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The Rich and Lazarus…

ImageI heard a story detailing information about a young man in his 50’s. He was tall, about 6 feet 2, with dark hair, a beard the length that would out beat Mr. Claus’. Extremely kind and easy going; yet, not loquacious, he was a beggar. However, Lazarus in his poor condition was not the stereotypical reasons advocates voice against the destitute. No, he was not lazy, no he was not “shiftless” and no he did not rob, murder or steal.

The condition weakened his body so fast! Strong and resilient when facing adversity, Lazarus was intelligent besides. A deteriorated spine can happen to anyone sadly overnight. Before long Lazarus was getting around with the aid of a walking cane. Operations on the spinal cord are often too risky to involve repeated surgeries for the patients in this shape. lamentably, Lazarus’ doctor advised against another back surgery. Insomuch as, the doctor could not guarantee a lesser degree of pain as the surgery’s outcome future surgery was suspended. Sharp instruments initially sliced open a relatively large area of Lazarus’ back. This first medical procedure permitted the physician a degree of medical investigation enabling him to explore the root cause of the pain. Years went by, the pain in Lazarus back worsened. The insurance bills piled sky high arriving at his residence. Many doctors visits for examinations and follow-ups were arrested. Doctor prescription medication was purchased and used sparingly. Finally, Lazarus ended up pauperized laying at the gate of a very rich man in town. The man known for his shenanigans in politics, this political figure stole from the poor diurnal. Life was exceedingly good for the rich man. The rich man had his life laid out how, where, and when. The rich man’s home was located on a busy street. The location permitted Lazarus the availability to beg for his food and other supplies. The rich man obstinate in lack of sharing listened intently each day to those stopping to give Lazarus coins not worth much. With much contempt, the rich man’s only acknowledgement of Lazarus at the gate was “He’s spoiling the beauty of my place.”

Is someone spoiling your beauty today?

The rich man had it made. The rich man and his wife threw lavish parties; however, the doors were open to other fortunate profitable cheaters. These people robbed the poor so that they could be rich. Needless to say, many during nocturnal hours would rob the poor of their pockets while they slept. The rich man among his peers were flagrant characters classified beyond sin with Jesus. Absolutely nothing was denied the rich man. Wealthy beyond measure, two sisters and one brother running the family owned businesses across the state made money galore. If they cared it would cheapen their credibility within the community.

Not sure of the distance between the rich man’s death and Lazarus’ death and I am not sure which one died first. Both men died. Lazarus sore’s bled him to heaven and the rich man’s coldness was received in the hottest place he’d ever visited. Getting to heaven is not easy, if you want to know the truth. Funny how some rich people remain pious even under dire circumstances!

Hell has no fire extinguisher!

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

“Thinking About Leaving”

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My husband Michael was adopted under the age of two-years old. His parents, Jennie and Wilbur Drake visited with him on several occasions part of the adoption process. Though Michael’s memory is vague on the “who, what, and when” somehow he knew he was going away. People told him he was getting a new home, to keep watch because Jennie and Wilbur Drake were coming back! I want you to think for a moment about where your new home is going to be.  Who told you about your new home? Jesus came to visit, did miraculous healing, and checked in on me. I know Jesus healed the sick, raised the dead, provided shelter, and fed the hungry.  Others who were poor in spirit He blessed, He’s father to many.  He said, I’ll be back, said He’d return and take us to our new home. Upon Wilbur and Jennie’s return, Michael was ready to go.  All his little clothes were washed, pressed, and packed. His little belongings weren’t much but they too were placed in the bag, and the suitcase was by the door.  Michael didn’t know how to tell time at 2-years old, so he wasn’t aware of the hour in which Wilbur and Jennie might return.  The day came,Wilbur and Jennie knocked and the door was opened. Michael looked up at the foster care mother who took care of him and for a moment he was hesitant in leaving this home.

But the foster care mother whispered to him “It will Be Alright” Wilbur and Jennie took his little hand and went home.  When Michael went to his new home, Wilbur and Jennie provided all the things he had missed being in foster care. They provided a new train set, a rocking horse, stuffed animals and much more.  His parents celebrated his birthday twice a year, on the day they took him home and his natural birth. Wow! What do you think is waiting in-our new home? Seeing Jesus personally, all kinds of goodies, including being reunited with loved ones! Wow!

I am not sure when Jesus is coming back. But, when Jesus comes to escort me home, I am going to prepare making sure that I’m ready.  I never had an important job, never lived in a big house; never made a big paycheck, and at times my little talents were relished to the back of the room. 

