Today’s video ‘In The Midnight Hour comes from BeBe Winans feat. Debbie Winans
The song is a most powerful expression of how to endure the dark days of our lives I can remember vividly the terror I felt as a child when bedtime came and the lights were turned out. Fear would grip me and I’d put the cover over my head in an effort to hide from imaginary monsters.
As adults most of us no longer have a fear of the literal sense of the dark; but we might still fear The Midnight Hour of our lives. In other words, we still have things that keep us up at night. The fears and worries that rob us of our peace and situations that keep us up at night.
Have no fear! We have a God that never sleeps and never slumbers; He’s always there for us in The Midnight Hour!
Anchor: a heavy object attached to a rope or chain and used to moor a vessel to the sea bottom, typically one having a metal shank with a ring at one end for the rope and a pair of curved and/or barbed flukes at the other.
An anchor is a strong and steady instrument of stability. Made of usually a heavy iron or steel , the anchor serves as a force of stability in the face of the rough seas ! When a ship or boat docks it’s the anchor that keeps the vessel from being pulled away from safe harbor. In the event of an unexpected and overnight storm – again it’s the anchor that keeps the vessel from being swept away in the night and even if the dock becomes damaged by the winds of the raging storm- the deep positioning of an anchor keeps the ship it’s tethered to sustained and stable. Notice I said that the vessel is tethered or tied to the anchor.
In life there are seasons of storms and raging seas. I’ll be the first person to admit that I’ve been rocked and rolled by the violent winds and heavy rain in my life. I’ve crashed upon the rocks and I have been beaten down by torrential rains along with being nearly drowned in tsunamis of my own making. How many of us can honestly say that we haven’t been there at least once or twice in our lives ? Whether the storm came in the form of addictions, sexual or physical abuse , divorce or something else , we’ve all been there. There on an angry sea and holding on for dear life ! What do you do in this kind of life or death situation ? Do you accept your fate? Or maybe be Fred Sandford and say ‘Weezie I’m coming to join you ” and basically just give up ! Or should we tie Our Anchor Jesus to our vessels and ourselves? Even in the worst of situations, we can have the peace of mind that comes out of being tied to The Anchor. “You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You.” Isaiah 26:3 HCSB
With this text in mind , the only thing that we have to ask ourselves is do we trust in The Anchor? Can you and I trust Jesus with our lives? Are we willing to give up our own way of doing things in exchange for the peace and stability of letting Him do what He does best – bear our burdens. David said it this way: “Give your worries to the Lord, and he will care for you. He will never let those who are good be defeated.” Psalms 55:22 ERV or
“Cast all your cares upon him, for he takes care of you.” 1 Peter 5:7 CPDV
God cares about you. In fact, He cared so much for us that He took on human form as Jesus; His only Son and sacrificed His life in exchange for our lives. God never intended for you and I to live a life full of stress and anxiety. Nor did His plan for mankind include the strife and misery that touches us too often. But after man’s fall in the Garden of Eden we were made subject to the evil of the world. Still God’s unfailing love found a way to keep us anchored to Him in His Son. God gave us the Ultimate Anchor for the storms in life and all that He requires that we do is trust in The Anchor !
Remember when the disciples got in a boat to meet Jesus on the other side? Better yet, here’s what the scriptures say about what occurred :
“And as they were sailing, he slept. And a windstorm descended over the lake. And they were taking on water and were in danger. Then, drawing near, they awakened him, saying, “Teacher, we are perishing.” But as he rose up, he rebuked the wind and the raging water, and they ceased. And a tranquility occurred. Then he said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they, being afraid, were amazed, saying to one another, “Who do you think this is, so that he commands both wind and sea, and they obey him?””
Luke 8:23-25 CPDV
No matter how frightening the storms seems, and no matter what you see in the danger in front of you- know that Jesus is on board ! Take His hands and let Him keep you anchored to Him ! After all though the winds may roar and the waters may rise, put your faith and trust in The One who commands the winds and the seas !
There’ll always be a storm in life that comes along and tosses us into a state of chaos and confusion. The things that we hold most dearly can be the very things that rock us to the core. I never thought I would ever stop feeling the toss and turns of losing the love of my life. But I managed to remain anchored in The One who can speak to the winds and call forth peace and tranquility! Without that anchor I would’ve surely shipwrecked, and I would’ve perished on my sea of grief.
