The Heart of Mathew 23

Kathy had called. I was in the shower so couldn’t take the call. I called her back.

“hello Kathy are you ready for the conference”?

“Not quite yet but I’ll be in a while. Do you want to pick me up…or?”

I’ll get you. Better be ready when I get there. It’s gonna be crowded and we need to get a good spot”

She laughed heartily. “Sure I’ll be waiting when you arrive”.

“Okay dear.” She can be a drag sometimes but she’s great company to have around especially on a day like this.

Word had gone around over the internet,  Facebook, twitter and the news outlets, that a great Man of God was coming to town, the greatest evangelist that ever lived and was  touring many cities in many countries of the world.

And indeed so many people and nations gathered here in the city of Houston, Texas to hear him preach. The Church has never been this excited, and so were many church leaders from the numerous Mega churches in the country and the world. They came in from Dallas, Louisiana, Atlanta, Washington DC, North Carolina and even from some African nations like Nigeria, and cities far and near to hear this wonderful evangelist. No one had ever seen or heard him preach face to face.

The leaders of the Pentecostal movement, Pastors of the well-known mega churches and dignitaries of Christian Broadcast Networks were ushered into seats in the front row as expected. They had flown in with their private jets, others had driven in their Lincoln, Cadillac, Mercedes, Lamborghini and it was a spectacle to see them descend on our city. It was phenomenal. Nothing  quite like it has ever been seen or heard before.

Countless regular, everyday people like my friend and I were in attendance; the disciples, you know the followers of Christ, the church goers, members of those mega churches and believers all around who could make their way here. This was promising to be a first of its kind extraordinary event…

renowned praise and worship leaders led the worship. It was out of this world. Heaven came down and glory filled the place…

Then the message came forth and all were in awe, mouths were agape, jaws dropped, for none had been quite as direct, they all recognized him.

And he spoke to the crowd….

‘The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses,…Kathy whispered into my ears “in today’s parlance that would be  the word of God or the bible right?” “right” I replied.

‘ So, practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example’

“Really?”  Kathy spoke in my ears again.”Oh boy!, the first jab falls and some of those Juggernaut preachers must have flinched in their seats.”

and he went on;

‘For they don’t practice what they teach. They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden’.

“Woo, woo, woo! more and more jabs keep falling and it feels like Mohammed Ali in the boxing ring landing those body blows and upper cuts weakening his opponents.” Kathy keeps talking.  I don’t know how to stop her. It’s so distracting and funny at the same time.

The man of God continued;

‘Everything they do is for show….

Aha! I almost jumped out of my seat. It was a good jab. Ironically, those front seated  religious big wigs  kept getting up in standing ovation. Are they blind and tone-deaf?  They must not hear him. He’s talking about them. Can’t they get it? Continue reading

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Nature is Beauty.

Nature is Beauty.

You are loved by a God who created
All the beauty that you see…
Across the vast Plains in Texas,
The towering mountains of Kilimanjaro and Everest
And the Rolling Hills of San Pedro, California.

Behold Him;
In the openness of flowers;
blue bells and marigold, heralding us to Spring time.
And in the togetherness of lush, green, grass
carpeting the lawn,
To the freshness of blossoming cascades of creeping vines,
That adorn the picket fence.

Behold our God;
In the expanses of green-blue seas,
that touch an endless stretch of bright, blue sky
Or the moonlit night sky,
with its supporting cast of glowing stars.
In the hues of shades of colors of the human race and
The domain where the Lion is King.

You, behold the God of love,
In the beauty spots of the Leopard,
In the wonder that arranged the black stripes on the Zebra
Or was it the white stripes on the Zebra?
Do you know? Or do you care any which way?

Who gave the cardinal it’s marvelous shades of orange and red?
Behold your God,
my God in the splendor of the beauty that surrounds you!

From,
Notes to Sammy.

America, the Beautiful!

The beauty of America is in its diversity. I believe that’s why she is fondly referred to as “God’s own Country”..  God is the grand author of diversity; The miracle of diversity is displayed in the whole of creation. God’s creation is beautiful and awesome in its uniqueness, such that no two blades of grass are the same, no two of our fingerprints are alike , yet together, the grass carpets the lawn with such lush of glory and beauty, and we marvel at how distinctly our fingerprints with the help of science celebrate our originality.

Any immigration reform that diminishes this reality diminishes the glory bestowed upon this nation by God. A glory that shines through in the ethos of entrepreneurship, hard work, and a dogged determination to create a life better than the one left behind. That dream is the common thread that binds us all together. 
God bless America! Happy 4th of July.

Are You Listening?

