Friday, June 21, 2013

Watch the Smiles

Psalm 41:6

6And if he comes to see me, he speaks lies; His heart gathers iniquity to itself; When he goes out, he tells it.

Did you know that not everyone who comes to see you or inquires about you is your friend? Did you know that some people only desire to speak to you to find out what they can and then will speak against you at the first opportunity? Did you know that some people cheer inside when you are sick or trials have come your way? Not everyone who smiles at you is your friend. A real friend will want to be there for you in both your joy and your sorrow. Those who only delight to talk with you when trouble arises, be suspect. David knew this all very well. He fell ill and the minute he did, his enemies began to speak against him. Some even had the nerve to enter his presence for the purpose of speaking more ill will behind his back. The word says in Proverbs that to have a friend one must first show himself to be friendly. If you keep company such as this around you, it becomes very difficult to trust and to show yourself friendly. God watches our backs and shows us who these people are. But to think these people are harmless is a foolish deduction indeed. Having these people in your presence requires a constant pouring out to God to counteract what they are speaking against you. When God shows them to you and says remove them from your presence, it is wise to do so.

P.S. Get Your JOY In The Morning! LLC had the wonderful opportunity to co-sponsor along with Ratliff Events and Life Style Experts for the Arthritis Foundation's 2013 DC Purses for Power. Donating services and products wrapped as "the total package makeover inside and out" to raise money for arthritis awareness and treatment was a blessing! Thank you to Ratliff Events and Life Style Experts! And meeting the guest speaker, an icon, Ms. JC Hayward, DC's first female anchor was an honor! Thank God for divine connections!!!!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

When It's Your Time

Good Morning Everyone,

I had a the wonderful opportunity to attend the advanced screening of Fruitvale (#fruitvaledc). It is the story of Oscar Grant captured and immortalize, who decided to make a change for the better. He just didn't know he was making the change on what would be the last day of his life. It is Oscar worthy and riveting! It opens nationwide on July 19th. Though it is about the social injustice committed against our African-American men, as I explained to the agency recording responses, there was a secondary message. No matter how it happens, when it's your time, it's your time. So if you have a chance to make a change in your life for the better, just do it.

During the film and after, I had several memories come back. Not only about my own experience with death which I made public through these messages and the book of devotionals, Get Your JOY In The Morning! But I am finally ready to share two intertwined experiences that less than a handful of people are aware of.
It was December 31, 1999. I was spending the day with my then boyfriend, who I will call G. He was Jamaican and Chinese. When I was ready to wear my Nubian locks (Dreadlocks or dreads), he was the one who taught me how to start and maintain a huge thank you to him! We had decided that day we would attend the Millennium celebration on the National Mall with President Clinton. Going on the National Mall with a lot of people was huge for G. He possessed the gift of prophecy and didn't always like to be around a lot of people. He didn't want to see or know things and so he didn't always like crowds but he was willing to do it for me because I really wanted to go. We were still in Baltimore when we ran into his cousin, whom I will call KD. KD had a lot of nervous energy and didn't know what to do with himself. We convinced him to go eat with us and we grabbed one of G's other cousins whom I will call TJ. We went to Denny's for dinner. KD talked of what he might he do for New Year's Eve. He kept talking about some woman and how she really wanted him to meet her somewhere. He talked about another alternative to hang out with his boys. I started getting this weird feeling and G gave me a look. We both knew something wasn't right. I mentioned to KD and TJ what we were doing and extended the offer to join us. We finished dinner and headed to the car. G and I lingered behind the others to talk. He said, "Are you getting the same feeling I am getting?" I said, "You mean that we can't let KD out of our sight tonight?" G continued, "Yeah....that he's not going to live to see 2000 if he doesn't stay with us."  I responded, "Yes and that is why I put it out there about what we're doing." G convinced KD and TJ that it was a good idea to see DC from a different perspective than the club scene.  In short, we had a great time! I didn't know that KD would talk about the experience to everyone he knew up until he died. KD was dead within the month. He was in a fight and as a result of the fight suffered a severe asthma attack and died. G wasn't right from that point on. At the funeral I gave my condolences to KD's mom. She smiled and said, "KD talked about you. He raved about the time he had in DC and said it was the best time he ever had there." KD's time was KD's time and we did what we could.
G wasn't the same after that because little did I know he had a difference of opinion with KD about doing something illegal and they stopped speaking just weeks before KD's death. Depression overtook G and Memorial Day weekend, I had the same feeling I did New Year's Eve night. Yolanda Adams' Open My Heart was playing and I had been talking with G. He was going to get out of the car but as the second verse of the song played I got real scared that it would be the last time I saw G. Within the hour G started feeling a strange pain. He was only 27 at the time. He kept saying he was fine but I knew he wasn't right. I wanted to take him to the hospital but he was so stubborn and getting angry at the thought. I just wanted him to keep him calm. We went back near DC because he didn't want to go home but he couldn't be at my parents house so I got a hotel room to let him sleep. I didn't realize he passed out from the pain. The next morning he was still in pain and I finally put my foot down and said we had to go to the hospital. He only wanted to go to the one in Baltimore so we headed back. While in the waiting room his eyes began to roll up in his head and he began to shake real bad. I screamed at the top of my lungs and attendants came to get him. I didn't know he suffered a heart attack. He didn't die physically. But something changed in him after that. He begged me not say anything to his family, etc when they finally let me in to see him. He spiraled further into depression and went away for awhile. I suffered PTSD and went to counseling. Just before the last time I saw him, he said, "I feel different because I know now that God means for you to be someone else. You aren't mine. I spent a lot of time away but it's because I've been getting my head right." Within the year, I ended it because though we talked on the phone, I knew deep down, he wasn't coming back. Memories of losing his best friend and cousin were too painful for him. And it didn't help that I reminded him of someone else he lost to death. One life affected another.
If you get the chance to tell someone you love that you love them, tell them. If you have a chance to say you're sorry and messed up, tell them. If you have a chance to make a change for the better, do it. When it's your time, you won't get the chance to give the heads up to everyone.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Your History Lesson

