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Secret Place of the Most High, Kingdom
Learned Student, Honest.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Olorun s'aanu mi

I remember a few times here and there, while we lived on Harlem Street, when my grandma would say to me: Olorun s'aanu e. Translated: “Lord have mercy on you.” 

This would typically be said after I’ve done something that, well, I probably needed mercy for – nothing too grave in my childlike understanding, at the time as a high schooler. I should also note that it is quite possible that almost everything my grandma said was a prayer, “Gbemisola, say amen!” Oh, sorry grandma, I thought we were just talking.” 

And I used to think that her saying “Olorun s'aanu e” was one of the harshest things to say to someone.  Lord have mercy on me? Well, jeez, Lord have mercy on you too! What did I do??? (Hey, don’t judge me. Well, you can judge me but I’m not the same me I was in 2000, glorrrraaaay!) 

A decade and some years later, I definitely see the importance behind that prayer and a thousand times over appreciate that wonderful woman God blessed me with as my grandma. (Grandma Tribute)  And I so appreciate that her prayers for mercy upon me and our family are still being performed today. 

Now, Olorun saanu mi is one of my most common and easiest prayers to say.  Translated: Lord have mercy on me. (Woooh chil’)   

Lord have mercy, let Your mercy prevail over judgment! One of my favorite prayer leaders (can we have 'favorite' prayer leaders? Well, I do.) oft-prays quoting from Isaiah, “even our righteousness is like filthy rags, how much more our unrighteousness?” during the mercy portion of the prayer meeting. word up. What's filthier than filthy rags? Our unrighteousness, eeeek!

It’s real out here in this journey of life and that’s just with our flesh and carnal minds alone, not to talk of the spirits and principalities. "The heart of man is desperately wicked."

Lord have mercy on me, my family, my loved ones, my future children (twins!!) and children’s children to the 10th generation, forever and ever. Amen!

Lord have mercy on me all day, every day. Where would I be without it… *African accent, hmph*

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives, 
and we shall dwell in the house of the Lord, forever and ever Amen.

Mum is NOT the word.

Shedding light on a lesson I’m learning. 

So this was my former M.O. by God's grace :-)

For example, 

Someone (who isn’t my mother or brother) pisses me off right? But I’m trying to walk this narrow path of life, embrace the fruit of the spirit, specifically meekness, right? So I just keep quiet. “Mum is the word.” 

What I think I’ve done is become the bigger person, letting that person act a fool.  Then, the pissed off-ness wears off and voila I have forgiven them. 

(Somewhere along the way of realizing arguing for free is not worth a dime, I became non-confrontational – believe it or not - in day to day interactions of course…

Oh but I’ve been told, I have the memory of an elephant. I don’t forget anything. (Side note: once I realized everyone doesn't have an "elephant's memory,", I had to mask how much I revealed to know, or they would think I had some supernatural powers – “how did you know that?” Um, you told me *blank stare*… jeez. Oh you remembered that...

Anyway, back to the story. So said person comes along some time later and pisses me off again. (is “piss off” vulgar? I never knew it to be such, so no offense if you’re taking some offense). Again, I just let it go.  In my mind, I’m like, this person is kind of crazy, duly noted, a discussion is not worth it – trying to remember my Proverbs – you know that part – don’t argue with fools...” "Argue" read "discuss in any shape or form, nada… "

Nonetheless, said person has just been moved out of my circle of trust, circle of sane people or what have you. Xtina pulls back from said person little by little. (Keep your enemies closer – naaah bro, I don’t play that – stay the heck away from me, uproot them Lord! *double snap*

Then it happens again, and again, and again, and perhaps even their close friend pisses me off too – conspiracy kai, and then they come again…. (Remember, this hypothetical is just for illustration purposes.

However, it’s very plausible that the next “again” might not receive the same “mum is the word” response. The next again might not even be as big of a deal as the first time or one of the “agains” prior.  All the while, I thought I was being meek and forgiving.  I was mum-is-the-wording and disregarding, meanwhile making my conclusions about this person’s behavior and inadvertently keeping record. 

Recently, actually just last week, I tried something different. Something happened and I was not pleased with how this something unfolded. I thought, oh well, it is what it is, but next time I know. I won’t say anything at all. Wrong response, (here). 

Hours later, when I finally had some down time on the drive home, lol, something in me decided not to just call it a night but rather pick up the phone. Right response! *ding, ding, ding*  (in this instance

Long story short, “It could all be so simple, but we rather make it hard.” (oh Lauryn). Mum is NOT always the word, necessarily. Although, it’s still a case-by-case analysis, at least I think so for now. 

Before that, I’d always be like well this is trivial; I’m not going to make any kind of big or small deal about it. I’ll just keep quiet, you’re not going to catch me arguing (unless it’s for work, and even then I’m zealously advocating, not arguing). 

