departments Founder and Editorial Director Verna V. Nickelberry
Editor-In-Chief India B. Oliver
Contributing Editors Marlena Beal Josie Hayslett Alexis Johnson
Contributing Writers Vanderbilt Brabson Paris Ducker Rhonda Hurst Cheryl Robinson Paola Tennon
Layout Designer Denardo Crawford
Marketing Consultant Joyce Parkinson jpconnection.com (901) 907-8557
Photographers Kendall Elem
Sales Director/ Memphis, TN Janet Chestnut salesmemphis@ ordinarypeoplemagazine.org
Sales Director/ Frisco, TX Will Odom tndimension.net (214) 514-2926
O.P. Magazine Mail
P. O. Box 323 Memphis, TN 38101 (901) 949-3409 http://ordinarypeoplemagazine.org ORDINARY PEOPLE MAGAZINE is a quarterly publication and is distributed in Memphis, TN; Knoxville, TN; Frisco, TX; Atlanta, GA; and Orlando, FL.
Spring 2010 46 | Summer 2011
contents Summer 2011 6
ON THE COVER/ LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
FROM WITHIN Editorial
IN THE SPOTLIGHT Spotlighting Memphis, Tennessee
FOR YOUR HEALTH
MIRACLES & BLESSINGS
CONSIDER THIS A Boy, a Vase, and a piece of candy.
Let The Lady Speak Be Still And Know God
WORDS OF INSPIRATION
All rights reserved.Reproduction in whole or in part without the founder/editor’s consent is strictly prohibited. The opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the positions or views of the editor. The publication of any advertisement in the issue does not constitute an endorsement of the advertiser’s products or services by the publication. © 2011 Ordinary People Magazine
4 | Spring 2010
ordinarypeoplemagazine.org | 5
onthecover Is the letter “M” which can be found in Memphis, Tenn., at corner of Madison Ave. and North Parkway. To the right is the Memphis/Arkansas bridge.
Letters to the Editor “Let the Lady Speak” is wonderful addition to your magazine. Ordinary People is growing my leaps and bounds. I have enjoyed reading every issue. T Madison Memphis, TN
6 | Summer 2011
I had the opportunity to attend your 2011 Servant Award program. What a wonderful ideal to honor those that gives back to their communities. I look forward to the 2012 Servant Award as well. Margaret Memphis, TN
FromWithin . . . .
EDITORIAL “There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High”. (Psalms 46:4)
“In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks”.
In the Spotlight segment is Memphis, Tennessee as it was given to me one day on my way to work. The two scriptures that God gave me is so befitting for the city of Memphis. In For Your Health Paola Tennon ask us to “follow the path towards healing and restoration”. In Miracles and Blessings we have the amazing story of Keith and Lesha Garner entitle “The Feet of Mountain Climbers”. In Consider This; Vanderbilt Brabson shares with us a story on trusting God, in “A Boy, A Vase, and a Piece of Candy”. In our Gospel Music/Artist section are feature two renowned Gospel artists, Martha Munizzi and Earnest Pugh. In Let the Lady Speak, Rhonda Hurst, encourages us to “Be Still and Know God”. And, in Inspirational Words, Paris Ducker, give us a look at Memphis through her eyes. I sincerely hope that you enjoy reading this issue and that the citizens of Memphis, Tennessee know that we have a great city. And as always, Love, Peace, and Increase…
ordinarypeoplemagazine.org | 7| 7 ordinarypeoplemagazine.org
“There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early”. Psalms 46:4-5
Capturing the Spotlight for this issue is the city of Memphis, Tennessee. As I was driving to work one day, God began revealing Memphis to me in a different light. Although I have lived here most of my life I never thought of Memphis in the way God showed 10 | Summer 2011
me on that day. In all cities there are municipal workers responsible for filling pot holes, maintaining and cutting the grass alone the highways, as well as those who make sure the city’s trash is picked up and hauled off so we don’t have to endure its ugly presence in front of our homes or businesses or in our public parks. On that day God began showing me something a little different—maybe not different, but He began showing me those hard working individuals who are “least thought about” as we go about our day-to-day business.
