Nine things for 2009

I’ve been watching television and have seen an onslaught of lists for 2009. Last night, I even saw an awards show of sorts for bad behavior in 2009. So, joining in with the other “listers” here are my top 9 of ’09. 

Top could mean, “top of mind” or “top” like best or “top” like favorite. And, these are not listed in any particular order. See – I had to go and complicate things just a tad.

  • Hearing my godson’s voice. He turned one this year and he’s talking up storm – when he’s not screaming something. So little, but so big at the same time. Adorable. 
  • The miracle of USAirways flight 1549. It’s a miracle because of everything surrounding the incident – not just on the plane itself but that busy waterway, nothing was in the way – no ferry boats or anything. The path was cleared for that plane to land and everything went well. 
  • The return of my pastor to the pulpit after a four-month absence. It’s a wonderful testament to the power of God. 
  • Retaining my job in this economy. Again, all God. Even in the midst of this economic climate, He has kept me happily employed and still able to travel. I even recently came back from a trip overseas. God is good. He keeps keeping me!
  • Finishing my family DVD by Christmas and getting it out in time for everyone to have it as a gift. My grandparents had a huge family and all are still alive so it became important for me that everyone be accounted for such that we may always remember.
  • Planning the fourth of July celebration that brought together the majority of the family. We had cool, team-oriented t-shirts, white tents, lots of fun and a great time. 
  • Getting intentional about my “every-now-and-then” writing. I still have a good ways to go on this subject, but I’ll get there at some point. At least, I’ve begun again. And, I’ve decorated this space on my blog with a fresh design that has been months in the making. 
  • Recognizing even more fully God’s continuing love for me. I know this sounds basic but it becomes more profound the more you have to deal with the aspects of life.
  • Recognizing how much more there is to learn – how much farther I need to grow and that even when I reach those gates, there will be more to walk through. The journey never ends on this side, but I realize that as long as I am focused on the Christ-side, everything will be alright. 

So, those are my top 9 for ’09 – at least right now. I’m still noodling and may have an update later… 

I hope you close out this year doing the right things at the right times to ensure that God gets the glory.  

May your blessings extend into 2010! 
Copyright Beams of Light Ministries

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Rest Your Body

There are times when I do not feel well. I am sure with the cold and flu season among us that this is a common feeling. However, there are times when I do not feel well and I can immediately figure out my symptoms and there are other times when I am not sure what the problem could be. 

Recently, I had one of those clueless days. All I knew was that I felt bad, but not bad enough to go to a hospital or even articulate the problem.

I should have taken this as a clue, but remember, I was being clueless. Anyway, after spending some couch time, I figured out that my nasal passages were causing me some issues. So, I sat up and begin to think about the best remedy. And, suddenly it came to me. 

Can I spell it Aretha Franklin style?….R. E. S. T.  I know, Aretha spelled out respect, but I need some rest. If I stretch just a little, I could correlate respecting my body to providing it with some much needed rest. 

Recently I traveled nearly 11,000 miles and then I also logged even more miles traveling around for the holidays. I did all of this traveling in the latter part of December, and the month is not finished just yet. Time for some R. E. S. T. 

And funny enough, I will rest when I don’t feel quite right. So, that’s the self-prescribed order for now and then if I still don’t feel quite like myself, I’ll make a move to get a doctor’s appointment. Let’s pray that that does not have to take place.

I say all of this to say – don’t wait until you don’t feel well to respect your body enough to give it the required rest it needs. If you will give it rest, it will give you the performance you desire. Many of you need to join me on my R. E. S. T. journey. I pray that you will.

Copyright Beams of Light Ministries

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Christmas Day Terrorist Attempt

Well, it would seem that some people had the wrong focus on Christmas Day. There was an attempted terrorist attack in Detroit. CNN reports that a Nigerian traveling to the US, with reported links to terrorist groups, set off an explosive device onboard a Northwest flight headed to Detroit. The terrorist’s plan was foiled – the device did not work as planned and the terrorist was sieged by an attentive passenger.

