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

Visionary Strategist Faithful Innovator Inspirational Essayist

Salvation and Stilettos Blog



Posted on April 19, 2016 at 8:30 AM Comments comments (2)

One of the questions I ask myself as I deliberate my current situation and attempt to anticipate the consequences of decisions I make in the present moment is this: LORD, WHAT IS MY NEXT RIGHT STEP?  Now, if you have been reading this blog for a while or have participated in the annual My Vision Fast [], then you are familiar with my raising this question with myself and with you.  I know that there are all kinds of decision-making strategies available to us, but this one question seems to capture what I need to know at the time while alleviating some of the anxiety of not knowing every little detail ten steps down the road.


In our last blog, we talked about the DESIRE to shift and now I want us to acknowledge the wrestling that comes once the DESIRE to shift has been discovered within ourselves.  I am aware that it is a common pattern for me as well as many of my family and friends to then DELIBERATE after DESIRE.  By this, I mean, once the DESIRE is discovered, then all kinds of things pop off in our minds and spirit that call for a time of deliberation.  During this time of deliberation we consider pros and cons.  We think about timelines.  We think about partnerships.  We think about money.  We think about how this desire will now impact and influence our spouses, our families, our business partners, our friends, and other relationships.  We wonder about how we will look in the eyes of others.  We hope that we are not being crazy or that our idea is not too far-fetched.  We might even reconsider whether or not the desire we have is for now or for later or if we should pursue it at all.  DELIBERATION.

Friends, I have certainly been there and continue to deliberate in my own life.  DELIBERATION was part of my journey as I considered my academic pursuits, my dating life, the purchasing of my home, the accepting of my call to ministry, and so many other things.  And when the Spirit led me to ask that particular question in the midst of my deliberation several years ago, it opened my eyes, gave me comfort, released my anxiety, soothed my doubts and calmed my fears. [I borrowed the last two from an old Gospel song LOL]  Anyway, let me explain how this one question never gets old AND how it is now the FIRST question I ask in pretty much every moment of DELIBERATION.

FIRST - This question is grounded in Matthew 6:33, one of my favorite verses of all the Bible when it comes to decision making.  " But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." [Matthew 6:33]  In other words, the very first person I know that I must acknowledge is the Lord in every area of my life.  Yes, I do draw wisdom from the counsel of many as advised in the book of Proverbs; but ultimately, I seek the peace of God and that can only come if I acknowledge the Lord in my deliberations.  I must seek... WE must seek the Lord FIRST, acknowledge His authority in our lives and His righteous way of being in the world as we are the hands and feet of Jesus.  I know that I can never err if I keep this in mind. 

SECONDLY - This question is very personal.  While I know that the consequences of my choices might impact others, when I ask this question, I am ultimately asking for my own sense of clarity and direction during my deliberation.  I know that it is important to LOVE MYSELF so that I can love my neighbor as myself and when I am clear about God's purpose and vision for my own life, I can be a better neighbor.  And as a good and loving neighbor, I do not have to be jealous or take over assignments that are not mine or tear others down to build myself up or anything else in that vein that is manipulative or conniving.  All of that is a waste of time and energy because I have already been given the direction for my own life and have no time to waste in derailing the destiny of others.  Actually, when I am clear, I can help you because by helping you I am loving you and competition is not a factor because my soul, my spirit is at peace with God.

THIRDLY - The question is directly concerned with the next step one.  I know that last sentence sounds strange but it is true.  I have discovered that when I try to figure out every little detail about my destiny and how the Lord will bring all of my gifts and graces to light in God's overall and seemingly overwhelming plan for my life, I can get a little frazzled and nervous and sometimes I have even wanted to just step back from it all just so I can collect my thoughts.  BUT as I deliberate, if I think about the big picture, at least as much has been revealed to me, and then I ask myself, what is step one in getting there, I feel much better.  Sometimes, I can only handle step one.  Step one might be to pray.  Step one might be to make a phone call or just be quiet.  Step one might be to have another conversation.  Step one might be to download the application.  Step one might be to forgive or read the next chapter or visit a friend.  I have found that I can always handle step one. And as I am obedient to THAT next right step, then the Lord has a way of making everything else clearer... a way of adding all things unto me.

