Rev Fave

Shift Happens

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Wearing Versace shirts, silk slacks and gold chains – Biggie Smalls and Puff Daddy raced through the streets of the Florida Keys driving a Mercedes convertible…in reverse. This is my favorite scene from one of my favorite hip-hop music videos. It defied the norm and was simply cool to watch. There are times I’ve had to move my vehicle in reverse for just a short distance (i.e., parking lots) and I would fantasize how it would feel to go down the road in reverse like my hip hop heroes.

It’s not that simple. 

If you’ve ever had to drive your car in reverse, for more than 100 feet, you understand that maneuvering in reverse is extremely difficult. This is primarily due to the fact that your vehicle is engineered to place you in a position to move forward. The seats are configured to where you have to twist your body to see behind you. The wheels are designed so that only the front tires can change turn and change your direction. The windshield gives a panoramic view of what’s ahead while providing only a small mirror to reveal what’s behind.

Our lives are designed to move us forward. Our bodies were constructed to move towards what’s in front of us. We can’t see behind our backs. Our arms and legs bend and stretch forward. Our mouths project our voices in front of us. Like the car, it is very difficult to see and navigate in the direction of what’s behind us.

So why are so many of us driving our lives in reverse?

Fixated on our past experiences. Chained to unhealthy habits. Enslaved to negative perceptions that cause us to drive backwards; therefore impairing our ability to navigate safely and preventing us to accelerate towards a life that is new.

The only way to get out of reverse and change direction is to shift.

Shift your thinking. Shift your vision to God’s view. Shift your body towards the actions that reflect your destiny and not relive your history.

We can’t solely pray for the shift, but we must put our hands on the gears that are in the wrong position and shift into the place where we need to be physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. It takes courage and strength; with God, we have infinite access to both.

You can’t just shift once. That will only place you in Neutral and being still, with your future waiting for you down the road, is just as bad as going backwards. Shifting twice moves you out of being still and places you in Drive. Shifting is the key to moving forward. Shifting takes effort, mechanical redirection and body repositioning. Shifting means moving further away from what’s comfortable. Shifting means focusing on what’s ahead through the windshield of your life, while merely glancing at the images of your past through a small rear-view mirror.

How you manage your time changes when you shift. The dynamics of your relationships evolve or dissolve when you shift. Your body may revolt when you shift. Your emotions may rebel against the unfamiliar when you shift. If you stay in Drive, move forward, seeking God and acknowledging Him as the source of your strength to shift out of reverse — He will direct your path. You just hold the road.

When shift happens, you are immediately closer to where God wants you to be.

“Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.” (‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭42:9‬ ‭KJV‬‬)

Do You Know The Way?

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“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)

My maternal grandfather was a truck driver in Mississippi. He once spoke of how he used the painted white line, on the right side of the highway, to stay on the road in hazardous conditions.

This line led him through bad weather while serving  as a focal point in the midst of his own fatigue and sleep deprivation. Transportation was how he made a living, so the painted white line on the right side of the highway not only kept him safe, but it was a critical, constant component of his livelihood. The painted white line on the right side of the road was my grandfather’s consistency as he drove on inconsistent terrain through inconsistent environments with inconsistent thoughts in an inconsistent body.

I never met my grandfather. He died at the age of 39, when my mother was still a child. It was in her childhood that she heard him talk about the painted white line to one of her uncles.

My mother later shared his story with me at a time when I was driving on the highway frequently for my job. It wasn’t uncommon for me to drive along unfamiliar interstates and county roads;  winding through pouring rain and dark, unfamiliar territory. I often drove in pitch black darkness with little or no sleep.

These were the times I relied on the words of my grandfather and I found myself focusing  on the painted white line on the right side of the road. When I couldn’t see clearly or my eyes got weary, it guided me safely through dangerous conditions, both externally and internally.

Keeping my eyes on the painted white line on the right side of the road was more than a helpful driving technique. It was a connection to a man I never met, but whose blood ran through my veins. I received guidance from one whose face I’d never seen but his method kept me, literally, on the road safely to this day.

