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Archive for the ‘hope’ Category

Haunted houses and ghosts are about to become the seasonal rage once again over the next month or so.  Folks really get into Halloween.  I guess if getting the hell scared out of you is the point then perhaps more evangelicals should use scare tactics and haunted sanctuaries to grab the world’s attention.

But seriously, let us consider that those things that haunt us are oftentimes from our own past.  They are either things that we did or things that were done to us.  Both hunt us down in our sleep and haunt us during our waking hours.

Yet, imagine your past hurts helping you.  If your abuse-filled childhood helps you help runaway teens and teen moms without prenatal care, let it do so.  Past and personal struggles can make making it hard or they can open your eyes to numerous opportunities to advance and broaden the kingdom of God as you work through some of your own pain and struggle.

Pray for freedom from the dominance of your past demons over your life.  Fend off the persecution from your past.  Let it help you.

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For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say. – Luke 12:12 (KJV)

The Holy Spirit has a serious job to do.  Jesus explained that to His disciples right before He departed this earth.  Many theologians have studied and researched about the Spirit.  Yet, we still have some trouble with the whole concept of the Holy Spirit.

Realize the Holy Spirit’s power and work.  The Holy Spirit teaches and takes us to task.  He is the Comforter.  He is the Helper.  He reminds us of what the Father has commanded of us and what Jesus has provided for us.

Let the Holy Spirit:

  • Work on you like the power He has to exhibit as part of the Godhead.
  • Work in you through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit baptized within you at the point of belief.
  • Work through you in a powerful way that allows others to see God at work through your good works.

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Have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly. – Psalm 31:9 (KJV)
My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes. – Psalm 6:7 (NIV)

 
Many people have asked me why I wrote my inspirational book of poetry Broken Pieces.  I can’t help but smile because it is dear to my heart.  I was down.  I was down and reading both Jeremiah and Psalms intensely as my daily devotion.  I was starting to think that the Word was even getting me down as I read the weeping prophet and David’s pleas for God to not turn His face from him and to incline His ear to him.  That’s when it hit me.
 

God does not leave us helpless.  That is especially comforting for those of us who reside on this side of the cross.  He offers us the Comforter, His Holy Spirit.  We have God dwelling within us.  He knows our moans and groans as well as what they truly mean to us.  He is with usWe are not without comfort when we have the Helper.
 
I had to share it.  I could not keep such a blessing to myself.  I found poetic inspiration and let it spill onto the page.  I felt the Spirit driving me to write and complete Broken Pieces as a testimony of all that God can do with our broken pieces.  We are all right as long as we stay in the clutches of the Potter’s hands.
 
In His Hands
A poem from Broken Pieces by Bruce Jackson

In His hands,

I am but clay

At the mercy of the Master’s touch.

As He crafts me into His desire,

He shapes and molds me to His liking.

He forms me with His hands

And designs me as His workmanship.

He knows the flaws of my very existence.

He cuts away that which is useless.

He creates in me a clean heart

And purifies me through the fire,

Testing how well I will hold together.

He names me and makes me a new creation.

He touches me with His breath

And I live.

I am His masterpiece in the making.

I am but clay in His hands.

Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.

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We Live

I basically wrote this piece from the heart, not the head.  Simply, it is entitled: “We Live.” Let the words speak to you and see if you can identify with any of its haunting truth.  Also, “Ghetto Survival Kit” is a more politicized piece below.

We Live

Somehow,
Whether we discuss it or not,
Whether we get into it or not,
Even if we can’t stand to talk about it too long,
We struggle here and there.
We lose some and win some.
We bleed.
We cry.
Yet, we live.

Somehow,
Whether we discuss it or not,
Whether we get into it or not,
Even if we can’t stand to talk about it too long,
We survived the slave ship.
We endured the lash of the whip.
We saw Mama sold down the River.
We survived the plantation.
We fought that other man’s war.
Through it all,
We still live.

Somehow,
Whether we discuss it or not,
Whether we get into it or not,
Even if we can’t stand to talk about it too long,
We were up during the Reconstruction.
We had little during Jim Crow.
WE had even less during the Depression.
We had all to gain during the Civil Rights Movement.
We shared a dream with Martin.
We felt the anger and agony of Malcolm.
We cried for JFK and Brother Bobby.
We were given hope with Obama.
We live.

