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Break the ice.

PEACE TREATY? (Not This Time…)

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“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
Matthew 10:33-35

“Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.”
Luke 12:50-52

I remember when I first read this scripture many, many years ago (well not that many, so don’t get carried away please). I was like ‘say what!’ the Prince of Peace came without His ‘peace portfolio’, we might have to shut down the United Nations/General Assembly and call it an onset of a life of woes and turmoil. Well those were my rampant and ‘hungry for knowledge’ thoughts, until the Lord of all Peace gave me an incredible revelation which became painfully real and personal to me might I add.

Let me take a paragraph and address an issue that just popped into my mind right now. I heard a bunch of people snickering about an incident they felt they were better qualified to handle. Maybe because the person God used shared a race, country, gender, ministry or what have you with them. So they humphed, rolled their eyes until they severed an optic nerve and waited with hands on their waist and a dangerous pose for the next windfall. Let me explain something to someone out there, if you notice in the first paragraph, I said that after God gave me the revelation it became personal. Meaning you will not see all that ‘heavenly secret’, without being tested on it. So next time you wish it were you getting attention, go back to the last thing God asked you to do in ‘1668, or 1984’ or maybe 2003 I don’t know. Did you do it and did the upheaval that comes with it hit your very existence, if not please take a tranquilizer (though I don’t condone the misuse of drugs, but at least this will get you of my back) and a back seat and ‘put a winter sock in it’. Every revelation and promotion from God will always hit you on a personal level. That is why I get overly excited and sick to the stomach when people attempt to preach what they know nothing about how be it practice it. Any way so much for a little detour, I shall return to my story.

Further down in the book of Matthew Chapter 10, the Lord goes farther to make a shocking and seemingly out of character statement. “For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law” Matthew 10:34-36  At this point, I bet those who feel themselves more righteous than God will be in a tiff. How can God say that? Has He not called us to be peace makers? as in “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matthew 5:8-10  Why then is he turning family members against each other. Surely we are to live peaceably and appeal to everything that moves and breathe. “There is no peace,” says the LORD, “for the wicked.” Isaiah 48:21-22

Here is my personal story: I come from very large and extended families on both my parents respective sides.  Both my grandmothers were dearly adored by their husbands (my grandfathers). I guess the day they (my grandfathers) stopped loving their wives or treating them with care, God killed them (just saying…). See Abigail and Nabal (the fool). I never knew both my grandfathers, yet my maternal grandmother lived to be about 98 years, and my paternal grandmother is 100 plus in years and still kicking her lovely self along praise God! I had posted on my Facebook wall the other day, about the longevity in my genes and told them I would be around a very long time to keep crushing the ‘serpent’s head’. The response was sweet and overwhelming; they wanted me around for as long as I could and the Lord permitted. So if you are reading this now and disappointed that I will be around for the long hurl…

Anyway back to my family tree. I have a lot of  uncles and aunts biologically. Even though most of them have me marvel at the connection we might have. Of the troupe, I have four favorite uncles. They are favorite, just because they treat me like a princess, just like my daddy did. They are not favorite because of their achievements (though that be many), they are simply special because they make me feel that way. I love them, just like I did my daddy because they first loved me – simple! “We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:18-20  Uncle H is fun-loving, a go getter, very family oriented and a hustler. He was my mother’s (self alloted)  body guard and brother (now he is mine). He studied Business and served as a Major in the US Army. When I am with him, it is grab it and I will pay for it baby! He still calls me his little girl. Uncle U is very gentle but effective non the less. He actually used to baby sit me when I was a very little girl. So more than most he knows what went down in my growing years. He is an incredible provider. A Chemical Engineer by profession he respects my daddy (his brother) a lot. Uncle E is like a daddy #2 to me, but he is mummy’s baby brother so that is not allowed traditionally. My father’s people are very sensitive about being overlooked when it comes to me. They feel that in the absence of daddy, the last name proves that they have to step up. Uncle E is a Medical Doctor, very well-known among  his peers. When I was in boarding school; he would turn our school ‘visiting days’ into a carnival. He would show up with the whole village lots of  food and a tent to see me and proudly proclaim, ‘anything for my lovely niece’. I was mortified at first, but learnt to appreciate his grand gesture of love. Last but not the least is Uncle S an Architectural PhD . Still thinks I am the little girl he used to log (carry on his shoulder) around many moons ago and always call me “mi nipote, amore mi’. He is very fluent in Italian and we like to talk about the rest of them when we are together!

