Working hard or hardly working?

What is ministry? The definition of the word tells all: It’s serving other people.

I’ll admit…though I do consider myself to be a full time Christian, I am NOT a full time minister. Yeah, it’s a hypocritical situation. On one hand, I love God all the time, on the other….sometimes I find myself in situations where I feel  strange, out of my environment.

But that’s the word of God challenging me. James writes “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” Today was a challenge. I went from serving from the brokenness in my pocket to serving from the brokenness in my heart. My aunt invited me out for a late afternoon lunch, for which I ended up paying the bill for, to visiting one of her old friends. Afterwards it suddenly hit me. The three of us hit a shared trait: we each were alone. And yet, we had each other. We were each alone despite the obvious difference in and circumstances, yet we had each other. And like it or not…we needed each other’s company.

We may not like where ministry is bound to take us. Sometimes ministry will take us to the highways and byways. Sometimes it will take us ministering to the poor and outcasts. It will take us to the uncomfortably rich, to the poorest of the poor. To the very young and to the very old. Ministry will quite often take us from whom we would rather serve, to whom we would rather not. Now I’ll admit something: during those times where I feel  I am at a place where I’d rather not be…

I’d be like a mouse who suddenly found themselves face to face with a cat… In other words: I’ll be scanning for the best possible nearest exit: real quick  like.

But  you just  know there ain’t no easy way out: there are no exits when it comes to our Christian walk.

My point is this: everyone needs some kind of ministry in our lives. And ministry is a face-to-face, word-to-word exchange. We always need to minister to, yet we don’t always need to be ministered to. There is a time, and a place that we should be ministered to, and that time and place is only dictated to BY THE LORD Himself, not by us. As Christians, we don’t barter with the Lord. We offer ourselves up as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service. Unfortunately, just as a cat and mouse, there are no substitutes! Ministry is for Christians who LOVE THE LORD. As a matter of fact, ministry is built right into the Greatest Commandment of them all. If you can’t handle that commandment, you can’t handle the TRUTH!
One of the greatest misconceptions among “God loving folk” is that ministry revolves around family. I find that Jesus challenged that misconception as He put family aside so that He could focus on his ministry. This doesn’t mean that family doesn’t  come first. But when there is a sudden need for ministry, family comes second.

Is your ministry hard work? Is it hard working all of the time. Are you the Cat or are you the Mouse?

Separation Anxiety


It’s been a little over a month, and I am feeling the separation anxiety a little bit more every day. Everything has changed so much so fast; one moment she is here, and the next she is gone.

I’ve got one photograph of her on my bedroom drawer. She is sitting, smiling, looking at the camera. I hardly look at it, but it’s there. It reminds me that she is now an angel, watching over me that much closer.

For the moment, I am alone in a three bedroom house. And it’s quiet…real quiet. There are no more machines, there are no voices except the nightly two hour TV  time.  Soon it will be filled again with family. But it won’t ever be the same again, because she won’t be here.

So many plans I made, and I find that they don’t really matter anymore. Oh they will be fulfilled in time. In the meantime I wait, like a eagle perched on a high rock, ready to sweep and soar. It all goes back to what the Lord says. He promised that He will bless us, give us hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29

I’m hoping and longing for the day when I am reunited with both my parents. Until then I fully understand what loss is.

I Must Complain?

There is NO REASON and there is NO PLACE for a Christian to complain about their circumstance(s). If God is putting you in the middle of a storm, and you’ve been there complaining for YEARS it’s because YOU don’t have the patience to wait on GOD in the STORM. It’s ALL in God’s time…NOT ours! In this life, if you are a Christian, you WILL have trials and tribulations. COUNT ON IT!

Blessings? They will come, but they will be small and forgetful. But the pushing…sometimes it will seem like you’ve been pushing, or carrying that boulder for a long time, a long way. Friends, the journey we are on only ends the moment we go home to be with the Lord. I don’t like complainers. Why? Because complainers go against SEVERAL of God’s Words.

Such as Philippians 4:11-13 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. I think the main problem with uncontentful Christians is that they go about complaining of their circumstances, instead of praying, reading the Word, and seeking God above all else, including their circumstances.

