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Palm Sunday Testimony and Praise Report

13 Apr

Testimony and Praise Report

Despite the fact that my stomach was acting up all last night and I got very little sleep I was determined to attend Palm Sunday service. My original plan had been to go into Manhattan but I changed that because with tummy troubles and subway delays I felt I should stick close to home. Even with insomnia and pain something inside me was so excited about today. When I made my right turn down Fulton St. I said Lord guide my feet and show me where to worship today. I briefly stopped at one of the many storefronts Churches lining Fulton Street but the Lord had me keep walking until I arrived at Pleasant Grove Tabernacle. You guys know I’m not much of a church goer but today I was lead to go and I’m glad I did. My late Beloved Aunt Helen Garcia had been on my mind and I think it was her who was prodding me from beyond the veil.

High School Graduation 1977

Aunt Thelma, me & Aunt Helen Garcia

I arrived in time to hear the last part of Sunday School. The congregation is very friendly. At once I felt very comfortable. Like most churches you get a program so you can follow the service but God had other things in mind and I’m very happy that Bishop Albert L. Jamison, Sr. went with the flow. Praise and Worship developed into prayers for healing. Now keep in mind though I’ve lived in Brooklyn over a year, I’ve never been to Pleasant Grove Tabernacle before neither have any of these people seen or met me. Folks were dancing in the Spirit and Bishop Jamison came down from his pulpit and began to pray for various individuals. He prayed for me and one of the Deaconess prayed also. As I said before nobody knew my condition but that sister prayed especially for healing! God Knew! I’ve been fighting not only physical troubles but battling emotional ones. Today was one giant Healing Service. Sisters suffering from cancer, depression and other ailments were ministered to. During the service Bishop had clergy and congregation hold each other by the shoulders and pray. Once again another different Sister came to me and prayed. A dam burst and I cried. A burden was lifted from me. We all also had the opportunity to go up for additional prayer from Bishop and to be anointed with oil. I went. Now that evil spiritual force was banished from my mind. I left church thinking right, acting right and rejoicing.

However my heart goes out to Karyn Washington who committed suicide at age 22 earlier this week. Those of us who are older have a frame of reference, we know that life does get better but of course we all need help. Maybe Karyn was ashamed to say she was depressed. Perhaps the burden myth of the “Strong Black Woman” was too much for her. I know how she feels. I’ve been there. I was young once upon a time but thanks to strong parents, caring Aunts and a solid spiritual base I made it. Please everyone let’s make our Churches, Temples, Mosques, Synagogues, and other places of Worship caring networks where people young and old can run to for help and guidance. Remove the Stigma of depression, panic attacks, anxiety and other mental illnesses. Be somebody who cares. May God rest your soul Karyn Washington.  May all who suffer find sanctuary.

http://blackdoctor.org/442252/karyn-washington-black-suicide/?omcamp=es-bdo-nl&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Black%20Doctor%20Subscribers&utm_campaign=Lifestyle

 

Be a Stronger Story

17 Nov
African American Rosie the Riveters

African American Rosie the Riveters

Jan Garrett & JD Martin wrote a song called Tell a Stronger Story. I had the pleasure of listening to this inspiring song via a Unity podcast. It inspired me not just to Tell a Stronger Story but to Be a Stronger Story. Be a Stronger Story other than what Life’s experiences are telling or handing you. In Psalm 42 you can tell the writer is having a really rough time but he encourages himself.

Psalm 42
New King James Version (NKJV)
Yearning for God in the Midst of Distresses

42 As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
3 My tears have been my food day and night,
While they continually say to me,
“Where is your God?”
4 When I remember these things,
I pour out my soul within me.
For I used to go with the multitude;
I went with them to the house of God,
With the voice of joy and praise,
With a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast.
5 Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him
For the help of His countenance.
6 O my God, my soul is cast down within me;
Therefore I will remember You from the land of the Jordan,
And from the heights of Hermon,
From the Hill Mizar.
7 Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls;
All Your waves and billows have gone over me.
8 The Lord will command His loving-kindness in the daytime,
And in the night His song shall be with me—
A prayer to the God of my life.
9 I will say to God my Rock,
“Why have You forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”
10 As with a breaking of my bones,
My enemies reproach me,
While they say to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”
11 Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God;
For I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.

