Dear Bizzle

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Dear Biz,

Young brother, I was on my way to counting sheep for the night, when I decided to check my Facebook. A quick refresh put your message up at the top of my list. Strange, considering it was posted an hour ago. After reading through it one time, I felt compelled to reach out and encourage you. I hope this reply reaches your eyes and grants you a moment of peace, if only briefly.

The saying goes, “A new level; a new devil.” While it’s a catchy metaphor, Satan is real and hounds the saints relentlessly, pushing buttons that sometimes we don’t even know exist. Friends can turn their backs on you; family can disown you; fans can flip like a thumbed coin. I know it gets hard to please folks when you’re just trying to do the right thing under God’s guidance. You need to remember that God is exactly who you’re obediently following, Biz. The devil’s only testing your mettle because you’re succeeding as a soldier for the Lord.

Dude, I listened to the Wade-O interview just this morning on my iPod, while at work. You held on to that $40,000-plus stash even when your personal bank account was in trouble. In the end, that money went straight to Africa to build water towers, just like God intended. The devil hates you because of your obedience! You take your wife on tour with you, effectively negating the enemy’s thwarts and temptations on your flesh. The devil is furious with you because of your integrity! You constantly consult your pastor and your close circle of peers, before making any major decisions, just like a faithful disciple of Christ is supposed to do. Satan wants you broken before the masses, because of your heart for God!

As a man of God, you have to remember young brother: Jesus said, “They will hate you because they first hated me.” You have to deliberately close your ears to the chatter of the world around you, because nothing you do will satisfy those in the world.

I can’t begin to imagine what you face daily, because of your celebrity, but I do know that you must resist the urge to give attention to the words of discouragement. I know sometimes that very discouragement might come from “Christians”. But remember that Jesus also told us, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven,”. Some of these folks whispering in your ear and behind your back are false. Rely on the Lord alone for strength, brother.

Biz, it’s perfectly alright to admit you’re tired. You’re human, young brother. You’re life is constantly scrutinized because of your success. But where the line must be drawn is here: you will NOT give up! You will NOT go back! Your sons are counting on you to show them how a true man of God handles life challenges. The fight never stops, homie!

Never stop praying. Never stop reading. Never stop believing. I believe in you, young brother. I’m constantly praying for you and your family. I’m just one of many who are behind you.

Before you turn in for the night, I want you to read 2 Samuel 22:2-4 . God’s got you Bizzle. Never doubt him.

In The Wee Hours

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Darkness, silence and solitude combine like a triangle of contemplation or a pyramid of reflection. Centered in that structure, you find out who you really are, in the wee hours of the morning; that time when no one else is looking.

Sometimes, when I should be sleeping, I find myself facing my fears and delving deep into the chasm of my own heart. I wonder if I really believe in all the things I tell people I believe in. I plead with God to help my unbelief, while simultaneously trying to persuade him that I do believe. I review the hundred times I failed during the previous day, and  compare the failures to the half-dozen or so times that actually honored God with my actions, through my faith. Most times, the comparison isn’t even close. After all, I’m just a man trying to live in a fallen world.

But, I realize facing my failures is bearing my cross and walking it out. And everyday, God hits the reset button. He gives me a fresh portion of grace and mercy; enough to make it through another day.

So, just maybe the wee hours of the night are a good time. They help me to quiet my active mind enough to hear the voice of God and learn from the mistakes made in the past.

Somewhere I Belong

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In my college years, I felt a need to belong somewhere. It seemed like all the cool guys were part of a fraternity of some sort. You had the “Alphas” who seemed to be the distinguished bunch; the “Kappas” were the intelligent pretty boys; the “Sigmas” threw the best parties; and then there were the “Omegas”. Yeah, they were the die-hards, you didn’t mess with. Although I knew someone within each one of these fraternities, I didn’t quite fit in with any one of them. I thought long and hard about pledging myself to the Alpha fraternity, but just when I was about ready, something told me to hold off. That route wasn’t for me.

