Posted in Accepted, Accountability, Bigotry, Change, Confidence, Fear, Forgiveness, Free Will, freedom, Garden of Eden, God, guilt, Life, Politics, Progress, Racism, Self, Success, Taking Responsibility, Truth

Accepted

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This past week saw the taking down of the confederate flag in South Carolina and it was not without its controversies. Highlighted in that week was congressional sparring about the event and a much choosing of sides by political pundits.

There was also a huge buzz on social media where some felt South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley made a decision that would make or break her political career. There was talk about this event thrusting her into the national political scene and perhaps even a vice president bid. Others felt that she had ruined her career and she even received cowardly death threats.

I was not that vested into whether the flag stayed up or came down and I did not even watch it. What turned me off was this: Our country has an acceptance problem. Many of our troubles and struggles come from our inability to accept one another.

So, in our initial relationship with our heavenly Father, we were separated from the commonwealth of God by our sins. It is impossible for us to be accepted by God on our own. Despite many failed attempts over thousands of years, we only proved that we are sinners and lost forever in darkness.

Then, Jesus comes and dies for the sins of the world so that we have the opportunity to be “accepted in the Beloved.” Now, empowered by the Holy Spirit, we who believe live to bring this joyous occasion to others. Acceptance not only says that you belong, but it also says that you belong just the way you are. Acceptance is the bridge that allows the sinner in darkness to fellowship with the light. Without acceptance a connection cannot be made. And it’s in that fellowship that the magic happens. The apostle John wrote that if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus Christ his son cleanses us from all sin — that’s a pretty powerful fellowship! But if I am not accepting, it’s all for naught!

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Have you ever felt like you did not belong? Have you ever been in a situation where others have made you to feel that way? It’s a horrible feeling, but do you know we do that whenever we decide that another person does not matter. I don’t have to conform to the way you think to accept you. You don’t have to look like me, live like me or eat the same things I do for me to accept you. I accept you because I have been accepted. And the thought of me cheapening my acceptance or taking it for granted because I don’t accept you, is not an option for me. My acceptance of you is my judgment of you and as for me and my house, we choose to accept.

Posted in Accountability, Bigotry, Change, Death, Fear, guilt, History, judgment, Justice, Politics, Racism, Religion, Religious Freedom, Self, slave, Truth, Worship

Our hypocrisy

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I struggle with the evils of this world. But I’m struggling more with the hypocrisy of America.

Only in America does it matter how you were killed and the circumstances around your death play a factor in who even gets involved.

Yesterday’s shooting was a huge tragedy and I can relate in so many ways. I can relate as a member and as a pastor. I have thought about what I would have done as the pastor. I attempt to change shoes with the deceased. I’m thankful that no one ran background checks on the victims or attempted to somehow blame them for what happen.

Think I’m crazy? Is this going too far?!?

I watched the press conference at noon today and heard how many government agencies came together to assist in this tragedy. I watched as Charleston’s Mayor, police chief and the Governor of the state got choked up over what happened. They spoke of bringing everyone together to heal.

Then I thought about Walter “Lamar” Scott who was gunned down by a police officer in the same city. Someone please tell me what is the difference in these two incidents?

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Are we to believe that it matters who pulls the trigger? In each shooting, those who died won’t come home. Are my feelings supposed to understand the difference?

I can relate to Mr. Scott as a Black man who has been pulled over by police. I share his same fear whether or not I will survive the encounter. I have to consider if I have fostered enough respect, credentials and support in my life to withstand the criticism left for my family to hear. The criticism that argues what I may have done wrong to justify my murder or how it could somehow be my fault that I was gunned down.

There were lots of prayer vigils tonight and not nearly the amount for Mr. Scott. I’m  saddened that this is our reality. My heart goes out to ALL who have suffered loss. I repent for my part in the hypocrisy and I pray that God heals our land.

