It’s a feeling we all know so well. When we were kids, we all looked forward to it, with great anticipation. There is a song that declares Christmas to be the most wonderful time of the year, but there’s another time, playing a very close second: SUMMERTIME! It’s a time that we all wish we could have again. (more…)

The entire world paused to honor Muhammad Ali, this weekend, after his passing. He was undoubtedly one of THE most single influential athlete ever, and quite possibly one of the most iconic figures, in 20th century history. He was a person of such high honor, and wide-spread appeal, that everyone had something kind to say about the G.O.A.T. However, journalist, Nick Wright, made a very interesting (and in my opinion, extremely accurate) observation. He said, “If there was a 25-yr old Muhammad Ali today, (people) would hate him.”  (more…)

Say what you want about Beyonce’s new song, “Formation”, but in it she embodies a character trait most of us, in the Western world, lack: work ethic. Unfortunately, we live in a culture that celebrates and wonders at the spoils of success, rather than a work ethic and sense of purpose that gets one there. “I see it, I want it, I stunt, yellow-bone it, I dream it, I work hard, I grind ’til I own it.”  Insteas we have become spoiled by the spoils, causing us to want the stuff devoid of any work to get it. (more…)

Hardly ever do I directly reference the song or artist for my “Throwback Thursday” post, but this one is worth breaking my own protocols. I’ll never forget the first time I ever heard this song. I was in Memphis, Tennessee, for the International Church of God in Christ Convocation, sitting in the midnight musical, at the Cook Convention Center. I like the rest of the crowd was hyped about the appearances of Gospel greats, John P. Kee, Donnie McClurkin, and Fred Hammond, when the announcers took the stage to introduce this new group out of California. They said the name “Mary Mary,” my ears perked up.

I recognized the name, because they were featured on the “Prince of Egypt Inspirational Soundtrack”, a CD I had literally worn out the year before. I said to myself that I would finally get to see what these ladies looked like (predating the instant access of mobile Facebook and Instagram). But the person who took the stage was a bit out-of-place. I saw a big Latino looking dude, with a flannel shirt (yes, only buttoned at the top button), jeans, Chuck Taylors, and a pair of “locs”. Not only that, but he also had long dark hair, plated down like a real “OG”. He was out-of-place, because he was among “the saints”, dressed in full suits, and sequined hats. It took a few seconds for me to even notice the guitar hanging low from around his shoulders. The next thing I know he strums down the full neck of his ax, playing a funky distorted riff, that of course we all recognize today as “Shackles.” And I was like “WHOA!”

This song was bangin’, this sound was amazing and like nothing I had ever heard before. I sat in awe listening to this outstanding musical presentation, only to realize that I was one of the few, out of the thousands in the auditorium that was actually feeling it. I looked around, and most of the people weren’t even paying any attention to the stage, let alone the sound coming from it. There were only a few people, here and there, standing, clapping and moving to the grove.

Looking back at this moment, I see the irony. The audience wasn’t receptive to the song at all, simply because they had not heard it before; bound by what was popular, and known. If that same song were played today, before the same group of people, the house would be jumpin’! Mary Mary left that mediocre response of that audience, to go on and become one of the biggest acts in gospel music history.

Here’s the lesson:

Don’t allow the response of others shackle you to their opinions. Sometimes, we present ourselves to the wrong crowd, who, if given enough time, will ultimately come around to see how great you actually are. When you bound yourself to people’s opinions, you are hindered from fully walking in your God-given greatness. Free yourself from the limits of the crowd.

Jesus, when he went to his hometown of Capernaum, to preach and do miracles, His effectiveness was limited because the people had opinions. “Isn’t this a carpenter,” they asked in Mark 6:3. They also allude to knowing His family, of which they probably had many whispers; all to the point that “He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. (v.5, New International Version)” Jesus ultimately leaves there, “amazed at their lack of faith. (v. 6 NIV).”

If Jesus could shake the dust from His feet, and break the chains of public opinion over His life, it’s time you do too! Their limited view of you can only restrict your trajectory, if YOU let it. So take the shackles off your feet and walk in your greatness.

© 2016 Derek J. Murphy Enterprises, and I AM KINGDOM Publishing, All Rights Reserved

If you enjoyed this article, please feel free to share it with your family, friends and social media to help spread this encouragement. Thank you for reading!

“Shackles (Praise You)” was written by Erica Atkins, Tina Atkins and Warren Campbell. Produced by Warren Campbell. Performed by Mary Mary. Released 1999.

I live in the piney woods of east Texas. It has been said, if you don’t like east Texas weather, wait a minute. That’s because, we have been known to have all the weather in one day. You can wake up to frost on the ground, needing a coat, and in just a matter of a couple of hours, be drenched with sweat wishing you had worn shorts. This is the time of year when it is the worst, and it’s all because we are between seasons. (more…)

 

Mavericks, Hellfires, and TOW missiles in 1991. Cruise missiles in 1993.  Tomahawks in 1998. The Fall of Baghdad in 2003. In my lifetime, I have been able to watch the bombs fall over Baghdad, almost live. My original interest in the conflict with Iraq stemmed from the fact that my brother was sent Saudi Arabia for the first Gulf war. I can remember being glued to the screen and watching the little green dots fall to their exploding end. These weren’t just big blanket bombs dropped over the city, these were strategic, target focused missiles; designed to lock their “sights” and destroy their intended object. (more…)

Memories. We all have them. There are some that are etched into my brain, and I feel like I will never forget them. For example, I will never forget the morning my big brother’s car caught on fire. I was sitting in the passenger’s seat, ironically frozen in fear while the car was running to defrost. When I saw the flames, I didn’t know what to do, except panic and scream. I was only 7 years old. That’s a memory I will never forget. (more…)

I’m a Texan, through and through. Born here, raised here and still here; raising my kids here. I love BBQ brisket,  down home chili, and jalapeno peppers aren’t even hot to me. I know why there are six flags, and it’s not because it’s a cute name for an amusement part. I like pick up trucks and country livin’. But one thing I am not, is a Dallas Cowboys Fan. My team is the Philadelphia Eagles, and unfortunately this has been a challenging year. It’s hard enough that I’m a rival fan in Cowboys country, but my team isn’t doing so well this year. I have to hear it all the time from loyal silver and blue fans, that my team has no rings and they suck. And this particular season they’re right. (more…)

I am overjoyed to announce the release of my very first E-Book, “Christmas From My Point of View”! While the Christmas story renews hope and joy to millions around the world, this book puts you in the shoes of those that actually lived through it: Mary, Joseph, the Angels, and the Shepherds. This is a fairly quick and easy read to give you some positive encouragement during this Christmas season.

Here is the best part …. (more…)

Take a stroll down, memory lane. The year is 1995. What were your biggest concerns; your greatest fears? Who were you in love with? What did you dream about? 20 years makes a world of difference. It has been popularly noted, that your bodies cells replace themselves every 7-10 years. While this may or may not be true, we can all agree that over the years, people change. (more…)