Month: August 2013

A Matter Of Perspective

Posted on Updated on


 

 

It was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that most notably stated, “all progress is precarious and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem.” I had never contemplated my personal success as precarious progress, or that my success to this point could bring any non-materialistic problems, but I now find myself, like many of my fellow successful, young, black men, in a moment of crisis

The exact contours of my story do not parallel every young successful black male’s life, for some their path diverged in high school or college, for others they did not feel like an anomaly until they took their first job after school, and still for some the crisis has yet to make itself apparent. By way of example, I have several black male friends who recently graduated from law school and are trying to figure out what their impact will be with their newly attained degree. At the same time, I have black male colleagues who work at major Wall Street firms and are now trying to figure out where they should be spending their time and energy. Yet, despite the differences, the common threads of educational attainment, exceptionalism, and ambition are apparent. And now many of us have realized that we are in a metaphorical no-man’s land, where no one can guide us or point the way.

 

We are now forced to make it up as we go along and for many of us this is a nerve-wracking reality. Up to this point, we simply did the next logical thing, graduated from high school, went to college, took a career-oriented job track where we would be an associate for a few years before trying to move up, or went to professional school where we would pass the requisite exams and enter our professional careers. But now that we are here, where there is no next logical step, simply a vast number of opportunities, many of us find ourselves trying to answer the larger questions of life, like what I am supposed to do while I am alive, in order to gain a sense of direction.

I am sure that everyone who continues to be ambitious and pursue ever far-fetched goals eventually comes to the place that I just described. So, what makes it a crisis for young, successful black men, but simply a part of life for some others? The short answer is that it is a crisis because there are so few examples of high levels of success from which black men can mold a path.

Over the last 200 years of American history, there has been one African-American male President, one African-American male Attorney General, one African-American male Secretary of State, and two African-American male Supreme Court Justices. There is currently one African-American male governor, there have only been four in American History. Five (0.83%) of the Fortune 500 CEOs are African-American men. Approximately 1% of all law firm partners are African-American men. There has been one African-American male Surgeon General in American history. And fewer than six percent of all high-ranking military officers are African-American.

All of these statistics are an attempt to paint the picture that these laudable successes reinforce the crisis. The rarity of these accomplishments sends the message to similarly aspiring black men that getting into these positions comes with no guidebook, nor general path. Some might suggest that for many of the positions I cited there is no general path for anyone because so few people ever rise to those levels of success. However, this critique misses the point. For each position I named, there is a more or less common route, but those routes have not applied to African-American men who attained those positions.

I want to switch the tone from my perspective to a spiritual perspective to gaze into the scriptures to see how God views using peoples perspective verses His.

Exodus 14:1-14

The Message (MSG)
The Story and Song of Salvation

14 1-2 God spoke to Moses: “Tell the Israelites to turn around and make camp at Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. Camp on the shore of the sea opposite Baal Zephon.

3-4 “Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are lost; they’re confused. The wilderness has closed in on them.’ Then I’ll make Pharaoh’s heart stubborn again and he’ll chase after them. And I’ll use Pharaoh and his army to put my Glory on display. Then the Egyptians will realize that I am God.”

And that’s what happened.

5-7 When the king of Egypt was told that the people were gone, he and his servants changed their minds. They said, “What have we done, letting Israel, our slave labor, go free?” So he had his chariots harnessed up and got his army together. He took six hundred of his best chariots, with the rest of the Egyptian chariots and their drivers coming along.

8-9 God made Pharaoh king of Egypt stubborn, determined to chase the Israelites as they walked out on him without even looking back. The Egyptians gave chase and caught up with them where they had made camp by the sea—all Pharaoh’s horse-drawn chariots and their riders, all his foot soldiers there at Pi Hahiroth opposite Baal Zephon.

10-12 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up and saw them—Egyptians! Coming at them!

They were totally afraid. They cried out in terror to God. They told Moses, “Weren’t the cemeteries large enough in Egypt so that you had to take us out here in the wilderness to die? What have you done to us, taking us out of Egypt? Back in Egypt didn’t we tell you this would happen? Didn’t we tell you, ‘Leave us alone here in Egypt—we’re better off as slaves in Egypt than as corpses in the wilderness.’”