Posted in Accountability, Achievement, Bigotry, Change, Confidence, Death, Determination, Discipleship, Faith, freedom, friend, Generosity, Giving, God, Greed, guilt, Happiness, Health, helping, Honor, judgment, Justice, kindness, Life, Love, Mind Power, Opinions, Pain, Progress, Racism, Religion, repentance, Self, Sharing, slave, society, Success, Truth

No middle ground

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We are a society of extremes — and it doesn’t have to be that way. The way things are going we will of course destroy our planet and ourselves.

There seems to be no middle ground that anyone wants to choose. Think about it? We live in a world where people actual starve to death. And then on the other side of the world there are people so obese that they struggle through their lives suffering from degenerative diseases until they die.

We have generations of people in poverty living in conditions that are deplorable and then just a few days journey away, there are people so wealthy that it would take 4 generations to spend it all.

This crazy world has Christians that practice hate, record keeping of wrongdoing and feel murder can be justified, while there are atheist seeking to live in peace and harmony.

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There are workoholics who hold down two and three jobs at a time while others can’t seem to find one job.

The question today is what will it take to move us to the center? Get rid of the media? Seek Jesus for real? Eliminate big business? I want to raise our conscious level higher so that we are more sensitive to our fellow man.

Did it work? I would love to hear your feedback.

Posted in Change, Death, Discipleship, Fear, Forgiveness, God, helping, Honor, Life, Obey, Pain, Prayer, Racism, Religion, repentance, Trust, Truth

Another letter to God

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Dear God,

It now makes sense to me why people don’t like to examine themselves: Our image is broken!

I feel bad sometimes when I realize that I live in a country that treats animals (primarily dogs and cats) better than poor people. I live in a country that does not forgive or forget.

I live in a country that is racist, bias and hypocritical. And I am sadly a part of this country. I represent those who point fingers both ways. I represent those who realize that they are the things they hate.

Father, l need you to search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Teach me a better way Lord that I might let your light shine through me.

I am not worthy of your light. I am not fit for your use. I need you, Father, to cleanse me enough to say amen. Give me your words that I may never thirst.

Heal my heart. Make me an instrument of righteousness that I may serve you with gladness. Help me not judge those who are not where I am. And please let me not covet those in the place where I want to be.

Forgive me O God for I have sinned. Make me invisible so that those who see my good only see you and not me. Save all of my credit for heaven father. Don’t allow people to ever praise me here.
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Thank you father for my gifts and I vow to do your name good with them.

Heal the hurt I have caused and turn my negative to positive. In the name of the one who chose the cross for me!

Amen.

Posted in Achievement, Beauty, Children, Confidence, Giving, Racism, Sports

The Greatest of all time!

I would like to say happy birthday to Muhammed Ali who I haven’t had the opportunity to meet, but his life has been a strong influence on me and I still admire him today.

He is arguably the greatest fighter to put on a pair of boxing gloves. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmaHGY7BEog&feature=youtube_gdata_player

When I was growing up in the 70s I remember watching the wide world of sports on ABC with my brothers and my dad and we watched all of the great heavyweight fights from that era. I remember watching sports reporter Howard Cosell go back and forth with the champ and I remember hearing folks say that they argue like an old married couple.

Ali would shout about how great he was and how attractive he was. He would boast about his accomplishments and what he planned to do next. And he would do most of this in the form of a rhyme!

I didn’t understand the psychology behind his actions until I was much older. When I ask myself how many images were on TV that depicted African Americans in a positive light, my answer was not many. Other than James Brown proclaiming that he was Black and proud, how many shows on TV in the 70s brought this before America? None.

You see, if Ali was great and he matched the color of my skin, then subconsciously I had the potential to be great too because we were the same color.

The point is clear: Ali made greatness possible for every minority. The path he lit stayed bright for me and my pursuits. He saved me from a lifetime of hang ups regarding my appearance, my intelligence, inferiority and my possibilities.

I can because Ali could. And I’m glad he took the time to send the future generations a message. A message that I got loud and clear!

