Shopping Cart
Your Cart is Empty
Quantity:
Subtotal
Taxes
Shipping
Total
There was an error with PayPalClick here to try again
CelebrateThank you for your business!You should be receiving an order confirmation from Paypal shortly.Exit Shopping Cart

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

Visionary Strategist Faithful Innovator Inspirational Essayist

Salvation and Stilettos Blog

Blog

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

Evil is a GOD Sized Problem

Posted on October 30, 2018 at 9:17 AM Comments comments (0)
Greetings!
BlogFam,
My heart is heavy as I write this post.  On my mind are the recent reports in the news informing us of the senseless murders at a grocery store and in a synagogue and bomb threats  coming through the mail.  It really makes no sense to me how someone's heart can be so filled with hate that they can plan or spontaneously kill another human being.  I do not get it.  But for years, the only way I have been able to attempt to wrap my mind around it is by naming these acts as actions of the unredeemed.  Yes, I said it because I cannot accept that you have a relationship with the Almighty through Jesus Christ and perpetrate such horrific evil in the earth.  Your heart has to be far from God.  How else could one take such actions?

Friends, I know this is not an easy conversation to have because these behaviors make no sense and for one to have such a high disregard for human life is so far beyond many of us that we are left confused, hurt, frustrated, and distraught in the aftermath.  Thus, I am challenged by our verse for the day:

 Don’t be defeated by evil, but defeat evil with good. [Romans 12:21]

In some way, I do feel defeated from the place of there being so much evil in the world, in these United States, in my state of residence, in my city.  There is just so much evil and even in the fight for justice for all people, it almost feels like we cannot make the progress we need to make in order to ensure that evil does not triumph.  I do not want to believe that evil is "winning," but on the surface, it looks like it is which makes it seem as if there is not enough good in the world to overcome it all.  So, yes, defeat comes to mind when I think of all the lives lost, children hungry, glass ceilings yet to be shattered, oppressive voting tactics, refugees refused.  Defeat does come to mind.

But we are challenged by the verse to NOT be defeated by evil, but to instead, defeat evil with good.  How in the world are we supposed to address the cosmic crippling of the universe with enough good to defeat its impact?  

And honestly, I cannot go any further with this conversation without being straightforward and saying, we cannot.  It is absolutely impossible for us to defeat evil with good.  Given our current climate, I think this verse would have better read in this way:

Don't be defeated by evil, but defeat evil with GOD.

While we are vessels of God's goodness in the earth, the problem of evil is way too much for any of us humans to handle and let's be real, it really is not our problem to "handle."  We might address it in sincere and progressive ways but EVIL is a GOD sized problem!  It is indeed a burden too great for any of us to bear and a way too heavy load for any of us to share.  Evil is that seemingly endless trouble we keep on taking to the Lord over and over again.  We can do what we can through the Wisdom of the word, the teachings of Jesus, and inspired by that great cloud of witnesses who have gone on before us, but at the end of every march, protest, sermon, prayer meeting, rally, we are forced to come to grips with the reality that our goodness will only take us but so far.  It is God's goodness that will secure defeat.

Friends, I lift up the families and friends of those impacted by these recent tragedies, I ask God to help us to not feel overwhelmed by defeat,  but to grant to us the goodness  to confront the evil we face one day at a time.  And may we never lose hope that this God-sized problem is being handled in divinely mysterious and supernatural ways.

Don't be defeated by evil, but defeat evil with GOD.

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

An Anti-Anxiety Strategy - 1 Peter 5:7

Posted on October 24, 2018 at 4:46 PM Comments comments (0)


Greetings!
BlogFam,
Check out this verse:
Throw all your anxiety onto him, because he cares about you.
[1 Peter 5:7 CEB]

I wonder how many of us would be less stressed if we actually applied this scripture to our lives.

Think about it.
How many hairs might not be grey or ulcers unformed or weight not gained if we followed the advice of this verse?

