Saturday, December 15, 2012

Gun Control vs. Mental Illness

I'd like to start this with a clip from my novel Deaf, Dumb, Blind & Stupid: There are so many people who are plagued with ADD, ADHD, PTSD, BPD, Bipolar and other mental disorders, and we steadily punish them for their mental differences and chemical imbalances ... Why are we only sympathetic if OUR child has a mental disorder? On the contrary, if you know someone else whose child has a mental disorder, they need a beating ... Somebody needs to hear them, or we as a country will continue to lose God-gifted people to the hands of death. Either abused victims will take their own lives, or they will become sadistic and take somebody else’s life. If we don’t discern their hearts and pray for them, these are the consequences that will be suffered among teenagers and among people who are dying.

Many people talk about gun control being the issue. I believe mental illness is the issue (and we want to do something about it after the fact). It’s time for us to get our heads out of the sand and be proactive in saving people (especially the next generation). Instead of cursing those with mental illness, they deserve love and respect just like we do. I personally believe the media is using “gun control” for political reasons. Seriously, guns don't hate or kill, people do. Gun control won’t solve the problem. Dealing with the root of mental illness (but more importantly sin) is how to deal with hatred! We can talk gun control all over the place, watch there be more homicides. Remember illegal business controls America. Something to think about.

My plea is for the mothers of America to not put a band-aid on this thing called mental illness. Parents look at that as an embarrassment (ruining the image of the mother). How do I know this? I have a mental illness and in therapy. Now, will my illness make me go out and kill someone? No! For some it might. Now when it comes to suicide, the possibility is greater & we struggle with that regularly. I pray that mothers of America stop living in denial when abuse is happening in your home and you actually know it. Back to suicide, when a person has a mental illness (and no one even bothers to look at it), it's no surprise if they become sadistic. Adding insult to injury, when we even think of suicide or actually proceed with it, we're looked at as outcasts.

In the AA community, mental illness is looked at as the “dirty or little black secret.” We can never see the truth if we stay in darkness. Sadly, we put stereotypes on people, every situation must be evaluated. Some would say if blacks murdered, they’re a criminal. If whites murdered, they have a mental illness. That stereotype is totally wrong. Every situation must be evaluated. If I were to murder someone, they wouldn't say I have a mental illness, but use the stigma that "I'm black!" Never mind the fact I have a mental illness. Every part of our bodies get sick, even the mind (I don’t care how holy you think you are, it gets sick like every other part of your body). Yes, we do have battles in the mind, but there’s nothing wrong with seeking help if you have a mental disorder. But for some of us, we’re so holy that we want to preach over their heads talking down to them like they ARE stupid. But if it was your child, you’d want everyone to stop what they were doing and help your child, pray for you and your child. That shows how selfish we are.

There are some who know people with mental illness, and you intentionally make them the poster child and talk down on them like they’re stupid. How dare you?

And there are some who say that the shooter should’ve just shot himself. Here’s my response: We as a country glorify death, provided we don't have to give up our own lives.

If you have a moment, I have a YouTube link on my wall (about abuse/mental illness), check it out.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Author Spolight (Shani Greene-Dowdell)

I was privileged to meet this author at the BWABC Literacy Festival this past September. In fact, her novel Secrets of a Kept Woman is now a stage play. Having said that, show your love for my sister & fellow author Shani Greene-Dowdell).

She brings to the forefront issues of every woman’s heart and soul. She keeps it real and says what every one else would only dare to think. Author Shani Greene-Dowdell’s powerful and provoking writing style and insight into the sexuality, joy, pain, and frustration in relationships distinguishes her as an urban fiction and erotica author. Shani Greene-Dowdell is a living example that consistency, perseverance, and prayer are the keys to success. As a living example of living victorious over every obstacle, Shani shares her lessons learned and inspires others with the truth in her written works. As a prolific author and playwright, Shani Greene-Dowdell unveils the common hopes, dreams, and obstacles that every woman encounters.

Her sophomore novel “Secrets of a Kept Woman” is a powerful journey addressing the complex needs of African American women to embrace one another instead of tearing each other down. Uninhibitedly, Shani shares with her readers’ passion, humor, and the intricate bonds of friendship. Shayla, Rhonda and Gladys learn the importance of cherishing the love that binds them by seeking the love of God before it’s too late. “There is nothing like being in synch with someone that knows your heart, knows your spirit, and knows exactly when to stroke them both,” narrates a passage from the book. Bringing to the forefront probing, honest, and life-changing issues, Shani’s “Secrets of a Kept Woman” uses everyday language and metaphors to empower readers to have healthier relationships with those closest to their heart.

Shani is committed to writing about issues that empower women, especially by empowering them to achieve their dreams at all costs. Her novels show uncommon faces in urban fiction that include college graduates, doctors, lawyers, and business owners. She demonstrates that in order to find diamonds in life you have to have clear vision and be prepared to work, which means you have to be prepared to work on yourself during the process. As a native of Alabama, she paints pictures of her community through poetry, short stories and novels, and continues to broaden her horizons through her stage play, Secrets of a Kept Woman and hopes one day to see her work in film.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Author Spotlight (Ondrea L. Davis)

I am so blessed to present this author as the spotlight for this week. I was able to meet her in person at the BWABC Literacy Festival in September and I'm looking forward to working on my next project with her. With that said, show your love for my sister & fellow author Ondrea L. Davis.

Ondrea L. Davis is a native of the Washington, DC area.  She graduated in 2010 earning a degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting and most recently received a Master of Arts degree in Social Behavior. Ondrea is a 35 year old mother of 11-year old twin girls and a 9-year old son.  Her children are members of the Cub Scout and Girl Scout troops where she serves as a volunteer. Ondrea has always been very active within her church.  With a passion for helping our younger generation, Ondrea works with the Youth Department where she currently serves as Vice President.

In 2010, Ondrea heeded the call to pen her inspirational true story.  After many months of soul searching, she signed on with Foresight Publishing, LLC and released How could my husband be GAY? This title garnered several awards, including 1st place in the 2011 Readers Favorite Awards in Non Fiction-Relationships, the 2011 Book of the Year for Autobiographical Alternative.  The book was also listed as a 2011 African American Literature Book Club (AALBC) Bestselling eBook.  Ondrea’s much anticipated second novel is scheduled to be released in early 2013.

