Father's, you know our work is never done, right? Think about it from this perspective. We are set as the heads of our households, right? This thought may not apply to all men with children. I am speaking to those who fully accept, operate in, and carry the burden of being a FATHER! Now that I've said that, our example of Father is God, Himself. Look closely at your relationships and dealings with your kids? Are you not ALWAYS on "go" for them? Are you not ALWAYS the one who is expected to fix what breaks, make sense of what's confusing, protect, serve and provide? A Father knows that his life is never about him, but about his relationship with God, his family, and being what God calls him to be for all. We love hard and in a way that only other Fathers and God can fully grasp. Our shoulders are never free from some sort of weight. Our legs never buckle or show the true strain they experience. A Father is very familiar with the "back-burner" and is fine being there as long as the needs of his household are met.
I think back to times when I know I've fallen short, and the common denominator in every case was selfishness; those days and times when I decided to take my life into my own faulty hands and make my life what I wanted it to be. To walk away from God and choose our personal pride over all else, is to set our entire houses to fall. God knows what's best, and He is that carrot being dangled in front our donkey selves. Focusing in on Him will always get us down the road of Fatherhood, safely. Humility is VITAL! NEVER step into the place of God, thinking you can blot Him out and live a successful life!! Let me break it down a bit. Apart from God, THE Almighty, Creator of ALL things, Knower of ALL things, GIVER OF LIFE, we are idiots, weak, unwise fools. We are NOTHING, apart from and in comparison to GOD!!
Fathers, our burdens are heavy, but guess what? We are the ONLY ones able to carry them! We have to be the image of God's likeness in our homes. We MUST be the men we want our sons to grow up to be. We MUST be the men we want our daughters to grow up and marry! PLAIN AND SIMPLE!!
On behalf of ALL Fathers, thank God for the women in our lives who help us to be the men we need to be, who understand us, our responsibility, and our devotion. I thank God for my wife, Nadiya, who has been exactly what God has called her to be for me. I pray that I am and continue to be all that God has called me to be for her! Behind every real man and father, you will find an AWESOME woman, be it a wife, girlfriend, mother, sister, or even homegirl. By God's design, Man needs Woman and Woman needs Man.
Happy Friday Y'all!! Show your families that you love them this weekend in some way, small or big!! God Bless, and I love you all!!
In one of my recent classes, there was talk about transparency. As ministers, how transparent should we be? Should we be 100% "see through"? Or is it okay, at times, to be translucent or even opaque? I've heard pastors tell all their business in the pulpit, in effort to be transparent and make certain points. Imagine going deeply into your past transgressions, in much detail, before an audience that includes and age range from 1 to 75. Is this 100% transparency appropriate for everyone in the audience? Not only must we consider the age range, but we also must consider varying levels of mental and spiritual maturity. This is just a quick snippet of a thought that has been stalking me ever since I witnessed a few of my writings being bitten off of and regurgitated.
One of my approaches to transparency is what I like to call the "scratch and sniff" approach. How many of you remember the scratch and sniff stickers your teachers used to put on your worksheets in elementary school?? Grape was my favorite!! Think about it. You didn't get a scent from the sticker until you scratched it. So, if you didn't care the the sticker had in store for you, you simply didn't scratch it. Sometimes, I feel that our level of transparency is determined by who's asking and when they're asking. Offering too much, unsolicited information can do more harm than good when dealing with varying levels of spiritual maturity and growth. Sometimes we have to wait until we are "scratched" before divulging certain scents of our pasts.
As I think more about this "scratch and sniff" approach, there is another name that I could give this approach: "The Poot Rock" approach. LOL!! Some of you may know what I'm talking about, especially those of you who had ever played around the railroad tracks by 3-Mile Creek in the Crichton area of Mobile, AL. They were these grayish black rocks that looked a bit like sponges. When you scratched one on a hard surface, it smelled like someone ripped a mean one, in a small hot, humid room after knocking of a whole pot of baked beans and some collard greens. LOL!!
We all need a good laugh, every now and then, right?? HAPPY MONDAY!! Ya'll have an AWESOME week!!
P.S. If I have made any sense in this post, AWESOME! I
I saw a car commercial last night, and the voice of the commercial mentioned, "Courage invites critics." Good point, I thought to myself. Think about the times in your life when your heart burned to do something outside of the norm, something different, something that went totally against family or religious tradition. Were you not heavily criticized by those around you?? Was your sanity not questioned?? Were you not placed at a distance from some who once walked closely beside you? I encourage you all to NEVER allow the critics to move you out of your courageous hearts, into fearful minds!! Yes, there is a such thing as "constructive" criticism, but when you KNOW your own heart and KNOW what God has placed there for you to pursue and to accomplish, then you HAVE to move forward with what you KNOW to be true. Constructive criticism is good and it only plays into you completing your mission and achieving your goal. That's how you determine the type to criticism you're receiving. Is it to build you up or tear you down?