I am just throwing it out there for your consideration because maybe it is time for all of us to re-consider the paths we are on, the loads we are carrying, the priorities we think we have to manage.

Perhaps we need to explore a new strategy for addressing the anxiety we ignore or confront everyday.  Perhaps we need to think about the impact of the way we are so used to doing things is having on our minds, our bodies, and our spirits.  Perhaps it is time to abandon the harmful and unhealthy ways or excuses for how we are moving in this world toward fulfilling our purpose.  Perhaps we need a new anti-anxiety strategy.

Anxiety is Intense, excessive, and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations.
Oh My!  I feel weighed down just typing the definition.  I imagine that reading it might convict you if this is where your mind lives or console you if you have made choices to relocate time and time again.  Friends, there is a strategy for addressing your anxiety and it is found in this verse - and maybe some psychologists office, truth be told.

Throw all your anxiety onto him, because he cares about you.
[1 Peter 5:7 CEB]

Just throw it all away!
Throw away the Intense, excessive, and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations.
Just throw it all away!
But don't just throw it all in the corner or under the bed or out the window.  This verse advises us to throw it all on the Lord.  All of it.  Do not keep anything for yourself! You will not need it later. You will be better for it!  Just throw it all away!

I know this is easier said than done.  We like our anxiety close.  It is a strange security blanket and a stressful night light.  Our anxiety gives us that twisted assurance that we are on top of things and we can handle it all.  Our anxiety draws familiar tears and isolation under the disguise of independence.

BlogFam, anxiety does not have to be the summary of your witness in the world.  Throw it all away through prayer, high praise, and professional help as needed.

God cares about every aspect of your life.  Your worry and your fears are not very good partners on life's journey.   We must throw all of our worry and our fears onto the Lord by praying. We have to talk to God...a real, keeping it 100 kind of conversation with God.  We do not need to sugar coat anything. We need to tell God about everything. Besides, God knows it all anyway.  So, you might as well confess your worries and your fears to God because God cares.  God ONLY wants the best for you and is working everything together for your good.  And Godhas ALL of the answers! So, I invite you to trust God that by faith that THIS, whatever your THIS is, will pass, be resolved, be healed, be shut down, or be opened up.  Friends, walk in favor and in faith!!!  Your worries and your fears are only holding you back.  Release them through prayer!

Secondly, give God Praise!  One of the ways we can release anxiety is by offering praise and thanksgiving to God!  We can thank and praise God for so many more things than what actually has us stressed out.  Focus on those things that put a smile on your face.  Yes, you may need to address concerns, challenges, pit stops, shortfalls; but none of those things define your life.  Give God praise that God is going to work it all out in your favor.  Thank God for how God has worked things out in the past. Do not forget where you came from!  Throw it all on the Lord by singing your favorite woship song or quoting scriptures of praise whenever you feel anxiety creeping up.  Release your anxiety through your praise!

Lastly, seek professional help.  God has placed people in the earth who can walk with us through the weeds of anxiety and give us resources to help us move forward.  There is no shame in getting help from a professional person who is trained to help you gain a new perspective on your situation or circumstance.  There is no shame in talking to someone who can help you to be your best and live your best life.  There is no shame in contacting someone who can be a healing agent in your world.  You may need to reach out to someone that can hold your hand through this.  Release your anxiety through professional help!

BlogFam, I am grateful for today's reminder  and hopeful that we can all live better by incorporating this anti-anxiety strategy - Prayer, Praise, and Professional help as needed.  We do not need to carry Intense, excessive, and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations.  Instead, we can:

Throw all our anxiety onto him, because he cares about us.

