Saturday, September 12, 2020

We Can Help Each Other

 At the writing of this blog, Americans might not get a second round of stimulus checks. We have been through two major hurricanes back to back and now we have forest fires raging in California, Oregon and Washington.  It is time to pray like no other time.  We still have the coronavirus that have taken friends, loved ones, colleagues, church members, etc.  I don't care if you are not a religious person, but a high school student knows it's time to pray.

We have millions of Americans on unemployment.  We have millions of people behind on their rent and mortgages.  Some people have already been evicted and some are waiting for relief from the government which might not come.  It's time to huddle and bounce some things off of each other.  If people are going to church when the doors open, they are looking for answers.  They need financial workshops.  They need home loan modification information.  They need the prayer of favor and faith.  They don't have time for games.  They ain't trying to hate on nobody.  They are looking for relief.

Many of them did what they were suppose to do.  They were good stewards of their money.  Many still are tithers, and I will tell that you can tithe and still have to go through some things because God is using you for a testimony.

About 20 years ago, I was a new teacher.  I had just left television because of the call to teach.  I had purchased a house maybe three years prior.  I had a nice vehicle, and I had written my first book, GLORY...THE HAIR.  A friend of mine introduced me to someone.  I thought he could be a potential mate, but because I was living a saved lifestyle and celibate, it became a business partnership because I wasn't giving it up.

I had the spirit that if I am starting a business I'm going all in doing whatever it takes and making sacrifices.  Everyone doesn't think that way.  I will tell the single women to take care of yourself and your children.  If they ain't going all in, don't you go all in either.  I'm married now, but at the time I wasn't married.

Anyway, we started a non-profit foundation, and it was a good idea.  It was hard at first to get people to give.  So, we gave to it ourselves until we started getting grant money and started doing plays to fund the foundation. Grant money did come in.  It lasted for about 7 years, and then we folded it.

During this time, I got behind on my mortgage primarily because I was teaching and then a year later became a substitute teacher and was finishing up my certification to teach.  My home got annexed into the city.  So, I now had city taxes. Just figure out the rest.  I was managing and paying the mortgage even after the salary decrease.  Ask me how?  I was paying my tithes.  It took several months for the foreclosure proceedings to play out in court.  I mean, it took so long I wasn't even sure if they were going to foreclose.

I had already put a deposit on an apartment and had some cash squared away to pay for moving expenses.  By this time, I was back in a regular teaching job.  The bank took a long time to foreclose.  I had cheated foreclosure at least three times before.  One time I took out a loan from a local bank.  The second time my Mom gave me the money.  The third time I borrowed from an aunt.  This time, I was out of options and came to grips with the fact that I could get another house in a few years.  I even tried to sell this house, but probably should have tried different realtors.

I share my background because people are not always impressed if you have not been where they have been and sat where they have sat.  It's easy to tell people to do this and to do that. If you have been through what you are telling people, you have a much more captive audience.  I knew the house was getting ready to foreclose because some strange man showed up and started mowing my lawn.  This went on for a few weeks.  One day, while I was at school teaching, my Mom called me and told me they had foreclosed on my house.  I asked her how did she know; she said that they looked on my caller id and called her. I told my principal that I had to leave school because of an emergency. 

I called movers and moved my belongings. I stayed at her place for like 2 days until my apartment was ready and then moved into my new downtown apartment.  I said if I had to go back to an apartment, I might as well be downtown.  I handled my affairs differently and was able to purchase another property about 2 to 3 years later.

I know my situation might not be like yours.  Take care of yourself.  Save up for yourself.  Don't let people nickel and dime you to death.  If you can help others and you can do it from a place of strength, do it, but don't let people play on your kindness if they are not sincere.  Use some common sense.  Sometimes common sense escaped me, but I try to stay woke as much as possible now.  If you are in an eviction situation, try to find help.  If it's a mortgage, most of them will work out a loan modification.  If it's an apartment and the landlord is not working with you, someone else will be glad to have a new tenant.  If those around you are not talking rationally, find someone who is. I have always tried to have a job.  When I was younger, sometimes I had two.  I have never been the type that spent my time trying to get over on people, especially with housing or rent.

