TREASURE IN CLAY VESSELS

pottery-ceramicTreasures in clay earthware vessels hidden, priceless gem, preserved to encourage you to hold on, endure by faith Jesus Name.

A rock collector named Rob once went on a dig and found a rock he described as “purdy and big.” He tried unsuccessfully to sell it, and when that failed, he kept the rock in his closet in the dark. “We have treasure in earthen vessels, surpassing greatness of power and will of God not from ourselves but from God. Although afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed says .” 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 in the Bible. Rob had guessed the blue chunk of rock could bring as much as $500, but he would have taken less if something urgent came up like paying his power bill. That’s how close he came to selling for a few hundred dollars what turned out to be the largest, most valuable sapphire ever found. The blue rock Rob Cutshaw had abandoned to the darkness of a closet two decades ago known as “The Star of David” sapphire weighs nearly a pound, and could easily sell for $2.75 million. How many have a treasure hidden in the darkness of our lives, unaware of its immense value? God wants nothing more than for you and me to have full access to all blessings and rewards He’s already laid aside for us to have.bIt’s easy to live life unaware that God has set aside this treasure to have. I can often live in desperation, wondering when I’m going to get a break, questioning when God’s going to finally come through. So, how do we discover this fantastic treasure and let God take care of our needs? Sometimes, for God to meet our need we first plant seed for others.7759295-handmade-clay-jars-characteristic-of-central-java-indonesia

Many years ago, our church ministry was about to be kicked out of a school where we’d been meeting for Sunday service. While we had no idea what would happen, we continued to teach the Word and take care of each other like brothers and sisters in Christ should. I was still at Dallas Seminary, and one day I walked by a staff member there who casually said to me, “Oh, by the way, did you know that that small church on Camp Wisdom Road is getting ready to move, and they’re looking to sell?” Before the year was done, we moved to our permanent church home. Because we stayed diligent in fulfilling our calling as a ministry, teaching the Word and caring for each other, God revealed a wonderful treasure that was mere blocks from the school we had been occupying. God has called you to a mighty work as well. The hardships we face can be distracting, even paralyzing sometimes. But God wants to know whether our focus is on Him or on our hardships. When we stay diligent with what He’s given us, God will fill us to overflowing with even more down the road. Consider this example. If you wanted to purchase a particular amount of rice, the person behind the counter would pour that rice into a measuring pot or scale of some kind. But they would not fill it to the precise measure straight away; they would only go three quarters of the way up and then shake the pot and press on the rice. The reason for shaking is to both level out the rice and fill in any gaps formed underneath. In other words, because of the shaking and the pressing, you get more rice. That’s what God can do in the midst of your trouble; He lets life press down so He can “fill in the gaps.” AsEarthen_Vessel_thumb[1] 2 Corinthians 4:8 reads, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing.” Most often, it’s in life’s darkness that God prepares us for His best. Lord, I ask You to give us peace, to weather the storms of life and relax in dark times, knowing You are with me. Fill me with a greater measure of Your courage, that I might stand boldly against the enemy’s attacks. Finally, I ask for patience as I wait for Your great treasures, both here and in the life to come. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Isaiah 33:6, “God is the stability of your times your wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; The fear of the LORD is God Almighty’s treasure.”

RELATED RESOURCES:
If plagued with a lifetime of struggle, sickness or heartache, you likely cried out to God for help. When it seems like HE S’ not answering, what do you do? God’s great reward is often found in the darker places of your life. Learn to take eyes off circumstances and place them on the LORD. Get into living in service of God’z Kingdom. Get copy of Dr. Tony Evans’ Treasures in Darkness CD series.

CONNECT: 
Experience more Dr. Evans’ teachings, books and ministryn @ tonyevans.org.  Get copy of Treasures in Darkness by Dr. Tony Evans to celebrate new series, The Urban Alternative 5 CDs! Leave a comment on our website today, and we’ll randomly select 5 winners. We’ll notify each winner in the comment section by Monday, July 16, 2018.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What are some dark places you’ve been in recently? What’s one step you can take to move away from the darkness toward God’s intended treasure?

