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

Visionary Strategist Faithful Innovator Inspirational Essayist

Salvation and Stilettos Blog


But They Loved Human Praise...

Posted on August 4, 2017 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Everybody loves to be recognized, acknowledged, celebrated for something that they have done.  Some prefer a surprise note in the mail or a plaque for their wall or to have their named called publicly or a quiet whisper of gratitude.  Everybody appreciates the feeling of knowing that what they said or did or contributed, mattered.  Now I know some of you claim that you do not "need" it.  That is OK.  That is your truth.  You may not "need" it, but most of you will not deflect it when it comes your way, especially if you know it is a sincere gesture of thanks,  Besides, it is OK, for the most part to desire this kind of affirmation for the ways you are a blessing to your family or an asset on your job or a great addition to the team,  It is OK to want, and even need, to hear complimentary words that make you smile and encourage you to keep doing whatever it is that you are doing.  All of this is OK.

But they LOVED human praise...

BlogFam, the problem arises when you need this kind of affirmation so much so that you will do whatever you need to do to get it.  The problem arises when acting rudely, arrogantly and completely self-serving is how you behave in order to get those compliments.  The greater problem arises when you want to keep all the glory for your self and are unwilling to share with others who supported you and it does not even cross your mind to give it all back to God.

But they LOVED human praise...

Leading up to our 2 focal verses for this reflection, John 12:37-38a declares that "Jesus had done many miraculous signs before the people, but they didn’t believe in him.  This was to fulfill the word of the prophet Isaiah..." John goes on to share a few words of the prophet and then summarizes by informing us that Isaiah said these things because He could foresee Jesus' glory.  He also tells us that:

Even so, many leaders believed in him, but they wouldn’t acknowledge their faith because they feared that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue. They believed, but they loved human praise more than God’s glory. (John 12:42-43)

But they LOVED human praise...

Friends, when you get to the place where you LOVE to be the center of your own world and to receive all of the glory in your own bubble, you force out the privileged opportunity we have to give all glory to God.  Again, it is OK to receive compliments but we must keep all of those things in a healthy perspective.  Thank the giver for acknowledging you but do not linger in that moment so long that you never tell the Lord THANK YOU for even making it possible!  Besides, EVERYTHING we think we can do and EVERYTHING we are actually able to do is because of the grace and mercy of God.

BlogFam, I pray that we are never afraid to believe in Jesus and the miraculous transformation He is able to do in our lives.  And I pray that we are never intimidated to deny Him because of what others say they will do to us or because we want the glory for ourselves.  But above all, I also pray that you do not ever get to the place where you think that human praise can ever compare to the glory of our God.  

Blessings, Glory, and Sunshine!

When Jesus is Troubled...

Posted on August 2, 2017 at 7:07 PM Comments comments (1)

I really do not plan to keep you long today.  I just had to acknowledge that even Jesus felt troubled..anxious...uneasy...unsettled...worried...concerned... and agitated.  I think that this is a critical acknowledgment and I am so glad the Gospel of John records this very human moment as we will read below in John 12:27-28.  I think some of us might need to brace ourselves because the exalted nature of our Lord seems to conflict with the troubled expressions of the Carpenter.  I know that you might want to take JOY in all the magnificence of the Christ but will you admit that sometimes, you need to connect with the vulnerability of Mary's baby?

I can admit it.  Yes, I worship Christ, the Son of the Living God; but sometimes, I need to know that He really does understand my every fear, pain, apprehension, desperation, and grief.  I need that from Him and I am appreciative to John for recording this conversation between God the Son and God the Father.
“Now I am deeply troubled. What should I say? ‘Father, save me from this time’? No, for this is the reason I have come to this time. Father, glorify your name!”  Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” (John 12:27-28)

I know we might want to jump to Jesus pushing through His troubled-ness, but can we pause at the period and take in what it means for Jesus to be troubled, deeply troubled?  Don't rush to the Glory!  Just sit with Jesus for a moment.  Sit with Him the same way you want someone to sit with you, pray with you, listen to you, look at you, when you feel troubled, deeply troubled. I can only imagine the weight of what lay before Him, the abuse, the cross, the tomb.  I would be deeply troubled too.  But then, in His trouble, He checks in with His purpose and He is reminded that He cannot quit now.

What should I say? ‘Father, save me from this time’? No, for this is the reason I have come to this time. Father, glorify your name!”

BlogFam, when Jesus is troubled, He checks in with His purpose so that He can press on for the glory of God!  This is what we must do.  It is OK to acknowledge whatever feelings that might keep you from moving forward.  But then you must remind yourself of the purpose for which you have been called and the mission you are to complete.  Lastly, you must give it all to God and focus on how God will get the glory through even THIS.  Do not quit!

Yes, I know this seems like an oversimplification for what most of us do when we feel deeply troubled, and maybe Jesus did a little bit more or said a little bit more to help Him process His feelings and come to the conclusion of God's Glory.  Maybe.  But verse 27 is all we have.  So, Acknowledge, Remind, and Focus.  Acknowledge your trouble.  Remind yourself of your purpose, God's purpose for you.  Focus on the Glory of God.

