Sunday, December 11, 2016

Tests By Nina B.

By Nina B.

I really don’t like test!
Who does?
Still, I have been thinking a lot about these nasty little things called “test” of late.

Test cause tension.

Tension moves things. Think - elevator.

Tension changes the dynamics of a person’s emotional being - you either are torn apart or mushed together, HOWEVER, the change that comes about is inevitable and probably in the long run is not bad because there is movement. (Yes, sometimes we have to take steps back - to see the BIG picture, so you can move forward)

To stay the same is detrimental. It’s unwholesome, ruinous…

Stagnation is not good. When things don’t move, things rot. Things atrophy, they cease to flourish. They die.

When we are TESTED! we discover what we are made of, or it’s confirmed what we truly thought, (which may not be so good). If we are found lacking, then there should be a desire to do better, to improve, to change, to move… The tension that comes about due to the lack of…. whatever, should be motivation to...

When tested, and one discovers that they are good at something or that you have an aptitude for a specific subject that should serve as motivation to change - IMPROVE! Get better.

You can always get better at something! There is no perfection this side of eternity…

God is looking over my shoulder and directing me. He has the resources, (He’s all-knowing and all-seeing). He loves me too much, to allow me to stay the same. He’s with me 24/7 and wants me to do better. He doesn’t beat me up with criticism - I do that. He lovingly speaks to me about my problem areas. He encourages me to do my best and is so thrilled when I take the littlest of steps.

God tests me. His test are to expose the sin, the bad attitudes, the inconsistencies. He pushes me out from under my covers. He offers the “stuff” of faith, (stuff = the stretching, fortifying mortar for faith-building blocks). He says take the risk and promises to be there when I fall, when I fail… When I fake it...

Can we cheat with test from God?

I think and act like I can, you do too; but really folks - God sees all, knows all… remember? Everything you do is known by God. Can you imagine His face, (I imagine Jesus’ face)? It’s like your face when someone you know did something really dumb - that’s what I imagine.

Do we fear?

Yeah! Sure, betcha - we do!

We shouldn’t. We.... I fear exposure - of being found that I’m not good enough, (according to whose standards - I know not). I fear that I’ve been trying to fool others… Fool myself and failing even at that… Which if you think about it - it’s a good thing that we do fail, (because God should only matter - not mankind. Mankind’s scales are messed-up, dishonest, skewed).

So, when we fail at fooling ourselves we become real - not fake, like the news. What would be the worse thing that could happen if you were honest with yourself and others? Not honest with the intent to hurt/for the sake of doing damage; but honest for simply being what it is - “keeping it real”, (like niece-y says).

And let’s not forget about us testing God!

I know - craziness!

And I’m not thinking in terms of us testing the patience of God, but in a manipulative sense that speaks to trying to understand God’s next move, or buying God - this sounds crazy even as I type it, but it’s what we do folks - you know you do! I know I have.

“I’ll do this, if You do that!”

And really what did it accomplish? Nada!  Do you really think you can outwit God? Think about it!

Test are a part of life. Sometimes getting out of bed can be a test, dealing with a difficult coworker, looking yourself in the mirror, (I mean, really looking), biting your tongue, choosing your words - rather than the first thing that comes to mind, making a decision, (any decision), … Have I hit on your test yet? Just remember, test are designed to give perspective about you.

A question that might be worth pondering is: Do or should we live with anticipation or dread of the next test when we seem to have lived through one? How is this “living the victorious life”/ a life that says, we believe we are conquerors… Till the next thing that surely will be the best of me yet…

We have a hope

...We must merely do the next thing.

This is a resolve, (to settle or find a solution to (a problem, dispute, or contentious matter) - settle, sort out, solve, find a solution to, fix, straighten out, deal with, put right, put to rights, rectify; informal hammer out, thrash out, figure out.)

- not a defeat.

And success is not an impossibility. As believers in Christ we are called to live a victorious life, one that may find you starting over again, (and again, and again…), focus on the fact that you did start again and that you have an opportunity to do something different this time…

...Because of the test!...

...the tension…. Movement…. Change.

We can and should be in constant motion - this way we have greater impact…

For the Kingdom

 We Are Messengers - Magnify

Friday, November 11, 2016

Do the Next Thing

I'm not one to share my political views… and now that it’s after the election, I’m not about to start… However, given the faces of devastation, I just had to comment.

