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All Is Meaningless (ACAD: Ecclesiastes 12)

Remember your creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come, and the years draw near when you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”; before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return with the rain; in the day when the guards of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent, and the women who grind cease working because they are few, and those who look through the windows see dimly; when the doors on the street are shut, and the sound of the grinding is low, and one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song are brought low; when one is afraid of heights, and terrors are in the road; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along and desire fails; because all must go to their eternal home, and the mourners will go about the streets; before the silver cord is snapped, and the golden bowl is broken, and the pitcher is broken at the fountain, and the wheel broken at the cistern, and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the breath returns to God who gave it. Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher; all is vanity.

Besides being wise, the Teacher also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs. The Teacher sought to find pleasing words, and he wrote words of truth plainly.

The sayings of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings that are given by one shepherd. Of anything beyond these, my child, beware. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God, and keep his commandments; for that is the whole duty of everyone. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.

Ecclesiastes 12:1-14 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Ecclesiastes%2012:1-14&version=NRSV

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Find Your Place

Many of us go through life thinking a dream is all we need. With a dream, anything is possible or rather the impossible becomes believable. Dreams are fun. They motivate and invigorate. Once you’ve achieved your dream, then the real work begins.

Often times we move through life focused on accomplishing goals that move us closer to the image of our life we’ve created for ourselves. Some people accomplish their dreams and keep working on it for the remainder of their lives. Others of us manifest our dreams and wonder what’s next. What will my life be now that I’ve done everything I envisioned? How will I continue to grow? What will I develop into? Is there a need to keep pushing forward? Why can’t I stop now? What’s wrong with digging in and perfecting the imperfect dream?

When I moved to New York City, it was an essential part of a much larger dream. Big city, larger opportunities. Within a year of being there, I re-imagined I would exit the city in three to five years but certainly under ten. All told, this September marked the thirteenth anniversary of my arrival in the Big Apple. The dream was great when I was young. In some ways, it never manifested fully into my vision. In other ways, it surpassed my own expectations for my life. As good as the City was to me in certain respects, it never felt like my place.

For years, I forced it. I was determined to make it work. Until I was simply done. And no longer interested in trying. At that point I decided I was ready for what comes next. My readiness allowed the world to open wide for me. Which led to me finding my place in an area I didn’t even want to visit. A new challenge with no dreams attached. No built in disappointments. Simply the opportunity to greet each new day with joy and adventure for the manifestation of endless opportunities.

This year has has been an open-hearted welcome of everything to come. The future is not a dreaded thing. It’s welcomed with anticipation.

A former co-worker, Gee, shared his migration story with me a few years ago. He was possibly in his late sixties or early seventies. He spoke of how when he came from Thailand, he first moved to San Francisco. Within a short time he said he realized, “This is not my place.” He moved to Los Angeles. Again he said, “This is not my place.” He moved to Oklahoma then to New Jersey. Neither were his place. When he arrived in Queens, he said he new immediately, “This is my place.”

Your place may not be the dream. It may not be one of the first five locations you try. But it will be something that speaks to you directly and immediately. It’s never too late to evaluate where you are and make any changes accordingly.

Be blessed as you go.

Then the high priest asked him, “Are these things so?” And Stephen replied: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me. The God of glory appeared to our ancestor Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, and said to him, ‘Leave your country and your relatives and go to the land that I will show you.’ Then he left the country of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After his father died, God had him move from there to this country in which you are now living. ~ Acts 7:1-4

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ACAD – Remnant: 2 Samuel 21

David avenges the Gibeonites

Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David inquired of the Lord. The Lord said, “There is bloodguilt on Saul and on his house, because he put the Gibeonites to death.” So the king called the Gibeonites and spoke to them. (Now the Gibeonites were not of the people of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; although the people of Israel had sworn to spare them, Saul had tried to wipe them out in his zeal for the people of Israel and Judah.) David said to the Gibeonites, “What shall I do for you? How shall I make expiation, that you may bless the heritage of the Lord?” The Gibeonites said to him, “It is not a matter of silver or gold between us and Saul or his house; neither is it for us to put anyone to death in Israel.” He said, “What do you say that I should do for you?” They said to the king, “The man who consumed us and planned to destroy us, so that we should have no place in all the territory of Israel— let seven of his sons be handed over to us, and we will impale them before the Lord at Gibeon on the mountain of the Lord.” The king said, “I will hand them over.”