Luke 6:46-49 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”

Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

What I find is that Christians get all huffed and puffed that things never go their way.

Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

You will NEVER find where it says in the Bible “go on complaining, and I will give you rest” Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Do we really want it our way, or the Lord’s way? Whom is it that you choose to serve? Self, or The Lord?


Young Love?

I know I said in my previous post that I would write more about grief on this post. But things aren’t going as planned.

So today I was speaking with a family member and she brought something to light about my past. Something that both made me sad, and yeah, kinda grieved in a way.

With Febuary almost gone, and my Valentine’s Day made a mess by the bitter absence of my Mom (Febuary 15th would have been her birthday), I really didn’t feel like celebrating anything. Of course, I don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day anyways, since I don’t really have a Valentine’s.

But today I was reminded of how I acted in my youth, and though I’ve grown since then, as well as being born again, I have to say that there was a lot of confusion going around, and to a point, there is a lot of confusion going on today.

You see, I was a romantic in my youth, and even a romantic in my early years as an adult. Even today, I find myself a bit on the romantic side. I basically still adore women, and I never cared who you were. If you were a woman, you were my inspiration.

I remember the long romantic letters I’d use to write before the computer came along. Although I don’t remember them in detail, I know I did try and “romanticize” women.
One particular woman whom I wrote to, whom turned out to be the only woman I was ever actually attracted to, lived out in the boonies in my city, and whom I spoke to on a daily basis (She was a caretaker for my Grandmother) really got a handful of my letters.
I remember speaking to her and she mentioned how she loved my letters, she told me I was a very gifted writer.

Kinda wish I could still write like that…but that would be a whole different blog site.

Unfortunately things didn’t last between her and I. But I still remember the passion I poured into the letters I would write her, almost on a daily basis. I was that sort of passion that I wanted in a relationship.

I don’t know what happened between the time I lost her, and the time I rediscovered what true love was all about. But the important thing is that I found God…and He was, and is all I ever need in my life. The Greatest Love of My Life!

God has taught me that I don’t need to go chasing all the women, all the time…for my chase often ended up with a whole mess of hurt feelings. I was chasing a dream that was never mine to chase after. Do I still dream of that chase? In other words, if the opportunity presented itself, would I “go for it?” Most likely not. I’ve grown to love women as friends, and as Sisters in Christ. The days of romancing are over for me. Oh I still love women for who they are, and quite a bit for their often undying beauty.

Besides, I’m too old for games.

I’m alone with God now…
And a Loner has got to be alone…
With God.  🙂

5 Reasons Grief Can Be a Gift

griefMy next post will be a personal account of my own relationship with grief. But I saw this in my email today and thought Whitney wrote it out in an awesome way!

It was time to invite family members to my daughter Honor’s latest ballet recital, and as I sat at my computer sending invitations through email, images of how Honor used to playfully dance with my mother through Mom’s apartment went through my mind. Then I thought back even farther, to when I was a girl, dancing with Mom through our townhouse purely for fun. Mom, who loved dance and was close to Honor and me, had always been the first person I invited to Honor’s dance recitals. I caught myself starting to type Mom’s email address as thoughts about her swirled around my mind. Then tears escaped from my eyes and dropped on my keyboard.

Mom had been dead for nearly 7 years. When would I ever get over my grief?

Grief lingers long after the deaths of people we’ve loved – but in our culture, grief seems acceptable only when we express it soon after our loved ones pass away. Beyond several months, people tend to assume that we’ve fully recovered. But when those we were close to pass away, their absence creates a permanent void in our lives.

Anything that reminds us of people who have died can trigger our grief by making us aware of the void that’s always there. It can be something big (like a holiday we can no longer celebrate with them) or something small (like glancing at old photos of them).

Embarrassed about how I’m still mourning Mom all these years after she died of leukemia, I rarely talk about her with friends and family anymore unless it’s a special occasion (such as Christmas or Mother’s Day) when I think people will be more likely to understand how I miss her. But I still grieve Mom often during my everyday life (such as when I drive to my gym, on a route that takes me right past her former apartment).

Is it okay to admit that the void isn’t going away?

After I prayed about it, I now feel at peace that lingering grief is not only okay, but actually good. Why? God has used my grief as a tool to help me grow closer to him.

