Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What did you say, Whitney?

So, Whitney Houston very soulfully and elegantly sang "I Didn't Know My Own Strength" (Lyrics) @ the American Music Awards. She then began her acceptance speech by "first giving honor to God", which is a very nice gesture that many stars engage in. Yet, I couldn't help but to think, wouldn't she have given so much more honor to God by singing about HIS strength rather than her own. Maybe it's just me, but when I find myself going through life's trials and tribulations, it's definitely not MY strength that gets me through...it's all Him. Yeah, I know, she did sing several times in the song "my faith kept me alive". Heck, Paul even said "For when I am weak, than I am strong".
But remember, before he said that, Paul stated,
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor. 12:9-10)
You may recognize this passage from Paul's infamous "Thorn in the Flesh" chapter. Paul made it very clear what the source of his strength was during his weakest and most vulnerable points in his life. I'm just not so sure Whitney brought this point home. She boasted more about her strength than her weakness. So, who really gets the Glory? Maybe this wasn't her intention for this song. Maybe I'm just being picky. But if I am going to give honor where honor is due, the focus has to be on Him and not me.
In Whitney's defense, "I Didn't know my own Strength" is right on the money in the context of her other song "I Look to You" (Lyrics), even though she does not explicitly reference God. But do not confuse her message in "I Look to You" with whoever she is talking about in her older song "I Run to You"...that's another post.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Isaiah 45:9, Isaiah 64:8, Jeremiah 18:6, Lamentations 4:2

If a pot could talk, what would it say,
About the shape that it’s in and how it got that way?

Would It Say: “Put me back in the ground from whence I came.
Since you dug me up, I’ve never been the same.”

OR: “Thank you for extracting me from the ground,
I was so lost and now I'm so happy to be found.”

Would It say: “Don’t try to clean me and soften me up.
I’d rather stay dirty like the rest of the muck.”

OR: “Thank you for removing all the foreign objects from me.
Because of you, I have achieved such purity.”

Would It Say: “Must you knead so hard and press so much?
Just leave me alone, I don’t want to be touched!”

OR: “Since I know you won’t give me more than I can bear,
You must be pushing me so hard because you care.”

Would It Say: “First you wanted soft and now you’re making me hard.
Make up your mind! Who left you in charge?”

OR: “Thank you for all those additives to make me stronger.
Now I won’t crack or break and I’ll last much longer.”

Would It Say: “Now you’ve done it. I want to be hidden from others.
You’ve given me this pathetic pattern and these crazy colors.”

OR: “Thank you for not leaving me all boring and dull.
You’ve given me even more characteristics to fulfill my call.”

Would It Say: “Don’t put me in that fire, it’s too hot in there!
I did not ask for this and it is not fair!”

OR: “I will go through the fire, if I must.
I know it won’t be pleasant, but in you I trust.”

Would It Say: “You put me through all that and now you want me to work?
Just put me on the shelf because I’m just too hurt.”

OR: "You were the potter and I was the clay.
It’s because of you that I am here today.
When I was scared and hurting you said I’d be okay.
I’m so glad that I let you have your way.
You shaped me and molded me; now give me your fill.
I am ready to be used as a vessel for your will."

You may be a pot or you may still be clay.
What do YOU have to say
About the shape that you’re in and how you got that way?


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Challenge To Love

I read this excerpt from Dr. King's book "Strength to Love" in an article from a blog by author and reformed theologian Anthony J. Carter.

To our most bitter opponents we say: "We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We shall meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will, and we shall continue to love you. We cannot in all good conscience obey your unjust laws, because noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. Throw us in jail, and we will still love you. Bomb our homes and threaten our children, and we will still love you. Send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our community at the midnight hour and beat us and leave us half dead, and we shall still love you. But be ye assured that we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer. One day we shall win freedom, but not only for ourselves. We shall so appeal to your heart and conscience that we shall win you in the process, and our victory will be a double victory."

While I haven't endured the specific trials or tribulations King refers to in this passage, I have definitely endured ...and I am sure you have too. As I read this, I thought about my "most bitter opponents" from the past and present. We all have or have had "bitter opponents" whether they be an organization, co-worker, boss, or even a family member. Did we continue to love them in spite of our persecution. Do we continue to love them until this very day. At first read, Dr. King's statements seem crazy and unrealistic. But if that's the case, then the Bible is crazy and unrealistic. Please understand, King didn't say like; he said love. Nowhere in the Bible does it command us to like anyone, but it does command us to love everyone...especially our enemies.
So, Dr. king's statements aren't crazy or unrealistic, they are undeniably biblical. As a matter of fact, this passage is just a CRE translation of
1 Corinthians 13. (CRE=Civil Rights Era)

Yet there is one more consideration to be made. As I thought about my "opponents" I was reminded of Ephesians 6:12. Ultimately, our chief opponent is Satan, and Satan will use others to try to oppress us. He will use society, circumstances, and our spouses to try and stunt our spiritual growth. He will even try to use us against ourselves.

Therefore, I resolve on this Valentines Day of 2007, to better practice that CRE-Dr. King type of love. How? By relying on God's strength, I can have the Strength to Love and ultimately have the victory over my opponents because Christ has already achieved Victory over Satan.

What about you?

Monday, December 04, 2006


“You can be anything you want to be.”
“If you believe it, you can achieve it.”
"If you put your mind to it, you can do it"

Many of us have heard these types of things said or said them ourselves. This philosophy sounds good, but is it really good advice?

