Thursday, November 17, 2011

Blame it on the...


This week's bible lesson surrounds the letter B. I chose the word blame. People have been blaming others for their actions since people got their start. Let's take a look-see.

Genesis 3: 8-13

8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”  10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” 11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” 12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” 13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

So yea, we have this dude who has been given everything he could ever want. He's got this slamming garden, a cool job, a dutiful wife, and God who loves him beyond imagination. All he had to do is stay away from one tree.  God tells dude, "This is your world. Do what you like. Just don't touch this one tree." One rule, one stipulation, one little guideline---and what happens...

No one knows why dude took that bite but today's story isn't in the bite. Disobedience is in a couple of weeks. The teachable moment isn't in the punishment. Blessings and curses deserve their own section. The meat and potatoes of today's lesson is in what happens when your actions, good or bad, catch up with you.

First of all, sometimes, ignorance really is bliss. Think about it. As a baby, adults feed you until you learn to feed yourself. Adults carry you until you learn to carry yourself. Although knowledge is great power, great responsibility comes with it. Therefore, no one can make you do anything.

Life is ultimately about choices. I often wonder why God gave us free will. We have it and yet we still won't take the responsibilty for it. From the beginning...

God: Where y'all at?

Dude and Dudette: We heard You coming so we got ghost, being naked and all.

God (with that all-knowing look): Who told you that you were naked? What y'all been eating?

Dude and Dudette: See what had happened was...

Dude: It was her, Lord. This woman You gave me.

Dudette: Oh no, he didn't, Lord. It was that serpent. He tricked me.

They all look at the serpent.

Serpent (shrugs shoulders): What?

And the rest, as they say, is history. Still there is something to be said about this short passage. If nothing else, it serves as a reminder that life is filled with defining moments; those before-and-after episodes when the instant it happens you know your life is forever seperated into before it happened and after it happened.

In an instant, dude knew just how wrong he was and when God called him out, without hesitation, dude knew he had to blame someone. (I can't believe he tried to throw God into the debacle but desperate times call for desperate measures.) Even dudette copped a plea. The serpent was the realest deal (aside from God) in this whole outfit. The serpent accepted its responsibility, took its punishment, and slithered on about its way.

It's time we stop blaming others for our actions and choices. Assume responsibility for all of your deeds because you do them. No one can do that for you. Accept your role for your predicament in life. Stop saying your daddy didn't love you enough. Stop saying your mama didn't hug you enough. Stop putting it on your home environment. Stop complaining you didn't get the quality education. Stop it!

The heart of the matter is this: God gives us EVERYTHING we need to get the job done that He has set before us. Now, whether or not you let Him catch you with your work undone is on you.

Until next week,

Step Brown

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ask Yourself...

I know I am a few days off with the question of the week. I wanted to make I had a great question. 

So yea, we've all heard the definition of insanity. You know the one about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.  How about this old age adage--'If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got.' What about when folks tell you to 'step out on faith' or they remind you that you can't swim if you are still on the boat. Help me off this soapbox because I got plenty of quirky euphemisms to illustrate my point. 

Tonight, I am asking myself one big question. I encourage you all to do the same inquiry. Granted, you may not get all of the answer tonight. Hell, you may not get a tiny tidbit of the answer tonight. But if there is something in your life that you have the power to change, what you are going to do it?

Tonight's question: So you want a different result? What are you going to do differently to get it? 


Step Brown

Sunday, November 13, 2011

No Regrets--The Short Story

Greetings from the lab...

Week 2 of my year-long writing challenge. And my prompt: Write a short story based on your favorite song, using the song's title as your story's title and the lyrics for your plot.

                                                 NO REGRETS

Claire walks to her car and knows it will be the last time she sets foot in the building. Since her program will not be funded for the next year, she is out of a job. All she has with her are stories--the stories she has spent the last ten years writing. 

At the gas station, Claire looks at her last paycheck. Pay to the order of Claire James. While pumping gas in her car, she thinks of taking a road trip but she is afraid to go too far. With no prospects of work, Claire finds herself walking on a financial tightrope. She tries to balance everything but inside she feels like she is falling emotionally. 

Claire goes home and sits in front of her computer. She applies for a few jobs. She contemplates sending query letters to different production companies and publishers. Yet, she knows if she dares to press that button, it might be the end. Claire walks around thinking of the future she could have if she shares her stories with others. She knows she has decisions to make but there are people in her life she must please. She wants to do what is best for them but somehow, leave something for herself.

Claire's one wish for her life is unconditional love and freedom of her mind. She decides to ask for her worth and to give from her heart. She chooses to leave the past behind and watch her blessings rain from the sky. She realizes what she has to do. She must get up and dust herself off. She has to accept herself and move on. She is stronger and wiser and better than she was before.

