Category Archives: Inspirational

I Don’t Like Girls

My mother is one of the most loving people I know, but she has never really trusted women. I didn’t grow up in a home where my mom had girlfriends or sorority sisters who came over regularly. I never saw my mom go shopping or take annual girl trips with her friends or even her biological sisters for that matter. This just never happened.

I can remember my mom having two girlfriends that I saw every few years, but never regularly. Even while my mom has sisters, her stance on women remained the same. She would say to me “Pooh Pooh, I don’t trust women. They are always up to no good. I just can’t trust them.” While I never agreed, I could sympathize with her. I understood that her philosophy on women was birthed out of a painful, frustrating, abusive and dysfunctional relationship with her own mother.

Negative experiences with my grandmother deeply wounded her and affected how she related not only to her sisters but also other women who came into her life. Like my mother, many of us have unfortunately had similar relationships with a pivotal female figure our lives. Many of us have had negative encounters with women on the course of our journey that has tainted our view on women. Without an intentional, conscious effort to break this cycle of thinking, we become like my mother and perpetuate a heart of hate and distrust for other women that is passed down from generation to generation.

I learned very quickly that whenever a woman said, “I don’t like women” or “I don’t trust women,” more times than not, this attitude was birthed out of pain that was caused by a woman that they loved. While I never adopted my mother’s philosophy on women, I understood it. I understand how I may have intentionally or unintentionally hurt another woman. I understood it because I too have had my own hurtful encounters with women that I respected and loved. However, I determined in my heart, that I would be a woman who would become a disruption to this type of thinking and relating to other women.

As a woman, I firmly believe that the older I become, the more important it is to have healthy relationships with women. It is important for me to be connected to women who inspire, encourage and challenge me to become a better woman. Relationships with women are so important. The right relationships and divine connections with God-ordained women will change the course of your life. While there are clearly relationships that we become aware of in the Spirit that are unhealthy, there are also relationships that are revealed in the Spirit that are so amazing! The power of being connected to a woman who knows who she is in the Spirit is a gift. These are the women who can be who they are and embrace and bless you at the same time. It doesn’t take anything away from them to love and support you. These are the relationships where envy, jealousy and hatred are not a part of the equation. And if there is ever a time where they rear their ugly heads, they are honestly addressed and dealt with swiftly. These are the relationships in our lives that I believe are sent from God. These are the divine connections that bring forth the best in you and you bring forth the best. These are the mothers, sisters and friends that have been designated to you in the Spirit. They cover, protect and keep you lifted in prayer. They celebrate with you, cry with you and lift you up when you are low. These are the women who have the ability to see you in the Spirit during moments where you are unable to see yourself. They agree with God’s promises for your life and vow to walk with you until they come to pass. These are the midwives assigned for birthing your purpose. These are the women who may have also been hurt by other women, but had the capacity to learn the lesson and move forward. They may have hurt other women but they understand the power of forgiveness and therefore are able to walk without condemnation. They realize that it is a gift to love and honor a woman in friendship. The responsibility for this type of friendship is great and is not easily found.

Who are the women in your life? It is a gift to select the people that we can choose to have in our lives. When we understand this power, we should place a high value on ourselves and the women that we have an opportunity to share and exchange seeds with. We are to also constantly look at ourselves to see how we can be a better mother, sister, friend and supporter to the women we love. It is a mutual exchange of love and support that translates into healthy relationships amongst women that continue from generation to generation.

Pastor LeAundre Hill: Disciplined Servant of God’s Servant

God calls those who have character and will not call us to where our character cannot keep us. Every chosen servant of God possesses certain types of characteristics that God uses for His Glory. Moses, who was one of the first biblical examples of a chosen servant has been noted as being a man of great character. He was an obedient, visionary with integrity and had compassion for God’s people as a leader. Moses character allowed him to faithfully and successful serve God as he led the children of Israel out of bondage. To serve God, servants must have integrity so that they are trusted and followed by those whom they are called to serve. “And if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, in integrity of heart, and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded thee, and wilt keep my statutes and my judgments:” 1 Kings 9:4

Those whom God calls as His chosen servants are also disciplined. Discipline is essential in the lives of believers and credible leaders because often there are very few people who are around to watch over their shoulders to make sure that they are privately living a disciplined life as they should. Leaders who lack discipline in their private life has been an issue that the church has struggle with for many years. No one likes to be disciplined but no one can deny that the results of having been disciplined leads to better living.

