Two years later…… still figuring out what next we need to tackle before completing what we stared.
2 Peter 1:5-9 ESV
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.
When Peter wrote his letters to the followers of Christ he wanted to show them support, encouragement and provide direction. A mentor so to speak.
New follows of Christ need that kind of assistance to guide and reassure them so they do not get distracted. He states “make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.”
This right here was Peterson way of showing exactly what you need to spiritually grow and supplement ones faith.
- Self control.
- Brotherly affection
- And love.
Here is a historical backdrop as to what was going on at the time and why Peter felt the need to provide the recipe to grow in faith.
The churches of Asia Minor were struggling with the persecution and suffering, this is s addressed in the letters in first Peter. The churches also had strife and dissension within each other and ranks. He wanted to steer the church away from false teachings. He wanted to show the importance in learning the word. He wanted to show them the importance in proper knowledge of God.
He emphasizes spiritual growth. Growth in ones faith, growth in ones understanding. Growth in knowledge.
Peter wants the church to have spiritual maturity through the Word of God, to avert from false teaching and a right response to heretics in light of Christ’s promised second coming.
He addresses his readers to encourage them so they can follow his lead with the recipe he provided. He encouraged the seeking and acquiring true knowledge of God. He encouraged diligently living our lives in faith. He encouraged living in peace and being as pure as possible so when we face jesus upon his return to be judged for our actions and deeds, we can be viewed spotless, clean, blameless and without sin.
Look we all go through difficult times. We also see that at the foundation of the church and the ministries of Jesus’ followers, they too had trials and tribulations. They too faced hardships and persecutions. Peter hands us the encouragement and the recipe needed to grow spiritually.
So let’s take a close look at the meaning to this recipe he provided:
- Virtue – Oxford dictionary defines this as – Behaviour showing high moral standards.
- Knowledge- Oxford dictionary defines this as – Facts, information, and skills acquired through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.
‘a thirst for knowledge’. (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/knowledge)
- Self control. – Oxford dictionary defines this as – The ability to control oneself, in particular one’s emotions and desires, especially in difficult situations.
‘Lucy silently struggled for self-control’
- Steadfastness – Oxford dictionary defines this as – Resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering.
- godliness – Oxford dictionary defines this as – The quality of being devoutly religious; piety.
‘a man of great godliness’
- Brotherly affection – (two parts)
- – Brotherly – Oxford dictionary defines this as -Characteristic of or appropriate for a brother or brothers; fraternal.
‘he and I had such a brotherly bond’
- Affections – Oxford dictionary defines this as -A gentle feeling of fondness or liking.
- – Brotherly – Oxford dictionary defines this as -Characteristic of or appropriate for a brother or brothers; fraternal.
- And love. – Oxford dictionary defines this as – A strong feeling of affection.
So now what? What do we do with this reciepe provided by Peter for spiritual growth?
You get a spoonful of Virtue, a cup of Knowledge, two cups of Self control, 2 tablespoons of Steadfastness, a liter of godliness, a quart of Brotherly affection and a gallon of love. **With all recipe you tweak the measurements to taste.
Mix these ingredients well.
Let it set.
Viola! You have begun taking those first few steps to grow spiritually with God.
Father God I thank you for instructing the writers of the Bible. Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth. You have left us with the Basic Instructions for us to utilize, live a hearty, whole and pure life to your stading, before we perish earth and join you. I thank you for allowing prophet to provide the buidling blocks of our spiritual walk with you. I thank you for this recipe, for allowing this to be a a guide as to what characteristics we need, how we should behave, how we should be with one another, how to grow, how to not loose sight of the truth, how to not be misguided nor misled. I thank you for the blueprints. The hardest job of any instructional manual is paying attention and following along. I ask for the strength needed, especially during trouble times so that I can grow closer to you. Amen.
As a native New Yorker I am used to the crowds, used to the sites, used to the visitors. What I could never get used to is the sudden stops, the not paying attention, the collisions that almost happen. We operate here on a whole other time schedule than the rest of the world it seems. New Yorkers we are always on the go. So to help prevent the collisions with the tourists whom are not paying attention to their surroundings in awe and mesmerized by our beautiful city, we have a dance just for you.
The city that never sleeps.
Oh how I love thee.
The thought of leaving you makes me weep.
Your gentle and embracing vibes.
There’s so much to do here and so much to see.
From all over the word many come with their tribes.
Our streets are packed,
And when they are here we are sure to act.
They are here and they are there.
Lord there’s people everywhere.
Us natives have this special dance.
So that walking we do not clash.
As soon as we see it within that first glance.
We get it started in a flash.
We do a little jig.
We do a so with some swag.
We dab left.
We do it with so much zest.
We dab right.
We swing left.
We avoid you with all our might.
Our dance for you is one of a kind.
Our dance for your well being.
It’s because dear tourist you quickly become so blind.
You get absorbed in the sights you are no longer seeing.
We have families to get to.
We can’t wait on you.
The fast paced lives is our thing.
It is ingrained within
We have places to be,
People to see.
A bus, train, ferry or cab to catch.
We can’t sit back while you light a match.
We can’t sit back while your taking a glance.
It’s for you we have this dance.
So when we have to get to where we have to go,
In our fast past walks,
You do not get hot with a blow,
For your sudden stops.
Proverbs 31:10-31King James Version (KJV)
10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
14 She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
The Beloved Proverbial Women.
Proverbs 31 describes what many consider the perfect dutiful women.
Sometimes we as women try to aspire to be this symbol of perfection and do as much as we can to fit the description.
Sometimes we as modern women try to aspire to be everything this proverbial woman is not.
What many fail to realize is being a proverbial woman does not mean being this perfect being.
It is about living life with purpose, diligence, forgiveness, and repentance.
There are attributes of this proverbial woman that we modern woman can apply to our lives to become this virtuous woman.
Many Modern women are like wait no way, I will never submit myself to become a submissive wife, I know this because I have said that myself.
Though I have been raised to be an independent woman, I know that I can submit my will to God and be blessed abundantly, for he will provide.
Here are a few examples as to how this Virtuous Woman’s characteristics can be aligned to the modern woman, where we too can be like this as possible.
A Virtuous Woman is faithful, she serves God with all her might, with all her heart, with all her mind, and her soul.
She has faith in her creator.
She seeks the will of God for her life and follows His ways.
example: Proverbs 31: 26, Proverbs 31: 29 – 31,
Matthew 22: 37 – Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
John 14: 15 If you love me, keep my commands.
Psalm 119: 15 I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.
A Virtuous Woman will respect her spouse, her marriage and her Union.
She will care for her husband.
She will be trust worthy and helpful in their union.
example: Proverbs 31: 11- 12, Proverbs 31: 23, Proverbs 31: 28,
1 Peter 3, Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives,
Ephesians 5, Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Genesis2: 18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
A Virtuous Woman nurtures and teaches her children.
a virtuous woman will teach all children, and love them, even if they are not her own.
She nurtures, with Christs love, wisdom, care and discipline.
she trains the children in the way.
example: Proverbs 31: 28, Proverbs 31: 26,
Proverbs 22: 6, Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
Deuteronomy 6:2,so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life.
Luke 18: 16 But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
A Virtuous Woman will care for her health.
She will care for the health of her husband.
She will care for the health of her children and family.
she will provide meals to promote healthy living and nourishment.
example: Proverbs 31: 14 – 15, Proverbs 31: 17,
1 Corinthians 6:19, Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;
Genesis 1: 29, Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the
whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be
yours for food.
Daniel 1, – Daniel’s Training in Babylon
Leviticus 11 -Clean and Unclean Food
A Virtuous Woman serves.
She serves and loves her husband.
she serves and loves her family.
she serves and loves her community.
she serves with a warm loving spirit.
She has no problem doing charity work.
example: Proverbs 31: 12, Proverbs 31: 15, Proverbs 31: 20,
1 Corinthians 13: 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
A Virtuous Woman knows how to budget herself and for the home ensuring the finances are in order.
She purchase the food, clothing for her family.
She makes sure bills are promptly paid.
example:Proverbs 31: 14, Proverbs 31: 16, Proverbs 31: 18,
1 Timothy 6: 10, For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
Ephesians 5: 23, For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.
Deuteronomy 14: 22, Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year.
Numbers 18: 26 Speak to the Levites and say to them: ‘When you receive from the Israelites the tithe I give you as your inheritance, you must present a tenth of that tithe as the Lord’s offering
A Virtuous Woman is handy.
She works, can provide, can fix, repair.