Instead he showed me the people who play an important role in keeping Memphis together and a city we are proud to call home. On that day I noticed workers planting flowers and cutting grass inside the medium. I also could not help noticing a lot of the streets were closed off for repairs which to most drivers is a real pain—well to me also—a disruption to our already busy and hectic lives. However, on this day I was not feeling the same irritation. Unexpectedly, I experienced an epiphany and I suddenly knew I was going to
ordinarypeoplemagazine.org | 11
12 | Summer 2011
Spotlight Memphis. It would have been easy to begin this article with the standard usual intro of Memphisâ€™ history and how it evolved and grew as most cities during their early birthing pains, but I want you the readers to see Memphis by sharing this great city personally through my eyes. Memphis is a gloriously beautiful city covered in lush green grass everywhere you turn. Not just Memphis but the entire state of Tennessee is a veritable showplace of vegetation one can only imagine. Memphis sits adjacent to the indomitable and powerful Mississippi River which reaches its end all the way to the Gulf and touches the Great Lakes at its crowning point but is companion to a city rich in history and a culture like no other. It has been boasted and still claimed Memphis possesses the best water in the world. Memphis is a vast cauldron of hidden treasures. We take tremendous pride of our love for sports, food, music, and our southern hospitality. We are also known for our bar-b-que, the home of the spirit of the Blues, the birth place of true Rock and Roll, and
the Bible belt of the South. Memphis has experienced significant growth in the past years and is slowly but most certainly becoming recognized for her undeniable attributes and vivacious culture around the world. To me there is no better place to live. Memphis may not be as fast paced as other larger metropolitan cities BUT for those of you who have never visited Memphis, you are in for a real treat. To all of the city workers who made me take the time to see this beautiful city for the very first time; thank you so much for all you do for the great city of Memphis, Tennessee. â€œIn that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarksâ€?. Isaiah 26:1
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Word Search… THE OLD TESTAMENTS L P K A S Z L A F X B X V O I F J O G O T F Y G L X I O P I H S R O W S O P E S I A R P H B H E R I Z O N E Y L O P O T D J C H R I S T I A N I P H I L I S T I N E S N A H B A B Y L O N F J A K K I N G D A V I D E A J D I M L A S P E J S N T O S S Z M U X R F U A E G Y P T I A N S W S C
Babylon Canaanites Christian Egyptians God Jesus
King David Lord Philistines Praise Psalm Worship
ordinarypeoplemagazine.org | 15
For Your Health
RESTORATION: “...present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God.” Rom 12:1
by Paola Tennon RN, BSN, MBA/HCA, CCM
Illuminating in my mind as a beacon, I hear the words “follow the path towards healing and restoration.” The older I get, the voice gets a little louder. My usual responses are: I still have time, maybe later, or I’ll do it tomorrow. Don’t you know that tomorrow never really comes? By the time today ends it is today all over again. Why is this significant? Let us began by looking at the words restore and restoration. Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary defines restoration as an act of restoring, to bring back to a former position, to renew, make whole or to overcome. Likewise, biblical scriptures site numerous incidents of healing and many were considered or referred to as miracles. Jeremiah 30:17a (New Living Translation) speaks of the promise of deliverance to Israel; “I will give you back your health and heal your wounds, says the Lord…” We too can play a role in helping to restore and maintain our health. The human body is a magnificent creation given to us from our Lord. And although mankind has discovered and mastered the talent of organ transplantation, creation has not been mastered. We
16 | Summer 2011
only get one body and it is our responsibility to maintain it to
these the focus is typically centered more around the acute
the best of our ability. “Know ye not that your body is God’s
phase or what is happening now. Examples may include
temple…” 1Cor 6:19 (KJV)
hospitalization, frequent doctor visits, testing, and therapy. The restoration or recovery phase usually comes into place
When we consider the current health status of our nation we
following or close to the end of the acute phase. In actuality,
see continued rise in chronic illness and disability claims,
the more knowledgeable we are about the conditions that
soaring healthcare cost, rising unemployment, increasing
we or our loved ones are faced with, the better we are able
numbers of people receiving Social Security benefits, and
to make informed decisions and effective applications. The
the list goes on. Social Security Administration projects that
benefit of being proactive yields an overall comprehensive
the number of older Americans will rise from 41.9 million
plan for health and wellness management which sequentially
to 78.1 million by 2036. If this is the case, we can only
impacts our long term outcome in a more positive way.
