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Devotionals

Nerved hand

You Got the Nerve to Love

44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. 45 So that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. Matt 5:44 ESV

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A Vision for Simps

Earlier this morning I had a vision after seeking the LORD and receiving His word. I had a brief glance of Simpson characters who resembled

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Midnight Prayer

Elohim, Even in the midnight hour you are still in control. We thank you for holding our world together in the midst of chaos. We

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Job Confucious Quote

Know Confucian

Exploring Eastern Philosophies FOREWORD: The following passage is an excerpt from the Analects; the teachings of Confucius gathered through dialogue in a book. How can

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Paradigm

Ace Playing Card
Eternal Life
James Richardson

Aim for the Ace

Me: Dennis, why don’t you know how to act?Dennis: What you talkin’ about?Me: The people sayin’ you causing trouble again. Why you gotta be a

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A New Deck of Cards

The lyrics above I wrote for my wife and sang them to her on the day of our wedding. Today would mark 10 years of us being married and boy has it been a journey. The day we got married felt so surreal; committing to the ONE I love and looking back wondering if you’ll ever have those moments again. I’m so grateful to know that in Christ it’s a resounding YES and infinitely more as we mature. So honey, let me remind you one more time who you are.

You are a reflection of the Most High God; beautiful and elegant in every way. You are filled with all the fullness of the sacred Godhead. You are a priestess and my Queen. And when we look into the world, remember it is a kaleidoscope of our existence. We don’t have to be insecure anymore, neither should we stifle our gifting. I want you to see and know all that you are as you learn to appreciate me for who I truly am.

Yours truly,

James

I’m Every Woman – Chaka Kahn

All That I Am – Bilal

Too Beez or Not Too Beez

Spider Beez
Work to Do – Isley Brothers

Count: What’s the point of gain?
Should a man add centuries of problems to his cause?
Should he detract from his genius in pursuit of wealth?
I cannot muster the thought being mastered by chimes dinging throughout the day.
Such a man can never sleep.

Countess: Unless he takes upon himself a definitive partner;
one who will push him to infinite limits while keeping him fed.
Such a man found favor with his wife;
and he pangs in anticipation as he watches over the city.

I promise you there’s no foul play here. There’s only lofty fancies transmitted to hard copies. These things drive me like offensive line backs off the shotgun formation. I’m ready to stand firm and go long. No my lady. You don’t have to look pretty. You already got me. This gospel reading is for all of us who has boogers in their nose.

10 And you are indeed showing this love to all the bothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to excel more and more; and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your own hands, as we instructed you. 12 so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one. 1 Thess 4:10-12

the love train

You ever pulled up on someone while they were digging in their nose? Like they’re mining for gold; got their whole face wiggling like they gettn’ jiggy with it? Like if they didn’t get this booger out they might die of suffocation? What do you do? Do you ignore and pretend you didn’t see it or look at em’ in the face and be like, “Eww, that’s gross!” Hopefully, your response is predicated on how you love, the type of relationship you have, and your analysis on what type of love is needed.

7 Ways to Perfect Love for the Brothers

  1. Pray – it helps to intercede on their behalf so that good may come to them. If you truly desire what’s good for their soul, spirituality will factor into your actions.
  2. Get to know them: find out their hobbies, their interests. Get to know their ambitions and help them solve any problems if you can.
  3. Be affectionate – whether through empathy or tenderness, let your feelings be ‘healthy’ towards them.

    THINGS TO DISCUSS: How can you develop healthy feelings for someone? Where should you let your guards down? Where should you set up boundaries?
  4. Touch – whether through high fives, a tap on the shoulder, or a warm embrace. We are sentient beings and a soothing touch can show that one is loved.
  5. Get to know their family – if you would call someone a brother or a sister, you should get acquainted with their family at some point.
  6. Get them a gift – people appreciate gifts as it shows them you care for them. Just don’t think friendships can be bought.
  7. Go out together – this could be to a party, another country, or doing community service. Bonds are strengthened as you do work together.

A Quiet pyre

One of the main reasons why I cling to Christian thought are the presence of paradoxes; two opposing statements that gives an underlying truth. There was a time where I thought it made no logical sense to hold two opposing opinions until nature humbled me.

TRUE STORY: I was working downtown in Chicago outside when it was staring to rain. Because my day of work wouldn’t be over until that evening, I needed to find some shade. It thundered and began to pour hard – and lo and behold – I looked across the street and it was sunny with no clouds. Literally I was being rained on and all I had to do was cross the street to be dry. Have you ever had this experience before?

In the 11th verse in our devotional, we’re encouraged to live a quiet life. In two other verses, there is an insinuating of living a loud and passionate life.

8 And now the word of the Lord is ringing out from you to people everywhere, even beyond Macedonia and Archaia…
1 Thess 1:8

19 Do not stifle the Holy Spirit
1 Thess 5:19

The way I’ve learned to reconcile this is two-fold. For one, there is no thought or whisper not heard form God and those in the faith. Number two, there is a time and place for open preaching, and quiet work. There needs to be balance between the two.

Leave the Door Open – Silk Sonic
Close the Door – Teddy Pendergrass

Mind your business

No really…unless your work involved overseeing the affairs of others, you have no place prying into people’s lives, spreading gossip or slander. Do you have a business or are you merely working for another? This isn’t to look down on those who are working for others, rather this is to provide alternatives to those who may be looking for work outside of their job. It’s counterintuitive to pursue a career as an intrapreneur or be the president of a company acting as an employee.

It’s counterintuitive to pursue a career as an intrapreneur or be the president of a company acting as an employee.

the prototype

Things to Ponder

  1. If you wanted ot start a business, what would it be?
  2. How would you maintain & grow your business?
  3. What partnerships or sponsors would you look for assistance?

My personal touch

Feels nice to have an assistant helping you complete tasks.

