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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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Extensive Greetings - Romans 1 Introduction

Posted on May 13, 2019 at 7:17 AM Comments comments (0)

Greetings!
BlogFam, I do not have a set way for determining the scriptures for our reflection.  Since I was invited to preach and to use selected verses from Romans 1, this week we will spend time in Romans 1.  As I was invited, so do I invite you to walk with me to discover how the Lord might speak to us...

The very first thing I notice in Romans 1 is how Paul writes an extensive greeting.  Honestly, it seems like he could have gotten straight to the point a little quicker.  But Paul has a few goals that he is trying to accomplish by making his greeting so long.  In this greeting, Paul introduces himself, gives a summary of the Gospel aka Good News, reinforces the community's connection to the Good News, and offers grace. 

When I have written notes or letters to people, I cannot recall one time when I have felt it necessary to give a full testimony before getting to the body of my writing.  Depending on who the recipient is and the purpose for my writing, I might give my name and a statement about myself that helps the reader to know why it makes sense for me to write to them.  However, given Paul's background, this type of greeting might be best.

Paul was a persecutor of Christians.  He was not a friend to the followers of Jesus in his first career.  Paul's conversion was probably questioned by so many people and so this kind of extensive greeting also functioned as a reintroduction of who he is now apart from his past.  This kind of extensive greeting also possibly reassured the recipients that he no longer posed a threat to their lives because of their faith in Christ.

And so he begins...

From Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for God’s good news. 

2-3 God promised this good news about his Son ahead of time through his prophets in the holy scriptures. His Son was descended from David. 4 He was publicly identified as God’s Son with power through his resurrection from the dead, which was based on the Spirit of holiness. This Son is Jesus Christ our Lord. 

5 Through him we have received God’s grace and our appointment to be apostles. This was to bring all Gentiles to faithful obedience for his name’s sake. 6 You who are called by Jesus Christ are also included among these Gentiles.

7 To those in Rome who are dearly loved by God and called to be God’s people.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

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

Unbelief? OK. God Will Use You Anyway...

Posted on May 10, 2019 at 8:07 AM Comments comments (3)

GREETINGS!
BlogFam,
Have you ever wondered why the Lord continues to call you seemingly in spite of your personal history?  Have you ever wondered why you still have any kind of divine assignment in the Kingdom given your recent attitude, challenges, or shortcomings?  Have you ever wondered why the Lord keeps sending you out when you would have made it clear in so many ways and words that you would rather not go right now?

Friends, I think we have all had these kinds of thoughts at some point.  These thoughts are often triggered by events, conversations, or convictions that push us to wrestle with what it means to be human and a servant of the Most High.  Clearly, God must know that we are not perfect.  We do not always say the right things or do the right things.  Yet, for some reason, WE are still included in God's purpose and plan for God's will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

I think we see a glimpse of this in our verses for today.

Finally he appeared to the eleven while they were eating. Jesus criticized their unbelief and stubbornness because they didn’t believe those who saw him after he was raised up. 15 He said to them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the good news to every creature." [Mark 16:14-15]

Now, let us be honest.  There are a few of us or maybe most of us reading today's post would have held the same unbelief as the disciples in the Gospel of Mark.  The disciples had walked and talked with Jesus, listened and learned from Jesus, ate and slept near Jesus and they still did not believe the witness of those who told them what Jesus had already told them would happen regarding his resurrection.  Think about it.  Resurrection was such a far fetched idea.  Surely, Jesus meant some kind of figurative, metaphoric experience when he taught them, warned them about what would happen three days after His death on the cross.  The disciples are human and resurrection did not make good sense to them.  They could not fathom their friend's coming back after such a horrific and public death.  

I get it.  Don't you? I mean, how many things has the Lord showed you about the future of your own life that made you laugh like Sarah or question like Job or run like Jonah or doubt like these disciples?  They were all humans who God blessed and used in spite of their initial and ongoing responses to the instructions or promises God declared in their lives. They also did not have the most "perfect" responses to what God spoke into their lives, much like the disciples.

