Blog, Daily Devotional, Spiritual Walk

Taster’s Choice.

Good morning, peeps!

This will be a 2-part final installment in our “An Awkward Stance” series on Daniel.  This is not what I planned to write about this morning, but you all should know by now that God likes to rearrange my plans all of the time. 

In the last intallment, I said that the next thing we’d talk about would NOT be the fiery furnace.  That is what I said.  Guess what was put on my heart to talk about as soon as I typed “Good morning, peeps!”?  The fiery furnace.

“Here’s the deal about ‘iron sharpens iron’: you don’t get to pick the iron.” – me

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I sure could’ve used this on November 1st.

I muttered those words a few weeks ago before the start of a meeting I had with a leader – I’ll call him ‘Bob’ – who was being very unpleasant right from the jump.  I thought, “Naw, bruh.  It’s too early in the morning for this mess”.  So I stepped out into the hallway to whisper a prayer, hoping that God would help this man out real quick-like and give him a miraculous attitude adjustment.  He didn’t, but I went on with the meeting as if Bob was the most pleasant person I’d ever met.  When the meeting was over, you KNOW I had a conversation with my Father.

“Um…what was up with that?  Didn’t You hear me when I prayed ‘Come, Holy Spirit’?  I said it twice!”

“Yep.  And I did come…to help you.”

God is hilarious.

Yesterday, I thought about my encounter with Bob and started laughing.  God really is funny.  Two things came to me:

  1. the thing about ‘iron sharpens iron’ is that you do not get to pick the iron, and
  2. it’s hard to be the change you want to see if you don’t change.

More often than not, the situations/encounters we are presented with are there to change us first.  I know we are supposed to be the “light of the world”, but if we don’t approach that “world” with the right heart, someone’s getting burned to a crisp.  Bob, are you reading this?? 

(Note: before I hit ‘publish’, I looked at “approach that world” and realized that some of us are cool on the approach-the-world tip, but don’t handle the interaction well.  Think of it like this: road rage doesn’t happen in driveways. We have to do better.  It’s not enough to have good intentions when you start out – you need to be able to carry it through.)

So let me be perfectly honest. When I prayed “Come, Holy Spirit”, I knew that my attitude was getting a little funky.  Okay, it downright stank…on a Pepe’ Le Pew tip.  I physcially felt the shift in me.  Not wanting to be funkdafied was the sole reason I decided to excuse myself from the conference room, but somewhere between the utterance of the “t” in “Spirit” and my entrance back into the conference room, I decided that it was Bob who needed to change – not me.  Hmph!  Does he not know who I am??

Burn, baby, burn.

One of the cool things about God is that He knows better than we do what is needed every single second of the day and that morning at approximately 6:49, I needed a little sharpening.  He used Bob.  Sure, I would’ve liked it to have come another way, but God didn’t really ask me.  I mean, it’s not like I had a list of preferred sharpening tools at the ready, but I could’ve thought of something.  Just like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  I’m sure a fiery furnace was not on their list.  Can’t we just have another meal to turn away?  I’m sure the untimely death of children, siblings, parents and friends is not on your list.  Or illness and financial ruin.  I’m sure a lot of us would prefer not to go through pain and heartache or even little annoyances to be sharpened.  There has got to be a YouTube tutorial we can watch instead.

We may not get to pick the iron, but we do get to choose who’s holding it.*

–d.

*At the beginning of this series, I said that Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego made a choice.  There it is.  

Bible Study, Blog, Daily Devotional, Uncategorized

What I Have Is Enough.

Good morning, peeps!

This is whatever part of our study/devotional series “An Awkward Stance – a study of the book of Daniel”. It’s 3:30 in the morning…cut me some slack.

Have you ever looked at the bible people and wished that you had the faith they did? We’ve been talking about Daniel and his buddies for two months now and y’all can’t tell me you haven’t experienced some situations during that time that didn’t have you thinking, “Man! I wish Deone would come on with the come-on and tell me how to get that plate-passin’, lion-snubbin’, in-the-furnace-chillin’ kind of faith!! I need to get pass/over/through this thing I’m dealing with right here!” Well, TODAY’S THE DAY! Woo-hoo! I am finally going to tell you how to get the faith they had! Are you ready??

