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.

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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.

 

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It’s Thursday-ish – Pt. 1

This is the 2nd study in our series “An Awkward Stance, a study/devotional series on the book of Daniel.

Good morning, peeps!

I apologize for the lateness of this blog.  I had a early day of meetings and travelling so I wasn’t able to send this out sooner.  I’m glad that I couldn’t because some stuff needed to marinate for a little bit.  Let’s dig in.

On the last blog, I left you guys pondering your identity.  I hope everyone did what I asked and focused on what this was saying:

Screenshot_2018-09-10-21-33-49-1

When people talk about Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, they talk about what those boys did: Daniel refused to eat the king’s food and the other three refused to bow down and worship a pagan god. Nothing wrong with that…talk about it.  What has been crammed into my brain is they would not have been able to do those things had they not known who they were and how to walk in that knowledge.

Who You Are

I have three kiddos.  They look like me.  The youngest daughter looks exactly like me, but they all look like me.   You can tell they’re mine.   They are.  I know this.  Not just because they look like me, but because I looked at them as they exited the building, if you know what I mean.  No one on this Earth or even in Heaven can convince me that they are not mine.  Those three are Deone’s kiddos.  Out of the three, my son looks like me the least.  He actually looks like my brother’s children.  He could slide right into a family portrait session and no one would think twice. Put a pin in that – we’ll revisit.

Look at Numbers and Leviticus.  The writers made sure you knew who begat whom.  Do you know why?  It wasn’t just so you wouldn’t confuse Ephraim’s Jehud with Benjamin’s. (I promise I’m just making up names.)  Family legacy, inheritance and identity meant something back in those days.  You knew who you were.  Your mama and daddy made sure of that.  Oh, you were reminded on a daily basis that your great-great-great-great grandaddy was Abraham and the covenant God made with him.  You not only knew who you were, but you knew what that meant.  You were taught how to carry yourself as a descendant of Abraham.  You were taught how to be that.  Everyone knew who Abe’s people were.  You could spot one of Benjamin’s kids a mile away.  Now that doesn’t mean that everyone did what they were taught, but all knew the consequences of acting out of character.  You know that saying mamas have when their kids are acting up, “You know good and well I didn’t raise you that way.”  Man.  Acting outside of character would get you into a lot of trouble.  We really don’t know what being “estranged” means, not when compared to how they lived back in the day.  Not only would you get told off, but they’d kick you out of the tribe and leave you up to the mercy of God.  You weren’t about to mess things up for everybody.

The fear of God’s wrath has a tendency to thin out blood rather quickly.

While on my business trip, I’d pray the same prayer every morning: “God, let them see You in me.  Let my very presence change the atmosphere.  Let Your Spirit be felt when I walk into the room.”  This was my prayer every single morning.  From my vantage point, it didn’t seem like that was happening, though.  Papers didn’t fly off of the tables nor did screens flicker when I walked in.  I really wasn’t expecting that and to be honest, if that had happened, I probably would’ve held up my church finger and excused myself.  What I did do was carry myself like a woman who knew who she was: a woman of God.  I just walked in it.  I didn’t need to slam a bible down onto the table, hum a couple of hymns during the conference calls or say “God bless you” whenever I greeted anyone.  Nope.  I just was.  I was being.  I didn’t isolate myself and I still hee-hawed with everyone else.  If you ask me, I wasn’t giving off any odd vibes.  I found out on the last day that I stood out like a sore thumb.  One person asked me if I was in ministry and I replied ‘yes’.  Then he said, “I could tell.  It’s all over you.”

There is a point to this and it’s going to take me a minute to get to it.  I will pause right here and return on Monday.  I have to get ready to go to prison right now.  You all have a great weekend.

–d.

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An Acquired Taste – Pt. 5

This is Part 5 in our study/devotional series “An Awkward Stance” – a study on the book of Daniel.

Good morning, peeps!

I want you to be aware of the struggle I am having this morning.  When my alarm sounded at 3-stankin’-30, I just laid there and asked myself why I didn’t tell you that I was on a business trip this week with the hope that y’all would give me a pass on these devotionals.  I did.  I sure did.  Not all of my 3:30 a.m. thoughts are spiritual.  Shoot.  Judge me if ya wanna.  I’ve lost count of the number of meetings I’ve been in, names of VPs that I’ve already forgotten and the long after-dinner conversations everyone wants to have like they don’t have a 3:30 a.m. wake-up call.  Oh, wait.  They don’t.  I’m trying really hard to be present and take it all in because this is an amazing opportunity career-wise, but I keep looking at my watch and also thinking about how I’ll be in prison this weekend. Nevertheless (that’s my big Bible word for the day), here I am typing.  And struggling.  Y’all don’t understand.  The struggle this morning is real and it’s not because I don’t want to write a blog.  Uhn-uh.  That’s not it.

I really, REALLY want to do the study portion today.  It’s not Thursday, though.

I woke up with the last line from yesterday’s blog on my heart: he didn’t have a taste for it.  As I laid in bed, ya know – pondering the meaning of life, that sentence dug itself further into my heart.  He didn’t have a taste for it.  Man.  Y’all… I’m trying to wait until Thursday, but… I don’t know if I’m gonna make it!  Trying to hold this in is making me squirm!

I don’t read bible commentaries.  I skim them.  I look for something to catch my eye first and then I hone in.  This morning, I pulled up Matthew Henry’s commentary on Daniel 1 just to verify something.  Good grief.  I was just trying to see if the backstory I remembered of Daniel was on point.  Dude went in.  Does anyone else do this: open an article and quickly look to see how long it is before you start reading it?  THAT’S WHAT I DID!!  Ha!  If I have to hit the PG DN button more than twice, I’m done.  Ain’t nobody got time for that.  Well, the length of this article is well past two clicks of the PG DN button.  Admittedly, I don’t know how long it really is because I stopped after two clicks and scrolled back up to the top.  And I was just about to exit the screen when I saw the word “pious”.  Hmm.  Let me look at that sentence.  Aww man!  I was already struggling to keep this entry as a short devotional and this only made it worse. Check it:

“Their pious refusal to eat the portion of the king’s meat…”

The first thing that popped into my head was the image I have as the wallpaper on my phone’s home screen.

Screenshot_2018-09-10-21-33-49-1

DO YOU NOW SEE WHY I AM STRUGGLING NOT TO WRITE THE STUDY TODAY??

Do this for me. Download or take a screenshot of that image and look at it throughout the day.  Why?  Because I want to prepare you for tomorrow’s study.  Because you need that thought seared into your brain.  Because I am about to lose my mind over here.   Oh, yeah – let me tell you this, too: Daniel and his friends were of royal lineage.  Israeli royalty.  Covenant royalty.

And they knew it.

Lord God, Jesus AND Holy Spirit, please help your daughter be present in these meetings today.  It’s only Wednesday.  Thank you.  Amen.

–d.