You wouldn’t be under attack if you were not a threat. If they didn’t see your gifts, they wouldn’t have reason to slander you. If they could control you, they wouldn’t have reason to complain that they can’t box you in. When people lie, accuse, when they throw stones, take it as a compliment. It says much more about their lack of character and integrity than it says about you. What they are really telling you is they wish they could stand in your shoes. They wish they could survive what you have and still thrive. This is the business of the Lord making your enemies your footstool. Be built by their attacks, not broken by them. Don’t let your enemies see more in you than you see in yourself. Take the stones that they’ve thrown and build roads to your future with them.
Psalm 118:22 (VOICE)
The stone that the builders rejected has become the very stone that holds together the entire foundation.
We live in a digital world. We store photos in our devices and then forget about them. We say we will go back and review them, those countless moments passed, but we rarely do. I have always loved pictures, taking them, being in them. I love to look back and remember times passed. I have been called the paparazzi at more than one social event. I love capturing sunsets and candid moments. However for the last several years I have felt less of the desire to capture life’s moments because those moments were filled with so much loss. Yet I cannot allow the loss of my past to arrest me from enjoying my present.
Those moments are far too precious, my only child’s first moments, first days, first years. I have captured many of them in spite of pain that filled those days, oftentimes taking them through tears. So for the first time in my son’s young life, I put those pictures on a wall. That’s a big deal! It is a direct and bold declaration to celebrate life and not be buried by it. It is the choosing to dedicate time and energy to something not dire to today’s survival, yet essential to the survival of esteem and well being. Those lasting moments of self reflection and overcoming, those reminders on how far we’ve come while remaining unbroken. After the loss of our home and possessions, after a nasty divorce, after sickness, after homelessness, after the abandonment, lies and character assassination of those I once called family, and even after coming to terms with my son’s Autism diagnosis, life is still worthy of celebration.
So this weekend, a year after I purchased their frames, I created a small monument to what we’ve overcome. Those moments when we laughed and smiled in spite of the circumstances around us. Those moments of growth, of reaching, of becoming new. Caleb will grow up with a monument to his life, to his mother’s life, to his late grandmother’s life. He will have what I did not growing up, an account of his worth hung high. We frame what we want to celebrate, what we want to remember, and sometimes we decorate those moments with fairy lights.
Joel Osteen and Lakewood Church in Houston have been under a thunderstorm of accusation almost as big as the Houston flood itself. The controversy is over why their church doors were not open to those in the city seeking shelter and food. I admit, it looked bad. A megachurch directly in the city hit by the biggest flood since Katrina. I also admit I said this to myself, I was like self, why arent the doors of this church open for people? Especially when video and pics are taken from a non-flooded parking lot at the church. Now I had to check in with why I had that question within myself because I have no problem at with Osteen’s wealth. And although there are hustler preachers out there who are only interested in people’s pocketbooks, I have never once thought that Osteen was one of them. I know he’s a man of God and is changing many lives. My one and only eyebrow raise with him was his endorsement of Trump during the presidential campaign. I would love to pick Osteen’s brain on this topic, because I have a problem with white Evangelicals backing this president… a major problem. But Harvey in Houston is a completely different subject as it relates to Joel Osteen.
Even though it didn’t “look good” that the doors to Lakewood church were closed, I had to reserve judgement. I have the Holy Spirit and very directly received a “reserve your judgement” nudge from Him. So I did. I wasn’t going to post anything anti-Osteen or anti-Lakewood church on social media. AND NOW THE TRUTH COMES OUT. We find very clearly that parts of Lakewood Church were greatly flooded. (See pic below) Now you could not see the internal flooding from the street, so taking pictures and video from the parking lot or front doors of the church could not capture images of the flooding. There’s no way the church could have opened it’s doors to those seeking shelter if the building needed rescue itself. Selah.
This is a good lesson for those who call themselves believers, many of which I personally saw repost articles on how this church was guilty of taking from the people of Houston, to now refuse to give back to them in a time of need. We have to be careful of the bandwagons we jump on. We have to discern truth, and while we are seeking it, we have to reserve judgement until it is revealed. We have to recognize the enemy’s devices. The moment this big shaming attack happened to a man of God, we at the very least have to pause and attempt to recognize why. This story getting so much attention should alone be a reason for pause, because the attack was coming for the Body of Christ. Is the enemy behind this, has to be something we ask, especially when a story is being spread so quickly. Is this a deflection from the real issue, that real people have been displaced and are in need of help and prayer. Those are the questions we must ask. However now that the truth has come out, those accusing Osteen and Lakewood will not refute their claims, they wont apologize, they wont even drop a simple “my bad” on social media. Nor will the pictures of a flooded church circulate as quickly as the pictures from the unflooded parking lot did. Folk will just go on about their lives, leaving the debris of the damage they caused.
Reflecting on all of this I’m reminded, (another Holy Spirit nudge), of the times when people came for me, who based opinions about me completely on lies, hearsay and gossip. How hurtful that was to be on the receiving end of such vicious attacks from people who had personal agendas to discredit me…and the fact that this came from the church pushes a sword in deeper into an already infectious wound. And oh how hurtful it was that so many were willing to just go along with their stories, never questioning their validity. Those who would roll their eyes when they saw me, or who wouldn’t return my phone calls, or who gave me mad cold shoulder action all up in the sanctuary of the saints. It’s laughable to me now, but I remember it all, and it will all look really good in my book.
We have to remember that being accused does not equal guilt. Some of the greatest movements in history took place after someone first endured great attack. Ask Martin Luther King, he wasn’t always revered, he was first reviled by the masses before he was ever celebrated. Yet he was guilty of no wrong doing, only of moving an entire nation forward. Oftentimes changing of a tide or a season is accompanied by wrong accusation because people have a problem with being confronted with the low place they live in. Be glad when you are accused when you know you’re not guilty. It’s a sign for a table being set before you in the very presence of your enemies. The very reason that Osteen and Lakewood have come under such attack is because they have done great things for the Kingdom of God and oh the enemy, he no likey that. This current onslaught of attack will only propel them forward into greater exploits. The same is true for us. When we’re attacked, greater exploits are ahead of us. Just make sure the bandwagon you jump on is heading in the right direction.