A new dear friend of mine just lost her brother. He was bedridden, on life supports and in pain. Although, she was very sad about his passing, she was relieved, since he was now with Jesus, and was really Home and better than whole. He is perfect. She explained that she didn’t see the need to go to his family right away, since a memorial was being planned for later, and that the next thing to do, was to come to work.

The next thing...

I did the next thing after the passing my my mother and stepfather, respectively; since there was nothing more to do but go to work. I did this after my life came to an abrupt halt after 35 years, (see July posting). When what appears to be tragedy, the next rational thing should be done.

The day following the elections saw people totally devastated. Sobbing. Cursing. Inciting revolts. Numb... As I walked about I heard adults preaching their impressions and feelings of the elections. I understand that there were many people shocked by the results of the choice voiced, (more like shouted), by the overwhelmingly majority of the country - "CHANGE!"  However, the day after such an election should be about the fact that the process of the change of government is indeed democratic - without our system we all have no voice. We have a peaceful transition of power unlike what takes place in many third world countries. We have the freedom to pray for those elected and to voice our opinions on fairness and equity - still understanding that the process for such, are still democratic.

Having such a process means that some are not going to be happy with the decision of the majority - PERIOD. If the election had gone the other way would people be willing to console the losing side, or would they gloat as happened during the past presidential elections. Would professors be willing to cancel exams? Would social workers be available to assist students who didn't vote - get through the day? Would a days worth of instruction and more, be thrown to the wind? Would the protest be accepted? Would celebs be moving away?

This has been a difficult and trying election. It was one that divided families, coworkers, and friends. Personally, I have never prayed for those on the ballots like I did this election, but, be assured I am ready and willing to continue to do so, because it is the next thing to do. Either I believe that God is in control, “... for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” Romans 13:1... Or, I do not believe that God is in control, and this thing I do everyday should be relegated to Sunday mornings from 8-9am because this is what nice, good people do.



This is the same democratic process that would have elected the other side into office if the other side had the majority vote…. And frankly, I am saddened that so many people seem to be without hope. Do they lack hope because they put their trust and hope in mankind? Which this serves as a wake-up call...

Trust in God - not mankind!

Plus, I wonder what does the spewing of hatred do for those people who did vote in the majority?  ...Unfortunately, nearly killed - which is why I don't talk politics.

The United ? States of America 
Lord have mercy
Nina B.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Good People...

Good ?
by Nina B.

I have a confession to make... Well, not really a confession, but something to share about myself: While in my car, I listen to Christian music - usually praise and encouraging music, loudly,  really loud - probably damaging my eardrums. In the little old lady car that I bought used last year, to my surprise, I have what's called a sub woofer, (it’s a system that makes the bass of a song “more”. This is why young folks love such devices). Seth, my youngest son, saw it and asked for it - I didn't know what it was, however, the mechanic, explained that it was factory installed and wouldn't be worth it to take it out. So, Seth and his friend, Jose, installed one in his car, (thanks to his graduation gifts). However, when I discovered the wonders of this "amplifying" device, I decided I would be the neighborhood DJ and share Jesus in a very passive/aggressive way. :-) I'm not obnoxious, but I do lower my windows when the spirit moves me and I crank up the volume and make my windows vibrate, (sometimes - not all the times). Fernando Ortega's "Kyrie Eleison", (see September's blog), would not sound classic at all with the bass this monster in my trunk produces. However, with Toby Mac's "Move-Keep Walkin' "... You get my point.

Now, most people who know me would never dream that I would do such a thing, not that I think it’s a bad thing, (I play Kirk Franklin’s “Smile” and “My Life is in Your Hands” and Ginny Owens “If You Want Me To”, Hillary Scott’s “Thy Will Be Done”, For King & Country “Priceless”, (I play this when I see folks “advertising”), and so much more...) . It’s just something that I do to plant seeds for Jesus. Some may call it being obnoxious - actually, not so much because of the tempo, or the loudness, but sadly, because it’s music talking about Jesus. People don’t like Jesus these days. BUT, I dare to do what I do, because folks on the street turn around and see this short, little Black lady, driving a grandma car and hear the music, feel the bass and don’t say anything. See passive-aggressive.

Good or bad?

I think these are end times, (like tribulation is just around the corner folks and hell is... well, hell; and eternal-forever - Jesus does not what anyone to perish, but some folks are certainly hell-bent, so we all should do our part to at least plant a seed), so whatever works to get the WORD out there works for me.

