Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It's A Wonderful Life

Every year about this time I start looking for "It's A Wonderful Life", with James Stewart, (my favorite movie) This classic basically expresses my everyday life. Why? Well, "It's a Wonderful Life" captures the moments that I think of having dreamed a very different life.

"It's A Wonderful Life," continuously reminds me of the dreams of a little girl to become the very best teacher in the world! She would open up her own school and help others everywhere learn. And, she would write books and award winning stage plays. But, the reality of my life blessed me with 5 children before I was 23, and sent me into the world of commercial printing.

"It's A Wonderful Life" excites me because it takes me back to My Best Life
  • All things work together for GOOD for those who love the LORD and are called according to his purpose. I was purposed to be a mother. I have been blessed with 4 of the best human beings in the earth, who have brought me other daughters and a son, who are the most amazing people I know. I have been privileged to watch the birth of 10 grandchildren with another on the way. Each of them is a marvel to my mind. They have taught me a lot about faith, love and service. I wanted to be a teacher but grace made me a great student of love.
  • Trust in the LORD always and lean not unto your own understanding. When I wanted to jump into the water I discovered that I had been saved to save (in Jesus' name). All over the nation I have sisters, brothers, and children who have come to call me "Sis" and Momma Shu. They give me joy because of how they entered my life and how they moved on.
  • Be careful how you entertain strangers because you may be entertaining angels unawares. Who could have told me that the favor of God would open up so many doors for myself, for my family all over the world? Thank God for His angels in my life.
Yes I, too, am out in the World Wide Web, discussing creating your "DREAM BOARD/LIFE"; Affirming Your Life Steps and How To Get The Life That You Want. My mantra all year long is come to the "PREGNANT WITH POSSIBILITIES Conference™, we will help you DELIVER. Each year I follow those who confess that they are visionaries while believing myself to be one. I channel my thoughts through pray. I declare and I decree.

But, after dreaming my best life; after making my best plans, after following all my 1-2-3-steps, and after desiring with passion, I have learned to be open to the exceedingly, more abundantly God. I am convinced that on a particular day God saw fit to send a babe wrapped in rags with all the value of life's substance in him. He lived. He loved. He served. He died on a cross. He is resurrected. And, because of that,
  • In spite of changes in my/your plans
  • In spite of changes in my/your life
  • In spite of changes in my/your body
  • In spite of changes all around us
The confession is that this does not change: I am living "A Wonderful Life" through Christ. Merry Christmust and Happy New Year!

Deborah L. Shumake (Ja`Phia)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Win 2011 God's Woman 14-Month Calendar

WIN 2011 GOD'S WOMAN 14-MONTH CALENDAR
HURRY! HURRY! Contest ends Dec. 15, 2010 12:00 noon, EST.

Christian sisters need to know how to listen, respect, and encourage each other based upon biblical principles and not just rely upon their secular experiences. There are three things I speak about when I do women's conferences: They are: 1) What's Her name; 2) What's Her story; 3) The games women play, especially God's women.

I believe knowing and understanding these three things allow women to grow into better women. Understanding us in the context of how we operate with each other should help us to discover even better ways of working with each other and for each other. Thus, I developed games and workshops women could involve themselves in to become familiar with the women of the scriptures.

Taking a note from this you can win a God's Woman 14-Month Calendar 2011 by answering correctly these questions:

How many named women are there in the scriptures?
Provide the names of 3 different sets of sisters in scripture.
Provide the name of a woman whose life was used as a sacrifice.

HURRY! HURRY! Contest ends Dec. 15, 2010 12:00 noon, EST.

Send Answers to: greateroneminist@aol.com
Subject: God's Woman Calendar Contest
Type Answers.
If you are a winner you will receive further instructions via email.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

2011 Calendar

The Perfect Christmas Gift. 16 progressive Christian women share their stories, their testimonies, their ministries, their businesses.
Testimonial: Dear One, every year I give my four sisters an Annie calendar. I pay 24.99 for each calendar. But, this calendar has so much added value. WOW, I have never seen anything like it. And so reasonable at $15.00. Bless you and bless the women within its pages. --L.H.H.

Order yours today. And order a few for Christmas gifts for the women that you love.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Tabitha/Dorcus: The Power Of Your Service", Acts 9:36-43

This woman was full of good works, and almsdeeds that she did. Dorcus' story is about a woman who did not just the talk the talk; she walked the walked. She demonstrated the love of Christ by what she did.