Friends, ask the Lord this question as you begin your deliberation.
Write down your answer and OBEY TODAY.

Blessings, Glory, and Sunshine!

iTHRIVE: Release My SHOUT!

Posted on December 31, 2015 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (0)

BlogFam - 

I invite you to read the following scripture with passion and emphasis...  

Psalm 107

O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;
3 And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south.
4 They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in.
5 Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them.
6 Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses.
7 And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation.
8 Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

And THIS is how we want to end the iTHRIVE series.  In addition to all that we have discussed throughout the series, this final step in your quest to THRIVE must be to GIVE GOD THANKS and PRAISE!  Actually, today is the last day of the year 2015 and what better way to end this year and cross into a new year than to GIVE GOD THANKS and PRAISE!  I pray that through it all, you have learned to GIVE GOD THANKS and PRAISE!

Friends, I have learned that when I GIVE GOD THANKS and PRAISE in every situation, I am transformed, calmed down, comforted, sustained, and blessed.  There is something about refocusing your energy to GIVE GOD THANKS and PRAISE even in  the darkest moments that gives me light to see and hope to believe that all things WILL work together for my good.  

I have been reading through so many "end of the year" posts and I came across one lady who talked about a new personal tradition she was continuing.  Everyday, since January 1, 2015, she has placed a note of thanks into her Gratitude Jar.  She re-purposed an old mason jar to create her Gratitude Jar and everyday for the last year, she has written something for which she was grateful.  And to help her to think of something everyday, she chose to make sure that her thanks was for [P.O.E.T.] people, opportunities, experiences, or things.  And for the last few days of this year, she has been pulling out of her Gratitude Jar to reflect on all the people, opportunities, experiences, and things she has been grateful for throughout this year.  

I do think that this is one creative way to GIVE GOD THANKS and PRAISE!  And I am not suggesting that you follow her example but I do hope that YOU would know that in order to THRIVE, you cannot avoid being thankful everyday.  Thanksgiving Day is not just the fourth Thursday in November.  Thanksgiving Day is everyday.  Can you imagine a world where everyone carried THANKS and PRAISE in their heart to God first, and then to others for their impact and influence in their lives?  Can you imagine how much different YOUR attitude, perspective, interactions, and outcomes would be if YOU would carry THANKS and PRAISE in your heart?  BlogFam, you may not create your own gratitude jar, box, or journal BUT today, you have the blessed opportunity to fill your heart with THANKS and PRAISE for the innumerable things that God has done for you...for the people, opportunities, experiences, and things that God has allowed to bless you.  Friends, it is right to GIVE GOD THANKS and PRAISE!

So, SHOUT IT OUT!  I dare you before the end of this day to release your own shout out to God and to your family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, classmates, teachers,  employers, store clerk, mail carrier, restaurant server,  and anyone else who will listen!  I dare you to close out 2015 with a SHOUT unto the Lord because you have been redeemed!  Your prayers have been heard!  By faith, a way has already been made!  You are delivered and you are on the right path heading toward your destiny!  SHOUT IT OUT!  SHOUT OUT your gratefulness to God and to others for the growth, the challenges, the victories, the defeats, the ups and the downs, the coming together and the breaking up!  GIVE GOD THANKS and PRAISE for everything you have been through in 2015 and for how it has all worked together to make you stronger, wiser, and better!  GIVE THANKS and PRAISE to God for everything that made you laugh and made you cry, that made you stand up and sit down, that made you open your heart and open your hands, open your eyes and open your ears!  GIVE GOD THANKS and PRAISE for everything!

THIS is the critical key to sustained forward movement in a thriving direction...  GIVE GOD THANKS and PRAISE all along the way!

