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.

What Comes Out

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If you’ve been a faithful follower, and read any of my work (all five of you), then you know what to expect when I publish something new. I’ll bet you didn’t know I moonlight a secret identity, however. You see, I not only write short stories and random thoughts. I also write song lyrics and produce my own music. In a business flooded with wanna-be entertainers and aspiring artists, I do it for the love of the Lord.

Even though I’ve been singing in the shower for 40+ years, I still can’t sing in front of anyone. It’s like some sort of cursed stigmatism I suffer from. But, if the spirit really moves me, I rely on my own mantra before I step in front of a microphone:

“Don’t be surprised what comes out, when you lend your voice back to the Lord.”

Even if the world hates my voice, I know God loves it when I sing to him and about him. Part of my moonlighting involves loosely maintaining another blog (here on WordPress) entitled, “Bro.E On The Beat“. I say loosely, because I rarely contribute unless I’m sharing written song lyrics or my take on a particular song I like. While writing is my passion, the music is a close hobby. I love to plug in my instruments and program beats and melodies. And when it all comes together to glorify the Lord, it sounds like this:

Did you feel that?! Goose bumps! My sons, my daughter and my pastor came together to lend a hand on this track, and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. When we come together and sing for the Lord, something amazing happens.

Sometimes, all we need to do is sing unto the Lord and he brightens our day. I encourage you to try it friends. Don’t be surprised what comes out, when you lend your voice back to the Lord.

*Shameless plug time*  If you look to your left (on screen), you’ll see a music player labeled, “The Sheep In Wolf’s Clothing”. Click on any of those tracks to hear more of my music. God bless.

The Message Is In The Music

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Earlier this evening, I had a bible study with my 9 year-old son, Isaiah, and my 12 year-old daughter, Jordynn. Somewhere in the middle of the study, the subject of music was raised. My son Isaiah said, “Daddy, honestly I’ve listened to your song, ‘Judgment Day (Revelation)’ and it creeps me out. The music is sweet. It’s the story that’s scary.”

~ PAUSE ~

* SHAMELESS PLUG: If you have no idea of what Isaiah was talking about, look to your left; down a bit, just passed my “about.me” link. You see that music player below? Click on track number 5. If you like it, I sure would appreciate you supporting my music ministry by going to the link and purchasing my digital EP, “The Sheep In Wolf’s Clothing“. I’m spreading the gospel through my music. Thank you friends. *

~ UNPAUSE ~

I responded, “I can dig it, Zeek. It is a scary story to a lot of people, because it describes the vision the Apostle John was given of events yet to come. You have to remember buddy, The book of Revelation is not some fantastic fictional story created to scare people. It’s an account of what John actually saw in the Spirit; an account of things to come in the last days.”

Isaiah thought about that for a moment. Such a thing has to be hard for a kid to comprehend. I turned to Jordynn.

“Honey, that’s not exactly something you would be excited to read about, is it?”

“Not really,” she said. “But, I know I need to know about it because I believe what the bible says.”

“So let me ask you guys this: We’ve read through Revelation before. While listening to the words of the song, did you recognize some of the things we actually read about?”

Jordynn said, “Yeah! I actually found it easier to understand it after listening to your song, daddy. I don’t know; it’s weird how I just kinda learned the words from the song, and it made understanding the book easier.”

“It’s not weird at all. That’s actually how the influence of music works. Do you guys want to know why listening to certain music is dangerous for young minds like yours?”

“Yeah,” Jordynn said.

“Why?” Isaiah asked.

“It’s because you’re lured into the content by the rhythm of the beat and the sounds of the melody and harmony. 8 times out of 10, kids will follow the instrumental portion of a song, before they even understand the message behind the vocals.”

They both looked at each other inquisitively.

“The fact is, a lot of music on pop and R&B stations today glamorizes and glorifies some of society’s worse behavior. Kids your age don’t even realize what they’re talking about when they go around shouting, ‘Let me see you twerk it, girl,’ or ‘Bend over and touch your toes,’ and ‘Ride it ’til the sun comes up’. Jordynn honey, those types of songs are actually degrading to women! The sad part is, kids sing the lyrics as if they are proud to spout them.”