For me and my elephant memory, that’s not always the right response (or lack thereof) because with each offending action, I continue to move the person down the spectrum of cool/sane person all the way down to just someone I happen to know, stranger, or even worse – that one is crazy. Unbeknownst to them all the while. 

"I’m going to let this go and not say anything" is not always equal to meekness and true forgiveness if you haven't really "let it go."

But note, "When you decide to forgive someone, don't let the devil convince you that because you still have the same feelings you have not really forgiven the person. -Joyce Meyer  

Forgiving the person is releasing them from their debt and never to use it against them.  You still may feel a certain way about what they did, but you cannot act on it.

I’m learning to distinguish between meekness coupled with true forgiveness versus simply disregarding for the moment and recording. 

I felt like I learned this lesson already here Love keeps no records of wrongs... and here the benefit of doubt but I’m also learning that we’re going to be learning lessons for life, a school we never really graduate from (til we pass on to glory). 

Lord have mercy! 

A thousand times I fail, still Your mercy remains…. Inside Out, Hillsong

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Look, we're talking about destinies here...

I attend a church which is a parish of a larger Body and the head of this organization called a special fast this year, unlike the usual expected annual fasts. A fast like this has not been called since 1995, thereabout. 

Initially, I had some questions and justifications: 

I mean is a fast “like that” really intended for people “like me?” 
Surely, people “like me” are exempt from something “like that.” 

Along with the call to fast came some prophetic declarations. 

So my desire to take hold of these prophecies coupled with some friends (accountability partners - wooop!) allowed me to put those reservations aside. Okay we’re going to do this, all the way, one day at a time, here we go… *fist pump* 

Fast forward to today, I was briefly chatting with someone this morning and they say: btw, I’m going to fast from n time to n time because of X reasons. 

And of course, the questions ensued again: 

  1. Wait, hold up, is this fast from 12 a.m. to 6 p.m., 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., or when you wake up to 6 p.m.? 
  2. If you wake up at –a.m. is that considered night or morning? 
  3. What if you work nights or a have circadian rhythm different from the “average?” Do you then alter the fast to your schedule? 
  4. Why is it 6 p.m. and not 5 p.m. or 7 p.m.? 
  5. Juice is really allowed? 
  6. Tea is allowed, but what if I don’t drink tea, can I drink my version of tea? 
  7. If smoothies are allowed, couldn’t one essentially blend all meals into a smoothie? 
  8. Can we take vitamins, you know to stay healthy? 
I texted three other people variations of some of the questions above and of course I got varied answers: 

Well technically… 
The General Overseer said… 
I do this… 
You should do that… 

I like to know why I am doing what I am doing – full understanding, full disclosure. And if I commit to doing something, I want to make sure I am doing it the right way. Moreover, when calls to fast by respected people of God, accompany certain prophetic declarations and you commit to doing it, you want to make sure you’re doing it right and not get disqualified “DQ’d” so to say on a technicality. I remember several track meets where everyone was waiting for the actual sprint relay results because a team may have DQ’d if they passed the baton outside of the exchange zone, or if someone had earrings on or did any one of the laundry list of things you could not legally do in a race. 

This past weekend, I was researching all things fasting – what are people doing out there in world wide web when it comes to fasting.  I was a little surprised to learn some people periodically fast 1 to 3 times a week for reasons that have nothing to do with religion, like just because, it’s supposed to be healthy or something – what?! So there are people in the world that are fasting not out of religious sacrifice or poverty but out of choice as a diet. But it’s not even called a diet; it’s called fasting, like legit. And people are just commenting away on these online articles about how they have “fasted;” essentially a weight-loss hunger-strike. No offense if you happen to be among those people. I digress. 

In my research, *clears throat* I came across a statement to the effect of “when you fast you’re entrusting your health to a higher power.” Eureka. When one chooses to fast, our mind should not be consumed with the adverse effects of weight gain or weight loss, caloric intake, or metabolism speed. It’s honestly much much easier to type this than it is to adopt this mind frame especially when you come from a culture which is very honest, brutally honest, in fact (a word is enough for the wise). But it’s deeper than that, it’s bigger than that. As one friend said to me today, “look, we’re talking about destinies here.” *drop the mic* 

True story! 

When fasting becomes so rigid and tied to specific rules that we’re all trying to follow and not break the rules, it becomes less about the sacrifice and more about laws, “check mark” But we’re no longer under the law! (go figure

If you’re like me, in these instances, erase your need to know the rules, what’s right, what’s wrong etc. We’re talking about sacrifice – point blank. I’d venture to say that no two fasts (fasters) are ever going to be exactly like. ie someone may exercise during their fast, someone may swear off exercising while fasting -- God is looking at the heart. 