Life, much like our highways, is often filled with darkness and difficult weather; making it hard to navigate safely to our destinations. Sometimes the obstacles aren’t fallen tree branches or icy bridges, but the  barriers are within: insecurities, negative voices, past disappointments, current feelings of anger, work-related stress, family-oriented drama and ongoing church mess — it can hinder our ability to stay on the road safely. It’s draining. Exhausting. It can blur your vision, cloud your judgement and – if you’re not careful – it can cause you to wreck your life before you reach your final destination.

So what do you do?

Jesus Christ says He is “the way, the truth and the life.” He sits on the right hand of the Father, shining as a beacon leading us towards eternal peace. Jesus has shown us how we should love each other and more importantly, He has commanded and equipped us with the ability to love. Jesus is the painted white line on the right side of the road that leads us through life’s challenges and triumphs. He even gave us 24-hour roadside assistance, better known as the Holy Spirit. He knew our road would be often be covered  darkness, temptation and attacks. Jesus knew the rain of health problems, marriage complications, scandalous lies and financial struggle would splash against our windshield. He knew it would be hard for us to see the road, especially when there are countless other paths seeking to lead us towards destruction.

But thank God. He is the way.

Following Christ brings focus to your journey. He is the one and only way to God, the Father. With Jesus as the way, you are guaranteed to travel in God given destiny, no matter what and who comes in your path. Find confidence in knowing that focusing on Jesus will keep you on the road and in your purpose. .

Praise God. He is the truth.

The painted white line on the right side of the highway are  constant. No matter what blows through the road or tumbles across our minds, the love of Jesus is consistent and consistency is truth. The enemy loves to create noise to distract us while we’re driving down the road of life for God. The more you depend on Jesus to guide you through life, the more sensitive you become to the counterfeits designed to throw you off-course.

Glory to God. He is the life.

We all want our journey to be prosperous. True  prosperity is not rooted in financial gain, but rather in spiritual assurance. The painted white line on the right side of the road helped my grandfather make a living by keeping his truck on the road and when you focus on Jesus, above anything else, He will help you to live a life that goes beyond your wildest imagination.

He came, lived, died and rose – not for you to simply exist, but so you can live a life in abundance in every area of your life:

“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10b) NKJV

I cherish that memory of my grandfather. He didn’t know that his little girl would retain that one conversation, and one day pass it onto to her son decades later. It may seem a bit odd to have a connection to someone who died long before I came on the scene.

But God.

“just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,” (Ephesians 1:4) NKJV

He knew us before He brought the world into existence. He knew she was going to hurt you. He knew they were going to lie on you. He knew how many lives you were going to touch. He knows your future is shaping up to be more than you can even hold in your brain right now.

He also knew you would mess up. He knew you would turn away from Him, then run back when you needed something. He knew sin was going to eat you up if you kept heading down the path you were on.

So He sent His son to be an example; to be the way. He knew confusion and traumatic events, you never got to process, would attempt to take your mind and make it hard to distinguish between what’s real and what’s not. Jesus is the truth. God knew your life would be tragically beautiful and the enemy hungers for your guaranteed victory. Christ rose from the dead; showing the world that He is the life.

Like my grandfather, we have never seen His face, yet we still find guidance through God’s Word. Keeping our lives focused on the “painted white line on the right side of the road” of Jesus’ perfect love and example for living…we WILL  see His face and live in the eternal awe of His presence.

What an amazing promise! But we must first go through this journey of life. It gets dark. It appears lonely. We get tired. Rain. Snow. Ice. Mud. Blinding sun. Sadness. Depression. Fatigue. Weariness. Low Self-esteem.  How do we stay on course? How do we stay in the road and out of the ditch?

Follow Jesus. Follow Jesus. Follow Jesus.

Keep your eyes on Jesus. He not only knows the way…He is the Way.

The Replacements (You Know What I’m Saying?)

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As the cream-filled donut introduces artery-clogging cholesterol, glucose-spiking refined sugar and unwanted trans fat — the fear-filled words introduce satan’s word system to steal your motivation, kill your joy and destroy your destiny…or so he thought.

