God Was A-watchin’ When Dorothy Was A Kid

I don’t put God in a box.  Do you?

I try not to put God in a box when I blog or write poetry or short stories.  That’s because he is such a predominant spiritual presence in my life.  (I believe I inherited his holy presence from my relatives.)  All of my life I have been inundated with stories told to me by my mother and grandmother about how God ‘showed himself’ real and up close and personal in their lives and had often rescued them from hurt, harm and danger inflicted upon them very often by their own careless doings.

Following is a real life story of a tragic event, which was told to the second child born to Dorothy, my mother.  I invite you to read this amazing saga to your children and your children’s children.  Perhaps, you, too, will be inspired to record one of your own true life stories for posterity while at the same time giving God the glory.  Who knows, had Dorothy not been in the loving care of her godly and wise ‘adopted’ mother (and my grandmother) during this episode I might not have been here today.

                                                           When Dorothy Was A Kid                                                             (Sub-title: “Is It ‘Cracklin’, Yet?)

While visiting my mom, Dorothy, in Minneapolis on my birthday in 2001, I overheard her relate a portion of an incident that had happened to her as a child.  Mom was on the phone with one of her many girlfriends and she was laughing and interjecting bits and pieces of this amusing story while at the same time discussing current events.  Mom was in the kitchen standing at the sink, I was seated on the sofa a few feet away.  I had put down the newspaper I was reading and was deliberately eavesdropping on her conversation.  When she finished the call and had hung up the phone, I asked her what she had been talking about and implored her to tell me the whole story concerning her childhood.  It went something like this: 

In 1930, Dorothy was about twelve years old.  Her adopted mother, Kate, (who was also her biological aunt) made skins from the rind of bacon slabs.  At that time skins (or cracklin) were not sold in stores.  Today, they sell for about $1.50 per bag.  Momma Kate would take the rind from a slab of bacon, put it in a large loaf pan and place it in the oven.  It was not an electric or gas oven but a wood burning stove which turned fire-engine red when hot.  Now this stove held its heat all day, but during the night the fire went out and the stove cooled.

The next morning the fire was rekindled and the bacon rind stayed in the oven for another day of cooking.  This went on for about a week.  Cooking, cooling and re-cooking until all the fat grease was extracted from the rind.  Once the rind curled, it was done.  The grease was drained from the pan each day.  As a child, baked bacon cracklin was one of Dorothy’s favorite treats.  So, naturally, every day she asked her Momma could she look at it to see if it was done.  Momma Kate said yes, but to be careful so as not to get burned.

Up until this point, Dorothy was not allowed to pour off the hot grease from the bacon rind.  But one evening the smell of the cracklin and her curiosity got the best of her.  She realized the oven had cooled down and the ends of the cracklin had curled, so she decided to reach in and get the skins out of the oven.  Thinking the wire rack would also be cooled, she took hold of the rack without using a potholder or tee-towel.  It did not glide easily.  Next she grabbed hold of the grease-filled pan and because her fingers were now beginning to burn, she yanked the grease pan towards her and the hot grease splattered out all over the back of her hand and up her arm inflicting fourth degree burns.

Dorothy screamed to high heaven!  Momma Kate, who was a large woman, came running to her rescue.  Dorothy was in such pain that when she saw her mother she ran to meet her and thrust her burned hand under the fat arm pit of her mother and proceeded to rub her hand in a back and forth motion.  Before Momma Kate could calm Dorothy and stop her, all the top skin had been removed from the back of her hand from the wrist to the knuckles.   Dorothy’s hand was white as snow.  Momma Kate yelled for Buckwheat, my grandfather, to run to the drugstore which was about 5 blocks away to buy some sulfur powder which was sold by the pound.  Today you need a prescription to buy sulfur, but back then Buckwheat bought 15 cents worth and hurried home.

