This question is something we ask ourselves all the time. It’s a question that some of our realist friends will ask us. This is just a question I think even God wonders from time to time. What’s really good? The answer to these questions needs to be only one thing….perseverance. We find in the Bible in James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” In other words, what’s really good is that I have been enduring some trials of all different matters in my life (from getting cheated on, someone who cheated, laughed at from classmates, lied to from my close friends, looked at as an after-thought, someone that couldn’t pay rent every month, ugly, lonely, depressed, unsatisfied in my marriage, created to fail, persecuted by my church family and list goes on) where it doesn’t look like the winning side is going to becoming my way. This can be hard for some people and just thinking about it happening to one of you makes me feel sad to know that you’ve endured it. 

The trials always comes when we are working to stand firm within our faith. I have seen the enemy at work within my own life and it is nothing to brag about because there were moments where I also wanted to quit and just say “Well God that was a good run. Sorry I let you down”. Those were some tough moments but what held me up to continue was knowing that there was something still inside of me that wouldn’t let go of knowing that all things are working for Bryant’s good. It is at those moments that I would encourage you to know that even through the moments of test and trials, heartache and disappointment that it is your faith that will push you through those issues. It’s our faith in Jesus that we can say that I am fearfully and wonderfully made or that no weapon formed against me shall prosper or that we will never put more on me than I can bear…’s when our faith begins to produces strength to persevere. 

So when people are wondering what’s really good with you, you now have the joy to be like Paul and boast about your weaknesses because when you are weak you are made strong. What’s really good is that God is allowing me to see how awesome I am, what’s really good is that my family is jacked up with different mental health issues but we are still holding on, they may want to give up and so do I but God reminds me daily that he’s able. 

What’s really good is God answering our prayers. Please don’t give up the faith for yours in producing a spirit of perseverance so that you can endure. We got this in the bag.

Recently I was reading a well-known scripture in Mark 5: 21-41.  The young daughter of Jairus, one of the synagogue leaders, was dying, and this propelled him to approach Jesus in a crowd and beg him to heal his daughter.  On the way to his house, Jesus felt the touch of the woman who had the issue of blood, which caused Him to stop and assure her of her healing.  I am certain Jairus was going crazy with this delay, and even if he didn’t say it, he had to be thinking “My daughter is dying and You need to come now!”  When they eventually got to Jairus’s house, his daughter had already died.  But Jesus saw it differently and in verse 41, it says, “Holding her hand, He said to her ‘Talitha koum,” which means, ‘Little girl, get up!”

Most of us, me included, see this as a scripture about healing and raising someone from the dead, and it is.  But what resonated within me when I read it a couple of weeks ago was, “little girl.”  “Talitha” means “little girl” in Aramaic, and what it touched in me was the “little girl” that still resides in me.  I may be 61 years old, but there are some things that happen in life that make the little girl rise up in me.  Our childhood experiences, whether good or bad, can shape our current ways of thinking.  My childhood was a good one with my family.  I had loving parents that I still love dearly, even though they’ve passed on (funny how your love doesn’t die even after the loved one does).  But it was childhood experiences with certain friends or classmates that were the most negative for me.

For instance, my kindergarten teacher handed out a paper with different pictures on it and told us to use all different colors when we colored it.  I decided to color mine with just the color green (I have no idea why).  She took my paper, tore it up in front of the class, and announced that I had done it the wrong way.  Another defining incident, when I was around 11, was at 4-H camp.  Normally I loved 4-H camp, but this year there was a counselor who did not seem to like me and would eliminate me from playing a team game if the two teams had to be even.  Finally, other kids complained that she always chose me to sit out.  When I was a teenager, I recall hanging out on a friend of a friend’s porch with a bunch of girls.  One by one they all got up and went into her house, and then called out to me through the door, “Alisa, we’re going to be in here for a while.”  I had to walk down the steps and up the sidewalk, knowing they didn’t want to be with me anymore.  In high school I had very skinny legs and braces, so the nicknames “motor mouth” and “bird legs” were often said in the school’s hallways.  As an aside, my mother told me my thin legs would work in my good stead someday, so don’t you worry about your skinny legs.  She was right. 😊

