My great aunt shared a profound thought with me seven years ago, right before she passed away. I have always had great appreciation for the elderly. Over the years, I have learned the most from them. "Patricia, always look to see what's behind the counter", she said. Aunt Willie went on to explain that what we see in the showcase window looks so beautiful. The glass case displays the item under the bright light, with other items around it, with the velvet cloth that it sits on, etc. She went on to say that when you examine a thing up close, it doesn't look the same as it did in the showcase window.
That was my last life lesson from my aunt that hot blistering day in Atlanta Georgia. Although we have had other deep conversations, I will always remember that one.
How often do we look behind the counter? Do we examine people, situations, or things for purchase with a close eye or can we even identify what we are really looking at? Is what we're looking at authentic, genuine, made with integrity, and exquisite?
Failure to look behind the counter will cost us every time! When we fail to pay close attention to what a person is saying, or what they didn't say that they should have said, we're putting ourselves at risk for either a broken relationship, or a loss along the way. Ask yourself, "Did you see what you saw?"
With the busyness of things around us in this sick and fast paced world, we sometimes don't take the time to look deeper into what people are actually saying to us. They speak with reactions, responses, the lack thereof, negative language, facial expressions, and a host of other types of communication. Some of us will run something said to us by a trusted friend, expecting them to decipher the code of another's words to us when we know deep down inside, in the back, in the corner, in the dark, in the booth, they meant us no good.
After looking behind the counter, are you prepared to turn that item upside down, all around before you invest in it, or do you just pay for it and run out the store? Did you examine it closely to see if it was really what you wanted?
I have learned to ask the questions that need to be asked, and there were even times I took the item back to the store the next day or that same day asking for a refund.
Let's take the necessary time to evaluate everything in our lives before we make a commitment. Before you call someone your best friend, give it time to be tested. If the other person runs away, let them! Never be so desperate, that you settle for something that will eventually hurt you, disappoint you, or cause you loss and grief in the end!
Genesis 37:24 "And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it."
Genesis 37:27 "Come let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, "
Have you ever been the recipient of hatred, ostracizing, or plotted against? Rejoice, for here lies your greatness!
In the story of Joseph, his brethren did the very same thing. He was hated by them and they wanted to get rid of him. Imagine that, his own brethren. I'm here to tell you that we can do our own brethren the same injustice. As a matter of fact, some of us have done just that.
Often, the reasons for such treatment is due to ones resentment of God. Yes, any individual who behaves this way and treats his brothers or sisters in this way is actually saying to God that they resent the fact that He has either withheld something from them, is unfair towards them, and they are so angry about it that they will now take matters into their own hands and exact punishment on someone else who seems to have what they feel they deserve. This act comes in the form of many things like:
1. Speaking evil against you to others (sowing discord among the Lord's people)
2. Hindering you from participating in events
3. Excluding you
4. Lying on you
5. Hateful acts against you
6. Ostracizing you
The list, unfortunately, goes on.
The very thing Joseph's brethren were jealous about and didn’t want to happen, happened anyway. No one can stop God’s will or plan for your purpose in life when you are obedient and found in the right spiritual condition.
People will try to hinder, and it looks as if their tactics are working because you are being hindered for real, but they have no idea that the Lord is allowing the hindrance to fulfill His will and purpose for you. We may get bent out of shape and feel they are gaining their way against us (being used of satan), but God factored in all of those things from the day He set out to use you for His glory.
Joseph’s brothers played right into the hands of God! Joseph got what was for him! The problems his brethren caused only strengthened him and made him mightier in the hands of God. So who gets the last laugh???
In this account, God humbles his brethren greatly. God factors in the past evil done against Joseph. Now they answer to what they did to him. Now they are under duress. They now have become fearful. Now the evil they pushed to the back of their minds have now been placed to the forefront and they are brought into remembrance of what they did against their brother.
Joseph is exalted….his brethren are humbled.
Never retaliate for the evil done against you. God is allowing it for His purposes and your good. Blessing comes at the end of suffering and enduring injustice.
God gives good pay back and revenge is sweet when it’s left to Him to exercise it.
All of their evil against Joseph propelled him into greatness!
“You meant it for evil, but God planned it for good!
Commission: The wrong we know we've done.
Omission: Failure to do something that should have been done. Leaving out something or someone that should not have been excluded. This too is a sin that God will judge.
