Thursday, December 31, 2009

A New Year's Prayer For Those Who Know The Words and Worth of Prayer

I grew up in church. In fact, you could say that I have been in church all my life. I remember back in the day when people would get up during the 'testimony service' and say, "...those who know the words of prayer, please pray for me." Then, we heard a slew of admonitions challenging the validity of "the words" of prayer. So, people began ending their testimonies with, "...those who know the words and worth of prayer, please pray for me."

Well, Romans 8:26-27 (Amplified Bible) says the following regarding "words" and "worth",

So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance. And He Who searches the hearts of men (and women) knows what is in the mind of the [Holy] Spirit [what His intent is], because the Spirit intercedes and pleads [before God] in behalf of the saints according to and in harmony with God's will.

The motivation for this blog came when I recently received some news about someone that I know.  The news immediately stirred my spirit to heartfelt prayer. The following words were the result:

Lord, there are places where we are not able to go, so we send your Spirit. There are hearts that we can not touch, so we pray for the power and comfort of the Holy Spirit to minister to them. We also pray for those that will have the opportunity to minister and pray for those who are in need and broken-hearted. Give them wisdom. Help them to minister in a spirit of love, truth and restoration. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

In 2010 as we pray for ourselves and our needs and wants, let's allow the Holy Spirit to move us to prayer for others as well because...

P R A Y E R  C H A N G E S  T H I N G S ! !

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas

Here's a special Christmas Holiday wish for you and your family.  I hope you enjoy it!

"White Christmas" (musical selection)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Beef Stew on a Snowy Saturday

The meterologists in our area began forecasting a major snow storm a few days ago and of course, everyone's mind went immediately to food. Well, I did not really think much about the food thing or the storm because I have had so many other things on my mind lately. But, yesterday was D-day. So after I ran a few errands, I ended up in the grocery store. Really, I was looking for some Red Zinger tea. Nowadays, this is the hardest item to find and I'm mad about it! Anyhow, I was amazed that the parking lot was full, because since it was just cold I had forgotten about the storm forecast.

While in the store, my mind went back to the first time I made homemade stew. It was during Hurricane Isabelle in the Fall of 2003. It was an impromptu decision then also. Just wanted to try something knew. Now I'm no Julia Childs, but when I get inspired, I can do a little somethin' somethin' on the stove. I haven't had that kind of inspiration lately, though. The 2003 stew was right on-time. I ended up hosting a few friends and their families because their power was off. As God would have it, my power was not affected by the storm. Can I say that the stew was good? It wuz good, yall!!! The stew took us right through the storm and its aftermath.

Well, that memory motivated me. I went to the fresh vegetables section and picked up a package of baby peeled carrots, stalk of celery, a yellow onion, and a few potatoes. Then on to meat section to get some meat. This took a minute. The last time I purchased the meat the package read "beef for stew". The meat was already cut into little cubes so I did not have to try to figure out what was the right kind of meat to buy. Oh well, I ended up getting a package of chuck roast. It looked like the right stuff. I was already in line when I remembered that I needed tomatoes so, I decided to quickly grab a couple cans of diced tomatoes.

This morning after shoveling a little snow, I started the preparations: seasoning the meat and browning it in the pan, cutting up the vegetables and throwing them in the crock pot. Did I tell you that I really did a good job on seasoning the meat (if I have to say so myself). I really like well-seasoned meat. Finally, everything is cooking in the crock pot. It probably will not be ready for the next 20 hours, but I enjoyed the preparation. The vegetables looked wonderful: orange, light green, white, yellow (used some frozen corn I had in the freezer). It's a recession type of stew because it could stand to have a little more meat than it does.

Nevertheless, I am so looking forward to eating the stew with my favorite side dish, cornbread (Jiffy, that is). Now don't laugh, why try to re-invent perfection. Tomorrow, if God allows me to live, is going to be a good day! I will enjoy a simple pleasure. And in this day and time of recession and joblessness, my hope and prayer for you is that you too will have the opportunity to enjoy one of life's simple pleasures. Peace!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Funny Quote

When I was born I was so surprised I didn't talk for a year and a half.
- Gracie Allen

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Gift of An Apology

A good heart-felt apology is a priceless gift. It can be worth more than a thousand gifts. But a good apology and a priceless gift (รก la Kobe Bryant) is even better. ;-)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

What is God looking for?

