Thursday, September 15, 2022

The Principal Thing

"If I remain relatively unknown and the world never acknowledges the things that I've done, may I be known in heaven for these kids that I've raised and have loved." LaTosha R. Pinckney

For what seems like much of life, well, at least the parts when I became aware of this world, self, and my relation to it all, I have been searching for purpose. Honestly, this has been the most challenging undertaking that I have pursued, more so than obtaining a college degree or any job I've ever held. I have spent so much time trying to figure out "what" I am destined to do.

Since I've been at this for some time, I recognize that before I could ever discover what I was created to do, I must first determine who I was made to be. Before any role I assume or any space I occupy, I am, first, a species unlike any other of God's creation; having been created both of spiritual and physical properties, God's very breath fills my lungs (Genesis 2:7).

You would think knowing this would make knowing purpose much easier, and while it absolutely does to a degree, there is still the question of, "how do I apply this knowledge to my everyday life," humans complicate things for more than is necessary.

I have spent so much of my life looking for something so literal and specific that I failed to recognize that I had already created the place I longed for. All I have ever wanted was to encourage, empower and equip others; you see, that is who I am, a lifter up of others. 

All the while, I was looking for the people I was called to affect somewhere out there, and the platform from which they would hear of the goodness of God and how He has worked something pretty special out of me-I didn't notice my children were my people, my place as a mother, the platform given to me by God to help shape their world.

And this is my primary purpose, my reason(s) why, yet, it is not my end all be all. Like our creator God, who has many roles, Jehovah Jireh, Jehovah Rapha, and Jehovah Nissi, to name a few- so do we; we are Just One person at various points in life who will be called to many different things.

I hope that I may offer encouragement to one who thinks they haven't discovered it yet, the ones for whom purpose seems a millennial away. Take another look, and you will see purpose has been flowing through you long before you even recognized it.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

The Challenge of Religion


In reading came across this, “we must become conscious of our desires and articulate them, and prioritize them, and arrange them into hierarchies that make them work with each other, and the desires of other people, and with the world.” This process organizes said desires into values that become moral, according to the author.

The philosophical study of morality, right vs wrong is the branch called ethics, but older than this is religion, with a focus on good versus evil. Religion concerns itself with proper behavior, which is rooted in obedience, sometimes blind, with which many may take issue. And, while this may be problematic, it is a start, as humanity must have standards, after all, how do we determine what we aim for? Moreover, to reach any goal requires discipline (author’s writings summarized by me).

He goes on to say, for this reason-religion must have a dogmatic element, because what good is a value system that does not provide stable structure and point to a higher order. However, in all of this, there must be vision beyond discipline and beyond dogma, but every tool, in this case religion, still needs a purpose.

The author outlines how the Bible, for better or worse, is the foundational document of Western Civilization (of Western values, morality, and the Western concept of good vs. evil). And, it is this reason why one cannot truly be an atheist. “You’re simply not an atheist in your actions, and it is your actions that most accurately reflect your deepest beliefs-those implicit, embedded in your being, underneath your conscious apprehensions and articulable attitudes and surface-level knowledge. You can only find out what you actually believe (rather than what you think you believe) by watching how you act.

You simply don’t understand how every neural circuit through which you peer at the world has been shaped (and painfully) by the ethical aims of millions of years of human ancestors and all of the life that was lived for the billions of years before that.” Hence, why you might not understand how some of your behaviors are rooted in systems of human thought that have existed for millennia (my words).

It is in first laying this foundation that I ask you to ponder some things with me. Could it be that many people’s problem with religion, and mainly in the western world Christianity, has to do with how evil is ascribed to the person and not necessarily the act? Meaning, that instead of seeing the person and the behavior or actions that are deemed evil as juxtaposed and mutable, we instead see them as fixed and unchanging. And, while a person and his/her actions are interchangeable, can it be that sometimes people do evil things, but does that necessarily make them evil ( lots of grey here and I recognize this)

And, what exactly is evil? Many agree that murder is evil, but even in this, we must consider the context, because killing someone often happens within the confines of war. While there are many things we may agree on as evil, can evil be simply this; “any action or behavior that harms another and those actions that rob the world of the true essence of you, the reason that you exist, the reason why any of us exist?

And why do we exist? Many have attempted to answer this question, which I will not do in the context of this post. I write this mainly out of fascination, abd ask you to consider what you value and why you value it. Moreover, what you have rejected, or least thought you have rejected it, and why you have chosen to reject this.


