Today is July 12, 2016. It has been a crazy week for sure. Seven days ago there was a controversial killing of a minority male in Louisiana, followed the next day by a clearly uncalled for shooting death by law enforcement in Minnesota-in the presence of the victim's girlfriend and a four year old child in the backseat. I had such an unrest in my spirit trying to reconcile what happened and what I sensed could happen. I asked those close to me to pray for my heart because, although these questionable deaths are new to some, they are all too familiar to me. Only now we have added the very effective component of Facebook Live, which does not allow for the usual filtering before a video is released to the public. A pastor friend called me on Thursday, hours before what would later become known as the Dallas Ambush on Police.
During the pre-ambush conversation, being transparent, I admitted that I was having difficulty with the disparity in law enforcement's 'diffusing/de-escalation' applications. As in, what appeared to be noticeable inconsistencies. I then gave a list of said disparities. I admitted I had not seen the LA video-because I couldn't bring myself to watch someone unnecessarily shot. My pastor friend maintained that the shot was indeed necessary because the victim had a gun in his pocket and he was not complying with the officer's instructions. When we ended the conversation, I still FELT the same -but based on our friendship history, I agreed to 'hold my form' and my voice (influence) until I had more time away from social media and more time listening in prayer. Besides, we all know feelings can and will change. I then went to a relative's house where a cousin showed me the MN shooting. Initially my response was I don't want to see that and he said, "No- you NEED to see it!" I honored his request- and immediately was filled with anger and a lowkey desire for revenge. About two hours later, the Dallas ambush occurred less than fifteen minutes away from where we were.
Shamefully, I had mixed feelings at the start of the Dallas Ambush. Just a short hour before I had felt frustration- like, quit just shooting us for no reason and then justifying it with statements like, "I asked him to quit moving, etc." But seeing it live- the chaos, the horror, and lawlessness of people running around while snipers shot at innocent people like target practice, and watching as the death toll began to be revealed- had an equally frustrating effect. Like, "Nooo, stop this! This isn't the answer." We stayed up most of the night discussing things from a raw and emotional place. Some felt as if it was inevitable because, "THEY keep killing US." (Division) Others knew this would only bring retaliation, equating to more of the very thing that sparked the outrage- Killing based on race. I drove home somberly, sad in the deepest part of my being. I have a rainbow of friends, family, and loved ones. All ages, races, classes, and gender identifications. Would I really have to make a decision on who to like and associate with based on reasons outside of character content? And if so, how do I reconcile that with biblical principles I have covenanted to live by?
So I got quiet. I logged off Facebook, turned off the TV, and just got quiet. For a few days. And in the quiet, I got a glimpse into the matrix. Below is the information that kept my attention and disarmed my anger:
If you don't know (discern) what it influencing you to watch the videos, DON'T. David was a mighty man of God influenced to count his army, and it resulted in a high death toll. Something simple, disguised as innocent or not a big deal resulting in lives lost and anguish multiplied. Don't watch the videos of a person actually expiring. As in, don't watch someone actually die on a video for the sake of frivolous conversation. If you haven't seen the death videos yet, don't watch them. Deep in in the covers of sadistic pornography, there is a something that is called a snuff film. Snuff films video the death or suicide of the actors, only the actors are real people that actually die on film in the deep web. The metaphorical use of the term "snuff" to denote killing is derived from a verb for extinguishing a candle.
Watching the video(s) releases (released) a spirit of murder on both sides. Especially for those that are not spiritually discerning. They (or we) become driven by anger and the need to strike back. Our perspective becomes overtaken by bitterness and hate, and we become the participants in the very behaviors that we initially railed against. Cavalierly justified because it's so unfair, or because group-think has set in, and it has groups rushing off cliffs in a self-justification frenzy. Stop. Pause. Pray. Before you are ensnared by the words of your mouth. Conform wholly to the principles you desire to LIVE by- because we are making are making life choices right now. Choices that will govern you and your children. Don't listen to the frenzy, the reactions, or the chaos. Be still. Be silent. Pray. And then DO.
The whisper is this; while we fight among ourselves in the form of group against group, and blame against blame; who is fighting our real enemy? Are we so caught up in our groups that we've neglected to discern the tactic of the enemy? Lastly, how did something so buried as a snuff film become everyday viewing without us recognizing the slime of the Spirit of Murder?
Father, protect us from Barabbas. And forgive us for releasing him.
I Kings 19: 11-12
11“Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the LORD told him. And as Elijah stood there, the LORD passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper."
The topic statement: "I don't go to church because they...(fill in the blank)"
Response from a believer: "The same things occur work but you still go..."
