Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Great Shaking and Awakening!

Good afternoon!  Here is your inspiration for today!

As I sit here indulging in my daily dose of Candy Crush Saga [LOL, judge not! ;-) ], I'm listening to "Shake Us Again" by Juanita Bynum.  Now, I've listened to this song countless times, especially in my times of devotion; however, the lyrics JUST NOW slapped me in my face!  The chorus is saying "shake us again, shake us again, only You can shake us again."  Now, let's be real: I would imagine that any sane person would ask, "why on EARTH would we tell/ask God to shake us?  What is the purpose of doing that?  Wouldn't that hurt or make us sick?"

As my former pastor, the late Apostle E.K. Wilson, Sr. taught us, "first natural, then spiritual."  Let us look at the word, "shake."  According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, shake is a verb that has several definitions.  One of the definitions state"to move sometimes violently back and forth or up and down with short, quick movements."  In its intransitive verb form, it is defined as "to experience a state of instability." (that will preach!) I am also reminded of another popular gospel song by Evangelist Jekalyn Carr entitled "Greater is Coming."  In this song, Evangelist Carr explains the process of making olive oil (a product that's very significant to the Church/Body of Christ).  The evangelist explains that "an olive has to go through three stages for its oil to run; it has to go through the SHAKING, the beating and the pressing; and just like the olive, some of you may have felt like you go through the shaking, the beating and the pressing. You've went through all of that for your oil to flow.  Now, your greater is coming..." 

In order to get God's very best out of us, He may have to shake us up to bring out His best.
Think about orange juice.  You go to the refrigerator and grab the container.  It looks so good and refreshing to the eye; you almost can't wait to pour it into the glass, embrace the taste and be refreshed.  If you are a label reader like me, you may notice these words that's commonly found on any brand of juice: SHAKE WELL.  As a child, I used to wonder why we have to shake it up before drinking it up.  To my child-like mind, I just want some juice! Taking the time to "shake it well" is slowing up the process of quenching my thirst!  
 Have you ever tasted juice without shaking it up first?  It tastes bitter, lacking much flavor.  The reason why we shake up the juice is because all of the goodness that makes the flavor full and delicious is settled at the bottom.  Why is it settled at the bottom?  Because it's been just SITTING THERE.  STILL. DORMANT. UNUSED.  

QUESTION:  Are you doing what you're supposed to do for the Lord?  Are you just sitting still and sitting down on all of those "good, delicious, fruitful" gifts dwelling on the inside of you?  Do you have some bitterness or unsettling feelings you can't shake?  The reason may be due to disobedience.  He wants us to be obedient to the call He has on our lives.  Sometimes, God got to shake you up to get that "oil" (gifts, productivity, spiritual significance to the Body) flowing so OTHERS may be blessed and "refreshed" for His glory, through YOU! We should desire to be vessels that are fit for the Master's use!

Here's another aspect of the significance of SHAKING:  God desires to bless His people, however He wants us to not only be HUMBLE and content with what we have, but He wants us to APPRECIATE the things He blesses us with.  He doesn't want us to use tangible things as a source of DEPENDENCY.  If God sees us going in the direction of depending upon THINGS, or thinking that we "got it going on" because we have nice things (i.e., steady job and income, luxury, etc.), He may allow us"to experience a state of instability" to awaken the realization/reminder that Jesus is our sure foundation!  He's our ROCK!  In Philippians 4:19, Apostle Paul says "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (emphasis added) Saints, All blessings come from HIM!  You may THINK it was YOU who made it possible;but truly, it was all GOD.  Give Him the credit that's due to HIM. 