Some may think that bravery in the face of fear or distress is a type of false confidence. It sounds like putting lipstick on a pig but it is a Battle scarred Warrior wearing the Full Armor of God while standing on the Battlefield in the midst of the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. A Soldier fights through the pain, sorrow, disappointment, stress, pressure, discouragement and fear. Dry bones come together and become an Army for Peace.

When my Native American ancestors were displaced and driven from their lands they Became a Stronger Story. When my African ancestors were stolen from Mother Africa, enslaved, Jim Crowed, and denied basic human rights They Became a Stronger Story.

For those who cannot speak for themselves due to disability, sickness, hard times or even death for them We Have to Be a Stronger Story.

There is no fiddling while Rome burns. When everything around you is falling apart; When you’re out of balance; When people scandalize your name; Tell a Stronger Story through your chants, mantras, prayers and meditations. Tell and Be the True Stronger Story that’s inside you!!

My Story began with Habakkuk 2:2-3 back in the mid-1980s. It is now coming into fruition.

2 Then the Lord answered me and said:

“Write the vision
And make it plain on tablets,
That he may run who reads it.
3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time;
But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie.
Though it tarries, wait for it;
Because it will surely come,
It will not tarry.

What’s your story?
http://garrett-martin.com/strongerstory.html

The Legacy of Hattie Finney Banks

10 Aug

 

Secret

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/secret/#like-244527

Would you have kept this secret for two generations? Maybe my Grandmother Hattie Finney Banks kept secret the fact that my grandfather Hugh Banks killed my Great Grandfather Daniel Finney (Hattie’s Dad) so that she could keep her sanity.  Guilt, embarrassment, shame, humiliation. I’m sure in the beginning after the murder it was all there deep within her soul, mind and spirit. But My Grandmother Hattie Finney Banks kept the secret so she could raise her three daughters (one of whom Mable was to become my mother) in relative peace, quiet and safety without passing this terrible haunting to future generations.  No judgment from me, only understanding.

 

The Legacy of Hattie Finney Banks

Hattie Finney Banks

Grandmother Hattie Finney Banks

Hattie Finney was born Feb. 1905 in the poor coal mining hamlet of Davy, West Virginia.  A real looker in her youth blessed with a great sense of fashion and good taste Hattie though living in poverty was able to enhance her beauty through thrift and the ability to create something out of nothing.

With African and Sioux blood running through her veins her beauty soon caught the eye of the young men in the town. One named Hugh Banks seemed to have good prospects. Hugh like her Hattie’s dad Daniel R. Finney worked as a janitor. Not a high living job but one that could support a wife and future children. It also didn’t hurt that he was a strong strapping young man who was easy on the eyes.

They married sometime in the late 1920s when Hattie was in her early 20s looking forward to a bright future. Their first born child Mable Banks, (My Mom) was born May 2, 1930, and then came Helen on September 13, 1931 and finally Gladys on May 2, 1935. However as time progressed and the marriage wore on the initial first joys of wedded bliss gave way to drinking and horrible physical abuse from her husband Hugh. He regularly stayed out late getting drunk, spending the food and rent money on booze. A spirit of anger possessed him and he took out all the days slights on Hattie and their young children. Hattie always put herself between Hugh and the kids when he went on these violent tirades taking the brunt of the physical beatings and verbal abuse.

Finally on April 30, 1939 after a particularly horrible beating Hattie couldn’t take it anymore. In fear of her life she grabbed her three little girls and ran to the shelter of her parents’ house not far away. A very drunk Hugh Banks in hot pursuit of his wife followed her and demanded that Hattie and the girls return home with him. Hattie’s Dad, Daniel James Finney told Hattie to stay indoors while he went out to confront Hugh. Daniel Finney seeing Hugh in a violent drunken rage refused to allow his daughter and granddaughters to go with Hugh. An argument ensued and Hugh took out a pistol shooting Daniel Finney in the chest killing him instantly. Daniel’s brother Charlie Finney saw the murder, called the police and Hugh Banks was arrested.

Hattie and her mother Mary were devastated and in addition for many years Hattie carried the burden of guilt and shame that if she had not ran back to her parents’ house for protection perhaps her Dad, a strong healthy man would have lived even longer than his age of 75 years at the time of the shooting. Her choices haunted her for a long time but at least she found peace knowing that she had protected her three innocent young daughters and pride in the great love her Dad had for his family laying down his life for them.

