From the Rising of the Son

Jesus can relate to your feelings

Psalm 50:1

The mighty God, even the Lord, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof.

This morning as I walked the five blocks from my parking spot to my job, I was captivated by the skyline view of downtown Kansas City. It provoked thoughts of sitting on a balcony with coffee and toast, a cool breeze blowing across my skin, making me feel alive and refreshed. At that moment, I wished I was not on my way to work. I would much rather have been on a Hawaiian beach watching a vibrant sunrise dismantle the rain clouds with a bright and striking sun moving across the sky.

And what would I be doing at 6:30 in the morning under the conditions described above? I would be sitting in the early morning splendor ruminating about how life imitated nature. I would be thinking of the dark times in my life and remembering how the power of the Son evaporated my cloudy days. The beauty of the sentiment would, without doubt, cause tears to flow as I lifted my voice in praise for the rising of the Son in my heart.

Jesus does that, you know? He sees through our cloudy days, and just at the right moment, He illuminates His love to let us know He is with us in the dark. The Psalms give a divine image of this. David, the man after God’s own heart, records his emotions in the struggles he faces. Taking his complaints to God, he questions and accepts the sovereignty of the Creator. And through every up and down scenario, we see the mind of God toward David demonstrated in his faithfulness to help David. We are afforded a glimpse into the prophecies of the life and struggles the Son of God would endure on earth and his forthcoming emergence as the victorious, reigning King on earth.

Like David, we should bear our very heart and soul to God. No matter what the emotion, talk to him about it. Because of who he is, he will always bring us full circle to praise Him.

And therein lies the beauty of the Rising of the Son!

Psalm 113:3

From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord’s name is to be praised.

Fighting the Winning Battle

the battle is real, but so is victory

Going into the Army after graduating from Wyandotte High School (KCK) was one of the best decisions in my life. Much of what I learned was not only applicable to military standards but living in general. The physical training not only strengthened the body but taught endurance. The weapons training focused on setting your sight on a target and aiming with precision to hit your mark. The buddy system trained me to work with a partner to cover each other.

But the training that sticks most with me today is observing and identifying an enemy. Learning this skill has saved my life many times. It’s kept me from being pulled into the rabbit hole of depression. It has taught me not to put all of my trust in people; to, in fact, only share portions of the inner me until a person proves themselves to be trustworthy of the depths of me.

Even more so, it has equipped me to stay alert to the wiles of the devil. To recognize subtle signs of potential traps that he is setting up for me. It is one of the reasons I stopped watching television (news, programs, etc.). For a person like me, keeping my inner man free of bleak or wicked images and ideas helps me avoid being overwhelmed with sorrows. It reminds me that life is a journey, and to practice the following daily:

Never underestimate the schemes of your enemy nor be emotionally hijacked into forgetting the power of the Savior.

Wanda J. Murry

I wrote the below poem in my 30s when it finally dawned on me that I didn’t have to fight my battles alone. I had to train my mind to function from a place of victory instead of defeat, and you can trains yours too.

I hope you enjoy the poem!

I had to stop lying to me

Because it affected what my eyes see

It hindered my forward progress

Keeping me bound in mental regress

All the pain, the fear and doubt stayed

My maturity level was being delayed

And, the hope and love that had started

Was constantly being pushed and retarded

Burdens were adding unnecessary weight

To an already unsteady and unhealthy gait

The mind was in continual commotion

Soiling that part cleaned in daily devotion

God’s Spirit has been a part of my life

Since I married Christ and became his wife

Yet, my old lovers kept pulling me back

Forever pouncing with the newest attack

I grew tired and weary from being battled

At times succumbing, my faith being rattled

Yet, I hate losing the war that’s already won

When at my disposal is the power of the Son

So like a good soldier, I make my retreat to regroup

I check my armor, seal the cracks, and mentally recoup

Then I get up again, and go forth in God’s Spirit to slay

The enemy and his helpers who work to hinder and delay

I will recapture the things which were mine to keep

I will lay claim to victory, again awakened from my sleep

I will reclaim the reward and treasure of the Spirit’s gift

I will cause the balance of the power within to shift

When God gave Christ, His only begotten Son

The spiritual war that rages, is already being won

So fearlessly I raise my sword, the Word from above

And, I go on fighting, empowered by God’s love

Daughters and $ense – T.Gilbert

Mr. Gilbert is a Kansas City native

Let me begin

With this Daughter$ relationship

For one, there$ no type of passion to begin with

Not that it matters, but truly at time$

It doesn’t make sense

It’s only a make believe

Is what the experts will tell you

I’ve never had a daughter

But If I did

I would go out of my way

To be there when she swings off the tree

And from there

And perhaps she would start

Her very first sentence

I would be afraid to ask,

“How was your day?”

Knowing she’s been reading my mind

For almost the whole entire day

As she would never let go

Of the handlebars

As she’s watching me

As I’m building

This new looking fence

Next on my list

I’m start thinking about

Putting up drywall

But in the meantime

I’m making the most

With what I have

With Daughter and $ense!