She sings praises to God and does not complain.
example: Proverbs 31: 13, Proverbs 31: 16, Proverbs 31: 24, Proverbs 31:31,
Philippians 2: 14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing,
A Virtuous Woman is a homemaker.
She creates love and warmth in her home for her family.
She brings peace and love when she hosts company, ministering to those with her
example: Proverbs 31: 15, Proverbs 31: 20 – 22, Proverbs 31: 27,
Titus 2: 5, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to
be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of
1 Peter 4: 9, 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
Hebrews 13: 2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.
A Virtuous Woman knows how to use her time wisely.
Works hard and diligently to complete daily tasks (whether as a working woman or as a stay at home wife/mom.
She does not spend time doing things and sulking on those things that do not please the Lord.
Proverbs 31: 13, Proverbs 31: 19, Proverbs 31: 27,
Ecclesiastes 3, A Time for Everything
Proverbs 16: 9, A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
A Virtuous Woman is beautiful (not speaking of the carnal term).
She has beauty that comes from Christ, her inner beauty outshines the natural.
She is creative and uses this beauty in her life and the lives of her loved ones.
example: Proverbs 31: 10 Proverbs 31: 21 – 22, Proverbs 31: 24 -25,
Isaiah 61: 10, I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God.For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
1 Timothy 2: 9, I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety,
adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or
1 Peter 3: 1 – 6 Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your
beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate
hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.
We do not have to meet every single description, but we can see where we can apply some of her characteristic in to our own lives.
We can be that Proverbial Woman.
We do not have to fear the perfection which she is described as.
We do not have to fully aspire to be her, nor aspire not to be her.
We can learn from her, and apply whatever attribute one see’s fit for ones life.
Father God I thank you today for my loving family. For helping me manage my responsibilities as a wife and mother as well as daughter. Father I know I am not perfect, my imperfections are evident. I once detested to be compared to this Proverbial woman, I never wanted to submit to any man. What I failed to realize is how strong and Independent she really was. Despite my own imperfections, despite my own modern beliefs, I see some of her in me. I ask you lord to help me be my own virtuous woman as you deem fit. May all that I do be for your Glory. May all that I do for my family, be for your glory. May all that I do for my community be all for your Glory. I will submit myself to you and my roles as wife, to become my families own Proverbial Virtuous woman in your Glory.
Prestigious yet no prestige
I work for a prestigious organization which shall remain nameless. This organization is well known. This organization has great aspects to it. This organization I always aspired to some day join. There were expectations as an organization that have yet to be fulfilled. When I got hired there …. at first it was everything I had ever imagined it to be then….
The grass is not always greener on the other side.
Lies… lies…reneged promises. They dangle that carrot then they yank it away….. such a tease.
This organizations leadership needs guidance. They need prayers, they need education and understanding. Quick to find someone to blame in situations, quick not to investigate and research, quick to cross that ethical line of need be.
As an establishment I like the place. As an employee I’m starting to feel it’s time to go. My conscience, my moral beliefs and ethics are always on the line. My family are always up for discussion. I should not have to choose from being a good employee and being a good mom.
My right to privacy should be respected. Confidentiality had been breeched more than once. Loyalty is a myth. Bosses who defend their staff is a legend of days pasts.
I’ve been reflecting on whether to move on for quiet some time. To get back to my grassroots initiatives despite the drop in pay. To do something more meaningful to me. What I do at my “prestigious” organization is meaningful to the lives affected, the lives I help. However, I need something more rooted with a cause that aligns my heart where I can feel pure joy, despite the stress in what I do.
I once loved my job, I currently just tolerate it, passing time, waiting for when God says now is the time to go.
We as people buy into the hype of the name thinking due to its reputation it has to be worthwhile. Turns out it’s a big disappointment. My colleagues have similar feelings.
Why don’t you just leave?
In this economy that we are living in?
A single income household cannot suffice with the demands of time for a family of 4.
Benefits, healthcare is what one needs to think about when you have children. Protect ones family and have their best interest.
Finding employment when the competition pool just keeps increasing. It’s hard finding work. You can apply, apply, apply and apply but that doesn’t guarantee a call from a prospective employee. This modern world is so digitized.
We have to teach our children the importance of networking so that they can increase their prospects of future employment. We have to teach our kids to do their best to ensure their resume and cover letters are superb, so that they can increase their chances of a call back, to be knowledgeable, personable and straight to the point during interviews so the interviewee can remember them among the candidate pool. We have to talk about our experiences so they can learn from them.
Oh this prestigious organization. Look where you left me.
Left me hopeless in ever believing that you were better.
Left me anxious to leave, no jet at the end of my shift.
This is like a pending bad break up from a relationship you had hoped and aspirations.
I once loved you.
Now I long to be free from your bondage.
Your name is prestigious, but there’s no prestige in working for you.
I no longer want to be in a relationship with you, counting on the days to be free from your oppression.
Ever felt like you were trapped in a cell like Paul an Silas?Locked, trapped, shackled, surrounded by four walls?
We’ve all experienced moments where we felt at a loss. Trapped. Suffocated. Isolated.
We all face trials and tribulations, some are bigger than others, some can even leave you in a situation of imprisonment. (Please for your own sake don’t let it get to that point).
So how do we get out of it?
How do we face our trials? Our moments of isolation and imprisonment?
Do exactly what Paul and Silas did.
Have you not heard what happened?
While imprisoned they started praying and praising.
What good did that do you ask?
They were freed.
The earth shook, the doors opened, the walls crumbled and they were freed. The romans weren’t too pleased but that was the least of their concern.
During their imprisonment do you know what Paul and Silas did?
They prayed, they praised, they prayed, they praised and then they did it all again.
Then they were taken out of prison.
God got them out…. broke them free…. a biblical Prison Break.
The full story of the events mentioned can be found in Acts 16:16-40; verses 16-24 discuss the events that unfolded that got Paul and Silas in Jail.
Verse 25-About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.
Prayers and praising God during the good and the bad God can release the shackles that bound you, he can break those chains. In the case of Paul and Silas it was literal, he literally broke the chains and shackled and freed them from their bondage.
This shows that their is power in calling on the name of Jesus. There is power in praising God. There is power in keeping faith even when the odds are against you. There is power in the grand I am.
Father today I ask you to free me from this bondage. To break away the shackles and chains. God I ask you to shake the earth so your presence is felt. I am grateful for you dear lord. Grateful for the air I breathe, the life you’ve given me, the people in my life. I’m grateful and thankful for all the life lessons you’ve taught me along the way. Even when the odds it seemed were stacked against me, you showed me that no matter what I am here, with you, and you will surpass this. I Pray for you reading this. That God provides you with what you need to break the chains, break those shackles and free you from your bondage. Amen.
Sometimes I start rambling, writing, reflecting and then I forget about them.
Here is something I wrote a few months back.
A four letter word used without meaning.
A four letter word that encompasses so many feelings.
Where did it go?
Is it under my toes?
So quick to say but is it even real?
Is that really how you feel?
How did it fade away?
Was it ever here to stay?
How can you love and not love?
It was sent from high above
We are meant to love each other
Not let it drift away.
But here we are
Come back…. you’ve drifted too far.
Sacrificial LoveJohn 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
Define friends? Someone you love and care for, have things in common with, enjoy company.
Would you lay your life for your friend?
3/15/15 was a very sad day for our family. My husband lost his best friend. His best friend died saving the life of Mans best friend, his dog.
“A Brooklyn man lost his life fighting to save his best friend.”
Several news outlets featured articles / segments with this caption and story.
Our lives were crushed.
Our hearts were crushed.
Our God son lost a Father.
Our children lost their God Father.
My sister lost her husband.
My husband and their friends lost their brother.
His mom and dad lost their son.
Despite our grief, despite our hearts Ruben as we celebrate his two year death anniversary, I know his act, his sacrificial act of love, will lead him to paradise with God.
My compai was always selfless.
He wore his heart in his sleeve.
He loved wholeheartedly.
He loved his family.
Loved his pets.
Loved his close friends.
Loved his son.
Loved his God children.
Loved his aunts and uncles.
Loved his cousins.
Loved his parents.
Loved to live life.
He loved above all.
Two years later it’s so hard.
It’s hard knowing your not seeing your son grow up.
It’s hard knowing that my husbands brother is no longer with us.
Sometimes I get mad, mad that your not here, mad at the choice you made, mad at the fact that you were just starting to settle down and truly live your life as a new parent, mad that the four of us were supposed to grow old together while our kids grow up as siblings.
As quickly as I get mad I know God had his reasoning.
