Category Archives: Witnessing

Following Orders

It’s amazing how from the day we’re born until we gasp for our last breath we seem to always be taking orders from someone. As a child we take orders from our parents, maybe older siblings, teachers, etc. Then we think we’re out of the house and can do what we want. NOT! If you go to college you’re taking orders from professors when each assignment and exam will be due. Once in the work world, always taking orders from bosses. Then one day we all dream of the day of bliss ~ marriage ~ which once again leads to what? Taking orders. Then life becomes even more twisted when you’re giving orders as a parent, only praying that your guidance will make a difference.

Following orders is the hard part of life. In the military there is a specific chain of command and everyone, no matter the rank, is always taking orders from someone else. Respect is shown to those in authority due to protocol, whether you agree with them or not. It’s a shame that in every day life people tend to lose that aspect of showing respect to those in charge. Then again, there’s always consequences when one doesn’t follow orders; not just in the military.

Take a look back at Jonah and where He ended up by not following orders. Just a small example but it makes the point. In the Bible we are given guidelines as Christians but do we follow them? Are we praying a lot? Are we in the Word a lot? Oh, and then what do we do when God does call on us? Are we obedient as Abraham was or do we run like Jonah?

In my book, “The Naked Truth”, in one of the chapters I touched on answering God’s call and how vital it is to do so. There are three people who have impacted my Christian life because they did answer His call ~ Rick and Tanya Curren, and Bob Stacy. If they had not answered His calling, I tremble at the thought where my life would be now. Not only did they talk with me about my spiritual walk, but were all very encouraging about me writing the book and following God’s call for my life

As a pianist, after you perform you hear by applause if people enjoyed your performance. As an author, sometimes you hear what people think but it’s few and far between. It was because of lack of response there has been a dead space in my writing and blogging. I was beginning to wonder if I misunderstood God’s calling ~ until this last weekend on Valentine’s Day.

I spoke at Ardenwoods in Arden, SC. In January I spoke there and took copies of my book to give to the congregation as they had become family to me. Saturday, the 13th, I received a phone call asking for more books and if I would bring them for those who weren’t there to receive one. That in itself put me on cloud nine with all of the compliments that followed in the voice mail. Of course, I was happy to take some more! I spoke Sunday morning on God’s love for us and how we show our love for God. Afterwards, the gentleman who plays the organ started talking privately with me. He’s 94 years old and cancer now has hospice visiting him once a week. He talked with me about what he’s going through and stated he wasn’t ready because he wasn’t assured of his salvation. We spoke for a while, Bob Stacy joined in and tears were flowing. We prayed and then we all went to brunch. I was informed then that they have been trying to talk with him about his salvation for 12 years, yet I made the difference. To be blunt about it, God used me as His vessel.

What I’m trying to emphasize is how important it really is to follow God’s orders when he calls on you. If I had not written this book, started speaking and gave some away, this wonderful man may still not be assured about his salvation in his final days. Seeing how God works using just one willing person to help someone else in their spiritual walk was truly a blessing. Others have affected mine and I saw the difference ~ but to think that God could use me? He can use anyone!

I shared this with you to remind you how much of a difference you can make in someone’s life. You don’t have to be an author or speaker, just be you ~ the perfect you that God created. When you’re feeling that tug to speak to someone about Jesus, don’t be afraid for the Holy Spirit will guide you. We are all witnesses and it’s everyone’s job, not just the pastor, to be talking with others about Jesus. I urge you to look beyond yourself, step out of your comfort zone ~ make a difference today.

This is Devaughn ~ bringing it home.

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Where are You?

On June 7, 2014 I received a call I was not ready for ~ my mother passed away. It wasn’t as if it were a total shock for she was 93 years old and had lived a wonderful life. There just wasn’t a forewarning of her going to the hospital, getting worse ~ nothing. I received a phone call from my sister and she told me she had been at Mama’s all day, my only response during her pause was “OK. What’s up? Is anything wrong?” A silence came over the phone and then I heard those heartbreaking words ~ “Mama’s gone.” At that point I fell to my knees in tears as my sister spoke to me trying to help me through the phone line. Assuring words we all hear at this time “She’s in a better place” just didn’t matter at the moment. I am so grateful Peter, my husband, was here that day. I don’t think I could have made it without him. I called my son, my Pastor and friend, Bob Stacy and other family and friends so they would know. Within the next week me, Peter and my son, Marcus, made arrangements and travelled to Florida for the funeral only to turn around and come straight home. The two men in my life were there for me when it mattered the most.