Worth the Wait

like fine wine, the best takes time

My pastor’s sermon on Sunday, December 8, 2019, was powerful. I wasn’t able to hear it in person since it was my Sunday to teach at the jail. The subject was “Loving One Another.” He expounded on Matthew 22:36-40 and John 13:34-35 for starters. In my notes I wrote down a statement that resonated with me:  love embodies all the commands of God because it is the summation of His commandments.

The bottom line is those who believe in Jesus Christ are called to demonstrate a higher standard of love towards one another. I highly recommend you listen to it for yourself and I’ve included the link in the subject title in the previous paragraph. I encourage you to jot down a few notes to gauge your spiritual maturity in this area. I’m convinced you will find the need for adjustments like I did.

man tattooed praying
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After listening to the message, I couldn’t help thinking about how it would benefit anyone struggling in a relationship with others. Many people want a relationship with others. My sons and daughters are in their prime, and many of them are considering marriage. Some are struggling in their current marriage or relationship. Too many of them lean on their perspective of relationships instead of praying from God’s perspective.

Unfortunately, the problem is too many think rushing into someone’s arms or bed is a springboard for the love they seek. Yes, genuine love doesn’t automatically materialize out of brokenness. Fast-tracked relationships don’t create the type of permanence desired. They are rush jobs forged by unplanned events or circumstances such as pregnancy or loneliness. To attempt to form loving relationships out of these couplings seldom work out well, though there are exceptions.

broken heart love sad
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There has to be a way to convey the work required to mend broken vessels. A broken vessel can’t repair a broken vessel. God works hand in hand with his Word to rebuild the brokenness in man. Underneath all of the layers of emotional trauma or baggage, people desire to be known. In spite of their shortcomings and flaws, people want acceptance wrapped in love, respect, protection, and guidance. My sons want wives to reverence them. Likewise, my daughters want husbands who know how to love them as Christ does. It starts with God, the master who makes beauty from ashes, who gives the oil of joy for mourning and a garment of praise in exchange for the spirit of heaviness.

The truth is Christ-founded relationships require 100% commitment to work from both parties on both sides. Love isn’t for the lazy of heart and spirit. Without heartfelt dedication to the relationship, it becomes a sinking ship that will go under at some point. The person in the relationship who understands this best is normally the one who ends up doing most of the work. My prayer is that the one whose stronger in faith learn to pray for their mate until they grow in their relationship with God.

For my single children, my prayer is they learn to be content in their singleness for a time. The practice of enjoying being single and alone constitutes perfect timing to allow God to work through the damage without distractions. When Christ is the primary focus in our lives, trust in God grows as the creator of marriage weaves an integral part of the creation story found in the book of Genesis within us. We then come to have faith in his capability to bring the right type of love into our lives. Because God’s timing is the right timing, no one misses out on anything in the quiet time of being loved fully by him.

It’s worth the wait!

But Your Heart

You are a wonder to watch day after day and night after night. How I long to hold you in my arms. You are so beautiful. You are so handsome. Your daily routine, impressive. Your goals are attainable. You demonstrate consistent willpower and keep your focus on the rainbows in your view. I marvel at your strength and tenacity in these times of ever-changing roles and lifestyles.

You are a feast for the eyes. You are always well-dressed. You model thrift store purchases as one endowed with riches. Your poise is full of humble confidence. Stylish by all standards. No one would deny you have earned it. Your climb up the corporate ladder is inspiring. Turning your business into a household name noteworthy. Every promotion deserved.

We find you remarkable. We know what you sacrifice to do what you do to give what you give. No one can attest to the time you obligate to others. Many miss how you extend your hand to serve others. Watching you willingly add to your already full plate exhausts me. You lend all of your talents to those around you. Your service in ministry is well-pleasing. You are faithful and so blessed.

I have spent lots of time and words expressing the debt of my love and appreciation for you. I know at the end of the day you returned my love the best way you knew how. It makes me love you even more. I know you have given me everything you feel you possess.

Everything … but your heart!

COMMUNITY

woman near window
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I have been in personal hiatus lately, meaning, I’ve spent lots of time alone. There are a few reasons for this need at this moment. Life has been a little topsy-turvy and cumbersome over the last few years. Trying to find my footing through events, circumstances, hills, and valleys requires personal reflection. I am grateful for the journey, and the lessons being learned. For times such as these, the growth and outcomes generated are profitable, leading to the place of much-needed serenity and peace.

Some people look at being alone as something taboo. For me, it’s one side of my personality I have to indulge in and balance. I’m an introvert who has learned to socialize like an extrovert in various settings. Being quite reticent, I spend time internalizing life (mine, others, the world we live in, etc., etc., etc.). Summoning memories of my youth confirm writing as a natural place to dispose of my uncomfortable thoughts. Writing has become my road to sanity; a place I can’t deny to extinguish the ugliness of negative emotions. I chose to empty my thoughts on paper rather than wreck my limited relationships through verbal carnage.

