Monday, November 16, 2009

Dreaming in Technicolor

For many years I have wanted to start my own clothing line, but my friends kept telling me to finish my Ph.d. Well, guess what? I don't want a Ph.d! I want to start a clothing line. The issue has never been proving that I can do a Ph.d, the issue is whether another degree would serve my life in a way that is meaningful and contributes to who I am now as a woman. When was the last time you stopped to take stock of the activities you are involved in right now that are not even in line with what you really want in life? How did you get there? You may have gotten there because there was a time when you wanted what you are pursuing - but somewhere along the way you lost your passion for it. You may have gotten there because someone in authority in your life, prophesied that this was what they saw in your future. Problem is, in your heart of hearts, you never saw it, but because you placed so much faith in their ability to see, you swallowed their dream for your life.

It's time to stop, take a hard look at the season of life you are currently in, and make a decision to change course, or move full throttle ahead. As you take stock, let me ask you a question. What would you do if you could see into the future and could see that you not only had the wherewithal to get it done - but that it succeeded? What I want you to do is dream in technicolor. That means giving it life and letting it renew a spark in your soul. Starting my own clothing line - at my age (over 50) has been exhilarating and exciting. It is something I have always wanted to do and is totally illogical in terms of my background and training. But it is a dream that now has color, texture, and life!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Not By Chance

In one of my reflective moments just recently, I shuddered to think that I had almost missed God's will for my life. I looked back and wondered to myself what would have happened if I had failed to do something which was connected to something else which was connected to yet something else. Each thing in the chain was so critical to the moment of my life that I now found myself in, that I had a really bad moment as the understanding came to me that life is really very tenuous and vulnerable, and we can miss out on God's best by one bad decision. It was one of those things that I couldn't let go of and I needed the Lord to help me put things in perspective. You know what I mean? If it is true that success in life hangs by the thread of one bad or good decision, how could I ever know I was truly walking in divine purpose at any time in my life. The Lord spoke something to me at that moment that blessed me powerfully and that I want to share with you. I queried him, "Lord, what if I had made the wrong decision a year ago. What would it have cost me now?" The Lord answered, "You couldn't have made the wrong decision a year ago, because it wasn't your idea - it was mine." In other words, when we love the Lord and we truly want to do his will even when it feels like we are feeling around in the dark, his promises are true that he will never leave us or forsake us, and he will establish our going out as well as our coming in. His word also says that everything works out for the good for those who love him and who are called according to his purpose. Wow - that means I never have to be afraid of missing God's will for my life - when we walk in him and we allow him to walk in us, his very thoughts become ours.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Spoken Word Curses

As a deliverance minister, I am always surprised to learn that many people live their lives with an invisible chain around their necks. It usually takes the form of a spoken word curse inflicted by someone in authority. This individual could have been a parent, teacher, spouse, boss, even a pastor. (You'd be surprised how many pastors curse their own sheep.)

Spoken word curses are easily broken in the Name that is above every name - Jesus. When you break that curse over your life, believe the Word of God which says, "the curse causeless shall not stand." Don't get it twisted! Just because somebody speaks a curse forcefully and with a good dash of spookiness, doesn't make their theatrical show of intimidation potent. A curse can't stick to a child of God unless you put your trust in the power of that curse.

You must recognize a spoken word curse for what it is and decide that this day ends its destruction in your life! Then, declare the blessings of the Lord over your life. You must verbally do this and you must believe in your heart that the same God who wakes you up every day and who has said that he loves you with an everlasting love, would never side with destruction and death against, you, his beloved. The devil is not more powerful than God, folks - He is the one that created the devil!

One of my former leaders once tried to curse me for leaving her ministry. Can you imagine? I thought she had lost her mind. I have taught in the area of deliverance ministry and dealing with demonic spirits for years. She had sat under some of those same teachings. I recognized a curse when I heard one and couldn't believe she had the audacity to attempt to speak one over my life. After I got unmad, I declared her spoken word curse of no effect over my life. I was born in the night but not last night, and nobody gets to curse me and get away with it. I decided a long time ago that only God's Word is allowed to have the final authority in my life!

