Essie Mae and New Paris

The school bell has rung, class is now in session.

I have an affinity for classic movies, especially ones in black and white. I thought of one recently that shared a valuable lesson, but first let me tell you what led up to me reflecting on it.

1958 Shirley MacLaine in Hot Spell

I was talking to my childhood best friend about the good ole days, and how care-free things were. After hours and hours of conversation, we got off the phone feeling giddy about the past, and chuckling at the present. It is amazing how we can romanticize the past, while standing in the turbulent present.

Turbulent Present

This brings me to, Essie Mae and New Paris. In the movie Hot Spell, the mother, Alma Duval was involved in a crisis. Her husband was having an affair, and it appeared everyone was aware of it, but her. She spent most of her time catering to her husband, and adult-children’s needs. Throughout the movie she continuously asked her husband, “When could they go back to New Paris to visit her best friend Essie Mae, their old house, and other close friends?” Whenever she asked, annoyed, her husband would offer empty promises about going “soon”.

As time progressed, their lives began to unravel at the seams. All that Alma could think about was going to see her old friend, Essie Mae and New Paris. Alma truly felt this would solve all of their problems. Needless to say, when they finally made it back to New Paris, it was not anything like it was before they left.

Their home, the people and the environment had utterly changed. They noted this as they walked back to the train station to go back home. Alma could not believe how long she had held on to the memory of New Paris. Her obsession with the past had consumed her so much, that she missed out on most of the present. She was so glad to finally discover that it was no longer like it used to be. She was free to live!

Leaving for the train

Free to Live

Are you being held hostage by a romanticized memory from your past?

The Past

Word of advice, leave it there. It is perfectly normal to reflect on a moment, person or place, but do not allow yourself to dwell. The definition of dwell is to live or reside in.

Alma spoke so much about the living in the past, that she lost touch with reality. It took her going to visit New Paris in order to learn the ugly truth, happiness no longer resided there.

This post is meant to save you a trip. #youarewelcome

Instead of having to visit your version of New Paris, you can decide here and now to leave it in the past. There are new opportunities for you to take advantage of now, that will lead you to your next God-given assignment. Focus, and surround yourself with people, places and things that contribute good things to your life.

Do not continue to reside with the ghost from the past, it will have your head in the clouds for so long, that by the time you wake up, you will realize life had passed you by.

It is not too late, leave the past in the past, and forge ahead!

New beginnings

The school bell has rung, class dismissed.

From Hosannah, To Crucify

The school bell has rung, class is now in session.

There was a time when Jesus entered into a city during Holy Week, and people started singing His praises crying, “Hosannah Hosannah!” The same crowd went from singing his praises to condemning him a few days later. Why? Because they got caught up with the voices around them. These people were asked whether they wanted to crucify a murderer, or Jesus. They responded to crucify the one they supported a few days before.

This is a prime example of people supporting a person one minute, then shortly afterwards saying the opposite about them. It can be hurtful, but do not lose heart because if they did it to Jesus, it can certainly happen to anyone. We cannot control how others respond to the voices (gossip) around them, but we can control how we respond.

For more strategies on how to deal with being treated different, check out one of my old post The Second Black Sheep. I hope it is a blessing and encouragement to you.

The school bell has rung, class dismissed!

A Threat vs The Believer

The school bell has rung, class is now in session.

When you feel threatened, the most natural response is to protect yourself. Protection may come in the form of fighting, running away, or being paralyzed by fear. All of these responses are common to the human psyche. In 906 b.c., a Prophet by the name of Elijah was threatened by Queen Jezebel, and he was so afraid that he ran away. The irony is that the threat came after a great victory, where Jezebel’s prophets were defeated in a showdown against the Prophet Elijah.

In the natural, this looked utterly ridiculous because Elijah had just called out Jezebel and her prophets, and was successful in defeating them. He had no reason to be afraid of her because God had shown Himself greater.

Essential Question: How often have you felt afraid of a threat (known or perceived)? Do you know as a believer that God will fight your battle(s) and handle threat(s) on your behalf?

Human head with questions marks on the background

A Threat and The Believer

As a Believer, we know according to God’s Word, that He is a Conquerer, Protector of those who belong to Him, and will avenge us from the enemy. We should never be afraid of those who are plotting, and scheming our demise behind the scenes, because what is done in secret, will be brought into the light.

After the threat on his life, and his purpose; Elijah took a day’s journey, and ended up sitting under a juniper tree wishing he was dead. The Prophet Elijah battled suicidal thoughts because the evil spirit behind Jezebel was so strong that it made him feel like dying. Whenever you reach this level of fear, you have to remind yourself that FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real. It is an illusion that could only become a reality if you allow it to.

Turn it off

After he begged God to take his life, he slept. He was awaken and fed by ravens and later an angel.