This weekend I learned something in my hiatus important to me as an individual. As much as I enjoy my alone time, I still need my community! I googled the word community for the relevant definition and found it – the condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common [1] Although I enjoy my periods of alone time, I don’t want to be alone all the time. Socializing provides laughter and deep conversations about God, family, and all things life-related. In those times, I feel a part of something intensely gratifying. My heart warmly enthralled with God in knowing I am alone only when I choose to be.

grayscale photography of people worshiping
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Being a part of a community of like-minded people who care for you creates a sense of connection. A church community joins like-minded believers into a body that guides and cares for your salvation, spiritual growth, and servanthood. In a job community, some people help you develop skill sets for career elevation. The community of family fosters a place of unconditional love, encouragement, protection, and treasured examples of leadership.

This weekend I joined another community. An affinity of writers and would-be writers called to tell their stories. Memoirs, poetry, non-fiction, fiction, devotionals, bible studies, etc., an amazing expanse of creativity. I needed this community with whom I could share this part of my life. They host my passion to share and enthusiastically celebrate life on its terms. In this place, encouragement and support abound. Without hesitation, it is the solid ground upon which to plant my author’s feet as I grow into the writer I am destined to become.

At the end of the day, we all need COMMUNITY.

[1] https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/community; 2 [mass noun]

Our Temples

Core strengthening exercise for the soul

DISCLAIMER:  IF YOU HAVE NOT BELIEVED IN THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST, ASKED HIM INTO YOUR HEART, AND PUT YOUR TRUST IN HIM … THIS MESSAGE IS NOT FOR YOU!

Our temples are so much more than just flesh. As NT Believers we are now the “Temple of God” in the same way that the Nation of Israel had a “Temple” where they went to be in the presence of God and to worship God.

Accordingly, defiling the temple holds greater meaning when we look at how the Anti-Christ will be in opposition to EVERYTHING GODLY & CHRIST-LIKE by seating himself in the temple in Jerusalem and beckoning people to come worship him.

The Anti-Christ’s actions are in direct relation to Lucifer’s desire and push to be “like the Most High” [Isaiah 14:13-14]. This bold move was then, and remains now, an abomination in God’s eyes and bears bringing to remembrance. Anytime, and in any way, we elevate ourselves or put anyone or anything in a position in our lives as an object of worship or to glorify it, we have set up an abomination in God’s eyes.

For NT Believers, our body indwells the Holy Spirit and we are now the Temple of God. We have to ask ourselves in what ways 1) do we, 2) have we, 3) are we polluting God’s temple (taking into ourselves: body, mind, spirit); and, 4) what or 5) who have we given more superiority in our life over God?

God’s Temple is the place where He gets all the praise and glory due His Name!

1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 6:19-20; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:19-22

I Pray

In Jesus’ name I pray …

Lord God,

Every day I am reminded of how much I need you in these evil days. There is chaos and murder and abuses and governmental injustices that abound. My heart is tender; if I didn’t know where my help and strength comes from (Psalm 18:2), I would crumble in my emotions and spirit as one dead.

The greatest anguish that presses against my sanity is the PAIN being played out all around the WORLD. It is the sorrows, the famines, the hatreds, the brutalities that would destroy me, if I did not know that THERE IS A GOD IN HEAVEN WITH A PLAN FAR GREATER THAN ANYTHING I CAN IMAGINE.

All of these destructive shenanigans are just part of what You, Lord, are using in your MASTER PLAN FOR YOUR KINGDOM TO COME. So, I take my burdens to you, Lord. I cast my FEAR upon your throne, because in all HONESTY, I know there is NOTHING ELSE I CAN DO but turn to the ONE who holds all the power (Matthew 28:18). I remind myself that your ways are not my ways (Isaiah 55:8), and that you, Lord, are a GOOD SHEPHERD (John 10:11) who watches diligently over his flock.

This is my comfort … he who began a good work in me (Philippians 1:6), shall perform it. I will cast my cares upon you (Psalm 55:22) because only you can sustain me in these perilous times. My hope lies not in man or woman or child or government, but in the ONE TRUE AND LIVING GOD (1 John 5:20). My peace is made sure by my total dependence upon you and no one or nothing else (John 14:27). And, when I lay me down to sleep, I will fear no evil because you are with me (Psalm 23:4).

I will rejoice and praise thee with my whole heart (Psalm 9:1) because you are MY GOD, MY STRENGTH, MY PROVIDER, MY STRONG TOWER, MY HOPE, MY EVERLASTING LIFE! Because you are with me always (Matthew 28:20), I will take shelter under your wings.

THANK YOU, FATHER, FOR THE BIRTH, DEATH & RESURRECTION

OF YOU SON, WHO DIED FOR MY SINS, THAT I MIGHT HAVE LIFE!

In Jesus’ name, I pray!

To God be the Glory, Forever and Ever, AMEN!