The Apostle Paul writes in Hebrews 12:7-11 “As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever? For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening, it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way”. Having discipline helps prevent these types of issues and struggles to surface in the life of those who are called to serve God. A good leader will make every effort to gain as much knowledge and wisdom as possible in the areas that he or she struggles with in life.

Our character matters when it comings to serving God and fulfilling his purpose for our life. Someone said, “Don’t let your gift take you where your character cannot keep you.” This is a true statement because no matter how gifted someone might be if they are lacking good character traits as a servant they might do or say something which could cause them to lose the position or place of influence where they are. I would add to that statement by saying, make sure that your character has been can keep you in the place that God has called you.

Christopher Swims – A Pastor’s Inspiration

“It’s ok to grieve.” Something I preach all the time to others, but fail to apply in my own life. Grief is never an easy task to handle. Grief isn’t just the loss of a lifetime loved one, grief happens when your normal routine is hit with a sudden interruption. I.e. you’ve given loyal service to your job for over twenty years, but you’re replaced with the newest technology. You didn’t get that raise and what you thought would last forever, ended abruptly. It is the sudden interruptions in life that causes us to lose our breathe.

How do you recover from interruptions? Grieve, mourn or even take off the Band-Aid. Stop trying to hold it together. These are mechanisms we use to numb the pain that we’re feeling. Numbing never heals, it just prolongs healing. It’s easy to find alternatives that’ll get our mind focused on something else, but when will we deal with our brokenness?

Grief opens the door to know a different side of God. Recently, I did a devotional entitled, “5 Names of God for Grief,” by Christopher D. Hudson and Rose Publishing. It brought a great comfort to me in knowing God cares, not only about my future, but also my heart that is hurting. This is who God is and He desires to intentionally and personally help you when you’re grieving:

• Elohim Shama – The God that hears

• Jehovah Uzzi – The Lord is my strength

• Elohim Qarob – God is near

• Rum Rosh – The one that lifts my head

• Shub Nephesh – Renewer of Life

You don’t have to deal with life’s interruptions on your own, God is there waiting to reveal Himself to you!!

You can learn more about Pastor Swims and Hopewell at www.hopewellmb.org

A Pastor’s Inspiration – Pastor Melissa McKinnies –

It was at the young age of 15 that I discovered my life verse in the Bible. It is found in Psalm 37:4. It reads, in KJV, “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”

That verse kept me in the darkest of hours, in the strongest of storms and during the loneliest times of my life. It was an anchor for me; a refuge. It was my source of hope. When I was tempted to question the seasons or the timing of things in my life, I would revisit this verse. I would write it out in my journal day after day and recite it over and over like a mantra. It kept me grounded and rooted, and man do we need those kinds of things during the teenage years! High five that neighbor beside you in Panera as you’re reading this article! They’ll get it! But I digress.

We have all been there. That time in your life when the dream looks hopeless, the degree out of reach, or the relationship you’ve been hoping for is non-existent! Maybe you’re there now. The hour seems the darkest, the storm is the worst yet or maybe you have never been this lonely. Not only do you feel alone, you are downright lonely.

Can I just breathe some hope into you today? Your dreams are not hopeless, that degree is not out of reach and there is somebody out there designed just for you! Maybe I haven’t described your situation exactly, but know this, you can do this! You were made for this! You were made for more! The dreams and plans inside of your heart and mind were meant to be lived out by YOU! Don’t get discouraged! Keep watering the dream, feeding the dream and work hard at keeping the dream alive! You can do this! I believe in you! Keep on keepin’ on!

You can learn more about Pastor McKinnies and Southern Illinois Worship Center at www.siwcenter.org.