Contend for the Faith (Inspired by The Book of Jude 1:3)

Faith

A Poem Of Faith- Paul Lawrence Dunbar

I think that though the clouds be dark,
That though the waves dash o’er the bark,
Yet after while the light will come,
And in calm waters safe at home
The bark will anchor.
Weep not, my sad-eyed, gray-robed maid,
Because your fairest blossoms fade,
That sorrow still o’erruns your cup,
And even though you root them up,
The weeds grow ranker.

For after while your tears shall cease,
And sorrow shall give way to peace;
The flowers shall bloom, the weeds shall die,
And in that faith seen, by and by
Thy woes shall perish.
Smile at old Fortune’s adverse tide,
Smile when the scoffers sneer and chide.
Oh, not for you the gems that pale,
And not for you the flowers that fail;
Let this thought cherish:

That after while the clouds will part,
And then with joy the waiting heart
Shall feel the light come stealing in,
That drives away the cloud of sin
And breaks its power.
And you shall burst your chrysalis,
And wing away to realms of bliss,
Untrammelled, pure, divinely free,
Above all earth’s anxiety
From that same hour.

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The Race We Must Run

Wake Up
…an excerpt from Wake Up! 42 Ways to Improve Black America Now by Gary A. McAbee

To everyone who thinks African Americans have made it, might make it, or may never make it, here’s an analogy for you…

Let’s say that you and I are about to have a race. Our race will be continuous. A winner will not be declared until one of us gives up. We will run the same course: a straight line. Good luck, you’re going to need it.

There is a catch. I am going to start running before you. In fact, I’ll run for 87 hours. 87 refers to years from 1776-1863, you can figure out the dates. At the start of the 88th hour, you can start. When you start, I’ll be so far ahead of you that it will take you awhile to catch up: A LONG TIME! When will you be able to catch me? Will it take only 151 hours? (1863-2014) If this is the case, you must be pretty quick!

There’s more. Along the way, I have told my friends to put some hurdles in your path. Let’s say, there is ONE hurdle to represent the following: the Jim Crow period, the era of segregation, the Civil Rights Era, and the post-Civil Rights (discrimination and racial profiling) era. So, I’ll only add FOUR hurdles, but I will make the height of each hurdle different just because I have the power to do so. Do they slow you down?

Finally, ask yourself some questions:

Are you going to quit?
Will you ever ask why the race started the way it did?
Are you ever going to resent the starter of the race who allowed it to happen?
Will you ever ask for a restart?
Will you get mad, every time you come to another hurdle?
Will you wonder if there are more hurdles you didn’t get to yet?
Will you get discouraged, and slow down?

OR…

ARE YOU GOING TO USE WHAT HAPPENED IN THE PAST AS A SPRINGBOARD AND MOTIVATION TO CONTINUOUSLY RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN SO THAT ONE DAY, YOU WILL CATCH ME?

Human nature says…..

The point is: I am running fast. Are you running too? Can you keep pace? Black America, we need to run. We need to keep running. We need to never, ever, under any circumstances, stop running. So I hope to see you on the track. Together, we can catch up and win the race someday.

Gary A. McAbee

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The Serenity Prayer

Serenity

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely
happy with Him forever in the next.

Amen

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A Poem by a Special Friend

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Barefoot in the Woods

To my trees that have lived in solitude for centuries before me…
I came to visit on unexpected terms…
With the dew on the fallen leafs and dirt meshed beneath to the core…
These feet of mine would be sheltered by tethered shoes…
Afraid of the sensation of unsteady ground and the unclean…
But here I am…
Walking amongst the deep…
Toes wedged with twinges and soil…
Nothing between me and what God had conjured…
From the soles of my feet to soul of my being, a love there I have forgotten…

The shadows on the mountain side cast black wings to my back…
Some may say I am not worthy, neither here nor there, to be sent back…
But I say this to those who know no better…
Black as the soil that mothered the seeds…
That birthed the vines through which you drink your wine and make your creeds..
I see that I am flawed and I am not the Hero…
You sit and judge, unaware that you bare a throne on what will be Earth’s ground zero…
Stare, stare, stare as you please…
But what I will tell you, those that wear your shoes among the trees…
That refuse to see through the dirt and grow no wings…
No majestic castles or diamond frosted crowns I have to call my own…

But at least I know I can fly my way back Home…

Krystal Romero

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All that Glitters is not Gold!