We live on.
Through the years and ages,
We have lived strong.
Despite the trials and tribulations,
We have lived well.
With God by our side,
We have come thus far.
So,
As we look towards tomorrow
And recall the days of the past,
We live on.
We live.
We live.

Ghetto Survival Kit (A Community Briefing)
 
This is an A.P.B., Community!
This is an A.P.B., Family!
All People Beware!
All People Beware!
A-L-L PEOPLE BEWARE.
 
Taxes are going up.
The stuff is going down.
The jig is up.
The people are powerless.
That means that they have less power than the rest.
The Rest?
Who would be the Rest?
The Rest are the politicians with pockets full of blood money.
They get it from the dope crossing borders and entering city streets.
They get it from filling ghetto street corners with houses of grease.
They want it.
They get it.
They want it at all costs.
They get it all costs.
How much will it cost you?
No, not them.
You!
How much will it cost you to fill a mayor’s belly?
How much will it cost you to line a councilman’s pocket?
How much will it cost you to keep them full?
With prices and rates like these,
Hesaven should be taking online orders and charging admission at the gates
Because they surely overcharge you down here in this hellhole.
Is there a rage in Harlem?
Is something afoul in Denmark?
Is there no balm in Gilead?
Don’t trust their lying and flattering lips.
Don’t let them near the children.
They want to destroy us all for their own gain.
They want it all for their own gain.
Let God judge them.
You just keep away from them.
You just be sure to keep an eye on them.
You just make sure to stay guarded from them and their speeches and pitches.
Keep them at a distance as you escape from their clutches.
Stand afar off and see them for who they are.
In times like themes,
You need every bit that you got to keep from losing all that you got.
In a place like this,
You have to strive to survive.
In a place like this,
You lose when you start listening to their words.
You win when you stay clear of their wicked ways and wearisome words.
Survive if you can.
Survive how you can.
Survive.
Survive.
Do all that you can to stay alive.
Just survive through it all.
Just survive.
Survive.

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When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, Do you want to be healed?- John 5:6 (ESV)

Deliverance is derived from the Divine.  Deliverance is disseminated by the Divine.  The Divine has the power to deliver us from whatever may plague us in this world.  The believer’s faith rests in Him.

Jesus approached this one man among many sick and suffering people.  He asked this man directly if he wanted to be healed.  The man offered an excuse and explanation of his current situation.  That wasn’t what Jesus asked him. 

Jesus wanted to know if this man wanted to have his situation changed, not whether he could change his own situation or not.  If we could change our own situations by our own power, many of us wouldn’t have ever heard it when someone else shared their testimony or said that they were praying for us.

When Jesus asks directly, we need to respond directly.  Jesus wants to know if we are ready, not why we haven’t done this and that or gotten here or there.  Being in need doesn’t make everyone ready to receive.   Notice that Jesus had to step over some other folks to get to this man.  The Word says that there were many who could be called: blind, lame, and paralyzed. 

It was obvious that when Jesus picked out this man for a particular purpose.  Didn’t the blind smell His scent? Didn’t the paralyzed see Him step over themselves and others? Didn’t the lame sense His presence despite the pain running through their bodies? I would imagine that at least one person probably wondered where He was headed and whether He knew what type of place He had entered on that day.   Yet, that is how Jesus works.  He can use His interaction with one among many to spark inspiration within the entire crowd, giving people hope that they can hold onto day by day.

If you are willing, the Divine can deliver you.  He can heal you.  He can remove the pain in your heart and soul.  He can touch your spirit by mending it with His Spirit.  Let Him be your hope.  Let Him become your help. 

Receive your deliverance from the Divine and be made whole once again, restored by the risen and resurrected Savior, Jesus Christ.

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I wrote Words from the Underground in order to speak out and give a literary voice to the stories that lie hidden within the inner city streets of urban America.  I’ve been out there over the years.  Back in the day, I craved the allure of the street life that promised easy riches and high times.  I discovered that nothing is easy out in the streets, especially when you throw in drugs and money.  Fast forward several years.  I found myself on the streets as I sought to stir up community involvement through urban faith-based and community-based programs.  Later, once a minister of the gospel, I was doing “street ministry,” sharing through the Word and good works.  It was a complete turn around.