imagine what the cost of healthcare will be and if we will be able to afford even marginal care. This is why restoration is
In the healthcare environment a patient-centered model of
the pivotal point. Optimizing our health now by becoming
healthcare is frequently used. The patient is in the center
proactive in our own care and becoming more responsible in
and surrounded by all of the perspective disciplines that will
the management of our disease processes will not only help
be needed during their course of hospitalization or medical
improve our quality of life but will help increase our life
management. When considering illness, medical conditions
or even injury this same model can also be beneficial when
Unfortunately, cultural and societal norms have caused us to become complacent and unmotivated. A few examples: eating fast food rather than preparing healthier meals; or we
Medical Management Access
driving rather than walking to most places and spending extended periods of time in front of a computer or television rather than exercise. Additionally, from a healthcare perspective, how many of us accept whatever is given or suggested to us by our healthcare provider without question? We have an opportunity to become active participants not only in the management of our daily health and wellness, but we also have a say in the development of a
Patient and Family Education on the disease and management skills Medication
plan in our healthcare management. When we participate we take ownership and are more likely to follow-through. Sudden illness, accidents, and tragedy often catch us off guard and the health issues they create causes disruptions in our activities of daily life, work schedules, finances and other commitments or obligations. During times like
Financial Consideration s
Transportatio n Support
Mobility and Exercise
*High Blood Pressure *Heart Disease *Kidney Disease
Equipment and Supplies
*Blood Sugar Machine *Syringes for medication
*Physical limitations in Limitations Dietary consideration s
*Assistance with shopping or preparing food
HEALTH MODEL ordinarypeoplemagazine.org | 17
utilized by lay people in managing disease, wellness, and
complications. Prevention is the key word.
recovery. A health model such as the one displayed in this
article may help us to modify or rethink how we look at our
Our foresight into what to look for will aid in increasing our
health, wellness prevention, recovery, and even transitional
knowledge base and ultimately leads us to become more
on care if it is required. The goal is to restore us to the
empowered in the management of our disease processes.
most optimal state of health. The examples listed give a
Yes, bad things do happen to good people and we do not
disease process and many issues that should be considered
always have the opportunity to act in advance. Nonetheless,
and addressed as a part of the disease management plan. It
we have an obligation to ourselves, our family and our God
also gives some insight into the benefits of becoming more
to be the best we can be and that includes our health.
knowledgeable, empowered and proactive. The disease referenced below is diabetes; however, there are also associated diseases including high blood pressure, heart disease, and kidney disease. The National Diabetes
Fact Sheet for 2011 indicates that 25.8 million Americans are affected by diabetes and of those 2.0 million are undiagnosed. Not only is diabetes the leading cause of kidney disease, non-traumatic lower limb amputations, nerve damage and newly diagnosed visual loss; it is also a major risk factor for strokes and heart attacks, and has been designated as the seventh leading cause of death in the Unites States. Diabetes is primarily a hereditary disease and there are some racial and ethnic differences in some minority groups. However, rates in gestational or diabetes have also shown an increase from 2% to 10% of pregnancies. Thus, there is a 35% to 60% probability that these women will also develop diabetes in 10 to 20 years. Diabetes can also be preventable in many cases unrelated to heredity or pregnancy. Reduction in risk factors, proper medical management, and healthy life style changes can remarkably decrease the probability of developing this condition and reducing
18 | Summer 2011
