GML readers! Thank you for walking with me all these years. Since the inception of the blog in 2014, my writing, readership, and relationship with the Lord has matured in ways I never thought possible. I’d like to take a moment and express my sincerest apologies for my early years. That writing was ROUGH! But here we are all these years later. I am thankful to have started the blog and am thankful now to be transitioning from it. I’ll still be writing, but it will take shape in a new way. The face of my website will change as will the frequency of public expression. I'd like to spend more time in conversation, listening, and thinking.
And so, I say thank you. If you’ve read one blog, followed the blog for a period, or been with me since the beginning, I thank you all the same. For the people who have reached out, the ones I’ve met, and those who have become friends, I am privileged to know you. For the people I know, and the people I don’t know, my prayer is that you would continue your pursuit of oneness with Christ and that you would surrender to the truth completely. Read and study God’s Word passionately and with intention. His Word does not return void. Analyze the response of your life to His teaching and ask yourself, “What has it revealed about me?” Know that there is nothing that can separate you from His love. And that if you have been given ears to hear, you have also been given the responsibility of response. Plant seeds, love one another, and obey God’s Word. You’ll never regret it.
See you later 😊
P.S. If you haven't read my last post Sewing and Reaping. You'll want to give it a look. It may have been my best one yet. Well, one of them.
Not too long ago, I wasn’t very nice to this young woman. We’ll call her Daisy. I was envious of her. She had things I thought I should have. She was receiving things I thought I should receive. I was frustrated with the Lord for confusing her and me because surely, He could see how good I was, how obedient I was, how faithful I was. Why wasn’t my goodness, obedience, and faithfulness being rewarded like Daisy’s? My envy produced bitterness. That bitterness caused me to say and do things that weren’t kind. For a little while, I made excuses for my behavior. I thought things like, I did this because she did that. Or I tried to do the right thing.
Recently, I started a study in the book of Esther. This book is special in many ways. One of them being that the name of God is never mentioned, but it is quite obvious that He was at work all through its pages. Esther is a story of a beautiful Jewish woman raised by a family member named Mordecai. She eventually became queen in order to save her people from an evil man named Haman who wanted to kill them. Oftentimes, the events of life can feel random, haphazard even. It can leave a person asking why. Why is this happening to me? Why is this happening to me now? Why is this happening at all? While at times it may seem that life is spinning out of control the believer can rest assured that it is not. One’s looks, gifts, abilities, desires, and path, in general, are not happenstance. God is always at work behind the scenes whether it seems like He is or not. Can you think of a time in your life where things seemed to be happening to you in no particular order? I can.
Years ago, I was an acquaintance with a woman who was young in the faith but appeared to be on fire for Christ. She had an active online presence and we’d had a couple of conversations about the importance of her online presence matching up with the life she was living behind the scenes. She listened quietly, gave a few excuses but seemed to understand. About a year after our first conversation she posted a photo online that, in my opinion, was contradictory to a number of her previous posts. I screen shot it and sent it to her with a message that said, “What message are you sending with this post?” We had a quick back and forth that did not end well. I later apologized for the rash and haphazard way with which I’d gone about the situation but the relationship was never restored. I think back on that situation and wonder why I sent that message in the first place. What was the objective? What was my true intention?
I currently live in Memphis, Tennessee. This is the fourth city I’ve called home in the last seven years--I get around, and I enjoy it. In each of these cities, I have lived, worked, churched, and built a life. Each one has contributed in some way to my spiritual, mental, and emotional growth. I’ve learned that each city has its own tempo and if you can get with it, you’ll do just fine. A place is always changing. People are always coming and going. But there are constants too. One of them being miserable people. They are everywhere: work, church, and in line at Walmart. There is always someone who is unhappy and cannot stand to see someone else happy. As the saying goes, “Misery loves company.”
Boldly proclaiming the gospel is not for the faint at heart. There are many people who will declare God’s Word unapologetically so long as it is convenient for them. But the moment they face opposition, it infringes on their progress, or becomes uncomfortable, they retreat. Sometimes that was me.
No matter who you are or where you are in your walk with Christ conflict is a guarantee. When believers disagree or just plain don’t like each other, how are you to handle that? The book of Proverbs is packed with verses on avoiding conflict. But what happens when it is unavoidable? Matthew 18:15-19 talks about how to handle a brother or sister who has sinned, but what if this isn’t a matter of sin but a difference of personality? What if it’s not that I don’t like you, I just don’t like you?
John Chapter three begins with a conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus. Jesus the Son of God in human form and Nicodemus a Pharisees and a ruler of the Jews. The conversation opens as follows:
Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that you have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God”
John is the gospel I love the most—I hope it’s okay that I have a favorite. Luke is a close second. A few months ago, I decided to reread the gospels and reacquaint myself with The Savior: what He said, what He did, how He lived. The decision was spurred by a commentary that stated more people know what Paul said and did than Jesus. This time, I didn’t want to breeze past the stories, the conversations, the interactions, I wanted to understand them and the circumstances surrounding them. Beginning with the book of Matthew, I moved through the stories with the familiarity the comes from knowing, but when I came to John chapter three, I couldn’t move on. I got stuck. For the last month, I have been studying the conversation that Jesus had with Nicodemus in the first part of the chapter. By studying I mean reading and listening to a series of sermons by John Piper. Piper is a great resource. His doctrine is sound and his passion for the Lord palpable.
My former pastor said that when you read scripture, do so slowly, deliberately with the intention to understand what it says. He said to read a verse, stop, and then think about it. How many people do that? Think while reading the Bible? Some are falling asleep, others are annoyed, and many are confused. Know that it does not have to be that way. What he was teaching was how to study the Bible as opposed to simply reading it. Here are some practical approaches to studying scripture:
I have had some interesting “meeting” experiences. I say meeting because dating never occurred. Over the last six years, these meeting experiences have ranged from bizarre to enchanting but none have panned out. All of these men professed faith in Christ, and I should have known better.
The first guy was a coworker. Our job functions rarely met, so I didn’t interact with him frequently. After a few failed attempts to hang out with me, we finally ended up eating and talking. It was a no for me. I have rules about dating where I work, and I wasn’t interested. It was mostly because I wasn’t interested. We all know when you are interested in a guy the rules suddenly become flexible. He continued his pursuit and one day tells me that some time ago he had a vision from God. In that vision, he saw a brown skin woman with a small afro, and he knew that woman was his. I replied, “I do not have a small afro.” At this point, you must be thinking, “seriously?” I can’t make this up. I’d like to tell you that I recognized this tomfoolery for what it was immediately. I’d really like to tell you that, but it isn’t what happened. When he said this to me, it got me thinking. Up to that point, I had never had a man tell me he thought I was his wife by way of vision from God. And, if he had a vision from God, then it must be true. If it is true, then why don’t I feel that way about him? A few weeks later I told him that I would like to remain friends. So ensued months of folly. He started to treat me badly at work. He constantly disrespected my boundaries and was generally impossible. And with all this, I still tried to understand how God had given him this vision because who lies on God? Who I ask you? Who? I was so confused. I prayed and I prayed. “God, is this my husband?” He was a silent as the grave; He said nothing. One day my coworker said to me, “What can God tell you that you cannot see? If I were you, I would run away from that man with my shoes in my hands.” Sometimes you need someone to tell you what you already know. Like Celie, I ran.