Aging Gracefully No. 3 When Does Life Begin?

Supernatural

In the process of aging gracefully, I am continually searching for new ideas and new ways to look at life and how it’s affecting me and I am affecting it. This prompted me to reevaluate my days, thereby giving myself permission to begin each day anew, similar to the concept of being born again. This idea has the flavor of a supernatural phenomenon. A new birth bursting with the aura of freedom; the freedom to begin again and to do it well! When Does Life Begin? Today!

WHEN DOES LIFE BEGINCapture the Essence of Life Beginning Again

The possibilities are endless and are limitless, as we are transformed in the afterbirth of our existence and free to conquer what was impossible the day before. How can this happen? As we are favored and graced with the privilege of the dawning of a new day, we are invited to capture the essence of life beginning again! How mind blowing is that!

All That and More!Celebrate New Birth

Living again—only this time with a wealth of knowledge, wisdom, and foresight to live joyfully with purpose, vision, and thoughtfulness. Last night’s birthing process provided for a readiness to step forward to be the light that shines brightly, hopefully illuminating a righteous and moral path for others worth following.

Live Joyfully

I absolutely love beginning life! It’s fun, rewarding, dynamic, heartbreaking, difficult, sad, compassionate, forgiving, sacrificial, and empowering. Yes! All that and more. When does life begin? Thankfully, it begins with you and me as we are aging gracefully.

Love: The Good Drug

It’s needful I hold on a bit longer

Until I’m ready to say goodbye

Whether it’s good for me or not

Ween myself from his love?

But if I quit cold turkey

There’s no detox for broken love

So, I need to love less in miniature increments of time

And then maybe one day I’ll be strong enough to say

Goodbye without remiss; without a tear

But with gladness and good riddance

But right now, I’m hooked on his drug

And today I cannot say

No, I don’t want it this way

Will I always want some

Every now and then to keep me satisfied?

Just a quick hit and that’s it…until next time

Eventually….

I’ll detangle and break free

Let The “Chuch” Say Amen

Recently I attended the church I spent my young adult years at. The reason was a bit sad because Deacon Fred Berry was called to glory by his maker, God Himself. Deacon Berry is one of the significant legacies of New Hope Baptist Church, 2301 Rhode Island, Gary, Indiana. He was in a sense the Shepherd for over 50 years in the official office of Chairman of the Deacon Board, but oh, he was much more than that. On August 13, 2016 he once again united New Hope Baptist Church’s membership as we gathered together in one place to say our goodbyes.

As I sat there taking in the joy of seeing and hearing my choir sounding like the choir of yesteryear, “my heart was glad and my glory rejoiced” and inside I almost burst I was so full. To put the icing on the cake was when our prized choir director, Michael Berry who was also one of Deacon Berry’s sons, upon the unction of the Holy Spirit, got up and directed the old New Hope Mass choir at his Daddy’s service! (Lord Do It!) And Oh the joy that flooded my soul!

Andre Crouch wrote a song and some of the lyrics said, “Take me back dear Lord, to the place where I first believed.” For about three hours, I went back. I took a journey to a time when “chuch” was church! When sermon series were unimportant, when every first Sunday you could hear the same sermon about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and not grow weary of the hearing it (Reverend Clarence Loddell, made it sound like music every time). I went back to the third Sunday musicals and I heard Mrs. Mary Barnes and Ms. Bertha sing,” There will be peace in the valley for me someday, and I’ll be changed from this creature that I am.” I remember, New Hope Mass Choir foot stomping and toe-tapping songs Mississippi style… “There’s a lily in the valley bright as the morning star.” It was here that I first got the “Holy Ghost” and “shouted.”

And I realized as I sat there soaked in the glory of the past that over the last several years this is what I’ve been searching for in today’s church. I miss the gospel of Jesus Christ in the church. The basics seem to have disappeared, “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). Too much emphasis is placed on entertainment, and trying to mirror how the world does it. The Gospel is the same, but we’ve changed. Yes, even though we’ve dug deeper and biblical scholars have researched, studied, analyzed, and taken apart the gospel, we’ve become so fixated with dissecting God’s word we’ve made more complex than it needs to be. It’s not. Remember, Jesus took unlearned, uneducated men, and solidified a relationship with them, so much so that they spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.

