Friday, December 8, 2017

Because You're Mine, I Walk The Line

I guess you're saying or thinking, here she goes with another blog based off another song.

Well, yeah.

Here am I, once again, with another blog that stemmed from another song.  Being a musician who loves the word of God, I guess it's only befitting to receive fresh revelation from God through song lyrics.

I love the movie, Walk The Line, which chronicles the life of Johnny Cash and his budding relationship with June Carter Cash.  One of his hit records shared the same title of the movie. When I heard him croon the words, because you're mine, I walk the line, I thought about it from a spiritual perspective.  I researched the song lyrics' meaning, and according to Wikipedia, it says, "The song's lyrics refer to marital fidelity, personal responsibility, and avoiding temptation and criminal behavior."

My pastor gave a demonstration one Sunday about how this Christian walk is and should be.
The Bible says that wide (or broad) is the way that leads to destruction, and narrow is the way which leads to life (Matthew 7:13-14).  The word "line" is defined as "a long narrow mark on the surface." (Merriam Webster) The narrow way gives no room to fall into error. There's virtually no room to sway off track.  If you do, it could be life-threatening (naturally and spiritually). It's straight and rigid. Think about a tightrope walker in the circus.  They carefully walk that tightrope, slowly placing one foot after another.  Sure, they have a safety net (JESUS) under them to catch them; but their aim,  focus and driving initiative is NOT to fall; their aim is to walk the line without falling (without making an error).  Sure way to NOT FALL is to live life through the word of God.  Be doers, not hearers only! (James 1:22)

But the singer says, because you're mine, I walk the line.


Johnny Cash, I Walk The Line
Picture courtesy of Google

I think about how much I truly love the Lord and how I belong to Him.  I am in total awe of His amazing grace.  I was redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb, the shed blood of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 9:12).  By His amazing grace through faith and His Son, I am saved. He loves me with an everlasting love according to Jeremiah 31:3.  And because I am God's, I walk the line.

Because I truly love the Lord and desire to honor Him with my entire life, I walk the line.  I walk the straight and narrow path.  I walk according to the word of God. I am ever so grateful for each day He blesses me to see. I walk the line not because I'm scared of eternal damnation (although I am terrified of the thought, that's not my sole reason why I walk this Walk); I walk the line because He first loved me, and I love God, through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Even in our relationships (for those of us who believes in and practices monogamy), it's pretty much the same. Because of the love we have for our mate/spouse, we walk the line.  We care about their heart; we desire to be a help and make them happy.  Walking the line is a discipline that's rewarding on a multitude of levels.

So, I totally get Johnny Cash; I just flipped the words:

Because I'm God's, I walk the line...

Shairon
www.sltllc.com 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Love TKO

As a musician and a writer, I am captivated by unique time signatures, minor keys, a smooth funk groove with lyrics that carry a riveting message.  I love songs that resonates with my spirit, for music carries a spirit indeed.

Lately, I've been paying a lot of attention to lyrics.  It is amazing how I gain messages out of songs I've been hearing for years-even songs as far back as my childhood.  There is one I loved as a kid, simply because of it's smooth funk groove. It's the kind of song that accentuates a long, leisurely drive on a hot, summer evening.  As a child, I had no idea what the artist was singing about; I simply loved the beat. I didn't know what a "Love T.K.O." was.  But as one gets older, that person has a tendency to pay more attention to the lyrics.
  
Growing up in a household with a boxing fan - my Dad -, I knew TKO was an acronym for "technical knock out." I had no clue how to relates or connects with love, however.  Just a couple of weeks ago, I kept hearing the late Teddy Pendergrass singing these particular words in his song:

Takes a fool to lose twice
And start all over again
Think I'd better let it go
Looks like another love T.K.O. (oh, oh, oh, )




I had a continual loop of those lyrics in my mind.  First of all, I'm wondering why am I hearing this song in particular in my spirit?  And those words?

Because I was the fool who lost twice, attempted to start all over again, when I should have let it go.


WOW.  OKAY, JESUS!


It is amazing how God speaks to us through the most unexpected and unusual things!  Yes!  I received a message through a secular song that truly hit home with me and my situation at that time.

There was a person who I gave too many chances to. Kept starting over with a fresh, positive mindset thinking, it will be better and things will progress nicely. Yeah right.

I have learned that when a person shows you who they truly are, BELIEVE THEM.
Yes, people can change; b
ut when you see this person's character in a consistent manner, and it's an unflattering one, believe them and humbly retreat. I got hit with a Love T.K.O; but PRAISE GOD, although down, I wasn't counted out.