Omissions are sins which will be brought into judgment, as well as commissions. He that does not the good he knows should be done, as well as he who does the evil he knows should not be done, will be condemned (Matthew Henry Commentary). Some of us barely want to admit and confess the wrong we have done to others, or wrongful things said in a situation, let alone include the things that we have chosen to ignore that we should have dealt with.
God leaves nothing out. He will address what we have failed to address and cast His sentence upon it.
Knowing to do good yet not doing it:
1. An action that should have been taken
2. The thing I should have said
3. The help I should have given
4. Stumbling my brother or a person
5. Refusing to confess my wrong to that individual
6. Failure to apologize
7. Looking the other way when a wrong was committed
8. Lying or deceiving a person
9. Sowing discord among the saints
10. Not doing the right thing
11. Speaking evil against others
12. Not speaking up or standing up for what was right
13. Not making that phone call that should have been made
14. Failure to encourage that person
15. Failure to say the thing that needed to be said
What should have been the ‘Good’ thing that I had done in a particular situation or for that particular person?
Virtuous meaning, ”of strength," that is, moral courage.
She has no problem with her husband’s authority over her. She is reserved for her husband’s love and affection, and how to work along with him in harmony. She is not into manipulations of any sort.
It takes strength and courage to be a married woman who chooses to do what is right. Despite temptations and challenges, one must make that final decision to do what pleases God and in so doing, the marriage is preserved from destruction.
It’s easier to yield to one’s flesh, and to retaliate when things aren’t going well. Sometimes for every negative, non-right decision, there is a negative counter reaction that spirals out of control, thereby exasperating an already bad situation. Both individuals can now easily fall into situations that can destroy the union.
A virtuous woman has her good days and her bad days, she is not exempt from challenges. She always keeps before her what is proper and right. Righteousness precedes her in all matters. She knows how to communicate her feelings within proper bounds of speech. She knows how to pray and wait on God to fix anything that needs to be fixed. She knows how to remain steady in her attitude, and behavior towards her husband regardless of disagreements and conflict. She makes her appeal to God. She has learned how to depend on God for everything, great and small. Her mood paints her home environment with peace and calm. She doesn’t let problems change her disposition. This is the definition of spiritual maturity.
If she has children, they learn what it means to submit to authority over them by what they see their mother do. The Old Testament makes several references to kings, by stating who their mothers were. In the case of an evil king who influenced God’s people for the bad, it gives the name of that king’s mother. This is profound! The mother has the greatest influence over her children. She is the first parent they built a bond with from the womb. She spends the most time with them, they hear her words, they see her moods, behavior, and reactions. Mothers have the power to raise children for evil or for good.
When a male child sees their mother disrespect their father in any way, be he in the home or living apart, that male child learns that ‘women’ in general will have the potential to treat him that way. He then will eventually do one of three things. 1. Learn that the way to deal with women is to be aggressive and controlling, or 2. Learn to be abusive to invoke fear as a preventative measure, or 3. Learn to let her have her way in order to avoid conflict.
The female child responds by learning that men aren’t worth respecting and she can possibly, eventually take on a certain perspective as well. She can either 1. Learn to be manipulative to get her way using any tactic that will subdue the man, or 2. Do as she pleases and not care one way or the other, or 3. Learn to verbally abuse and put the man down every chance she gets. There are a few exceptions to this where male or female children discern what is wrong and loose respect for the parent causing the most injury in the home.
Both children are quietly watching and learning about relationships by the home environment that is set before them. Mothers have the awesome responsibility to guide their eyes and minds to take in proper relationship patterns and habits.
The virtuous woman’s children praised her for they felt her worth, and they recognized what a good person she is, and how they have benefitted from her. They appreciated the happy home environment she helped to cultivate.
Children will always mirror in some way, a reflection of ‘mom’.
If mothers can have this kind of power and influence in the home, and on the psyche of their children, what manner of women ought we mothers to be????
Have you ever been in a situation where you felt as if the walls were closing in on you from every side? Did you think to yourself that this is as bad as it gets? Felt like throwing in the towel?
Well, I've been there on more than one occasion. The pressure was so great that all the human emotions that kicked in, tried to bring me to the point of despair. But God, yes, God was there, right in the midst of my storm, and He made Himself strong on my behalf!
The apostle Paul, and others too, had the same traumatic experiences as they sought to serve God. You are not alone!
Troubles bring distress naturally, and normally.
Being baffled and puzzled brings despair, or a sense of hopelessness.
Persecution makes one feel forsaken.