© 2018 by Dr. Tony Evans. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks The Urban Alternative for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org

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A LIFE FULL OF GODLY JOY

Zephaniah 3:17 says that God Almighty in heaven rejoices over us with singing! Can you imagine God’s great Majestic sonic booming maestro sound echoing throughout the firmament and universe because God is so joyful about you. Yes you, it seems oxymoron to even suggest God is happy with you let alone is joyful over you. Perhaps you spent your whole life miserable, angry over God as unfair killjoy ready to lash out and to point out only your faults to punish you. Such misrepresentations of God’s TRUE reflection of eternal joy in heaven with saints and angels rejoicing over all saved in Jesus Name in the LORD GOD saps joy out of life. Yet in the midst of sorrow Jesus comforted His apostles and disciples to have joy in spite of adversity, knowing grief or pain is momentary so they will be reunited forever in heaven permanently. Godly joy is not absence of the circumstances we would prefer not to endure or have to put up with in life. Rather our source of joy comes from Christ in us our hope of glory therefore external or internal issues trying to derail our joy is negated by the blood of Jesus. Even within those dark gloomy days of deepest grief, pain, loss or sorrow Christ encourages us to look up to Him to rejoice forevermore. As a matter of Godly joy eases sorrow so takes out the sting intended to wear you out to lose confidence and faith in God. It is the Joy of the LORD GOD Almighty that replenishes and sustains us to keep on keeping on despite hardships of life. Absolute perfect joy of God flows into us from God cancels the bitter, toxic, vitriol intended to depress or separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. The cares of the world can sometimes overwhelm to distract us to forget the goodness of the strength the joy of the LORD brings us. Preoccupation of sadness, bitterness, anger, grief, sorrow, melancholic living distracts us from refreshing joy in the presence of the LORD. Often the darkest times is when disconnected from God so most vulnerable to things of the world that try to come against us. Pure Joy is found in Christ residing in our hearts to help us to overcome in life. In fact God’s crown of rejoicing reward is given to all who manage to remain joyful even if all odds are against them. Another verse in Bible says, God is disappointed because HIS Children do not reflect HIS TRUE joyful qualities so world has a distorted view of who God really. The believer’s responsibility of joy is not an option but a duty of care to reflect joy of the LORD to the world and to the fellow believers in Christ by good example as Jesus did during His passion of sorrow to save us.

TRAUMATIC DEATH GRIEF

traumaticbereavement-thirdTraumatic tragic death bereavement is completely unexpected loss, worst form of grief people go through. Suddenly changes lifeplan dramatically, cancels activities so a shock to the system. One minute conversation is taking place about life but the next minute subject changes to unexpected death. It is most painful if the person appeared healthy, full of life with a great future suddenly cut short by death. The numbing shock of loss is hard to sink in and feels that loved one is about to walk through the door home. Seems like a dream, surreal but wide awake with sleepless nights so deep within the heart an overwhelming pain lingers on. Everyday passes by without a text, contact or phone call, facebook so realises it must be really true. Shock is a normal reaction and unbelief deceased person is really no longer with us here on earth. Sudden change of plans means numbness while taking in loss starting to sink in. Though we understand death as part of life it does not make it easier to accept. Death is painful and difficult to experience it hurts beyond belief and complicated. At times pain seems insurmountable but support and a therapy can help to understand, accept and ease the pain. After death of a loved one life is never the same but talking therapy helps to provide skills and tools to assist with creation of the new normal to integrate life into new existence. Annette was on the way to mortuary when Julia phoned to support death of daughter Amber, aged four, who drowned in a swimming pool, and going to see her body. Many people would not call at that moment they feel encroaching on a raw traumatic grief. bottomJulia, friend of couple, a psychotherapist specialises in dealing with loss knows when people in throes of overwhelming grief, sharing the pain is the only thing that makes even the tiniest difference. Grief professionals don’t have endowed special powers its empathy compassion. Phil answered the phone, so Julia liked to say something to make it better but knew nothing could do that, so she said the only thing she could. “I am terribly sorry to hear your daughter, Amber, has died; I’m sorry the devastating pain that has happened to you. How can I help?” 25 years as grief psychotherapist taught Julia great deal about human condition that focus on grief means focus on life, loss exposes things that matters about a person, their strengths and weaknesses. When someone dies, it reveals faultlines in bereaved family, even deepest, most hidden ones. If you know about loss you know about family, about love, survival, resilience and strength. Knowing about loss means you know about life. But there is a paradox at the centre of loss, and it is this. Grief is the most intense pain there is, and we will do anything to avoid pain. So we run away from it; we run away from our own grief, and we run away from others’ grief. Yet, says running away from grief means we will not recover but embracing helps move through the agony and deal with pain. bereavement-and-traumatic-grief-counselling-pinnacle-therapy-counselling-in-london