Buckwheat’s big foot leaped upon the front porch and his massive hand swung opened the front door.  “Get the sorghum molasses and make a paste with the sulfur, quick”, cried Momma Kate.  Buckwheat hurriedly mixed the concoction and spread a thick portion on the back of Dorothy’s hand while she danced a slow motion quick step.  (Today, a tetanus shot would be required to prevent infection.)  Momma Kate found a clean white muslin sheet and tore a corner from it.  To sterilize it, she took a sad iron, heated it on the wood burning stove and pressed the sheet until it was scorched brown.  Next, she wrapped the sheet around the burn hand and pinned it securely.  Buckwheat made an arm sling out of another part of the sheet and little Dorothy was on her way to mending and very happy.

The next day, Dorothy went to school and because of her dilemma became an instant celebrity with her classmates and teacher, Mrs. Shackelford.  Everyone not only wanted to hear the story, but also wanted to help make Dorothy’s life at school easier.  Surprisingly, the teacher allowed Dorothy to sit at her big desk until the bandages came off.  Momma Kate replaced the dressings each night with fresh bandages.  But best of all, Dorothy’s cousin, Paul, who lived with them, had to do all of her chores until she was 100 percent well.

During the telling of this story, my mother was 84 years old, and the back of her hand bore only faint scares of her childhood burn.  It was because of the home remedies and the wise thinking of my Grandmother, Momma Kate, that my mother’s hand was not grossly discolored.  You see, after two weeks of Dorothy’s hand being bandaged, Momma Kate took red onion husk and boiled them until the water turned red.  Dorothy had to soak her hand in this solution for many days.  This process was thought to be a natural dye and after several applications Dorothy’s skin color turned from speckled white to smooth brown.  Boiled onion juice was also used to dye eggs at Easter time after the water cooled.

It goes without saying that Grandmother Kate gave a lot of praise and thanksgiving to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, during this horrific ordeal.  And I, even at this late date (my mother has since gone on to Glory), want to once again thank my mother, Dorothy, for taking the time to revisit such a treasured event in her life.

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Everyone Has A Story…Those Who Tell The Story Rule Society…So, Who Will Cry When You Die?

As a child growing up, Grandmother Kate was my “Jesus”.  She was always doing things for others.  Yes, she was more influential in my life than either my mother or father. She smelled good, kept a clean house, always cooked delicious and nutritious meals, washed all our clothes in a number 2 tub with a glass wash board, and polished our shoes on Saturday night and laid out our clothes for Sunday School the next day.  Oh, what treasured memories.  I only wish I could connect with heaven and let my loved ones know how much I appreciate what they have done for me.  My only consolation is to pay it forward.  WHO WLL CRY WHEN YOU DIE?

Scripture References:  There are many Bible verses that end with “thy faith has made thee whole” or “thy faith has made thee well”.  For example: Luke 17:19 and Mark 5:34. Per biblical scholars, “Whole” would imply complete restoration of body parts that were eliminated by the disease (i.e. leprosy).  Whereas “well” could imply elimination of the disease and new skin where the missing body parts were. I personally believe my praying Grandmother Kate was exercising her faith in her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to do both for her disfigured child and my mother.  Why?  Because healing happened and my mother’s skin was totally restored and her miracle is being retold down through the fourth generation of my family.  God’s ‘saving grace’ lives on.  Hallelujah!!   

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from the Master’s servant manager…ME!     

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God’s Words Are Inexhaustible

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…and I love God’s words on life!

Please allow me to begin this blog by saying I am grateful to God for the extent to which he has tolerated me and enabled me to compose articles on how I believe he would respond to some situations in life based on his inerrant Words in Scripture.

Therefore, I humbly offer the following version of a whimsical story and God’s exemplary explanation for it in this manner.

     Ooops!!

          A middle-aged woman has a heart attack and is taken to the hospital.  While on the operating table she has a near death experience.  During that experience, she sees God and asks if this is it.  God says no and explains that she has another 30 years to live.

