This just hit me yesterday as I was reading a script which contained one of Dr. King's speeches. We have NOT achieved his dream. Yes, the American President is African-American but that fact reveals the true depth of hate that still remains in this country. What we have achieved in most circles is complacency. Yes we get along with all races but what about the people we can't see. What about states like Mississippi(mentioned in the "I Have a Dream Speech") who just recently took the large step of "officially" abolishing slavery last week(true story).
As much as has been done, we're still NOT done with this! Black History is American History and I would be persuaded otherwise. So,until this big dream is achieved I think I'll march on! Who's in?!? This country can't even begin to think of immigration reform when it can not reform the centuries of racism and institutionalization of the offspring of the slaves unjustly brought to this country. The drum major's footsteps are mere footprints today,but the march continue. "Until justice rolls down like water..." as he quoted the Prophet Amos...there are many "until"s. Until we see them all achieved,then we can retire from the march. Then and only then..
Over the past week, I became entangled with a thought...have I given up on my dreams? Truth is, I was desperately close. I still play, sing and own music instruments and recording equipment but am I really still pursuing my dream of music?
With college courses completed, academic accolades aptly emblazoned on my resume, everything points to a pursuit, but of what? Sitting in HR, the career of music is misinterpreted as a hobby by unsuspecting hiring managers. Did I really commute to college an hour each way for a hobby or was in pursuit of something?
Life will ask these questions and at the same time demand answers from you! So I had to fess up and admit that I'd given up. I've been in the presence of almost anyone a gospel musician/artist would ever want to meet. What's more important, is I've met the people who can connect me to the rest of the people I've never met. I mean, I could even score a phone call in place of a timeless picture together.
So why have I somehow settled into the "crowd"? There are a number of reasons, too many to list and explain here. The road on the pursuit of a dream is lonely. The nights are long,fiends are few, and opposition knows no bounds. Beyond self doubt, doubters and the run of the mill "haters", the pursuit of a dream requires thick skin. What "they" never tell you is that you need many layers of "thick skin". Otherwise you will become consumed by the weight of the pursuit.
I am writing this here on my site and not in either of my online columns. See, I've accomplished alot, but still not the goal! Do columnists get discouraged. Yep! Top 20 artists on Reverbnation in their home area,do they get discouraged too? Yep. What about musicians who have travelled internationally and toured across 5 European countries,do they get discouraged? Sure WE do! We get sidetracked and plain and simple...beat down!
I don't want to go to every musical in the metroplex,nor do I want to go to every guild meeting(announcer/musician) just to "network". My home life dictates that I come straight home right after work. A fortunate night is a night where I can look again at my dreams soberly and say "yes I still can!"
So...how do I believe in my dreams again? Don't I need to revamp them since I'll be 30 next week? Aren't I smart enough to somehow find a back road into the music industry or can't I just dig in and look the music industry in the eye and announce my imminent arrival?
In "The Wiz" Dorothy encountered Glinda the good witch. Glinda sang to Dorothy and even kind of preached a little bit. Glinda said, "believe in yourself like I believe in you!" The awesome part about this statement is that Dorothy was vulnerable enough to make known what her dream was-getting home. Her friends also made known their wishes,this led them on the whirlwind adventure to meet The Wiz.
Turns out The Wiz had some insecurities of his own,even though this fearsome foursome sought him out as their ticket to the fulfilment of their wishes. The music/entertainment industry is much like The Wiz himself,complete yet imperfect.
So with that being said...I have dared to believe in my dreams again! There are notebooks flooded with songs and ministry ideas compiled in America and Europe. It's time to give life to mere words on pages. I dared to believe in my dreams again...
Today on my way to teach a piano lesson my tire lost most of its tread. The truck had been shaking for a good stretch of highway and right as my suspicions arose(about a blowout) something happened. We were still rolling and the truck hadn't veered into the next lane(a tractor trailer was next to us). I wondered why nothing like that happened,short of a miracle.
Getting out to inspect the the tire,I realized that we didn't suffer a blowout( I have before and it is no fun) but that the tread separated. I was able to get back on the highway,exit and make it to the tire shop where my spare was put on.
I can't even begin to fathom the experience of navigating a blowout with my two young children in the truck with me. All I can say is that I thank God for protecting us from dangers seen and unseen. Never take life for granted even though it is easy when God's blessings and protection abound in your life.
Today me and the kiddos are just glad to be safe,have another tire on and be rolling again! Now if I can just get them to take a nap...!
The best gift some fathers will ever receive is the gift of forgiveness! As long as we hold them in unforgiveness, they'll never grow beyond the stupid,immature,mislead,fearful decisions they made and some of our mothers made to keep them out of our lives.
Happy Father's Day (including my birth father who IS on fb),it's God to forgive. Forgive and LIVE! And while you're at it, be grateful for the step-in dads out there who helped us along the way! Those people include: J.B. Horton, Rev. Joe A. Foster,Joseph Hobson Jr. (Uncle Joe) and my late grandad Leroy A. Wilson,Sr.
Thanks to these men and the steady presence of my mother Valerie Wilson Mitchell I was kept on the right path. As a young man growing up in a gang infested neighborhood,gunshots were heard in lieu of a lullaby.
