God’s Plan Will Come to Fruition

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In the summer of 1995 I began writing, “If You Send Me, I Will Go”, well, actually it was entitled, “Back From Crack”, then “If You Send Me, I’ll Go”.  I had to take out the contraction because the software I was using couldn’t place the apostrophe properly, but I liked the way it turned out, “…I will go”.  It sounds more determined and concise and that’s the point I want to have in my life, to be more determined and concise in what I do.  This is the same with God.

No matter how long it takes, He has a plan for your life which will come to a successful conclusion.  Fourteen years to write and publish a book was not delayed because of anything on my part, my constant relapses, etc.  He knew when He gave me the idea to write and the date when it would be published.  I just didn’t know it.  There is nothing He starts He doesn’t finish.

Now, as I sit and wait for the first delivery, I have no idea of how to go about marketing it.  I have no idea of where this project will take me or how successful “I” will be in being able to make a living from it.  In fact, as I am writing this devotional you’re reading now, I had no idea where it might lead except it needed to be written.  God’s plan for our lives knows no boundary.

No matter how long it takes, if you have God in your life, it will take as long as it needs to take.  He will see you through.

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When You Have Interruptions…

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Don’t stress.  You have put into place a plan, goals to achieve and then all of a sudden you get hit with a period where you cannot do anything to forward your purposes.  Whatever it may be, bad emotional upheaval, disappointment, tiredness, lack of energy or just plain procrastination, it will end and when it does, get back to working your life goals.  Don’t allow a period of inactivity to define you.  It is a period of time which passes.  Let it pass and then rejoin whatever it is which is important to you.

Too many of us have thought this period of time is when we think we haven’t what it takes to go forward.  We think of it as a sign to quit.  What were we thinking this would have been possible?  I’m glad I haven’t spent too much energy already.  But look what good has occurred in whatever time you did spend.  It was a dream.  Dreams do come true, but they have to be acted upon.  So, don’t allow this time to cause you to quit.  We have overcome some habits others will never understand so there is fire in us which cannot be quenched “if” we don’t let it.  If you’ve ever burned coal or wood, you know there are periods when it needs to be stoked.  Stoke yourself.  It’s time to get a flame a-burnin’ again.

When you take a break, that’s all it is.

Do not let the break break you.

What Did They Have to Give Up?

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At some point in our experience, we come across those leaders God has placed before us to show us our way back to Him, in order to reach sobriety.  There a love affair begins with a desire in wanting to be like them.  We want to have what they have knowing where they came from, the streets just as we did.  They seem to have it all together, again, and from this we have hope for ourselves.  However, what we fail to understand, it wasn’t easy for them either.

What did they have to give up?  We think if we could just stop shooting, snorting, or smoking, we’d be okay.  But the truth of the matter is, that’s not it.  We lived a life of no discipline.  Along this road we traveled, we forgot how to be responsible and live like ordinary people.  We breached our own normal standards of life and created additional issues besides the major one we’re fighting today.  Those leaders struggled, and perhaps still do, with other areas in their life which came about due to their own history of substance abuse.

So, when you look at them today, realize we are all in this battle still—together.  There are straggling problems which are being overcome but haven’t found their conclusion just yet.  So, give them a break and see them as being up the street a little ways from where you are.  The fact you can still see them proves they haven’t made it into the Kingdom.  We’re all striving but reach back to give a hand to someone who’s just a little bit behind you.

It takes those who have walked in the path, to direct those how to get a little further.

Bringing It All Together

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Ever wonder what God is doing to your life?  I do.  There are so many pieces which finally seem to be coming together.  Why did God have an uncle suggest forty years ago to take typing classes in school?  It certainly has been a lot easier to write with the skill of typing.  Why did God tell me to move to Atlanta, just as I was finishing the writing of a book?  I met a person who is involved in self-publishing, which bypasses all the aggravation of having a major publishing company agree to publish your work after they tear down the value of it.  You keep control.  Why did God send me to Washington, DC thirty-five years ago where I would meet the newscaster today who would be the catalyst for local exposure?  Why did I meet a young man yesterday, while taking a walk and he’s involved in a national cable channel which could be the catalyst of national exposure.  Why did God take me through drug addiction so I could have a story to tell?

