Foreword by T. D. Jakes
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© 2002 by Jacqueline Jakes.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer, who may quote brief passages in a review.
Unless otherwise noted Scriptures are taken from the HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.
Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.
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Scriptures noted KJV are taken from the King James Version of the Bible.
First eBook Edition: April 2002
Book Design by Charles Sutherland
There would be no Sister Wit without Bishop T. D. Jakes. It was he who asked me to share my testimony with others. From his embryonic idea developed the idea of a book to share with other women—a devotional containing the wisdom of my unique experience and the challenges of this life. Thus Sister Wit was born. Thank you, my precious baby brother—thank you, my stellar Bishop.
Cheryl L. Thomas, had you not stood by with your spirit of excellence, organizing, typing, retyping, and saving this manuscript and simply doing whatever you were asked to do to help me get this book finished, I don't know what I would have done.
Rolf Zettersten, thank you for the incredible insight and direction for this book.
Leslie Peterson, your sharp editor's pencil and your ability to identify with me uniquely made this a pleasurable experience. Thank you for being a delight to work with.
Kelly, your comments and applause helped to strengthen me and to keep me on track and to believe in myself. You are an exceptional daughter!
Marci Russell and Jane Darrisaw, thanks for every time you cheered with me throughout each step of the book publishing process. Thank you for believing in me.
Ernest Jakes Jr., Margaret, Sherry, Sister Mays, Laurena, Brenda, DeLaunda, and all the many people everywhere who prayed for me and cheered me along to completion—thank you from my heart.
Tom Winters, you and Debby are the greatest. Thank you for everything.
THE MAGIC OF WONDER
And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory."
Wonder is music heard in the heart.
Today is no ordinary day. Every day we rise, we have the opportunity to witness the extraordinary. The very atmosphere teems with the presence of God. The sun's warm, golden rays shine into our windows. God claps His hands over this planet and we watch Him paint His love in living color, lavishly splashing radiant beauty onto the skies, abundantly covering the hills, the fields, the flowers and leaves.
Without words, each day we experience the rhythmic throb of life. You and I, the very dust of the earth, watch as heavenly magic visits us with atmospheric drama. We may enjoy the warm luster of a colored rainbow or walk over buried treasures of coal, oil, minerals. Invisible gifts roar past us without our noticing—electricity and sound waves. The force of the wind is a full symphony orchestra in concert. And bubbling, white clouds tower high into the sky while the surprise of a brilliant sunset silently exhibits masterpieces of the universe. All designed to draw our attention away from the details of our day.
Nature cannot hide the awe of God; rather, it has been hired to render the service of revealing those divine gifts strewn throughout the earth and flung under open heavens and freely given for you and me to enjoy. As we lay our heads down to sleep under the black face of the night sky while twinkling, shimmering stars light a path of glory, remember: the brilliance of God's footprints are found everywhere.
Give praise to the Creator!
WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER WOMAN?
Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.
It's easy for us to move through this life oblivious to each other and to the people we encounter day by day. We become so preoccupied with responsibilities, commitments, and relationships that we do not notice the lady next door. The lady in church. The woman at our job.
Whether we know it or not, we are all responsible for one another. The twenty-first century is long on information and short on communication. We can acquire information from almost anyplace and about anything and yet we do not know the state of our neighbor, our church sister, or our female relatives.
How rare and pleasant it is when someone stops by to check to see how our day is going, to inquire about a recent event in our life, or simply to take a moment to show interest in what is happening in our world and allow us a brief interlude of sharing. Cultivating the habit of concerning ourselves with one another is worth the sacrifice and yields a wholesome and luscious harvest of results that nurture our spirit and nourish our soul.
A card in the mail gives hope to someone who needs encouragement. A phone call helps a friend feel cared for or thought about. A word of encouragement brightens a day. In this day when hardly anyone prepares a home-cooked meal, an invitation for an evening of talking, laughing, sharing, and breaking bread together is a delightful and refreshing treat.
Remembering to check on the other woman is just one simple way to make your world a brighter and sweeter place to live.
STAY IN LOVE
Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: "Love your neighbor as yourself."
Love is life and if you miss love, you miss life.
When it comes right down to it, we don't have much choice in the matter. We are told to do everything in love. We are to speak the truth in love. We are to minister in love. We are to give in love. We don't have an option.
Why do the Scriptures tell us over and over that we must abide in love? Because love is the foundation of Christ's kingdom. Jesus didn't beat around the bush on this one. He specifically detailed to us the two greatest commandments that sum up the totality of God's message, both of which deal with love. You couldn't be much clearer than that. He made it clear to his disciples and to us how we are expected to live.