Whenever somebody tries to use their authority or headship over you to intimidate you or manipulate you into doing something they want, that is witchcraft pure and simple. Know what your rights are in Christ Jesus and refuse to tolerate it. If you let it take root in your life, one day it will be a tree and bear fruit in your life. Words have life and if you allow a spoken word curse to stand unchallenged in your life, you consent to it and walk in agreement with it. Break it now and do it verbally and with conviction.

Monday, October 12, 2009

What's On Your Mind?

All kinds of thoughts bombard the human mind on a moment to moment basis. Not all of these thoughts are good thoughts - even in the mind of a good person. So many of these thoughts are self-defeating, negative thoughts that can become self-fulfilling prophecies if allowed to develop a root system.

This train of self-defeating self-doubting, self criticism and harassing self-condemnation is deadly in that there is no one else besides you who can challenge its reign of terror in your mind. In other words, nobody can defend you against your own harassing self-thoughts. This mental beat down of your own self is secret, mostly brutal, and is hidden to the light and truth of day. Besides being mostly untrue, this private self harassment is also impossible to defend against because when we are angry at ourselves for foolish choices, we seldom consider both sides of the balance sheet in our judgement of ourselves.

So...what are YOU thinking about all of the time? What do you think of yourself? Take a daily check of the kinds of private thoughts that you think about yourself. It is one thing to correct yourself mentally for inappropriate behavior or bad decisions. It is a whole different matter to routinely nourish an unhealthy habit of nailing yourself to the cross in secret. To walk out the purpose on your life in purity and in strength, you must learn to embrace your own vulnerability and humanity. And, you must also learn to put self deprecating thoughts into balance and perspective! Yes it is a good thing to do self-reflection and to evaluate the way you responded to something or the mistakes you made with respect to a failed choice. No it is not a good thing to berate and harangue yourself for something that is in the past. Forgive yourself, rebuke yourself, laugh at yourself, hold yourself accountable, love yourself, celebrate yourself, be gentle with yourself...and keep growing and stretching!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Baby Steps

The Word of God says that "we should be careful for nothing..." - that means that we should not be anxious about anything - no matter how bad it looks. I am convinced that this is only hard to do if you tell yourself that it is. I have found great comfort in quieting myself before the Lord, reading a portion of scripture that speaks to my dilemma, and then prayerfully and quietly placing the matter into God's hands. The fact of the matter is that anxiety is nothing more than fear - and wherever there is fear, there is lack of trust and confidence.

The safest place in the whole wide world is the very center of God's way and will. In order to find it, you must search out his ways and then yield. I wonder sometimes if all of the worrying and fretting we do is not really fighting...that is, fighting against yielding. If you fight against yielding - you are really fighting against submission to God's decision. Why not make a decision to stop fighting against God's decision about a thing and just quietly yield. An old gospel hymn says..."oh what peace we often forfeit, oh what needless pain we bear, and it's all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer."

Monday, September 28, 2009

Rejection Can Kill Your Purpose

One of the most difficult private sicknesses to deal with is the spirit of rejection. To begin, let's make some clarifications. Each of us deals with rejection on a weekly basis, if not a daily basis. You might be a day late and a dollar short at every turn of your daily routine, but it doesn't necessarily lead to a spirit of rejection. The spirit of rejection usually comes very early in life and gets rooted deeper and deeper each time somebody hurts you, leaves you, falls out of love with you, breaks your confidence, makes you feel taken advantage of, etc. As a minister and coach, I can usually tell that this is the spirit that I am dealing with in an individual, because typically, that individual feels that they are the only person that people use and abuse. People who suffer from the spirit of rejection also use the term "always" when they describe the pattern of their life-long mishaps. To hear them tell it, no one else in the world ever suffers from disappointments and let-downs at the hands of other people. If this is you, believe me when I say that the spirit of rejection is a deadly disease of the mind and the soul. Unless you treat it and deal with it aggressively, it will give you twisted, fatalistic thinking that will lead to the death of your own purpose.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Safe in God's Hands