God knew what he was doing.
Who am I to be mad.
You saved a life.
Many thought your foolish because the life you saved was a dogs.
Many considered you a hero because the life of a dog is just as valuable as yours.
Your dog Rudy, whom you saved lives.
Rudy and Hailey live.
Both your dogs are doing well.
Both are filled with love.
Both are living life, happy, just as you would’ve wanted.
Your death was not in vain.
You are missed.
You are loved.
You proved that your love is greater than anyone has ever anticipated.
Your death was not in vain.
GAB, 6/12/80-3/15/15 sleep in peace.
‘Til the day we meet again.
Psalms 46:10 NIV – He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;I will be exalted among the nations,I will be exalted in the earth.”
When you let God in everything falls into place.
When you let God take control, everything falls into place.
When you let God take the wheel, you end up at the destination you were meant and called to be.
When you let God take control over your thoughts, heart and word, everything you say will be worth a blessing unto and even someone else.
When you let God take over your pen and fingers (if typing), god takes control of your words.
Where am I going with this?
What am I talking about?
When something bothers you…
When something offends you…
When things are not going as intended for you….
When you feel like your drowning….
Stop and praise him.
Give him all the control.
Give him all the glory.
Take a step back and let him take over.
Let him take over your thoughts, words, actions, soul and mind.
Submit yourself to him.
He will get you through it, no matter how big or small the issue.
He will get you through.
He will even provide the appropriate scriptures for what you need.
There’s been times I get upset and want to lash out.
I open up a notepad and I start writing.
In my writing God reveals to me scenarios, actions and reactions, in my writing he reveals consequences.
In my writing I reflect and seek his word.
In my writing I go back edit my venting and next thing you know I have something that inspires me.
So I share it here and who knows, maybe it can help and inspire others.
As I write God refers me to the Bible.
Remember we are to praise both in good times and in bad.
We can’t leave the prayers, praise and worship only when times are bad.
We must look to him, seek him, submit to him, open your heart to him, when you do he will take control and bless you.
1 Peter 2:1-5 NIV “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. 4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house[D] to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ”
Father God I want to be filled with your presence. I want to walk my walk filled with you. I want to talk my talk glorifying you. I want to sing my songs and lamentations in honor of you. I want my words, my thoughts and actions to be filled with you. I want to open my heart so that you can inhabit it. I want to be fully dependent on you the way a newborn child depends on his mother for milk. I need your spiritual milk, your daily bread, drink from living water and hunger no more. I put my faith and trust in you and only you. Amen.
1 John 1:5-9New American Standard Bible (NASB)This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
What is guilt?
Guilt is the stain of sins on your conscience.
Do you have guilt?
Are you living off of a fear of past mistakes?
Trust in the lord and Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit can not only tell us when we did a wrong, but can guide us to a path towards redemption and a better walk.
Confess your sins to God, for he has forgiven you.
Psalm 32:5New American Standard Bible (NASB)
I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I did not hide;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”;
And You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah
Our biggest problem is that we are our own critics. We critique everything we do. We know we are flawed and look into each flaw. Profess you sins to God, he has forgiven you. He is the judges of all judges.
If your guilt is for a wrong doing, ask for forgiveness and forgive oneself. Forgive the offended, ask them for forgiveness. Ask God for forgiveness though he has already granted you forgiveness. Do not let guilt weigh you down and steal your blessing.
Father God, I pray for anyone reading this. Father God I know we are flawed, we are imperfect and impure. We are sinners. I ask for forgiveness for any wrong doings I may have committed. Release me from any guilt. Release anyone reading this from any guilt that is blocking your blessings to manifests in our lives. Thank you for forgiving us. Thank you for sacrifice. Thank you for liberating us. Amen.
“So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say?” (NLT) ( Luke 6:46 )
Do you know many of us have selective hearing.
Many among us are unable to determine when God is speaking.
Many among us are confused.
Many among us listen, yet are selective.
Many among us call upon the Lord in times of need, but not in the good times.
Many call upon the Lord, but does not follow through with his directions.
Yet call upon him for help, expecting him to always answer, always find a solution without us ever doing our part.
Yer when prayers are not answered you question why? Why aren’t you helping me? Why me? Well answer his question, ‘Why are you calling me….when you don’t do what I say…’
Ever had moments when you feel God is asking you to do something?
That is called conviction.
There are times he is picking up the phone, sending you a text, shooting you an email or knocking on that door so that you can do something that will not only glorify him, but help you in your situation, to give you a blessing, or for you to be a blessing on someone else.
Instead what do we do when he calls?
Miss that call.
Not open that door.
We run away.
What does running away do for you?
You probably just compromised yourself in that situation your trying to get out.
That help you needed is now gone.
That blessing you were going to receive gone.
That blessing you could’ve been for someone else….. also gone.
We want the benefits of having a relationship with God, yet not obey when he extends a hand or calls. We want to have our cake and eat it too.
There are many whom want the storms to pass, without doing our share.
We have to do some work. His works.
We have to pray.
We have to listen.
We have to do.
We can not conform to the times and be selective listeners when God calls.
When he reaches out, answer his call.
Answer his text.
Open that email.
Open that door.
Let him in.
Get to work.
It will all be worthwhile once you see the fruits of labor come to pass.
We need to maintain and build a relationship with God just like any other relationship in your life.
It’s not a give and take relationship it’s a give, help, listen, pray, do, praise, listen, glorify, pray, give, take, help, pray, read, listen, praise, do, glorify, do, act, listen, kneel, follow, lead, bless and be blessed kind of relationship. (I know I was repetitive in my word) my point is, sometimes you got start from the beginning, continue, repeat some things before you get what the Lord deems you need to get out of a situation.
Father God I thank you for always being there, you are my Emanuel for you are always with me. I ask you dear Lord to help me continue to keep the channels of communication open with you, so that I may always answer your call and do your will. I ask for guidance to always be able to know when it is you calling me. I ask for the ability to have the knowledge and understanding for any task you present before me so your will can be done. I pray that I can do my part, to maintain this relationship with you. To be close with you. To do your will. In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
We tend to post pictures of our loved ones and besties.
#bff #MyBestFriendIsBetterThanYours #MyBestie
Spaces between words no longer exists with the hastag movement.
What I often see a lot is the #BFF #BestFriends.
Now I don’t find that offensive in any way. I too have best friends, friends I love dearly, and occasionally when I post a picture on social media i also #bff to these pictures. (such a millennial lol – oh there I go LoL vs Laughing Out Loud).
I married a wonderful man, whom I consider my best friend. He is just truly amazing. Amazing Individual, Amazing Father, Amazing Husband, Amazing Son, Amazing son in law, Amazing member of our Church, Amazing brother in Christ and an Amazing Best Friend.
I also have my best friends whom I have had since child hood, best friends that no matter how many days go without us speaking, no matter how long we go without seeing each other, no matter where in the country they live (none of my best friends live near me…They have all continued their lives in other states, that is ok, because distance does not kill friendships, they are my besties despite distance). Yet I feel we are just close as we were when we lived near each other. Love friendships like this that can last the tests of times and distances.
My siblings are my best friends…we fight, we bicker, we get along…just like your average siblings. I love them and I consider them my best friends.
However my #BestFriendForever has been by my side from conception.
God the father, The Son and the Holy Spirit. The Divine Trinity has been by my side since day one, while undergoing mitosis and meiosis in the womb, when I was just a single cell, before becoming a full fetus/embryo.
The Holy Spirit has been with us from day one. The Holy Spirit is your true best friend forever. The trinity has been with us from the very beginning, while are cells are developing into bodies, God was apart of that process, ensuring that every aspect of you and I came to be as it is today. What kind of best friend would be with your during these early developments? A divine one. #HolySpiritBFF!!
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 New International Version (NIV) 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies
From day one. the Holy Spirit is within us, the Holy Spirit, who is God, is within us, guiding us. Divine, holy, eternal, true, omnipresent, omnipotent, always and forever with us. #HolySpiritIsMyBFFemphasisOnForever.
John 14: 6 – But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
The Holy Spirit guides and Helps us. The Holy Spirit teaches us. Our worldly best friends can help us, but none in the way God can. #HolySpiritIsMyBFF
Romans 5:5 “Hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
When we are Weak, the Holy spirit lifts us, guides us, intercedes for us, searches our hearts, knows our thoughts, encourages us, for God’s will. The Holy Spirit has done for you and I more than any one of our Best friends in the flesh has.
#MyBestFriendTheHolySpiritIsBetterThanYours. (ok, maybe that was a bit much…we do not want to gloat…father forgive me, but you get the idea.)
