Remember God’s Word

My big boy sighs, snarls really, at the thought of studying the 10 Commandments. He’s 10 and they’re old, Bible material for the uninitiated. When his younger brothers repeat the first commandment–Thou shall have no other gods before me–Joshua glances around, hoping to find something relevant, something challenging, for him. Then I say to him: “Name all the commandments and give them to me in order.” He misses two commandments and gives all but one out of order. He recognizes he still needs this lesson, that the initiated sometimes seem like the uninitiated because we soon forget.

Sunday my pastor challenged us about forgetting that we are the initiated and acting like the uninitiated. To rid ourselves of spiritual apathy he had us glean from Revelation 3:3 where Jesus commands believers: “Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly. Repent and turn to me again. If you don’t wake up, I will come to you suddenly, as unexpected as a thief” (Revelation 3:3–NLT).

So when we find ourselves spiritually satisfied but our memories fail and actions betray us, let us go back to what we heard and believed: God’s word, the gospel of salvation that saved us from a literal hell; let us hold to it firmly, the gospel that is sufficient for keeping us from a life of hell; repent of our strong black woman and other know-it-all ways; and return to God, the author and finisher of our faith. We don’t know it all but know the one that knows all.

Let us then remember that we never

    1. outgrow God’s word
    2. outsmart God’s word

With these we will always thirst for and seek God’s word. In it we will always find God, who is really all we need.

My One Thousand Gifts List

Mama hugging and thanking me, with tears in her eyes, for not judging her
Mama being mama-proud of my contribution to Your First Year of Motherhood and my Cooking with Rhonda video
Nate reaching to hug Josh when his eyes were stinging and Justus running to join the hug
Justus giving high fives back and forth between Flynn and me
Justus diving under the high chair to get away with Nate’s spoon
God’s grace for taking care of the children mostly all day every day this week
Awakened at 4:30 am to finish writing a message
Writing a blog post that I liked even though I had no idea what it was going to be when I sat at the computer
Hearing God direct me to make chili pizza for the boys and them loving it
Deleting my website and from my reaction seeing the areas of growth I still have (patience, anger)

Friday Feature: Ask God for Help with Your Health

A friend reminded me of the prophecy the Lord gave me for her to stop eating sugar because she was having digestion issues. She hadn’t eliminated for weeks. Once she stopped the sugar, she has been regular—daily—and said her energy is off the charts. This blessed me so, not that I was the deliverer of her breakthrough but that God had a breakthrough for her. He had bugged me for days to call her. When I finally did I found out that her doctor didn’t know what was going on with her so she had been praying that God would show her what was wrong with her body. I get excited every time I think about what He did for her. I get excited when I think about what he’s done for me.

I’ve told you about God leading me to find natural remedies for my yeast infections, sluggish digestion and a host of other issues. Most recently God has helped me work on an issue that has been plaguing me: my belly fat! It’s still there, but I definitely see a difference:

BEFORE: In February 2012, right after completing my raw food program (17 lbs lighter)

AFTER: In September 2012 after eating green tea and grapefruit almost daily (Still 17 lbs lighter but less belly fat)

Now I hadn’t been exercising like I should, but you know I had been eating well. That’s what I’m committed to. I may have a slice of pizza every now and then or a cookie here and there, but I have trouble compromising how I feel as a result of the way I eat. I have gotten my insides feeling good; now I’m working on getting my outside looking good. I started exercising about four times a week, was still eating right and couldn’t shake the belly fat. Then I remembered how God had shown me how to heal my infections and other ailments so I asked him and he told me to do calisthenics, drink green tea and eat grape fruit. I still have a way to go, but the belly is shrinking!

So I say don’t just ask God to help you on your job, with your marriage or those other really hard areas that we traditionally seek him for. God cares about every area of our lives, including our health, including our belly fat. He will tell you exactly what YOU need and you will be pleased!

Taking a Hard Stand

What Do You Think Wednesday?

I remember years ago as I was becoming a more biblical Christian a friend began asking me a series of questions: she wanted to know if I would still hang with certain people, attend certain places and do certain things. I don’t remember all her questions or my responses, but when I said I wasn’t going to toss the poems I had written with some curse words and that I would just modify them, she determined that I was still “reasonable.”

Recently, in response to my post about Republicans using the terms “legitimate rape” and “forcible rape,” another more liberal friend referred to me as “reasonable.” She said she appreciated the post that showed that “anti-abortion” doesn’t mean “pro-misogyny.”

But what happens when you do what you think God has told you to do and your friends no longer think you’re reasonable? How do you respond to them and others who oppose what you say, particularly how you say it, when you believe God has given you what to say and how to say it?

Those are questions I believe we all should ponder as the course of this world is fast changing. A friend in conversation last night observed that issues we now face don’t seem to leave room for people to be in any grey area. She cited how some Christians once could easily say they are against abortion except in cases of rape and incest; she finds those Christians she knows now are having a hard time with that position with pro-abortion activists citing the ability to terminate a pregnancy from rape or incest as the reason why abortions should remain legal across the board. You now simply have to choose: either you’re for abortion or you’re not; either you’re for gay rights or you’re not; either you’re a Democrat or a Republican. The world is making it hard to blur the lines, to stay in safe spaces, to move into an area where people may not see you as reasonable. 