Allowing ourselves to be while it washes over us, is only way to survive because we have to feel the worst in order to let it change us. Then we can start to find out who we are going to be in wake of it. This is the message at the heart of Julia’s new book, Grief Works. “If you ignore grief and push it down, you can live and you can function, but you live a very narrow emotional life because using emotional energy to cope,” she said. “Everything in psyche will be squashed down, and that means small things can trigger a much bigger kind of effect. The fact is to do the work of grieving. You have to let it run its course. Pain is agent of change; pain allows you to change, it enables you to reach a new reality.” Her book traces journeys of many of the bereaved people she has walked alongside; she describes how she wept and mourned with them. “let clients know what they say has an impact: Tell them when feels shocked, sad or upset,” she says. So talk about relationship with bereaved and a relationship with friends in service of a deceased. Say what you feel if thinking about them if it’s useful to share. One of the many moving stories in her book is that of Bill and Sally, whose 13-year-old son Matthew died of rare virus. Sally tells Julia losing her son has made her feel dead, no more expectations of life; so does not want to go on living. “I said quite plainly, although she was giving up on herself, I refused to; I would fight for her, held her and whispered hidden strength within her said, to live.’ Julia, in 50s, mother of 4 grown up children, grandmother of four, vivacious and fun: has time to feel recharged with life. You know it helps feeling of clients who like Sally regain joy to be alive again. Helps Julia’s interest in answering questions on experiences of traumatic loss to help open hearts for the healing process.17848

There are two sorts of loss, says Julia: expected loss and traumatic loss. And perhaps, for one in her profession, her own losses have all been expected ones. Her father died at 87, sad, grieved but it not traumatic loss. Bereavement work involves charity Birthright, Well-being of Wo/men made her aware of the pain of losing a baby although wonders was unconsciously influenced by parent’s loss of three parents and three siblings by the time they were 25. “Everything seemed OK, but thinks back aware of some unresolved grief. Almost only personal experience of a shocking, out-of-nowhere, loss figures such death brought loss closer and changed how to deal with grief. Julia was a close friend of Princess Diana, a connection echoed when asked by William and Kate to be a godmother to Prince George in 2013. That is, she says, a very joyful role lots of fun, and the chance to enjoy the little boy as he grows up but she doesn’t want to say much about it or Diana, save she agrees her death made difference to the nation’s approach to grief. So, too, she says, did other major shifts of history, especially the first and second world wars. “Our parents, parents of people of my generation, were the generation that couldn’t afford to grieve. Were parented by survivors of first world war simply to survive but modern luxury means able to deal with it differently.”traumaticbereavement-fullwidth

Despite public outpouring of grief after Diana’s death, doesn’t think most people are sufficiently aware impact traumatic bereavement has, the ripples it leaves or how long they persist. As someone who experienced a traumatic loss at the age of nine, when three-year-old sister was killed in road accident agrees with her analysis. It is 44 years since death, and shockwaves still reverberate in the family: everyone is different because of it, next generation touched by it in ways too subtle for them to fully understand.

