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Monday, November 28, 2011

Expecting the Unexpected

Photo: Don Farrell
God sequestered Samuel to select Israel’s next king from the sons of Jesse.  The Lord told Samuel not to look at their appearance or height because he would refuse them. (I Samuel 16:7)  God’s choice was David who was younger, smaller and in stature the weakest.  God’s selection was nothing Jesse or his seven sons expected for the Lord does not see as man does. Based on Old Testament literature, the Jewish people anticipated the coming of a Messiah to Bethlehem (John 7:42).  The unexpected birthplace of Nazareth was nowhere on the radar causing Jewish leaders to fight Jesus’ claim as Son of God.  The Bible also tells of a certain rich ruler (Mark 10:17-22) who had practiced the Ten Commandments since youth, asked Jesus how he could inherit eternal life. Jesus’ ‘UNEXPECTED’ answer to give away all possessions to the poor made this ruler very sorrowful.  In these examples, people had expected one response. God’s unexpected answer blew their mind and altered their outcome.

At one time or another we all have thought like Jesse, Jewish Leaders or the ruler, albeit goals, dreams or desires of the heart our anticipated results did not happen in a logical manner and in some cases has not manifested yet. We expect the prayer answered as requested, yet in most cases God’s reply was completely different, yet better than ever anticipated.  One observation learned in my long journey of growing with Christ, I had to prepare my mind as well as spirit to expect the unexpected.  Looking back over my life, there was a time I had aspirations of publishing a glossy magazine. There was no question if it could not be done nor if I could do all things through Christ, yet on many occasions during this solo quest, my mother asked “are you praying, seeking God’s will and asking Him to guide and direct your steps? After many years of deliberating over these statements, I can honestly say no.  “. In the mist of it all, there was a personal attempt to do it on my own; edging God out of the situation. I have now learned to include God in all endeavors good or bad.

My testimony today, over the years though one prayed, cried, questioned God and even doubted He was paying me any attention I discovered He was.  What was envisioned as pitfalls were actually lessons which has manifested into something greater than I never dreamt.  God has provided a platform via the internet to help others through my ministry of writing. I have humbled myself immensely over the years, allowing me to overcome what was perceived as lost. Years ago I was a failure because of not reaching my desire; I was not ready nor connected with God. However, at this juncture in life; God has placed me where I need to be. 

We all pray asking for the desires of our heart yet on the other hand, we have never asked God to set us up for what He has in store. In your mind, what desires has God ignored? Remember, our expectations limit God.  Man’s restricted thinking locks us in and God out.  Loosen the bondage that entraps your faith. Pray and ask God to remove obstacles, allow God to prepare you, reach you in unexpected ways. I can promise when you connect with God’s spirit he will revile what is in store for you.  It will be bigger and better than ever dreamt. Expect the unexpected.

Tigner J. 

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Does God Still Perform Miracles? Luck or Divine Intervention

Photo Justin Allfree

God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.  Hebrews 2:4

Luck or God's intervention

Is being in the right place at the right time luck or divine intervention from God? A woman’s near miss with a train, is it a coincidence, that she survived or something short of a miracle?  People who witness unexplainable spectacular incidents often question whether they were acts of God or a fluke? 

I believe, God is working daily all around us at home, work, and hospitals, he is forever performing significant wonders directly in our lives for all to see. With the aide of Cyberspace and cable television, these mediums are capable of broadcasting inexplicable encounters; though heart warming a person either confirms or denies them as miracles.

Real miracles today

Jesus performed countless miracles; people were amazed all while questioned his authenticity as being the Son of God or just a man with magical powers Acts 2:22

This week, while skimming various headlines, I ran across two incidents, which could classify as wonders and signs from heaven above.  Take for example, Jordan Landon, a 9-year-old North Carolina girl who survives two days in car wreckage despite the fact her father died.  A person walking by saw the car off the state highway and called 911.   How about the Minnesota State Trooper who happens to be following a car that careened into freezing water.  The trooper jumped in and was able to save Sophia Eversvik who had a seizure. Were these occasions the presence of the Lord or people being in the right place at the right time?