In the new church, “Dr. Watts” songs and hymns are replaced with “praise and worship” songs lead by the best singers in the churches worldwide. But, I missed the Deacons praying as service began. What happened to those meaningful catch phrases of Dr. Watts?

                     I love the Lord, he heard my cry, and pitied my every groan

                     Long as I live while trouble rise, I’ll hasten to his throne

                     I’ll let you know, before I go, what shall become of me

                   I’ll wait until the spirit comes, and move at God’s command

These are just a few of the ones I remember. I am sure you can call out a few of your favorites too. Now many services are organized and timed to perfection. It’s a get in and get out mentality; worship should only take a specified amount of time. Letting God have his way during service might take too long.

Lately, I have been going from church to church trying to capture the spirit of what church used to be. I haven’t found it yet. I say that because I know it’s still out there somewhere, and I believe by the grace of God, it’s coming back. I don’t want to have to go a “homegoing” service just to have church again, and to feel that God is truly in the room.

There seems to be a thought process running through the Church: anything goes, this is inappropriate. Go ahead, somebody got to say it! The saying, “come as you are” to church has been taken to a whole other level. Since when did God say, it’s okay to sag your pants and show your underwear in church? Because it’s the style; it’s in vogue; air-bodi doin’ it? This goes to both men and women, wearing “skin tights” shirts, jeans, skirts, and whatever in church. Why does everyone need to know what God gave you?

It was once understood that “come as you are” meant once saved then you’ll learn better- NOT! Because the world is in the Church. In the effort to bring in the unchurched, we’ve become lost along the way. We feel the need to look like the world and be like the world. I say we, because I’ve been guilty too. But, the Word says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2).

The New Testament opened up with these words from Jesus, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  He knew us and He began with a strong message. Put away your foolishness, because I am here. I have come to save, heal, deliver, and set the captive free. Yes, you are allowed to be you, to live and have fun, and to have a life. Just remember, who you are in Christ Jesus. He promised us an abundant life (John 10:10).

As I end this long blog note, and keeping in mind that I’ve attended church maybe ten times this year and that’s including funerals/homegoings, I believe God may be calling some to minister differently or to seek other ways to impact the world for good. I ask myself now how can I impact God’s Kingdom as I go about my daily life? I think reaching, teaching, encouraging one person at a time is meaningful. Church today has changed so much to me, but that’s because I am old school and it’s hard to get with the new church. Anyway, staying close to God and his Word will, I believe, lead us to where we need to be. I want to be in fellowship with a church membership, but I can wait until God says when and with whom.

Purposeful Visions Creating Life

Without a vision, the people perish Prov. 29:18

BE GRATEFUL FOR YOUR VISION

It gives life. Participate in your vision every day.

For me, visions are how we see ourselves in the future. It addresses goals, aspirations, great ideas and amazing possibilities. Your visions are never ordinary. The size of a vision is only measured by you; try not to limit it.

Yes, you can have more than one vision; you can even have add-ons. Sometimes on the journey to realized visions the scope changes…it is enlarged.

It often takes time for visions to manifest or be realized. Keep your vision in the forefront; never lose focus. Work towards it frequently even if the steps are miniature ones. Research, reevaluate, revitalize, compile, recreate, renew, and do whatever you can to keep moving towards it.

1123(1)

DO NOT BE DAUNTED IF PERCHANCE YOU ARE WAYLAID

Start again. Living presents the ever present opportunity to try again. Visions may require adjusting as you journey through the changes that life presents; nevertheless, refuse to perish. Your dream may be the catalyst for someone else’s vision. Your dream may drive another’s aspirations.

6776270554_6e64178b62_n16255176372_ab221a5c52_nStaff Sgt. Samira Abdullahmuhammad with a female engagement team, 40th Engineer Battalion, 170th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, gives a high-five to a child during a mission to deliver medical supplies to a clinic in Deh Dadi, Afghanistan, June 1.8445499572_bae1764732_b

Visions are a breath of fresh air and cannot be limited by age, race or gender. I rather be a visionary always looking towards possibilities, than to dry up and wither “like a raisin in the sun.”1 I challenge you to attack your vision with vigor and to reject the naysayers. As long as you can see yourself within the vision move forward and change the world today and for generations to come.

(1) A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes