Daily Devotional, Long Read, Spiritual Walk

Peace In.

Good morning, peeps!

Oh, I’ve missed you! Would you like to hear what I’ve been doing during my hiatus…or would you rather see the results of it? Most mamas answer their own questions and I am no different: you’d rather just see the results. I heard Dr. Tony Evans say something a long time ago and it has stuck with me ever since:

“No one goes to a football game to watch the team huddle for 3 hours. You go to see what the huddle produces.”

Ev’ry day I’m huddlin’, huddlin’. Ev’ry day I’m huddlin’, hud—….no? Okay.

Yesterday started off rather rough for me. You know, it was one of those days when you say, “Okay, Imma go back to bed and start this again.” Anxiety, dread, and all kinds of crazy stuff hit me upside the head before I even stood up. So, I came for it. You want some, fool? Okay. I began to say who God is: Father, Alpha and Omega, Almighty, I AM… I went in, y’all. And then I pulled out the heavy artillery: I started reciting the fruits of the Spirit. Not in a quiet way, either. I declared them because I knew the only way to combat what was obviously not of God was to hit ’em with the things that ARE God. You do know that fruit is indicative of the tree, right? So God IS peace, love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control.

Whatchu got to say now??

This morning is a brand-new day, peeps. I woke up with the idea that I would wear my freedom t-shirt to work. Y’all know I love printed tees and I just got the okay from my boss to rock them at work. YESSS!  I love this shirt. It says “freedom”. And it’s soft. And it’s grey. And I’m wearing it with dark jeans with my pale yellow cropped blazer. I’m about to be too cute!! Free AND cute! As I was ironing the shirt and looking at the word on it, God reminded me of what comes with freedom. There’s power – duh – but something else: PEACE. Say what?? So, I sat down with my bible and looked in the concordance for a scripture that had the word “peace” in it. Sure, I can recite plenty of ‘em but I wanted a scripture that I didn’t know off-hand.

What happened next blew my mind.

You all know how concordances are set up, right? The word you want – PEACE – will be atop a column and below it will be a list of the occurrences. Well, most of them. It’s usually just a snippet for the sake of context, with a “p” in bold. “P” for the word “peace”. As I scanned down the list, I heard in my spirit, “Read it out loud and say the word “peace”.” So I did.

Y’all…I felt something shift in the atmosphere. On everything.

I want you to do that right now. I am going to fake a concordance – I don’t have time to type the book and verse – and I want you to say each of these out loud with authority and BELIEVE EVERY SINGLE THING YOU SAY. Here goes:

And give you p

My covenant of p

Proclaim p unto it

Lay me down in p

End of that man is p

And a time of p

P been as a river

The way of p

Saying P, p

Shalt die in p

They shall seek p

To send p

P with one another

The way of p

On earth p

P be to this house

P I leave with you

Ye might have p

P from God

The way of p

We have p with God

The gospel of p

Live in p

For he is our p

Preached p to you

The p of God

The p of God rule

P among yourselves

The Lord of p

King of p

Follow p with all men

Depart in p

Let him seek p

P be multiplied

Question: have you ever noticed that the gesture we make for peace with our fingers is the same gesture people make for victory?

It’s good to be back. Have a great day, peeps.

–d

Daily Devotional, Spiritual Walk

Just Wretched.

(This is the final installment of our “Fighting Dirty” devotional series.)

Good morning, peeps!

“I’m saved, but my face isn’t.”

When people say, “Well!  Why don’t you tell me how you really feel??”, my face has already said it.  *sigh*  I don’t have to say a word.  Nope.  It’s already been said.  Every time I see t-shirts with the phrase “I’m saved, but my face isn’t”, I think about filing a lawsuit because that saying has obviously been inspired by someone’s encounter with me and I want my money.  Surely that’s an infringement of some kind.  This face…lawd.  She needs her own “come to Jesus” moment.  Just backslidden.

I think she’d be okay if she didn’t hang around my right eyebrow all of the time.