Some folks would say and have said, “Oh Nina, you are so good” look what you do. They look at what has been my life and say, “You are so good…”. Which is kinda funny/odd, to equate trials and hardships and a butt-load of @#*x!, with being "good", because I didn’t go crazy and hate and do other stuff. See, I don’t think that makes me “good” it makes GOD good and in control, because if He were not; bad would so rule in my life.

But still, this notion of “good” is crazy, because folks in a lot of our churches, (I attend four), have the mindset that they are “good”. However, “And Jesus said to him, Why call you me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.” Luke 18:19 and likewise in Mark 10:18. Isaiah 64:6 says, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (That's a direct quote folks). We get wrapped up and carried away in the crazy belief of our “goodness”... when we aren’t really "good" at all.

So what is my point? 

Christians, seemingly seasoned in their walk, claim to be “good”. They talk about being “good” as if it were a balm to sooth any doubts. They surround themselves with “good” people and tell each other of their “goodness”, when really “ one is good…”.

Tony Evans of the Urban Alternative spoke of sin - the not "good", in terms of roaches in our houses. He questioned his congregation about wanting baby roaches in one’s house. Of course, no one wants baby roaches in their house. Then he asked if anyone wanted winged roaches in their houses, because they’re “special”. Again, no one wanted these pest - no matter how special. Lastly, he asked what about large roaches, because they were full size and adult and more wise roaches and had survived much - still no takers. This is the case with God and Heaven. God will not tolerate any sin in his House! Not one!

Now, while we run around thinking how “good” we are; shouldn’t we be thinking twice and putting on Christ and exclaiming loudly how "GOOD" He is! Not claiming any works we do as our accomplishments, but solely the work of the Holy Spirit, when we get ourselves out of the way? Shouldn’t we be bowing on our knees before the altar, repenting of our sins during the confession and absolution - not hurriedly pausing for 5 fricken seconds for the “silence for reflection on God’s Word and for self-examination”. See within our churches we perpetuate the belief that we are “good” because we don’t ever give a thought to repent before God even when there’s time during the service set aside to do just that - REPENT! Because we are all so “good”.

Or is the thought of not being “good” bad? Or so bothersome and antiquated that we don’t give repentance a passing thought because we’re so “good”.

Since, I have gone through some life changing events - I sit on the sidelines and think - a lot. I look at people too. I look at myself, my life… I live too much in the land of regret and what if’s. I don’t talk much with people.
ASIDE sorta
Especially, since my Mondays through Fridays are filled with 6-8 graders - I do not talk with children - I am their teacher, which means I often use most of my weekly words for instructional purposes - I’m worn out by the weekends and just don’t have it in me to converse with adults - were there adults to converse with - there are not… I have friends, but I don’t chat - I text or email, my written verbiage is often more readily prolific than my spoken, (you’ve read these blogs ;-/) - my friends understand, likewise, with my family, although, my sister Jackie does get upset that I don’t “TALK” with her - she is not a texter).
When I see people, I wonder, how many think they are “good” and without sin, because they are “good”. They attend church - even regularly, they sit on boards and decide “things” for the church and maintain the church and make everyone feel “good”. They don’t think twice about their gossip, their inner thoughts about “things” that truly only God knows, (has He been bugging you about those thoughts? ... and you’ve been ignoring HIM?!), about the attitudes, the haughtiness, the back stabbing at work, the cheating on your taxes, the cheating on your spouse when your eyes lingered…, and when was the last time you did anything with your elderly parent, or is that what you expect your sibling to handle?

Folks, I drop my stone and walk away too, for I am not without sin. I am not a good person. Why did you think I drive to and from work when no one else is on the road? And I don’t complain to you all, but there are others out there who are more than happy to feed me my poison… And there are the days I just don’t like some people and I have to ask Jesus to help me love them - which is why I live where I do - it is by God’s design or humor.

Me: I don’t think it’s so funny God!

God: “Okay!”

Me: “Sigh”

God: “Check the tude, Nina!”

me: … check

Bottom line: God is NOT CONTENT that we should stay where we are - supposing that we are “good”. Philippians 1:6  Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ…" God is doing the "good" work on and in us. It’s like when a woman goes to the salon for a new hairdo. The hairdresser is working the magic. Her comb becomes a magic wand and poof - new do. What hairdresser would tolerate a woman taking the comb saying, “No do it this way…” Especially, if it were an experienced, licensed expert hairdresser!

Let God be God. Repent - your job. Put on Christ, (this means receive His gift of His life for yours) and give ALL the glory to God.

