Is it true that forgiveness can have levels and stages of processing? Is it fair to say that some things are easier to forgive than others? I believe so. Indeed, forgiveness, in some instances, can be more than slightly challenging. We have seasons when we engage in “wrestling matches” within ourselves concerning the matter of forgiveness. We’re prone to take up resistance stances, despite what we know the Lord instructs. The Bible clearly tells us about forgiveness and that we are to do it. In truth, there are occasions when it’s easier said than done. The forgiveness journey comes in various shapes and sizes. We know of marital infidelities, family betrayals, financial cons, workplace back stabbings, etc. And then there are some folks who live in false states of reality who tend to believe that they don’t need to seek forgiveness. We find it “best” relative to our “comfort” levels to forgive folks who seek it. But we’re not so comfortable when we know that we need to forgive, yet,Continue reading »

Likely, we all know of or have been involved in scenarios, particularly between two people, that take on the form of blame being tossed back and forth. Yes, the blame game with involved parties “justifying” why the issues of contention aren’t “my fault.” Some folks typically have the posture of them, in their estimation, being “pure as the driven snow” while, to them, others are usually the culprits of what has caused friction. Such accusatory and unreasonably judgmental folks add to the problems rather than to the solutions. On the other hand, people who fairly assess and acknowledge their roles in the malfunctions succeed in helping in the solution processes if they proceed with amendments relative to where they went awry. Of course, there are occasions when indeed others are responsible for the conflicts which arose/arise. And such folks are sometimes the very ones who unjustly place blame on us where such isn’t suitably placed. The Lord gives guidance in how to handle such matters. In the Bible, in 2Continue reading »

We’ve all been the recipients of signs from God. We have seasons when we marvel at the varied ways that our Lord sends us signs. God uses people to deliver messages to us. Animals are “recruited” to bring us signs from on high. Yes, birds, pets, and even animals in the wild transmit messages for us to “read” and from which to actively proceed. Who has driven down roads and highways and observed signs and billboards with messages from God? Yes, He sometimes uses some of the most ordinary things to get our attention and to cause us to recognize. Some signs come with repeats to confirm that indeed God is speaking. Certainly, when messages are meant for us, our Lord is clear in deliveries. We realize; we know — even though we don’t always readily heed what we clearly receive. We have our seasons of resistance, which sure doesn’t bode well for such postures. Consequences arrive whatever we decide. Ideally, we listen and obediently act upon the guidance ofContinue reading »

We’re approaching the holiday season, which for many will be packaged in hustle and bustle in malls, specialty stores, and online shopping activities. Often, service workers and retail employees aren’t given adequate appreciation, consideration and respect. Typically, people in the retail industry are underpaid and work without pay when they need to miss work for family and medical needs. Those concerns certainly add stress to their lives. On top of that, frequently, those workers encounter rude and unruly customers. Folks frequently camp out at retail establishments to gain early arrival advantages. In their merchandise frenzy, folks have been seen nearly coming to blows and snatching products from people. And I do believe, in at least a few cases, actual physical blows have landed. In the midst of all that are the employees. How much regard is given to them, and fellow customers? How many times have we viewed news reports where people nearly cause stampedes when store doors open for people to shop at early bird specials and such? Readily,Continue reading »

Perspective is key when dealing with appearances from sensible standpoints. So many folks underestimate people and circumstances due to preconceived notions and rushes to judgment. Susan Boyle, the Scottish singer, readily comes to mind. On April 11, 2009, when she appeared on “Britain’s Got Talent,” right off the bat, her physical appearance diminished her in the eyes of the judges and some audience members. Susan began to sing in her superb mezzo-soprano voice, which pleasantly stunned the folks in attendance. Why were they stunned? It wasn’t their expectation that such melodic beauty would pour from a woman of her outward appearance. Boy, were they wrong. Susan went on to become an internet sensation and has produced successful albums. She even sang at Windsor Castle! As she continued to perform, Susan also made changes to enhance her outer appearance. I love Susan’s story and salute her and what she’s accomplished. How many times have fans left basketball games prematurely because they decided that it was a foregone conclusion that their teamContinue reading »