In her spare time, Ondrea loves traveling, singing, reading, spending time with family and working with her company, Foresight Publishing.  In addition, she enjoys tours to speak with churches, book clubs and women's interest and youth groups promoting the awareness of subjects we tend to ignore.  She has found that many times the things we want to avoid are the things we need to discuss the most.  Her theme is “DISCUSSION -> AWARENESS -> PREVENTION”.  Ondrea thoroughly believes in taking simple preventative measures, such as discussion and encouragement to help guide people along the right path, rather than waiting until after mistakes are made and suffer unnecessary consequences.  For more information, please visit

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Worst In Us

This was on my spirit last night and it carried on into today. One thing I can truly say is that elections always bring out the worst in us (for all people, regardless of skin color). We forget about God and focus more on what we want. It’s a sad day for me. Not because President Obama is in office and not because Governor Mitt Romney is not President. It’s a sad day because as I’m reading different posts, it has shown really where our hearts are. I’m trying not to cry as I type this and it would be a tragedy if I lost friends to this, but it is what it is. I’m not upset with anyone regardless of who you voted for, just concerned about our spiritual condition.

As I read people’s posts, many people are rejoicing because they got what they wanted, but the same people are forgetting how much hatred they are spreading. This election has truly shown the racial issues that are brewing. You could call this the second part to a blog I did two weeks ago entitled “Is It (Really) Not About Us.” This election proved my theory that it’s still about us.

In the midst of this, I’m crying because where’s God in all that we’re posting. God is only mentioned when we got what we wanted. Much like the children of Israel. I know this post isn’t going to go over well (granted, most of what I say doesn’t go over well). But if I have to cry alone, I will. I’m so concerned about the state of our hearts (especially if we say we’re of God). No one has said “I am content regardless of who’s elected, because You’re Sovereign.” But we say to God indirectly, if we don’t get our way, we’re going to kick, scream and revolt like little children. So, I believe that God is now giving our hearts what we really wanted (again, on a spiritual level), a world without Him. Since it’s our sinful nature to say, “leave us alone, and let mankind take it from here.”

I did say 2-3 months ago that President Obama will get a second term, so I’m not surprised of that. When you have to read posts such as “I pray for the Republicans that they remove their hatred,” I ask, what about YOUR hatred? Are you that deceived in that Democrats don’t have hatred? People say, now we can move forward. Why? Because you got your way and I didn’t. Is that how we live our lives (having others bow down to you, a mere human being)? If something isn’t wrong with that, why do we say we love God?

No one is praying for the losing candidate, but instead cursing him. How is that showing the love of Christ? If we say we love God, we’re to love all people (regardless of political parties). We’re reliving the children of Israel and the golden calf days (we’re worshiping the golden image and not God). The golden calf is not just the President, it’s anything that takes the place of God.

As I wrap this up, I still believe regardless of who won this election, this was an acid test to see where our hearts really are. As I look at my newsfeed, God is only mentioned because they got what they wanted. Never mind God's ultimate plan. We're acting like the children of Israel (give us what we want or we'll revolt). So, he’s giving us what we deserve. The problem with our hearts (as a country) is simply this: the true righteous who are praying the heart of God are going to suffer (much like Joshua & Caleb) because the majority couldn't agree with Joshua & Caleb. And all of us are part of the team. And yes, God will spare Sodom/Gomorrah for 10 righteous. Even though we will suffer, God is with us. Psalm 118 said (and I quoted it 12 years ago), it's better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.

I know this blog post isn’t going to go over well, but I just wanted to get this out of my spirit because while we’re caring more about what we want, somebody is dying next door, possibly committing suicide.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Author Spotlight (Tyora Moody)

Happy Monday everyone. This week's author spotlight is a woman who I've known since the beginning of this year and was honored to meet her in September at the BWABC Literacy Festival in Memphis, TN. Show your love to my sister & fellow author, Tyora Moody.

Tyora Moody is an author and entrepreneur.  Her debut novel, When Rain Falls, was released March 2012 (Urban Christian). This is the first book in the Victory Gospel series. The second book in the Victory Gospel Series, When Memories Fadewill be released in April 2013 (Urban Christian).

Deep Fried Trouble, the first book in the Eugeena Patterson Mystery series will be released June 2013. 
Tyora has coined her books as Soul-Searching Suspense.  She is a member of Sisters in Crime and American Christian Fiction Writers. She served as a judge for the Christy Awards for three years.

She owns and operates, a design and marketing company.  For over twelve years, she has worked with authors, small business owners and non-profit organizations to develop their online presence. For free tips, how-to guides and ecourses, visit

When Tyora isn’t working for a client or doing something literary, she enjoys spending time with family, catching a movie on the big screen, traveling and when the mood hits her, baking cookies.
Visit the author online at

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Author Spotlight (Laquanda Everett)

I was privileged to meet this author at the BWABC Literacy Festival (in Memphis, TN) in September 2012. It's sad that it took this event for us to meet considering we live in the same state and we're 4.5 hours away from each other (smile). Having said that, show some love to my sister & fellow author Laquanda Everett.

Author Laquanda Everett is an Evangelist, mother of four, and the author of the bestselling novel Forbidden Love" A Spiritual Woman's Battle To Love A Worldly Man." She was born in a small town called Bradenton, Florida. It was at Bradenton where Laquanda would graduate from Southeast High School. She went on to earn her license in nursing, homehealth, and a degree in medical administration. Laquanda is currently attending Phoenix University for her bachelor's in medical administration. The voice of God called her to Evangelize and minister the word of God. This is where she was appointed as a board member of the Justice Ministry Faith Action for Strength Together (FAST). The FAST organization advocates and finds solutions to community issues. She’s currently following God’s vision that she would teach, preach, and touch lives from many cultures. As a result, Laquanda began to write Christian Fiction that would light a fire in believers and unbelievers. These novels by a stroke of a pen would go on to bring repentance, deliverance, healing and closer desire to walk with God.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Is It (Really) Not About Us?