My response to believer is below;
It has to do with levels of value and respect....What a person values is often allotted more respect. Society in the US (as the rule, not the exception) views church as a place to get their needs met. When people in said group (church) offend, the 'rule' is to use that offense as a measuring stick that works on behalf on the offense, but not necessarily those offended. Work however, as a rule, is a 'Source.'- People find ways to work out offenses and relational barriers when it comes to their Source. In the US, we tend to value our jobs more than we value humbling ourselves-again as the RULE, not the exception. Just addressing practices born and fueled by offense will result in people coming at you personally, transferring to you the FULL weight of the offense still influencing offended decision making. Offense is an effective distraction/barrier both ways- against attendees and non attendees alike. Stay focused.
When folks say why they don't do something, I have learned to say..."That's interesting..." and move on with other conversation. The truth is, none come to the Son save the Father draws them. And if He is not drawing, why are you? John 6:37, John 6:44
Is this a valid question? Let me know what you think. -Best, Shazzi
Everything was moving fast. So fast. An extended house guest left Friday evening, and unexpected weekend guests arrived later that night. I still needed to prepare for an upcoming business trip. I had a list of to do's that had yet to be 'ta-done' and I had already pre-planned my weekend to focus on finalizing details and tying up loose ends. This was before: a kitchen spill created a reaction with my stove top striker (that resulted in a fire truck and discovery of a gas leak), one of my house-guests had a medical flare up that lasted twenty four hours, the broken phone that added even more anxiety to my house-guests so now we need to visit Sprint on a weekend and still make it to the Open House and family dinner (Mother's Day), etc. Everything was moving FAST and too much was happening at once.
During this so very 'life happens at inconvenient times' moment, I remember clearly thinking, 'Ugh!' But I don't like to live in 'Ugh' moments. So I immediately began to focus on my thoughts, and remind myself that perspective has a very real effect on any given situation and subsequent feelings and resolutions. This gave me enough of a pause to look at everything happening- and what could of developed into chaos magnified- and say to myself and my house-guests, "Fortunately, no one was hurt, the stove did not explode; and if it wasn't malfunctioning, we wouldn't have found the large liquid spill near the electrical socket, nor would we have identified the gas leak so promptly." A simple statement that started an unplanned conversation about perspective which then grew into an awesomely deep conversation and then I realized:
This inconvenience was not an imposition at all. It was a divine moment that was almost missed because of FASTNESS. It was a moment in time that God chose to trust me with precious souls that needed a place of rest, refreshing, and impartation. And I almost missed it.
Over the next thirty days, we will be discussing the day to day processes of consistency as it relates to working out. Deronda Lewis, the founder of Beautiful, Intelligent, and Gifted (B.I.G.), has agreed to let me step behind the curtain via short media clips to discuss consistency, justification, rationalization, realization, and achievement in relation to Making A Habit. (Combs and Lewis, 2016).
I hope you will chart along with us to see if, and where, YOU are on the Habit Making Spectrum.
Wow! I had such a lovely time with the nicest group of beautiful, intelligent, and graceful women of God last weekend in California! For those that I met and was able to speak with one on one...Thank you! Thank you for sharing your insight and wisdom with all of us and being transparent as you walked humbly before the Lord our God. I cannot wait to do it again! :) And the worship! God never ceases to amaze me when it comes to His Faithfulness!! These words I type cannot do Him justice. Excuse me while I shout..."GLORY!"
As this is Shazzi's (short, short) Blog, I will jump right to the point and say: "Down with the unspoken manipulation of spiritual quid pro quo." Romans tells us own no man nothing but to love him- emotional pulls and rhetoric that gets you to buy in to a concept, or do a certain thing, is not sustainable and only serves to breed resentment, confusion, and frustration.
There is nothing so freeing as an organic relationship that is life giving without manipulation. God has told us what is required in Micah and I encourage all to believe what He said. :)
Over the weekend, I had the privilege of reading a good friend's Facebook post. I known this young man for a few years and I was quite touched by his words and insight. With his permission, I've decided to share here. Way to go, sir! Success is all over you!
"I'm completely floored when I think about the grace God has shown me over the past couple years. I don't know why it has taken this long to get this out there, but I want to give God the credit for where my life is right now. The Latin phrase ex nihilo, meaning "out of nothing", is what I think of when I look back on my life. Literally from nothingness, Grace has brought me to a place of hope. I was so deceived into thinking I could find happiness in all the world had to offer and I couldn't have been more wrong; it was a dead end road. Catching just a glimpse of the hope of Jesus has saved my life. Brokenness, addiction, and pain doesn't have to be a way of life! I truly believe we weren't made to just survive, but to thrive. Look to Jesus. There is more working for you than against you." -J.R. 4/9/2016
I am ever more encouraged and empowered when I here real time narratives of God's goodness and grace in a world currently demonstrating a propensity to dismiss Him. But His presence is evidentially undeniable. He is here, He is real, and He is a whole lot more than we can ever truly know on this side of eternity. I will speak of the goodness of the Lord, just like J.R., and I will give Him all of the credit and none of the blame.