Traumatic losses shape future of family as subject of great interest to Julia; so, is the way men and women deal with loss differently. Men, tend to want to move on to make plans, to focus on new horizons. Women on other hand want to spend more time remembering the person who died so want to immerse themselves in the pain. But the fact is, each can learn from others. “You have to do both things: you must have time to grieve and mourn and other time when you have break from the grief. You can create circumstances where you grieve, and circumstances where you move on; so men and women help one another. IMG_20180303_141134He can help her go for a walk to a park or gallery can help him talk about how he feels to express some of his loss.” The problems set in when individuals fails to understand the pattern of grief in the other; they think of them as selfish or they don’t care enough, but it isn’t about that due to the different ways of coping. Grieving is an intensely individual and incredibly lonely experience, which can make it difficult time in family, group of people going through something sparked by same event, but is in each case very differentThe way to cope, is be open in communicating feelings to others in your family. Families that fare best share feelings openly when a death disrupts complex finely tuned balance in a family. So needs a reorganised and open approach to help with process.”

At the beginning, and this is especially true of a traumatic loss, the grief is all-consuming: but over time, says Julia, you find you are starting to live again. The mistake some make, though, is believing they can go back to being the way they were. “Some people say, ‘This isn’t going to change us.’ But that’s not how it is: and it’s when you recognise that bereavement is a life-shattering experience, and that you have to grieve and rebuild, that you can move on positively into a new phase of life. originalYou don’t forget the person who’s gone; you can never do that, and you should not worry that you’re going to. But you keep them in memory so their loss helps you become a new person you become; and maybe in the end is greatest tribute to make to anyone who passed to Glory. Grief affects us all so hope in God and read HIS beautiful WORDS in Bible to guide prayers. Powerful scriptures will help you face feelings of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It is very normal to feel it is not really true the person is still alive soo will be at home, then in shock, angry they died, hoping the loved one comes back alive, realising they passed on into Glory and finally accepting loss and accepting new unexpected sudden sad changes of life. Crying, weeping, feeling low not eating properly, sad, confused, depressed are all part of feelings of pain, hurt of loss, bereavement, grieving and mourning. It is normal to feel helpless, lost without a loved one with deep sorrow and pain. One helpful action is remember a loved does not want your life destroyed and ruined because of them. They see you in heaven so like you to live and continue life despite feeling changes happening. There’s no shame in being sad. The life we’ve been given was never promised free of pain or sorrow so during times we hurt most run to God and HIS Word for peace and comfort. Psalm 117:7 says God cares about death of the righteous.listingbereavement-jesus-wept

Help from family and friends 

Listening. Be a friend who is prepared to give their time, to listen and to acknowledge the extent of your friend’s loss. Listening is the key. Bear witness, and allow your friend to be upset, to be confused and contradictory, or to say nothing at all. Every time they tell their story once more, or are allowed to say how important the person who has died was, burden of carrying pain on their own is incrementally a little lighter.

It’s not about you. Follow a mourner’s lead: they may not want to talk about their grief right now, or with you. It is good to say something to acknowledge their loss, but then let them have the control they need, they had none over death so choose to talk or not. If they ask you to come and be with them, and want to talk openly to you, go. If they truly don’t want a visit or don’t want to deal with it at that time, don’t force it on them. Don’t confuse need to speak, call, contact, with friend’s need of privacy to come to terms with grief. Some kings or or important dignitaries, leaders buried in secret. Deuteronomy 34:5-7, Numbers 27:13-28 says God buried Moses Himself without gravestone marker, headstone, monument remain unmarked, Israelites not have idol worship. So Moses’ eternal soul rests in peace buried in the Moab valley opposite Beth Peor near Mount Nebo from plains of Moab near top of Pisgah. None knows where Moses’ body buried, concealed in grave stops people flocking to idolise him. In Jude 1:9 angel fought with Michael over Moses’ body, only unique burial by God. Moses’ body soul, alive in Transfiguration met Jesus with Elijah alive from heaven on Mount in Matthew 27:1-10.

