Tag Archives: klara s. hadley

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 !

 

 

 

On RECOGNIZING L O V E

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To begin with,  Webster’s Dictionary  tells us that love is “a deep, tender feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person,”  that it is  “a feeling of intense desire and attraction toward a person with whom one is disposed to make a pair.”

The modern perspective of love conjures up ,  first of all,  romantic love:  that emotional involvement  of thoughts and feelings between two individuals. In any discussion of this topic,   we must first establish  that love  involves a  a two-way relationship between two people:  a  lov—er – –  that one who chooses of her own volition to offer,  to give this powerful emotion – – and a lov – -ee  – –  the  object of that love,   that one who chooses [or not ]  to accept/to receive  same emotion.   To initiate this action, the  lover chances vulnerability.   She “puts herself out there.”

To offer the love or not, this is the risk the lov–er takes.  To receive the offering of love, or not,  this is the risk the lov–ee takes.  Such risky business is not for the faint of heart!  Still,  February is a time when  one’s “fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love” as Tennyson tells us in “Locksley Hall.”

We must recognize two perspectives on this kind of risky relationship,  one is romantic, the other spiritual.   The spiritual  perspective shall be first.   Expounding on God as the perfect Lov – -er  is where we must begin, for he initiated the  personally designed love relationship that each of us as believers  experiences with him.   Now we have this love union because we chose to receive and return God’s love.  We can know that our declaring we love God makes happy both the lov — er and  the lov – -ee.

A good place to examine such a kind of spiritual relationship  is Psalm 63,  where David expresses his desire and acceptance of, confidence in and gratitude for God’s presence, his provision and his protection.  Here is a man truly in a love relationship  with God.  David not only receives God’s love, but he revels confidently in it.  He makes his boast in it;  he experiences and expects  it continually.  Even though David is presently in a  geographically hard place,   the Wilderness of Judah,  he reminds himself of the faithfulness of his Lover to attend to his well-being. Consider the tone of this passage:

O God, You are my God, earnestly will I seek You; my inner self thirsts for You, my flesh longs and is faint for You, in a dry and weary land where no water is.

So I have looked upon You in the sanctuary to see Your power and Your glory.

Because Your loving-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You.

So will I bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.

My whole being shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips

When I remember You upon my bed and meditate on You in the night watches.

For You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings will I rejoice.

My whole being follows hard after You and clings closely to You; Your right hand upholds me.

We can also find information in the Bible to help us recognize romantic love as well.

Think of   the “Love Chapter,”   1 Corinthians 13,  where we find a descriptive definition of love.  Consider this translation from the Amplified Bible:

Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.

It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way,  for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].

It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.

Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].

Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]

Also consider a  succinct description of  the  same passage and attribute from MESSAGE Bible:

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

8-Love never dies.

FRIEND,  WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Are  you offering/giving these attributes, so far as you are able?

Is the person choosing to receive[or not receive] so far as that person is able?

Is someone offering them to you, as far as s/he is able?

Are you choosing to receive [or not receive]  as far as you are able?

Do you know what you’re looking at?

Both  spiritually and romantically?

Do you  recognize who loves you?

Both  spiritually and romantically?

Whose love are you receiving?

Are you recognizing love in your own life?

Both  spiritually and romantically?

May   L –O-V-E   be more obvious this week on your journey!

On Keeping . . . S I L E N C E . . .

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BLACK HISTORY MONTH is still eminently relevant to the collective psyche of the citizens of this country, the United States of America.  During this season of remembrance, we acknowledge the excruciation of  the  struggles  and imbibe the elixir of the successes of our African American ancestors.   One salient and continual purpose of Black History month is to teach/ remind ourselves of the “coping strength” of our elders:  How they “got over”  their physical and mental impediments  – – slavery, discrimination, hardships, beatings, and other well-documented atrocities.  I submit that prayer was their first line of defense – – the through line to victory from the dark,  brutal  days of Sojourner Truth to the hard-won enlightenment of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

We can benefit greatly from focusing on pray-ING, the “coping strength”  that our elders relied upon to sustain them in their noble efforts.  I submit, further, that often  SILENCE is our best usher into prayer.  Maintaining silence in the face of adversity can be  the ultimate demonstration/ utilization of meekness  – – strength under pressure.  In fact, earnest prayer often comes from  pressure, patience and perseverance.  Force yourself to keep silence despite a rash desire to rant; instead let patience have her perfect work in you,  for patience is the very  foundation for your cultivation of the fruit of the Spirit.  This is faith under pressure.  Keep silence until you hear the instructions of the Lord.  The psalmist speaks about this:

I said to myself, I’m going to quit complaining! I’ll keep quiet, especially when the ungodly are around me.   But as I stood there silently the turmoil within me grew to the bursting point. The more I mused, the hotter the fires inside.  Then at last I spoke with God.   Psalm 39:1-3 

Follow the example of the psalmist and other scriptural recommendations:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven

. . . A time to keep silence,  and  a time to speak           Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7b  

But the Lord is in His holy temple:

Let all the earth keep silence before him.    Habakkuk 2:20

Out of fullness of the heart, the mouth speaks — Luke 6:45

At this point, the psalmist speaks from the deeply private issue of his heart : his journey through this world  –  his time of existence on earth – –

 Lord, help me to realize how brief my time on earth will be. Help me to know that I am here for but a moment more.  My life is no longer than my hand! My whole lifetime is but a moment to you. Proud man!  Frail as breath!  A shadow!  And all his busy rushing ends in nothing. He heaps up riches for someone else to spend.   And so, Lord, my only hope is in you.   Save me from being overpowered by my sins, for even fools will mock me then.   Lord, I am speechless before you.  I will not open my mouth to speak one word of complaint, for my punishment is from you.  Psalm 39 vv. 4-13 , NLT

The psalmist ends his prayer feeling comfortably confident that his only hope is in God whose control he can securely trust.