          Upon her recovery, she decides to just stay in the hospital and have a face lift, liposuction, breast augmentation, tummy tuck, etc.  She even has someone come in and change her hair color.  She figures since she’s got another 30 years she might as well make the most of it.

          She walks out of the hospital after the last operation and is killed instantly by an ambulance speeding by.  She arrives in front of God and complains, “I thought you said I had another 30 years.”

          God replies, “I didn’t recognize you.”

Not that He needs one…but this was God’s excuse in rhyme…

Words!!

Words come soaring…Words come marching…Words come seeking…Words come stalking.

Words come walking…Words come running…Words come creeping…Words come strumming.

Words!  Words!

Who can live without them…

Cluttering up your mind, they come

Like falling leaves in Autumn.

Overflowing your heart in chaos

Fighting for space in your being

Establishing themselves in voices

Everybody speaking at once…bad timing

Trying to eradicate them from your head

Is like eliminating your body of waste

In a few short hours, they are back again

With a vengeance, running around in haste

Words!  Words!

Are like parasites, no doubt

I have resolved to tolerate them

But only until death takes Me out.

[MY BAD!]

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I was just having fun, you Guys.  Hope you had a laugh or two.  Below is your Scripture Lesson for the week:

What does the Bible say about laughter? Laughter is an amazing ability that God gave us all. Laughter helps us cope with sadness and life. The Bible gives examples of when to laugh and when not to laugh. The Bible also gives us the strength to be able to laugh at the wicked.  For Psalm 37:12-13 says; “The wicked plot against the godly; they snarl at them in defiance. But the Lord just laughs, for he sees their day of judgment coming”.

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from the Master’s servant manager…ME!     

God Develops Leaders Both Individually and Corporately In The Likelihood of His Son

Photo of a child looking at Rodin's The Thinker

WWJD………….What would Jesus Do?

As I have grown and matured in my walk with the Lord, Jesus Christ, I have often been alluded to as a ‘church leader’.  I suppose this ‘title’ was given to me because of my love to volunteer my services in a number of church activities/needs such as assistance with financial difficulties, ideas in entertainment/program productions, ability to conduct and teach bible study groups of all ages and genders, lending my professional expertise on church building committees, and consoling and providing hospitality care for the needy of our flock and community.

But whatever talents/services in the church I was providing it was because of my love for God and for his people…not at all for my own glory, fame or fortune.  Never the less, I went to God in prayer and asked him to ‘tone down’ my character persona which some church leaders and administrators were conceiving as ‘larger than life’.  Or maybe even a bit ‘showy’.

As I prayed while on my knees about this wrongfully applied title, one of my grandmother’s ole hymns kept resounding in my spirit.   “Humble me…humble me my Lord.  Humble me…humble me and let me do Thy will.”

It was during one of these times of meditation that Jesus conversed with me and said:  “My child, as long as you continue to allow Me to be your example, you have nothing to worry about or nothing to be anxious about. Don’t you know that there’s no greater enemy of happiness than to worry. Worrying in and of itself causes a person to expect the worst.”  Then He brought to my remembrance “The Law of E. F. Hutton”.

Image result for pexels com royalty free pictures Dont worry

Don’t Worry…See No Evil…Be Happy In The Service Of The Lord!

E. F. Hutton was a Wall Street Company that wanted to position itself as having the last word in the financial community. It was the largest brokerage firm in the USA during 1970s and 1980s. They concocted a clever advertisement showing two businessmen discussing financial matters over a meal in a crowded restaurant.  During their discussion, one of the men mentions a tip his broker had given him concerning financial matters, and finally the other man chimes in and declares; “Well, my broker is E. F. Hutton, and E. F. Hutton says…”  At that moment in the scene, every restaurant patron stops dining, leans in the direction of the two men and with uplifted heads freeze in an eavesdropping position.  Of course, what the company is hoping  that the viewer takes away from this advertisement is that when E. F. Hutton speaks, people listen.

