My heart goes out to the folks involved in child custody issues. Comfort, though, is in the awareness that God is an ever-present help. Psalm 46:1 – KJV, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Yes, no matter what happens, God is love and what the Bible teaches about love and the Lord’s aid provides immense measures of relief. There are instances when, due to actions of vindictiveness, people are being deprived of access to their children. Of course, there are cases when such access is deemed safe and in the best interest of the subject children. We know, though, that there are situations when there are issues of spiteful deprivation. Particularly, disturbing are the times when youth are relocated to foreign countries, which makes custody matters even more challenging. Christians are some of those involved in heart-wrenching custody battles. It’s so draining for parents to be engaged in those sharp disagreements. Of course, children suffer considerably through the ordeals. Thanks be unto God thatContinue reading »

Many families, over the years, have kept secrets, particularly from children. My mom passed away when I was a teenager. I just learned, this year, that she’d been diagnosed with schizophrenia. That revelation put some of the pieces of the puzzle together for me. As I remember, I now somewhat get why she sometimes exhibited bizarre and weird behavior. I now know reasons why my mom’s personality shifted from calm to scattered mindsets and actions. As a youth, in the seasons when my mom wasn’t in a sane mental place, I was ashamed of her. A few of my childhood peers would tease and taunt about my mother. They considered her crazy. In assorted ways, the situation was traumatic for my family. In the midst of all of the confusion and disarray, I was certain that my mother loved us. When she was in her states of clarity, Mom was loving, kind, generous, sweet and joyful. Also, she was a loving and faithful Christian who sincerely loved God. I’m gratefulContinue reading »

In Part One of this, I expressed about pastors who were drug addicted. Those struggles can take tolls not only on the addicted but on their family members, as well. Drugs involved aren’t always illegal ones. Scores of folks are hooked on prescription drugs, some of which are sold on the black market. I recall learning about Christian parents with adult children who are/were addicted to drugs. The accounts are steeped in sorrow. There are parents who do the best that they know how while being faithful to gospel truths. Treatment centers certainly do help. Often, though, years of yo-yo actions occur with numerous relapses. Many prayers and works go into measures of help. It’s wonderful news to know that addictions are conquered. Families are elated to overcome the enormous hurdles in addictive circumstances. Of course, we know that addictive behaviors aren’t limited to drugs and alcohol. There’s a reality based cable program dedicated to situations relative to hoarders. Extreme cases boggle the minds of some folks. I’ve seen onlyContinue reading »

Once upon a time, a mother was walking down the street with her little boy. Not anything unusual, except that the little boy had had polio and could hardly walk and was struggling along with his iron braces. A pitiful sight, but not to the mother; she was full of radiant joy and encouraged her son to keep going. “Good boy…It’s going so well,” she exclaimed jubilantly. Then the boy looked up and said, “Maybe, I can still learn to run after all! Would it be all right if I try?” A difficult question; of course that boy couldn’t run. Anybody could see that. He would fall and hurt himself. But the mother was confident and encouraged her son. “Come on son… give it a try. You can do more than you know.” The boy sighed and then took a few steps forward. He didn’t in any way resemble a seasoned runner, participating in a trial, but the boy did move, and for a few steps, it went well. ButContinue reading »

My heart is wounded to know of the folks who battle with addictive behaviors. There are gambling addicts, shopping addicts, food addicts, drug addicts, alcohol addicts, social media addicts, and addicts in other addictive categories. A percentage of Christians are in those numbers, as are their loved ones. In August of 2011, a well-known pastor was found deceased in a New York City hotel. Despite his mother’s efforts to keep the cause of death from public disclosure, a court ruling allowed the results to be publicly released in 2013. The subject pastor had shared about his past struggles with drug addiction. Many folks didn’t know that those struggles for him weren’t in the past. I can only imagine how he wrestled with his destructive habit. Likely, he was torn about the double life he was living. Was he ashamed to seek professional help? Perhaps he did . . . . Was he seized with fear relative to being exposed, and thus, kept suffering “in the closet”? My guess is thatContinue reading »