When we’re occupied with what we’re going to do as soon as we break the fast to reverse any effects of the fast, we also need to be careful that we’re not also reversing the effects of the sacrifice – whether that is spiritually possible, I’m not entirely sure – but I know God will judge the heart.  Although, it seems logical that if we’re going to fast from something temporarily only to replace exactly what we have fasted from at a later time, it may not rightfully be termed fasting, perhaps “pausing” is more like it. Again much easier typed than done! Even still, God is looking at the heart. 

Definitely one cannot forsake wisdom in all this.  Each fast will always be person-specific. Ultimately, what matters is that we’re developing our intimacy and reliance on the Trinity – the Father, His Son seated at His right Hand and the power of the Holy Spirit in us. 

Lord, grant everyone who sets out to fast as a sacrifice in Your Name, the grace to pray and fast and complete the fast in Jesus name. And may the fasting not be in vain in Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The benefit of the doubt

Life lesson and reminder #2705

Some thing I've learned, packaged in diverse lesson plans throughout my life, is to give people the benefit of the doubt.

the benefit of the doubt: a favorable judgment granted in the absence of full evidence.

In relationships of all kinds, it’s easy to forget that “nobody is perfect.”

Nobody is perfect; that shouldn't be much of a surprise, right?  However, many interpersonal conflicts could be resolved or at least de-magnified if we remembered this often.  If we remembered this tenet, we would be slow to make judgments, condemnations; basically assume the worst.  In other words, we treat people as if they were perfect beings and when something happens to contradict that, we forget that we are not perfect beings.

In line with the reason for the Christmas season, there's only one perfect person that's ever been created and we mark His birth in a couple weeks. He is seated at the right Hand of the Father, right now! No one presently alive has physically seen Him as a man. That is Jesus. *cue Revelation Song*

With that said, if we remember that "nobody is perfect," forgiving becomes much more second nature, as it should be for Christians.

So my two cents with this post are:

First, in personal relationships: family, friendships, etc. when you feel wronged or when you would assume the worst based on someone’s actions or statements, just give the person the benefit of the doubt. Don’t jump to conclusions from your assumptions.  More times than not, you learn that your assumptions are actually inaccurate, once you eventually receive the explanation you ask for (key phrase: "ask for" read: communication).

Just stop and think, is this person who you once called friend, brother or what have you, willfully trying to be malicious? More times than not, I think, it is not the case.  I highly doubt that a person you (wisely/willingly) held in close quarters would be willfully malicious or intentionally seek to "stab you in the back" (not talking about work relationships though, see below). I know the heart of man is desperately wicked but in these instances, I just don't think people you've let into your inner circle would just snap, (save any psychological issues, God forbid).

There’s probably just a misunderstanding that you ought to clear up. This clearing up involves, giving the other person the benefit of the doubt, intentional communication, and forgiving, regardless of the outcome. Also note, the other person may not have the same idea of forgiveness as you but that doesn't [shouldn't] change your duty or response.

Yes, you also have a duty...

Oddly enough, today someone referenced a Lecrae tweet, which he originally tweeted on July 15, 2012!.....!!!!.....!!!!!!! That's my birthday!!! Get out! lol

I’m noticing more and more that I’m giving people of the benefit of the doubt and it feels great, feels free.  I think I get it from my mom, who always chooses to see the good side of people. And also from an understanding that there are always so many facts and perceptions to one story.  Uncovering every fact would be the only just way to get to the bottom of an issue.

So for me, I'm focusing on the good side of people, not really being consumed with the facts though (I mean who really has time for that, life is too short for all that, I'm on a mission), and just forgiving quickly. (read: Nike slogan: just do it. *shrug*) How much does it cost you to hold on to something? BUT, how much is it worth. It's not worth it. Love keeps no records of wrongs. 

Forgiving as I was forgiven, Merry Christmas to me.

End note

On another (professional setting) note, someone, (I’ll call them a more experienced practitioner), told me this recently regarding our line of work, (and someone told this to that person): always assume [someone on the other side] is lying just a little bit.

Since I’m relatively new to the full-time work scene, I can’t comment much on that, but it sounded like a good piece of advice, as an encouragement to ask more questions; the harder questions, the deeper questions, in an investigation.  

Although, ironically, in my field, typically, you’re innocent until proven guilty. *shrug* Then again, maybe that "innocent until proven guilty" tenet is mainly relevant in the courts of criminal law... maybe it's not even really relevant there! :-o Another post for another day.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Lord, I believe but kill my unbelief.

My sermon notes of 10/28/12 @JHouseDallas...

If you are familiar with the Israelites delivery from captivity and subsequent journey in the wilderness, you know that: first, it took Pharaoh 10 plagues before he finally let God’s people go.