Being Cast down brings on depression, and sorrow leaving one to feel suicidal.
It’s the peace of God that keeps our troubles from overwhelming us to the point of distress.
Though we may be puzzled and perplexed about what’s happening to us, the promises in His Word will dispel despair. We are kept by the power of His Word. His Word gives us hope!
When persecution comes, we know that He is with us at all times and we are not alone.
We may feel cast down, depressed, and sorrowful, but it never leads to self destruction or suicide.
There is no way we can survive, thrive, or persevere without God’s peace, God’s presence, God’s promises, and God’s power!
Those who look on, or observe us will see the power of God manifested in our trials, and in our sufferings. They will see joy, and uninterrupted peace, and calm as we navigate through. This is an enigma, and a foreign picture for the world. They experience the opposite in their life struggles. They turn to all sorts of things as a form of rescue, but never get the peace and help they need.
Keep trusting! Keep believing, Keep holding on, and by all means keep the faith!
You can't withdraw what you never deposited! If there is some way to do that, please let me know!
There's a trillion things out here to feed our minds with. It is non-stop, continuous, and it bombards us every minute. This is specifically designed to keep humans so preoccupied in hopes that one would never stop and think about the things that are pertinent to life.
There use to be a time when the television stations signed out and there was nothing to watch. Technology has now made it where your mind can feed 24/7 on any and everything. You get to decide when to shut it down.
What are we feeding our minds with? When the pressures of life come, what do we fall back on for comfort and help? How much of the word do we even remember or can recall?
God has design it where those who are saved, are never left without direction, comfort, or joy. We can have as much of Him as we like. Every scripture passage, ministry, or bible study time, sinks deep into the recesses of our hearts and when we need to be reminded, comforted, or helped, they come to the surface of our minds where we can retrieve them in our time of need. You can't retrieve what you've never deposited!!!
Christendom has become a society of one liners, catchy Christianized phrases, and antidotes. I've heard them all so many times that I can't stand it! Where is the depth and profound sharing one with the other? When I am going through ups and downs, I want to hear from someone who has knowledge and first hand experience with Christ. One liners and adages won't do.
This world is on a serious, dangerous course, and there are challenges coming to those of us who say we belong to God! We are going to face personal attacks like never before. Are we ready to weather the storm that's coming? Can we support and encourage someone else in the midst of it all?
Make worthy deposits so that you will be able to withdraw on that investment when the time comes! Keep distractions out! Feed your mind and heart with what will transcend this earth, and you will be a walking power source for all who stop by, and you too will be kept by the power of the Holy Spirit!
The real power and influence of a woman lies in her ability to always take a stand for what is right! It doesn't matter how she is treated, her moral choices will have its foundation in what is just and right.
This month is 'Women's' month. Many are trumpeting causes for women's rights. Yes, women are devalued, abused, and unappreciated. But today, I would much rather present an entirely different perspective on womanhood.
All of my life I have observed women of all ages, status, and nationalities in life, and there is one thing that stood out for me the most and it was always the woman who had integrity! A woman with integrity is priceless!
A woman of integrity has the strength and courage to stand up for what is right even if it means putting her own head on the chopping block for it. She will be that voice when no one else stands with her for she is clothed in the comfort and peace of knowing that God stands with her.
A woman of integrity raises her children to mirror the same moral principles she is living before them. Here is where her power lies. It lies in her ability to influence her children in all that is morally and spiritually right. This paves the way for their success in life.
Life can pack a punch at times, and unfairly so, but a woman of integrity does not waiver, bend, buckle, or bow, neither will she change her position. She stands tall and takes the blows that life throws at her. She handles every cruel word, every gossiping tongue, every judgement, every lie told, with grace. She knows that it's only a matter of time before the record is set straight. She realizes that it is God who shuts mouths, and wagging tongues. She has no need to avenge herself.
A woman of integrity is consistent because 'Truth' needs no memory of its own. There is no need to cover her tracks because she is clothed in honesty. Lying lips have to work night and day to keep the story straight and even then, it all crumbles and falls apart.
Each woman needs to make a declaration with herself to honor herself by always doing the right thing. This is where your true beauty lies. This is how you shine and stand above all the rest!
It is 'Women's' month; stand with me, and be all that you were created to be, A Woman of Power and Influence, and a Woman Of Integrity!
"Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment." John 12:3
It's a known fact that being in close proximity with others often leaves something behind. Whether it is a comment, a thought shared, or a tone of voice, we leave lasting impressions on one another.