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

BEFORE YOU - Jeremiah 1:5

Posted on October 24, 2018 at 4:27 PM Comments comments (0)

BEFORE YOU - JEREMIAH 1:5

Greetings!
BlogFam,


"Before I created you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I set you apart; I made you a prophet to the nations." [Jeremiah 1:5 CEB]


Before you
birds were singing
before you
trees were growing
before you
the world was made
before you
the animals were named
before you
there was a lot that happened 
before you


before you
Sojourner led
before you
Douglass wrote
before you
bodies were lynched
before you 
justice was cinched
before you
there was a lot that happened 
before you


before you
King marched
before you
Nina sang
before you
we waited
before you
for freedom to ring
before you
there was a lot that happened 
before you


before you
segregation
before you
desegregation
before you
voters rights
before you
white flight
before you
there was a lot that happened 
before you


before you
prayers were prayed
before you
ways were made
before you
doors were opened
before you
eyes were closed
before you
there was a lot that happened 
before you

before you
struggle
after you
struggle
before you
tears
after you
tears
before you
there was a lot that happened
before you

before you
purpose
after you
formed
now you
born
from you
power
before you
there was a lot that happened
to prepare 
before you

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







Train Up Children and Childish Adults - Proverbs 22:6

Posted on October 22, 2018 at 8:00 AM Comments comments (0)
 
Greetings!
BlogFam,
Our verse for today seems pretty straightforward.
Train children in the way they should go; when they grow old, they won’t depart from it. [Proverbs 22:6]

I am sure that you have heard this verse spoken when a child, particular a child under the age of 18, is either exhibiting exemplary behavior or when they need to be disciplined.  This verse has been quoted time and time again to inform, advise, or remind those who have children in their care of the importance of training children up in such a way that develops them into positive, productive citizens and even faithful followers of God.  The implication is that when you are intentional in doing so, the child will not stray away from those teachings as adults.  

So, if this is the “promise,” when I observe the childish behavior of so many adults, it begs the questions of whether or not they were trained up in the way they should go, or whether or not they have grown old enough to not depart.  I mean, the adults that misbehave, were they not trained in the way they should go or maybe the training came late and perhaps they have not gotten old enough yet to not get off track.  There are so many adults that certainly act as if they had no home training or any other training that would make them positive and productive people.  I have met some childish adults that make me think that this verse is not limited to the children and youth we tend to fit into its wisdom.  I wonder if it could also apply to adults who have not yet been trained, adults that need to mature in various aspects of their lives, adults that are not emotionally or spiritually mature enough to not depart.
 
I wonder if we could use this verse for them…or for us in certain matters of the heart and Spirit.  I think there are some ways in my own maturation that I am still learning and growing and developing into the woman God is calling for me to be and to become.  In that sense, life is training me, mentors are training me, peers are training me, the Holy Spirit is training me, and once I choose to fully integrate those lessons into my life, as an adult, I will not depart.  So, I guess I am suggesting that we need to expand this verse to include room for our childish ways as adults or at least those aspects of ourselves that have been underdeveloped or not yet tapped into because of our own limited exposure or experience to be able to grow up in certain ways.
 
I can appreciate this verse even more.  It is not just for parents and their children.  It is for ALL of us because in some way, ALL of us need to grow up.  The truth is that we will never stop growing up especially if you consider our spirituality.  We are, or at least we should be, continuously growing up in God understanding that we will not reach our full maturity until Jesus returns. 
 
So, YES, this verse applies to creation regardless of our age and if you are honest, you already know that includes YOU too.  I know it includes me. We, as adults, need to grow up out of our childish ways of thinking, speaking, and behaving in this world.  We need to grow up and stop refusing to learn new things or meet new people or visit new places or consider new ideas.  We need to grow up and be open to all the ways that God will prepare us to serve and share.  We need to grow up.  And we need to commit and recommit to not depart from the most beneficial lessons of our lives.  We need to commit and recommit to not getting off track by our own laziness or lackadaisical attitudes or being led astray by negative influences. 
 
Friends, as adults, we need to be open to the variety of ways we can be trained up, accept those lessons and grow up, then commit and recommit to never departing from all that is good for us.

