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Rev. Dr. Delesslyn A. Kennebrew, J.D., M.Div.

Visionary Strategist Faithful Innovator Inspirational Essayist

Salvation and Stilettos Blog

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To Ignore or To Invest? That is the Question… #MyVisionFast

Posted on January 14, 2020 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (13)



My Vision Fast
January 13, 2020
 
To Ignore or To Invest? That is the Question… #MyVisionFast
 
Greetings!
This morning I reread the parable of The Good Samaritan as told by Jesus in response to the question, “And who is my neighbor?” [Luke 10:29ff]
 
Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side.
 
 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.
 
’ So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”
And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
 
So, who is YOUR neighbor?  Of course, the “obvious” and oftentimes most forgettable answer is ‘EVERYONE.”  Friends, in truth, most of us limit our neighbor to the people who live in our neighborhood or those who are within our sphere of influence or to those who get us, understand us, think like us.  To put it more simply, those who like us.  Life would be just so much easier if we could limit our neighbor to the people who like us and celebrate us and want to be with us.  But since we are commanded to love our neighbor as we love ourselves with no specific restrictions articulated within this command to help us make exceptions of “certain” people, we must consider the magnitude of such love.
 
God is asking a whole lot of us.  God knows how those folks are and God knows how badly they treated us.  God knows we do not even speak the same language and we certainly are not in the same income bracket.  God knows our credentials do not match and our politics are in total conflict. God is asking, no, God is commanding a whole lot. 

I imagine that this is what the man who asked Jesus to clarify what is meant by the term “neighbor” had to be thinking.  I am sure that the social, political climate of that day would demand that there are some obvious neighbor restrictions.  Surely, Jesus knows this and will respond accordingly.  
 
Well, we just read how Jesus responds.  Your neighbor is everyone, especially the least of these – the hurt, the broken, the left out, the looked over, the walked around, the passed by…  AND you are a neighbor IF are moved with compassion and show mercy.
 
Friends, this can be a hard pill to swallow given the times we live in.  It seems like the good Lord would give us a break on seeing EVERYONE as a neighbor.  But then that would not be love.  Furthermore, God is not just telling us to SEE our neighbor, think about our neighbor or talk to our neighbor; but from Jesus parable, we are also being asked to invest in the wellbeing of our neighbor.  To love our neighbor means we cannot ignore ANY of our neighbors and out of compassion and mercy, we must invest in our neighbors.  Reread the passage if you need to but the Good Samaritan invested in the well being of his neighbor. 
 
Furthermore, given the tension between the Jews and Samaritans, Jesus use of a Samaritan as the “good” neighbor and not the priest or the Levite, was probably a mind-blowing concept for those who heard his response.  Think about a person whom you consider your social or political adversary showing you love in your time of need.  Many of us cannot even imagine ourselves as a “good” neighbor to this extent, much less a stranger or someone whom we would describe as our social and political adversary.  But can we try?
 
Can you try to imagine a world where we all thought of each other as neighbors AND we did what we could to invest in the well being of each other because we love our neighbors as we love ourselves?  Think about it.  This is the command of God.  It is not a suggestion.  Loving our neighbor is not a suggestion.
 
Lord, help us!
 
Lord, forgive us and help us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.  Lord help us to not ignore our neighbors needs.  Lord, help us to have compassion and show mercy to our neighbors.  May we be willing to invest in the wellbeing of our neighbors… IN JESUS NAME, may it be so…
 
God LOVES You and I Do Too!
Blessings, Glory, and Sunshine!
Delesslyn

 
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A Brief Thought on Prosperity… #MyVisionFast

Posted on January 11, 2020 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (0)


My Vision Fast
January 11, 2020
 
A Brief Thought on Prosperity… #MyVisionFast
 
Greetings!
For the last 20years, and probably for many more, the “Prosperity Gospel” message has been promoted and critiqued.  To be honest, there are valid points on both sides of the argument.  We cannot ignore that words such as prosperity, riches, wealth, increase, and the like are in the bible.  However, we also cannot ignore that the pursuit of financial prosperity alone as “the” sign that you are in right standing with the Lord is quite shallow.  Financial prosperity is not a sin and your financial prosperity is also not the goal of the Gospel.
 