A TKO is "when a fighter is getting pummeled and is unable to defend him/herself further. The referee or other applicable staff will step in and make a judgement call to end it and prevent the fighter from receiving any more unnecessary or permanent damage, and call it a TKO."


Although you're hurt, because you love that person, you're willing to get back in the ring.  Bruised and busted up, you sit in the corner in an effort to regain your posture after that devastating blow of disappointment inflicted by the one you love.  


But, you love this individual. So you hop up, ready to fight, once again, for your relationship.  


Then here comes God, the referee.  Aren't you glad when God steps in as a referee and make a judgment call to prevent any more unnecessary damage? 


The Scripture tells us in Jeremiah that God loves us with an everlasting love. Sometimes, that love is displayed in a tough manner, like a sudden end to a relationship that was truly toxic although we couldn't recognize or chose to deny its toxicity.  God is all-knowing and has our best interests at heart.  


Don't get in your feelings, turn on the referee (God) and start fighting Him.  Just understand that He knows best.  It's not wise for you to keep fighting (pursuing a toxic relationship) because it will only cause unnecessary or permanent damage.  


Know your worth.  Don't be the fool who lost twice and start over again.  Let it GO.



Shairon


Scripture references:  Jeremiah 29:11, 31:3, Philippians 3:13-14 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Pit, Prison and The Palace

Ever received a prophecy or a vision that just catapulted your faith into an euphoria?  You've caught a glimpse of your future and oh, boy!  You're overjoyed and happy!  It looks GOLDEN, baby!  You're leaping for joy and just overly excited about your future.  And then, there goes the BIG BOOM, in the worst way.  You're hit with troubles on every side and that state of euphoria exited stage left and took a seat.
And you wonder, WHAT HAPPENED?

Please understand that although greater is coming according to Jeremiah 29:11, there are a few key items that you must remember.  I list these items with love because I do not want you to be shocked when trials stop by for a visit.  Many of these you're already aware of, but a simple reminder doesn't hurt.

The road to good success and greatness is NOT EASY.  Ask any self-made billionaire, millionaire or "thousandnaire."
There will be challenges.
You will make some mistakes. 
Pride will try to creep in; recognize it and stop it before it grows and take root in your heart.
There will be haters, even those closest to you, be it family or friend.
Everyone will NOT be happy for you.  Sorry, but it's the truth.
You may go through a period of isolation.
You can NOT tell everyone about your dreams.
Folks may lie on you and try to scar your reputation.
You may encounter deception along the way.
There will be some suffering and discomfort.

Doesn't sound fun, right?  But, wait!  The story does not end with those things.  I encourage you to look at each instance or trial simply as a cast member in the stage play of your life.   We must interact and intersect with each character (trial) to be directed into the "next act or scene" or next phase of our destiny.  These steps are necessary; although uncomfortable and confusing at times, it's necessary.  By the end of the "play," you'll have a better understanding and greater appreciation.  Don't knock the PLOT TWIST!

One of the greatest Biblical examples we have pertaining to this subject is Joseph, the son of Jacob (Israel).
Joseph can relate to each item listed and italicized above.  His story is beautiful and somewhat lengthy, but I will try my best to condense the key points so you can have a better understanding and perspective of life. 
You can read about Joseph's journey from the pit to the palace in Genesis 37 through 50.

Joseph was Jacob's favorite son and his brothers hated Joseph because of it. Joseph had two dreams, both having the same meaning: one day, he will rule and his family will bow before him.  In his "infinite wisdom" (comment oozing with sarcasm here), he told his brothers and his father about the dream.  Talk about adding gallons of gasoline to an already-lit match!   His brothers' hatred grew and they decided to kill him.  Thank God, the oldest brother, Reuben stepped in and saved Joseph's life. So they threw him in a pit, saw a band of Ishmeelites headed their way and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites.

Now, I'm going to fast forward and hone in on key points of how necessary it was for him to experience the pit (barren area of desolation, isolation and discomfort) and prison before he began to walk into his dream, his destiny: the palace.



If Reuben had not saved his life and threw him into the pit, Joseph would not have been sold into slavery.
If Joseph wasn't sold into slavery, he would not have connected with Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh (be mindful of your connections).
If Joseph had not found favor in the sight of Potiphar, he would not have been made overseer of Potiphar's house.
If Joseph wasn't overseer, Potiphar's wife would not have seen and pursued him. PLOT TWIST!
If Joseph hadn't ran from Potiphar's wife, she would not have lied on him.
Joseph ended up in prison because of the lie.
If he didn't go to prison, he would not have had the opportunity to interpret the chief baker's and chief butler's dreams. CONNECTION.
If he didn't interpret the chief butler's dream, the butler would not have told Pharaoh about Joseph when Pharaoh needed an interpreter for his own dream.
If Joseph had not interpreted Pharaoh's dream, he would not have been placed second in command to Pharaoh.