We carry forward into adulthood things that have hurt our feelings or embarrassed us as children.  Then when we have hurtful or embarrassing experiences as an adult, the little girl or little boy rise up in us.  For instance, I got a job one time that a co-worker did not think I deserved and told me so.  Of course, my “little girl” feelings of embarrassment, hurt, and intimidation all came up to the surface; but I had to tell myself to get up and rise above it  And recently I almost drove through a red light with my family in the car because I was following the car in front of me like a lemming.  I got terribly embarrassed and reacted angrily toward my husband, Frank, who kept me from going through the light.  Instead of being thankful to him, I reacted out of embarrassment.

And speaking of Frank, I’ve learned that childhood experiences can affect men in adulthood, too.  Frank’s family moved a lot when he was a child, which brings with it the emotional effort required to make new friends in a new town and encounter new situations often.  These experiences can be pulled into his adult encounters when he is faced with new situations.  I told him that he is the most introverted extrovert I know. 

A pivotal moment of realizing I could rise above my little girl experiences happened when I was in my 30’s and I think of it often.  I was talking to my mother on the phone, describing a mild childhood experience with her that still bothered me.  She was quiet for a few seconds and then said something life-changing for me.  “Honey,” she said, “you’re all ‘growed’ up now.  It’s not my fault anymore.”  That was a “Talitha koum” moment for me.  I realized I am ‘growed’ up, and I needed to get up and move forward.

I found out the term “Talitha” is interchangeable between girl and boy in its definition.  In addition, it has another meaning:  “little wounded lamb.”  This is precious.  We are all little wounded lambs inside from things that have hurt us, whether they happened in our childhood or just last week.  What we can do, as wounded lambs, is depend on the best Shepherd of all.  Jesus will help us get up, He will help us to not be leveled by others or incidents, and he will help us move forward.

  He will hold our hands and say, “Talitha koum.”

One morning I was in prayer and was expressing some frustrations with the Lord about my past experiences and about things that had recently taken place in my life.  Of course, after listing one or two things, before I knew it, I was going down a roll-call of issues and concerns.  Note to self – once you start venting to God, it’s very possible that you will vent about the things that you thought you were over. You also start comparing your life with the lives of others. It’s the nature of the flesh.  But at the end of this prayer-rant, the ultimate message to the Lord was that, I felt short-changed.  I expressed this with tears flowing and resentment in my heart. 

Immediately, after my confession, He spoke to me in a still calm manner and said, “you are never short changed in Me, because I make all things work together for your good!”  I was so taken aback by this…I felt convicted – you know that feeling you get after you do something, that you know is displeasing to God.  That’s conviction.

So what does it mean to be short-changed?  What exactly was I saying to God? Short-changed means to be cheated or deprived of something that is owed.  

So how was I feeling short-changed? The idea that I had to take care of my sickly father was one issue. I remember having a conversation with my grandmother, about assuming responsibility for his care, as it was too overwhelming for her.  At the time, she was the care-giver for my father and grandfather.  On the one hand, I knew that it was too much for her, but on the other hand, I didn’t grow up with my dad, so I didn’t want the responsibility. That sounds awful, but it’s real. There was resentment, anger, hurt…in my heart. Why didn’t I grow up with my parents? Why did my father have to get sick? Why didn’t he want me….remember, I started going down that list…why did I have to be short-changed! Why couldn’t my relationship with my father be like so-and-so?


Recently, my father passed away, and after his death, I began to reflect.  It hit me – God DIDN’T short-change me at all.  When He says that He makes ‘all things work together,’ He really does make all things work together for our good (Romans 8:28).  We don’t realize it, but He does it when we’re not looking😊 The word of God says something that’s reassuring, ‘no good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly’ (Psalms 84:11).    We may not feel like we had the life that someone else had, or we had the relationship with our parents that we wanted. Maybe we didn’t experience many positive outcomes, but note that God still doesn’t cheat us.  Looking back, my father was there for pivotal moments, while here with me.  He attended sporting events, went on a road-trip with me, attended BBQs, family dinners, and even attended my graduation and graduation party.  We laughed together and had special moments in the five years that he was here.

