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.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Failure Is Wisdom Gained (PART 2)

Good Intentions

Nobody said you didn't have good intentions, even the Apostle Paul spoke openly of his struggle to do what is right: 

Romans 7:15-21 "I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong."

Nobody said you didn't have a plan. You tried, you were intentional with your decisions and careful with your steps but it still ended in failure. Though spectators may judge you, telling you what you should have done, could have done and if they were you what they 'would have' done, remember God sees all. Man looks at the appearance but God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). Eliab thought he knew David's intentions but he was wrong (1 Samuel 17:28-29). They think they know but they have no idea. To man it looks as though you are unworthy, but God will cover your shame. 

Redefining Success

Some of the things we are cursing God has been blessing - for instance: Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek... Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled... Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake etc etc (Matthew 5:1-12) this tells me that even those hard things are producing a greater work within us and God's greatest concern is our inner man - be exceedingly glad for great is your reward in heaven! In that season of longing and suffering, (yes 'season', because seasons change - Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) though physically you feel as though you are perishing let your mind be renewed (Romans 12:2). Sometimes we are strengthened by the things we thought would break us and some of us have been led astray by the things we thought would make us. To each his own measure. Christ, though He was a Son, learnt obedience through suffering (Hebrews 5:8) and as joint heirs those who suffer with Christ will be glorified with Him (Romans 8:17). 

I pray that we grow in understanding and sensitivity, be gently reminded that we are not exempt from suffering and that doesn't make us wrong. When you see someone else 'going through it' think before you cast a stone (John 8:7). Good success doesn't necessarily/just make you look good, it reflects God's goodness. Maybe your failure is a set up for a come up that the works of God might be revealed (John 9:3). His glory will be seen upon you (Isaiah 60:1:3). Reflect upon your definition of success. When we change our definition we can adjust our expectations. Some people are only depressed because they are a failure by someone else's definition. Aspiring to live up to their expectations will make you miserable. Success to me is overcoming obstacles. Success is never giving up even when I have every reason to. Success is seeing the fruit of my hands (Proverbs 31:31). Success is fulfilling my purpose. Success is being able to bless someone else. Success is learning to love when the love of many around me grows cold (Matthew 24:12). Success is enduring with joy intact. Success is making God smile (Hebrews 11:6). Success is beating the odds. Success for me is getting the 'last laugh' even if it means I have to cry now. Those who sow in tears will reap in joy (Psalm 126:5-6). God has made me laugh and all who hear will laugh with me (Genesis 21:6). He will turn your mourning into dancing (Psalm 30:11).  

Decreeing The Outcome


I also pray that you find success in this life, that you prosper in all things and be in good health (3 John 1:2). Every good and perfect gift is from the Father (James 1:17), if our earthly fathers can give good gifts then how much more our heavenly Father? Ask and you shall receive (Matthew 7:7-12) have faith and put that into action (James 2:14-26). My success is not measured by someone else's story but by how far I have come from where I started. Your success cannot be measured by my accomplishments but by how far YOU have come from where you started. The fact that you made it here is something. 'How Far' doesn't relate to social mobility or status but personal growth. Refrain from comparing yourself and measuring your definition of success against others. Resist the temptation to chase after material gain to keep up with others. What does it profit to gain the whole world but lose YOUR soul? (Matthew 16:26). God is a rewarder and a restorer, He will compensate. He will heal the broken hearted, proclaim liberty to the captives, comfort all who mourn and give you the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness (Isaiah 61:1-3). He can give you back what you lost and more. God says "So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten..." (Joel 2:25). 

I declare that failure is not your identity. I rebuke any form of shame and every tie that would try to hold you back is broken in Jesus name. Press on towards the goal, leave former things behind and reach forward in faith to those things which are ahead (Philippians 3:12-14). Stop replaying the pain of rejection, make yourself ready and available for what belongs to you. May your failures humble you, may they teach you, train you and give you a testimony. You will grow in times of testing and bounce back from every disappointment.  For when the desire comes it is a tree of life (Proverbs 13:12). Your low places will give you the roots to sustain you in high places and the wisdom gained will exalt you to your place of success. Amen. 1 Samuel 2:7-8 The Lord makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and lifts up. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the beggar from the ash heap to set them among princes and make them inherit the throne of glory. “For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and He has set the world upon them.