Sometimes I can rein her in, but then there are times I just give up and put her in timeout: I’ll have a blank expression on my face. This is not a good look and I’m not very good at it either.  I can pull it off sometimes, though.  Let’s take yesterday, for example.  I was in a meeting with my boss and and someone went completely off-subject.  As we were walking out, my boss said, “Deone, I wish you had a ticker on your forehead so I could know what you were thinking because your posture did not match the blank look on your face.”  I said, “Well, in that case, you already know”, but my thought was, “Man!  Now, my body ain’t saved either!”

“I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” – Romans 7:21-24

I am a wretched (wo)man.  I love the Lord, but I am wret-ched.  And I am so wore out from fighting my wretchedness that I don’t have the energy to fight anyone else.  This war with me, myself, and I has been going on for years and these sistas are not backing down.  We go toe-to-toe every day!  Every day it’s a fight to see who will be in control.  And you want me to fight a whole ‘nother enemy, God?  I can’t even win against myself!  I thought about this a few minutes ago, and what came to me was “verse 25”.  Romans 7:25 reads, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” Y’all, I’ve been doing the copy/paste thing on Romans 7:21-24 for this entire series and I never thought to read the last verse.  My bad.  The mind.  Hmm.

In a war, a country is only as strong as its infrastructure.  Our mind is our infrastructure.  If it’s not strong, there’s no way we are going to win this war between our flesh and spirit – a war that will continue on until the day we die.  It’s not going anywhere.  Another law will always be at work in our members.  We just have to be stronger than it.  That’s where the mind comes in: we’ve got to build it up.  This devotional series is really not over.  Part 8 is the segue into a new series that will jump off on Monday called “What Doesn’t Kill You”, using James 1:12 for reference.  This verse is about temptation, but we’ll focus on where that starts: in the mind.  We’ll tackle the who, what, where, when, and how of temptation and learn how we can come out victorious.   We’ve got a war on our hands, peeps, and I look forward to fighting it with you.  Have a great day.

–d.

Bible Study, Blog, Daily Devotional

An Acquired Taste – Pt. 2

Good morning, peeps!

Let’s pick up where we left off yesterday.  I ended the blog talking about the Daniel Fast and all of the things one cannot eat while on it.  Allow me to refresh your memory:

  • Iodized salt
  • Sweeteners
  • Meat
  • Dairy products
  • Breads, pasta, flour, crackers (unless made from sprouted ancient grains)
  • Cookies and other baked goods
  • Oils
  • Juices
  • Coffee
  • Energy drinks
  • Gum
  • Mints
  • Candy

Like I said before: joy.  You are not to consume joy during this fast.   Salt.  Dairy.  Coffee.  Cookies.  Things that once had a pulse.  Oh, but you can eat pulse. Mmmhmm.   So, basically, whomever came up with this doesn’t like me.   Why dontcha just string “do not enter” tape across the doorway of my kitchen?!  All of my favorites are on that list.  I personally think that gum and mints should get a pass because those are essential…for eh-ver-ree-body.  Let me count the items.  There are 1, 2, 3…13.  Thirteen things on this list that I cannot eat if I want to do the Daniel Fast.   It may not seem like a lot, but it is to me…because they are my favorites.


By the way, I don’t know if I can do a scheduled bible study / devotional series thing.  I’ll just talk to y’all every day and you can call that day’s blog whatever you want: a bible study or a devotional.  It doesn’t matter to me.  You all will get it as it comes.  We good?  Good.


