Rev Fave

Get Righteous

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“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” (James 5:16 NLT)

Being righteous doesn’t mean you’re a mega-holy, Bible-thumbing, “Super Christian” – looking down on the heathens around you.

It just means that your relationship with God is on point. It means when you text Him with your needs, He doesn’t text back, “New phone. Who dis?” You’re not perfect, but you ARE connected beyond your distress signals to Him.

When the righteous pray, incredible things jump off and the end result is so superb that only God could (and should) get the glory.

Recent events challenged me not to beg for healing, but to thank Him for the healing He promised. What I asked for was information that would counteract anxiety of the unknown. What I asked for was for rest, alertness and kindness, amongst those that would come in contact with the challenge, to be abundant. What I asked for was supernatural recovery, not just for restored quality of life but so others can be encouraged by the testimony.

It is in the midst of prayer, praise and worship that God does His thing in our lives. Casting our cares on Him. Trusting Him. Speaking His Word is always better than anything we could say on our own. In doing so, speaking His Word hides our ignorance behind His excellence.

Speaking His WORD hides our IGNORANCE behind His EXCELLENCE.

Speaking GOD’S WORD (instead of words from our limited, logical thinking) hides our ignorance (of not knowing) behind His excellence (that’s all-knowing).

It’s better to pray to God than to say something ignorant. No, seriously. If you don’t know what to say to the point you’re talking negatively or against what you’re believing God to work on…I believe you should have not several…but ALL the seats.

Shut up.

Let’s shut our minds and mouths off to the rhetoric that is not of God (or in private supplication to God) in order to open up our hearts and spirits to the promises and awesomeness of God.

All this is so much easier to do when you have a relationship with Him; hence, righteousness, love and trust.

At that point, your prayers become powerful and produce results so wonderful that, even the things/people/words/attacks begin to work for YOU (Romans 8:28).

No person on earth, no imp from hell, no circumstance of life, no physio- or psychological battle will be able to withstand your faith.

 

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.

Three Is The Magic Number

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My new BASICS notebook keeps me connected to that “analog life” while consolidating four (4) digital calendars by way of organized paper and my trusty Pilot G2 gel pen. I love my devices (e.g., smartphone, tablets, laptop, etc.) and I believe the muscle memory associated with handwriting allows my written words to adhere to my mind better. In addition to calendar entries, this notebook contains weekly prompts to stimulate me. This week’s prompt was:

Each day this week before going to bed, write down three things that you are grateful for.

My reflections on this task today took me to a revelation that gave me comfort in an otherwise uncomfortable situation. My three grateful things for today found themselves far from the cliché…

I’m grateful for a successful surgical procedure. This morning I underwent oral surgery with a myriad of mixed feelings. I’ve only had one surgical procedure in my life (which was also oral) and that experience crafted an unpleasant memory of pain, abandonment and regret in which I needed (and received) deliverance (Amen!).

Today was not only a simple process, with manageable discomfort, but my recovery the past several hours has been nothing short of miraculous. I know it is because of the prayers of my family, friends and colleagues all over the country. It’s amazing to actually “feel” the power of prayer surround you and I’ve very grateful for that experience / lifestyle.

I’m grateful for syndicating my defunct podcast. Seven years of my life was spent producing a podcast showcasing the best indie music in the world. I was blessed with awards, partnerships, friendships and opportunities beyond my wildest dreams. I produced my final podcast in December 2013  and there are literally hundreds of one-hour MP3s of my show sitting on an external hard drive as well as the cloud.

The site was shut down in ’13 as well, but I’ve revitalized the domain and re-broadcasted shows will be available for download on Mondays and Wednesday. I’m grateful I have such a vast library of creative expression that features so much obscure music that still needs to be discovered. Despite that season of my life ending, it will live on via the Internet.

I’m grateful for phenomenal friends and prayer gladiators. There have been subtle events this week that attempted to make me sad, angry, disappointed and extremely cautious towards individuals. Watching passive aggressiveness mix with long term memories as a function of manipulation just made me shake my head… and pray. The sobering reality is some people enter your life with a one-sided agenda that only benefits them. The harsh reality is some people feel it’s their duty to remind you of your torrid past, under the guise of living in their truth, while lazily acknowledging the deliverance and diligence to walk as a new creature.

The problem is some people choose to exit their season in your life as a victim or martyr rather than embrace their contribution to the departure.