The major point of encouragement I would like to give you is that in the midst of your crisis and attack, you will be taken care of despite yourself. God still provided for Elijah in his time of weakness and sustained him for his journey to Mount Horeb (the same place God met with Moses). It was there he spent 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness.

Retreat and Receive

When you are being mistreated, threatened or attacked, your response should be to retreat and spend time with the Lord. Retreat from all distractions so that you can receive instructions from God. The instructions Elijah received helped him prepare for his next steps. God was the one who eliminated “the threat” along with the person who “made the threat.” #terrible-ending (2 Kings 9: 30-37)

All that was left of Jezebel was her skull, feet and palm of her hands

Threats have to go through God when it is directed at those who are true followers of Christ, and He will protect them.

All you need to do is:

Take time to go away into the wilderness and communion with Him, so that you can receive the instructions He has for your next steps.

Turn off the distractions in your life.

Close your ears to the evil threats (known or perceived) so that you can clearly hear from God. He often speaks in a still small voice. (1 Kings 19:12)

When Elijah left to go into the wilderness, he went into the region covered by King Jehoshaphat, which was out of the jurisdiction of King Ahab, and Queen Jezebel. He was not in any physical danger, but was still haunted by her threat. Threats should not be taken lightly, because they can be debilitating. The next time you experience a threat, take it to God.

The battle is not yours, but belongs to the Lord!

The school bell has rung, class dismissed.

The Little Black Dress – Fight Poverty Today

Friends and family, I want to tell you about a fun and important event I’m doing called the Little Black Dress Initiative. As you may know, I’m a member of the Junior League of Moore County which is a group of hardworking, inspiring women and through the year, we do many things for our community. Some of these things include human trafficking awareness and prevention courses, helping those who are food insecure, collecting items for children in foster care, creating “life books” for them to preserve memories, and much more. 

I’d love to tell you more about what I do with the League, and why I’m wearing my LBD for the next 11 days, but what I’m asking for here is your help! I have a goal to raise $100 to help fund my League and the awesome things we do. If you have it in your heart and feel so compelled to help me help my local community, please click on the link below to donate! Thank you so much! #LBDI #JLMCNC

https://jlmcnc.org/little-black-dress-initiative.html

Join The Little Dress Initiative with The Junior League!

With all 2022 has already thrown at us, I’m here to shed a bit of light in your timeline and to shift your focus to something I’m passionate about. I’m a member of the Junior League of Moore County, an organization that is proud to help those in need in our community. In order to fund our operations, we are starting our Little Black Dress Initiative soon! It’s an awareness event and fundraiser that will run from March 1-11.

You will see me posting pictures of me in a Little Black Dress and also lots of information that may surprise you about living in poverty. I hope you’ll help me raise awareness for this campaign by liking and sharing my posts, and if you feel so inclined to donate to my League, it would mean the world to me and the community I serve.

My goal is to raise $100 to help fund some amazing things we do like filling food pantries, helping those in the foster care system, and providing support systems for our youth as they journey into adulthood. I know that our efforts are truly making a difference in my community and I thank you so much for your support! #LBDI #JLMCNC https://jlmcnc.org/little-black-dress-initiative.html

Continued!

Please Support The Junior League of Moore County

The school bell has rung, class is in session.

Hey friends and family! I’m about to start a super important fundraising campaign and I hope you’ll feel inclined to help! It’s called the Little Black Dress Initiative and it’s through the Junior League of Moore County, a group I’m proud to be a member of!. This initiative is created to raise awareness for those living in poverty and the restrictions this place on life. 

The Junior League of Moore County serves my community in many ways including helping promote literacy and proficient readers, to feeding those who may need help finding their next meal. I hope you’ll follow me on this journey over the next 11 days and help with this campaign by donating so that I, and my League, can continue to provide help to those in my community who so desperately need it. THANKS A BUNCH! #LBDI #JLMCNC

https://jlmcnc.org/little-black-dress-initiative.html

The school bell has rung, class dismissed!

Four Life Lessons Taught by a Pair of Jeans

The school bell has rung, class is now in session.

Recently I put on an old pair of jeans that used to be my favorite! They were by a brand I have worn for over twenty years, and always appeared to be great quality. Changes in the brand became noticeable after they were sold to a huge department chain five years ago.

Love these jeans

A few years ago, I revisited a boutique that has had a reputation of selling quality clothing since 1947. They had a sell on their jeans and I bought some of them, and wouldn’t you know, they fit fabulously! So those all became my go to jeans. Fast forward to the present. I put on my old favorite jeans, and they were so ill-fitted. I could not believe it. The seams weren’t straight, which I vaguely remember being an issue in the past, but I would always fix them throughout the day. They were also extremely high watered. (I love anklet pants, but these were borderline “Steve Urkel-ish”.