I was expecting a funeral that would be about my mother but it wasn’t ~ it was about salvation. You see, my family meant the world to Mama and in her heart, so did their salvation and their walk with God. She truly lived a Christian life by example and anytime my life went astray she would always tell me I needed to get back into Church, have a long talk with God and get my life straight; not necessarily in that order either!

About a month and a half prior a girl came to my house and while we were talking she opened up to me all of her problems and issues in her life. My response was “So, how is your spiritual life?” This question was asked by Bob Stacy during our marital counseling and I never quite understood it until these last few months. I find myself asking people this question to help guide them back to God and His Word for answers and guidance.

I’m sure by now you are wondering what this has to do with my mother passing away. Nothing. But they do intertwine. I wasn’t prepared for the phone call even though I lived with Mama for a couple years and saw her health decline. Yes, it did help in the grieving for over those two years I periodically broke down as I saw that I was losing my mother. Here’s the question(s): Where are you? Are you prepared to meet Jesus? How’s your spiritual life these days? No, it doesn’t matter what church you were brought up in or belong to ~ how’s YOUR spiritual life? Are you talking with God? Are you in His Word? Are you seeking His guidance?

In closing I would like to remind everyone to take the time and look closely at your spiritual walk with an honest eye. Just as I was not prepared for the phone call, are you prepared for the Angels to blow their horns? If today was the day you would meet Jesus face to face ~ are you ready? Don’t just assume you are, make sure you are ~ know where you are.

This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.

Disabled yet Abled

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As I wait for the answer from filing for disability our financial reigns get tighter and tighter. I called my attorney and was told that there was a small amount I could bring in and it wouldn’t affect the case. There was a restaurant that was thinking about hiring me to fix the carry out bags. Once they realized that Sunday morning and night and Wednesday night was out of the question due to my commitment to the church choir I was not what they needed. Anywhere I went I was not able to lift certain amounts and stuck to my guns about the time I have set aside for worshipping God. It didn’t bother me at all that things didn’t work out because of me sticking to my guns about my prior commitments to the choir; although, having to admit what I am not able to do has yet torn me apart again.

Having limitations after being independent my whole life has been, and still is, quite a daily struggle. I have always been able to do whatever it took to make ends meet and get the bills paid. Now, my whole life is twisted 180 degrees. Accepting that I have to file for disability was hard enough; much less to continue to have to try to explain to others about invisible disabilities. I don’t mind explaining; what I do mind is people judging what they don’t understand. My qualifications are off the chart between college degrees and previous job experiences. For financial stresses to be as they are and not being able to take the jobs offered to me because of my qualifications, I truly look in the mirror and wonder ‘why.’

So ~ the question boils down to what can I do? Well, yes I am disabled. As the title also reads “yet abled.” I am able to continue to put my faith in Jesus. I am able to worship His name and call on Him for the comfort I need through these emotional dark moments. I am able to witness to others how great our God is with the disabilities as a part of my life. I am able to share my experiences with you praying that it may touch at least one of you. Yes, I am disabled but definitely abled as well! Remember Phil. 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.”

This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.

In One Moment

paul walkerThe holiday season is here and everyone is rushing all about trying to find the perfect gifts for everyone. Happiness tends to drift in the air as lightly and gently as snowflakes and in most cases, continuing to layer only to add to the feelings of the holidays. At least that’s the way we picture it and for most of us it is a happy time of the year ~ but not for all.

My heart is heavy tonight as I think of the tragic death of Paul Walker and his friend. I intentionally leave it as ‘his friend’ because that is what you will find in the media. The continuous efforts of Paul Walker to give to the needy, especially those victims of natural disasters, shall never be forgotten. His friend ~ even though we haven’t read a lot about his contribution to the world while he was here ~ was just as valuable, we all are. Some people are famous while others are the backbone of what keeps everyone going. Then again, even that can change quickly ~ in one moment.