13 Moses spoke to the people: “Don’t be afraid. Stand firm and watch God do his work of salvation for you today. Take a good look at the Egyptians today for you’re never going to see them again.

14 God will fight the battle for you.
And you? You keep your mouths shut!”

Are you part of the problem or part of the solution? Whether that question is posed during a business meeting, a church council, or a family discussion, it often springs from a sense of exasperation in trying to comprehend why someone has acted in a certain way. More often than not, the answer is a matter of perspective.

If we had been among the Israelites leaving Egypt after four hundred years of slavery, we would likely have seen Pharaoh as part of the problem–and he was. yet God saw something more. Inexplicably, the Lord told Moses to take the people back towards Egypt and camp with their backs to the Red Sea so Pharaoh would attack them. The Israelites thought they were going to die, but God said that He would gain glory and honor for Himself through Pharaoh and all his army, “and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord”.

When we simply cannot understand why God allows circumstances that threaten to overwhelm us, it’s good to remember that He has our good and His glory in mind. If we can say, “Father, please enable me to trust and honor you in this situation”, then we will be in concert with His perspective and plan.

Your words of pure, eternal truth
Shall yet unshaken stay,
When all that man has thought or planned,
Like chaff shall pass away.

Faith helps us accept what we cannot understand……

Advertisements

Visualization!!!!!!

Posted on Updated on



When I watched this movie I could relate to everything Pi was experiencing because I too was raised in a home of multi cultural beliefs. I use to ponder as a child why I had to sale bean pies and pray so many times a day facing the east. I use to ask my dad why we couldn’t use Afro Sheen products as our friends. I would have to attend bible study and prayer meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday nights and then on Thursday go to the mosque and perform neighborhood watch detail and sale the final call newspapers. I would have to pray with my mom and still maintain the strict disciplines of Islam.

I remember asking the Pastor of my mom’s church, which was the church of God and Christ why is there so much confusion associated with God and religion? He said to me that God will reveal Himself and the path in which He has planned for all of His called children. I never understood any of it. I just wanted to get out of that house and find my way on my own. Once I was excepted into the navy and had chose the University I wanted to attend I began to feel God’s presence for myself and things began to unfold. I had my own visions and they weren’t forced upon me.


What happened to me after graduation from Syracuse was not viewed by me as God being cruel, but quite the contrary. I saw it as God being intimately acquainted with the process of developing my life. I maintained my thoughts and vision for my life without any outside influences. I endured racism and hardships while at Syracuse. I experienced all sought of attacks on my ethnicity in the navy. I prayed to the only God that was calling me towards Him and that God’s name is Jesus. He used every circumstance to mold me for the tragedies that waited for me in Libya and Kuwait and Desert Storm. He knew what Iran was going to be like for me. This movie The Life of Pi spoke volumes to my inner man about survival of having faith and finding your way to God with vision and that is my opinion.

Ecclesiastes 7:25-29

The Message (MSG)

How to Interpret the Meaning of Life

23-25 I tested everything in my search for wisdom. I set out to be wise, but it was beyond me, far beyond me, and deep—oh so deep! Does anyone ever find it? I concentrated with all my might, studying and exploring and seeking wisdom—the meaning of life. I also wanted to identify evil and stupidity, foolishness and craziness.

26-29 One discovery: A woman can be a bitter pill to swallow, full of seductive scheming and grasping. The lucky escape her; the undiscerning get caught. At least this is my experience—what I, the Quester, have pieced together as I’ve tried to make sense of life. But the wisdom I’ve looked for I haven’t found. I didn’t find one man or woman in a thousand worth my while. Yet I did spot one ray of light in this murk: God made men and women true and upright; we’re the ones who’ve made a mess of things.
untitled

Major James Nesmeth, and average weekend golfer shooting in the mid-to-low-nineties, dreamed of improving his golf game. But for seven years, he never touched a club nor set foot on a fairway. During those years, however, he developed an amazingly effective technique for improving his game. The first time he returned to a course, he shot an astonishing seventy-four! He had cut twenty strokes off his average.