Newspaper Clipping of the Murder

Daniel Finney Murder Newspaper Clipping

My Grandmother strong in her Baptist Faith eventually forgave her wayward husband supplying the information for my grandfather’s death certificate after his untimely death in prison from tuberculosis at age 30. No one from my grandfather’s family came to claim the body and he is buried  in the Potters Field attached to the prison.

Hugh Banks Death Certificate

Grandfather Hugh Banks Death Certificate

Daniel James Finney

Daniel James Finney Death Certificate

Shortly after the trial my Great Uncle Clarence came for Hattie and her daughters taking them to Dayton, Ohio where my mother grew up and later met and married my Dad Edward G. Palmer a union of 40 years that produced me and my brother Stephen.

Fast forward to the year 2000 when by then both my parents and my grandmother had gone onto glory. I met my common-law husband who like my grandmother’s relationship with her husband started off with great dreams and hope for the future but gradually deteriorated into an abusive relationship from which I too sought escape. For our final year together when the emotional, physical and psychological abuse was at its worst I prayed to God that this man would leave me and he did. He left me for a younger woman. A sigh of relief. A burden lifted from my shoulders. However though his physical presence was gone his psychological presence was rooted in my mind and soul. Though I had forgiven him it took years to dig up the roots and weeds of self-doubt and self-hate he had planted within me. Spirit never fails and after a brush with death from a minor stroke at age 49 and being Blessed to see 50 I began to experience a Change of Life. Not just from menopause which began physical changes within my body but spiritual and emotional changes. During all this upheaval my ancestors were with me, guiding me every step of the way. Each succeeding year as I progress through my 50s has brought me greater enlightenment and spiritual growth. Once I made the decision to answer my calling in this life doors open, thus here I am today to carry forward my Grandmother’s Legacy and be a blessing to survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse.

But unbeknownst to my Grandmother and Great Grandmother a little girl cowering in front of a dusty little used attic window had peered out becoming an eyewitness to her Grandfather’s being shot to death by her Dad. Mable was always the quiet one of the three girls who took in many things but let out little.  As the Bible says  of conversations concerning Mary and Jesus, Mable Finney Banks was a small girl who took in and absorb all the things around her and pondered them in her heart……………….  From now on the events of that day would follow her all through childhood, young womanhood, and as a married woman with children and as she battled her own demons of schizophrenia. I shall take up Mable’s story in the next segment.

Thank you Sisters and be Blessed!

.

.

Anger and The 3 Ts — Trials, Troubles & Tribulations

16 Sep
Ten Lepers

Ten Lepers were healed, one only one return to give Thanks.

 

ANGER

USUALLY FROWNED UPON AND COUNTED AS ONE OF THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS DOES IN SPITE OF its BAD RAP SERVE A PROTECTIVE PURPOSE. People who don’t get angry on the outside are really boiling mad inside which cause depression which in turn brings on diseases like migraines, high blood pressure, diabetes, and the like.

ANGER

Turned against innocent outsiders’ results in long term incarcerations among the perpetrators, bad relationships with family and friends and sometimes when an argument escalates beyond control the combatants may find themselves being taken to the hospital or to prison.

ANGER

Used to get to the root of a problem separating disparate elements can have positive outcomes if the therapist or interventionists can get the troubled self-destructing members to reach an understanding that continued bad choices will produce the same self-defeating results.

Challenges in the form of Trials, troubles and tribulations bring out the strength that is already in you. No outside force or power can help you if you don’t first help yourself. Once you make the determination within your heart everything else will fall into place. It’s like the character of the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz. He sought what was within him all the time. All he had to do was face his fears even while being afraid. Once he realized that the Wizard was a charlatan he knew that the power resided in him all along. God is always with us and he never leaves us, sending His angels to smooth the pathway but allowing us to discover the power that lies within all of us. Rise up and take your place as a Rightful Citizen of Planet Earth!  We are the only hands God has on this earth to stop violence against women, girls or even pets. Make your house or home a sanctuary for one who has fallen off the straight path. Let’s create a friendly island of peace for our girl children. A Place of no judgement where they can be free to be themselves without shame, scorn or rebuke.

Jesus our Way Shower taught us how to be strong and that there is no shame in asking for help if you need it. Jesus gives many examples and situations which cause our strength to rise up within us. We are called to civil disobedience and to right wrongs within our community.

