Monday, August 31, 2015

Say Your Name, Say Your Name

A few days ago, Nan had been giving me Yoruba lessons - a proper Yoruba lesson - but it fell out of my head already as always. She's persistent, I think partly because she is amused by my pronunciation and lack of concern for intonation (this really matters apparently, it changes the meaning) 
 but mainly because she is a natural teach
She had me read Psalm 100 and told me that joy is interpreted as 'Ayo'. Brilliant she said, when the word 'Oluwa' rolled off my tongue, I replied "Well it is my (middle) name" - Oluwatayo. What does that name mean? Maybe I forgot but it feels like I only just discovered that it means "God gives me joy". The meaning this simple word "joy" carries for me is personally felt and known - it's a testimony (*cue music* 'You Give Me Joy').
Jacob came to mind (Genesis 35:10) and what a coincidence one of the books I have borrowed from her is called 'All's Well That Ends Well - The Life of Jacob'. Question x3: What have you been named? What are you calling yourself? And what do you respond to? It ties in with identity. There's power in a name.

We Need You

At the end of the day I can't simply wake up and walk in your shoes.


I won't judge you (James 4:12). I haven't lived your life. I don't dream your dreams, so how could I crush them? I have my own. We may have somewhat similar experiences and yet I don't know your struggles, I don't know your pain, I might not share your weaknesses but I have my own. We should however be held accountable for how we treat our fellow man, that's one thing we definitely have in common the need for each other. If I spite you I spite myself. I believe we reap what we sow. Be wise. God is not mocked.
As great as you think you are you can't do everything. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? (1 Corinthians 12:17). If everyone were a creative like me were would be the - everything else? If everyone were a doctor like you sure we'd live long but who would build the houses, who would teach the children? The cleaner may seem like the least of the hospital staff but they save lives too, they stop the spread of disease. Everyday you rely on someone else in some way shape or form. You trust someone else whether you're aware of it or not - in big things and little things. You trust the driver or the pilot to get you to your destination safely, you trust that the hotel resembles the brochure; you trust that the fruit you bought is real, that the meal is really vegetarian; you trust in 0 calories and sugar free yes you believe in some deceptions, you trust your manager to pay you - or at least you hope they will. 
Even in your skepticism, pessimism and paranoia you have no choice. Whether you like your parents or not you needed them. Whether you respect the army or not they fought to protect you - in some way, shape or form. Don't let pride fool you. Independence is a myth. The key is in not becoming codependent. You only 'need' God? But God works through people. The key is to find the right ones who won't abuse your vulnerability. An abuser will tell you "You need me" you don't, "I made you" they didn't. How about I need you to NOT be an abusive leech. Even with all our differences, we are one body, in fact that's what makes us human. The eye cannot say to the hand "I have no need of you" (1 Corinthians 12:21).
Don't cling onto people as if they are your source. God is not just the lawgiver He is the life-giver. God is your source. He breathes Spirit into the body (1 Corinthians 12:12-13). There is no need to be needy. Be wise. Humble yourself before life humbles you. Humility comes before honour but pride comes before a fall. That's somebody else's God-given gift, wisdom, invention, institution. You're encouraged because of someone else's kindness, you prospered because somebody went before you and made it possible. You have inherited and you have received. Now what will you give? What can I give that is beneficial? What can I give that is not self-serving? They don't need my commentary, they need my prayers. They don't need my judgement no but they do need the truth. I have my criticisms of the 'Church' but I'm sure the 'Church' could have their criticisms of me. How can I tear down what God has built? (Matthew 16:18). Don't let offence fool you. The question is one of heart, motive and authenticity - are you who you proclaim to be? Are you playing the part or are you the part? Because we need you. We need you to be who you say you are. We all have something to offer despite our pain, struggles and weaknesses....
I can't get up and simply walk in your shoes but I need you to keep on walking.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Questions

They say "Hold your peace".
But I ask who will fight for me?
Out here dying and the system won't do right by me.
Questions...
Say the name of my sister may she rest in peace.
Died at the hands of racists masquerading as police.
I have questions.
My flesh wants an eye for an eye, my spirit says turn your cheek.
My heart is broken, still breaking. My lips let teary eyes speak.
Questions...
There's a fighter deep inside me, but she knows that's a dangerous road.
Bitterness is a poison and anger's a heavy load.
Questions....
It's not even in my nation, the victims nobody I knew,
Yet I can't help but wonder what this means for me and you.
Questions. I have questions.
Either way I'm standing, it's a matter of deciding how - peacefully spreading love
Or marching in and kicking walls down.
Because we have questions.
They say "Hold your peace"
But I have questions.
"The Lord will fight for you".
But I have questions.
They're killing us and getting away with it, 
With such arrogance, 
Without reason,
And without shame.
I want answers.
I want justice.
We war not against flesh and blood.
But I have questions!
They spill our blood because of our flesh, 
And even then they won't see 
How much we are the same.
I'm tired of asking.