What was his secret? Visualization. For seven years, Major Nesmeth was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. He was imprisoned in a cage 4 1/2 feet high and 5 feet long. Most of those years, he saw no one, talked to no one, and had no physical activity. He knew he had to find some way to occupy his mind, or he would lose his sanity, so he played eighteen holes at the imaginary country club of his dreams. He imagined every detail… every shot. And not once did he miss a shot or putt. Seven days a week, four hours a day, he played eighteen holes in his mind.

Your dreams for the future will be much more likely to come true if you visualize your goals and imagine reaching them. you will be training your mind to produce successful thoughts and ideas. On the clarity of your ideas depends the scope of your success in any endeavor. What goals do I have that would benefit from visualizing success be? I will share that with you. I have been on house arrest for 355 days and my wife and I have had to use visualization coupled with faith to get to this point of our trek. We have found our God to be incredible. We lost everything we had acquired before this debacle. We have been sustained by God all the way through this time of uncertainty. We visualized a bill for felon reformation, we visualized us being able to worship and go to church while serving our time of captivity, we visualized my wife making the Dean’s list while being allowed to continue her education, we visualized restoration of having a car to get to our appointments and to do the work of the Lord. We have visualized getting a LLC business to employ those suffering from the effects of having a felony arrest of their record.

All things begin with your thoughts. When the thoughts are distorted your future will be distorted. Leave your fears beside the road and hit your knees with brokenness and confess all you need is the Lord to speak to you about your plight and He is faithful to do what He said.

Manifested to Destroy the Works of the Devil!

Posted on


imagesCA9ZTOTC

1 John 3:8 (KJV) He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

Jesus did not come to break the stronghold that the devil had on the human race, but to destroy the works of the devil. Something broken can be put back together, however, when something is destroyed it can never be put back together. Jesus came to set us free from the power of the enemy, the devil. John 8:32 (KJV) And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:36 (KJV) If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

I. What did Jesus come to destroy? First, the power of sin.
A. He laid down His Life, shedding His blood to destroy the power of sin in our lives. Hebrews 9:22 (KJV) And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
B. John 8:36 (KJV) If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

II. Destroy sickness with His ministry and life. He paid the price.

images

A. 1 Peter 2:24 (KJV) Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
B. Sickness comes from the devil, cancer etc.
1. I believe that every evil thing comes from the devil and the curse.
2. Every good thing comes from God. James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
3. Divine healing comes from God and is good with the price paid in full by the stripes of Jesus.
4. However, many times we open the door to sickness by not taking care of the temple of the Holy Spirit, which is every born again believer.
(1 Cor 6:19 KJV) What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

III. Destroy poverty. (2 Cor 8:9 KJV) For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
A. God does expect you and I all to be millionaires, but He does want to meet all our needs. Philippians 4:19 (KJV) But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
B. God’s plan though is for us to put Him first. Matthew 6:33 (KJV) But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
C. His Will seems to be the same for us. 3 John 1:2 (KJV) Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

IV. From all fear. Jesus came to destroy fear and through His Word give us faith
2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV) For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
A. We need not fear anything from the devil.
1. We are not to fear demon power.
2. Witchcraft. Black magic and all the black arts.
a. We also should avoid these things and live and walk in the Spirit and Word.
3. Nor any of the evil crafts. Why not! 1 John 4:4 (KJV) Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

V. Destroy the devil.
When Robinson Crusoe’s good man Friday asked him, “Why doesn’t God destroy the devil?” Robinson Crusoe gave him the right answer, the only answer, the great answer. He said, “God will destroy him.”
(Rev 20:10 KJV) And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
(Rev 20:14 KJV) And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
(Rev 20:15 KJV) And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
A. Let us open our hearts to all God has for us. Do not give any place to the enemy and be filled with he Holy Spirit.

We can rejoice and praise the Lord for all He has done through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ!

FBI Agent Claims Anonymous hacking Group Is On Lockdown & Water Where Is It?

Posted on Updated on


ANonymous_mask

FBI officials are claiming to have all but shut down hacker collective Anonymous, citing arrests of key players within the collective as a major deterrent.

Assistant Special Agent Austin P. Berglas works in the FBI’s cyber division and told Huffington Post on Wednesday that the arrests last year of five hackers belonging to splinter group Lulz Security had a “huge deterrent effect” on the collective.

