WHAT I LEARNED FROM MICHAEL JACKSON
I attentively and assiduously watched the Memorial services for Michael Jackson, along with my husband. It has been reported that over more than (1) one billion people collectively watched from all around the world from more than (160) one hundred & sixty or more countries. It was both inspiring and enlightening. I experienced a torrent of emotions. It brought tears to my eyes many times. I could relate to a degree, because over the last several years we together have seen so many close relatives pass on to the other side. Of those many both of our mothers passed on just seven months apart, from one another. This made the Memorial even more so thought provoking. I have much PEACE knowing without a doubt that both our Mother’s are now again with the Lord!
I conscientiously listened and engaged with each of those who really knew Michael Jackson as they shared their poignant expressions of him. They shared how Michael was a loving, kind, gentle, giving man, talented and such a funny person. This was deeply embedded in their many heartfelt as well as amusing expressions. Magic Johnson even shared a humorous moment of when he found out how Michael liked Kentucky fried chicken. I was glad that they showed the personable private side of his life. He was presented an honored by a government representative officially praising him for his many “Deeds” and exonerating him of his innocence… This is the reason why we have Memorials? We the viewers & fans really only know about Michael from afar. A lot of the news, accusations and innuendos we hear are nested in a slew of propaganda.
I have gradually acquired much more compassion for Michael because he was a mere child that had to grow up in the limelight, center stage, in front of the world. Children have a great need to develop an inner healthy homeostasis. This is what helps them have a balanced sense of self. They can usually read our emotions. Children have a basic need to be loved, accepted and understood. Michael unselfishly relinquished the majority if not all of his own childhood for the sake and financial gain of many. By doing so he took care of and provided for his family, friends, business associates, doctors, lawyers, household staff and many, many others as well as supporting numerous charities. This is an enormous responsibility for such a young boy to shoulder.
I realize that Michael was a victim of much emotional, verbal and physical abuse. This explains his shyness and insecurity… Michael has been said to have lived an isolated life. I believe he needed to be protected from some of those who should have protected him. Those who were on his payroll……. Due to his multiplicity of talents people naturally drew to him. I am sure that there were those who were genuinely concerned for his wellbeing. No doubt His mother for one… But I also believe that he was greatly taken advantage of by those who saw him as a resource or reservoir for their own wealth rather than a person.
I truly believe that Michael was intuitive and realized this; this is one of the reasons why he surrounded himself with
children. He made it possible for a lot of those children to realize their dreams. It is through his brilliant, ingenuous technique, smooth showmanship, graceful agility, and ponderous of the wonderful myriad of breathtaking performances, his childlike freedom would shine through. It is during this time I believe he could momentarily rise above his haunting inner pain. There is no doubt that He gave us his all; whenever he performed it was magnificently magical.
Michael generously shared his multiplicity of gifts and talents with the world at large! This opened a whole new dimension for the entertainment world; that crossed all racial, economic, social, color and age barriers. Giving credit where it is due; this current generation and those to come as well have and will continue to greatly benefit from those doors Michael opened. He created and carved out a space of his own on this side of heaven. Michael took entertaining to an innovatively new level! He gave of his life sustaining essence. I personally think he is truly worthy of the title “All Time Best Entertainer!”
I do not condone wrong behavior in anyone, myself included. The TRUTH is told Michael was acquitted by a jury of any and all charges that were ever filed against him. He was declared “INNOCENT”! Yet, those accusations will always hover like a latent virus. Is this why he is treated as guilty? He still had to live under public scrutiny, an ambivalent shadow of enormous criticism, mockery and continual harassment… No doubt there were those who took advantage of him. There were also those who surrounded him lurking, who wanted to seize any opportunity to elevate themselves at his expense. All of this came along with the fame, notoriety and celebrity status he attained.
Prior to the actual Memorial’s commencement Smokey Robinson shared telegrams from Nelson Mandela & Diana Ross. This was followed by a noted quiet silence throughout the arena. Even the News media was silent!
This was a rare moment, A TRIBUTE in itself!
During Michael’s Memorial those who knew him gave us a very insightful, lingering perspective. It was a once in a lifetime Star studded Memorial an A-List of professional participants, yet, they too momentarily were succumbed by their emotions; Mariah Carey, Jennifer Hudson, Usher, John Mayer and Stevie Wonder. All were emotionally arrested, causing a softening of their tributes and renditions in song, yet powerfully emitting the sensitivity of how they truly were in awe and how much respect they felt. Michael indeed is a Legend in his own right.
Queen Latifah spoke candidly and boldly as she fondly reminisced and read a powerful poetic tribute from Maya Angelou. Michael’s abrupt passing has greatly impacted as well as caught many off guard!
Smokey Robinson and Berry Gordy shared their respect, love and appreciation of Michael as well as humorous moments. Jermaine his older brother’s rendition of Michael’s favorite song “Smile” was ironically expressed in a harlequinly manner that so touched the hearts of many. No doubt he was overwhelmed by the passing of his brother yet rose to the occasion. It was said to be he was Michael’s support and somewhat backbone…
It was Brooke Shields, Al Sharpton and his brokenhearted, loving daughter Paris that gave us a true inside glimpse of who he REALLY was… A most memorable touching moment as the family surrounded daughter Paris as she gave honor to her father Michael as the “Best father Ever!” and was willingly, readily and humbly comforted by Janet Jackson her aunt. Who is a STAR in her own right! During the finale as a TRIBUTE, all Michael’s siblings gathered on stage in unison with many others… No family exists without disagreements from time to time. I solicit the prayers of the Christian Community for Michaels’s family that is so much in the public view! Many pressures abound during their days of mourning. I learned that Michael Jackson loved his children and family, esteems and holds his Mother Katherine dearly and they love him and he lives on in their hearts… Yes of course his fans love him too, but from a distance, to them he is really an “Icon.”
