Bible Study, Blog, Daily Devotional

An Acquired Taste – Pt. 6

This is Part 6 of our study/devotional series on the book of Daniel, “An Awkward Stance.”

Good morning, peeps!

I will try to pick this back up where I left off.  Let’s see how well I do.  The last thing I was talking about was the importance of knowing who you are.  This principle stems from what I said several blogs ago about Daniel’s choice to refuse – excuse me, “piously refuse” – to eat the king’s meat.  People have said that what Daniel did was take a stand.  I’ve said that, too.  As a matter of fact, that is the whole reason I titled this series “An Awkward Stance“.  Then God was like, “Uhn uh”.  I wish He would’ve said something before I made that jpeg.  Talk about awkward.   It was a choice: the stand happened long before that.  Long before.  Note how old Daniel was at the time.  Bibilical scholars have put him at age 16 when this happened.  So, if the stand happened long before this sitch, when was the stand made?  When he was two…or did someone before him make the stand?

Someone else did.

My mommy is the most beautiful woman I have ever known. You may “beg to differ”, but I truly do not care one bit.  And I’m not talking about her outward appearance, even though the woman is BAD, with a capital B-A-D.  Her skin is flawless and without someone telling you, you can’t tell that she will be 70 at the end of this month.  Like I said, the sista is BAD.  So, yes, her outsides are beautiful, but I’m talking about her innards.  Not her intestines and gall bladder, but her heart.  And not her physical h–…do I really have to explain this??

Y’all know what I’m talking about.

Back to her turning 70… We’re the type of family that does fun and crazy stuff to celebrate the milestones of our lives, and this will be no different.  We’re having a small dinner with just her lineage and I thought it would be cool to present her with fun gifts that represent each decade of her life.  For the first decade, she’s getting a mudpie-making kit because that is something she loved to do as a kid.  Why she ate them, I have no idea.  For the second decade, I thought of baby shoes because that’s when she birthed my bigheaded brother.  I didn’t remember that she also had my sister and myself, too.  Duh.  Other than getting married to my dad, I couldn’t think of anything else that she did that was significant during her twenties…until my sister said it.  “Remember, she got saved.”

Ahhh.   Now there’s the stand.

—d.

Blog, Daily Devotional

Welcome.

Good morning, peeps!

Lesson #2 From The Joint: You Are Where You Need To Be

 

On the morning of our first full day in prison, one of the inmates walked past the back…

Before I go any further, let me explain some things.  I am a part of the Great Banquet community and one of the things we do is host Great Banquet “weekends”.  We do this for correctional centers, as well as for y’all free folks.  I am not doing a great job of explaining this so if you want more information, you can click this link and find out more: https://www.lampstand.net/great-banquet/.  Here is how the gym is set up in the prison:  there are nine long tables for the guests and team members and then a long table in the back for the directors, assistants, spiritual directors, and me.  We call ourselves “The Back Table”, or “The Table of Contents”.  Got it?  Okay, let me continue.

On the morning of our first full day in prison, one of the inmates walked past the back table and said, “Thank you, ladies, for being here!  We really appreciate it.  We are so happy that you’re here.”  One of the team members replied, “We are happy to be here!  And we’re happy that you’re here!  I mean, we’re not happy that you’re here, but we’re glad that…”  The woman, shaking her head, stopped the team member in mid-sentence and said, “I’m glad that I’m here.  This is where I need to be.”

Dag.

“God is a comedian.  Don’t let anyone fool you.  God’s got jokes.” – Galen

God has a sense of humor.  You can see it through the interesting ways He gets us to line up with His plan for us.  Some of those ways are fun, while some are very un-funny.  There are a lot of people in the prison system who, had they not been locked up, would be dead.  Life or death – those were the options.  We don’t look at prison and think “Ooooo! Life!”, but I promise you this: a judge’s gavel has been some folks’ saving grace.  Not everyone who is incarcerated views their present location/situation as bad.  Some of them see it as a blessing, sent from God.

