Thank You-Jehovah Shammah God is Present

Luke 12: 6-7  Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.  Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Sparrows are a part of 18 different bird species mentioned in the bible. Out of more than 11,000 bird species there are 140 different sparrows in the species. A part of the family Passeridae, they live on every continent except Antartica. Not only do they have beautiful singing and chirping voices to claim territory and attract mates; they are very persistent, smart and resourceful. Their brain consists of about 4.3% of their full body weight (considerably more than other birds). More than 150 bird species have gone extinct over the last 5 centuries. 20 years ago the house sparrow was considered almost totally to have disappeared, now it is making a comeback from being considered threatened and endangered. They love to be close to humans. So it is important as we evolve our environment keeps them protected and safe from extinction.

Sparrows on average are about 4-8 inches long and have a life span aproximately 3-5 years. They are relatively little in comparison to the over 9 million species in the animal kingdom of which humans are included. The Animalia kingdom being the largest and most diverse of the 5 kingdoms of living things, needs birds like these which are vital in controlling pests in our ecological system. Today you can buy a sparrow as a pet for about $20, however in biblical times you can buy two for 1 penny, basically meaning 1 sparrow was free.

Why go into depth about a sparrow, knowing many readers who are simply not interested in this topic have already stopped scrolling? I credit you for getting this far. After all, there are far more germane blog topics to write about under the heading God is Present right? Well, here’s the additional reward for you. See the word “bird”, mentioned over 42 times in general in the bible, references the sparrow over 7 times. Why?.. because they matter to God. And what is relevant to God is indispensable with no difference in how big or small they may seem. That is why the scripture in Luke 12:6 is so meaningful because it indicates that despite the world’s views on the value of a sparrow–God treasures each and every one. Equivalently, we can then surely trust and believe He cares for you and I. We are worthwhile, sister, with no divergence from what people or even what we think about ourselves. So fly high! God is Present, Jehovah Shammah, know much “more” He watches and cares over you. (Matt 6:30, Matt 7:11, Lk 11:13)

Concern (C): Sister, have you ever felt small in your own eyes or in the eyes of someone you looked up to, needed or loved? God foreknew in his great wisdom, that we would fall victim to the devil’s trap of believing we are not good enough, important, or valued. It is simply a lie.

Encouragement (E): God’s eye is on YOU! He tells you specifically in scripture how MUCH MORE VALUABLE we are then even the sparrows he lovingly, carefully created for His will and purposes. Yes you have a purpose. Yes you were planned and well thought out. You were designed with awesomeness. Reflected with his image, your being in a relationship with him was so paramount, he gave his only son Jesus a sentence of death on that awful cross.

Act (A): Say thank you God. Be thankful in every circumstance the Bible says. Even if the situation is horrible and discouraging, find something to be grateful for. According to scripture thankfulness is key to receiving His peace (Phil 4:6-7). Thank Him for the victory that’s at the end of every trial and temptation. You know tests are temporary and He is permanently God! Able to save, enduring in love, faithful to our future-God is here and near. This is true Thanksgiving not one day a year but every day for eternity.

Oct 16th- Jehovah Raah- The Lord is my Shepherd

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing.”  Psalm 23:1 NIV

There are many national days in October -Halloween Safety Month, National Sausage Month, Adopt a Shelter Dog and so forth.  It is also World Blindness Awareness Month.  Established October 2009 by the Little Rock Foundation, in Voorhees, NJ, the subject of blindness and visual impairment needs to be spotlighted.  Healthy vision is invariably pivotal!

Around the world, about 2.2 billion people have vision impairment.  An estimated 94 million people have cataracts, 57.5 million people have glaucoma and 826 million have farsightedness caused by loss of elasticity of the lens of the eye, occurring typically in middle and old age.

According to WHO the World Health Organization “everyone, if they live long enough, will experience at least one eye condition in their lifetime.”  About half of these cases blindness could have been preventable.  To see, one of the major 5 senses, awareness, understanding, maintaining is vital for personal health and promotion.