I’m thinking about what what I’m thinking about and placed a proverbial magnifying glass on my everyday speech. How do you sound in response to the world around you? What thoughts are you embracing and for how long? Are those thoughts promoting fear or strengthening your faith?

I’m replacing it all. Every negative thought, every horrible re-enactment, every highlight reel of disappointment. Each fearful scene comes with a script and the enemy is burning up (pun intended) waiting on me to “read my lines” so that I speak fear, degradation and destruction into my world.

Not today, satan.

Pray like God is sitting in your living room (because he is), speak life into the dead areas of your life. My prayer is that we seek God for the strength to continue our fight of faith. I pray our fear-filled words are replaced with the faith-filled words in our rhetoric. Our lives are a reflection of the words we’ve spoken from the time we learned our native language until now.

So what are you saying?

Faith Speaks

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In a season where I’m “learning how to speak,” God is speaking to my faith. He’s spoken prophetically through strangers – saying things about me they wouldn’t know in the natural. He’s confirmed instructions through the colleagues I speak with the least (but connected to Him deeply).

God sent new people as catalysts towards my new future and purpose. They speak confirmations and share The Word of God in a way that has convicted, encouraged, uplifted, inspired and just tore me up on several levels.

What’s incredible is how each instance – from the prophetic strangers and coworkers to the devotionals and seemingly random conversations – “sounds the same” as it is the same voice (of God) speaking through various channels. I know it’s Him because I’ve spent so much time in His Word and prayer that His voice is crystal clear and someone said that level of hearing was coming to me (I just didn’t know how soon).

I’m in awe. I woke up this morning spiritually overwhelmed by the realness of His Word and the clarity of His intentions for my life. As I continue my faith fight, I encourage us to continue speaking as we absorb His Word; but let’s be reminded that Our God is speaking to us as well. The life changing rhetoric from heaven is just as real and mind blowing for you as it has been for me the past several weeks.

Dying of Thirst

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Dying of Thirst is a message encouraging believers not to quench their thirst with the temporal things of the world; but to thirst for God and the living waters of Jesus Christ, who is the Only One who can save us from spiritual dehydration and fill us with the waters of eternal life.

We live in a society where we aren’t being killed, shot and hung for being Christians; yet, we are we suffering from spiritual dehydration. It’s making us confused and it’s effecting our decision-making. We’re tired and some of us are to the point where the enemy has convinced us we don’t need to move.

If you stay spiritually dehydrated, you’ll eventually become fatigued and therefore it’s hard to fight the good fight of faith when you’re tired. When you’re spiritually dehydrated for an extended amount of time, the enemy has you on auto-pilot. You won’t have a desire to quench your thirst; you won’t have the energy to care. And it is at that point of spiritual dehydration, when your spirit begins to shut down, shrivel up and die.

He wants us to stay thirsty, shrivel up and die but you don’t have to die of thirst because God is our living water.

Getting Out of My Feelings

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I had to get out of my feelings. Everything about that place was erratic, fleeting and leaving me with consequences of longevity as a result of brevity in miscalculated decisions. That place had me all kinds of twisted; my feelings are not supposed to engulf me nor guide me towards any life decision of substance.

Although I feel these feelings, my faith polices them in a way where I MUST deny my feelings the power to govern my beliefs, what I speak, how I do and in what way I respond. Some days I do a better job than others. I tend to shut down when I’m in my feelings because the feelings usually leads to anger — followed by a cascade of defensive emotions.

In contrast, when I’m out of my feelings, I’m way out there to where I can seem to be the most desensitized, coldest person on earth. But I believe the most recurring feeling I feel is where I feel disposable to people who supposedly care about me. It has impacted how I interact and leaves me with a void of intimacy on any level, along with why I don’t smile.

There’s so much I need to change…or is it just that I need to revert?

The Moment When Everything Changed

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I have never seen him like this. Since the 5th grade, he has always been the epitome of cool. He has never raised his voice, behaved erratically or emotionally. Through decades of euphoric highs and dungeon level lows, he has maintained a neutrality in his demeanor that always reflected peace, but not excitement. We’ve laughed, joked and encouraged each other over the years as we navigated through middle school, high school, college, career changes, marriage, fatherhood, divorce and re-invention. Like most guys, we didn’t talk about our emotions, but our connection remained strong. He is not just my best friend, he is my brother.

