Search

Strait Up Word

There are no shortcuts to truth in the Word of God.

Food for Thought: Get Me Some of that Bread!

Ever been hungry and the only thing you had in the fridge was some bread, peanut butter and jelly? Doesn’t sound like filet mignon but it meets the need and if you are content, it will hit the spot.

Perhaps the same can be said for Elimelech but when you have a wife and two sons during a famine, life becomes a bit more complicated and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich might not suffice. So, under his guidance the whole family leaves Bethlehem during the time of the Judges. They live in Moab for a season and Naomi’s husband and two sons die in the land. Could it be because of the affinity to the Moabites? After all, they did marry strange women….

Notwithstanding, Naomi is in a bad situation. A widow and now childless a spark of good news comes her way. “[Naomi] had heard in the country of Moab how that the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread.” (Ruth 1:6b)

Through these extenuating circumstances, she finds herself in a bit of a pickle and a choice must be made. Does she stay in Moab to fend for herself?  Or does she take heed to the good news of the Lord providing bread for his people and see her way from whence she came?

Note: In verse seven, the scripture reads, “Wherefore she [Naomi] went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah.” (Ruth 1:7)

I think this is noteworthy because nowhere in the preceding text does it show at any particular point in time Naomi visited Bethlehem and returned back to Moab. This could be a depiction of Naomi having left the presence of the Lord and then by reason of the death of her family and financially destitute, she returns physically and spiritually to the Lord.

Scripturally, it is not revealed how Naomi came to hear of this good news (Ruth 1:6). What we do know is the Lord’s presence served as a blessing to the people that resulted in their daily provisions (bread) being met. This is the intervening presence of the Lord.

As logical and commendable as it might have been for Elimelech to take his family and move elsewhere during the time of famine to ensure their needs were met, was he justified by God? He did not sojourn in the land like Abraham. Did he not have reserve (in our language a rainy-day fund) to weather out the storm? Could he not be relieved by his neighbor for a period of time while remaining in Bethlehem?  We might not ever know, but one thing is for sure, no matter how difficult the circumstance, there is no situation that justifies our breaking faith in God’s word and his ability to provide.

Now the prayer “give us this day my daily bread” (Matthew 6:11) should take on a whole new different meaning.

Bible Stories for Kids: Little Miss Ruth

Little Miss Ruth – Chapter 1

A long time ago when the leaders of Israel were in charge, there was a great famine in the land. All the food was almost gone and people were wondering how they were going to eat.

Then there was this person who was living in Bethlehem-Judah during the food shortage and he went to travel to another country. It was called Moab. This man took his wife and his two sons.

The man who went to Moab was called Elimelech. His wife was called Naomi and his sons were Mahlon and Chilion. They were all called Ephrathites because they came from the tribe of Ephraim and lived in Bethlehem- Judah. They moved all the way to Moab and stayed there for a while.

Then one day Elimelech, Naomi’s husband passed away and then it was only she and her two sons. That made her very, very sad.

While Naomi and her sons lived in Moab, Mahlon and Chilion found two girls and they got married. The girls’ names were Orpah and Ruth and all of them lived in Moab for about ten years.

But do you know what happened? Mahlon and Chilion died and that left Naomi all alone. Her husband died and now both her sons passed away. This was terrible. With the death of her husband and two sons, what was she supposed to do? After thinking about it, she decided that it was time for her to leave Moab and go back to where she came from.

Word out on the street was the Lord went to go see about his people. He was giving them bread to eat. I am sure they were very happy about that! With food being scarce, God was supplying what they needed!

So, Naomi, Orpah, and Ruth were all going along the way to return to the land of Judah. While they were walking, Naomi stopped, looked at her two daughters-in-law and said,

“Orpah and Ruth, please go back to your mommy’s house: I pray the Lord bless you as you have been so nice to my sons and me. If you two decide to get married, I hope the Lord will find both of you rest.”

Naomi gave each of them a kiss on the cheek and they cried so much because they were sad to see Naomi go.