Follow, again, the psalmist’s example:   Feel the prompting that will come  from restraining your  impulsivity while allowing the Holy Spirit to “word your mouth.” Acts 2:4 tells us that when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, then He will give us utterance.  In other words, your perseverance in silence will lead you to pray insightfully   to our Heavenly Father  about whatever matter is tugging at your heart.  I urge you to follow the spirit of your encounter with God and pray aloud.

This sincere meditation and prayer came forth out of the fullness of the psalmist’s heart.   What  will  come  from  yours ?

MAY YOU GO FORTH ON YOUR JOURNEY TODAY

IN THE C O P I N G    S T R E N G T H 

OF THIS ENCOUNTER !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

Tabula Rasa

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In in this post-Christmas season, anticipation of a new calendar year in which we symbolically turn a page” on our journey /life  may be lackluster.  Feeling this way, some of us  may be anticipating, dreading, longing to quickstart, wanting to skip, the next 365 days.  In this case, I suggest that we walk around in Job 23:10 in order to regain our Godly swagger. Praying in the spirit of this scripture will transport us to a position of power:

       He knows the way that I take;

       when he has tried me,

       I shall come forth as pure gold.

In the recent pre-Christmas season, we focused on the birth of Jesus, i.e., on Joseph and Mary’s stable drama.   After three days’ travel by donkey over mountainous terrain from Nazareth to Jerusalem,  Joseph and his espoused wife, Mary, settled for a space in a stable because they found no room available in the inn.  Apparently, Joseph and Mary’s child was born into the world under circumstances where stable animals were the only available witnesses.  Their stable drama ended joyously with their showing off their new baby to  some shepherds.  Having received the annunciation and then been directed by the angels,  the shepherds  got to the stable- –  actually a cave Joseph and Mary  shared with the animals  – – and saw Baby Jesus.  These first recorded visitors  left to tell the story and spread the good news of the miraculous baby, born to be the Prince of Peace.

Now, I want to tell you “the rest of the story,”  as radio personality, Paul Harvey, would say.

TABULA RASA:  MARY’S MUSINGS about the FUTURE OF HER CHILD

According to Luke 2:12-20, Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.  2000 Years later, we know as much of the rest of the story as is recorded in the Bible.  We know what future events will occur in the life of this child.

WE KNOW THAT  –  When this baby is eight days old, he will be circumcised and named Jesus [Luke 2:21].   A few weeks later, his parents will bring him to the temple to present him to the Lord [vv. 22-27].   Two witnesses at his confirmation, Simeon and Anna [vv.  28-30 and 35-37],  will confirm his divinity.

WE KNOW THAT   –  wise men  from the east will bring gifts of gold, frank incense and myrrh [Matthew 2:11].  Myrrh, a special sign of royalty, will be involved on three significant occasions in the life of Jesus.  First, the gift of myrrh at his birth suggests divinity also because this well-known gum resin extraction was used as an ingredient of the holy anointing oil.   The second gift of myrrh will occur when Jesus is suffering on the cross and is offered a  drink of wine mixed with myrrh [Mark 15:22].  Women offered this pain-killing narcotic to prisoners who were crucified.   Jesus will refuse it.  The last incident  will occur when Pilate grants the unusual request of Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimethea for the body of Jesus after his death by crucifixion.  They will provide seventy-five pounds of myrrh and aloes, customary for royal burials, to embalm Jesus [John19:38-40].

 WE KNOW THAT     – At the age of twelve,  Jesus will be found in temple,  confounding the rabbis  [Luke 2:41-43]

WE KNOW THAT     –     Eighteen silent years will elapse when we can infer his normal progression from childhood into adulthood [Luke 2:52].

WE KNOW THAT     –     Jesus will begin his ministry at the age of thirty.  Between the ages of thirty-one and thirty-three, he will experience a year of inauguration, then a year of  ministry/popularity, and a final year of opposition [The Gospels, passim].

WE KNOW THAT    –   After a passion-filled week,  Jesus will be crucified on an old, rugged cross to accomplish atonement for sin and reconciliation between God and man.  He will bring peace.

Yes, we now know the rest of the story, BUT  Mary could only ponder  in her heart the events surrounding the birth of her first child [Luke 2:19].  She may have renewed her vow of submission to the angel’s annunciation [Luke 1:38].

A MOTHER’S PRAYER FOR HER NEWBORN

LORD,  I thank you for this child whom I cradle before you.  I ponder in my heart as did Mary  about  my child’s future.  Yet you assure me that this baby is fearfully and wonderfully made [Psalm 139:14].

 Teach me how to implant that same assurance in her.

Help me to keep that confidence strong in myself so that I may show  her how you will strengthen her  steps from childhood to tweenhood,  , and  through her doubting teenage years  on into adulthood.

LORD,  please let the unconditional love I lavish on her lead her to trust, then rely on the love of her heavenly Father who will not let her go—NO MATTER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES OR PEOPLE IMPINGE ON HER LIFE.

FATHER,   at the set time, cause/help me to confidently let her begin fulfilling the purpose for which she has been born.  May I have the assurance of Mary:  Whatever she says to you, do it [John2:5].

LORD, please let me me be a reliable/nourishing   asset in her life all her life—a loving, /concerned /supportive mother from this cradle for as long as we live on earth.

Father ,I thank you for your faithfulness.

Amen

God bless you on your journey!