Top 5 things you can do is 1) watch your sugar, the effects of diabetes can lead to blindness or visual impairment 25x more likely than non-diabetics.  2) wear UVA/UVB sunglasses, to protect your eyes from harmful ultra violet sun rays.  3) Avoid eye strain by taking frequent eye breaks. 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away for 20 secs.  Use drops/blink often, get anti-glare screens and just get off computer outside of work at least every 2 hours.

In Jesus’ day just like today, many people were sick, lame, poor and blind.  Jesus healed those he touched, who wanted to be healed.  People followed him from everywhere, going anywhere for that healing.  Like a good shepherd, as he self claimed in John 10:11, he cared for the flock.  A shepherd is a person responsible for guiding the sheep-protecting, leading, serving and attending to their needs.  Sheep cannot survive without a shepherd because they require constant care and watching over.  They can die from direct predator attacks, unsustainable injuries and even just from panic.  They have little ability to defend each other though they band together.  Alone and independent we are in danger, referenced as astrayed sheep in the Bible (Isa 53:6 & 1 Pet 2:25.)

Concern (C)Sister, spiritually speaking, do you see or are you blind and going astray?  Matt 9:36 “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

Encouragement (E} Jesus sees you!  Rd Psalm 121:3-8.  Vs 7-8 Commit to heart, “The Lord will keep you from all harm-he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”  God is so good!

Act (A):  Let God lead you.  In Ps 23 it says”… he makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me besides still waters, he refreshes my soul, he guides me for his name’s sake “.  However are you letting God do these things?  Sheep have very little job to do graze, follow, rest etc.  Stop worrying, trying to figure it all out and making it all happen.  Not saying to not prepare and do your best, but understand that God has got this all rod and staff in hand.  Yes! Sister, when it’s out of your control, leave it for the Shepherd’s role. 

For more info:  https://nationaltoday.com/blindness-awareness-month/,

Advocate for World Blindness Month! 1) Donate money to help visually impaired like National Federation for the Blind.  2) Read/buy books for the blind.  Read to an elderly neighbor or volunteer your reading services. Visit state services for the blind online. 3) Get Be My Eyes, free app that connects sighted volunteers to the visual impaired lending their eyes so that people can lead more independent lives

Aug 31st Jehovah Shalom –The Lord is My Peace

2 Thessalonians 3:16 “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way.  The Lord be with you all.” NIV

23 yr old Naomi Osaka is a 4 time Grand Slam singles champion and the 1st Japanese to win Grand Slam title in 2018.   However, the win over her battles with anxiety and depression had knocked her off her game.   On May 30 2021, she excluded herself from the French Open and subsequently Wimbledon.  She refused  to answer post game questions in a typical news conference and was subsequently  fined $15000.  Losing the tournaments was no match for her personal win in prioritizing her mental health.  Other athletes  have shown support and relativity and are joining the  growing trend of those who opt to choose their own media platforms which to give their voices to. 

Osaka may be shy to speak but her stances speak loudly.  She continually gave  manifesto on Black Lives Matter, during the 2020 US open by wearing different names of deceased Blacks on who were killed and shown little/no justice in this country due to racial violence.  Additionally, after Haiti’s 7.2 magnitude earthquake, Osaka gave all the prize money from her Western and Southern Open tournament to their relief efforts.  She tweeted,  “Really hurts to see al the devastation that’s going on in Haiti, and I feel like we really can’t catch a break”

Currently, Osaka who since younger has admired and given homage to sheroes Venus and Serena Willliams, is playing in the 2020 US Open.  Forsaking her US citizenship, Naomi became the 1st Japanese tennis player to carry the torch during the opening ceremony and Playing in allegiance to Japan her mother’s motherland.   Now in returning to US Open being held in her hometown Queens, she has been quoted as “feeling good” and “confident”.  Winning the 1st round in defense of her title, Osaka is in all definitions a conquering victor! 