Isaiah asked, “Daddy, what exactly is ‘twerkin’? A lot of kids at school say that.”

“That’s a conversation for when you’re older, son. But believe me when I tell you, it makes women look like harlots. When a man is telling a woman to twerk it, he’s looking at her as an object, not as a virtuous woman. Some of these men have daughters. If a young boy yelled at their daughters to ‘twerk it’ there would be a serious problem.”

“Sometimes, I just listen to songs for the music,” Jordynn said.

“You still have to be careful, honey. The message is always in the music. Watch this for example. I’m gonna give you guys a few famous bars, from my time.”

I took a deep breath, and prepared to sensor myself at the right moments.

“F(bleep) the po-lice, comin’ straight from the underground.

A young N(bleep) got it bad, ’cause I’m brown.

And not the other color so police think,

they have the authority to kill a minority.

F(bleep) that s(bleep), ’cause I ain’t the one,

for a punk motherf(bleep) with a badge and a gun to be beatin’ on,

and thrown in jail, we can go toe to toe in the middle of a cell.

F(bleep) with me ’cause I’m a teenager,

with a little bit of gold and a pager,

searchin’ my car, lookin’ for the product,

thinkin’ every n(bleep) is selling narcotics.”

Jordynn’s mouth hung wide open. Isaiah clasped his hands over his ears and scrunched his nose.

“Who in the world would listen to that stuff?” Jordynn asked.

“Daddy did, faithfully,” I answered.

“What?!” Isaiah yelled. “Daddy! Not cool, man. Not cool.”

“Actually, it was very cool back in my day, because it was rapped over a tight beat and dope music. At least, back then, I thought it was cool. Imagine an entire neighborhood of kids your age, going around shouting, ‘Bleep the po-lice’. That was my generation. And you know what? Today, not only are some of the old guys my age still listening to it and emulating the music’s message, but so are their kids. We now have two generations of people behaving disrespectfully toward good cops, out there risking their lives to protect people. Folks like an old friend of mine, named Officer Johnson; and another good friend, named Officer Parks.”

“Wow. I never really thought about that,” Jordynn said.

“Now watch this.”

I took another deep breath, preparing to spit holy fire at the top of my lungs.

“Christian! I’ve got my faith on high.

Small stature in the world, but I keep my eyes to the sky.

I’ve got the heart of a lion, at 5-7, 153;

Protected by the Lord partna’, ain’t nobody touchin’ me.

Reclaiming everything he’s stolen from us,

The victory’s already won because in God I trust.

You can keep your agitations; forget your frustrations;

raise my hands up the heaven and commence the celebration.

Phony riches in the air they flaunt,

but the Lord is my shepherd and I shall not want.

I’ve got no need to roll with a crew to know I prevail,”

Isaiah chimed in, falling right in place alongside me.

“I stand alone,” we shouted, “I…do…not fail!”

“That’s sweet, Daddy,” my son said.

“Even without music?” I asked.

“Yup, even without music.”

“So let me ask you, how does that verse make you feel inside?” I asked.

“Like I can do anything, because God is with me,” Jordynn said.

“Like a superdude,” Isaiah said.

“That’s the power of the message in the music, guys. We can be tricked into receiving terrible messages that cause us to feel a certain way about people, or we can be encouraged to love others, push harder, run faster, or be better than we were before by the message in positive music. Garbage in, garbage out. Goodness in, goodness out.”

“Daddy, does anybody buy your music?” Isaiah asked.

“Nope. But that’s not really the point, Zeek. My music is for spreading God’s truth. If someone pays me for it, then that’s great. But the real purpose is to share the gospel through nice beats and sweet melodies. If I can get someone hooked onto the beat and have them begin to listen…I mean really listen…to the words I speak, then just maybe someone will begin to think about the truth of the Lord’s word. That’s the whole point of daddy’s music, buddy. That’s the message in my music.”