As I sulked over the intentional, unprovoked, and vicious attack on the things I love, nothing inside of me thought, “Well, what do you get to eat?”  Nope.  All I saw was the food that was being taken away from me. And let me make something clear while I’m fussing: God is not telling me to do this fast.  Uhn-uh.  He is probably looking at me and wondering, “What is this girl’s problem??  She’s getting all upset like I’ve actually told her to do this.”  I really am perturbed.  Somewhere in my holiest of holys – my pride – I am offended.  Why can’t we boycott sauerkraut? Huh??  So, here is the list of common foods you can consume while on this fast:

Vegetables (preferably organic and fresh or frozen)

  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Collard greens
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Green beans
  • Kale
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Mustard greens
  • Okra
  • Onions
  • Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Radishes
  • Rutabagas
  • Scallions
  • Spinach
  • Sprouts
  • Squash
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Yams
  • Zucchini

Fruits (preferably organic and fresh or frozen)

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cherries
  • Coconuts
  • Cranberries
  • Dates
  • Figs
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
  • Guava
  • Honeydew melons
  • Kiwi
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Mangoes
  • Melons
  • Nectarines
  • Oranges
  • Papayas
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Pineapples
  • Plums
  • Prunes
  • Raisins
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Tangerines
  • Watermelon

Legumes (preferably organic)

  • Black beans
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Lentils
  • Mung beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Split peas

Nuts & Seeds (preferably organic, raw, unsalted and soaked/sprouted)

Whole Grains (preferable organic)

  • Amaranth
  • Barley
  • Brown rice
  • Millet
  • Quinoa
  • Oats (groats soaked)

Liquids

That list is like a Dead Sea scroll, isn’t it? I’m not even going to bother counting those items.  And the site I went to listed the benefits of fasting as well (this is straight copy/paste, by the way):

Spiritual Benefits of Fasting

Spiritual benefits are a top reason for fasting and may include:

  • Fasting brings you closer to God
  • Fasting makes you more sensitive to God’s voice
  • Fasting helps break bad habits or even addictions
  • Fasting shows us our weakness and allows us to rely on God’s strength

Mental & Emotional Benefits of Fasting

Fasting benefits are different from person to person, but the following have been known to occur: 

  • Fasting relieves anxiety and nervousness
  • Fasting can increase peace and shalom
  • Fasting clears your mind of negative thoughts and feelings
  • Fasting can help heal relationships in your life that have been stressful
  • Fasting decreases brain fog
  • Fasting helps increase your ability to trust God
  • Fasting clears out toxins that can make you feel sluggish or depressed

Physical Benefits of Fasting

Some benefits to the physical body have been known to include: (9)

  • Fasting helps break addictions to sugar
  • Fasting supports the body’s detoxification
  • Fasting promotes healthy weight loss
  • Fasting promoted healthy energy levels
  • Fasting improves skin health
  • Fasting promotes healthy digestion and elimination
  • Fasting supports healthy inflammation response and promotes joint comfort
  • Fasting promotes healthy hormonal balance

As soon as I reached to turn off my alarm clock (aka, my raggedy phone) this morning, God spoke to me, “You are so focused on the little bit you can’t have that you don’t even see the abundance you still have or what you’ve gained.”

OH.  MY.  GOSH.

DO I REALLY NEED TO SAY MORE??

Y’all.  Just so you know, there was a 2-minute pause between that last sentence and this one because I am still over here like, wow.  Oh my goodness.  I’m sitting here stuck.  Whenever you take a stand for God, you will lose.  I can guarantee it.  There’s no maybe – you will.  And that is what keeps most people from standing.  They think about the possible loss of money, family, friends or – and this is the most common – the loss of the approval of others.  So we stay seated.  Or we only stand on one foot. That is going to be a devotional all by itself.  OR, we do take a stand…but then we mourn and pine over what we’ve lost.  That has been my state of mind for the past month.  I had not been able to shake it for nothing.  I’ve prayed and I even fasted, but nothing has helped me more than God’s words this morning.

“You are so focused on the little bit you can’t have that you don’t even see the abundance you still have or what you’ve gained.”

This is how the enemy of our souls gets us to balk at taking a stand or change our mind once we do.  He gets us to concentrate on the wrong thing.   I promise you, this little stuff we lose for the sake of the Kingdom ain’t nothing.  Oh, I feel like preaching this morning!!  Hebrews 12:2 reads, “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Jesus lost his life, y’all.  I’d say that was something.  It was, but it was nothing – WHEW! – compared to what HE/we gained because of it.  For the joy….he endured…and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Loss compared to gain?  I’d say Jesus had a come-up.