Yesterday morning at church, a sister led "I'm Safe In God's Hands," during morning worship, and I tell you, my Bishop very nearly had to call for the benediction when she was done. What a great source of comfort to know that no matter how the wind blows or the water threatens to take me under...I am safe in the arms of my Lord. You know today, as you continue your journey seeking to know what God's plan and purpose is for your life, you should rest assured that you are safe from all harm. When I consider that danger is always around me - seen and unseen - and that I can't even see what is a foot in front of me - I'm still safe. The Word of God says that even if my foot stumbles, God's angels will grab me to keep me from being destroyed. Look up and allow God to fill your heart to overflow with his goodness and graciousness. The Psalmist said on one occasion, "When I go to sleep at night, he is with me...and when I awake, he is yet there."

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

5 Steps to Starting All Over Again

It's tough to start all over again, especially when you consider the fact that starting all over again means starting from the bottom of your new top. This is possibly why the Word says "the end of a thing is better than the beginning." But I am reminded of the law of progression which states that every new step requires a new start. If you can keep the following five steps in mind when you are faced with the challenge of having to start all over again, you will be able to anchor your emotions to having to relearn some things you thought you knew, debunk some things you found were not true, retry some things that you once failed at, and rediscover some things that have become passe. Here goes:
  • The Word of God says "write the vision and make it plain." What this first step involves is writing down a specific set of goals that will keep you focused and anchored during your transition phase.
  • Second, once you write down the vision, jot down - in bullet format - every step or factor you need to consider in making those goals a reality. In other words, fill in the blanks to your master plan or vision. You know where you want to go - what details do you need to attend to in order to get there? What do you need to take along for the journey? Don't think in terms of deficit, think plenty at this point.
  • Now, that you have your vision and a list of very particular items that need to be considered in getting to your vision, prioritize the steps you listed in bullet format. What needs to be done first? What can be done next? How about after that? Now reorder your list based on the prioritizing you just did.
  • Fourth, consider what you will need to sacrifice in order to re-start. If you jot these losses down, check in with your heart to consider how it will feel to lose something in the process of gaining something, and are willing to keep the faith no matter what it costs you, you will have prepared your heart well for any difficulties that must lie ahead.
  • Finally, decide when and where you will take that first step to restart. Do it now, do it quickly, do it with conviction, and do it without reservation. Once you make that first move, you will be surprised at how free you will feel in taking your second step. Just be sure to take that second step soon after the first.
Be sure to celebrate as you begin your new journey, cry the necessary tears, remind yourself of the lessons you have learned in your past failures - not to condemn yourself, but to grow from them, and whatever you do, don't keep looking in the rear view mirror while you're moving upward and ahead.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Watch Your Mouth!

I just listened to a phenomenal teaching series about words from Pastor Robert Morris. I selected this teaching from my shelf because lately I have found myself complaining and criticizing just a tad bit too much - you know what I mean? Ever get sick of yourself and find yourself telling yourself off? Well, that's what happened to me the other day. I got angry with someone and although I cooled down alot before talking to this individual, I was greatly dissatisfied with the spirit in which I checked this individual. As I listened to Pastor Morris teach out of the holy writ of scripture about the power of this little member called the tongue, he gave what he called several amazing truths about the tongue. One of them is the fact that the Bible says it is the only thing created that can bring forth two different kinds of fruit. Yes...the tongue can bless and it can curse. It can produce two totally different type of fruit in one individual life. Finally, Pastor Morris explained that the Bible says that the tongue is inherently evil and must be tamed. He explained that only our Lord can tame it, but we can discipline it by hitting a "pause" button before we go off on somebody or being too quick to have what we think is the right answer. Why don't you agree with me this week to watch your words as well!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Letting Go