Mary Magadalene told the disciples that she saw Jesus and they did not believe.
The two men walking along the road to Jerusalem told the disciples that they had also seen Jesus and they did not believe.
And then Jesus shows up.
Yep!  Jesus shows up.
The disciples were eating and probably reminiscing about their time with Jesus.  They might have even been mocking Mary Magdalene and the two men for their tales.  Clearly, their minds are playing tricks on them because they miss their friend so much.  Clearly, Jesus has not risen.  He is dead. He is buried.  He is not coming back.  I can only imagine that this is the kind of conversation that is happening as they dine.

But then something happens in the midst of their meal...

Finally he appeared to the eleven while they were eating. 

WHAT IN THE WORLD????
What is happening here?  Jesus, is it really you?  Wait a second!  Are you all seeing what I am seeing?  These had to be a few of the thoughts racing through the minds of the disciples when out of no where, Jesus shows up.

Friends, I have to pause because that is a blessing right there.  Jesus will show up in our lives at unexpected times and in unexpected places.  We can be sitting, having a meal with friends, and Jesus will show up.  We could have heard the testimonies of a few of our friends and still not believed but Jesus will still show up.  We could have not fully trusted the Words of the one we called "Rabbi"  meaning Teacher, and yet He will still choose to show up in our lives because in spite of our unbelief.

Now, let us all be clear, their unbelief did not go unaddressed by Jesus.

Jesus criticized their unbelief and stubbornness because they didn’t believe those who saw him after he was raised up.  [Mark 16:14]

So, just as the disciples had to be "chastised," we might also feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit because of our own unbelief.  BUT let us also be clear that our unbelief does not keep us from being used by God to expand God's Kingdom on earth.  For just after Jesus criticized the unbelief and stubbornness of the disciples, 

He said to them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the good news to every creature." [Mark 16:15]

HALLELUJAH!
Friends, this is such an act of amazing grace!  That Jesus would still love us enough in spite of our ways of betrayal, denial, doubt, and unbelief, Jesus would still choose to invite us to represent Him in the earth.  Jesus still wants to use YOU.  This is what I see here.  The people who were closest to him had some serious doubts about their friend even after hearing the testimonies of other like-minded friends, and Jesus still says - Friends, I have work for you to do.

He said to them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the good news to every creature." [Mark 16:15]

Friends, this is our command.  This is what we must do.

Lord forgive us for the ways we have doubted and disobeyed your words.  Help our unbelief and send us into the world.  IN JESUS NAME...

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

When Resurrection Changes You

Posted on May 9, 2019 at 7:38 AM Comments comments (0)
Greetings!
BlogFam, 
I have to backtrack for a moment. There was a phrase, a vague description that I must go back and reflect upon.  

Here is the verse:
 After that he appeared in a different form to two of them who were walking along in the countryside. 

Here is the description within that verse that has given me pause this morning:
 After that he appeared in a different form...

Friends, what does that look like?  What kind of a different form?  How did He appear to them?
I am wondering how those men would describe Jesus appearance after His resurrection.  I wonder if he looked a little flushed or pale after having been in the grave for a few days.  I wonder how his physical body embodied the Spirit of resurrection.  How did his scars look?  Was he still walking around in grave clothes or did He have some kind of glowing white robe on?  Were his steps kind of flighty?  I wonder if he could barely keep His feet on the ground given the miracle He had just experienced.

The text only says that He appeared in a different form.  That does not give us much to go on.  But perhaps the point that we are to glean this morning is not so much the accurate details of Jesus appearance after rising from the dead.  Perhaps the point is to let us know that when the Lord raises us above the horrific and embarrassing and painful and willing to forget kind of experiences in our lives, we will appear in a different form.

I am not saying we will have any kind of superhuman qualities after we have gone through life challenges.  However, I do want to suggest that when we have walked through the valley of the shadow of death, we can emerge in a different form.  We can rise up from death like situations in our lives - divorce, bankruptcy, job loss, evictions, death of a loved one  - with a new hope, grounded faith, greater capacity to forgive, relieved, stress reduced, and filled with love and gratitude.