In Matthew 21:12-13 Jesus threw the money changers and sellers out of the temple.

 Matthew 21:12-13

New International Version (NIV)

Jesus at the Temple

12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’[a] but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.

Matthew 21:12-13

New International Version (NIV)

Jesus at the Temple

12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”

Jesus Calls Herod a Sly Fox

At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.” He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’” (Luke 13:31-32)
____________________________________________________________

Jesus calling Herod a fox catches us a little off guard here. Did Jesus really call people names? Yes, when appropriate. He did not do it to hurt people’s feelings or out of childish anger or to be unkind. But Jesus called a spade a spade.

What did he mean by calling Herod a fox? A fox is a small, weak, wily animal that lives by cunning rather than strength. Jesus was drawing attention to Herod’s crafty, treacherous side. Herod was not a man worthy of trust or respect. He divorced his wife to marry his own niece, who happened to be his own brother’s wife. He beheaded John the Baptist because of a foolish promise made at a birthday party. He was a man of weak character who used his political power for selfish ends.

Now, we need to be careful here. As Christians we are called to love, forgive, forbear and be courteous to others. We should not go around calling people names as a general rule. Jesus rarely did. But there are times when we also must call a spade a spade. Sometimes a thief needs to be called a thief; the unfaithful spouse must be called an adulterer; the pornographer needs to be called perverted. There are times when evil must be confronted and named. There are times when Herod must be called a fox. Originally Posted by Ray Folwer

Jesus and the Woman taken in Adultery

John 8:1-11

New International Version (NIV)

but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11 “No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

A new ministry for girls called Jephthah’s Daughters has been birthed. Please send donations and contributions to help young girls between the ages of 4 to 17 in need via PayPal to deborah.palmer280@gmail.com. The young ladies will receive care packages and counseling. Rest assured that you are supporting a good cause that will lift up young women who have been abandoned and neglected by their birth families.  Thank you.

Donations and Freewill offerings can be made directly to my PayPal account deborah.palmer280@gmail.com

Jephthah’s Daughters Redeemed

14 Jul

Jephthah’s Daughters

by Espiritu en Fuego — A Fiery Spirit Expressing Herself aka DeBorah Ann Palmer on Saturday, July 14, 2012 at 3:51pm ·
Jephthah's Daughter

Jephthah’s Daughter

A colleague recently told me that no child is a throwaway but if that child is causing chaos and strife everywhere he goes then the other child or children usually girls are once again being sacrificed. The future of a talented gifted young lady has been put on the altar just to save a boy child who doesn’t care about his own family, neighbors or community. Damn the Village, it’s all about me is his attitude. Now that’s sad. As we can see from the below passage not much has changed for girls since Biblical times. Boys especially the ones who’ve adopted the thug life are praised and honored while a girl who tries hard, studies, has good manners and is kind is kicked to the side in order to save a boy child who hates his family, disobeys authority, & has no regard for rules or regulations.

Shall we regard our girl children as Jephthah’s Daughters?  How long will we continue to perpetuate the adage, “Women love their sons, but raise the daughters.”  Every child deserves the opportunity to succeed in life but success comes through accepting responsibility and learning to be accountable.  Any child male or female who constantly lashes out at authority figures in a bid to always be “right” is a child bound for prison or the graveyard.  Stop making excuses for your badass boys behavior. Stop making girls the sacrificial lambs!!

One Girl’s Story

V. finished summer school last week. Now she is studying for an Earth Science regents. V. has that red & white Barrons study guide. She did not have this class during high school. If her mother had done the right thing V. could have graduated last year at age 16. She took all her required courses in that particular High School plus she took extra summer school courses to get ahead and graduate early. However once her brother screwed up they both had to leave that school attend a lesser inner-city high school. That low level high school did nothing to help V. during the year she attended and would not accept any of the extra classes she took in the previous high school. V. was also disappointed in the curriculum offered by this so-called Magnet School. Despite the high sounding name V. did not feel challenged in that school. It was a total dud. She wanted advanced accelerated courses but they refused to give her those type of course and barely offered tutoring in the classes they claimed she needed. 