In contrast, there’s a group of people who pray aggressively, consistently and sincerely – with no agenda – and their prayers have become an added layer of awesome over so many areas of my world. Thank you, Jesus.

I recognize the God-exclusive beauty of subtraction actually ADDING to my life. Having a tooth extracted adding to my improved health. Resurrecting a defunct podcast, that’s been dead for three years, will incite discovery into the most creative souls of our generation. Feeling the intercession of those whose ink is still drying from writing my name on their prayer list, while those who’ve professed to care for decades — are leaving with the memory book of sarcastic nostalgia still tucked closely underneath their hearts.

Subtraction can equal addition when you serve a God who defies logic, nature and our perception of reality.

Thank you, God. 

 

The Healer

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A few years ago, I wrote a song entitled Time Heals – a somber, mid-tempo melody about coping with heartache. The lyrics express disappointment in the perceived healer of life’s woes…time.

They say you are a healer
But each second I feel weaker
You’re powers aren’t working
Please don’t fail me now

“Time heals” is one of many cultural clichés whose popularity and frequency of use gives it a false sense of validation. At one time, even I was under the assumption that as the seconds sweep across the clock, my healing was imminent. Over the course of time, I would soon forget the issues that plague my spirit and cause my heartbreak. If I simply wait on the minutes and hours to grow into days, weeks and months – my pain will subside…all because of time.

Many of us have experienced the failure of time to be a catalyst for spiritual and emotional healing. In fact, the passing of time has allowed some of us to pick the scabs of our wounds to the point where we prolong the healing process with our unforgiveness, bitterness and anger. Others spend that time keeping the pain in the forefront of their minds. It guides every future decision; thereby having an adverse effect on how time operates.

Time is merely the infrastructure by which you can build your faith or wallow in your defeats. I’ve watched time deteriorate the spirit of a person because they counted on time to do the healing versus their doing the work (to heal). Time is an opportunity for us to give it to God and allow Him to be The Healer in our lives.

What I love about God is how he is not bound by the hands of the clock. He can restore you instantly, He can revive your spirit in days and not months. Healing can happen in the blink of an eye. Faith can be built gradually. Joy is attainable throughout eternity.

The phrase “time heals” can be oxymoronic in that time truly doesn’t do the work, but rather gives you room where God can do the work. We don’t know how much time we have, so it’s critical to give our wounded hearts to The Healer who exudes strength in our weakness, never stops working and able to do anything – at any time – but fail.

Prayer Works

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Praying is the most powerful tool I have in navigating my day, managing my emotions and interacting with people. Since my youth, I’ve always been taught how to talk to God; but it took some time to learn how to effectively hear from God. Praying for health, strength, victory over illness and protection over my family are no-brainers. Praying in the midst of trouble and seeking God when I couldn’t feel Him has matured me in recent years. This is my testimony as a believer and a minister, but the power of prayer shouldn’t be relegated to traditional, spiritual concerns.

I came to this revelation while sitting at my iMac preparing to design a book cover. 

My client is a published, best-selling author who wrote popular fiction before surrendering to the call of God to help women (and men) in relationships. Her non-fiction titles and conferences on marriage, spiritual bondage and stewardship has blessed thousands. She and her husband were my first client when I decided to be a freelancer and, despite having a team of creatives, I still handle their needs directly because they are special to me.

Her latest literary work is poised to bless millions and I knew that hours of prayer, fasting and focus went into the content; therefore, the cover had to be in agreement with the ministry of the book. Normally, I’d fire up Photoshop and go through the same graphic design motions I’ve gone through the past 20 years. But due to the urgency of the project and the prophetic energy of its author, I was led to do something different.

I prayed and asked God to lead me in the design process. I petitioned Him to guide me to the right imagery, steer me to the ideal typography and anoint the composition in a way that would attract readers to the life-changing content inside. Yes, I did all that over a book cover. I wanted it to be blessed.

The normal design process takes a few revisions to get it right. After laying out the design and e-mailing it to the client, I nailed it on the first try (sans a bit of wordsmithing). I believe I achieved what my client was looking for because we were both on one accord with God on its creation, interdependently. Being able to exceed my client’s expectations makes me feel wonderful; knowing I reached that milestone solely off the humble prayers to my Father makes me feel incredible. And I owe it ALL to Him.

Moving forward, I plan to pray over all my projects…even the ones that aren’t God-centric. I plan to acknowledge God in this way and let Him guide me on how to use the gift (of design) that He gave me to bless others.