So, be encouraged because one of the other things God shared with me, at a later time, was that He knows the details of our life. He knows our strengths, our weaknesses, what we need, etc.  God has perfect timing, and despite that we may feel forgotten, God doesn’t forget our prayers.  When I was a little girl, I prayed that God would bring my family back together.  Thirty years later, that’s exactly what He did.  Note to self – God doesn’t forget our cares and concerns, expressed through prayer.  He works everything out for our good and He will NEVER cheat us out of the life that we are suppose to have.  Hang in there and remember that He will never withhold any good thing from us and we will never be short-changed as long as we walk with Him!

Years ago, I thought God had given me a title to a book, workshop or something. The title was, “Having a Glass-Half-Empty Mind, Living a Glass-Half-Full Life. This represented how I viewed life. Yes, this mindset is not of God. It is really the opposite of God’s Word and what He has for us/me. There are so many scriptures that challenge us to view life more positively. Believe me, I have read and quoted them frequently. In fact, reading and reciting God’s promises and assurances inspires me to push through my natural (flesh) tendency to look at ½ empty and taste the world of ½ full. What is this phenomenon? Is focusing on the “half empty” scenario a form of protection from disappointment? Yes.  Is there a hole in my trust in God? Of course.  But thank God, He always sends someone, a word of wisdom, a testimony, and an abundance of scriptures to bring me back into His Purpose. But ½ empty represents how I grew up viewing life. When I was very young, an artist in a department store etched a picture of me. When she was done, I didn’t believe it looked like me: a very solemn face. My mother in her very frank manner said something like this, “You know Lael is a sad sack.” Gotta love my mom, she didn’t pull any punches. The realization that this ½ empty mindset started years ago in my life.

At 18, I was diagnosed with a chronic illness, Rheumatoid Arthritis.  I have been fighting this chronic ailment for 46 years. Anyway, I don’t want to focus on that but on an example of a “half-full” glass. Some thirty ago when my daughters were still young, my rheumatologist made a memorable statement. She knew I had 2 daughters; her conversation was encouraging.  She discussed the medications I needed and told me essentially that you need to feel better because you will want and need to comb your daughters’ hair and enjoy them. Because God throughout the years directed my path to the physicians I needed, I was able to take care of their hair:  washing, greasing, combing, braiding, curler setting, and shh… I even put in a few relaxers. Not a beat was missed in caring for my family. I think often about that conversation with the doctor and thank God! Yes, a “half full” life. The next story of illustrates how God continued to change my mindset.

I worked as a Mental Health therapist for 18 years at the same agency. About 7 years ago the county I worked for made a decision to close the therapy department and contract it to other agencies. Well, what was I going to do? Right away feelings that are in that “half-empty” glass haunted me. Not just the financial concerns but feeling low, worthless, not valued, etc. Though ending the department had nothing to do with me, I still struggled.  Soon after leaving the job, I needed high risk spinal surgery. At the same time our oldest daughter and her husband were expecting our first grandchild. I believed God for a successful operation and reminded God of His promises to us. God’s word is true! Consider Romans 8:28,” For we know that ALL things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose”. 

After successfully, coming out of surgery, I was instructed to participate outpatient rehab. At the same time my daughter was 9 months pregnant in Houston, Texas. Because I wasn’t working, God opened the door for me to receive rehab in Houston. This allowed me to be present for the birth of my baby/our first grandson. Not only that, I was able to stay in Houston caring for my grandchild for six months! And… since both daughters lived in Houston, I was able to hang and enjoy being with daughter #2. My main takeaway? My glass wasn’t just half-full but overflowing! That was a time I will never forget. I can hear the song “He’s Able’” running through my head. “Half -Empty”, really Lael? Writing about this fills me with tears of thankfulness. 

Though there are many, I would like to leave you with one more testimony.  Anyone who knows me, knows I enjoy traveling so, so much. As a teen, I imagined myself being an airline stewardess (oops! flight attendant).  I figured that would give me lots of traveling opportunities.  Is traveling a need? No, but it is a desire. God has brought many opportunities to do just that.  I could go on about how God has been so gracious. But I will end with this statement. “Lael, what is with this half-empty stuff?” I can now declare, “My glass is half-full and overflowing. 