Lookin good

I began to wonder when had these pants changed for me, and reluctantly put them in a bag to take to Goodwill. This brings me to the Four Life Lessons Taught by a Pair of Jeans.

Four Life Lessons

Lesson 1 – Great Fit

There may be a time when the friends you have, the organization(s) you belong to, the place of your employment, the products you use and the clothes you wear, are a great fit!

When you started with the friends, you all had certain things in common, and fun together. When you first joined the organization(s), it had so much meaning. When you started your position, you were full of purpose and excited about all of the potential opportunities that awaited. When you first used the products or wore the clothes, they seemed perfect.

It is totally natural to feel good about something when you first start it and even more common to keep it around if it is a good fit for you at the time.

Lesson 2 – Perception

To perceive, is to interpret things by our senses instead of at face value. Do not get me wrong, we need to be able to see if something is a good for us, but sometimes going only by what we see, can cause us to ignore minor defects that will become obvious in the long run.

A good example of this is when the Pharisees had conspired against Jesus, and planned to ask him a question in order to catch him off guard. The Bible said that Jesus “perceived their thoughts” and ended up being the one to catch them off guard with his response. If you want to read more about that it is in the Book of Luke chapter 5.

We can think something is a good fit, and it very well may be, but also be open to perception. Make sure to pay attention and not ignore what you may not see with the naked eye.

Lesson 3 – Change and Transition

You may be loyal to a certain brand, relationship, organization(s), place of employment, or location, but you must remain open to the possibility of change and transition.

Change and transition allows you to have the option of being flexible. Flexibility is the keyword. If you are open to change, then even if you are loyal to the brand, the relationship, organization(s), and position, you will be able to see things objectively and perceive whether or not it is time to transition to something different.

Transition

Lesson 4 – Making Room

Most of us are pretty good about going through our old jeans, clothing, and household goods. We end up putting what we no longer need into a bag and donating it. Why? To trim down clutter, and make more room/space. We may need to observe all areas of our lives and see if it is still a good fit for us. If it is, and you know it is where you need to be and what you need to be doing; in theory, continue wearing your old pair of jeans!

If you evaluate the areas of your life and determine it no longer fits who you are, and that you may need to be doing something else; it could be time to open the doors of change and transition.

It is my hope that the Four Life Lessons Taught by a Pair of Jeans, benefit you as much as it did me.

Jeans and Life Lessons

The school bell has rung, class dismissed.

Micaiah vs The 400 False Prophets: 1 Kings 22

The school bell has rung, class is now in session.

Resolutions and Goals, are just a couple of buzz words that follow a New Year.

As we make decisions about our goals for 2022, it is important that we consider the motivations and intentions behind those plans. This lesson was taught brilliantly by the Prophet Micaiah, in the Book of 1 Kings, Chapter 22.

King Ahab (King of Israel), and King Jehoshaphat (King of Judah) had an important decision to make. The decision stemmed from a goal of the evil King Ahab to gain control over another city. He knew he could not defeat the army of the neighboring city alone, so he solicited the help of his relative, King Jehoshaphat.

King Ahab shared his plan with King Jehoshaphat, and King Jehoshaphat being a Man of God, asked Ahab if he sought God on the matter. King Ahab decided to send for his 400 prophets. Keep in mind these prophets were called by the king, and not by God. All 400 of the prophets told King Ahab, and King Jehoshaphat if they go forth, and take over the city, they would be successful.

*Important Point*

These prophets were known as yes-men to King Ahab, and usually went along with whatever he said. Be careful of “yes-men” types in your life. You do not need people who are always in agreement with you, especially if their agreement does not align with God’s perfect will for your life.

After hearing all 400 of these prophets, prophecy, King Jehoshaphat discerned they may not be hearing from God. He then asked if there was a true Man of God and Prophet in the land? King Ahab answered that there was one, but he did not like to hear from him because he never prophesied anything good to him.

*Important Point*

Before making a decision, seek Godly counsel. Pray for discernment that you are not deceived by a wrong source of information.

King Jehoshaphat asked that the man come before them. King Ahab’s servants went to retrieve the Man of God, the Prophet Micaiah. The servant told Micaiah to be sure to agree with King Ahab. Micaiah said, “What the Lord saith unto me, that will I speak” (verse 14).

He stood before both Kings, and all the prophets in a huge arena. Micaiah said to King Ahab, “Go and prosper, for the Lord shall deliver the city into the hand of the king” (verse 15b). King Ahab must have sensed that the prophet was not really speaking what God told him, and instructed him to tell the truth. The truth was not pretty.

*Important Point*

The advice you need to hear may not always be the advice you want to hear. Adhere to the truth because it could end up saving your life.

