Steadfast!

Steadfast!

Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life. Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evildoers. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way. For they cannot rest until they do evil; they are robbed of sleep till they make someone stumble.They eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.  The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble. My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips.  Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.  Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil. Proverbs 4:11-27 NIV

Wow! Keep your head up–looking forward–not backwards–keeping your eyes fixed on what’s ahead, not what’s behind! Know what’s in your heart and guard what God has put there for only what is in your heart will come forth and be seen by others. Carefully think about the path of life you take and then be steadfast–unwavering in all your ways.

Steadfast (according to Merriam Webster) is to be immovable, not subject to changing, firm in belief and determination or adherence.

The steadfast love of The Lord–never ceases, never comes to an end. His mercies are new every morning! Hallelujah!

There is much to said about the physical posture and spiritual posture in this selection from Proverbs. If we keep our eyes focused on what is ahead of us–chances our we are holding our heads up, not down and we can keep the muscles in our neck and back toned, avoiding some of the effects of gravity with atrophied muscles which lead to hanging flesh and aggravation of nerves and muscles.

From a spiritual perspective–if we keep our heads up, we demonstrate a posture that proclaims our confidence in God. We always look to how we can lift others so they too will be able to hold their heads high–not in arrogant pride, but in a confidence that says, we trust God. When we look forward–we are ready to receive all the goodness He has for us, putting aside our pasts and those things that kept us from receiving God’s best. When our gazes are straight ahead; it’s difficult to look down upon others.

When we trust God and know that His plans are what is best for us, we can confidently put one foot in front of the other without worrying about stumble, because if we stay on the path He has determined for us, He will clear the way and nothing will hamper our journey.

I can’t speak for anyone else today, but I am confidently moving forward in all I hear God speak to me, trusting the path He has established and I will not allow what others say or do to deter me.

This is the day The Lord has made and I shall rejoice and be glad in it–holding my head high and looking ahead to all He has for me!

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Where Our Confidence Should Be!

Where Our Confidence Should Be!

Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint. Proverbs 25:19 KJV

Let them now that fear the LORD say, that his mercy endureth for ever.I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me, and set me in a large place. The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? The LORD taketh my part with them that help me: therefore shall I see my desire upon them that hate me. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.  Psalm 118:4-9 KJV

No matter what happens for the balance of this day, the year or my life, I know in whom I can trust and my complete confidence is in God–who knows the end from the beginning.

Though my confidence is in Him, I know that nothing worthwhile happens without active engagement. Therefore, I will be actively engaged in fighting injustice while I yet have the ability to breathe on my own and use my fingers to encourage others to stay in the battle until victory is won.

This was the attitude of the colonists who fought to get out from British rule and won forming the United States of America. These same Americans–those who resisted oppressive rule and domination–made provision for all who followed them to do the same–without reprisal from authoritarian leaders.

This is America–this is not a communist region under the thumb of a dictator and we will not be dominated by an ego-driven maniac who lacks self-discipline, wisdom and knowledge.

Every battle for justice has been won because people stood up and actively engaged in the process--for the Suffragettes, for Civil Rights, for Women’s Rights, to protest Viet Nam involvement and for so many other matters–we stand up and speak up when we see our rights being trampled upon by those who would attempt to rule by bullying tactics. 

Silence implies consent in matters where people submit and cave to the dictates of others. Resistors are always the group of people who make change happen–we will not be silent and we will not stop standing, speaking up, marching, and writing opinions–expressing truths and giving voice to those who think they are not heard.

We will maintain our stance  like Noah who was mocked for building an ark and talking about rain; like Moses in the presence in the Pharaoh; like David standing against Goliath; like Job who refused to listen to his friends; like John the Baptist crying in the wilderness; like Jesus who knew what He had to do to save mankind, like Paul who though once an enemy to those “in the way” became a lion in promoting “the way.”

We will not be silent so don’t expect us to be quiet in the face of danger from a megalomaniac who does not know how to think and whose handlers are afraid to tell him the truth. 

The real impediment to peace in this country are those who think in boxes and never see the bigger picture. For one or two agendas, they promoted a pathological liar as God’s choice for president. They overlooked the welfare of all Americans to appease the few. And now, the welfare–of all is in jeopardy–the sticky wickedness held in the web of deceit.

But my God–the creator of all things and without whom nothing was ever created–is faithful and just and it is in Him, my faith and confidence will continue–in spite of having a clown in the White House whose only concern is what appeases his ego and those who stroke it.

Lord, thank You for giving us the courage and strength to stand and remain standing against the wiles of the enemy, being a voice for those without a voice, resisting the evil that tries to encompass and rule us. We praise You for all Your mighty acts and for victory in all things that honor You. In Jesus’ name I pray and thank You, Amen!

Speaking With Confidence!

Speaking With Confidence!

In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory. 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 3:12-19 NIV

Having the love of Christ abiding within our hearts is more important than anything else we could obtain. With His love, we can boldly approach the throne of Grace and place our petitions before Him, knowing He hears and will respond.

Therefore, with the love of Christ, overflowing in my heart, I boldly speak, with confidence that God’s plan will prevail–no matter what we think about anything and that includes the political climate.