It is evident by scripture that she did not waste time talking about what should or could be done. Based upon those who had something to show that Dorcus had actually done, their memory included knowing her love for them. Her thoughts were actualized in concrete service. Dorcus did not spend her time debating about the newest concepts of ministry. She simply did what was necessary.

The scripture does not tell us if Dorcus was financially wealthy. But it shares with us that she took of whatever she had and made it into something usable and valuable for others. She did the work of the ministry. She is not lifted up as a woman who led others such as a preacher, a judge, a great orator, or as a prophetess. Her simple notation is that she found purpose as a disciple. She lives the life of a servant of the Most High God.

Dorcus seems to have taken Jesus' words to heart, "clothe the naked." The weeping widows cried at the lost of Dorcus because they no longer had any memory of crying because of their lack. The Seniors were no longer lonely because Dorcus took the time to visit. Dorcus did the work and you hear them exclaim that their lack was no more. The Shepherd, The Provider, The Giver was visible through her life.

Faith acting through love will produce both physical and spiritual manifestations. Dorcus' story is the real story of service at work. Because of her service others are blessed, and the love of God is experienced in an earthly way. And, because others are blessed we see resurrection on the horizon. Service brings resurrection, renewal, and restoration. Service heals dead situations, conditions, and emotions. Yes, service is a wonderful resurrection tool.

I dare say that Dorcus probably did not spend her days in meetings to determine who needed her help. She doesn't appear to spend great lengths of time creating strategies for helping; I don't even think that Dorcus weighed whether or not her actions were politically correct. She doesn't appear to consult with other entities about whether she should help those within her reach. Dorcus, very simply, just did the work.

So much work was done by Dorcus that at her death she was priviledged to laid in the "upper chamber." Her life and her death caused others to see Christ high and lifted up. Her death gathered others into the place of the UPPER ROOM -- the place of prayer and worship. That day you could hear the crowd thanking and praising God for the good received through His servant. They came together in so much praise that the atmosphere was set up for a miracle. I heard Dr. Mike Murdock say, whatever you make happen for others, God will make happen for you. Dorcus is ready to receive God's intervention in her own life.

She raised up the hearts of others. She raised up the minds of others. She raised up the lifestyles of others. She was just a raising up elevation type of woman. It was in her willingness to serve that we see the miracle of death defying resurrection.

Any woman (person) who is a doer of the Word will be found in the upper chamber being overtaken in prayer. That's where we are raised up to greater works in Christ. Yes, service actualizes both death and life -- Death to self -- Raised in Him.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Samaritan Woman: "The Integrity of Your Witness" - John 4:1-29; 39-42

The scripture denotes that Jesus had need to go to Samaria. This assures us that not only do we need Jesus, but He needs us. This text places ostracized, misunderstood women in the forefront of our Savior's view and mission. The Samaritan woman is found at the drawing place. We might say she is at the place where she could draw out from the Lord. But, she meets Jesus because he had a need. Jesus' need to go to the place where others are blackballed, unappreciated and non-empowered by the Living God causes this woman to experience repentance, redemption and restoration.

Often when we hear others expound on this text, the Samaritan woman is portrayed as a woman of low character. I beg to differ with that view. When this woman became excited about Jesus, and accepted him as the Christ, she went to tell others about him. Those that heard her did not question her words. They didn't say after we see Him we will believe. "And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified. HE told me all that ever I did", (John4:39). No, it was her testimony alone that made them believe. Her testimony garnered up a whole town, men included, to come see Jesus.

Apparently, she had always been a woman you could believe. Though we try to devalue her by our western thinking and our limited understanding - I suggest that this woman had power. We hear Jesus say to her, you've had five husbands, but the one you are with now is not your husband, and immediately we place her in the category of an unsavory woman. Yet, scripture does infer that once she married into a family, if death took her husband the next brother or closest relative would marry her. In Western thought we would think that she had been divorced several times --- but, biblical history does not bear this out. For if she was continuously remarrying because of divorce she would have been stoned before number 5. So, Jesus says, the one you are with now is not your husband. Now, we may have reason to think that she is shacking up. Perhaps she is. But, what Jesus says to her next is an empowering statement, " you speak the truth."

This woman didn't try to hide anything. She didn't try to give an explanation. No, she simply told the Lord the truth. The Lord who is TRUTH could work with that. Might I suggest that many of us can't get healed, redeemed or restored because we won't tell the truth. We won't come face to face with our selves, so that Jesus can operate in His wonderful forgiving love. Because the woman at the well spoke truth Jesus could use her.

