You Are Always “Caught”

Sometimes, it appears that the paparazzo’s work is for the good. Sure, they want the money shot so that they can collect. That’s their line of work, training the camera on unsuspecting celebrity victims and then selling said photo(s) to the highest bidder. But there is another side. Sometimes, what they capture can shape your opinion, for better or for worse.
Recently, two relationships have been the victim of the paparazzo’s camera. Kristen Stewart, of Twilight fame, was caught in a very compromising position with her director, a married father of two. She, at the time, was living with her long-time boyfriend, and co-star, Robert Pattinson. The paparazzo brought their infidelity into the spotlight even though they had gone out of their way (they assumed) to avoid having their tryst made public. And while Robert Pattinson is heartbroken, and reportedly was about to propose, it is better that he knows now about her infidelity.

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Then there is Anderson Cooper’s long-time lover who was also caught lip-locked with another man. And while I do take the same position as the Bible when it comes to same-sex relationships, this post is focused on the pictures. They too were reportedly about to marry, but now that relationship is done. And although it hurts now, it is for the best that Anderson Cooper knows about his lover’s infidelity.

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I would say that what is done in the dark will come to light as the old saying goes, however, in both of these cases, everything was done in parks out in the open – in the light. Most victims of the paparazzo are ashamed when their indiscretions become public knowledge. As it relates to these two stories, Gossip-rag TMZ  reports Kristen Stewart is “pissed” that her co-conspirator in adultery, Rupert Sanders, is not taking more public heat. And while he has more to lose, in theory, with his wife and kids to account for, there still is the bottom line – and it is this…If you do not want to be caught doing it, then do not do it. Don’t complain when the heat is on you for something you brought on yourself.
Celebrities and the rest of us may not like to have our photographs snapped at every turn for every thing we have done. Quite frankly, for most of us, it’s not an issue because who really wants to take a picture of us! However, we can imagine that it may not be an easy feeling to have our lives documented in a way that is at best invasive. And with certain lines of public focused work, like movies and other media, this is the trade-off. Your privacy is not private after all. Just ask Ashton and Mila who in the privacy of his home patio thought they were away from the shutterbugs. Not so.
But have you considered this – as invasive as a photographer’s lens may be, they still cannot see everything. Yet, there is One that does see everything. He knows everything and you will not … CANNOT… hide from Him. There is no hiding from the Lord. Just ask Adam and Eve. While you may be caught by man’s lens on occasion, you are always in focus with God. You are always “caught” even if no one else knows what you are doing. You are always in His sight, and one day, you will stand before Him in judgment and give an account of all you’ve done. Me too. No one is excluded.
So, it seems to me then, that instead of getting wrapped up in whether or not we and/or our behaviors are reflected in a positive or negative way, it is a far better thing to concern ourselves with how well we live our lives before God who sees and knows everything we do.  
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People WILL Show You Who They Are

It may take a little while or it may happen quickly, but rest assured, people will always show you who they are. It is impossible to keep up a farce forever. There are always tell-tell signs. The problem is that most of us will ignore those tell-tell signs or if we do see them, we justify them as something else; in order to keep believing what we want to be true about a person. Don’t fall into this trap. The truth of the matter is simply this, people will always show you who they are. Always. You just have to believe them.



Now, when this is a good thing, embrace it. Value their strength of character. But, when this is a bad thing, please don’t ignore it. Take heed. Be Alert. And evaluate whether or not this is the type of person you want to surround yourself with. Does this person uphold the same values as you do? Does this person serve the same God as you do? Does this person esteem you and lift you up or does this person drain you and pull you down? When you watch this person, do you see them trying to live for God or trying to live for themselves? Have you gotten still long enough to ask whether or not this is the type of person that God wants you to be around?
In this time of easy gratification and instant access, we can sometimes take our relationships too fast. And when we zip down the freeway of love, the caution signs on the side of the road become a blur. And the faster we go, the more likely that we will lose control and crash our vehicles. Then we have to deal with the crumpled heap of our emotions, and sometimes our physical bodies. Wouldn’t it have just been easier to go slow? Why are we in a rush? For what? God is never in a rush. God has the plan. He takes His time in implementing it. And His plans are always good.
So, let’s be like Him, eh? Let’s take some time to get to know one another. And let’s take the appropriate time to observe exactly who it is that we are getting involved with. The time you take in building the foundation of your relationship will shore up the rest of your relationship. So, take some time and build it right. And no matter what, keep your eyes OPEN.  
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Dangers Seen and Unseen