People will always criticize what they don't understand; what they can't fit into a box, category, or stereotype; what they can't manipulate or control; and what often times isn't even their business. Just know, as the car commercial stated, "courage invites critics." Whenever you step up or out to do, say, or start anything that goes against the flow of complacency and the stillness of stagnation, there will be those who agree, and there will be those who disagree. Simply HOLD TIGHT, to what God has placed in your heart! Criticisms can only attack the mind, but the heart is where God deals and dwells. When things get crazy and mentally confusing, look to your heart for true guidance and clear vision of what it is you must do.
This morning, I read the news that James Gandolfini died of a heart attack yesterday while on vacation in Italy. This was a shocker to me. He was a most known for his role as Tony Soprano in the HBO Original Series, "The Sopranos." Not only was he EXCELLENT in this series, he also played amazing roles as "Winston" the homosexual hitman, in "The Mexican; "Mickey" the washed up, depressed, and out of control hitman, in "Killing Them Softly; and the Mayor of New York in "The Taking of Pelham 123." These are just a few of his standout roles for me. As I think of how shocked I was to read this morning's news of his death, I asked myself, "why?" Why are you so shocked, Bryan??
Although we know death is real and is coming for each and every one of us, it's never expected. I took Mr. Gandolfini's life for granted, just as I often take my own life for granted. We all do. We all think we have more time than we may actually have, and we tend to life in reflection of this. Procrastination has been my personal issue since middle school. I fight it everyday and suck at it. I know that my days under the sun are limited, but I, like many of you, fail to make the best of every minute of life. True, not one of us is perfect, but I'd be willing to bet that we all have fallen short, a time or two, in maxing out our days, under the sun.
Knowing that someone has lived their life to the fullest, maxing out their days, their potential, their gifts, and abilities gives us peace in the time of his/her death. Am I at peace, right now, with my life? Certain aspects, yes. Overall, not completely. There is so much I have to do, catch up on, and accomplish. So, my heart and my mind are not at total ease.
There is SO MUCH that we all take for granted, thinking we can get to it tomorrow, but we all know for a fact that tomorrow is not promised to any of us. If we see another day, it is by God's grace ALONE!! I pray that God be with the family of Mr. Gandolfini, bringing them peace, strength and understanding in their time of mourning and need. I pray that his life was one that God smiles upon. Amen.
Just as many movie stars and worldly famous folks are stalked by crazy fans, actions are stalked by RE-actions, doings are stalked by UN-doings, presents are stalked by pasts, and choices are stalked by consequences. I try to get my children to understand that EVERY thing they do will affect someone or something in some way. Look at it this way. Life is an ocean, in which we all are treading. Every movement movement we make, causes ripples and waves that will touch those around us. In life, we are in constant motion and constant growth.
There is nothing anyone can do to make any of this not so, but we can take approaches to keep our stalkers at bey or even make our stalkers work to our benefit and the benefit of others. We do this by making the right choices. Choosing good over evil, choosing positive and constructive RE-actions, choosing to put our pasts in their proper places as stepping stones and lessons learned, and simply doing that which builds up and does not tear down.
I'm just talking out of the side of my neck right now. This thought just hit me out of the blue...........
HAPPY TUESDAY Y'ALL!! MAY GOD BLESS YOU, EACH AND EVERY ONE!!
"WHAT???!!" many of you may ask. Well, see if you can follow me on this. Yesterday, when I got to the daycare to pick up Davyd, all the kids were in rare form. Some were fearful, some were hysterical, and some were just plain excited.
First, I heard, "There are ducks in the bathroom!!" Over and over the little kids were telling me this. After a few minutes, it changed to, "There are MONKEYS in the bathroom!!" After seeing my nephew paralyzed with fear and crying his heart out, I wondered, "What the devil is going on in this place??" Then, I thought, "Shoot, and I have to go pee too!!"
Come to find out, the kids had just watched Jumanji. As I recall the movie, I must admit that "them monkeys" were some scary twisted little creatures!! Needless to say, there were no monkeys in any of the restrooms although little kids' behaviors can be a bit "monkey-ish" at times. As easily as the kids believed that there truly were sinister monkeys in the bathroom, I could have told them that my arm was a special arm and could transform into a "monkey pulverizer disintegrator gun". Then, I'd walk into the restroom and close the door behind me, leaving the kids anxiously waiting for results. After a series of, "Boom's," "Pow Pow's," "AHHHHH's," and "Die Monkey, Die's," I'd come out to inform the kids that all the monkeys are gone and the bathroom is safe.