One must know that there was little or no room for alone time, privacy or a sense of normalcy for Michael Jackson as a celebrity for security purposes. He could not go out to the grocery store, drive freely about, come and go as he pleased, take a walk publicly or perhaps even attend to his personal needs without someone abreast … So how could he without the assistance of someone, do some or any of the things that he was accused of ? Therefore if you must, one should also condemn his security agents, those who were around him constantly and those who brought, gave and anesthetized and or administered the alleged plethora of “prescription medications” as well. Who are they? Were they not aware of the consequences and side effects … Michael was not a doctor. He was a son, a brother, a friend, a father and a world class entertainer. In fact, my opinion “The Best Entertainer Ever!”
I learned from Michael Jackson’s death that no matter how much you do, for some people it will never be enough. No matter whom you are, nor how much you give. Some people would remember the negative things. Michael not only gave of himself, his time and resources; I learned that Michael Jackson is in the Guinness Book of World Records for giving more than any other Pop Star. Those who really know you will remain faithful. Love continues through eternity.
I BELIEVE, the most important relationship that any of us can have is to know and be connected to our Creator, Maker and Lord through a relationship with His Son Jesus Christ. It is so important to know Him personally as well as His WORD! Jesus was that WORD wrapped in flesh! The beauty about His plan of SALVATION; that it is not contingent on who we are! But because of what He has done! Once we accept JESUS CHRIST as our SAVIOR and LORD, we are given the gift of ETERNAL LIFE! Romans 11 says “That if YOU CONFESS with your mouth, JESUS is LORD, and BELIEVE in your HEART that GOD raised HIM from the dead, thou shat be SAVED…” This is where our true security and significance lies.
God knows all about each one of us from the moment of conception and has a unique purpose for each one of us to fulfill and when that time is over we who are His children return to Him. You just never know how short or long that time may be? So live life to its fullest in His presence! The most important audience is an audience of ONE; meaning in front of Him! ”GOD is LOVE”, It is through Him we learn what is really most important! I know even more so NOW that how so very important it is to live your life to please GOD rather than man! Because no matter what you have or don’t have when it is all said and done that is what really matters most. Michael no longer has to … But I am sure there is much more to come. My thoughts, concerns, well wishes and prayers are with Michael’s children, his Mother and family. May YOU Rest in Peace Michael Jackson!
Now that I am over fifty I can really look at things through my Mother’s eyes. My compassion has grown. It is such a gorgeous day. I know Mom would have loved the brilliant sunshine and stunning blue skies. Today we took her some beautiful flowers. My Mom always loved fresh flowers, she will always be alive in my heart. There are times that I miss her dearly; but I have peace knowing that she is resting and happily present with the Lord. She will always and forever be alive in my heart. There are times that I miss her dearly; but I have peace knowing that she is resting and happily present with the Lord. I can look back and be thankful of the times I spent with her.
In her later years my Mom gradually began to say what I now call a “slow goodbye”.
My Mother was a very strong willed woman. I was her only daughter among my many brothers. I will always remember how she reminded me that she prayed that the Lord would give her a daughter. It was actually just abreast a few months of her forth decade in life that I was born.
I believe that by this time she had a pretty good handle on being a parent since I was her ninth child and as I said before her first and only daughter.
My Father labored many hours away from home providing for our family. My Mother adorned me with all the girly trimmings for as long as I can remember. Frilly Priscilla curtains festooned my bedroom windows along with my white high standing white wrought iron bed. I think I wore pink nylon and organza dresses with embroidered flowers with matching bloomers and pink satin ribbons to adorn my hair seems like forever to Church. Let’s not forget to mention how I had to stay up while she pinned curled my hair with bobby pins on Saturdays for curls on Sunday. This was almost until I was thirteen years old. I eventually was able to turn in my white socks for cinnamon colored stockings.
My Mother was born in the early 1900’s and that was the thing to do way back then for a girl child. I was especially elated that she spent many hours laboring at her much ravished Singer Sewing machine fabricating me a plethora of uniquely designed everyday dresses. When school started there was one for each day of the week. She even made me a red plaid Dr. Kildare dress. I can remember her up and about sewing more nights than I remember her sleeping and resting. I now realize the many sacrifices she made for me. Coming from such humble beginnings makes you really appreciate the preciousness of time.
I have learned that time in fact, is really a precious priceless gift.
Years later on another occasion I can remember the day my husband asked her if he could marry me. Since we were so young I was a bit queasy as to how she would respond. He had graduated early from high school at sixteen. So I had chosen not to be present. My Mother was in her late 20’s when she married. Here I was a mere 17. I could only wonder what she would say. She had planned that I go on a college tour and………. But whatever my then, husband to be said to her, he won her over, from that moment on. It was at that time that they bonded. He became another son to her. We were engaged for one year. When our very own daughter was born she adorned her with the same delicately made pink embroidered dresses.
Each time one of my children were born (we had four more sons) she came to our home for an extended visit. We spent many nights just enjoying the company of one another. I always appreciated the way she respected and loved our children and my husband. I knew somewhat, but it was not really until her “Home going” celebration that I realized just how special her relationship was with my husband. My husband paid a tribute to her by playing one of her favorite hymns “His Eye Is On The Sparrow>” . It was at that moment he shared with the many guests that were present, that in over thirty years there had never been a cross word between them. I don’t know many son-in–laws that can say that! These are just a few of the many memories that I cherish to this day. There are so many many more.