It can be challenging to live in the tension of what we read and believe to be true in the Bible alongside the life we experience beyond its pages.  I think at some level, those who promote “Prosperity Gospel” really just do not want to miss out on any of the good things they believe the Lord has for them in this life.  On the other hand, those who critique “Prosperity Gospel” really just do not want anyone to miss out on the transformative power of the Gospel to change the hearts and minds of people for the good of the whole world and not just your individual bank account.
 
I wonder if there is some common ground that honors the words and the principles that govern the words related to prosperity in the text.
 
I was thinking about these things as I was reading Deuteronomy 6.  There is clearly a promise of prosperity AND preservation IF the people are obedient and reverence the Lord [Deuteronomy 6:24].  This chapter connects prosperity to obedience and perhaps that is the missing link in our modern-day conversations.  Furthermore, I might add that prosperity today is so much more than financial abundance.  I am suggesting that prosperity for all people is the holistic redemption by the grace of God as evidenced through love and justice.  In other words, to think that prosperity is solely about money is narrow minded and to think that prosperity is completely unrelated to the Gospel – or the command in context of Deuteronomy 6 – is choosing to be blind to the fullness of all that God dreams for this world.
 
Now, I do not plan to do a full exposition on prosperity in the Bible in this post.  I do want to say this: we need to not be afraid to wrestle within this tension. I believe that our Crestor wants all of us to prosper.  I also believe that our Creator desires for all of us to be obedient.  AND I believe that our prosperity is holistic. This is the tension.  We cannot fully experience the prosperity of all that God has to offer to us in this life if we are not also obedient to the ultimate command to LOVE God with all of our heart, our soul, and our strength [Deuteronomy 6:5] AND LOVE our neighbors as we love ourselves.
 
So, friends, in what ways do you need to better LOVE God and LOVE your neighbor in order to more fully embrace the prosperity that God has for your life?  How will your obedience to the command of the Lord transform your perspective on prosperity and how will you use your prosperity to transform the world beyond your financial contribution to it/others?
 
Friends, Go, and Be Obedient AND Prosperous in the name of LOVE…
 
God LOVES You and I Do Too!
Blessings, Glory and Sunshine!
Delesslyn
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Get Ready. Get Set. Now Wait. #MyVisionFast

Posted on January 10, 2020 at 7:00 AM Comments comments (1)

My Vision Fast
January 10, 2020
 
Get Ready. Get Set.  Now Wait.
 
Greetings!
Friends, one of the last things we want to do when we need an answer from the Lord is WAIT.  I mean, let’s keep it real.  Doesn’t the Lord already know all things?  So, why can’t the Lord just go ahead and reveal all those things to us?  It seems that it would make sense for the Lord to not keep us waiting since he loves us and cares about us and all of that.  Yet, in spite of all of that love, the Lord will make us wait.
 
Some of us have been waiting for a while and some of us just started waiting for whatever our prayer requests involved.  Some of us are tired of waiting and some of us are not yet tired.  Some of us have preoccupied ourselves during the waiting time with activities and relationships that in the back of our minds, we know are going nowhere but we need “something” to do while we wait.  Some of us have secluded ourselves so as not to get overly distracted by the options that seem to present themselves as credible solutions to our prayer concerns. 
 
Friends, this waiting period is something else.  Honestly, if you are not waiting on one thing, you are most likely waiting on something else.  You might not be waiting for the new baby to arrive but you still waiting on that promotion.  You might not be waiting for him to propose but you still waiting for that check to clear.  You might not be waiting for a response to your email but you are still waiting for your neighbor to get their act together.  Friends, people talk about the storms and how if you are not in one, you are on your way to one or walking through one or you just got out of one.  But what about this waiting period? Perhaps you are waiting right now and if you are not already waiting, you just got through waiting or you are about to start waiting.
 
