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.  

Daily Devotional, Spiritual Walk

Indecent Exposure – #2

Due to my cray-cray work schedule, I am revisiting a series I did earlier this year titled “Breathe In – Breathe Out”.  I’m starting to think that my cray-cray work schedule is of God because I definitely needed to look at this stuff again.  I hope it has been blessing you as well.

 

 

(This is Part 2.5 of our devotional series “Breathe In – Breathe Out”.)

Good morning, peeps!

“As you get older, fat just sneaks up on you.  I could be walking down the street and see a cookie in a window and *POOF*!  I’ll gain weight!  I’m like, ‘God! Why??!   I just looked at the cookie!  I didn’t eat the cookie!” – Sinbad, comedian

My workplace has a lot of buildings and getting from one to another can be a hassle.  Maybe not so much of a hassle as an inconvenience.  Maybe not so much of an inconvenience as a “I just don’t feel like walking” type of situation.  If you can flag down a ride, you do it.  A few weeks ago, I did just that with a colleague who told me her first stop would be at the smoking area.  Fine, I’ll just wait in the truck.  I’ll be alright, right?  When I got to my desk, I was coughing and everything about me smelled of smoke. “But I didn’t even smoke, God!  I just around someone who did!”

You do know that you don’t have to do a thing to be affected by the thing, right?

Second hand smoke contains up to 6 times the amount of toxins as mainlined smoke and I thought about that as I tried to digest yesterday’s “there is no risk-free exposure” statement.  The truth of that didn’t hit me until later when I found myself getting angry just listening to someone talk about another person who was getting on their nerves.  I had internalized (inhaled) all of that and was ready to fight.  How ridiculous is that?  Proverbs 4:23 encourages us be mindful of what we expose ourselves to: “keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life…”.  Our conversations, the images we see all over can affect us. Their stink gets on us.  It’s not just about what you do – this inhaling thing is no joke.  Think about what you are allowing to enter your system – heart, mind and spirit.

You don’t even have to eat the cookie… 

–d.

Daily Devotional, Spiritual Walk

Gasping For Air #2

This is a repost, peeps.

(This is Part 2 of our “Breathe In – Breathe Out” devotional series.)

Good morning, peeps!

“Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…” 2 Timothy 3:16

If you’ve ever witnessed the birth of a baby, you undoubtedly held your breath as you waited for the baby to take their first one.  After hearing that affirming “WAAAAH!”, you exhaled.   Whew!  Oh, Alex – my firstborn.  Poor thing.  I used to stand still at her crib and watch her chest rise and fall with every breath.  I would put her face up to mine just so I could smell it.  It was so sweet.  I lie.  It smelled like old milk and gastric juices, but she was my angel so it was perfect.  And I was so protective of those funky breaths.  No one could breathe around her.  I’m surprised I didn’t place her inside of a bubble or teach her how to push down the button on a can of Lysol Disinfectant Spray when she was two days old.

In case her siblings are reading this, Mama was just as careful with you.

You couldn’t cough or sneeze within the same 2,400 square-foot space as Alex.  And don’t let me see a cigarette.  Are you kidding me?  It didn’t even have to be lit for me to go off.  I remember one time her father came into the house after having smoked a cigarette.  You would’ve thought he’d actually lit one up and blew smoke at the head of her crib.  Oh my goodness.  I tore him several new ones as I shoved him towards the front door.  “It’s in your clothes!  She’ll breathe it in!  OH MY GOD!  What’s wrong with you??”  Y’all probably think that was too much, huh?  Secondhand smoke causes approximately 7,330 deaths from lung cancer and 33,950 deaths from heart disease each year.  Secondhand smoke contains hundreds of chemicals known to be toxic or carcinogenic, including formaldehyde, benzene, vinyl chloride, arsenic ammonia and hydrogen cyanide.2    The only way to fully protect yourself from exposure is to eliminate smoking.  There is no risk-free level of secondhand smoke exposure.

(Don’t concern yourself with that ‘2’. I straight copy/pasted those four sentences from the CDC site. I have no additional references.) 

According to the above verse, Scripture is God-breathed.  When we take the time to study the Word, we essentially inhale what He exhales.  Let me say that again: we inhale what He exhales.  He is the air we breathe.  Well, He should be.  As I looked up that verse, I asked myself how often I’m inhaling what He’s exhaling and how protective I am of those breaths.  The word “not” was in both answers.   I breathe in hundreds of “toxins” every day from the internet, TV, and billboards.  Some of my conversations are full of toxins.  There’s no way I’m not going to be exposed to them.  To be honest, I like most of them.  Not sure if I’m ready to completely eliminate them…maybe I can limit my exposure.  Hmm.

I was about to end this devotional with that line when my eye caught the last sentence I copied: there is no risk-free level of secondhand smoke exposure.  Really?  Man.  I need a bubble.  We’ll dig into this tomorrow. Have a great day.

–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.

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