Thank God for the quick-thinking passenger and the others that assisted. It reminds me of the familiar 911 slogan of “Let’s Roll.” I don’t know why terrorist think it’s perfectly acceptable to murder innocent people. In the name of who? what? Doesn’t make sense to me. And to try to do this on Christmas Day makes it seem even more evil.

But thank God, evil did not prevail today. Evil did not have the last say on the day we celebrate the Lord’s birthday. Instead, this terrorist is in custody. I would hope and pray that this terrorist would begin to know the impact of humanity that they tried to make in comparison to the impact that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ came to make and MADE. There is a vast difference between the two – much like the vast difference between love and hate. I hope you will join me in prayer.
Copyright Beams of Light Ministries

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Keep the Right Focus at Christmas

It’s Christmas Eve. What’s on your mind? Are you thinking about the wonder of Christmas and the sacrifice of God in sending His Son, Jesus to us? Or, are you thinking about the gifts that need to be purchased and wrapped, food that needs to be cooked and trips that need to be completed?

Our mindset on this eve, gives us a good indication of how we will experience tomorrow. Before you misread this, I am not bashing gift-giving. In fact, I will be giving a few gifts myself. And, I will thank God for the privilege of having enough to share. But more importantly, I am taking this opportunity to remind everyone that stops by the blog that it is essential to have the right focus. On Christmas Day, we celebrate the “birth” of our Savior; the Lord Jesus. Therefore, we should make sure that we honor Him. It’s His “Birthday.”

Everything may not be as you would prefer it to be, particularly with the recession and all the fallout associated with it. Or you may be away from home and not able to travel to be with family. Do not let these external things steal your focus from the most important thing – honoring the Lord on His birthday. If you will keep your focus on Him, everything else will fade into the background.

Keep the right focus and have a Merry Christmas!   
Copyright Beams of Light Ministries

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A Miracle at the River

Miracles still happen. I was visiting my good friend when she directed me to this video on You Tube. A young lady, whose baby had been shaken by the babysitter, brought this baby to church. Watch the video and be blessed!

Copyright Beams of Light Ministries

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Even in the Silence

There used to be a television show that came on where the phrase “I wrote a song about it, wanna hear it, here it go…” It was very popular.

Do you remember it? I think it was called In Living Color. J-Lo used to be a fly girl (dancer). Anyway, lest I digress further, I am making a point.

The “songs” – better yet, jingles, were hilarious and were the subject of many a “water-cooler” and “lunch table” discussion the next day. As I’ve spent the last week traveling, I could imagine several jingles in my mind whether it be from the TWO times that TWO flight attendants spilled beverages on me, to the TWO sets of families traveling with 2-3 small, antsy, wanna-be-starting-something children, each, all around me, to the coughing and hacking and the joys of recycled air for 10 hours – oh the list could go on and on. And, I would write and sing you a song – except that I lost my voice somewhere over the Atlantic.

As a result, I spent yesterday in silence for the most-part. Just trying to let my body get back on this time zone and let my vocal chords recover. I was supposed to belt out a birthday tune for my mom, but let’s just say that frogs could have done better. My voice had left the building. It’s different spending your day in silence when that’s not your planned approach for the day.

But, I did remember something yesterday that benefitted me greatly. I can still pray in silence. I may need my vocal chords to communicate with others but I don’t need them to communicate with God. How great it that?!!

In the silence of the moments that ticked by yesterday, I thanked God for bringing me over 10,000+ miles within the week. Amazing. I thanked Him for delivering me from country to country, and state to state. I thanked Him for the relative ease with which I was able to navigate during my journey. You cannot convince me otherwise, God is good – even in the silence. I sang on the inside – even though nothing was heard on the outside. I praised Him for His goodness.