Y’all just don’t know!!  This monkey of shame and regret has been riding my back for a month now.  I took a stand.  It was a stand I hesitated to take.  It was a stand I had to take.  For myself and for the Kingdom.  And God’s words to me this morning have just sent that monkey running back to the zoo of hell that it came from.  I could run through this house right now!  Let me encourage you this morning, peeps: stand.  If God is telling you to take a stand, STAND.  It may be for the Kingdom and then again, it may just be for you.  He does want you to stand up for yourself, you know.  Be real with yourself before you do and admit that, yes, you will lose something, but it will be nothing – and I mean nothing – compared to what you gain.  Or the abundance you have left.  Stand strong and be encouraged.  Find friends that encourage you.  And if it’s a stance you had to take by yourself, look to Scripture.  Flood your mind with verses that fortify your decision to stand.  I know God telling you to do something is actually enough, but sometimes you need to see a couple of Post-It notes stuck to your walls with verses on them.  Even if you have to edit Hebrew 12:2 and put your situation/name in it to encourage yourself, do it.

“Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of MY faith, I, for the joy that was set before ME endured _____________, despising the shame (because I am NOT ashamed of the stand I took), WILL stand before the right hand of the throne of God…and I will hear ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant’.” – De-brew 1:1

–d.

 

Bible Study, Blog

An Acquired Taste.

This is the first installment of our new bible study series on the book of Daniel.

Good morning, peeps!

I hope you’ve prepped for this study by at least reading Chapter 1 of this book. If I were standing in front of you teaching this, I would read parts of it and then we’d work it out together. I guess I can do a copy/paste thing of the passages as I go along. I guess. Just a reminder: I am a KJV girl. As complex as that translation can be this early in the morning…who am I kidding?? That translation can be challenging at any time of the day, not just in the wee hours as you’re typing a blog to your peeps. So, as complex as that translation can be, it is what I was raised on so it is the most comfortable clear for me to use.

Aww, man! I can already see that this study is not going to go the way I thought it was. *sigh* Let us begin. Daniel 1:1-17 reads,

1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.

2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.
3 And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes;
4 Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.
5 And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king.
6 Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:
7 Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.
8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.
9 Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.
10 And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king.
11 Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,
12 Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.
13 Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.
14 So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days.
15 And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat.
16 Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.
17 As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.

The children of Israel had been warned by earlier prophets that if they were not going to live according to God’s Will, He would deliver them into the hands of their enemies. This could be point 1 of our lesson, but I’m not going there just yet. I will say this, though: if you don’t allow God to rule in your life, He will overrule it. Yeah. Just veto everythang you’ve got going on. Your life IS your story, however: HE WROTE IT. I know I said I was not going to go there just yet, but I got vetoed. What’s that “if you want to make God laugh” saying? Oh, yeah: “if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” I wonder if He laughs the way I do when my children try to tell me that they are going to do something that I’m totally against. BWAAAHAAAHAAAHAAA! Whew! You think so, do you? Oh. Okay.

When I re-read these verses yesterday, I became incredibly hungry. I almost got up and cooked something. Almost. I had already eaten, but I was suddenly famished. Oh! Remember my post yesterday about being thirsty? Maaan! I was thirsty all day long! Oh my goodness! No joke. I have never drank so much water in one day. It was almost like God was trying to drive a point home. And, yes, I got the water myself. Back to what I was saying: I became incredibly hungry. Let’s revisit verses 5-8, 12-17:
5 And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king.
6 Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:
7 Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.
8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.
12 Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.
13 Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.
14 So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days.
15 And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat.
16 Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.

I’ll break down our four boys later.

I am not much of a fad follower. That stuff comes and goes weekly, and I don’t feel like adjusting my life at that frequency. Especially when it comes to food. I don’t care what the latest fad is: if it means taking something off my plate, I ain’t doin’ it. I don’t care what y’all say. No sir, no ma’am. I am not going to name the different things my friends are trying right now because I don’t want to offend anyone, but I just don’t understand. Help me to understand. What’s wrong with calories from saturated fats, which are basically little cholesterol-filled globs of joy?? I don’t understand. On the real, I need my food to have calories and flavor. Have you heard of the Daniel Fast? So, here’s the deal. It is based off of two verses in the book of Daniel:

  • Daniel 1:12, “Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables [pulses] to eat and water to drink.”
  • Daniel 10: 2-3, “In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.”