About five (5) years ago, up until Thanksgiving week 2011, none of these Uncles were speaking with me. In fact they were so enraged that if you told them I was dying, they would probably be like ‘okay when?’ It was a very hard season to see these men whom I knew loved me dearly to be so incensed against me. What was the problem? The Gospel of Jesus Christ uncompromised and living for the glory of God. They were disgusted to say the least, and thought I was wasting my very talented and heavily awarded life. I was disgusted (then) too, but hey what could I do? Wrestle the God of the universe all night or for the rest of my life? Two of them were heavily invested in and part of a prestigious ‘Secret Society’, they were harder than every one else. One was in a cult and once told me he was more spiritual than I could ever dream to be as he almost burned down the house with his candles. Their absence in my life almost took a detrimental turn, but God held on to me. The devil being the opportunist and coward that he is moved in with such ferocity that I was convinced that God had given up on me. But God held on. I was so exhausted I became like a baby again. The Lord logged me around on His back changed my diapers and fed me oatmeal, since I was too tired to chew the bones I was already accustomed to chewing. I rested; and learned something new in that season.

There was a dying world out there that needed to see authenticity and Christ with arms and legs. Not a bunch of Church revelers and defrauders who felt they were exclusive to the rest of the world. So exclusive that their dealings always had to be ‘an unexplained mystery’ and a ‘picture of befuddlement’ which is a breathing ground for wickedness and sin. If as a minister and representative of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, people cannot confidently say they know what you are about, then you are a fraud. The devil flourishes in darkness, confusion and religious exclusivity. Let the people see you practice and live out (for real not for stage) what you are professing. For example, the people around me, even strangers know what I am about. Yet I am a very private person. They are not likely to see me break out of the ‘fold of fellowship’ to sneak into a forbidden place. If I break out on my own, they will see where and what I am about even if I don’t indulge them in my minute by minute business.  

 In the book of Joshua, when all the enemies of Israel heard how God had fought for them; they joined forces with other enemies (“ites’) for a stronger army to be able to come against Israel. God still gave Israel the victory, whether they were plenty or few. But there was one way that tripped up the Israelites, and by that way they had moved away from God’s protective guidance. The Bible said when the Gibeonites heard how God had led Israel to defeat Jericho and Ai, they came by a ruse, disguise and craftiness to get Israel to fight their battles for the rest of their existence. “However, when the people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai,  they resorted to a ruse: They went as a delegation whose donkeys were loaded with worn-out sacks and old wineskins, cracked and mended.  They put worn and patched sandals on their feet and wore old clothes. All the bread of their food supply was dry and moldy.  Then they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and the Israelites, “We have come from a distant country; make a treaty with us.” Joshua 9:3-13 It is much like a stranger getting you to agree to pay their debt for as long as both of you live and then it will be transfered to your descendants (the bondage never ends!). They said to Israel, we are one, by vocation, one by status, one by color, one by achievements, or one by alliance and goal. Make a pact with us, we are supposed to be together in this. We have the same title and curriculum, let us make a ‘peace treaty’. Beloved you know what happened, they did not ask the Lord and they ended up deceived and trapped for the rest of their lives. “The Israelites sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the LORD.  Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath.” Joshua 9:14-26  It may have looked like they were helping out or being kind. No, they had been played, and there was now a big ‘L’ sign on their forehead.

Earlier last month, my ‘spiritual’ uncle got plugged into the Kingdom of God and he is now the first in every prayer meeting. The other two that were in the ‘Secret Society’, are now on fire for Jesus that I can hardly keep up! All of our conversations now end with to God be the glory!!! Once again I am their little girl and we share a greater, stronger and eternal bond in Jesus Christ. It was worth the anguish. That I did not compromise Christ to get a cheap and fake peace. Any alliance, bond or union that does not have Jesus as the foundation, source and future is bound to fail. And in failing might serve as a major setback and bondage for all concerned. Watch that union…

“Three days after they made the treaty with the Gibeonites, the Israelites heard that they were neighbors, living near them.” Joshua 9:16

“If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.”  Isaiah 48:17-19

Do Not Feed the Birds!!!