Little did I know until much later on in life how those memories would get me through the changes, challenges and transitions that her life encountered. Age has a way of creeping up on you. It gradually robbed her of all her much adored independence, gifts, talents and strength that she profusely exuded. My Mom was always a strong figure in my life. I always felt as a child that she was so stern. This of course is understandable since I was her one and only daughter. She was a very intelligent an educated woman. She was well respected by her academic colleagues. It was when I was in Jr. High that she entered into teaching. She wore many hats as a wife, Mother, teacher and actively took on many roles and a list of responsibilities at her place of worship. She was an advisor and confidant to many pastors. Let’s not forget her excellence as a seamstress, gourmet cooking skills and passion for gardening!
I said all of this to give you a poignant illustration of what was. … I can remember her telling me how she was beginning to feel strange in this body of hers. That that person looking back at her in the mirror was beginning to be quite interesting. How her body just would not do the simple tasks as she wanted. After she retired and well into my adult years she continued to sew, cook and garden. But slowly and surely her strong physical stature begins to slightly so ever bow. I would drive up and spend the day with her often. I can remember her equilibrium suddenly changing and her many falls. Osteoporosis gradually began to take its toll on her ever shrinking frame. Her once tall and grand stance resembling a much shorter humbled bowing position. The many bruises on her arms and head. But thank God no fractures or broken bones! She would jokingly say her hard head now came in handy. But she remained determined. I can remember the garage door falling on her. I asked her “What were you thinking of? You don’t’ even drive!” Here our roles begin to reverse.
My Mom loved to write and faithfully would journal her daily thoughts and dissipating activities. Her memory filled cherished journals and her Elementary Primers are my most treasured remnants. It was in her journals I have her recorded memories of her much expressed LOVE for me, her long gone sister, brothers and parents. Who all went before her, of her many friends and acquaintances, my brothers and especially her loving relationship with me, my husband and our children.
My Mom as I said was articulate and had no problem expressing herself. in anyway. She could even discuss the sports statistics with my husband; as well as discuss God’s Word or any current or past News topic. Her home cluttered with memorabilia and a library of books along with an assortment of various nursery foliage inside and out. As time began to take its toll she asked me in a very cognizant moment to promise to allow her to stay in her own home until the Lord called her home. She did not want to loose that part of her independence. Her home was a place for any and all to come to and enjoy her wonderful cooking and company. I lived an hour away so she would come for weeks and stay and visit with my family. But no matter how much she enjoyed herself “there was no place like home“. My mother never learned to drive therefore she had to be chauffeured and transported. I spent many hours up and down the freeway taking her to the Dr, shopping and to run errands. I had a brother who lived right around the corner from her and one that actually lived with her. But since I was her only daughter that would not do. At times it was okay. I did not mind because that was time I looked forward to spending with her.
As time passed her health began to decline. Her physical condition began to deteriorate to the place that she sometimes lost control of her bodily liquids. Rendering the necessity of subscribing to adult disposable undergarments. This is what happens often when one reaches their later silver years, especially so after having bore eleven children. My adult son who lived fifteen minutes away would frequently drop off a supply for me from Costco and visit with her. He would also give me an update on her condition.
Gradually Mom had succumb to cocooning and not venturing outdoors much. Her many falls finally made her yield to a cane. I can remember taking her to the Dr. for therapy so they could assist and teach her how to use a much dreaded walker. They stressed how she should try to walk uprightly as much as posssible. I can still remember the day when I was taking her to the car and she suddenly began to fall. I immediately lowered myself under her to brace her impact with the driveway. It was then I knew that there would have to be more changes. Her eyesight began to dim and arthritis began to painfully embrace her hands. Then there was her eye surgery, and……. Sewing and needle work gradually had to be set aside. I can see in her journals the gradual shift in her once brilliant almost flawless penmanship. I can see etched on the pages fragments of broken words painfully scribed and thoughts left arrested in mid air.
After her series of mini strokes her posture changed again along with her hymn singing and speaking. Her voice used for the many altar prayers now quieted, and her singing voice now only emitting a brittle scratchy throaty noise. The walker now obsolete and the need for a much needed yet regretted wheelchair. Along with a shower and bath chair and all the other paraphernalia that are needed when one cannot easily attend to all of the personal hygiene necessities. I purchased a padded desk lap pad to try encouraging arts and simple crafts, along with a mini water fall to solicit a tranquil environment, with soft soothing music in the background. Her living room now begins to shift from her antique furniture to a padded sofa for her to look out the window at her once lovingly attended garden. Her bed room now housed a hospital bed that she just could not get used to, her physical position gradually shifting from flowered bed linen. Life and her many once enjoyed pastimes became a thing of the past. Her once strong frame. Only a mere silhouette and her limbs delicately extended on her now almost immobile body. Although often a somewhat slight questioning frown.
She would light up whenever I saw her. No longer was she able to call or I call and talk to her on the telephone. This is when her slow good bye became a reality.
Must my Mother come live with me? The doctors are now giving up on her she is now in her upper eighties. I can remember how impressed they were with her intelligence she could sail through all of their mental tests. She would tell them her name the date and current news. How many children she had and where she was; then names all the presidents of the United States. But now gradually the signs of Alzheimer’s had begun to replace her many cherished memories. The Drs. now recommended that she be placed in a home. My live in brother now getting more and more frustrated. Which was really his warranted fears seeing our Mom gradually disappearing. The visits now fewer by her many friends. She can no longer attend her much loved worship services. She no longer enjoyed the walks around the block as I pushed her in her wheel chair. So she was kept inside gradually becoming a prisoner in her much loved abode. All besides her family who knew her were able to remember her as she was. Although there were a few who could see that this once articulate poised woman was beginning to wear like a fine fabric. Her appetite had begun to diminish significantly as well. I got her a nifty bed table to straddle her lap. We would prop her up with pillows on each side. There were times when she just wouldn’t eat without assistance. How ironic after all those years of serving others. So it became a challenge to see what would suit her palette. Well we will just have to feed her. Yes again the Dr.’s have now given up hope.