Grief, it turns out, is a gift. Yes, it’s one that we would all like to return if we could. But if we’re willing to open this gift that God gives us when our loved ones pass away, we’ll discover that it contains blessings in disguise. Grief is a gift because:

Grief focuses us on what has eternal value as we’re thinking of our loved ones in heaven and their legacies on earth. We’re less likely to fritter away our valuable time and energy on what isn’t truly important and more likely to devote ourselves to pursuing God’s purposes for our lives when we’re grieving. Grief puts heaven at the forefront of our minds, reminding us that we’ll go there ourselves someday if we have a saving relationship with God through Jesus. When we get there and meet Jesus face to face, do we really want to look back with him on a life full of excessive television watching, shopping, gaming, or other pursuits that wasted the resources we could have spent on what has eternal value? What Jesus wants is for us to show up in heaven having spent our earthly lives investing in what’s most important – loving God and other people – through relationships, creative projects, service work, and anything else God leads us to do. Grief also brings our late loved ones’ legacies to mind. As we reflect on how their earthly lives impacted others, it helps us clarify our own priorities so we can leave the kind of legacies we want to leave ourselves.

Grief motivates us to use our time well by reminding us that our time here is limited. Once we’ve set wise priorities, we need to base our daily decisions on them – and grief motivates us to be disciplined enough to do so every day. We realize when we’re grieving that our time on Earth is finite and can end without warning, at any moment. That reality check helps us see that every moment God gives us is a precious bit of time that we should use well.

Grief encourages us to rely on God’s strength by bringing us to the end of our own strength. When something triggers our grief, it often feels like a wave of sorrow overpowering us. We can’t stop missing our loved ones who have passed away, and we’re powerless to bring them back to life here or to visit them in the afterlife. We may also feel like we’re stuck in some unhealthy places as a result of our grief, such as dealing with depression, obsessing over regrets from our relationships with late loved ones, or living with nostalgia for the past so much that we’re not embracing the present. It’s only through God’s strength that we can overcome the challenges grief brings into our lives. Grief makes us aware of how much we need the Holy Spirit to empower us to deal with those challenges well.

Grief inspires us to pray more, which helps us develop a closer relationship with God. We want our heavenly father to help us in our grief. The more we reach out to God in prayer, the more he gives us the comfort and encouragement we need – which inspires us to keep communicating with him. Prayer always draws us closer to God. While God won’t remove the voids that have been left in our lives from the deaths of our loved ones, he will enter those voids and embrace us with his presence there. The voids can them become like doors leading us closer to God.

Grief helps us value other people more as we miss the people we’ve loved who have died. Appreciating the people around us becomes easier when we see them through the lens of grief: as people made in God’s image, and as precious souls who are still present with us so we can still enjoy their company. Who hasn’t wished for more time with loved ones who have passed away? While we can’t be with people who have died until we get to heaven ourselves, we can be with people who are still alive and make the most of our time with them by building loving relationships.

Although grief is difficult, we really shouldn’t try to get over it. By viewing grief as a gift from our heavenly father and opening it more every day, we’ll encounter unexpected blessings.

Whitney Hopler, who has served as a contributing writer for many years, produces a site about angels and miracles for She is author of the inspirational novel Dream Factory (which is set during Hollywood’s golden age) and writes about the power of thoughts on her “Renewing Your Mind” blog.


I stepped into your bedless room (they took yoiur hospital bed away right away), and there is an emptiness. I stepped into your walk in closet with all your clothes hanging, realizing you have a new gown of white and just broke down. I’m glad you’re not suffering. Maybe it’s selfish, but the biggest challenge I face now is a total change of life without you. Soon this house will have a complete makeover and the old things will fade. The new things will come, and perhaps my heart will break even further because I will realize that the painful stripping away has just began. You were my best friend, my confident, my mother and my guiding light. Yes, you are with the Lord now, and you have been reunited with your own father, mother, husband and granddaughter. There is, and always will be an immediate void, I will perhaps awake, as if from a dream, and you will be there. But that waking is in it’s own due time.

Georgina Maria Damas (Mom) 1942-2015



Conspiracy Theory: Cancer Shocker!