Well, evidently not enough people listened because for some time now, E. F. Hutton has been out of business.  They bit the dust after being convicted of using fraudulent security practices.  All those who once listened to them have scattered to other brokerage firms.  They had the last word alright.  It was “Goodbye”.  Only God is Good and he alone has the last word!

The use of my Example is far better.  Unlike E. F. Hutton, Jesus Christ, though dead in the flesh is made alive in the Spirit and thus capable to speak to those persons who lived in the past, in the present, in the future and to those yet to be born.  This Holy and Righteous Man was also blessed to have the capability to speak to inanimate objects and they listened, too.  Who wouldn’t adhere to someone with so much power and authority.  Yes, when Jesus Christ speaks, people listen.  And He has given me this assurance that I am covered by His stripes.

Numerous circumstances abound (otherwise known as teachable moments) in the Scriptures concerning our Lord’s oratorical engagements.  In many of those incidents you find the persons querying Jesus while on their knees.  The Syro-Phoenician woman of Mark 7:26 was in that posture when she approached Jesus.   In spite of His disciples she asked Him for a word that would cleanse her daughter’s body of the horrific demons that possessed her.  In that same chapter Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, another one who came on bended knee, begged Jesus to come to his home and speak a word over his daughter who lay at the point of death.  Scripture also tells us that Jesus spoke to fig trees, raging storms, tidal waves, fish in the sea, birds in the air, issues of blood, mountains and lunch boxes!

John Maxwell, a noted best selling author of leadership books, a pastor and public speaker says that once you learn the Law of E. F. Hutton you will never have any trouble figuring out who the real honest leaders are.  He goes on to say don’t listen to the claims of the person professing to be the leader.  Instead, just watch the reactions of the people around him who he/she is leading.  In Jesus’ case, crowds flocked to follow Him.  The Sanhedrin wanted to know by what authority did this “E. F. Hutton” speak.  To their chagrin they begin to realize that they had lost their leadership status to a tall stern figure dressed in a similar long white belted tunic with a tasseled prayer shawl draped over his head.  A person with ‘out of this world‘ authority!

What I learned from my having a ‘little talk‘ with Jesus about my problem was this:  If you believe you have been given the distinct title of E. F. Hutton let’s examine the real picture.  Would others classify you as an honest and sincere person who studies to show him/herself approved and well versed in the topic of discussion?  Do you walk the walk as well as talk the talk?  Do you nurture others and help build their confidence and stimulate their growth?  What about your faith walk and your ability to let go and let God?  Do you share your life’s experiences or do you lead in the abstract?  What about your prayer life?  And do we dare mention fasting?  Jesus did all these things because He knew that by exercising self discipline He could better focus on the resources that are available in our God. So my advice to you is ‘take a knee‘ and then take a stand for Him!

Something else to point out when learning the Law of E. F. Hutton is that it is a generous law.  Mr. Maxwell says that when you are starting in a new leadership position and you’re not recognized as the leader yet, don’t let that bother you.  The real test of leadership is not where you start out.  It is where you end up.  Jesus dealt with that subject over 2000 years ago.  (And just look where He has ended up.  He LIVES to this day and forever more.)

In Mark 9:38-49 it basically says that the disciples found persons outside their inner circle acting in a leadership capacity expounding the very beliefs that Jesus Christ was preaching.  Therefore, and unwisely, the disciples forbade them to speak.  Jesus said forbade them not…for he who is not against us, is on our side.  But whoever causes one of these little ones…to stumble it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he was thrown into the sea.  Pretty good advice, don’t you think?