I’m about to end today’s study. I know, I know. I’m foul, but here’s what’s up: I got vetoed. Y’all think I’m playing. I was just about to go in, but God shut me down. Y’all know how He does me…

stiffarmed

Just now. Like, just this instant God changed it up on me. This is what I want you to do. I want you to do exactly what I did when I looked up the Daniel Fast: I focused on what they said NOT to eat. This is truly what caught my eye first.

  • Iodized salt
  • Sweeteners
  • Meat
  • Dairy products
  • Breads, pasta, flour, crackers (unless made from sprouted ancient grains)
  • Cookies and other baked goods
  • Oils
  • Juices
  • Coffee
  • Energy drinks
  • Gum
  • Mints
  • Candy

So, joy.  Now.  Hmm. This is why I have to stop here because I noticed something else before I closed the search tab: the list of what I could consume was much longer.

–d.

Blog, Daily Devotional

I Thirst.

Good morning, peeps!

As the deer pants for living water ~ so my soul needs you, Lord ~ I’m thirsty, God ~ You’re the living water ~ and my soul needs You, Lord ~ I need You, Lord

That line is from Tori Kelly’s “Psalm 42”. Did y’all know she put out a gospel album? Get. That. Joint. Oh my goodness. I have burned a hole in “Psalm 42”, meaning my son has unwillingly heard this song over and over and over and over since Sunday morning. No lie. Here is the scripture that the song is based on:

“As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.” (KJV)

So…yeah. I’ll give you all two additional translations because whoever wrote that was waxing poetically and I can’t deal with that at 3:30 a.m. Hart? Panteth? Whateth??

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God” (NIV)

As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, my God.” (NLT)

Yesterday, I presented the fact that sometimes you will have to stand alone for others. You can go back to yesterday’s blog and re-read the questions I posed. This morning, I had this thought on rotation in my head: what if who you have to stand alone for is you?

Hmm.

Let me tell you how this train of thought pulled into the station. I went to bed nursing-home early yesterday. Look, I’m tired. I’ve restarted my “meet with God at 3:30 a.m.” thing and my body is not the least bit happy. Y’all, that 3-month hiatus was niiiice. I could snuggle underneath my covers well past 3:30 a.m. if I wanted to and I didn’t have to struggle to pray in the wee hours of the morn. Oooooh. I’ll admit that there were a few tinges of guilt those first days, but I got over it. With a quickness. Now I wish I had just kept up my routine because I am ready for night-night by 4 p.m. I feel old. Anyhoo, I went to bed at 6ish last night and woke up at 9:30. When I woke up, I was thirsty. And not regular thirsty. This was some my-throat-is-about-to-drain-the-water-from-my-eyeballs thirstiness. It was that serious. You know how you can swallow some spit and it gets a little better? This wasn’t that. My throat was hurting. So, I sat on the edge of my bed for a couple of minutes trying to decide what I was going to do about it. Oh! I can feel your judgment through this computer screen! “Um. Get yourself some water. Duh.” Look! That crossed my mind! That whole getting up and getting myself some water…I didn’t have the strength to do it. Plus, I didn’t feel like it. I was tired. So I cleared my throat and prepared to yell for my son to get me a drink of water. Pitiful, I know. So! Before I could get the first word out, God spoke to my lazy behind: “Sometimes the person you need to stand for is yourself.”

Tell me you didn’t just think what I thought: what does that have to do with my dehydration??