I think we are always waiting. Always. Waiting. I think we are always waiting for Something or Someone or Some way or Somehow. Waiting.  And honestly, we need to just prepare ourselves, every time we pray, for the waiting period.  It is not like we do not know that waiting is not part of life’s journey.  But yet we still get frustrated by the reality we already know is inevitable – waiting.
 
When we read the response of the Lord to Habakkuk about vision, I cannot help but to consider the time that Habakkuk watched for and waited for the Lord’s response.  We jump to the writing of the vision in this passage, but Habakkuk had to wait way before he wrote.  Perhaps that is the reminder that we need today.  You have got to wait for the word of the Lord to come into your life and wait for the word of the Lord to manifest in your life.  Even after Habakkuk was told to write the vision, he was told that the vision was for an appointed time, it would not tarry, and to WAIT for it.  That whole word from the Lord feels like such a major contradiction.  Habakkuk not only had to wait for the vision, Habakkuk had to also then wait with a vision.
 
For the vision is yet for THE appointed time, it testifies about the end and will not lie; though it delays, wait for it, since it will certainly come and not be late. [Habakkuk 2:3]
 
Friends, we have got to wait.  We have got to pray and then position ourselves to watch and wait for the word from the Lord.  Then, when we receive that word, we have got to write it down and wait again. So, get ready. Get set. Now wait.
 
Wait.
Wait.
Wait for it.
Wait for it some more.
And wait some more for it.
And at THE appointed time, it will surely come to pass…
 
God LOVES You and I Do Too!
Blessings, Glory, and Sunshine!

Delesslyn
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Objection, Your Honor! #MyVisionFast

Posted on January 9, 2020 at 9:20 AM Comments comments (0)


My Vision Fast
January 9, 2020
 
Objection, Your Honor!
 
Greetings!
Friends, if you have ever watched any type of courtroom drama on the television in your den or on the big screen at your local movie theatre, you have undoubtedly heard this phrase, “Objection, Your Honor!” These words are uttered during the course of a trial when one attorney hears or observes something that is not in accordance with the laws pertaining to the case or the rules governing the procedures of the process.  The attorney will then explain why his or her objection is necessary and the judge will rule whether the objection is sustained or overruled.  Either way, the objection is an obvious rejection of what the attorney has seen or heard that would be disadvantageous to their client.
 
Have you ever had to raise an objection in your life?  Maybe something was happening or a conversation was in progress or you simply had a feeling that something was not right and before you could go on, you raised your own objection.  We raise objections in so many different ways. We raise objections by not calling people back.  We raise objections when we choose not to show up.  We raise objections by acting contrary to the directives given to us.  We raise objections in so many ways and for so many different reasons.  We raise objections because something is just not right or because we do not agree or because we simply do not want to do or say something for whatever reason in the moment. We raise objections and I am pretty sure that most of us have experienced the impact of another’s objections raised because of something we said or did.
 
We raise objections to our friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, parents, children, spouses, significant others, partners, mechanics, doctors, local politicians, teachers, and the list could go on and on.  Sometimes our objections are sustained.  Sometimes our objections are overruled.    Either way, we have all raised objections to the people in our lives and perhaps even to God.
 
Yes!  I dare to say that YOU have even lifted an objection or two to the Creator.  
Objection, Your Honor!  I do not think I am equipped for that!
Objection, Your Honor!  I am not prepared for this!
Objection, Your Honor! I do not think it is the right time to start that!
Objection, Your honor!  I will not be well received if I do this!
 
Friends, you are not alone.  For even in the bible, there was a prophet who spoke an objection to God’s prophetic word over his life.  His name was Jeremiah. [Jeremiah 1:4-8]
 
The Prophetic Word -
“The word of the Lord came to me: I chose you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart before you were born;  I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
 
The Objection –
“But I protested, “Oh NO, Lord God! Look, I don’t know how to speak since I am only a youth.”
 