But yet Mom is still holding on. She has really begun to say her slow goodbye.
I, along with much anxiety and ambivalence begin to go and look for a care home for Mom at my many brothers insistence. One closer to me so I could see her daily. I now know that some care homes are just dreadful. Some are seemingly peaceful on the surface. But I knew within moving her would only hasten her good bye. Her once strong voice was echoing in the corridors of my mind “There is no place like home.” I reluctantly wrote the much dreaded family letter to inform all of my brothers that this is where we are. What do we do? They have wanted me to put her in a home for sometime. A few had ideas but none came to fruition of course. My live in brother now hesitantly took care of her household finances. Since he never married or had children he opted to vacate his varied career. Therefore Mom was his occupation. He could do as he pleased and Mom had a family member there in the evenings. Whatever else she needed I would try to accommodate. He would always call me and let me know her status when I was away. Sometime it worked and sometime it didn’t. So what do you do? I just wanted her to be as comfortable as possible.
Now again it is time to make more changes? My brother does not one someone in the house full time. What do I do? I am not able to care for her in our home. The Dr. says her care could run into the thousands and and …………… So what do I do? Mom must have known that that was one decision that I just could not make or did not want to make for her. That was one decision that I know she made with the Lord. So it was in her sleep, in her home late that night in January when my brother called and said; “Mom is gone.” I’m like, “gone where?” I suddenly remembered one day when she wanted to go back home.
She pointed out her window and told me she wanted to go home. “Mom you are home.” She wanted to see her “Papa.”
I took out a huge atlas I had purchased for her and showed her she was in California at home and Arkansas was very far away. She just looked away. Then it dawned on me. “Mom’s gone” my brother said again. I knew that Mom had starting leaving a little bit at a time. She was just trying to give everyone a chance to adjust. I knew now that she had made the transition. She had gone on to be with the Lord and all of her other relatives that she had been missing. She had slept away at home peacefully; just like she wanted. Now she was at rest with the Lord.
My Mom had finally said Good bye……..
There are many issues around taking care of an elderly parent or parents. Who does what and when? Just enjoy them as much as you can while they are here. Try and let them make their own decisions for as long as they can responsibly do so. Treat them with respect and dignity although they become childlike. In the last days of course you will have some regrets? If you patiently treat them the way you would want to be treated you will have peace knowing that you did all you could do to make them comfortable. Remember you never know how your latter days will be? But they will and can be overshadowed by the many many cherished memories! And yes of course you will always miss them. So shower them with LOVE while they are still on this side of HEAVEN!
FORGIVING Does Not mean FORGETTING
“Darkness TO LIGHT” An Evening with RWANDAN FRIENDS
Many of this world’s inhabitants go a whole lifetime before they ever realize what is really essentially important? Is it the house you live in, the car you drive, your career, how you look, how much money you have, or is it what others think about you? Nothing is really wrong with any of the above. They do have a place in life somewhat. But can you really depend on…
We are living in some very interesting times? In this 21st century you just never know… No matter how much you plan ahead, you still never know what to expect? The world is so very interesting. Many just adapt or conform to what ever the world says is okay. Others live very non confrontive lives and avoid conflict or they just go along with whatever. Sort of like don’t rock the boat, although you are not sure where its going. Or they settle for a dual lifestyle or simply change like a chameleon. In this day and age just about anything goes… pandemonium is possibly right around the corner.
I want to encourage you to set aside and spend some time really thinking about what if any one or all the above were taken? What would you do? How would you feel?
God our Creator who created us has a particular plan for each of us. Life is full of mountaintop and “”down in the valley” experiences. God can give you an unexplainable PEACE and contentment that only comes from Him that surpasses the understanding of man. No, its not living in denial and thinking everything is okay when it not! Nor does it mean that you don’t care… It does mean that at some point you know, trust and believe that the Lord will work things out in your behalf…
To the degree we discover and follow what His plan is we embark on an adventurous, rewarding, sometimes awkward, at times dangerous, lifelong journey. We begin to travel the path of “the straight and narrow” that leads to Him! The truth is the Word says: few hardly “ever find it” nor really understand the exceptional, significant, spiritual, life sustaining benefits and security that it yields when traveling this path.
What is really important in life is where you are with God. God knows all about you! He knows where you really are?
When you accepted or accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior; It means that you now want to live a life that pleases the Lord rather than to just please yourself or do what feels good to you. You now have and can elect to call upon Jesus to save you from the power of sin?
You really should begin to study His Word and apply His principles. The wisdom and the attainable life lessons that are gleaned from His Word are important. This does not mean at all that you adopt a legalistic rigid approach to life. You begin to “walk in the Light” of His Word! You begin to experience a fresh responsible freedom. What is really important as a Christian is that you get to know the Lord personally. You begin to spend time with Him. As you do this your understanding is broadened and the path narrows. You seek to be filled with His Holy Spirit that brings unexplainable comfort even in the most difficult situations. You begin to grow stronger spiritually and emotionally as you move toward wholeness!
Becoming a Christian does not mean that you just “go to Church.” No more than going to the beach make you a grain of sand. You realize you are a part of His Church wherever you are. When we come together for worship or assembly as a congregation, wherever that might be, the primary purpose should be to worship, praise the Lord, bring others to Jesus, fellowship, and edify the Body of Christ which is His Church.
In actuality we who say we have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord are the “Church!” Just saying you believe does not make you a believer. It goes SO much deeper than that, that’s just the beginning. Now you have to begin going through life utilizing an implementing His Word which is our spiritual sword. You truly value life and all that it has to offer. But your first and foremost priority is NOW to please the Lord and that His will is done in your life.