We are in a different time.  People who never thought they would be in this situation are in this situation.  Even when I went through my foreclosure, I tried not to be down on myself.  I knew the stats. I had been in television news and knew that Memphis was number in the nation for bankruptcy filings in the late 90s.  I wasn't sure what the foreclosure rate was.  I was not trying to do bankruptcy to save that house because there were too many others out there like it or better.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

OUR VOICES

It's time to let our voices be heard.  I have learned so much during this Coronavirus pandemic.  I am grateful for healthcare.  I am thankful to be a teacher and still get paid while teaching virtually from home. A lot of the training that took place years ago is coming in handy.  I am thankful to be married and have a husband who is working.  We have both experienced shortage before.

However, I can sympathize with the millions of Americans who have filed unemployment and are waiting for it to continue.  At least you received $600 plus what the state pays.  In Tennessee, that's $275 a week.  Child, please. Many people only had what the state paid and still had to pay their bills. I have experienced that.  By the time I got the unemployment; it was time to go back to work. You must not give up.  I am a witness that even though you are on unemployment and don't feel that you are able to tithe off of it.  Give 10% to the church.  I promise you, God will make up the rest and it will amaze you.

I have that radical faith.  Sometimes, I have given my last dime to the church and then sold a few items at the record shop or bookstore just to have gas money.  I did this because I wanted to sow a seed on the Word.  I was a lot younger then and would not try that now.  I didn't run out of gas.  God always touched the hearts of those who I encountered, and they just wanted to help.

Some of you are going to go to better jobs.  Some will get promoted when you return to your job.  I realize that many people were very well planned and never went without a paycheck.  I think God wants us to be more sympathetic to all people and not turn our noses up at anyone.  I don't care how wealthy you are, this pandemic is affecting you.  It may not be affecting you financially, but it's probably affecting you mentally, socially, and perhaps spiritually.  Some, it has affected your health or someone you know or work with.

Many business owners survived the first wave, but didn't survive the second.  Many people found this to be the perfect opportunity to go into business or to take their current business to the next level.  The Bible says, "All things work together for good, to them who love and serve the Lord and who are the called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28).

I thank God that I am a writer.  Writers are used to being alone.  Writers get caught up in their character's lives. Writers can manage.  However, many writers are also social butterflies and live for the excitement of the day and the interaction with people.

Get on a schedule.  Exercise, meditate, organize.  Some people needed rest because they were performing at a high level.  I look back over my life and I still to this day don't know how I did as much as I did when I was younger.  When I was in television, my shift was 10 hours.  Many times, I gladly worked 13 to 14 hours just to get the overtime or to be seen during the day.  I worked overnights at the time.  I still found time to go to church, work in the church, teach an adult to read, and sit on two boards of directors and was President of those two boards at various times.

After leaving television, I taught.  At one point, I was teaching school, running a non-profit foundation with a friend of mine, working on my Master's and trying to promote a book. Wrote a play.  I still don't see how I did all that I did.  God gives you the energy for where you are at a particular time in life.

Rest up.  Stay prayed up and let's see what the future holds for us both.  

Thursday, June 4, 2020

#Black Lives Matter

Change is coming to America.  The death of George Floyd has opened the eyes of White America and others in America of what our people (African-Americans) experience daily.  Derek Chauvin was shown on video putting his knee on Floyd's neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.  Mr. Floyd died because of this.  What is also disturbing is the fact that three other police officers allowed their colleague to carry on in such a manner.  Thank God for technology and the cell phone.  If this had not been recorded, Chauvin might have gotten away with murder.

Floyd's life has not been the only one that has been taken away by police brutality.  Others have fallen at the hands of reckless police officers.  We know that there are many police officers who take their job and authority seriously and who have the best interest for the public that they serve.  The conversation in this hour is about those who abuse their power.  This abuse of power is exposing the covert racism that exists in America.  I believe that change is coming.

God is not a respecter of persons.  He forced Pharaoh to release the children of Israel after 400 years of bondage.  Read the book of Exodus or buy the DVD for The Ten Commandments.  Unless you are a black man in America, you can not truly understand what oppression looks like.  Yes, as black women we may go only so far, but efforts are continuous to keep the African-American male down.