Micaiah told King Ahab the vision he had seen, the vision is quite spectacular, I will put a link below so you can read it for yourself.

Micaiah let King Ahab know he would not survive the battle against the city if he continues with his plan to overtake them, and that his followers would be defeated, and scattered. Micaiah said that King Ahab’s army would be like sheep without a shepherd; scattered because there would no longer be a shepherd to lead them.

The spokesman of the 400 prophets, Zedekiah slapped Micaiah for his prophecy. King Ahab looked at King Jehoshaphat, and whined that he knew Micaiah would not say anything good.

*Important Point*

It is natural to respond negatively to truth, especially when it is something you do not want to hear. Take time to reflect on your plans, seek God and make sure you are going in the right direction.

King Ahab ordered for Micaiah to be put in jail until he comes back from the battle safely. King Ahab was afraid, but too greedy to not pursue his goals. He decided to beat his fate by dressing King Jehoshaphat in his royal robes so that the enemy would not recognize him. King Jehoshaphat did not know he was being set up, but God’s protection was on him.

*Important Point*

King Ahab was so wicked that he was willing to set up his own relative to get murdered. This why having discernment of spirits is so important, because even a family member or close friend can be a wolf in sheep clothing.

King Jehoshaphat was truly a Man of God, so even though he was wearing the evil king’s attire, He was still protected.

God’s word does not return void, it will accomplish what it sets forth to accomplish; changing clothes was not going to thwart His plans. King Ahab should have known this based previous experience with God.

Let us not follow in his footsteps. When given a warning that could help avoid calamity, adhere to it. There is no room for reckless plans, goals or decisions in 2022.

During the day of battle, King Jehoshaphat was in his chariot, and one of the Syrian soldiers headed straight for him, thinking he was King Ahab. Just as the soldier was about to shoot him with an arrow, King Jehoshaphat cried out to the Lord. The soldier then realized that he was not King Ahab, and retreated.

*Important Point*

Cry out to God in the midst of trouble, He can still redeem and protect.

Elsewhere on the battle field, a Syrian soldier, randomly shot an arrow from afar, and it found an opening in King Ahab’s armor. King Ahab ended up bleeding to death in his chariot. When his followers heard of his death, they were defeated and scattered, just as the true Prophet of God said they would.

Resolutions and Goals for 2022

People of God, as you create plans, set goals and make resolutions for this year; make sure they are aligned with God’s perfect will for your life. Do not be like King Ahab, who hatched a plan in his mind, and found 400 prophets to agree with it.

How do you seek His will? You will find Him through His Word, Prayer and communion with Him. He said if you seek Him, you will find Him, and if you draw closer to Him, He will draw closer to you. You need to set aside time for Him this year, and when you do, His perfect plans, and goals for your life will be revealed.

Happy New Year to you all!

Going forward, consider the source behind everything that enters through your eye, and ear gate. Check the source, and origin of the people speaking into your life, and the information you ingest.

There will be times when you will have a crowd of people cheering, and encouraging you towards a goal you want to accomplish, but make sure you are not listening to The 400 Prophets telling you what you want to hear. Who you give ear to will determine your outcome.

The school bell has rung, class dismissed!

The Vision of Micaiah is below if you care to read it in more detail.

A Distressing Vision (1 Kings 22:19-23)

Even though King Ahab was upset with Micaiah’s words, the prophet went on to explain an additional vision God had shown him. It was a curious scene in Heaven. Micaiah saw “the Lord sitting on his throne,” and a host of angels (and perhaps other spiritual beings) standing around God’s throne (verse 19). The Lord said to the angelic host, “Who shall persuade (entice) Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?” (verse 20). God was asking for a volunteer from among the host to go to Ahab and influence him to disregard Micaiah’s prophecy so that he would fall at Ramoth-gilead.

One of the spirits came forward and stood before the Lord and said, “I will persuade (entice) him” (verse 21). When the Lord asked the question “Wherewith?” (or, “How are you going to entice him?”), the spirit replied, “I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets” (verse 22). And the Lord gave the spirit permission to go forth and do that.

It is not necessary for us to press all the details related to this vision. God is accommodating our limited understanding, and so there will likely be some unanswered questions about these verses. In verse 23, after describing the vision, Micaiah spoke directly to King Ahab and said, “The LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee.” In essence, Micaiah said to Ahab, “Your prophets may bring you some comfort, but the whole group of counselors is telling lies, and are utterly unreliable.”

The point of the strange vision is this: In some unexplainable manner, God was actively working through Ahab’s false prophets to accomplish His planned divine judgment on Ahab, the wicked king of Israel. (https://biblehelpsinc.org/publication/lessons-from-the-life-of-micaiah/)

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