God’s Word is so very powerful it cuts both ways. When used skillfully it does spiritual surgery. It begins to remove the old nature and reveals or makes way for your God given inborn, intrinsic temperament! You are able to see life from a much deeper perspective! God is Omniscient! When He created you way back when He knew everything you would need in order to live successfully as His child.
I am so very thankful that the Lord has allowed us to share and go through many wonderful, adventuress and life changing experiences… I want to share with you a very rewarding experience my husband and I shared together with many others. It was so thought provoking and enlightening that I hope it inspires you to really think where you are and what is most important to you?
First, a little background history on Rwanda. Rwanda was comprised of three tribes when the Belgian colonists arrived in 1916. The Hutu, Tutsi and the Twa. The Belgians manipulated and divided the tribes by deeming one more superior than the other. They then issued them identity cards stating their appointed tribe. The Tutsis were discriminately favored and given better jobs as well as superior educational opportunities.
This division caused further animosity and bitterness. Eventually in 1962 after Rwanda was granted independence, the majority of Hutus took power. After the death of the president of Rwanda in 1994 the horrific genocide began. His plane was shot down and shortly after recruits were disbursed and the atrocious, vigorous brutal slaughtering of Rwandans went on for approximately 100 days.
If someone has hurt you deeply, if you have been carrying hatred in your heart. If you are unable to forgive or you feel that you have been wronged or mistreated. If life does not seem to be going your way. I want you to take some time and ponder on what happened here in Rwanda. You will find out that “With God ALL things are possible.”
ow I want to take some time and share with you what they shared with me.
We had such a memorable, extraordinary, marvelous evening with our Rwandan friends from PHARP –Rwanda. they worked effortlessly as a team. PHARP stands for Peace building, Healing, and Reconciliation Program in Rwanda. They openly and sincerely shared in graphic detail their heart wrenching experiences during the Rwandan Genocide. It is now reported that there were actually closer to 2,000,000 lives brutally taken during the 100 days of the Rwandan Genocide! We will be forever grateful for the experience. Our son along with the Horizon Community Church were able to actually go to Rwanda and minister to them. They forged ahead diligently amidst the transitioning community of Rwanda to help facilitate their mission to bring about healing, restoration and reconciliation. Pastor Anastase can be reached www.pharp.org
During the 100 days of genocide between 250,000 and 500,000 women were raped. More than 67% of those women were purposely and systematically infected by HIV+ men as a weapon of genocide. One Pastor shared how his wife, children, and mother along with a total of 46 relatives were massacred. He had to hide out in the swamp for 41 days without food. He only had contaminated swamp water to sip.
Please stay with me for a few minutes and ponder these facts in your heart! Here are a few more of the many statistics resulting from the aftermath of the genocide:
*There are 300,000 to 400,000 survivors of the genocide.
*Nearly 100,000 survivors are aged between 14 and 21, of which 60,000 are considered as very vulnerable.
*75,000 of survivors were orphaned as a result of the genocide. Over half of these children have become impoverished, traumatized and have stopped going to school.
*There are 10 times as many widows than widowers – almost 50,000 widows of the genocide.
*40,000 are still without shelter.
*7 in 10 survivors earn a monthly income of less than 5,000 Rwandan Francs, which equals to $8.00 in American Dollars.
*These statistics are complied at www.surviors-fund.org.uk
The Rwanda genocide was real! Thousands of homeless and orphaned children. Yet these children of God stand tall, firmly and purposely in their concerted efforts to bring about the ongoing process of “Forgiveness and Reconciliation.” They have come here to America to share a powerful message. The Country of Rwanda is in the continual much needed ongoing process of healing and restoration. Many of those who participated in the genocide have been released from prison and are now back in the community. Many have accepted Jesus Christ. Today there are no longer identity cards they are all called Rwandans! They are committed to moving forward in overcoming the barriers of the past.
This dedicated team, along with many others are dedicated to assisting and empowering the remaining Rwandans. This is not without its challenges. Keep in mind that within the Church there, many pastors face the dilemma of having survivors and those perpetrators of genocide within the same congregation. They are diligently working to make a difference. They are reaching out and helping to rebuild a country that has been devastated. Trauma Counseling and healing, peace building, reconciliation, self-help groups, youth programs and vocational training and income generating projects are inclusive along with much prayer, worship and praise! We support, pray for and solicit your prayers for all Rwandans as well.
It is important to know that the family of God consists of a plethora of people throughout the world. We all come in different sizes, shapes, colors, races and cultures. There is not going to be a corner in heaven that’s designated for Blacks, one for Whites, one for Reds, Browns, Yellow or multicolored people. It goes so much deeper than the color of one’s skin, how they look, who they are, where they have lived, what one has or does not have nor their varied diverse cultural backgrounds and traditions. God knows who His children are.
It is important to know that God is alone Sovereign! He does not need us! We all need Him! He places and arranges the members in the Body of His Universal Church as it pleases Him. He knows where each and every one of us are in our spiritual growth and development. He has given us the necessary talents and gifts to accomplish whatever He has created us to do. In many situations in the Church here in America, on various levels worldly methods have been adopted. The ways and methods of the world’s reasoning and social divisiveness has resulted in much division. Manipulation has been erroneously embraced by many of God’s people.
It is very important to know the Word of God firsthand. We as His “children” are to consistently spend time with the Lord developing a vivacious strong ongoing, endearing ever growing transparent relationship with Him and come to know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior! This way you will not be “tossed to and fro by every of doctrine.” You do not have to strive to control or dominate anyone. This only displays and reflects one’s own insecurity. Quite the contrary. God is ultimately in control! Jesus led by example. Our purpose is to daily live out God’s principles and foster a desire in others to want to come and know Jesus as Lord and Savior as well. Ultimately it is your solid, committed relationship with Him, that will sustain you as you go through any of life’s many challenges.