But, my little things are ready and my bags are packed.  Jesus said,”He’d loose my little things in heaven.” I wait by the door attentive to the knock although I might be a little hesitant, I’ll hear His whisper, “It will Be Alright. ”He’s coming any day now to take my little hand and take me home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waiting On The World To Change

Waiting on the World to Change

The other day I was listening to a Podcast of a sermon by Dr. Fred Craddock, who  is identified by his excellent ability to use narrative preaching. In his messages, Craddock talks to the members of his audience as if he were having a one-on-one meeting with them. He is not only an extremely gifted theologian, but another amazing talent is how he assists the believer in crossing over to submerge themselves in the depths of the story.

 

Craddock says, “He believes he’s been called, either way he’s here.” I believe he had every reason to know God had laid his hand on him based on the split second notoriety that engulfed him when people first heard him preach.

 

In both his recent podcast sermon on the advent, and a November 27, 2012 interview with Day1.org, he relates how the hospital waiting area is one of the loneliest rooms there is.

 

Unequivocally people sit there and wait. If you have ever had to wait in the hospital waiting area you know the time there seems like an eternity. It doesn’t matter what the reason you are there for; whether you are waiting on the birth of a baby, or for a loved one who is in surgery, time seems to stand still.

 

While there are a multitude of things to avail oneself of in the waiting area, some of the most common are for people to pace the floor, read a book or watch television. Some have even been known to spend the time in a deep fervent prayer to the Lord, petitioning him for mercy.

 

In an attempt to ease the concern, some may decide to post the status of what isoccurring on Facebook or other social media, while others simply cry. Often times people find themselves making a constant walk to the nurses’ station in an attempt to check for updates, while situated close by them are any number of vending machines, housing snacks with zero nutrients, lined up in a rigid formation as if they were military personnel standing in formation. The vending machines reach out to them, beckoning them to offer their coin offerings. Once the money is deposited with a clanging sound signaling acceptance of the offering, they dispense their reward which temporarily satisfies the appetites of those who have abandoned any thought of exiting the area and refusing to leave the waiting room.

 

With all of the technological advancements and gadgets that are so commonly available for us to use today, you would think that somehow, somewhere, somebody would have invented something to help us lessen the long, arduous wait. Nevertheless, in spite of the drudgery and anxiety we are experiencing, our lives consist of vast amounts of time waiting.

 

We wait on the police to gather more leads in the case after our child turns upmissing. We wait for an expectant mother to deliver her baby, and then after its arrival, we wait for the baby to walk and talk. When there is something wrong with our parents, who we dutifully take care of, we nervously wait for a prognosis. When our scheduled appointment with the doctor is six months away, and our anxiety calls out for us to have it right at the present moment, what do we do? We simply wait.

 

In the meantime, not knowing if the medicine is really treating our cancer we wait to see the results of the treatment. Whenever we are driving in traffic and in a hurry, it seems like that is the one time we end up catching every red light, and we are forced to wait. We wait for someone to come along and ask for our hand in marriage. After losing a loved one we wait for grief to pass.

 

In spite of all the technology available today, we still have to wait!! Many of the things we wait on cause us to become highly stressful and irritated. Gee, we say “that bus is never on time.” What does God say about waiting?

 

The disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, and while that is something we should be asking, have we ever asked him to teach us how to wait? This may not ever be your prayer request but yes, Jesus teaches us how to wait as well as how to pray. Our time spent in waiting becomes more endurable once we understand that waiting allows us to mount up like eagles and renews our strength.

 

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 (KJV)

 

Is Jesus waiting as well? Is he waiting for Christian brothers and sisters to love each other no matter the color of their skin or economic level? Is Jesus waiting for love to show up and for His children to be of one accord? When Jesus returns will he find your heart manifesting itself with Love for Jesus and your neighbor, or will he instead find it salivating with hatred and observe you spewing ill-meaning poisonous words about others? What will you be caught doing? What will Jesus see and hear when He walks into your church? Will He walk in and say heaven looks like this, or will He walk in and overturn your chairs and tables in disgust? This is why Imoan

Why you have to be poor to treat people like Jesus did

Very good look at the way the poor is treated.

Mercy not Sacrifice

The title is everything if you want a well-trafficked blog post. Now my task is to explore whether this provocative statement is actually true. I spent last week reading a couple of Catholic writers offering a provocative definition of “poverty” as a positive state of character. So I thought this could be my contribution to the Despised Ones synchroblog this week on how to show genuine solidarity to marginalized people. I think that you have to become poor to live in true solidarity, which is what God decided to do to humanity by coming to Earth as the poorest man who has ever lived.