Concern (C)Sister, what matters block you from peace?  So many things in this world, Christ says, will try to take away your peace and tranquility.  So get a grip its a fact.  As a Christian expect challenges. Don’t lose faith in God and throw away all of your rich confidence.  No!  Face each concern as it arises, plan ahead but stay in the present.  For the Bible says in Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow , for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Encouragement (E}: Don’t let anything trouble your heart.   John 14:27, Jesus says himself “ Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  Sister, we need to believe Jesus, it is not only what he says it is what he did too.  The one notable time Christ was  greatly sorrowful  was in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Then he prayed.  All the other times he demonstrated a quiet and strong trust in his Father.  Be childlike in this, keep the formula simple.  Trust and Pray. 

Act (A): Feeling distressed?  Col 3:15  “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.  And be thankful”.   Memorize every scripture on peace, as your arsenal to fight against Satanic psychological, emotional attacks.  The enemy these days is working a lot on the inside.  Don’t let him rule Let God who loves you as his child fight him for you-and you be calm, still giving constant thanks for every win!

Reference: https://thegrio.com/2021/08/31/naomi-osaka-wins-first-round-2021-us-open/

Naomi Osaka’s next game is Wednesday, Sept 1, 2021. Check her out and let’s show her love and support!

**Dedicated to Olympians and our sports heroes and sheroes representing the land they love and the God they serve.  Special shout out to Sydney McLaughlin, Alia Atkinson, Daniel Rowden, Kelsey Plum, Knott Kristina and Deron Williams giving it all with all their hearts. 

July 28th Jehovah Nissi – The Lord is My Banner

Exodus 17:15  Moses built an altar there and named it Yahweh-Nissi (which means “the LORD is my banner”.  He said, “They have raised their fist against the LORD’s throne…”

                In a Nascar (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) race it takes a pit crew of 7 or 8 members to get a car and driver back on course in under an average of 20 secs.  The fastest pit car crew, Red Bull Racing, holds the current world record at 1.82 seconds.  Indy Japan 300 racer, Danica Sue Patrick, became the 1st and only woman to win an Indy Car race because of such team members in 2008.  2017 History maker Brehanna Daniels, became the 1st black woman to work national NASCAR races in a pit crew.  Daniels was 1 out of 10 people selected for NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity training program.

                The spotlight always seems to fall on the frontline person.  Yet one would be amiss not to shine a light on the help who has their back, standing by and on the sides.  They help make a dream achieved, their best is essential to one’s success.  Friends influence us into who we are and become.  According to an article from Greater Good Magazine, “strong friendships are as important for yourself as diet and exercise, and so it’s something you need to prioritize”.  The Bible has much perspicacity on friendships too, “Bad company corrupts good character” 1 Cor 15:33 , “Two are better than one” Ecc 4:9, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity” Prov 17.17.

                In Exodus 17 an example of promoting friendships and team work helped Moses lead the Israelites to victory in a battle with their enemy.  Through the upholding support of his spiritual crew members Aaron and Hur, Moses and his people were not only able to survive a difficult time, but to live and ultimately reach God’s promised land flowing with milk and honey.

                When the Amalekites attacked the Israelites, Moses stood on top of the hill with the staff of God in his hands.  Then he, Aaron and Hur went up a hill where Moses kept his hands lifted so the Israelites could keep winning.  However, despite his best efforts, Moses naturally grew tired and his hands went down-along with the Israelites hope to win the battle. When they began losing.  his partners Aaron and Hur (-without being asked but by sensing and seeing) moved to action. They both put a stone under him to sit and upraise his hands until sunset.  This act of reinforcement led the Israelites with Joshua commanding to triumph and annihilation for total eradication of the Amalekites.

