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Another day in Paradise

I remember driving to work in the usual morning traffic, listening to my usual morning radio station, Moody Radio, expecting a usual day.  Over the air came a heartfelt plea to please pray for the release of a pastor, Andrew Brunson,  who was being held by Turkish authorities.  This man was in that country to share His love and was not politically motivated at all, let alone guilty of the crimes he was accused of.

The day was, in fact, usual.  My tasks lay ahead of my like the normal mountain I climbed daily.  Sometimes I had to camp out on the slopes until the next day, and sometimes I just rolled the tasks over the top of the mountain only to pick them up again the following day.  Lunchtime offered relief in the form of a lovely walk in the Florida sunshine.  A light breeze cooled me down as I embraced the calming effect of the Hillsborough river, along which I took my usual daily lunchtime stroll.

Tick tock.  Only two more hours to freedom and to spend time on my own life.  What a magnificent thought that was.

15 minutes before the end of my working day, my usual day was upset.  The supervisor informed me that my services were being terminated with immediate effect and that this was my last day with that company.  Stoically packing up the trinkets I had decorated my cube with over the last five years I looked for co-workers to say goodbye to, but a flex time schedule had left only two of those to greet.

There are moments in life that my daughter and I have come to describe as, “It’s a God thing”.  Driving out of the parking garage one final time I handed my free parking pass to my supervisor.  The radio in my car was still on Moody radio.  The announcer said, “Pastor Andrew Brunson has been released from prison and is expected at the White House on Saturday after having a physical in Germany.”

In that moment God reminded me that He is good ALL the time.  My heart filled with joy at the thought of the physical battle won but more importantly, the spiritual victory won over the Evil one.  To walk each day in the light of eternity is not always easy, but focusing on things of spiritual instead of material importance makes every day, no matter the circumstance, another day in paradise.

 

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What I want to be when I grow up

Chapter 1:

My daughter is the English buff of the family and is, in fact, a brilliant writer.  My intent is not to follow some pre-determined pattern for writing but to join the huge and thus far unexplored world (by moi) of writing.  I have it on good authority that to write things down (or some call it “journalling”) is a therapeutic activity so let’s plunge in.

When I was in high school, a spiritualist once told me that I would not achieve my dream because I lacked the initiative.  Oh, how I love a challenge! Probably because of my apparently rebellious nature – as determined by a psychologist – I never forgot that challenge nor my desire to reach my dream.

I found that I was fascinated by the law.  I loved debating, the concept of justice and the rigidity of rules and regulations.  On a side note, I remember an incident in 11th grade when a teacher unfairly demeaned a girl in my class belittling her because she was an orphan.  I listened to as much as I could but eventually stood up and delivered a very swift rebuttal  to that teacher – a  tongue lashing I’m sure the lady remembers to this day.

So after high school I trotted off to Law School.  In those days in South Africa one would complete an undergraduate – either BA or BS – to become an attorney, and the graduate course LLB would qualify the candidate as an Advocate, the certification necessary to appear in any Supreme Court.  Latin, English, Roman-Dutch law and Social Anthropology filled my days and nights.  All was going very well until the first year mid-term exams.

I really had zero interest in the matriarchal structure of certain African tribes and other seemingly unimportant trivia that my professor, Johnny Clegg, expounded.  This lack of interest was  sadly reflected when I failed the mid-term exam.  Horrors!  Me? Fail? What was this? I was an achiever and for the very first time in my life had failed one subject.  I was doomed! I would be kicked out of school and my legal career was in the toilet. This is what I thought as the result of my first ever failure.  At the age of 17 I lacked the initiative to pick myself up, dust myself off and find the resources necessary to achieve my goal.  One week later I was working full-time in a bank.

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Chapter 2:

I do not understand why the longing to study law did not subside.  Fast forward nearly ten years to when I found myself able to be the stay-at-home mother of one elementary school child and one 2-year old.  I enrolled full-time in a local university where I  found myself to be one of very few “older” students.  I quickly befriended a lady. also in her twenties, by the name of Lettie.  The two of us absolutely relished in showing off our academic prowess – mostly in an effort to prove to ourselves that our brains were up to any high school leaver’s standards.

Again as the months passed by of my first academic year I found that I had overestimated the number of courses I could handle concurrently and underestimated how many demands were made on a wife and mother of two young children.  Five subjects became four, three, two, when the reality sunk in that perhaps I should be what I needed to be at that time – a wife and mother. I hold no grudges against my children for this decision.  On the contrary, they have always been and will always continue to be the two halves of my heart for whom I would do anything in my power.