The Objection Overruled –
Then the Lord said to me: Do not say, “I am only a youth,” for YOU WILL GO to everyone I send you to and SPEAK whatever I tell you to.”
 
This flow of conversation might feel somewhat familiar.  The Lord gives you an instruction, a prophetic word, a directive, a command AND then you offer an objection [i.e. an excuse] as to why what the Lord says will not work or does not make sense.  Then, out of the abundance of God’s grace, God will overrule your objection and directly address the FEAR that is usually the ultimate reason you have presented objections in the first place.
 
The Affirmation –
“Do not be afraid of anyone for I will be with you to deliver you.”
THIS is the Lord’s declaration.
 
Friends, I want to tell you today that every objection that you have raised as an excuse to NOT pursue your dreams, to NOT live your best life, to NOT answer God’s call to ministry, to NOT speak up for yourself or others when necessary… EVERY objection is overruled!!!  You do not have to be afraid.  None of your excuses are good enough because just as the Lord was with Jeremiah so shall the Lord be with YOU.  THIS is the Lord’s declaration and it is so.
 
Do not live your life rejecting the prophetic word of the Lord over your life.  Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean NOT unto your own understanding [Proverbs 3:5].  Do NOT be afraid! Every objection that YOU [and others for that matter] have to God’s vision/purpose/assignment for your life is overruled!  So, what’s next?
 
God Loves You and I Do Too!
Blessings, Glory and Sunshine!
Delesslyn
 
Join the My Vision Fast – a 21 day fast to seek and to see God’s vision for your life – www.MyVisionFast.com

 
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The World is Starving! #MyVisionFast

Posted on January 8, 2020 at 7:20 AM Comments comments (0)


My Vision Fast
January 8, 2020
 
The World is Starving!
 
Greetings!
Friends, at the time of my writing this reflection, war is imminent, racism is real, gender discrimination is still a thing, orphans outnumber the caretakers necessary for every child to grow up in a loving home, and the preschool to prison pipeline has not been completely dissolved.  There is so much going on in the world… so much hatred and pain, loneliness and abandonment, violence and hopelessness.  What in the world are we to do?  Where are we to go?  How do we keep on keeping on?
 
As a child, I learned the words to this song:
Jesus is the answer
For the world today
Above Him there is no other
Jesus is the way
 
And as much as I do believe that Jesus is the answer, I do not want to over simplify the complexities of the issues we are facing and our responsibility in addressing them.  Meaning, our belief in Jesus as the Savior of the world, and model for revolutionary love that transforms the hearts and minds of people is only part of answer.  The other part is our choice of whether or not we will yield to the impression of His counterpart that desires to lead, guide, and direct our path -The Holy Spirit.
 
“Since we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit.” [Galatians 5:25]
 
It is our belief in Jesus AND our living by the Spirit that will make the difference.
 
Unfortunately, the world is starving for people who will embody the fruit of the Holy Spirit that this world so desperately needs.  And while the adversary is an undeniably guilty culprit in the evil and destruction of our society, I cannot help but to think that the believers of Jesus have also been slack in their following of Jesus who also was led by the Spirit and promised that the Holy Spirit would lead us in His physical absence.  In other words, we who believe in Jesus also have the fruit that the world needs but when we refuse to follow the Spirit, we contribute to the starvation of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control in this world.  The scripture says that “Against such things, there is NO law..” NO limit… NO restriction…
 
Friends, I am suggesting that the world is starving and downright HANGRY [irritable or angry because of hunger] for the fruit that only followers of the Spirit can provide.  We are gifted with the endless possibility of providing the fruit of the Spirit to the world and when we do not bear THIS kind of fruit in abundance, well, the world starves.  And we all know what happens when it has been too long since our last meal, we get aggravated, frustrated, impatient, a little short… some of us get sick… some of us cannot think straight… some of us get attitudes that make us not so easy to be around.  Can you imagine a world with a visible abundance of the fruit of the Holy Spirit that feeds this HANGRY world?  Think about that for a second…
 
Friends, the world is starving for YOU to live by the Spirit and follow the Spirit so that YOU can bear the fruit of the Spirit that the world is so desperately craving.  We need you to feed the world with the unlimited supply of the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control that comes through you as you follow the Spirit.
 