And today, I pray that your heart would be filled to the brim and overflow with Thanksgiving!  I pray that you would Praise the Lord for being good to you and for always keeping your best interest in mind...even when you go through things that hurt.  I pray that you would be intentional about the frequency of your THANKS and PRAISE to God.  I pray that your attitude of gratitude would make your day brighter and your mood better.  I pray that you would always look for a reason to say THANK YOU LORD!  I pray that when you are in the company of negativity, your first inkling would be to refuse to participate and you would initiate a redirecting of the conversation toward positive words and praise.  I pray that you would be open to GIVE GOD THANKS and PRAISE so that you will position yourself to THRIVE!

And so we close, as we began...

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is... and GIVE GOD THANKS and PRAISE everyday!  [Ephesians 5:15-17]

THANK YOU for walking through this series with me!
We will THRIVE together!  TGBTG!

Blessings! Glory! And Sunshine!


Posted on December 24, 2015 at 9:27 AM Comments comments (4)

BlogFam, there are many times I cannot anticipate the space I will be in - physically or emotionally - when I write.  And on this morning, I am in a very good space!  I am at my parent's home and all of my immediate family has gathered together to celebrate Christmas.  God could not have set this up in a more perfect way considering our iTHRIVE focus for this morning - Embrace My SUPPORT.

If there were ever any people in my life that I could most readily name as my biggest and most consistent supporters throughout my entire life, I would have to name my family.  Hands down!  I have been tremendously blessed with parents who love the Lord and taught all of us to love the Lord and to live our lives dedicated to the way of the Lord.  I have been equally blessed with siblings who know all about me and still love me, check me, pray for me, fast with me, celebrate me and I do the same for all of them.  I am very grateful that the Lord has blessed me with such an amazingly steady and strong support system in my immediate family....and I find the same in much of my extended family as well.  God is so GOOD!  

However, beyond my blood connections, I have been blessed with some amazing friends and mentors, who have also been support for me.  I have friends and mentors who have let me cry on their shoulders, laughed at my craziness, checked me when I was wrong, warned me when they sensed danger, cheered for me when I reached goals, affirmed me through breakups, believed in me when I felt alone, and who have prayed for me just because they care.   I have some really amazing friends and for that I am grateful!  [THANK YOU to my friends who are reading this today... you know who you are and I love you]  

BlogFam, who is your biggest supporter?  Who makes up your support system?  You must know that none of us can make it completely on our own.  We are not an island unto ourselves.  We should not aim to live our lives as a one man or one woman show.  It is time to embrace your SUPPORT.

Have you heard about the turtle on the fence post?

An old rancher was talking to his doctor and said, "When you're driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that's a 'post turtle".
The old rancher saw the puzzled look on the doctor's face so he continued to explain. "You know he didn't get up there by himself, he doesn't belong up there, and he doesn't know what to do while he's up there, and you just wonder who put him up there to begin with".

Friends, we have all had moments in our lives when we were promoted, elected, awarded, complemented, elevated and victorious simply because someone or a group of people decided to support us in walking through doors, sitting at tables, and connecting with people that we would not have otherwise been able to connect with but for their belief in us, their prayers for us, and their love extended toward us.  We have been turtles on fence posts because of the support system we have in friends, family, mentors, neighbors, employers, classmates, and co-workers.

And today is a good day for you to check the status of your support system and then to fully embrace your support so that you can begin and continue to THRIVE in every area of your life.

I know that some or many of your supporters have come and gone.  But look around and search within, who are your biggest encouragers in THIS season of your life?  And I would venture to say that if you would fix your mouth to say that no one is in your corner, you are either very selfish and arrogant OR you have belittled the support that has been given to you to get where you are today.  BlogFam, Who has your back?  Who will put you up?  Who will put up with you?   Who will push you to be your very best?  And for whom are YOU support?  How have YOU been a blessing to someone else as their biggest encourager, ride or die friend, rain or shine fan? 