In spite of all that has happened to them, these Rwandan’s have come to share their “Mission of FORGIVENESS & RECONCILIATION” of genocide! To impart the valuable knowledge they’ve learned. Webster defines forgiveness as: to give up resentment of, or claim requital; forgive an insult. They know the value of confronting the truth of whatever has happened. Contrary to what is often said forgiveness does not mean you forget. It means to lay aside any ill will and pardon the wrong that was done. When people have wronged you they often feel guilt and fear retaliation. The Fruit of God’s Spirit will flourish in your life when you elect to embrace and implement His principles in your life. True forgiveness comes from God. Joy & Peace are by products of His Fruit! Knowing the Lord, having a relationship with Him and applying His Word makes all the difference in the world.
Through their heartfelt sharing our love, faith, trust in God, and our commitment has been greatly enhanced. It has personally added to my spiritual wellspring. They are truly walking in the “Light of His Word.” As a child of God I know whole heartedly that God is able! Being a Christian is a lifestyle. It is amazing to know and realize that absolutely nothing goes on with anyone or anywhere that God is not aware of. The Rwandan genocide is mind boggling. In our little finite minds we will never fully comprehend the “why” of a lot of things. But I do know that ALL His WORD is true. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers (and sisters) … Romans 8 God did not say that it all would be good. But, He did say that He would work it out for good. Is your purpose really His purpose?
The eyewitness account of the Rwandan genocide was enlightening and life changing. Their God given joy was evident and shined forth from their countenance as they each shared their amazing testimonies. They without question, are definitely walking in the “Light of His Word.” They truly have come from “Darkness TO LIGHT.” They reached out, above and beyond what they had suffered and shared a wealthy message of wisdom, inspiration, encouragement and hope to bring about healing. It is quite evident that God has equipped them to help others overcome barriers, to unite and reach out to build peaceful communities for the future. Not only in Rwanda but throughout the world! “Blessed are those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.” Matthew 5 The POWER of GOD was evident beyond words! I can go on ….. But instead I will say; PRAISE GOD! PRAISE GOD! To God Be the Glory!
Life REALLY Does Have A Purpose
Does your life have purpose? Do you really feel that you have a meaningful existence? Are you truly happy? Do you continue to recycle old habits? Have you really ever thought about why you are here? Or are you just passing the time away with no particular goal in mind? Are you bogged down in your career? Did you know people leave and enter this place everyday? Are there some things that you want to change? The Bible tells us life is but a vapor. Meaning that life is fleeting. It is an ephemeral existence that ends with you merely going into either of two possible directions. Contrary to what some believe there is no purgatory. No in between place that suspends you invisibly existing between Heaven and hell. Did you know that there are some that don’t even believe in hell?
Life does have a definite purpose! It was created for a purpose. You have been created for a purpose! This cosign we know as the world was definitely created by the One true and living God. The Great “I AM” He is Alpha and Omega. Meaning He is the beginning and the end. The Bible adamantly states: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Genesis 1:1. The word Genesis itself means in the Greek beginning!
The Bible initially records the beginning of the earth and the heavens and its contents. It even records the first institution that God made and that is the family! The Bible starts with God not some philosophical argument. It does not commence by attempting neither to explain nor to justify God’s existence! God is sovereign! Every man has been given a measure of faith. It is through this faith we must unequivocally accept its entire truth. The Bible was divinely inspired by God. Although it was transcribed by the hands of man. It is the only infallible Biblia in the entire World which consists of 66 Books. Within its pages the mystery and purpose of life is revealed! It’s meaning and contents are revealed to us through the illumination of His divine and Holy Spirit. Through Him was the earth spoke into existence! Jesus is the “WORD”. To further affirm this let’s look at John 1-5.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not”.
There was nothing that was made that was not made through Jesus Christ. What power! He even took upon Himself a body of flesh to conquer sin in the flesh for us! To encourage us by being a living example. Did you know you don’t have to live your life controlled by sin? You see it was through Adam and Eve that sin entered into the world. But it is only through Jesus Christ we can enter into His kingdom of heaven. He is the door! “HE IS THE WAY THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE! Christ lived a sinless life, was crucified, died and then buried. After three days He arose from the grave. He arose wirh all power! He then ascended into heaven after being seen by many witnesses. It is through the power of His resurrection we are redeemed. This is the reason why we accept Him as our Lord and Savior. His Holy Spirit resides within to become our Guide through life’s many challenges as well as celebrations.
Once we accept Jesus we embark upon an eternal wonderful spiritual journey. He extends this invitation to all who are willing to accept Him. We need Him to save us from the power of sin in our life! Did you know we become heirs and joint heirs in His many bountiful blessings? He allows us to choose Him. We have inherited the freedom to not let sin reign in our mortal bodies! Yes, we still will encounter many challenges in life. But we can trust the Creator of life who has promised to never leave nor forsake us to be there for us! Therefore in Him you can have confidence. This is why His Word is so important. It is our road map to life. to encourage, enlighten, convict and direct us. To help us grow and develop spiritually.
Perhaps you are skeptical? You are what some call agnostic. You don’t really believe in anything. Perhaps you have a “said faith?” Meaning you just say you believe. But stop right there. You go through life basically conforming and adapting to whatever… Perhaps you are one of those who believe there really is not a hell. Believe it or not; one way or the other you must come to grips with His infallible truth. At one time or another according to His Word; “every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord”. I believe His Word! this is why we who profess to be Christians are called “believers!”