And everything about him changed the moment he met her.

His modest, reserved personality began sprouting sudden outbursts of joy on Facebook. He started posting date night photos and making frequent trips to where she lived. Our conversations on the phone went from sports and music to relationship lessons and thoughts of the future. He wasn’t just in love, he had made a decision to love. This would be the first of many decisions that would impact their lives forever.

He proposed. She accepted. Planning began. He began expressing his emotions more as we grew closer to the big day. They picked colors together, decided on wedding favors and asked me to lead their ceremony. Despite my substantial counseling and prayer, nothing could have prepared me for what I witnessed on their wedding day.

My best friend was beaming with joy unlike anything I’d ever seen. It was so vibrant that it made him look younger. He smiled incessantly. There was a diamond-like sparkle in his eyes. No cold feet; just high anticipation. He cried tears of joy – several times. Their vows were endearing. His confidence in his decision to love his bride until death was undeniable. The way he held her during their first dance, it was clear that he was never letting her go.

In 30+ years, I have never seen my best friend smile beyond his classic “smirk.” I have never seen him cry one tear; let alone a steady stream down his face. We’ve been at school dances and formal events; but I’d never seen my brother slow dance. I have never seen him so submerged in joy and happiness – and it looked good on him. Challenges and triumphs are on the horizon for these newlyweds, but I believe God will keep them through it all.

I realize that God is the originator of all the joy I witnessed. Everything about me changed the moment I accepted Him into my life. This milestone in my brother’s life was a strong reminder that I need to reflect the joy and happiness God continues to give me with life, health, strength and opportunities to help others. My smiling is a rarity and I’m working hard to increase my frequency.

I don’t want someone to be in search of God and cannot get a glimpse of Him in me.

Close Your Eyes And Focus

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I didn’t plan on being there. It was a random pit stop while waiting for a friend, mixed with a sudden hunger for egg drop soup. He was there when I walked in – a skinny, dark-skinned guy in his late-30s wearing a tattered black T-shirt and jeans. He hovered in my peripheral view as I ordered my food and sat down to play a few rounds of Words With Friends. Read More

Lack of Prayer Changes

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Sinners say goodbye. Saints will see you later. The finality of mortal death forces you to bid farewell. The reality of imperative departures forces you to walk away from the smell of a decaying connection that no longer benefits your life; an extraordinary human experiences enhanced by the Holy Spirit, underwritten by Jesus and secured by an Almighty God.

I’ve watched nostalgia smudge the lenses by which I view familiar mediocrity. The moist haze almost skewed my vision towards the benefit of the doubt. My retro eyes tried to convince my spirit that things have changed. People have changed. Prayer has changed them. Prayer has changed me. Because that’s what prayer is supposed to do, right?

Right?

I don’t believe prayer changes things. I believe the phrase, “prayer changes people” is not entirely accurate. Prayer has a tendency to amplify the original factory settings of the spirit God created. Lack of prayer (aka lack of communication with God) is what truly changes us for the worse as our connection erodes our character, dramatize our circumstances and distorts our inner-voice that should be encouraging instead of churning thoughts of discourse from overly critical to suicidal.

I pray for God to navigate my life with the authenticity of His purpose. That’s not a change, that’s acknowledging who He destined me to be. Prayer didn’t change me, I changed me. Sin changed me. Fear changed me. Indecision changed me. Pain changed me. Betrayal changed me. My bad choices changed me. Lust changed me. Distance from God changed me.

My lack of prayer is what changed me.

Prayer is what continues to keep me closest to how God made me. Prayer exposes me to an inkling of His thoughts and reveals more of who I truly am. No one can tell me who I am. Nostalgia can’t define me. My external perception can’t define me. My insecurities, concerns and false humility cannot paint a better picture than the one by My Divine Artist.

So I pray that the strokes of life’s hues, slathered by the brush of my God’s intentions will make me a masterpiece in a world decorated by hotel landscape paintings and dirty drapes.