If you try to run with a weight attached to your feet, it is going to drag you down and eventually trip you up. In my morning devotion one day, the Lord dealt with me about holding on to offenses. You know how it think you have moved on but then something tests you in the area of forgiveness and you realize you may have moved, but somebody forwarded the mail. I have learned in my own life that letting go is a process and it takes time. How much time is dependent on the depth of the offense and your willingness to drop the charge and stamp the debt owed to you voided. One thing is for sure, although I may be helpless to do anything about the individual or circumstance which created the offense, I can make sure that it is not strapped to my feet - I need my feet free for my life's journey. I've learned that when something keeps popping up in my mind and spirit, that it is strapped to me and ultimately weighing me down. I've learned that when something weighs me down it is infecting my heart and in the end, it is going to move as a poison through my thought process, my actions, and my character. The key is, don't let it stay strapped too long before you find out that it is still there wrapped around your body part - or it will become a part of who you are! So... take a moment right now...take a deep breath...and just let it is really not worth all of the drama, energy, and time that it has stolen from your purpose.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Power of Focus

When you are working on multiple projects, it is critical that you understand the power of focus. My old habit was to try to work a little bit a couple of times a week on several different things. You guessed it...nothing ever got completed. The reason is that my focus was divided. When your focus is divided on projects that require that you operate at optimum performance, you are not giving the best of your energy, your thought process, your intellect, or your drive when you are pulling the best of who you are in too many directions. Focus is a powerful thing because it forces you to concentrate the best of who you are in one direction. The best analogy I can give you is a laser. By its very definition, a laser is fixed, linear, concentrated, and has a very defined purpose. As such, its power produces what we call "cutting edge." If you have too many things going on right now that are not driving you forward - but driving you to stagnation or what we best recognize as procrastination and distraction - rethink your goals and directives and use the power of focus to get one thing done at a time. Try it for one week and see how much better you feel about what you are able to finish.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Steve McNair's Death

Several things went through my mind as I listened to Bishop Walker deliver the eulogy for Steve McNair at his funeral just recently in Nashville. What struck me most profoundly was that as a man of God, Walker set things in proper perspective for this man's wife, his sons, his friends, and for the community which is divided between forgiveness and condemnation. He reminded me as well as all of us that no matter how we feel about the details of Steve's murder, none of us can afford to pick up a rock and throw it at anybody. What a powerful message by a powerful man of God. On that day, as well as on the day that the minister at Michael Jackson's memorial service called on the Name of Jesus, I was so very proud to be named a member of the clergy community. We take a lot of heat - some deserved - some not deserved - but at the end of the day the most honorable service we can provide to people is to have the courage to wade through the muck and mire of human error - even sin - and make sure people look at what matters most. My prayers go out to Steve McNair's wife and sons and to his friends whose hearts are hurting right now. May the grace of our Lord Savior Jesus Christ strengthen his parents, his siblings, and all of those who are struggling to gain a sense of peace about the circumstances of his death and the purpose of his life.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Beside Still Waters

I'm here in Nashville, Tennessee as a presenter and registrant for the annual 21st Century Learning Centers Convention. If you've never visited the Opryland Resort and Convention Center, you should treat yourself to a visit. There are lush gardens, cascades and fountains everywhere, wonderful dining, and just a restful and beautiful ambiance about the place. Tonight I went out just to treat myself to dessert, and the waiter sat me next to a beautiful, man-made pond with small fountains inside of it. The light was soft, and the sounds of people's laughter and fellowship around me was very comfortable and warming. As I stared into the dark water surrounded by lush green plants and exotic flowers, a snatch of the 23rd Division of Psalms came to me, "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters." I became thoughtful for a moment as I began to reflect on the Holy Spirit's gentle touch on my spirit. What was it that he was trying to say to me - at this moment? I noticed that the water falls - though delightful and gay - triggered feelings of gentle anxiety - if you will. The cascading water caused my eyes to flicker in an attempt to follow the beads and threads of the running water. The moving water was not peaceful but agitating - even in a good way. The still water beside the fountains produced an entirely different feeling. As I stared into the water that was flowing ever so slightly by the breezes - it calmed me and I found myself feeling centered and at peace with God and with my surroundings. Yet, underneath the stillness of the waters, I could see a depth of stream water moving. It occurred to me that water that is living is always moving - but that doesn't mean it is rushing. No wonder David talked about being led to waters that are moving - yet still. As my soul matched the calm of the waters before me, I realized that the Holy Spirit was reminding me that in the rush and movement of life, God is always seeking to lead us to quiet, still water that is living, yet still.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Finding Home Position