©joellebrownpoetry2015

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Look of Love.

I understand toughness... I also think softness is a strength. Let gentleness be under-estimated, because they won't know until it wins them over. Not even charm, charm is deceiving and charisma can be misleading. Kindness - a kind face, a soft touch, a comforting voice. It's persuasive without trying, without manipulation or agenda, it's just because. You don't need force or control because there's no fear here, there's trust. It's hard to resist love. Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. May people be drawn to you because you look like love (John 13:35; Ephesians 5:2; 1 John 4:8).

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Forget It.

Can we talk about the gift to forget?

Flashbacks can keep you in a negative cycle. Forget it, because God has remembered! Sometimes the past seems impossible to forget, so much so that it hinders your present – it can impede upon your ability to believe that today could be different. The woman with the issue of blood could have reflected upon her 12 long years of sickness and disappointment (Luke 8:43-48), after all she had spent ALL her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any. Instead of getting better she got worse (Mark 5:25-34) what made her think today could be any different? I’m sure people would have told her to forget healing, dismissing her hope as nothing but wishful thinking, delusions. Surely she had a dream, surely she had to envision herself whole in order to press on and push through resistance.

Against all odds, Jesus said it was her faith that made her well! Like Abraham, when everything was contrary to hope in hope she STILL believed (Romans 4:18). Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). It sounds like foolishness, to forget the things you HAVE seen and look to those you haven’t. To forget those things that are behind, reaching forth to those things that are ahead (Philippians 3:13). The things that are ahead may not even exist yet, but call them as though they did (Romans 4:17). Forget that you’re father of none, for God will remember His covenant with you and make you father of many. You will forget the shame of your youth, and will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore (Isaiah 54:4).

One definition of ‘Forget’ is to cease to think of. Banish unbelief from your thought life! There are times when you have to ‘forget’ in faith, stubborn faith, you STILL feel the pain, the reports are STILL bad, you’re STILL broken but the only thing you can recall is your dream – God’s promise – God’s goodness. Even when in the process of recovery there is a temptation to look back on those years of pain and wonder why you carried it for so long. Why 12 years when Jesus could heal you in one second? Why so many doctors when all it took was one touch? She may never know why she went through what she went through but her testimony is STILL used as a teaching point thousands of years later for millions of people. Look ahead – your deliverance is not just for you. Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old, behold a new thing (Isaiah 43:18-19).  Don't resist change, it will spring forth. 

Man may overlook you, but God will remember you (Genesis 40:23). Man can’t hide you when God calls you (1 Samuel 16:1-13). When He remembered Hannah, she conceived (1 Samuel 1:19). When He remembered Rachel He opened her womb (Genesis 30:22). When He remembered Noah the storm stopped and the waters receded (Genesis 8:1-3). When He remembered you ____________________. God has heard you and remembers His covenant (Exodus 2:24), now it’s down to you to partner with God. Release the memory of  bitterness of rejection. John 16:21 A woman, when she is in labour, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. Hallelujah - God has made me forget (Genesis 41:51) yet I will never forget who brought me out (Deuteronomy 8:1-20).

___________________________________________________________________________

You shall also declare a thing, and it will be established for you, so light will shine upon your ways (Job 22:28)

  • I declare healing and peace of mind, that you will no longer be distracted or bound by unwanted thoughts and flashbacks (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
  • I declare restoration, you will not be put to shame; your latter days will be greater and loss will no longer follow you (Job 2:25-27).
  • I believe that God can turn every memory into a powerful testimony that causes you to overcome in Jesus name (Revelation 12:11).
  • Instead of focusing on what 'they' did, you will rejoice for how God delivered you (Psalm 18:16-19).
  • I decree grace to forgive and forget just as God has forgiven us (Matthew 18:21-35). 


Illustrative - Never A Dull Moment






Sunday, May 17, 2015

Turning.

Psalm 1:1-3 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.

Your environment really does matter, it's feeding you - or not - but like PLANTS that FIND the LIGHT you are not powerless. At times I have seen our house plants dry, thirsty and dying *checks chores list* but I have also seen them 'ben up' (Translation: Bend) themselves in order to survive. I discovered that this is called 'tropism' - "the turning of all or part of an organism in a particular direction in response to an external stimulus". Respond to the call. To grow you must be flexible. Plants grow TOWARD sources of water and light. It takes humility to bow, it takes faith to surrender, their roots don’t make them stubborn and their position doesn’t mean they’re stuck.

Even in dry places we can prosper (Isaiah 41:17-20). Even in the dark, His word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path (Psalm 119:105). You may sing “Late in the midnight hour God’s gonna turn it around” perhaps He wants to turn YOU around too, not your feet but your heart (Joel 2:12). Positive Tropism – the plant grows towards the stimulus. Negative Tropism– the plant grows away from the stimulus. Turn AWAY from your wicked way and LIVE (Ezekiel 33:11). TURN your heart TO Your Father (Malachi 4:6). True repentance isn’t just a feeling it’s a TURNING.