You wanna talk Conspiracy Theory? Ok, let’s talk about how the US Government is in league with the Tobacco Companies and our Doctors in this “wonderful” nation. Yeah, the Government grants the business licenses to the Tobacco companies, and the Tobacco Companies make the Cigarettes, which consumers get hooked on, causing them shortness of breath which leads to terminal lung cancer, which leads to Doctors to form the American Lung Cancer Society, which prints out the labels on the cigarette packages, which states the obvious!

Now instead of banning the sales of cigarettes, or raising the prices to the point that it would be prohibitive to even obtain them on the streets, or making them illegal, which will definately cause an uproar, the Government raises the cost of medical drugs to the point that only the richest of the richest men/women can afford them, medical drugs that only HELP, but do not CURE such diseases as Cancer.

We SHOULD stop looking for a cure for lung cancer, because the cure is right there in front of us: between our fingers and our lips. We need to BAN Cigarette Smoking, Tobacco AND even “Medical Marijuna”.

I promise you, that the day that we take a stand, that’s the day that we live happier, healthier, and more fullfilling lives. A life where maybe, perhaps, God willing, we shall see our grandchildren graduate high school, or better yet, college, or some other big deal!

Of Gluttony and Starvation

I was absolutely horrified and disgusted. It made me sick to my stomach. I wanted nothing more than to vomit out the news story I had just read- to purge it from my eyes and memory. But some things, once read, cannot be unread. Let me explain, with the hope that all who read this can walk away with a new perspective…

Betsey Stephens was a helpless 22 day old baby. She had no capability to provide for herself. She had no capability to feed herself. She could in no way care for herself. She NEEDED her parents to be parents. Yet on that dark day of December 23, 2013- right before the most joyous holiday for any child- she met a most horrendous of fates. She was left unprotected from an enemy that sought her life in the most cruel of fashions. An enemy that sought to devour her, to engulf her in pain. This enemy caught her in his clutches, and she suffered for hours before succumbing to his evil plot to end her. And so it was that the sweet baby Betsey passed away at the hand of the great wickedness known as Starvation.

We have all seen how cruel Starvation is. We have seen how he makes his victims suffer. We have seen how he breaks them before taking their life. And we know that he usually comes with great poverty. This would leave us to assume that perhaps the undoing of this child was, in part, due to Starvation’s companion of the Less Fortunate. Perhaps little Betsey met her demise as her parents struggled to make ends meet. Oh, if only it were a heroic story of parents sacrificing of themselves for her sake, in hopes of her survival. But, no… There were no heroes here. There was no father willing to protect her. There was no mother wrapping loving arms around her. In fact, the hungry child died-alone.

She lay in the tormenting grip of Starvation, very much alone; all while her “parents” feasted at an endless buffet. While her stoma h screamed in empty pain, their stomachs bloated with too much food. How ironic that while she died from lack, those very minutes her parents were suffering the effects of gluttoney. And so I ask, who was more cruel- Starvation? Or the child’s parents?

The story is shocking. We would all rise up in condemnation of these parents. We would decry what they have done, our faces twisted in horror at what they have done. But another question must be asked… Should we be surprised? Look around you. We live in a society that craves love, yet the only love most seem willing to invest in is the love of self. We sacrifice daily and repeatedly for the love of self. We value not just our lives, but our wants and desires far above the needs of even those we claim to be close to. The truth is, we are more than willing to help others- unless it requires denying ourself of something we feel we deserve.

We are a selfish society. It shows in our spending. It shows in our time spent. It shows in our gluttoney. And then we are shocked when the innocent suffer as a direct result of the guilty’s self love. But why? Why are we horrified? Why are we shocked?

We must come to grips with this reality: our society is on a crash course with self destruction. We need to wake up and stop being so obsessed with ourselves. Despite what we would like to believe, the universe does not revolve around us. We are surrounded by people who are sick and dying; don’t you think it’s time to separate ourselves from the endless feeding trough buffet of selfish desires and reach out with true love? Isn’t it time to stop throwing used band-aids at wounded people and take the time to offer true and complete healing?

Let us be clear on something: we may all stand and condemn the parents of Betsey Stephens; but unless we starve our own gluttony, unless we remove the idol of self from our hearts, we are not much better…

Rushing God!