The thing is, I had not achieved my goal and the challenge still rang in my ears.

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Chapter 3:

It’s a funny truism that no man can stop time.  Or in my case roll it backwards for by now I was living with my second husband and two children in suburban America battling to make ends meet every month.  He was a regular kind of guy.  Corporate America had burned the ambition out of him.  Clearly it was going to be up to me to increase our income..

I heard that Federal student loans were available and signed up with Corinthian Colleges, which later became Everest Online, for the Paralegal course.  Of course becoming a paralegal was not the goal – rather a segue into law school so that I would have some familiarity with terms, definitions and jargon when I was in law school.  To my great surprise I found not only did I enjoy my studies, I was a straight A student and keen to remain so.

Time passed and I was still doing well academically.   One evening I was in the garage and my cellphone rang.  “Deborah Flagg ,hello” , I said, (my standard answer).  “Hello Mrs Flagg?  This is so-and-so from Everest Online University just calling to congratulate you on your upcoming graduation.”  “My what? I have not completed my degree?” “Yes, ma’am that is correct.  You are ready to graduate with an Associates degree.”  “I do not want to graduate with an Associates, I want to do a Bachelor’s degree”.  Have you ever heard the phrase  ” they do things differently there?”  I had never heard of an Associates Degree before.  And with that, instructed the young man to enrol me into the Bachelor’s program.

This story may becoming a bit boring I agree but there is a reason I am relating every detail of my academic journey.

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God’s Voice or Satan’s voice

This is a different question to, “Lord, what is your will for my life?”  In the question just asked the speaker is turning to the person whom they know is Faithful, the one person who will never let us down and never let go.

Am I hearing God’s voice or Satan’s voice?  My passion is to educate, prepare and equip ladies for spiritual warfare.  This question implies the speaker is aware of the battle for our souls, that it is not only God who speaks to us.

Praise God that I will be sharing more on this topic with ladies at the Parkway Church of Christ at 4360 Ogeechee Rd, Savannah GA on August 18, 2018.  If you are in the area, I invite you to register for this Ladies’ Day at their website.

In the meantime, keep you Spritual Eyes open and focused on the Cross.

God bless,

Deborah

Too smart for God?

Yesterday I sat down with my 25 year old daughter yesterday for her birthday brunch. While eating our food and sipping on our mimosas I asked my millennial if she had heard of the recent successful cloning of a monkey. You know how any topics can pop up in the search for conversation. What followed was a lively debate that we both enjoyed but left me doing much thinking.

Not the kind of debate I had so enjoyed in High School where each opposing team took a defined stand on an Issue and commenced a total onslaught on the other team using logic and superior turn of phrase. No, this was more open, more honest A time of questioning, brainstorming if you will, .

The ethical and moral judgment on what the scientist had achieved was pushed aside in favor of the question, “At what point does life begin ?”

Does life begin when scientists artificially merge two cells that will result in a living creative? If so, what about the other end Of the argument? What if you are in a vegetative condition being Kept alive only by machines ? Are you alive? If someone turned the switch off’ You world die Does that define being alive then as the ability to breathe independently or the ability to think independently? There are human beings with severely handicapped mental capacity who are very much alive.

Of course I have always believed that the Lord gives and the Lord takes away, Holding to that belief means that if the plug is pulled on a vegetative body it ts man who has ended that life.OK. So now we are back to the Severy mentally handiCapped. At what basic brain function is one alive?

The now merged cells do not breathe or have a heartbeat. Yes they have the potential but in themselves they do not, By this point it was time to leave the restaurant and end our time of questions,

I shall, of course ‘ Continue to Know without a doubt that the Lord goes and the Lord takes away, but let’s just say, I’ve started thinking. .

Started thinking that it is not wrong to have natural curiosity,

Thinking about man building the tower of babel in order to be as high as God while now we perform procedures with microscopic cells that only God used to be able to do,

Asking if Abraham was an idiot because he blindly obeyed God without questioning him?

Thinking of one of my uncles who was a member of Mensa who although holding a degree in theology eventually deciding that all of life and God is life and energy (when Jesus clearly said I am the light of the world)

So I am thinking and still choose the simple blind faith

God please help me!