In one moment someone can go from poor to rich (lottery) or from rich to poor. In one moment another death is added to the statistics and another life is brought into this world. In one moment you can say something that slaughters even the hardest of hearts. In another moment you can say something that mends the deepest of wounds. We all go through our lives moment by moment, taking for granted that there will be another; not considering how much of a difference we could be making for someone else. God did not give us another day to live for ourselves; we are given another day to be here for someone else.

Do you stay so busy you aren’t having much time to pray or read the Word? If so, you’re busier than God intended you to be. Remember, we celebrate the holiday “Christmas” as the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord. Throughout this holiday season try not to rush so much that your moments don’t count. Be a blessing with your actions and your words. Make every moment of your life meaningful.

~ In Memory of Paul Walker ~

Thank you for making your moments meaningful for others.

This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.

Dress for Success

I recall reading the book “Dress for Success” back in the late 80’s with instructions on dressing for success in the business world. Everything from the length of your skirts to your fingernails was covered. One thing that I read in the book that really stuck in my pea brain was what was known as “power” colors – black and red. I guess there was a definite need for books on dressing for the corporate world just as there are for etiquette.

When I first became a Mary Kay Beauty Consultant my nightmare started in building my dream. I was to wear dresses or skirts. I am such a tomboy that the only time my husband had seen me in a dress was on our wedding day, at least until Mary Kay came into my life. It was the best decision I had made. Within a few short days, I started becoming the woman I wanted to be without knowing that was my dream. In fact, my husband told me I went through the “Miss Congeniality” transformation overnight! J One thing that was suggested through the years of success by Mary Kay Ashe was to dress for business even when you’re working at home. Sure enough, it does affect how much you get done, your focus, and even affects your conversation while you’re on the phone. I am so grateful for that suggestion – especially today.

It is hard to dress for more than lounging around while taking care of my mother. Usually my day consists of staying inside and no company. Her house is out in the country, so any occasional visitors are family. I knew I needed to get back to writing and remembered the simple suggestion of getting dressed for work even in your home. I sprang up, got a shower and got dressed for work. Writing may not include the same dress as Mary Kay did, but sitting around in lounging outfits had made me want to do just that – lounge around.

As I was getting dressed, and all of these thoughts ran through my mind, I thought of dressing for success as Christians. In Ephesians, we are told all about the armor of God and to wear it daily. So, in our everyday terminology let’s break it down. Are you dressed in God’s armor? Carrying His sword, etc.? As always, I’m going to go another layer deeper. Everyone can picture this outfit (armor). So what about the bling? Ladies, you know what I’m talking about! Guys, you accessorize as well. J In this instance, our accessories are things like our attitude; are we forgiving; are we positive, and that list you can finish without me. The deepest layer ~ are you wearing Jesus? Can someone look at you ~ everything from how you dress, your eyes, your conversation down to your smile ~ and see that Jesus is first and foremost in your life? Can they see Him at all or do you save that face just for church time?

In closing, I urge you to not only make sure you are wearing God’s armor in your daily life, but to accessorize with His Son.

This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.

Proof of Faith

Day by day we encounter the unexpected, otherwise known as life. The budget looks great on paper, until…; the trip was going smoothly until…; break it down even smaller, the day was going great, until… Yes, life happens and we are never 100% prepared no matter how hard we try. Those who live with faith in God tend to handle these times a little better than those who try it on their own. Then again, remember most of us have learned by trying on our own to have that faith.

Is there proof that faith in God really helps? Look in the scriptures. Noah was told to build an ark when there was a serious drought going on. By having faith and obedience in God he did and was saved from the flood. Moses was at the Red Sea with armies chasing to slaughter all of them. Through obedience and faith he raised his staff as instructed and the seas were parted. Abraham just packed everything up and left not knowing where he was going to go but had faith in God that all provisions would be taken care of. Serious paraphrasing here ~ Jesus does tell us that if he would take care of a sparrow’s needs, don’t we think we’re more valuable than that sparrow to him?

Now it’s time to take a look at ourselves. When we encounter an until…do you panic? Do you worry? Do you immediately pray or do you take it on yourself and then if you can’t work it out, then pray? Most of us fit into the latter category. We always tend to want to be in control and just jump in and take care of it, no matter what it is. How many times do you stop and pray for guidance before you do?

In closing, my thought/question for the day is ~ do live your life with faith in God or just claim you have faith in Him? Can others who know you see this faith as they could with Abraham? Does your life show others proof of faith? Always remember, the way you live your life is a testimony to others.

