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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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I Am Stronger Than I Think I Am!

Posted on March 19, 2014 at 1:00 PM Comments comments (0)
I AM STRONGER THAN I THINK AM!

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV

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.

Greetings!

BlogFam, 
I am stronger than I think I am
I hope you know that you are too
Though at times I wonder how 
I know that this is true
I am stronger than I think I am
I hope you know that you are too
Even when I feel so weak
Somehow I can still get up on my own two feet
I am stronger than I think I am
I hope you know that you are too
Inspite of insult and injury
My bruised ego feels renewed
 I am stronger than I think I am
I hope you know that you are too
When it's hard and I want to cry
I am comforted by His Spirit and 
I do not always understand why
I am stronger than I think I am
I hope you know that you are too
In persecution
I find new resolutions
To Move forward
To Leave Behind
To Look Upward
To Keep my spirit High
I am stronger than I think I am
I hope you know that you are too
I face difficut days
When I find it hard 
To Sing
To Dream
To Reach Out
To Breathe In
But.
Then.
A small miracle occurs that 
Gives me Hope
Shows me Love
Heals my wounds
Encourages my soul
Picks me up
When I am down
Makes me smile
When no one's around
Opens my eyes
Fills them with beauty
Opens my heart 
Fills it with Joy
Cuts me off
From Negative energy
And Redirects my mind
To that which is Holy
That which makes me wholly ME!
For when I am weak, 
then I am strong!
YES!
I am stronger than I think I am
I hope you know that you are too
God's GRACE is ALL sufficient
ALL sufficient GRACE has always
Been Present
Repeat.
I am stronger than I think I am
I hope you know that you are too
God's GRACE is ALL sufficient
ALL sufficient GRACE has always
Been Present
Repeat!
Repeat!
Repeat!
Amen...

I AM STRONGER THAN I THINK I AM!!!
GOD LOVES YOU AND I DO TOO!
DELESSLYN
FOLLOWon Twitter @AudraSunshine & @SpiritedConcept




A Gracious Prescription

Posted on March 18, 2014 at 8:16 AM Comments comments (0)
A GRACIOUS PRESCRIPTION
2 Corinthians 12:7b-9a 


Greetings!

BlogFam, over the last few posts, we have been exploring the GRACE of God as expressed in Paul's testimony about the thorn in his flesh.  On today, we finally get to the answer from God to Paul's request for God to take his thorn away.


Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My GRACE is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

GRACE?
Really, God?
GRACE?
Is that YOUR final answer?


Upon first glance, GRACE seems to be a mighty insufficient response to whatever Paul's thorn in the flesh was.  We do not know exactly what it was and many have studied this passage and offered their suggestions for what the thorn could have been.  But regardless of what Paul's thorn in the flesh actually was, whatever IT was, he wanted IT to be done, over, gone.  So he pleaded with the Lord THREE times to take IT away and the Lord's response was GRACE.  GRACE, not a treatment or an ointment, but GRACE  was the prescription to Paul's problem and that GRACE was deemed to have been sufficient by God.


Friends, GRACE... Do you remember the definition of GRACE from our previous post?  

GRACE is the unmerited favor of God given to people. And while that is something we celebrate in music and in the reading of scripture, what if GRACE was God's only prescription to YOU for your own thorn?  Is that ALL we need?  Is GRACE enough to address the issues, distractions, and complications that we have in our lives?  Is GRACE enough to build up our endurance and give us the reassurance we need to press on?  Is GRACE enough?


How would you react or respond to God's prescription of GRACE in your own life?  What if the only "relief" from your thorn was the unmerited favor of God that would NOT let you avoid it?


At this point in our conversation, I am forced to reconsider the whole of Paul's testimony because Paul is obviously writing this passage retrospectively.  Paul says - 


In order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.


PURPOSE.  In order to keep Paul from becoming conceited, God allowed Paul to deal with his thorn.  And Paul had to endure whatever pain, embarassment, or feelings of inadequacy for the PURPOSE of not becoming conceited.  Thus, in order to fulfill this PURPOSE, the Lord's response to Paul's pleading was to grant Paul the GRACE to endure the thorn.  


BlogFam, there is PURPOSE in every thorn we encounter in our lives.  AND there will be times when we will pray for the Lord to remove the thorn and He will not remove it.  God will not remove it because there is a larger PURPOSE that God is trying to accomplish in our lives.  That PURPOSE may be to keep you from being conceited or it may be something else.  But there is always a PURPOSE for everything - every thorn and every victory - that God allows to happen in our lives - especially when we are fully committed to His will and His way.  


So, when we are put in the position to live with our thorns, I hope that we all realize that the prescription of GRACE really is sufficient.  GRACE may not be what we think we need at that time BUT the unmerited FAVOR - excessive kindness and preferential treatment - of God is more than enough to give us whatever we need to confront, wrestle, handle, and dare I say, embrace our thorns.  God's GRACE is sufficient and in MY weakness, I am STRONG and the power and priority of God to grant us unmerited favor perfects us in ways that facilitate God's purpose to be fulfilled.


