Good People

I recently caught up with a friend on what was supposed to be a quick call. True to our usual “catching up,” the call lasted over an hour. Lots of laughter, exchanges of recent personal news, and sharing of opinions on current headlines filled our conversation. We had a good time! Before we hung up, we affirmed each other with simple words. And without fail, some hilarious comment escorted us off the call.

Good people, with good intentions, and good character are difficult to find. The moment you find them, no matter where or when, you treasure them. More often than not, the relationship that ensues helps mold each of you into your better selves, without pretense. Good people don’t have to profess to others that they’re good. It’s their lifestyle. They help to talk you out of your fears, and they bring you to tears with their continuous practice of letting you know you matter.

God orchestrates time and space to position good people, with good intentions, and good character along our paths. I treasure my good friend, our long-distance phone calls, and our occasional visits over the years. I also treasure the other good friends in my circle. We bring each other joy. Take an inventory of your circle and your heart. With each person occupying dominant space in your life, ask yourself two questions. Does that relationship produce joy in your heart? Or does the relationship disrupt your peace? Take the inventory, ask the questions, and brace yourself for the discovery. It’s worth it.

“Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.”– Proverbs 27:9

“Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”– 1 Corinthians 15:33

Seize the Moment

There is a family of hummingbirds living in a tree in my backyard. While sitting outside near the tree yesterday, one of the birds darted next to me, positioning itself between our blooming African Lily and me. The bird was beautiful, brightly colored, and fast. As quickly as it arrived, it was soon out of my sight. But before it left, it turned to me, wings buzzing, and allowed me the privilege to gaze at its beauty and wonder. The same bird later returned in my midst, this time behind me. My daughter alerted me to its presence, describing its actions as similar to our first encounter. Then as quickly as it arrived, it was suddenly gone from my presence.

We are not always given more than one opportunity to seize a moment. Sometimes God offers us one fleeting moment to complete a task, to uncover a revelation, to exercise courageous faith, or to proclaim His bountiful goodness with words from our mouth. As quickly as the moment comes, it can soon disappear from our presence.  Seizing the moments God provides is crucial. Now more than ever, we are challenged to become aware of how God moves in our midst, with both our natural and spiritual eyes. We must be capable of sensing Him in impossible circumstances and in uncertain situations that catch us off guard. And we must immediately recognize the privilege of being a witness to His miracles, signs, and wonders. God positions His greatness in our midst daily. Have you taken notice? Have you positioned yourself to seize transformational moments prepared just for you?

“So be careful to live your life wisely, not foolishly. Take advantage of every opportunity because these are evil times. Because of this, don’t be ignorant, but understand the Lord’s will.” – Ephesians 5:15-17

One Accord

Lately, I have been reminiscing on the early days of me and my husband’s ministry. One of those memories takes me to the Bible Studies & Prayer Meetings in Sunnen Chapel at Washington Metropolitan AME Zion Church (St. Louis, Missouri), led by Rev. Lillie Fenderson, a minister on staff. The studies and prayers were transformational, visibly ushering many to journeys of healing and deliverance. The Holy Spirit would often sweep across the small crowded altar and fill the entire chapel with breakthroughs. One night was as unforgettable as it was the first time I saw my husband wrestling with giving way to the Holy Spirit, releasing control of all he wanted, for what God wanted for him. At one point in the evening, it was as if Rev. Fenderson was only ministering to him. We all felt the rushing wind of the Holy Spirit in that chapel. No one could deny it. We all prayed on one accord for God to break yokes in the room. And God did. There were tears and shouts everywhere. And on the face of my husband with eyes water-filled, evidence of relief. Once we arrived home, he was able to share what we both already knew. His humility of prayer and openness to God’s Way afforded him sweet communion with the Holy Spirit, which continues to show its might in our 20-year ministry.

The world seems to be caught off guard with what is now becoming one trauma after the next. But those who profess Jesus as Lord & Savior and are familiar with the power of the Holy Spirit should not be. We recognize the signs of the times, so we gather together, on one accord, to seek God’s Way in prayer. Our seeking subsequently directs us to turn from our wicked ways. God forgives and heals the land when these prerequisites are met. Until God’s people practice the full scope of humility, the world will continue to suffer the penalties of greed and all the trauma it brings. We can’t fool God.

“If my people who belong to me will humbly pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14

“Make no mistake, God is not mocked. A person will harvest what they plant.” – Galatians 6:7

Get Some Rest

Beloved,

In all of your getting,
get some rest.
Mental rest.
You jeopardize your goal and impact without it.

“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he (Jesus) said to them (the apostles), “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” – Mark 6:31

Hang On To Hope

“I never thought I would live to see the day.” Lately, in our country’s present and not-so-distant past, I find myself repeatedly saying these words. One tragedy after another, one heinous statement after another, one injustice after another, leaves me wounded in these United States of America. Most look to some form of respected leadership for answers and guidance during tumultuous times. Unfortunately, I, as well as others, are finding disappointment in touted leaders whose influence goes no further than a photo-op and witty social media post. 

The persistent turmoil in our nation requires much more than what we have offered as a response. It requires a courageous confession, earnest prayer, patience, obedience to God, and openness to a movement that refuses all manner of injustice and embraces peace.

In our most difficult moments when we wrestle with the impossible, we must muster the strength to plead the words of Psalm 5:1-7,

“Hear my words, Lord! Consider my groans! Pay attention to the sound of my cries, my king and my God, because I am praying to you! Lord, in the morning you hear my voice. In the morning I lay it all out before you. Then I wait expectantly. Because you aren’t a God who enjoys wickedness; evil doesn’t live with you. Arrogant people won’t last long in your sight; you hate all evildoers; you destroy liars. The Lord despises people who are violent and dishonest. But me? I will enter your house because of your abundant, faithful love; I will bow down at your holy temple, honoring you.”

Give yourself permission to hang on to hope. Leave room in your heart to trust God no matter what it looks like. A glorious new day is in view where God is lifted high. It is so.

“So what are we going to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” – Romans 8:31