Friday, November 8, 2013

Testimony that Awareness is Creating a Conversation for Our Children

God Blessed my heart yesterday with a testimony! I was on the metro and ran into someone who attended my book signing and panel discussion on child abuse.  The mother has been reading the book. In the process, her teenage daughter remembered the sudden changes that are often present when someone has been abused. Her daughter came to her with the concern of the sudden changes and she prompted her daughter to talk to the young lady. Now I am not proud that there are sudden changes in any child, but it is proof that awareness is starting the conversation. Our panel addressed the older children as well about signs to look for in their friends. Awareness is important because early detection can help a friend or loved one get help before a situation gets worse. The mother expressed to me that she wished I would host the same type of panel discussion in schools with parents and children old enough to comprehend. God is working!

On another related note, yesterday my former high school classmate and Nia-Imani co-founder & sister, Tracee Wilkins of NBC4 News, posted an article yesterday that relates to the subject of guilt I discuss in the book  when children come forward. It was a story about a Prince George's County police officer and his wife who had been sexually abusing a relative since she was 13 years old in 2008 and ended last year. Children are subject to authority figures and when ready to come forward in an effort to stop being violated, they are coerced into keeping silent. Children should not have to suffer in silence because someone is uncomfortable with this subject matter or fears embarrassment. Not only does the child need help, but so do the abusers. Many times the abusers were once the abused. Stop the cycle! Your child, grandchild, niece, nephew, godchild, etc should not have to suffer because you don't want to deal with this subject. Don't make your fear more important than their safety.

P.S. I hope to see you this Sunday, November 10th at Barnes & Noble at the Avenue in White Marsh in Maryland from 4pm-8pm.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

If You Think You Know More

Matthew 7:21

21Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord,  Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My father in heaven.

Jesus did not hesitate nor did He mince words when He made the statement above. It is VERY unfortunate to say, there will be some who are going to bust hell wide open no matter what label they attach to themselves.  Jesus has delayed His second coming in order to give as many as possible the opportunity to get in line with God's will. He gives you a new day and new mercies to do the same. You woke up so you have another opportunity to do God's will.  Jesus goes on in the paragraph about those who will claim to have done so many things in His name but ultimately, will be told, "I never knew you." Who will hear the four words no one wants to hear? Jesus said the one who is unwilling to do the will of God. You can do so many things but what counts is whether you are doing what God has for you to do and what He has guided you to do. That is how Jesus is going to make His determination. Sometimes, God's will is in direct conflict with what you and I want to do. But God said in Isaiah 55 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways". So, there are going to be times that God wants you to do something that you do not particularly want to do. This means either you do it because you know it will please the one you love or you refuse to do it. Jesus actually did not want to go to His death if you recall. He prayed REAL HARD that God would give Him another way out. But what did He say toward the end of His prayer in the Garden just before Judas showed up? "But as you will." How many times have you wanted something so bad you could taste it, but the Holy Spirit says, "leave it alone?"  If you left it alone, then you did God's will. If you did not, you chose your own way. When you choose your own way, you will hit some expected trouble and God will have to get you out, just like He did the people of Israel. If the Holy Spirit says to call someone, will you do it? Or do you have too much pride?  Just in case you don't know, when the Holy Spirit speaks to you, you are hearing the will of God. Remember, Jesus said He would send the Holy Spirit to be our counselor. The Holy Spirit searches all things and knows all things. So quite frankly, He knows more than you. But if you think you know more than God, He will leave you to your own choices and will lovingly wait for you to run to Him til Jesus returns or He says your time is up. Once Jesus returns, it's too late to get it right. If you don't wake up tomorrow, it's too late. Better you get in line with God's will for your life now rather than late because you don't know when God will say you have had enough time. Hearing and doing God's will for your life with a heart to satisfy Him is always your best choice.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