Many people have been singing this song, “It’s Not About Us, It’s All About Jesus.” Side note: yes, that song samples The Brothers Johnson’s I’ll Be Good To You (ha ha). Anyway, well I know your intentions are good, but if the truth be told, we’re lying (to others and really to ourselves). Now, if this blog post doesn’t offend anyone, I’ll be surprised. I just wanted to make this disclaimer up front. I know many people are emotionally tied to what I’m going to talk about, but I want you to read this with an open mind if you can. If I’m a little scatterbrained with this, please forgive me.

Within a few weeks the election will occur. I hear a lot of comments and read a lot of comments on my news feed about the debates and how strong people feel about people. I’m still concerned even after 12 years (since the 2000 election) that too many emotions are flying and people are voting and praying for their way and not God's way. People have been throwing stones at me for 12 years because I make that statement. Keep in mind, I’m not telling you who to vote and I love you as a brother/sister regardless of who you vote for. I also ask for the same respect in return. I believe with all my heart that if you pray and God tells you to vote a certain way, go with God because you can’t go wrong. Now if you pray based off your emotions, indecision and fear, then something is terribly wrong. Don’t worry; I’m not to judge you for that’s not my place. We can play the "I love God, but I still want my way." Our emotions will fail us. We still haven't learned from the children of Israel when they demanded a king (they were trying to be like Egypt). So many people want to go back to Egypt thinking they can live on top of the world. Either way, whoever gets elected, many people are going to cry foul (and forget God in the midst of this). It's been like that for 12 years. We can sing all day long, it's not about us, but we're lying.

If I came up and said something like this, “I promise to give a certain group of people certain rights because they’re my people and we’re to look out for the poor; however, the caveat is that I want you to depend on us for your retirements, benefits, etc,” would you vote for me? Now if Jesus were to say this quietly in your spirit (but you don’t hear because you’re too busy running your mouth, venting about the debates): “do not vote Democrat or Republican,” how would you respond? I can tell some people are in the flesh and are actually upset with me right now because I said that.

I knew someone 12 years ago who told me the following, “I don’t consider you black if you’re not a Democrat.” I didn’t respond, I wanted to sit on it and just ponder the fact that I didn’t realize that my skin-color was automatically tied to a political party. Just for the record, I’m independent and have been since I was 18. Any regrets? No. So, this post is going to be from a neutral standpoint. If you’re expecting me to take any side, think again! You can say I’m apathetic, or whatever you like. I have to stand before God when I vote just like you have to stand before God when you vote.

I have a series of questions that I want to ask:
  1. Why are we still looking to our leaders to solve our problems and to accept responsibility over ourselves? Every problem our leaders come up with requires their attention and their solution.
  2. Why do we vote more for someone who is the slave-master versus the abolitionist? We trust the kidnapper, rapist, and murderer because he promised he’s changed, but we don’t trust those who gave his life for our freedom because the master doesn’t trust them.
  3. Do you believe that social programs belong to the church and the family, not the government?
  4. How does color and politics overshadow your relationship with Christ?
  5. I dedicate this question to African-Americans, if I came up and said I’m an atheist while professing to be a Christian (and I’m running for president), would you still vote for me? And if non-blacks don’t vote, would you throw the race card at them?
  6. How does Genesis 26:12-22 correlate to today? Isaac was blessed by God and other people were coming to take Isaac’s blessing from him. God continued to bless Isaac and people were still coming to steal Isaac’s blessing. I believe we take blessings from others because we are complacent and don’t want to put our hands to the plow for ourselves.

There’s something I see that really bothers me (and I’m sure it’s been going on before I was born). It’s wrong when a man can’t be in the house with their children because welfare and other aid are shut off. On the flipside, women are encouraged to have more children because their aid and government services would be increased. To me, welfare doesn’t mean just payments to a family for basic subsistence; it also includes a system to discourage marriage and the participation of a man in the household.

Next topic: The 10th commandment says you shall not covet. If you desire something that doesn’t belong to you, it’s coveting (period)! If the truth be told, the Bible is against a lot of the Republican values, Democratic values, and even our own personal values. This is why we are to base our values on the Bible. But no, we put our pastor, president (elect and actual), religion and denomination over the Bible. And if anybody attacks our pastor, president (elect and actual), religion and denomination, we will drop our sanctification and curse/fight, and the list goes on. And don’t attack sin in my life, but I can attack yours. Most of you know me, I’ll confess mine because I’m human and I screw up.

Here’s a little sidebar. Think about this: We care more about our political feelings than we do someone who is hurting. Understand, we must be there to uplift and help propel one another to their God given destiny. Far too many times I realized in life that people have become mediocre in their mindset, they view their lives like this, “if I don't have help, I'm not helping anyone else.” In this case we know it’s wrong. Many Christians have the mentality of, “if you’re getting ahead of me, I must to all that I can to hinder that.” A lot of times that comes with themselves in their past to hurt others as they've been. There’s a saying that goes “hurting people hurt people” regardless of who they may be. 

Jesus was up all times of the night and early mornings delivering and setting free those who were bound to the enemy’s attacks. We as Messengers of the Word of God must be likeminded. We are in this together. There is no “I” in team. Unity is the key to help others. To many have this misconception that it’s all about me and when I finish me I'll help you. No! Christ said deny yourself. And that means one must deny themselves in the area of me, me, me and say Lord I decrease that You may increase within me.

Jesus dealt with that mess with the Pharisees, called them vipers and accepting who He was but denying the power.

Now that may be a little off-tangent, but still relevant to the topic. Continuing on. There are many people in church that say, “I’m allowed to think freely.” I disagree. There are many religions that don’t allow you to think freely. Now if a church says that abortion is allowed for rape or incest, then you must take on that principle or you could be excommunicated. So, if your church is praying for a particular leader, then there’s a strong possibility that you have to be a part of it, or risk getting out (or hearing grips from members of the congregation as to why you’re not a part of this prayer). I have a belief that many people don’t want to pray for someone lost because there will come a day where a leader is so lost, that people will bow down to that lost leader! Sadly, many people will confront you if you disagree with your church leader (and they really are in error). The worse thing you can do is shut down when truth is presented. If what you’re hearing doesn’t sound right, please research it (I don’t care if it’s a political figure, or church figure – please don’t do it to support your personal agenda, do it in search of the truth). Since I’m on prayer, let’s stay on that topic. It bothers me when we do prayer vigils for a political figure, but not for someone who’s suffering from abuse, mental and/or personality disorders (known or hidden), who just needs a touch from the Lord. Prayer vigils for a political figure is just proving that it’s still about us!

