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Amy Winehouse: When did she live?

A Pop Culture v. The Bible Post

The human spirit can endure a sick body, but who can bear a crushed spirit? ~ Proverbs 18:14
I cheated myself,
Like I knew I would.
I told you I was trouble;
You know that I’m no good.
Lyrics from You Know I’m No Good by Amy Winehouse
Status updates and trending reports shared, “Amy Winehouse dead at 27!” I wasn’t surprised at the news. I wonder if anyone who really listened to her music and saw her struggle through the media  can possibly be surprised. I always scratch my head when people apply the words “tragedy” or sudden” or “died before their time” to the death of a self-destructive person. I think the true tragedy is that they never lived. Having truly experienced a life in Christ, they could not possibly choose to self-destruct. Evidence of life and death is in the fruit our lives bear. That’s spiritual fruit and has nothing to do with money and fame. Though Amy Winehouse had an amazing voice and skill and tapped into her talent, her music – her fruit – was about death. Her lyrics resonated with me when I was down and depressed, when I had to fight to find a ray of hope. As I listen to her songs now (to remind myself of what I enjoyed about her music when Back to Black was released), I am happy that her lyrics aren’t resonating with me now, that they aren’t finding a home within me. I am happy that I survived that dark space and sad that Amy couldn’t see her way through her own darkness.
Her death is not sudden, it’s not unexpected. We’ve been watching Amy die for years.
Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave. She gives no thought to the way of life; her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it. ~Proverbs 5:5-6

Rest in Peace…

Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.
        Peace, peace, to those far and near,” says the LORD. “And I will heal them.” But the wicked are like the tossing sea which cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire and mud. There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”  ~ Isaiah 57:2, 19-21 NIV 
How can one possibly rest in death, if they didn’t find rest in life? The things we say to sooth ourselves do nothing for the lost. Tragically, the lost won’t be found until they want to be. Even more unfortunate are the lost who die while still buried in their own darkness.
Forsaking me, you uncovered your bed, you climbed into it and opened it wide; you made a pact with those whose beds you love, and you looked with lust on their naked bodies…. You sent your ambassadors far away; you descended to the very realm of the dead! You wearied yourself by such going about, but you would not say, ‘It is hopeless.’
        “Whom have you so dreaded and feared that you have not been true to me, and have neither remembered me nor taken this to heart?  ~ Isaiah 57:8-11 NIV
If you believe you are losing the battle for your mind, heart and soul, read up on your victory (Luke 10:19). I want to beseech and encourage you to seek and take refuge in God. If you have an ounce of faith, even less, if you have faith as tiny as a mustard seed, apply it to your life (Matthew 17:20)! With application, faith blossoms. Speak God’s Word into your life; remind yourself of His blessings and promises. You have help (Psalm 54:4). You simply have to ask for it. And once it’s offered, you have to be open to receiving the help provided.
But whoever takes refuge in me will inherit the land possess my holy mountain.”  ~ Isaiah 57:13 NIV

I love you much / It’s not enough / You love blow and I love puff / And life is like a pipe / And I’m a tiny penny rolling up the walls inside / We only said goodbye with words / I died a hundred times / You go back to her / And I go back to / Black, black, black, black, black, black… (Lyrics from Back to Black by Amy Winehouse)

How you handle this life is a reflection of how you will handle the eternal life to come. If you are beaten, tormented, frightened, and lost, then your hope is not in Christ. You are not accepting the gift of salvation that God provided for you. You are allowing the enemy a victory he has no right to. There is no addiction that your will cannot overcome. It may take time, it may take a few or many setbacks, you may have to do it without family and friends who have long since given up on you, but you can overcome anything through Christ. You can kick your addiction. You can get up from the bed lust has tied you to. You can push away depression with an exclamation of hope. It is His strength, not your own, which will carry you through your darkness. Stop depending on the weapon being used against you and start depending on Christ.
I have seen their ways, but I will heal them; I will guide them and restore comfort to Israel’s mourners, creating praise on their lips. ~ Isaiah 57:18-19 NIV

What we can learn from Amy Winehouse’s time with us?

Intelligent people are always ready to learn. Their ears are open for knowledge. ~ Proverbs 18:15
1. There is a real need for self-control
So think clearly and exercise self-control. Look forward to the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. ~1 Peter 1:13-15
2. Don’t allow demons free reign in your life. Get busy binding the destructive forces in your life
Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.” ~ Matthew 16:18-19
3. Express your gifts and talents freely, but don’t manipulate and misuse them.
Giving a gift can open doors; it gives access to important people! ~ Proverbs 18:16
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights…  ~ James 1:17
4. When drowning, reach for a life-line – two drowning people can’t save each other
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
        “Come,” Jesus said.
        Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
        Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” ~Matthew 14:28-31
5. Fame and riches enhance and accelerate our troubles, and can block true blessings
A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
        When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
        When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” ~ Luke 18:18, 22-25
6. We must be rooted and grounded in Christ in order to manage everything that comes our way
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. ~Ephesians 3:14-19 NIV

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It doesn’t even matter

I’m not a popular person in my family. Not well liked at all. I used to think I was ostracized because I spoke up for myself, which opened the family to scrutiny.

Now I know it is because I spoke up for myself. I acted on faith and actively freed myself from bondage.

When I was fifteen, an aunt told me that she resented me. Up to recently, I’d always thought she resented my youth, innocence and opportunities.

However, I now realize she resented my voice, my strength, my truth, my faith. Even when I didn’t understand the power of any of those characteristics, I exhibited and used them effectively. She resented my ability to stop others from hurting me. She resented the fact that I lived as if I had a right to live. I was true to my conscience, my beliefs and to myself.

A short while ago, I received a phone call from another aunt. She checks up on me occassionally, mostly to keep me appraised of family drama. I had just gotten into bed and answered with a drowsy, “Hello”. She apologized for waking me. I told her I hadn’t yet fallen asleep. She then launched into the latest furor: a relative was lying on me. They were besmirching my name and my testimony. She wanted me to go shut them up.

My lids began to descend. “I know the truth,” I told her. “They know the truth. God knows the truth. It doesn’t matter what they say.” On that last word, I fell asleep. I don’t know how long she was talking, before I heard, “Shawnda! Are you sleep…? Good night, baby, I love you.”

I repeated the sentiment, hung up, rolled over and went into a deeper sleep.

Had her call only consisted of words of love, the effect on my equilibrium would have been the same. I wasn’t moved. I didn’t get excited, anxious or offended.

As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water.

Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”

When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”  ~ Mark 4:35-40

I rest in a truth that gives me peace.   

During the recent call with my aunt, I realized (consciously), for the first time, that what people think and say doesn’t matter at all – to my peace, to my right standing with God, to my faith, to my love walk. What matters is my integrity to my word, faith and belief. Am I being as true as I know to be? How am I acting out what I believe? How am I praising God with my lifestyle? How am I honoring Him with my life? That’s all that truly matters.