combining with other “Place-name  Americans”   into a unified or INTEGRATED whole.   The coalescing has begun with such other  groupings as Native American,  Hispanic and European.  Let the process accelerate  until  every citizen of this country takes pride in the same place of origin, this sacred soil of these united states.  ONE nation,  indivisible,  under GOD!  The challenge for us in our time is to enhance this more comprehensive  vision of brotherhood.  In other words,  all the peoples who live in this “land of the free” must  come together, cohering,  as “United States-ans.”   After all, we are the country of UNITED STATES on the continent of North America.   In fact ,  there exists a geographical Central America and a geographical South America.  There are even other sections of North America.  [e.g., Canada]  We, who reside in the United States, are not the only Americans.  We are the United States OF  [the continent of ]   America. Our challenge in this present era is to assert this corrective fact.   It is our herculean task to change the descriptive self-identification of citizens of this country to the true description  of  its legal residents:  United Statesans .  To be sure, we must pray for divine guidance and assistance  in order for this generation to achieve such a “sea-change” of our national self –identity,  yet with God all things are possible.  [Mark 10:27]

Yes, currently,  we do have a “race problem.”  It will be fully dissolved in the future when we achieve the seamlessness of  complete  integration.  It will be a  time that  Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr.  longed to see  when individuals  will be judged “by  the content of their character.”  It will be a time when persons will not be judged by their geographical origin but by all  the  intrinsic value that each person has  because we all exist on the this planet.  What’s love got to do with this kind of existence?  Our past?  Our present?  Our future?  The answer:  much, indeed!

LOVE WILL GIVE US STRENGTH FROM THE PAST.

LOVE WILL SUSTAIN US IN THE PRESENT.

LOVE WILL BE US HOPE FOR THE FUTURE,  FOR OUR TOMORROW.

God has put hope in each of us and has given us  the Word that supports our hope:  Listen:

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out  in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.   Romans 5:5

Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart all ye that hope in the Lord.  Psalms  31:24

Hope thou in God.   Psalm 42:5, 11

Pray God’s  words back to him.   He loves that.  He says, in Isaiah 43:26,  put me in remembrance .  Do it right now.

Say to him – – You are my hope, O Lord God. Psalm 71:5

Say – –   I will hope continually and will praise you more and more.  Psalm 71:14

Say – –  You are my hiding place and my shield; but I hope in your word.  Psalm 119:114

This emphasis on hope brings us back to the last verse of the “Love Chapter”

[1 Corinthians13:13]  where hope is listed as one of the three abiding entities, faith and love are the other two.

Yes,  MY FRIEND,   my prayer for you today  is that you will rest in your hope.

I also  pray in the words of 1 Peter 3:15 that you will sanctify the Lord in your heart and be ready to give a defence/an explanation to everyone/anyone who asks you  a reason for the hope that is in you .   Answer  them in the lyrics of  James Rowe:

I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore,

Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise  no more.

But the Master of the sea heard my despairing cry,

From the waters lifted me, now safe am I.

Souls in danger look above, Jesus completely saves.

He will lift you by his love out of the angry waves.

He’s the Master of the sea;  billows His will obey.

He your Savior wants to be – – b e saved today.

Love lifted me!

Love lifted me!

When nothing else could help,

LOVE LIFTED ME!

A benediction from Romans 15:13 for your journey,

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing

that  you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit !

 

 

 

2014: Jesus is Calling

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As  I prepare to usher us to the place of our first encounter with Jesus on the second day of this new year, 2014,  I hear the rain falling persistently on my roof.

It reminds me of the spiritual symbolism of water, a metaphor for the Holy Spirit, for  the presence of the third person of the Trinity. Randomly, the rain  makes me concentrate on the availability and involvement of the Holy Trinity in the mundane affairs of my life, of my Christian journey.  I think of God the Father, whose mercies are new every morning, for great is his faithfulness. I think of God the Father, our God of All Comfort.  I think  of the Holy Spirit whom Jesus sent to be our guide, whose purpose is to be our default resource to lead us into all truth and righteousness.  And I think of Jesus, himself.

