By Inspirational Columnist and Author: Linda Mose Meadows

However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him"--
1 Corinthians 2:9

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Battle Within

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Ephesians 6:13

This morning before leaving my home headed to work, I switched from my favorite morning radio show, The Tom Joyner Show to the national news on the television. I had an opportunity not to rush- my husband was going to the VA. Beach Life Net Office instead of his usual destination in Richmond. This morning we’d car pool- so I could relax for a moment because I wasn’t driving. As I sat awaiting my hot cream of wheat to finish cooking, I listened to the morning news and to my astonishment I heard the news account regarding a mentally ill parent killing not one child but four children. Oh there were signs friends that this disturbed mother needed help.

According to the newscaster, the authorities were warned; they were repeatedly urged to pay a visit to this visibly distressed parent. For whatever the reason, after neither the teacher’s initial home visit the local law enforcement, nor child protective services followed up on this SOS call.

This was touted as a classic example of someone needing assistance and their case simply falling through the cracks. Despite the teacher’s plea, nothing by way of an intervention occurred. The parent which committed this unthinkable act apparently had no support system and it was evident from the testimonies of the teacher that what she witnessed during her home visit was disconcerting, discomforting, just plain unpleasant! The teacher must have sensed something horrific was eminent. It was reported that this woman’s husband, now alone with her children and suffering, mentally battling her demons and refusing to go to a homeless shelter. Later, after the fact of the discovery of the grizzly human remains, there would be several department heads fired, the Mayor would issue a sorrowful statement, department “shake ups” would occur—but I like you would agree this was a little too late!

Lord come by hear, and deliver us! I am sure your spirits are also concurring!

Something wasn’t done; the cracks were widened because here some helpless children were prey at the hands of a mother who was hurt and demented from the battle that had waged war in her mind and spirit.

Our hearts are broken for this parent, the children and the initial teacher who conducted the home visit. This concerned teacher conducting the home visit visibly must have perceived that there was a battle going on right before her eyes, her spirit must have been so unsettled that she complained. Her humanity wasn’t assured that now silenced children could sustain the battle.

After I arrived at work I opened an email inspirational message which read:
No one should be ashamed to admit they are wrong, which is but saying, in other words, that they are wiser today than they were yesterday.”
—Alexander Pope (1688-1744), poet, critic, translator

How apropos that Alexander Pope’s words would resound with such truths., It’s ironic, no it’s God at work friends featuring quotes related to humanity from The Foundation for a Better In their own words the Foundation for a Better Life is a non-profit organization dedicated to sharing the values that make a difference in our communities.

A terrible wrong has occurred, what’s next we must wonder? I feel that today, God is ushering us to reflect on not only our own humanity, but humanity for the children forgotten , parents tormented and system over burdened. I surely am not pretending to have all the answers my friends but in cases where there is evidence of distress would it be wonderful to have an alternative if the local human services boards can’t intervene? I pray that those considering ministry will seek out best practices to reach others. Surely there must be innovative human service with faith based foundations making provisions for safe shelter/havens, parenting workshops, counseling services, mentoring programs. In the mean time while we are searching for these caring services maybe we can be more vigilant in fighting the battle within our gates that is intent on destroying us.

With an out stretched helping hand it’s important that we become Auntie Mommies, surrogate mothers and fathers, noisy neighbors with level heads, keen eyes and ears that are open to understand, see , hear and aide the distressed.

Possibly God is telling us today to pay more attention to not only our affairs, but our brothers and sisters around us. We are our brother’s keepers. Often there is real turmoil happening right in our midst and we just can’t fathom what it is, let alone see it. So I pray friends that we’ll have supernatural radar that signals in our spirits when an immediate need exists, and a crisis is erupting and ignoring the problem won’t be an option.

If you have a service that can benefit families hurry and contact your schools, the United Way, you local/city/county human service systems and law enforcement so that you’ll be considered as a line of defense for the defenseless. Be assured that the need will arise. So friends let’s keep praying and let’s keep vigilant about helping others in need and not giving up in well doing!

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
Eph 6: 1-18

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Ron Demetruis Henry

Ron Demetrius Henry was born September 6, 1968, in Baxley, Georgia. He is blessed and anointed of God as a singer and songwriter whose songs minister to the hearts of men and women who go through daily life experiences. Throughout his endeavors, he has experienced singing with the James Cleveland Workshop Choir, New Jersey chapter.

In 1988 he joined the United States army, serving faithfully for the last eighteen years. During his enlistment, he has ministered the word of god through song across the United States and Europe. On September 13, 2001 his first single “by faith” was released, where it has blessed the hearts lives of people internationally.

In feburary 28 2003 to march 15 2004, he deployed with 101st airborne division, (air-assault) during Operation Iraqi Freedom. On September 22, 2005, he was acknowledged as the first Fort Eustis, Virginia military idol; where he went on to Fort Gordon, Georgia as one of the five finalists in the first U.S. Army military idol. Through these accomplishments, he was invited to perform in the 2005 American Freedom Festival, at the Broadway historic Roseland Ballroom, New York City.

He currently resides in Williamsburg, Virginia, retiring from the United States Army with 20 years of active duty service culminating his career as the manager and vocal trainer for the Fort Eustis, Virginia transportation express. He is married to his lovely wife Tabitha who he loves and acknowledges her as the queen of his soul. His aspirations are that through his God given ministry, many lives are touched, and set free by the power of God, and will encourage, uplift, and heal the broken hearted.