Today I was able to laugh at myself and it was great! I'm talking all-out laughter- GUFFAW. What made me laugh you ask? Me. I have been so excited and learning new things regarding technology, websites, blogs and vlogs that my focus has been on excellence, 'product'
and deadlines. And then, during one of the videos, I was suddenly captivated by my freckles. My freckles, and to see my face zoom in, zoom out, and zoom back in to those freckles...all I could do was smile, shake my head and laugh. It wasn't even that funny but to think of how frantic we could be trying to get everything in order and hold it together-as if we really could. Walk with me...
During a retreat a few years back, I had written down a few items items received during prayer. One of those items was God would bless whatever I put my hands to. Those around me cheered and voiced agreement with what was written down, but I was terrified. The things I had written seemed quite a leap from a bicycle with no brakes and my all bills paid apartment. Not to mention the fear of- "What if?" What if it didn't come through? Or manifest like others said it would or even thought it should? "They're all gonna laugh at you, Carrie!"- (or in this case, Sharyn!) While the meeting continued, I went to the restroom to calm my pounding heart. I couldn't hear over it anyway. I looked in the mirror and had one of the most life defining moments of my years. It went something like this:
"Lord," my heart whispered, "You've got the wrong person."
"Daughter," He whispered back, "you've got the wrong god."
What? Excuse me?
But it made sense. I was looking to myself to establish a vision I had received. It wasn't mine to start with and boy, did that lock a tumbler into place. A tumbler of grace and understanding that the wrong god is me. Just ask Peter, slicing ears and taking names one moment, denying Christ and opposing God's plan in other moments. However, Peter was the right person, and so am I, and so are YOU.
So every time I find myself trying to do it all, I remember the most important component and Who makes it possible. Him. Freckles and all.
Several times in my life I have caught myself saying, "I SWEAR my life is a movie!" It seemed the most unique moments and events happened to me. Like the time I hit a customer's brand new white truck at Chili's! As I just stood there dumbfounded, the lady came out to see why I was standing by her car for sooo long. I remember telling her in one breath:
To which she replied, "Awww, is that why you've been standing here? Come on in and have some chips and salsa." I mean, who does that when you've hit their brand new truck with your 'hope it starts' metal box? Or how about the time I was impressed to give my car away and ended up without a vehicle for two years...yeah, that'll learn ya.
Although most of the random moments are so crazy they demand laughter, a few are heartbreaking, embarrassing, and one or two are plain evil. But the others. The OTHERS. The others are bursting with such victory that I resonate with an overcoming shout. And in that moment, I know, I know in my knower that there is no stopping me, there is no stopping us. So whatever the moment, live it. LIVE it! I was there, present, engaged all the way. I learned a short memory is okay sometimes. It helps you keep moving. Like the blue fish on her way to P. Sherman 42, Wallaby Way, I know where I'm going. And I know Who will get me there. I've determined to not quit. Not quit growing, not quit giving, not quit learning, and not quit loving.
I'll just keep swimming.
Today, let's highlight the ‘holier than thou’ umm…phrase. That’s what I will call it, a phrase. Previously, I have called it myth, a lie, even a neutralizer as it seems to create a pause or second guess introspection in a large portion of believers. Why? It’s not a new tactic, or even a complicated strategy for that matter. In my own life, I’ve been called this on more than one occasion and for a long while (years even) I would immediately begin a deep navel gaze to ensure that my thoughts and actions would not make the individual(s) I was around feel uncomfortable. It wasn’t until about five years into this walk that I was able to see through this smokescreen.
I mean, seriously, Jack choosing NOT to drink wine doesn't make Jack holier than Jill any more than drinking wine makes Jill LESS holier than Jack. It's plain smoke and mirrors; just another time wasting diversion sent with the intent to prevent people from growing and being their authentic self. No more! Be free to be yourself. Fully. Why waste time comparing who is holier than who? It is not only foolish, it's dangerous- because win or lose, we end up on the side opposed by God...the pride side.
I remember the boldness that rose in me as I began to realize how much mental and emotional energy we had expended on this phrase. This one little phrase has literally arrested relationships and created an undermining self consciousness in each generation. Challenge: Let's commit to continue on and not change our standard of living because of some lie the enemy whispers to further separate and divide. Where this statement used to challenge us, now let's challenge it. Catch the myth when it shows up and disarm this… ‘phrase.” Hold your form. Challenge.
Grace, Grace, Shazzie
P.S. Please watch the short video and re-read this post. Because I love to see you smile!
You are not my enemy, nor am I yours. You may be my colleague, co-worker, or family member…but you are not my enemy. Nor will I treat you as my enemy. I will love you. I will love you when it comforts you, I will love you when it hurts. I will love you when it burns your very being. But I will love you. You. Because you, loved one, are not my enemy.
So Be Loved.
FOR WE DO NOT WRESTLE AGAINST FLESH AND BLOOD, BUT AGAINST PRINCIPALITIES, AGAINST POWERS, AGAINST THE RULERS OF THE DARKNESS OF THIS AGE, AND AGAINST SPIRITUAL HOSTS OF WICKEDNESS IN THE HEAVENLY PLACES. Eph:6-12 NKJV