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“Woe unto the world because of offences! For it must needs be that offences come; but woe unto that Man/Woman by whom the offence cometh!” Matthew  18:7

… So, where were we? I had a splendid weekend, hope you did too. Through some strange turn of events, God Almighty reminded me that I was still His princess and as such I was treated! You best believe I quickly dusted of the ‘cinders’ from my rags, just as the Holy Spirit arrived with new clothes and a horse-driven carriage. Off to the King’s ball we went, and you know how the rest of the story goes (at least I hope you do).

Anyway that is not what I planned to write about now; as the title goes. Well the other day, I was scurrying across the perpetually crowded park/plaza, when I slightly bumped into an elderly man. I had been carrying some liquid which might have slightly spilled on him, so I waited to find out if he was okay. I take full responsibility; I was walking straight when someone called my name on the right. Instead of stopping before I scanned the crowd, I tried (forgive my ironic expression) to ‘kill two birds with one stone; by scanning and walking at the same time’.

So here I was with the elderly man, and I felt the Lord tell me to sit and chat with him for a little bit. I acquiesced, made a production of staring at the time on the watch and then without any further-ado, I plopped my self in the seat beside the old guy. He now extracted from his little cart and unfolded a plastic bag full of grains and began to throw them at a group of now clustering: robins and pigeons. They (the birds) pecked, chirped, fluttered and flapped their wings in delight. It was so cool to watch them as it were, chat with the elderly man, so I joined the ‘feeding program’. He plunged straight into the topic of religion without any coaxing or bait. He was a Romanian Bible Scholar, had read ‘The Book’ from cover to cover about two hundred times.

Every time he started a story about Jesus or a Bible verse, I would complete it for him as he shook his head and marveled at the possibility of that. He said I did not look like I would embrace the word of God, how much more know it. I told him that was one strike against him for not judging a ‘righteous judgement’. He thought that was funny. Then came the moment of truth; I asked him if he was a Christian and for how long. He told me that no one was a Christian in these day and age. As I peered at him curiously and suspiciously, he went on to explain that the word ‘Christian’ meant: ‘Follower of Christ’ and no one was really trying to be Christ-like anymore or following Christs example and His suffering. There was no love he said in the body of Christ; the very thing Jesus said the world will know us by. My ‘Amen’ to that was so loud that the birds lost quite some feathers in petrification and by trying to fly away. People were leading by knowledge and not example and cunningly side-stepping their required cross (so to speak) he continued. Not many people were willing to pay the price and go all the way with Jesus he said.

As I slumped back in my chair in utter exasperation (for previously, I was falling off the edge of the seat as I listened), he turned to me with a smile and said “I have a word for you”; ‘Oh not again’, was my reply…’I thought you just gave me a word’. He shook his head and continued, he said remember Job; his trials came because God was so sure of this man standing when it was all said and done, that God Himself boasted about him and permitted Satan to harass and persecute him. In the end he said; God restored Job to a better place than he was in the beginning. Since it all originated from God, it was always a win, win situation, even though the devil and Job did not know it.

I almost dumped the whole bag of grain on an unsuspecting and dainty robin as I ruminated on what I had just heard; this guy might be either on to something, or he was snorting something. God was boasting? I could have been dead: “But  you are not; came the small still voice, My Grace is sufficient.” Anyway, it was time for me to go, so I bid the elderly man God speed, just in time to turn and walk right into what might have been a sign standing right behind the chair I had sat on previously (Clumsy, I am not). As I picked up the sign, to place it back where it fell from, I saw that it read: DO NOT FEED THE BIRDS!  And the whole time Security walked right by us (as the old man spread the grains far and wide) and never said a word. As I walked away heavy with perplexity; I thought did I just break a law and how come the Security never intervened. More so why did I not see the sign when I pulled out the chair and sat down. Even more disturbing: where in the world  did the birds fly to? Help me Lord…

“Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God.”  Luke 12:6

Pious Presentations

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“Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each other.” Colossians 4:6 NKJV

“Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned?” Luke 14:34 KJV

I felt ridiculous, as I crammed the ‘Caviar roll’ into my mouth. I turned to face the wall in case someone chose that moment to speak with me. What was I doing in the corner, like a toddler in ‘time out’. I wiped my mouth and turned to face the rest of the room before they became worried about my peculiar behavior. Peculiar? What was peculiar about hanging out at the food station half the night while everyone else was either chatting or dancing. My friend is a professional dancer and instructor, she owns her own studio in the city. And last night she was show casing some of her work. Her pleas for me to join the chaos fell on deaf ears. But after she dropped a pricey(she paid for it) ticket in front of me to attend her gala night, I acquiesced on one condition, she would let me know next time before she spent that kind of money knowing there was a huge possibility  the purchase would be wasted.

There were spectacularly dressed professional artists and dancers who sashayed all across the hall. As I clung to the pastry-bin with grim determination to find out the recipe, just by ogling it. Since that was not happening fast enough, I turned to face the room. Just then a female server walked up to me with a tray full of half filled glasses with sparkling contents and a sparkling smile on her face. That was when it happened, the dreaded flashback, the torturous recollection…

About fourteen months ago, another friend who was a T.V. producer invited me to a reality show where all I had to do was  be fine-dined, fill out a questionnaire and go my merry way. She invited me because according to her; it was a harmless setting for me and she gets an honest review about the food, drinks and taping. I only had one condition before I agreed to this invite. There will be no cameras in my face; under no circumstance would I want to be taped and aired as I gobbled my fair share of t.v. land gourmet. Girl friend agreed.

So come ‘D-day’, I campaigned vigorously to be sat near the ‘swinging doored’ kitchen. Not so I could be whiplashed by the doors, but rather so it would not be so easily accessible to the producers and camera crew. I delved into the business at hand like I promised my friend I would and was quite engrossed with the ‘chomp challenge’. Twenty minutes into start time while the servers (who were actually all actors) were still serving the dishes, one of the producers went around giving out two little drink tickets. There were no liquids on the table not even water, you had to use your tickets when the drink server came by. After what seemed like an eternity and a ‘desert-dry’ road being drilled down my throat, a perky sounding little looking server came by with a tray of; (you guessed it!) half filled cups with sparkling contents and an oh so sparkling smile.

She asked for my ticket as she unceremoniously plopped the glass on the table. I told her I would like to use my ticket for a cup of pure clean water. She looked at me like I had grown a horn in the past two minutes with the sparkling smile immediately gone, and angrily retorted that they were serving the drinks on the tray at this time. I calmly (at least I think I was) told her I wanted water not the drink on the tray because I do not drink those kind of drinks on the tray! At this point she angrily stalked away. My table mates expressed shock that I wasn’t taking advantage of the free drinks and thought that was weird. As they all stole glances at each other.

Yeah, yeah, yeah I am weird indeed. “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2;9, Deuteronomy 14:2 NKJV As I looked to the back of the hall, towards the juice bar I saw a collection of producers and servers glaring at me with such contempt that my already dry throat was clogged. By now, I was tempted in my flesh to rise to the angry challenge. A few seconds later another server walked up to the table and asked if I would like to use my tickets to get a drink. I said I would like to use my ticket alright; but to get either water or a non-alcoholic beverage! He rolled his eyes at me and walked away. Now I was not just very thirsty but very livid. A stage director came by to ask me why I did not want the offered drink. Well let us see; because it is a free country and I can drink what I want!

The camera crew were now at my table. My table members thanked me furiously for scandalously getting them some ‘fifteen minutes of fame’. As one of the crew members adjusted the mic right above my head, I prayed. I prayed for the quickest way to elude the circus. God’s reputation and my friends feelings were at stake here. At this point I did not care about my testimony or what the whole world thought about a thirsty girl asking for drinking water. The blinding lights flashed in my face as I squinted, I saw someone at the end of the table with both hands raised as I heard the word “action”!…

I looked at the lady standing in front of me with the sparkling smile and the tray full of cups with sparkling liquids, I smiled and asked if she could please help me out. I said this is a matter of life and death for me and I sincerely appreciate her input. Sure she said as she looked very concerned and worried for me. I clutched my stomach and grimaced as I told her I could  not have any alcoholic beverage. Oh sure she said her face twisting in genuine concern, would you like a diet soda or water?

