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Lord! Bless The Children! 

Lord, Bless The Children a Creative Expression by Sister Wanda Burnside.

 

Another school year has begun and this week on the blog we share a poem by our Sister Wanda Burnside reminding us to cover our children in prayer. Now more then ever we must lift up our communities, families, churches, marriages and especially our babies before the Lord so that they may grow to be a light in a dark word!

Wanda Burnside is an author, poet, publisher and speaker who loves to use her gifts to encourage others in their faith. To learn more about Wanda and Write the Vision Ministries contact here: Email Wanda 

We'd love to hear what the Lord has laid on your heart.  Please share this blog post and leave us a comment if it has blessed you! 

#christianpoetry #christianlifestyleblog #inspirationalpoems #wandaburnside #naimajohnstonbush 

03/04/2019

The Evil That Men Do 

This poem was written many years ago, after another horrific school shooting. There was so much going on at the time: genocide in Africa, the on going war in the Middle East, bullying, child abuse, missing children, abortion, poison in dog and cat food, sexual violence, police brutality and gang violence. It was all to much... and so this poem was written to try and bring me some comfort. With two shootings in the last two months, I hope it brings you some comfort as well

 

The Evil That Men Do by Dr. Naima Johnston Bush, Founder of the Refreshing Life with Naima

 

It amazes me 

That You have not deserted us by now 

Since we’ve uninvited You, 

Into this thing called life. 

As if Your blood 

Wasn’t enough to justify 

And Your word was simply powerless on the page. 

Metal scrapes air, 

Rupturing softened hearts 

Blinding minds. 

Eager, open to academic rigor. 

 

It is the evil that men do, 

Bound by dreams their eyes can’t see. 

Their daily fellowship with abject communication. 

Chased by ghosts, 

Who demand they call the innocent to account 

Screaming for payment 

On a debt no longer owed. 

 

Refusing to love a neighbor 

May lead him to the brink, a land of no return, 

Leaving broken hearts, empty arms 

Fractured and akimbo. 

 

And the neighbor was unknown to all, 

Who was punished by his hand. 

The neighbor did not know 

That the blood price had already been gathered 

By Your nail scarred hands. 

 

But the evil that men do, demands that it be, 

Poured out as an offering again and again. 

African coasts hiding homicide 

While terror rises in my own throat. 

And I understand that this is the war that truly must be fought. 

 

Whispers of ancient lands and genocide, 

Labors cut short by the choice called death. 

Roving marauders clashing in urban battle grounds 

Screams unacknowledged as clothing rips. 

 

Faces splashed on TV screens and highway signs 

Rechristen every lost child “Amber”, 

Even if it’s little Billy who is never seen again. 

Winter finding unholy comfort in the Springtime, 

And even our companions fear to feed. 

 

This thing, this evil that men do, 

Makes me reach for communion with You. 

Trust that You see, 

You mourn, You wait, 

Biding Your time, 

Until the promise comes to pass, 

That in the end it will be avenged 

This evil that men do.

 

Dr. Naima Johnston Bush (c) 2015

All Rights Reserved

7thirtysevenlogos Publishing

A Sneak Peek! 

A Sneak Peek by Dr. Naima Johnston Bush

Releasing a creative work into the world can be a truly scary experience. Will people like it? Will it minister to them? Will people embrace it - will they see my heart and how I tried to convey the message the Lord gave me to share with the world? By nature I am introverted which can seem strange since being a Christian artist, worship leader, author, teacher and preacher requires me to often put myself at the forefront, and although it is uncomfortable, I am compelled to do it.  So I birth the things the Lord has given me and pray that they reach the people ordained to hear His words.

I thought it might be kind of cool for you to get a sneak peek into my new novel, Daughter of Grace which released earlier this month.

Daughter of Grace is the story of the meteoric rise of a Grace Parker, grounded in faith but chased by generational curses, life changing bad choices and addictions. It is also the story of her daughter Anna who struggles with similar challenges and at the death of her mother must uncover her mother’s secrets to find the freedom that is offered in Christ. Will Anna finally understand that Jesus is enough or will she choose to live lost unable to access the power of God?

So here's sneak peek into the lives of Anna and Grace.