In closing, let me declare that these testimonies are not unique to me. It is just good to focus on the overflowing blessings of God in our lives.  We can easily allow our minds to focus on “lack” and gloss over the big picture. But watch, the enemy will try to shake you as soon as you change your focus toward God’s work.   Below are a few scriptures to encourage you and clarify your perspective while walking with God.

Psalms 23:1

Philippians 4:13 

Deut. 28:13 

2 Samuel 22:33 

Matt 6:33

Matt 6:26

Have you ever heard the idiom “Waiting for the other shoe to drop?” 

This idiom figuratively means to wait for an event that we feel will definitely happen. According to this old saying originated in the tenements of New York City in the late 19th and early 20th century. Back then apartments were built with bedrooms on top of one another. It was common to hear your upstairs neighbor take off a shoe, drop it, and then repeat the action. It became shorthand for waiting for something you knew was coming. 

Our family has stood in the valley of the shadow of death for a month or more three times: once each when my mother and my oldest sister Bea were on a ventilator for a month and my sister Lillian was in a coma for a month before passing. Now my  47 year old niece, Dana was laying between life and death on a ventilator after being attacked by COVID-19.  I spoke with the nurses and doctors often to glean what knowledge and information I could about her condition so I could pass it along to our huge extended family. The doctor had anticipated Dana being on the ventilator 10-14 days, we were at day 18. Things looked bleak. 

When my mother and sisters were in the hospital I found myself feeling anxious and, as the saying goes, “waiting for the other shoe to drop.” Was I doing the same this time around? 

In the early hours one Sunday morning  I was doing my daily devotional reading which included James 1:2-8. The heading to the passage read: Faith Under Pressure.  

 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. 

 If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind- whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open. 

The passage of scripture really struck home for me. My faith was indeed under pressure. 

I had heard down through the years that we should never question God but didn’t James say If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. 

I needed to know. I needed to know what to pray, how to pray. Yet all I could do was groan and moan, being reminded of the scripture saying: 

And in a similar way, the Holy Spirit takes hold of us in our human frailty to empower us in our weakness. For example, at times we don’t even know how to pray, or know the best things to ask for. But the Holy Spirit rises up within us to super-intercede on our behalf, pleading to God with emotional sighs too deep for words. Romans 8:26 TPT 

After reading James 1:2-8 that morning I started to ask God what is the lesson our family needed to learn. Closer to home, what is the lesson I needed to learn? Why was our family going through this again? While in my heart I know God is sovereign but my head wanted to know if my faith or lack thereof had any impact on what we were going through, again. We read all the right scriptures, prayed all the right prayers of faith. I had joined my faith with that of my family, church family, and friends as we prayed and believed God. Yet my mother and two sisters had died. Why God, why?  

Praying in those wee hours of the morning inspired me  to search for the what rather than the why.   

I knew I was on the right track after reading this ‘Uncommon Key’ from Tony Dungy’s book “The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge” 

When God unfolds His plans in your life that you don’t understand, don’t ask why, ask what. What do You want me to take away from this, Lord? Trust that God will show you one day how it all fits together.  

I felt in my spirit that our plight had to do with our testimony. Our testimony, our family testimony has been believing until the end. Believing until the last breath. But God, was I believing until the last breath or was I waiting for the last breath? Was I believing for what I prayed for or was I the weak link? Was I, as James admonished us not to do, offering “worry-prayers” 

Was I believing but expecting the worst? Feeling dread every time the phone rang?  

 When there is a family medical emergency I always did research. This included a lot of reading and examining statistics. I worked in the histology lab, I helped with autopsies and I have seen some very poor outcomes. Also, my niece’s husband and son tested positive, and my brother and aunt had recently died from COVID-19. Could I even believe and expect for the best? 

Could I, like David, ask God the hard question of 

Psalms 139:23-24 (KJV) ?

Search me, O God, and know my heart: 

try me, and know my thoughts: 

And see if there be any wicked way in me, 

and lead me in the way everlasting. 