Stay Tuned……

In Trump We Trust?

A while back I wrote about Trump and if he were President of the United States, we would need to buckle up. Welp, the notion is now become a reality.

As president elect we have seen him make moves that some, not all find favorable. In fact, I think it speaks volumes to his willingness to make positive changes for the citizens of the United States. No sooner than he was announced as President-elect, leaders from various spots all over the world were ready to do an unofficial meet-and-greet. Needless to say it looks like it has gone successfully and even his Apprentice-like selections of elite cabinet members have not gone unnoticed.

But among the political pontification and prognostication, it is hard to ignore the bitterness, resentment, and defeat of the Democratic Party. They are angry because Hillary Clinton lost to a business man with no political experience, who has a morally questionable lifestyle and unashamedly takes advantage of the laws to financially profit. But imagine how she must feel having lost twice to two men and is now faced with the inevitable fact that she will never attain the privilege of serving in one of the highest offices in the world?

Likewise, Hillary Clinton’s followers had their Trump wake-up call when they realized her utter defeat. In part,  because they live in a world where they believe government should legislate people’s behaviors of those who do not agree with them. Unfortunately, that is not how life is lived.

So Trump looks successful and even with all that is being accomplished I see and read about how many are saying don’t pay attention to what the man says, pay attention to what he does. To the brother and sister in Christ, I say, pay attention to what God is doing around him and through those who are called his own.

There are times we place our trust, sometimes unknowingly in people who we hold in high esteem. We know they are mortal but it is easy for us to forget how God wants our allegiance to him and him alone.

As God’s children remember our prosperity or lack thereof is never attributed to who is and who is not in office. It is based on our obedience to God’s word. If we be willing and obedient, we will eat the good of the land and that is independent of season, political power, and personality.

 

RIP Cinderella

I made a video adressing black women about setting aside false notions and making the decision to develop realistic expectations when it comes to their own “Happily Ever After.” As God’s children, our standards should be based off his word and what we uniquely want and desire, never Disney or reality TV.

Fairy tales are just that. They are stories that have an element of truth based in fantasy. Here is a written excerpt from my You Tube video and the summary is taken from the article “9 Things About the Original Brothers Grimm Cinderella Story that are Nothing Like the Disney Version.”

How about we start with the real Cinderella. Let’s set aside the Disney tale and learn of the Brothers Grimm 1812 version of Cinderella or Aschenputtel nine facts from the original source.

Fact #1: Although the character of Cinderella is described as an archetype of the down trodden, under-privileged one living in obscurity by a twist of fate encounters great success. This wasn’t the Cinderella we know. She was a witch the tricks and assistance from a magic tree, enchanted birds, with the ability to disappear.

 Fact #2: Cinderella could hide very well in a pear tree and pigeon coop as opposing to being locked up in a room by her wicked step sisters.

 Fact #3: Cinderella’s father was never dead. In fact, he was annoying and quite destructive. When the prince came to his house looking for his daughter, the father chopped the pear tree and smashed the pigeon coop knowing that she could have been in either one.

Fact #4:  The Step mother was never envious of Cinderella’s beauty, never gave her chores, and never made her bathe her cat Lucifer.

Fact #5: Cinderella never had mice and birds to help her with her chores and fix her mother’s dress to go to the ball.  Because the step mother had a peculiar obsession with lentils, the deal was if Cinderella could pick up three cups of lentils out of the garden, she could go to the ball. Cinderella dispatches her bird soldiers to pick up the lentils, then she goes to the ball.

Fact #6: The fairy godmother was a tree that grew on her mother’s grave out of a twig. When her father went on a trip he asked her what she wanted and she said she wanted a twig while the step sisters asked for gold and pearls.  She plants the twig on her mother’s grave and waters it with her tears. When the tree is full grown, it will then give her whatever she wants.

Fact #7: The darling prince was a trickster and laid a trap to get her. During one of the balls, the prince was said to put pitch on the palace floors so he can keep the shoe and find out who she was.