Romans 8:26-27 “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”
The Spirit counsels us with Wisdom, understanding and knowledge.
Isaiah 11:2 And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
Currently at my church we are in the midst of studying the Trinity, but particularly the role of the Holy Spirit. These classes of the Holy Spirit has inspired this post. If you didn’t know you will now know that the Holy Spirit is God. He is apart of the trinity. We do not have Gods, but a God.
The Holy Spirit is a divine aspect where you can feel God. A mediator. The trinity Is God our father, God the son, God the Holy Spirit. One God, three variations of God, yet the same one true God.
In these lessons, from where we have gotten to thus far we learned the personality of the Holy Spirit, we’ve learned the various names the Bible refers to the Holy Spirit (OT & NT). We learned the role the Holy Spirit places in our lives.
The main emphasis given throughout the lesson is building a relationship with God using the Holy Spirit. Just like in your friendships and relationships here, you have to build a relationship. You need to be open, honest, show love and affection, be close with the Holy Spirit. Treat God as your best friend… share with him. Have God be your #bff. That is possible. The Holy Spirit makes it possible.
Remember as mentioned before the Holy Spirit was there with you from day one. Don’t hold out, God knows you better than you do, but still maintain a relationship. The same way your closest friend knows with just one glance what you are thinking…. you still tell your friend everything.
God I thank you, I thank you for sending a piece of you to me. I thank the Holy Spirit for being that direct connection to you. For being my best friend from day one. For guiding me, enlightening me, pushing me, embracing me, toughening me, teaching me and loving me. Thank you for the outpouring love, for the miracles you have given in my life, and the miracles that have yet to come. I trust in you my lord, my true Best Friend forever. Amen.
Sometimes in life we reach a crossroad. We have to decide whether or not to go left, go right, go straight or go back and find another way. Personally I don’t like to go back. Regardless of what is going on, we should always move ahead. Move forward. Never backward. We want to progress not regress.
There are times where we come to a crossroads with relationships (friendships and romantic respectively). There are times where we come to a crossroads professionally, personally and even spiritually.
When you get to the crossroads, do you travel the road less traveled? Do you go on that freeway?
Just make sure that it is God centered.
Don’t make a rash decision.
Right now on how far you have come.
Reflect on where you want to go.
Let that sink in.
Open your heart.
Take a deep breath.
Open your ears.
Open your eyes.
Open wide to be able to see.
Wait for his signal.
Watch for it.
If your not paying attention you are surely going to miss it.
Now your not going to get an answer right away. (Well who knows maybe you are… that’s all on God’s call).
While your waiting reflect.
Reflect on his word.
Reflect on his sustenance.
Reflect on how he is guiding you.
Pay close attention.
Before you know it your going to have to take a step towards the direction he wants you to take.
Don’t be mislead.
Don’t be dismayed.
Don’t get frustrated.
Patience is a virtue.
Own that virtue.
One wrong move and that road your going to traverse is the wrong one.
We don’t want that.
You don’t want that.
He doesn’t want that.
In order to either take this path you need to be ready.
Sometimes this path you have to wait for someone to arrive and take this step together.
Whether accompanied or not, you need to make sure he gave you the signs to move onward.
We need to take ownership of our actions and confess to God.
Sometimes we need to forgive offenses done to u , sometimes you need to ask for forgiveness.
Sometimes we just have to wait.
Always choose God, first.
Then decide where you will go (whether or not it’s together) and take that path.
Sometimes when your on your journey you may cross paths you’ve crossed before, you may even encounter people walking along their paths, and it merges to the same path your on, sometimes it’s for a short period sometimes it’s longer.
Sometimes you or that other person need each other to get through to the next crossroad.
In waiting your answer arrives.
In waiting the support you needed arrives.
Patience is a virtue.
God I thank you. I thank you for the paths I have taken to get to where I am today. The path was not the plateau I envisioned in following you. There were valleys I needed to walk, deserts I need to cross, mountains I needed to climb, there were times I fell, times I fell in a mudslide, felt that the earth shook from under my feet, yet listening to you via the Holy Spirit, we kept on walking. You showed me the way, you guided me to this point. There were times I needed an extra push, times I needed a hand to hold, times I needed a shepherd to lead the way, there were times you carried me. You carried me, and shower me I needed to walk that path. Thank you for guiding me as sojourned and approached my crossroads….spiritual cross roads…..I pray for your continued strength, I pray for your continued guidance, I pray for ears to open so that we can hear you, I pray for eyes to be able to see. To see the signs you put forth before me as I embark on this path towards the next crosswords. I pray for whoever is reading this, who is wondering about their journey, who is seeking guidance, who is at their crossroads waiting for you to direct them. I pray that the Holy Spirit manifests upon the reader so that they can stand up and take that next step towards the destination you have set forth. Lord I know for every decision we make there is a consequence, same as for every path we walk there are unknown variables to is mere mortals. Yet you oh lord, knows what to come and I pray that we trust in you, to prepare us for that next journey, regardless of the fact if we are just beginning our spiritual walk, or if we have travelled so long, that the path behind us now looks like a maze. In Jesus name, Amen.
I was thinking about how the times are now and how much things have changed. Then I happened to see this image floating around social media.
Here is a modern day depiction of Jesus feeding the 5000 in 2017.
When Jesus fed the 5000, there were only two baskets with bread and fish. Two baskets to feed 5000 whom followed Jesus. Jesus prayed, he blessed the baskets and suddenly there was enough to feed 5000. Everyone at the time was beyond grateful. They were fed, were happy for this miracle for all were fed.
In the 2000+ years since this miracle you can see in this cartoon how much distrust we have in humanity, in one another, and even in ones faith.
How the enemy has infiltrated many of our thoughts. How we nitpick at everything.
Read the captions in the image and you see the following:
“I can’t eat that I’m vegan.”
“Has that fish been tested for mercury?”
“Is that bread gluten-free?”
This caption shows that in the midst of our struggles, while pleading for a miracle, we are being selective to the blessing we are to receive. It’s our way or the high way? Eat the fish or starve? Was there an expectation for a specific miracle?
Yes! That’s it! There’s usually an expectation.
Many of us accepts the miracles and answers we get from God when we are facing obstacles, struggles, trials and tribulations. Many of us see the struggle we are in and ask for a specific form of “miracle” or reprieve from the obstacle we are in. In doing so what we fail to realize is that, sometimes the answer we are looking for is not always the answer we want.
Sometimes to get through that obstacle we have to hear or do something we didn’t think or want to do.
If God were to be selective of our salvation the way we are selective in how we receive his blessings and answers, many of us wouldn’t be saved.
Picture God throwing tantrums like we do and saying:
“You didn’t kneel to pray, there goes your salvation”
“You didn’t pray enough, there goes your salvation”
“You didn’t fast enough, there goes your salvation”
God isn’t doing that.
Yes he wants us to pray.
Yes he wants us to kneel before his presence.
Yes he wants us to fast and make sacrifices for him.
He wants us to praise him
He wants us to Love him
Abide by his laws
Be kind to one another
Love one another
Help one another
But all in his glory.
Second guessing a miracle or a good act in faith, second guessing or being specific with an answer to help you face an obstacle is a problem.
How do we fix this problem?
We have to kneel down and pray. We need to realize that your way is not his way, and you need to accept that.
He is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end, the creator of all things, the king of kings, one divine true Living God.
He knows your future.
He knows when your time on earth ends.
He had counted every hair on your body.
He is the answer to your obstacle.
He can give you the answer, take you out of that situation.
You need to trust in him.
Abide in him.
We are living scary times.
Times of xenophobia.
Times of homophobia.
Times of racism.
Times of discrimination.
Times of hatred.
Times of fear.
Times where to proclaim god is perceived as sin.
These times we are in can affect how we deal with our trials and tribulations. In order to overcome these trials in the midsts of the times we have things we need to do.
We need to listen to God.
We need to obey.
We need to hear.
We need to pray.
We need to fast.
We need to praise.
We need to trust.
We need to have faith.
In the midst of our struggles, obstacles, trials and tribulations we need to sometimes cross the valley of death, we need to face those challenges we do not want to face.
The ultimate reward will be worthwhile when we follow what God wants us to do and heed his advice vs being specific on how we want things. We can’t ask for a miracle and then want to omit certain aspects of the miracles.