 
Despite these disappointments V. has pressed on. Even though she is a bit behind V. is determined to get ahead. V. is filling out job applications, (she turned18 in October) and plans to apply to LaGuardia Community College and Queensboro Community College. Because of her mother’s unstable vagabond hobo lifestyle V. went to five high schools in five years which resulted in a messed up G.P.A.  Now she can only be accepted into a four year school based on her grades in the two year schools. Detours, yes, but she has a plan for her life and I’m determined to assist her in making her dreams come true. She deserves this opportunity in a quiet, peaceful, safe stable environment. For me it’s not a sacrifice but a calling. In V. I’ve found my purpose in life. I’m more than willing to give her all the encouragement and support she needs.
It’s like a part of me is now complete. I was meant to be there for her. That is part of my calling in this life. 
 
I believe one day V. will make a wonderful curator at a museum. Curators make a very good salary and their work is creative and fulfilling.

From this experience a new ministry for girls called Jephthah’s Daughters has been birthed. Please send donations and contributions to help young girls in need via PayPal to deborah.palmer280@gmail.com. Rest assured that you are supporting a good cause that will lift up young women who have been abandoned and neglected by their birth families.  Thank you.

 
GIRLS MATTER! GIRLS ROCK! GIRLS RULE!!

Ladies, let’s love our girl children and stop putting them on the altar in order to save a son who does not wanted to be saved and does not think he needs help or worse some no account man who should not even be a part of our households to begin with. Let us not return to ancient times when girls and women were thought of as little more than chattel or commodities to be bought and sold. (See below for more details on ancient economies)

Girl Sacrifice

Girl Sacrifice

“One of the unusual things about the Bible is that it preserves some bits of this larger context. … It would seem that the economy of the Hebrew kingdoms, by the time of the prophets, was already beginning to develop the same kind of debt crises that had long been common in Mesopotamia: espe­cially in years of bad harvests, the poor became indebted to rich neigh­bors or to wealthy moneylenders in the towns, they would begin to lose title to their fields and to become tenants on what had been their own land, and their sons and daughters would be removed to serve as servants in their creditors’ households, or even sold abroad as slaves.

V

Unmasking the Secret — Exposing Errors of the Secular Prosperity Gospel

26 May

Unmasking the Secret

Exposing Errors of the Secular Prosperity Gospel

Proverbs 23:4-5

New International Version (NIV)

Do not wear yourself out to get rich;
do not trust your own cleverness.
Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone,
for they will surely sprout wings
and fly off to the sky like an eagle.

What is money but a necessary tool to buy the things that make life a little more comfortable? After all our economy is not based on the barter system, we can only receive food, shelter and clothing through monetary means.

Skeptic

Can reciting or believing specific affirmations make us more financially prosperous? Possibly, if these affirmations are coupled with hard work and financial savvy, we might be rich in houses, land, cars, techno gadgets and various other trappings of modern life but in the process we might become increasingly spiritually bereft. An abundance of money does give one a kind of freedom. All desire freedom from material want and lack something that is central in all societies, but too much concentration on the acquisition of money can be the ball and chain the binds us in servitude to the “Almighty Dollar”.

James Arthur Ray is the perfect example of how the Bible based Law of Attraction can be taken to the extreme and beyond. Mr. Ray is a false prophet who has turned what God meant for good into a systematic formula based on greed.

For people like him everything in the world can be reduced to a series of numbers, values or phrases. But I don’t just blame Mr. Ray after all he was not in this by himself. His followers chose to worship him and his phony techniques to their ultimate detriment resulting in some cases in the loss of life. Mutual motivations propel both the followers and his congregation. Mr. Ray’s flock like him are seduced with the promise of wealth, peace, unlimited prosperity in a series of gibberish culled from various philosophies which only transfer money from their pockets to his.

Just like certain phony preachers crowding the airwaves of The Word Network and TBN these self-help gurus take time honored principles from the Bible and Native American traditions, mix them all into a New Agey hodgepodge mumbo jumbo designed to suck in the needy and the greedy.  Truly these preening posing coxcombs embody every one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Like the ill fated protagonist Gustav von Aschenbach from the novella A Death in Venice written by Thomas Mann both the gurus and their followers march to their demise along a pathway which only leads to destruction.

Much like the “Prosperity Preachers and the Prosperity Gospel” those who don’t manifest immediate peace, insight, revelation or prosperity often endure from feelings of worthlessness. But that’s okay. Just give the Prophet or Guru another $500 to $2000 and we can go on another Vision Quest and try it again until you get it right. These seers or mystics prey on peoples’ weaknesses by bringing them to their breaking point.