See how each event played an intricate role, ultimately leading Joseph to the palace?  I am sure that during this journey, Joseph was not thinking, "I'm headed to the palace, y'all!"  He was trying to survive! 
If you had a conversation with Joseph, I know he would have told you that it was NOT a fun journey, but it was humbling and worth it.  His life was at stake several times, but he became second in command, was given a wife and name change, at the tender age of 30!
Joseph's name was changed to Zaphnath-paaneah.  Although the true meaning is up for debate, some say it means "God speaks, he lives," or "revealer of secrets."



Good success isn't overnight.  It could be, but will it be concrete, lasting success?
It took him 13 years to get from the pit to the palace. Joseph LITERALLY and PHYSICALLY started at the bottom. A pit is a illustrative type of HELL.  Look up the word pit in Webster Dictionary.
It was all necessary-every trial, every tribulation, being lied on, going to prison, even the mistake of Joseph running his mouth too much...it all worked out for his good! (Romans 8:28)

Treat each trial as a learning experience.  Understand that although it may hurt like hell, IT'S NECESSARY, to start at the "pit, in order to get to the palace."

I pray that you were inspired,

Shairon

Scripture references: Genesis 37-50, Romans 8:28 1 Peter 4:12-13     

**All images are courtesy of Google.  Author does not claim ownership of images used**
  


Friday, May 26, 2017

Return to Sender

Over the past couple of months, one interesting thing happened to me
two times in a row, in two separate situations.  I've had some "mail returned."

In each situation, I was sharing some words of encouragement with two different people.  On the exact same day, right after I spoke with them, a situation occurred that provoked me to encourage myself with the very same message I shared with them.

What's most interesting, however, is the timing.  These totally RANDOM situations happened almost immediately AFTER speaking with these individuals.  It was like God was preparing me for what was to come by allowing me to minister to someone else WHILE indirectly ministering to myself.  I remember my former pastor, the late Apostle E.K. Wilson saying that when God gives you (the preacher) a message, it's to you first, then to the congregation.

In one of the most recent encounters, after I had a chance to sit down and collect myself after the incident, my phone call with this individual replayed in my mind.  It was as if someone pressed an invisible "PLAY" button.  I had to chuckle; I shook my head and kept saying, "WOW."  I was like, "Okay, God."  The very words I shared with a friend concerning learning the life lessons had to be applied to my own situation.

The Bible declares in 1st Peter 4 to not think it strange concerning fiery trials which is to try us, as though some strange thing happened to us; but instead to rejoice!  As Christians, we will endure trial after trial, tribulation after tribulation.  The life of a believer is not peaches and roses all of the time!  Isn't it wonderful to know that troubles do not last long? Most of the time, there is a lesson to be learned out of the situation. 
We must be prepared to "eat" the same meal we serve to others.  How we face and endure troubles becomes our greatest witness. 

Do you know that you can do the same thing in your prayer time with God?  You can place a "Return to Sender" on your prayers.  The very same words God has spoken to us through the written Word can be returned to Him.  My pastor often says, "put the Word back on Him."  When I'm praying about a particular situation, I'll often say, "God, You said in Your Word that..."
If you're praying about a financial struggle, say "God, You said in Your Word that You shall supply all my need according to Your riches and glory!"  (Philippians 4:19)
If you're praying for healing, say "God, You declared in Your Word that by Your Son's stripes, we're healed!"  (Isaiah 53:5)
If you're in the midst of trouble, say "God, You said in Your Word that we can cast all of our cares upon You!"  (1 Peter 5:7)

Watch God hasten to perform His Word!  God can not lie!
And when you give that brother or sister words of encouragement, make sure you apply those same words  when a similar situation stops by your door.  If you can dish it, you gotta take it.  Endure, come out victoriously and God will be glorified!

I pray that you were inspired,

Shairon       

Sunday, March 5, 2017

BURN IT UP

This was one of the most difficult tasks I was faced with.

Have you ever received instructions from the Lord, and it made sense and didn't make sense at the same time?  Makes sense?  (smile)

People often approach the new year with excitement and anticipation of newness and renewal.  But what we don't understand is that how oftentimes we defeat the purpose by taking old things (habits, ideologies, emotions, thoughts, thought-processes, etc.) right along with us in the new year with an indirect attempt to recycle those hindrances (in essence) into something "new." 
And all the while, God is saying, "GET RID OF IT."

That was me, unknowingly.  Year after year, I indirectly carried old things, feelings, habits into each year.  Disappointments, visions unfulfilled, dreams that were totally out of sync with the will of God.  
How did I carry those things, you might ask?  With the written word.  My journals.