Let’s take the popular show "American Idol" for example. My favorite part of the show is the auditions in the first few weeks. There are so many people that try out that can’t sing a lick and it makes for extremely funny and entertaining television. It also makes for a tremendous amount of hurt feelings and broken dreams. Why? Because there are hundreds of contestants that actually believe “If you dream it, you can be it.” They have been fed that line and many others like it for years. Unfortunately, dreaming about being a superstar singer doesn’t make it so…even if you did take a few singing lessons, even if Grandma said “Awwww, you sound good, baby”, and even if you do think you sound just like the girl on the CD (never mind you're in the shower, singing along with the CD). Hey, I have dreamed many times about being able to dunk a basketball. I even did calf raises and a bunch of other stuff to improve my hops. Regardless, the only thing I’m dunkin’ is donuts.

Don’t get me wrong; there is nothing wrong with dreaming. In fact, I encourage it. It’s just that at some point, we must begin focusing on what God’s purpose is for our lives and not just what we want to do or be. Since God truly has a plan and purpose for our lives we must develop the gifts and talents he has uniquely given each of us in order to fulfill our destiny. Sometimes we focus too much on doing certain things in order to determine who we are. Instead we should focus more on letting who we are (and whose we are) determine what we do.

A long time ago when I was a kid I told my mother and one of her co-workers, Ms. Tina, that I wanted to be the next Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I will never forget Ms. Tina’s response. She asked, “Why don’t you just be the next Hampton Conway the 3rd?” I didn't quite understand her response at that time, but now I do. As much as I admire Dr. King, I don’t want to be him anymore. I want to be the me that God has ordained me to be.

There is no point in aiming high, if you're not aiming at The Highest.


Monday, November 13, 2006

Jesus on the Down Low

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Why was it that when Jesus would perform miracles, he would tell people not to tell where he was and what he did. (Mark 1:44) How come when Jesus drove out demons he didn't permit them to speak and say who He was?(Mark 1:34) Wouldn't that have been a powerful testimony; that even the demons knew about the Messiah? One demon actually did proclaim about Jesus earlier in Mark and Jesus told it to shut up (Mark 1:23-25). So, why was Jesus "creepin' on the down-low"?

It was because the Jews were waiting for a politician. They were waiting for a king to come and overthrow the government and set up his kingdom.
"Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself."-John 6:15 They didn't understand Christ's purpose and wanted Christ to fulfill their agenda not His own. Their agenda was interfering with what Christ was trying to accomplish, so, for a while he had to "creep" to get the job done.

Oh, how guilty we are of the same thing! We too want Jesus to serve our purpose instead of wanting to serve His. We want Him to follow our schedule and have our priorities...as if we ourselves know what is good for us. We must concentrate more on what Jesus wants to do for us and through us than on what we think He should be doing.
Is your agenda interfering with what Jesus is trying to accomplish in your life?

Be Encouraged,

Monday, November 06, 2006

God vs Jason

What do God and Jason (from "Friday the 13th") have in common?

Did you ever notice in Friday the 13th, that no matter how fast a victim ran, they would always get caught. Just when they thought they had left Jason behind, he would jump right out in front of them.

Well, it is the same for God! You can't run from God cause he's not only fast enough to run with you, but he knows where you're going and he will be there waiting on you. And you better believe that when you get there, just like Jason, God is gonna "get you" (discipline/convict you). Psalm 139 explains how God sees everything we do, hears everything we say and even knows our thoughts.

But unlike Jason, God isn't just there to "get us". Sometimes when God seems to SHOW UP out of nowhere, He is there to bless and encourage. No matter what situation or problems we may face, God has strategically placed us there to enhance our growth and maturity. If He knows us as well as Psalm 139 says, then he definitely knows what is best for us...much better than we do.

So, read Psalm 139 to be convicted and encouraged, knowing that you are
NEVER alone.

"Quocunque te flexeris, ibi Deum videbis occurrentem tibi. Whithersoever thou turnest thyself, thou wilt see God meeting thee."


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Ignorance VS Action

"...so that by his own words he may be judged, and Negroes the world over may be informed and inspired, for truth, brought to light, forces conviction, and a state of conviction inspires action."
- Amy Jacques-Garvey

This statement was made by Marcus Garvey's wife as an explanation of why she produced a book which included Garvey's philosophies and opinions. If you can at all relate to or have some understanding of the plight of Blacks throughout history and particularly during Marcus Garvey's time (early 1900's), you can fully grasp the meaning and importance of what was being said in the quote. (Take some time now to ponder this idea)

Yet, if I take the liberty of changing this quote to make a spiritual application, we then see how profound this statement really is; especially when pertaining to the plight of not only Blacks, but all mankind.

"...so that by God's own words we may be judged, and people the world over may be informed and inspired, for truth, brought to light, forces conviction, and a state of conviction inspires action."

Conviction is often perceived as something negative when it is actually very much the antithesis. It is a blessing. But these blessings are hindered due to ignorance. For if we are ignorant, what confidence or peace have we in living? If confidently we do live, void of the truth, we are confidently wrong and hopelessly lost. You see, this process works in a circular manner. What happens to us when we are exposed to truth? We can be alarmed, hurt, relieved, amazed, inspired, and so on. No matter what the response or reaction, truth carries with it freedom; freedom from ignorance and the many fruits that ignorance bears. Along with freedom comes responsibility. This is the heart of conviction, which then causes us to take action FIRST in our own personal lives THEN take action to help free others. How do we help free others?...By exposing them to the truth, which starts this whole process over again. So, take advantage of the opportunity and responsibility to bring truth to light; for yourself and for others (remembering that there is ALWAYS more to be learned). And when conviction comes, don't ignore it or fight it, but, with the grace of God, act accordingly.


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