The email situation won’t matter any more than being lewd and crude will matter in the greater scheme of God’s plans.

Where the Spirit of the Lord is residing within–we can see the evidence–from without. Where there is love, not hate; where there is love, not fear; where there is love, not doubt; where there is love, not fear-mongering; where there is love, not rumor-mills feeding gossip; where there is love, not encouragement to do violence. Where there is love, there is a desire to serve God and people. Where there is love–we know, who knows God.

What we all must do is to seek Him, hear and obey.

I have sought Him and according to His Word, I have obeyed.

Don’t Worry About People!

Don’t Worry About People!

The LORD is on my side; I will not fear.What can man do to me? The LORD is for me among those who help me; Therefore I shall see my desire on those who hate me. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes. Psalm 118:6-9 NKJV

People–they can love on you one minute and hate you the next–depending upon whether you agree with them or disagree with them. There’s the rub–mere mortals are too fickle to trust or to have great confidence in. This is why we have to trust in The Lord, who knows all things and the hearts of all people.

People will say one thing when actually they mean another. This is evident in what we see in this election cycle. Yeah, I know–here I go again, but I think it is important to point out material differences in what is reported in the media and what is actuality. Take for instance the visit to Detroit by the Republican nominee. On the surface  or rather from the angle pictures were taken and publicized, it would appear that the church was full. It was not, another picture as seen below–was taken from the rear of the church. Here we see a completely different story. The true story–one the nominee will never tell. In fact, there were more people outside the church protesting his visit than inside.

trump at black church

It is this kind of “manipulation” with truth that causes confusion and misleads others. Now, think about it. How much else has been manipulated so that the media publicizes one thing, but just the opposite is true? And for the record, the visit that was supposed to be an attempt to reach out to “African Americans” was a smokescreen–more manipulation and none of us in the Black Community were fooled by it. In fact, many of us saw this manipulation as insulting. The fake humility, the attempt to “teach” Black Americans about Lincoln, and then–in a church where people read the bible–consistently–he tries to school them about a passage of scripture. Absolutely laughable!

Even with all the negativity–tossed by both parties–those of us who know The Lord are not fooled by it. And most of us, would rather the candidates speak to the issues, not the personal insults because the bottom line is–one is less honest than the other (though neither has been completely transparent).

Fear–as a tool to manipulate–is actually a tool of the devil. For The Word tells us that perfect love, casts out fear. Since we know God is Love–then fear has to represent the devil–who works on the minds of people, causing them doubt. And we know, that when doubt enters in the mind of people, fear resides in their hearts. Doubt and faith cannot reside in the same place at the same time and we are told that those who doubt what God can do is a double-minded person, unstable in all their ways. For those of us who have both natural eyes to see what’s in front of us and spiritual eyes to see through the smokescreens, we know–for our confidence is in The Lord, not man.

With the screaming and fear-mongering about Hillary and emails and Benghazi (all investigated and clearing her), not much has been said about the corrupt business deals that have caused people to lose their businesses and many people to lose money with misleading claims made to people about Trump University, the modeling agency, the casinos, and so much more. The bottom line for me is this–he may have money, but it is how his wealth was obtained–taking advantage of people– that leaves a really nasty taste in my mouth. And before anyone attempts to chastise me, all this information is public knowledge–I’m just restating it for the record. I really feel sorry for all those who have bought into his rhetoric that is nothing more than lies. I believe the facts–speak louder than the innuendo by those who are capable of critical thinking. 

So we have a choice to make in November and it is less about someone trying to take away guns (that’s never been said, but it has been manipulated to cause fear in others) than it’s about–who’s qualified to get the job done. If a person who is a business man can now create “millions of jobs” why didn’t they do it as a private citizen? Of course, we know Trump exaggerates everything, so his word actually means nothing. Even when he keeps claiming he’s not a politician, he hasn’t realized that running for a public, elected position is the definition of a politician.

They both have some confidence building to do with all people. And while I support Hillary Clinton as the most qualified person to get the job done, my confidence remains in The Lord, not her and certainly not Trump.

Who Do We Turn To?

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:12-16 NIV

When in trouble–who are we going to call? Perhaps, one of the reasons we are facing such difficult times in our society is that we are looking in the wrong direction for help. There is no help from the government coming our way unless The Lord moves upon the hearts of all those in authority to make a real difference in our world. And while many of those in authority do not have a heart for God, it is up to us who do–to seek Him to radically change hearts towards Him.

The Word of God tells us, “We don’t have what we need because we don’t know how to ask for it.” (James 4:2,3)  How do we ask? We boldly approach God, knowing that our Father loves us and only wants the best for us, therefore His ear is inclined to hear us. When we know we live to please Him, we don’t need to hesitate to put our requests before Him and have faith that He will respond to our requests.

Unfortunately, too many people approach God timidly–fearful and hesitant–because they think He won’t hear them.  They are like that child who wants something from their parents, but mumble under their breath–afraid to speak up–with their heads down–not wanting to face them. Some parents have to prod this child to even understand what it is they are asking and sometimes, frustration gets in the way of the request and no one is happy. Is that how we approach God when we need help? Are our heads hanging down because we know we have not obeyed His Word? Is this why we are hesitant and fearful?