Friends, there will be times in our lives when the ONLY prescription for whatever you are dealing with is the GRACE of God to endure.... and while you are going through, you might not feel like that is good news, but it is.  For as long as God can prescribe to you God's unmerited FAVOR as the treatment for your thorn, you will most definitely be OK!!!


God's GRACE is sufficient.


God Loves You and I Do Too!
Delesslyn
FOLLOW ME on Twitter @AudraSunshine & @SpiritedConcept

Lord, How Many Tmes Do I Have To Ask YOU for THIS?

Posted on March 18, 2014 at 8:04 AM Comments comments (0)
Lord, How Many Times Do I Have To Ask YOU for This?
2 Corinthians 12:7b-8 

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 

Greetings!

BlogFam, have you ever asked the Lord for something over and over?  I mean you have prayed and you might have even fasted.  You have been faithful to do all that you know to do.  You have found Scriptures to decree and declare the thing to be so and have been reading or reciting those verses as your confessions of faith.  And after doing all of that, the time continues to pass and still nothing... no relief, no change, no turnaround, nothing. And you begin to wonder, what MORE must I do to be saved from this?  Lord, how many times do I have to ask you to do something about THIS?


Well, my friends, you are NOT alone.  You are NOT the only person wo has prayed for the same thing over and over and over again only to feel the silence of the Lord.  And the truth is that it does not feel good, especially when you think that the removal of whatever it is you have been praying for would make you feel better emotionally, financially, socially, or perhaps even spiritually. 


I have been there.  And to be very honest with you, I think I might still be there.  I know what it feels like to hold on until my change comes.  I know how it feels to go up the rough side of the mountain.  I am well acquainted with waiting on the Lord to see what the end will be.  I know what it means to come to the intersection of fear and faith and just stand there wondering - Lord, how many times do I have to ask you for THIS... whatever my THIS is in that moment?


I can only imagine that Paul knew how we all felt.  I look at these 2 verses for today and I am confident that he too was tired of asking the Lord for the same thing over and over and over again, only to be told an answer he probably did not want to hear.

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 

BlogFam, I had to stop one verse before the Lords response because I waned us to sit with Paul for a moment.  


As much as Paul was able to acomplish because of his LOVE for God and passion for the GOSPEL of Jesus Christ, Paul had an "ISSUE," a "THORN" that he could not get rid of.  And like so many of us, he prayed over and over and over again for the Lord to take it away and nothing seemed to happen in response to his prayers.  

Lord, How Many Times Do I Have To Ask YOU for This?


I am sure Paul asked this question just as we do in our own lives.  And it is OK to ask the question especially addressing it to the one who would know the answer.  I think we underestimate our God's abillity to handle the questions we have about the people, things, cares and concerns in our lives.  Questions do not necessarily indicate the presence of doubt or fear.  Our questions can lead us to faith and to purpose.  So, questions can be good.  


I have certainly asked the Lord, my share of questions and by FAITH, I have had to accept and/or wait indefinitely on whatever the Lord's response was to me.  


Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 

And the truth is that with every challenge in our llives, thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, or some other kind of issue, distraction, or complication, we want ANSWERS!  We want to know why and what will it take for THIS to be gone.  So we pray and like Paul, we ask God to take THIS away.  Then, we ask again.  And we might have to ask a third time...maybe more than that until the Lord gives us the answer we NEED regardless of whether we agree with it or not.


But the gift of GRACE in the midst of our enduring and our asking is that God knows and God cares and in God's own way and in God's own time, God will move or speak, relieve or heal.

I cannot answer your question. 

Lord, How Many Times Do I Have To Ask YOU for This?

But I can say that I know that God can and whatever your THIS is, God has it all under control.  

Weeping may endure for a night BUT JOY will come in the morning...

GOD LOVES YOU and I DO TOO!
Delesslyn 
FOLLOW Me on Twitter @AudraSunshine  & @SpiritedConcept


Bragging Rights!!!

Posted on March 14, 2014 at 7:22 AM Comments comments (0)
Bragging Rights!
2 Corinthians 12:6-7a

 6 Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, 7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. 



Greetings!

BlogFam, I do not know very many people who do not have at least ONE thing in their life that they are excited to brag about!  I have heard people brag about their children, their spouses, their jobs, their degrees, their trophies, their wise decisions, their "spotless" records, their financial stability, their musical abilities, their huge responsibilities, and almost anything else you can think of!  People will go on and on and on and on about things they are good at and things they have been celebrated for and things that just simply make them feel special.  I have heard family, friends and strangers brag!  I have even bragged myself!  And honestly, I think it is OK for us to have bragging rights .  I think it is OK for us to brag about the positive people, places, or things in our lives that put smiles on our faces.  However, above all, I really believe that we should take every opportunity  that we can to brag about the goodness of our GOD!


We should unashamedly go on and on and on and on about EVERYTHING that the Lord has done for us!  Besides, everything in our lives that we might brag about only happened because of the GRACE of God so ALL praise belongs to our God!  