Friends, let us feed the world! 
 
God LOVES You and I Do Too!
Delesslyn
 

Join the My Vision Fast – a 21 day fast to seek and to see God’s vision for YOUR life – www.MyVisionFast.com   
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Gongs and Cymbals, Oh My! #MyVisionFast

Posted on January 7, 2020 at 8:00 AM Comments comments (0)



My Vision Fast
January 7, 2020
 
Gongs and Cymbals, Oh My!
 
Have you ever heard the orchestrated and measured sounds of gongs and cymbals in a symphony?  Now, have you ever heard the unscripted sounds of random gongs and cymbals – kind of like the sound of a toddler beating on his or her mother’s pots and pans? Would you agree that each evokes a different kind of memory, a different kind of feeling, a different kind of sound?
 
On the one hand, the accent of the gongs and cymbals in a symphony are at least tolerable and enhance the movement of a particular phrase in the piece being performed.  On the other hand, the toddler’s beating on make believe percussion instruments is annoying and definitely far from any organized musical rendition.
 
And while we might give room for the latter, at some point, we are going to ask that toddler to be still and give the noise a rest!
 
Isn’t that the same way you filter through the gongs and cymbals that is the noise of life?  There is so much noise around us.  The kind of noise that is not kind, not compassionate, not thoughtful, not loving.  So, when the author writes these words to open the chapter often referred to as , The Love Chapter, I cannot help but to recall the posts, the tweets, the sermons, the “testimonies,” the conversations that were nothing but noise.  Gongs and Cymbals, Oh My!
 
If I speak human or angelic languages but do not have love. I am a sounding gong or a clashing cymbal. [1 Corinthians 13:1]
 
Is that you?  Don’t answer too quickly.  I really want you to think about your most recent communications and ask yourself – Am I gong or a cymbal?  Am I just making noise?
 
This might be a hard question for some of us to answer given our desire to use our “Freedom of Speech” to say whatever we want to say about anything and anyone at anytime and in any place.  And while there is nothing wrong with sharing, this scripture warns us about the consequences of sharing our words without love.
 
When we speak or do anything for that matter without love, we are nothing, we gain nothing, and we sound like a toddler beating pots and pans.
 
Friends, I think one of the primary reasons that the writer emphasizes how important it is for our words to be seasoned with love is this:
 
For now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face.  Now I know IN PART but then I will know fully as I am fully known. [1 Corinthians 13:12]
 
In other words, YOU do NOT know everything.  And YOU do NOT know everything about what you think you know.  And YOU do NOT know everything about love. You only know what you know IN PART.
 
So, at the most basic level, we must strive to live and speak in love because we do NOT know everything about anything.  Life is full of mystery even about the things we think we know and when we speak words of hate and discord, we only perpetuate the noise that the enemy uses as a weapon to kill, steal, and destroy us, That is not love.
 
We must speak in love and leave all of our gong and cymbal pontifications at the altar.  So, friends, think before you speak.  Think love before you speak.  And avoid being a gong and a cymbal in the already noisy lives we must filter through everyday.  Don’t be that person.  Think love. Show love.  Speak love.
 
God LOVES You and I Do Too!
Delesslyn
 

Join the 2020 Annual My Vision Fast – 21 day fast to seek and to see God’s vision for your life.  www,MyVisionFast.com
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PSA: YOU. ARE. NECESSARY. #MyVisionFast

Posted on January 6, 2020 at 6:40 AM Comments comments (2)



My Vision Fast Blog
January 6, 2020 #MyVisionFast
 
PSA: YOU. ARE. NECESSARY.
 
Greetings!
This is a Public Service Announcement to remind you that YOU are necessary.  YOU. ARE. NECESSARY.  Please feel free to reread those three words as much as you need to so that they sink in, deeply.  