A good friend once explained to me that once a house is built, it will continue to shift and reposition itself until it reaches what is called "home position." What an interesting concept. When I hear people talk about "searching" for their purpose, I am always intrigued by the idea of seeking something that should come as naturally as breathing and living. Perhaps we tend to think of purpose as something to seek for or search after because we tend to spend our lives trying to reach "home position." The discomfort of not knowing what we shall be and what we will ultimately become keeps us shifting and changing and repositioning ourselves (to use Bishop T.D. Jakes' term) in hopes that it will lead to personal discovery and some sort of self-awakening. I once had someone accuse me of being a jack of all trades. I found it offensive because that cliche ends with "and master of none." As I pondered the label, however, I realized that it was probably a great compliment in disguise. While I do believe I master some things during the many shifts and make-overs of my life, I am still me - an individual ever seeking to grow and respond and mature and thrive. I'm trying to reach home position before my life is done - but in the meantime, I'm having fun refusing to be typecast. I may bend too far sometimes and realize that what I'm doing is not really who I am, but its okay, because as long as I have Christ as my center and my anchor, I can always come back home - and without a doubt, reach home position.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Lesson from Lazarus and the Rich Man

People die everyday - that's for sure...but have you noticed that lately some of the biggest celebrities are dying very traumatic and public deaths? The impact of stress and trouble even on the wealthiest and most envied personalities is resulting in suicide, early death, and sudden death. It reminds me of how fragile life is and how worry can't change things one way or the other. It reminds me that much of what we spend so much of our emotional energy fretting over will work itself out if we learn to simply let go. But there is another lesson to be learned. And that is the fact that once this life is over, we still have life in eternity to live. What we do in this one has a tremendous impact on our next life. The way I treat my fellow man, my life style, the way I spend my private time (my character), even the way I spend my money, will inevitably come back either to haunt me or justify me in my next life. Many have focused on the fact that the biblical man named Lazarus was a poor man who lived in the alley of the rich man's house, and that when he died, he went to the bosom of Abraham while the rich man went to hell. Well, the parable of the story isn't that the rich go to hell and the poor go to heaven...the parable is that when this life is over, it is not over. The point is that everyday it is important to live one's life knowing that in the life to come we must give an accounting of how we lived this one. That means taking the time to treat people right, and doing what's right, and being kind to other human beings. All of us are going to die one day and death is a great gulf fixed so that I will never be able to come back and redo what I shoulda, coulda, woulda. Now is the time to live life with a gentle spirit toward all..and to learn to simply let go of what I cannot change.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Death of Michael Jackson

I was personally saddened by the death of Michael Jackson. Say what you want about the man, his influence was unearthly. I grew up with Michael and the Jackson 5 and can remember how everybody knew the words to "ABC" and "I'll Be There" even though, like Michael, you weren't old enough to know what in the world he was singing about. After his recent death, I watched several of the conflicting television tributes to his life and his music and was amazed at the inability of the moderators to love him or hate him - even in the retrospect of his death. If you look at his incredible talent as an artist and creative genius you can't help but respect what he gave to the world. But if you looked too closely at his life - even without judging him - you can't help but be struck at how incredibly dirty his life choices were. He was as brilliant in his creativity as he was foolish in his private morals. In life, he compelled his children to wear masks to protect them from the insanity of the papparrazzi - now that he's dead, somehow it no longer matters, and their faces are exposed... How ironic...Perhaps the thing that made me saddest of all, is that I couldn't help but wonder if during the moments of his greatest turmoil and darkness, he ever realized how much Jesus truly loved him. I couldn't help but wonder if anybody had ever once mentioned the Name of Jesus to Michael Jackson.