Given our reflection today, I offer this addition to the wisdom of the proverb - Train children [and childish adults] in the way they should go; when they grow old [mature and not just over 18], they won’t depart from it. 
 
God LOVES You and I Do Too!
Blessings, Glory, and Sunshine!
Delesslyn
Twitter - @AudraSunshine
Instagram - @AudraSunshine1

 

The Bottom Line - Ecclesiastes 12:!3

Posted on October 19, 2018 at 7:08 AM Comments comments (0)

Greetings!
BlogFam,
I have a question.  My question is this:  How would you summarize your life in God, your spirituality, your way of being in this world?  This question asks for YOU to summarize YOUR own perspective.  I am quite curious as to how you might reply to such a question. I can only imagine that there would be a variety of words and phrases used to summarize our individual responses to this question.  And given the massive content of the Bible, I am sure that whatever answer you provide could be "right."  I also think it is a question that each of us must answer at some point on our journey, at least for ourselves, if not for anyone else.  You should want to know the answer to that question for yourself whether you choose to share  your perspective or not.  I would like to think that you would want that kind of clarity for your own life's journey.

In our verse for today, the wisdom writer gives a response to the question I just asked you; although, the question was not posed to the writer in the same way.  Here is the response I gleaned from what has been recorded:
 So this is the end of the matter; all has been heard. Worship God and keep God’s commandments because this is what everyone must do. [Ecclesiastes 12:!3]

In other words, WORSHIP and OBEY. Honor God and Do what God says do.  I do not think that is such a bad way to summarize one's life in God.  You obviously do not have to use the same words, but this summary is definitely something for you to consider if you have never considered my original question or if you need a starting place for trying to articulate your own response.

WORSHIP and OBEY.  What do you think?  Is this a sufficient bottom line to summarizing our way of being in this world?  What would you add to it?  Again, there is no right or wrong answer.  I just want to push you to at least think about it and challenge you to come up with your own "bottom line."  I am asking and pushing because in this world there are so many un-godly, un-Christian, un-loving perspectives that guide the thoughts, words and actions of people all around us, including strangers, friends, and family. I am asking and pushing you because those folks who would fit that description seem to have no qualms about forcing their perspectives onto our lives in politics, in the office, at school, in the courts, around the dinner table, or at the water cooler.  I am asking and pushing because there are way too many opportunities that believers have missed because they were scared, ashamed, felt intimidated, or just had no clue what their "bottom line" was  and how it could positively and progressively impact those moments. So, I ask you again: How would you summarize your life in God, your spirituality, your way of being in this world?

As soon as you clarify that answer for yourself, hopefully as soon as possible, you will be on your way to being a great witness in this world!  

And HURRY UP because we need YOUR light to shine wherever YOU are!

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

KEEP IT CLOSE! Psalm 119:11

Posted on October 18, 2018 at 8:40 AM Comments comments (0)
Greetings!
BlogFam,
Psalm 119:11 declares: 
I keep your word close, in my heart, so that I won’t sin against you.

This is a bold statement of commitment to the Word of God.  Friends, are you committed to the Word so that you will not sin?  It is definitely a question to consider.  I imagine that we are all committed to the Word for many different reasons, and one of those reasons might include the psalmists reason or maybe not. People may be committed to the Word because they are encouraged by it, they want to pattern their lives after the principles in it, they enjoy the stories in it, or maybe they appreciate the different types of literature included in it such as the narratives, wisdom, poetry, prophecy, and letters, People might keep it close also because they really do believe that it gives them life as itself is described as the "living" Word.  So that you will not sin against God, may or may not be the reason you keep the Word close. 