loss-300x225 (1)Mourning state of total shock and disorientation exempts you from performing actions requiring attention to detail. Time is given off work at least minimum of 2 weeks plus due holidays to grieve and mourn. Time is needed to sort out paper work, fill in forms and to notify various agencies of the departed. In mourning people wear symbolic or an appropriate colour suitable for the age of the departed. To be able to attend unhindered to funeral arrangements it is important to dress appropriately. The family decided obligated choice agreed on to help support family. Immediately following burial mourning the mourner does not listen to music, go to concerts, does not attend joyous events or parties unless absolutely necessary. If a date set prior to death strictly forbidden or to be postponed cancelled. Week-long period of grief mourning observance referred to by time to grief. During this period all mourners traditionally gather the home and receive visitors. Mourners refrain for a week from showering or bathing, wearing leather shoes, jewelry, shaving. Some communities cover mirrors in the mourner’s home so they not concerned about their personal appearance. It is customary for mourners to sit on low stools or even the floor, symbolic of the emotional reality of being “brought low” by grief. Meal of consolation first meal eaten on return from funeral consists of hard-boiled egg or other round oblong foods. Biblical hospitality means during this seven-day period, family, friends or colleagues visit and call on mourners to comfort them. Is considered great time of kindness, compassion to pay respects to visit the mourners. No greetings are exchanged, visitors wait for mourners to initiate conversation. Mourner is not obliged to engage in a conversation and may completely ignore his/her visitors. Visitors take on hosting role, attending to guests, bringing food and serving it to the mourning family. Mourning family avoids cooking or cleaning during this period. Those responsibilities become that of visitors to ease burden and pain.

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Acknowledgment. Death isn’t catching, but those who are bereaved might think so, judging by the fear they see in other people’s eyes. People are frightened about whether to come forward, about what to say, about saying the wrong thing so, in the end say nothing. All of that comes from a belief whatever you say should make things better but have enough wisdom to make the pain more bearable but you can’t or need to. Be kind enough to acknowledge them and their suffering is difficult enough. Offer to be there if they need you, suggesting that they should be the one to ring you, is probably asking too much of your friend at this time. It is better if you take the initiative and make contact, and then follow their lead: they may want to see or speak with you or not. Often, people don’t make contact because they feel they don’t know the bereaved person well enough. If you are erring one way or the other, better to err on the side of making contact.

Practical help. Doing practical things is often what really makes a difference. Don’t say, “Let me know if I can help”; actually do something helpful. At the beginning of a bereavement, there may be a lot of people around, so bringing food may be the best thing you can do. Taking food around for longer than the initial crisis is particularly appreciated.Traumatic-Bereavement-Ind1_m

Honesty. Be honest because honesty is comforting and easy to deal with. So direct honesty helps complex messiness of grief so an enormous relief to people. Be honest about what you actually can do rather than covering up because you feel guilty about what you can’t. And be specific to say, “I’m going to come round for half an hour” or come on Tuesday” don’t say, “I’ll come when you want, tell me, and I’ll be there”, and then find you can’t deliver on that offer.

Be sensitive. Being honest is important, as being sensitive. Promiscuous honesty is not a good idea. Be aware of showing too openly your life is trotting along as happily as can be, feels like you rubbing their nose in your happiness.