Acts 23:9
9Then there arose a loud outcry. And the scribes of the Pharisees' party arose and protested, saying, "We find no evil in this man; but if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him, let us not fight against God."
The apostle Paul and been arrested by a commander while he was in the temple. The commander, however, was not aware who he was arresting. Paul was not just an apostle and servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, he had some roots. He was being accused of being a disruptor by the Jews. From the time before Jesus up until this point, Jerusalem was under Roman rule. Paul was actually born a Roman citizen and under Roman law, a citizen of Rome had a right to appear before his accusers to know for what he was being accused of. During Paul's questioning he realized he was addressing both Pharisees and Sadduccees on the Sanhedrin. What they were unaware of was Paul's background. Paul was once a Pharisee and was the son of one. He was raised in Jewish tradition. And because of it, he could appeal to them even more.
As much as Jesus spoke against the Pharisees as the Jewish leaders, many are not aware but our Old Testament is based from the Septuagint which contained what the Pharisees taught and scriptures talked about. But the Pharisee believed in angels and spirits. So when Paul described to them his encounter with Jesus as a spirit, he was not speaking against what they believed.
What does this mean to you? Like Paul, knowing who you are and whose you are is always to your benefit, even if others are not aware. And your past is never in vain, God can use for His purpose. But also know when God allows you to know the company of people you are in, he can easily put you in a position of favor.
P.S. A Huge thank you to the Leap of Faith Network for attending the pre-release book signing and reading of my new book, Shh Don't Tell!  I also want to thank Jenny Farrow of JennydPhotography for her assistance and to everyone who attended!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

"I Have to Have It"

2Samuel 13:15
15Then Ammon hated her exceedingly, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Ammon said to her, "Arise, be gone!"
All day yesterday God kept bringing to my remembrance the story of Tamar and Ammon. God did not bring the situation to my remembrance for the purpose of rape though it is a clear demonstration. The word says there is nothing new under the sun. And no situation known to man is new.
Tamar was a princess and the beautiful daughter of King David. She was the full sister of Absalom and the half sister of Ammon. Now Ammon knew Tamar to be a vigin but the word says he loved her and was distressed over her. So Ammon approached his buddy Jonadab. Jonadab told him by what scheme he could grab hold to Tamar's body and he used it. Just before overtaking Tamar, she attempted to reason with him saying if he wanted her that bad perhaps the command that kept him from legally being with her could be eased because King David was the ruler. The NKJ Study Bible mentions that King David provided the example of taking what belongs to someone else when he was with Bathsheba. But the word says Ammon would not heed Tamar's reasoning and overtook her.  But once he satisfied the way in which his body wanted her, his love turned to hate.
Ammon had no desire to show restraint though he knew he would disgrace Tamar. The NKJ Study Bible says that Ammon was intent on satisfying his lust regardless of the consequences. And that his attraction clearly turned to disgust. This is what Lust looks like. Once the craving is satisfied one no longer wants what they once desired. Lust is real and is often confused with love. Yes, the situation of rape is real too. But rape doesn't need to be the situation for lust to operate. Lust is not a respecter of sex. Lust can appear both in man and woman. And not all men and women are innocent as Tamar just to be clear. Ammon had the "I have to have it" scenario but once he got it, he realized he no longer wanted it. The fact that he did not approach the situation with Tamar in honesty but rather a scheme gives the foundation of what his intentions were.
A dear friend of mine shared something the other day that he wishes to teach young women under his care, "just because a man wants to sleep with you doesn't mean he loves you." And that is what Ammon demonstrated. He was never in love with her. He only desired to sleep with her.