With all of that being said, in agreement with the Psalmist, I do think a desire to be obedient to our Creator is a very good reason to keep the Word close.  So, the question then becomes - How do we keep the Word close in our hearts?  Regardless of your reason for keeping it close, HOW do you do that?   Well, I am glad you asked. LOL!  I have a suggestion for how we are to keep the Word close no matter your motivation for doing so - 

READ IT
First you need to commit to reading the Word.  The Word cannot be close if you do not read it - or listen to it, given technology.  Yes, this will take time but how else do you think you can get close if you are not spending time getting to know what it actually says.  There are enough people interpreting and reinterpreting the text out there that you MUST read it for yourself so that YOU are clear about what it says.  You have to start by reading the Word in order for the Word to be close to your heart.

MEDITATE ON IT
Secondly, you have to meditate.  In other words, you need think about the Word.  You need to think about what it is that you have read.  Think about it.  Think about what it means, why it was written, how it is relevant. Meditate on the word.  Sit with it.  Let the Word speak to you and ask the Holy Spirit to teach you, to give you insight, to help you receive all that you need in the moment.  If you want to hold the Word close in your heart,meditate on it.

MEMORIZE IT
Thirdly, I know this might be old school but it still works.  Memorize the Word.  That is a way to know it is close and held deeply in your heart, when you have memorized it.  When you memorize the Word, it is always accessible to you regardless of whether you have the book or a phone. You might leave your book in your car or your phone might not be charged and you need to be able to recall a Scripture to give you life, lift you up, inspire you in the moment.  Memorizing the Word is a way to know the Word is close at any moment's notice.

APPLY IT
Fourthly, Friends, what good is holding the Word close in your heart if you are not going to apply it to your life?  I think that is what the psalmist is trying to convey in his declaration.  Applying it seems to be the great struggle of us all.  We will read, meditate, and maybe even memorize the Word, but how do we apply the Word to our everyday lives?  How do we live the Word?   Well, that is a great question that I am trying to figure out everyday. LOL!!!  In my own life, I have a few guiding scriptures that I have read, meditated on, and memorized that I hold close in my heart.  I reflect on these verses to guide my life's choices as best as I can.  No, I do not try to think of every story I know in the Bible in order to do exactly what the people recorded in the Bible did.  I might consider how they lived their lives, how they tried to honor God with their thoughts, their words, and the deeds.  But I know it was a different time so if I only look at the Word on the surface level, it might seem irrelevant.  However, if I look at the people as ancient sages who were trying to figure it out, without a written "guide" as we have in the Bible, I do my best to draw from their challenges and their triumphs. As a Christian, of course, the stories of Jesus, the Word made flesh who dwelt among us, is highly influential in my own application of the Word to my life.

SHARE IT
Lastly, talk about it!  Do not keep the Word to yourself!  You should talk about it with friends and family.  You might send a text or update your Facebook status with a Scripture.  You might use it in your everyday interactions as a way to encourage someone else through conversation and prayer.  Do not keep the Word to yourself!  Do not be selfish with all of its goodness!  Do not be ashamed or scared to speak what you have discovered as truth and life-giving for you in the Word!  Share the Word!  

Friends, I pray that you will keep the Word close, in your heart and hopefully, the things I have mentioned might help you to do so!

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

A Double Dose of 3:16...

Posted on October 17, 2018 at 7:55 AM Comments comments (0)
Greetings!!!
BlogFam,
Today I am reflecting on two verses that sound a lot alike and have very similar references.  Now I am clear that in the original writings there was no chapter-verse organization.  So, to discover this striking similarity was quite uncanny, but then again, God is just kind of amazing like that.  I am grateful for the reminder of the promise in these verses.  The reminder of how I am the recipient of the love of God through His Son, Jesus Christ and how this love is experienced in variety of manifestations.

Friends, I am not ashamed to admit that on the day I am writing this blog, I needed that reminder.  I needed to be reminded of what true love is and in whom I must place all of my hope.  I have experienced some disappointments lately and as much as I love the Lord, I am still human and I had some sucky feelings about two different situations.  I will not disclose the details but just suffice it to say that I needed to read these words for myself...

