Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Death to Thankfulness


The season of thanksgiving has come upon us once again. As I reflect on being thankful I’m immediately reminded of all that God has done for me. I think about how God has allowed me to wake up each morning and how He has kept a roof over my head through perilous times. I think about how He has protected me from danger seen and unseen and most importantly how He has kept my mind when I thought I would lose it!

God has done so much for me that I can’t help but be thankful, not just at Thanksgiving but every day! Unfortunately, thankfulness can be easily eradicated when we participate in the following:

-Complaining
-Comparing



You can’t complain and be thankful in the same breath. When we complain about our circumstances or life occurrences, we are focusing more on our problem than the One who can solve the problem. Complaining takes our focus off of God and this is not a good place to be. Complaining keeps you in a place that is negative, dark and sad because it narrows your view of God’s presence even in not so good times. God says “I am always with you, I am your God, I will strengthen you and help you” (Isaiah 41:10). This isn’t conditional, this means God is with us in good times, bad times, uncomfortable times and always! Complaining is detrimental to your spiritual growth and overall well-being.

Comparing combats thankfulness in that it shifts your focus to your flaws or shortcomings. We should be grateful to God for how He created us, how He wired us, and for where He has us placed at this very moment. When we compare our lives to others, our abilities to others, and our situations to others we take our focus off the One who is in total control. This is truly a trick of the enemy because in our comparisons, we don’t have all of the external factors and facts to make a worthwhile comparison. It also produces a spirit of jealousy that is not pleasing to God. Jay-Z said, “What, you mad cause you push dimes and he sell weight? Y’all don’t’ know my expenses, I gotta buy bigger plates…and more baggies – why you all aggie?” (Heart of the City). Point here, you don’t know all of what people go through to be where they are, so comparison is death to thankfulness.

Complaining and Comparing cannot co-exist with a thankful heart and thankful speech. They are unable to cohabitate and be roommates! A known fact is that life is hard; but a hard reality is that it can always be worse. The truth of the matter is that there is someone right now, praying for the life you have, the one that you sometimes complain about or the one you sometimes foolishly compare to someone else’s life.

Be thankful in this season and always for where God has you now! God is constantly at work behind the scenes, interceding on your behalf!
Happy Thanksgiving to the Girrrl Stop Nation, I pray you all have a wonderful time with family and friends during this holiday season!

Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks cuz He has given Jesus Christ, His Son
And now, let the weak say I am strong
Let the poor say I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us
Give thanks!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

#iSmile – Are You Packed Yet?


It’s been said that people may not remember what you said to them but they will always remember how you made them feel. This is how I remember Brock Benbow as one who would make me smile. I’m one of those people who if I hear someone laughing, I don’t even have to know what they are laughing at, I’m probably gonna start laughing too! Same goes for when someone smiles: you smile, I smile. Brock had a smile that seemed to be etched on his face, it never moved. I imagine that even the undertakers will not be able to contour his face away from that smile.



God decided to call Brock, my Sunday School student, home on November 11, 2019 at the tender age of 24 years old. So young, so sudden. I’m finding it hard to grapple with this one and I even find myself at times questioning God. Why him God? Why this one? Why now? The questions fill my head but they topple over when I re-focus on the fact the God knows best. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to spend the majority of the last weekend of his life with him. He came over to my house Friday night along with his best friend Lamont to help me move some furniture around and I took them both out to dinner afterwards. Ironically, one of the topics of conversation at the dinner table was ‘friendship’. Brock and Lamont affectionately talked about how they met and how their friendship had flourished over the years. They talked about things they wanted to do in the Youth Department at our church and just things in general. The food wasn’t that great at Cracker Barrel that night but I remember Brock ate his food with a smile regardless.

I saw him again on Sunday for our church’s 92nd church anniversary. All smiles again as he was donned in his purple to represent our current Pastor. He asked if we were all going to go to Mia’s house (my cousin) after church and we all agreed after some laughter about it from Minister D’Warren! As everyone gathered at Mia’s house the laughter and jokes commenced. I caught some of them as I was in and out of sleep but one of the last questions I remember asking Brock was, “Are you packed yet?” He was set to go on our Pastor’s birthday cruise Saturday, November 16, 2019. He replied, “No, not yet”. I said, “You betta get packed because Saturday will be here before you know it!” and he calmly replied, “I will, tomorrow”.

Tomorrow came and what I discovered was that he was indeed already packed and ready to go on his final trip.

Are you packed yet? Are you ready for your final trip when it’s time for it? I hear you asking ‘what exactly do I pack for that trip, what type of luggage do I bring?’ For this trip, you must prepare for it early. Your heart is synonymous with your luggage and you must carry certain things inside! Let your luggage be:

-Stuffed with the gift of Salvation (Romans 10:9-10)
-Layered with Love (Galatians 5:22-23)
-Jumping with Joy
-Padded with Peace
-Kindled with Kindness
-Growing with Goodness
-Filled with Faithfulness
-Girded with Gentleness
-Saturated with Self-Control

So, I ask you again, are you packed yet?

Brock is with Jesus now, cruising in heaven. I will miss his etched-on smile, his mannerly personality and his calm, even-keeled demeanor. I never imagined that my conversation with him on the couch at my cousin’s house would be my last conversation with him. You never know what God’s plans are and how any given day will go. What I do know is that I was blessed not just to know him but to have a relationship with him; a caring young man who was saved and loved the Lord!

I will truly miss you Brock but I know you’re with Jesus now in eternal rest.
So, I’ll just sign off with this:
#iSmile

Defining Word for 2020!

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