Grace's Diary October 2010

The microphone didn’t love me anymore, overcome with emotion, my head bent as a battle of sorrow and self loathing roared within me. Could it really be gone? The thing my soul treasured more then anything, second only to Anna, simply vanished? Rubbing my throat, the many eyes of those involved in the process of music making felt like lasers searing my skin. The truth was evident, my voice had gone rouge. The room was so still the hum of the fans cooling the recording equipment could be detected in the silence. Emotionally reeling, there had to be a reason, maybe it was just a lack of practice, I hadn’t recorded in almost five years. 

Excuses rose and then were swallowed down bitterly, this is what it must feel like to suffocate. Perhaps my drugs, drinking and wild lifestyle had ruined my voice forever. Grasping at straws, arguments, and answers I tried to make sense of my current predicament. Maybe some good vocal coaching was needed? Had I warmed up before I entered the booth? I couldn’t remember, but I knew enough to know that even if either of these were true, it could not account for the strained sounds my vocal chords were producing.     

I had come into the booth so hopeful an hour ago, ready to work and share with the world all of the new music I had birthed. But the high notes that use to come with no effort were elusive, so outside of my grasp that they had been replaced with a breathy break and sandpaper vocal. There was no one to blame but me and everyone knew it. Tension built as folks began shifting nervously in the control room. Jeff was leaning over and speaking to Kandy Kane, one of the hottest new producers on the scene that he’d hired just for this occasion. The recording of my comeback album, except it didn’t look like there was going to be a comeback after all. Jeff continued to whisper, and suddenly the room was abandoned. 

Coming into the foam padded, dimly lit booth, Jeff took a seat on a stool in the corner and waited for me to speak. A wistful smile took up residence on my face, the corners of my lips not quite reaching the proper placement. It seemed more like a grimace masquerading like a smile. 

“I have come undone…” my voice trailed off and I collapsed into free flowing noiseless tears. 

Jeff said nothing as he studied the ceiling as if searching for wisdom about the brokenness of my voice. 

He whispered softly, “Gracie, there have been few singers who have not had a moment in time when they lost their voice or their way.” 

I chortled, “The Velvet Throat is no more, my friend.” 

“I refuse to believe it Grace. Didn’t you tell me that there was nothing God couldn’t heal? Nothing broken He couldn’t fix? What is a set of vocal chords to the Creator of the Universe? All you need is that faith the size of a what… a pumpkin seed!?” 

Despite the gut wrenching agony of the moment, an explosion of giggles escaped me. “A mustard seed, Jeff! A mustard seed!” 

“A freaking mustard seed, a pumpkin seed, a sunflower seed, whatever! They are all small, fragile and produce something we can use to live on. All you need is faith – and perhaps a great vocal coach, a few more months off and a good vocal doctor.” 

“But do I deserve to have it back? I’ve spent years squandering this gift. This precious gift, that was taken for granted and now it’s gone. I would rather sing then breathe. It is my very lifeblood, the best way, the only true way I communicate those hidden things of my life. Is there even a way to apply faith to this situation? I don’t even know if I have any faith left.”   

I looked at Jeff reluctantly, expecting some kind of comfort. Instead, what was reflected in his eyes caused me to take two steps backwards. His eyes could not mask the rage and his face was tinted a blotched crimson, Jeff Aberdeen was pissed off! 

“Grace Parker, snap out of it!” He exploded. Moving as close to my face as he could get, he looked down on me from his six foot, two inch perch. His breath rapid, he gripped me with both hands, hard on my arms. Pain shot through me, but I didn’t dare move, I’d never seen him so livid. 

“You do not have permission to feel sorry for yourself. Even if you never sing again on an album, if you never have another number one hit, or sing on a stage before millions of adoring fans, you have no right! You have been more then blessed in this industry, living a dream thousands would sell their soul to the devil for. God has blessed you with wealth, a beautiful daughter, and an unimaginable talent. It looks like it’s gone maybe, and you can blame yourself, but only for a moment. Suck it up and stop feeling sorry for yourself. You want to sing again, do the hard work that needs to be done to do it! Everything has always been so easy for you, you’ve lived one heck of a charmed life.  I know you’ve had some tragedy, but who the heck hasn’t Grace? And you claim to know Jesus, you really have no excuse. But you stuck that stuff up your nose, turned from the God you say you serve and now you are living out the consequences. Yeah, I said it. Stop the crying and get to work. Maybe you’ll never sound like you did before. But even if you don’t you are still beyond blessed!” 