But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Saul’s son Jonathan, because of the oath of the Lord that was between them, between David and Jonathan son of Saul. The king took the two sons of Rizpah daughter of Aiah, whom she bore to Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Merab daughter of Saul, whom she bore to Adriel son of Barzillai the Meholathite; he gave them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they impaled them on the mountain before the Lord. The seven of them perished together. They were put to death in the first days of harvest, at the beginning of barley harvest. Then Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it on a rock for herself, from the beginning of harvest until rain fell on them from the heavens; she did not allow the birds of the air to come on the bodies by day, or the wild animals by night. When David was told what Rizpah daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done, David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of his son Jonathan from the people of Jabesh-gilead, who had stolen them from the public square of Beth-shan, where the Philistines had hung them up, on the day the Philistines killed Saul on Gilboa. He brought up from there the bones of Saul and the bones of his son Jonathan; and they gathered the bones of those who had been impaled. They buried the bones of Saul and of his son Jonathan in the land of Benjamin in Zela, in the tomb of his father Kish; they did all that the king commanded. After that, God heeded supplications for the land.

The Philistines went to war again with Israel, and David went down together with his servants. They fought against the Philistines, and David grew weary. Ishbi-benob, one of the descendants of the giants, whose spear weighed three hundred shekels of bronze, and who was fitted out with new weapons, said he would kill David. But Abishai son of Zeruiah came to his aid, and attacked the Philistine and killed him. Then David’s men swore to him, “You shall not go out with us to battle any longer, so that you do not quench the lamp of Israel.”

After this a battle took place with the Philistines, at Gob; then Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Saph, who was one of the descendants of the giants. Then there was another battle with the Philistines at Gob; and Elhanan son of Jaare-oregim, the Bethlehemite, killed Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam. There was again war at Gath, where there was a man of great size, who had six fingers on each hand, and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number; he too was descended from the giants. When he taunted Israel, Jonathan son of David’s brother Shimei, killed him. These four were descended from the giants in Gath; they fell by the hands of David and his servants.

2 Samuel 21:1-22 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=2%20Samuel%2021:1-22&version=NRSV

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ACAD – Remnant: Exodus 10

The Eighth Plague: Locusts

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh; for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his officials, in order that I may show these signs of mine among them, and that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I have made fools of the Egyptians and what signs I have done among them—so that you may know that I am the Lord.”

So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh, and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, so that they may worship me. For if you refuse to let my people go, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your country. They shall cover the surface of the land, so that no one will be able to see the land. They shall devour the last remnant left you after the hail, and they shall devour every tree of yours that grows in the field. They shall fill your houses, and the houses of all your officials and of all the Egyptians—something that neither your parents nor your grandparents have seen, from the day they came on earth to this day.’” Then he turned and went out from Pharaoh.

Pharaoh’s officials said to him, “How long shall this fellow be a snare to us? Let the people go, so that they may worship the Lord their God; do you not yet understand that Egypt is ruined?” So Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh, and he said to them, “Go, worship the Lord your God! But which ones are to go?” Moses said, “We will go with our young and our old; we will go with our sons and daughters and with our flocks and herds, because we have the Lord’s festival to celebrate.” He said to them, “The Lord indeed will be with you, if ever I let your little ones go with you! Plainly, you have some evil purpose in mind. No, never! Your men may go and worship the Lord, for that is what you are asking.” And they were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the land of Egypt, so that the locusts may come upon it and eat every plant in the land, all that the hail has left.” So Moses stretched out his staff over the land of Egypt, and the Lord brought an east wind upon the land all that day and all that night; when morning came, the east wind had brought the locusts. The locusts came upon all the land of Egypt and settled on the whole country of Egypt, such a dense swarm of locusts as had never been before, nor ever shall be again. They covered the surface of the whole land, so that the land was black; and they ate all the plants in the land and all the fruit of the trees that the hail had left; nothing green was left, no tree, no plant in the field, in all the land of Egypt. Pharaoh hurriedly summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against the Lord your God, and against you. Do forgive my sin just this once, and pray to the Lord your God that at the least he remove this deadly thing from me.” So he went out from Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord. The Lord changed the wind into a very strong west wind, which lifted the locusts and drove them into the Red Sea; not a single locust was left in all the country of Egypt. But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go.