Derek Chauvin's knee on George Floyd's neck was symbolic in two ways.  It is symbolic because America has used racism to hold the black man down.  It is also symbolic because the devil primarily uses all of his arsenal to keep the people of God down.  All the devil's tricks are to cause oppression whether it is spiritual, physical, financial, psychological, clinical, or relational.  History will recall that many times African-Americans are asked or recommended to have surgeries that are unnecessary.  Many times there was sterilization.  Sometimes, our people were test subjects.

Some think it's all an enormous game and that perhaps we are uninformed.  Understand that judgment begins in the house of God.  Judgment is perhaps coming to America for the ills of generations of keeping people in bondage.  Get your hearts right.  You do right.  The people who implemented slavery have already faced the Judge.  One day we will all stand before a Holy and Righteous God.  Who shall be able to stand?

Monday, April 27, 2020

CASH STRAPPED AMERICA

I have often said on my time here on earth that I have never seen such-and-such.  We are now tapering down; I hope with a pandemic. This after the United States and families across the world have suffered many casualties.  I am sure many would give all that they have to reclaim loved ones, friends, and colleagues. While people are dying, some people are financially strapped because some have been off the job because of stay at home orders.  America and the world are under demonic attack. Some say it is the fault of China.  I believe it's some truth to that because people in the know are saying it.  Others don't know what to think.  No matter whom is at fault, it is time to pray.  It is time to pray as if our very survival depends on it.  Health officials say we could go through the same thing again next year.

I really don't know if I am up for that.  I am sure we as humans can weather many things, but there have been so many deaths and I just don't want a round two. People are also talking about the new normal.  What does that look like?  Does that mean for a period I will work from home?  Does that mean I will always have to wear a mask when leaving my home for essentials?

While people are burying loved loves, working from home and trying not to catch the virus, other things are going on?  The United States has been delivering checks into the hands of Americans. While Americans are getting checks, industries are getting bailouts.  Small business owners are getting Paycheck Protection programs and millions of Americans are on unemployment.  Many have never been on unemployment in their lives.  Most of us did what we were supposed to do.  We got educated, got a job, had a career and stashed some cash for a rainy day.  Only it's not a rainy day, it's a flood.  Many of us didn't stash cash and were already living paycheck to paycheck.

To solve all of our woes and problems, we only need to do one thing. "If my people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, I will forgive their sin, and will heal their the land."  This is from II Chronicles 7:14.  This is a call to turn to Christ.  This is a call to stop the sin that America and the world have put on a rubber stamp and this is a turning back to God.  Many people have made other things their gods.   Who knows why God has allowed what is happening?  We find comfort in what the Word of God says, and it is this, "All things work together for good to them who love the Lord and are the called according to His purpose."  This is from Romans 8:28.

You might say.  I know many people who are saved that died from the virus.  If they were saved, then you need to rejoice that they left here in a saved state and entered Heaven.  About 40 percent of the world is of the Christian faith.  Another 25 to 30 percent are Muslim and then you have Hindu, Buddhists and other religions.The Global Religious Landscape

You might say, "I need help now.  If God will help me, He should have showed up two weeks ago or yesterday."  Most of us will take God's help whenever He shows up, but you acknowledge that you need His help and that you want His help.  Some people are too proud to do that.

What if I don't know how to pray, then what?  The Bible says, "Pray in this manner: Our Father which art in Heaven..." The Lord's Prayer.  Go to the Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6:15.  I pray that God will meet your needs.  I pray that He will surround you with people who care about you and provide sound advice.  God instructs us to seek wisdom because it is the principal thing.  Read the book of Proverbs in the Bible for more wisdom.  Sometimes people give out bad advice not knowing that they are sowing bad seeds to receive bad advice.  Advise people in the best way that you can and if you don't know, just say so.

Monday, March 30, 2020

What Is God Saying?

No matter where you are in the world, the coronavirus has affected you.  You have probably been told to stay home to stop the spread of this virus.  For our generation, this is unusual. I usually am at work during the day teaching my class in English Language Arts. Now, we are working remotely because of the threat.  I can tell that my students want more interactions.  All of my students don't have access to technology.  Some are strictly working from their cellphones. 

