Life by the Bee (Drunk in Love)

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Tuesday, we closed out the Life by the Bee series with a casual stroll through her classic, Drunk in Love. Beyonce, newly married, placed her heart and soul into articulating the freshly squeezed passion of wedded bliss. beyonce16

She takes the listener on a journey from a wife, newly introduced to another level of intimacy with her spouse. He memories of their time together, scorch the track, and impress upon the hearer the powerful nature of their loving expression. She recalls in the chorus, that she is “Drunk in Love!” Her words highlight her new life as an addict, in constant wait for the next fix.

Each attendant was asked to think back to their first encounter with Jesus; our Lord. The moment we moved from hearing, to opening our hearts and experiencing the Love of God through Jesus! We rolled the clock back to that moment our heart was broken, and our soul was stirred by the knowledge that God had unconditional love for us accompanied with forgiveness, grace and mercy.

In my heart I store up your words,
so I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11

Our focal scripture focused on the need to maintain our covenant with God by keeping His word in our heart. We know we must do this by following the instructions given to us in verses 1-10.

It is written, “…happy are those whose actions are blameless, who obey the law….observe his rules…seek him with all their heart, obey his demands…” (Verses 1-3 of Pslams 119).

Keep Your Covenant!

When was the last time our marital covenant with God was the guiding factor in our life? God’s Word is a guide given us to navigate life on earth and also to please our creator. God promises us that we will be happier for following His mandate, if we make Him the sole desire of our heart, and not succumb to the desires of our flesh.

We must Consume and be Consumed!

breathalizerWe must “store up” His Word in our heart! Yes, we must consume Him. He must be “stored up;” running through out veins. To be drunk, we discussed, points directly to not just consumption, but a high level of consumption. Someone that is drunk has had more than their fill. They are well beyond a buzz! They began to see life through the influence of what is coursing through their veins, touching every organ, and affecting each thing that they come into contact with. Every step changes! Even the speech is different!

Too Many of us are Social Drinkers!!!

Our problem; with Christ, we are mainly Social Drinkers! We are casual with Christ. We consume him in controlled settings and only when others are drinking. It’s not because it is our desire, its because we desire to fit in with everyone else. This is a true problem. You can not store what you do not consume. You can not draw strength from what you don’t have.

We found it key that the actions of one who has consumed alcohol or other substances is defined as being “Under the Influence!”

Are you “Under the Influence?”

Are you Drunk in Love? When we looked at the song, we saw the actions of Beyonce as one who was truly “Under the Influence!” Her day and actions were controlled by the encounter and her feelings and emotions were guided by the relationship that continued to delved into new levels drawing them closer to one another! So too must we be with God. His influence in our life must lead us to sing sweet melodies. The testimony of who He is in our lives must be ready and present on our lips.

Verse 4 stated, “You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed.” We must live our life knowing that God has not given us His law as a suggestion for living. He has given it as a mandate that dictates how we should behave. Once we are in covenant with God, His expectation is for us to submit to the will of the one that covers us. He design is for us to be disciples. One that not only accept His sacrifice, but that will make the sacrifices needed to bring our minds and bodies under subjection that we might have life to the full an find ourselves pleasing to Him!

#Pastor JDO3

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Divided we Stand…

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Today, the United States stands as a divided nation.  No, these are not our worst times or darkest days, but we are a democracy with a stewing plethora of opinions all of whom have been fueled by an accelerate that has lead us to the pathway of destruction.  That accelerate has been identified by most as racism; but as I complete discussions, I believe the accelerate is actually FEAR.

Not that racism doesn’t exist!  I believe it is alive and well.  While I do not believe that it is the ruling majority, I do believe it still plays a roll in every decision, every position and most assuredly played a roll in this past election. Can't we all just get along?

As I spoke to a few conservative Anglo friends, their assessment was that race had won the last two elections.  Somehow, President Obama was chosen because he was black, not because he was the most qualified candidate.  Of course, this could open up a long dissertation about racist views and stereotypes, I will leave this be.  In summation, I should not to be bothered by the election of an unqualified, inarticulate Anglo man, even if he were chosen because of race, because of the past 8 years (summing of about 8 conversations).   Statement after statement could be boiled down to FEAR!

While most gave the appearance of security and power, the voices and dialogue that was spoken and written was that of fear.  The media characters, both liberal and conservative, painted broad pictures to rally the emotions and fears of those who fear the worst.   Our country, though stable and recovering, was now in complete disarray, and an once honest and just government, had become corrupt and greedy in less than 8 years.