Today, my voice is coming back. I can be heard at a whisper. That’s pretty good. I thank God for that. I could really write a song about how good God is – and maybe one day, God-willing, I’ll take up the same vain as the psalmist and write a jingle that will endure.

Copyright Beams of Light Ministries

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Handle With Care

Call me crazy, but I believe that everyone needs to be handled with care. Now, don’t get it twisted from the start, I don’t mean to imply care as being handled with kid gloves. No, not at all. By care, I mean, with respect and courtesy. Not abusive. You get the point, right?

Sometimes, we can get busy doing our own things and forget to handle those around us with care. So, I have thought of a few guidelines that will help us restore “care.”

1. Remember that you are not faultless. You make mistakes. Yes, you do – go ahead and admit it. And, when you make mistakes, you should be quick to own up to them. Notice “quick.” No one likes to be around a person that will not apologize for their poor behavior. Why? Because that person has a pride problem – and well, pride is unattractive. We know what the Bible has to say about pride. So, don’t get caught up in that. Just apologize and mean it from your heart. For real.

2. Remember that others are not faultless. We established that you are not perfect. Well, guess what, no one else is either. I don’t care how much they may disagree – there is none righteous, no, not one! Everybody has made mistakes (past)and makes mistakes (present). So, be quick to accept others’ humanity and remember that they do make mistakes.

3. Be kind. It seems like this world is less kind by the minute. But, I have learned that it does not cost you anything to be kind to someone – and as a result of your kindness toward someone, you feel better – even if they “act a fool” go ahead and be kind to them. While they are feeling guilty about their behavior, you can feel good about your own knowing that you honored the Lord with your actions toward them. Don’t worry – once they repent, they will feel better too.

4. Don’t harbor grudges. Man, what a can of worms this one can be! I cannot tell you how many tiffs have been a result of a misunderstanding or wrong perception which led to an unnecessary and rather silly grudge. Wasted time – that’s all that was gained. And in the process, relationships were destroyed. There is always more to lose than to gain when you choose to harbor grudges. So, just don’t do it. Hear me now, don’t do it. It may feel good now, but it will hurt later. Be honest; confront the situation. Don’t hold grudges. Afterall, Jesus didn’t hold a grudge – and he knew that Judas would betray Him. If Jesus can serve with a man that He knew would betray Him, then surely you don’t need to be holding a grudge. I’m just saying…

At the end of it all, we have to love one another in a serious way. Love already implies a deeper sense of involvement. Love takes work. It always takes work. Real love is never easy. You have to work at it. So do. Do that. Work at loving one another. And, in your so doing, you will be blessed and those around you will feel the care in which you are handling them. And, although they may never fully acknowledge your generous treatment of them, you will know that you have done that which brings God the Father glory. And, that’s a good thing!

Copyright Beams of Light Ministries

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Choose Wisely

There is always an opportunity to glorify God if we will just open our eyes and look. And likewise, there is always an opportunity to glorify our adversary if we choose to as well. As I teach my students, you will either glorify God with your actions or your adversary. It’s always “either or” when you boil it all down to the basics. Only one will prevail.

Perfect example.

I was traveling. It was one of those long trips – which meant a long day ahead of me. On the first flight, I noticed that the flight attendant serving beverages did not seem too enthralled with her job. In fact, her outward facial appearance suggested that she would much rather be somewhere else. Her attitude when filling drink orders matched her facial expression. She was standing next to me, doing her job, when she allowed a drink to overflow from the cup – which in turn, flowed down like wild rain onto my pants.

Now, I had a decision to make. Glorify Christ or glorify the adversary.

If I had told her that she should have been more responsible and that she was lucky to have a job and that she would be getting a dry-cleaning bill from yours truly, my flesh may have been slightly satisfied but my pants still would have soda on them and I would still be wet. Worst of all, the adversary would get the glory.