Jesus spent more time in conversation with this woman than he spent with anyone else in the scriptures. For approximately forty verses there is a conversation going on. Perhaps, it is because he recognized that a woman with clarity and excitement will tell the whole truth! When women understand how much God loves them, how very needed they are in telling the gospel story -- in spite of who they have thought they were, and in spite of what others think about them, they can and will empower whole communities.

Do you have enough integrity about yourself that a whole community will follow you to Jesus? Will your word alone cause others to want to know our Lord? Is there something about you that makes people believe that if you said it, IT IS SO? Or are you the one who attempts to devalue another because of your limited thinking and understanding?


Thoughts For Discussion:
Are you speaking ill of someone because of your limited knowledge about them?
If so, write a forgiveness letter to them asking for forgiveness.
How powerful is your witness? When is the last time someone wanted to know Jesus because of you?

Monday, August 2, 2010

God's Woman Showcase: Rhoda: The Open Door; Acts 12:13-15

God's Woman Showcase: Rhoda: The Open Door; Acts 12:13-15: "A young girl, Rhoda, was in attendance at a prayer meeting. They were gathered together to pray for the release of Peter from prison. Whil..."

Rhoda: The Open Door; Acts 12:13-15

A young girl, Rhoda, was in attendance at a prayer meeting. They were gathered together to pray for the release of Peter from prison. While they were praying there was knock at the door. Rhoda went to answer. I can imagine a conversation like this, "who is it", Rhoda apparently asked. The voice on the other side of the door answered, "It's me, Peter."

Rhoda got so excited, she ran to tell the others that the Lord had heard their prayers. But, she didn't open the door.

Isn't that how we sometimes react. We pray. We say we believe. We even praise and shout before our victories are seen. But, we don't receive the manifestation of our prayers because we neglect to open the door. We cease to follow through.

We share the anticipated blessing with those who are praying with us. Many times, although they have prayed with us, they still do not anticipate God's answer. Since we don't always know what the answer will look like when it appears, we often overlook our answer. And, many times our prayers are taken hostage by our religious language. Prayers using language such as, "if it is God's will," appears to be humble. However, if we know God's will we can pray His will. To pray otherwise leaves room for doubt, which I believe is hidden in false humility. God has shared through his word what He plans for us; they are plans for good and not for evil. We should be excited about a prayer hearing God. But to gain true victory, we have to follow through. We must open the door of our understanding and let faith all the way in.

On the other side of the door Peter was still knocking. He was obviously aware of the fact that if we knock the doors will be opened. Peter, the one whose shadow healed in Jesus' name was not invited in. Even though he was the answer to prayer he stood on the other side of the door. Open the door of your faith – because on the other side is your healing. On the other side of the door stood Peter who denied our Lord three times. Open the door of faith – on the other side is forgiveness, salvation, and your calling to serve the all powerful and all knowing God.

Rhoda teaches us to get excited about the promises of God. She teaches us also to open the door and to walk through the doors of opportunity secured for us through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Ask and it shall be given, seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you, (Matthew 7:7) (Luke 11:9). God has willed it so.

copyright: 2005, God's Woman 14 Month Calendar; Deborah L. Shumake


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Directions For Healing - 2 Kings 5:1-17

We have been sharing "Directions For Healing" for the month. The characters in this passage show us multiple ways to move towards healing. The servant girl is the one who knows where true Health comes from. She points the way to the Prophet ( the one who leads to God). The servant girl should represent all servants in the kingdom. God created us healthy. God sent Jesus to take the stripes of pain upon his own body so that we are healed. The way to health is still left in the hands of those who will obey 2 Corinthians 7:14 with its secrets: humility, pray and seek my face, (Return to God), turn from disobedience (wicked ways), And I (God) will heal your land. HEALING IS THE CHILDREN'S BREAD.

Naaman is a great leader. He is renown in his country. He lives his life on the edge. He is sure about his game. But, Naaman has a head and heart problem. He believes his own hype. He thinks too much of himself . Now, make sure you understand that we must think of our selves with grace. We are the sons and daughters of the King. We are progressive kings and queens. But, don't get it twisted. We are great because we come from greatness. We have not made ourselves. We are operating out of gifts that came from the gift giver. Therefore, we humble ourselves before the creator God who created us in thanksgiving for what He has done to, with, through, for, and around us. Naaman's victories have caused him to become callous and arrogant. Naaman lives his life for the cheers of the people, but within he carries dis-ease. Dis-ease will cause us to withdrawn from the mainstream people and in that hibernation we sometimes find ourselves having pity parties.