Drastic times call for Desperate Measures

Yep; hear ye, hear ye!  When people are Desperate!  When the circumstances are categorically drastic, the response is always extreme.

divided-we-fallOur FEARS and our Ignorance were found in that the American People bought into the need to clean up Washington, made a bold statement by voting against ONE member of Washington, and then proceeded to Re-Elect those whom deemed corrupt!  Then America elected a partner and contributor to those who were corrupt, and then gave them the assignment to clean house.  Interestingly enough, the President can’t clean up Washington, only the People can, assuming Washington will not wash itself!

FEAR causes Unsound Decisions, Delays Progress, and Destroys Productivity!

They are here to steal our jobs!  Yes, the very jobs many reading this blog would not work!   During the 2008, I spoke with a unemployed worker, who would not take interviews or jobs that payed under $100,000 because his value had been established at $100,000.  Other jobs he was over qualified for, and the others, he was uninterested in.   He like many of you have lived off reserve/savings and unemployment (which is one of many socialist program) until he was rehired .

But like him, many of you bought the idea that our jobs had been taken by illegal aliens.  This would mean that companies were choosing to hire illegal aliens as opposed to citizens.  Is that legal?  Are we saying that companies in America are choosing to give money to illegal aliens and not to citizens to prosper itself?  Truly, the only thing worse would be that company taking our jobs to another country!

I know what you are thinking, YES!  I see illegals working in my office every day!  I see illegals filling out applications.  I see them sitting with the HR rep.  I saw them going through the training.  They are sitting at my old desk, living in my neighborhood, going to my school…… FEAR!

Know this, Capitalism is not equal to Righteousness!

This has been a long standing Ignorant Premise of our country!  Profit at any cost!  Manipulate to gain Advantage!  Corner a market, then allow traffic with rules the further prosper you, and cause others to work harder, and while handicapped.

Yes, even our faith (Christian) have suffered from this premise!  Anglo Christians enslaved African’s and used the Word of God to justify the cruel and inhuman treatment of God’s creation!  Many followed blindly as they were convinced that African people were not people, but were property, thus the actions taken towards them was not shameful or wrong to God, but acceptable.

Sadly, we are watching the same behavior!  Our Gospel is being manipulated by political bugs, and many of our pulpits have been rented to own, at best leased out.  We are manipulated by policies to gain our vote, not because this is a Christian nation, but because the people at the top determine the direction of the nation, and are able to prosper as it advances; and even when it is in decline!

Our congregants faced the same presentations from 2 elections past.  A vote for this candidate is a vote for the Anti-Christ!  How you ask, because they approved a policy that was un-biblical an a practice that was ungodly!  And they are right!  These are un-biblical and ungodly practices, but they aren’t the only policies that are ungodly, just the ones that are being highlighted.   Furthermore, to label someone the Anti-Christ?  Especially after the current President was labeled the Anti-Christ!  It would seem that the incorrect claim/prophecy would alert those that future claims and prophecies were just as inaccurate, but they didn’t!  It is one thing to not like a person or a their policies, but this label and what it represents in Biblical narrative is as though these irresponsible Pastors are saying that voting for this candidate would signify the end of the world!  This is clearly manipulation and abuse!!!!together

 So what now?

Divided we fall has always been a truth played out before us all.  Though it still remains true, our hope is to maximize the moments while standing to recover well enough to pull it together before division fulfills is prophecy.

We stand reeling from the barrage of punches thrown in our last recession, which featured greed and mismanagement that sent us to the canvas.  We stand, woozy, struggling to hold our hands steady for the referee, leaning against the ropes, using every bit of the standing eight count.  The world waits, as we attempt to prove that we are stable and able to fight.  Only time will tell!

 

#PastorJDO3

 

 

Life by The Bee (Flawless)

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Tuesday, we continued the Life by The Bee Series. Last week, we looked at her song “Hold Up” which challenged each member in our Discipleship Group to reconsider the depth of Love God has for us. This week we looked further into the Lemonade Album of 2016 with “Flawless!”

beyonce16Flawless was a powerful song that captured a bold confidence from Beyonce. Her declaration in the chorus of “flawless” presented a bliss and level of satisfaction and peace far above the standard that many before her had been able to articulate or capture.

She listed her many acquisitions that support her claim, leading us to ask the question?

Are we flawless too?
What makes us flawless?
Is it tangible things?
Are our possessions our confidence?