So in closing, I say to the lay persons in the church, the willing-workers, the philanthropists, the dreamers, the unsung heroes and all the ‘average’ citizens of the Kingdom; as sojourners of the Cross, you are the right and left hands of the ‘Good News’ and it behooves you to become the best ‘leaders’ of your profession of faith that you can be in Christ Jesus.  Begin by establishing a track record.  It wont be long before you will be able to show signs of past successes.  People will believe in you and what you have to say because you deliver.  Unlike the company, E. F. Hutton (now debunked), you will be like the Master Teacher and Eternal Leader of all times,  Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God! Amen and thank You Jesus for trusting us.

Scripture Lessons:  Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Galatians 6:9

Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you.  Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.  Hebrews 13:7

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from the Master’s servant manager…ME!     

 

 

 

 

 

 

God “Allows” A Little Humor Every Now And Then

Have you ever smiled in secret and in loving adoration towards God after receiving a divine response to a whimsical prayer request?  Well, I have.  I have even gone as far as whispering to God these words…”Lord, you’re funny.  You really do have a sense of humor.

Some years ago, as a member of a speaker’s bureau class at the public library, our assignment was to compose a five minute recitation on heavenly humor and present it at our next meeting.  For my contribution I chose to write on 2 very common superstitions.  Of course, I partitioned God for his approval and he gave me a PG rating.  So feel free to recite the following story at your next church supper. God really does allow a little clean humor every now and then.

 

    SUPERSTITIONS AND THERE ORIGINS

 
It is amazing how many of our superstitious ways revolve around death, hell and the grave.  Take for example:
 
The Yawn Reflex’
 
Today, we believe that it shows good manners to cover your mouth and to say excuse me after a broad and noisy yawn. Well, originally, good manners had nothing to do with it.  In the ancient days, it was believed that the Devil made a person yawn so that he could gain access into the body and cause that person grave danger.  
 
If that person is observed yawning he would say excuse me because he knew that yawning was contagious and would cause the second person to yawn,too.Thus putting that person in grave danger.
 
So the first yawner would say ‘excuse me’ for putting you in danger. The Hindu people would snap their fingers three times to counter the Devil’s antics.
 
The Medical doctors today tell us that yawning can be due to sleepiness, exhaustion, shallow breathing or observation. Also, one of the first exercises that a new born baby performs is to stretch and yawn after its body breathes in fresh air.
 
Medical scientists believe that there is a yawn center in the brain that is activated by our lungs and under certain conditions cause us to yawn.
 
‘Now Take Sneezing’
 
How many “Gesundheits” does a person get after sneezing? And do you know what it means? Well, it means, “God bless you.”
 
The custom of asking God’s blessing initiated with early man who believed that the spirit resided in the air and since we breathe air into our heads, it stands to reason that the spirit resided in the head.
 
A sneeze would accidentally expel the spirit. So a person would ask God to put it back. The act of bowing towards the sneezer was also counter-magic. For it meant, “May your soul not escape.” 
 
Now imagine being in a room filled with sneezers and yawners. This combination of guests could be fatal.
 
Don’t forget, a yawn gave the Devil access into the body and a sneeze could expel your good spirit. Thus leaving your body defenseless.
 
The spirit of the Devil would be exposed out into the room trying to gain entrance into someone else; Gesundheits being shouted aloud from across the room; some guests bobbing up and down towards the sneezer; and the yawners approaching others and saying I’m sorry, I’m sorry for infecting you.
 
[What a hilarious scene from an Austin Powers movie!]
 
(At the close of your presentation, you could leave the stage with a big yawn, cover your mouth and say excuse me. Next, give out a loud sneeze. After the audience responds with ‘Gesundheits’ say…Oh, well.) 
 
 
Always remember Isaiah 8:19-20…When they say to you, “Consult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter,” should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living? To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.

Scripture Lesson:  Isaiah 44:24-25  Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb: “I, the LORD, am the Maker of all things; stretching out the heavens by Myself and spreading out the earth all alone; causing the omens of boasters to fail; making fools out of diviners; causing wise men to draw back and turning their knowledge into foolishness.

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from the Master’s servant manager…ME!