Naaman's comments about his idea of healing also gives us a clue to why we are sometimes not healed. He is expecting a particular show. Have you ever thought that we deal with surface issues rather than looking for root causes of our dis-ease? We spend billions of dollars for prescriptions that have a million or more side effects. We take medications that will never heal us that leave us dependent upon taking them. We like the idea of discussing with each other our particular medications and illnesses. Even, in the church, we prefer someone grabbing us, hollering and spitting in some dramatical way to command our healings. I believe in the laying on hands. I also believe that we need to drink water. I also believe that we need to check out our diets. Many Christians say that we just have to bless our food. I say, if we are blessing it as God says, then it should not come with a disease attached to it (i.e. high blood pressure, high cholestrol). There is a distinction between blessings and cursings. So is our diet blessed or cursed? God can not lie... so what does blessing our food look like in these marvellous bodies?

When we think of God who is Himself wholeness and healing we neglect to image him. We often refuse to follow his prescriptions for our healing. It is said that a great precentage of healing lies in the one command, FORGIVE! Forgive your momma, poppa, sister, brother, neighbor, husband, wife, child or whomever. UNFORGIVENESS is a direct root to bitterness and hatred which has been known to be connected to headaches, arthritis, heart problems, high blood pressure and a few other conditions. Forgiving on a daily basis is over ruled by, take this pill once a day, twice a day, or three times a day.

Am I suggesting that we should not take medications. God forbid. There are instances in the scriptures for taking medications, herbs, and cleansing potions. I am suggesting that we do not follow instructions. We resist the simple. We want to tell others about the calamities of our situations. We often project sickness unto ourselves so that others will notice us. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. It makes sense to ask the Creator of these bodies what to do. He tells us how to live daily. We choose to live in stress. We choose to worry. We choose to speak ill of each other. We make choices that are detrimental to our health.

We give ourselves daily doses of: I am getting old therefore I am supposed to feel bad, My momma died from this so I will probably have it too, Well, we all got to die from something therefore I'll take my own kind of poison, or any number of other thoughts that become true because we believe that it should be so. Do you believe that high blood pressure belongs to you because you are an African American? Listen to your self talk. What are you telling your body about your life in it? We are fearfully and wonderfully made. By his stripes we ARE healed! Command your healing (curing). Search out those attitudes and habits that you have created that are keeping you from your healing. God can not and will not lie. "By his stripes I am healed!"

Monday, July 5, 2010

Naaman's Wife's Servant Girl: Directions To Healing



2 Kings 5: 1-19



A little servant girl who spent her days doing what others told her to do had the answer for her employer’s wholeness. Sometimes those who are under obedience know better how to gain access to the answers of life. This servant had the answer for wholeness. She shared the remedy for wholeness with her mistress. Apparently, they accepted what she said. Although a servant, she had set herself aside as a person of integrity and truth.



However, as we look closer at the story, we realize that oftentimes we add to or subtract from the instructions given us. She told them to go to the prophet. They went to the King. Today, we are searching for ways to guarantee good health and good health insurance for the people of America. Our president, President Barak Obama has made health care a priority in his agenda. While most have agreed that we must offer Americans a fair chance at good health care, others have stood in opposition to the passage of laws concerning the American peoples right to health care. And, we the people have continuously left the decision for better health in the hands of the king, (our government).



Yet, this servant girl told them that they should go to the Prophet. The prophet had the answer to Naaman’s healing. Naaman is diagnosed as having leprosy. Scripturally, leprosy enters the earth, first, as a disease of disobedience, arrogance and rebellion (Numbers 12:1-18). Too often we are asking the government to do what should be done through our own spiritual revelations. “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land,” (II Chronicles 7:14.)



Remember the television series of old, Dr. Wellby? Remember the doctors with the old time bedside manners, who would ask you how you were doing? How is the family? What’s happening with your wife, husband, and children? When is the last time you felt cared for? Bound in these questions were often the roots and realities of sickness and disease. How ever we have gotten away from searching out our true heart.