YOU. ARE. NECESSARY. 
 
In the hustle and bustle of life, I can only imagine how transactional life can seem.  We run from here to there trying to make ends meet or trying to make a difference or just trying to make it.  And in all of that running, I want you to KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that YOU. ARE. NECESSARY.  I do not know if all that running you doing is, but YOU are. 
 
This is what I believe the author of 1 Corinthians 12 is trying to convey to the ancient recipients and what we can glean today.  Everyone has a part in the body of Christ and we need all parts to work together for the benefit and blessing of the whole. 
 
I have read this chapter many times along my journey and one of the verses that struck me today as I read it was 1 Corinthians 12:7:
 
A demonstration of the Spirit is given to EACH person to produce what is beneficial.
 
Before he outlines the gifts and ministries in this chapter, he offers this overarching statement to remind us that EVERY ONE of us is necessary.  There is no need to compete. There is no need to deny your gifts or the gifts of others.  There is no need to disparage any gifts or ministries.  We ALL have something to contribute to the whole body.  We all are beneficial to the whole body.  We all benefit from the whole body.  God made sure of that.
 
This connection is beautiful and beneficial and YOU are welcome.
 
You do not have to wonder IF you belong, You do.
You do not have to wonder IF you matter.  You do.
You do not have to wonder IF you are gifted.  You are.
 
A demonstration of the Spirit is given to EACH person to produce what is beneficial.
 
Friends, YOU are necessary.  So, live your life for the benefit of your brothers and sisters in Christ and hopefully, we will do the same for you.  And working together, I pray that we experience the production of what is beneficial to the body as a witness to the world.
 
God LOVES You and I Do Too!!!
 
Blessings, Glory, and Sunshine!
Delesslyn 

Participate in the Ninth Annual My Vision Fast – January 6-26 – www.MyVisionFast.com
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When They See Us [#WhenTheySeeUs] - Response to Netflix Feature

Posted on June 5, 2019 at 11:50 PM Comments comments (0)



June 5, 2019
 
#WhenTheySeeUs
 
WHEN THEY SEE US
 
I just finished watching all four parts of the Netflix limited series, WHEN THEY SEE US, directed by Ava DuVernay and Executive Produced by Oprah Winfrey and Ava DuVernay.  As the credits rolled, I wanted to immediately post on Facebook my thoughts or at least the hashtag #WhenTheySeeUs to let someone know that I watched it.  I opened my Facebook App and the balloon background popped up from a previous birthday greeting I had sent.  It was way too cheery for the feelings I have in this moment.  I found a black background.  I typed “#WhenTheySeeUs…”  And for everything I was feeling, I could not go any further.  Even a “long post” warning would be insufficient to capture the response that I am having to this series.  I am literally in tears as I write in this moment.  I have not processed any of what I am feeling or what I have just watched with anyone.  All I know is that, I had to just come to my laptop and let the words flow as the Spirit gives utterance.
 
I admit that as I watched all four parts, I was aware that, while this happened in 1989, it is still happening today.  There was nothing that I saw throughout the series that made me think that we are beyond such hate.  I cried.  I screamed.  I moaned.  I clinched my pillow.  I longed for my family.  I yelled my own frustration with words I will not repeat here. I was scared for every black boy and man that I know.  I thought about my faith.  I whispered random prayers.  I hurt and I hurt and I hurt.  I even had the thought of relief that I am not a biological mother.  I am still in tears…
 
I am in tears because I have never understood how people can be so filled with hate and mean and so completely disrespectful of another human being.  I do not get it.  My heart is broken for my people.  Black people.  Yes, I am fully aware that there are other races and ethnicities.  God loves you. OK?  BUT in THIS moment, my heart is broken for my people because the sentiments, attitudes, actions, perspectives as vicious as they were conveyed in every part of that Netflix feature, I know that in reality, the venom is still present today in every system of this world.  And my people are not just having a bad time or a rough time, they are DYING.  My people are DYING because of the skin we are in and that hurts.
 