Friends, when we come out on the other side of the death-defying detours of our lives, we will not only feel different within, but we just might appear in a different form to those who were familiar with our pre-resurrection selves.  I think that it is OK to declare that death and resurrection changes you.  So a different appearance makes sense.  We do not have to be ashamed or embarrassed or humiliated because we have overcome.  On the contrary, we rise with gratitude that we made it through with a willingness to testify by our presence that we are still here, and look forward to life beyond resurrection for all things have become new to us!  We rise up and we are different.  Words may be inadequate to describe our appearance post-resurrection but that does not negate the fact that our lives have been forever changed and we just might appear in a different form to others...  To God be the GLORY!

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


Be Open to Jesus in the Ordinary

Posted on May 8, 2019 at 6:52 AM Comments comments (0)
Greetings!
BlogFam, did you know that there are moments in your life that God's presence will be felt in the most ordinary of activities?  You can be doing the dishes or driving to work, or eating dinner, or just walking along in the grocery store and the Spirit of the Lord will touch your heart in such a way that demands a recognition of the Spirit's presence.  You might cry.  You might start singing your favorite worship song.  You might whisper a prayer.  You might call a friend.  You might just sit and be still and know that God is God.

The presence of the Lord can show up in the most ordinary of activities.  I know we expect to see the Lord in big ways, in mind blowing, miraculous manifestations that we can clearly see, touch, hear, and feel.  That is what we like to brag, shout, and dance about and that is OK. However, I want to remind you today that the Lord is already everywhere and the Lord's presence can be intensified in the most ordinary times and places.  Friends, Be Open.

After that he appeared in a different form to two of them who were walking along in the countryside.  When they returned, they reported it to the others, but they didn’t believe them. [Mark 16:12-13]

Jesus appears while they were just walking along.  These two men probably had walked along this same road dozens of times to get home, to visit friends, to handle business, to enjoy the weather of that day.  I imagine that the day started off as any other.  They probably checked each other's availability or maybe they had a standing appointment to meet and go walking.  They were doing what they would have usually have done.  They meet and start walking and talking as usual until a third person appeared on the road with them.  

This third person was an addition to their company and conversation. While the Gospel of Mark does not explain to us the exact moment they recognized that the person who appeared to them was the resurrected Lord,  we can safely assume that it was indeed the Lord.  He appeared to Mary Magdalene first in the verses just before our verses today and then Mark indicates "He appeared in a different form" and "When they returned, they reported it to the others..."  Why would they mention some random person on the road?  There is no other reason for them to mention strangers along the way unless the stranger made some kind of impact.  In this case, the person who appeared must have been familiar and worthy of mentioning to their friends and fellow followers of Jesus.

Jesus had appeared to them in the midst of the ordinary act of walking along the countryside.  There is no indication that it was overly dramatic or that it was a spectacular moment of revelation.  It seems like the two men were walking along and a friend, who looked a little different because of what he had been through, joined them.  They walked and talked until they all arrived where they needed to be.  When the two men returned and shared that they walked and talked with Jesus, no one believed them.

I wonder if sometimes we do not believe because it is not dramatic enough.  I wonder if people are so used to drama that the presence of God in familiar spaces seems unbelievable.  They were walking along the same old road they had walked along many times before and Jesus showed up there.  BlogFam, I believe that the presence of the Lord can still show up in the most ordinary, mundane, familiar places in our own lives.  People may not believe that we met Jesus there but we know.... and we must cherish the wisdom, hope, joy, peace, and faith we gain in those moments.

Friends, I pray that you would be open to the ways the Lord will show up in the ordinary times and places of your life and that you would believe when He does the same for others.

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

Speak Up, Anyway!

Posted on May 7, 2019 at 6:06 AM Comments comments (0)
Greetings!
BlogFam, it is a JOY to be writing to you and in some ways, with you.  I learned many years ago that we do this Christian life in community.  So even though I am the writer of the Salvation and Stilettos blog posts, I do so with a clear understanding that my writing is part of the larger conversation about what it means to be a Jesus follower in this world.  I do not do so in isolation and I do not want to do it that way.  I hope that my writings are considered as part of the great cacophony of Christian communicators that began thousands of years ago and will continue long beyond my own passing away to join the great cloud of witnesses.  I am grateful for this gift and I am compelled to use it for the GLORY of the Almighty God!