Be in it for the long haul. Remember to make contact and be supportive after everyone else has gone. Usually three months following the death, people get back to their lives, as they should. But it is by no means over for the person who is bereaved. Sending a text or popping is hugely supportive.Gay couple hugging and walking in park

Writing. Letters, cards, texts or emails: it doesn’t matter what you write – all are extremely helpful. It is better, however, to say that you don’t want a reply, because some people simply can’t respond. And it is never too late to send them. It is a welcome surprise to receive a card much later, because it is when everyone else has forgotten and your friend is still grieving. When you do write, try to make it personal and avoid tired cliches such as, “She’s had a good innings” or “Better to have loved and lost because they are trite in some way diminish personal importance of this very loved person who died. You don’t need to go into long explanations of why the person died or theological explorations about death; be loving and personal, warm and acknowledging.

RAPTURE ETERNAL RESURRECTION

Believers have assurance of eternal life in Christ so mourn with hope for their resurrection. In the Bible Jesus raised Lazarus from death, widow of Nain son, Peter raised Dorcas, Paul raised young man who fell dead sitting on a window ledge. The dead arose alive when Jesus was crucified and went into town seen by many people. We pray and ask GOD to raise loved one too in Jesus Name so thank God Jesus raised Lazarus. Bible says Christianity lasts beyond earthly life into heaven so mourn and grieve with hope in Jesus Christ. Christians call death falling asleep to pass into glory to be with God. Although grief pain hurts deeply and so feels tragic loss yet know future reunion family circle will be complete in heaven in the Presence of God Almighty. In the Rapture, the dead in Christ will first be resurrected to join those alive together to meet Christ in the clouds into heaven. The signs of the end times are predicted by Jesus in Matthew 24. So death is part of transition into eternal life although it is better to have loved ones on earth as members of a family, God calls them to higher service in heaven. Rest in peace safely beloved in the loving arms of God so no more sorrow, grief, pain, tears we love you and miss you terribly but God LOVES you more. We shall see you one day in Jesus Name for you are delivered because your name is found written in the BOOK OF LIFE according to Daniel 12:1-2. All asleep in Christ in dust of the earth wake to everlasting life in heaven in Glory in GOD’S PRESENCE. The Holy Spirit of God is our Comforter in times like these so we draw strength from the word of God to carry on in life in Jesus Name. GOD Our Father Comforts us too through His Love and Words of comfort from loved ones, friends and family. 

Extract from Grief Works by Julia Samuel

Topics

EARLY ADOLESCENT KIDS

kids-circleAdolescence starts earlier in modern generations than previous ones lasting twice as long as it did in the 1950s. So children are hitting puberty earlier than ever before said Psychology professor Laurence Steinberg who explained why to BrainwavesAdolescence is a period of life between starting puberty and becoming stable, independent adults. This time is being extended because some children begin puberty earlier.Kids-Diverse-1

Adolescence is three times as long as it was in the 19th Century and it’s twice as long as in the 1950s.
Professor Laurence Steinberg

According to Professor Steinberg, in the western world adolescence runs from age 10 or to about age 25. Professor Steinberg attributed this phenomenon of lengthening of adolescence to several surprising factors as follows:youth-world-header-large

Obesity & Man-made Chemicals

The first and most important is obesity. The kids who are fatter go through puberty earlier than the leaner kids he said. Man-Made Chemicals. There are other factors as well. One has to do with the exposure of children to endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the man-made environment. The chemicals are not just in food, they’re in cosmetics, they’re in plastics, they’re in pesticides they’re ubiquitous.” “When people are exposed to these endocrine disrupters it alters their hormonal development and many chemicals lead to earlier onset puberty mostly in girls.”hot

More SunLight exposure

The third factor that’s been discovered fairly recently has to do with exposure to sunlight.” It turns out that kids who grow up near the equator go through puberty earlier than kids who grow up near the north or south pole and that’s because, when you grow up near the equator, you have more exposure to sunlight over the course of childhood years.” While it may not be of too much concern to parents in northern Europe, recent research suggests a final factor which applies to many children here.