Count: You know I cannot have my servants slave for me dear. Have them be paid their worth.
Countess: Yes my love. I will look into payroll and make adjustments accordingly.

If we ever worked for others, more than likely you were at a job where you worked long hours for little pay. It’s tempting once you have your enterprise to set up structures under you so that people must work hard to work with you. And no, simply saying that’s how the world is isn’t gonna cut it. Either we learn to pay people fair wages or we lighten the load through their removing or sharing tasks. Nobody’s mousn’ around here.

Have you ever thought you could drag and drop things in your house with a computer hand? Or is it just me? Like while you’re cleaning the bathroom and you finishing the tub & toilet at the same time with your digital hands going ,” Zoo Be Doo Wap!” *In my Louis Armstrong voice* BOOM and then it’s DONE… Let me prophesy to the mothers who are burned out from maintaining the house. Your hands may have been weary in work but I’m going to extend your hands. My work shall be great amongst you as my eye works in your heart. You shall perform wonders in the home with ease with time and energy to spare says the LORD.

May Christ be born into our lives to do the impossible. Amen

The promise of self-sufficiency

When humanitarian cooperatives are preferred over spiritual community, we may find our values, goals, or boundaries clashing. We can lose a sense of freedom as outcomes are not only determined by circumstances, but other people. In Christ, our future in entirely dependent on Providence, and God only wants the best for us. All He asks us to do is serve Him and make his name great. If we are sound in Christ, we can do all things without the assistance of another. Nevertheless, Christian community cooperates as one body in the Earth.

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT:
If you CAN do all things through Christ, what spiritual or natural gifting do you feel can be awakened? How can you partner with Christ so that every good and hidden thing in you becomes perfected?

That wasn’t the question

We could be talking about the birds and the bees but here we are; reading these words…I can only hope you’re really digesting this language so that our lives may mushroom to something grand. This adrenaline is natural man. And I’m not trying to steal anyone’s thunder. You should know me by now. Stay in sync and the flow will come automatically. Continue to pursue justice, and Christ will come in a heartbeat..will come in a heartbeat…come in a heartbeat….in a heartbeat…..a heartbeat……heartbeat.

And James was relieved to know that he was still alive.

Count: God, I am forever in debt to the mercy extended to me. It is new every morning. You turned my sorrows into joy, and when I was just a worm, you caused me to fly with many sparrows. Thank you for keeping my life on track and preserving my mind from being quacked. You know how prone I am to wonder. Today I’m not six-feet under.

Countess: So make us stand taller in grace; even as we stand upon shoulders of giants who came before us. We praise you becase although many families are broken, the spirits of our ancestors are ever with us. Thank you for pouring your love abundantly in our heart. Let this same love bring restoration in the world around us. Ameen.

Which type of reality you prefer: Virtual, Digital, Augmented, or Spiritual? Why not have it all in Christ…

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may your entire spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our LORD Jesus Christ

— 1 Thessalonians 5:23 ESV

You Got the Nerve to Love

Nerved hand

When pleasure is no longer derived from external factors, you are more prone to find joy. You’ll find that your closest friends were in your heart all along and love you unconditionally. No matter how bitter you may find life, you’ll remember that you’re the star of your own movie. Direct it well; guard it through faith with your life. Shine the appropriate spotlights. Surprise! You’re now in the presence of God. Do you see God smiling at you?

The following passage comes from a verse my Dad would have me memorize as a child. It would help me whenever I felt betrayed or hurt by others:

44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. 45 So that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. Matt 5:44 ESV

Things to Discuss among yourselves:

  • How do you classify your enemies?
  • How practical is it to love those who intentionally do you harm?
  • NOTE: The King James Version has two additional clauses in verse 44: ‘bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you’.
  • What do you make of the phrase, “Kill them with kindness?” In what way is this benevolent? How can it be sinister?
  • How will you conduct yourself when faced with adversity?
  • Are you your worst enemy? How will you confront yourself?

Brandon’s Brownies: Review of T.D Jakes Sermon ‘Branded’

Probably one of the biggest blessings a person can have are their wonder years; those times in the ‘good ol’ days’ when things were more simple & blissful. You may have made childhood friends that may or may not have lasted a lifetime. Perhaps you had a childhood sweetheart that either stayed or faded out of your life. As I count my blessings, I can honestly say that I have good friends…now. Which leads me to a quick review of T.D Jakes sermon, “Branded”.

I have yet to listen to a single T.D Jakes sermon in which I was not deeply moved. This time however, I watched in sober silence. I watched a man in a snowy sweater speak to a man who is broken on the inside. I listened to the sermon with Shandra, and it was therapeutic for us to listen to a sermon together. For me, I couldn’t help but to listen, feel, and analyze the word of God delivered through Jakes.

A few highlights that ought to be commended about the message:

  1. Confirming the need for critical thinking when examining the text. As many of you know my positions on Biblical issues, there is a pandemic of Biblical assumptions postulated as orthodoxy.
  2. Confirming the dual nature of the mind of Christ. Because although Christ didn’t think of being equal with God something to be grasped, he also didn’t think of himself robbing God of His glory in claiming equality with Him. The significance of this assertion is that this mindset should be adopted by fellow Christians.
  3. Bringing in an inspiring personal testimony. To hear Jakes talk about his personal struggles and learning how to make do obviously resonated with me. To see where God took Him over the course of his career gives me hope. If God can bring abundant blessings in the midst of suffering, why can’t he also do it with me?
  4. Remembering that our story is meant to be shared for edification. There are countless stories of men and women who hit rock bottom only to receive healing, success, and favor. The Christian Testimony is given to show that with God all things are possible. And the more we submit to God’s ways, the more our stories will be effective in outreach.
  5. Hearing an exchange of spiritual truths – from speaking about computers, gates, soup, and chess, I felt heard. And oe of my deepest desires is to feel loved ad accepted. It’s one thing to experience that in Christ, it’s quite another to experience intin the world with people you care about.
  6. Being reminded that our suffering is what qualifies us for royalty. This gives me relief as I can see purpose in hardship. ‘the greater the suffering; the fuller the discipline, the bigger the crown.