Soli Deo Gloria
Nina B.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Why We Say We're "Fine", When We're Not

Why We Say We’re “Fine” When We’re Not
By Nina B. 8/11- 9/20

On an early morning walk...
Going through some pretty traumatic stuff has made me temper what I say to people, particularly when asked, “Oh, how are you doing?”.


I’m usually a private person.
Those who don’t know me well assume life is as good as a slice of bread with jam. Very few can tell that I’m not ok, and usually it’s a guess based upon how they would react in my circumstances.

I’m fine...

But first: Why lie?

I don’t want to burden the listener.
I don’t believe they really care - they are merely being polite and I am politely responding in turn, because that’s what polite people do for one another - we make each other feel “fine”.
I don’t trust them to do what is truly needful; mainly because, they can’t. They are ill equipped, even if it’s just sitting with me,...
The listener, unwittingly, sometimes, makes poor choices, and ends up trying to help in ways that only makes matters worse...
… Or they go about telling others because it’s “news” - which it is, but not necessarily to be shared that way.
You say, “fine” because you don’t want to hear them give you a run down of their history, and hear them talk about situations that have nothing to do with yours, because they seem to want to “identify” with you. (Stop it! - you and they are not the same).
I want to nurse my wounds by myself - the hurt is too deep and I sit on the sidelines of life and mourn over the cuts, the scratches, the boo boos of life, like a dog that licks its cut from the unseen broken bottle that it stepped on as it ran through the grass…
It’s easy - I think this is why some people stand on the sides of roads asking for handouts. It’s easy for those passing by to throw a few coins in the dirty plastic cup, than it is to find out what brought this person to these circumstances. For example do you ever wonder,... When they were eight years old, did they dream and plan, that by age 37 they would be without a place to call home, sleep on cardboard with a flea infested, dirt stained, ragged quilt and reek of urine....
You just don’t know what to say. Truly, how do you explain what has happened when it’s something so ugly. Ugly usually repels people - even the nicest and well intentioned of them. Plus, why do you want to re-live telling each individual person the ugly details… It’s like putting a bandaid on a wound and then ripping it off just as it begins to heal.

When you respond with “Fine”, you get “the pass”. You’re okay and so are they. :-)

Second: Why do they accept the response of “Fine”?

(Now read this carefully): You don’t have to be identified, nor do you want to be associated with their problems - which is part of the problem - we are fearful of seeing ourselves,... We are fearful of somehow, their pain rubbing off on us, like the flu or worse yet discovering that we are a “carrier” of the “Not so fine”, and so we have to do something with our actions or reactions, because you are the problem.
We tell ourselves they want to be left alone. I/We tell ourselves, ‘...This is surely a private concern… I would be intruding…’
Their problem is way outta my league - I’m not a professional. I just haven’t a clue about how to respond, so nothing is probably best...
We want to pretend. I swear this is why I whiz through my uncle’s nursing home. I am Miss Cheer-ie and I smile and I walk fast and I click my heels three times till I’m safely on the other side of the door, where I am yet younger than they… Because I want to pretend, I’m not getting older, I’m not getting old like them - so everyone is always fine in the nursing home, right down to the old woman with the vein gnarled hand whispering to anyone who passes by to get her out of there. We want to pretend all is well, because that makes it true - right? Wrong!
We don’t have the time…
It’s the script of life according to mankind… Who wrote this life?
It’s cost effective - we don’t have to do anything
People would rather believe a lie, rather than the truth. Sometimes good meaning people will go as far to say, “Oh it can’t be that bad...:” And then they proceed to tell you all the reasons why it’s not as bad as you’re saying, working really hard to convince you, that you’re wrong and they’re right… See, better off saying, “...oh just fine..”.

Third: So what do you do, when you know, fine is not really fine? (DISCLAIMER: Folks these are not the opinions of experts. In fact all that I write, is just my opinion. (Actually, even in the news media, they try to sway you to think one way - their way - See? My opinion!), You don’t have to do things according to Nina, but might I suggest that you do so according to Jesus).

Consider praying especially when you have an inkling something isn’t “fine”.
Acknowledge what has happened that isn’t “fine”.
When I ask someone how they feel, I mentally prepare myself for the response and ask myself, ‘Do you have the time to invest in this person, to sit, to offer a hand… to stay in contact, to check do what they need?’

Be open/available for what God might do through you, for them, for you, (the side benefit of being available).

Kyrie Eleison