The Ninth Plague: Darkness

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven so that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, a darkness that can be felt.” So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was dense darkness in all the land of Egypt for three days. People could not see one another, and for three days they could not move from where they were; but all the Israelites had light where they lived. Then Pharaoh summoned Moses, and said, “Go, worship the Lord. Only your flocks and your herds shall remain behind. Even your children may go with you.” But Moses said, “You must also let us have sacrifices and burnt offerings to sacrifice to the Lord our God. Our livestock also must go with us; not a hoof shall be left behind, for we must choose some of them for the worship of the Lord our God, and we will not know what to use to worship the Lord until we arrive there.” But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he was unwilling to let them go. Then Pharaoh said to him, “Get away from me! Take care that you do not see my face again, for on the day you see my face you shall die.” Moses said, “Just as you say! I will never see your face again.”

Exodus 10:1-29 NRSV – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Exodus%2010:1-29&version=NRSV

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On editing an autobiographical work

God always gives us a word to perform. We may not always hear it, see it or know what we’re doing when we do get it, but as long as we are sure to put our trust in Him, He will get us to where He wants us to go.

One consistent element of my writing, most especially my journaling, is that my written words regarding my life are often either prophetic or revelatory. I don’t have a sense of which words are defining my life when I write them, but in moments like now, when I’m editing a collection of my writings for my next autobiographical book, Desert of Solitude: Refreshed by Grace, I can see the results clearly. There are dots to connect from when I first received an urge (word or vision) to do something to my becoming aware that I am preparing (being prepared) to take action to the action being completed.

Today, I was reminded of a forgotten dream I had nearly three years ago. Today is the first Saturday I’ve spent in my new home. The end of the first week as a full-time resident of my new town. The seventh day actually. Today I received confirmation of a word that has been completed in my life. I really had no idea that I was hearing correctly, performing accurately or moving in the right direction. I struggled long and hard with taking the final step – moving from New York City to Tucson. There was no struggle with the first steps or middle ones. Only eagerness, a sense of purpose and a need to follow-through. The final actions carried the most anxiety because of their finality, perhaps because of the level of commitment and trust required to let go of the life I had been building for over twelve years.

I’m quite certain I would not have understood this until I was on this side of the executed instructions. The dots weren’t connecting while I was still in NYC. I didn’t see the fullness of anything there.

This week, I’ve been doing a final review and edit of my book, Desert of Solitude: Refreshed by Grace. Aside from writing everything in the book, I’ve read and shuffled the material numerous times. At some point I may have connected the line “building a structure” to my new construction home, but certainly not like I did today. My granddad died at the end of the year I received this message. Around that time I assumed my mom’s visit in my dream was about his departure.

However, mom has never visited before a death. She has often visited to provide a sense of comfort and insight. She always represents a pivot or answers an unknown question. I can’t always decipher with certainty what her presence in my dreams means, but there is always a very strong sense of what the message intends to convey. [Let me clarify here that I don’t believe my mom’s ghost or spirit is visiting me. I have long believed that God speaks to me through her image because she has been the best representation of love in my life here on Earth. When I see her there is purity and trust. Never any ulterior motive. She always comes for my good or protection.]

On the morning of March 15, 2015 I wrote down what I remembered of a dream the night before. My note stated simply:

“I dreamed about building a structure…. I was building a structure next to my bed in my home. It reached eleven stories. Then it started falling down. Mom was in kitchen cooking and then she was in her room. At the end of the sequence she took shower.”

Eighteen months later I visited Tucson for the first time. Three months after that I went into contract to build a house in a place called Dove Mountain which sits in the Tortolita Mountains (my translation: Little Dove or Dove of Peace). Throughout the home construction in Tucson, I posted images on my New York City bedroom wall of my lot as the house went up. Some of the pictures I took myself, but the majority were sent monthly by the sales agent and my real estate agent. At some point during this process, I moved my bed to put my headboard up against the “vision board” wall.