Agne, M. and Guralnik, D. (2000). Websterâ€™s New World Colledge Dictionary, Fourth Edition (pp 1417). Foster City, CA: IDG Books Worldwide, Inc American Heart Association (2011). Understand Your Risk for High Blood Pressure. Retrieved June 7, 2011 fro http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/ UnderstandYourRiskforHighBloodPressure Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diabetes public Health Resource. Retrieved June 7, 2011 from http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diabetes Public Health Resource. Prevent Diabetes. Retrieved June 6, 2011 from http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/ consumer/prevent.htm#1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Data and Statistics. Retrieved June 7, 2011. Retrieved June 11, 2011 http://www.cdc.gov/Features/ dsChronicKidneyDisease/ National Diabetes Fact Sheet, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011 http://www.cdc. gov/diabetes/pubs/pdf/ndfs_2011.pdf National Kidney Foundation. Key Facts about Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). Retrieved June 7, 2011 from http://www.kidney.org/news/newsroom/fs_new/ keyFactsCKD.cfm Resources: www.diabetes.org www.heart.org http://www.kidney.org National Kidney Foundation: Fact Sheet. Ten Facts about African Americans and Kidney Disease. Retrieved June 7, 2011. http://www.kidney.org/news/ newsroom/fs_new/10factsabtaframerkd.cfm
Miracles & Blessings
The Feet of Mountain Climbers Keith and Lesha Gardner Ministries
y wife Lesha and I started this ministry to encourage and motivate people who are going through struggles, tests, and storms. While Lesha and I were going through the most challenging times of our lives, we saw the most favor of God. Wehave seen God like we have never seen him before. No matter what you are going through, don’t give up. Sometimes things seem to happen to you, but
they really happen for you .This means all things are working together for your good according to Romans 8:28. This is to help you grow stronger in your faith and trust in God and strengthen your relationship with him. Many people can’t believe our marriage survived all the gut-wrenching tragedies that have occurred in our lives since 2003. They are amazed at our rock solid marriage, strong commitment to each other, our undying and unconditional love, our unwavering faith in God, our strength, and
positive attitude. Well, those people don’t realize the awesome power of God. Through all of these unimaginable events, we have witnessed countless miracles that have left people speechless and left us stronger. Because of these struggles and storms, our faith in God is unshakeable. The storms started July 11, 2007 when two aneurysms burst in Lesha’s brain and she had a massive stroke. She was only 35-years-old. When I arrived at the hospital, I was greeted by the chaplain. He and the doctors
ordinarypeoplemagazine.org | 19
were preparing me for my wife’s death. God had other plans. After this horrible news, I received some surprising news—Lesha was two weeks pregnant. The doctors said this complicated the situation because the medications Lesha needed would cause severe birth defects in our unborn daughter. They immediately advised me to terminate the pregnancy. They felt that it was not good, sound judgment to allow the pregnancy to continue. At that moment, I turned to God. I didn’t care about their medical opinions or what they believed. I knew God was bigger than our circumstances. I thought of our beautiful 1-year-old son Isiah. I refused to terminate the pregnancy.
Keith, Lesha, and Isaiah before the two aneurysms and stroke
hope, our miracles, our strength, and the limitless Lesha beat power of God. He has blessed us with the feet of the unfavormountain climbers to rise above every storm. able odds and surIf you would like to make a donation to help get vived. She this book published, please visit the website is partially listed below and click the PayPal donation butparalyzed ton. Any amount would be greatly appreciated. and is in a The goal of this book is to change lives. We want wheelchair. to share our story to encourage others not to give Based on my up. Trust God. faith in God, And the God of all grace, I know this who called you to his is temporary. eternal glory in Christ, I know she after you have suffered a will walk again. Our little while, will himself daughter restore you and make you Isaiah, 5-years old, and Destiny, 3-years old Destiny surstrong, firm, and steadvived even fast. To him be the power though her tiny, frail body was exposed to numerous potent for ever and ever. Amen. medications as her mother endured multiple brain surgerI Peter 5:10-11 ies, other medical procedures, and many months of seemingly endless treatments in the hospital. She is a beautiful, http://www.thefeetofmountainclimbers.com/ totally healthy, happy 3-year-old. Our powerful, uplifting story will be told in a book that will be available this fall. Follow us on this journey that unveils our lives, our love, our struggles, our faith, our
20 | Summer 2011
26 | Summer 2010
MARTHA MUNIZZI by Verna V. Nickelberry
GLORIOUS, MIGHTY GOD, AND BECAUSE OF WHO YOU ARE JUST A FEW OF THE SONGS THAT HAVE MADE WORSHIP LEADER MARTHA MUNIZZI A HOUSEHOLD NAME IN GOSPEL MUSIC. The Grammy Nominee, Dove and Stellar Award Winner have literally broken down barriers, with several Billboard-charting releases under her belt, Munizzi is known for her spirited performances and powerful songs. She has recently added a new release to her discography entitled “Make It Loud”. Recently I had the opportunity to interview Martha Munizzi this is what she had to say about her new release.