Second, you will recall, that an 11 day journey from Egypt to the Promised Land took them 40 years!

Lastly, once delivered, the Israelites forgot about all He had done to bring them out of captivity and began to murmur against Moses, (for apparently bringing them into the wilderness to die, which they eventually did in fact, but not because of Moses.) Everyone, over 20, was delivered but never made it to the Promised Land. They fell short of the destiny the Lord had for them. May that not be our portion in Jesus name.

Sometimes, as you may have experienced, God purposely allows delays or extensions in our life because He knows we are not ready for what He wants to give us.

God purposely delayed the Israelites for two of the 40 years. He said if the Israelites take one way, the shorter route, they may get scared and return to Egypt. So the Lord led them along the longer route, which took them 2 years.

He knows we may exhibit fear, immaturity or other adverse effects in the destiny He has planned for us (Jeremiah 29:11). So for our own good, He brings delay. He knows better and best. If we were to receive that open door, new song or blessing we've been believing Him for in 11 days hypothetically instead of 2 years hypothetically again, we may (may) not be able to handle our blessing appropriately and effectively.

Sometimes, as you also may have experienced, delay can be due to your lack of faith and unbelief. God delayed the Israelites for two years because He knew they would become fearful and return to Egypt. However, the remaining 38 years in the wilderness, wer due to their murmuring, complaints; essentially unbelief. No one from that generation (20+ and over), except for Joshua and Caleb, made it to the Promised Land because of their unbelief.

In Mark 9:24, the father of the sick little girl says: “Lord, I believe but help my unbelief.”

We need the Lord to help our unbelief. Our unbelief can be the equivalent of murmuring. Our unbelief can be equivalent of us returning to Egypt. Egypt is not a geographical location per se but rather a state of mind or return to old ways.

He helped the unbelief of the Israelites by not allowing any of the unbelieving generation to enter into the Promised Land. Our unbelief cannot enter our promise land or Heaven.

It’s time to stop running back to Egypt when things are tough. Let’s stop running back to the ways of the world, or the ways of old habits, when there is a challenge. It’s time to strengthen our faith and take our Kingdom and our Promised Land by force!

Lastly, even though we have the promise of Jeremiah 29:11, the LORD still tells us in Matthew, that the Kingdom of God suffers violence, but the violent, the militant, they, take it by force. The strength of your faith determines the speed of our breakthrough.  When things are not working the way you would have liked them to, it is time to give God the glory. When [fill in the blank], it is time to give God the glory.

God overwhelmed Pharaoh with 10 plagues.  In the same way, He will overwhelm your enemies.

The problem is not the struggle. The problem is how we respond to the struggle.

Lord, I believe, but kill my unbelief. Give me grace to strengthen my faith and take what is mine by force! #Breakthrough!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Gracious Speech

A cyber convo . . . 
Friend: If God gives you the opportunity to go to Heaven with one person, who will you go with?
Me: Maybe a Muslim or an atheist.
Friend: Why a Muslim?
Me: *long pause* *thinking* So they can see Jesus the way I see Him.
Friend: But they believe in God.
Me: But? I said “so they can see Jesus the way I see Him.” What do you mean by “but?”
Friend: But they believe in God…
Me: How is that related to my reason?
Friend: I just feel if any other religion besides Christianity believes in God, I don’t care how they get to HIM. Just me personally.
Me: Different religions do not see Jesus the same way. If I had a chance to take someone to Heaven with me, it would be someone who sees Jesus in a different way, so they can see Him the way I see Him, at the right hand of the Father, like in Revelation.
Friend: Oh okay, I see what you are saying. 

Why did I post this? Because what may seem obvious to me as a Christian is not necessarily obvious for every Christian. We all have arrived on our Christianity path from diverse backgrounds. His Word states that there is only one way to the Father. However, someone had to deliver that message to me in a way that I would first, receive and second, understand. I had to think about the best way to respond and prayed for grace in my answer, even the short and quick prayers can get answered promptly. 

I heard this recently: “you might say you don’t care what "they" say about you, God knows your heart etc., but you should care about what they say about your Jesus.” 

I care about what they say about my Jesus. Because of that, I care about the way I deliver His message. 

So just keep this in mind whenever you’re delivering part of His message (pro-life, Biblical definition of marriage, only one way to the Father) to someone who needs to receive it in a way that they can understand, without condemnation or belittling. It's also important to note that this conversation is with a friend where there is a tendency to relax the boundaries since we are in a safer zone. Even still, I need grace on my words, just the same.

Colossians 4:6 
New Living Translation -- Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.
The Message -- Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out.
Amplified -- Let your speech at all times be gracious (pleasant and winsome), seasoned [as it were] with salt, [so that you may never be at a loss] to know how you ought to answer anyone [who puts a question to you]. 
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