 Was I afraid to ask God to search me? Well, YES. My faith life would be forced into the open if God searched me. I was afraid that it was me who needed work, needed the hard work.  

Could I, like Jonathan McReynolds in the song “Situation” say —I’m not asking God for an outcome, or praying for results, or hoping that it all goes exactly how I want. Could I  just invite God into the situation? (listen here)

I found, after surrendering to God’s searching, that just asking God for help, asking Him to come into the situation, allowed Him the opportunity to do the work…the work of searching, seeing, and then  leading me in the way everlasting. 

So this time around I waited everyday for the good news, the GOD news, that no matter what the outcome, God has it in control and all things are working for the good.  

We prayed patiently and believed for nearly another month before getting word that Dana was off the ventilator and upgraded to an aerosol trach, she was walking shakily with the assistance of a walker, but walking. She was on the way to recovery. It was another week before her COVID test came back negative after being persistently positive for nearly two months.  

Then early one morning in late May I received a text-Hey Aunt Sharon, I’m coming home today.  

Hallelujah!!! After having five members of my family affected by the coronavirus I learned I did not have to wait for the other shoe to drop. I can wait on the Lord, I can be of good courage, I can believe until God completes His work. 

The year 2020 has been an exceptionally eventful year.  We have been observers to history being made in numerous areas – the global pandemic, politics of the day, and other social issues.  And of course, everyone has an opinion on these issues.  With the technology of today, everyone has easy, immediate and almost unlimited access to information via broadcast news, online news and social media.  Someone famously stated, “information is power”, but I think as believers that an overload of information can be detrimental to our emotional and spiritual well-being.  Let me explain…

The recent death of George Floyd while being arrested in Minneapolis has captured the nation’s attention and been the catalyst for numerous demonstrations in multiple cities, some of which have been accompanied by violence.  We all want to know the latest developments on all fronts; many have chosen to give voice to their feelings on this situation.  The result is that we find ourselves scouring the news outlets and social media for more information, to argue our viewpoint and see the positions of others we know.

Proverbs 4:23 instructs us to “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” (NKJV). We as Christians should think of our hearts as a gateway or checkpoint that we guard diligently.  What goes into the heart will inevitably come out, in various forms.  What does this mean in practical terms?

As a person of color, I know that if I consume too much information about the social injustices of our society, a seed of anger will take root and grow within me.  That anger, if unchecked, will come out in my interactions with my fellow citizens, my fellow brethren in Christ, especially those who are white.  That same anger, if checked and kept inside, can begin to fester inside and damage me emotionally, physically, and most of all, spiritually.  I cannot let anger separate me from my relationship with God.  

So part of my mandate from God is to be the guardian of what enters my heart, through the portals of my eyes, ears and brain.  I need to “know my limit” of information I can consume before frustration, resentment, pressure and ungodly thoughts start pushing their way to the front.  Another part of my mandate is to be an ambassador for Christ; to be the “only Jesus” some people will see.  How I conduct myself in challenging times is what will be remembered.

I would ask us all to enlist God’s help in finding the balance between being well-informed, speaking out on pertinent issues, and not allowing negativity or anger to find a foothold within us.  As Yoda famously said in the Star Wars movies, “anger leads to the dark side.”  Let’s all walk in the Light.


No, I did not foresee my maternity leave being like this. I planned on having my friends and family being able to see and hold my new baby. I planned on visiting my family and friends in Philly who I only see a few times a year. I planned on getting back into working out at the YMCA. I did not plan on spending an extra day in the hospital in fear that me or my family would contract a (for some) life threatening virus. I didn’t plan on not being able to go to the store and find items to protect or use for myself or my family such as toilet paper, paper towels, even diapers, hand sanitizer, lysol ect (stuff that I would normally use having a newborn home and a toddler who was supposed to be in school). I didn’t plan to fear for my own, my kiddies, or my husband’s well being every time I saw someone cough or sneeze; or seriously feel the need to spray my husband with every household disinfectant available every time he had to pick up my prescription or buy us groceries… I definitely didn’t plan to stay in the house……… indefinitely.