Sunday, August 5, 2018

Living Life in the Grey Zone

Image result for free images of harmony

I have often been described as a person of varying extremes-shifting between black and white with very little shades of grey. I don’t believe there’s anything fundamentally wrong with this stance as like with most anything, the positive aspects can be found if only one looks long enough. Being a person of extremes means that I’m either all in or out. If I’m on a team and fully invested you get everything I bring to the table. If I’m not fully invested, you may get a bare minimum to zero participation.

However, I have come to realize over the years that this presented some problems because life requires some flexibility right? Different people in my life began telling me I needed balance. When I thought of balance-I pictured a scale and everything that required my attention at that moment was weighed in equal measure. After all, balance is literally described as a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions.

So, I began to work feverishly in the hopes of achieving this mystical balance; alas, it would not be so. It wasn’t until recent times that I began to get some clarity on the subject of achieving balance. What I’ve found is that the scale of balance will always be tipped to one side or another, because with 24 hours in a day it becomes very challenging to respond to every situation with the same amount of effort and tenacity considering that at some point we must find time to rest. And if you are a self-proclaimed heavy hitter, going full force ahead, something will get overlooked, even if that something is you. Once again, the scales are tipped.

What I’ve found is that we should approach everything from a sense of priority. While the doing, the execution of what we engage in will always cause the scales of balance to be tipped-the being should flow from a state of harmony (are your priorities congruent-on one accord and in agreement with who you are and what you value).

  • How important is this? 
  • What will this cost me? 
  • Who will this affect? 
  • What kind of impact will this have? 
  • What will I gain? 
  • What will I lose? 

This is where balance can be effectively measured-where you offset or compare the value of one thing with another. And this (determining priorities) always comes from your value system-it guides everything you do.

I want to leave you with three principles that I hope will help you in understanding and achieving balance. Whatever you find yourself in pursuit of, allow yourself to be guided by that of righteousness, peace, and joy.

Righteousness-is this something good, honest, justifiable-is this the right thing to do?
Peace-is my mind in a state of tranquility-calm. Now here’s the thing, you could be faced with doing a difficult thing. For example; walking away from a job or relationship in which you found security, taking a job with responsibilities that may be bigger than you think you’re capable of, or pursuing a relationship after a painful one. But, in the midst of all this, is your mind troubled or is it surprisingly full of peace?

Lastly, joy-is this satisfying- is this something delightful in which pleasure can be taken. We were never told to seek things, putting less of an emphasis on the how-the doing. We are to do as instructed in Matthew 6:33, to seek God’s Kingdom first, and the Kingdom as Paul says in Romans 14:17 is righteousness, peace, and joy. This is the being from which the how-the doing (executing) comes forth.

Friday, April 27, 2018

New Life

The term revival has often generated a strange reaction from me. Initially, I did not
understand why that was. You see, whenever it was mentioned in a gathering of believers,
it would be met with this intense excitement that I just did not share. I would ask God-“am
I missing something?’ You see, whenever I’m not moved in a certain way when the Word
goes forth I always assess self-I’m a self-assessor. But, this is my stance on much of my
interactions because I always want to make sure my heart, my motives are in the clear, and
if they aren’t, then that’s an area that needs work. You see, the issue is never if God’s Word
is true, but in some cases a person may, at the point the Word goes forth, lack a level of
understanding, in some cases they may already get it-it may not be for them in that moment,
or, there may be more layers to uncover.
And this is where I found myself with the notion of revival, more layers to uncover. Revival
is typically preached in a fashion that God would pour out His Spirit so that all, especially
unbelievers, would learn of redemption and be saved-that they would be revived spiritually,
because that is what we’re talking about when we say revival. That dead men and women
would be brought back to life. That is what revival is-it is bringing back life to something
that has died. But, the thing is, unbelievers have never been alive to the things of God.
When you revive something, you are bringing it back to its original state. Why would
anyone want to revive a spiritually dead person to death again? This is why in the natural,
many people have a do not resuscitate order. If they have to come back to the same condition
they were in prior to death, they would just rather die!
Paul says in Ephesians 2:1 that prior to Christ all were dead in their trespasses and sins-verse
five goes on to say but even in this death Christ made us alive. I know you may be saying to
yourself; well, basically both revive and alive mean the same. Technical definition-alive
means living, not dead, whereas revive means restore to life-surely they both result in
something living, play on words, perhaps,but a distinction to be made nonetheless. Long
story short-you must first have been alive spiritually, to have experienced death with the
hopes of being revived. So then, who is revival really for? The answer, the church, and if
so-why are we dead?
“To the angel (divine messenger) of the church in Sardis write:
“These are the words of Him who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: ‘I know
your deeds; you have a name (reputation) that you are alive, but [in reality] you are dead.
Wake up, and strengthen and reaffirm what remains [of your faithful commitment to Me],
which is about to die; for I have not found [any of] your deeds completed in the sight of My
God or meeting His requirements. So remember and take to heart the lessons you have
received and heard. Keep and obey them, and repent [change your sinful way of thinking,
and demonstrate your repentance with new behavior that proves a conscious decision to turn
away from sin]. So then, if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not
know at what hour I will come to you." (Revelation 3:1-3)
The church of today can be likened to the parable of the ten virgins, five being described as
foolish and five as wise. We know that the five foolish virgins were not prepared as they did
not have enough oil, whereas the five wise had taken the necessary measures to meet the
bridegroom; however, in spite of the five wise virgins' adequate preparations “all” ten fell
asleep while awaiting the bridegroom. And this is where we can find the church-asleep.
(Matthew 25)
Yes, revival is needed, but it must first sweep through the body of Christ so that His full glory
may be on display.