When I was eight years old, my grandfather signed me up for piano lessons with an African American, middle-aged woman, in Harlem. She had a studio on 116th street and 5th Avenue. I can remember it as if it were yesterday. It was a long narrow room with Baby Grand pianos lined up against the circumference of the walls. The pianos were worn, but they played beautifully. Sometimes there would be a student on each bench playing their notes. Those lessons were five dollars an hour. I didn't know it then, but that was a steal of a price!
Although I don't recall her name, I do remember what she left behind. She wore the reddest lipstick I had ever seen and costume jewelry flanked her neck as it hung down the middle of her breasts. She always wore dresses. What I will never forget is that awful smelling perfume. It was as if she bathed in it. It was loud, and strong, and overwhelming to say the least. It nauseated me. It was hard for me to concentrate because my stomach felt sick. I had to endure this every week. I guess I got use to it, because I did learn how to read the notes and play piano.
By the time my grandfather returned to pick me up, paid her the five dollars, and asked how I was getting on, I would run to the black winged Dodge parked out front. What I noticed was that the smell of her perfume lingered even in the car. I couldn't get that smell to go away. I opened the windows in hopes that it would dissipate, but it clung to me. I could even taste it. Every week for one hour, she left a lasting impression on me and it was mainly from her perfume.
What lasting fragrance are you leaving behind when others walk away from your presence? Are they inspired, refreshed, encouraged, or strengthened?
Mary left such an impression on all who were in her presence that day when she anointed the feet of Jesus. I'm pretty sure that as that odor of ointment filled the air, it sat on those in close proximity. That smell lingered and traveled where those who were a distance off caught a whiff of it.
What is the last thing a person recalls after we have walked away from them? What will they remember when we're gone? How did we make them feel in the process? Would they look forward to seeing or hearing from us again?
Yes, we all leave a fragrance behind that is directly connected to who we are. The question is, "What type of fragrance do we want to fill the atmosphere?"
2 Samuel 18:9-17; 1 Kings 2:5; 26-34
So what can we learn from the story of Joab? Joab was the son of Zeruiah, and the commander of King David's army. He was not only a great warrior, but he was also a shrewd politician. He could play both sides against the middle to serve himself.
Joab disobeyed King David's commands on a few occasions. He killed two men, Abner and Amasa, during peace time, and he did not bring Absolom, the king's son, back from battle alive, instead, he killed him. Joab clashed heads with King David over political and personal issues a couple of times. When King David decided to show mercy to someone, Joab was ready to have them killed. Joab was a man who was vengeful, selfish, and looked for ways where he could succeed in the kingdom. This sounds a lot like some of us in the body of Christ, unfortunately.
Joab also was ready to follow Adonijah, Solomon's older brother, who was trying to take the throne from Solomon. Joab knew that Adonijah should have been next in line to take the throne as the eldest, and he wanted to position himself right under him, but God had for Solomon to rule as Israel's third king.
When King David became old, he told Solomon to kill Joab because of the things he had done years earlier. Solomon did just that.
What can we learn from Joab's service to his king?
2 Samuel 18, 19:1-8 (just a few scriptures).**
"Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions." Proverbs 4:25
Focus on your mission and purpose in this life!
God has given each of us something to do for His kingdom. We have a mission to accomplish for His glory. As you hear about new laws, and new bills being passed, let not your heart be troubled. We were forewarned by the scriptures exactly what we can expect in this dispensation and time. I'd much rather focus all my energy and strength fulfilling the purpose for which I was saved to serve.
Fix your eyes!
By all means, be aware of all that is going on around you, and in your sphere of the world, but don't take your eyes off of Jesus! The noise of the world has a way of making us look to the left and to the right. We are running a race of endurance that can only be run by looking straight ahead at the finish line. Distractions causes us to loose our pace, and our momentum. If our eyes are fixed on the Lord and His word, we will be able to help one another run the race that is set before us.
Things are going to get much worse moving forward!
This is only the beginning of the down hill journey on this earth, but we can trust God to navigate us through! He is our strength, our guide, and our literal salvation. Pray about all you hear and see. Be salt, and be light in the midst of the darkness. Represent Christ wherever you go! Be a soldier that's on a mission who's seeking to get the job done!
These things can be distractions, depending on how we use them!
Keep The Faith!
As a writer, I enjoy giving you the honest side of truth! As an artist, I create what doesn't exist. Each day I look for new and creative ways to use every ability God has so graciously given me.