“The movement is still there, and they’re still yacking on Twitter and posting things, but you don’t hear about these guys coming forward with those large breaches,” Berglas told the Post. “It’s just not happening, and that’s because of the dismantlement of the largest players.”

And yet on Thursday, Anonymous suggested—they just don’t claim responsibility like they used to—that they attempted to disrupt British government websites to protest treatment of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The British say the group didn’t get far in its attempt, Reuters reported. Assange is holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London and British officials vow to arrest him if he emerges.

Experts say there’s no doubt the arrests had an effect, but Anonymous is still very active.

“They could easily emerge again as a force to contend with,” McGill University professor Gabriella Coleman told the Huffington Post.

LulzSec, as the group is known, made headlines when they claimed responsibility for hacking the web sites for PBS News Hour, the Fox reality show The X Factor, Sony Pictures and others.

The group posted a phony news story on the venerable Public Broadcasting Station’s news show’s site about famously dead rapper Tupac Shakur still being alive and living in New Zealand.

Colorado-River-reservoirs-631

God is not to be mocked nor is He playing with the Stewarts of all this creation. Take a good look at what is taking place all around us with this groaning atmosphere and world.

From its source high in the Rocky Mountains, the Colorado River channels water south nearly 1,500 miles, over falls, through deserts and canyons, to the lush wetlands of a vast delta in Mexico and into the Gulf of California.

That is, it did so for six million years.

Then, beginning in the 1920s, Western states began divvying up the Colorado’s water, building dams and diverting the flow hundreds of miles, to Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix and other fast-growing cities. The river now serves 30 million people in seven U.S. states and Mexico, with 70 percent or more of its water siphoned off to irrigate 3.5 million acres of cropland.

The damming and diverting of the Colorado, the nation’s seventh-longest river, may be seen by some as a triumph of engineering and by others as a crime against nature, but there are ominous new twists. The river has been running especially low for the past decade, as drought has gripped the Southwest. It still tumbles through the Grand Canyon, much to the delight of rafters and other visitors. And boaters still roar across Nevada and Arizona’s Lake Mead, 110 miles long and formed by the Hoover Dam. But at the lake’s edge they can see lines in the rock walls, distinct as bathtub rings, showing the water level far lower than it once was—some 130 feet lower, as it happens, since 2000. Water resource officials say some of the reservoirs fed by the river will never be full again.

Climate change will likely decrease the river’s flow by 5 to 20 percent in the next 40 years, says geoscientist Brad Udall, director of the University of Colorado Western Water Assessment. Less precipitation in the Rocky Mountains will yield less water to begin with. Droughts will last longer. Higher overall air temperatures will mean more water lost to evaporation. “You’re going to see earlier runoff and lower flows later in the year,” so water will be more scarce during the growing season, says Udall.

Other regions—the Mediterranean, southern Africa, parts of South America and Asia—also face fresh-water shortages, perhaps outright crises. In the Andes Mountains of South America, glaciers are melting so quickly that millions of people in Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador are expected to lose a major source of fresh water by 2020. In southwestern Australia, which is in the midst of its worst drought in 750 years, fresh water is so scarce the city of Perth is building plants to remove the salt from seawater. More than one billion people around the world now live in water-stressed regions, according to the World Health Organization, a number that is expected to double by 2050, when an estimated nine billion people will inhabit the planet.

“There’s not enough fresh water to handle nine billion people at current consumption levels,” says Patricia Mulroy, a board member of the Colorado-based Water Research Foundation, which promotes the development of safe, affordable drinking water worldwide. People need a “fundamental, cultural attitude change about water supply in the Southwest,” she adds. “It’s not abundant, it’s not reliable, it’s not going to always be there.”

Mulroy is also general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, which serves two million people in greater Las Vegas. The city is one of the largest in the Colorado River basin, but its share of the river is relatively small; when officials allocated the Colorado’s water to different states in 1922, no one expected so many people to be living in the Nevada desert. So Nevadans have gotten used to coping with limitations. They can’t water their yards or wash their cars whenever they like; communities follow strict watering schedules. The water authority pays homeowners to replace water-gulping lawns with rocks and drought-tolerant plants. Golf courses adhere to water restrictions. Almost all wastewater is reused or returned to the Colorado River.