 

After all, He is the Original Designer 🙂

The Golden Age of Praise

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I had no intentions on leading this week’s midday bible study (affectionately called Lunch with Jesus  aka “LWJ”). My plan was to simply and expeditiously stop by to pick up something from the church secretary.  That’s when she got a text message from “Leonard,” the preacher who normally leads LWJ, saying that he wasn’t going to make it. “Praise God, you’re here,” she said. Start time is 12noon. The time was 11:53am.

There were 15+ seniors in the sanctuary waiting for LWJ to pop off. My call to Leonard went straight to voicemail. I called another brother-in-ministry, who’s also the Minister of Operations for our church. He gave me simply instructions on how to handle the situation.

Five minutes later, I found myself engaged in a robust testimonial session with fellow church members who are old enough to be my parents and grandparents. We had amazing testimonies about life, followed by a heartfelt corporate prayer for our city, families, sick, bereaved and children. Afterwards, we shared in a super nutritious lunch of baked chicken, pinto beans, creamed corn and rolls — with pear pie for dessert (the diabetics wouldn’t let me eat the crust, though).

What started as a quick errand transformed into a moment in time that was the blessing I needed as I struggle with my own stresses of the day. God knew what He was doing by sending me there. It had nothing to do with my availability, prayer ability or preacher status — it had everything to do with God ordering my steps and leading me to where I needed to be today.

I thank God for leading me towards a blessing I so desperately needed.

Prayer For Life

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We read instruction manuals and spend time with our computers, phones, apps, etc. so we can use them in our daily life. Yet when this life struggle gets real… we often can’t summon a verse to our minds for comfort, confirmation or encouragement because we haven’t studied the instruction manual (Bible) or spent some “for real for real” time with God (i.e., prayer).

Do you know how annoying Facebook would be if we didn’t use it daily? Imagine if you had to read the steps on how to check messages, post photos and write statuses EVERYTIME we wanted to use it – simply because we used it so infrequently?

Nah, B. we STAY on this thing.

What if we STAYED in the Word? Think about how your prayers would flow if you talked to God on the regular. I’m not talking about “bible thumpin’” everywhere you go or constantly screaming at God with tears and snot oozing out your head (however, if that’s how you get down – then do you, boo).

Consider starting your day with prayer. As my feet hit the floor, I say “Thank (right foot) You (left foot) Lord (stand up).” There are prayer warriors getting down every morning on prayer calls where you can call in and start your day with prayer.

You got “fifty-leven” apps. Download the YouVersion Bible app to your phone/tablet and start with the “Verse of the Day.” Just kick it with God for a moment…He’ll do the rest.

When people start working your last nerve OR you wanna slap somebody to sleep OR sickness attacks you(r family) OR you simply need encouragement OR you need to encourage someone else — we don’t always have time to hunt for our Bible and fumble towards a verse. You don’t wanna have to spend the first five minutes of prayer apologizing and feeling God’s side-eye because you ain’t prayed since Obama won the FIRST time.

When the Word is already inside of you, it enables you to be more effective and just flow with yours — because you’ve spent time with the instruction manual as well as the One who inspired it. I can’t front and say it guarantees you an easy life, but it definitely equips you when life gets hard.

Heavy Week

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My cousin passed away this weekend. Not some random, distant cousin — I grew up with him, we were only three years apart and as he was a big part of my childhood. Now he’s gone and his mother has asked me to do his eulogy this upcoming weekend. I’ve attended several funerals this year and I’ve been learning about the proper “flow” of funeral services from my pastor and brothers-in-ministry. I didn’t plan on eulogizing a close relative so soon or ever; yet here I am.

Speaking of brothers-in-ministry, one of my brothers, Eric, lost his dad this weekend. His father was a prominent preacher in his own right and his departure has sent waves of sadness throughout the community. More importantly, my brother is hurting. His father’s funeral is also this weekend and we are going to support him however he needs.

My other brother-in-ministry, Aramis, is being installed this weekend as the new pastor of Saint John Divine M.B. Church in Milton, Florida. I’ll be boarding a bus at 6am on Sunday to be there with him as my pastor shares a Word during their 11am service.

In the interim, I started working with a personal trainer today and I have a few media clients to manage in addition to my 40-hour work week.

So what does all this mean?

I NEED PRAYER!

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