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.

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I asked. I got it.

Good morning, peeps!

As we continue to look at the book of Daniel, this chick right here is going to do things a little differently. First, let me just tell you that our next stop is not the fiery furnace. Nope. Just wanted to make sure we were clear on that. Differently… I asked God for wisdom regarding this blog. I don’t like how I haven’t blogged every day like I used to and some of you are used to, but I haven’t had the time. I still get up at 3:30 a.m. to pray, but lately I’ve had to rush off to work right after that. (Projects for days, y’all – I’m using all 10 talents God has given me!) This means, duh, that there are days when you don’t hear from me. And that bothers me.

So I asked for wisdom and true to Scripture, I got it.

My blogs will now hit your screen a minimum of two times a week. I hope you know how much it pains me to type that. Two times. If there is…nevermind. I was about to add something that God hadn’t told me simply because I feel like I’m letting you down.

I’ll stop, God.

So, from now on, IJAC will slow its roll. I’ll continue to get up at 3:30 each morning to pray for you and for a word from the Lord. That’ll never stop. Love you all and God bless.

-d.

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How I Met Your Mother.

This is Part I-Still-Don’t-Know of our devotional/study series “An Awkward Stance – A Study of Daniel”. I’ll figure it out one day.

Good morning, peeps!

7 And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, that every one which sought the Lord went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp. 9 And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses. – Exodus 33:7,9 KJV

You can always tell which parent has invested the most energy into a relationship with their children. Just watch the interaction. That parent for me is my mama. I love that woman dearly. There is absolutely nothing I wouldn’t do for her. If she ever needs a kidney, I won’t hesitate to give her my brother’s. It’ll be a sacrifice, but that’s how much I love her. And she loves me more: she wouldn’t hesitate to give me both of my brother’s kidneys. Now, that’s love right there. I don’t want you to think that our relationship has been perfect. Good grief. Um, no. We’ve had to work at this thing. I’ve had to put in time just like she has. And this is something she has done for her relationships with my sister and my unsuspecting organ donor brother. Even with all of that, you can still tell a difference in her relationship with each of us.

It’s the level of intimacy.

Of us kiddos, I am the one who’s spent the most time around our mother. For 12 of my adult years, she and I lived together. You learn a lot about a person when you get to experience them every single day…for twelve years. I’m not saying my relationship with her is better than the ones she has with my siblings (lies…I am), but I do think that she and I are extremely close. This is not just because we were in the same house for years. You can be around the same person for longer than that and still not be close. Any couples in the house?? We actually spent a lot of time in each other’s faces, having conversations about everything. Eh-ver-ree-thing. There have been some true TMI moments. I now know more than I wish to know about her and I’m sure she feels the same, but it was through those conversations and time spent in faces that look almost identical that we met each other. The evidence of our intimacy can be seen in the things we do.

Remember yesterday when I brought up how Mo went into the tabernacle to meet with God? Guess what? He wasn’t the only one. I really want you to get this, okay? Let’s talk about the tabernacle. The tabernacle was a tent – a revered and sacred place – where everyone who wanted to commune with God went to pray. Read that sentence again. Y’all thought it was just Mo? Nope. Re-read the passage I did the excellent copy/paste of above. It says “every one”. Anyone who wanted to meet with God could go into the tabernacle. But peep this, my peeps: no one else but Mo had a cloud working security after they went into the tent.

I’m not going to assume that everyone reading this blog is a bible scholar so let me make something very clear: the cloud was not working security. I can be pretty hilarious at 3 in the morning, and I cracked up at that. The pillar of cloud was there as a witness of God’s presence, evidence of the intimate relationship between God and Mo. No one else had that. What does this have to do with our study on the book of Daniel? Plenty.

I want you to know how DHMA could do what they did.

Read this passage from Daniel 1: 6 Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel,Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 7 The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.

“Among those who were chosen…”

With all of the fuss that we make over those four teenagers, did it ever cross your mind to wonder about the others? There were other boys. What made DHMA stand out? What was the difference there? Their level of intimacy with God. They were able to do great things for God because of their intimacy with God. That’s why they could say, “Yeah, that piece of steak looks mighty good and I’m hungry as a mugg, but naw. Give me that carrot ’cause I’m not defying God.” That is why they could say, “We trust God to deliver us out of the fiery furnace, but if He doesn’t, we’re still good. We’re not bowing.” That level of intimacy is why Daniel could stand with his back to the lions – bruh didn’t even acknowledge their presence – without wavering.

Intimacy. This is how you meet your Father.

–d.

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Come Again.

Good morning, peeps!

‘Sorry for yesterday…and today…and every day until October 22nd!  I know!  I hate to do this to ya, but I am on the craziest of work schedules for these two weeks so I won’t be able to post new stuff.  This one right here is on a timer.  I feel like I’m cheating.  I’m actually getting up to pray at 2:30a.m.  Y’all.  That’s a whole ‘nother fight-this-flesh monster.  It goes beyond that – more like, take-a-sledge-hammer-and-knock-this-flesh-out kinda monster.

So here’s what we’re going to do. I actually didn’t know until just now.  Let’s revisit the “Breathe In – Breathe Out” series.  I need to see that again myself.  Talk with y’all later.


breath

Eww! Is That Your Breath??

“This is Part 1 of a devotional series titled “Breathe In – Breathe Out”.)

Good morning, peeps!