It’s simply amazing how everything in your life has a purpose.  It is not by chance these things happened and are happening to you.  It is not by chance you are where you are right now.  God has a purpose for your life no matter how messed up it might seem at the moment.  You are in a valley today but that valley doesn’t extend forever.  No valleys do, well, unless you have decided to remain where you are today.  But if you do, know this was not God’s plan for you.  He has given you so much more.  Take it.  I intend to do so.

No one less than the great God we serve, could have taken the broken pieces of our lives and make such a wonderful person we are today.

Where There Are No Expectations…

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…There can be no disappointments.  My friends are accustomed to hearing this saying from me because I have made it a fact of my life.  Very seldom am I disappointed, by others, because I don’t have any expectations of them.  Our relationship with God is almost along the same concept.  I used to pray, “Lord, forgive me for frustrating Your plan for me.”  Then I realized, I was seeing God as I saw myself!  God cannot and is not disappointed in us because He has known all along what we would do or not do.  It is us, who can only be disappointed in ourselves and this we should not let be the overriding factor of how we live our lives.  If so, we will become depressed, giving up and you know what the end result of this will be.

Know God loves you.  Unconditionally.  He has given you all you need to make you into the person He wants you to be.  So what if you’ve taken a detour which has brought you along this way, but the fact of the matter is, He can and will have the end objective—your salvation, IF, and I repeat emphatically, IF, you want it.  You will hear people say, “I’m striving to be in the Kingdom.”  I see it differently.  I’m striving to “stay” in the Kingdom because God has assured me a place already!

When you have fallen, get up!  When you are feeling low, shake it off!  When you are disappointed, know it was for a reason!  Don’t allow yourself to remain in this frame of mind.  God thinks better of you and know what you will do.  You just got to get with the program already designed and determined for you.  Now, move along.

You are exactly where you’re supposed to be, right now, and at this very moment!

You can’t do any better than that!

It’s Snowing

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Right now it is twenty-three degrees outside!  And it is snowing. Well, not really “cover the ground” kinda snow but little flakes falling which you’d have trouble seeing if you weren’t looking at the right angle.  But, it reminded me of those days when I was, “out there”.  Oh, I dreaded waking up in the “Mission” or other homeless shelters and having to trudge out in the cold wind and snow.  I didn’t have proper shoes and even if I did it would only have brought temporary relief.  Eventually those toes would get cold and numb.

I remember walking through a blizzard, in sneakers, to get to my brother’s home.  For more than three hours, I kept the steady moving of one foot ahead of the other.  At times, I could not see the street, which was my guide because there was no sidewalk.  It was buried and there hadn’t been a chance for anyone to shovel yet.  The kind of snow you can’t keep your head normal but bent down to keep the biting snow from hurting.  Then you recognize why God made eyelashes.  You keep blinking them to keep the snow from caking.  Now, that’s snow.

Today, I’m inside.  Still homeless only because I don’t have a place to call my own but the time is coming when I will.  But, at least I am inside.  It’s warm.  I’ve had a nice breakfast.  I’m writing and I’m blessed.

It can snow as much and hard, and it can be as cold as it wants to be; except, I still remember those who are still, “out there”.  So, I change my mind.  Not about the weather.  I just want the weather to encourage them to try to get to where I am today.  Sober.

Sometimes, I think the weather is God’s way of showing emotion.  Like the time it rained profusely when I left a three day binge.

God was crying and His tears were covering mine.

Going Back

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I am designing the cover for my book, “If You Send Me, I Will Go” and I have to go back, “out there” for just a moment in order to photograph the “Hood” to demonstrate leaving a life of grace and where one ends up.  Also, I need to photograph a “stem”.  I looked for online stock photos, but did not find what I wanted.  I will have to spend the night away, next week, and it just might be where I’ve come from, the streets.  There is queasiness in my stomach about these matters but I’ve come to realize in this experience:  I can do it and God is requiring me to do it.

When you’ve come clean, God will often send you back to give someone what was given to you.  You are His witness He is able to salvage lives but they, those still, “out there”, won’t know it unless you tell them.  They have to be able to see, touch and speak with those who know what it is they’re going through on a daily basis.  Your hand will be the Hand of God they’ll touch, that will lift them up and start them, too, on the same road of life you’re experiencing today.