“Awake, sleeper,
And arise from the dead,
And Christ will shine on you.” (Ephesians 5:14)

Related image

Friday, March 23, 2018

Not Without a Cause

I recently heard the story of a man who came upon a butterfly in its last stage of development. The butterfly was in the process of emerging from its cocoon, but was caught in a “struggle.” The man upon leaving and returning several times feared the butterfly would never loose itself, and took it upon himself to assist the butterfly. The man widened the opening to the cocoon, thereby making it easier for the butterfly to emerge.

But, as a result of this assistance, the body of the butterfly was grossly engorged, and the wings underdeveloped. The man failed to realize that it was in the “struggle” of the butterfly’s emergence from the cocoon that the excess water would be pushed from the body to that of the wings-thereby making the body slimmer and the wings fuller. You see, the “struggle” is always for a purpose because of what it's trying to produce. The life of King David is one full of such “struggle” and the necessity for it. 

David was Israel’s unlikely champion-slaying Goliath while just a youth. Prior to slaying Goliath, David had been invited to live in King Saul’s home as it was the anointed music of David that eased the King’s distress. 1 Samuel 16: 21 states, “then David came to Saul and attended him, and Saul loved him greatly, and he became his armor bearer."

Yet eventually, Saul came to despise David because of the people’s praise for him. “The women sang as they played, and said, Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands. Then Saul became very angry, for this saying displeased him.” (1 Samuel 18:7-8) How could David not be adored by the people? Not only was he a warrior, but he was also described as being wise, handsome and a skilled musician, he was the total package!

Saul’s hatred forced David to go on the run, and after hiding in neighboring cities David found himself in the cave of Adullam. There was drawn to him a company of people who were in distress, debt, and discontented and he became captain over them. (1 Samuel 22:1-2) Although David had been anointed King of Israel long before slaying Goliath, it was in a cast out state and among the outcasts that he learned how to lead. It wasn’t out in the public for all to see, but in the caves, during a time of “struggle" that he took a company of men and became a true King.

The “struggle” also released David from the approval of man. It would have been easy for David to fall victim to the praises of others. David found himself in a comfortable spot. He went from the pastures of tending sheep to the King’s palace, to becoming Israel’s champion. And it was after all of this that he was forced into exile.

In this exiled state David had to trust in God completely. He had to learn how to seek God for provision, His will and depend on Him for safety. As long as Saul was alive, David was a man marked for death. Ultimately, the “struggle” helped to develop within David a heart for the people. This is why David is called a man after God’s own heart, because God’s heart is always for the least of these.(Acts 13:22) David was given a company of people who faced one misfortune after another, who looked to him for guidance.

Sure David had some moral failings, we all do. But bigger than these moral failings was the fact that God purposed from the beginning of time that David would be Israel’s favored King, and the lineage through which Christ would be born.