But he's already made it plain how to live, what to do,
what God is looking for in men and women.
It's quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor,
be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don't take yourself too seriously—
take God seriously."

Micah 6:6-8 - The Message Bible -

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

To have real power is rare. To have influence is a privilege. Use it wisely. Use it to produce good that will leave a legacy for future generations.
--V. Nona Ogunsula

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Keeping It Real...Relationships--Pt.2: Associates

If true relationships are the things that keep our spiritual homes happy, then how do we classify those relationships that do not fall into that category? Let's look at associates. Associates are:

One associated with another: as a : partner, colleague b : companion, comrade (


A person who has some dealings with another, possibly a friend. Often used for business partners (Wikipedia)

Continuing with the analogy of the home and structure, I would label associates as those who hang out in the front yard. You pass them everyday on your way in and out of your home. As you strive to fulfill your purpose in life, they can help you and add to your cheerfulness as our lawn and plants do when they are well-groomed. Or, they can bring you down, distract you and get you off track when they are brown and dying. Remember, they are not a part of the integral structure of your home and they are definitely not a part of its foundation.

Associates are usually only wedded to you or your success if it coincides with their interests and goals. So, don't take them inside your home. Bringing something into the home that's not suppose to be there can be detrimental. It's cheaper to replace the lawn if its dying than it is to repair structural damage .

A man of many companions may come to ruin... Proverb 18:24 (New International Version)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Keeping It Real...Relationships

Real relationships are built on love and truth! When I think of relationships, the image of a house comes to mind. Love is the foundation. Truth are the walls that defend against the enemies that would destroy the home and the precious things that are inside. Hope is the roof that provides protection when the storms of life come. Fidelity and trust are the glue and cement that keep it all together.

In life, we are each building and strengthening our homes every day. As the saying goes,
Home is where the heart is. Your true home is with the person(s) or in the place that you love most.*
So, we have to be mindful to do things that will protect and keep our important relationships strong.

Keeping important relationships strong is hard work. But we can look to the examples of God the father, Christ Jesus and words of wisdom from the Bible for a couple of lessons:

1) Give sacrificially--John 3:16, For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (New King James Version)

2) Don't lie or be deceitful; speak the truth in love--Proverbs 27:17 You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another. (The Message Bible)

3) Spend quality time with those who are important to you--St. John 13:1 & 4, It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. So he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. (The Message Bible)

Jesus washing his disciples' feet symbolizes Him meeting a need. When you spend quality time with special people, you begin to become familiar with their strengths, weaknesses, and needs. Pray about how God can use you to meet a need.

4) Love unconditionally--John 15:12, This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

Proverbs 17:17, Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble. (The Message Bible)

5) Don't be too proud to say, "I am sorry"--Genesis 33, Jacob looked up and saw Esau coming ... As [Jacob] approached his brother, [he] bowed seven times, honoring his brother. But Esau ran up and embraced him, held him tight and kissed him. And they both wept. (The Message Bible)

By deceiving his Father, Jacob stole the blessing that was traditionally reserved for the oldest child. Although Esau was Jacob's twin brother, he was the oldest and the one who should have received the blessing. Jacob took advantage of his brother at one of Esau's weakest moments. Additionally, Jacob deceived his Father in order to obtain the blessing. However, when the time came for reconciliation, Jacob was not too proud to humble himself and ask for his brother's forgiveness.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Thinking about it...

In reflecting on the gang violence against the Chicago honor student, I saw people standing around while the victim was being assaulted. What's makes people just watch as violence and injustice takes place? What makes people act?

Friday, October 2, 2009

God is 4 U

The title of this blog is actually the title of a song I wrote in the summer of 1986. I wrote the song at a very critical point in my young adult life. At least I thought it was critical. In the Fall of that year I would enter my fifth and final year of college and I had to make a very important decision. It so happens that I was attending a Women's Retreat somewhere outside of the Washington metropolitan area and during the free time I went outside to sit in the hot summer sun with my Bible to pray. I had been invited there to play the piano for the retreat by the mother of one of my college musician friends. This opportunity to get away was just what I needed. I needed direction from God. You see, I had to make a decision whether to apply for membership in one of my college's sororities.

