The More Excellent Way 


Morning reflections: Happy Wednesday! 

“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you.”Luke‬ ‭6:27‬ ‭NLT‬‬ http://bible.com/116/luk.6.27.nlt

I read this verse in Luke 6, and it really hit me that God’s love is unconditional so He commands us to love the same way. The whole chapter is compelling but this verses stood out to me this morning because of my recent posts about presidential candidate, DT. His remarks were (are) so offensive to me, and yet God loves him so unconditionally and therefore I should too. As I stepped off my high horse, I realized that as a beneficiary of God’s grace and love, I should be a conduit of God’s grace and love to EVERYONE. We all need God’s grace.  

Politics/ Social Justice has always been a concern of mine – especially given the hateful dark rhetoric that perpetuates the Political climate today. But as MLK said “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” 

Love is the winning strategy that assures certain victory because it NEVER FAILS! I Cor 13:7-8 says Love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. It is the more excellent way (I Cor 12:31) 

My snide remarks about DT on FB did NOT reflect the character or desire of God, who reminded me this morning that I am His child first! So while I may post about issues I am passionate about I can do so with grace and love that God has so graciously extended to me. 

Come NOW, Let’s Settle this! 

  
Last night my husband brought to my attention that our tree in the backyard is falling slowing. The picture featured is from this morning, and you can see it leaning further away to the right. You can also see that our telephone lines are mingling in the branches. I confess that in this very busy time, I had not really paid attention to our backyard… AT.ALL! 

I was reminded that as chaotic as our family schedules are, my husband notices the details and the big picture. We cannot live this life on our own.I was irritated that he wanted my input into the matter and just wanted him to take care of it. However, when I thought about it I was able to offer a few ways to address it that he had not thought of. He detected what could be a major disruption to our family life and is even now making arrangements to take care of it. 

 This is how God works too–often through other people- bringing attention to fall-ING trees and issues that we need to address. God says “Come now, let us reason together..” (Isaiah 1:18)   In the NIV it says, “Come Now, let’s settle this!” When God brings things to our attention, He wants our immediate focus and He works with and through us to bring resolution!  

I thank Him now, for the resolution (resources, connections,) of this current problem, but mostly because He is working through me and others to bring lasting change in our lives!  

Nee and New

 
For some reason every time I would try to type “new”, “nee” would come up and not auto correct to new. This was happening since late yesterday, as I was wishing everyone a Happy New Year. So after about the 20th time I got fed up changing it and something said look up the word “Nee”. This word I’ve seen many times!  it is actually used as a French term née often used to denote a former or original (maiden) name. So I would be Sharon Zimmerman, née Bryant.  The former me.

I immediately heard the Spirit of the Lord say there are things trying to pull you back to your former ways, your former self.  You have been born again! 2 Cor 5:17 states, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

Isaiah 42: 9 says“Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.”

God is saying something new! Have ears to hear/ He is telling us before the come to pass. 

Isaiah 43: 18-19 “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.”

Don’t dwell on the past because God is doing a new thing! Don’t you sense it?! It is new territory no matter where  you are standing. Even  in hopeless places, He is carving a path and bringing life in dry barren places. 

The old is passed away! We do not have to reject the past, because God has done great things! The past is a part of me (us)  but it’s over- A new chapter has begun. 

 But I/we must act- take the first step! I must willfully make the corrections, because (like my phone keyboard) auto correct does not apply here. As we mature, God gives us (demands that we activate) our gift of choice! Choose life! Choose ye this day whom you will serve! Lay aside every weight AND the sin that besets us. (Heb 12:1) Forget! 

In Phil 3:13 “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.”‭‭Philippians‬ ‭3:13-15‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Paul says to forget those things that are behind and reach for those things before. 

God will not take it away, I (we) have to choose to lay aside, forget, leave the former things and reach for the new things before, the PRIZE of high calling. This is the mindset we should have and Phil 3:15 says that if we are “otherwise minded” or have a competing mindset,  God will reveal it to us. God is so faithful! 

Like a good trainer, God reminds us the things we have to stop doing and the things we must start doing. 

Keep declaring and reaching for the New things! Keep making those corrections to forget, let go and lay aside those former, old past habits, situations, relationships etc that hinder us from reaching that high mark in 2016. As we seek God and acknowledge Him in all our ways He will direct our path – and will reveal anything in us that competes with His plan in our lives or may slow us down. 

Happy NEW Year – the Year of Our Lord 2016! 

Remembering my mother

  
It is with a very full heart that I remember my dear mother on the 10th anniversary of her passing. She was that fairy dust that lingered eternally everywhere she went leaving it better, more interesting and happier! She could take anything and make it fun and so so beautiful! She smiled and laughed ALOT! She loved all my friends who became her extended daughters and sons. She fiercely loved her children and knew and celebrated the uniqueness of eachShe could pick the perfect Christmas gift for my husband James Zimmerman. lol! 