GRACE is the unmerited favor of God toward us.  ALL that we are able to "accomplish" or would even attempt to brag about happened because of God's favor upon our lives that we did not earn nor did we deserve.  And when we keep this in perspective, we might temper our bragging about ourselves and give the glory to whom ALL glory is due as I think Paul is attempting to do in our verses for today.


 6 Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, 7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. 


In other words, Paul says that he does NOT deny that He does have bragging rights.  In another letter attributed to Paul, Paul lists his accomplishments and pedigree.  Look at what Paul says in Philippians 3 - 


If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.


Paul has bragging rights!  BUT he chooses to refrain so that those with whom he ministers will not get the wrong idea about what he does or says in ministry or the revelations he has received of God.  Paul has bragging rights BUT because the furtherance of the Gospel is much more important than any of his earthly accomplishments, Paul continues to say in Philippians 3 - 


7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.


Paul says that anything that I could brag about does NOT compare to knowing Christ.  The GRACE of God that has been extended to Paul to know Christ is for him his greatest testimony and the ONLY thing in his life worth bragging about!  Just like you and I, Paul did not "deserve" to know Jesus Christ.  None of us have ever achieved anything that would make us worthy of knowing Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  BUT for the GRACE of God that God extends to us the unmerited favor of knowing Jesus Christ and being made righteous by Him on the basis of faith.  And this is worth bragging about!


My friends, it is OK to brag but in ALL your bragging, I hope and pray that YOU are giving the glory to whom ALL glory is due!  In ALL your bragging, I hope and pray that you are redirecting attention to the One above who enabled you to live your dreams!  In ALL your bragging, I hope and pray that you would courageously tell them about the GRACE of God that has been extended to you to know the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!  In ALL your bragging, I hope and pray that you realize that, like Paul,  NOTHING in your life can even compare to the GRACE of being found in Christ and being made righteous by Him!

Now GO and BRAG about that!!!


God Loves You and I Do Too!!!
Delesslyn
FOLLOW ME @AudraSunshine & @SpiritedConcept












G.R.A.C.E. - An Introduction

Posted on March 13, 2014 at 9:46 AM Comments comments (0)
G.R.A.C.E. - An Introduction
2 Corinthians 12:6-10
Greetings!
BlogFam,
While I was in seminary at Emory University - Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, GA, I took a course in Systematic Theology.  I will not bore you with the details of every assignment required, besides, I do not even recall them all but I do remember one of the most profound questions I was ever asked along my journey of spiritual formation.  Dr. Noel Erskine was lecturing and he got to the point of the lecture where he paused and asked us -
 
 
WHAT IS YOUR THEOLOGICAL CENTER?
What lies at the core of your theological framework?
 
 
Now, I admit that, at first, I was a little stumped because I had never engaged in critical reflection regarding my theological center.  And as you are reading this, I bet you probably feel the exact same way that I did.  This question invites you to go deeper than   - Have you heard a good sermon lately?  Who is your favorite Gospel/Christian musical artist?  What church do you go to?  And the truth is that so many of us have never really considered, nor have we ever articulated what lies at the center of our theological beliefs.  This is not to suggest that just because you have not done so that you are any less of a Christian.  Not at all!  I am simply extending the invitation to you that was once extended to me to THINK about what "IT" is that holds it all together for you when it comes to your beliefs about God.  When you are able to articulate that, then you are in a better position to understand your own perspective of the world because your theological center becomes the lens through which you see everything.
 
BlogFam, as I recall, the class was filled with Christians and surprisingly, the response to this question varied.  Some said Jesus.  Others said Love.  Some said The Word of God.  Others said Redemption.  Some named a specific attribute of God.  Others  recited their favorite Bible Verse.  And as for me, well, I wrestled with this question and I continue to do so.  I will say that all of the responses shared by my classmates fit in some way for me but I think there was one unmentioned piece that is/was an inescapable aspect of my theological center and that is the GRACE of God. 
 
Amazing GRACE, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now I'm found; was blind, but now I see.
 
GRACE.
The GRACE of God is such a profound aspect of my own theology that I continue to grow in my own understanding of what GRACE is and what GRACE does.  I am grateful that I continue to discover and re-discover the ways in which the GRACE of God is present and among us.  And while I am aware that there are dozens of instances where the GRACE of God is evident in the Word of God, I am especially intrigued by the testimony of God's GRACE as written by Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:6-10.
 
Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 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.
 
Friends, I know that this might be a strange passage of Scripture to attempt to explore the GRACE of God.  But in my mind, this not so pretty picture of Paul's pain and God's GRACE-filled response that does not just make everything alright is exactly where we need to be.  I appreciate that Paul's situation does not end with a "pretty" resolution.  It ends with GRACE and I am looking forward to the ways in which our GRACIOUS God will speak GRACE into our lives as we walk through this passage verse by verse, maybe phrase by phrase, for as long as it takes...
 
 
God Loves You and I Do Too!
Delesslyn
 
FOLLOW Me On Twitter @AudraSunshine & @SpiritedConcept