Healing is the children’s bread. Naaman decides that the remedy to his illness is too simple. We would rather take pills than agree that we have removed ourselves from truth, forgiveness and love. Am I suggesting that the modern diseases of our times should be taken lightly? Am I suggesting that the horrors of HIV, Cancer, Strokes, Heart Conditions, Kidney and Lung failure are to be ignored? My answer is NO! I know through the loss of a mother, brother, and a host of love ones that these diseases demand the attention of our generation. But, I must agree with the Word of God. I do suggest that multiple reasons for our sicknesses can be found in the roots of rejection, unforgiveness, disobedience, and lack of faith.



Naaman’s servant girl directed him to the Prophet. Yet, the prophets themselves have felt overwhelmed by the diseases of our times. However, we must come together. We must seek out the truths that lie with God. We must according to the Word (James 5:14-19) maintain FAITH, as we pray.



Healing is the plan of God for our lives. A restoring of right nutrition, right exercise, right thinking, right relationships, and REAL loving, the agape kind is found with the Prophet. This servant girl directs us back to God because the prophet has a word for the healing of the nations. “These are the signs that follow them that believe, In My Name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt
them, they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover (Mark 16:17-18).” The simplicity is that there truly is healing in the NAME of JESUS.



Thoughts For Discussion:


How much power does your Jesus have?


Should Prophets introspectively look at their lives?


What represents illness through the eyes of God?


What are you believing?





Monday, June 7, 2010

THE MEMORABLE WOMAN

June Thought: "Acceptable In His Sight"

Read; Luke 7:36-50; Mark 14:3-9; Matthew 26:6-13; John 11:2

And He (Jesus) turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman?

(Luke 7:44a)



A woman broke out of her comfort zone, took all that she had, and poured it upon Jesus. Imagine the pointed eyes and whispered words as she made her way to Jesus. She had not received an invitation, so in a sense, this woman bogarted her way in. Imagine her chagrin as she saw the stares on the faces of those within the church (the disciples) and those outside the camp, Simon, the leper. She kept on moving until she reached Jesus. You could cut the animosity in the air with a knife.



But, this woman kept on going until she got to her Savior. She fell before him. She bowed at his dirty feet and kissed them. She washed them with her tears and anointed them with precious oils. She took her glory and used it to wipe his feet. Some say that it was Mary of Bethany, who laid her glory (her hair) at Jesus' feet. You know a woman's hair is her glory, don't you? I imagine that this woman knew how to exchange her own glory for the Glory of the Lord. Perhaps, she shows us here how to release ourselves -- our minds -- to take on the Mind of Christ. She went beyond the norm.



She poured all of herself on the One who gave Himself for her. This woman knew how to worship. When those around her thought she was displaying inappropriate actions, even then she prostrated herself in love. She shows us how to walk through disdain, criticism, and arrogance to get to the lover of our soul. She knew that it was more important to get into the presence of the LORD, than to be acceptable to man.



Jesus looks at her. She had a face to face confrontation with LOVE. Because she dared to show up with her best, Jesus used her as a demonstration. He speaks to Simon, but He LOOKS at the woman.



Jesus saw her, and then he told Simon to look at her. To give God the glory, usually means that He will glorify himself through you. In worship God sees you. When worship is acceptable to the Lord, He makes others pay attention, too?



(Printed in God's Woman 14 Month Calendar©)



Thoughts for Discussion:

Who is it that you feel acts inappropriately by talking about Jesus too much?

How bold is your own witness?

What is the best you will give for Jesus?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

BEAUTIFUL CHRISTIAN SISTER

BEAUTIFUL CHRISTIAN SISTER
By
Maya Angelou

'A woman's heart should be so hidden in Christ

That
a man should have to seek Him first to find her.'

When I say... 'I am a Christian' I'm not shouting 'I'm clean living,'

I'm whispering 'I was lost, Now I'm found and forgiven.'


When I say... 'I am a Christian' I don't speak of this with pride.

I'm confessing that I stumble and need Christ to be my guide.


When I say... 'I am a Christian' I'm not trying to be strong.

I'm professing that I'm weak and need His strength to carry on.


When I say.. 'I am a Christian' I'm not bragging of success.

I'm admitting I have failed and need God to clean my mess.


When I say... 'I am a Christian' I'm not claiming to be perfect,

My flaws are far too visible, but God believes I am worth it.


When I say.... 'I am a Christian' I still feel the sting of pain...

I have my share of heartaches, so I call upon His name.


When I say... 'I am a Christian' I'm not holier than thou,

I'm just a simple sinner Who received God's good grace, somehow!




"...for the joy of the Lord is your strength" Neh. 8:10