The sky was clear and the green light beckoned. It was an early Sunday morning. I began to cross the intersection when mid-way, I looked left. A Ford Explorer, black, with a big grill and passengers in both the front and back, was speeding toward me.
Running through the red light.
I thought, “my God” but before I could get my two-word thought developed, the traffic violating Ford Explorer was slowing down. The driver, applying their brakes. I made it through the intersection safely because of God.
He was protecting me in dangers seen and unseen. Had He not, I would have had the side-curtain airbag getting real personal with my face, along with the grill of the SUV in my side. Undoubtedly I would have been injured. That SUV was rolling faster than the speed limit and coming through the light as if it weren’t there at all. But God! He spared me. Saved me from imminent danger.
I want to encourage you today to not take God’s hand of protection for granted. If you get in a car or other mode of transportation and make it to your intended destination, tell Him “thank you.” Then seek out other ways to let Him know that you appreciate the fact He’s not a God which slumbers or sleeps, but instead, He is always watching over us.

Copyright Beams of Light Ministries

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A Bird’s Eye View

There I was, hovering above the earth in the helicopter when it struck me.

From this view, our problems just seem so trivial.

I’m used to air travel. My last few years have been spent in and out of airplanes. But never before have I seen my city like this. Sure, when I’m coming in on some large aircraft you get to see the place you’re visiting as you descend. But a helicopter is different. It’s slower, giving you more time to fully appreciate what lies beneath.

I saw a city that is so beautiful. Hovering above, it looks like a model. Like you could go to the local supply store, buy a few plastic houses and trees and put it together. Simplistic, yet breath-taking.

I wonder if God sees us like that. He hovers above us and yet walks with us. He has a bird’s eye view and an upfront view. And while we labor in the details of our upfront view, not seeing the way, He hovers above us, knowing that in the grand scheme of things, our obstacles are light and trivial if we will but rely on Him. He knows the plans He has for us – He knows the bird’s eye view. All we have to do is follow His direction and stop looking at our own way. We only have the upfront view. But He knows it all.

Will you lay your problems down today and follow Him? He’s got a view you cannot see.

Copyright Beams of Light Ministries

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A God-paced Life

Give time enough time to do its work

We rush too much. Want things to happen too quickly. You’re probably wanting me to get to the point right now! We suffer from what John Ortberg calls “hurry sickness.” We live in a microwave society. We want things fast … and now. However, we must realize that walking hand-in-hand with God means loosing hand with the worldly driven fast-paced life. Instead, we have to grab hold of the God-paced life and not go ahead of Him.   

Just because I want a homemade cake doesn’t mean that one will automatically appear. If I want a homemade cake, I’m going to need to bake it myself. That means I have to go to the store, buy ingredients, drive back home, unpack the ingredients and put them into a bowl. Then I’ll have to pour the combined ingredients into a mold of some kind. And still yet, after I’ve pre-heated my oven, which takes time, I still have to wait for the cake to bake. Things take time. Things we want take time. There is a time element to all that we are. 

When we were knitted and formed in our mother’s womb, it took time. Time for us to move from a cell to multiple cells. Time for our limbs to grow and develop. Time for our little bodies to gain enough weight. And when we were done, it still took time for our mothers to deliver us. We cannot escape time. So, why do we rush it away? Perhaps it is because we have the wrong perspective on time. We want things in man’s time. But God wants to provide for us in His time. 

If we really thirst after a God-paced life, we have to invest in time. Although it may be a hidden desire of our heart, we will not go to bed a spiritual infant and wake up a Super Saint, no matter how much we may will it to be so. It just does not authentically happen. It takes time to read and study. It takes time for God to reveal Himself in all the ways that He will when we will make the time for Him. 