Friends, Embrace your SUPPORT!  It is time for you to embrace the support of those whom God has placed in your life to propel you into your destiny.  You are not alone.  God is with you and God will never leave you, nor forsake you.  AND the Lord our God is kind enough to place people in your life - sometimes unexpected surprises - who will be your support system and who genuinely want to see you THRIVE.

BlogFam,  Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,  making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.... BUT you will have the SUPPORT that you need.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. [Ephesians 5:15-17]  And I pray that today would be the day that you embrace your support.  Check in with your support.  Check out from unhealthy support.  Thank those who have supported you and look for ways you can support others.  I pray that you would be reminded that you are a turtle on a fence post and you did not get where you are and will not get to where you want to be, on your own or by yourself.  I pray that God would open your eyes to see the support system that is in place in your life.  I pray that you would embrace your support and that your support would push you to THRIVE!

Blessings, Glory, and Sunshine!

iTHRIVE: Articulate My Strategy

Posted on December 17, 2015 at 11:07 AM Comments comments (0)

BlogFam - 
Have you ever made a decision to do something or to go somewhere or to be someone?  I am sure that your answer is YES.  OK.  Next Question.  How did you move forward toward what you wanted to do, where you wanted to go, or who you wanted to be?  What was your plan?  Did you have a well thought out strategy in order to accomplish whatever you set out to accomplish, to complete what you wanted to do, to get to where you wanted to go, to become who you wanted to be?

Friends, as we come to the end of yet another year, this is actually a great time for YOU to think through your strategy for living your best life in 2016.   It is not too early and it is not too late.  It is the perfect time for you to not just think about WHAT you want to accomplish, but to articulate a clear strategy for doing so. 

I am a witness to how critical it is to have a strategy for accomplishing your goals.  There have been goals that I have set in my own life and I knew exactly what I needed to do to reach those goals, I implemented my strategy, and met or in some cases, exceeded my goals.  On the other hand, I also know what it is to have a goal that simply remains a dream in the happy clouds of my mind because I did not have a strategy for making those dreams my reality.  Now, I acknowledge that life happens...meaning things happen that you cannot plan for or anticipate or that catch you by surprise and those happenings may hinder your progress.  But life's surprises are still no excuse for not moving forward once you get over it.  Friends, what is your strategy for living your best life?

I know you probably need to take some time to think about it and then to write your vision and make it plain so that you may run with it.  But you have to do it.  You must articulate your own strategy for doing what you want to do, going where you want to go, and for becoming the person you want to become.  It will not happen without some effort on your part and now is a great time to get it together!

Now, let us take a deep breath before you get overwhelmed because you feel the weight or the pressure of all that has come to mind that you feel the need to accomplish.  Take a breath.  Breathe in. Breathe out.  Get a piece of paper and a pen or open the notes on your phone and ask yourself this question.


Friends, I have learned that the thought of jumping into the process of achieving your goals can in and of itself be overwhelming so I have learned in my own life to ask myself this question.  WHAT IS MY NEXT RIGHT STEP?  When people ask me for advice about how they should proceed in their own lives, I will ask them the same question... WHAT IS YOUR NEXT RIGHT STEP?  It might be too much to think TEN steps down the road but you can think about that very FIRST step in the direction of your success.   And do not minimize your FIRST step because that first step will lead to the second, the third, the fourth, and so on and you will be gaining momentum as you go.  Then, before you know it, you will be closer to achieving your goals than when you first began simply because you took the first right step to implement your strategy for doing what you want to do, going where you want to go, and becoming who you want to be.  This is what it will take for you to THRIVE

So, BlogFam, it is time for YOU to articulate your strategy for achieving your goals and then it will be time for you to take your first right step.  I pray that you would "be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is... articulate your strategy and take your first right step." [Ephesians 5:15-17]  I pray that you would come to the place of emotional stability so that you will get past whatever is keeping you from moving forward.  I pray that the Lord would answer your prayers to open doors, build relationships, increase your finances, and set your whole house in order for you to move forward.  I pray that you would re-evaluate your connections, re-interpret your fears, and re-imagine your perspective such that you will not allow anyone or anything keep you from moving forward.  I pray that your strategy would be smart, insightful, and clear.  I pray that your next right step would revive your energy, refresh your drive, and reignite your passion to THRIVE as you live your best life!  