I was recently watching TV with a friend who is not a Christian. A character in the show was in deep trouble and called out “God help me! * “Funny how people will turn to God only when they need him ” I Said and to my surprise my friend agreed I then sat thinking about those in the Bible who had Called on God for help, There were many but all whom God had rescued had one thing in common an unswerving faith in God. So while I have no doubt that God will answer any prayer He chooses to ‘ it stuck me Hat the more of God you have in your life, the greater thewirades He can perform through you. when Peter stopped out of the boat in faith Satan immediately turned his attention off of Christ on to his circumstance. With his gaze returned to Christ, Peter was able to do the impossible. when we plug our faith into the so dwt of Gods Gods Spirit the power available to us is immeasurable Keep your eyes fixed on things above and be blessed!.

Thanks and Thanksgiving.

A friend who was a fabulous chef invited us to his home for one of his feasts. when all the guests were seated at the table and Knowing that I am a Christian another friend suggested to the host. “Lets say grace.” His reply, “grace”.

Last week I sat down to a Thanksgiving meal at my office which was a potluck. Not one person stopped to mention anything they were grateful for and I did not observe any one bowing their head in prayer. Why call this meal Thanksgiving?

Today is Thanksgiving Day 2017 I woke up early and started wondering about those who circumstances left them with very little to be grateful for. Perhaps they were short of the material needs of Life. Perhaps they had chronic health issues that made every single day a challenge. This is the reality of life and so I thank God eternally that there is more to life than the physical.

Today I thank Him that through his Word He has allowed mankind to experience the spiritual world which includes his entire plan of love. Thank you Father for your unspeakable riches promised to those who love you

What exactly is a “serious” Christian?

Recently a friend and I had dinner together. After I ordered a Margarita to drink she said, ‘oh miss Deborah. You surprise me. I always thought you were such a serious Christian lady!’

‘I am a very serious follower of Christ and love the freedom He has given me.’

You have been there. That conversation you wish you were better prepared for…the better things you think of later that you could have said but that moment has passed.

The next thing my moral compass started flipping all over the dial. Was she indeed correct? Had I not ‘set myself apart’ by ordering an alcoholic drink?

The reasoning began. Scriptures I had learned since childhood keep surfacing into my mind.

One thing, no two things I have total certainty about:

1. I will not be a hypocrite

2. Jesus is the Lord of my life and Lord of Everything. Which by definition excludes nothing.

When eating meat previously offered to idols became an issue, we remember Paul saying the “kingdom is not a matter of food or drink.”

Yet I am constantly reminded that people with little knowledge of Scripture have very different perceptions of teaching I understand.

So to answer the question, ‘what is a serious Christian? ‘ my answer must be:

The person who puts every thought and action through the filter of God’s love. And this gives me a great opportunity to engage my friend the next time she orders a beer and I order a Margarita. Imagine what God’s love can do for her!

Saint or Sinner

If you are like me, running in front of God is par for the course.  I am not patient and waiting for His plans to unfold is probably the thing I do worst.  One day I am driving to work and I hear a song on the radio about being a sinner and a saint at the same time.  I look at my speedometer and think, “That’s pretty much what the Christian walk is like.” When I am driving way too fast, my car gets out of control, my risk increases, caution flies to the wind and basically I am out of control.  The need for God decreases as my speed increases.

But, when I slow down I feel the car is steady.  My ability to calculate risks is improved.  I can even relax and drive in “auto-pilot”, basically without thinking.  That is what it is like when my life is being controlled by God.

Isn’t is so much easier being a saint?

Deborah Flagg

Watch an introduction to my presentation on Spiritual Warfare on You Tube. Look for Deborah-Kay Flagg

Church of Christ Ladies Day Speakers

Deborah FlaggDeborah Flagg

Northwest Tampa Church of Christ
Tampa, Florida

I was born and raised in South Africa.  We lived in LA while my dad earned his Bachelor’s of theology from Pepperdine University in Los Angeles in the late 60’s.  Yes, I was a preacher’s kid. I did my life “back to front” graduating this year at the age of 52 with an undergraduate in Public Service Administration (criminal justice) and plans to attend Law School. I have taught all levels of Bible classes throughout my lifetime in the church of Christ.  My favorite topic is any Scripture but more specifically Spiritual Warfare. We know that Satan is after God’s children and none of us is exempt. Discover how subtle and insidious the snares of Satan can be and how he knows every chink in our armor. Ladies, we are in a spiritual warfare and the Word of God is our…

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