In order to have a God-paced life, we have to give our lives to Christ, and allow Him the time to work on our hearts. We have to study our Bible so that we can begin to know Who it is that we intend to serve. We have to be serious about our Christian growth and not hot one week and cold the next. As much as I may want to absorb the Bible’s content by osmosis, it just ain’t gonna happen. It takes time – daily effort of reading, studying and applying for it all to sink in and become relevant in my personal life. Do you have the time to walk hand-in-hand with your Creator? Or does the quick pace of your life require all the attention you can muster?

Consider this – God’s pace will help you win the race. Have a fantastic, God-paced weekend. 

Copyright Beams of Light Ministries

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Real Riches

As part of my 140 days of prayer for our nation, In Touch Ministries and Dr. Charles Stanley provided us with a schedule of issues to pray about. This week, we are praying “for God to open the eyes of our fellow Americans” based on the Scripture reference Psalm 73. 
When I read over the Psalm, “real riches” became a dominant thought. So many times, we think that real riches are when we can retire early or have the fanciest things. We confuse real riches with $100,000 cars and multi-million dollars houses. And in our pursuit of those riches, we compromise with the adversary. Sometimes unknowingly and far too often, knowingly. We trade the eternal for the temporary so that we can hear the applaud of our friends or provoke the jealousy of our foes. Oh, the things we get ourselves into when we stray away from the Truth. 
Yet, Psalm 73 reminds us of what’s real. We don’t need a necklace beaded with pride nor garment that signifies our worldly dealings. Sin is always the wrong path. Instead, we need to find our strength in God. Draw near to Him and trust Him. 
The relationship that we develop with God when we give Him our whole heart is the real jewel. That’s the real treasure. Our riches come not from what man can manufacturer or build with his hands. Think about that the next time you feel a little discouraged because the wicked seem to prosper. They are not prospering. They are storing up phony riches in the wrong place. You, sweet Christian, keep focused on the real riches and store them in the right place – in eternity. 
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasurers on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasurers in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:19-21

Copyright Beams of Light Ministries

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An Extra Prize!

Don’t you just love it when you make a call about one thing and find out about something else? I do. It’s like getting an extra prize in your cereal box or doing a two-for-the-price-of one deal. Exciting!

Well, come to find out that one of my family members through marriage is getting promoted. He’s in the military. I’m so excited for him. I remember when one of my good school mates was promoted to the rank of Major and invited me to his ceremony (he’s in the Army – I wrote about him in my Army Strong post). His ceremony was sooooo very nice. I really enjoyed myself. I’ll never forget it – even though I had to drive to what seemed like the end of the world to get there!

It’s always good to advance in something that you love to do. Oh yea, Chunk’s mom is getting promoted too. She’ll change ranks right before she deploys.

It’s such a blessing to see tangibly how God moves in the lives of my family and friends. And that, I guess, is in some ways, yet another extra prize. I’ve got prizes flowing from every corner. Isn’t that just fantastic? And guess what? You do too!

We can choose to look at each opportunity we face as a hindrance, obstacle or something equally unpleasant. Or, we can make a decision to look at every aspect of our lives and choose to see God working in them. Maturity, though hard-won, has taught me to choose the latter.

I hope you will join me in viewing every situation with the right perspective. I hope you will see that it is so much better, and peaceful, to look at each situation with an eye towards God – looking for the extra prize, and seeing His hand in it.

Happy Thursday Y’all!

Copyright Beams of Light Ministries

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God Loves You

I was telling a good friend about some things that I am facing. I love talking to her because she always views my situations through the lens of the Bible. 

When I told her how I was feeling and my new determination, she listened. And, then she affirmed me by showing me an even deeper way of looking at my circumstance. She told me that God loved me so much that He saw fit to keep that situation from me. Here I was thinking that maybe I’d done something wrong and was being “punished” in some way and she  showed me the protective hand of God by removing me from that situation. 

When I took a minute to look at everything, I could hardly speak. God loves me that much…it’s amazing, for surely I don’t know why He does. But I rest in the assurance that He does.

So, as you make your way through this coming week, know that no matter the circumstances you may face, God loves you. He has always loved you, and He only wants what is the absolute best for you. So trust Him. 

Copyright Beams of Light Ministries

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God Doesn’t Half-Step!

Excuse me while I flash back, but do you remember a rapper named Big Daddy Kane?