Blessings, Glory, and Sunshine!

Resource for individual and small group Bible Study - Visit


Posted on December 10, 2015 at 7:17 AM Comments comments (0)

BlogFam - 
THANK YOU for journeying through the iTHRIVE series with me!  I hope that it has been a blessing to you.  We only have a few more weeks to go and I believe that we will all be revived to THRIVE as a result of this journey!

There are so many images that come to mind of what strength looks like.  Strength looks like mountains and strength looks like trees.  Strength looks like my mom and dad praying on their knees.  Strength looks like bodybuilders with bodies cut firmly and toned and it looks like construction workers scaling buildings at heights alone.  Strength looks like activists marching through streets, holding signs, and chanting "we shall overcome!"  Strength looks like the child in the spelling bee, a little nervous but determined not to be outdone.  Strength looks like the waves of the ocean crashing on the beach shores.  It looks like the physically challenged coming through any door.   Strength looks like cancer survivors and patients fighting for their life at any age and at every stage.  Strength looks like the brokenhearted man or woman who tries to love again... and again.    There are so many images that come to mind of what strength looks like to me.  And unfortunately, because strength can often be spoken of or depicted as merely physical, we might tend to discount the strength we have mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually.

Friends, in order for YOU to THRIVE, you must harness your own strength!  This is not the same as discovering your purpose or having knowledge of your gifts and talents.  To harness your strength is to pull from the depths of who you are as a whole person - beyond your physical body - in order to be steadfast, unmovable, and always abounding...thriving... in the work that God has called for you to do.  This is really what it means to be strong.  Strength can look like all of the images that I shared a few sentences ago and so much more.  But my challenge to you is to draw from the strength of your entire being in order to THRIVE in every area of your life.  And if it is in God that we live and move and have our being, in essence, you must learn to draw from the strength that comes from God and manifests in and through you.  Harness your strength!

Now, we all have moments of weakness, vulnerability, laziness, BUT do not let these moments and the foolish or not so well thought out actions you took in those moments define you.  YOU ARE STRONG.  And you are strong, not because of what you look like or what you have been through or where you believe that you are going.  You are strong because at all times and in all spaces, God is ordering your steps to keep moving forward and to THRIVE.  We can do ALL things, endure ALL things, through Christ who gives us strength!  So, harness your strength!

Do not ignore the "super" power that you have access to by the grace of God!  Everything that you have been through and will face in the future is in some way working together for your GOOD.  There will be GLORY after THIS... in this life and/or in the life to come.  Friends, you must not be distracted or paralyzed by the images of strength that are projected all around us.  Those images, just as my illustrations above, are not the only images of strength and until you agree that you are already STRONG enough for your journey and that you are getting stronger everyday, in spite of what it might look or feel or sound like, you will always underestimate the "super" power that wants to work through you.  So, harness your strength!

[Yes, I am going back to our theme passage... with a small twist lol]

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.... AND YOU ARE STRONG.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. [Ephesians 5:15-17]

Today, I pray that YOU will be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might!  I pray that you will put on the whole armor of God and agree that you are an image of strength.  I pray that you will encourage someone else to harness their strength and be a witness of how you have done the same.  I pray that when you are overwhelmed by pictures or conversations of what strength looks like around you, I pray that you would not be paralyzed by any of that, but prayerfully reflective on how His strength is made perfect in your weakness.  You can do ALL things and endure ALL things through Christ who gives you strength.  So, I pray that you would harness your strength and THRIVE!  In the Name of the ONE who IS, HAS BEEN, and WILL BE our Strength.... AMEN! 