Things I know: I tried hard to build a full life in New York City. After nearly two years living in the City, I began working for the company I stayed with until the day before I left NYC for Tucson, AZ. At the time of my relocation and job exit last week, I was in my eleventh year of employment. The last two years of my employment had been rife with resentment and bitterness due to the lack of advancement opportunities despite my tenure, experience and education. Refreshment came after that and so has a cleansing. Building. Collapse. Shelter. Nourishment. Cleansing. The message and vision was received in March 2015. Understanding arrived in February 2018, when I was supposed to get it. Just in time to sum up the encompassing lessons shared in Desert of Solitude: Refreshed by Grace.

 

Upcoming Events:

Kindle release on March 3, 2018

Tucson Festival of Books (vendor and presenter) March 10-11, 2018

Hard copy release on March 20, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ACAD – Rejected: Numbers 11

Complaining in the Desert

Now when the people complained in the hearing of the Lord about their misfortunes, the Lord heard it and his anger was kindled. Then the fire of the Lord burned against them, and consumed some outlying parts of the camp. But the people cried out to Moses; and Moses prayed to the Lord, and the fire abated. So that place was called Taberah,[a] because the fire of the Lord burned against them.

The rabble among them had a strong craving; and the Israelites also wept again, and said, “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we used to eat in Egypt for nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.”

Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its color was like the color of gum resin. The people went around and gathered it, ground it in mills or beat it in mortars, then boiled it in pots and made cakes of it; and the taste of it was like the taste of cakes baked with oil. When the dew fell on the camp in the night, the manna would fall with it.

Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, all at the entrances of their tents. Then the Lord became very angry, and Moses was displeased. So Moses said to the Lord, “Why have you treated your servant so badly? Why have I not found favor in your sight, that you lay the burden of all this people on me? Did I conceive all this people? Did I give birth to them, that you should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom, as a nurse carries a sucking child, to the land that you promised on oath to their ancestors’? Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they come weeping to me and say, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ I am not able to carry all this people alone, for they are too heavy for me. If this is the way you are going to treat me, put me to death at once—if I have found favor in your sight—and do not let me see my misery.”

The Seventy Elders

So the Lord said to Moses, “Gather for me seventy of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them; bring them to the tent of meeting, and have them take their place there with you. I will come down and talk with you there; and I will take some of the spirit that is on you and put it on them; and they shall bear the burden of the people along with you so that you will not bear it all by yourself. And say to the people: Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wailed in the hearing of the Lord, saying, ‘If only we had meat to eat! Surely it was better for us in Egypt.’ Therefore the Lord will give you meat, and you shall eat. You shall eat not only one day, or two days, or five days, or ten days, or twenty days, but for a whole month—until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you—because you have rejected the Lord who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, ‘Why did we ever leave Egypt?’” But Moses said, “The people I am with number six hundred thousand on foot; and you say, ‘I will give them meat, that they may eat for a whole month’! Are there enough flocks and herds to slaughter for them? Are there enough fish in the sea to catch for them?” The Lord said to Moses, “Is the Lord’s power limited?[b] Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not.”

So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord; and he gathered seventy elders of the people, and placed them all around the tent. Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders; and when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did not do so again.

Two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the spirit rested on them; they were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp. And a young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.” And Joshua son of Nun, the assistant of Moses, one of his chosen men,[c] said, “My lord Moses, stop them!” But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit on them!” And Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp.

The Quails

Then a wind went out from the Lord, and it brought quails from the sea and let them fall beside the camp, about a day’s journey on this side and a day’s journey on the other side, all around the camp, about two cubits deep on the ground. So the people worked all that day and night and all the next day, gathering the quails; the least anyone gathered was ten homers; and they spread them out for themselves all around the camp. But while the meat was still between their teeth, before it was consumed, the anger of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord struck the people with a very great plague. So that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah,[d]because there they buried the people who had the craving. From Kibroth-hattaavah the people journeyed to Hazeroth.


Footnotes:

  1. a. Numbers 11:3 That is Burning
  2. b. Numbers 11:23 Heb Lord’s hand too short?
  3. c. Numbers 11:28 Or of Moses from his youth
  4. d. Numbers 11:34 That is Graves of craving
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Sermon: FINDING THE WILL OF GOD

by Pastor Carter Conlon

This is such a good word with directness and honesty from the messenger. Treat yourself – listen.