'A Gathering Force'
Grassroots coalitions commit to 'new' New Orleans By Pat McCaughan, April 03, 2008

Click image for detail[Episcopal Life] When the New Orleans levees buckled, they gave way to more than cascading waters. They exposed years of racial and economic inequity and launched a flood of new voices, grassroots coalitions and a reborn Episcopal Church, all working together for justice.

Shakoor Aljuwani is part of that reborn church. Last year, at 57, the longtime community activist, ex-Black Panther and former member of the Nation of Islam was baptized at the Easter Vigil, moved by "the sincerity of the Episcopal Church to work for change and the good of all" in post-Katrina New Orleans.

"I saw a real diocesan commitment to build a new New Orleans," Aljuwani said. "There was genuine comfort in their presence. I'd often doubted the sincerity in past relationships with various denominations, but I saw something powerful developing, a gathering force, and the enormity of what we were faced with made me search deeper and see the need, that I had to have faith in God in this survival process.

"I wouldn't have been able to do what I'm doing or to deal with the tremendous roller coaster ride this has been if I hadn't had faith and been able to learn to pray and to go to the community where other folks are putting their lives on the line," he said of his 12- and 14-hour days and six- and seven-day work weeks.

The Rev. Courtney Cowart, director of the diocese's disaster response, is another newer voice. She helped guide recovery efforts in post-Sept. 11 New York and recalled stark contrasts between the cities. "It was pretty clear that my work here was going to be focused on not so much the technical fixes of disaster recovery but the adaptive changes of the heart."
"It was obvious that race was coloring the response," said Cowart, who was at Trinity Church, Wall Street, a few blocks away when planes struck the World Trade Towers. "There, all the walls between people came down, and everyone was reaching out to help everyone else in any way they possibly could. It was an incredibly transforming experience."

In New Orleans, she said, "one hundred percent of my work here has been forging relationships outside the Episcopal Church and in the African-American community and working to carve out coalitions and initiatives that are very countercultural, from privileged white folks and the establishment church to grassroots activists. They just never worked together like this."
Transformation's challenge and potentialAt the height of the Hurricane Katrina fallout and flooding, when many were already gone or on their way out of the city, Aljuwani was on his way in.

"I had been watching it in the media, and I figured the whole story wasn't being told," said Aljuwani, who had been living in Florida. "It bothered me that there were no stories of heroism."
A community activist for decades in Mississippi, Brooklyn, Harlem, Chicago and other places, he posed as a cameraman, "working with an L.A. Weekly reporter I knew because it was the only way a black man was able to get through the checkpoints and to interview people evacuated to the Superdome," he said.

Two years later, he acknowledged activists still had their work cut out for them.
"It is such a massive effort," especially because of a lack of affordable housing, adequate education and employment and many other issues, he said.

But it "is the greatest challenge and the greatest potential," he added. "People have been cracked open, and in that there is an openness to try something new.

People are coming back to the community. Church is more important, family is more important, people are working together like never before. There's a sense of hopefulness and optimism."
There also is a need, he said, for "a truth-and-reconciliation practice patterned on what's happened in South Africa. For the city to heal, there's got to be some truth-telling."
Focus on youthGrassroots coalitions like the Common Ground Collective and All Congregations Together have sparked hopes for "a new civil rights movement" of support across races, denominations and socioeconomic backgrounds.

In October 2006, Aljuwani began working with the Homecoming Center at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, an historically African-American congregation founded in 1855 that has been active in recovery efforts.

Aljuwani is "a leading voice" in the new New Orleans recovery efforts, said Broderick Webb, 38, an independent filmmaker and native New Orleanian. They met through Webb's work with the Downtown Neighborhood Improvement Association Education Committee.

Alarmed by the lack of opportunities for youth, poor educational facilities and a survey of McDonough High School students in 2006 which revealed that "30 percent were here without a parent and were staying with an aunt, cousin, boyfriend, or other people, and were taking on responsibility and roles most young people in his country don't have to worry about," Webb said, the Fyre Youth Squad, or FYS, was born.

"We wanted to begin to engage young people hanging out in the streets. We saw them everywhere we went," Webb said. "Fyre, in New Orleans slang, means hot or cool, a flame, something positive or attractive -- 'That's a cool jacket you're wearing.' People like to think it embodies young people, that it represents more than a reformation but a revolution in public education."

FYS helped to organize press conferences about unacceptable school conditions, including disparities in the distribution of resources post-Katrina. It focused on John McDonough High School as "a poster child" for the school system's dysfunction and inability to respond to the crisis and even pulled off an appearance by actor and comedian Bill Cosby.

Summer camps and after-school programs were initiated, along with a diocese-funded entrepreneurial project where young people will work in their own businesses, selling T-shirts and "snowballs" or snow cones, as well as in a video media business. Plans are in the works for a spring college campus tour. "We see it as a good way to provide valuable leadership development and financial support to keep young people out of crime," Aljuwani said.

"A lot of people in our country," Webb said, "believe if they had been living during a time of great atrocity, like for instance, the American slave trade or Nazi Holocaust, they would not have stood idly by, they would have stood up.

"Well, we are living in a time like that. We are the system effectively delivering young people by the hundreds of thousands into bondage because of educational systems that don't meet their needs. They have no access to the things necessary to meet the demands of society.
"Instead, they are routed into negative choices that lead them into the penitentiary and the cemetery. It's as grave a situation as in 1850 or 1937."

The Rev. Pat McCaughan is Episcopal Life Media correspondent in Province VIII (the Province of the Pacific). She is based in Los Angeles.

Inspirational Author & Columnist, Linda Mose Meadows

Inspirational Author & Columnist, Linda Mose Meadows
Rickey and Linda Meadows


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