Father I thank you. I thank you for allowing the obstacles, the trials and tribulations. Father these paths which include these hurdles I know are meant to teach me, to have my faith grow, to bring me closer to you. Father help me to listen more to you, so when you provide an answer, or when you bring forth a miracle that I accept all that you allow to answer the petition, to solve that obstacle. I ask for guidance during my tribulations my lord, for you to allow the Holy Spirit to manifest and guide me when I travel down roads not traveled, while I face challenges I do not want to face, while I have to do things I may not want to do. I know it takes work. I know I have to do my part. I do not want to nitpick my way to salvation dear Lord, nor do I want the easy way out. I do not want to be selective of my blessings. I want to learn, I want to grow and I want to be able to accept all that you provide me.
Do something wrong, and we are taught to apologize and ask for forgiveness. Then we are taught to forgive and move on.
“Turn the other cheek” (Luke 6:29) sort of speak.
I find myself teaching my kids the same concept. Child 1 hits child 2, mommy intervenes. Go apologize to your sibling.
Child 1 goes apologizes, hugs then kisses child 2.
Child 2 usually says, it’s ok, I forgive you.
Then they continue on playing as if absolutely nothing ever happened.
As a parent it’s kind of a double edge sword like… phew you kissed, made up and went about your business but then at the same token dude, that’s it? (Yet grateful that, that’s it).
Why can’t we be as forgiving as children.
Why can’t we be as forgetful to the issues and carry on.
We have all been in predicaments where someone offends someone, or offends you, and person 1 apologizes, person 2 accepts the apology but someone doesn’t let go…. someone doesn’t move on.
How can one accept an apology, and let go the way kids do. Move on, continue life.
Why still be bitter?
Many times, people take things way too personal.
People can be way too toxic. People do not admit their wrong doings nor apologizes for them. Everything is so one sided. Everything is so “OmG when you did this and remember the time for that, ugh I was there for you, where you there for me?”
We all have that one friend that conveniently forgets how many times you’ve been there for them and not one time threw it back.
They conveniently forget the offenses they did to you, how they spoke to you, how you were disrespected as well, and only remember that one time you didn’t call.
I’m not all about dishing exactly what happened, Who it happened with, nor who did what for whom, I am not crossing that line, because then I would not have truly forgiven. This though is about forgiveness- knowing how to forgive.
I write this for two reasons.
I know someone who God had recently blessed. The nature of the blessing is not up for discussion since I’m just using this as an example. I congratulated that person, despite us not speaking for a while over a disagreement. I apologized for any transgressions i may have attributed and I have also forgiven. Whether or not the person forgave me, I have no idea, did the person feel the need to distance themselves, maybe. I hope I was forgiven. I forgave that person too.
Nonetheless, this person received an amazing blessing. Instead of being gracious about it the person simply ignores the fact I congratulated them, ignored the fact I spoke to them. [insert Jim Carey voice now] All-righty then.
I will not succumb to that. I will forgive, be proud of you and keep it going.
I am not going to be bitter and say oh I retract my statement, that’s very, eh not me. I want you to be blessed, and abundantly at that.
We haven’t spoken in weeks, well that’s a two way street, I reached out, the individual never reached back, so I’ll give that person space.
Sometimes we need space as part of the forgiveness process. Friend I forgive you. I will my keep distance, I don’t need toxicity in my life, the toxicity is not the friendship but the negative thoughts. I will not open those gates as I don’t want you to have toxicity in your life. Sometimes as part of forgiveness we need to accept that sometimes we are toxic to others even if we may or may not see it.
Some people are meant to be in our lives, some people are meant to be a lesson, some people are meant to take you to the next level, some are not meant to be in your life. I am not saying that is the case with said example. I am only saying it is OK to let go. It’s OK if certain individuals are just chapters in ones life.
I pray for this person daily, I get happy when social media reveals progress and success, I’m not going to be bitter, the success is much deserved. I am just wondering where the concept of forgiveness truly lies. Not just for myself, in general. Can we really truly forgive like Christ?
I am surely trying. Not just with this example but every aspect of my life. [work, family, friends, relationship]
Jesus forgave everyone involved in his crucifixion, he forgave those who made fun of him, he forgave those whom hurt him, he gave them all salvation. He loves them all, even if they don’t love him. Luke 23:34
There’s a song in Spanish that states: (to translate /para phrase):
“My mind doesn’t understand, I don’t think anyone understands how you were able to forgive those who killed you on the cross, they humiliated you, they made fun of you, yet you still told your father to forgive them, you died and resurrected showing me that with you death doesn’t exist only life. You showed me the secret of forgiveness so that today we can see the light , well today we forgive one another so that we can one day rise with you”
The title of the song translates knowing how to forgive (saber perdonar). This is only the chorus, it just hits me like wow. It’s true, many of us forgive and don’t let go, forgive and don’t love, forgive and don’t move on (together), forgive and still be bitter. Why can’t we forgive like Jesus, why can’t we forgive like a kid?
I only wrote this not to discredit anyone or friendship, not to vent about being ignored, but to think about forgiveness and how we sometimes don’t truly act upon it wholeheartedly.
I wrote this more of a self reflection of how I want to forgive, the way he forgave. Wholeheartedly, without looking back, without taking it back, without holding back, without any negativity despite the obstacles, hurdles and temptations.
How children can forgive in the same manner that Jesus has forgiven yet even believers have a hard time forgiving.
Father God I ask you to forgive me if I have offended you. I forgive those whom have offended me. I am more than willing to move on, with them if they allow, or without them if they don’t allow it. I ask for forgiveness in return for anyone whom I may have offended. Sometimes we offend and do not even realize that we have offended. God I ask to have faith like children, to trust in you wholeheartedly to forgive and move on as if nothing ever happened. To love unconditionally like Jesus has loved. I pray for my friend, you know who that person is. May this friend have an abundance of blessings bestowed their way. May that person prosper, soar, succeed, may they continue to seek you to receive your blessings. May we someday speak again, Without bringing up the past. I forgive you dear friend for offending me. I hope you can also forgive me as well. May we all forgive one another, may we all be given the guidance by the Holy Spirit to show us how to forgive. Amen.
All I could do is cry yesterday and give thanks to God.
My son has a story of his journey.
A story where God shows love and mercy.
A story where faith is tested.
A story where God says I Am Emanuel (here with you).
A story that in today’s chapter God says, I love you. Now relax my children, your worries are GONE!
God is great, merciful, kind, loving, a healer, and with us.
From day one he has shown he is with us. I named my son Emanuel because of Gods faithfulness to us despite our sins, despite our behavior.
My son is strong and loving, though we have had complications, scares, worries, stress, concern for his well being. God told us, hey I told you I got you, keep faith.
Faith we do have.
Faith is all I need.
Love for our father is all I have to give back to him.
Thankful for God, thankful even for the trials and tribulations. Thankful for the tears shed, every headache and worry, for they made me stronger and got me closer to God.
Today I rejoice.
Today I exalt his name.
Today we proclaim victory.
I am thankful for our support at our church. My church family and leadership are some amazing prayer warriors, I am not sure what I would have done without their support, prayers and words of encouragement.
God I thank you for this journey. This journey has taught me many lessons, this journey has tested my faith. This journey has recentered you as the primary focus of our lives. Thank you dear lord, for not giving up. Thank you for this lesson. Thank you father for our church. May you continue to bless our leadership and our church family. Thank you lord for an amazing team. We are a team at IPJ. Amen
Te amoTe exalto su nombre .
Te pido las gracias,
Por su amor,
Por nuestro salud,
Por nuestros finanzas,
Por nuestro hogar,
Por nuestro alimentos,
Por un día más,
Por una oportunidad más,
Por su misericordia,
Por su perdón,
Por su sacrificio.
Por sus bendiciones.
Por refrescar mi alma.
Y luego de pedirte las gracias, me siento mal.
Como puedo recompensarte por ser tan bueno con nosotros.
Oro, pero no como debo de orar.
Ayuno, pero no como debo ayunar.
Testificó, pero no como debo de testificar los grandeza que has hecho en mi vida.
Aveces me quedo atrapado al pecado.
Aveces me olvido pedirte perdón.
Soy humano, nací bajo el pecado.
Y con todo eso, todavía me ama.
Se que sin ti,
Nada puedo hacer.
No importas cuanto planificación hago.
Tu tienes la ultima palabra.
Tu me diste todo.
Todo mi entero de ser,
No quiero nada que intentes de separarte de mi vida.
Quiero tu gracia disfrutar eternamente
Y dedicarme solo a ti.
Se que no merezco su amor.
Pero trabajaré a ser su voluntad para nunca estar sin ti.