Finished with his tirade, Jeff pushed me away and I stumbled backwards as if slapped. And in fact, as the words he had spoken hung in the air between us, he had slapped me good and hard. Slapped me mentally in a raw and violent way. Spinning around looking for my purse, I located it, zipped it open and pulled out my sunglasses. Covering my eyes with the huge brown shades I strode quickly to the door. 

“Grace…” Jeff called after me, his voice frailly echoing his emotions. 

“No.” I said coolly. “Cancel the rest of the sessions, have Missy find me the best throat doctor and the best vocal coach and call me next week.”  He was right, but I was outraged, madder than a wet hen in a cold barnyard. I just couldn’t figure out who I was madder at, Jeff, Jesus or myself. 

Want to know what happens next? Ready to figure out how Grace got to this point of desperation? I hope you'll pick up a copy and live and learn with and from Anna and Grace through the story that unfolds! You can order your copy here: Purchase Daughter of Grace 

Dr. Naima Johnston Bush is the founder of The Refreshing Life with Naima, an organization dedicated to giving women the tools and resources they need to have powerful prayer lives, pursue joy and cultivate an gratitude of gratitude. 

#daughterofgrace #christianauthors #newchristianfiction #christianfiction  

Come To Me! by Wanda Burnside 

Come To Me - A Poem of Encouragement by Wanda Burnside

We love to encourage you with creative expressions of faith! We pray that you be blessed by this inspirational poem written by author, publisher and talk show host Wanda Burnside.

 

 

Wanda Burnside is an author, poet, publisher and speaker who loves to use her gifts to encourage others in their faith. To learn more about Wanda and Write the Vision Ministries contact here: Email Wanda 

We'd love to hear what the Lord has laid on your heart.  Please share this blog post and leave us a comment if it has blessed you! 

#christianpoetry #christianlifestyleblog #inspirationalpoems #wandaburnside #naimajohnstonbush

Daughter of Grace  

My First Novel! Daughter of Grace! by Dr. Naima Johnston Bush, Founder of the Refreshing Life with Naima

I remember where I was at the exact moment JFK Jr. passed away. When I heard the news that Michael Jackson’s voice was silenced forever – the sadness I felt when I learned about the death of the beautiful Diana. 

But the celebrity death that shook me to the core was the untimely and seemingly undignified death of Whitney Houston. I grew up on Whitney, heck, I wanted to be Whitney! And like most aspiring singers who came of age in the late 80’s and early 90’s I’ve warbled The Greatest Love of All, at my fair share of auditions and showcases. 

But when I became a Christian, I found myself called to sing songs that encouraged and inspired people to know, love and to worship the Creator… not the created.  Whitney Houston like so many other famous artists got her start in the church but at some point, decided that secular stardom was the path to pursue. And even in this, I know the Lord had a purpose.

Reflecting on the life of the woman who may very well have had the greatest voice of all time, I am brokenhearted at the turn her life took. Drugs, vocal damage, odd behavior – who can forget the infamous “crack is wack” quote during her interview with Barbra Walters?  At some point, although Whitney professed to be a believer, the power of God was not evident or active in her life. 

My first Christian fiction novel, Daughter of Grace was born as I watched Whitney’s funeral being broadcast on CNN, BET, VH1 and a host of other channels.  And the thing that struck me the most about the broadcast was that Whitney was a believer and if God did not get the glory in her life, He surely got it in her death. 

The Lord got the glory in every testimony shared, every song that pointed to Jesus as the only way. He got the glory when they shared the gospel on CNN through her eulogy, when CeCe Winans took the mic and dropped, “Don’t Cry For Me.” How many millions watched that day and heard that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life? That He was the only way to eternal life? How many considered the truth of Christ after the death of a diva who made them celebrate love, overcome broken hearts, sing along and dance, but always believed in her heart the truth of Jesus? Even if she could never quite grasp her victory.

I find hope in that. Daughter of Grace is not Whitney’s story, although parts of it could be. Part of it could be my story, the struggles with food addiction, with never feeling good enough, with wanting to hide in the shadows even though there is some sparkle there that the Lord blew on me to share with the world. It was inspired by a voice that soared to the heavens and the legacy she left behind. It was built on a hope that I harbored that Whitney’s daughter might have a different life… 

Bobbi Christina had not died when I started writing. Actually, what I thought would take a few months to compete took several years. But Bobbi Christina was gone by the time I typed the last words. 

