Daily Devotional – 7/21/17 “Rebuild a nation”

Well, I am in my last five weeks of school (y’all still praying?) and the class I am in is called Redemptive Cinema. Redemptive means the act of saving someone from error or evil. Okay! I am already looking side eye because the last two classes have been, shall I say, eventful. But I get in class last night and reading the syllabus, I am already over it. In walks our professor, for the night, who is filling in for our scheduled professor and he has plans for us to watch a movie and then critique it. Our choices were Blind Side, Invictus or 42; the majority chose Invictus. For those of you (like me) who have never seen it, the movie is about Apartheid in South Africa and Nelson Mandela. So, the movie starts and I am about 22% invested but as the movie plays, it grabs my full attention and I will tell you why. See, the people of South Africa had been experiencing apartheid (discrimination by race) for years. Mandela, freshly released from a 27 year prison stint becomes president. His focus (for the sake of the movie) is to reconcile the people of South Africa.

A hard task for a population of people who have been segregated by race however, Mandela tackles this task because while in prison, he studied his enemy – apartheid. And upon his election as president, he uses the one thing that was important to South Africa, their rugby team, The Springboks. His staff is already looking at him crazy because he has bought in white security guards, he is trusting of the whites and such but he tells them, “Forgiveness reaches the soul and it takes away fear.” See, Mandela said there was no time for petty revenge, it was time to build a nation. Why am I sharing this? Well, because there are too many of us fighting each other because of what the enemy did or is doing and it is causing us to lose focus on the bigger issue and that is, rebuilding a nation. For 27 years Mandela studied his enemy and he knew everything about him. Yes, the South Africans resented the colors the rugby team wore, because to them it represented apartheid (enemy) but in order to rebuild, they would have to take the very bricks that was once thrown at them, even if the colors once represented defeat. It wasn’t for pity but it was to bring unity by way of the very thing that caused division. Yes, some of you have been hurt by folk but it will be hurt that brings you back together. But it has to start with forgiving. The captain of the Springboks said, (you need to hear this), “Drink the tears of defeat, this time, but promise to never taste them again.” It is time to let go, you’ve got to forgive and rebuild. Stop looking at the ash pile, of what burned because you’ve got some rebuilding to do.

Daily Devotional – 7/20/17 “When the believers gather!”

Yesterday, I started to write the devotional, as I normally do but then I erased it. I started writing again and the same thing. I finally finished what I thought was an okay devotional but the spirit would not let me release it. So, I sat reading it over and over again until finally, I closed it without posting anything. Now, here I am feeling bad because I didn’t post but then I realized, sometimes the blessing is in just showing up. On last Sunday, I preached on the story of Paul, when he was stoned and left for dead. The bible says in Acts 14:20, “But as the believers gathered around him, he got up and went back into the town…” I pinned this scripture not because of what it says but actually due to what it does NOT say. See, it does not say the believers prayed, laid hands, oiled Paul’s head, spoke in tongue, danced or fasted but it says they gathered. See, beloved, sometimes the miracle is in the assembly and not the conversation. Hebrews 10:25 says, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Yes, there will be times for all the things listed above but every once in a while, there will be times that all you need to do is show up.

I don’t know who this is for but you need to stop being mad at the person who didn’t say what you needed when they showed up. You need to forgive that person for not doing what you needed but they showed up. Quit being upset because pastor didn’t say anything at your program, he showed up. The bible says, when the believers gathered Paul got up. And if I can be honest, the only reason you haven’t gotten up yet is because you’re listening for what’s being said instead of looking at the power of the gathering. Stop worrying about the number of people in your church, when the strength is in the believers who showed up. You’re worried about those who haven’t text you while going through but you’re missing those who showed up. Sometimes you need to stop listening and just look because when the believers gather, some things can happen. When the believers gather you can breathe again, you can get up, prison doors can be opened, blinded eyes see again, mute tongues speak again, cancer is healed, organ functions are restored, closed wombs are opened, debts are paid off and applications are approved … when the believers gather. Don’t lay hands, just gather together. Don’t speak, just show up. Don’t text, just come. Don’t post it on Facebook, just show up. For when the believers gather!!

Sunday’s Sermon : “You left me for dead!”