July 5, 2105 – If you have it in your heart to do the divine will of God you will know truth and God will answer your prayers. There is a unique will of God which is what God has set you apart for, and there is the revealed will of God, which is what we are all called to do. Don’t run after the unique will of God, if you have not obeyed the revealed will of God. Determine in your heart to do the will of God and God will empower you with His Spirit.

If people choose to do what God wants, they will know that my teaching comes from God and not from me. Those who teach their own ideas are trying to get honor for themselves. But those who try to bring honor to the one who sent them speak the truth, and there is nothing false in them.  ~ John 7:17-18

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Who Is Righteous Before God?

This post, “Who is Righteous Before God?” summarizes quite a bit of the process I’ve been detailing for years in my own walk. The process of being separated from worldly influences and desires. Not for the purpose of becoming “self-righteous” — for who can make themselves righteous before God? However, we can get right with God by submitting ourselves to His pruning, weeding, cleansing and watering.

“So who is righteous in God’s sight? It is the person who believes the true Gospel, repents, follows Christ, and obeys the law. Not the written code, but instead, the law of the Spirit. And what does that entail? It entails “circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit”. This is the person God will praise by declaring righteous.

“And what is this circumcision? It is a cutting away from the heart that which is corrupt, defiling, God-hating, idolatrous, sinful, and wicked. Just as a male’s foreskin is prone to harbor disease, so the sinful nature, infected with sin and susceptible to more vileness, grows in the unregenerate heart, hardening it toward God. It must be sliced off. And it is the Spirit who does this for the person who believes, repents, asks, and submits to the process by willingly crucifying the sinful nature. This process is rarely the time-span of a prayer, but a “birthing” done however God pleases, and of which we are not meant to know how to completely explain.” {Click to read the original post}

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“I am the MOST loving, forgiving, and selfless person EVER!”

“I am the most loving, forgiving, and selfless person EVER!”

Right? Surely you’ve had your moments of greatness that may have lasted into a lifetime or a lifestyle?

“When a servant comes in from plowing or taking care of sheep, does his master say, ‘Come in and eat with me’? No, he says, ‘Prepare my meal, put on your apron, and serve me while I eat. Then you can eat later.’ And does the master thank the servant for doing what he was told to do? Of course not. In the same way, when you obey me you should say, ‘We are unworthy servants who have simply done our duty.’”   ~ Luke 17:7-10

That sounds like a harsh word from Jesus! Talk about “tough love!”

Let me tell you a story…

There was once a young woman who spent her entire existence at the beck and call of other people. (We’ll call them “Everyone Else.”) If Everyone Else needed her here, she came. If Everyone Else needed her there, she went. She truly believed in being present. She thought being used was a good thing – she felt as if Everyone Else’s use of her was validation of her existence. Then one day the young woman realized all her usefulness had been used up – or rather her presence was no longer needed or wanted because Everyone Else had outgrown her… or their lifestyles had changed… or they had become distracted by Someone Else who met their needs more immediately. All those who used to want the young woman around were seeking after Someone Else. So the young woman skulked away in dreadful sadness because she had applied so much importance to how important she was to others. Unfortunately, her sense of self had been tied up in how Everyone Else valued her.

In an effort to reinvent herself, to realign her values, and to make sure No One Else was ever again in a position to discard her so carelessly, the young woman began hoarding her love, forgiveness and generosity for herself… with the intention of lavishing her gifts only on Worthy Ones. In her mind, Worthy Ones would know how to love her back. They would be gracious in forgiving her lapses, and they would be equally generous of themselves and their time.

Years passed and then more years passed. Soon the young woman was looking back over decades of wasted time as an old woman still living alone in the fortress she had built to protect herself from all her would-be destroyers. Worthy Ones had never crossed her path… or if they had, perhaps they hadn’t considered her Worthy Enough to stop for. Sitting on a stockpile of treasure she had hoarded for herself (all her love and her willingness to express it however and whenever needed) the old woman finally realized it did her no good to have love if there was no one to give it to.