I have a wonderful person in my life who, after hearing me talk about a current situation I’m in, encouraged me to look at it a different way: “Girl.  I hear you and I understand – been there, done that – but this is the way I would look at it if I were you: if God’s got you going through a bunch of pain and hell as He is working this stuff out of you, then KNOW that you will be better for it.  I know it hurts and you’d rather be ‘anywhere but here’, but you are exactly where you need to be.  Stop trying to run from it and sit in it.  Say “Okay, God, this is where You have me”, and let it do what it is supposed to do so you can move on to the next step.  I really need you to grasp this.  Know that whatevuh – hmm – whatevuh God has for you on the other side of this HAS to be greater than what you had or what you are going through.  It’s gotta be.  ‘Cause that’s just who He is.”

It’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you’re facing the opposite way.   I know, I know: I’m deep.

Have a great weekend, peeps.

–d.

Blog, Daily Devotional

The Nothings.

Good morning, peeps!

Let me quit playing and tell you about what has stuck with me from my weekend in prison.  I went to bed last night fully intending to do Part 2 of “Thursday-ish”.  I can’t.  This morning, my weekend was playing on the big screen.  I told you that being in the joint will change you.  It will.  So here we go.

Lesson #1:  Place More Value On The Nothings

I have a greater appreciation for the small stuff.  And when I say “small”, I don’t mean insignificant.  No.  I’m talking about the bits and pieces we don’t give value to because we have bigger fish to fry.  Guess what?  The little wiggly worm that was used to snag that fish matters too.  There was a woman in last weekend’s group who was developmentally-challenged.  I didn’t know who she was on the first day – which upset her, by the way – but I remembered by Day 2.   I’ll call her “Ms. C”.  I grew up with her and once I realized that, I became very sad.  Her family treated her like dog poo, and not the freshly-deposited-in-my-front-yard-and-I-don’t-even-have-a-dog kind.  My neighbor and I need to have a convo.  I just snuck in a vent.  I’m talking about dried-out dog poo.  Any abuse you can imagine was done to her.  The whole weekend, she kept looking back at me and I’d smile.  All she wanted was a smile.  I didn’t have to do too much – just smile.

If I didn’t tell you, I was the worship leader for the weekend.  I can’t remember if I already typed that.   I personally played – I had a keyboard – a lot of worship music, but I had some fun stuff on a CD.   I tried my best to play a lot of upbeat music that we could dance to because they do not get to do that in prison.  Did you hear me?  They don’t get to dance in prison.  Chile, bye.  I dance while cleaning, while making my bed, while folding the laundry, while dancing – I dance.  Never thought about how I would function if that was taken away from me.

I’m about ready to cry thinking about this.  Ms. C wanted to sing a song and asked if I would play the keyboard as she sang.  Sure, I can do that.  She didn’t even ask if I knew the song – I think she just assumed that I did.  It really wasn’t too much of a stretch to assume that I knew it because it’s the black church theme song.  Jesus On The Main Line.  When she approached the mic, the thought came to me: play it as if you were the one singing it.  So I went in.  She didn’t sing it the way I knew it was supposed to go because she added additional lyrics that had me going “What??”, but you got the point: Jesus is on the main line and you ought to tell Him what you want.  She went on and on and on and on.  I didn’t mind because I probably would’ve done it, too.  She started crying when she was done and said, “You don’t know how much that meant to me!  Thank you, Jesus!  Thank you, Jesus!”  Aww man!  I’m about to start crying again.  She was so grateful to given a chance to sing, that people were clapping as she sang, and that I played for her.

You’re praising God for that?  That was nothing.

On Friday night, I played “Unfinished” by Mandisa and “We Are Family” by someone.  It is 3 in the morning, folks.  I can’t recall everything.  We were having so much fun when someone said, “Let’s do a train!”  So we did.   I led everyone around the room, as we danced, laughed, and tried to sing.  It was so much fun.  On Saturday, I played another fun song while we were waiting to go to lunch.  It was “Happy” by Pharrell.  Now, I was not really feeling the whole “let’s do a train” thing because I was tired.  No, ma’am.  I was just going to do my little “I’m dancing in this one spot” pump-my-fist thing.  Ms. C had other ideas.  She looks at me and yells, “Everyone follow me!”  So you know what we did?  We followed her.  We danced around that room, following someone who was obviously way more excited about the whole deal than all of us combined.  Like, for real.  She squealed and clapped her hands, as she kept looking back to see if we were still following her.  At one point she said, “Y’all following me!!  Y’all following me!!  I’m going to cry!”  And she did.  She started crying, thanking Jesus that people were following her.