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life. [John 3:16]
This is how we know love: Jesus laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. [1 John 3:16]

I needed to be reminded that God LOVES me and God LOVED me so much so that if I just believe in Him, I will NOT perish.  I will have eternal life.  I will NOT perish.  I will have eternal life.  Now while most of us think of these promises as pertaining to the afterlife, today, I need to know they are true for THIS life.  I need to know that because God loves me, even though I am disappointed with life's twists and turns, I will NOT perish.  Life will get better.  I will be better in this life.  And all I have to "do" is believe.

I needed to be reminded that true love is when we are willing to sacrifice, give of ourselves for another person.  I needed to be reminded that this is the sign of love, that your friends and family will lay aside their life's agenda, priorities, "to do" lists to listen to you, to be there for you, to love you when you need it most.  I needed to be reminded that I have people in my life who lay aside their lives to support me, hug me, look out for me, make sure I am taken care of in ways that bless me.

Friends, this double dose of 3:16 has blessed me today and I pray that you know that without a shadow of a doubt that the same love and promise in these verses is available to you. You can RECEIVE 3:16 as truth for you NOW and LATER.  All you have to "do" is believe.

BlogFam, You are loved.  You will NOT perish.  Your life will get better.  There will be people who will press pause on their own life, lay aside the stuff of their own life, to be there just for you.  Therefore, I pray that you will experience God's love in amazing and life-giving and hope-filled ways TODAY...NOW and LATER.

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

EVERYTHING belongs to God

Posted on October 12, 2018 at 10:13 AM Comments comments (0)

Greetings!
BlogFam,
Here is our verse for today:
To you, Lord, belong greatness and power, honor, splendor, and majesty, because everything in heaven and on earth belongs to you.  Yours, Lord, is the kingship, and you are honored as head of all.  [1 Chronicles 29:11]
 
Now, how do you feel about that part of the verse that says, “everything in heaven and on earth belongs to you?”  I will admit that it makes me rejoice at first glance!  I celebrate that everything belongs to God!  Everything.  But then, I think of who and what that everything might include and I am like, how in the world can this be?  How can it be that ALL of this belongs to you? I ask only because the madness we see in the news or on Facebook or Twitter or anywhere else that does not seem to “fit in” with whom I believe my God to be.  How do I begin to reconcile the gaps in who I believe God to be and the “everything… belongs to God” that does not match?  Honestly, there are just some things that I do not want to be included in this “everything.”
 
Friends, what do you think?  I mean, do you just shout on it and move on?  If so, I am inviting you to pause for a moment, ask yourself, how is it that you can move on knowing EVERYTHING – without exception according to this verse - belongs to God?
 
One of my first thoughts, in an attempt to make sense of this “everything,” is to limit the “everything” to every good and perfect gift.  Another thought is to limit the “everything” to the beautiful, the pure, the lovely, the remarkable.  And yet another thought is to limit the “everything” to the ideals of righteousness, justice, liberty, peace, and love that we all should aspire to.  But then, I am convicted because I realize that I may or may not be included in the “everything” if I were to begin to exclude anyone or anything from God’s “everything.”
 
Friends, GRACE and MERCY help to level the playing field and are the attributes of God that help us all to belong to the “everything.”  None of us are perfect.  I am not perfect but I am loved and I am a recipient of the amazing grace and infinite mercy of God.  Therefore, I believe that it is because of the unfathomable capacity of God to include everything and everybody in God’s endless expanse of care, concern, and creation that we can begin to embrace the “everything belongs to God” in this verse. 
 
So, who are we to try to limit who or what God can use to showcase that “greatness and power, honor, splendor, and majesty?” Everything in heaven and on earth belongs to God.   Since we are included in the everything, we might as well honor the Lord as head of all and for anything that has been manipulated or anyone who has strayed from God’s intended purpose making it seem as if it or they do not belong to God, I pray for healing, reconciliation, and place my hope in God. I trust that the gaps in character and attitudes, that are uncharacteristic of whom I believe God to be but are still included, will be transformed in God’s own way and in God’s own time… just like you and me…
 
God LOVES You and I Do Too!
Blessings, Glory, and Sunshine!
Delesslyn
Twitter - @AudraSunshine
Instagram - @AudraSunshine1

Until THAT Glorious Day...