So I urge you to anchor yourself to the Ultimate Stabilizer; to tie your ship to an Anchor of peace and security. God never promised that we wouldn’t have storms in our lives. But He did promise you that He would not let ‘the waters overtake you ‘!
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and the rivers will not cover you. When you walk through fire, you will not be burned, and the flames will not scorch you.”
Isaiah 43:2 CPDV
Let this be of some encouragement to you! As the saying goes: Let go and let God! Let go of your fear of drowning in an angry sea. Don’t be afraid of the currents and remember most importantly that you have an anchor! If it feels like your vessel is taking on water and the winds are threatening to capsize you- just keep your mind on the One who’s on the boat with you ! He will not allow the waters to overtake you ! Above all else, stay tied to The Anchor and watch the storms in your life become calm waters of peace and tranquility.
Sometimes Im especially glad to see the rising of the sun. I’m always grateful that The Lord allowed me to remain in the land of the living. That’s a given. But then again, there are the times I’m just glad that the day before is over. Today is one of those times ! I’m glad to see a new day with new opportunities to change the mistakes of yesterday. A new chance of getting goals accomplished and dreams realized – or at the very least, the chance to get closer to them. Selah (quietly meditate on that)
“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. [II Cor. 4:17.]”
Psalm 30:5 AMPC
Isn’t that an encouraging scripture ! When you and I reflect on what has happened in the past few days, the Tulsa shooting, the bombings in NY and NJ and the unrest in Charlotte (over yet another fatal shooting)- I think that we can all agree that this country needs more hope and encouragement.
More importantly I would venture to say that we need more people praying for effective change and the healing of our national heart. And you don’t have to be a priest or pastor to pray for the nation. In fact God speaks of this specifically in the book of 2 Chronicles:
“if my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:14
I take these incidents of ‘police involved fatal shootings very personally. Why ? Because I have two, young African American men in my life – my younger brothers. Everytime I see a video of an African American man end up dead in a police encounter- I think about them and I agonize over their safety. In addition to that I usually don’t sleep well after all the news coverage of that day’s events. The fact is that these things are traumatizing to the conscience. By the way it’s traumatic for both White and Black Americans alike. When anyone black or white sees the loss of life in a senseless manner- it should shock the senses and grieve our spirits. When we are witnesses to violence and death (and terrorism) – we must not ever become desensitized to it. We should be moved enough to want to change it.
Here’s where the joy of a new day comes in .
The best way to get rid of the horrors of yesterday is to embrace the power of today ! In my point of view a new day represents an amazing opportunity to “be the change you want to see in the world ” -Mahtma Gandi . Each and everyone of us who wants to see a noticeable difference in the world, must start first with ourselves. Here’s a small list of examples:
On occasion take the time to go out of your way through small acts of kindness and be kind to a stranger. Give a meal or a couple of dollars to help the homeless person you see- standing outside of a grocery store or on a street corner.
Pick someone with whom you disagree with (a co-worker, friend or yes even an law) and invite them out for coffee and have a sincere conversation with them. Done with the Spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation- you’ll probably make a new friend or at least understand each other better than ever before.
As much as you can , put aside your biases and preconceived notions about the people that you come in contact with everyday; this especially applies for the people who are of a different race or religion – division and strife cannot dwell in a heart that’s open to all people.
The best thing about the new day and the old version of the night- is that the new day gives you and I the blessing of doing better than we did the day before. When the night gives way to the morning light of renewal and rebirth, we can start over with the rising sun.
Take the birds for example. Regardless of what storm that raged through the night before, maybe a few broken eggs or a nest that blew out of the tree in the first stormwinds- the birds chirp on, and sing their songs in spite of it. Upon noticing this phenomenon almost a year ago – I prayed: Lord give me the spirit of the birds. I wanted to have the kind of spirit that would allow me to sing through every night’s storm of adversity.Wouldn’t you love to have the strength of the birds and be able to sing despite what storms and situations that you’ve faced the day or night beforehand? I certainly would.
In yet another season of chaos, violence and unrest in the country; I just wanted you to remember that “we the people ” don’t have to merely be spectators. We’re all witnesses and we can judge whether to be blind and deaf to what we’re seeing. Or make the honorable choice of being change agents. The choice is ours.
One act of kindness and understanding may seem small and not enough to effect the change we need. But collectively, these small pepples thrown into the River of Change ; to create a national ripple effect that’ll reverberate through the night and bring us to a new day of national song of togetherness.
