Archive for category Random Thoughts

A Tale of Two Cities (Introduction)

Dickens, quotes, two cities
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,

it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,
it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,
it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness,
it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair,
we had everything before us, we had nothing before us,
we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way-
in short, the period was so far like the present period,
that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received,
for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only. ~ Charles Dickens

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Ten Reasons to be Grateful

New MerciesThe steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23
Here are ten reasons we must be grateful for each new day.
Number One: GOD WOKE US UP.
Number Two: GOD WOKE US UP.
Number Three: GOD WOKE US UP.
Number Four: GOD WOKE US UP.
Number Five: GOD WOKE US UP.
Number Six: GOD WOKE US UP.
Number Seven: GOD WOKE US UP.
Number Eight: GOD WOKE US UP.
Number Nine: GOD WOKE US UP.
Number Ten: GOD WOKE US UP.
These words closed the celebration of our Church’s Annual Spring Revival. They are powerful reasons to rest assured our LIVES truly have MEANING, PURPOSE AND PROMISE. Let us thank and praise God EVERY morning for God’s FAITHFULNESS and new MERCIES. God has a plan for EVERY life.

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A Universal Language

I was looking through some of my old posts and remembered my Trip to the Holy Land. There is no greater spiritual experience than to walk the path Jesus walked.

Life and Grace

“. . . how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language?” Acts 2:8 (RSV)

One of the greatest experiences of my life was a journey to “the Holy Land.” It was awe-inspiring to walk where Jesus walked and to see places that I had only read and heard about. But the place I remember most is the Church of Saint Anne in “old city Jerusalem.” Christian tradition holds that the Church bears the name of Jesus’ maternal grandmother, Anne. It is also noted for the Bethesda Pool (John 5:2-9), where Jesus performed many miracles of faith. Its architecture is both simple and majestic, with cross-vaulted ceilings and giant pillars. But most striking to me was its amazing acoustics that seemed to transform even the simplest prayer and praise into a musical language that appeared to penetrate the heart of every hearer.

The day I…

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On Being Reserved

For some reason, this has been one of my most popular posts. Perhaps, there are more introverts than we realize.

Life and Grace

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, love and of self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)

I have always considered myself a “private” person. I have never desired the center of attention or felt the need for anyone’s approval. I simply place a high value on personal privacy. I realize that is strange, in this world of “reality” everything, transparency, and where “nobody’s business” is “everybody’s business.” Nevertheless, I am reserved and only take part in conversations and social interactions when I believe I can add something productive. Through the years, because of my lack of responsiveness, I have been branded “too serious,” “stuck up,”  “introvert,” “loner,” “timid,” “taciturn,” and my personal favorite “aloof.” The truth is, I deemed it “minding my own business” and I never thought much about it until one of my Seminary professors posed this interesting question:

Bonita, despite your being…

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Everyone Struggles

It Just Dawned On Me

Everyone struggles.

Everyone.

Sometimes the struggles are evident and easy for all to see. They are “in your face”, blatant. Raw.

Sometimes the struggles are more subtle.

Either way, the days can seem so very hard.

There are times in life when we find ourselves walking in the valley. In this deep valley the shadows are long. The path ahead is rough and hard and it is easy to trip in the darkness. Bruised and broken.  Moving forward, but still holding on to the past.

Life is hard. It always is.

A former pastor once said, “In life, there are three places…When we are heading into a difficult time, we’re in the middle of a difficult time, or just coming through a difficult time.” It’s true.

I don’t like the difficult times. No one does. I fight through them.

The battles leave me weary.

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I’m not the only one…

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Seasons, Change and Transition

seasons, change, transition“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”  Ecclesiastes 3:1 (KJV)

I moved to my current location almost seven years ago, totally convinced of this verse from Genesis 12:1-2 . . . The Lord said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.”  And because I left financial security and a successful ministry, many suggested that perhaps I misunderstood the call. Yes, it has been a tumultuous journey, but I have never doubted my decision. I am in the right place–at the right time–for such a time as this!

This is also my seventh year here and I believe that the number seven means “change” and/or “completion.” It is clear that I am in a new season in my life. It is a time of much change and spiritual restlessness that prevents me from doing anything “as usual.”  My life is clearly in a state of transition.

For months, I desperately prayed for spiritual guidance and for understanding of my purpose. Daily I cried, “Lord, what do you want me to do? Where do I go from here?” I can only say, God hears and answers every prayer, but God’s Ways and Timing are not ours.

Recently, when I was severely pressed, stressed and stretched about the state of my life, I received an email from Alicia Britt Chole, which included excerpts from her book, Pure Joy. The devotional message is below in its entirety.

Transition…Where one season concludes and another commences…When our heart is journeying from one place of service to another…The path connecting who we are with who we will be.
During transitions we uproot and replant our sense of purpose, of value, of self. Between what was and what will be we often feel vulnerable, uncertain, and exposed.
Like Abraham, the Father calls us to “leave and go.” This journey from what is known to what only God can see is the journey of faith. Our map in such a journey is a two-word sentence: “Follow Me!”
We miss many a treasure when we attempt to avoid or rush through these seasons of change. Transitions refine our character and re-awaken our faith.

Needless to say, I rejoiced when I read these words. They answered so many questions I had struggled with and I heard God’s voice more clearly than I had in many years. I understood what God was doing in and through me here. I realized anew that The Holy One kept me through every season and in every place–ALL OF MY LIFE.  As Chole further noted and I agree, “once again [I] must choose the path of dependence and remember that [my] true home is found not in a place but in a Person, our faithful God” who has been with me all the time. I know without a doubt, that I am here for a reason–for this very time and season. I realize this because of an old song my grandmother taught me years ago,which says: “Time is filled with swift transition. None on earth GOD moves can stand. Build your hopes on things eternal and hold to God’s unchanging hand.”

seasons, change, transition

Admittedly, because of the blessing of long life and experience–“I’m old,” I began to think more highly of myself than I ought to think and believed I knew more than I know. But as someone once said, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”

Seasons of change and transition, remind us that we could not survive one nanosecond without God. We must then “reassess our sense of purpose” and “choose again the path of dependence.”

Nothing God allows is ever wasted. Change prepared me for “such a time as this” and to trust God even more.

season, change, transition

It’s a new season and a new day–with a fresh anointing and purpose. But most of all, it’s a Blessing to  know that no matter where I am physically located, my true home, as Chole reminded me, “is found not in a place but in a person, our faithful God.”

Beloveds, Where are you in the season of your life? What changes do you sense in your spirit? Are you satisfied with where you are?

PRAYER:
Father, I acknowledge my weariness in well-doing and trying to “RUN” through the “gift” of life. I know now that You were simply calling me to continue to be faithful and to “WALK” in closer fellowship with YOU every day.” But most of all, thank you for the reminder (no matter life’s season) “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever.”I receive this Word and I thank you for your patience. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen

 

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WHAT ABOUT SATURDAY?

530201_518804881498870_1932376402_n“And they returned and prepared spices and ointments and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment, Luke 23:56

The Saturday of Holy Week is that day sandwiched between “Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday.  It is the transitional time between doubt and faith. It is a bridge between tragedy and triumph when there is no choice but to cope with what is in between.  It’s that gray day of uncertainty about what’s going to happen next and how things will work out. God willing, we can deal with Saturday!!

Jesus said, “I’m going to be handed over to the enemy.” “I am going to be crucified.” “The Elders are going to deliver me up.” But then also said, “Don’t be concerned about all of that because on the third day I will be raised!!  He told them, “Yes, I’m going to be crucified.” “Yes. I’m going to die.”  But for some reason that’s all they heard. Maybe it was because after everything negative had spoken, they couldn’t hear the truth of what God was saying.

Isn’t that what happens to us? Life speaks discouragement and negativity and we listen intently as if it has the last word. Sometimes, it’s the doctor who speaks words we rather not hear, the funeral director speaks, the judge speaks, pain speaks, heartbreak speaks, the bill collector speaks, jobs speak, spouses speak, friends speak, and even our children speak. And with all that speaking, somehow we miss what God is saying!! But make no mistake; God is always saying something–even on Saturday to remind us in our waiting, worrying and wondering – God is still working!!

Saturday will remain that transitional time between Friday and Sunday. But will it be for you, a day of angst and uncertainty or a day of Sabbath rest? Saturday is not dark and gray—cloudy or uncertain. It is live and in living color. It is a time of anticipation and celebration in honor of the Love that would not let us go!!!  In fact the promise is,

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Saturday is the day that the Lord has made.  Let’s rejoice and be glad in it because our   SAVIOR LIVES and because HE LIVES—we live to  face our tomorrows!!

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