Last week, I had a conversation with someone that reminded me that this kind of hate is also present in the hearts and minds of people who claim to worship God and follow the ways of Jesus.  I was compassionately advised not to visit a certain church because they knew I would not be welcome because I am BLACK. Neither you nor the members of your church are immune from being racist, sexist, homophobic, pro-life pretenders [because you are not pro-life in every situation beyond birth], prideful, greedy, faithless, crooked, disrespectful, inconsiderate of all who are created in the image of the Almighty.
 
WHEN THEY SEE US…
WHEN YOU SEE ME…  You see that I am black.  Before you are acquainted with my testimony or hear me sing or admire my shoes or appreciate my intellect or compliment my resume, within yourself, YOU must confront my BLACKNESS.  You must make a decision about my blackness.  You must consider how you will receive my BLACKNESS.
 
I am not naïve to think that everyone will celebrate EVERYTHING there is to know and love about Delesslyn.  That is OK.  However, you cannot get to know me without acknowledging that I AM BLACK.
 
Friends, I do not spend a lot of time worrying about what people think about me, individually, because more often than not, what you think about me will be influenced by what you think when you see “US” any one of us, anywhere. 
 
So, this is my initial response to this feature.  I am sure that future conversations will help me to further process this compelling work and true story… especially as I continue to reflect theologically on the evil thoughts and actions of people who say they love God…AND how do we educate BLACK boys and girls to handle the varying types of psychological and physical police confrontation and police brutality… AND in what ways does today’s church need to WAKE UP and deal with real life issues and not just if there is a hymn or a praise and worship song… AND in what ways can we get involved in the care and healing of those impacted by the violence… AND how will we develop ways to fund all of the above… AND… AND… AND…
 

LORD, IN YOUR MERCY…

God LOVES You and I Do Too!
Blessings, Glory, and Sunshine!
Delesslyn
Twitter - @AudraSunshine
IG - @AudraSunshine1

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There is No Shame in This Good News

Posted on May 17, 2019 at 7:14 PM Comments comments (1)

Greetings!
BlogFam,
There are so many things we might name in our lives, families, churches, politics, friendships, careers, education, housing, finances that we could say make us ashamed - embarrassed or guilty because of one's actions, characteristics, or associations.  BUT I am glad to say that the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ is not one of them.  We might be ashamed or embarrassed by the ways certain followers of Jesus might behave, but in and of itself, the Gospel is love and the Gospel is hope and no one should ever be ashamed of that.

THIS is GOOD NEWS!  There are so many things in our past and even in our present that could keep us from being free to live our best lives because we said or did something that would not qualify as a highlight of our life.  There are so many things that people might try to bring up about our lives, secrets or very public displays of ignorance that make us want to hide.  There are things that we still might feel guilty about many days, weeks, months, and even years after the fact that have kept us from pursuing our goals and dreams simply because we fear the word getting out of our less than stellar attitude or actions.  The GOOD NEWS is that regardless of any and all of these memories, salvation has been and still is available to us all.

We can be forgiven.  We are forgiven.  We can start over.  We can receive the love that our Creator has already extended to us and shown us through Jesus Christ.  We can still believe and confess Jesus as Lord of our lives.  We can experience brand new mercies every morning and that is GOOD NEWS.

I can only imagine Paul's gratitude for the grace and mercy of the Gospel.  Paul was a persecutor of people who followed Jesus.  He did not care for them.  He sought to destroy their community and stifle their hope.  But then He met Jesus for himself and it changed his life forever.  YES, Paul had every reason to be ashamed of his past.  He had every reason to feel embarrassed by his reputation.  He had every reason to feel guilty for all the people he had hurt.  And he probably did feel all of the above.  However, the darkness of his shame could not stand the light of his salvation and Paul, even Paul, was forgiven and by faith, he made the decision to follow the Christ he had previously condemned.