Love is the ruler we use to measure our walk with Christ. No matter the intensity of the anointing, the conviction in the voice, the gleam in the eye, or any other outward sign, the final gauge God uses to determine the quality of our relationship is love. Love must be evident and intrinsically woven throughout every area of our lives. It cannot be pretended. It cannot be done halfway. Love is all or nothing.
Do as Christ commanded. Allow love to permeate you. Allow it to take the shape of the cross in your life—love horizontally toward your neighbor and love vertically toward God.
Put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.
COLOSSIANS 3:10 (KJV)
Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself. There's no need to go to India or somewhere else to find peace. You will find it in your room, your garden, or even your bathroom.
It is so easy for us to find or make excuses for not praising God. However, I recently incorporated a ritual into my life that you might want to try.
All of us know about morning devotions—that time when we deliberately set aside a moment to commune with God and read His Word. But often, because we're late for work or school or have an unexpected chore, we find ourselves passing over the chance to do so. My solution is this: why not praise and commune with God in the morning while doing the things you do every morning? Like taking your shower. Or riding your exercise bike. Or walking the dog. Even while making the coffee! During these times you have the perfect opportunity to praise and thank God for His blessings.
I always lotion my entire body; it is an unbreakable habit. So each morning I take this time to worship. As I moisturize my face, I anoint it to shine with the light of the Lord. Likewise, for my lips to utter His words, for my eyes to see what He would share with me this day, and for my ears to hear His voice. As I lotion my body, I anoint my legs to walk in places of peace and my feet to carry good tidings wherever I go. For my arms to provide healing embraces and for healing virtue to slip through my hands and fingers out to others throughout the day. By the time I am ready to dress I feel I have put on not only the whole armor of God, but the Lord Himself.
Why not make up your own daily spiritual rituals. When you greet the day with your routine, you can experience new life and fellowship with the Lord. And you will notice how differently you feel as you leave your home having connected with Him who is our Life, Light, and Leader.
SPECIAL TO GOD
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
PSALM 139:14 (KJV)
When the Stars threw down their spears, / And watered heaven with their tears, / Did he smile his work to see? / Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
Big cities can be fun. Walk down their huge sidewalks, in the shadow of buildings that tower far into the sky, and you will undoubtedly pass by many people who look different, sound different, and dress differently from yourself. It is wonderful to see others who have the same skin color as you but perhaps not the same language, or who are dissimilar in other ways. Watch their body language and mannerisms. Smell their foods. Listen to their accents, to exotic-sounding words that flow like a bubbling brook on a summer walk through the woods.
Being different is certainly not bad. Being different is unique. It means choice, surprise, and infinite variety. It means the chance to experience differences in a positive way and to learn new things. It means you can be sure there is no one in the world exactly like you—you are unique and special!
Never copy anyone else's style. Show us who you are. We wonder who would show through if you didn't try to mimic the woman on that TV show or the lady in your church or your coworker. It's fine to appreciate others and to try and incorporate their qualities into your own self. But that is not an excuse to try and be someone you are not and were never meant to be. Being you is something only you can do. You are unlike any other creation God has made. You have been set apart. You have a mark of distinction.
Each of us displays the genius of God. Let our differences be a reminder that we are custom-designed masterpieces.
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus.
Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.
Our great country, the melting pot of the universe, is made up of so many beautiful races and colors and ethnic backgrounds. Diversity is wonderful. Here, you and I have the opportunity to become connoisseurs of others' cultures—to learn to appreciate the assorted elements of our rainbow society. It is an exciting blessing.
I realize that some people believe in separatism and lament the influx of so many cultures into our society. However, the Scriptures teach us to love one another. And in order for us to love one another, we must seek to understand, appreciate, and sometimes emulate each other.
Dwelling in unity does not mean dwelling with only those that look or dress like you or that eat the same cuisine. Dwelling in unity means to abide with people of contrasting looks, varied languages, and diverse customs. Adopt into your own life those things from various cultures that fascinate you. Go see foreign movies that depict life from other parts of the world. Go out to new restaurants and sample foods that have come to us from the other side of the globe. Do you like a particular style or type of clothing from another culture? Go out and buy it! It is a privilege to be able to adopt into our lifestyles customs and physical representations from others that titillate our fancy or strike our interest.
Just because other human beings are different from you doesn't mean they're wrong. Pray to the Father for the spirit of unity. His love will bind us together and make us one.
Too much similarity is boring!
PEOPLE OF THE PAST
Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord.