Don't you wish that gossip was this easy to destroy?? We, as the children were, are more ready to believe the latest gossip, mess, lies, and slander than we are to believe that search out truth. We are prone to believe that which does not exist over what does. We would rather believe what so&so says about so&so than to believe what Pastor says about the promises of God. Some "special person" may say, "well we can't see any of what the Pastor says about the Holy Spirit!!" WRONG!! The HOLY SPIRIT can be seen each and every day in the deeds and words of the righteous. It can be seen in the real love the some folks have for others. IT IS EVIDENT!!
Anyway, back to what I was saying: Some of the kids truly believed that there were "Jumanji Monkeys," not just regular monkeys, in the bathrooms. And some of the kids were truly like, "Whatever!" Which are you, a believer in nonsense, falsehoods, gossip, and lies?? Or are you a seeker and believer of truth that comes from God through His Word Jesus Christ??
There are no monkeys in my bathroom, and if ever there are, they would get straight dealt with by my "Monkey Pulverizing Disintegrator Gun!!" Joyce Meyer said this morning that, "The easiest way to kill anything is to simply not feed it." Starve it to death. What is it that we are feeding in our lives?? What is it that we are giving our minds to??
The kids fed their imaginations by believing in the monkeys. In the same way, we feed negativity in our own lives with gossip, slander, complaining, and giving into all things that are no good for our souls or our salvation. Yet, some of us do feed our spirits more than we feed the flesh by giving our minds over to God's Word and God's Will.
To kill nonsense in our lives, starve it to death. Don't participate or waste time with gossip and lies. Rumors are no good either. Feed your life with power pellets of positivity!! Remember what power pellets did for Pac-Man against the ghost thingies??? The WORD of GOD does the same for us!!
"Monkeys In The Bathroom" is my new term for gossip, slander, lies, deception, evil, and all other things that are not of God. So, STOP FEEDING THE MONKEYS IN THE BATHROOM!!!!
TRUTH stands and can never be defeated!!
At birth, I was looked at, labeled, and crammed into a bucket called "black." Growing up I learned to look black, talk black, act black, and be black because that's what society told me to do. At the age of 14, God started to hold conversations with me about how things are, but most importantly about how things are supposed to be. I started to challenge traditional teachings and paddle against the flow. I no longer cared about black, something the world has claimed me to be. My only concern became that which God has called me to be and see. Friends, as well as family have been offended at times by my choice to simply be.
Does this offend you when I say that there is NOTHING black about me, except my "Be Bold" bracelet with Acts 4:29, on my wrist?
Too many of us are imprisoned by worldly words we are given to live by, when in fact, there is only ONE WORD by which we ALL should live. As Bob Marley said a while back, "Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds." As long as we allow ourselves to reside in categories , we will always find conflict. Black hates white, Red trusts no one, brown is cool but sometimey and shadey, yellow is all over the place, blue wants everybody to get along, orange is stupid. Makes no sense, right?? Well, why claim a color to define your life?? If you choose to be colored, at least take note of the fact that you have nevers seen riots at the Crayola factory.........
We are enslaved, not by the ignorance of others, but by the ignorance that exists in our own minds and beings.........
It's not a fault of your kids when your flaws begin to show in them. As parents, we have to be humble enough to recognize those things that our children get from us. It's not always the fault of the world, the music, the chosen friends, or the media! We, PARENTS, are the primary teachers, instructors, counselors, advisors, care-givers, spiritual leaders, role-models, and providers for our children. Having children should never be looked upon as "the thing to do," a way of financial gain, or the unwanted consequence of selfish pleasure seeking!! How we raise our children SHOULD mean the world to us!! Think about it. They will be the world once we are dead and gone. The leaders of tomorrow reside in our homes TODAY!!
Rather than allow our kids to make OUR mistakes, let us catch them before they fall and set them up for successful futures. HONESTY is key. We have to be a bit transparent while they are young and more transparent when they are older. Our lives are testimonies. Creating a firm foundation of honesty and trust between you and your kids will mean a lot to their future. They should be able to trust your advice, all the days of their lives and KNOW that their best interest is what you are all about. PATIENCE is another key, especially when you see yourself rising up in them; that self of yours that you thought was conquered and left dead in the past. When that old you rises up in your kids, it's magnified by the world of today, and as much as I hate to say it, much of the old school ways of dealing with it have no true effect on it. Yes, we have to come up with different angles while holding on to the base foundation of moral truth.