Softly and tenderly, Jesus is calling.  Feel this sentiment of the hymnist Will L. Thompson:

“Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling, calling for you and for me . . .

Why should we linger and heed not His mercies,

Mercies for you and for me”

I think of Jesus, standing  at the door  of our hearts and knocking – – gently- – offering to come in and sup with us [Revelation 3:20].   I think of Jesus, who lamented:   O, Jerusalem/Klara how often would I have gathered you under my wings,  protected you from the vagaries of your life’s journey, but you were otherwise occupied [see Luke 13:34].  How often would I have told you the many things about thriving in this life, on this journey, but you could not receive my encounter.

This steadily persistent , gentle rain reminds me that Jesus is always there/here, in my space, to help me, comfort me, and guide me.  I invite you to say with me:   Lord,  I need not feel that I must face theses coming days alone.  I resolve now to release myself from pre-occupation with questions, fears, apprehensions about  my future this year.  I release my self to trust in Jesus for my provision—in every aspect of my life, every activity, every arrangement, every circumstance.  I will anticipate his favor and expect the Holy Spirit to lead me from one good degree of grace to another.

It is as if the Father is whispering:  I will be found by you [Jeremiah 29:14]  Earlier, God tells the  prophet:  For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, . . . thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not evil, to give you hope in your final outcome [Message, Jeremiah 29:11].

Allow me to Give my personal amplification:

I hear our Father saying,

I, God, KNOW [in my omniscience]

The plans [activities, goals, purpose, experiences, achievements, tests]

I [the plans I have prepared – – not those proffered by your enemies, i.e., –the world, the flesh , the devil]

HAVE [ My plans are already figured out,  signed sealed and waiting to be delivered.

I am not making up these plans as you travel on your life’s journey; these plans are already “in the vault.”  Therefore, you CAN be easy about the vicissitudes of your life.  You CAN count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations, or in the more modern words of the Message about faith under pressure:

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.  You know under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.  So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely.  Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.  If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father.  He loves to help.  You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it.

Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought.  . . .

So my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course.

Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven.

The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light.

There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle.

He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as

the crown of all  his creatures  [James 1:2-5, 16-18] .

I KNOW THE PLANS I HAVE FOR YOU – -for your individual journey, for you specifically. God is  saying to us just as he enlightened the prophet  [Jeremiah 1:7]   about his calling:

Before I formed thee in  the womb, I knew thee,  and before thou calmest forth out of  the womb, I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee.

These plans are to prosper YOU  [they will foster your individual growth, YOUR individual well-being]

My plans are are not designed to harm you.  Remember your heavenly Father knows how to give GOOD gifts;  He will not “scam” you by giving you stone for bread [Luke 11:11-13].

The Father says, my plans are customly tailored  for your specific life TO PROSPER YOU.  I want to GIVE you blessings.  Be assured these blessings will overtake you.  They will be grace gifts, unearned but merited – – only because I CHOOSE to bless you with my favor.

I WILL GIVE YOU HOPE. –not mere wishful thinking, but right believing, a confident knowing that I do all things well.

I WILL GIVE YOU a successful end, a future  [you will see my workings on your behalf  in January,  continuing through the year, cascading into a crescendo in December!

Therefore, you can go ahead now and fulfill 1Corinthians  15:58:

Be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord!

Confidently, run with patience the race  – – this segment of your life’s journey – -that is set before you [Hebrews 12:1]

Heavenly Father, please help us to trust your faithfulness throughout every month, every week, every day, every minute, every second of this new year. Holy Spirit, you have our permission to lead us into the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.  Lord Jesus,  as much as we are able, we receive your peace and emulate your love.

Blessed be the Holy Trinity.      Amen

My friends, watch for God’s blessings to be seen as you journey in 2014!