You already have it.

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. – Romans 12:3 KJV

Like I said – ahem! – you already have it. The measure of faith – let’s call it “amount” ’cause some of y’all need to hear about quantities (which is so not what “measure” means in this instance) – that it takes to move mountains, is the same measure of faith it takes for me to bend my outta shape self down, untie my shoe, and remove the pebble that has somehow gotten into it and is making it hard for me to walk.

It’s that faith.

I highlighted the word “the” in the passage I copy/paste this morning for a reason. The. We’ve all been dealt the measure of faith: not “a” or “some kinda” – the. Like, it’s the only measure. Imagine a measuring cup set. There is only one 1-cup measuring cup in the set, right? You don’t get two. Just one. Do you get what I’m saying? The measure? That’s all God gave each of us. That’s it. God didn’t run out of faith and give you “almost a” measure. God didn’t skimp when it came to you. Allow me to blow your mind this morning: God didn’t give Elijah more faith than you. It’s not like God was making faith cupcakes and put more faith sprinkles on Elijah’s cupcake than the one He gave to you. Um, no.

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(That jar almost looks like it says “Faith”, doesn’t it?)

Or maybe you’re thinking that you must’ve flinched when He was giving the measure to you and some fell off and got onto someone else. Um, no. “Well, I’m not doing Elijah-type stuff so I don’t care what you say, Deone. I’m missing some. I need more.” Nope. You’re not missing any faith and you don’t need more of it.

What you need more of is courage. What you need more of is trust in God. That’s what you need.

Daniel’nem? That’s what they had – a whole lotta courage and trust. You can have it, too. Here’s the deal: we have easier access to God than they did! Human-folks had to intercede for them. Not us! They had to kill cows and spend months looking for something that wasn’t limping or didn’t have a bad case of animal acne just so they could kill it and offer it to God. Not us! Uhn-uh. We get to go straight to the throne. The sacrifice has already been made. No, not what theirs was – the only spotless One. For us. So that we can have more courage. So that we can trust God more.

‘Cause today, removing this pebble is more pressing than moving that mountain.

-d.

Bible Study, Blog, Daily Devotional

Doin’ This For Me.

This is Part I-Don’t-Know in our devotional/study series “An Awkward Stance – A Study of Daniel.”

Good morning, peeps!

If I remember correctly, we left off talking about Daniel and his homies having complete knowledge of who they were.  They knew they were royalty.  And not just any kind of royalty: covenant royalty.  The sacredness of that had been communicated to every generation from the moment the covenant was made: from Abraham to Moses, from Moses to Chico (??), it had been passed down.  They had the words of their forefathers.

There comes a time when what Grandpa’nem have told you ain’t enough.  You gotta know it for yourself.

Growing up, I always heard “You can’t live off Mama’s prayers.  You need to talk to God for yourself.”  When I first heard that, I probably thought, “Well, that kinda sucks.  Have you heard my mama pray??”  Oh my goodness.  My mama prayed – no: wailed.  The kind of wailing that would embarrass me.  Okay, don’t start taking off your belts to whup me – that’s just how I felt as a child.  Prayer time would be over and my mama would still be at the altar crying out to God like she wasn’t aware that we had a whole 3 hours of church service left.  And she prayed ugly, with snot hanging down from her nose.  When she’d finally get up, she would bring that snotty towel back to her seat and place it on the pew.  Eww.  I was completely disgusted.  As turned off as I was, there was still a sense of peace…the peace that comes from knowing that MY mama prayed.  I was covered! Mama had me.  Thanks, Ma!

There comes a time when what Mama prayed ain’t enough.  You gotta talk to God your own self.

I know you’re wondering what in the world this has to do with Daniel’nem.  Everything.  Let me run back to Moses to make my point.  Let’s say that the exodus from Egypt and his ability to lead millions of people out of slavery was funded by the prayers of his mama. Let’s just give her credit for a moment.  Cool.  Thanks, Ma!  And let’s just say that God’s grace and the mercy He showed by not wiping out everyone when they made the golden calf was all because of the prayers Moses’ mama had prayed.  Cool.  Thanks, Ma!  