I know now, that “something” was the Holy Spirit. You see, these days I belong to a brotherhood with eternal bonds. And unlike any fraternity, I willingly pledge myself everyday, by denying my own desires and submitting to the will of the one in charge.

I’ve heard of brothers who have been abandoned by the fraternity they once pledged. But God never abandons his faithful. Deuteronomy 31:8 says, “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

You don’t have to search very far to find out where you belong. Simply Look to God. He’s got a special place within his kingdom planned just for you.

Into the Night

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“Max, you’re drunk.”
No I’m not. I’m just a lil’ bit relaxed is all.
“Mmm…no, you’re officially plastered. Isn’t that the term you kids use today?”
Okay, I have to agree with you. I’m pretty smashed. Must’ve been that last beer what tipped me over the edge.
“How do you feel?”
What kinda stupid question is that? We just agreed I’m hammered. Ain’t cha got no sense?
“Come on. Don’t talk to me that way. You’re smarter than that.”
Whatever, kill joy. Why do you keep following me around, anyway? Don’t you have something else to do besides bother me, while I’m celebrating?
“Oh? What exactly are we celebrating, Max?”
Ha HA! Didn’t you hear? Today I lost my job. It was dumb anyway. Getting’ up at four inna mornin’ and working ‘til only YOU knew when, everyday? No thanks. Construction’s not for me anymore. I got better plans for my life.
“Ah, I see. So we’re celebrating your liberation from the confining conditions of the workforce establishment.”
Hey that was awesome! Let me find a pen so I can *hickup* write that down.
“Max, you haven’t spent any real time with me in quite awhile. I just thought I’d let you know I’m still around. I’m still here for you.”
Yeah? Well thanks, but I think I’ve…*hick*…got everything hell in wand, thank you very much. Feel free to go spread your message around to somebody else. I’m sure you can find a hobo layin’ around somewhere.
 “Come on, don’t act this way. Remember…I know you.”
You don’t know a thing about me, buddy! If you know so much about me, then why’d you put me here? Look at my life! It’s a friggin’ wreck! You know so much about me, then how come you couldn’t give me money all the times I ever needed it? Where were you when my parents kicked me outta the house? Where was your mercy today, when they gave me the pink slip? You don’t know a thing about me!
“I was there, Max. Throughout every trial, and every bad decision you’ve ever made, I’ve been with you. Despite your hatred and disdain for me, I refuse to give up on you. You see, I have high expectations for your life, Max. You can’t see your path yet, but I want you to trust in me. Your life is so precious. I will not leave you to fend alone.”
You don’t get it do you? I don’t believe in you! I never did! That’s why I stopped going to church. You don’t exist!
“And yet, here you stand talking to me. I know your desires, Max. That’s why I follow you. I know what you’re searching for. But you won’t find it at the bottom of that bottle. I want you, but you have to want me.”
I hate you.
“I love you.”
I’m not worth loving. My own parents disowned me. Why should I believe you love me?
“Because I keep my promises. Think about this: right now while you’re celebrating at the top of this bridge, who else is here with you?”
No one. That doesn’t prove anything. If you really want me, and you don’t want me to jump, you gotta prove it. Show me one of your mira…*hick*…mirror…one of your special signs!
“…one of your special signs!” Max yelled into the cool darkness of the clear night sky. He chucked the empty glass bottle and watched it tumble. Moonlight glinted across the glass before he saw the splash 70 feet below. The moment of truth had come.
“Where’s your miracle, God? Your time’s up.”
Max closed his eyes as he prepared to let go of the bridge guardrail. In the distance behind him, the night air carried the sound of a church bell ringing in the 12 o’clock hour. But something else floated on the air; something closer. Max opened his eyes and turned around to find a young boy, no more than five years old, standing before him, sniffling. Max climbed from the guardrail and knelt down before the sobbing boy.
“What are you doing out here, kid?”
“I’m lost. I can’t find my home,” the little boy blubbered.
“How did you get here?”
“I don’t know. I just want my Daddy,” the little boy cried.
Max sighed. Okay God, you win. “Let’s go find your way back home little buddy.”
He took the child’s hand and walked into the night, away from the bridge.