A thousand Words or a thousand Lies?

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When I was growing up, (which was not too long ago :)).  I often heard the expression; (which I am sure you did too) ‘A picture speaks or is worth a thousand words’.  That meant that by the time you showed a picture of an event, incident or individual, you were able to prove or solidly back-up your point.

Well ‘News flash’! Not so anymore.  In an age of technology gone wild, you just might not recognize your self in a picture if your life depended on it.  Pictures and photos are now graphically manipulated and altered, so much so that it is as believable as it is controversial.  More like having the ‘Eiffel Tower‘ in a park in Warsaw if you can believe that. Oops!  You will be surprised at how many people who actually receive and believe that.

I mean the other day I saw a picture of the President of the United States of America in a ‘Situation Room‘ with some other high-profile officials, watching a high-profile and intelligence related raid.  Two days later, I saw the same picture, with two original officials that were present in the room at the time missing.  And another picture had him in the same room with the same people but with a ‘Playstation remote’.

It may seem humorous to some, but imagine the implication if we had not seen or known the origin of the real photograph.  We would have thought the Commander-in-Chief was goofing around half the time.  I wonder how many reputations and relationships have been ruined and respect lost because of this misused ability.

Let me paint you a picture of how ridiculous this can get.  Let us say Jane (not a real person) tells us she met a movie star while on vacation in Paris, and actually shows us pictures of she and the movie star holding hands.  Two days later we hear the movie star was killed by a drug overdose a week earlier than Jane should have met him.  Shortly after that the same picture has Jane holding hands with a popular martial artist, whom we later find out lost both hands in a street fight months earlier than Jane would have been holding hands with him.  As soon as that story falls through, we find Jane holding hands (in the same picture) with a basketball star, who we later learn is in police custody for alleged impropriety and had been for some time.  No sooner had we digested this fact did we have Jane posing with the Pope on the Statue of Liberty with a back drop of pyramids, and they were holding hands.  Our question to Jane would likely be; so whose hands exactly were you holding if at all there were hands to hold and did Ms Liberty walk or fly to Egypt…?

Real or Imagined?

Real or Imagined?

This is what I love about writing, it is what it is, in the language that it is.  And my favorite part;

‘THE PEN IS MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD”.

Peace.

‘Madam Z’s’ secret desire

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‘Madam Z’ always chided me about this particular accessory that I had. I will call it ‘article A’ for this story.  It was not revealing, suggestive or immodest.   She just said she did not like the accessory and besides it did not look good on me.  Strangely enough, everyone else thought it suited me perfectly.  In fact, they said I might as well have been the person who invented and designed this article .   That is to say, if anyone was to wear it they thought it should be me.

I really could not have cared less what ‘Madam Z’ or anyone thought as long as I had the thumbs up from the Holy Spirit (God‘s special radar system).  But because I had to deal with ‘Madam Z’ about three times a week, I decided for the sake of peace to lose ‘article A’ whenever she was around.

One time we were invited to a very posh event.   I had to decline attendance, because of other pressing issues I needed to tend to.  So it was a known fact that I would not be there.  However, on the eve of the event.  The main organizer,  gave me a call to see if there was a window of  chance that I would reconsider attending.  They would love to have me there if at all possible they said.  I figured it must mean that much to them to call me a few hours before, so I acquiesced.

When I walked into the main hall the next day, it was already packed and people were milling all around and enjoying themselves.  As I anxiously looked around to see if I could spot the hostess, I saw the strangest thing.  I actually saw someone wearing ‘article A ‘ in my favorite colour.  It was an exact replica of mine.  I thought to myself, I wish ‘Madam Z’ would see this lady and maybe stop bothering me.  If she saw that other people liked it too, she just might lay of me.

So I decided to walk up to the lady, and strike up a conversation.  And maybe later if she did not mind, take  a picture of her so I could show it to ‘Madam Z’. I scurried across the room like a rabbit that spotted a stick of carrot, walked right to the back of the lady wearing ‘article A’ and gently tapped her shoulder.

She turned with a broad smile that froze before its formation was completed, and I on the other hand felt the blood drain from my face.  Surprise! surprise!… It was ‘Madam Z’.

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