Instead, I asked her to pass me a napkin. She did not. Instead, she wiped down the seat where I sat as the liquid penetrated my pants and now my skin was wet. It began to feel personal – even though it wasn’t. She just didn’t want to be there.

Nevertheless, she was indeed making it a bit more difficult than I had wanted to deal with on the first of three flight segments to my journey. Nevertheless, I reached onto her cart, got napkins and blotted my pants. She snarled at me. Eager to move on to the next passenger, she blankly stared at me and simply said “you okay here?”, to which I replied, I’m fine. It will dry.

Now, had this been a few years earlier when I was much younger in my walk with the Lord, I guarantee you the conversation would have been much different in a not-so-good kind of way. But, thank God for growth. Instead of yelling and making a fuss, I remained calm, took care of the soda spilled on my pants and on the seat and then proceeded to wrap myself up in my coat so that with my body heat, my pants would dry quicker. God got the glory.

Every day we wake up, we have a choice to make about how we will respond when things happen or when people act as people do. I urge you to consider your responses and choose to glorify God.

Copyright Beams of Light Ministries

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The Letter

Words cannot express how happy I am right now. You see, last night, when I got home, I had a special treat in my mailbox. Oh, and when I opened it – the sheer joy is unspeakable.

I sponsor a child through Compassion International. And, yesterday, I got my very first letter from my sponsored child. She wrote me!

Oh, I held the letter right to my heart! As I devoured every sentence of the translation and cherished every single picture that she drew for me, my heart burst open, right in my chest.

It is simply amazing the way that God orchestrates things. I had long been curious and hesitant about child sponsorships, but out of obedience, I relented to God’s will. And, now, He has turned obedience into a blessing. I hope and pray that the continuation of this relationship will be just this sweet as its beginning!

I am not the only one that has received a letter – through Compassion or through another ministry. But I am thankful that now, I have my first letter from my sponsored child. And even in my excitement, I realize that there is a far better letter. Far better because it was inspired by God. This precious letter is called the Bible. It’s rich and deep and more meaningful than any other letter you’ll ever receive. It’s God’s letter of love to you. And, I pray that you will be MORE excited about His letter of love to you than I am about my sponsored child’s letter to me. I know it may be hard to do, but stretch! Get to that place! And you will be blessed.

Copyright Beams of Light Ministries

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Will Your Future Family Line Love God?


Family Line.

That’s the thought that’s on my mind this morning. During Sunday School yesterday, we discussed the linage of Jesus Christ. He had some folks in his family tree that did some rather unsavory things. It’s comforting if you think about it, since we have some folks in our family tree that have done and do some unsavory things. Think I’m wrong, look in the mirror. Thank God for repentace! Yet, while I am looking into the past to see what’s there, I am also looking into the future to see what could be.

This weekend, I had the high privilege of being a conference speaker with Christians United Church of Christ. This was their first Youth Conference and everything went well. I know that God had His hand in every part of the event since the messages that were given, all related, one to the other. I had never met the other conference speakers, Elder Tarry Deaver and Minister Joseph Frierson, Jr. Upon meeting them, instantly, we felt like family. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. One family in Christ.

We labored before the youth to draw their minds on key elements about their faith and the importance of living a “right now life” that will help them receive “eternal life.” Seeds were planted – and watered. We can only pray for the manifestation.

And that’s why looking to the future is so important. While we do not know the number of our days or even if we will live long enough to finish this blog post, we do know Who holds the future. And because we know Who holds the future, we have a responsibility to those coming behind us to present and introduce them to Him.

I shutter to think what life may be like if we stop raising up strong boys and girls who will turn into strong men and women for the cause of Christ. So many of our youth have already fallen by the wayside, following in the unsavory patterns of those who have gone before them.

We have to be different. We have to look to the future and what could be, and prepare our youth with the knowledge that they need. The real knowledge of the Savior. And in so doing, establish the Kingdom in our own linage, producing a family line that loves and reverences the Lord Jesus.

Copyright Beams of Light Ministries

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