I used to think he was cute. Emphasis on “used to.” I was sooo young.

I digress.

Anyway, He had this song “Ain’t No Half-Stepping” back a long, long time ago. Well, I haven’t heard that song in what feels like a millennium – and still haven’t heard that song recently, but this morning, when I was reading my devo, “ain’t no half-stepping” popped in my mind.

In fact, the exact phrase in my mind was “ain’t no half-stepping” and then my mind followed it up with “cause we’re, cause we’re, cause we’re the get fresh crew.” Now, I believe this is happening because I’ve been sleep deprived! Nevertheless, as I was reading about God’s abundance in my life, I begin to apply said lyrics to my relationship just to see what I could come up with.

If I think about the fact that God is G.O.D, then surely, He’s no half-stepper. He has such abundance. In fact, out of every breathing thing, He’s the only one that doesn’t half-step. No one has as much as He has because no one else is the Messiah!

Ah…the Messiah complex. We struggle with that at some point in our lives whether we want to admit it or not. So, I’m not going to ask. I’m just going to stand with John Ortberg on that one.

Anyway, my devo says “for God does nothing in half measures.” That’s certainly true. When have you ever seen God do anything half-heartedly? Seriously. When? He doesn’t half love us. He doesn’t half supply the air we breathe. He doesn’t half sustain our lives. He doesn’t half-step.

So, then why is it that we feel that we can half-step with Him? We half-step at Sunday School and with church service. We make a decision that it’s alright to come late and leave early. We make a decision that we don’t have to study every day. We sometimes show up for ministry work and sometimes decide not too. Yep, we half-step, in one way or another.

But, I want to challenge you to take another look at this. God is gracious enough to forgive us when we half-step, so let’s do something that shows Him that we can be better. Let’s make a commitment that we will no longer half-step with God.

Will you be bold enough to tell the Lord, – and I know it’s bad English – but tell Him and mean it – “ain’t no half-stepping. I’m turning over a new leaf”!

Copyright Beams of Light Ministries

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Momma, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be….

It’s Friday! Rejoice! It’s another day that we are allowed to experience because our God is so very good to us!

This morning, as I was getting ready for work, I kept hearing that old song “momma don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys…”


I had no idea until, while brushing my teeth, I heard about the felony accounts against Chris Brown. Apparently the saga continues.

Details are emerging about the night when both stars made the headlines. According to Good Morning America:
– Chris allegedly got a text message from another girl… was Rihanna thinking infidelity? – for the violence to escalate like this, maybe the text was more than a friendly “hello.”
– An argument ensued.
– Chris allegedly beats Rihanna, pulling her into a headlock and biting her ear. Her mouth fills with blood which escapes down her face and shirt.
– Rihanna calls her assistant – tells her to call the cops.
– Chris allegedly threatens her with death.
– Bail money.
– Appearances cancelled.
– 3 weeks later – Rihanna took him back.
– The rest (and even this) is well-known, including the court appearance made by Chris yesterday.

This is not a post about domestic violence. I don’t know enough to even try to post about it. I do know I don’t believe in it.

But I can’t help but to tie in that “momma, don’t let you babies grow up to be….pop stars.” Okay, that’s my own rendition. But, still.

I think we can learn something here about pushing our children out into the spotlight before their time of maturity. Talent is not equivalent to maturity.

Meltdown after meltdown has been witnessed all over the entertainment scene after pop-star after pop-star falls from their respective pedestal that their fans put them on and which they gladly stayed on until “that certain situation” knocked them off balance.

What then can we say to mothers that push their children into the spotlight. I’d tell them to take a backseat. If you want to push your child into anything, push them into the arms of the Lord. If you make sure that you are exposing your child to the things of God then the child has more opportunity to make better informed decisions about the direction of their lives. They will learn to seek God for His direction.

The talents that pop-stars have are all god-given. People will talk about their voice or their dancing ability or whatever. Well, all abilities come from God. It’s just that we tend to pervert that ability and talent and turn it into something we can use for worldly gain. That was never God’s intention. We are to use our talents and gifts to glorify Him.

So until we get the message, I can only suspect that the stars will keep failing. Momma’s, don’t let your babies grow up to be pop-stars.

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