I often think about my kids, more now, while they are spending the summer with their mother. I CLEARLY see me, all up in their attitudes, good and bad. I see my own stubbornness in them, as well as my thought patterns. When their anger flares up, I know it's me in them. There were times when they saw me angry and I made no attempt to hide it. There were times they saw or heard heated arguments between their mother and I, that should have never taken place around them. Children take in so much of us when we think the things we are doing are harmless. EVERYTHING we do affects our kids in some way or another. I am certain that 10, 15, 20 years from now, they will recall, remember, and remind me of things I did or said while they were still very young. I know this for a fact because I do it to my parents.
God created us in His image and likeness. It's not much different with our kids. They are OUR image and likeness. We must take the same approach with our kids that God takes with us, the parents. We must be everything we can be for them. We have to LOVE them the way God loves us. We HAVE to show them the same mercy, grace, and forgiveness that God shows each and EVERY one of us. We have to hear them out, just as God hears our prayers. Simply put, God is THE parent's guide to raising kids. Just think about it.......
Every life is a story, and in every story, lies a testimony. Once you get a grip on your story and your testimony, God's will for YOUR life becomes that much clearer. Yet, no matter how clear His will becomes to you, there is still the choice. With everything God does for us and gives to us, He leaves us with the choice. Every day, we wake up with the choice. So, once you've chosen, live with the choice, accepting every thing that comes along after. I'll leave you with it.......
It is my personal belief that true forgiveness is something beyond human ability. Our words can offer it, easily, BUT for it to exist, truly, in your heart, there must be divine influence in there somewhere. Have you ever felt God in your heart, in a way that baffles you? Have you ever found yourself doing the right thing, while your mind asks, "What the hell are you doing??" God doesn't speak to your mind! He speaks to your heart! So, your heart will not always agree with the thoughts that occupy your mind. I've found myself in situations where my only response has been "I forgive you!" while my own mind was in a vengeful uproar against the individual who had wronged me. I give all that credit to God for invaded my heart, taking over, and protecting me from defiling myself at those moments.
I say True Forgiveness is beyond human ability, because there is peace that follows it: a LASTING peace over the situation that can't be explained. Nothing done by human hands will last. The source of everlasting is God. FOR ME, it is impossible to know true peace, to know true love, to know true forgiveness, without knowing God & all that He has given us through His Son, Jesus Christ.
You don't have to have confessed your life to Christ in order for God to operate, freely, in and around your life. At some point, the confession has to take place in your spiritual growth. Think about it. How many people have you heard of being saved from deadly situations, healed of illness, and freed from the bondage of various addictions BEFORE confessing their lives to Christ?? God does as He wills, when He wills, however He wills! If this bothers anyone, then what god are you serving?? My personal testimony would be at the time I was diagnosed with Type I diabetes, December 1, 1990, my freshman year at C. F. Vigor High School in Prichard Alabama (GO WOLFPACK!!). Only those familiar with what healthy blood sugar levels should be, may understand this. My blood sugar level was 996. My personal target range is between 90 and 120. I can credit the doctors for getting my blood sugar leveled out while at the hospital, but I can ONLY give God the credit for giving me the ability to attend school, play basketball, live normally all while my blood sugar was beyond coma level, and live long enough to see December 1, 1990. This was all 9 years before the confession of my life to Christ.
God is working in the lives of EVERYONE, the good, the bad, and the totally lost, EVERY DAY!! Do we ALL not belong to Him?? All life belongs to God!! This is one of the things that the young man Elihu reminded Job and his homies of, after spending time listening to a bunch of foolishness, "If it were His intention and He withdrew His Spirit and Breath, all mankind would perish together and man would return to dust." (Job 34:14 &15). With that being said, God is the God of ALL!! Saved and unsaved, GOD IS GOD OF ALL!! Jew, Gentile, Muslim, Catholic, Baptist, Atheist, Agnostic, GOD IS GOD OF ALL!! Whether you like it or not, GOD IS GOD OF ALL!! To say that He is not is to say He is not God AT all!
Forgiveness is of God, which makes it divine. ALL life has divine origin and belongs to its Creator, which connects us ALL to Him! Why do you think Jesus had SO MUCH compassion for us ALL??! God is the actively involved and concerned Father of ALL! I feel we often limit our own views and understandings of Who God REALLY is. That is why it is so hard for us to understand a community forgiving a man who has murdered their children. That is why it is so hard for us to accept the crackhead into the congregation, as a crackhead. That is why it is SO easy for us to judge, ridicule, shun, and excommunicate, over crimes we all have committed but just didn't get caught committing them! When we lose sight of God and Who He TRULY is, we lose sight of what life is all about. As Elihu said earlier, if God withdraws His breath, we all would cease to exist, outside of lifeless corpses, littering the surface of Creation.
HAPPY THURSDAY Y'ALL!! In the words of a done homie, "I'M THOO!!"
Bryan Hollomon Williams