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Making Room at the Table

I am a sinner.

I have fallen short so many times.

I’ve had a baby out-of-wedlock and sex outside of marriage? Yes.

I’ve done drugs and I drink alcohol and curse like a sailor.

I’ve lied and stolen and lied some more. Last time I lied? Just an hour ago.

I’ve been someone’s mistress and lookout person. I’ve been unfaithful. To God and man.

When life became too much and pills and alcohol were the only resolve, God rescued me before I could drown into a dark death.

And still, I sin again.  Continue reading

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Biblical Marriage, Brooms, and Faux Rage

Lissen.

I usually don’t write an off-the-cuff response to happenings in the world, but I’ve been sitting back, watching my social media timelines as people respond to the ruling that SCOTUS made Gay marriage legal in every U.S. state, including Hawaii and Alaska.

I’ve watched friends and colleagues rejoice with just the idea of knowing they can experience the fullness of life and love without fear of social or judicial rejection.

I’ve watched those on the fence, some who wrestle with not only their sexuality but their religious beliefs, be supportive and rejoice with those who rejoice.

I’ve also watched pastors, ministerial leaders, Gospel artists, right-wing conservative pundits and the like seemingly mourn at the news that Gay and Lesbian couples can now get married before an all-mighty God. In fact, I’ve seen more pseudo-outrage about this ruling from many Christian leaders than I have about the countless social injustices against Black and Brown people.

But that’s another conversation for another day. Continue reading

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When God Gives a New Plan

“God is the same yesterday, today, and forever more!”

We’ve all heard this church cliché spilled from the mouths of everybody from seasoned saints to new converts as a declaration that God does not change. God does not change his/her mind. God will always deliver the way God always does, not when you want ’em, but always right on time.

This kind of understanding of God has led us to a formulaic kind of faith: you know, the kind of faith that says if you do this, add that, subtract these things, and divide by the Holy Ghost, that you’re guaranteed a response from the Lord that is favorable. Many preachers, evangelists, televangelists, Twitter ministries and the like have banked on this formula working because, in some cases it worked for them. It allows for people to assuage their fears of failing by believing that if they apply the formula, their faith is sure to work.

If it doesn’t work, then, you didn’t have enough faith. Or your sin blocked it. Or, something.

I had a conversation with a friend yesterday about how we try to apply the “formula” to the lives of others, suggesting they behave or act or pray a certain way so that they too, can be blessed by God. We often interpret what God is capable of based on our own position in life, literally and metaphorically. If God did it for me this way, God can do it for you that way, too.

We offer up these mirrored experiences to offer hope to people — we want our God to work for others the way God worked for us.

But God doesn’t always work like that.

Sometimes God likes to switch it up, change the game on us, to remind us that there’s more than one way to skin a cat.

In 2 Samuel 5, we meet a newly minted King David who, after only being in office for a little while, was attacked by the Philistines. The Philistines heard that David was the new king and went into the valley to position for attack. They mad. >.<

“David asked the Lord, ‘Should I attack the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?'”
“‘Attack them,’ the Lord replied, “because I will definitely hand the Philistines over to you.'” (2 Samuel 5:19, CEB)

David attacks the Philistines head-on and defeats them.

The Philistines would return again to the same valley they came to the first time and David would seek the Lord about his strategy:

“When David asked the Lord, God replied, ‘Don’t attack them directly. Circle around behind them and come at them from in front of the balsam trees.

As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the trees, then attack, for God has attacked in front of you to defeat the Philistine army.’”

“David followed God’s orders exactly, and they defeated the Philistine army from Gibeon all the way to Gezer.” (2 Samuel 5:23-25, CEB)

Here, David who could have easily taken the same tried-and-true approach to defeating his enemy as before, got brand new directions from God — something completely different from the first time.

You may be trying to figure out why the tried-and-true methods you’ve used before haven’t worked in your life. You may be listening to the wise counsel of others and their personal triumphs with God wondering, “I’ve done all that; why isn’t working for me?”

God’s plans are multidimensional, deeply diverse, and made just for each and every individual who needs guidance. Seeking God about how God wants you to move forward is one of the best strategies we can have when faced with a tough time.

Sometimes God’s plan will look eerily similar to something you’ve done before. Other times it will be totally different and completely foreign! Just know that no matter what God tells you to do, even if its unorthodox, it’s sure to work in your favor!

PS:
Share this post with someone who is stuck in a rut! God has a brand new plan for them — and you! xo

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On the gimme-a-new-plan Chase,

Alisha L.

@3rdPharoah

Risky Liberation

Risk, at its essence, is about the possibility of loss. Risk is never about firm, concrete, conclusiveness; it is about chance, likelihood, probability.

We all know what it’s like to take a risk: we know about risky stocks and risky lovers; risky car purchases and risky nights on the town; we even know about risky professions and risky encounters of the dangerous kind. Continue reading