 I use my creative expressions through writing and seek to shed light on the darkness that exists and seems hidden from the eyes of most of America.  They do not know the pain of the people.  They fail to see the people on the streets as real people.  To me, it is more than a book.  It’s poetry mixed with social commentary and advocacy.  Perhaps, someone will read this and gain a deeper and clearer understanding of what goes on out there.  Someone else may read this and feel like someone has finally put into words what had been pulsating within them for so many years.  Finally, this may truly move someone to do something.  Maybe someone will develop a program to help others within their city.  Maybe someone else will start speaking out and advocating for the people who live in these inhumane conditions.  Truthfully, I would be satisfied if someone just read my words and started treating people like people, never truly knowing what someone else’s story may be beneath the mask they wear day in and day out.  Maybe so.

Enter into a world unknown to many… the Underground.

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

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 A while back, maybe a year or two, I started working on some poems that told the story about life in the inner city and the urban streets.  I began to conjure up poems and vignettes about the streets in the fashion and style of an Iceberg Slim or Donald Goines.  I started crafting urban sorrow songs like those penned by Rick James and Marvin Gaye.  I wrote “Words from the Underground” which will be released tomorrow at www.lulu.com/lifepath/ .  Here is ‘Lessons from the Streets’ as a sample  of the works contained in this new publication.

The lessons on the street

Can leave you bruised for life.

They can leave some permanent scars.

I’ve seen folks take it like a joke

And then come up lame.

This ain’t no game for kids.

It’s the real thing out here.

Bullets tear flesh

And make holes in domes

It’s a war zone 24-7 out here

With the enemy at every turn

Even when they say they riding with you.

Can’t trust a soul when the game’s like this.

You got to choose your battles

Before someone sets sights on you.

Make a move

Even if it ain’t the first move

But God help you make one.

Whatever you do,

You better make it quick.

That’s all that’s to it

And it’s true.

I saw a man lose his life

Because he didn’t make a move.

He could be here today

But he didn’t make his move.

It’s just another lesson.

Another one to learn.

The lessons in the streets will mess with you

Then get in your head real bad

And leave you so sick

That life will lose its meaning

And even its value.

Learn it one way

Or learn it another,

But the streets will teach you

How to survive or die

Just by being out there.

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And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.  Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)

You’re getting nowhere with your plans.  Yes, God gave you the vision.  You have prayed and sought counsel on the matter.  You have even shared the vision with others. And, alas, nothing has transpired.  You have put forth a lot of effort and energy.  You have exhausted all of your resources and you still appear to be getting nowhere.

The problem may not exist with the action plan and the timeline.  It may not be related to the multimedia presentations of PowerPoint after PowerPoint and message after message. It may simply boil down to fundamental flaw.  There may be an issue of faith.

The Word shares that it is impossible to please God without faith.  Is God pleased? Are you remaining faithful? Is it still on your prayer list? Have you checked back in with God… and heard from Him?

We are to walk by faith.  That is how we are to approach all matters- in, by and with faith.  Yet, discouragement feeds into doubt, and then doubt leads us to becoming dispondent and we eventually start forgetting to hold on with faith.  Don’t let that become your story’s ending.  Remain faithful and stay patient.  There is an unspeakable joy awaiting those who wait upon the Lord.

But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.- Isaiah 40:31 (NLT)

  • But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength: Waiting and trusting the Lord will find “new strength.” The lord can strengthen you for what it is to come.  Let your waiting lead to your preparation as the Lord strengthens you.
  • They will soar high on wings like eagles: Let God take you to new heights and expand your horizons.  Perhaps, if you think about it deeply, God wants you to do more than what you initially set out to do.  This may be another phase to what God wants you to do His name and among His people.  Go where He takes you and extend the limits of your imagination above the haters and critics.
  • They will run and not grow weary: Focus on staying the course and picking up the pace, not dropping out of the race.  God’s promise is that you “will run and not grow weary.” Weariness leads to becoming worn out and wiped out.  Keep going in faith.
  • They will walk and not faint: Walk in faith.  Do not get faint, especially faint-hearted.  Step out in faith, taking every step on the promises of God.  When you can’t run, walk.  Just keep progressing towards what God has for you.  Every step, even the smallest and the slightest step, gets you closer to the goal.