Daughter of Grace is the story of the meteoric rise of Grace Parker, a super star singer, grounded in faith but chased by generational curses, life changing bad choices and addictions. It is also the story of her daughter Anna who struggles with similar challenges and at the death of her mother must uncover her mother’s secrets to find the freedom that is offered in Christ. Will Anna finally understand that Jesus is enough or will she choose to live lost unable to access the power of God?

Come find out! Daughter of Grace, will be releasing on March 11, 2019 and we are currently taking pre-orders. If you'd like to order your copy of this inspiring new book you can click here to order: Daughter of Grace

I'm so excited to share this labor of love with you. I pray that it blesses you and that after you order and read it, you'll come back to this page to share your comments, thoughts and insights with me.

Thank you as always for being part of this journey as we walk together on the Wild Side in search of joy with Jesus.

Don't forget! You can pre-order your copy today here: Daughter of Grace

#newchristianfiction #africanamericanchristianfiction #whitneyhouston #bobbichristina #foodaddiction #musicbusiness 

Glory To The New Born King! 

This Christmas Eve... everyone here at the Refreshing Life with Naima wishes each of our readers and loved ones a very Merry Christmas! We join in with the angels and all believers across the globe to give praise to the One who brings Light and Life!  

Merry, Merry, Christmas and Happy New Year! We pray this song blesses you this Christmas season!

 

Would Santa Punch You In The Face? 

Would Santa Punch You In The Face? by Dr. Naima Bush, Founder of The Refreshing Life

Who knows how a Turkish bishop named Nicholas, who was orphaned at a young age and had a penchant for gift giving and died centuries ago, became an eternally living, jolly fat man, who lives in a snow covered wasteland, riding around with magic reindeer while managing to defy the space time continuum that the Good Lord put in place. 

Don’t get me wrong, I think the idea of Santa is a wonderful thing, and I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t hope to one day leave milk and cookies out for the dude with my own children.  When my brother and I were little we left Santa some Chips Ahoy and an orange plastic Tupperware tumbler of Vodka… don’t ask… 

But this year as I flipped from channel to channel it seemed that every holiday themed movie or TV show that was on was about Santa Claus, or an Elf, or a dysfunctional family. Unless it was a Hallmark or Lifetime movie, then it was about some professional business woman to busy for love and how seasonal magic somehow ushered her into the arms of Mr. Right. 

Not one show about the birth of our Savior, the true meaning of Christmas, the greatest gift ever given, at least not until Charlie Brown comes on, and then we’ll hear Linus preach the gospel message until the day that somebody protests that Christmas tradition as being offensive. We already lost the song, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” and Rudolph is facing the axe because of bullying… but I digress. 

As I was pondering my TV selections, I thought about a conversation I had with a Catholic friend of mine in regards to the true history of Santa Claus. Now Nicholas was a devout man, who loved the Lord with his whole heart.  There are many stories of how he gave away everything he had to meet the needs of others, all in the name of Christ. 

But he shared with me a story I had never head before.  This one was about how St. Nicholas attended the Council of Nicaea in the year 325 with three hundred other church leaders under the direction of the Emperor Constantine. During this major ecumenical event, the Nicene Creed was produced, but before that Santa got a little unruly… 

Arius, a church leader from Egypt had the floor and was going on and on about how Jesus was not equal to God the Father, thus rendering the Trinity as null and void. The longer Arius talked, the more perturbed Nicholas became, until he could take the heresy no more and dashed across the room and smacked in some accounts, or punched in others, Arius in the face.  Which to be honest, makes me laugh uncontrollably, since the only image I have of Saint Nicholas comes from the imaginings of the secular world. 

Well, of course Nicholas, the patron saint of children, repentant thieves, merchants (might explain all the shopping) and pawnbrokers (yes, pawnbrokers)  was punished and stripped of his bishop’s garments and thrown in jail… and then there’s a miracle and restoration… you’ll have to look it up to get the details on this one or we’ll be here forever… But Nicholas does get out of jail and is restored to his office. 

The point is Nicholas was willing to risk it all to defend the truth. Christmas is about Christ, and I believe Saint Nicholas would agree. If he got so upset he was clocking folks in the eye over the importance of the Trinity, what would his response be to how the world has taken this most sacred time and turned it into a Black Friday brawl over a $198.00 TV set? 