Many expectant mothers have purchased this book, myself included. This book was amazing. Detailed. Helpful with the changes ones body goes through.
What about for special needs adults?
What to expect when your an expecting special needs adult. Not a catchy title, but nonetheless, needed.
Expectant mothers of the special needs population undergo extra testing, need extra emotional and mental support, need extra guidance, extra education.
Being pregnant is fun, hard, scary all at the same time, imagine how it may be for someone from the special needs population. My heart aches that my sister had to endure all these extra testings. Of course the well being of the baby is of the upmost importance.
While we’ve been reading the what to expect books, it dawned on me, I haven’t seen any books that may disclose what she may be going through that I didn’t experience. As soon as I thought that, she asked me.
I tried researching to see if such books exist. Nope. Nada. What I did find were blogs about special needs families. Though are bodies are the same, going through the same things, more emotional support, education, resources, testings and patience are needed with caring for an expectant special needs mom…. and dad to be.
We really need to advocate more for special needs adults. More resources are needed. I am thankful that my sister has the support system she needs. I am thankful that we can help her emotionally. Thanlful she has is. Crying for those whom don’t have that support.
God I pray for the strength and guidance needed during this process. I pray for families across the globe going through similar circumstances we are. I know dear lord we are not the first, nor will be the last. Please lord let us use this moment, this time to help those for the future. Amen.
My sons God father passed away 3/15/15. Not too long after his death I was taking a class that required an obituary. So I wrote one for him.
My compadre was born on the 12th of June 1981 to his wonderful parents. He was taken away in a heroic attempt to save his dog on the 15th of March 2015. He is adored and cherished by his parents, his fiancé , his son , his brothers, his God children, his many aunts, uncles, cousins, close friends and acquaintances. My compadre grew up in a God fearing home. His mother kept him active in various recreational activities while also preaching to him the word of God.
Growing up his mother ensured that he always read, always studied, always loving, always caring, always be kind, help the less fortunate, help those in need, grow educationally. She taught him the basic principals of humanity. She taught him to accept all for who they are, not to judge. She taught him to have the endearing heart he had. The foundations that his parents laid out as he grew up is what we all came to love and know.
In junior high school he met his best friend who had recently moved around the corner from him. The duo would play endless hours with the kids in the neighborhood and have bonded like brothers. As a matter a fact they became brothers. The duo were inseparable.
My compadre, as he was known by many was kind, genuine, helpful, an adventurer, smart, loyal, loved and cared for animals. Helped anyone who needed help whether a furry animal or another person who was being victimized by bullying or injustices of the world. He Would intervene in any circumstances to help a fellow brother out of harms way. Protected those he cared for.
He loved fellowship. He loved being surrounded in a good ambiance with friends and music. He loved music. Music was what fueled his soul. Music was his passion, his hobby, his love, his side gig, music was his breath of fresh air. Soca though is what pumped the blood to his heart.
His love for music came at a very young age. He had an eclectic taste in music. A great ear for mixing tunes. His passion drove him in to his hobby as a DJ, more famously known as the Mad Architect in many circles of the music / radio industry for his creativity in mixing beats for upcoming soca artists and talent in mixing music across various of genres. His name also combined his love for his profession as an architect.
He was talented in his field. Blessed to have been able to partake in amazing projects that to this date his plans are still under construction on the West Side. He was well respected and well loved in the architectural industry as well.
My compadre studied and worked hard for while teaching his fellow brothers, working at an established architectural firm, producing beats for his artists, being a husband to his fiancé, father to his child, child to his parents, brother to his friend, uncle to his God children, and care taker to his dogs whom he adored as children, both of which he rescued from shelters.
He was a busy man, but never did he stop showing those he loved, that he loved them. He was a smart man. He was a humble man. He was a caring man, he was a blessed man, he was a spiritual man, he had strength and endurance which came from the faith he had. Despite the circumstances and challenges life threw at him, he overcame it with pride, with dignity, with class, with faith and understanding.
Every curveball life threw came with a lesson. He understood that, he spoke of it often.,The politics and bureaucracies of societies. The discrimination and racial profiling of young black men. How disgusting the legal and judicial system is. How it is a trap for failure, imprisonment and slavery. He understood the psychology of it all and never let any of it let him fall. It made him stronger.
He urged to educate his peers on this subject, determined to teach the next generation to educate themselves to not be victims of the trend. To not be another number to the stereotype. To be above that, to rise above these stereotypes and social expectations of men of color. To be smarter. To be wiser, to learn the legal system and their language, to know when to use their lingo to not fall into the trap. To be educated amongst the educated and even more so amongst the ignorant…. Not just of educated in knowledge but in the spirit. See tony had a respect and an affinity for others of different beliefs. He was knowledgable of various spiritual relationships, customs and traditions. He respected them all equally as he would hope any one would respect his.
His experiences made him stronger. Made him more faithful. Made him realize that in his most difficult moments, he knew who stood by his side, his families side and who never turned their backs, regardless of the circumstance. He understood who were his brothers to the end.
In John 16:33 It says “These things I have spoken to you, so that you may have peace in me. In the world, you will have difficulties. But have confidence: I have overcome the world.” From my understanding Tony lived this quote. No matter the difficulties he over came them. He was confident. He was determined not to let his difficulties make him nor break him. He found strength during his challenges and overcame them. Regardless the obstacle. Personal, professionally, socially, etc, he over came them, and which each obstacle he willingly guided others so that they wouldn’t fall within the same trap. Leading by example.
Now as life threw him another curve ball. He chose to follow his heart and love for another being, he saved his dog, paid a sacrifice and lost his life. He knows who is still by his side, despite the tears, despite grief, despite the heartache, despite the anger, despite the acceptance, despite the unacceptable. He knows his parents will be watched over, his fiancé will be taken cared and loved, his son will be protected, by the same people whom always remained true to him as he was true to them.
Our pain with his loss is God’s megaphone. As in The book of job, Job learned that God gives and God takes away. We have also learned that no matter how good you are, how faithful you strive to be God gives and he takes away. We may even want to question, why me? Why take him away? What have I done to suffer this way? Job asked some of these same questions his meld. He asked if God can be placed to trial for his actions and questioned. God spoke to him. He reminded him that he is the architect of the world. Job learned that despite his suffering God delivers. “But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction” job 36:15. Though we are all mourning, grieving and suffering the loss of our beloved Tony, God will deliver us all from this pain.
Remember that God has his reasons. God has a plan. God is the architect which created this world. He designed you and I in his image. He designed it all. He delivers amongst your pain, afflictions and sufferings. Also know that when you overcome your trials and tribulations you come out stronger. Learn from the trials educate others based off of your testimonies from your trials just like my compadre would have.
I know this is a somber moment. Saying goodbye to the flesh is very hard. The memories shared will live on. Compadre will not want you moping around his loss.
He would want you to share your wonderful stories of the moments you’ve shared. The funny stories, the silly stories, the I can’t believe we did that stories, the personal stories, the private stories, his memory shall live within you. How you’ve grown together in your friendship and how that’s made you grow as an individual. He would want you to be rejoicing. He would want you to celebrate. To bring a toast. To dance. To laugh. To love. To féte. To watch out for one Another. Most importantly to Live.
He would not want you to stop living at his loss. He would not want you sad, depressed or in pain at his expense. He spent his whole life trying to bring joy to others, regardless of the circumstances.
He would say stop preaching, stop talking, turn on the music, someone man the turntables, get the vibes right, have that fête, celebrate your lives, take care of one another.
That’s what he would have wanted . Remember to share your experiences. Educate one another, provide strength and refuge to each other, lend a hand, lend an ear, share moments, create memories, make music, share laughs, enjoy fellowship, we are a framily.
God gave him brothers and sisters via friendships. He found love when least expecting to. He would be celebrating your life in your honor had roles been reversed.
Celebrate life. Live like it’s your last. Teach each other for knowledge is a good tool for empowering one another. Guide each other, care for one another, remember the less fortunate, remember the four legged animals,
Remember each other, support each other during this time of grief, for we all know that’s exactly what he would be doing.
God bless you.
This morning I was reading my many daily devotions.
I start my mornings the same, I rise, I thank the lord, i pray,I start getting ready to start my daily routines, for work and get the children ready for school. Before I wake them up I give myself 20mins or so to read and reflect the devotions.
This proverb 29:11, struck a cord in my soul. As soon as I read the proverb I said thank you God for being my council. Had I not given myself to you, or reopened our Channels of communication I would not have handled last nights situation as calm, collective or civil as I did. Thank you for reminding me why I had to maintain my composure.