During this time I felt really compelled to share some good news. In the midst of all of this craziness, the spirit or fear is lurking ready to attack our minds and our speech and our behaviors. Let me remind all of us who believe and tell some who don’t, that God did not give us a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind (2 Tim 1:7). That spirit that tells me to think worst case scenarios that will likely not happen, or keep quiet about who God is and has been to me because He may not come through…. that is not of God! And that is certainly not what He would commission me to do. Phil 4:6-7 tells us to “be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

I pray that God show His miraculous healing power and it be manifested all over the world. That miracles take place in the hospital rooms and in the homes of people infected with the virus. Im praying for comfort, peace, and reassurance for the family members who have lost loved ones, or are experiencing life with a sick someone. I pray a supernatural healing takes place all over the world not just from the virus but from anxiety and fear and emotional stress. I pray for protection for everyone who needs to be exposed to the sick (known or unknown) and return to their families every night/day. I pray that the spirit of fear be removed from especially us who call ourselves christian, and that we can stand in faith for those who are faithless at this time. That we can be the mouthpiece for the good news, that we can walk in the power and authority of the Holy Spirit to fight the enemy who has come to steal, kill, and destroy. We are His children, and He is our God. A healer, a restorer, a miracle worker, a deliverer. There is nothing too hard for Him. Nothing that can take Him by surprise. And He cares about the things concerning us. I thank God that His will be done and for the testimonies that will be shared in the days to come.

Had things not happened this way, I would not have had my husband home with me to help with this not so smooth recovery. And our marriage and family needed this time together. When things are like this it’s hard to understand why everything is happening the way that it is, but I always find comfort in my bible. 
“In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comfort delights my soul.” -Psalms 94:19

How often has a new Christian or friend asked is ____ a sin? You can fill in the blank with any number of responses. Smoking, drinking, pre-marital sex, gossip, divorce…the list goes on and on.

I often wondered why this question was asked so often…are we trying to find out how much we can get away with and still make it to heaven?

When we consider “what is sin?”

By the Strong’s definition sin is:

  • To be without a share into
  • Miss the mark to err,
  • Be mistaken
  • To miss or wander from the path of uprightness and honor,
  • To do or go wrong
  • To wander from the law of God, violate God’s law,
  • Sin – that which is done wrong,
  • Sin – an offense, a violation of the divine law in thought or in act collectively,
  •  The complex or aggregate of sins committed either by a single person or by many

So just pick your poison and define what is sin.

Psalms 19:12 (KJV) asks “who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults.”Then the Passion Translation asks the same question in a slightly different way it asks, “Without this revelation-light, how would I ever detect the waywardness of my heart? Lord, forgive my hidden flaws whenever you find them.

Collective sins are referenced in Romans 3:23 (KJV): For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God…

And sins that are a bit closer to home are talked about in James 4:17 (ESV): So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

Could these secret faults, these hidden flaws, these collective sins, these close to home sins be those things that come from the doors and windows of our mouths because it’s living in the hidden corners of our hearts.

I am remembering the story of Peter denying JESUS that fateful night before His crucifixion.

After the resurrection of Christ and before he went home to  glory, Jesus gave Peter a job interview. Jesus knew Peter’s resume (Peter betrayed and denied knowing Jesus in His hour of need, Peter was impetuous, Peter assaulted with a deadly weapon military personnel, all of this on one night) but after a three question interview , (do you love me more than these); Jesus reinstated Peter, he gave Peter the position with the job description to feed my sheep.

The Bible is silent on Peter’s “these” just as it may not spell out our “these,” but we can examine ourselves, asking ourselves ‘do I love God more than my pet habit, more than my rituals, more than my pet addiction, more than being in my comfort zone?’

When I was a young new Christian it seemed everything was a sin (wearing pants, wearing lipstick, roller skating, dancing, pop music, going to church without hose). If it was fun it was spelled “SIN.” The only things that were not sins seemed to be eating and going to church.

Through all the don’ts I emerged  strong in my Christian faith knowing that like Peter if I loved God more than “these”  then He could use me in His service, if I loved God more than “these” I could be His light.

The next time the dilemma of what is sin comes up consider this: do I love Jesus more than THESE?

It’s Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent 2020!

Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Lent comes from the word lencten, which means “spring.” The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry.

Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of what most religions call Easter, but we know and celebrate the Resurrection of our Savior and call this Holy Day Resurrection Sunday. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. In the early church, Lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism. Just as we at Victory Christian Assembly have done. We will baptism our prepared baptism candidates on Good Friday.

Today, Christians focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or to volunteer and give of themselves for others.

During Lent many people sacrifice things like chocolate, social media, parties…you know, things they enjoy doing.

Speaking of sacrifice, in February 2019 Mark and I were invited to a military Distinguished Cross ceremony. This is an awarded to a soldier posthumously. The sacrifice the young soldier made was heroic and saved his platoon and allowed the whole battalion to succeed. The Lieutenant General said that his actions set him apart from his comrades.

These types of sacrifice and the 9 or 10 religious associated holidays included in the lent season with all it’s tradition and elaborate displays of sacrifice are intriguing, with churches around the world encouraging their congregations to fast and make sacrifices during the season. While our temporary sacrifices help to commemorate or mark this season, and war heroes sacrifice for their countries, it is only the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus made that makes eternal differences in the lives of men and women. It is this one sacrifice that makes our relationship and direct access to God possible.

Soon we will celebrate Palm Sunday, which is one of — the moveable feasts or holidays during this religious season that is based on the cycles of the moon. Palm Sunday commemorates the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem amid cries of Hosanna as people lined His path with palm branches;

Matthew 21:8-11 (KJV)
And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.

Within that same week they were crying crucify Him. Popular opinion is something else! It changes often just like the wind; but the sacrifice Jesus made, the blood He shed will never loose it’s power.

Most religions include communion in their Lent celebrations. And Jesus reminded us of this in this scripture:

Whenever we eat this bread and drink this cup, we are retelling the story, proclaiming our Lord’s death until he comes. 1 Corinthians 11:26 (Passion Translation NT)

This is why the religious part of this relationship during Lenten season has become so special to me; it keeps me reminded of the ultimate sacrifice of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Back in the day we would sing the old dirge ‘lest I forget Gethsemane, lest I forget thine agony; lest I forget your love for me, lead me to Calvary.’ WE WILL NEVER FORGET.

Happy 2020!


God recently dropped a little insight on me from a fairly familiar passage of scripture in the Gospels – the Parable of the Talents, taken from Matthew 14:29-30.  In the parable, there are three servants who are entrusted with funds from their master while he goes away on an extended journey.  The overall lesson that we should take away from this story is that God gives us responsibilities and gifts, and that we should make the most of what he has given us.  

You may recall from the story that the three servants were given five, two, and one talent respectively.  There were no explicit instructions given to the servants, although the master made it clear upon his return that he expected his servants to anticipate his desire to receive a return on the investment he had given them.  Let’s take a closer look at the second servant for a few minutes, however…

We know that the second servant was entrusted with two talents, and was able to double that amount for his master’s benefit.  That’s what he DID; consider what he DIDN’T do, for a moment.  He could have easily looked down his nose at the servant with one talent and thought to himself how much more trustworthy he was to get twice as much as his fellow servant.  It is human nature to take pride in our achievements, responsibilities and positions.  This can easily turn into smugness and an ungodly pride.

The second servant also didn’t look at the one who received five talents and say, “Why does he get more than me?  I’m just as good as him.”  Jealousy is something we all have to guard against when we see others do well in the financial realm as well as spiritual areas.

We can take inspiration (as we rightly should) from the first servant who received the most talents and was able to increase what was given him.  I believe we should also be inspired by the second servant, who, when given less than the first, still managed to make the most of what was entrusted to him.  In the end, he was rewarded by his master for his faithfulness.

I think it’s important for us who aspire to greater things in our walk with God and perhaps greater responsibility in our local church, to ask our selves, “Am I being faithful in the ‘few things’ in order to be proven capable of being the ‘ruler over many’?”  After all, in this parable, the master gave out the talents according to the ability of his servants.  In other words, God knows what we can handle – even if we sometimes may not.

For me, what this all boils down to is this – whatever God has you doing in this season, do it to the best of your ability.  Don’t look at what people around you have been given or are doing; stay in your lane, as the saying goes.