Not looking for brownie points in writing this review. Rather this is my attempt to live out the passage in outdoing another in showing honor uncoerced. My most important relationship is between me and God, and after that His people. I dream of one day seeing His Spirit at work in His people in a powerful way.

LORD transform our minds so that we may have a pure conscience; circumspect and forbearing in all circumstances. Let our faith be genuine where we do not downplay our doubts but are vigorous in convictions. Let it be established on truth and not mere fancies. Give us a fervent heart to love others beyond normal compacity. We thank you for those who have labored over us in these dark times. Give us grace to be edifying. – Amen

Please check out my wife’s review on the same sermon entitled, “Emptying Yourself to Receive His Brand”

Emptying Yourself to Recieve His Brand: A review on Bishop T.D. Jakes Message, a complimentary take to James Richardson’s review

Philippians 2:2-11

2 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

5 In your relationships with one another have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in very nature[a] God,

    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;

7 rather, he made himself nothing

    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,

    being made in human likeness.

8 And being found in appearance as a man,

    he humbled himself

    by becoming obedient to death—

        even death on a cross!

9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place

    and gave him the name that is above every name,

10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,

    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,

    to the glory of God the Father.

“Grace and Peace”

This greeting rings in my head, I used to hear it time and again during a season of my life in which I attended a church in the south suburbs of Chicago. During this time James and I would help lead worship by playing our instruments in the morning and then high-tail it back into the city to attend our church in the afternoon.  The church members at this particular place of worship would consistently greet one another this way. At that time I thought it was nothing more than “Christianese”. And yet now almost ten years later, it has become a life gripping phrase for me as I have become more aware of how much grace and peace I need to navigate the hardships presently before me. I am also aware of the tremendous grace He has given me to do what before seemed impossible- to grow in patience and in faith in the face of persistent struggle. It is with this opening that Paul writes his letter to the Philippians. Chapter 1 verse 2 he writes:

“ May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.” So now I say to a younger, more ignorant, immature version of Shandra “ No, this was not some religious idiom, it is a lifeline of encouragement, drawing from the true source of strength you will need in life- Grace and Peace in the Lord Christ.

But now what does this exactly mean, what does it even look like? This is where I’d like to share some insights I’ve gleaned from this passage in Philippians, my life experience, and a message recently preached by Bishop T.D. Jakes.

Oftentimes when we discuss grace in the biblical context we are focusing on its chief definition which is known to most as “unmerited favor”. In the context of salvation, yes it is right to think about this because we have been granted eternal and unmerited favor through the death and resurrection of Jesus to live with Him throughout eternity should we embrace salvation. Right now, I’d like to underscore another dimension of the word which is more aligned with this definition:

Oxford Dictionary

noun

  1. 1.
    simple elegance or refinement of movement.
    “she moved through the water with effortless grace”

2.

courteous goodwill.

“at least he has the grace to admit his debt to her”

verb

  1. do honor or credit to (someone or something) by one’s presence.
    “she bowed out from the sport she has graced for two decades”

And so when we say “grace be upon you” we are granting that someone would have the elegance to move with refinement, the strength to do goodwill, and the capacity to do honorably in whatever circumstance they find themselves within. We see this unfold in Paul’s instruction in Philippians chapter 2. In this text Paul brings up the conduct that Christ displayed while here on earth- he made himself nothing, humbled himself, became a servant. By the way, how authentic that Paul would write this type of encouragement while he himself is imprisoned! He was displaying the type of grace he encourages others to obtain.  And you may ask “Why? Why do I need to have this type of grace and to what end?” This is where I wholeheartedly appreciate Bishop T.D. Jakes sermon. Bishop Jakes would say for the purpose of “Brand”. Brand, as expressed by Jakes, is to be sealed, authenticated so that one understands the ownership thereof. We know that in this life we cannot escape hardship. Hardships come in many forms- physical, emotional, mental, spiritual. And these categories themselves lend to various types of hardships one can suffer and the intensities thereof. Regardless of whether my hardships have been more intense than yours or not, one thing is true among us- we have faced them and they have profoundly impacted our souls. Given that suffering is inevitable, what comes out of its process is what becomes of chief importance. In other words are we better or worse off through it and after it? Are we more virtuous and productive than before? Note when I say productive, I am referring to the ability to produce life-giving attributes. This is exactly what we see of Christ, he went towards the cross, through the cross, and out of the cross giving eternal life to all who fellowship with Him. My goodness, we should pause right there and seriously contemplate this profound occurrence…Christ gave life while embarking upon the pathway towards death. Am I giving (life not grief to others) while on this pathway of suffering? 

“…the very emblem of our faith is suffering….we carry crosses to remind us that this did not come cheap…”

Bishop T.D. Jakes – Branded

What is my mindset as I navigate these hardships? In honesty- during what I call grey days, I have thoughts that range from- “ I deserve better than this…” to  “ This is the consequence of my sinful behavior of the past, if I only do better from now on, I can circumvent suffering in the future…Lord please give me the grace to get out of this!”. Once I sober up from this state, I come to recognize that first, these are lies. They are lies because they are extreme statements that derive from a place of judgment of the heart that is not based on a full view of what is truth. No matter what I did in the past or do now, I cannot circumvent suffering in this world, our world is marked by hardship. Further, these types of thoughts do not produce in me the capability (grace) to walk in peace and give life to all that is good in my life despite the hardship. Instead, they have me turn inward and get stuck in the mire. And this is exactly what amazes me about Jesus. On his way to the cross, he washed the feet of his disciples, he fed the masses, he healed the ill and did that which seemed impossible for a man who was to face the most gruesome death physically and spiritually. Make no mistake Jesus was under duress. We are told in Luke 22:43-44 that He was so stressed in the Garden of Gethsemane that He began to sweat blood! And it is this reality that puts my heart in check. Surely I can serve well despite my disappointments… YET I can only do this by thinking like Christ and drawing from His divine strength.