Monday, June 22, 2009

How Can You Know What Your Purpose Is

I was sitting in a Sunday School class just recently at my home church, when someone asked the instructor the question, "How can an individual know for sure what their purpose is?" I listened with great interest at the responses given her - all of which were good. When the instructor asked her if she was satisfied that her question had been answered, she nodded her head yes, but her eyes said no. Plus, there were many others in the room, who looked just as unsure as she did. I knew the look well - as a seminar and workshop presenter, I've been asked the same question many times in the past several years. I wanted to raise my hand to add my opinion to those already given, but I felt that probably much of what she had been given had served to deepen her sense of unknowing rather than easing it.

I feel certain that as this woman continues to insist on an answer to this question, that she will no doubt find it. In fact, it is the seeking to know one's purpose that ultimately provides insight to purpose. I would also say to you, if you too are secretly perplexed by a sense of not knowing what you were born into this earth-realm to do - that most often it is the case that we find ourselves doing what we were born to do. In other words, what is it that you are most passionate about? If someone were to ask someone who knows you well what turns you on, what would the answer be?

For example, my closest friends would probably tell you that the thing I talk about most is seeing people set free of controlling habits, bondages of whatever kind, negativity, unforgiveness, and past failures. My purpose in life is to set people free. Hence, I always find myself positioned to encourage, inspire, motivate, bless, uplift, and provide godly counsel to people who are stuck. In this instance, what I was born to do creates avenues and opportunities for me to do it. To clarify further, my purpose is not necessarily what I do in terms of my occupation or even my ministry - rather, these are expressions of my purpose. Finally, I will leave you with a powerful example that Bishop TD Jakes gave in a message about being confident that God is guiding your life so that you don't miss divine purpose. He shared with the listening audience that he struggled - as a teacher - to think of a way to illustrate the point of God's guiding hand in our lives. Frustrated, he started his journey to his church that morning and when he climbed into his car, his attention was immediately drawn to the GPS system in his vehicle. As the Holy Spirit began to speak to him, he saw a powerful example through the GPS device.

He explained that when he sets the destination, as he is traveling, the device is silent. It will not given a command for a new direction, until it is time for a new turn. Jakes pointed out that sometimes the silence of the device may bother him and can make him feel that he has lost connection - but a nudge of the device results in the audible consolation, "keep straight." In other words, you are where you should be, doing what you need to do for this day and this moment - just keep doing what you do. Let's say he makes a wrong turn in his effort to obey its directions (as we sometimes do in life because of distractions, bad counsel, misguided intentions, etc), the GPS will re-calibrate itself to get him to the destination he wants to go in. Isn't that wonderful? My purpose never changes - even when I mess up, I was still born to do what I was born to do! What a marvelous example of God's guidance in our lives. If we seek to know what our "Why" is for being alive, God will guide us for certain and we should never be afraid that we are out here alone and on our own. We are never alone in this search to find our way home, and even if we make a wrong turn in our earnest to know, we can rest assured that God will re-calibrate our wrong turns so that we wind up where we belong!

About Me

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As a preacher and public speaker, Elaine Rose Penn has been described as "bad to the bone!" She has gained a national and international platform as a motivational speaker, trainer, life purpose coach, and an author of two books currently available on Her novel, "When Kingdoms Fall: A Novel About the Fall of Lucifer" is due for publication in a few months and is a sure winner for readers who love Biblical suspense, action, mystery, and intrigue!