January 2, 2016.  Just two days into the new year, and I wanted total newness in every area of my life, starting with my mindset-how I think, speak, write, operate, etc.  That Saturday afternoon, the voice of the  Lord spoke to me, telling me to burn my journals. All three of them, one of which was still practically new.  And pretty, too, I might add.  

It was so profound, I was like "WHOA. Burn them?" 
We have no fireplace and no direct access to one.  Well, my sister has one, but how I could ask her about using her fireplace to burn some journals?! How weird is that?  Plus, it was a personal matter. 
So, leaning to my own understanding (insert the side eye), I reasoned within myself:
 

"I'll just shred them, that will be okay."

"That's not what I told you to do."

MY GOD.  So clear.  So resounding.  So DIRECT.  I got that feeling in my stomach, that feeling when I KNOW it's the Holy Spirit speaking and leading me.  So I toiled within myself like "what am I going to do?"  I didn't want to disobey God; but, I was like, where in the world am I going to burn these journals?
So I went outside, tried to create a makeshift fire pit with some old bricks.  It was so cold and windy outside. It's January in Michigan. I struck a match, wind knocked out the flame.  What am I going to do?

So, I had to talk to Mom. I told her what the Holy Spirit gave me to do.  She, of course, didn't understand it and probably wondered if I lost my marbles. Nevertheless, she didn't want to stand in God's way.
She told me to get the old galvanized tub in the basement, place it in the sink near the faucet in case the fire got out of control and burn them there.  

 
That's an image of my journals being destroyed by fire. I had three journals that spanned ten years.

Ten years of words written about my life: my desires, my disappointments, negative things I said about myself out of my disgust and frustration with my life.  Words of depression, anger, and unknowingly curses, littered those journals.  And year after year, I carried those things.   They had to be destroyed by fire.

Burning the journals was a symbolic method of destroying every negative, idle word written over my life.  It was a cleansing and purging.  After the smoke filled the basement, I took that tub outside and finished the burning.  I doused the last smoldering pieces of paper and it became water and soot.  I poured it on the ground of a vacant lot, away from the house.

The relief and RELEASE I felt after that was unimaginable in the greatest sense.  And little did I know what would happen in just a matter of months. Read my last blog posts entitled "ELEVATING" and
"The Power of VOICE ACTIVATION."  You will have a better understanding of the power of words (written, thought and spoken) and WHY those things had to be destroyed by fire.  If you read Deuteronomy 12, you'll see that even God instructed the children of Israel to destroy and burn things that were dedicated to other gods.  The following is an excerpt of a footnote about Deuteronomy 12:2-3 from the
Life Application Study Bible:

"When taking over a nation, the Israelites were to destroy every heathen altar and idol in the land.  God knew it would be easy for them to change their beliefs if they started using those altars, so nothing was to remain that might tempt them to worship idols...These may be activities, attitudes, possessions, relationships, places, or habits-anything that tempts us to turn our hearts from God and do wrong..."

  
I had a habit of unhealthy journaling. Journaling is great, when done the right way.  Holding onto those journals could have held me captive to continuing unhealthy journaling.  There are things we must get rid of in order to embrace the next phase of our destiny.  Before "taking over our nations," possessing new territories, we must get rid of every thing that will defeat our purpose.  I had to repent to GOD and give that thing over to the fire.  REPENT, AND BURN IT UP.

After I burned those old journals, I didn't journal anything until February 2017.  I went an entire year of healing, restoration and reshaping my mind before I thought about purchasing a new journal.  When I felt like I was ready to journal again, I bought the one pictured below, sitting on my Jesus Calling devotional.
The way I journal now is VERY DIFFERENT.  It is filled with affirmations, prayers, any nuggets God drops in my spirit.  I am grateful for growth, a renewed and reshaped mindset and how I seek the positive out of my disappointments instead of dwelling on that situation.

DISCLAIMER:  I don't knock anyone's style of journaling, and I'm not telling you how to journal; this was something God dealt with me on.  Everyone's path is different.  

The focus of this particular blog post is to make you aware of things you may unknowingly be carrying that's hindering your advancement to the next level.  

Are you carrying "attitudes, possessions, relationships, etc." that's indirectly turning your heart from God?  My heart would have completely turned callous towards God had I continued to journal the way I did! 
Yes, that place of disappointment I dwelled in was very bad and I had to snap out of it quick. 
That's why it's so good to be rooted in Christ; when you're rooted, you're immovable.  You may sway from side to side with the winds of life, but you're grounded enough to stand in spite of. 


Take this time to thoroughly inspect your life.  "BURN" those things that could turn your heart away from God.  

In His love,

Shairon