I'm going to be transparent right now:  I remember when I was working for the County of Wayne.  I admit: I thought I had it going on!  I was surrounded by people with "titles," working in a department where "climbing the economic ladder" through promotion was HIGHLY POSSIBLE!    "I was working for the GOVERNMENT-HELLO! *snap!*snap!*snap!*" (laughing out loud) My income met my every need, plus some. Although I tithed consistently, gave offerings faithfully, remained faithful to church and the music ministry... that old, ugly and abominable PRIDE crept in.  God had to knock me off my high horse. Therefore, the County laid me off due to "budget cuts."  The time period between May 2009 and January 2011 was a dry season, but a blessed one.  I was unemployed for almost two years, but Jesus proved Himself strong as my ROCK during that humbling season.  He gave me over to intercessory prayer. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I was hitting my knees with the other prayer warriors at church.  He blessed me to finish my undergraduate studies at Wayne State University. It was also in that season, God dealt with me concerning the call on my life. When I humbled myself, acknowledged and accepted the call, DOORS OPENED!  Jobs that I DIDN'T apply for and jobs I FORGOT I applied to called me for interviews!  I accepted the job that was OFFERED to me at my current place of employment, AM1440 WDRJ.  In fact, I celebrated my third year anniversary at WDRJ yesterday (2/14/14).  
(shameless plug: reminded me of what my NOW pastor, Pastor Mary Bragg, said to me years ago: "Shairon, your blessings come through your OBEDIENCE."  Note:  I was running from the call for years-I just didn't see myself as a preacher!  Well, Isaiah 55:8-9 did say that His thoughts are not our thoughts, right?  When I humbled myself and obeyed God, it was almost like He said "Okay, Daughter!!  Here you go!!" Blessings, blessings, blessings!!

I said all of that to say this: That is GRACE, y'all!  While I was running from the call, God could have got fed up with my hard-headed self and cut me off-BUT GOD.  As Israel Houghton said in song, "where would I be, if not for YOUR GRACE...."

The shaking (form of discipline) is not a harsh act; it is GRACE unleashed.  Deuteronomy 8:5 says, "Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee." Hence, thank God for the shaking/whooping He lays on us.  It hurts, but it is for OUR GOOD.  Remember how your mother would say (after laying it TOUGH on your behind), "I did this because I love you?" In our young minds, we thought "SAY WHAT?!"  Now that I'm a little older and a little wiser, I understand now.

Always remember to keep God first and that just as quickly as we obtain things, we can lose them.  Remember that GOD is our SOURCE. Finally, allow God to shake you up to awaken the GIFTS in YOU!  Know that even through the shaking, the beating and the pressing, it is GOD'S merciful hand upon you.  You never know, some one's deliverance may come through YOU!

For HIS glory, I pray you were inspired,


Scripture references: Genesis 22:14; Psalm 23; Matthew 6:33; 2 Corinthians 4:7-9; Philippians 4:19; 1 Peter 4:12-13

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Just sharing, purging and releasing!

Good evening Fam,

Today is February 5th, and this is my FIRST BLOG for 2014.  SHAME ON ME!

One of the reasons why I am typing this is to not only get back into the rhythm of CONSISTENT writing, but to use this as an outlet in an effort to be "free to breathe," if you will. :-)

Seriously, I have been suffering with a severe degree of writer's block, along with lack of inspiration.  Wow, talk about a double whammy, right?  I have a novel that is on "stuck," along with several ideas bouncing around in my head like an out-of-control ball in a pinball machine. Lord knows I want to get these projects finished, edited and published.  I don't understand why I am feeling this mental "halt."  It's like things aren't flowing the way I want to.  I often wonder...WHY?!

In my case, one of the main reasons is the mistake of allowing distractions to fill my view/schedule. Allow me to explain.  We can become SO consumed with the matters of this world (work,  family/personal issues, inward struggles, etc.) that we tend to put our goals so far on the back burner to where it's literally on the edge of being tossed into the trashcan.  

Honestly, I haven't been FULLY on track since the passing of my former pastor, Apostle E.K.
Wilson, Sr.  His death literally RATTLED my world. Besides Jesus Christ, he was also our rock. He held our church and our fellowship together.  Look at the calender of my blog posts. You will see a HUGE decline since the beginning of 2012 (around the time of his death, 2/12/12).  

Of course, devastating events will rock our world, but it is NOT supposed to keep us down and inactive, eventually crippling us.  We supposed to have our time of regrouping/refreshing and get back on track.  In the event we find ourselves in a dry season of feeling discouraged and unnecessary, we must recognize and acknowledge the issue, literally STOP, DROP to our knees and PRAY.  Psalms 34:4 - I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. I fell victim to allowing the cares of this world to distract me from my goals and passions, and I am asking God to help me get back on track.  I thank God for hearing my humble cry, and I trust that He is going to help me get back on track and sharpen my focus to where I will not be so easily distracted.  My prayer is that He intensify my drive to complete what I started, trusting that He will be the lamp unto my feet and the light unto my pathway.

The awesome thing about a new day is that it is another opportunity to get it right-both naturally and spiritually.  It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)  I thank God for allowing me the chance to get it right, for giving me a new focus, for He has made all things new and I shall follow Jesus forward!

Living each day with expectancy, I remain,

It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.
~Lamentations 3:26