I have begun to learn the art of drawing from His strength. Can I tell you a secret? Mastering this art is not rocket science and it is one of the hardest skills one will need to learn in order to survive the darkest hours.  It is much like the training of a young Jedi. Mastering self-control while drawing from the strength of the force is critical in order to avoid the destructive, seductive power of the Darkside. (More on Star Wars and biblical theology…)

Ephesians 6:10 Be strong in the Lord and the power of His might.

Hebrews 6:11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.

These passages side by side convey something about our strength’s source and resting in the Lord. First that there is a power within the Lord and secondly that your very life depends upon its resource. I have learned that resting requires a discipline of redirecting my thought life, redirecting my attention,  recalibrating my body, forcing my mouth to praise when my heart is so heavy it has tried to lock down my words, exercising and moving, fellowshipping with others, withdrawing from others at the appropriate time, and so much more. Resting is not only physical health, resting my friends is mental health (more on mental health in a future blog and podcast) To rest in Christ is to trust that the hope of being with Him eternally and internally is greater than the pain I currently experience from the cross He has allowed me to experience. I am so sure there are deeper layers of truth to what it means to rest in Christ. For me, this is what I have come to understand at this leg of my journey. I also rest my worry of the unknown in the fact that I know that come what may, there is a beauty unfolding towards a purposeful end. In other words, I do believe there is a purpose to my current hardship- branding, authentication, to be useful to others in a greater life-giving way, etc. 

A few years ago, 2 Corinthians 1:4 became my “jam” while I was in a hard space. This became my jam much like a slow R & B to groove or a funk soundtrack one dances to no matter what circumstance they find themselves in. And so it says: “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” It is important to not miss the “so that” in biblical text. It’s like the pocket by which the beat resides and produces more resonance. It is the purpose I am talking about. If we miss the purpose, then what really is the point of it all?

I’ve seen this come to life in my own life! I began to realize that the encouragement I would give to others was now more than what I call “Christian platitudes”. By the way here’s the definition of platitudes:

a remark or statement, especially one with a moral content, that has been used too often to be interesting or thoughtful.

Thats Good To Know Lisa Mcdowell GIF from Thatsgoodtoknow GIFs

If you’ve been around church people for some time you know these all well-  verses out of context thrown at you during a hard time, unbiblical phrases such as “ Well, He won’t give you more than you can bear…” By the way, that’s nowhere in scripture my friends. And is actually quite offensive to people who have borne a crapload. Or another one I disdain is the “ Thanks for sharing…” left with a hollow emptiness and no mutual return of exchanging how one has either experienced God’s grace in an equally difficult time OR an admission that they are in need of God’s grace in a similar or profound way. What we find in 2 Corinthians 1:4 is the mark of one who has been authenticated, branded not just with hardship but with the comfort that those who walk with Christ experience! I can now look another person in their eyes and truly tell her/him I know what it means to come to the recognition that Christ alone is my all as I’ve experienced deep relational disappointments. I can equally tell you what God’s comfort meant for me as He gently but firmly showed me the darkness and deception of my own heart and how I’ve deeply hurt those I love. The point here is- receiving His brand requires us to be unashamed of the gospel in our lives.

And so I’d like to end this blog with an invitation for you to share your process with someone about how you are being branded for a greater purpose. I’d suggest to you that even if you just share what insights you’ve gathered (without sharing the details of the situation), that alone is a gem that could touch another soul in the deepest parts of their being- calling them towards endurance and life. You may share with us by commenting, share with me directly by email,  or better yet share with another with whom you are in relationship with throughout your daily life.

Grace and peace to you friends, may the Force, the only true One, be with you.

Why Alice can Dance: The Story of Alice Ball

Alice Ball Profile
Mad Hatter – Chick Corea

In a world that is increasingly being filled with nobles and the notorious; it’s becoming more important to control the narrative and preserve the histories laid down before us. One of the primary reasons African traditions and their legacies are lost today is because it’s preservation was primarily oral. But today through Christ, many of those traditions will be restored; the good things that existed in the past shall be redeemed, while what is vile and worthless shall be tossed away. Now although Christ comes to redeem all, everyone will not receive the message. It’s unfortunate to have to cut off people who simply don’t gel well and then get upset afterwards. Whatever you must do, keep away from falsehoods. Don’t let a lie get to your head Alice.

Leaps over walls

Today I’ll talk a little about Alice Augusta Ball; an African American chemist that came with the most effective treatment for leprosy until the 1940’s. Her innovations in using oil extract to inject into the body was way ahead of her time. In the state of Hawaii, she is the archetype being the first African American to receive a Master’s Degree at the University of Hawaii and the first to become a chemistry professor there.

Alice was born to parents James Presley and Laura Louise (Howard) Ball on July 24, 1892 in Seattle, Washington. James was a newspaper editor, photographer, and a lawyer. Her grandfather James Ball Sr., was also a photographer widely remembered for being the first African American to learn a process of printing photographs onto metals called daguerreotype. See what is done here? Common names will often go through Historical cycles. To suggest otherwise goes against common sense.

ME: Alfred am I lying?
ALFRED: Nope

likes to move

Now Alice and her family moved to Honolulu as a child. They moved back to Seattle after one year. Apparently, the move was to keep Alice’s grandfather, James healthy. The cold in Seattle agitated his arthritis but he eventually died in Hawaii. Alice would return to school and obtain her bachelor’s in pharmaceutical chemistry at the Universal of Washington. Two years later, she would get a second degree in Pharmacy. After studying about Ether solutions, Alice would move back to Hawaii to get her final degree in Chemistry.