There are many wonderful programs that assist people in terms of setting goals and meeting with like minded people on plans and strategies that will help the individual accomplish their goals. But none of those programs should involve blind obedience to a program or an individual.

Today’s Self-Help Gurus are only the latest incarnation of brainwashing cults intent on manipulating minds and emotions of searchers or those seeking to fill a void in their lives. These men and women just cobble together a philosophy that on the surface appears to be sound since it’s supposedly based on ancient wisdom, but in reality is has more holes than Swiss cheese. A workman is worthy or his hire, however he/she is also accountable to his flock and ultimately to God.

All faiths have sought to explain, prevent or relieve suffering but as human beings we know suffering is part of the human experience. We cannot avoid some suffering but on the other hand there is no need for us to going chasing after it either.

The Law of Attraction, by now we’ve all heard about this Biblical and Universal Law to some extent. As a man thinks so is he, Life and Death are in the Power of the Tongue, confessions, profession, affirmations, speak life, etc… You get the gist of the message. Yes to some extent your thoughts and words do create your world but simply speaking or thinking right thoughts is not a barrier to the issues of life. In fact Jesus said that we would have trials and tribulations in this life but He would be with us always. So the measure of a Blessed Life is not a big house, fine car or lots of money in the bank. How many rich people do we hear about daily who are unhappy, on drugs, alcohol, been married ten times or who just give up and commit suicide? So does money or the worldly version of success bring happiness or joy? No. Of course extreme poverty or serious illness is not a happy experience either but life is cyclical. We’re supposed to have ups and downs.

Beware any pastor, minister, or self help guru who makes promises that if we just follow their specialized guaranteed Twelve Steps to Success we will all be singing and dancing like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. The only people whose wealth is increasing are those false prophets whether they’re wearing a clerical collar or a designer suit.

The hidden unspoken message behind their declarations are that people who don’t experience success, i.e. folks who get sick, lose their job, home, fall on hard times or die did not have enough faith or didn’t follow the so-called steps for the “right results”.

Skeptical Believer

Redefine success. Your own personal success. Little did I realize that I was successful when I lost my good high paying job five years ago; when I found myself in the E.R. of Roosevelt Hospital, November 7, 2008 due to extreme high blood pressure; when I lost my vision in my left eye for over a year until surgery partially restored my sight January 2010, when I nearly died from an addiction to prescription medications, when I found myself penniless and unable to pay my rent or other bills I was still successful. When I hit rock bottom that’s when I lost all my pride and was forced to ask for help. When I prayed to God and asked him to send me help, my prayers were answered. I’m still not where I want to be in life but I’m on my way there. Why? Because I’m right where God wants me to be in life.

Philippians 3:13-14

New International Version (NIV)

13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/19/james-arthur-ray-sentenced_n_1102753.html

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-6186963-504083.html

http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20504662,00.html

 Donations to this ministry can be made via Paypal using my email: deborah.palmer280@gmail.com.

Thank you and God Bless.

Treasure in Broken Vessels — Many Noble Truths Through Varied Sages

23 Sep 20160205_192316

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/treasure/#like-250582

Treasure

Treasure in Broken Vessels

The Many Noble Truths of the Buddha and Jesus Christ

“When I know the glass goblet is already broken every moment with it becomes precious.”Paraphrased from documentary film The Buddha”

2 Corinthians 4:7 (New King James Version)

7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, which the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.

Would I experience the Love of God more fully as an ascetic or renouncer? No I would focus only on what I was missing, not getting any closer to God but in total concentration of the absence of comfort or pleasure.  The more we try to mortify the flesh the more we see we cannot transcend the body while existing in this earthly realm.  Deprivation as practiced by some ascetics or mystics and prophets is not necessarily the best spiritual path for the average seeker.  Some austerity is necessary so that we are not consumed by the material world but to isolate and deny our very human bodies the daily necessities can open the door wider to a sense of failure or discouragement.  We must try to find balance in our lives.  At one end is the ascetic, at the other end the hedonist/sensualist.  Most of us flow best in the middle ground with occasional visits to the polar ends.  Separated from our source we yearn to return.