Is flawless simply being satisfied, proud or having the best of something? It is taking care of the things you possess? Is it carefully selecting and purchasing or being gifted things that are beyond the financial reach of others?

We looked at Philippians 1:6 for our lesson:

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hatch begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Christ. Philippians 1:6

While Beyonce focused on outward beauty, God desires to develop an inner beauty. As discussed, one of the dangers of the song is that it encourages us to place much attention on things, displaying wealth, or meeting and or surpassing the worlds standard of beauty. We have long defined beauty by accessories and feature, as opposed to character and behavior. Jesus became our mark, and His Word stood as our instruction manual. Helping us to live life to the full on this earth, accomplishing things through Him whom is our strength.

beyonceflawless
One thing is for sure:

 

Growth Takes Time

 

Paul said as he looked upon his brothers and sisters. even after hearing about struggles and failures. Even having experienced them himself, he reaffirmed that he was confident in the ability of Christ to change them as he too had been changed. He realized that growth took time! Paul said, “…he (God) which hath begun…” The patience that God has shown with him, had taught him by modeling that we are all unfinished and imperfect. Upon saving us, God begins the work of cleaning us, determined to present us before God without spot or wrinkle.

Don’t Get Discouraged!

Facing failure and stumbling is not only humbling, but it can be debilitating! One can question their progress or even the start from a failure of a struggle, but Paul wrote as a big brother and boldly stated he is “confident!” Confident not in yourself, but confident in Him! He begun the work. It’s His job to complete, but our job to comply!

As exciting as it is to know that God will complete the work He begun, it was even more exciting to know, “….will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ!” Yes, Beyonce has one thing right! One day, we will all be able to say, “I woke up like this!”
innerbeauty

You will Be Flawless!

Though we are the process of being made perfect, we live with the knowledge that perfection will only be achieved on the day of Christ. When He returns for us, we will be removed from these jars of clay and live in our new bodies with will be Flawless! We will live eternity with him, singing His praise, and standing beside Him in victory. Though perfection is close to some and far away for others, we must all be on the same plan of growth, becoming better disciples or soldiers in the army. We must continue to submit our will to Him, that we might be able to meet His approval and bring about His Kingdom on earth.

#PastorJDO3

I’ll Show You!

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As I listened to the words of my friend and expert Saquan Jones,  I was saddened but empowered by the passion displayed.  As he spoke eloquently to African American voters who vowed not to vote and did not vote, I was reminded of a lesson I learned we all learned as a child:

Pouting Punishes You!

childpouting

Having 5 children, I have the honor of watching this play out.  On any given outing, we could have to watch a child restrict themselves from fun because they are unhappy about something that has occurred or is planned.  While the others continue to have fun, we plead with the child to join the others and not punish themselves because things are going their way.  We point out the happy faces and jovial voices of those who have accepted what is, and have learned how to enjoy what has or will transpire.

Sometimes, Pouting is Pointless

As a child, we didn’t have a choice.  Nope!  No vote!  Our opinion didn’t matter!  We were relegated to the back seat!  No Poll was taken, no suggestion was solicited.  We heard the dialogue (sometimes)!  Prayed for the decision we preferred!  And braced for the results!  They would round up the family and give us the plan for the day or evening, and we were forced to go along.

As kids, we couldn’t wait to grow up!  One day, we would have a voice!  We would have a say so!  We could influence the outcome, and argue for our position.  One day we dreamed, that not only would our voice be heard, but our opinions would carry weight with the matriarch and patriarch.  As Kids, we realized:

Pouting without Power just Expends Energy

We knew we needed not only to be able to voice our opinion, but we needed to be at the table to participate in the decision making!  We need a vote!  Without this vote, our Pouting, we realized, was just Pouting!  It lacked leverage.  It lacked influence.  Without this vote, we were dependent on the mercy of the voting class to throw us a bone.  little-girl-pout-pouting-furrowed-brow-tantrum

As an older sibling, we have all watched a younger sibling literally whine and cry themselves to sleep; missing the entire outing!  Now as adults, we watch our peers wine and cry themselves to sleep; waking to complain about the outcome!  The energy that could have been used to have fun was expended in a temper tantrum, and in the end, nothing was accomplished, and the moment was gone.

As Saquan poured out his wisdom, I thought, There is no way that little child in the back seat or breakfast table would imagine a circumstance where they would have a voice and a vote and not use it! 