“Scientists discovered recently the light emanating from tablets or smartphones or computer screens can affect onset of puberty by disrupting brain’s melatonin system. Kids who spend more and more time in front of these screens especially in front of the blue light emitted by the devices probably contributed to earlier puberty as well. Light from the phones impacts brains of kids and adults.“World-Population-889x591.jpg

Adolescent Brainwaves

Brainwaves of the adolescent brain as Pennie Latin examines is relatively a young field of teenage neurology. It has revealed lack of frontal cortex ability to understand risk and consequences. And so although adolescent children may hit puberty earlier, they may not be able to handle the harsh realities of the trauma of war years, distress, rations, famine, lack of tough physical life forced upon previous generations. They worked in factories, chimney sweepers, railway as tracks as children making them more mature. They develop faster on growth spurt but face challenges of the modern generation.

FOOD IS YOUR MEDICINE

A North Carolina Gospel Minister Sows Seeds of Hope in a Food Desert in USA. The Reverend Richard Joyner of Conetoe Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Conetoe, NC, exhorts his congregants to strengthen their community. First, the Reverend Richard Joyner got mad. Then he got a trowel. Sick and tired of seeing his congregation suffer from poor nutrition, the North Carolina minister sowed seeds of hope in a food desert. ABOUT A DECADE AGO, the Reverend Richard Joyner of Conetoe Chapel Missionary Baptist Church realized he ministered to a congregation of people often hungry and living in poverty but never complained. He came up with an ingenious use of land that helped keep the young ones involved in learning about nature first hand. The Church members unfamiliar with farming in the city are educated on how to grow own good produce.  The pastor found it difficult to comfort grieving or contain his outrage: “How do you tell someone who’s just lost a child to poor nutrition that this was God’s plan when it was totally preventable? Who would hang out with that God?” Each Sunday, Joyner felt like a hypocrite, urging congregants to worship a deity he doubted. During the week, he was forced to confront the community’s health problems constantly as a hospital chaplain. After one particularly trying hospital shift, Joyner pulled his car over and began to pray. “I heard a voice saying, ‘Open your eyes and look around,’” the 64-year-old remembers. All he saw was farmland. His parents and grandparents had been share- croppers; his great-grandparents, slaves. That moment fields blanketing Edgecombe County represented not untapped opportunity but a painful reminder of the region’s racist past.

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Young people enjoy outdoors activity so this roadside epiphany directly inspired the church’s now-bustling nonprofit agriculture and education center might construct a tidy narrative. It would, however, be inaccurate. Back in 2005, when Joyner first equipped area youth with seeds and spades on a borrowed plot down the road, he simply hoped to engage kids at summer camp. The campers consumed their initial harvest, but the following year, they started delivering free boxes of ‘Hen Pecked’ mustard greens, ‘Puerto Rican Red’ sweet potatoes and the vegetables to local senior citizens. “One 97-year-old lady, she was so excited, she kissed the children,” Joyner says. “That was the first time in a long time I witnessed anybody speaking a blessing over our troubled children.” Not everyone welcomes bounty. Only a generation or two removed from sharecropping, some church elders questioned the wisdom of participating in any sort of agrarian pursuit. They remained uncomfortably familiar with Edgecombe County’s role in the South’s antebellum cotton economy. Henry Toole Clark, a Civil War–era governor of North Carolina, owned a vast plantation—and dozens of slaves here. Joyner explains prevailing concern: “Do we really want our kids going back to that?” He empathized. Then again, he’d witnessed satisfaction junior parishioners derived from the soil. Less encumbered by Conetoe’s complicated history, they were free to dig in the dirt. “They’re bringing food to people who need it,” Joyner says. “They enjoy the process. They’re playing out there.” Meanwhile, various activities on the farm like preparing beds, selecting seeds, tending crops, selling produce, tracking digital data impart valuable lessons in science, technology, exercise, economics, math, and nutrition.IMG_20180106_150511