It’s not like He doesn’t know what we need or want before we even ask. He just wants us to be bold enough to ask Him. That boldness is demonstrated in an assurance that He will grant our request–not arrogance in thinking He has to do anything–but confidence in His love and living right before Him.

Instead of looking for an individual–mere mortals in government to change our situations–let’s look to The Lord, boldly putting our requests before Him and then let’s listen to what He has to say and obey!  If our motives are right, He will hear and grant our request–of that we can be sure of!

Misplaced Confidence Causes Chaos!

I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me, and set me in a large place. The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? The LORD taketh my part with them that help me: therefore shall I see my desire upon them that hate me. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes. Psalm 118:5-9 KJV

Confidence–the belief in a person’s trustworthiness and reliability or in oneself. Integrity and honor displayed in people will usually garner confidence in them by others. But the real problem with having confidence in people is–people change–from one moment to the other and when they change–any confidence or trust we have placed in them, crumbles.

In this psalm, we see the writer asserting that they called upon the Lord when they were distressed and the Lord responded to them. We are at a time and season when we see just how fallible man is and why we cannot place our confidence in them.

In the political arena–we see candidates rise and fall at the whim of the feelings of the people who have bamboozled by all the glitz and media attention garnered by those who have demonstrated a lack of self-discipline–with all the trading insults, openly expressed bigotry, and blatant ignorance of their understanding of how government works.

In the legislative arena–in Michigan and probably elsewhere–politicians who have been elected to safeguard the people and protect the interests of all have ignored the needs of students in the Detroit School District and have blamed the teachers–who care more about the students than some of their parents–for all of the financial woes and dysfunctional administrative decisions made for them, not by them. 

In the schools–where those in authority are expected to act with professionalism and encourage confidence in their ability to lead–we have dysfunctional agents of chaos and greed. When people in authority show their true selves in how they handle conflict, how can we expect students to respect them, when they lie and steal from students?

When we see that we cannot trust those in positions of authority and watch the chaos that results from our misplaced confidence, the only person we can call upon to straighten out the mess is The Lord! We can count on Him to resolve issues without bias and to minister just judgment. This is not true of people who think they are worthy of respect but have not shown themselves to be respectful of others.

In our society today, it is difficult and almost impossible to teach kids to respect adults  when the adults become the problem. We see the results of our misplaced confidence in the media–teachers, coaches molesting children, principals absconding with funding intended for students, other adults abusing their positions of authority to manipulate kids into doing wrong things–who is it that we can trust with our kids?

I have concluded that we cannot place our confidence in the adults who are in our kids lives, so we must earnestly and vigorously train our children to act with integrity and to be mindful of those adults who will either steer them in the wrong direction or who will intentionally target them for various reasons. We cannot trust adults to always tell the truth when we catch them in a lie–for any reason! Our trust and confidence can only be placed in The Lord, who will never lead any astray.

We need to trust our kids to tell us the truth and they will when they know we are listening. We need to trust our relationship with God to lead us in all decisions, especially when it comes to electing political candidates. We need to stop thinking we know everything we need to know and trust in The Lord, only and hear Holy Spirit when He speaks!

 

It Is Written!

“It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ “

“It is also written:’Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ “

“Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ “

Matthew 4:4, 7, 10 NIV

Three times, Jesus told Satan who was trying to entice Him by engaging Him in nonsensical conversation and behavior. Tempting him to be a magician–“turn these stones into bread.” Tempting Him to destroy himself to prove himself–“throw yourself down” from the highest point of the temple. Tempting Him by offering what was not his to give--“All this I will give you if you bow down and worship me.” Satan was offering Jesus that which was already His.

And because Jesus knew who He was–confident in His role determined by the Father, He didn’t argue with Satan; He simply said, “it is written.”

Now, there was an assumption here on the part of Jesus and that was–Satan’s ability to read with understanding. Most educators know that not everyone who claims to know how to read, actually read with understanding. Some people are simply word-callers–they recognize and can sound out the words, but they do not understand the relationship between words in order to comprehend the context of what is being said.

The most tragic part of assessing a person’s ability to understand what is written is to determine that though many adults claim to read, they lack comprehension skills. And this is why–many are combative, angry, and irritable–they lack understanding and if we lack understanding, our confidence level sinks.

In order to know how to effectively avoid engagement with those who would attempt to deter us from destined path, we need to know what God says about us and the only we can know that is to get into His Word and seek Him for understanding. Then, when the enemy comes to tempt us, we can say, “It is written” for we have read what was written and understand it.

Having read instructions, directions, and even for entertainment, we can build our confidence in the knowledge that we comprehend and this strategy is useful in all walks of life. This is why having a paper trail–written communication–in business engagement is crucial. People forget, but if they attempt to say they were not informed and it was written, they have no argument.

So, let us endeavor to negate argumentative situations–no matter who instigates them by countering with, “It is written” and leaving it alone.