Many of us wonder what the future holds.  Is this going to be business as usual as we move forward?  Will we have to pause our lives every time a virus shows up? I don't know.  Now is a good time to become a Christian.  Even if you are not a Christian, admit that something strange is going on.  One well-known atheist has gotten on television and talked about how he is not a Christian and not afraid of going to hell.  Please don't tempt the Lord thy God (Matthew 4:7). I would challenge you to investigate faith.  If you are not a Christian, try your god to see if it shows up. Once you don't get a response, try Jesus.

I believe that God is trying to speak to us.  Many times when I have felt most connected to God, I was alone.  A lot of us are away from day to day work.  We can get closer to God.  We don't have to have the television on 24-7 or have radio and movies on. Sometimes, we can just pray and ask God to speak to us.  What are we supposed to learn out of what's happening, or is God preparing us for future calamities?

Monday, January 20, 2020

A New Year and a New Season

I am excited about the year 2020.  I believe that God has exciting things that He is trying to share with the people of God.  I believe that God wants us to hear from Him.  I pray that you will get in position to hear from God and that all of the distractions and hindrances will be removed.  It is a shame that sometimes people will tend to get in the way.  Even those who are aware that God has a purpose and a plan for all of His people.  However, I serve a God who is not insecure and can meet everyone's needs.  All you have to do is ask Him.  Come to God with a pure heart and no hidden agenda and watch Him change things for you.

This year I am preparing to take the limits off of God.  Sometimes, we have our little paths cut out for ourselves and they are not nearly as large as what God has for us.  I am expecting big things this year and I am taking the limits off my mind so that God can use me.  I am striving to be more disciplined and do the things that God would have me to do.  I realize that some people like to be a hindrance. I am not even worried about them.  I have turned them over to God.  The Word of God declares that I know the plans that I have for you says the Lord, plans of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end (Jeremiah 29:11).

I believe that big things are coming our way.  I also believe that God wants us to witness to others so that they may be saved.  It's time to get all of your family members and friends saved.  It does not matter how old they are.  It is time to get serious about God and His business.  With intensity increasing, it is a sign to us that the enemy is panicking and trying to put the squeeze on the people of God.  Please increase your prayer time with the Lord.  Try not to leave your house each morning without covering yourself and your family in prayer.  If all you can do is read or recite Psalms 91 and say "Father, cover my family and friends as I head out to work," do that.

I pray that God will go before you and make the crooked places straight, break into pieces the gates of brass, cut in sunder the bars of iron and give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that He is the Lord (Isaiah 45:2-3). 

Friday, November 29, 2019

A Season of Gratefulness

With the Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa season upon us and many just celebrating Thanksgiving, it is a season to be grateful.  Across various social media posts, I also see that many are making their transition from this life to the next.  The holiday season is a time to spend with family and friends, but for many it is a somber time.  Those who have lost relatives who are no longer with them are at times sad.  It is indeed a time to be grateful if you are not experiencing these types of losses.  However, God wants us to also be grateful and give thanks when times are not as we would like them to be.

You often times have to reach within yourself to be grateful in the midst of tragedy. You can be a beacon of light to those around you by spreading good cheer.  The Bible declares that in everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (1 Thessalonians 5:18). 

How does one get to happy when you are alone and maybe depressed? Think on the good things that God has already done.  Watch some comedy on television.  Go outside and get some sunshine.  Think about things that are going right compared to what could go wrong.  Go shopping and buy yourself something.  Get a makeover.  Go workout.  You would be amazed at what exercising can do for you.  Keep a journal.  Just releasing things off your mind that you don't want to share with others is powerful. Thank God for the people He entrusted you with and be thankful that they have received their reward.

I have lost some relatives and friends along this walk called life.  Sometimes, I have spoken to people who were not trying to stay here.  I think they had gotten a glimpse of Heaven and were excited that their suffering was coming to an end.  I think that I have a good prayer life.  However when a person has decided that they want to go home to be with the Lord, there is not too much that you and I can do.

Next steps, get right with the Lord.  Get in the Word of God.  Encourage others.   Do the work of an Evangelist or whatever God has called you to do.  Get in a good Bible based church where people are getting saved, the Word of God is going forth, the Pastor is not afraid to speak out against sin, there is a strong distinction between right and wrong, and the Spirit of God is working in that place.