22 | Summer 2011
I felt that it was time for believers to stand and be loud and bold in what they believe as the world does.”
OPM: What inspires you? Martha: There was several things that was inspiring to me in making this album. The Lord placed on my husband (Dan) and my hearts to start a worship service that would incorporate other worship leaders. We started EPIC WORSHIP (Experience a Passionate Intimate Connection with God.) The album “Make It Loud” came about through these nights of worship. I felt that it was time for believers to stand and be loud and bold in what they believe as the world does.
OPM: I love your energy, where does that energy come from?
Martha: (she laughs), well I’m a little hyper, but when I start to worship God and His present comes it gives me that jolt of energy. It just who I am, I give God the credit.
Martha: My parents are ministers, so I started in theirs ministry. When I met my husband, and we became apart of this very diverse church where we served in the music department. We began to write songs for the church. The season came for us to step out to created an album, and God blessed it. OPM: On the “Make It Loud” album, what song would you say is your favor, the one you had fun making? Martha: If I had to pick one, or say the one that I had fun making, it would have to be the title track, “Make It Loud”. It was a pleasure to interview Martha Munizzi, the entire interview can be heard on OMP web site: www.ordinarypeoplemagazine.org.
OPM: How did you become apart of the Gospel Music World?
ordinarypeoplemagazine.org | 23
Earnest Pugh has experienced success he only dreamed of just a few short years ago. With the release of the project, Rain On Us, and its title tune, Earnest Pugh was heard on Gospel radio stations nationwide and was catapulted to super stardom in the Gospel music industry.
His smash hit single “Rain
this En Sound Male Vocalist of the Year and Independent
On Us” escalated to the
Music Award Winner for Gospel Album of the Year is
#1 position on Billboard’s
getting ready to do it all over again with the Black Smoke
Top Gospel Singles Radio
Worldwide Music release of “Earnestly Yours”.
Chart and became the sixth most popular song of 2010.
Known as one of Gospel music’s premiere worshipers,
The second single, “The
Earnest Pugh is thrilled about the new project and believes
Great I Am”, helped the
this CD has taken him to the next level. “In the previous
CD, which featured Gospel icons Vanessa Bell Armstrong
project, I was asking God to Rain On Us, but now I am
and Richard Smallwood, to peak at #2 on the Billboard Top
asking to see God’s glory,” explains Pugh. “When I asked
Gospel Albums Chart. Now after the whirlwind of exposure,
the Lord to see His glory and to reveal His power to me, He
24 | Summer 2011
said that I had to be honest and ‘earnest’ with him about all
request, Pugh joined O’landa Draper and Associates. His
of my shortcomings and my failures. It started a process
tenure with the group was short-lived, deciding to join the
of purification with me before God. I had to have my heart
United Army instead where he continued to use his musical
pure before I could truly see God for who He is,” says the
gifts to edify the body, soul and spirit.
artist. Following his departure from military service, Pugh From that process not only came the title of the CD,
continued to pursue his love for music. His pursuit opened
Earnestly Yours, but also the lead single, “I Need Your
doors for major appearances on networks such as the Word
Glory”. A soaring, gorgeous ballad, “I Need Your Glory”
Network, Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) and Black
is tailor-made for the recording artist. With splendid
Entertainment Television (BET), including one of BET’s
orchestration and moving lyrics, it’s the type of song that
top-rated shows, Bobby Jones Gospel and the Celebration of
only Earnest Pugh could pull off. While his impressive five-
Gospel hosted by comedian Steve Harvey.