He says - 

That’s why I’m ready to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.  I’m not ashamed of the gospel: it is God’s own power for salvation to all who have faith in God, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.  God’s righteousness is being revealed in the gospel, from faithfulness for faith, as it is written, The righteous person will live by faith. [Romans 1:15-17]

Friends, I do not know what the enemy might be holding over your head that is keeping you from living your best life in Christ, but I pray that today you will take on the attitude of Paul.  I pray that you will refuse to let your life before Christ limit the abundance of all that life has to offer you after coming into relationship with Christ.  I pray that you will not be ashamed and that you will testify about the goodness of Jesus who turned your life around so that you can now be faithful.  

May you allow the power for salvation that is available to you enrich your life and may righteousness be your forever choice!

God LOVES You and I Do Too!
Blessings, Glory, and Sunshine!
Delesslyn
Twitter - @AudraSunshine
IG - @AudraSunshine1

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So This Is What I Heard...

Posted on May 16, 2019 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (0)
Greetings!
BlogFam, as a child, my mother would often tell my siblings and I these words: 
"Your name will go further than you ever will."

In other words, there will be people and places who will hear of your name and the reputation attached to it that you may never know.  There will always be someone who has heard about you and you need to be mindful of how you carry yourself so that you can help what they might hear.  Obviously, none of us can completely control the script that is written in the public square about us but we can be careful to live our lives in a way that is holy and honorable.

Friends, I grew up thinking about this a lot.  It does matter how you live your life.  It matters how you have lived, how you are living now and how you plan to live in the future.  It matters.  Yes, people will understand and misunderstand your choices, your words, your thought patterns, your actions, your motives.  But you can at least do your best to live your life as consistently and as positively as possible for no matter what, somebody you will never meet in a place that you will never go, will hear about you.

This is the testimony of Paul.  He had a desire to visit the church at Rome but had not had opportunity to do so at the time of his writing.  So he tells them, "I may not have visited with you but I have heard about you."

First of all, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because the news about your faithfulness is being spread throughout the whole world. [Romans 1:8]

So this is what I heard about you.  You are faithful.  I have heard news about your faithfulness and I thank God for all of you.

Friends. since your name will go further than you ever will, do you think it would be a good idea that your faithfulness and not your foolishness be the primary matter of conversation around your name?

Since people are going to hear about you anyway, even though you  cannot control what they say, do you think you should try to live the kind of life that could form a reputation marked by the Fruit of the Holy Spirit -  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control?

Since someone somewhere will always have something to say about you, will you be careful to live your life as a positive, persevering, prayerful, and appropriately playful human being?

Paul says, before I get into the heart of my letter, I must compliment you and encourage you to know I am praying for you and I really want to visit you "that we can mutually encourage each other while I am with you. We can be encouraged by the faithfulness we find in each other, both your faithfulness and mine." [Romans 1:12]

Paul goes on to say that he feels a responsibility to visit and to share with them as well as other Gentiles. " I have a responsibility both to Greeks and to those who don’t speak Greek, both to the wise and to the foolish." [Romans 1:14]

Paul wants to visit but for any number of reasons he has been prevented from doing so; however, since a visit is not in his immediate plans, he writes a letter and he seems to be hopeful and encouraged that at least he is hearing good things about their witness.

Friends, have people been hearing good things about your witness?  Now we have all made mistakes.  We have all thought, said, and done things that we do not want to be associated with our reputation.  Confess.  Repent. The Lord forgives.  So, how are you living your life NOW?  Have you asked someone lately what they heard about you before they met you?

I recently had a conversation with a young lady who shares mutual friends with me.  We had both heard of each other and shared briefly the little that we had heard.  Thankfully, it was positive but it might have been kind of awkward had it been another way.  Friends, I am grateful that we both had positive recall based on what we had heard about each other.  It may not always be this way but I hope we can at least all strive to live our lives in such a way that the overwhelming summary of our reputation is faithful...

 I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because the news about your faithfulness is being spread throughout the whole world.

God LOVES You and I Do Too!
Blessings, Glory, and Sunshine!
Delesslyn
Twitter - @AudraSunshine
IG - @AudraSunshine1


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