Posted on October 11, 2018 at 11:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Greetings!
BlogFam,
Although you’ve never seen him, you love him. Even though you don’t see him now, you trust him and so rejoice with a glorious joy that is too much for words. [1 Peter 1:8]
 
I recently attended a “Poor People’s Hearing” with Rev. William Barber and Rev. Liz Theoharis, the co-leaders of the Poor People’s Campaign.  Per the campaign,
 
“fifty years ago, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and many other leaders launched the Poor Peoples Campaign to tackle the pervasive problems of systemic racism, poverty, and militarism.  By many measures, these interrelated problems are worse today than they were back in 1968.  And if you add climate change and ecological devastation, the urgency is even greater…  The Poor People’s Campaign of the 21 century boasts a moral agenda based on fundamental rights…that would revive the efforts of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and many others for a ‘revolution of values’ in America.” [www.poorpeoplescampaign.org]
 
This Poor People’s Hearing event at a local congregation in Kansas City, MO created space for poor people to share their own stories of racial discrimination, gender exploitation, child poverty, fear of deportation, lack of healthcare, environmental pollution, militarization of a local community, challenges to voting rights, and the moral failings of Christian nationalism.  It was informative, insightful, and inspiring all at the same time.  I was reminded again and again how the rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer and the uphill battle to equalize the playing field.
 
As I sat and listened to all of the statistics and the stories, I kept seeing pictures of children in poverty.  Children suffering because of the systemic forces and cyclical nature of poverty.  I kept thinking about hungry children and cold children in winter and children with no books in their classrooms and children who never see their parents because their parents have to work 2 or 3 jobs just to barely make it.  I kept thinking about all of those innocent children who are not even old enough to participate in any process to prevent these social ills yet are victimized by it daily. And while the work is overwhelming considering adults, I pray that children are not lost in the conversation and in the demands that are being made of those in corporate and political offices and others in positions that can make a difference.
 
Friends, ALL of it needs to be fixed. There is room and more than enough money in the world – in these United States of America alone - for everyone to have a decent life, taking full advantage of all of their fundamental rights. There is so much work to be done to make this world a better place now and for generations to come.
 
Actually, I wonder what great strides could be made if everyone who says they love Jesus actually followed the second of the greatest commands to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.  I wonder what shifts in the economy and education would take place if every Christian was obedient to that command.  I wonder how long it would take for these issues to be corrected if followers of Jesus Christ would stop and ask themselves, “What would Jesus Do?”
 
Friends, in my sanctified and justice loving imagination, I really do see one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for ALL.  I can see it in my imagination.  I can feel it pulling my heart’s strings.  I can dream that it will be so… one day.  And although I have never seen it, I love this ideal world.  Even though I do not see it now, I trust and rejoice with a glorious joy that is too much for words at the day it will be so.
 
Much like the author of 1 Peter expressed about Jesus Christ:
 
Although you’ve never seen him, you love him. Even though you don’t see him now, you trust him and so rejoice with a glorious joy that is too much for words. [1 Peter 1:8]
 
Friends, I pray that we would trust and rejoice in the One who has the power to heal our land and even when we cannot see exactly how this is going to happen or when it feels like it is taking way too long for it to happen, we will keep on walking and marching and protesting and listening and caring and loving and fighting and shouting and rejoicing because one day we will all be FREE… and THAT day will be filled with a glorious joy that is too much for words.
 
God LOVES You and I Do Too!
Blessings, Glory, and Sunshine!
Delesslyn
Twitter - @AudraSunshine
Instagram - @AudraSunshine1