octave range captivates the ear, it’s the anointing that really takes hold of the heart. The Michael Berealproduced project contains one jewel after another including the stunner, “Wait…All The Day”, the liberating “Free To Worship”, the gratitude-laden “Thank
Since that time, he’s
“When I asked the Lord to see His glory and to reveal His power to me, He said that I had to be honest and ‘earnest’ with him about all of my shortcomings and my failures.”
released two dynamic and critically-acclaimed projects, A Worshipper’s Perspective and Rain On Us. He’s been blessed to perform on countless stages, including in front of the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, First
You” and a remake of the Gospel favorite, “Perfect Peace”. Throughout the twelve
Lady Michelle Obama, Malia and Sasha. The graduate of
tracks, Earnest gives us worship and praise, traditional and
Howard University’s School of Divinity wants believers
contemporary. For Earnestly Yours, his second joint venture
to draw closer to God through his ministry. He says, “My
with Black Smoke Worldwide Music, he tapped two notable
prayer is that through this new CD that people truly see and
guest vocalists, Lisa Knowles of The Brown Sisters who
understand the Glory of God. I know that God wants to
shares the mic with Pugh on the urban-tinged “He Already
reveal Himself to His people.”
Knows” and popular Gospel singer Beverly Crawford, who makes a riveting guest appearance on the uplifting, “For My
Andrea R. Williams Tehillah Enterprises, LLC
The project is a culmination of a lot of hard work and
represents dreams realized. Although seemingly coming out of nowhere, Earnest Pugh’s love story with music starts in the South. Music has always been a part of this Memphis native’s life. He started singing as a youngster and by his teens, he was in great demand, ultimately sought after by the groundbreaking gospel pioneer, O’landa Draper. At Draper’s ordinarypeoplemagazine.org | 25
Boy, aVase, and a Piece of Candy
mother cleverly kept candy out of the reach of her children inside a narrow-neck vase. Whenever she wanted to reward one of them, she would simply turn the vase upside down and out would drop the candy. She periodically warned the children not to tamper with the vase. One evening while she was in another room, Timmy, her mis-
26 | Summer 2011
By Vanderbilt Brabson III
chievous little son, raced through the house, grabbed a chair to stand on, and plunged his bony little arm down into the neck of the vase. He immediately filled his hand with candy but, because his hand was full, he was unable to withdraw it through the narrow neck of the vase. Sensing his dilemma, Timmy struggled desperately to free himself, but his attempts were futile as long as he continued to hold onto the candy. Hearing the vase rattle,
his mother hurried to the kitchen and caught her son with his hand still trapped in the vase—all because he refused to release the candy.
to heed God’s warnings.
It has often been said there are three kinds of individuals: those who make things happen, those All too often Timmy’s story describes the plight of who watch things happen and those who wonder what the typical Christian. At the bottom of that vase is happened. Actually, there is a fourth—those who look our will. As Christians, we desire to experience all for the hand of God in what is happening. The latthe benefits and privileges, which come with being a ter requires trust—trusting God enough to release the child of God, but despite God’s warnings, we want the forbidden candy and surrender totally to His will for forbidden candy our lives. We are too! Wanting that encouraged in For the Christian, experience will teach candy and wantscripture to have us that when we reject God’s will for ing to do things the same mindset our lives and stubbornly pursue our our own way, at and attitude as the times leads us to own selfish desires, ultimately we find Lord Jesus Christ act contrary to (Philippians 2:5) ourselves snared by our trials and what we know and to walk even taken captive by the consequences of is right. If we as He walked (1 our actions. choose to ignore John 2:6). If we God’s scriptural say we are willing warnings, then experience becomes to follow those scriptural comour teacher, and experience can be a mands, then we should also be very brutal teacher. willing to pray as Jesus prayed, According to Ben Franklin… “Experience is the best school for a fool for he will learn in no other.” For the Christian, experience will teach us that when we reject God’s will for our lives and stubbornly pursue our own selfish desires, ultimately we find ourselves snared by our trials and taken captive by the consequences of our actions. Sadly, some Christians find themselves in bondage including alcohol, drugs, and pornography because they refuse