Right there some of you may say, “Is that all?” Most people would have thought that the decision was about a career, job, or calling. You say, "A decision about a sorority is not a major decision". But let me set the stage for why this was such an important event. I was attending Howard University, the home of the founding chapters for three of the four major black sororities. Pledging at Howard was a big deal and the competition was stiff. Typically, the most popular sororities could have between 400-600 girls applying for membership and typically less than 10% of the applicants made "line", the pledge line that is. Applying for membership or "going out" as we called it, meant getting to know the current sorority members and attending all of their social and community service projects. So, going out meant I had to attend a lot of events and get to know the chapter 100-150 members. Besides that you had to make a good impression. Really, you had to make a great impression.

Here is why this was such as challenge. I am somewhat of a shy and reserve person. Even though I was the director of one of the campus choirs, officer in a student organization and knew a lot of people, the thought of having to meet all of the sorority members and attend all of the social events was pretty daunting. Further, the campus Christian ministry that I was a member of was not really supportive of pledging. Most of my close friends were apart of this group. Now compound this with the fact that none of my immediate family members were apart of a Greek letter organization and the church organization that I belonged to official policy advised against joining sororities, fraternities, and the masons. My desire was met with a host of dissenting voices.

The problem was I really wanted to pledge. I had been enamored with the sorority I was interested in since I first learned about the Greek letter organizations during my freshman year of college. That was my first introduction to this type of organization. Besides, the sorority stood for tenets that really resonated with me.

That brings me to the crux of my dilemma. I wanted to pledge and doing so meant that I could be ostracized by most of my community. I even felt that my salvation may be in jeopardy if I pledged. As I sat outdoors in the hot sun worrying about my decision, I began reading Psalm 56. A key verse for me was,

Then my enemies will turn back when I call for help. By this I will know that God is for me. Psalm 56:9 (New International Version)

The whole Psalm is pretty powerful, but the title of my song comes from verse 9B: "...This I know that God is for me." Sitting there that day contemplating what I should do, I was able to settle it in my mind that whatever I did I would not lose my salvation. It wasn't a life or death decision. Life would go on and I would go on. My friends may desert me, but I would go on. The words of the verses settled my Spirit and gave me perspective. From that perspective I penned this song,

No matter what you are going through
Or how you feel on the inside
Or how you feel that you have disappointed God

God is For You, God Is For You, Yes the Lord is For You.

He doesn't care what you have done
Or what great sin you think you have committed
His promises to us are as sure as the day they were submitted

God is For You, God Is For You, Yes the Lord is For You

If God be for us, who can be against us.

I did pledge the Spring of 1987. It was tough, the process I mean. It was both mentally and physically grueling. I almost flunked a one credit class that would have kept me from graduating. I was so tired and mentally exhausted from the pledge process that I had given up on class. A Big Sister, a girl from Philadelphia, helped me complete an assignment that made it possible for me to pass the class and graduate. I will never forget her kindness.

Now, it has been more than twenty years since my initiation and I have a different perspective on pledging and my membership in the sorority. But the one lesson that I did learn was that God would love me no matter what decision I made. And God loves me still.

I hope that this message also speaks to others who may be at critical points in their life and wondering what to do next. God will not desert you because you make the wrong decision. Trust in God. Pray and ask Him for direction. Look to His Word and the Holy Spirit to direct your life. For, God loves you. God cares about you. And God is for you.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


How do you know when someone is telling the truth?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Tribute To Big Mama (Reprinted from September 10, 2009--Grandparent's Day)

Today I want to pay tribute to the first woman who showed me unconditional love. I grew up calling her Big Mama. Her name was Elmira Thompson. I was born in February of 1965 in Norman, Oklahoma and Big Mama took me in at four days old. She was about 69 years old according to my calculations. Big Mama had already raised her children. In fact, she had five grown children, grown grandchildren and had been widowed for a number of years. But, her heart led her to take in a newborn. A newborn. Wow! That's amazing to me based on what I know about newborns. I don’t have any children but I have been around my friends when they had their kids and I spent a lot of time with them and their children. Newborns require a lot of attention. In the first two – three months, you are pretty much sleep deprived. Big Mama knew all of this and yet she opened her heart and home to care for someone else’s child who was no relation to her. That’s amazing to me.