Fact #8: The wicked step sisters unable to fit into the shoe was a half-truth: Fit into the shoe = cut off bits of your feet. One of the step sisters cut off her big toe, the other her heel.

How does the prince find out? It was the birds warning the prince twice sitting on the Hazel Tree of Death singing a song about how the blood filled shoes were by the step sisters.

Fact #9: The birds made a pact with the prince to get Cinderella to the throne by way of marriage and they would handle the wicked step sisters. On her wedding day when Cinderella was walking up the aisle, the step sisters tried to steal her glory, so the bird soldiers as a part of the pact plucked their eyes out and made them blind.

And that is how Cinderella got to marry the prince.

Cinderelly is a Lie!

Many of us women grew up with the 1950’s version of the Cinderella story told by Disney. An underprivileged, overworked handmaiden is used and abused by her wicked stepmother and two wicked step sisters. Envied because of her beauty, the stepmother and her less than darling daughters sabotage Cinderella’s chances of going to the ball.

Then, by fate, she runs outside with tears streaming down her eyes and lo and behold, a fairy godmother comes to her rescue. Within seconds she goes from rags to riches with one caveat: by the stroke of 12 midnight, she must depart. Otherwise, she will be exposed as the step-and-fetch-it girl for Lady Tremaine.

We all know the story. Cinderella makes her way to the ball where the handsome, dashing prince cannot seem to keep his eyes (nor his hands) off of her. She runs off into the night because the magic spell wears off. Disappointed and filled with despair the prince must have his bride. He sends the grand duke to discover the whereabouts of this damsel with the trademark glass slipper. Through many twists and turns, the prince ends up with his bride and Cinderella lives happily ever after.

Sounds good….only if that were the true story.

A few months ago, I started a YouTube channel making videos about topics unique to black women (hence the decline in blogging). Scanning through the comments of other channels, next to healing and desiring a better life, finding a life partner was on top of the list. I would like to say my “spidey senses” were tingling to find a new subject video, but I knew it was the Holy Spirit. I can’t remember when I heard this but it was quite disturbing. The whole idea of the two wicked step sisters fitting their big feet into the glass slipper was not accurate. According to the Grimm Brothers version (1812) these two sister cut off a toe and a heel to fit into the shoe!

That led me to believe, much of what we grow up hearing as children, we believe as grown adult women. And when we do not experience hypergamy or find that handsome, dashing prince, our hearts are broken and our expectations are disappointed. Delusional and angry, we ultimately end up blaming God for not finding our Denzel Washington or Chris Evans.

Well, because my channel draws women of many beliefs, I try my best to avoid any scriptural reference so they don’t think I am trying to start an internet church. But for those who peruse my bible blog, using scripture is the only way to go. How does God respond to the Cinderella story?

“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables…” II Peter 1: 16

The context of this verse falls in between God’s promises and avoiding false teachers. The Apostle Peter was encouraging the church to rely upon scripture and avoid any personal interpretation. The word fable in New Testament usage is not equivalent to parables. Rather, fables are stories that are passed off as truth but full of lies, much like Cinderella.

If you have a little girl and are faced between the choice of Disney or the bible, choose the Word of God. At first glance it doesn’t seem like there is anything comparable to Cinderelly, but we all know that our Heavenly Father works in love and deals with truth. If there is any story you can tell your sweet darling about finding her “prince charming,” the story of Ruth would be the way to go.

The book of Ruth is really about the providence of God; however, there are so many great takeaways we can glean. Very soon I will be writing the Cinderella version of Ruth, so be on the look-out. But until then, remember, Ruth as a single woman chose to serve a God she did not know, accept a people that was not her own, and work hard to make sure she could provide for herself and her mother-in-law. In the end she was blessed with a husband of means and a bouncing baby boy who was the grandfather of King David. Serving God has its privileges!

They Will Not Endure

We live in a small world. So small that I didn’t even know a co-worker who sits across from me attends one of the churches I was formerly affiliated with. Initially, we started talking about some of our extra-curricular activities and eventually about the kinds of businesses we would like to launch.