In 1922, conservationist Aldo Leopold paddled a canoe through the great delta at the mouth of the Colorado River. He wrote about a “wealth of fowl and fish” and “still waters…of a deep emerald hue.” In Leopold’s time, the delta stretched over nearly 3,000 square miles; today, it covers fewer than 250, and the only water flowing through it, except after heavy rains, is the runoff from alfalfa, lettuce and melon fields and pecan orchards.

The river has become a perfect symbol of what happens when we ask too much of a limited resource: it disappears. In fact, the Colorado no longer regularly reaches the sea.

Invasive plants, such as salt cedar and cattails, now dominate the delta, a landscape of seemingly endless mud flats where forests used to stand. And in the Gulf of California itself, shellfish, shrimp and waterfowl have declined dramatically as fresh water has dried up.

Peter McBride has spent two years photographing the great river, paddling a kayak through its headwaters, flying in small planes over cities and fields, rafting through the Grand Canyon and using his own two feet to traverse the delta. In his career, McBride, who lives near Basalt, Colorado, has taken pictures in 50 nations on six continents for magazines, books and films, but he relished the chance to turn his camera on the river that fed his childhood home, a Colorado cattle ranch. “I never knew much about where the river went and where it ended,” he says. In his work, McBride depicts not only the extraordinary scale of the human impact on the river but also the considerable beauty that remains.

McBride knew the delta was suffering, but he was surprised when he visited it for the first time. “I spent two weeks walking the most parched, barren earth you can imagine,” he recalls. “It’s sad to see the mighty Colorado River come to a dribble and end some 50 miles north of the sea.”

A Collage Of Events 50 Years later!!!

Posted on


frsubdued-2nd-defend
Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) returned to the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday to issue a new call for civil rights legislation, 50 years after spoke as a 23-year-old at the March on Washington.

“Fifty years ago, I stood right here in this spot,” Lewis told the thousands who gathered on the Mall to commemorate the March. “Twenty-three years old, had all of my hair and a few pounds lighter.”

“Those days, for the most part, are gone, but we have another fight,” Lewis said. “There are forces who want to take us back. But we can’t go back.”

The veteran House Democrat called out the Supreme Court decision in June to invalidate a key part of the Voting Rights Act.

“I am not going to stand by and let the Supreme Court take the right to vote away from us,” Lewis said. He urged the crowd to “make some noise” and “get in the way” to protect universal access to the polls.

“The vote is precious,” he said. “It is almost sacred. It is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have in our democracy, and we have to use it.”

Lewis was 23 when he spoke at the March in 1963. A year-and-a-half later, he was beaten by police in Alabama as he led civil rights demonstrators across the bridge in Selma.

He spoke on Saturday alongside other senior Democrats, black leaders, union officials and others at one of several commemorations of the 50th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech.


A group of African-American activists, community leaders and college professors are calling for the boycott of Koch Industries as a way to honor slain Florida teen Trayvon Martin, pushing for continued dialogue on race relations nationwide.

While speaking at an event titled “From Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin: A Town Hall Meeting on Black Bodies and American Racism” at Washington, D.C.’s Woolly Mammoth Theater, a panel of prominent African-Americans gathered to examine ways to combat the racism that they say led to George Zimmerman’s acquittal last month. When asked about the failed boycotts of places like Disney World in Orlando, Fla., one panelist revealed her efforts to combat the proponents of “Stand Your Ground” laws.

“We’re asking people not to buy from that company that created those ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws,” said the Rev. Carolyn Boyd, an adjunct pastor at Plymouth Congregation United Church of Christ in Washington, D.C. ”Y’all know that company with those people, the Kochs. Paper towels and all those products that we buy — Walmart — all the time, that make those people rich and make us poor.”

The pastor directed the audience to stop purchasing things like Angel Soft toilet paper, Brawny paper towels and Vanity Fair napkins — all subsidiaries of Koch Industries — in an initiative called “No-Buy Fridays.”