I don’t know all my answers to the questions I challenge us to ponder, but I have been meditating on the following scriptures and suggest you do, too. Also, pray that God will give you more scriptures to consider and show you the stand that will please Him:

“Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.”–Matthew 12:30 (NLT)

“‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth….'” (Revelation 3:15-16)

“But Peter and the apostles answered, ‘We must obey God rather than men….'”–Acts 5:29 (ESV)

What scriptures do you/can you use to fortify you to do what God would have you to do? As always, please tell me what you think.

Developing Mini-Me’s

As a woman constantly seeking God for strength and wisdom, I am passionate about my call as an older woman to pour God’s strength and wisdom into women younger in the Christian faith. If I am not careful, and there have been times when I wasn’t so careful, I confused my teaching and telling. Instead of teaching the younger women how to be strong and wise in God, I would largely share the prescriptions given to me to be wise and strong. In some cases, this isn’t always wrong; some of the ways I received were good general directions that all Christians should employ. But the times when the teaching and telling got confused was when I told the ladies I was leading how I did something and expected them to do it JUST LIKE ME. Perhaps the way I handled a situation was biblical, but confusion would come when I would expect the women to follow ME, not necessarily follow me as I follow Christ. I unwittingly was creating mini-me’s instead of creating biblical mini-me’s. God wants us to reproduce others in His image and not our own.

This can happen to us with anyone we’re leading. As strong black women seeking to operate according to God’s strength, there may be several in our circle looking to us for direction. The challenge always will be to lead them so Christ is formed in them and not we ourselves (Galatians 4:19). In my latest EEW column, I discuss in detail the challenge to develop our children into biblical mini-me’s and not just mini-me’s. The column begins below:

The other day on Facebook I saw pictures of these little girls that looked like little women. The cutline on the pictures asked readers if they would dress their daughters in those pint-sized heels, highly decorative stockings, high-rising skirts and bejeweled earrings and necklaces. Of course the answer for many Christians would be ‘definitely not,’ but some of us get pleasure out of seeing our version of a mini-me. We may not want our children physically-fashioned like us, but we may marvel that our children may not only look like us but also cut a look like we do, respond sharply as we do and otherwise behave in our undesirable ways. We may laugh and accept what we see, simply saying, “She is just like me.” Though some of the mini-meism is genetic, some is environmental, learned from observation or from being intentionally taught. Either way we know that our children learn from us. Our job is to make sure that what is caught and taught is biblical, that we are biblically-fashioning mini-me’s.

“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1—ESV). This is what our attitude should be as we seek to help our children to mature. We should only want them to be like us if we are being like Jesus Christ. And as Jesus Christ grew he “. . . became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him” (Luke 2:40). So, just as Christ grew, we have to help our children grow spiritually, mentally and emotionally. Read the rest here.

My One Thousand Gifts List

Listening to Roy Hargrove
Having a sufficient amount of leftovers
My books arriving
Selling three of my books
More spectacular items for my message
A visit from Hilda and Christian
Getting a quick prescription for Joshua’s pink eye
Not having to take Joshua to the doctor
God’s timing for allowing Joshua’s pink eye to manifest when I had a doctor in my home to be able to diagnose and prescribe Joshua’s prescription
Being able to edge my mom’s hair

Friday Feature: How to Add Raw Foods to Your Meal (with a recipe)

My Labor Day meal: raw collard green wrap, cole slaw and baby back rib

As I got ready to transition off the raw food program I was on for 28 days, the program director advised me that if I went back to eating cooked foods, I should make sure to eat at least one raw food item with my meals. She said the body responds to cooked foods as foreign invaders and the raw foods prevent that from happening. I don’t know about cooked food as foreign invader. God instructed His people to eat cooked food and Jesus ate cooked food while here on earth (Deuteronomy 12:5-7; Mark 14:12-18; John 21:9-13). What I do know is that God’s people did seem to eat raw foods with their meals as evidenced by their longing for cucumbers and leeks (herbs) along with some fish (Numbers 11:5). And I don’t know too many people who eat cooked cucumbers, but my point is this that I have found to be true for my own body: raw foods complement cooked foods in taste and digestion so I suggest we eat this way.

Some of you may already be doing this, like when you add a garnish of onions and tomatoes to your cooked greens. I do this, too, but here are a few more ways to add raw foods to your meal (though all ingredients may not be raw):

Food garnishes—In addition to tomatoes and onions to my greens, I add them to my beans. Cucumber is my choice garnish for anything garlicky, like falafel or hummus. I also put cucumbers and avocado on my burgers.

Salads—Some of you may eat a salad before your cooked meal but try eating one along with your cooked meal. If you make a loaded one, that has nuts and seeds in addition to your choice veggies, you increase your raw food intake and can decrease your cooked food intake. Remember, the enzymes that help your body digest your food are fully present in raw foods and are largely destroyed from the heat in cooked foods.

Slaws—Cole slaw and carrot slaws are my choices. Eat these alongside your meal on regular occasions and not just when you eat that rib or shrimp dinner from your favorite local spot. See my carrot slaw recipe below.

Drinks—We probably have all heard that we should wait until after we eat to drink our beverage, but what if your beverage is food? I think we should drink our food as we eat. So juice some vegetables and consume this along with your cooked meal.

So why not have the best of both worlds right on your dinner plate? You can have what you like and still do your body good.

Carrot Slaw

2 carrots
1 teaspoon of relish
2 teaspoons of your favorite mayonnaise or sandwich spread (My choice is a soy-free dressing I get at the health food grocery store.)

Shred carrots, add relish and mayonnaise, mix and serve.