Years ago, in a transitional period in my life, I resided in a homeless shelter. Both my parents were deceased, and when I got laid off from a job, I wasn’t inclined to burden my family members. It was my choice to move to a homeless shelter while I searched for another place of employment. One day I was out walking and engaged, in conversation, a woman who was a stranger to me. During the course of our communication, I shared with her that I lived in a homeless shelter. She replied that I didn’t look homeless. I asked her, “What does a homeless person look like?” She registered a look of surprise at my response; she didn’t answer my question. In a friendly manner, I engaged her relative to stereotypical beliefs that many folks have about the homeless. The place where I lived is the shelter started by Mitch Snyder who Martin Sheen portrayed in a movie. The type of folks who lived there ran the gamut. There wereContinue reading »

I wonder how many folks realize the enormous toll that occurs in the lives of those who are care tenders for those who can no longer independently care for themselves. Emotionally, it can be draining. Physically, it can be taxing, as well. Yes, typically, people do love those whom they care for but that doesn’t eliminate the issues that affect the care tenders. There are folks who have outside jobs and careers with the added responsibilities of tending to dependent loved ones. Many care tenders have little or no additional help thus they have to do social engagements with their dependent loved ones, laundry, grocery shopping, medical appointments, business duties, cook, clean, monitor, and other assorted tasks. Also, the social lives of care tenders are considerably altered, which can be depressing. Yes, care tending can be grueling indeed. Love is certainly often in motion, but exhaustion on spiritual, mental and physical levels still exists. Whew. My heart goes out to those folks who are in such circumstances. Support groups sureContinue reading »

Recently, I read about a woman, Noelle Hancock, who quit her $95,000 job in New York. She then moved to St. John, one of the U.S. Virgin Islands and got a job selling ice cream; it paid $10.00 per hour. Wow! It stirred my heart to read of her daring risk. Surely, not many folks would do such bold, uncertain actions. Hancock mentioned, “. . . but it seemed I spent my life staring at screens: laptop, cell phone, iPad . . .” She added that she was looking for a type of life where people are still engaged. There are reports of folks at ages beyond 50 who opt to start second careers, the second ones being their passions, when, sometimes, their first careers/jobs were due to needs to make livings more so than for reasons of pursuing passions. Those who’ve made such choices share about the satisfaction of doing what they love, in spite of the risks. Retired folks who don’t choose second careers enjoy pursuing their pleasurableContinue reading »

It’s a super relief to know that God doesn’t superficially judge by the outer images of people, but by the content of our hearts. Yes, the heart is the center of our beings and much is weighed from that central location. We live in a society where, for the most part, outer image is given major importance. The state of that is of deep concern because so much superficiality dominates. Desperation is the “order of the day” for scores of celebrities who feel pressured to meet beauty “standards.” They nip, tuck, alter, succumb to eating disorders, obtain unnecessary surgical procedures, and other means with aim to satisfy the industry trends for outer beauty. It disturbs me that pressure has so many folks inclined to chase the fads and, often, unrealistic expectations of others. Truly, it can become a vicious cycle of not measuring up according to what’s been instilled in the mindsets of so many celebrities and those who aren’t celebrities, as well. Insecurity levels are huge on a globalContinue reading »

Days ago, there was an online video clip of a father attempting, with the use of technology, to calm his crying baby who was in a crib. I believe that it was a fictional account, but it spoke volumes, nonetheless. The father used his phone to show the baby a live video of the child’s mother while she was grocery shopping. The mother cooed into the camera as the father held the phone in front of the baby, who continued to wail in cry mode. Finally, the father lifted the child from the crib. Instantly, he stopped crying. The touch of the father quieted the precious little one. Yes, that video clip spoke volumes. Technology wasn’t the solution in that situation, and couldn’t substitute for the father’s loving touch. Technology has done marvels to aid us in our personal and business tasks. Fun is also contained in the use of the multiple gadgets. I have no clue of the array of what’s available in technology in these times in whichContinue reading »

In some denominations, the wives of pastors are called “First Ladies.” Often, people perceive those roles as glamorous, and there are some women who covet being wives of pastors for reasons that aren’t necessarily for the love of God. The positions do have their “perks,” but the true roles of the wives of pastors are to love God first, and to support their husbands in the homes and in the missions assigned by God. When the marital unions complement the calls of ministries, those are indeed harmonious placements. Positive matrimonial team choices benefit in manifold ways. Outside the realms of balance, the wives of pastors can be lonely and neglected women. There have even been reports of them being abused by their husbands. Misunderstanding the wives of pastors is another issue of concern. Some church members knowingly and unknowingly put stress on them. There are folks who have unreasonable expectations of pastors, their wives and families. Inconsideration comes in to play in various circumstances. Occasions manifest when some folks crossContinue reading »