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Sunday, November 21, 2010

If Only... Life's missed Opportunities

Photo: Tigner J.

Bear in mind Apostle Paul who thought the throne in his side impeded him from doing more for Christ. God saw it differently, “my grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Cor. 12:7-10. Moses was yet another who requested God to remove his infliction. Why wouldn’t a sovereign God help Moses during his time of need? God had granted him powers to do all things along with the ability to let Pharaoh see he was sent by God. Despite it all God did not take away the one thing Moses thought would inhibit him from doing his best. Moses had a speech impediment, he stuttered. Exodus 4: 10 God’s grace is sufficient.

People frequently complain that their goals and objectives cannot be accomplished due to stumbling blocks, health issues or impairments. Repeatedly they preface situations or misfortunes with two words ‘If only’. These two ineffectual words have become habitual, causing a lack of success and giving people a reason not to follow through on goals, careers, dreams and desires in life.

I’ve come to present some remarkable people who beat the odds and did not allow their mishaps keep them from reaching their zenith in life.

“All of our dreams come true if we have the courage to pursue them” - Stockwell

Melssa Stockwell
Take for example Army 1st Lt. Melissa Stockwell who lost her leg in the Iraq War. She has done her greatest work with one leg. During rehabilitation she embraced swimming and focused on something different. She stated it "made me feel more like myself." So apposed to drowning in self pity Melissa became a world class amputee swimmer breaking records with the Paralympics and qualified for the summer games in China. In Melissa’s words she has done more with one leg than she would have with two. The tragedy "hasn't changed my outlook much. I'm going to the Paralympics. I have a career (working for a prosthetics company).” A hidden talent was uncovered. Melissa did not take the attitude ‘If only’ I had two legs I could fulfill my dreams nor believe life was over unlike many who would have cried and complained to God if they were in such circumstances as this solider. Melissa is soaring higher than ever imagined all because she did see her disability as an inability to accomplish something new.

Clark College’s oldest graduate

How about Mrs. Albernia Hardeman, an 85 year old dorm director who took one class per year since 1965 and finally obtained a BA in communication in 1985. You are not the first to ask why a woman at that age would get a degree she can’t do anything with. On the contrary Mrs. Hardeman never gave up on her dream regardless how long it took. If this regal woman in her golden years can accomplish her goals why can’t you?

Mary Price Walls
Now take a look at Mary Price Walls, whose application was rejected by University of Missouri all based on the color of her skin. Here is a woman who wanted to attend college and in her mind’s eye believed "I would have made a wonderful school teacher." Ms. Walls give the impression since the University of Missouri shut the door in her face she, substituted becoming an educator for a career as a janitor and elevator operator. Where there other institutions accepting minorities at that time? Of course, my mother and a host of her friends all obtained degrees and went on to higher levels of education at such institutions as Columbia University a decade earlier than Ms. Walls. So, did Mary Walls give up and allow one closed door opportunity turn into a deterrent? Yes.

The new crusade

For every tragedy or disappointment I believe God has an opportunity for you to succeed as a spokesman for Him. Bobby Tillman was randomly murdered. The Douglasville, Georgia teen was targeted by a group of boys because he was the ‘next person’ walking down the streets. Monique Rivarde lost her child for no probable cause. Unlike many parents who have faced such tragedy, this courageous mother is on a crusade since her son’s death. She has been seen attending and forming rallies in the name of Bobby. “If I can get through to one child, then I know my son's death was not in vain. Is Ms. Rivarde grieving? I’m sure she is. In spite of all the pain she is defying all odds by not sitting in a corner with dark shades questioning God. Bobby Tillman’s mother has chosen to step out and turn her tragedy into a victory not just for other parents but for Christ!

We can do all things through Christ that can strengthen us, make crooked paths straight and mount wings like eagles. 'If only' we believe in ourselves, trust in God and keep the faith of a mustard seed all aspirations can be accomplished provided we allow Jesus Christ to take control of our life. The next time the words ‘if only’ surface find the inner strength to keep pressing on in the name of Jesus Christ.

Tigner J. 

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What reminds you of home?

We are family - Thanksgiving 2006
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17

I often reflect of home. I miss those summer Strawberry moons and  whistling breezes of night. 

Holiday traditions of tasting cake batter and their tantalizing sweet aroma which fill the air. A la cart of savory meats, smoked turkeys, honey glazed hams, and pots filled with guts. A mixture of stinky greens adorn the table. No worries there are plenty for all to eat just pick your weed, collard, mustard, or kale they are all a treat! There are the splendiferous holiday Soirees chocked filled with more friends, food, and fun. These memories remind me of home.