But there came a time when what Mo’s mama prayed wasn’t enough.  He had to talk to God himself.

Think back to Exodus 33 when Moses and God had a face-to-face convo.  It was in the tabernacle – which was a tent, not a building – and when Mo went in, a pillar of cloud “stood” at the doorway.  Here’s what has been breathing down the back of my neck for the last couple of days: Mo’s ability to do all of the stuff he’s famous for was funded by the time he spent with God.  The tent had been there – Mo had to make the choice to go in…for himself.  The confidence he needed to do the things God was calling him to do required him to “have a little talk with Jesus”…himself (or hisself).  Mama couldn’t do it for him.  The same thing holds true for Daniel.  Just saying, “I’m Abraham’s graaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaandson”, wasn’t going to cut it.  Daniel could not refuse the king’s portion or stand with his back to the lions in confidence if he had not spent time in God’s face.

Just saying you’re a child of God ain’t enough.  You need to talk with your Father.

There are things God is calling you to do.  You already know what they are.  God is calling you to make choices that you are not overly excited to make.  Yay.  The only way you are going to be able to make them and move in confidence is through your time with God.  Let me tell ya, I feel like I can go out and conquer the world after listening to my kiddos tell me how awesome I am as a mom.  Are you kidding me??  Bring on world hunger – I’ll make batches of Hamburger Helper and wipe it out TODAY!  You have friends who make you feel invincible, don’t you?  Just imagine how you will feel after talking with God.

Daniel was able to make his choice because of the time he’d spent in God’s face.

Daniel was not immortal – he was human.  He was not a cherub that sang “hallelujah” all day long while flying (I don’t know if they fly) around God’s throne all day – he was human.  Not only was he human: he was a teenager.  A teenager.  Who has a teenager?  Oooh.  Some of them have the drive of a dead gnat…that’s in a balled-up piece of tissue…laying at the bottom of the bathroom garbage can.  Too descriptive?  Most will take the easy way out of any situation if they can get away with it.  So what was it about Daniel? What gave him the confidence to defy the king?  You do know that his refusal of the king’s portion was straight-up defiance, right?  Let me sit on that for a second.  If you were looking at this like Daniel kindly pushed his plate away and said, “I’m not hungry”, noooo.  Do not downplay this thing.  This was an order by the king and Daniel said “I ain’t doin’ it.”  Remember that the eunich in charge of Daniel told him that he feared for his life.   When you go against a king’s order, death is next.  “But, I’m Abraham’s graaaaa–… ”

Only time spent in God’s face…

–d.

 

Blog, Daily Devotional

Big Girl Love.

Good morning, peeps!

Yes, this is a real-live, “she’s really blogging and not reposting” blog.  

I just had to do it.  Even though I probably should be, I am not typing this with one foot out the door.  I am fully present for this one because it’s important.  This is my letter to all of my big girls. Guys, feel free to glean what you need from this one.

 

To All Of My Big Girls,

I see you.  I see you when you fight to walk tall even though you can barely hold your head up.  I see you.  I see you when you see others post about trusting in God for every single thang – “I prayed for God to show me where my keys were and He did” – and you can barely trust God to give you your next breath.  I see you.  I see you when your life is all topsy-turvy and you roll your eyes hard when your girls say “Girl, God is in control.”  Really, sis?  I see you.  I see you when you lay in bed at night trying to quiet your thoughts and they all seem to be saying, “Ain’t.”  I see you when your verse of the day is Psalm 27:14 and the version you’re reading tells you to be strong.  It tells you to be strong…

I see you.

This is why I’m a KJV girl.  If that’s not your thing, that’s cool.  I read the other translations from time to time, but this morning, I had to go with what I know.  KJV.  All day, errday.  This letter to y’all is really to me.   I’m writing this to Deone.  This little girl trying so hard to be a big girl…trying so hard to trust God for errthang.  Nope: just one thing.