DIVERSITY AND MARRIAGE

uk-scotland-42510187Congratulations on celebration of inter marriage between different groups of people often seen as source of blending families. In the past was not considered able to do so even within same nation a tribe saw other tribes in the draconian age as enemies unable to relate in long term marriage of family members. And many people missed potential marriage of choice thwarted by feuding families of past generations. Today it is good to see the acceptance and tolerance after many years people recognise humans come from one race. Although some people do not really fully understand the challenges involved it is nice to see a successful couple overcome diversity. It is equally challenging to be married in a common social background because all marriages are hardwork, tolerance and forgiveness of each other. No matter the issues faced its good to see marriage on top of the agenda once again. So nation of Britain prepares to celebrate Prince Harry’s marriage to Meghan as Queen Charlotte of Portugal married in UK’s past history of a royal mixed marriage. According to PBS, Charlotte “directly descended from Margarita de Castro y Sousa, a black branch of the Portuguese Royal HoHouse. That distinction goes way back to the 18th century to Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. So a black woman in the royal family in the 1700s history nerds say turns out that, while many Englanders were in denial at the time, the wife of King George III, who was Queen from 1761 until her death in 1818, was of mixed race. According to PBSMmmm, Charlotte was “directly descended from Margarita de Castro y Sousa, a black branch of the Portuguese Royal House.” So not of unsavoury mixed-race origins, but actual black royalty. Her race mostly went under the radar over the course of history until decades later art historians began to take a closer look at distinctly black features in her portraits. Her regal nose, those full lips; as a mixed girl myself who can often spot a person with even a small amount of Black ancestry from a mile away, it’s pretty blatant from looking at her painting.

The fact that her black physical traits were visible in those paintings was, in itself noteworthy because as customary at the time for artists air brushed to “play down soften or even obliterate undesirable features in a subjects’ face,” also according to PBS. Even more controversial is the fact that the artist who depicted Queen Charlotte in all of her portraits was Sir Allan Ramsay, an anti-slavery advocate who went on to marry a black woman himself. All that being said, many historians believe the mere existence of Queen Charlotte and these portraits could have played a major role in the slavery abolition movement of the time. And that makes total sense. I mean, think about it: As we saw on The Crown, Queen Elizabeth II wouldn’t even allow her sister to marry a man who had once been divorced. And that was in the 1950s. Can you imagine the existence of a black queen back in the 18th century. Another major plot twis is Queen Charlotte, the actual first black and bi-racial member of royalty, happens to be Prince Harry’s great-great-great-great-great-grandmother. She’s Queen Victoria’s grandmother, which makes them relatives, several generations removed. So not only is it possible that Prince Harry’s 14th great-uncle may have beheaded one of Markle’s ancestors, but now, it’s looking like Prince Harry himself has some interracial genes. It   turns out Queen Charlotte might not be the lone mixed royal and potentially not the first, either. Philippa of Hainault, a fourteenth-century Queen of England, was also rumoured to have African ancestry. And in 2004, former sheep sheerer and builder Gary Lewis became the first Maori or aboriginal New Zealander to join the extended royal family by marrying Lady Davina Lewis, daughter of the Duke of Glouchester and 28th in line to the British throne. (I know, I know. Let me know if y’all need me to draw a family tree for all of this.)
Regardless, I think it’s long overdue (like, seven generations long) for Queen Charlotte to get some credit for being an early trailblazer among the royals. And even though the official title of the first black member of royalty technically taken a long time ago. Meghan Markle’s recent engagement reminds people that love heart matters for pure happiness.

MERRY CHRISTMAS THANKS

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With Compliments of Christmas Season, May I take this opportunity on behalf of my family and myself to wish you and your family, Merry Christmas and Happy Prosperous New Year. May your Christmas be filled with joy, love, peace and precious special memories. And as the New Year unfolds, may it bring you everything you ever hope for and God’s Blessings everyday in Jesus Name.

God bless you always,

With Love From God’sHotSpot