In other words...

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When s/he might have won if s/he'd stuck it out.
Don't give up, though the pace seems slow -
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering wo/man;
Often the struggler has given up
When s/he might have captured the victor's cup,
And s/he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
How close s/he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out -
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are -
It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit -
It's when things seem worst that you mustn't quit. 

What should I say? ‘Father, save me from this time’? No, for this is the reason I have come to this time. Father, glorify your name!”

Blessings, Glory, and Sunshine.

FORGET THAT DONKEY! John 12:12-19 [Read the Blog for the Real]

Posted on August 1, 2017 at 10:26 AM Comments comments (2)

Today is August 1, 2017.  It is the first day of the month of my birth and my birthday is nine days away. [HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Delesslyn!]  Though I know that we traditionally celebrate LENT in preparation of Resurrection Sunday, I believe that we can fast and pray any time of the year.  Actually, anytime is a good time to sacrifice unto the Lord, reflect upon His goodness, and to seek God's will for your life.  I am doing a guided reflection using the book, 40 Days of Decrease by Alicia Britt Chole.  I am excited to have begun this journey and while there is a small space to share my reflections in the book, I decided to share them here. (#LentinAugust) 

Additionally, you should also know that I am in a year long period of transition.  This is the final year of another decade and honestly, I am feeling some kind of way.  I am very excited and feel as if I am growing even more confident and courageous with every moment.  You should know that because I wanted to tell you and because I am excited about how this next year will unfold as I fully participate and engage every shift that is coming my way...  Here we go...

Now, I was raised in the "Holiness" church.  Yes, that means I did not wear pants growing up, red nail polish and lipstick was a "No No," and I have never attended a school dance.  While i have worked through many of my own theological issues with the emphasis on looks/works and not heart, I am deeply indebted to the church of my baptism for the solid foundation of scriptural reflection, the value of Christian tradition, and the desire for my life to be conformed to the image of God's Son.  

Furthermore, you probably already know that cussing was quite obviously not part of the Holiness Code of Conduct.  I can honestly say that i have never given anyone a good cussing out (not that it has not crossed my mind which is kinda doing it anyway in the sense of biblical literal interpretation).  However, I have seen movies and watched television shows and even heard some good Christians use a few words or two in casual and heated conversations and the words just seem to fit and flow and are often very entertaining in their usage.  

Before you get scared, I am not about to get vulgar or go off the deep end here but I am about to use a word that also means donkey because I think it just works better.  So, I guess I am not "cussing,"  I am simply using a synonym and some of you need to be forewarned.  I will even use the King James Version so you can read the scripture for yourself...

 On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,
13 Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.
14 And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written,
15 Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt.
16 These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him. (John 12:12-16)

Friends, I hope you are not in too much shock.  I am clear that for some of you, it was not a big deal.  For others of you, you skip the word ass every time you see it in the Bible because it just does something to you.  Well, today, I want to say that King James got it right because I do not think my reflection could have worked with any other translation.  

Friends, the formal definition of an "ass" is a hoofed mammal of the horse family with a braying call, typically smaller than a horse but with longer ears.  The informal definition of an "ass" is a foolish or stupid person.  We have all seen formal and informal asses in our lifetime.  And so had Jesus.  The King of Kings was making his triumphant entry, another step closer to the cross where our salvation would be solidified, on the back of an ass.  That's what the bible says.

I do not know why Jesus did not have a mode of transportation that was worthy of the Glory he embodied.  I do not know why Jesus could not have arrived in a chariot or riding a show horse like a Clydesdale or any other kind of horse that demanded respect and reflected power and strength.  I do not know why Jesus chose to make His entrance on an ass, a stubborn animal with big ears that is mostly viewed with contempt and seen as insulting in today's times.

But maybe that was the point.  Maybe it was the brilliance of our Lord to teach us a few things by coming to town on an ass. 

LESSON ONE - Jesus will not leave your ass (your foolishness and stupidity) behind.  Jesus was on His way to die for all of the stupid and foolish things we have done.  Jesus was not willing for any to perish and riding into town on an ass reminds us that He really does love everybody and desires to be in relationship with even the most stupid and foolish among us, and in spite of the most stupid and foolish things we have ever done in our lifetime.  Jesus loves our asses!

And LESSON TWO - The ass is not the point.  Forget the ass! Forget the hoofed mammal of the horse family with a braying call, typically smaller than a horse but with longer ears!  The ass, as an animal, does not matter because Jesus had such a higher purpose that He knew that He had come to fulfill.  The ass was a means to an end that got Jesus to exactly where He needed to be in preparation for His death on the cross.  Perhaps, we need to forget some asses in our own lives so that we can truly focus on what God is calling for us to be and to do in this world.

Friends, Don't be an ass!  Be an asset to the Kingdom!  AND Forget the asses in your life that distract you from your larger purpose!  Jesus did...


Blessings, Glory, and Sunshine!