“…not what I will [Heavenly Father], but what Thou wilt.” (Mark 14:36 KJV). Consider the following worldly slogans … • “If it feels good, do it!” • “You only go around once, so get all the gusto you can.” • “Everyone has to decide what is right for him or he.,” Each of these slogans encourages us to pursue a course in life that ordinarypeoplemagazine.org | 27
is contrary to God’s will as revealed in His inspired word. These philosophies seek to persuade us that true happiness and joy await all who passionately pursue their own course as though we are not ultimately accountable to our Creator. Unfortunately, what ultimately awaits those who embrace these philosophies are the kind of spiritual bondage and misery that even money cannot relieve. And yet the happiness and joy they seek in pursuing their own selfish course turns out to be just another elusive butterfly—always just out of their reach. God has created within each of us a Godsized vacuum that He alone can fill and He has created within each of us an inner hunger and thirst that He alone can satisfy and quench. Only when we abandon our will for His, as Christ did (Luke 22:42), will we discover true happiness and joy and the strength to serve Him. However, for those who stubbornly choose to pursue their own course while disregarding God’s warnings, God may choose to just simply wait these individuals out, while allowing one trial after another to ensnare them until these individuals finally become exhausted and stripped of all remaining confidence in their own ingenuity. If you happen to be one of those individuals who has grown weary of resisting God’s will for your life and are now ready to surrender to His best for you, please pray the following: Dear Heavenly Father, Jesus set the example for me on how I should pray. As He did, so do I abandon my will right now and ask that Your will prevail in every area of my heart and life. Forgive me, for pursuing forbidden candy—my own course, and help me from this 28 | Summer 2011
day forth to daily seek your sovereign will for my life. Please give me an understanding heart and help me to recognize when I am holding onto things of this world too tightly. Continually and lovingly remind me that You always know and do those things which are best for me. Also, remind me there is a greater purpose and a higher cause, which You have called me to serve in Your redemptive plan for this world. Thank You for forgiving me and giving me the desire to please You. I ask these things in Jesus’ name. Amen. “I have learned to not hold onto things in this life so tightly because it is very painful when God has to pry my fingers loose.” Corrie Ten Boom Corrie Ten Boom. Boom was a Christian Holocaust survivor who helped a number of Jews escape the Nazis during World War II.
© March 2011 Vanderbilt Brabson III, Author ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Let The Lady Speak
Know God Be Still and
by Rhonda B. Hurst
What a rat race we live these days! So much chaos, so
sovereign God. In spite of deadly storms sweeping across
much rushing around, so many deadlines to meet, so many
our nation, flooding waters, economic challenges, sickness,
demands on our time, so many things we want to do but just
tragedies, death and disappointments, God is still God and
can’t seem to find the time to do them. Did I mention all of
rest assured, He is still in control.
the adversity, challenges, and struggles that go along with everyday living? Perhaps, I should mention all of the deadly
When we realize that we are truly incapable of
storms and flooding throughout Memphis and the Mid-South
controlling life and its ever changing circumstances, we can
that we have witnessed over the past month. People are
then surrender our will to God’s will. It may be a matter of
finding themselves in a place of panic and feeling helpless
us finally saying we trust Him. This will open the door so
and hopeless. Many people do not know who to turn to or in which direction to turn. My advice to today’s Christians is to simply “Be Still and Know God.” In Psalm 46:10 God commands us to be still and know that he is God. Here, the word still comes from a Hebrew word meaning to “let go” or “release” which might be better translated as “causing ourselves to let go” or “allowing ourselves to surrender.” As today’s Christians, we must come to a place where we are willing to submit ourselves to God and acknowledge the fact that He is a ordinarypeoplemagazine.org | 29
that we may experience the fullness of all that God wants and has for us. After all, He is our Creator and He holds the perfect plan for us which seems to work best when we let Him orchestrate it.