In Hawaii, Alice studied chaulmoogra oil and it’s chemical makeups. After discovering its water soluble form, ester ethyl, she was able to make historical discoveries to cure leprosy. She would later study the chemical properties of Piper methysticum which would be used to treat leprosy from 1866 – 1942. Her greatest advocate at the time was Dr. Harry T. Hollman, who being unsatisfied with the results Chaulmoogra oil provides, consulted Alice Ball for her findings in Piper methysticum. Every form of treatment with Chaulmoogra oil presented problems as it gave mixed results. It was first used as a topical directly from the tree as eastern medicine.

It was first used as a topical directly from the tree as eastern medicine.

Unfortunately, it was found too sticky for a topical and too painful as an injection. If used as an injection, blisters would be formed. If ingested, it would cause vomiting due to it’s putrid taste.

Ball’s wisdom allowed her to develop a technique that made chaulmoogra seeds palatable and absorbable by the body. She did this by isolating ethyl ester compounds from their fatty acids. She called it, “The Ball Method” but died before she was able to publish her findings. Arthur L. Dean picked up after her work and continued research, publishing his findings. He renamed the method, “The Dean Method” without giving Ball credit. Thankfully he would eventually get called out for this. The procedure remained the preferred treatment for leprosy until breakthroughs using sulfonamide drugs appeared in the 1940s.

Alice Augusta Ball died on December 31, 1916 at the age of 24. She became ill during her research and returned to Seattle for treatment a few months before her death. The true cause of her death is unknown as her original death certificate was altered stating that the cause of death is tuberculosis.

Vertical points

This story is to commend a woman who made significant impact on people who suffered from leprosy; and to show how often Black History is treated as lice; what effect of erasure and ignorance has on the psyche, as if leeches are eating away at memories. The Good News is that it doesn’t have to be this way; the spirit of Alice continues on today doesn’t it? And there are sure fire ways now to cure the toughest of diseases; His Word. And as we feast on His Truth like little maggots we’ll find greater freedom, greater knowledge, greater healing than what we are accustomed to.

ME: Isn’t that write Alfred?
ALFRED: If God says so.

Did God say so? You see, certain things don’t have to be difficult. It’s simple once you learn how to commune. It’s no secret as to how eager God wants to restore His people. The question is: are we willing to reposition ourselves?

Questions to Consider:

  • You may not be a chemist, but you are always combining solutions with your thoughts, words, and actions. What formulas could you test to bring about healing in your life and those around you?
  • How self-sufficient are you? In what ways are you dependent on others?
  • What ways can you learn to control the narrative in your own life.
  • In what ways can we ‘write away injustice’? Are the correlations between ‘personal policies’ and politics?

Almond Joy is Nasty. Why I Still Have a Taste for it Though.

Almond Joy is Nasty

Great things come in small packages…except Almond Joy…I mean…I might grow to like it but nah. Almond Joy is that type of candy made for uppity folks whose products blew up because of a classist bubble. It’s like coming up with Matador’s to compete with Slim Jim’s; like comparing Rich Homie Quan with Slum Village. All the people who takes sides make cheap shots en masse, and pay lip service to preserve their livelihood. Personally, if I had to eat crap, I’d gamble with Hershey Kisses…don’t mind me, I’m just clowning around here. 

FUN FACT: The 50’s marked the golden era of manufacturing candy in Boston, MA. There was a certain candy called ‘Tweet’, that was produced on Confectioner’s Row in Cambridge.

– New England Historical Society  

Almighty Amuser

For all the heathens reading this blog let’s set the record straight so you don’t get the wrong idea; I tell bad jokes. What can I say? I’m a Dad after all, what do you expect? Now just because my oil may be crude, it doesn’t mean I don’t have a moral compass or respect traditional values. Jesus made friends with sinners, convicted them so that they would be fit to dwell in His kingdom. Understood?

I see you girl with all that jelly/
Thug the right way you can get in my belly/
Peanut butter with whipped cream/
You butter pray, Jiffy got something to parry/

Heathen, there is a reason for such hedonistic suggestions. Let me make it plain, I’m trying to turn your attentions to Christ.

6 it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, BUT rejoices in the truth. 1 Cor 13:6 ESV *emphasis added*

A Full Moon

I never really got into astrology and there’s a part of me that rejects it as its merely divination, (I know, I just threw away my player card right there). Speaking of which, have you checked out AstroBae on Twitter? This girl gotta whole cult following – of women at that – that she gives her reading to however many times in the week. Got me thinking to myself, “man if I was born yesterday, I’d think I’m looking at heaven looking at these tweets”. Miss I hope you’re not taking offense. There’s nothing but pure love here. On one hand, you can look at astrology and Tarot reading as forms of Divination. By contrast, the pseudoscience can be redeemed through Christ. Can the heavens and other terrestrial objects influence the ways of man?

12 Again Jesus spoke to them, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in the darkness, BUT will have the light of life.” Jn 8:12 ESV *emphasis added*
15 You are the light of this world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Mat 5:15 ESV

Ain’t nothing like being a JedEye who knows both sides of the force. 

Twin Flame

Have you ever met your Doppelganger? Apparently I have plenty. And way too many of them are psychos. 

TRUE STORY: Back when I was in Boston and I had my locs, I got stopped twice in one day by the cops. They were looking to arrest some guy – get this – who looked like me. Now after stopping me twice I was bugging because we know how police interactions go for Black Men in America. So I told them, “I think you got the wrong guy.” Then they showed me the sketch of the man they was looking for…and wouldn’t you know it? This guy really LOOKED like me! So now my hair is lifting off of my skin like Einstein and my mind is racing. I’m thinking to myself, “These cops are so racist that they will sit here, draw a sketch of you just so they have reason to arrest you.”. I said again, “No guys I really think you have the wrong guy.” And one of the cops gave me relief, “If you see this guy, let us know. He’s much TALLER than you.” 