Blessings, Glory and Sunshine!

iTHRIVE: Celebrate My STORY

Posted on December 3, 2015 at 8:16 AM Comments comments (0)

BlogFam - 
We are quickly coming to the close of yet another year and as we do so, I do not want us to bypass the opportunity we do have to consider what it means for us to finish strong so that we can thrive in the year to come.  This is the time of the year where many are hustling and bustling about in stores buying gifts, in church planning the Christmas pageant, at work closing out the year, and in our homes decorating, reminiscing, and even stressing about upcoming gatherings with family and friends. It has been said that it is the most wonderful time of the year!  And it can be that if we keep in mind that JESUS is the reason for this season! 

Now there are many stories that are told around this time of the year, especially on TV.  Friends, I will admit that I am a sucker for a good Lifetime, Hallmark or ABC Family Christmas movie.  And I really love the ones that end with a man and woman coming together in true love or an estranged family coming together in spite of past rifts that kept them apart.  I absolutely LOVE the Christmas movies on TV during this time of the year!  And I am really "geeked" [lol] that I can catch them on YouTube throughout the entire year.  I do not have to wait until after Thanksgiving to watch a good Christmas movie.  I can just search for one on YouTube and watch the story unfold.

These stories have made me laugh and cry, smile with approval or sigh in disbelief at the decisions that these characters have made.  But in the end, I will also admit, that with as many of these made for TV movies that I have watched, I pretty much know how it will end up even before the plot thickens; yet, I watch them anyway.  I like a good story.  Actually, my friends, it reminds me of how my family reads the Luke version of the birth story of Christ every year at our Christmas Eve dinner.  I know how the story will end as recorded in that passage but I love to hear it anyway and celebrate its significance in my life.  But on today, the other story that I hope we would all celebrate collectively and individually, is our personal story - the story that you are writing with your life, every day.

Now, I know that there are some of you who are very pleased with how your personal story is unfolding right now and there are others of you who wish that you could rewrite parts of your story that you feel that you cannot get over or get around so that you can move forward.  Then there are others of you who, like me, feel a little bit of both.  I celebrate my story but there are probably a few moments that I would rather not have as a part of my memory.  But all in all it is my story.  And I just believe that in all of our personal stories, God is working EVERYTHING together for our good!  Its just that there are times when we have to WAIT for God to work it before we can see the good or before we realize that it is already good.

Friends, we THRIVE when we can celebrate our own story.  YOU THRIVE when you can celebrate every part of you that makes you, you. And even if there is room for improvement, which there usually is in us all, well, then you acknowledge it, own it, and move forward to enhance it.  Beloved, you are a wonderful, gifted, purpose-filled creation of the Almighty and YOUR story is part of the God story that connects us all!  You are God's choice!  And God loves you so very much!  Actually, God loves you so much more than you can imagine and is able to do things in and through your life that exceed and are abundantly above all that you could ever ask, think, or imagine for yourself!

So, BlogFam, CELEBRATE YOUR STORY - the good and the bad, the ups and the downs.  Do not take your life for granted and do not waste the precious days that you have left on this earth doing anything that will not help you to THRIVE!

15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. [Ephesians 5:15-17]

On this day, I pray that you would look in the mirror and  THANK GOD that you are still here!  I pray that you would give thanks to God for all of the potential and promise God has placed inside of you and for the ways God has, is, and will use you to fulfill God's story.  I pray that you would pursue every opportunity in alignment with God's word, will, and way and that as you pursue righteousness, that you would experience shalom, nothing missing and nothing broken in your life.  I pray that you would THRIVE physically, emotionally, financially, and spiritually.  I pray that if there is anything or anyone in your life that needs to be removed or reassigned or revived, that you would have the courage to do so.  I pray that you would not be unwise or foolish but that you would make the most of every opportunity and understand what the Lord's will is for your life.   In the Name of the ONE who Celebrates YOU and YOUR STORY... AMEN!

THRIVE, my friend!  And celebrate your own story!

Blessings!  Glory! And Sunshine!