Let me wrap this up with some bullet points:
  1. I thought the Declaration of Independence gave us inalienable rights
  2. I have a few predictions of what will happen November 6th, 2012, but I will give you this one: stones will be thrown for people who write-in this election (from all groups of people).
  3. It’s sad that there are laws that decide which groups are special (and you can yell discrimination if challenged).
  4. Some people think if we remove God from the equation, we can make it work. And look what we have: fears, hatred, backstabbing, etc. With this point, I still believe God will give us what mankind has always wanted – a world without God.
  5. I said 12 years ago and it still holds true: If we don’t get our way, we will rebel until we get our way. If anybody invades my personal space, prepare for a showdown. We should never put our faith in the election. Because we do, this proves my theory that it IS all about us.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Power of Two (Parts 1 & 2)

I started to entitle this blog It Takes Two. Some of you are either thinking about Rob Base or the version done by Marvin & Kim. I’m doing to divide this blog into two parts.

The foundational scriptures for this entire blog are as follows:
Genesis 2
Matthew 18:19-20
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Amos 3:3
Genesis 11 (mostly for Part 2)

So, let’s begin.

(Part 1 of 2)

Let me start by asking a question or two:
  1. Why did Jesus always send His disciples out two by two? He could’ve covered more ground just by sending one.
  2. Isn’t it good that God said that if only two people agree instead of fifty? Think about this, Jesus spoke and people left Him. I’m sure He knew having extra baggage would cost Him.
  3. Why was Paul always accompanied with Barnabas or Silas when he did his missions?

Understand that there’s synergy (in the natural and spiritual) when two people get together and do what God called them to do. But I’m also glad that it doesn’t take the majority (example: Joshua & Caleb). Those two were in agreement in taking the Promised Land (Numbers 13 & 14). Though they were cheated 40 years because they were part of a team (and the other 10 spies operated in fear), they still got to the Promised Land.

In the beginning, you’ll find that God created a helper for Adam. Note to the brothers: woman wasn’t created to be your domestic slave or playmate. We all must understand that a man and woman complement each other, and should NOT compete against each other. I’ll cover the house divided in Part 2.

Single people need a praying friend, and NOT someone who will take your time to include not adding value to your life (and that’s also for married people). We should have someone to agree with and not qualify everything. Married people need to learn their mate and if need be, go to God on their behalf (stand for their mate) especially is something is troubling them (so they can stay in agreement).

I’m telling you, that “I’m Every Woman” and that “I’m a Self-Made Man” spirit needs to go!
What I like about Matthew 18:19-20 and Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 is this: when two or three are gathered in His name, there’s also a third person in the midst (which of course is the Holy Spirit). Daniel 3 is a perfect example. When the three Hebrew boys went through the fire, there was a fourth person.

Amos 3:3 says can two walk together except they be agreed. Sadly, some try to enter into something that’s godly (and yes, I’m talking about marital relations), but it’s on their own terms (butt first). If there’s no agreement (in this case, covenant), nothing will come out that’s good. Each person is being selfish and that brings me to part 2.

(Part 2 of 2)

This part will focus on hindrances to agreement. Selfishness & division go hand-in-hand.

Isolation (comes in two ways). Intentional and unintentional (the latter is because people don’t want to bear burdens or are too selfish). I want to focus more on the unintentional because this gets overlooked. Sometimes we end up alone not by choice is because others are being selfish and only focused on their own lives and their own families and their own circle of friends. Speaking on behalf of abused victims, many of us end up alone because of selfishness which brings about division. When division settles, the devil is authorized to be involved (the selfish one is prideful and the one hurt turns to other means to self-medicate – and some turn away from church). We need to understand that no blessing will come to you when you’re being selfish. Of course, the intentional isolation is due to the person’s own sin and selfishness.

What am I saying? Well, the devil needs an agreement partner. Once we become selfish (example is giving lip service to someone hurting by saying “oh, get over it,” or “I’ll pray for you [from afar]” without stopping what you’re doing to come alongside – and yes, there needs to be a balance), we’re giving the devil (the father of division) something to work with. Selfishness does not bring agreement. Where there’s envy and strife, there’s confusion and every evil work.

Tell me something (a little off subject): if we can’t show love to a hurting soul, how will they see Jesus? And this is what the enemy breeds on. Sadly, we’re preying on each other out of frustration and despair (no need for the devil to divide us, we’re doing a good job doing it ourselves). Another note, God didn’t create this division, we did.

In order to stop the division, we have to be sensitive to each other so we can agree. If I can’t reach out to a brother/sister, I’m no good for the Lord. Another passage said if a house is divided, it can’t stand. If my house is divided and I come into church without dealing with the division in the house, I’m infecting the church with my division. When there’s division in the church, selfishness is inevitable and folks with gifts who visit a church are turned off due to the division. I said earlier that when there’s envy and strife, there’s confusion. When it’s festered in the church, gifts are lost or the church will become very prideful and state that gifts are only for the church. And then we start bashing other churches creating more chaos. If a church is in agreement, then the gifts that each person has can truly be manifested in the local church as well as the world for His glory.

And of course, I can’t wrap this up without covering Genesis 11. Those working on the Tower of Babel were in agreement (but also in rebellion). And you’ll find that good agreement is about to meet bad agreement. Good agreement went down and confounded their language.

(In Closing)
There’s power when you yoke up with someone full of the power of God. It’s serious when two people partner to do what God called them to do (each fulfilling the other’s purpose). There’s no selfishness or division when the power of two is at work! If we can agree on the things of God, we can truly change world for His glory!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Spirit of Indecision (Part 2)

Indecision - the feeling that you are unable to make a decision. As I look at the definition, indecision can be a good thing or a bad thing. It can be a good thing especially if we're yielding to the will of God. It can be a bad thing if we're indecisive and decide to take matters into our hands.