Although her body's strong, her mind is stressed. So she says a prayer and jumps the fence. She finds her confidence and Claire sends her story, Still Not Satisfied, to a production company. They like it and sign Claire to a production deal. She moves to New York to fulfill her dreams. There is road in front of her. What is there, she cannot see. Still, there is no looking back and no regrets. 

No regrets...

Deo Volente, 
Step Brown

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Alphabet Bible Study: A

Greetings from the lab,

So I got this idea to do a weekly bible study via my blog. I'm not sure you could call it a bible study. It's more like topics and I am using the alphabet to decide the topic. 

I know some people believe the bible is not contemporary. Like the stories in the bible were for a time long ago when the bible and its stories are very modern. As the Good Book says, it ain't nothing new under the sun. What you doing now has already been done.  

So every Wednesday, I plan to post a different topic based on the order of the alphabet. 

First up: A for ANGER

Genesis 4: 3-8
In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. 4 And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
 6 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
 8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field." While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

Can you imagine being so angry that you kill your brother? Or just another person? To add insult to injury, you are angry because that person did the right thing and was favored for it.

Anger comes in all shapes and sizes, fashions and forms. It can overwhelm you, consume you, and destroy you. Be aware of your anger.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Step Brown

Monday, November 7, 2011

Question of the Week

I woke up this morning with my mind and it was stayed on Jesus. ~Talking Tom.

Greetings from the lab,

I always have a problem with this time of the year. Daylight savings time ends and I wake up before day and want to go to sleep before night. This year is no different. 

I'd like to start a Question of the Week. Every Monday, I will post a thought-provoking, soul-searching question that readers can answer to themselves, in journals, or in the comments. Basically, just some fat for us to chew on as we go through our week.

This week's question is borrowed from my Daily Bread reading. 

QoW: What is your worst fear?

Please know that if you should ever have to face that worst fear, God will be there with you. Trusting Him through prayer makes available "the peace which surpasses all understanding" and it will "guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:7). The secret to peace is to give every anxious care to God.

Today's question: think on it, write on it, speak on it. 

Soli Deo Gloria,

Step Brown 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

My Apologies...

Prompt: Most writers make the New Year's resolution of completing a manuscript during the year. As usual, we neglect it. Tonight, I must write an apology letter to my manuscript explaining what happened and how I plan to make it up to the manuscript by December 31. Leggo....

Dear Still Not Satisfied,

Let me start by saying I thank you for never leaving me. You stayed in my head until I finally got you out on paper. So thank you for being persistent. When 2011 started, you were a novel and I promised you I would adapt you into a screen play. Well, here we are, November 2011 and you are still just a novel. Please forgive my inconsistency and procrastination. You know I love you but I have let self-doubt and lack of discipline intrude. Hell, even laziness plays its part. I can't leave out fear--fear of no one liking it, fear of everyone liking it--and its role in this process.

Today, I stand up and I say no more. SNS, you are my first literary child and I will dedicate my time to completing your film version. I have been talking to others about you. Some very important people want to read you. Together, we have piqued their interest and now I must give the people what they want. 

I can understand if you don't believe the words that are being typed on this page. Therefore, I will show you. I am a firm believer in actions trump words. From 8am-4:30pm, I belong to ETI (for now). From 6pm-until, I'm all yours. I hope you will accept my apologies for not completing you sooner and allow me the chance to square you away in the next two months. At least, your first draft...  I'm good but I am no water-walker.

Writing even in my sleep,

Step Brown

My Year Long Writing Challenge

Greetings from the lab,

In June 2010, I found another author's writing challenge. So I kept it although I knew I wasn't ready to follow it. After some recent events, I feel I need to get serious about this writing jones, lest the Lord give my gift to another. This will be the venue where I unleash my creativity from the challenge.

Here's the deal: Pick one day of the week. ( I pick Sunday) Carve out 30 minutes and dedicate that time to creating a story based on the writing prompts provided. There is one prompt for each week of the upcoming year (Nov 2011-Oct 2012).

So let the games begin. Writing as if the pen never leaves my hand...

Step Brown

Friday, November 4, 2011

Seasons Change...

Ecclesiastes 3:1--There is a season for everything, a season for every activity under heaven.

Just as there are seasons in nature, there are seasons in life. As you progress in your spiritual life, you will go through seasons of change and growth as well as dormancy and doubt.

Spring is a season of joy when new growth occurs. God seems very close in both big and small stuff during this season.

Summer is made for relaxing, vacationing, and renewing. This is when your life seems like it is on cruise control with little to no concerns.

Fall can lull you into complacency. You may even take God for granted. Fall is the season of disappointments and unfulfilled expectations.

Winter is the time when you need God more than ever, even though He seems far away. Call out to God and He will answer---not by removing your winter but by giving you the strength to get through it.

Take some time to ask yourself which season are you in. Ask God for the discernment of the seasons and once you get your Word, pray accordingly.

Until next time...

Soli Deo Gloria,

Step Brown