And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest…” – Acts 9:1 KJV

“It’s Your breath ~ in our lungs ~ so we pour out our praise ~ we pour out our praise to You only”- from “Great Are You Lord” by All Sons & Daughters

The above scripture refers to Saul before he had his infamous encounter on Damascus Road.  Before God changed his life and name (to Paul), Saul was a persecutor of God’s disciples.  He didn’t like ’em.  Okay, now that right there is a HUGE understatement.  He hated them.  He ordered many to be tortured and killed, all because of what they believed and Who they believed in.  [Fun fact for ya: when Saul was younger, he was taught by some of the greatest biblical scholars of that time.  Like, he went to church and/or seminary.  Hmm.  We’ll revisit that later.]  Look at the part where it says he was “breathing out threatenings and slaughter”.  Do something else for me (I’m bossy this morning, aren’t I?): inhale deeply and then exhale (breathe out).  How vicious are you if with your every breath – inhale and exhale again – you were spewing out evil?  I know you mad, Saul, but EVERY breath?  Really, dude??  That’s just straight funky.

Now, before you go find a time machine – SHOTGUN! – to go back and unleash a can of “whoopeth thou taileth” on Saul, you might want to do a quick breath check of your own.  Yeah.  Whatcha workin’ with, peeps?  Genesis 2:7 reads, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Before the Fall of Man, our breath was minty fresh.  It came straight from God and all Man did was use it for HIS Glory.  And then we fell and ever since then we have used this breath for things that are so far from its original intent.  It ain’t sweet anymore and it sure isn’t used only for praise.  My question for you today is “what are you using the breath in your lungs for?”.  Now, inhale and exhale.  Have a great day.

–d.

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Rein In.

Good morning, peeps!

So you knew I was going to talk to you about my stint in the joint, right?  We’ll jump back into the Daniel series tomorrow.

Prison will change you.  Whether you live there, work there, or visit – it will change you.  For some, the experience will bring about a greater appreciation of the freedoms they have “on the outside”.  Who wants to – now, really – be told when they can eat?  No one, not even those who say “Just tell me when it’s time to eat.”  That would drive me nuts.  Plus, I like to snack.  There are no snacks in prison.  You get three meals, and those in charge tell you when you can eat them.  They also dictate what you eat.  We really need to pray that God grants them a spirit of grace.  I’m not sure if grace actually counts as a Fruit of the Spirit, but I’m pretty sure it has to be one of them.  You know, there are some lost scrolls…maybe the piece on the grace-fruit is in those.  Let me get off my food rant.

One of the things I’ve noticed about my interactions with the inmates is that they always talk about their release date.  Very seldom do they talk about why they are there in the first place, but that release date – yeah, buddy.  It’s almost like their “verse of the day” – it motivates them.  They not only talk about their release date, but all of the things they are going to do once they are released.   And it’s not grand stuff, either.   No one’s talking about ending world hunger, but spending time with their children and going to church are on the top of their to-do list.   There is so much they want to do when they are released.

I always go into any type of ministry with the hopes that God will not only minister to those in my presence, but that He ministers to me as well.  I never know what to expect, although there are times that I try to dictate what that will be.  I’ve told you before that I can conjure up all kinds of scenarios where I think God is saying a certain thing to me – which will be totally different than what He’s saying to everyone else.   This time, He talked with me about all of the things He wants to do when He is released.

Say what??

The picture that was given to me was one of a horse.  I have never ridden a horse and I don’t have any desire to ride a horse.  Large beasts scare me.  When I was a little girl, I was made to ride an elephant at either a circus or state fair.  I was terrified.  Things happen when I am scared.  If that booger smelled bad before I got on it, it definitely reeked once I was back on the ground.  Horses terrify me.  I’ve seen too many westerns when someone was thrown from one and got stomped in the chest.  No thank you.  Anyway, the picture was that of a horse. I had put a bridle on it and was trying to pull it one way and then the next.  No matter how hard I pulled, the horse would not budge.  God spoke into my heart, “Release Me.”

I’ve been holding the reins.

My “need” for control stems from things that have happened to me in my past.  “But I thought you trusted God, Minister Deone?”  I do – to a certain extent.  When it comes to ministry, my hands do not touch the reins.  I.  LET.  GO.  Now.  I didn’t before.  I had to first see how God moved when I gave the reins a little slack before I would let go completely.  Now, God can tell me when and what, just as those guards do with the prisoners.  My mindset is that of Apostle Paul when he said in Ephesians 3:1, “For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you…”.  All day, every day – that’s me.  But when it comes to life, especially matters of the heart, not so much.  I like to control that.  But then I also ask God to do stuff in that area.  And He can…as long as I get to tell Him what and when.

Release Me.

The first thing I had to address was the “why”: why do I not want to let go of the reins and let God just do His thing in my life?  So I asked Him.  Because then you won’t be the one in control and that frightens you.  Plus, you don’t know what that looks like.  True, true.  I don’t know what that looks like and Holy Spirit is kinda radical – He likes to stir up stuff.  I don’t mind when He does it in ministry, but it…I don’t know.  That kinda unnerves me when it comes to my personal life.  And yet, I still pray for God to move…as long as He moves my way.

Release Me.

If this is speaking to anyone, receive it.  Do not pray for God to move in your life and then try to tell Him how to move.  We can’t dictate it.  I say that, but let me clarify something: God is not going to go against your will.  “Thy Will be done…”  Jesus told his disciples to pray that for a reason.  It’s not a permission statement: it’s an admission statement.  We are admitting that we need His Will to be done in our lives and we are surrendering ours.  As long as you have a pit bull grip on the reins, God can’t do what He wants to do in your life.  And oh, does He want to.  We have to let Him.

Release Me.

So, I asked God what fully releasing the reins would look like.  He knows his girl has this “I need to know ahead of time” issue.  So He showed me.

horsey

Oh lawd.

–d.