The focus of this blogpost is about the spirit of indecision and having what we believe in put to the ultimate test. I believe when your belief (or should I say your faith) is challenged, it will determined if you will be true to what you believe or will you just fall to the place of indecision. Another factor to consider is when your faith is challenged, it will determine if it even holds up in the first place. Just because you believe in something, doesn’t mean it’s the right thing. When it really is the right thing, you will be put to the test. Many will fall into indecision and take matters into our own hands (some will get emotionally tied to it). I’ve fallen into this at times, so if I’m not talking about you, I’m talking about me.

Now, many things are happening around us. And you would question why you are in the place you’re at right now. You feel paralyzed by fear, panic, indecision, and the list goes on. Can you just stop for a moment? While you’re in that feeling of fear, panic, indecision, the devil is loving every moment of this because if you stay in it too long and no one is around you to encourage you, pray for you, you will become a casualty. You see, just because you have a strong belief in something doesn’t mean you’re immune from having it being put to the test. The devil, who is the god of this world, governs this world by fear, lies and poverty. The devil needs partners to agree with him to keep as many people in the spirit of indecision and its cousins. This is why we need agreement partners strong in faith (that’s for a blog to come shortly, so stay tuned for that). In order to prepare for what’s to come, break the spirit of indecision by yielding to the will of God because I guarantee you, if you don’t, you will waste what’s remaining of your life.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Lord, Where Are You

Hebrews 11:1 says now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Many people have heard many interpretations of that verse. For this post, we’re going to focus on having a faith in Him that will carry us when we go through a period of testing and trials in life. At the very end, I’m going to share a little of my struggle during the course of writing my novel, and I wondered where the Lord was.

If we looked at the three Hebrew boys in Daniel 3; you’ll find them at the point where they’re about to be thrown in the fire. Let’s focus closely where they tell the king that our God is able to deliver us from the fire and from the king. They were determined that God will deliver them from their trouble. You have to admit that the boys had a faith that was on point. And you have to admit that this was a trial that would cost them their lives. Because they responded to the king that they weren’t going to bow down to him, the furnace was seven times hotter. The king’s men bound them up and prepared them for the furnace, now watch this: the king’s men ended up in the fire. As a result, the three boys fell into the fire. Let’s pause for a minute. Where’s God in all of this? When we’re in the middle of a crisis, we tend to ask, Lord, where are you. Hopefully, after reading this, you won’t have to ask where He is (or encourage somebody who needs to know God is with them). The three boys weren’t initially delivered from the king or the fire. It was when they were in the fire that God walked with them. Sometimes God won’t deliver us when we’re going through a test or a trial. He will wait till we’re in it to deliver us. What we have to do is to have God’s Word in our heart and a faith that He is with us at all times. With that said, we must have a faith that He will deliver us in His time.

You might have gone through something in your life, and wondered where the Lord was. There’s a possibility that you went through it and weren’t delivered, not because He doesn’t love you or doesn’t care about you; you were chosen to make a serious impact around you. Think about this, when God walked with the three Hebrew boys, what happened? They were called out, and the king worshipped the true & living God. That’s serious. You are a survivor of something unique that can have a positive impact on someone else’s life and the devil doesn’t like you at all. If he can keep you in further torment, you won’t make an impact around you.

The devil wants you to bow down to him. And that’s typically how he’ll do it. He’ll threaten you to comply so you won’t make an impact. Now, I’m not saying that you have to willingly endure hardships. God will allow it for His purpose (though the devil wants to destroy you).

In Genesis 39, when Joseph was thrown in the pit, you’ll find it stated multiple times that the Lord was with Joseph. Potiphar’s wife lied on him (a trap from the devil). If Joseph gave in, his impact to Egypt would’ve been stifled. But Joseph did the right thing and still faced another hardship due to the lie of Potiphar’s wife. God will still with Him and was given favor in prison. God wants you to know that He’s with you in your darkest hour and that you believe He will deliver you and provide for you; but you have faith that He is will you and you are not forgotten. Have faith in His Word, His will for your life, and He will take care of you.

Now let’s pause for a moment. Think back to when you last said, Lord where are you? What was going on in your life? Was it a financial setback? Was someone trying to harm you physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually? Were you let go from your job? Did you lose your child via a miscarriage? And you needed the Lord the day before yesterday.  Of course, there are many more scenarios that I didn’t mention where you needed the Lord the day before yesterday. When you were in this scenario, you were praying, fasting, asking someone to intercede for you, or probably running away from God in anger. Does that sound accurate? Even though all of that occurred, God came through at the last minute (in our eyes, of course). What’s the message here, God knows what’s best for us and wants to have a faith in Him that He is with us no matter what we’re dealing with in life (whether good or bad).

As I promised, here’s what I went through. During the time of writing my novel, I faced something that almost took my life and I wondered where God was at a desperate time of need. Late last year, I experienced the breakup of a friendship. To me it was devastating and I really wanted a relationship with her. I felt that my life was over and I seriously contemplated ending my life. I asked God almost every night, where was He and to take these feelings from me. I was literally left alone (with the exception of very few friends who really prayed for me), for people were abandoning me leaving me to deal with this on my own (and some probably didn’t want to pray for me). I struggled with that for about 4 months until the time I submitted my novel to my editor. The novel wasn’t the cause for me feeling that way, it was the relationship going wrong. I felt like everything was my fault (and granted, people inside & outside the church were saying it was my fault and that I need to deal with it). God showed me that He was with me through it all and it showed during the writing of the novel. If you have a copy of my novel, look at the acknowledgments and you’ll find that was very personal to me. If I had given up, like the devil wanted me to, you all wouldn’t have a novel (and believe me, the devil would’ve been ecstatic if had not been released). I thank you all for receiving my novel so graciously, and most importantly, I give God praise for the strength and being with me through writing it. With that, I want to thank my editor and copyeditor for being my friends through it. You two had to hear me my cries the most (apart from the Lord, of course).