At this stage in my life, I am forty-four years old, I reflect on this because I can now fully appreciate the kind of love she had and the sacrifice and commitment she made. She knew that this meant she would have to make bottles and do several midnight feedings. She would have to change “poop” diapers (I hate those) and stay up all night with a crying sick baby. She would no longer be free to come and go as she wanted because she had a baby now. Again. And speaking of diapers… In the late sixties, they did not have Huggies and a diaper “genie”. They were the diaper “genies”. The white cloth diapers they used had to be bleached and washed. No plastic disposable little Playtex fillers for them. Bottles had to be washed and sterilized. Yet, knowing all the work I would be, she still accepted the responsibility and opened her loving arms to me.

All of my memories of Big Mama are loving even though we went through some challenges together. Big Mama and I lived together in a small house in Sandtown, Oklahoma. Based on my recollection the house only had one bedroom. There could have been one more bedroom, but I’m not sure of this. She had an upright piano. I remember this because I spent a lot of time banging, I mean, making music on the piano. When I was about three years old, our house burned down. I guess I should say “her house burned down”, but I lived there and it was just she and I. So, it was “our house”. I can still picture some of the scene today. I am sure that that was devastating to her. She lost practically everything she owned in that fire. Thankfully, we got out of the house without any injury.

I have another memory of when I was about three or four years old of sitting in church and crying my eyes out because I had seen my sister (who is 11 months older) put a piece of Brach Butterscotch candy in her mouth. My aunt who was also Big Mama’s daughter-in-law and the Pastor’s wife, always gave us this type of candy as a treat. Well, this particular day she had given a piece of candy to my sister, Jackie, because she was sitting closer to her. I was on the other side of the church at the time and that’s probably why I did not get one. Of course, this bothered me because I felt like I was being left out. I immediately broke into tears. When Big Mama determined what was wrong, she reached in her purse and gave me a “church mint”. That’s what we call those red and white peppermints also made by Brachs. But that did not help. I wanted the yellow candy. So the tears kept flowing. Finally, everyone wanted to know what was wrong with me. Aunt Josie sent over a yellow piece of candy and I was fine after that.

I don’t have any memories of Big Mama disciplining me. I’m sure she did. I do remember one night that she got upset with me. She must have told me to do something or go get something. Apparently I responded with a smart remark. I don’t remember the details. But I do remember Big Mama running toward the bedroom to get a switch. On the way, she fell and did not get up right away. I rushed over to see what was wrong. Big Mama stayed on the floor. We were talking but it seemed like she could not get up. I remember crying very hard. Of course, I was sorry for whatever I had done, but foremost at that time I was scared because it appeared that Big Mama was hurt. You know that kids can sense fear and when something is wrong. I guess I was sensing that something was wrong with Big Mama. We were supposed to go to church that night but we did not go. Aunt Na (the woman I would later call Mama) pulled up outside and my sister came to the door to let us know they had come to take us to church. Big Mama was still on the floor but she was in a sitting position by this time. I was on my knees beside her. Jackie asked what we were doing on the floor and I said that we were looking for something. I was scared because I knew that if Aunt Na found out that I had done something to make Big Mama upset, I would get a beating. I escaped peril that night. Big Mama covered me.

The bottom line was that Big Mama's health was beginning to fail. I was five or six years old at this time. We were now living in a pink two bedroom house on 18th Street in Oklahoma City. It was soon after this that I went to live with Jackie and Aunt Na. Big Mama went to live with her daughter, Aunt Myrle, in Gary, Indiana. Big Mama lived several more years, but her health was never the same. She died in January of 1978 shortly before my 13th birthday.

I have very fond memories of her and I wished she had lived longer. Now, I can really appreciate what she did for me and I longed to show her my appreciation for her unconditional love and sacrifice. I regret that she died when I was so young. I shall never forget her. Big Mama was love.