Posted on November 26, 2015 at 10:03 AM Comments comments (2)

BlogFam - 
As I write this blogpost, I will admit that what I originally had in mind to share is not what seems to be flowing from my thoughts at this moment.  I am writing on Thanksgiving Day morning and I am writing as I watch scenes from the movie Selma, a 2014 American historical drama based on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches.  In particular, I just watched the scene where the first attempt to march across Pettis Bridge was met with violence, tear gas, horses, beatings, gun fire, trampling in clouds of smoke.  And as much as I want to focus on the feel good memories and present plans of family and friends to gather for Turkey and dressing, I am compelled to acknowledge that the struggle for justice for all is not over.  And so on this day, I am so very grateful to God for ALL the sacrifices that my ancestors and elders and even many of my peers have made on my behalf.

I am grateful today for the grace and the strength of civil rights leaders past and present, near and far, young and old, who fought and who fight for the rights of the few and the many.  I am grateful today for the opportunity to write and share my thoughts on the struggles that I know we all have experienced, internally and externally that have made us who we are.  I am grateful today for the unwavering hope that I and so many have that whatever we are facing will all work together for our good.  I am grateful today that the work to be done is being done quietly and loudly, in churches and in schools, in the streets and in courtrooms, in private and in public.  I am grateful that I believe in the prophetic word of God that "judgment [will] run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream." [Amos 5:24]

Friends, Learn from the struggle.  I know that you may have your own internal struggles with hatred, procrastination, prejudice, self esteem, un-forgiveness, laziness, depression, pride, ingratitude, and immaturity.  And I pray that you would surrender your heart, mind, strength, and soul to God so that the one who is greater inside of you will help you to overcome your struggles so that you can thrive.  However, the internal struggles that we have are also evidenced in the social ills that we see in the external struggles for liberty and justice in America and around the world.  There is a work for all of us to do.  And sometimes, we have to look back, look around, and dare I say, look inside in order to familiarize ourselves with the struggles of those around us because it is the same struggle that we face every time we look in the mirror every morning or wrestle with before falling asleep at night.  

Dr. King said, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."  Therefore, in order for YOU to thrive, and for all of us to thrive together, we must pursue LIGHT and LOVE.  Now, as a believer in Jesus Christ, Jesus is the Light and the ultimate example of Love that I aspire to.  I am even reminded of the witness in the Bible that conveys the struggles of our Lord - internally and externally, as He lived to fulfill God's purpose for Him on earth.  Though we most often want to focus on the glorious moment of Resurrection, the struggle of the Cross and Crucifixion is an unavoidable reality that was a part of the journey to our redemption.  And while none of us will need to die for the sins of the whole world, all of us can thrive as examples of light and love in this dark and hate-filled world.

BlogFam, today, I pray that you would learn from your struggles.  Identify them and own them exactly as they are within you.  I pray that you would open your heart to feel and your eyes to see the struggles of others around you.  I pray that you would be grateful for the hope that everything is working together for your good and that you would feel a sense of urgency for the prophetic word of God through the prophet to come forth quickly.  I pray that your honest reflection would push you to act in order to enhance the ways you thrive in your life and that you would be compelled to act for liberty and justice on behalf of others.  I pray that you would be an example of light and love in this world and that your struggles simply bear witness to the amazing grace of God that is available to us all.  In the Name of the ONE who helps us to LEARN and to THRIVE...  Amen.

Blessings, Glory, and Sunshine!

#iThrive: Focus on My SELF

Posted on November 19, 2015 at 7:35 AM Comments comments (0)


BlogFam - 

Today, I declare and decree that for the last 7 weeks of this year, we will have a BLOG REVIVAL! [lol]  I am very excited about the series that we will begin together.  I believe that it will enrich our lives as we strive to FINISH STRONG!  I know that you are probably looking forward to all of the holiday gatherings and parties and gift exchanges and plethora of food options; BUT through our traditional end of the year celebration, I do not want us to forget that January 1 is coming.  So, I invite you to take a few minutes each week over the next 7 weeks - starting today - to pause and review so that we can take note of our own lives so that we can THRIVE in the coming year!  