“…We begin to elevate our power to say, ‘No, I’m not buying your products because you’re harming the black community,’” Boyd said.

The town hall, sponsored by Rock the Vote, among other organizations, addressed concerns from members of the African-American community and featured a panel of six speakers: Boyd, Louisa Davis, Jessica Frances Dukes, Dr. Dennis Rogers, Dawn Ursula and Gabriel Rojo. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) was also in attendance for a brief period of time.

The group acted to facilitate a dialogue on the actions of Zimmerman — the 29-year-old Hispanic man who shot and killed Martin, an African-American — and called Martin’s death the catalyst for a “renewed civil rights movement.”

“To me, it’s a continuation of a tough conversation … that puts more to our argument that there can never be justice on stolen land,” said Rogers, an assistant professor of political science at Bowie State University.

While many on the panel believed Zimmerman killed Martin because of his race, others saw it as a failure of the justice system, faulting the jury’s inability to see past Martin’s black skin and Zimmerman’s white complexion. The six-person jury consisted of five white women and one Hispanic woman.

“Emmett Till was a young prince who broke our hearts years ago, but now, I guess what I want to say is I don’t want to blame George Zimmerman,” said Davis, an adjunct professor at Montgomery College. “I want us to look at the system that let him free and not make it personal … It’s the propagation of fear and we have to take our legal system back from fear.”

Following Zimmerman’s acquittal, many African-Americans took to the streets of major metro political cities nationwide in protest. The Rev. Al Sharpton called on the Department of Justice to bring up civil rights charges against Zimmerman. And even President Obama spoke about his disappointment surrounding the not guilty verdict, saying Martin could have been him.

Still, many remain standing in solidarity with Martin. Earlier this month, Ebony magazine unveiled four tribute covers to the Florida teen, one featuring Martin’s family and three featuring well known African-American men and their sons and the words “We Are Trayvon.” Additionally, Oprah Winfrey spoke openly about the case with theGrio’s Chris Witherspoon, saying Martin paralleled Till.
inside_a_democrats_head_zps44c5dcac

First Lady Michelle Obama has invited Common who called for the burning of George Bush to perform at the White House.

Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr, who uses the stage name ‘Common’, will be welcomed at an event celebrating American poetry on Wednesday.

He is expected to take part in rap workshops with schoolchildren in the afternoon before performing in the evening.

In footage on YouTube he is seen calling for the burning of the former president.

‘Burn a Bush cos for peace he no push no button,’ the hip-hop artist raps in one video, which has more than 800,000 views. Other song lyrics reportedly include threats to shoot the police.

The controversial rapper hails from President Obama’s hometown Chicago and has also rapped about the former Illinois senator.

The 39-year-old featured in a video called ‘Yes We Can’, which was made in support of Mr Obama’s 2008 presidential election campaign.

‘Common’, who is a vegan, has won two Grammy awards for his music and has worked with artists including Kanye West.

President Obama and his wife Michelle will host the gathering of poets, musicians and artists at the White House on Wednesday night.

Elizabeth Alexander, Billy Collins, Rita Dove, Kenneth Goldsmith, Alison Knowles, Aimee Mann and Jill Scott will also perform.

The White House said the readings and performances will highlight poetry’s influence on American culture.

In 2009, Mrs. Obama inaugurated a White House music series that has celebrated jazz, country, classical, Motown and Latin music.

I wish it was God’s will for me and my wife to have been in attendance for this march and to celebrate with some good old Go! Go! music and Bar B.Q. woo!!! I miss home. I still have fun with Jesus by my side without drugs and alcohol.

My Thorns Have Become My Praise!!!

Posted on Updated on


I have received full payment and even more. (Philippians 4:18)

It is now T-15 days and counting until my wife and I are able to hit the ground running for Jesus. We have suffered greatly in our inner persons while serving our house arrest time, but we have also been blessed tremendously by God in study and increase of knowledge.

In one of my wife’s gardening books there is a chapter with a very interesting title: “Flowers That Grow in the Shade.” It deals with those areas of a garden that never catch direct sunlight, and it list the kinds of flowers that not only grow in the dark corners but actually seem to like them and to flourish in them.