Can you do it?  Will you do it?  I’ve committed my life to doing so.  So, “Going Back” is not a test of some sort.  It’s the experience I have to undergo to meet you or someone like us who needs us to go get them.  Going back doesn’t mean, “Going Back”.  It really means confirmation of now it’s time to “Go Forward”.

Going backwards means having to go through the mess you’ve already went through, and then it means having to go through it, once again, to be where you are today.

Why not just stay where you are today, since this is where you’ll end up anyway?

The Woodpecker

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It first got my attention because of the repetitive knocking.  It was a woodpecker.  I never paid any attention to them before, actually, very rarely even seen them, but for a moment I just stood there observing him.  What makes it slam its mouth against a tree for a bug?  I’m thinking, too, what happens inside it’s skull, to apply such force just has to shake up that little brain?  What made me go outside in the middle of the night, taking chances of being killed, to find a drug that’ll make me dance with death?  What made me slam that “rock” down a glass tube and then slam the vapor into my lungs that caused my brain to be shaken up?  Maybe, like the woodpecker, my brain is small but it is for certain, it is not insulated and I do run the risk, each time, of suffering brain damage.  Well, more than what’s already been damaged!

The woodpecker does it because it’s searching for food and doesn’t know any other way.  It’s the way God made it.  What’s my excuse?  It’s certainly not for food, in fact, I don’t want any food when I do it.  It is for certain, it is not how God made me, so why am I doing it?

Thank God, I’ve “slammed” for the last time when I broke not only the glass against a concrete floor but “slammed” the habit for good.

We be slamming, slamming, slamming in the name of the Lord.

How About Where I Am!

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I needed to take a photo for the cover of a book I am writing about my experience with drugs and how God saved me.  So, I brought along my camera because I had to make several errands and if I ran across a housing development, typical of the one I started before my fall due to drugs, then I wanted to use it on the cover.  You see, I wanted to design the book where the top photo was of a nice neighborhood, and the bottom photo would be where I ended up, the “hood”.  I drove around and saw several places but it was not convenient for me to stop at that moment and take a picture.  Before arriving home, the thought occurred:  the photo you need to take is where you are living now!  That’s it!  God has restored me to a similar neighborhood and I hadn’t noticed.  Although the house isn’t mine, whereas the first was, it was still where I was living, by the grace and goodness of God.

So, I learned a lesson today.  We have to rid our minds of the past completely.  If they were all that good, we’d still be living there.  But God has and is continuing to bless us by giving us what He wants us to have now.  Sure, there might be brighter days and prosperity, which we can claim as ours, for the future, but for now, we have it really good compared to where we were months and years before.

Let’s look around and enjoy our blessings—today.

The fact we are still breathing, is evidence enough…

God is still breathing His blessings upon us.

The Hard Facts of Life

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Today, I will write a very hard letter to an inmate who was given sixty years because of first degree murder.  He has a family member, who contacted me, to assist in writing the clemency petition.  After reading his presentation, it was clear to me, he didn’t deserve a second chance to regain his freedom.  He destroyed the life of someone, a girl just eighteen, in fact, a mother recently.  Does he deserve to have his own life?  He needed to give me more than what he had already written.  I’m his first so-called “clemency board” who will make the decision.

You and me, we destroyed, many of us, a previous good life.  Most of us didn’t start out by living in drug-infested areas and on the streets as junkies and crack-heads.  Many of us gave up hard worked professions, collegiate recognition, beautiful homes and families, children who loved us dearly.  And what did we give them?  Homes which are now houses, some without lights because we couldn’t pay the bill.  We gave ourselves homelessness and poor health.  Why do we deserve to have better when we ultimately made the decision to destroy?

Somewhere and at some time, Someone looked down upon us and saw value—still.  They saw us as worthy of being saved, not because of anything we have done or will do, but because of our relationship with Him, which was for the most part one-sided.  We can only return from where we came from IF we decide to make a decision to give back what was taken away and only then we have made restitution.  For some of us, it has to be the realization we may not be able to leave where we are presently—ever, but from this day forward, we can offer gifts of ourselves to those who are in need, right from where we are.

Freedom is not gained by leaving where we are, but is gained by living where we are.