NaBloPoMo: It Is Finished

The final day of National Blog Posting Month is done. I'm doing a happy dance. Blogging every day is hard and takes forethought and planning. 

Good thing is I've not got a bunch of half finished drafts of blog posts still waiting to be finished thanks to my perfectionist ways. Seems I've discovered that if I can't get thoughts out perfectly, then I just abandoned the post. Hopefully, they'll see the light of day soon.

Thanks for reading this month!



God With Us: Saturday Night Church Sermon Notes

Tonight's message was by a preacher on staff, Nathan Bean. This was actually his last message as he, his wife and children are moving back to Australia. I've always enjoyed him, his ability to delivery the Word with clarity and his quirky sense of humor.

The subject was: God With Us

The greatest gift of all that's been given to us is Jesus. 

Matthew 1:18-25

We often use God “in case of an emergency.” We tend to live life on our own until we need God in a crunch. Emergency seasons lead us to pray, “God be with me.” In busy seasons, praying God be with me is put a shelf but we still want to know that God is near. It’s easy for us to live life without an awareness of God’s abiding presence when we live life by our own power.

We are about to embark on a busy season—Christmas (which is the season where we celebrate God being with us). The best thing about Christmas is not presents but presence—God’s presence. As kids, Christmas was all about presents, but as you mature we are more concerned about whose presence we are going to be in during the holidays.

1.   GOD with us 1 John 1, 14 God Himself took on flesh. He came near to broken humanity in the form of a frail baby. In the world, the higher the honor a person has, the more glory they get. But Jesus didn’t send someone else to come down. He took on the form of a servant. The lengths God went through to be with you and I. It should blow us away. God doesn’t sit back and wait for us to rescue ourselves; He gets involved in our lives.

2.     2. God WITH us. We can confront anything when we know He’s with us. God does not start on us like a project and leave us unfinished. He brings everything to completion in our lives. Matthew opens with God with us and ends with Jesus saying, “I am with you.” When we go through  the hard parts of life, we are not alone. John 14:27 says we are given God’s peace. He leads us with His peace. It’s not just the absence of conflict but the presence of God’s blessings that equals peace. His presence changes us. We change as we are close to Him.

3.     God with US. In the Old Testament, God presented Himself as a burning bush, cloud, earthquake, a pillar of fire, thunder and lightning. His presence was scary and made people want to hide themselves. But in the New Testament, there is no fear in a baby. You can come near to the baby in the manger. In biblical times, shepherds were lowly members of society. But this is who God called to Himself. 

Waiting Sucks


Waiting sucks. Waiting rooms sucks. 

It's especially sucky for a highly impatient person like myself.  

So I sit here with my husband and hurry up and wait.  

And it's the not knowing that makes me anxious. Is my child okay? Are there complications? 

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life." Proverbs 13:12

We sit and eat.  

We sit and chat.  

We sit and laugh.  

We sit and scroll through our cell phones.  

And just below the surface, we both are concerned about our baby boy.  

Then when we aren't even looking, we hear the news that all is well. Our baby is in recovery. The procedure done and behind us.  

Concern and worry give way to sighs of relief and smiles.  

We never knew that parenting would bring us such angst over a common outpatient procedure.  

But when your baby is whisked away to an operating room for what is common and routine, it suddenly seems much bigger than that and makes you appreciate little things like health and insurance and life. 

Thanking God for being on the other side of waiting and for desires fulfilled.  

My Top 5 Favorite Books of All Time

Once I finish  book, I'm usually done with it and don't look back. Most books I've read I can't tell you what they are about. When I open the pages, I'm immersed in the book and once the book ends, that's it. I don't have much a memory for books, except for the ones I'm about to share. 

These books have impacted me far after I've closed the book. Even now, I can remember lines from these books and how they made me feel as I was reading them. Some of them I read more than 20 years ago. Indeed, carrying around words and feelings from a book is a mark of its greatness for me.

Here are my favorite books (in no particular order)

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison: The story of 11-year-old Pecola Breedlove who wishes for blue eyes so that she'll be seen as beautiful. The story is hauntingly heartbreaking but written with such beauty and prose that it's hard to put down. I read this book my freshman year at Howard University and still the story sits with me. 

One of my favorite passages showcasing Morrison's exquisite imagery: 

"Pecola stood a little apart from us, her eyes hinged in the direction in which Maureen had fled. She seemed to fold into herself, like a pleated wing. Her pain antagonized me. I wanted to open her up, crisp her edges, ram a stick down the hunched and curving spine, force her to stand erect and spit the misery out on the streets. But she held it in where it could lap up into her eyes." 

God's Chosen Fast by Arthur Walls: I bought this book shortly after I got saved at the age of 18.  It's a practical handbook on the subject of fasting that I have read many times over.

Your God Is Too Safe by Mark Buchanan: I also found this book early in my Christian walk and it was just what I needed at the time. I knew that God is good, but what I didn't realize is that He isn't always safe...and that's okay because He's taking us on the adventure of our lives. God is loving but He's unpredictable (just as He should be.)

One of my favorite passages:

The safe God asks nothing of us, gives nothing to us. He never drives us to our knees in hungry, desperate praying and never sets us on our feet in fierce, fixed determination. He never makes us bold to dance. The safe god never whispers in our ears anything but greeting card slogans and certainly never asks that we embarrass ourselves by shouting out from the rooftop. "

In His Face: A Prophetic Call to Renewed Focus: By Bob Sorge: I got hip to Bob Sorge from worship leader Judith Christie McAllister. I used to work for she and her husband and she told me about his ministry. After hearing some of his messages and his testimony, I was hooked. His voice was damaged at a time when God was using him mightily to preach. This book urges readers to keep a spiritual focus in a world that wants us to do anything but that.

One of my favorite parts of the book: "The enemy always accuses us in the first person, as though there were our own thoughts, when in reality  they are his thoughts injected into our minds. Let me tell you why the enemy steps up his accusations when you try to worship the Lord. It's because he knows that worship is transformational."

Reposition Yourself: Living Life Without Limits by T.D. Jakes: This book is just good practical advice. Yes, Jakes is one of the greatest preachers alive, but this book is not sermon-based but for real life. Awesome read that I want to dive back into now.

A favorite passage: "Mediocrity places the blinders of the mundane on you so that you cannot see beyond the trials of the present moment- the bills, the kids, the stress, the illness, the breakup. And if it can keep you preoccupied with its latest dart of potential poison, then it can wear you down to where you accept the poison as the only potion available. You end up feeling like there are no options, no choices, no resources to defend yourself with and use to overcome adversity and achieve victory."

What are some of your favorite books?