I have a great group of friends. And I’m talking friend-friends. True ones. They have stood with me plenty of times. There are three in particular who have stood with me in a situation I’ve dealt with for months. I have burned their phones up. And every time we end the conversation, they say, “I love you, girl. I’m here for you. I’m walking this out with you.” Do you know how good it feels to hear that? To know that someone is standing with you as you walk out your stuff? Man. I always feel encouraged and ready to continue standing after our conversations. When we are able to have them. Here’s the thing: they are not always available. Oh, my heart drops when my call goes to voicemail or my SOS text is not returned with a sense of urgency. This happened Monday and I sat there, looking at my phone for about 5 minutes before I thought, “You know, you can stand for yourself by yourself because you’re not really by yourself in the first place.”

I’ve always been told that “there is someone out there who is dying for you to tell your story”. This is true. There is something that only you can say that will minister to a particular person’s need. The same holds true when it comes to taking a stand. There is someone out there who is dying for you to take a stand. What if that someone is you? Think about it. We fail ourselves more than we fail others. On a daily basis. We break promises to ourselves, flood our own minds and hearts with self-doubt, set ourselves up for heartbreak (yes, it’s possible) and sell ourselves short constantly. Stop it. Take a stand for yourself – even if it means you do it alone.

It’s time to take a stand for you…even if you have to do it without your squad. There is a longing in your heart for God that only you can go after. Your soul longs for God – it pants for Him – and it will not be quieted. Remember the question I had when God spoke to my lazy behind: “what does that have to do with my dehydration”? It’s the ‘my’. That thirst was mine. Are you hearing me say “your” a lot? Did you catch that? THIS IS YOUR THING. If you are sitting here looking at these words thinking, “Man. I really long for a deeper relationship with God.”, the only one who can make that happen is YOU. If you want to go deep, start diggin’. No one has to hand you the shovel. Dig for yourself. Take a stand for your own relationship with God. Trust me, if you are really thirsty, you’ll do whatever it takes to quench that thirst and not depend on others to do it/be there for you.

Get up and get your own stankin’ glass of water.

–d.

Blog, Daily Devotional

Lions, Tigers, and Bears.

Good morning, peeps!

I do not have a bible app on my phone. I need you to understand the level of phone-raggedyness that I’m working with. One more app and it’s going to explode. And I’ve only downloaded 2 apps since I got it, the rest are factory. I can’t with this phone. I really only use it for messages, calls, or GoogleMaps. Oh, and as an alarm clock. Doing too much at the same same causes it to lock up. Shoot, I am presently afraid to take one more screenshot because that means I have to push the HOME and power buttons at the same time. Yeah. It’s raggedy.

Back to my lack of app…

Every morning, I open Chrome and search for biblegateway.com so that I can get the “verse of the day”. God’s Word is the first thing I want my eyeballs to read and while I do have an actual hard copy bible right next to my bed, I use my phone since it’s already in my hands. Remember, it’s my alarm clock. The funky thing about this app is that it never has a blank background. There’s always some headline and pic of a celebrity or some tragedy. I really just want to get to my verse, thank you very much. I usually try to quickly key in “bibleg—” so that I can avoid seeing anything. On August 3rd, a headline popped up and no matter how fast I tried to type “bibleg—“, I could not not see it.

Screenshot_2018-08-03-07-24-20-1

I was stuck. There was no verse for me to read – God spoke to me with that. With that headline, God presented me with a question:

If it meant that folks wouldn’t even want to hear your name spoken, would you still obey me? I immediately answered, “Yes”.

Do you know how far into the land of Angryness a person has to go to not even want to hear your name uttered?? I mean, I’ve been in situations where folks didn’t want to talk to me or be around me, but you can’t even say my name without feeling some type of way?? Like my youngest daughter said to me, “You tellin’ me that just saying my name bothers you that much?? Dang.” I remember watching old westerns like Bonanza where the patriach says “Don’t you dare say that name in my house!”. It’s usually the name of someone who has stolen land or somehow tarnished the family name. You better not say that name. They used to backhand folks for that…on T.V. This here is real life.

