Sunday, October 30, 2011

Depreciation of Appreciation

1 Timothy 6:7-8, "For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content."

As a little girl, I often hung with the "old folks" in my family and listened intently of their stories of making "do" and how imperative it was for me to always appreciate what God had blessed me with. My folks taught me that any blessing from God was "BIG" and my Uncle Jimmy Milton would always tell me that "pride will make one suffer."  My folks may not have had much, but they gave me and those in my generation lineage a few items that were sustainable: Jesus, cleanliness, and to always make an "honest living." The women in my family, like most American families had a few valuable items they carried through generations, such as a photo album, few pieces of china, a ring, and clippings from history. The "value of the item" was not important- the lesson was to "value the item." My kinfolks taught me to always have the basic necessities in my home-Dawn Detergent, Pine Sol, Bleach, extra sheets, "spreads" and towels and something in the "fridge" for unexpected company, or at least a pound cake on the table and Folgers Coffee in the cabinet for visitors. Our generation has gotten so "caught up" into what the world says we should have and be doing that we have lost focus on the authenticity of living a simplistic life. The bulk of women in our society are unaware of how to "press" a dress, make a decent meal, nor stitch a button on a t-shirt. A lot of men are unaware of the power of  knotting a tie, understanding the concept of wearing a belt, and being committed to one woman as being powerful and God's Way. One thing is for sure, we brought nothing into this world and it is for certain that we cannot carry anything out. Embracing "simplicity" doesn't have to be "complicated."

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Are you in the right room?

Proverbs 18:16, "A man's gift makes room for him, And brings him before great men."

We often struggle with the idea of not feeling we measure up in a society that demands "the next big thing" in repeat mode.  God didn't create us to live "background worthy" lives. Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, Katie Couric, Dr. Booker T. Washington, etc....are held as frontrunners of their era because they utilized what God had given them and cultivated it. God ain't gonna give us anything that He knows we will waste. People who use their gifts effectively allow their gifts to orchestrate them into greatness. If you are the most intelligent person in the room-get out of there! When King Solomon was preparing to take the throne of His father-King David, he asked God for wisdom and knowledge. Solomon recognized that titles have their rightful place, but if he didn't have the gift that God granted him, his reign wouldn't be effective. According to the Word of God, there wasn't a man as great as Solomon during his reign nor after. Solomon allowed his gift to make room for God's abundance to flow in.  Don't  focus on the doors men shut on us, but find solidarity in the notion that our God-given gifts are sufficient and will lead us into the doors that only God can open and close. Knowledge can get us in many doors-but wisdom shuts them.

What's in a Name?

Luke 2:21-"And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb." 
  In our society when a woman conceives, the fascinating dilemma she has is what will she name her child. In biblical times, families named children names that had purpose. Hannah named her son Samuel because it meant "Because I have asked for him from the Lord." The angel who appeared to Mary gave her instruction on naming her "Child" and the Scripture tells us that the name was given before she conceived Him. Preparation and much thought went into the name of the Savior who would come down from Heaven and take the penalty for our sins. There is POWER in the name of Jesus!! If God took time out to choose a name for His Son that had purpose and power, why are we selling our children short and giving them names that are "thrown" together from our favorite cartoons, songs, foods, and places?? We have to be ever so careful and give our lineage names of power and purpose and names that they are not tormented with in their childhood that will carry into their adulthood. My children names were strategically given. Kenzie means "bright light" and Marie-is Jason's grandmother's name. He wanted Kenzie to carry on the name of the woman who cultivated him. Jason means "Mighty Warrior" and can be found in Acts 17. There is POWER in the name of Jesus!! What's in your name??

Friday, October 28, 2011

Imitation is a Limitation

Being raised and cultivated in a small town called Loxley, Alabama in Baldwin County, AL was a blessing and the foundation of my "acquired taste" in everything from men to ziplock bags. My grand-mama taught me from an early age that I couldn't go "cheap" on items that I needed long-term. It's always "best to invest" in quality products and men. For example, to cut out on replacing shoes every few weeks, she invested in buying me "keds" remember, the cute little white shoes with the blue label? She shopped at Gayfer's which is what we call "Dillard's" today to purchase me clothes that could "sustain a washing."  We should never allow our circumstances and class level to determine and manipulate us from making "quality" decisions and choices and incorporating "good folks" into our circle. Examine yourself and determine what you are willing to "go cheap on". We all deserve to have "quality" friends, associates, relationships, marriages, jobs, etc... "Compare to" selections have their rightful place and as Children of the King we have an inheritance to the "good life."  Never allow imitations to be a limitation-it's a disservice to you. Always get your money's worth!

Proverbs 31

Proverbs 31 is the blue print for womanhood and the epitome of what every woman of God should aspire to be. Proverbs 31 is taken from the perspective that King Lemuel's mother taught him. In today's society, women are often placed in uncomfortable crossroads of doing it the world's way or God's Way. Proverbs 31 gives women the opportunity to examine themselves while simultaneously laying the ground work for what men should seek in their quest for a virtuous woman and wife. The Scripture tells us in verse 8 that her worth is far more than rubies-meaning that a woman's worth and value she brings to herself and a man are immeasurable and uncompromising. A ruby speaks for itself and value doesn't depreciate in a tough market. Verse 9 says that her husband safely trusts her-as women we have to examine our lineage history to define what limitations and shortcomings we have been inherited in order to assure that we don't allow our shortcomings to short-change us in the long run. Having the trust of a man is a trait that men desperately desire and is the foundation of cultivating greatness in your helpmate. A man grows in leaps and bounds spiritually and in their daily walk when they have the assurance that their partner can be trusted. Proverbs 31 discusses how as women, we control the spirit of our household and the level of prosperity it attains. A virtuous woman works in whatever capacity is necessary to ensure that her household is maintained and she understands that this requires "staying out of the streets" and imputing her righteousness into her children. The Bible says she perceives her merchandise to be good-meaning she produces quality work and she is concerned about the input and outputs of the product her hand produces, such as "raising godly children, keeping a clean house, ensuring nourishing food is prepared, etc."  A virtuous woman husband is known in "the gates" not in the "streets" and she doesn't mind the accolades he may receive because she is "sure of herself" and knows that he is a direct reflection of her love, time, and devotion. The Scripture concludes with "a woman who fears the Lord shall be praised." Ultimately, if we as women ensure that God is operating at full capacity in our lives as the pilot and we utilize His Word as our constant compass-we can't help but to be blessed and live a life of abundance.