Yes, Christmas is a sacred time. It should be more about giving the gift of His eternal love, of forgiveness and restoration then about elves and grinches and stockings. I’m not saying not to put out your cookies, or decorate your tree or hang your Christmas lights. Jon and I watched Elf this past weekend and I laughed so hard I almost choked. But while we are doing these things, let's not forget The One who gave us breath in our lungs so that we could laugh, The One who loved us so much that He left His throne to be born in this barren place to give us hope and a future.

What I am saying is that although many believe that the story of Saint Nicholas smacking Arius is a myth, it still begs the question. A man so on fire for the Lord that he risked everything to tell the world he would not stand for the demotion of his Savior, that he would not stand idly by while someone made the Lord Jesus Christ less then what He Is, that someone would so reckless disregard the gift the Father gave us to restore us, pushed Santa Claus to the brink. 

If Jolly Old Saint Nick was here today, would he be so jolly? Or would he be running around malls, TV stations, Christmas events and even churches smacking folks in the face?

I'd love to hear your thoughts and comments. Please leave us a note below or on our Facebook page! 

#santaclauspunchesarius #saintnicholasandarius #slappingsanta

A Prayer Can Reach Heaven  

A Prayer Can Reach Heaven by Wanda Burnside (c) 1998

Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. (Jeremiah 29:12)

Click the picture below to watch the inspiring video of Wanda's poem, A Prayer Can Reach Heaven.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wanda Burnside is an author, poet, publisher and speaker who loves to use her gifts to encourage others in their faith. To learn more about Wanda and Write the Vision Ministries contact here: Email Wanda

We'd love to hear what the Lord has laid on your heart.  Please share this blog post and leave us a comment if it has blessed you!

The Salt Light Talk - Guest Post by Carlita Earl 

 

“The Salt Light Talk” 

Written by: Carlita Earl 

 

And Jesus looked and saw the crowds gathering in 

The stage was set 

A new day had dawned and risen 

Quick, hurry the bell is ringing-the invitation extending 

Time for the session to begin 

We gonna ascend up the mountain 

Fully devoted Christ followers ready to get it in 

With them who He called to hear and receive the life lessons of heart orientation 

Into this entrance of Kingdom higher learning 

And living out this sojourning of discovery 

It’s the discovery of who you are and who He designed you to be. 

A sacred identity-you were chosen and selected to reflect from a new heart 

The blessing of beatitudes 

Such BE-autiful attitudes demonstrating before a world sinfully lost and deskewed 

But oh how blessed are you who live out these paradoxical attributes 

Of humility, mercy, purity, making peace in the midst of hostile feuds 

And rejoicing when people insult and persecute you too-joining in the reward of the prophets 

who went before you. 

Wanna hear an awesome truth? Know how He sees you, what He decreed about you? 

You….are catalysts of righteousness 

Bearing Christ-like attractiveness 

Moving and shaking uncontained like salt spreading throughout the earth to penetrate the blandness 

Bring healing to the pain and distress of the sons of men 

That would awaken them to their need of the gracious flavor of salvation only found in Him. 

And though He sends you to be an influence among a decaying society so strategically 

Just remember to remain in the Vine abiding that the seasoning isn’t found trampled under 

Men’s feet as good for nothing, but keeps its potency with integrity! 

Cause they need to see that you are the light of the world, shinning with glorious brilliance 

Like a city set on a hill that cannot be hidden 

A lamp lit, propped up sitting in the open giving clear vision to those in the dark 

Stumbling and falling that they’ll no longer see men as trees walking! 

Yes, this is your calling, to be all in, let your light shine before men 

That they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. 

So as you descend the mountain to be a godly influence in the spheres of men 

As He destined you would 

Go and pass the salt, shine your light and welcome them in to the feast that they 

may taste and see that the Lord-He is good!! 

Copyright (c) November 30, 2016 All Rights Reserved

Get Ready For A Comeback - Wanda J. Burnside 

GET READY for a COMEBACK! 

By Wanda J. Burnside 

 

God is going to bless you like never before 

He will open brand new doors 

For every door that was slammed in your face 

He is elevating you to a new level and new place 

Don’t be afraid of what is new 

Because God’s best is waiting for you 

You don’t have to fear or doubt 

God will soon bring you out 

What the haters thought you’ll never obtain 

God has it for you in your own name 

So be prepared for His sudden miraculous move 

You’re about to be propelled out of your groove 

See, others thought you were thrown away 

Now, let’s see what they’ve got to say 

You’re about to make a major comeback 

God will do it, and that’s a fact! 

Copyright 2018