                In the end, Moses built an altar to commemorate the day calling it The Lord is my Banner.  A banner is a flag or symbol established and lifted in celebration, to recognize triumph, and as a remembrance of success in a thankful, honoring way.  While Moses lifted up God’s banner, so did Aaron & Hur lift up Moses.  One lifts up another, who lifts up another and so on and so forth.  We are all on someone’s team.  Whose side are you fighting on? 

Concern (C)Sister, are you fighting on the Lord’s side?  Jesus says in the Bible Matt 12:30. “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters”.  Think about this deeply.  Are you a disciple of Christ, a true follower, a member of Jesus’ crew?  It is obvious by your fruits it continues to say in vs. 33 “…for a tree is recognized by its fruit”.

Encouragement (E)Wave your banner!  When God is your banner, you will be full of what He speaks, you will love as He loves, forgive as He forgives, you will gather as He gathers, you will help as He helps.  You will do as Christ did!  Jesus in Matt 12:50 says, “Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother”

Act (A):  Next set your banner!  Draw a picture, visualize and/or display it.  Share with your friend what it looks like.  What symbols or emblems does it carry that indicate what God has done for you?   Parade how you are a willing recruit to be a producing, eternally fighting for His mission, soldier in His army.  May your friends help you maintain your banner like Aaron and Hur.  For God’s love will always be the banner over you SS 2:4, Ps 20:5, 60:4.

Dedicated in memory of my bannered veteran uncles Bobby and Perry. 

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/why_your_friends_are_more_important_than_you_think

Jehovah Jireh-The Lord Will Provide

Philippians 4:19 NLT “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus”.

Robert Louis Johnson became America’s 1st Black Billionaire in 2001 along with his former wife Sheila. Through business ventures including founding Black Entertainment Television (more famously known as BET), RLJ Holding Companies and previously owning a majority of the Charlotte Bobcats this African American male made his fortunes.

Today this same man is using his prominence to bring attention to reparations for Black people of this country. Johnson since June 2020 has been pushing the government to cut a check for the result of systemic racism and slavery for over 200 years–including one for him. “Black folks have been denied $13-15 trillion of wealth and therefore we as a country now must atone by paying black people of all stripes — the rich ones, the poor ones, and the middle — out of our pocket,”.

Johnson states that reparations should look like investment programs rather than charity. He further alludes that monies provided by the government will be a reimbursement or recompense for harm that were caused to Blacks from the start of the Atlantic Slave Trade to today. Whether or not reparations are given remains to be seen. Debatable questions on who gets, how much, how its distributed and to what causes may or may not be ever be answered.

Yet praise God His people will ALWAYS be provided for-no matter what people or laws pass. For He, Jehovah Jireh, is the ultimate authority. Granting all those in need in accordance to His will.

The first time God is called Jehovah Jireh is in the Old Testament book of Genesis Chapter 22. Abraham gets instruction from God to take his only son Isaac to the Mount Moriah to sacrifice him. Fully trusting God to resurrect Isaac if need be, Abraham obeys. Yet God stops Abraham seeing his devotion to Him and instead provides a ram in the bush.

The word provide in Hebrew has a greater meaning. It also means “to see to it” and “experience”/ “perceive”. So God our Lord is “The God who gives for He sees and experiences” our needs. He knows us so intimately. We can always trust his heart to make a way for our best interests.

Concern (C): Sister, did you ever notice a time when God sent someone or something to help you at a desperate or special time of need? 1 Kings 17:7-16 The story of Elijah and the Widow at Zarephath.  God directed a widow with nearly nothing to supply the prophet Elijah with food.  In turn for her faith, she was provided with bread that never ran out.

Encouragement (E): God sees you, just keep going through. Ps 84:11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.

Act (A): Meditate on your biggest challenge/need today. Amplify it like a giant wave ready to sweep. Then focus on a vision of Jesus in the boat with you. Lean on into His arms as He quiets and stills the storm. How do you feel? Is there peace or still a rippling wave? Are there still grey skies or have the lightened up to a baby blue with puffy white clouds. What kind of ending thought has God provided for you with the blessed assurance you have in Him?