There are similarities here to the spiritual world. There are Christians who seem to blossom when their material circumstances become the most harsh and severe. My wife and I lost everything fighting this case we have now served 350 days out of 365. We have faced sheer destitution and couldn’t rely on our own strength to provide. Like these flowers we have grown in the darkness of uncertainty and shade. If this were not true, how could we otherwise explain some of the experiences of the apostle Paul?

When he wrote the above verse, he was a prisoner in Rome. The primary mission of his life appeared to have been broken. But it was in this persistent darkness that flowers began to show their faces in bright and fascinating glory. Paul may have seen them before, growing along the open road, but certainly never in the incomparable strength and beauty in which they now appeared. And words of promise opened their treasures to him in ways he had never before experienced.

Among those treasures were such wonderful things as Christ’s grace, love, joy, and peace, and it seemed as though they had needed the circumstance of darkness to draw out their secret and inner glory. The dark and dingy prison had become the home of the revealed truth of God, and Paul began to realize as never before the width and the wealth of his spiritual inheritance.

Haven’t we all known men and women who begin to wear strength and hopefulness like a regal robe as soon as they must endure a season of darkness and solitude? People like that may be put in prison by the world, but their treasure will be locked away with them, for true treasure cannot be locked out of their lives. Their material condition may look like a desert, but “the desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom”(Isaiah 35:1)

Every flower, even the most beautiful, has its own shadow beneath it as it bask in the sunlight. Where there is much light, I’ve learned there is also much shade.

An Obstacle Inventory

Posted on


rsz_not-my-fault_8676

2 Corinthians 6:3-10

The Message (MSG)

Staying at Our Post

6 1-10 Companions as we are in this work with you, we beg you, please don’t squander one bit of this marvelous life God has given us. God reminds us,

I heard your call in the nick of time;
The day you needed me, I was there to help.

Well, now is the right time to listen, the day to be helped. Don’t put it off; don’t frustrate God’s work by showing up late, throwing a question mark over everything we’re doing. Our work as God’s servants gets validated—or not—in the details. People are watching us as we stay at our post, alertly, unswervingly . . . in hard times, tough times, bad times; when we’re beaten up, jailed, and mobbed; working hard, working late, working without eating; with pure heart, clear head, steady hand; in gentleness, holiness, and honest love; when we’re telling the truth, and when God’s showing his power; when we’re doing our best setting things right; when we’re praised, and when we’re blamed; slandered, and honored; true to our word, though distrusted; ignored by the world, but recognized by God; terrifically alive, though rumored to be dead; beaten within an inch of our lives, but refusing to die; immersed in tears, yet always filled with deep joy; living on handouts, yet enriching many; having nothing, having it all.

untitled

Romans 14:13

The Message (MSG)

13-14 Forget about deciding what’s right for each other. Here’s what you need to be concerned about: that you don’t get in the way of someone else, making life more difficult than it already is. I’m convinced—Jesus convinced me!—that everything as it is in itself is holy. We, of course, by the way we treat it or talk about it, can contaminate it.

Faultfinding is a popular pastime, and unfortunately a lot of us find it’s easy to join the fun. Concentrating on the warts of others is a great way to feel better about ourselves. And that’s just the problem. Avoiding the faults that need to be fixed in our own lives not only stunts our spiritual growth but also obstructs God’s work through us.

God’s effectiveness through our lives is enhanced or hindered by the way we live. It’s no wonder, then, that Paul made a concerted effort to ” put no obstacle in anyone’s way”. For him there was nothing more important than his usefulness for Christ in the lives of others. Anything that got in the way of that was dispensable.

If you want to be authentic and useful for God, take an obstacle inventory. Sometimes obstacles are things that in and of themselves may be legitimate, yet in certain contexts maybe inappropriate. But sin is clearly obstructive to others. Gossip, slander, boasting, bitterness, greed, abuse, anger, selfishness, and revenge all close the hearts of those around us to the message of God through us.

So, replace your faults with the winsome ways of Jesus. That will enable others to see your “no fault” Savior more clearly. Wherever I am, whatever I do, O God, please help me to live In a way that makes me credible as your representative.

Followers of Jesus are most effective when attitudes and actions are aligned with His….