Many of us in our own rights have flourishing
ministries, engaging jobs, thriving businesses and families, all of which require us to function with a sense of power in order for these areas to be successful. So to what end do we “be still” let go” or “surrender?” The imperative words here are “be still and know.” We “let go” to “know” that it is God who is the Master of the universe. We “surrender” in order to objectively know the saving power of God in our lives. We give up trusting in ourselves and our own agendas in order for us to experience the glory of God’s all sufficiency.
This leads to another question, how do we really
come to “know” God? It is quite simple. We can “know” Him by having an intimate relationship with Him. Please understand that does not come from simply knowing about Him, but rather building a personal and authentic relationship with Him by what He says (through His Holy Word, the Bible), recognizing the things He does in our lives, and by way of His Holy Spirit who comes to guide and
Psalms 46 (KJV)
1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
3 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.
4 There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the
city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.
5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.
6 The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.
7 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
8 Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth.
9 He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he
burneth the chariot in the fire.
10 Be still, and know that I am God: sums up my point.
comfort us. In John 14:26, Jesus says “But the Comforter,
which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my
God to do extraordinary things for us, in us and through
name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to
us. God is Omniscient – all knowing. He is Omnipresent –
your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (KJV).
universal presence at the same time. He is Omnipotent – all
It is time for ordinary people to let go and allow
powerful. God is Infinite – without measure forever. We
As we dash through the hustle and bustle of
everyday living; facing adversity and opposition, we do not
should take a look at ourselves and all of our weaknesses and imperfections, and then look at God in the fullness of his
have to feel helpless and hopeless. We do not have to feel
glory and splendor. When we compare
afraid and abandoned because there is a place of refuge.
our incapability’s and God’s power, we
Often time we feel overwhelmed by circumstances and
should find it easier to “Be Still and
situations around us but God is our protector and refuge from
the storms, floods, and chaos of life. If we ever needed to find comfort and refuge in God, the time is now.
30 | Summer 2011
Words of Inspiration by Paris Ducker
Memphis…A city that is nourished by natural and spiritual rivers. Rivers that give life to our physical bodies as well as our spiritual selves. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. Psalm 46:4 (NIV) We have a strong city; God makes salvation its walls and ramparts. Isaiah 26:1 (NIV) There is a natural city located in southwest Tennessee on the Mississippi River near the Mississippi border. It is the largest city of Tennessee. It is located on high steep banks known as bluffs that overlook the mighty Mississippi River. This great city is known as “Abode (home) of the Good,” the distribution capital of the world, the capital of blues, rock and roll. Many gospel greats got their start in this place. The headquarters of the Church Of God In Christ (COGIC) as well as Federal Express (FedEx) are located here. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and other great medical facilities are located here. This city is heralded for its great basketball team “The Grizzlies” (yes, we believe in blue grizzly bears!), hospitality, succulent barbeque, and delicious catfish dinners. There are great universities which focus on science, medicine and art. Let’s not forget the legacy of Stax Records and Sun Records. This city was part of the fight for racial and educational equality. This city is one that boasts of many historical firsts which are too numerous to mention in
this article. This great city is Memphis! There is a natural river that flows and makes glad the city of God. This river that flows is a contributor to the lives of the citizens in Memphis by providing a waterway that enables trade with other cities and states. It allows agriculture to flourish amongst the adjoining states, its banks hold many celebrations, memorials, family gatherings and is a known throughout the world. This mighty river rolls along at a pace that is sometimes beautiful but can also overflow and cause peril to the citizens of Memphis. Many books have been written about this great river. This river is known as the “Mighty Mississippi.” There is a spiritual river which makes glad the city of God because it gives life to dry places. This river flows with love, redemption, forgiveness, recovery of that which was lost, eternal life and an unlimited supply of grace and mercy. This river distributes streams of living waters, quenching the thirst of those who seek restoration. Our souls become glad of God when He dwells in our most innermost parts making them a holy place. As members of the kingdom, we should strive to make Memphis a stronger city spiritually by allowing God to make salvation its walls and ramparts. Let us as citizens allow the rivers of living waters flow to us from God, through us to others that are in need. Memphis is a great place to live and prosper both naturally and spiritually if we allow God’s river to flow!!!
ordinarypeoplemagazine.org | 31
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