I challenge you to give the steps above a sincere try and not just for a day ; give a try for a week or two and maybe even a month. It won’t be easy but I promise you that it’ll pay off in dividends !
Have a great day and may you sing along with the birds in the morning !
I leave you with video: Ain’t No Need to Worry by The Winans featuring Anita Baker
Every morning it’s the same ritual for me. Wake up and say Good morning Lord ! I take my prescribed medication for the RA and turn on the morning news. I wait about 45 minutes for the meds to kick in and then I get out of the bed. But this isn’t the ritual that I referred to, this is a regimen. I’m looking forward to the part of the morning when I can start my ritual!
I (or maybe my mom) make my Caramel Macchiato coffee and go outside. I take a look at the beauty of the nature and really appreciate it. I usually do it the same way – everyday. Read some scripture – check. Select a playlist that fits the way I feel at the time – check. Put on the wireless headphones (a gift from my baby brother) and then the best part begins. I turn on the music and tune out the world.
Anyone who knows me well will tell you how much I love my music. I’ve got to have it. To me it’s the same as the other medications I have to take for my physical condition and just as important. Those pills keep me keep me out of pain and get me to the point where I can move on with my day. Well the same thing is true for me when it comes to listening to my music. It’s spiritual medicine for me; and music enables me to get my soul ready for the day. If necessary to act as a pain killer, my music is very effective. It’s the one cure all that no one is allergic to.
“Forever I’ll live right , Forever I’ll love right , Forever for You ( Lord you’re worthy oh so worthy ) Forever and ever “
Forever , Kingdom Come CD
I’m sharing a music video of CeCe Winans with you today and I hope you enjoy it. I just love artists like CeCe whose music lyrics are so based in scripture. It’s literally like having a Praise & Worship service except you’re not inside of the church ! That’s always a great way to get out of yourself and your situation; and into the presence of God ! It doesn’t even have to be Praise & Worship music for me to get what I need for the day. Anything that lifts my spirits and puts me in a good frame of mind will do.
I just wanted to share something with you today that would hopefully make you smile. For some crazy reason I felt like sharing a music video.
The song is amazing and even though it’s not a new one of CeCe’s , I still love it. More Than What I Wanted may sound like a love song (and it is) but the song is really about the love of God. I’ll admit though , it also makes me think of my late husband too. But the lyrics are about how God’s love is whole and completely beyond anything we could ever want or expect. The type of love that is enduring, unconditional, unchanging and unfailing! I can’t adequately describe the love I have in The Lord ! The best way to describe it is agape love.
Agape (Ancient Greek: ἀγάπη, agápē) is “love: the highest form of love, charity; the love of God for man and of man for God.” Not to be confused with “philēo” – brotherly love – agápē embraces a universal, unconditional love that transcends, that serves regardless of circumstances.
I’m going to tell you a little story about the power of five stones. I talked about it in my book Facing Goliath ; but today I just want to go over a few simple steps of how stones can be used as weapons to be victorious in your own life battles. The battle of David vs. Goliath has been told many times, many ways and for many different reasons. I’m going to share the part of the story that has become a battle strategy for me and my own battles. I’m going to tell you how five stones and faith in God took a giant down.
Hopefully this will be a help to someone else and a way forward for those who are on the battlefront.
If you’re in that small group of people who’ve never heard of the battle of David and Goliath, let me give you the crib notes on the story. David was a good little shepherd boy , his responsibility was to take care of his father’s animals and keep them from harm and danger. And that was the extent of his life experience- watching his father’s animals! His brothers on the other hand were trained soldiers in King Sauls army ; the were battle tested warriors and the military power of Israel. Now stay with me on this one because I’m going somewhere in the story. We’re going to the day when a boy (equipped with nothing but a stone and slingshot ) took down a giant ; and proved that with God ‘all things are possible ‘ Mattew 19:26 ESV
Whether we’re aware of it or not- you and I are constantly on the battlefield in life. We battle with emotions like insecurity, low self esteem, feeling like we’re ‘not good enough ‘ and etc. . We’re fighting to get ahead financially or battling for a sense of self worth. The outlook at times can seem to be bleak and I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been knocked down more than a few times. But I understand that the most important thing to do is to reach up and grab the hand of Grace! David put it like this “I kept on believing, even when I said, “I am completely crushed,””
Psalms 116:10 GNB
The Apostle Paul ? He too acknowledged that we’re going to get knocked down, “We are pressed on every side, yet not crushed; perplexed, yet not to despair;”2 Corinthians 4:8 WMBBE . So don’t be so hard on yourself if you get TKO’d. As someone recently told me, ‘it happens to the best of us.