The Israelites witnessed Moses parting the Red Sea, they still doubted if God would sustain and keep them during their journey.  Likewise, people today are no different from the Israelites, after the luster wears of a miracle, those with little faith in a divine power will go back to their normal way of being doubtful. One of the greatest miracles ever performed was God coming to earth as the Man, Jesus Christ who died for our sins. Yet many chose not to believe and follow.

A hero for Christ

In life, we all will travel great distances yet never know what we are going to come across.  Sure, God can and will perform miracles until the end of time, and there will be countless individuals who will experience them first hand, like Ali Johnson, who thanks God almighty for enabling him to help others, A hero striking twice in two weeks! In lieu of more miracles by God Almighty, society needs to believe in the miracle of salvation of Jesus Christ.  This miracle will be everlasting. Moreover, despite the heartaches or struggles one may face this miracle of salvation can endure all pain.  It starts with acceptance of Jesus Christ as your savior and the growth and development of walking in faith.   

Learn to make yourself available as a vessel, take time to recognize God’s hand in your life you never know when it is your time to be or receive a miracle.  In addition, remember, miracles are not always grand in size, they can come in small packages, like finding a twenty-dollar bill tucked away in a pair of pants.

After accepting Christ as your savior in your life, remember it is a life long journey. Make sure you find a good bible based church and surround yourself with people who will nurture your growth.  For you see, though you are an adult you are now babes in Christ; so will you cannot not eat steak right away

Tigner J.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Reframing from Anger: Character of the new man

Photo: Grove Pashley
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, James 1:19

When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise. Proverb 10:19

Taking another look at anger, the most misunderstood emotion; it’s safe to say anger is a debilitating disorder destroying adult males in countless households. An innumerable about of men identify daily within their minds with the perception of being offended thus leading to some form of retaliation. All too often, these mental conflicts trigger a rage toward men, women and children. This outburst is typically caused by but not limited to work, (the lack there of), disagreements, or the emasculation of men by women.

The editorial, “Change the Pain Make it your Gain,” by CEO Munson Steed, touched upon how men have to learn to “defy anger and become a game changer”. In my opinion, to become a changer of the game, people cannot converse with “if that where me I would do this” type of friends but learn to associate with positive and Godly folk. Discover how to put away anger, evil speaking and learn to be kind to one another Eph. 4:31-32. One contributing factor to the root cause of anger is a deficiency of communication between men. This hoarding of a man’s anguish can lead to aggression which can ultimately “land you in an orange jumpsuit.”

There are steps to formulating new characteristics which can enable men to put on tender mercies of kindness and humbleness. Contrary to popular belief, displaying such attributes is manlier that most would want to accept as true.

The mis-education of all the aforementioned barriers for men has darkened their understanding causing them to be alienated from the life of God; Eph. 4:18, end result hardening of hearts thus leading to anger.

By implementing and incorporating the following tips they can aid in healing as well as maintaining a healthier life.

1. Develop a relationship with God: Let the word of Christ dwell in you Col. 3:14

2. Aspire to have healthy and Godly conversation with brothers in need, learn to forgive and grow: Realize that ‘Real Men’ are not Superman; they do cry, feel pain, and cannot leap tall buildings in a single bound.

3. Stop judging or speaking evil of one another James 4:11: These are negative enablers lead to angry outburst and disagreements

4. Form a support group of men: When two or three gather in the name of Jesus, he is present. In the process teach, console, and don’t be afraid to sing and praise God during group sessions.

If anger situations have escalated to being volatile, with you or someone you love please seek professional counseling.

One thing stands true for all men; they need encouraging supporters in their corner. By having devoted advocates, this provides a man with an outlet to release pain and anger so it will not become bottled up within. Brothers, break the bondage of your mind, learn to release positive energy, be confident, talk with other men, and rebuke anger that dwells inside us all. By doing so, it can lead to a happier and healthier life that women as well as children could enjoy.