 

Then I smiled!  I thought to myself, why criticize those who Pouted!  Maybe they were just mimicking what they were watching?

ace3ae106922867c5b0c7b7dc4311e71Yep, for the last 8 years, these new voters and young voters watched as a corrupt group of pouting old men sat on their hands for 8 years because the people placed in power one they didn’t choose

Because they pouted; we all lost!  We lost their voice and wisdom which could have aided product and policy that could have “Made America Great.”  But much like the 2 year old in the back seat, they only wanted “America Great” on their terms with their ideas.

Sometimes Your Pouting Affects Others!

Pouting does not punish the one you are upset with, but it often ruins it for the others along for the journey!  One of the worst things that could happen to an outing was the pouting of one, leading to the canceling of an outing causing us all to suffer!  Get it together!!!!!!

The truth is, many of us sat this one out, thinking, “I’ll show you!”  We kept our power in our pockets, choosing to use only our voices to speak to the ruling power.  And yes, there will be some riots and protest, but they will make little change and will last only a short time.  And while many of us sat at home, the ruling glass watched with glee.  I bet they were thinking,

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And after the results, they were thinking,

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In conclusion,

Just because you have a vote, doesn’t mean you will always win!

There will be times when you vote that you will be outvoted.  Times that you will not get your way.  Times you will not be represented.  Times you will have to be strategic.  Times when your options will be ones you would prefer not to choose.  Even in these cases, your vote still counts towards something.

Voting is not about winning!  It’s about voicing your opinion to affect the outcome and direction of the whole.

It is Power to Change, not just the Freedom to Speak.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time for a Change

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For the last few months we have listened to the argument that the African American Community has been fooled for voting for the Democratic Party which has failed to represent them properly and advance their cause.

democrat-republican-partyNow, I will not argue balls and strikes, because our world is too politicized to make a clear argument, but I will address this concern by posting a concern that I have seen myself.  I asked an Anglo Friend of mines:

“What has the Republican Party done to advance your cause?” 

As I look at the mass volume of those who seem aligned with Donald Trump, I wonder if the same argument posed to the African American Community could be posed to the Anglo Community which continues to struggle and are statistically not advancing along with the identified African American Community.

When you consider the dis-appearing Middle Class and the widening Wealth Gap, one must not think in black and white, but in Charts and Graphs.  People!!!!  We just left the worst recession ever!!!!   We were all suffering greatly!!!!!  Not just African Americans, but Anglo Americans and Mexican Americans……  We must see that the division in class is what is at stake, and the racial dialogue being spewed is a distraction to keep the masses from seeing the invisible hand of the Wealth Party (The Elite 1% who own the Majority of the Wealth)  who continue to distract all voters into voting for that which does not represent them and continue to aide them in protecting their wealth with the illusion of distributing it to others.

Americans have become very lazy in their voting habits.  american-flag-wallpaperWe are clueless, in part, because of the media, which has stopped reporting facts, and generate stories around partial truths and sometimes, speculate what truth is on non truths!  Our candidates are known in part for their commercials and are under-girded by the powerful winds of “Liberal Media” and “Conservative Media.”

Having said this, Americans are further loyal to the news outlet that supports the delusions of their party, and the candidate they are backing.  It is totally ignorant that truth can come out about a candidate and be spun 50 million ways or not addressed at all.  Candidates are less likely to face their failures, because they are aware that the viewing public shifts when the Media changes the story line.  Their favorite anchor changes the dialogue with the change of the teleprompter, choosing to highlight insignificant items rather than sticking with the issues.  How can one believe they have truth when they know the station they tune into is owned by a Specific party?

Worse, how can we believe our congressmen and congresswomen are representing us properly when we know they all get money from Super-Pacs (which are really the people controlling our Congress).

The dominance and loyalty to the original parties have placed a monopoly on the White House.  The chances of a Non-Republican or Non-Democrat being in office are slim to none, mainly due to loyalty to brand and furthermore, the money needed to campaign in an era where marketing is more important than the message.  This election has shown that any Press is good Press!  This is shameful and must change!

In this, I believe that we all must be open to switching parties.  The ignorance of declaring yourself to be a Republican or Democrat has been highlighted in this race, where Donald Trump, a man who has been identified as a Democrat has one the party nomination and despite his stances and embarrassing ways has been backed by those who despise him, all while telling the American Public to vote for him because he is a Republican and you are a Republican!  

It’s time for a change people!!!!  Our democracy has become Reality TV.  What was once respected is now a joke!