For the last week or so I have been reading and re-reading the ending of Mark 16.  I believe that we will walk through these verses because of a few themes I see beginning with Mary Magadalene.

After Jesus rose up early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. She went and reported to the ones who had been with him, who were mourning and weeping.  But even after they heard the news, they didn’t believe that Jesus was alive and that Mary had seen him. [Mark 16:9-11]

As controversial as it has been in church history for women to proclaim the Gospel, this text is an obvious indication that Jesus was OK with a woman speaking on His behalf.

Jesus appeared to a woman first.  Jesus died.  Jesus was buried.  Jesus rose up early on the first day of the week, and of all the people He could have chosen to appear to first, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene.  I remember when I was in High School, I was already beginning to sense something in my own spirit about ministry.  I did not have the language of call and I dared not speak of preaching because that was not what women could do.  But my Easter part that one year was to give a monologue from the perspective of Mary Magdalene post-Resurrection.  Until this day, I remember my favorite line from that monologue because it was not how that community understood the role of women in the church.

I could not wait to give the monologue just to say that one line.  That one line made all the difference for me.  Looking back on it now, it was a subtle way for me to declare my own call to ministry.  I was so excited to say that line.  I said it with power and intention.  It needed to be heard.  Here it is:

"I was an apostle to the apostles."

Now I remember no other lines from that monologue but I remember that one.

"I was an apostle to the apostles."

And it was definitely in line with Scripture as we see here in Mark 16.

Jesus saw Mary Magdalene first.  Jesus spoke to a woman first.  A woman was the first to carry the message of Jesus Resurrection.

She went and reported to the ones who had been with him, who were mourning and weeping.  She went and did exactly what Jesus told her to do.  I cannot imagine the weight of such a joyful and controversial message.  His followers were sad and grieving, heartbroken and confused, weary and worn.  I am sure that Jesus words through Mary were not what they were expecting in the midst of their tears.  And the text says:

But even after they heard the news, they didn’t believe that Jesus was alive and that Mary had seen him.

Jesus rose.  Jesus spoke.  Jesus sent.  Mary went.  Mary spoke.  Mary was not believed.

Now how could they not believe such amazing news?  This was the message that Jesus spoke of with the disciples before his death.  He had forewarned them that He was going to die and rise again.  And now that one of Jesus followers claims that what He said was true, the disciples are doubtful and dismissive.  The disciples dd not believe Mary Magdalene, which means they did not believe Jesus.

Have you ever told your friends some really good news that they did not believe?  Why did your friends not believe you?  Maybe they thought you were joking.  Maybe they knew your past and it made it hard for them to accept your words as truth.  Maybe they were just in a bad place emotionally and could not receive your good news.  I do not know.  But I believe we have all been there... we have all had GOOD NEWS that somebody did not believe.

Friends, Mary knew the disciples.  I imagine that on her way to see them after she saw Jesus, the thought that they might not believe her probably crossed her mind.  She had spent enough time with them to have a clue about how they might receive the news.  Plus Jesus knew exactly who He chose to carry this message to the other disciples.  Jesus knew who He was appearing to and talking to and sending forth.  Jesus knew.

Just like Jesus knows YOU.  Jesus knows exactly who you are and the purpose Jesus chose YOU to proclaim the Gospel in the various ways you have been gifted and granted opportunity to do so.  Jesus knows who He is working with and Jesus knows the people He is sending you to.  I believe Jesus knows that everyone will not believe us.  But, like Mary Magdalene, we must go anyway.  We must speak up anyway!

BlogFam, Speak Up Anyway! Do not be quiet with the message God has given you to share with the world.  Do not be ashamed or afraid to share it!  Do not neglect the opportunity to share it through music, poetry, sermon, story, testimony, or your own Easter speech.  Do not get stuck on whether or not they will believe the Gospel message as shared through you.  Speak Up Anyway!

We need as many voices as possible sharing this GOOD NEWS all over the world!
So, PLEASE, Speak Up Anyway! 
And if they do not believe you..... put that in the hands of the ONE who sent you in the first place.

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

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