Too much food yesterday in too short of a time. Honestly there was so much food, I am not sure I had a bite of everything there was. That and the fact that I am a fast eater. While there were leftovers, somehow it doesn’t feel the same as eating on Thanksgiving. While I am normally thankful on Thanksgiving, and every other day, yesterday didn’t seem right; the Spirit wasn’t really there.

Of course, there was a message in there from God for the church. “Quick and Easy” is how we want things today, but it’s only when we take the time to savor our relationship with God that we get our daily bread. I am not talking about our morning, or evening time with God, just saying that hopefully that’s not how God views our relationship with Him. We do still want God to act when we want Him to act…which is like Instant Mashed Potatoes…pretty quick, but God’s time isn’t necessarily our time.  As I was reading the story of Abraham and Sarah, it occurred to me that we may have to definitely wait a while for God’s promises to take action.

I think that if we always rushed things along we won’t be too satisfied with the end result. I remember plenty of times during the times I held down a job where if either I or my customer wasn’t happy with the end result because the job was rushed, neither walked away with a good feeling about the situation.

Is God happy with our progress and promptness? Better yet, are we happy with God’s timing?

The race to win isn’t always won by pure speed. It takes the simple wisdom of a tortoise, and the foolishness of a rabbit to learn this. But then, even the rabbit took it’s time.

What do you think?

The Burning Lesson Of Ferguson

Posted by therandyjackson

It was undeniably the most important decision of his young life. As he reached into the box, he had an important choice that would forever alter the course of his future, the course of his family’s future, and the actions of a nation. It would have been easy to just walk away; to just be another average customer. But that is not what he wanted. We will never know why- why he gave in to temptation. We will only know the great tragedy that followed. It was in that critical moment he went from just another young man buying a cigar- to a household name throughout the 50 states. And while everyone debates over conflicting eyewitness testimony and use of force; it is undeniable that every scenario comes down to this brief moment in time, to this one breath, to this one slight of hand- when Michael Brown chose to steal.

It is the one constant that everyone seems to be overlooking. He committed robbery. This robbery led to a report being filed with a description of the suspect. The report and the description led to the confrontation between the police officer and Michael Brown. That moment led to heartbreak, anger, outrage…

Now, we can set fires all day in response to the results of the confrontation- but the simple truth is, if Michael Brown had not decided to break the law, if he had walked a different path- it would have been just another day. And at the end of that day, he would not be dead.

I do not say this to make light of the tragedy. No matter what the truth is of the situation, no one wins. Mr. and Mrs. Brown must live with the pain no parent should have to bear. The police officer, whether justified or not in the shooting, must carry with him the face of a young man whose life he ended. The city must struggle to rebuild the loss inflicted on innocent bystanders- a loss given to them by thugs whose only desire is violence. And a nation must attempt to heal from the trumped up charge of racism by those who seek to divide.

But the hard truth is that at the foundation of all of those bricks of tragedy is Michael Brown’s decision to take what did not belong to him. I don’t think any of us would have ever guessed that the cost of a handful of stolen cigars would be so high…

When all is said and done, when fires are finally left to smolder out, there is only one real lesson to learn from the burning of Ferguson. It is not that police officers are some form of tyrannical beasts that must be beaten into submission. It is not that all black teens are nothing more than street thugs. It is not that the criminal justice system is defiled and corrupt. It is not that blacks hate whites or that whites hate blacks. No- the only lesson is that every decision we make has consequences, far reaching consequences that affect more than just ourselves.

We must learn to think about the choices we make before we implement them. We must consider how our actions will impact the lives of others. We must decide to put the needs of others above our own selfish desires- especially when those desires come at great cost to those around us. And we must realize our own responsibility when exercising our free will in choice. It is truly my hope that we put down the torches and the hate, that we learn to take responsibility for our actions, that we choose our paths carefully, and that we clothe ourselves in love for others.

It is my prayer that we would seek the peace of God over the violence of men, that we would consider the effects of our choices, and be wise with what little time we have. Because the greatest tragedy in all of this, the greatest heartbreak in all this ash, would be if we walked away only having learned how to better launch flaming arrows at one another…

Original posting here