If you want to discover what the real purpose of life is I invite you to sincerely get into His Word. It has withstood the test of time. He has given us example after example. What happens when you are obedient and what happens when you are disobedient. He has provided a plethora of wisdom. Demonstration after demonstrations as to how one can be successful!
We must continually pray for Him to open our understanding and seek His guidance. Stop dibbling and dabbling in a life with no real substance. There is a void only He can fill. No matter how much or little you might have it is only temporary! When you leave earth it will still be right here. Our purpose goes far beyond the here and now. It goes through eternity to somewhere? Stop just going to church. (Or not going to church). Know that we all who are believers are the true Church. When or where we come together it is supposed to be to worship, edify and praise Him and fellowship and bring others to Christ! Make up your mind today to walk with God daily! Begin to walk in faith by the magnificent power of His resurrection. Ask the Lord to help you begin to respectfully and sincerely desire to know how to truly “Worship Him in Spirit and in Truth!” It is here you will find your purpose!
Did you know that God’s will is always what is best for us? Think of Him of the “PERFECT ULTIMATE FATHER” God is always willing to show us His will! We just have to get better at listening. If you truly believe declare your home as a place where God is welcomed. Begin to worship Him sincerely! Start treating your body as His “temple”. After all it is or is it? Stop defiling it with profanity, lying, covetousness, envy, infidelity, drugs, alcohol, overeating, undereating …….. Stop just listening to His Word! Begin a spiritual cleansing by digesting His Word! As long as we are here on this side of heaven there is always room for much improvement. We are “Forever becoming.” Did you know He’s really coming back for His true Church? Better yet ask yourself if the world were to end today are you certain of your destiny?
You see heaven is not a place “you just try to make it in”. It is not a place where you can personally schedule your desired arrival time. Consciously make a sincere effort to daily surrender to His will in your life. Repent! Then really move forward. Begin to live each day as though He might return. Know without a doubt you have chosen the final eternal habitation reserved expressively for His children. Commence to really seek Him first!
God is so patient with all of us. He gives us the freedom to choose. Stop being so absorbed in the things of this life and immerse yourself in His WORD. Take some time to look around you and see that our world is in the midst of much chaos. Our economy is dreadful, our ……. But there is always HOPE with the Lord! This will help you to view life differently. He will provide everything and whatever else it is you need and so much more! It is only in God you will find the true peace, contentment and joy that surpasses the understanding of man! It is only in Him you will truly discover what life is really all about. The true purpose of life is to discover who He has created you to be! You have been uniquely created to be the “best You” that you could possibly be. But, without a meaningful spiritual relationship with Him you will never reach your full potential. With Him you will discover that LIFE REALLY DOES have a PURPOSE!
God gave us healthy Christian marriage boundaries in which one man and one woman should live together. Marriage is still ordained by God. As the Originator and Creator of life God designed marriage to be a monogamous relationship between a man and a woman. For the last couple of years I have been journaling about the significance of a committed CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE!
Many Christian leaders and congregants have fallen prey to infidelity and adultery. Sex practiced outside the confines of marriage is rampart in the Churches as well as in the world. LORD Help us! I have observed how this has resulted in a real breakdown in the overall quality of relational dynamics in many marriages. Over the last couple of decades the significance of marriage has been slowly watered down. This has allowed strange and disturbing beliefs about marriage to come to the forefront. There has been a steady but sure deliberate attempt to redefine marriage. There has been a successful evolutionary transition to blur the once clearly defined lines of marriage and minimalize the need to reinforce its healthy boundaries. Allowing its boundaries to become grayed and frayed by encouraging open marriages, unisex dress, the acceptance of male to male and female to female relationships and gender choice lifestyles.
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was born of the virgin Mary, lived a sinless life committed to the ways of our Father, was crucified, died and was buried. But that was not the end. He arose with all power! When He ascended to heaven He left us His Holy Spirit, His Comforter to come and reside within us. To help us live victoriously over sin. Sin is what separates us from God. God knows us inside and out. He knew us before we were even formed in our Mother’s wound. He knows what is best for us. He could have made us robots and forced us to be a certain way. But because of His graciousness and His mercy He allowed us free choice. He gave us healthy boundaries because HE knew not everyone at all times would adhere to His will and His way. His Holy Spirit is readily available to help us make proper life choices that please Him. For a man and woman desiring to live together marriage is His way. Galatians 1 tells us that Jesus Christ gave Himself; “for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever…”
It is becoming increasingly clear that the world in which we live wants to ensnare and entrap the children of God. To offer any and every smorgasbord or appetizer that the flesh desires and present it as an alternative way to live. I encourage you to really take some time to “Be still and know” to take a personal self evaluation. To deeply gaze internally where no one but GOD sees and examine where you are spiritually. Not in respect to someone else but to see if you really are growing spiritually. Is the Fruit of His Spirit apparent in your life? Not just on a surface level for others to see. I mean are you really walking closely with the Lord? Be honest with yourself because God already knows! If you truly are you can expect some type of persecution. This is why it is so very important that you know the WORD of God for yourself. So you can distinguish, recognize and discern when something is not of God.
Many have abandoned the Faith and now embrace a liberality that is not God sanctioned. The Gospel of Jesus Christ has been evaded by encouraging the acceptance of perverted lifestyles that are sanctioned and practiced by many Christians. Perverted meaning to change what was once considered unnatural or abnormal to normal. PLEASE slowly but surely read and ponder on this passage of GOD’S WORD expressed in Romans 1 “Therefore GOD gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the TRUTH OF God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator – who is forever praised, Amen. Because of this GOD gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged NATURAL RELATIONS for unnatural ones. In the same way the men abandoned NATURAL RELATIONS with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion…” What or who do you believe?