As prophets and/or enlightened beings both the Buddha and Jesus had similar universal themes of overcoming temptation, a wilderness experience with the tempter, both mystics emerged triumphant.  Realization that the Kingdom of God is within us enabled these two very different men, who lived in different time periods, from different cultures, in different parts of the world to have similar spiritual revelations which now have millions of adherents worldwide.

Bliss or self-actualization comes with accepting our interconnectedness with the world, yet not being of the world.  Subconsciously we are all craving with a burning desire to become one with the Beloved.  This craving may lead us down several spiritual and secular pathways during our lifetimes before we achieve our own individual enlightenment.  As a Christian I take refuge in the scriptural jewels offered to me within the Biblical scriptures, yet not discounting other belief systems or spiritual pathways.  As I explore many different faiths side by side with my own I find more similarities than differences.  Like my Buddhist sisters and brothers I find sanctuary in the Love of God, the teachings of Jesus, and various pastors, evangelists, or teachers who have a more extensive knowledge of the Bible than me, who can help me increase my understanding of scripture.  With that said as believers in any denomination we must study the scriptures for ourselves rightly dividing the word of truth so we are not carried away with doctrines of false prophets.  Beware those who misuse and misconstrue God’s Divine Word for their own personal profit and gain.

I can truly say the Bible speaks to me.  What does your holy scriptures say to you?  Like many of the faithful I find comfort in rites, rituals, ceremonies and sacraments of my church.  It’s familiar.  It’s comforting.  If suddenly I attended church one Sunday and everything was out of sequence I would definitely be uncomfortable, wonder what was going on and if I was in the right church.  However too much restrictive structure and adherence to doctrine and dogma can inhibit the spiritual growth of the congregation for this reason many people turn to secular and social organizations that offer morals, values and intellectual growth without the mythology.  Churches, social organizations and clubs also satisfy the need for companionship and fellowship.  As human beings we need to belong to a body of people with similar interests, goals and desires.  We desire a place to fit in and be accepted for who we are as individuals.  Churches, social organizations, clubs, guilds and professional organizations offer a type of safe space or sanctuary where we receive positive reinforcement that enables us to cope with the not so positive chapters in our lives.

Traveling other Pathways

Recently I attended Hindu church service New York City. At first I was hesitant when my girlfriend asked me to accompany her to her service because those old voices of narrow mindedness assailed me causing doubt to creep into my mind as to whether it would be the right thing to do. Also I wondered if it would just be other Indian people and I would be the outsider. Not so, on both accounts. Initially I had only intended to stay five or ten minutes but I was drawn in by the praise and worship music and the words of the guest speaker who had journeyed all the way from India to share wisdom as given by their Guru.

After his presentation there was a ritual very similar to communion in which I shared. I was very glad to have attended this service and look forward to worshiping again with the congregation. My girlfriend did her best to explain what was going on and to share literature with me. As we walked to Penn Station together discussing religion in general and the things of God in particular I felt a peace, calm, and contentedness that I had not felt in a long time.

It is far removed from my Baptist upbringing and Bible teachings but at the same time there are many similarities teachings of Jesus, the Hindu scriptures and the Buddha. After the service my girlfriend presented me with two of the roses that had lain upon the altar, which I duly took home and placed into a vase with water. Several hours later it struck me that one of the redemptive names of Jesus is the “Rose of Sharon”. Wow! My mind immediately went to “The Song of Solomon” the Bible’s romance book. The Song of Solomon explicitly expresses the desire between two lovers but on a deeper level the love of Jesus for his bride, the church.

Hindu, Buddhist, Hebrew, Jewish, Christian, Sufi Muslim all have their mystical sages who are calling us closer to God. Are you listening?

Beloved Transcended

Divine fragrant Lotus Rose petals fell upon the body of the ascended one and the veil was rent from top to bottom.  We his followers make pilgrimage to the Holy City in remembrance of Him.

Excerpt from the poem “One Whisper of the Beloved” by Rumi

In truth, everyone is a shadow of the Beloved –
Our seeking is His seeking,
Our words are His words.

At times we flow toward the Beloved
like a dancing stream.
At times we are still water
held in His pitcher.
At times we boil in a pot
turning to vapor –
that is the job of the Beloved.

He breathes into my ear
until my soul
takes on His fragrance.
He is the soul of my soul –
How can I escape?
But why would any soul in this world
want to escape from the Beloved?

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