In closing, when we ask the Lord, where is He; remember He said in His Word, that He will never leave us no forsake us. It may not seem like He’s there when we want Him to be, but He’s always there. He’ll show up in His time when we’re in a difficult situation. Most cases, it’s to build our faithfulness in Him, and for us to strengthen someone else after we’ve made it through. Now I have to thank God because He has really strengthened me after releasing my novel. Someone else can say that they have been strengthened by Him after gone through something traumatic. Don’t let the devil lie to you saying that He’s forgotten about you. But remember, we have choices to make and we must learn to make Godly choices under pressure. Even if we make unrighteous choices, we repent and He will still be with us. Now the question we really should be asking is not where God is; but asking where we are. Most of the time, we’re hiding like Adam & Eve from the Lord. He wants us to run to Him (whether we sin or not). Let’s stop our hiding and find refuge in a God who loves us, who is with us and wants us to be faithful to Him alone.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Power of Relationships

Many people say that people are in our lives for a reason, season, or a lifetime. If we carry this attitude in our relationships with people, we can miss a lot of blessings. It can also breed selfishness. Why do I say this? If we have a spirit of love towards everyone, we don’t have to spend all of our time focused on how long a person is in our life. Most people classify people like that is because they have a motive of their own. This is not to condemn anyone; we should always have a spirit of love and generosity towards people. No matter how long a person stays in your life, treasure the time with them and don’t cut them off unless you really need to regulate or terminate the relationship (especially if they’re taking you down a path that’s contrary to Scripture). Sadly, we terminate relationship because of trivial things (I could write the numerous trivial things, but it’s not relevant to this post) and our own selfishness. Think about it, Jesus didn’t cut Judas out of His life. Judas cut himself off by betraying Him and taking his own life. Jesus really wanted Judas to repent and He still showed compassion towards him.

If the truth be told, the Kingdom of God is centered on relationships. Yes, He is the Lord of the Harvest but we need to understand that our breakthrough, our increase, our open and closed doors are hinged on someone. Many times we miss that blessing because we don’t want to get along with people or we’re judging them because they appear different than you. Some of us are holding on to Bitterness, Unforgiveness, and Grudges (what I call the BUG syndrome), which is a great hindrance to our blessings. What we need to understand is that the one who annoys you totally can be the very one who has your breakthrough. This is why we need to follow God’s lead and not our own! Let’s look at Luke 6:38, it says “Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall MEN give into your bosom.” Notice that it didn’t say shall God. I need to say this: sometimes we miss a blessing because of pride. Someone reading this post needs to swallow their pride and ask for help or prayer, or not look down on people because they don’t have a title. Some of those people you look down on could actually have your blessing. Remember pride goes before destruction. That selfish spirit of “I can do it by myself” or “I’m to have all the answers” needs to go! In summary of this paragraph, there will be people who mistreat you. Don’t think for one minute that it’s not God. They could be, but we need to learn to get along with others and relate to people (now I’m not saying to kiss up to people – many of you know me and how I feel about that). Always remember, the righteous will never be forsaken!

Another problem is that we’re trying to determine our blessings on our own terms. Most blessings come when we are united with other brothers and sisters as we’re helping each other with our God-given assignments. And to think, God gave us all of the resources we need. He didn’t drop anything from the sky. A little side-note: there will some people who will be complacent and not put their hands to the plow when it comes to their assignment, while still praying for a blessing from God. He can do all things, but He won’t do your assignment for you. As I just mentioned, He has given us the resources so we can complete our respective assignment. My assignment affects you, and your assignment affects me and they both make us better and more effective to the world.

In closing: relationships are critical. Always treat people with respect and with God’s love. Philippians 2:3-4 says this: Don’t do anything from selfish ambition or from a cheap desire to boast, but be humble toward one another, always considering others better than yourselves. And look out for one another’s interests, not just for your own.

This is why we need to be led by His Spirit (walking and living by faith) and not be moved by what we see in front of us!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Author Spotlight (Sheri Henry-Harrigan)

This week, the author spotlight is on Sheri Henry-Harrigan.

Sheri Henry-Harrigan  is an author and publisher for her company Diamond Studded Publications which was founded in 2012. She has one short story and two flash fiction titles published under the pen name MzSheriBaby. They are Tales of the Broken Hearted, Tangled Desires and Da Streetz Don't Luv Me Like She Do. She is currently working on 4 projects including her first screen play. Sheri also is a promoter. She promotes authors works via social media. 

She is a wife and the mother of a two year old son. She is currently a student at John Jay college of Criminal Justice in New York, New York expected to graduate in 2013. She resides in New York City. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Getting Down To Kingdom Business

I’m learning as I get older that a real friend is one who will take time out of their busy schedule to pray for you and your concerns (especially if it's Kingdom business and concerns the heart of God - which is a person's eternal soul). If you believe that He's not willing that any should perish, then we should have the same fervor and pray for these lost souls. There's a harvest out there, get from the walls of your church, your "they're cutting into MY blessing," and reach out to them.

It's a tragedy when we don't go out to the world and help somebody else. We ridicule abused victims, those who aren't living large like the leaders. It's all about "self gratification and how many numbers we can get into a church." We forsake their soul in the process. You can call me a cynic, but it's the truth whether you want to admit it or not. Where's the evangelism? I'm willing to believe a friend of mine when he says this: pastors are so introverted into their own church that they never reached out and refused to even try. There is no unity in reaching out to lost souls. How can a pastor walk out of a church when we bring up the idea of reaching out to souls who are hurting, abused, dying and lost? What kind of an example is this? We have the power of God in us; it's time for us to stop keeping it to ourselves. We all need help and encouragement. No one person is immune from attacks, and I don't care how spiritual you are. (I know, it looks like I'm doing my blog now). Anyway, we need leaders who are on fire for the Lord, focused on His will and not trying to hoard talents for the church, sapping resources for that church. We are to share it with everyone. There should be NO lack in the church. Again, the harvest is plentiful. I say no more. If I have to go it alone, then I will. But we're going to have a lot of blood on our hands if we don't change. This spirit of, egocentrism, holier than thou, ignorance, and competition for self-aggrandizement needs to go. We can say we love God, but turn around and say "forget those who need prayer, I'm better than them anyway." This ignorance is sending people to hell first class! One reason (and there are plenty more) why the church isn’t being effective is because we’re too busying quarreling over who the next president is going be versus seeking and saving the lost. Another reason is we’re arguing over petty things. Example: One is considered “anti” if you argue with someone or disagree in the slightest when it comes to church. Think about this: if you are professing to be a church for Christ, why is talking about Jesus in your church so taboo? Why is a man (living or dead) exalted higher than Jesus in your church?