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Years ago I was on vacation at an island country that has a magnificent port, beautiful beaches, and sparkling resort areas. The areas were well-kept and the local people were very friendly. Because of these things, the country is visited by thousands of Americans every year. To visitors, this country appears to be a tropical paradise. However, local citizens provide tours of other parts of the country not seen by tourists. If you take one of these inland tours you will notice that the scenery starts to change as soon as you leave the resort area. The neighborhoods are not as clean and the people are not as friendly. What happened to our tropical paradise?

This is an example of what happens when we think that outward appearance is everything. We become enamored with what we see. When we look a little closer we realize that what we see is not always the entire picture. We can be easily deceived by what we see. We can also be deceived by what we do not see. In other words, people tend to see tangible things first. Meanwhile the intangible things that go unnoticed probably present a more accurate picture of reality.

For example, how many times do we fall head over heels with someone of the opposite sex based solely on how they look? Tangible beauty is easy to see and hard to resist! Later on, as we get to know the other person, their intangible qualities are revealed and we realize that this person may not be the one for us. Sometimes even when our intuition kicks in and allows us to see this, we continue to go with the flow and stay in hot pursuit. Later on we realize that we found the temporary beauty of glitter instead of the permanence of solid gold.

Ask any treasure hunter: finding gold is a painstaking process that requires a lot of patience. It requires learning to spot the difference between the colored rocks called “fool’s gold” and the real, solid gold. How can we unearth the intangibles and find gold? The answer is simple: dig deep and inspect every rock carefully. As it relates to people and circumstances, we should ask one question, ask a second question, and then ask more questions! The answers to these questions will reveal whether or not the glitter we see will lead to the gold we seek.

It is alright to appreciate the glitter, but imperative to look deeper and inspect carefully to find the gold.

Remember, all that glitters is not gold!

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The Law of Expectancy

The Law of Expectancy

The law of expectancy means whatever you expect will come to pass in your life. If you have high expectations, you will seek ways to fulfill those expectations. On the other hand, if you have low expectations, you will also seek ways to fulfill those expectations.

An example of the law of expectancy is one African-American child I met while substitute teaching. He got into lots of trouble and rarely completed his work. It looked like his every move was scrutinized and he was lost. I had a chance to ask him a simple question: what’s wrong? When he realized he could talk openly he gave me a shocking answer: no one thinks I can do anything! Here is a second grader affected by the law of expectancy. He felt his classmates and teacher thought he was dumb so he lived down to their expectations.

Later on that day, the class had an assignment. I made it my business to help this boy to finish it. It was difficult because he wanted to give up often. I told him to keep trying because I knew he could finish the work. Slowly, he wrote answers until he finished. I told him to go and show his teacher. When he did, I learned something else. Based on her reaction, there was validity to his opinion because the teacher was surprised that he was able to finish!

We can learn a valuable lesson from this simple story. We must expect to be successful in advance so we can be successful when we try later. A good way to raise expectations is to tell ourselves we can do better, and then reward ourselves when we do. We will be more likely to try harder and do better regardless of any obstacles in our way.

The law of expectancy works; if you expect success, you will achieve success.

EXPECT SUCCESS AND YOU WILL BECOME SUCCESSFUL!

Excerpt taken from the book Wake Up: 42 Ways to Improve Black America Now written by Gary A. McAbee

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My Two Cents about the N-Word (Nigga)

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Years ago I was a high school teacher in an urban school where approximately 75% of the student body was Hispanic. It was a beautiful experience. On my first day, I heard numerous kids using a variation of the N-Word in the hallways. Welcome to our school Mr. Mack! I immediately questioned the first five or six students who I heard say it to one another. They didn’t know me yet. In fact, I was told I might have been the first African-American teacher the school ever had (or at least the first one in quite some time).