So about last night…. I am a mother of two amazing young men (ages five and two respectively). I am the eldest of four siblings, my siblings I treat and look out for them as if they were are also my babies. I helped raised them.
My sister (#2 in line) is currently expecting her first child. She’s been having issues with her child’s father and family regarding the pregnancy and decisions that she needs to make pertaining to her care and the care of the unborn child. They’ve been highly demanding, not catering to the needs of mother and infant, the father feels he should be catered to, he feels he should have a say with things concerning her body. (Subject of amniocentesis came up- he was for it she was against it).
Both adults are functioning adults with some disabilities. Some concepts are hard to understand, this is all new to them both, this is a change that is affecting both emotionally. Lots of educating needs to be done to both parties. Not singling neither side out. There are differences in opinions due to differences in upbringings which have taken a toll for both. Not excluding neither parties here. Both are of concern to me.
Regardless of who is my family(blood) and who isn’t all three, mom, baby and dad are important and we are concerned for. At this moment in time this union and natural act of love conceived a child which has sanctified this bond and united both families. The main concern and focus is not only the well being of mother and growing baby, but the father during the pregnancy. We just need to fully get them both to understand the changes both are undergoing and what the process is.
Last night was a rocky path. The father called my sister, details of the conversation I will leave out, the end result was: she was extra emotional. Her blood pressure sky rocketed, she had a near panic attack with whatever was discussed between the two.
I had to reach out to the family And explain hey, not sure the full details that happened, however this was the aftermath that was left.
The well being at this precise moment is of the mother and child. Please explain to the father to be that what he does, say, act can affect her emotions, hormones, health which put together is not good for the child. I am not sugarcoating or condoning what my sister may or may it have said, but both need to understand the risks for both parties. I Kept my tone calm, collective despite my fears and worry. Kept it civil despite my wanting to yell and say a few choice unchristian not ladylike words.
Waking up to this verse is my confirmation from God, do not go there. Be the bigger person. Turn the other cheek (though i can hesitate on turning my cheek and would prefer to throw in a fist instead). As Former First Lady Michelle said “when they go low, we stand high.”
Mother and baby in the belly are fine at the moment. She was in great care, surrounded by family whom work in healthcare and understand how these situations work. Her healthcare providers were quick in responding to address last nights episode for her to ensure her well being.
Sometimes in some situations we can’t loose our temper, doing so is not only foolish, but could make any situation worse. We will have moments where we will need to bite our tongues, turn both cheeks, stay quiet and resist every natural carnal impulse that we have to defend what we love.
The devil is a liar. He tries to attack you when your climbing that spiritual ladder. He is there trying to saw at the steps so you can go falling down. Don’t succumb to these trickery of the enemy.
Father God I ask you to protect my sister and her expectant child, I ask everyone reading this to pray for her. God I pray for the family of the father, give them understanding, compassion and the strength needed for this next chapter in all our lives. I pray that you give my sister strength, compassion and understanding. I pray for other expectant mothers in similar situations. It is rough, it is emotional, pregnancy involves changes in every aspect of an expectant mother and fathers lives. I pray that despite the words which have been exchanged between the two, though hurtful, that they can forgive one another and move on. I pray that you guide our families in this complex situation. I pray you guide families in similar situations world wide. May we all in your name be advocates for our disabled adults. I pray for the physicians involved during this prenatal transition, the team in place is beyond amazing, lord bless and protect these amazing physicians. In your name we pray. Amen.
AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE
You can never learn that Christ is all you need, until Christ is all you have. Corrie ten Boom
I remember when I was younger, no matter where I went or what I did I was always surrounded by people. I was dating and getting to know different guys. Yet every where I went or did I always had a clique with me, or at least that’s what one of them complained about.
I had a shopping buddy.
A binge drinking buddy.
A buddy to watch movies with.
When my interests wanted alone time I had to see what my people and I were planning and schedule them in same how
Obviously those relationship’s didn’t go no where, it doesn’t bother me either that they didn’t.
I was young, free spirited yet codependent on others.
I started this post with a quote “You can never learn that Christ is all you need, until Christ is all you have.” Corrie ten Boom
We tend to try too fill the voids in our lives with people, with vices, with hobbies, with everything but Christ. It is not until we have that moment alone with Christ, when we look to the left, look to the right and see no one there that we realize we are alone, yet not alone. I do not feel empty because Christ is with me. I am unafraid, because I trust in him. I do not need to fill any voids. Why did I spend so much time wasted, when all I ever needed has always been with me.
It takes for us to reach an epiphany in our lives before we realize all I ever wanted, all I ever needed was with me all along. Chris is all I will ever need.
Father forgive me please for always using vices, people, hobbies etc to attempt to fill a void they will never be able to fill. Thank you for loving me, for opening your arms. Thank you for being all I need. I no longer need to fill voids in my life. You complete me in ways that nothing ever will. You are all I want. You are all I need. Amen
If you are going through an aha moment and realized god is all you will ever need and you said this prayer with me, you have just taken the first step towards building your relationship with Christ. Find yourself a home a church with a strong bible study group to continue your journey.
While reading Roy Petersons Set free, I saw a prayer within the forward and was moved, I need to share this.
Prayers in the forward
God, Your Word is more precious than all that I possess. Your Scripture gives light to my path and directs my steps. Through Your will alone lives are transformed and minds made new, So I now pray for all people who do not yet know You. For You’ve promised that Your voice by every tribe and nation will be heard, So equip us by Your breath to provide every heart language with Your Word. – Mart Green Chairman, Hobby Lobby.
Let us utilize our resources and spread his holy word. Use your social media outlets, your websites, text messages, emails, conversations, your actions and your words when interacting with others Be of a testimony. Be a tool to spread the gospels. “But I am shy”…. So am I, yet here I am blogging about Christ so others could hear of his wonders. Sharing my stories and experiences, my trials and tribulations, because my pain, my struggles, my burdens and my blessings could be of a blessing to someone else.
Father as I pray this prayer with the prayer we opened this post states, your word is the most precuous thing in my possession, your word guides me, directs me, transforms me, makes me new. I ask that you can help me, with your words, help make someone new. You asked us to take the gospels to all four corners of the earth. Thank you for your blessings. I ask that as we spreads your words, that we could be of a blessing to others. Amen
Bart Gavigan, a writer for the film End of the Spear, once was Quoted in the book by Roy Petersons Set Free. He said “If I am going to write a movie about someone, I am going to find out what their deepest wound is, as that is where the flower grows.”
Let me just repeat the gist of what he said… “deepest wound is where the flower grows.”
Glory to God for this allegory “deepest wound is where the flower grows.” do you know what this means? What this is saying? At least how I am interpreting this…it is because of our pain,we can learn, grow and blossom. Our wounds, like our scars are reminders of our past. What we do in those circumstances can lead to flowers growing.
My biggest wound was my infertility.
Spent 10 years believing science until I was reawakened by faith. I was accepting that scientific result not a final nail on my fertility coffin, but that my God, the God whom loves me even when i don’t deserve to be loved, that my God can show science who is king!
Take your wound, with faith, knowing that the Lord Jehovah god got your back.
Tryst in god.
Trust in his timing.
Relieve his blessing and….
Watch the flowers grow from those wounds.
Father God I thank you for all that you do. I lift your name high. I thank you for these inspiring words that you provided me while I read. Thank you for allowing me to experience these wounds, so that my faith In you could grow. Thank you for blessing me and giving me flowers which grew within my wounds. My uterus was my wound, my children are my flowers. Only you, not science made this possible. Only you dear Lord. You allowed them to come into my life. I humbly thank you. Amen.
Roy Petersons Set free is my current read.
As I’m reading this I’ve been inspired by some phrases and even verses.
I will share these with you.
From the forward:
2 Corinthians 1:3–5, 7 (NLT): All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. . . . We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.
What adeep verse, fitting for this book for! The little I’ve read thus far.
We have here the letters to nthe Corinthians Paul reminding the church that we Will suffer. We will all face difficult times. Some of us maybe experiencing them right now as your reading this.
In the midst of our suffering good will also comfort us and bless us, as long as our suffering is for him. What this means is that for being believers and followers of his walk, many will persecute you, many will blasphemy against you, as long as you continue to remain with him in faith, he will help you. He will bless you. He will comfort you.
This experience we go through as Christians is a natural, or shall i say super natural. The enemy sees you as his enemy and you have a target on your back.