Now, back to the story.
Ok so Goliath the giant was a Philistine ; the Philistines didn’t believe in the God of Israel. So there they were in the valley , the army of Israel and the Philistines. At some point in the standoff between the two sides, Goliath began to ridicule the God of Israel and dare anyone to fight Him and defend their God – “Saul and the Israelite soldiers heard what Goliath said, and they were very afraid.”1 Samuel 17:11 ERV “Saul and his men heard what Goliath said, but they were so frightened of Goliath that they couldn’t do a thing.” 1 Samuel 17:11 CEVU . King Saul even offered his daughter’s hand in marriage and a lot of gold to anyone that would kill Goliath. There weren’t any soldiers who were willing to put their lives on the line- not even for the king’s reward.
Sometimes you’ll encounter a situation that tests your beliefs. It could be physical or mental or emotional. Either way it’ll always be there to make you take a look at who you are, where you are ( or are not ) and what you’re willing to fight for.
• What are you afraid of today ?
• Are you facing the (seemingly) impossible?
• What’s going on in your life that you’re not willing to fight against or face?
Remember David’s brother’s? The battle tested warriors were afraid to challenge Goliath. When David the shepherd boy heard what was that being said about his God , he became enraged by it and stepped forward to accept Goliath’s challenge. Even though David’s brother’s weren’t willing to fight Goliath, they dismissed him and literally told him to go away. David however was undeterred by this; he knew that The Lord was with him !
Sometimes you must be willing to take a chance on yourself and rise to the challenge. David wasn’t even a trained soldier, in fact he wasn’t even familiar with the armor that was offered to him as he accepted the challenge to kill Goliath. Make no mistake, Goliath wasn’t just another Philistinian soldier- he was their champion. But David wasn’t phased by the sheer enormity of Goliath’s size and he wasn’t intimidated by the fact that the only thing he knew how to use was a little slingshot !
Thats right , David wasn’t even prepared to fight with a sword and shield ! In fact the little known shepherd boy refused to wear the armor that the experienced soldiers offered him. No , David was in a different state of mind; he was going into battle with The Lord on his side !
But here is the point of the story that I want you to pay close attention to what happened next; the biblical account of David’s battle strategy. “And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in the shepherd’s bag which he had, even in his wallet; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.”1 Samuel 17:40 ASV .
Of course you know that in the end David was victorious over the Philistinian champion; and he accomplished it with a single stone! In the end, after slinging the stone and cracking Goliath’s skull- he cut the giant’s head off with his own sword! Sounds grisly I know but that’s what happened. When it was all over, David brought Goliath’s head to King Saul and a legend was born. And it was all a result of the faith David had in the God of Israel and five smooth stones.
David chose five stones. In other words, he chose his weapons selectively. David knew that he had a purpose for each one of the stones. I’ve adopted the same battle strategy of the five stones. Every time I’m battling for or against something- I choose a stone. Here’s a few examples of the stones I use :
I have a prayer stone when I need guidance, strength and courage. This stone reminds me that I can’t do anything without The Lord on my side. Sometimes getting knocked down to your knees is the best place to be – it puts us in the perfect position to pray !
I have a stone of gratitude for those times when frustrating circumstances cloud my view of life and I start to complain. Thanking God for the blessings that He’s given me throughout my life. Sometimes you can look back on all of the things that God has brought you through and it’ll give you strength to carry on.
The stone of endurance helps me keep going forward even though I’m feeling tired and weak. Because I know that ‘the race isn’t given to the swift or the strong but to the one that endures until the end ‘! God is aware of the fact that we are human and He knows that we get weary .b“For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.”Hebrews 10:36 ESV.
Whatever the situation is, I have a stone in my bag of spiritual weapons to put in my slingshot. It’s a great mental reminder that I have been given everything I need for winning the battle. You can slingshot your way into victory over the battles in your life; just choose the right stone for the job. If it will help you to hold a physical stone in your hands, then do it ! Go outside and like David did- choose your stones. Give it a name One that applies to the situation like courage, praise and worship, the Word of God or whatever you feel the need to name it.
I’m giving you a challenge. Choose a stone for the next battle of your life. Name it and use it to knock out the giant facing you. May you be victorious in every single battle.