-… ..- … … .. -. –.
-… ..- … … .. -. –.
-… ..- … … .. -. –.
-… ..- … … .. -. –.
Go figure.

How to Optimize your Joy?

Joy is not the same thing as happiness. Happiness comes and goes while joy is the state of happiness. Happiness comes and goes while joy is the state of happiness. Now if we as Christians are going to store pure worship in the Church, we’re going to have to look to Jesus as we subscribe to His teachings. To possess full joy, we must recognize that Christ is the objective (goal) and the inductive (cause) of our happiness.

NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 17: Chris Brown performs onstage during TIDAL X: Brooklyn at Barclays Center of Brooklyn on October 17, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for TIDAL)
Christopher Brown – One Bad Bass Player
Plyometrics for Football Athletes
  1. Smile – Both in your heart and in those beautiful lips of yours. Show some teeth. Oooh wee I see you out here serving face! You’re absolutely stunning! By the way, I’m practicing this in the mirror myself. Why should you smile in your heart? Well you won’t always find yourself in situations where you can physically smile, and sometimes it’s inappropriate to show those pearly whites when empathizing with another. 
  2. Affirm your happiness – I will be happy Today. The joy of the LORD is my strength; my defense in the adversities of life. He has made me glad! When we talk to ourselves, we build determination while speaking to our subconscious. Just don’t have any raggedy conversation with yourself in public. People may find you looney. 
  3. Laugh – Especially if you do this after talking to yourself! People are gonna be looking at you like, “Man that person must be on some Hyaluronic Acid, HA HA HA!” I have to admit it, this comes unnatural to me. Typically something must be funny enough for me to laugh. My best advice here is find that one thing that is supremely funny and learn to laugh. Just don’t be a sadist ok?
  4. Sing – Now this is more up my alley. Singing can do wonders for the soul, whether you’re singing silly songs, doing karaoke, or creating your own songs. Make melodies as if you’re singing with the birds. Sing as if your song wakes up plants and fertilizes the ground. Hopefully you’ll be moved just like I am.
  5. Dance – If you’re not the person who would bust a move for NO reason – I mean – no reason; no music, in the middle of the night, no pajamas, at the gas station; while working out at the gym, we probably can’t hang. You don’t have to be Chris Brown here, you just need to groove. This is probably a good time to note that being joyful is a workout – in and of – itself. Dancing becomes more wonderful once you realize God is dancing with and in you.
  6. Shout – Feel like screaming don’t you? If not remember we’re consolidating these exercises and not merely compartmentalizing them. Alot of positivity should be built up at this point. Let it loose!!! Don’t forget to shout from your heart as well lest you do your voice damage. I don’t know about you, but I feel a detox of bad energy already! Go ahead…AAAAAAHHHHHHHH.
  7. Lift up – Your hands; your heart, your soul; your eyes. Remember your surroundings can only have an effect on your inner being if you let it. 

    5 Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again – my Savior & my God. Ps 43:5 NLT

    This is the type of work that is useful for battling depression. This isn’t to say that you will always win in bouts, it’s just a strategy you can use when difficult days approach. 
  8. Exult – which we mean in two ways: 
    – leaping for joy
    – vigorously bringing everything to it’s full compacity

    Leaping for joy is just as much as a workout as dancing. In fact, plyometrics are practiced by athletes to build explosive performances. I couldn’t recommend this to those who are overweight, or advanced in age. It could also be a nuisance if you’re well endowed…ah hem…just saying. Take whatever precautions you need to do this physically, just remember affirming these things with your heart and lips are an option too.

With a JoyStick

You see what we’ve done here? We created a standard of procedure or standard of operations (SOP). Such lists are important when developing a business. A business can scale well when certain systems are put in place. Did you also notice that the list only has personal actions? There aren’t any additional equipment or personnel needed to excel in this process. It’s good when you’re self-developing to not have to depend on outside sources. This is also useful when you need to take on additional projects for an enterprise. If one project falls through, it should not disrupt the main flow of your business. 

2 Then the LORD answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. Hab 2:2 ESV

Adopt the practice into your life however you see fit; that’s consistent with your abilities and your schedule. Beat your high score!!!

Nastydamus

Because the time is coming O Mario, when such exultations will shake the Earth; when people are at the verge to evolve due to the deposits of virtue in their life. Of course there will be those who will ascend through practicing vices, but they will not get far. Remember Christ is the objective and the inductive of our joy. And as long as we find our delight in Him, we’ll find ourselves living a prosperous and pleasurable life.

Thou shalt not/
Thou shalt not/
Thou shalt not/
Thou shalt not/
Not tied to the mitzvah/
Missed me with that sugar/
Peeps ready to embark/
Discount with a coupon/
Upset that we’re trekking/
Tekken hits with Marshall Law/
Thou shalt not/
Ten shuffled with a deck a log/
Thou shalt not/
Ninjas in a half shell/
Shotgun with my wife Belle/
Give me life, this Renaissance’s ill/
Thou shalt not/
Thou shalt not/
Let me clean you up Pukkas/
Thou shalt not/
Thou shalt not/
Poker face you can be my cougar/

So what will we do? Are we willing to become more happy unconditionally as this year unfolds? This work may seem more complicated than it needs to. In reality, breaking things down and practicing them is God’s way of disciplining us so we will become more like Him. Why should we spend so much time trying to be happy? Well, I’d say it’s more than just being happy. As the old cliche goes, virtue is it’s own reward. 

Just how big of a reward virtue brings? That depends on how well versed you are in relativity…I will say this: When I was growing up in church, there was a simple song we would always sing in the morning that had a few verses to it:

Joy is mine! Joy is mine! Joy today is mine! I told Satan to get thee behind. Joy today is mine!