What reminds you of home?

Is home a place just to visit, eat, and sleep? Or is it an edifice filled with celebration and warm feelings; laughter, love, memories? We are days away from Thanksgiving. People will endure airport delays and spend hours traveling the highways and by-ways to get home. 

As you spend time with family friends and loved ones enjoy every moment, take pictures and embrace one another. But in the midst of reflections remember the Christ words to love others (our enemies), do good towards them and lend without expecting anything back Luke 6:35-36.

Tell me what remind you of home
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Looking back over my life I thank God for my family,friends, fellowship and home. Each thought rekindles my spirit to love even more!

I raise the question what reminds you of home? Are there fond memories or dreadful times? What are you thankful for? Whatever the season brings shout in a thunderous voice of Thanksgiving telling everyone of God’s wondrous works! 

Find time to extend your gratitude of God’s blessings to others besides your family. Give without expecting to get anything back. Your reward will be great and the God of the Most High will be merciful unto you. May this Thanksgiving be filled with joy and many blessings. Be safe and enjoy your family!

Tigner Rand

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

You are the Spokesman for the Christian Brand!

By instinct humans tend to gravitate toward things they feel affection for: people, food, events, sport teams you name it we look for the wow factor and love to be part of it. Take for example commercials that marketers have created by placing employees on the front line as the spokesman for various brands: Pizza Hut, Fidelity, as well as all have found great success using this marketing approach. Simply put employees are now seen as a company’s best asset. What better person can you get to express commitment, dedication, and attentiveness toward a brand/company than its employees? Stormy Simon, Overstock senior VP-marketing and customer care, who herself has appeared in company ads stated, "We're showing our employees as the face of our company in this age where in the last few years, people have lost some trust [in corporate America].” These are people consumers can relate with.

This concept or principle of using “employees” as spokes persons is nothing new. Can it be said that Jesus Christ himself implemented such a practice with his disciples? Are followers of Christ nothing more than Christian brand ambassadors? Is it not true that one job requirement of a Christian is to Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven? Matt. 5:16 Through our daily walk with Christ we have learned, understand and deliver what the Christ brand is all about to non-believers as well as those who are stuck in the middle of confusion.

Jesus hand picked his disciples and charged them to follow Him and they will be made fishers of men”. Matt. 4:19 Also, during His ministry Jesus gave authority to the disciples to go and make more disciples in nations teaching them to observe all things commanded of them. Matt. 28:16-20.

As a genuine, loyal ambassador for Christ’s brand along with a willingness to help your fellow man in need, people can be converted. So rekindle the fire within so others can see the God in you!


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Monday, November 8, 2010

God wants Full Custody not visiting hours

A friend made a statement that resonated with me, “God does not want just visiting hours with His children; He wants FULL CUSTODY!!!” The truth of the matter many Christians only visit, or call on God when there is trouble, hard times, barriers, or when they are seeking answers. Simply put, God is asking for full custody not temporary visitation to fit our needs. To put custody in a carnal perspective, typically children from broken families, foster homes, or divorce yearn for a relationship, love, comfort and affection from parents not just an occasional timed scheduled event. This is the same guardianship God longs to have with His children. More often than not the root cause for people shunning from relationships with God is lack of desire, time, or the belief of solving one’s own problems. The misnomer that an occasional prayer and thanksgiving is all that is needed to have a relationship is far from the truth. These idiotic thoughts drive a wedge deeper between God and His children.

The true question is “Are you willing to relinquish your all to God”? Often times people find themselves attempting to do things on their own oppose to surrendering or allowing God the Father just as a parent to have full custody. He has an open schedule that we can call out to Him at any time. It is His desire for us to allow Him full custody however we have to open the door to allow Him the opportunity. Once you hand over you life God becomes the navigator provided you give him total control. In this new state of living will all troubles go away? No. Will things become easier? Sure. Will some of your desires be granted? In God’s time they will. At the end of the day you need to remember God’s word that states He will not leave or for sake us and by relinquishing yourselves to God he will Show His ways, teach the right paths to travel, as well as Guide in His truth. Psalms 25:4-5

As simplistic as this devotion reads so can your quest to a new life can begin. It is your call do you want just visiting hours or can you let go and allow God full custody of your life? You choose!


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