The more I listened to her talk, the more I recognized the “doctrine” she was impregnated with. She continued with how important it was to connect with other saints, visit other churches so you can get “fed,” and meet new people in order to build up your spiritual “Linked In” database. She also mentioned that the Bishop wasn’t in town so the First Lady preached. I decided that I would listen to the sermon later on that night to glean some spiritual nuggets from the Lord.

Needless to say, within a few minutes of the sermon, I quickly remembered why I left. The exegesis was lacking, the sermon felt contrived, and the same brow beating I heard three years ago was just as strong in the present as it was in the past.

Nowadays, the preaching of God’s word has been reduced to fast track formulas of success. Nothing about God, his greatness, or our need of him. Salvation is a thing of the past and fulfilling your destiny is really all about the trinity: Me, Myself, and I.

It wasn’t until early Saturday morning, I heard the Holy Spirit say,

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall heap to themselves teachings, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (II Timothy 4:3-4)

I thought I knew what the Lord meant when he said that but that phrase “they will not endure” kept nagging me, so I decided to get out of bed and look it up. I wish I could pour into your spiritual mugs all that God gave to me, but what I will tell you is not only what I saw in the scripture opened my eyes about the conversation I had with the co-worker; my vision became more crystal clear about the times we are living in.

Brothers and Sisters in the Lord, do not feel sorry for those who choose to listen to false prophets and I will tell you why. There was a time I used to chase after visions and dreams because I wasn’t after the Lord. I just wanted to be “blessed in the city and blessed in the field.” (Deuteronomy 28:3) I craved and yearned to have that “pressed down, shaken together, and running over so men can give into my bosom.” (Luke 6:38) Like so many, I skipped from one convention to another, seeking breakthroughs, next levels, and prosperity in the forms of houses and lands. I cleaved to preachers who were on the circuit and followed them as if they were the Pentecostal Royals and celebrities of Christian reality TV. But my wake-up call came when I realized I knew their voices better than I knew God’s voice.

Later on in my spiritual walk, my eyes became opened and I accepted the truth that blessings are conditional and it is based on obedience. My expectation of pulling down miracles was rooted in deception, and receiving the shaken together and running over was eventually understood as the same judgment I dish out to others, I would likewise receive the same in return. The prophetic numerology used during “offering time” was a hoax and instead of a blessing, I lined up their pockets with my hard earned money. You know what I’m talking about. Said evangelists says,

“I hear the Lord say in my spirit Psalm 77. The Lord says not only will he comfort you, but the number seven is the number of perfection. And since there are two sevens in this psalm, the Lord will not only grant you comfort, but he will perfect your comfort. The fact that it is twice means he will give you a double portion of perfect comfort. Now, for those who can and will, as the Lord moves upon you, the Lord wants from you $770.00. But some of you are saying, I can’t give that but I can give $77.00. Alright, now some are saying I don’t have that but you have $7.70 and if that is not you, we implore you to God to give your best.”

People who hear and believe these lies cannot stomach the truth because they despise God and his word. They personally select their own shepherds (teachers) who will tell them what they want to hear. The lies they crave are like the itch in the ear they cannot scratch. Putting your finger in your ear satisfies the motion you feel, but it does not cure the itch. Spiritually, they choose these teachers out of a diseased condition of the soul and these are Christians in name only who go their own way. The Lord has not sent these false prophets and God does not shepherd goats.

Unfortunately, we gravitate from one extremity to the next. We either fault all and call them hypocrites, or we excuse all and say they were blind and didn’t know. Rejection of God’s word is deliberate act and in the church today it comes with great guile. There is a form of godliness but it lacks true spiritual power.