Failure Is Wisdom Gained (PART 1)

Fear of Failure 




I know it's not straight forward but God said "I will go before you and make the crooked places straight; I will break in pieces the gates of bronze and cut the bars of iron" (Isaiah 45:2). In other words, where there is no way He will make a way. Every obstacle fear poses as a threat God exposes as a distraction. A way has always been prepared. There are great things lined up for you, don't let fear rob you. Cut ties with fear. It comes under the guise of a friend but it's really a thief. At first it sounds similar to 'Stay safe' but fear is really saying 'Stop and stay there' it will paralyse you. We have to set our minds to persevere because fear and failure can be a deadly combination. Fear is the imagination - false evidence appearing real but failure is the reality - a experience of defeat, coming to nothing or missing the mark. God has not given us a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7). When our environment is full of discouragement we fix our eyes on things unseen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18).



Comfort zones are 'safe' but you limit your growth when you remain there. New doors come with an element of risk but also opportunity to reach your full potential. You don't need anyone's help to stay on the same level, you can do that by yourself. Release the doubters from your mental space."You can't do that" maybe they have a point but you never know until you try and in your willingness to work you will find your strengths. Maybe I can't do it on my own but I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). It's not just fear that causes us to list our limitations, it is our reality! The repentant sinner was not imagining his situation, it was very real so much so that he would not raise his eyes to heaven but only beat his chest saying "God be merciful to me" (Luke 18-9-14). Unlike the self-righteous who act like they have no flaws, through his failures he gained true wisdom - the realisation that it is not by his might or strength but by God's Spirit (Zechariah 4:6). Not one of us is above failure, but we don't need to fear it either. If God is bigger than your fear so should your faith be. 


Rising and Falling 



Proverbs 29:23 A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honour. You weren't humiliated you were humbled and with humility comes honour. Proverbs 24:16 For a righteous man may fall seven times, and rise again, but the wicked shall fall by calamity. Failure isn't necessarily saying "Don't try again" rather it is advising you "Next time... and then you will succeed". You will rise again! Even failures help you grow, they show you what you need to work on. Failure says: REVISE, next time listen, stress is futile, you were on the right track but timing is everything, they're haters LEF them. That's right, anything can motivate you if you let it. 

Lessons from failure: I'm not saying you can't float, I'm just pointing out that there's holes in your boat (I really didn't want this to rhyme). When you keep going back to that place of failure without getting anything from it, you are wasting time you don't have. Life is short. Make your failures work for you, wisdom is the reward. Proverbs 9:9 Give instruction to the wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. I'm moving forward. People who repeatedly cry over their mistakes rather than learning from them will continually go round in circles. "I'm sure I've been here before". Don't be deceived, not everyone calls it bondage some call it 'comfort'. They're going back because it's familiar and 'safe'. And those of us walking with them will say "You do know you're going back where we just came from?". 



Where is God in this?

God doesn't wish for us to fail but falling to some extent is inevitable, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Get up gracefully and value all of your lessons. All things work to the good of those who love God according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). Is it in God's purpose for me to be successful? Well, first tell me what is your definition of success? God spoke to Joshua about good success that would make his way prosperous (Joshua 1:8). How could Joshua obtain this? By meditating in the Book of the Law day and night (Matthew 4:4). My people perish for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6) but not just any worldly knowledge, we destroy ourselves when we reject the law of God. Success can mean many things but not all success is good success. Yet you can be poor, unknown with no ambition, that doesn't make you anymore holy than someone who has many possessions. It's not what you have, it's what has you. 

The Psalm says "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you (Psalm 119:11). At times, it may feel like God's word is difficult to digest as it often reveals our failures. What then? Are we better than they? Not at all (Romans 3:9-20). Change your perception and in time you will change your posture. What man observes himself in a mirror goes away and forgets what kind of man he was (James 1:23-24). The law exposed our shortcomings but only so that we could see ourselves and our need for a saviour. Jesus fulfilled the law with His sacrifice (Matthew 5:17, Galatians 3:19-25). Through God's grace and our faith in Him we are no longer bound by our failures. It is not by the law or by works but faith that we are made righteous. The promise is granted through faith not through the law (Romans 4:13-16). You can stop beating yourself up now. No one is good but One, that is God (Luke 18:19). Go boldly to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). He loves you deeply and love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). He loves you beyond your failures.