I believe with all of my heart that someone needs a divine revelation of the reality of heaven is AND a divine revelation of the reality of hell is. The world needs us to perform if we are calling ourselves Christians. Someone is coveting our prayers. If you want to be richly blessed, bless someone else.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

His Hand Is On You

It’s my prayer that you are reading this and you’re feeling well today. If not, take comfort in this post. If you’re like me, you’ve gone through something traumatic in your life (and probably still are) where you feel that your life was sifted from you and/or has caused you to put your life on hold. As a result, you are either living in fear or indecision. You can overcome by praising God for the fact that you're still alive, and you are here with a God-given purpose. What was supposed to sift you out or caused you to put your life on hold didn't kill you, so that means God has His hands on you even though you wonder why you had to go through. Feel free to ask Him why, He loves you. There are probably a lot more questions going through your mind, and it’s totally understandable. I dedicate this blog post to anyone who has gone through a traumatic past and is still trying to get through it (or has gotten through it).

I want to extend my hand to you in friendship and in love. I understand that you might have felt alone at times wanting to give up in life. That was my life (and I’ll put this out and say I struggle with it too). Your past may not be my past, but mine was traumatic and I’m sure yours was too. That’s one thing we have in common. Just know that we’re on this road to recovery together and He has His hands on you.

I know there are going to be some people who read this and ridicule me; I’m cool with that (considering I’m used to it). The one thing remains though, I’m still alive and so are you. They tried to kill us, but we’re still here. We have scars, but we’re still here. I hope you were able to at least smile or cry tears of joy. Believe me when I say, it’s OK to cry. Sometimes you have to on this road to recovery.

I know there are times when we’ve tried to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps, know that we can’t do this alone. We need each other on a horizontal level (and say I need help), and we need to say to God that we need help. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help, discern who to ask for help (because not everybody will have your best interest at heart). The unique thing about us considering we’ve survived what we did, is that we have sympathy for others (which is lacking in this world today). Everyone today is so selfish and out for themselves. And to add insult to injury, there are those who haven’t gone through what you did, and they tell you either to “get over it,” or “so what if I didn’t go through what you did; you need to grow up.” As a result, you end up feeling like a second-class citizen. I understand there are those who have good intentions, but they will never understand what you feel if they haven’t lived through what you had to.

A word of encouragement: if you make it out before me, help me out; and I’ll do the same vice versa. We’re in this together.

I don’t know who has heard this, but I’m sure an evil spirit will tell you that Jesus was raped (which He was), but He didn’t say a word, so that means you shouldn’t say a word now that you made it out (or you should’ve allowed it to continue without saying a word). This is totally misinterpreting the Scripture. Your voice needs to be heard. If more voices are raised, we can truly change the world to wrong the rights. If we abused victims are accountable, the abusers, the people who neglected us need to be accountable. There must be a balance, wouldn’t you agree? For many of you, your stories have touched me deeply and I want to say right here and right now that I love you and that I will always have your back. If you need an ear (in most cases, many of us know the answers to some of the questions in our mind and just need to get what’s in our heart and spirit out), just let me know and I’ll listen.

One lingering question you might have, why did I go through what I did? Well, we may not know the answer right now. But I am willing to believe that you’re still alive to either share your testimony to someone who’s about to go through what you did (or is trying to find a way out of their pain), or you are to write a book, and the list goes on. I don’t know who that is for along with this. You may have a ministry to teenagers, or a ministry geared to men (if you’re a man) or women (if you’re a woman). And the fact you’re still here to share your story is proof that He has His hands on you. I hope right now you can raise your hands towards heaven and say thank you Jesus for allowing me to stand here today.

I know what you went through has caused you to either live in fear or wanting to not pursue your childhood dreams. You might even feel that your life is on hold. I understand totally. Because you’re still here and on the road to recovery, take a moment to find out what is your greatest passion in life and what is your greatest talent (meaning: you know deep down inside you’re good at it? Once you find that out, pursue it and God will bless you (because His hand is on you). Acknowledge Him as you’re on that path.  I also know that your healing isn’t an overnight thing, it’s a process. God understands and will heal you in due time. Meanwhile, pursue your unique calling from Him, because the world needs your gift (and it’s not your body, OK). Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

In closing: shake off your fears and don’t be afraid to live. It’s my prayer that this post encourages you. Feel free to comment (if you want to remain anonymous, please do so). Your destiny from God is waiting for you. Don’t worry about failing. You will fall down, just get up and know that His hand is on you.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Author Spotlight (Tamika L. Sims)

It's been a while since I've done an author spotlight and I still intend to keep this going. I'd like to turn your attention to an author who wrote a powerful book in my opinion entitled "The Plus Factor." If this book doesn't move you, I don't know what will. Hopefully, I will be able to write a book with her to be released late next year. Anyway, the author spotlight for this week is my sister & fellow author Tamika L. Sims.

Tamika Sims, a South Carolina native, survived a physically, emotionally, and sexually abusive relationship of eight years. Tamika used the pain and suffering endured to write the book The Plus Factor an autobiographical account of her journey from tragedy to triumph. Tamika currently serves as an Advisory Board Member for the DH White Center for Women and The Abigail Project whose mission is to empower, educate, and equip.

She believes strongly in volunteerism, civic engagement, and serving in her local community. Tamika has received trainings in the following subjects and more: Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, The Effects of Domestic Violence on Children, and Domestic Violence in the Faith Community.

Tamika received the Bachelor's of Science Degree in Information Technology from South University - Columbia.

She enjoys writing, reading, music, singing, and is a self-proclaimed coffee lover! Family and friends are most important to her and she devotes a substantial amount of her time to develop sustaining relationships with them.

Tamika is inspired by the writings of Eleanor Roosevelt, one of her favorite quotations is, “the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." 

Synopsis of her book "The Plus Factor:"

The Plus Factor is an autobiographical account of my journey from tragedy to triumph. It describes in vivid detail my life as the victim in my former abusive relationship. I invite the reader to come along and experience the highs and the lows with me throughout my experience and travel with me on my road to healing and rediscovering me. I also provide the reader with an in-depth look into the mind of a batterer, the criminal justice system and how domestic violence impacts the faith community. My abuser was a licensed and ordained deacon in my former church. Therefore, I address the church’s discipline, or lack thereof, or batterers.