For those who will not endure beware. There is a moral relativism in the church that runs rampant and they are quite crafty in their belief and selective in their behavior. If it were you, they would send you to hell in a hand basket. Be on your guard and take the position of the virgins who were in pursuit to meet the bridegroom. When the foolish virgins asked the wise for their oil, the wise virgins replied, “No. Go to those who sell and buy for yourselves!” (St. Matthew 25:9)

 

 

 

God is Able – Smokie Norful

Crash Course on the Atlantic Slave Trade

There is a lot of racial, inflammatory rhetoric centered around the color of one’s skin, especially since this is an election year with polarizing view points on race in America. However, in lieu of the killings both recent of many black men and police enforcement, I think we need to hear some facts about the history of slavery, instead of one’s personal point of view about slavery, since this topic always finds its way in the current narrative.

Unfortunately in America, it is never properly addressed. There are sides that justify it, others shy away from it, or arguments are so explosive that people end up talking pass each other instead of to each other. This issue is reoccurring because we do not deal with the fundamentals of one’s logic, and in doing so we band aid an open wound with symptomatic solutions.

Laws have been put in place to curb one’s behavior, but the law is useless in changing the heart. Simply put, you cannot make anyone accept a person based on the color of their skin.

This snippet is by John Green and the YouTube channel is called Crash Course.

Dear Teen Christian: Mom I Hate You!

WoW! Those are some pretty strong words there and I know sometimes moms tend to get on your nerves and want you to do things that you don’t feel like doing, but I think you need to cool your boots. Everything you say is being weighed by God.

balance

“[F]or out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks…an evil man out of the evil treasure bring bringeth forth evil things…[b]ut I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by your words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words though shalt be condemned.”

St. Matthew 12: 34-37

Your mom must be a pretty special person because most kids who are abused by their parents have a hard time hating them. But you, on the other hand, must be living a pretty good life. It’s usually the children who are treated well who are the least grateful.

Alright, enough with the heavy. Look, I know mom can get on your nerves sometimes and it happens. The reason why you get upset is because you think you know better than your mother and you are not allowed to have what you want when you want it.

How would you feel being on the receiving end of, “Jennifer I hate you!” “Tommy, I wish I was never your mother!” Wouldn’t feel too good, huh? Well, you might stand there with a deer in the headlight look or run away to your grandmother’s or a friend’s house lamenting your teenage woes. Truth is, you wouldn’t know what to do because you lack knowledge, understanding, wisdom and your vision is limited.

I get it. Your parents are not cool and hip. Your bestie or bro looks like they get to do whatever they want and it seems like their parents are the best. They wear what they want, no curfew, and on their side of the tracks they are living the dream. Meanwhile, you are locked in a prison with your own room, Xbox 360, $120 pair of jeans or sneakers or both, running electricity and water living with a bunch of hypocritical parents who have the nerve to preach to you about the goodness of God.

Here’s the deal. Your parents are not your friends and it is their responsibility to ensure your well-being and protection. Most importantly, they have to answer to God on how they raise you.

“Blah, blah, blah. Yeah I know all of that!,” you say. Well, you must be butt-hurt much. Let me give you a sneak peak into my rearview mirror of life.

Would to God I had a mother who loved me and a father who cared. But as life would have it, my mother despised my soul and there was never a day, she would fail to make it known. My biological father? He “opted” to not be a part of my world, so I had to play the cards life dealt to me. I wasn’t afforded the luxury of a mother to pray for me, have me on her mind, and take the time to pray for me. No talk of God. No I love you. No encouragement. Nothing. She was counting the days until I was out of her house.

As for those people I used to hang around with?

  • Many of the girls I went to high school with became pregnant before they graduated. In my day, they were the new and upcoming baby mommas.
  • Some died from drug overdoses.
  • A few who were voted most likely to succeed were given great scholarships and dropped out before sophomore year of college.
  • A best friend was murdered by multiple stabbing.
  • Some were incarcerated for selling drugs or for rape and
  • One guy was sliced on his neck for hanging out with the wrong crowd.

And if I with an unloving, ungodly parent barely escaped, how grateful should you be for having parents who love the Lord and want only the best for you?

Something to think about Teen Christian….

 

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