Before we start this study on the book of Daniel, I want you to know from the jump that this is not going to be a feel-good skip through the scriptures. It is not. This bible study and devotional series is going to be on 1. I am not exactly sure what that means, but it’s about to be ridiculous. God is going to make us a bit uncomfortable with this one. We’re going to be presented with some tough questions and I don’t believe God is going to let us skip out with canned responses this time. Oh, you know what I mean. I’ve learned how to smile and say “If it’s God Will” and pretend like I’m all in. God ain’t havin’ that this rip. This is the time where we will discover our true grit.

Which means we are not ending this story with the fiery furnace. Daniel, just like our lives, has more than 3 chapters to it.

Taking a stand with a group doesn’t take courage…unless you are afraid of crowds. Most of us aren’t, especially when it comes to doing things for the Kingdom of God. That’s why we go to church. We love the fellowship, unity, and the knowledge that we are not alone – we can see other humans standing with us. We may not know how firmly they’re standing, but at least we seem to be going in the same direction. We form committees because being told “that idea is dumb” doesn’t sting as much when the goo is spread out among three or four other people. What if you are called to stand alone, though? What if you are the only one believing that God has told you to do something? What if all of those in your committee who seemed to be on the same page with you now are like “We’re with everyone else. Your idea is dumb.”?

What if doing what God has called you to do means that one day, you will have to stand alone with lions (tigers and bears) at your back?

What if doing what God has called you to do means that you will have to stand in the gap for the very ones who cannot stand you?

What if doing what God has called you to do means that no one, not even those who once adored you, want to even say your name?

Will you still stand?

So this is how the bible study/devotional schedule will go. Thursday is the big study session, with the remaining weekdays being our devo days. Yes, this long blog is a devotional. Can you imagine what my bible study is going to look like?? I hope that as we go through this, we all take a hard look at ourselves. Like, for real. God is calling for warriors. Strong and dependable warriors who are willing to take a stand for Him. Before you start shaking in your boots, here is something that was impressed upon me two weeks ago: the success of this mission is totally on God’s shoulders – He just wants us to show up to the battle ready to fight. Kinda sounds like something I talked about three series ago, right? Almost. The difference between what I said then and what I’m saying now is the realization that God really is the one responsible for the victory. For real. He wants me to stand and be willing to stand NO MATTER WHAT…as HE fights the battle. And I will.

Because in the end, I only care if HE still says my name.

Let’s dig in. –d.

Blog, Daily Devotional

“This Ain’t About You” – God

Good morning, peeps.

“This ain’t about you”.

That was the response I got this morning as I complained about being constantly asked to pray over a certain individual. This person has not only showed up uninvited to my prayer time, but also shows up in my dreams. I asked God AGAIN – this has become a daily question – “Why do they keep showing up in my dreams??”

“This ain’t about you.”

You will find as you walk this thing out with Jesus, that people will be attracted to you. Like lint to black dress pants. The problem with that is, you will not be able to whip out your handy-dandy lint remover to get rid of them. Noooo. IF – y’all, whew – if there was something biblical I could grab to swipe these folks to the left, to the left – I would. I just wanna live my life. Geez.

“This ain’t about you.”

My biggest concern as we as a society try to live our best lives, is that we become too inwardly-focused. Ooooh. Who just cringed? ME! “Well, Deone, how else can you ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ if you don’t love yourself first?” You should love yourself first, but you shouldn’t love yourself only. Some of us are on the verge of selfishness.

Oh. It’s getting rough before I have my coffee. Maybe I should drink some. Perhaps we should actually look at the context of that scripture before we get it printed on a t-shirt.

“This ain’t about you.”

Tomorrow, we will start a new bible study and devotional series. I am trying something different, folks. I’ve done devotionals and I’ve done bible studies, but never a combo. Both will cover the same topic – the devotional will be lightweight and the bible study will be a little heavier. The devotional will pop up every morning as a daily reminder to apply what you’ve learned in the study, but the bible study will be in weekly installments. To give you a head’s up on the topic, it will flow with the thing I’ve been repeating in this blog as we study the first few chapters of the book of Daniel.

This ain’t about you. It’s about the mission. Let’s dig in.

–d.