Friends, will you join me in this new series entitled iThrive?  I almost called it iSurvive but for some reason I was not settled with just surviving or overcoming or getting through.  I WANT YOU TO THRIVE!  To thrive is: To Prosper; Be fortunate or Successful; To Grow or Develop Vigorously; To Flourish.  This is what it means to THRIVE and to THRIVE is my prayer for all of you!  And there are at least 7 things we must do to THRIVE and those 7 things will be the focus of our blog series until the end of the year!  I am so very excited and I look forward to the testimonies that will come forth as you do what you need to do to THRIVE as you finish 2015 and THRIVE as you walk into 2016!

Here are the iTHRIVE topics for the next 7 weeks:
         Focus on My SELF
         Learn from My STRUGGLE
         Celebrate My STORY
         Harness My STRENGTH
         Articulate My STRATEGY
         Embrace My SUPPORT
         Release My SHOUT
AND our focus scripture for the next 7 weeks:
         Ephesians 5:15-17

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

So, let's get started...
iTHRIVE: Focus on My SELF
BlogFam, I am sure that you might be wondering why we must start off this series with a focus on ourselves.  But do not wonder too long because the truth is, your ability to THRIVE starts with your commitment to yourself!  Are you committed to yourself?  I do not mean the superficial ways in which we put on masks or play dress up in order to appear as if we have it all together.  I mean, are you fully committed to the health of your body, the strength of your character, the depth of your spirit, the salvation of your soul?  Friends, I think that it is so important that we are fully committed to focus on ourselves in the most comprehensive way possible.  Besides, one of the greatest commandments is to LOVE our neighbors as we love ourselves and how can you do so, if you do not in fact and in practice, love yourself?

Do you love yourself?
Do you love everything about yourself?
Is there anything about yourself that you want or need to improve?
These are the kinds of questions that must be answered.  So, pause, and ask yourself, seriously....

Do you love yourself?
Do you love everything about yourself?
Is there anything about yourself that you want or need to improve?

Now, if you are completely honest with yourself, I imagine that ALL of you see your own self as a growth area as your growth relates to your body, mind, spirit, or soul.  Friends, one of the ways in which we can live wisely is by seeking to THRIVE in all of the areas I just listed.  I think for too long we have put ourselves on the back burner as if we get a few more jewels in our heavenly crown if we live beneath some made-up standard of false humility.  It is my prayer that you embrace the truth that to have life and to live it more abundantly as the Lord has promised necessarily means that we are thriving from the inside out.  It is OK to give yourself the permission to focus on yourself.  You do not have to feel guilty about that because in taking time to invest in yourself, it is a way to honor our God who created you.  Actually, I believe that you honor God by taking care of your body, seeking opportunities to enhance your mind and improve your intellectual capacity, investing energy in your spiritual development, and making sure your soul is right with God.  

BlogFam, Focus on yourself!  This is the first week of the iThrive series and we must start with YOU before we can go any further.  So, over this next week - until the next post - I pray that YOU would consider and then reconsider how well you love yourself.  I pray that you would take the time to recommit yourself to yourself so that you can love God and neighbor more fully.  I pray that you would know that it is wise of you to do so and that you do not have to feel guilty or apologize for honoring God by being true to yourself.  I pray that you would be very careful how you live with yourself and whatever you need to do to THRIVE from the inside out, DO IT NOW!  Let go or embrace whatever it is so that you can THRIVE!

Friends, this is our first step.  
Now, confess this out loud....

Lord, I thank you for this moment to reflect on who you have created me to be.  I confess that I have not always expressed my gratitude for being who I am in the ways I have treated or dismissed myself.  Today, I ask that you would forgive me for not loving myself so that I could love my neighbor as I love myself.  I ask that you would show me those parts about myself that need to grow or improve so that I can THRIVE in life and in building your Kingdom.  Help me to honor you by treating my body as the temple of the Holy Spirit, seeking ways to expand my mind, revive my spirituality, and live righteously from the depths of my soul.  It is IN JESUS NAME that iTHRIVE... AMEN!

Blessings!  Glory!  And Sunshine!

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