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Boils, Church, and Social Injustice

Exodus 9:10 NIV “So they took soot from the kiln and stood before Pharaoh. And Moses threw it in the air, and it became boils breaking out in sores on man and beast.”
Ouch! I don’t know if you’ve ever suffered a boil, but it is horribly painful. It is a reddened, tender abscess caused by bacteria that erupts on the skin. A boil can be anywhere in size from a pea to a golf ball. Healing starts when the boil forms pus (a thin, protein-rich fluid that accumulates under the skin as an immune system response) and then bursts.
Boils can burst spontaneously, but many sufferers make a trip to the doctor to get boils lanced (that is, incised and drained). I’ve experienced a few in my younger years and whenever one appeared I hated watching it grow. Discomfort and various degrees of pain followed, depending on which part of my body was infected.
The prophet Isaiah gives instructions on how to get rid of a boil: “Let them take a cake of figs and apply it to the boil that he may recover.” Isaiah 38:21 NIV
Yet, another practice cited in one of the books of Moses: “If there is in the skin of one’s body a boil and it heals, and in the place of the boil there comes a white swelling or a reddish-white spot, then it shall be shown to the priest. And the priest shall look, and if it appears deeper than the skin and its hair has turned white, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean. It is a case of leprous disease that has broken out in the boil. But if the priest examines it and there is no white hair in it and it is not deeper than the skin, but has faded, then the priest shall shut him up seven days. And if it spreads in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean; it is a disease …” Leviticus 13:18-23 NIV
Wow! Surprised indeed, by this ancient advice about boils then I started thinking: Yes, we find boils on people’s bodies, but also on the body of the church.
When the sword of Christ does not lance various spiritual infections, there is no healing inside or outside the church body.
The sword of Christ, of course, is a symbol of God’s Word. We are to love God with our hearts, minds, souls, and bodies; we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. I mean the church should be a place of healing when a spiritual boil erupts. We have the example of Isaiah to apply a healing balm, or from Leviticus, to seek the guidance of a trusted spiritual leader.
However, festering boils also erupt outside the church, caused by sin in the world. Jesus died on the cross for salvation’s sake. Why must we compel the church to speak about social injustices? Our God is the God of the living, not of the dead. Lord, forgive us for not being risk-takers, for not being change agents, for the sake of your kingdom. Are we never going to lance these boils of social injustice with the sword of Christ? This is why Imoan…

Cheap Grace

Cheap Grace is akin to faux fur, it won’t keep you warm when its cold outside

It will only look like fur, but at the touch your hands will become callous.  Cheap Grace lets you parade around thinking you’re in fashion, but then it starts shedding when the wind blows.  Cheap Grace is like the dye used to give that faux fur the sable look but then it starts to fade.

Cheap Grace is like faux fur, because people ask “Is that real?”

Cheap Grace is like faux fur because it breaks down after every use.

Cheap grace is like faux fur its got a bad smell to it, because it was made by under age children in sweat shops making little to nothing on wages so our CEO’s can live in million dollar homes.

Cheap Grace is like faux fur there is no “assurance” on it, no policy will cover it.

Cheap Grace is like a faux fur when a preacher claims he/she work in the sales department instead of in the “Saving & Loan” department, you can buy cheap grace. A saleman has a script the preacher has the scripture.

Cheap Grace, on sale today.

This is why Imoan

The Verdict of Lindsey Lowe

The Verdict of Lindsey Lowe
The verdict today puts Lindsey Lowe behind bars for the rest of her life. Overwhelming for the family and friends of Ms. Lowe how will they struggle against “odds.” Courtroom benches cry out from sagging stories of ill-fated disabled people in society who cry out in silence because even they do not know what is wrong. Still convinced the answer to all the hurts and struggles must be Prayer in the bowels of earth shuddering stories like this one, God is still alive and well. Perhaps life is not about having all the answers, and it is times like these when we really want answers, but we have to depend upon Jesus and lean not upon our own understanding of circumstances and situations we face and hear about in life. I believe that behind the walls of every heart there are beats that never skip past the God that I serve, it is the soul that needs attention, it indeed is the soul that needs a “Balm from Gilead” to smooth us over the nasty blisters and boils that we cannot lance open without God’s Grace. The worker in the Vineyard says: “But, it’s not fair” is it humanly possible to see Grace as fair? Nevertheless, then again, did God say His Grace was fair or did He say His Grace is sufficient?

“Room in the End”

“Room in the End”

Experiencing a longer chill in the air and a forestalled spring when Easter arrives early, well it appears that it is happening this year, as the people in Middle Tennessee experience a weather that seems full of doubts.  A spring that wants to come at times, and at those times dressed warmly, I stepped out into a ray of beautiful sunshine, as the sun shouts, “Surprise, it is really warm today.”  Shedding sweaters, jackets, and occasional gloves that I wear for extra defense against the weather, found recently on the bargain table at my local department store.  On the other hand, there are those times when I look at the sunshine and find myself chilled to the bone once I step foot outdoors and find the weather so very cold.   Living at one time, my parents had a name or reason for everything that happened including bouts of weather cycles uncommon; yet, familiar to our way of life.  My parents would probably call this “Blackberry Season” and the closest definition I can find for “Blackberry Season” would be the weather taking forever to warm up to spring like days during the season that we would expect the weather to be really hot!