How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.
GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER
Iwish I had known that I stood in the presence of greatness, but I was a child and did not know. And now I have only soft and hazy memories of my great-grandmother—a slave. Yes, I am a descendant of slaves. I saw my grandmother, touched her, and kissed her rough, dark cheek. But my fear of her past, regardless of her quiet demeanor as she sat in her rocking chair in her meticulously clean home, frightened me, and so I did not speak much with her. A slave—a real-life slave. How strange that seemed to my young mind.
Today, I am so proud of my great-grandmother. How much I wish I had been aware enough then to know what I know today and to tell her so. Instead, on the day I am now remembering, I obeyed my parents and went outside to our car—driven hundreds of miles to her home for our summer vacation—got my little saxophone out of its case, and began to play for her. The music was the only communion between us.
What great people are around you today? Are you aware of the elderly—those people who struggled through the Depression, who lived through the wars, who survived the Holocaust? Are they in your midst? If so, rise and show respect, and inquire of them. Learn from them. They have so much wisdom to impart to you, so much advice, so many stories to tell. Would you not want your own descendants to benefit from your own wisdom when you grow old?
It is so important to give our attention to our elders. They have much to share with us that we need to know.
MAGIC IN THE AIR
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
I will never understand all the good that a simple smile can accomplish.
Before you can be the recipient of a gift, or anything, you must open your hand, your mind, your heart. You'll notice I didn't say mouth. But there is a way to do all the above without saying even a word. The simplest way to bestow a blessing, shed light, and dispense joy each and every day is . . . to smile.
When you gift someone with a smile you deliver silent, warm sunshine into their life. Without a word, you have let them know you esteem them; you have affirmed their existence and encouraged them. The simplest way to unlock someone is by smiling at them. And smiles are like yawns—they're contagious. The person you smiled at will in turn smile at someone else. And they'll smile at someone else. And pretty soon everyone around you will be smiling.
Many, many years ago, I sat in my car stuck in miles of traffic in downtown Washington, D.C. As we inched along I happened to glance over to another lane, just in time to receive one of the sweetest smiles that I can remember. I'll never know who that person was, and she will never know how much she impacted my day and my life. Years later, she is still able to bring a smile to my own face.
Smiles are the fragrance of a breeze rinsed in rose petals. They can brighten a day, lighten a load, distract gloom, and renew hope.
Find someone to smile at. Anyone. Every day. Just smile.
SISTER TO BROTHER, SISTER TO SISTER
Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
EXODUS 20:12 (KJV)
Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold.
Perhaps you are fortunate enough to have a sibling who shares your heritage, history, DNA, values, and beliefs. It is a treasure to have those people in your life to whom you are emotionally connected without even having to work at it.
It was this sort of connection that helped me understand what my baby brother was feeling as he put my oldest brother and me, along with Momma and a nurse, onto a Lear jet one sunny summer day. We were headed to yet another hospital so Momma could have tests run (that would later result in two surgeries). The pained look on my brother's face as we boarded the tiny plane said it all. He was watching his entire history, the people who shared his past, and the mother he treasured leave him. It was a hard thing to do.
Such is the bond between siblings. And such should be the bond among the children of God. We are all of the same blood— the blood of Christ—and we should treat each other accordingly.
While we walk out our days on this earth, you and I have the opportunity to be a blessing to one another. As members of the family of God, we have the same Father, and He expects us to bind together—to be supportive and loyal to one another. There is a wonderful diversity of brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. It is a privilege to be a part of such an incredibly large and divine unit. What a joy to share our blessings, our gifts, our love, our knowledge, and our strength and courage with one another. We are bound together, speaking the same language. We understand our roots, our creation, and we have an expectation of the same glorious future.
Our culture is rich because we know Jesus, our elder brother, is the answer to every question and our kingdom operates by His love. What a sweet relief and comfort to be part of this eternal empire.
YOU HAVE MAIL!
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
PSALM 19:1 (KJV)
All I have seen teaches me to trust the creator for all I have not seen.
RALPH WALDO EMERSON
Don't you love going to the mailbox—physical or e-mail—and finding a letter from a dear friend? Opening up a note and seeing who has corresponded with us makes us feel good and lets us know someone cares about us. It brightens our day. It adds oomph to our step and a glint to our eye.
But what about letters from God? What of the missives He sends us through nature? The gleaming dawn of a new day . . . The delicious scent of blossoms in the air . . . The quiet trilling of a nightingale . . .
- On Sale
- Sep 3, 2007
- Page Count
- 272 pages