To her horror she realized that running away from selflessness led her straight into the most egregious form of selfishness (sin) imaginable. She hid her treasure and blessed no one.

“Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’

“But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’

 “Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver. To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’  

~ Matthew 25: 24-30 NLT

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Introduction (MGAM)

LOVE by Robert IndianaDo you know the day and time you first believed? Perhaps you know people who claim they’ve been walking with Christ for eight years, nine months and ten days or some detailed variation? I am not one of those people. I cannot pinpoint the moment I first believed. Nor do I recall a time of non-belief. However, most of my life, I resisted practicing my beliefs. I resisted obeying God. I resisted His call.  Though I have always felt God’s presence in my life, I used to hope He would let me roam wild and carefree before taming me with His Word. I never quite got wild, nor was I ever free of cares, but I did get a lot of bumps on my head and many bruises to my ego. All have been lessons to grow on.

Prior to my move to New York City in the fall of 2005, God was someone I had great ideals about but not someone I knew personally. I had heard of His wonderful works and had actually experienced His works in my own life but I didn’t think He was really paying attention to me. There were so many other people for Him to be concerned with. During those years, God was like a wardrobe accessory I put on most days then promptly forgot I was wearing.

Ecclesiastes tells us repeatedly there is nothing new under the sun. As I have studied the Bible, grown more confident in God’s Word and more knowledgeable of his methods, I’ve come to see that even the way He deals with His people today is similar to the model of Biblical relationships we have been given. I’ve been able to identify parallels between my life and Biblical stories. The parallel that most influences My God and Me is God’s instruction to Abram to leave his country and his kindred. Abram did as instructed and had terrible difficulties from the outset. However, those difficulties did not deter him in his faith or his belief that God would do as He said He would do.

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Meditation Verse: Genesis 12:1-3

Now the LORD had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.  I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you, all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

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I believe I have been called away from my family and the community of my youth in order for God to better prepare me for His work. I have gone through many difficulties that have strengthened my faith and deepened my fellowship with my God. I know I will have many more tests and trials before my journey is complete, but I am so much better prepared now than I was a few years ago.

I used to tell people I grew up in the church; I knew about God and Jesus. My declaration has changed. Now, I know God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit! I live in them as they live in me. Awesome! What wondrous power the Trinity gives me from day to day! Yes, I am in love; a deep abiding love that has nothing to do with this world. I am awed and humbled by the way my God takes care of me, I am amazed by the examples my savior provided me and I am continually enlightened by the awareness and revelations the Holy Spirit allows me. I desire nothing more than to be obedient to the instructions God speaks to me. I sincerely seek to be in His presence and to please Him. I didn’t experience any of this until my isolation triggered my personal evolution. Or rather, my isolation allowed me time and space to focus on my evolution, as well as my relationship with God.

This collection of previously posted blogs is a record of the transformation my spirituality and life focus has undergone over the last four years. In the beginning, I railed against being set apart from everyone and everything familiar to me; I didn’t like being by myself. However, I am grateful for the process He put me through for I have learned to depend on and commune with my Father God. The time I’ve spent talking to Him exclusively has taught me to hear Him better. Even as I weaned myself off the false dependency of family and friends, I had to also wean myself off of my “self” dependency. I learned quickly that nothing outside the will of God is going to take place in my life. He is my protector, guide and provider. When I began to recognize, accept and trust His care and provisions, I was able to let go of my issues bit by bit and rely more and more on Him.

When I began blogging, my only intent was to entertain and promote. However, as I have reread and edited this collection, I am truly humbled by the message God is giving you through me. I am blessed by the amount of cleansing and lifting He has done within me. This book is a synopsis of my life. Some stories may seem very un-Christian, in fact maybe the whole collection may cause you to question my “Christianity”. That’s fine – I’m not concerned with being judged by anyone. This is a record of my honest thoughts, opinions and experiences at the time I chronicled them. I don’t want anyone to think for a moment that aspiring to a Christ-like character and existence is easy or without lapses and outward desires. Some words are mine, but most, I believe are simply delivered through me. I pray you find some words within these pages to help you and contribute to your continued growth.

May God continue to bless and keep you.

LaShawnda

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