I’ll attempt to describe how in the course of a five hour ride around town, under temperatures of 102 degrees, God in His loving kindness “deployed” an angel to minister to me.
God speaks, but the pertinent question is: Are you listening?
Yes, I had a few questions on my mind that I desperately desired answers to, sought them fervently in prayer, and God was silent!

I recall coming out of the human resources office, deciding that the job I was offered a few days back was after all, not a match. I also remember Sarah saying to me; “It’s alright if you have to leave; God deployed you to meet me.”

All of a sudden she felt strangely familiar, and in that moment of illumination, I became aware that God had been speaking to me the whole day. Jesus literally took me on a ride in this car and was having a conversation with me through Sarah. All evening long, sitting at my bedside I kept wondering why she felt so familiar? Like I ‘d known her before? Her face floats up before my vision with such ease. I just picture her so clearly. I think I know why.

All day long, for nearly five hours, Sarah and I drove around the Harris County area visiting patients in their homes. I was new to the company, seeing I wasn’t familiar with the area; she had offered the previous day to drive me around in the company’s car which she checked out herself. Just this once she said, to get me started.
Then, somehow down the the road, the conversations about God had started. In my head, I thought funny how my recruiter had told me not to talk about religion at the interview. Who does that at an interview anyway?Or did she mean on the Job? She had also added no discussions about politics. Whatever! I sighed quietly. I have this chutzpah, while engaging in conversations about God, because I’m excited about Him!

Anyway, Sarah talked about her new house, and how a few friends in benevolence, were going to help her out in a move that would otherwise, be exorbitant to execute. Family members from out of town would also come out to shower their love and support. I chose to just listen more, rather than offer any suggestions mostly, trying to get to know my benefactor and simply enjoy the ride and the moment; she didn’t seem to be soliciting any, but did jokingly ask if I wanted to come out and help her move. I told my kind driver that I would love to but for the distance. I meant it. If she lived close to me, I would have gladly done so for the adventure. I felt a keen sense of kindred tie with this woman, didn’t exactly know why, as she continued to share about God’s goodness in her life.

I love testimonies. They keep my faith invigorated and my hope alive.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” That is the biblical definition of faith. I had recently meditated that scripture. Sarah may not be a preacher, but her testimonies refreshed my mind of how faithful God had been in my own life, His ever present help in numerous times of need, and an all sufficient provider of all that I have ever needed. Each time she testified, my heart warmed up at the unfailing love of God.
God had met her every need, she said. Her home is paid off. She had it rented out due to some changes in her financial situation. That resonated with me. It reminded me of a similar time four years ago, and how God came true for me. Her testimonies reinforced to me that whatever I was going through now, was going to be just fine.
She’s now moving into a new place, a beach house she was blessed with through the generosity of friends. With this arrangement, she’ll only have to pay $300 a month, and take care of just basic bills.

Now, the testimonies snowball into those of others who have come into her circle. She is renting her house to two sisters who have been praying for a place to live. One of the sisters has been paying $30.00 a day for taxi rides to work from where they live presently. In prayer one day, the two sisters had been walking around Sarah’s neighborhood, and “claimed” her house which was advertised for rent. Sarah, also was seeking guidance concerning who to rent to. When Sarah heard their testimony, she understood why an earlier prospect had failed to call her back as she had promised. “How God works,” she said.
One of her renters, will now be living within a five minute walk from her job. Saved from an expensive 30 dollar a day taxi ride to work, the sisters readily paid an up front deposit of $1400 which helped Sarah out of a financial muddle.
As I sat in the car listening to all the testimonies, my faith was bolstered, and flashes of reassuring memories of how living by faith works, warmed my spirit, emboldened me to stay in prayer and believe God for a turn around in my own trials.
God does indeed speak! And how I needed to hear those stories of faith to help mine increase, so I can stand and believe God to meet me at the point of my own needs.
Thank you Sarah. Yes, God deployed me to meet you! Your light shone so bright, and those words of testimony…salt angel! I hope in some way, He used me to to touch too! Stay in faith as I will!

P.s
For some reason, I felt like I was supposed to pay for your lunch when we went out to eat. I also recall another testimony you shared of how you needed two hundred dollars, and a lady had come back to tell you God laid it in her heart to repay you two hundred dollars from a previous transaction. That was an exact amount you needed to meet some need.
This adds another dimension to this story. It isn’t so much, whether you are listening. An equally important question is; How are you listening? Are you listening for answers to your needs alone, to bolster your faith alone, or to be driven to obedience to meet someone else’s need, to lift another up who is down? What does God need you to do?
On the road to Damascus, Jesus met with Paul and he was given the ministry of reconciliation of the Jews and the Gentiles. While on the road doing and being, listen up.