This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.

Who is Welcome?

In our society we tend to gravitate towards those who are successful, dressed well, driving nice cars, and this list definitely goes on and on. If you ever noticed people tend to walk away from those who live on the poor side of town. I mean, we have seriously gotten to where we only have something to do with someone if they can do something for us. Have we gotten so blind that we can’t see people?

When Jesus walked the earth, he wasn’t someone whom you would particularly take a second glance that. He wasn’t that tall and was a carpenter so his hands were rough and callused.  After walking through the deserts for days, in sandals I may add; when he walked into a town he didn’t exactly look the greatest. No one could tell by his appearance on the outside that this was Jesus, the Son of God. It was the moment they looked into his eyes his heart shown through; then they knew he was special. They listened to his teachings. Some listened closely and followed him, but others turned him away and called him a blasphemer, and He was the Messiah!!

Because we have gotten so small minded that we care more about the outward appearance of people and what they can offer us, here’s a good question for all of us… would you walk up to Jesus the way he was dressed and appeared? Would you think that this man was a mere carpenter and fisherman was truly the son of God because he was dressed simply and not wearing a royal robe and crown? In other words, would Jesus be welcome at your door? I’m sure your answer is yes at this point. But what if you didn’t know it was Jesus? I mean, think about at how he “appeared.” One last question, do you find yourself running to those that others run away from? Remember, Jesus told us, “… the least you do unto my brethren you do unto me.”

With that thought in mind I want to close reminding you that every time you reach out a helping hand to someone it truly matters in the grand scheme of things. It also matters just as much, if not more, when you turn away from helping someone. Be cautious of this, you never know when Jesus is knocking at your door.

This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.

Encouragement

As an author of her first book I truly have experienced how much a few words from others can mean. Of course, most people focus on the few words others say that have hurt them. Imagine how we would all be if we spent more time focusing and remembering the encouraging words, even if they are few and far between.

First and foremost when we feel the need for encouragement and/or inspiration all we truly need is to open the Bible and read God’s Word. We can also turn to Him in prayer and find a sense of peace in the darkest of storms. Then there are times when we need something with a little more flesh – someone we can ‘literally’ talk to and hear from right here, right now. For instance, a child may have a nightmare and you can assure them they’re not alone because they have God watching over them. Even with that assurance the child still doesn’t want to be physically alone. We need to remember we are God’s children and He recognizes our need to have someone here and He does put people in your life to help you for that very reason.

Take a look at your life very closely. Do you find yourself encouraging others or always telling them how much better they could do things (which in it’s own way is discouraging)? Every word we say to others makes a difference and we need to be conscious if we are making a positive difference in others’ lives or are we subconsciously tearing them down. I know that when I look to see how many views my page is getting, how many ‘likes’ my posts are getting, comments, etc. it encourages me to keep writing no matter how hard it may be that day. I thank you all for your encouragements.

Let’s all start this week out focusing on encouraging others as God instructed us to do in His Word. Yes ~ one person CAN make a difference.

This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.

Can I Get a Witness?

Of course, as a musician songs always come to mind when a subject does and the title not only describes what the topic of the day will be ~ but also shows how songs always come to my mind. I will start by quoting the last sentence in yesterday’s blog ~ “We need to make sure our words and actions are a witness and not a warning.” So ~ can I get a witness?

Most of the people who aren’t believers will always speak of the actions of “Christians” that really turn them away; especially those that hold the Bible in one hand while pointing their finger judging with the other. Actually, most ‘Christians’ are the worst example of what Christianity is all about! We are told in the Bible we should be loving, forgiving, nonjudgmental, caring, giving, and the list goes on. Not to mention how we are to be slow to anger. Does this remind you of anyone you know? Does it even remind you of yourself? Oh, not me…most of us think. But take a deep, closer look at yourself. Are your words and actions being a witness to others? Does anyone ask you why you are always positive and how can you be so forgiving? Speaking of being a witness, when is the last time you spoke to someone about Jesus and salvation? That is also our job too, not just the pastor’s. These are just some thoughts to think about going into the weekend that maybe just might cause a few to start their week out differently and make a difference in someone else’s life – possibly their eternal life. Just keep in mind ~ if you were the only Bible someone would ever see would they truly see Jesus?

This is DeVaughn ~ bringing it home.

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