Thanks Ali! For me, you will always be the greatest of all time!

Posted in Accountability, Achievement, Beauty, Children, Determination, Discipleship, Faith, Generosity, Giving, God, Happiness, Health, Jesus Christ, Love, Parenthood, Perseverance, Racism, Relationships, Sharing, Success, Taking Responsibility, The Family, Truth, Willpower, Work

I’m thankful for…

This week we celebrate Thanksgiving.

This has always been a sore spot for me ever since my second year of high school. That’s the time that I learned about the betrayal and almost destruction of an entire race of people at the hands of the Pilgrims.

Since that time, I’ve learn to find good in a day marked to celebrate their evil. Thanksgiving is somewhat like the Trojan horse. Both involved a festive occasion marred by betrayal and a massacre.

But there is hope.

Instead of thinking about the historic events that make this holiday ugly, I choose to be thankful.

I am thankful that I knew to make the most of my opportunities.

I’m thankful that I didn’t have circumstances like abuse, grief, drugs or poverty to hinder me from seeing the potential in myself.

I’m thankful for all the people who are close to me. I’m thankful for their love and understanding. I’m thankful for their friendship and kindness. And mostly I’m thankful that these people formed a hedge around me to ensure that I  knew I was loved and shielded from hurt.

I’m thankful for my parents. I am what I am because of the parents I have. And even though they were not perfect, they turned me into the best me I could be.

I’m thankful for my race. Despite the tragedy and racism that still takes place, I am proud of the contributions of my race, the rich tradition of the African culture and our resilience. I still pray that more African Americans will come to know this truth. #cutitoutFerguson

I am thankful to everyone who has ever disciplined me. I needed it and I realize how evil it is for others to go around not disciplining those in their scope of influence. Every child needs discipline and one of the problems in our school systems is that they lack discipline.

I’m thankful to every man that has been or who is currently in my life. You have taught me about a very diverse brotherhood that I am thankful for. The closeness, intimacy and trust we share has made me the strong heterosexual man I am today. I am blessed to be able to draw from brothers who are White, Indian, Cuban, German and Black.

I’m especially thankful for every woman who has ever built a relationship with me. You taught me love and respect the right way and made me less of a dog. I learned how to be intimate without having sex and I learned to appreciate beauty.

I am very thankful for the three children I have. They are all little models of me. I’m learning so much from them. They make me a better man.

I’ve saved the best for last. I am most thankful for my relationship with Jesus Christ. All of who I am and who I hope to be rests in Him. Christ, you represent all for me and I love you with every inch of who I am.

Please take time to share your thanks with the people who have earned it!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted in Faith, Free Will, God, Iraq War, Jesus Christ, Justice, Life, Pain, Penalties, Politics, Racism, society, Truth

The someone who is worse

There is so much pain in this world.

From spiritual pain to physical pain, we struggle to deal with reality. We all utilize some coping mechanism for others to judge. We can’t seem to understand that we hurt.

You have heard people say, “no matter what you are facing, someone is going through something worse.” Well, I wonder who is on the tail end of that statement? Who is the final worse? Is it the man in  Iraq who lost his family during the bombings? We called it collateral damage. I wonder what he called it. Or is it the person whose siblings are all strung out on crack cocaine? Or maybe it’s the mother in Africa who watched seven of her 10 children die of starvation? Maybe it’s the 11-year-old boy who repeatedly got raped by his uncle. Could it be the teenager who gave herself an abortion on the bathroom floor? The gay guy who was beaten to death? The recent Black man who suffered lethal injection in Georgia for a crime that seven of his nine accusers recanted their testimony and no physical evidence connected him to?

I know it’s difficult to read these things. All of these are actual events that appeared in a newspaper within the last 6 years. Unfortunately, there were many more. I keep wondering who would be on the tail end of that quote. Who could be doing so bad as to trump every other bad happening in the world?

It’s gotta be the person who denies Christ.