I wasn't on this journey alone however, I have two sisters who had their own shares of struggles. The three of us grew up without the presence of a father in the home but it was at church,and family presence that the men in our lives filled in for our birth fathers.
This Father's Day was a bit peculiar for me because forgiveness has come again. As a father raising my own children,I see the importance of my presence in their lives. I also see firsthand the way Father God views us,His children. Because God kept His hand on me and my sisters,we can't live as if He didn't. By this I say this:all roots of bitterness,malice and contempt must be replaced with gratefulness.
It could have been us who fell into the trap of fatherlessness by immature parents,drug abusers,gang members and criminals. God kept us and we each acknowledge that. Accompanying gratefulness and gratitude is forgiveness and the release of resentment that has become a plague in the community at large.
I could hate my father,but I choose not to! I have to forgive him and release him into his God ordained destiny that no mistake or lack of familial commitment can ever hold him from. Paul said it best that nothing anywhere shall be able to separate us from the love of God. (Rom. 8:37-39)
My mess ups may not include not taking care of my family (Paul told Timothy that the man that doesn't is worse than an unbeliever-I. Tim. 5:8) but God's forgiveness isn't limited to the scope of our reality! God is faithful to see His work come to pass in our lives and the same applies for absentee fathers. Who knows when,but with the first step is often forgiveness coupled with gratefulness!
Satan's empty promises only fulfill empty people!!
I was thinking about Jesus in the wilderness and being tempted by Satan. The Lord shared with me how Jesus was able to answer Satan when he spoke to Jesus. Jesus was able to resist Satan's advances because Satan couldn't deliver what he promised.
The bible says that Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. He was directed to the wilderness to be tempted by Satan after fasting 40 days/nights. Jesus was hungry and Satan tempted Him concerning food.
Jesus was proven to be able to multiply fish and bread for the multitude, so it's hard to imagine Him being powerless to 'create' the meal Satan was promising to prepare. Satan tempted Him with the very things Jesus could do('miraculously make/multiply food, be royalty on earth,rule the earth,etc).
What Does This Mean to Us?
The Lord caused me to revisit the story of creation. As I revisited the creation story, I was reminded of the statement 'let us make man in our image'. We are made in the image and likeness of the triune Godhead. What does this mean? Well, Satan lost everything he had and was condemned to an eternity in hell. Satan is also powerless against the Father,Son and can not quench the Holy Spirit. We too are created with these characteristics though we are human. Jesus was the ultimate slap in Satan's face. He guaranteed that NO ONE would ever be 'like' Satan. Even though Satan tempted Adam and Eve and death came to an entire dispensation, Christ defeated Satan in this realm and will defeat him in the age to come!
So...when we are experiencing hardship or the oppression of the enemy, let us be mindful of exactly who we are! Jesus was full of power,yet vulnerable(hungry) when He was led into the wilderness. Tempting and testing occurs in times like these in our lives. It may seem a little oxymoronic that Jesus was full of power yet had to endure testing. He had to face the enemy's advances and NOT give in. Many of us face our most intense testing when we are at our fullest spiritually and our emptiest naturally.
Look Who's Talking
Something has to be more vocal. Had Jesus' stomach done most of the talking, he would have simply given in. He later showed the power of fasting and praying in Mark 9 when the disciples weren't able to exorcise a demon. Something in us has to become more and more vocal as we grow in our walk with Christ. As food is essential to our natural man, the lack of food is essential to our spiritual man! Otherwise, we become spiritually vulnerable and susceptible to succumb to Satan's attacks.
Whatchu Talkin' Bout, Devil???
Have you ever thought about this...Both Jesus AND Satan knew that he couldn't deliver on the promises he was making! It's comical that we give in to the enemy's temptation knowing that there is a TRUCKLOAD of consequences coming behind our satanic decision! It's more than a notion to just shake off his advances at times because it is EXACTLY what we 'need' in life. The temptation reaches us when we are tired of waiting on God. A phone call for a job, that ex that jilted you wants another chance and will do anything to 'make it right', you get an inside track to how to make money without getting in trouble. All kinds of scenarios pop up when we are 'in need'. Even when Satan temps us with his empty promises(though they sound so awesome) we should challenge him with a good ol Arnold Drummond-esque "Whatchu Talkin' Bout, Devil??
All in all, Jesus showed us how to answer Satan...by/with every word that preceedeth out of the mouth of God.(Matt. 4:4) We must be ever mindful that Satan can't promise us anything God hasn't already guaranteed to those that love Him. Empty promises only fulfill empty people. Jesus was empty and weak in the natural but strong and well girded in the Spirit. When the enemy comes, we should be prepared with a ready response. For Jesus, preparation for his response was days and nights of telling food NO.
Satan can't promise us anything that God hasn't already guaranteed to those whom he loves!!! Love God, fill yourself with the things of God, this way Satan's empty promises can in no wise affect you!!!
Fred Willis is a modern day renaissance man. His focus is on his family and the call on his life. As a musician, his desire is to communicate thoughts,ideas and passion through music. As a writer, Fred expresses fresh ideas and broadcasts a new perspective often overlooked in mass media.