Many churches respond to the cold weather plea of those who are homeless by providing a place for them during certain months of the year.  The program called “Room in the End” operates from October to March in most churches affiliated with this program.  My cat “Lazarus” and I take walks early in the mornings especially during this time of year; we find the temperatures unseasonable cold!  In awe that our churches (not all) but the ones that would end a program so abruptly could find it in their hearts to still want to be called “The Church.”  When will we find a month or so more of compassion to heap on our Brothers and Sisters lacking?  When will we get back to being “Room in the Inn” truly a place that made room for baby Jesus, because baby Jesus wants us to make a place for others?  Our churches should be the mission field set aside for those without, how grateful an old sagging cot would be to have a nice body to cradle at the end of the day.  I pray that someday, we can put the “Inn” back on the End of our churches for the homeless, but until that day Imoan…

Prayer:  Today Lord, I ask for strength to be a voice that is heard and not crucified and to keep voicing words for the homeless so that their voice will come through.  Lord, it is only because of you that I am spared another day let me use it for your good, to spread the gospel, to help garner another for the kingdom.  I realize how we marvel not at those things that bring mystery from above, but we marvel at others good fortunes.  Please Lord, help us to remember you come to visit in so many different ways truly; you are the stranger among us and because of your journey,

Imoan.

 

 

 

A Tribute To Trayvon Martin, Murdered in Florida One Year Annivesary

We must not forget our children dying at young ages from violence in our streets, schools, and homes. Our hearts should bleed today as we witness the one-year anniversary of Trayvon Martin and the injustice he suffered at the hands of one who we should consider a victim of the system of disbeliefs and stereotypes. God has all powers and we have access to that power. Forgiveness can be one of the hardest things God ask us to do, loving our enemies can be the second hardest thing for us to do, but we must do the thing that is most hard if we want that same forgiveness from Jesus. Romans 8:28 Works for me when I find it hard to search myself for the right answers and for the mysteries to unfold so that I might understand when I do not have the willingness to want to, my excuse “But, God I am only human” funny but that just does not work for us if we are truly thriving to make Heaven Home. Right now during the season of Lent, our Jesus is in the Wilderness, He is hungry and can smell bread cooking, He longs for home and can see that great city, as Satan says “Here, it’s all yours” and He knows that He can take off, just fly off if and only if He wants to but He does not test His Father, He does not test Our Father. If we are truly Christ, if we are truly about what Christ is then we are aware of the fact that our God is not a pygmy and because of that we know that we are big. We can keep going towards the light, because we can be the light that shines in this dark world regardless of what we see and what we hear.

The Storm

Today’s Devotional

Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”  Mark 4:38                        

There is only one mention of Jesus sleeping in the Bible, and that is in the book of Mark.  Because we serve a God that never sleeps, it is one of the mysteries placed here in scripture.  Other than maybe to test the disciples resolve, to show them what He could do for them in the time of a storm, and perhaps to show the disciples that all He has to do is speak and even the storm will obey Him.  Many of us today, are exactly like the disciples, we think we know all the things that Jesus can do; yet, we find ourselves in storms asking the same thing “Jesus, don’t you care if we drown”?  When confronted with life’s applications, such as, sickness, divorce, unemployment, injustices, and death we often times wonder, “Jesus, don’t you care if we drown”?  It is hard to think that our Jesus might be sleeping while we are in the mist of adversity.  So, what do we do?  We hold on, because it does not matter that Jesus sleeps for if He does, He still has His eyes on us; more importantly, He still lives.  Not a slain King do we serve but a Living King that is wide-awake in the mist of all despair.  We cannot let the winds of rejection, hate, loneliness, disrespect and other difficulties blow down our foundation. Nor is the storm the time to be incredulous.   Take your rain gear in the storm, find the moments that light the path to peace, and be not discouraged or afraid that you are going to drown.  The more you know about Jesus the more prepared you will be when a storm arises.

Prayer:  Father there are times when we are really tested and there are times when it does not seem like the test will ever be over.  We possibly cry out “are you going to let us drown” but then we hear your voice and your command in our lives that Peace Be Still and the storm dissipates.  Thank you for the storms, the living streams that water our lives and help us strive to be more and more like you!  In my storms Lord, hold my hand permit me your presence so that I may gaze upon the one who will never leave me in this I pray. AMEN!