And as we dig through the depths of our souls, may we begin to store our treasures in heaven, and not on the earth. God Bless you and until next time. I love you.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

-Phil 4:4 BSB

Aim for the Ace

Ace Playing Card

Me: Dennis, why don’t you know how to act?
Dennis: What you talkin’ about?
Me: The people sayin’ you causing trouble again. Why you gotta be a problem these days?
Denis: I’d rather be a menace to solve, than be a mace forgotten and discarded.

Being an artist myself, it’s easy to predict who is good as opposed to who will be great. Good artists are either naturally talented or have charisma. The greats I’ve studied all possess a similar characteristic; a strong work ethic. Following Jeff Bezos’ philosophy, the men I’ve admired either worked hard, smart, long, or a combination of the three. There’s this nagging urge to improve – to do better than what they did yesterday. As a Christian man, I too adopt this passion not to be great, but to be whole. I desire perfection because I believe it’s the best way to reflect the glory of God in this age. It’s relieving to know that perfectionism doesn’t have to stem from a desire to be accepted or feel superior than others. There’s the possibility for it to be healthy as it arises from a certain unction:

Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Cor 13:11 ESV

Ready

Typically, people won’t gain interest in something unless it is accepted by others and gives them an advantage. No call is more compelling than having the upper hand no matter how often the deck is shuffled. The allure of living the Supreme Life and being Ultimately Loved in community with fellow believers is the selling point of the Christian faith. If this is something that one desires, how should they be prepared in practicing godliness and circumspection! Practice makes progress which is within perfection.

Practice makes progress which is within perfection.

The prototype

Set

Dennis the Menace

To give a solid premise for such a pursuit – as idealistic and unreal it seems – let’s reexamine the existential claim against perfection: perfect doesn’t exist and nobody is perfect. While this maybe the prevailing opinion, it deserves a challenge. For those who assert these notions have already disqualified themselves as arbiters to reality. If nobody is perfect, neither are you, so why should we take your postulations seriously? But we understand that the ideas around restoration exists – at the very least – nominally. And if we are honest enough to admit our judgments are NOT ALWAYS sound, we can begin to explore three hypothesis:

  1. Someone is perfect
  2. that someone is NOT you
  3. that someone IS you

You mean to tell me that there may be someone out there right now that is so smitten about you that they are doing everything within their power to be with you? Have you ever felt that way about someone? What exactly does it mean to be perfect? This is what I want my journey to be all about. In this blog however, we’re talking about what perfect love looks like and how can we grow into loving in this manner.

The Building Blocks to a Fulfilling Love Life

1. Philautia

Philautia is what should be the base for all other loves. Now for many Christians, this may run counter to their viewpoint that agape is the base and we don’t want to disagree with the philosophy of how man has the capacity to love. We start with self-love to avoid the sinister arbitrariness of dogma and allow men to experience the love of Christ AS they love themselves.

1 Be aware children, that in the midst of perils, times of restoration will come in the last days. 2 For as God loves the world, people will love themselves, filling their storehouses with the treasures of charity. 3 They shall wax self-confident in Christ and boast in the LORD; destroying every lofty thing opposed to DIVINE KNOWLEDGE. 4 No longer shall they listen to the wicked advice of their ancestors, but they will learn the Law of Christ. 5 Contentment for mediocracy and evil shall no longer be commended, and thanks shall be given to God for the power to overcome. 6 Piety shall no longer be practiced in pretense. It shall be developed in the light of God’s Word. 2 James 3:1-5 The Prototypical Version

Excerpt from the Lost Letters – James Richardson

2. Pragma

Pragma is practical love and is the natural overflow of Philautia. While self-love is consistent with the traditions of Soliphism, it’s difficult to reasonably ignore the sense of duty. Arguably self-love is the most subjective of loves. Pragmatic love is the beginning of making relative progress – or to put it more bluntly – pragma love deals with what who or what one can love in their present circumstances. Unfortunately this type of love if left unfulfilled will be less fun or stimulating. Wedding reason with imagination may help one assess options that will allow them to realize the freedom of Christ as opposed to being a slave to situations.

20Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called. 1 Cor 7:20

Will – Joyner Lucas & Will Smith

Me: Bro, when you gonna get out of yo’ man cave and hang?
Dennis: ****** I’m snoozing out here, lemme get back with you.
Me: Aight bet. Hit me up!

3. Philia

The next level up would be friendly or ‘brotherly’ love. Take note that ‘brother’ is written in the Spirit of Christ and not exclusive or misnaming those who are ‘sisters’ and/or otherwise. If you haven’t realized this already, this is where Philadelphia got it’s name from. The end goal of brotherly love is benevolence to one’s neighbor. In Christianity, this type of love ought to be fulfilled in time and space – that is – it ought to be everlasting and extended to everyone.

4. Storge

If you have made significant deposits of benevolence, it’s easier for your love to pass through the storge phase; familial love. We do not choose the families we are born into, but we have the freedom to surround ourselves with a family integral to our growth. Now storge love is normally reduced to love between parent and child, it can additionally be associated with uncles, cousins, nieces, etc.

5. Ludas

Somewhere between reaching out to having your deepest desires met, and behaving in a becoming way, is the need to break the rules. Enter Ludas love, which is more playful and flirtatious is nature. Just like self-love has negative and positive aspects to it, ludas love should be approached with caution. Non-committed love, if casually practiced can lead to breaches in health and relationships. This is especially true if one is seeking sexual liberation outside of the light of the Holy Ghost. A simple way of avoiding such vices is looking to Jesus as you relate to people. Lead through the transformation of your heart, and not through the appetites of your body and you will do well.

Non-committed love, if casually practiced can lead to breaches in health and relationships.

Can I get it on a platter, shatter your bladder
And put so much light in yo’ life I’ll make the roaches scatter
– Ludacris

6. Eros

Practice Ludas long enough and you’ll enter Eros love. This love is the most passionate of the rest as it includes romance and sex. For Christians, this love is reserved for marriage nevertheless it includes the mystical union of being joined to Christ. It’s been said that Eros is by instinct the natural course of life to survive. This resonates with me as I’m compelled by an innate desire to have what is purely pleasing to me. And I am certain that neither ecstasy or heaven can be real without God.