And yes, I’m saying “every” wrong on purpose.  Sometimes life can get so rough that proper English is not even a concern anymore.

I see you.

Psalm 27:14 was my verse of the day.  The version that popped up on my screen was NIV and it says, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”  That did not work for me: not because I didn’t want to be strong…right now, I don’t have the strength.  Something deep inside of me said “Look at the KJV”.  So I did.

Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

Hold the phone, Big Girl.  Did you read that?  He shall strengthen thine heart.

Get outta here.

Big Girl, listen to me.  Well, first of all, waiting does not mean…um…sitting at a bus stop waiting for the bus of God to come by.  Waiting on God means moving in faith.  Yeah.  And as you are moving – excuse me, living – in faith, be courageous.  Trust me, I get it.  And here’s the thing.  Being courageous is not always walking into a room and demanding to be heard or flipping over tables and whipping folks.   Sometimes being courageous means just showing up.  Quietly.  Give yourself some credit for getting out of the bed without kicking the cat clear across the room.  Man!  You don’t have to slay dragons or sieze a village.  Just putting one foot in front of the other is a full day of courageousness for some.  Good for you.

Big Girl, you don’t have to be strong all on your own – you’ve just gotta be courageous and sometimes being courageous means asking for help.  Shoot, asking for help is an act of faith!  And guess what, when you are courageous, when you move in faith, God will strengthen you.  He will.  You can bank on that.

Love,

Deone

 

 

Blog, Daily Devotional

Let Me Tell Ya Somethin’!

Good morning, peeps!

I know you all are probably thinking that I’ve just abandoned you, but I haven’t.  I’m still doing my crazy work hours and I’m actually typing this with one foot out the door.  This means that I will be driving slightly over the speed limit to get to work, but I just had to tell you all something.

Saturday, I watched A Wrinkle In Time.  I don’t know why.  I’ve never had an interest in the book and the movie trailers looked weird, but I was the only person in my house at the time and I thought that a movie would go well with the two pieces of cake I shouldn’t have been eating.  I was not even feeling the movie until I heard this one line.  I guess I should tell you what led up to that line, huh?  So the little girl told Oprah Winfrey that she and the other women were beautiful.  Oprah said, “Thank you.  And so are you.”  The little girl shook her head and Oprah asked, “Do you realize the events and choices that had to occur since the birth of the universe to create you…just as you are?”

I almost dropped my pieces of cake.  Almost.

I thought about that line all day long.  Later, as I was preparing for leading worship on Sunday, God spoke something deep into my spirit and that thing has rocked me.  It’s almost like this and the Oprah-line were His “one-two punch”.

“There are three parties involved in this thing called life: the Godhead (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), the enemy of your soul, and you.  Only one of those continually questions who they are and who I am.”

You.  Me.  Ussses.

I grew up “telling the devil” who I was.  If you lived within 5 feet of a Baptist church, you had to hear at least one time in your childhood, “Now tell the devil, ‘I am a child of God!'”  Or, “Let the devil know how great our God is!”  And we’d yell it.  Guess what?   He already knows.  As a matter of fact, he’s known that for a very long time and he hasn’t doubted it from the first time it rang in his ears, which was a long time ago.  Way before you or I were born.  Those truths were declared all the way back in the day – no, before there was ‘day’ – and it wasn’t by us.

Before the time began, before crust covered the earth, before God spoke “let there be”, He declared, “This is how it is.”

Neither God nor the enemy ever question who God is.  Neither God or the enemy ever question who you are.  We do.  And that is why we have the gift of the scriptures.  The scriptures are full of times when the people of God forgot who He was and forgot who they were.  Tons of times.  I sat there as God spoke into my spirit and I thought about how earlier that day, I’d felt lonely.  I wasn’t alone.  Shoot, I’m never alone.  I couldn’t be alone if I wanted to.  God is always there.  I thought about the times that I’ve lived with a distorted view of myself, all because I questioned the value of the creation and the genius of the Creator.

But let me tell ya me somethin’.

–d.