Tigner J.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Heavy Day: the passing of Heavy D.... Jesus & Death the Last Enemy

Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment. Hebrews 9:27

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. Mahatma Gandhi 

The overweight lover - Heavy D & the Boyz
image by: Tigner Rand

A Heavy Day

The world mourns Heavy D (Dwight Arrington Myers.) The master of influential, inspiring, positive, non-woman degrading rap music is gone.  A total shock to fans and music industry of his sudden passing. 

What a difference a day can make

As the word spread of his death, people expressed their shock and disbelief with hopes that this was some publicity rumor. Those close to Heavy D, such as my classmate, Avery O. Williams, spoke of his last conversation of how they joked and talked like brothers. “There was no expectation, nor even a grain of thought that 24 hours later we wouldn't be talking sh** again, forever”

He will Rise again

When Mary and Martha experienced the death of their brother Lazarus it came as a total shock. They felt if their best friend, Jesus, would have been there, Lazarus would not have died John 11:21, 32. When death engulfs our minds it’s hard to process. We question and try to make sense of it. We often get angry with God as to why people die “before their time.” Such is the case  with Heavy D and Mary's feelings over Lazarus’ early demise. As mourning passes, the thought of death slowly vanishes, until it rises again. What is often overlooked is Jesus statement, which also applies to us all, Lazarus (Heavy D.) will raise again.

The after life

Most people attempt to live life completely, upright and moral so that when death comes like a thief in the night they will  ascend up to heaven with Christ. Not surprising, many people don’t believe this ideology nor in Jesus. I urge all to be careful of the unexpected trap when death comes; hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness along with anxieties of life. The answer and best preparation for death is summed up in John 11:25-26 where Jesus stated whoever believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.  

Say Yes today

When the shadows of death come we will be caught off guard. I hope and pray that those reading this believe in Heaven, the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. So much so that when it is time to give up the ghost there is no fear as to where you will be heading heaven not hell. If there is some doubt in your mind, I extend to you today an opportunity to accept Christ as your Savior so that you to can see and experience the true glory of God! 

Tigner Rand

Friday, November 4, 2011

Another Voice in the Choir

Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief. My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak.  Psalms 31:9-10

Heading to a doctor’s appointment I crossed paths and spoke to a tender natured old lady in the corridor; I acknowledged in my typical manner “all is well”. Her quick response back was “that is good because no one would listen if you where complaining.” As we walked, the conversation continued, as this noble lady told me a story of a prisoner who professed his innocence until arriving to prison. Once in the hallowed walls of confinement he found that every prisoner claimed their innocence too. Though the man knew he was not guilty, the grumbling stopped after discovering he was just another voice in the choir.

God’s word tells us not to swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation. As the victim in this story, who claimed his innocence, there are times when regardless how truthful one is it can land a person a guilty verdict. We also know that Jesus was falsely accused and did not commit a crime yet he was crucified. So it is safe to assume through life, we are not immune from lies, conviction, or some form of character assassination. The Lord is a fortress in adversity; either stand on His word or become another complaining voice in the choir.

Not too long ago the world witnessed Georgia Prison inmate Troy Davis who song to the highest courts in the nation that he was innocent. In contrast Troy’s conviction enabled others to join his chorus all singing for justice being serviced. When facing perplexed times opposed to kicking up a fuss by complaining, pray and seek God for direction which can bring peace to your soul. Learn to sing praises of joy regardless your predicament and not tunes of grief during your misery. See your situation as the glass of water half full or half empty either way, take a stance as did Troy Davis who continued to fight his fight of innocence until his last breath. Though you maybe in the pit, God have kept you a live! The take away from both stories is to recognize we have to stand on God’s word, even if the end result may mean death, like Troy Davis.

Tigner J.

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