Connect with Tamika online:

Friday, July 20, 2012

Pass The Test

Some of you who are reading this are probably going through a struggle right now. It could be with your physical health, finances, place of employment, career choices. It could also be family related, people wanting you to fail to boost their ego, the will to live, and the list goes on. God is not allowing you to be in that place just to leave you there permanently. He wants you to pass the test so you can either help somebody else get through, to bless someone else and you as well; most importantly, for Him to get the glory. Your test/struggle is not in vain. Like I’ve done with some of previous posts, I need to use some examples:

  1. Abraham was tested to see if he was faithful to God by sacrificing Isaac. We never find Abraham questioning God, “why do you want me to sacrifice my son”; instead, we find him saying to the young men traveling with him, “stay here while Isaac and I worship the Lord.” Did Abraham pass? Yes!
  2. Job was tested to see if he would remain truthful to God while the devil wreaks havoc in his life. Job makes faith statements such as “though He slay me, yet I will trust Him” and “I know that my Redeemer lives and He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.

I could give more examples, but I believe you get the point. I do need to say this; people will say that your challenges will be no more. For the record, as long as you’re living on this earth, you will always have tests, challenges or struggles to go through (some will be easy and some will be difficult). Either way, our faith in God needs to be strong or a relationship must be there so you can come out unscathed. Like I said in my post from last week (The Faithfulness of God), I believe that we as a nation are being tested from God to see if we’re going to look to ourselves, our respective president, or anybody but God. He wants us to try Him so He can show us His faithfulness. He’s done it with many people in the Bible and He will do it for us, if we solely take Him at His Word. With that, we can pass any test. Now, don’t think that our tests will be passed overnight. For some of us, it may take days, months, and years to come out of one test (depending on the assignment God has you on). Stay true to Him, He is with us. God will teach us many things in our tests, and like the Hebrew boys in Daniel 3, we can come out of the fire unharmed. Gold without fire can’t be pure gold, so take comfort when we’re in the furnace of God, He’s trying to refine us make us shine brighter than before.

While you’re in this test, swallow your pride thinking that you have to put up a front for people. God may have to bring you down to raise you up. That’s what He did with His Son, He had to die in order to be raised up. Don't be afraid to ask for prayer. We all need help in our tests (and God put us together to pass our respective tests). There will be those who will cheat, and try to get you to fail. So find someone who wants you to pass - not those trifling cheaters who not only want you to fail, but are failing themselves (and are probably so blind to the fact they're failing, they don't even realize it).

I close with this thought: most TESTimonies come after a TEST! Now that should give you something to TESTify!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

You Can't Quit Now

We all have a gift bestowed unto us by our Heavenly Father. A small disclaimer: when I say gift, it can be translated as talent, purpose, or calling. God has given it to us, and our responsibility is to use it for His glory to bless other people. Now as we go forth and pursue it, there will come a time where you will either be sidetracked or just feel like giving up (and there are countless reasons). Let’s detour for a second and talk from the Bible to show where people who didn’t quit though they had justifiable excuses to do so if they did.
  1. Joseph was given a dream that would rescue his family from famine. After revealing his dream to his brothers, Joseph was sold as a slave and eventually faced hardships after being lied on by Potiphar’s wife. Joseph had an excuse to quit, but he didn’t and as a result, the Lord was with him.
  2. Job was under satanic attack and lost a lot in his life. His wife wanted him to curse God and die. Job could’ve quit serving God, but he didn’t and as a result, the Lord double-blessed him.
  3. The apostles were beaten for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. They could’ve quit doing that to preserve their lives, but they didn’t and as a result, their ministry made an impact on the world (reference Acts 5:40-42).
  4. Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den for praying to God. He could’ve quit for fear of his life, but he didn’t. As a result, Daniel made it known that God is a protector to those who love Him.
  5. The three Hebrew boys were thrown into the fire that was 7x hotter than normal for refusing to bow their knee to the king. They could’ve quit serving God, but they didn’t. As a result, God walked through the fire with them.

What do we see here? If we’re serving God and bringing true glory to Him, He will always be with us. God is not blind to what trials we face.

Many of you have gifts that only you can do (and it has be expressed through the creative arts, through service, or through other means) that will bring glory to God and bless others tremendously. You must be determined and disciplined to fulfill your gift. If you don’t, you’re robbing yourself, God and others. You can’t quit now. The devil will throw many things at you to get you off course to make you quit. Keep your hands to the plow. We all need your gift just you all need my gift. Think back to when you wanted to quit something, but God gave you the strength to keep going – and it thrust you into your prophetic destiny. And I also want you to think back to when you started something and how you felt when you gave up. I would venture to say that when you kept going, you felt great and God extended your outreach. Trust me when I say that I know everything has a season; the objective is to stay obedient to Him at all times, so you don’t miss out when it’s your season. Even if you do, it will come back around again (provided you don’t remain disobedient).

I’ll even put this out there, there was a time in 2007 where I almost gave up on writing after an editor rejected my first book (Take It from Me). If some people didn’t encourage me to write, I would’ve been writing and making an impact on a few people. God allowed me to cross paths with a few people in 2009 and my first book was released and now it’s 2012, and I’ve written my first novel. I almost gave up writing the novel as well due to some personal issues going on in my life. Many of you didn’t know this, but if you were to read the acknowledgements in my novel, I mentioned when thanking the Lord that there was a point where I not only wanted to give up writing the novel, but living as a whole due to those personal issues. A dark cloud was over me during that time and I am so grateful that God sustained me through it all. If I had ended my life without finishing my novel, how would people’s lives be affected? Sure, God can use others to do something you should be doing, but the beauty of God is that He called us individually for a specific task. I said all of that to say this, if God has ordained you (which He has), He will sustain you through it all. Never let go of Him because He will always have His hand on you. And now that my novel is released, I’m so grateful to see lives rescued from the spirit of suicide.

In short, though I could type a lot more, just know that you can’t quit now because God will never quit on you! I better not forget this, you will face opposition like Joseph, Job, the apostles and many others recorded in Scripture, but you still can’t afford to quit now. Remember, quitters never win!