You’re praising God for that?  That was nothing.

God-sent gifts come in assorted sizes.  And shapes.  There is value in the tiniest of them.  In fact, they have just the same value as the biggest gift He can give.  Sometimes, even more.  It’s all about how you look at ’em.  Pay close attention to your world today.  Make note of the small things – the nothings.

–d.

Blog, Daily Devotional, Spiritual Walk

Puppy Love

This is a repost.  After spending the weekend with the ladies in prison, I cannot get this song (see below) out of my head.  I felt it was fitting to revisit this.  Have a wonderful day!  –d.

Good morning, peeps!

 

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” – 1 Corinthians 2:9 KJV

“Oh it chases me down – fights til I’m found – leaves the ninety-nine” – from the song “Reckless Love” by Cory Asbury

Today’s word of encouragement is brought to you in loving memory of Chocolate Pupcake, my friends’ (The Walters) sweet four-legged family member who was killed earlier this year when she was hit by a car.  As this song played in my head this morning, I thought of Choco.  Never met her, don’t know if she would’ve bit me or pee’d on my shoe. What I DO know is that Robin and her family loved her with a reckless love.  Like, seriously crazy about her.  Just by listening to Robin talk about her, I could tell.  And that right there would’ve made me love her, too.

After being let outside to play one evening, she ran off.  This was something she’d done before so they weren’t alarmed and she always came back.  When she didn’t, they rallied the troops and searched for her.   I’m sure they didn’t have to rally too hard: their friends and neighbors were more than happy to help for this was in the scope of their love.  Now read the scripture. We tend to base what we think God will do for us – how far He will go to find us, the number of times He’ll put us back together – on what our limited minds can think, on what we perceive, on what we’ve been told that has planted itself in our hearts.  Listen to me: God ain’t us.  What we call reckless love is not even in the same league as His recklessness.  And I’m not talkin’ comparing apples to oranges.  Stack that apple up against Orion’s Belt.  Yeah.

Mind. Blown.

I have tried to wrap my mind around God’s ways and I cannot.  I just can’t.  Check it: I had the most amazing dream this morning about His angels protecting and providing for me and my family and STILL, I know that dream was limited by my ability to comprehend.  Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God!  I pray that you let this just wash over you this morning as you look around at your babies or assess what you’ve got ahead of you today.  Love ya.  Have a great day.

–d.

Blog, Daily Devotional

Unexpected.

Good morning, peeps!

I did not know that so many of my friends like horses.  I did not expect that.  That is so cool.  Guess what?  I still don’t.  I am now on the prayer lists of three who want to make sure I learn to love them.  I love y’all, I really do, but no.  Pray that I get delivered from the spirit of gluttony.  Or that whatever work God is still doing on my hubby-to-be gets finished soon so he can come on.  One of my friends, and this was a fun conversation, posed this question to me: Well, what if you were in a life or death situation and riding a horse was the only way you could escape?

Giddyup. 

So, this is going to be a very short blog and it will not be about Daniel.  I woke up in the middle of some good slobbery sleep at 1:27 a.m. with an urgency to pray for you all.  I don’t know what you have been dealing with, but God woke me up and said, “Pray for everyone connected to you.”  I have no idea who all that is so I made some group lists.  I prayed for people I see at work, folks I go to church with, people I’ve met growing up, people who read this blog…everybody.   And then I went back to sleep.

To be honest, being awakened with an urgency to pray unsettles me.  I immediately think the worst.  I have peace about it now.  Listen to Travis Greene’s “Made A Way”.   After I woke up for the second time, that song was ringing in my ears.  I asked God, “So, what’s up with that?”  In my spirit, I felt a reassurance that this is why He had me pray this morning.  There are going to be some “don’t know how, but you did it” moments for you today.  Expect the unexpected.

Ohhhh yeaaaah.

Made a way
Don’t know how but You did it
Made a way
Standing here not knowing how we’ll get through this test
But holding unto faith You know that
Nothing can catch You by surprise
You got this figured out and You’re watching us now
But when it looks as if we can’t win
You wrap us in Your arm and step in
And everything we need You supply
You got this in control
And now we know that

You made a way
When our backs were against the wall
And it looked as if it was over
You made a way
And we’re standing here
Only because You made a way
You made a way

–d.