Warning about Eros

It should be noted here that only in the context of the mystical union of Christ can porneia be redeemed. Porneia is the greek word for any extra-marital relationship carried out by body, soul, and mind.

Greek word Porneia

To be clear, to physically carry out fornication, adultery, pedophilia, incest and the like goes against the will of God and is deserving of damnation as one corrupts themselves. But those who diligently look to Christ, who richly provides all for our enjoyment, will be transformed in a way where pursuing conjugal relationships are consistent with Divine Law and it’s consummation acceptable to God and man. May this word serve both as encouragement and conviction to those who have pure desires but have stepped out of Divine will; who exchanged godly transformation for artificial substitutes and therefore fell short of reflecting God’s full glory.

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7. Agape

It may be hard to imagine a love that is better than romantic and platonic love; tell certain people that sex is overrated and they might look at you funny. The pinnacle of all loves is the love God has for humanity and inversely the love man has for God. It’s this type of love that I desperately long for. The hope of restoration is found in this affection.

And if we’re honest enough to admit our judgements are NOT ALWAYS sound, we can begin to explore three hypothesis:
1. Someone is perfect
2. that someone is NOT you
3. that someone IS you

Go!

Who needs perfectionists in an age where Narcissism abounds? Can the world sustain more people with inflated egos? There needs to be a distinction between one who is arrogant and selfish, one who is self-confident and generous, and one who has God-esteem and is benevolent. While much has been written about the former and has caused much grief and problems in our world, there is much room for the latter to heal and restore the world around us. God-esteem by definition is ascribing God to be Immaculate and by union, a reflection of His perfection. And just like how Christ’s Incarnation was birthed to build a meaningful relationship with the world, Christians ought to strive to build a profound fellowship with each other.

God-esteem
noun

1. The practice of ascribing perfection to God and by extension yourself.

In conclusion, perfect love is immanent in all the other loves discussed. However, agape love is transcendent and is where a person may find the awe and sublime of God. So therefore, what is holding you back from becoming a true worshipper of Christ? Do you doubt that a full reward awaits you as you give Him your all? Are you still feeling like you can never be deeply loved? There are yet sublime experiences to be had in marriage. Your marriage does not need to burn out. There is a passion even the singles can feel alone. And it’s all found in Christ:

You didn’t get tired of me/
When I brought you hell/
Ice fell as an epagoge/
Rock bottom now I found a gem emoji/
Thank you LORD for loving me/
Even when I was unloveable/
You gave me faith & believed in me/
With a grace so incredible/
I laugh with joy unspeakable/
It preaches to the unreachable/
LORD cause me to not save face/
All day long may I give you praise/

So Israel left Egypt which is called Babylon to serve the LORD.

Me: Yo’ Dennis are you up yet?
Dennis…
DENNIS!!!

14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

— Hebrews 10:14 ESV

Ace Turkey Diamond Card

The Bishop’s Opening

The Bishop's Opening

CHAPTER ONE

America’s Red Flag

1Here is what God is saying concerning the United States:
The colors of your flag are red, white, and blue;
why then is your land only red?
2The sounds of violence are within the ear shots of babes;
the musician no longer plays their instrument,
and the singer has ceased from singing.
3Nations have turned their backs on you;
even those who plead to you for their lives,
for you have exchanged vitals for vitriol.
4Open your eyes and weep! Feel remorse!
For your transgressions have piled up,
and you have prized rubies over me.

His Story of Slaves


5I showed belligerence to your fathers;
when I punished them with the sword and with whips,
my wrath was on display as in a stadium.
6I impoverished them even to the depths of their soul,
but my Holy Ones can afford my delight and favor;
for the sweetness of my charm has never left my necks.
7They have found their standing in Me,
and become my most precious of Messengers.
Because of this, they will receive my inheritance.
8Doesn’t my name bring about salvation?
Does it not both deliver and destroy?
Dare to praise me, and you will find refuge.

The King’s Meme


9For I am the LORD, a consuming fire;
Yeshua, the LORD of hosts.
I was severed from my brothers as in the days of Joseph.
10And my brothers came to me saying,
“Who are you to tell us you’re the King?”
And my authority is challenged.
11Therefore I instructed my muses to prepare a drink for me
with hyssop; for a libation, but for themselves.
Let them pursue pleasure within reason, 
lest the serpent beguile them.
12I commanded the powers to irrigate the land with dryness;
that the country shall thirst with nothing to quench,
and the ungodly shall drown in their appetite.
13Those who have respect to my name shall not be in chains,
they shall remain untarnished;
uninhibited and will escape the grip of the despot.
14Still the sacrilegious shall burn in their corruption;
it shall be heaped upon them as coals of fire;
yes even as meteors of wormwood.
15Their souls shall be tormented forever;
left desolate with no one to restore,
for they despised the only hand that could rescue.

A Waning Church


16O Israel, my ministers have become dispassionate;
my prophets are apathetic,
for their bloodshot eyes have not seen peace.
17And the minds of the wise agonize,
they seek knowledge from dusk until morning,
and yet no solution is found to cure.
18Because at the end of the Day, they’ve forgotten Me.
I am the Day, the Bright Morning Star.
The grind that the LORD requires has ceased amongst them.
19Therefore dancing shall cease from the clubs,
and skipping from the hearts of the streets.
Giddiness shall be known as an ancient relic;
20And the vigor of the strong shall fail;
even the fragrances and cosmetics.
Let those who keep judgment accept bribes no more!

21Keep the ways of the LORD and he will preserve you;
You will continue on Highways that the profane cannot enter.
22You will rest in the loveliest pastures that God has provided.
Justice shall be your front and rear shield.
For only the pure in heart can enter my presence.

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