She never panicked. She was the original steel magnolia, solution oriented, elegant, fire and ice. She was a champion for the disenfranchised, advocate for the voiceless, a civil Rights leader honored by the State NAACP. She never turned anyone away. 

As fabulous as she was, she did not spend large amounts of time on herself apart from her weekly appointments with Wyona Battle, because her hair was her crown of glory. She was the hardest working board member, and many times at events she was setting up, decorating and making it all look effortless as she wielded her wand! She was an avid crossword enthusiast, read fluffy books and magazines, Legacy Howard U grad, Ivy League grad school, and high school valedictorian. 

 She was a woman of great FAITH, Intercessor and rose early to pray and read the Bible every morning! We found many journals of her prayers that she wrote down for all of us calling us by name to petition Jesus Christ on our behalf. Estelle Elayne Butler Bryant was born on 3/3/33 and I really still can’t believe that she is no longer with us because she is still so vibrant in my heart and mind! I love you and miss you my darling dearest Mother !

Things That Matter

Image

This new blog series was birthed about a year ago when I was driving home and I found myself, once again, with my thoughts swirling about personal issues, political drama, the recent national tragedy, a good book or article etc.  And through the jumble of tumbling ideas, events, appointments, etc, I heard somewhere in my heart, what are the things that matter.  I mean, in the scheme of things, what really matters?   Over the next few months, when confronted with a headline, a tragedy, an occurrence at work/home/church/event, the thought kept reccurring.  I would say, almost out loud – people matter, character matters, integrity matters, relationship with God matters, justice matters, shelter matters, education matters,and the ability to work matters, and so on.  Today, with so many ideas and messages presenting themselves as an urgent priority to command our attention, play on our fears, it helps to cut through the noise by focusing on the THINGS THAT MATTER.   

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Ode to My Mother

Image

Celebrating my mother on her 81st birthday

Estelle Elayne Butler Bryant was born this day 3/3/33 81 years ago. Many would agree that this world is a much brighter, better, happier place with the 72 1/2 years that she was on this earth. I love this picture because she was ALWAYS ready to dance even if she was just passing through a doorway. She didn’t wait for somebody to ask her to dance – she danced whenever she felt like it. She danced with sheer joy! She is dancing with Aunt Shirley (rt) I think it was the second line with the napkin in her hand. LOL!

I love to dance too because of her.

She was:
ENCOURAGER/GIVER: She was always encouraging sharing grace, a smile, a laugh, a kind word to everyone. In her last weeks in the hospital, she was introducing her nurses, attendants to us, sharing their hopes and dreams and encouraging them. Many at Howard remember the few words she spoke to them when she brought us up in our Freshman year. She was always giving (my Dad too) – She gave freely out of abundance or out of lack. She gave her time, her resources, her wisdom freely.

CREATIVE: My mother was wonderfully creative! She loved to create beautiful decorations and could imagine just about anything. She had wonderful ideas about projects, how to make things more interesting, and fun.

WARRIOR: She was a fighter. She fought for her family, for the disenfranchised, for the least of these. She lent her sword in other’s battles as well. She was relentless. Once she joined the battle with you, she would not let YOU give up. At the same time, she would put down her sword when she felt the battle was over or no longer worth fighting. She had nothing to prove. On the other hand, never a vengeful person you did not want to incur her icy wrath. She was not a yeller (don’t know why I didn’t inherit that trait) but she was very firm. Don’t mess with Layne!

PURPOSEFUL: My mother had a great sense of her purpose. Many did not understand why she endured certain relationships that appeared difficult and challenging. But her sense of destiny and purpose went far beyond her personal feelings about a person or a situation. She literally looked at the intended outcome and let that guide her actions. She was a BRAVE woman and CONFIDENT too.

KIND: My mother was a kind woman. Her kindness is one of the biggest gifts to me. She did not dwell on “haters” or “mean” people. She did not let them alter her opinion of others. She was kind behind the scenes to everyone. She did not need a reason. She extended grace because she was a conduit of grace. how how how I miss her.

FAITHFUL: My mother was faithful. She was a faithful and diligent friend, colleague, Board member, Christian, wife, mother. She was disciplined too. She believed God, she believed the Word of God and did not preach it. She lived it. She shared her faith by the way she lived. She was up at 5 most mornings reading her Bible and sipping her coffee. Another gift was her many notebooks and journals of prayers and notes from her prayer time, bible study and church. I found journals of prayers that she prayed for my future husband and children, for her friends, my Dad, challenging situations. In her Bible were prayers that she prayed and “gave to God” for Him to work out after she prayed. She trusted in the solutions that followed and kept it moving.

I am just so so full today and I could go on and on about my dearest Mother. So thankful to celebrate all that she was and still is to so many! Happy Birthday Mom!