You Are Your Brother's Keeper

Proverbs 28:23

23 He who rebukes a man will find more favor afterward than he who flatters with the tongue.

King Solomon used the wisdom God provided to him to guide him in his everyday decision making as a king and how he interacted with others. In society many refer to it as, 'your belief system is your filter.' And yes, our Lord and Savior does want us to use our belief system to be our filter to guide our mind, our hearts and everything we say and do no matter the environment. It is meant to spill over into EVERY area of your life, not just the parts you are willing to let God into while you continue in your old ways in other areas. That would be double-minded as the apostle James wrote. The apostle Paul talks about "being transformed by the renewing of your mind." If your mind is renewed in Christ then what you say and do ought to also be guided by it. Did you know that you are your brother's and sister's keeper?  Jesus said that if there is grievance against your brother that you can't leave it in the open then expect Him to accept your offering. You must go to your brother first and address it. The apostle Paul also talks about not leaving your brother to sin but to pray for him and lovingly admonish him. If he continues then you are to let it go but you are not to turn a blind eye. So the wisdom God gave King Solomon falls along the lines of lovingly admonishing your brother or sister when things are off rather than to continue flattering them with the tongue.  If you know of yes men and women who outwardly agree with everything said, even when it is apparent that it is off, then you know you have come across people who only hope to gain the favor and crumbs of the one who is talking or fears not being liked by a crowd. However, real respect and favor comes to the one who pulls them aside when the Holy Spirit says to do so.  For one, you are being obedient to the Lord in it and second, you are showing enough love and concern for their well-being. If they get upset, then it is only because they are convicted by the Holy Spirit. If they do not receive after it is said, then that is is no longer on you for you have done what the Lord desires and you shall receive your reward which is favor in God's eyes. He will deal with the one who does not accept what He sent His elect (anyone in the body of Christ) to do. The person who does accept the rebuke will understand that it takes courage to address another who is in sin rather than to turn a blind eye. And the person who does accept will indeed know that it is the love of Christ that brought you.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Did You Know?

Good Morning Everyone,

Did you know that  "1 in 10 children will be sexually abused or molested before or upon their 18th birthday?"  And that is only of the reported cases. Many cases of child abuse go unreported. That was a statistic uttered by an expert during a session I attended. As I have mentioned to you previously, I have been talking with a child advocacy group in Washington, DC that works with abused children. Many of you know that I am passionate about this cause because I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. The group I am communicating with is called Safe Shores. It is a one stop shop that works with multiple agencies and attorneys while keeping a child safe. I had the honor of touring their facility less than two weeks ago. I was taken through the facility as a child would be who is in the middle of a crisis. They have a clothes closet with anything a child might need. Often, when a child is abused, especially in an environment where they reside, they are often removed with only the clothes on their back depending on the severity of the situation. Then the child is observed in a room before talking with a counselor who obtains their story. The room has video cameras and audio so their story can be recorded to keep from telling it over and over again. It is immediately recorded and handed over to the attorneys. The child then goes through therapy. Safe Shores attempts to have the child placed with other safe family members if at all possible before using the last resort which is foster care. There is no cost to the parents or caregivers who are bringing the child for treatment. Even after months of treatment, the director of the Ambassador program alerted me to the fact that they have often brought children back in months after their therapy has ended because the children are showing signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which I speak about in my new book. The children are still treated free of charge.  How awesome is that? The facility has treated 450 children this year to date. The director of the Ambassador program also explained of a very common occurrence. Safe Shores offers a two hour workshop to parents and adults about how to recognize the signs abuse. She said that it is far too common that during those sessions, the adults themselves have episodes of memories where they themselves had been abused and also multi-generational abuse, where each generation of a family has abuse the next. Again I talk about all of these types of situations in my new book. I also speak on how to recognize the signs and what NOT to do. And just as the director said, how other signs of trauma show up later. If you have children, grandchildren, work with children, know a survivor of abuse or just want to be informed, I highly encourage to you to come out this coming Sunday, November 10th from 4-8pm to join me at Barnes & Noble at the Avenue at White Marsh. Support a cause to educate others on awareness. Support a cause of one who knows intimately about what abuse can do but also how people can overcome and be a survivor not a victim. I look forward to seeing you!

Baltimore Book Signing Event
 You are invited to attend a Book Signing for author
Joy T.J. Riley:

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Sunday, November 10th at Barnes & Noble (White Marsh)
8123 Honeygo Blvd
Baltimore, MD 21236
4pm-8pm ET
 Join Joy for this special event and invite a friend! 
Looking forward to seeing you there!
Please RSVP by Nov 5th to author, Joy T.J. Riley at
 Can’t make the event? Click to order a copy