Ah! The joy of mornings – Freshness in place New expectations arrive – The treasures of alertness reward Sunrise splendor invites our gazes Once again, it shines vibrantly providing warmth, vitamin aid and more Farmers rise early to work what they’ve sown – They’re out and about feeding and tending their livestock – Roosters crow announcing the approaching of daybreak – It’s morning again, y’all — whoopee Birds fly, chirp and sing as they soar in the open fresh air They play and inspire up in the morning sky Ah! New beginnings in the mornings – What new adventures await us? What new things do we have to be thankful for? What new ways shall our Lord manifest? Ah! Morning expectations indeed Numerous times in the bible we read where folks rose early in the morning – At places, it mentions very early in the morning We read in Psalm 139:9 that the morning has wings – Psalm 90:6 says, “In the morning it flourisheth and growth up” – PsalmContinue reading »

Lives are formed in the darkness of wombs protected in those safe places pending their precious arrivals Darkness has its beautiful aspects – We gaze upward at the starry displays – The moon hangs surrounded by planets and the solar system delights – We marvel and enjoy the views of darkness Nocturnal animals surface to do their movements in the night hours – Noises of life are heard in the nighttime arrangements Owls hoot from their wise perches – Lions prowl in the hours absent of daylight seizing advantages from the covers of darkness Night worker folks busy themselves doing essential tasks adding to the well-being of our valuable lives Yes, we’re grateful for the benefits of darkness – It was here before the light God greatly designed the days and the nights – There’s no greater architect than our Lord Almighty who laid out the best creation plans to include the beauty of darkness and light. Thank you!

Heartfelt thanks extend to those who lovingly engage in prison ministries. Confined “residents” certainly benefit from such care and attentiveness. The visits help to handle some of the mundane aspects of being incarcerated. Yep, the residents welcome escapes from their routines and standard operating procedures. Undoubtedly, prison ministries are worthwhile for the visitors and for the residents. Sharing and caring aids in all environments. Some residents don’t receive any other visitors and thus, they especially look forward to the times when prison ministry folks arrive to encourage and to share of God’s love. We have no idea how many people are in jails and prisons for crimes that they didn’t commit. My heart grieves for instances of that type. We’ve read and heard reports of legal defenses that succeeded in having convictions removed for innocent folks, some of whom spent years being held for what they’d been wrongly convicted of doing. Truly, we have no full fledged awareness of what their experiences were like. It’s indeed heartening to know ofContinue reading »

Shame sought to intrude in my peace places – It’s aim was to rattle me Shame reminded me with noise in my ears – Reminders were launched at me in rapid fire motions Shame taunted me, ridiculed and sought to bully me I grabbed the escape hatch from the bible fully aware that there are no temptations that our Lord hasn’t provided ways of escape Shame was answered with confidence accompanied by blessed assurances Oh, how wondrous to know that God transcends shame, pain, sorrow, and uncertainties Shame wanted in – Our Lord said, no Entrance was denied – Shame pouted and skulked away despondent and defeated Score another victory for the ways of God that manifest triumphantly.

Fullness is bliss Ah, the richness of it – God so graciously guides us into fullness when we align with pure principles and precepts Fullness is precious – Living in fullness is beyond satisfying – The love of God stirs the best in us – Yes, the beauty and splendor of love and its assorted postures Fullness includes gratitude – The pouring in of gratitude alters our mental and spiritual landscapes – We walk in thanksgiving “meadows” with its lush “gardens” of pleasure Fullness is peace – Ah, the peace that passes understanding with calm that’s immeasurable in its existence – We gratefully welcome peace in our heart spaces Fullness is abundant and great in its placement within us.        

My heart goes out to the victims of domestic abuse. Recently, in the region where I reside, there were two news reports of tragic domestic situations that ended in fatalities. The instances have no certain race, economic status, or culture. Those matters happen in assorted households and societal classes. It saddens more to know that domestic abuses happen also in Christian realms. I can’t recall ever hearing any sermons about Christian cases. Typically, it’s a topic that’s not much discussed openly in Christian circles. Some years ago, it was reported that the wife of a pastor was habitually abused by her husband. At length, she suffered in silence. Shame is enormous in matters of abuse, thus, many people don’t seek help nor do they share their anguish even with family members. Telltale signs manifest that folks notice, but often those who are abused make excuses for the obvious. It’s my wish that church communities do more to aid people who are snared in abusive relationships. Loneliness is common relative toContinue reading »