Whether it is a building campaign or launching a new ministry or business that can’t seem to get off the ground or pick up momentum, wait on the Lord in faith.  Trust Him today.  Try to recall times when he provided and protected.  Most of all, recall and reclaim His promises.

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.- Psalm 27:14 (KJV)

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But Daniel sresolved that he would not tdefile himself with kthe king’s food, or with lthe wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to tdefile himself.- Daniel 1:8 (NLT)

What we learn from the many biblical examples provided to us is that God can distinguish us with a divine destiny.  We don’t have to walk long with the Lord before we feel the spiritual tug on our lives and find ourselves marked for an assignment by Master.  He uses whomever He chooses.

It is so with Daniel as we read this familiar text from the Scriptures.  Circumstances and situations collide and culminate in cornucopia of change, change that is caused by being called out from among the crowd by the Creator.  So we find young Daniel among those marked by a secular king to expand and extend an earthly kingdom but simultaneously handpicked by the spiritual King of kings to exemplify and express a heavenly kingdom.  Daniel was distinguished for a divine destiny, for God indeed had called him to stand. Yes, He hose daniel to stand for truth with integrity and to stand for God amid idolatrous defilement.  God had called on this young man to lead a spiritual stand against impurity.  The fact of the matter is that God has called on many of us stand…in the courtroom, at the school district, in college lecture halls, in community meetings, even at the barbershop and the beauty shop.  God has called on His people to stand…to stand for Him in dark times and to stand on His promises even where you see no provision.

So what happens when God calls you stand?

  • He will cause you to stand up

Daniel has a turning point in this text that sets him apart from the other young men. The Word simply says: “Daniel purposed in his heart not to defile himself.” It’s an internal decision before his external demonstration.  It’s a personal resolution before it is a public result. You see something happened in Daniel’s heart before anything came out of his mouth.  Therefore, when Daniel did speak, God had already stirred something within him before he started something through him.    If God calls you to stand, He will cause you to stand up for Him and to His glory.  If you want to test where somebody’s standing, look and see who’s going to get the glory.  That’ll tell you all you need to know.  We are to stand up but stand up for God and the purpose He has given us, seeking nothing for ourselves.

  • …to stand out

After approved and acted on, Daniel and his comrades appeared to stand out from the rest.  Their countenance glowed differently than the others.  The appeared healthier than their counterparts.  God caused them to stand out.   What we take into our bodies has an effect on us, particularly in our appearance.  Take in junk and you start showing signs of how junk is affecting you.

  • … to stand above

So in the end we that God will cause you to stand up and He’ll cause you to stand out.  But what’s real impressive about God is that He’ll even cause you to stand above.  Daniel and his friends stood out so much that they stood above the other young men.  In fact when presented before the king they were even standing above those who the king already had in place. like astrologers and magicians.  God uses these young men proved to be a cut above all of those as well.  You see when take a stand for God based upon His calling you, He can cause you to stand above…He can cause you to stand above your circumstances…your situation…your health condition…your socioeconomic status…your education level…your marital status…even when you don’t believe in yourself, you better believe in God…He can cause you to stand above it all.

Amen.

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In the same way, let your light shine before men,
that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.- Matthew 5:16 (NIV)

We talked about the church working from the “inside out.” We consider it the outward working of the church that starts with an internal spark like a combustible engines. You start discipling and developing people. Then, after that, you look at disseminating the Word and demonstrating the Word. All of this is done with a kingdom mindset that is not of this world.

Jesus talked about sharing and showing our light as He calls us the “light of the world” in Matthew 5:14-16. He shares that a lit candle is not lit to be hidden but to shed light on all that is around it. He expressly states that we should let our light shine before men for a two-point purpose:
*Men are to see your good works
*Men will glorify God

Paul shared that we should think and act like Christ as if we had His mind (Philippians 2:5). We have to be careful to not just talk a good game but to be able to walk it as well. We must practice what we preach.

Ministry has the ultimate purpose of glorifying God. Guess what? When you do your good works, you are letting your light shine before men just as Jesus shared for us to do as the light of the world. However, when these men see your good works, they won’t give you the glory. No, they will see your good works and give glory to the One who provided the light. They will give praises to the Lord who caused us to let our lights shine before men in the first place.

Share it and show it.
Let your light shine.

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