When you overcome your obstacles and suffrages Paul clearly tells us that we Are to share In our suffering as well as the comfort God gave us. What this means my friends is that we are to be there for one another. We are to help each other out. We are to rise not above one another but rise together as one body of Christ. We’re are to share our stories, so that others can leaern from them. We Are to bear witness and testimony, to inspire, guide, lead and help others.
Lord I hope and pray these writings you are inspiring me to write are of a blessing to those reading. As I pour out my heart, my soul and the words you provide me, that I am helping someone during there times of suffering. That the words you give me provide counsel and comfort, as you have indeed provided me. I pray for you reader, that your suffering come to an end so you can reap the benefit of his blessings and comfort, I ask that you too be of comfort to someone else in need. Amen
Not surge how to help someone, when you yourself is feeling lost? Unequipped? Unsure?
Start by writing.
Start by sharing what you read.
Start by trusting in GOD THAT HE Will COMFORT, HELP AND guide YOU
“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
(1 Timothy 6:12)
We have all been placed here for a specific reason. We all have a specific role to play and a specific fight we need to fight for our creator. Each one of us has a story. Some are simple, some are hard, some are very complex.
What we all have in common is no matter what our stories are, no matter what struggles we face, we all have the same fight. Yours may be more specific than mine, mine may be more specific than the person sitting next to me on this train, but we all have the same fight.
Our fight is a spiritual fight.
It’s is a fight for our faith.
It’s a fight for acceptance.
It is a fight for hope.
It is a fight for our eternal salvation.
Regardless of our backgrounds. Regardless of our hardships, the fight of faith is one in the same.
We were chosen to be Gods people.
We were chosen to be his prayer warriors.
We were chosen to spread his word.
We were chosen to defend him against the enemy.
Fighting the enemy could be tiresome.
He comes from Many angles.
He uses different pathways to deter not only your blessing but your faith in God.
He attacks us using our loved ones.
He attacks us using our colleagues:
He attacks us using random strangers.
He attacks us with illness.
He attacks us with stress.
He attacks us with uncertainty.
He attacks us by filling us with doubt.
Our faith is what can help us with this battle. We all have a pivotal role in this celestial fight for our eternity. Are you willing and able to pick up your arms (spiritual) and fight the good fight?
Are you going to continue to fast, continue to pray, continue to praise even during the hardship?
Job lost it all, was tested, over came his circumstance and in the end was blessed.
As parents, nothing hurts us more than seeing our children in anguish, pain and torment. As I am writing this, I have an uncle who’s son (my cousin) is in a hospital because he was found unresponsive in his room. Several exams were done to see where the problem lies. My aunt and my uncle are desperate in need of prayers.
We will fight this food fight with you for your son. We will take up our coats of arms, we will hold our shields, we will gather our swords and we will fight this good fight with you.
My grandmother told my uncle, ” he was chosen by God to do his work and that everything he is going through is the battle that he will face against the devil.”
God chose his son for his specific battle. He God will lift him up from this circumstance.
My young cousin maybe unresponsive right now. But I know deep down he is fighting. This poor young child…. whom has been through a lot in his life, please feel our prayers, please feel our thoughts, please feel our words, listen to the voice of God. Follow his lead little one, he will direct you, he will guide you, he will help you in this fight.
I am praying for you little champ.
You will come or victorious in Jesus name.
The lord will guide your doctors to reveal the nature to your current mysterious circumstances. God has he answers and in time will provide. While we wait I will pray. While we wait I ask for prayers. While you fight, we will fight with you.
Father God I ask you to cover your hands over my cousin and bring forth healing. I ask you to wake him from this nightmare. I am asking for healing and liberation in your name for this child. May he be liberated from the demons holding him down. I ask for strength for my aunt, uncle and family as they face this battle of the unknown. I ask for guidance, patience while awaiting diagnostics, I ask again for healing. I ask that anyone reading this can unite with my family in prayers. May the Holy Spirit move so that we can provide strength and liberation for my family. Lord your will, will be done. Amen.
“hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls” (Hebrews 6:19, NLT).
What is hope?
As defined by Webster dictionary, hope is:
Definition of hope
* intransitive verb
* 1 : to cherish a desire with anticipation : to want something to happen or be true hopesfor a promotion hoping for the best I hope so.
* 2 archaic : trust
* transitive verb
* 1 : to desire with expectation of obtainment or fulfillment I hope she remembers. hopesto be invited
* 2 : to expect with confidence : trust Your mother is doing well, I hope.
hope against hope
* : to hope without any basis for expecting fulfillment
We have personal carnal and spiritual desires in our lives. These desires and aspirations give us the hope we need, sometimes to carry on.
We all depend on hope.
We hope for a better future.
We hope our elected officials can take care of their constituents.
We hope, as children, our parents will take care of us.
We hope, as children, we will get that cool toy we saw.
We hope, as parents, that we are doing a good job parenting.
We hope we are setting an example for our kids.
We hope God will protect and guide us.
We hope, despite our flaws, that god will continue to love and protect us.
As parents we try our best.
Parenting is not easy.
It’s not easy being a working mom.
It’s not easy juggling work and educating your kids.
It’s not always easy setting your temper aside.
We can hope we are doing the best we can.
We can hope that every effort we make for our families can lead to a better future for them.
With hope, we need faith.
With faith, we need to trust.
With hope, we too need to do our part.
Our hope gives us something to look forward to. Our hope can build our faith, our hope can build our trust.
Paul writes that hope is our anchor, it is an anchor for our soul. With hope all things are possible to move forward and move closer with God.
When we loose our hope, all is lost.
Desiring God has a sermon written by John Piper. In his sermon he mentions our struggle with hope. He says “Hoping in God does not come naturally for sinners like us. We must preach it to ourselves, and preach diligently and forcefully, or we will give way to a downcast and disquieted spirit.”
He mentions the need to preach to our selves, the Bible helps us with that. Hope in God- psalms 42:5.
He used psalms 42 for its example of struggle.
The author stated “I love the way the psalmists wrestle and fight and struggle to maintain their hope in God. This is normal Christian experience while we are still just saved sinners. And we better own up to it, or else we may grow sluggish and negligent in our fight for hope. And that is very dangerous, as our text plainly teaches.”
Psalms 42:5 says “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God!”
Just like I started with Webster definition of hope, the author mentions we are to not only know websters definition but the Bible’s. He breaks it down in to three parts
1- ” Hope is the desire for something good in the future. The children might say, “I hope daddy gets home early tonight so we can play kickball after supper before his meeting.” In other words they desire for him to get home early so that they can experience this good thing, namely, playing together after supper.”
2. “Hope is the good thing in the future that we are desiring. We say, “Our hope is that Jim will arrive safely.” In other words, Jim’s safe arrival is the object of our hope.”
3. “Hope is the reason why our hope might indeed come to pass. We say, “A good tailwind is our only hope of arriving on time.” In other words, the tailwind is the reason we may in fact achieve the future good that we desire. It’s our only hope.”
He summarized it as follows:
So hope is used in three senses:
1. a desire for something good in the future,
2. the thing in the future that we desire, and
3. the basis or reason for thinking that our desire may indeed be fulfilled.
Then he goes on to mention “The Distinctive Biblical Meaning of Hope”
“Biblical hope not only desires something good for the future; it expects it to happen. And it not only expects it to happen; it is confident that it will happen. There is a moral certainty that the good we expect and desire will be done.”
“When the word says, “Hope in God!” it does not mean, “Cross your fingers.” It means, to use the words of William Carey, ‘Expect great things from God.”
God teaches us the biblical definition of hope. As I mentioned earlier that:
With hope, we need faith.
With faith, we need to trust.
With hope, we too need to do our part.
The scriptures teaches that here in Hebrew 6.
Paul shows us the relationship between faith and hope.
He also shows us this in Romans 4:22, discussing Abraham faith.
In romans 6:18 Paul shows how faith and hope go hand in hand “In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations.
Our God is a god of Hope and faith. We can hope for things, but we need to also have faith that God will make it happen, that God will provide, that God will work it out. We need to trust him. Our hope is our Anchor!
Father God, I thank you for another day, another opportunity another moment to take in your greatness. Father I live with not only hope that i will be with you in heaven but have faith that i wil lget there. I trust in you my lord. I trust in you my lord. I ask that you continue to guide me so that I may not steer in the wrong direction regardless what obtstacles are thrown at me. As in pslams 42:5 says, we will hope in God, no matter what. Abraham’s hope in you lead to his faith and trust in you, Paul’s faith in you is intertwined with his hope in you. he says our hope is our anchor. May our anchor remain firm so that we could never loose the faith and hope we have with you. Amen.