Key things to remember:
#the struggle is bigger than you
#the struggle always produces something
# the struggle is not without cause
#the struggle doesn’t last forever
#the struggle is necessary

If you find yourself in the “struggle,” ask Holy Spirit what is being produced in you. Without the “struggle” of pressure the diamond could never be formed. Without the “struggle” of fire, the pure essence of gold would remain unseen. Without the “struggle” of freedom, the butterfly never takes flight.

Butterfly emerging from chrysalis with remarkable patterns on its wings, emphasizing the beauty that can come from a simple caterpillar

Friday, September 9, 2016

Process of Destiny

As of late, the notion of “process” has been weighing heavily on my mind. My most recent thoughts of this concept came a few weeks ago as I was exercising. I began to reflect on a time in my life where exercising was not so daunting as it is for me now. After having four kids, a host of injuries, and entering into middle-age-this area has become quite the challenge. You see, life happened; not as in some chance occurrence, but through decisions that were orchestrated by me or at the will of someone else. All of these things took me through a process. Becoming pregnant led me through the process of nurturing life. Exercising led me through the process of becoming fit. And well, becoming middle-aged led me through the process of making decisions to ensure that my life would unfold in a way that would continue to allow me to live. All of these things required me to initiate steps to reach my desired goal-end. Process itself is defined as “a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end.”

When I think of my spiritual journey that too has been replete with the tell-tell signs of process. I’ve been a believer of Yeshua Hamashiach (Christ) for as long as I can remember. However, it is only up until a few years ago that I truly became a follower. And He *said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19)
You see, I knew that becoming a true disciple of Christ would cost me dearly, and if we’re all honest most are unwilling to pay that price. However, the cost of following Him pales in comparison to the cost of being lost in a world system that only seeks to steal, kill, and destroy. So, despite not being able to see what lie ahead and not knowing the full measure of the cost I said yes. This my friend is the point at which process began.

Immediately, trials came and in some instances, I thought I would burst under the weight of them all. Initially, I didn’t understand what these trials represented and thought them to be an attack of the enemy, which wasn’t the case. In the midst of this adversity, the enemy wanted to infect my thinking hoping I would surmise that God isn’t good. However, when you have a true revelation of the LORD God Almighty, nothing can alter your view of Him. But guess what, even with this awareness those trials still hurt. So, I did as Deuteronomy 11:18 says, 
"You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.”
The more I did this, keeping the promises of God at the forefront of my mind, the more battles I was able to face and overcome. As I meditated on what the Lord was doing in me a picture of the children of Israel came into view. 

You see, there was a shorter way that the Nation of Israel could have taken that would have gotten them to the Promised Land sooner. However, God did not lead them by the way of the land of the Philistines, even though it was near; for God said, “The people might change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt” (Exodus 13:18). He led them by the way of the wilderness instead. The wilderness was the process by which the Israelites would come to be a people who could withstand any foe. The Promised Land, though a place of rest, being lush and bountiful was also one full of giants. Having been enslaved for so long, God knew that if they immediately possessed the promise they would have soon lost it through fear and intimidation, becoming enslaved yet again. 

You see, the process is always about us, and what God wants to do to us and through us to get us to our Promised Land. Yes, there are giants there but do you think your loving Father would send you into a territory powerless? Your ability to defeat the giants is the result of PROCESS! We must be as Caleb and declare-We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it.”(Numbers 13:30)

If you find yourself in the wilderness, the throes of process know that God is working something through you. There is an end to the process, but if you fail to hold fast to the Word of God you will delay and even abort your process. Twelve spies were sent out but only Caleb declared victory in the face of the enemy. The Israelites still doubted even though Moses’ declared- “do not fear the people of the land, for they will be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them”(Numbers 14:9). As a result of disbelief, a generation would die off in the wilderness, their children receiving the inheritance (Promised Land) in their stead. Know this and settle it in your mind once and for all, the battle is fixed in your favor because the enemy is already been defeated!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Where is God

The question was asked, if God and Jesus are real why do the vast of majority of people not see them? To which I replied, the reason we do not see them is that they (God/Christ) are to be reflected in us-His created image. Mankind was created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:27). This means we were created to resemble God in terms of our physical/spiritual make up, but also in terms of our personality. Personality is defined as the set of emotional qualities, ways of behaving, etc., that makes a person different from other people.” We were created with the ability to conduct ourselves much like Him. The first clue we see of this comes from Genesis 1:28. “God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” God’s rule is in Heaven and the earth He gave to man (Psalm 115:16). 