Marriage how God designed it is becoming increasingly unpopular! This is why it is so important to STAND UP for Christian Marriage! Paul vehemently expounds on the necessity to not “trying to win the approval of men.” Paul constantly throughout the Scriptures rebukes the Church to stand on God’s principles.Paul knew that by taking this very unpopular stance some would attempt to negate his credibility. He knew that they lay in wait to discredit him. But he also knew that God knew the TRUTH!
There is no spiritual value whatsoever in using the Scriptures to justify something that God has not ordained nor sanctioned. Slowly but surely many continue to allow the healthy boundaries that God designed for marriage to be treaded upon by the unacceptable desires of the flesh. This does not have to be! Allowing the sanctity of MARRIAGE to be reduced to a relationship between same sexual partners who want to justify a relationship contingent on their personal sexual preferences. LORD HELP US! Why not simply call it something else? Why redefine the definition of marriage. Why take something that was meant to be HOLY MATRIMONY and make it totally UNHOLY.
Many marriages have gone shipwrecked. The fulfillment of the flesh has taken the forefront and many will do whatever is necessary to fulfill the desires of the flesh. Many Christians are evasive and negligent at discussing sex openly in a healthy manner, although we know that sex outside of marriage is widely practiced within the Church. Many relational issues are skirted and the financial concerns have in many cases become the dominant priority. Divorce, adultery, infidelity, promiscuity, pornography, living together, same sex relationships are on the rise. Pandora’s Box has lost its lid and just about every and anything goes. Family values for Christians are continually laid aside. Relinquishing and abandoning the principles that God originally intended. In many instances many of us who have been charged to proclaim and live out the Word of God have sat on the fence and allowed any and everything as acceptable and hidden it under the trendy term “unconditional love”. “GOD is LOVE”. Study I Corinthians 13 here you will find a description of what HIS LOVE really entails. Self Control is a part of His Fruit!
God’s Holy Spirit was intended to give us the ability to overcome sin in the flesh and live out our lives to please Him. Today you can find a support group for just about anything you want to help you find some comfort to indulging the weaknesses of the flesh. It’s sad to say but true; it’s as though for many going to worship has merely become a social club. Just join, pay your 10%, do as told and you can do as you please, acceptance, no problem. Many just go to Church then go right back home to live very worldly lifestyles. LORD HELP US! Jesus dying on the Cross paved us a WAY TO THE FATHER! Grace and peace is acquired through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We the Church, His Church is supposed to be His Bride.
We are also called as Believers! Do you believe the Word of God? Do you believe in Marriage? What do you really believe in, or do you even know? God wants us to surrender every aspect of our lives over to Him. When you do, just know that there is a vehement attack lodged to discredit the testimony of faithful believers who have sincerely committed to the “Narrow Road” lifestyle. HALLELUJAH anyhow! It goes much farther than singing, shouting, talking and preaching about it. We must make a sincere effort to live out our lives pleasing God daily. The CHURCH IS THE BODY OF CHRIST! Think about this for a moment or should I say for a while. This is really deep stuff!
The enemy has really pulled out all stops to deceive, distract, camouflage and get a stronghold on the people of God. God’s standards have been compromised and the ways of the world have been embraced. This is what I mean when I say that the “world is now within God’s CHURCH.” In man’s unquenchable thirst for power, bigger sanctuaries, larger congregations and wanting to control others, there has been a huge shift in spiritual priorities!
Many have subscribed to undercover manipulation, worldly ways means and methods and allowed them inside of God’s House of Worship. All too often just to gain a position. The most important position spiritually is your position in Christ! God knows the posture of our hearts. God has given us guidelines to live by as Christians. Marriage is one of those guidelines.
There is but one CHURCH and that is the one that Jesus is coming back for! Did not God say “BUT Seek ye first HIS kingdom and HIS righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well…” What does this mean that we are to seek HIM first for EVERYTHING? What is anything anyway without Him? According to His Word when we “seek Him first” something will happen. This means that we should seek to do things His way. Marriage is His way for the believer to live together as man and wife. We cannot change what has been done. But stop right where you are and see where you are? What and who do you support? Who do you really live for? God’s way or man’s way? Be honest with yourself because God already knows!
We must pray for our young people. The world has any and everything to offer them except Jesus! “Jesus is the WAY the TRUTH and the life!” Think about it; They are now encouraged to “dress down” for Jesus and “dress up” for prom? God has given us His Holy Spirit to lead guide and protect us. Have you really thought about what eternal life means? It all does not happen on this side of heaven. But while we are “still here” we need to get busy living to please Our Heavenly Father. Proverbs 22 tells us to “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” He did not say may? He said won’t depart!If you do not stand for something you will fall for anything. ALL God’s Word is true! He does know what is best. His inheritance according to I Peter 1 “can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in HEAVEN for you, who through FAITH are shielded by God’s power…”
Where is your FAITH? WITHOUT FAITH IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE HIM! For Christ sake we will suffer in this world. Trials are a part of His refining process. They yield and teach us patience. There is no greater gift that you can give your children as a model of a committed monogamous Christian marriage! God wants us to follow His moral standards. “As obedient children, do not conform to evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. BUT just as HE who has called you HOLY, so be HOLY in all you do; for it is written; “BE YE HOLY BECAUSE I AM HOLY.” Being HOLY means to be set aside for His purpose. Not to blend in for the sake of acceptance. Hallelujah! His unspeakable joy is available! God’s plan for mankind was set in motion way back in the beginning. We who claim to be Christians need to really begin to live as though we really believe that Jesus is coming back! We really do need to consult embrace and support His view for marriage. Don’t give way to anyone’s false teaching. It is never too late to start. Please begin to spend some quality time getting to know the Lord through His WORD. “For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the GOSPEL OF GOD!”
MARRIAGE = ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN = GOD’S WAY = HOLY MATRIMONY!