The students immediately thought that I should “get it.” They were not using the real N-word. Instead, they were using the term of endearment that black people have used for a long time. Therefore, it was alright for them to use it. Even some of the white kids in the school used this term of endearment. Imagine a black man hearing the “word” nigga coming out of the mouth of a white kid! This was new to me.

I struggled with this for the first week or two. After that, it became “normal” to hear kids of all races use this “word” to communicate with one another. I found it strange when it appeared as if no other faculty member had a problem with this. Maybe they didn’t hear it- IMPOSSIBLE ! Maybe they just accepted it like I did. Day after day, I heard…

it used as a term of endearment- my nigga!

it used as a term to dismiss- whatever nigga!

it used as a term to put down- stupid nigga!

Something inside me said I needed to take a stand in my own way. I had a conversation with one student about it. His use of the word was so far out of bounds that he obviously did not know the history behind the real N-word, nor what could happen if a black person heard him use any variation of it. He was really quick to use it too, as if he could substitute it for any name he was about to say. I told him for his own good: one day you are going to say that in front of the wrong person at the wrong time.

Months later this particular student got into an altercation with some other teenagers. I never found out if it was escalated by him saying an unintentional “whatever nigga”, but I am sure it was. Thank goodness the incident was an old-fashioned fistfight, instead of the gunplay that claims the lives of so many people. My point is that using the “word” nigga, just like so many other things, requires a certain amount of care and self-awareness.

By no means am I saying that it is alright for anyone to use nigga, the real N-word, or any other real or perceived slur. IT IS NOT ! I am saying that it might be too late: not only do we have a generation of young, black people using both versions, but we also have a growing number of young people from all races using these “terms of endearment.” I think the genie is out of the bottle on this one. The question is: will we ever get a handle on this issue and eradicate the use of the N-word (and all variations of it)?

Just so you know, in the hallways of that high school they were calling each other nigga faster and more frequently than I could correct them! I felt like a fireman trying to extinguish a forest fire with a water gun. Get the picture?

I guess I still need some help with this one. My two cents on this issue is that we need to clean this up now.

Any suggestions?

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Another Great Poem- Just in Time for the Olympics

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The Victor, by C.W. Longenecker

 

If you think you are beaten, you are.

If you think you dare not, you don’t.

If you like to win but think you can’t,

It’s almost a cinch you won’t.

If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost.

For out in the world we find

Success begins with a fellow’s will.

It’s all in the state of mind.

If you think you are out classed, you are.

You’ve got to think high to rise.

You’ve got to be sure of your-self before

You can ever win the prize.

Life’s battles don’t always go

To the stronger or faster man.

But sooner or later, the man who wins

Is the man who thinks he can.

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Happy New Year 2014 from Motivation for the World

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A New Year’s Plea, by Edgar Guest

Lord, let me stand in the thick of the fight,
Let me bear what I must without whining;
Grant me the wisdom to do what is right,
Though a thousand false beacons are shining.

Let me be true as the steel of a blade,
Make me bigger than skillful or clever;
Teach me to cling to my best, unafraid,
And harken to false gospels, never.

Let me be brave when the burden is great,
Faithful when wounded by sorrow;
Teach me, when troubled, with patience to wait
The better and brighter to-morrow.

Spare me from hatred and envy and shame,
Open my eyes to life’s beauty;
Let not the glitter of fortune or fame
Blind me to what is my duty.

Let me be true to myself to the end,
Let me stand to my task without whining;
Let me be right as a man, as a friend,
Though a thousand false beacons are shining.

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Merry Christmas from Motivation for the World!

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Joy to the World

 

Joy to the world,

the Lord is come!

Let earth receive her King

Let every heart prepare Him room

And Heaven and nature sing

And Heaven and nature sing

And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

 

Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!

Let men their songs employ

While fields and floods,

rocks, hills and plains

Repeat the sounding joy

Repeat the sounding joy

Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

 

No more let sins and sorrows grow

Nor thorns infest the ground

He comes to make

His blessings flow

Far as the curse is found

Far as the curse is found

Far as, far as the curse is found.

 

He rules the world with truth and grace

And makes the nations prove

The glories of

His righteousness

And wonders of His love

And wonders of His love

And wonders, wonders, of His love.

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