However, many can attest that the earth we live in is one that is in distress. We see that many do not value life as murder and/or the taking of life is rampant. Others whose only value is self often dismiss the needs of those bound in poverty and seek to keep them subdued rather than offer a helping hand. You see, while many have attempted to understand the behavior of mankind they can only offer insight into what is observable. That which we see does not often explain the why behind what we see. In order to answer this question we must journey back to the beginning of mankind. And no, we aren’t the result of some unexplainable big, bang. We human beings are intelligent in our design and thus can only be the result of an Intelligent Designer.

When God created mankind there was no division between He and them.They were able to enjoy each others presence. The divide that would come to exist did not happen until after Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. You see, most people take issue with the fact that a serpent (snake) could speak and have the ability to deceive human beings. I must add, whether you believe in an actual talking serpent is not of importance here; the Bible often uses many things in a figurative sense. However, the original context of words and what they mean can sometimes be lost in translation, which happens a great deal in terms of the Bible. Serpent in Hebrew is Nachash and while it does mean to hiss, it also means divination or enchantment. It was in this enchantment that Eve, later Adam ate the fruit. 

The serpent (Satan) convinced them that if they ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil that their eyes would be open and they would become like gods, knowing good and evil (Genesis 3:5 KJV). It is important to note that they did not become evil through eating the fruit, they now had a knowledge of what it meant to be good and evil. On the other hand, the transgression of God’s command opened the door to which sin entered. Sin meaning, an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law,” in simple terms to miss the mark, the mark established by God. It was at their disobedience of God’s command not to eat the fruit that expelled not only them from the Garden, but expelled God-or the Garden from the earth. You see, the Garden of Eden was the point at which Heaven and Earth met. Now with the introduction of sin Adam and Eve could not freely move between both realms, and neither could God. God is Spirit, and the inhabitants of a material world must be those made of material substance, which in this case is man. The only inhabitants who could live in the garden were those free of sin, thus why mankind was expelled. In this instance mankind had a new lord in that of Satan-so, instead of the earth being influenced with the goodness of God it became influenced with that of evil.

Many have trouble with the fact that Adam and Eve, along with the earth and all that were yet to come would suffer such a fate. However, even in this punishment God had a way for mankind to be redeemed through the Person of Christ (Yeshua-Jesus). Christ came to demonstrate the Kingdom from which we all originate and to provide the Way through which we could all have access. Through one man (Adam) sin and death reigned for all, but through ONE Man, Christ we are born unto righteousness, should we choose to make Him our Lord (Romans 5:17). The LORD, Himself came to the material earth in a material body! This act translates us out of the kingdom of darkness (Satan) to the Kingdom of God (Colossians 1:13). However, the aim of Satan is to keep people from discovering the truth of who he is and therefore who God is. "In whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God" (2 Corinthians 4:4). Because remember, if there is no devil there can be no God. Can good exist without evil or evil without good?

The powers that be which influence this world has and can only offer a fleshly existence; it denies the divine-God within us. Flesh is only concerned with pleasing and gratifying the flesh; it is the, “whatever makes me feel good,” existence. Its soul aim is to keep people from recognizing God within, the divine, the spirit nature. The spirit nature knows from whence it came and is always seeking to bring this reality into the earth. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible”(Hebrews 11:3).

God is not absent, people have chosen to disregard Him. Although, He has been known as God from the beginning, many did not acknowledge Him as such (Romans 1:21). Many understand the notion of the spirit world, the divine, but lessen it using terms like the universe, consciousness, etc. Many have taken the principles of God, re-packaged them in a way that divorces them from their source of Origin, God. “He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we also are His children.' Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man.” (Acts 17:25-30)

We must understand the law of Oneness.  That all humans are created in the image and likeness of God-that God breathed His Spirit into Adam (mankind) and that one breath, the breath of life has continued throughout all the generations.  In this law of Oneness the actions of one affects all those around them. So, if there is poverty, it is due to man not taking care of his/her brother/sister. If there is murder, it is due to others not valuing life-not valuing the divine that is within us all. Did not Cain say to God, “am I my brother’s keeper?” Well, yes you are! Until we understand this law of Oneness the question of where is God will continue to be asked.



The Principal Thing

"If I remain relatively unknown and the world never acknowledges the things that I've done, may I be known in heaven for these kids...