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“Oh Lord, Why Me?”

Lou Coleman

Lou Coleman

By Lou Coleman

Why did you let this happen? Why did you let that happen? Why Lord, why? I tell you we are always quick to ask, “Why Lord?” ”Why Me?” when it seems like things is going bad and we need someone to blame. Well I want you to know that playing the blame game with God is always going to be a losing proposition. I tell you many of us blame God for everything! I wonder though, do we ever think about the flip side to that coin! Why don’t we look around for someone to blame when things are going good? I’ll tell you why… because when things are going good, were always the one to blame, or take the credit. I did it! It was me…! Hello! But what I want you to know is that the accuser, Satan is the one who is guilty of condemnation, that’s all he does and yet he usually gets blamed for nothing. You should be mad as Hell with Satan; because he is the one behind most of the problems you are having; Most of the fear, worry, doubt, guilt, in your life. I tell you some of us come to church Sunday after Sunday acting like all hope is lost. We behave like Israelites living in a strange land. We exhibit the same defeated spirit as the children of Israel when we declare: “Praise the Lord, O my soul”… as long as everything is going well for me and…, “The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want”… as long as I have money in the bank…. Not to mention, I’m like a tree planted by living water”… when I have a good job and a loving mate… Oh, but when the storm winds blow against us and our money is in short supply, we quickly get a case of spiritual amnesia. We don’t want to hear the fact that the rain falls on the just as well as the unjust [Matt. 5:45]. We feel as if life has dealt us a bad hand and our lips utter the agonizing refrain, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” [Matt. 27:46].

What you need to remember is that the hand of the Lord is always upon you to guide, strengthen and protect you [Ezekiel chapter 37]. The text goes on to say that the Lord’s Spirit deliberately set Ezekiel in the midst of a valley full of bones. Ezekiel was not in that horrid valley because he wanted to be. Rather, God placed him to that desolate place for a reason. Once, Ezekiel stood in the valley, the Lord asked him a penetrating question, “Son of man, can these dry bones live?” (v.3). In other words, God challenged Ezekiel to assess the situation and determine if anything could be done to improve it. Ezekiel studied the ground full of bones; no blood to sustain life; no muscle to enable movement; no vital organs; no attached limbs; no flesh to cover the body; nothing to indicate that life existed. “But the question asked of Ezekiel was, can these bones live?” How would you have answered the Lord’s question about the revitalization of dry bones? Ezekiel’s response to God’s question demonstrated his faith and wisdom. He answered, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord. So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army. Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones is the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘this is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.” ….. I tell you, you need to start prophesying to the situations and circumstances in your life and stop blaming God for everything bad. Start declaring and decrees what thus saith the Lord. Amen. It is finished! [Isaiah 55:8, 9] [James 1:2].


The Smithsonian’s African American Museum is a “Living” Testament

By Eric Easter, Urban News Service

The just-opened National Museum of African American History and Culture is a work-in-progress — in every way. Surprisingly, this is its best asset.

In one way, that description is literal. On Media Day, less than 10 days before its grand opening, the museum’s grounds still were littered with the cigarette butts, snack bags and other leftovers from the hundreds of construction workers who put the final touches on the building.

museumInside, journalists scoured the space for stories to tell. They navigated around carts that carried pieces of exhibits yet to be nailed in and observed priceless objects amid handwritten signs whose installation instructions read “too tall” and “put nothing on top.”

Yet even with the museum finally open for business, it remains incomplete — by design. Six hundred years of African American history — and the culture that grew from centuries of struggle, pain and triumph — is too sweeping an epic to contain on a few floors. The only way to do so is to consider the museum not a permanent collection of  artifacts, but a living space that will evolve, shift, re-focus and re-invent itself — just  like the community it seeks to reflect.

The extraordinary effort to fund and build the new museum has overshadowed the even harder work performed by the museum’s curators. They gathered and edited the more-than-37,000-item collection into a coherent narrative.

The decision to start the museum’s story in pre-colonial, 15th-Century Africa involved an “intense” process, said Mary Elliott, curator of the museum’s history section. She consulted noted scholars including Ira Berlin, Eric Foner and Annette Gordon Reed to help set the necessary context for the full museum. But Elliott soon realized that a full reading of that time would be “too dense” for the average museum-goer.

“We needed to start with the reality of a free Africa and its position as a center of trade,” said Elliott. “But we wanted to go much deeper into the stories of the Italian role in financing the slave trade, as well as a more in-depth look at conditions in Europe that set the stage. But that’s a lot to ingest for the average museum-goer.”

The need to add some things and delete others at times was “heartbreaking.”

Those decisions, no doubt, will cause some to quibble about the tone, length or depth of some exhibits. And some criticisms will be fair. The displays on Reconstruction and the role of blacks in the military seem especially short given the importance of those themes.

But those arguments don’t account for the realities of a museum audience raised on Twitter, Wikipedia and TV on-demand. The tourist who tries to squeeze in all of Washington’s 17 Smithsonian museums in a few days will lack the capacity to absorb generations of pain and progress in one fell swoop. Return visits will be a must.

Still, those who want to go deeper will get that opportunity. The museum offers a full-time staff genealogist to help families discover their roots. Scholars can enjoy the museum’s research rooms. Public programming and temporary exhibits will let curators breathe more life into subject matter and explore contemporary themes and issues via multimedia and assorted technologies.

As a full body of work, the museum is a treasure. Its existence tells a story and stands as a tribute to a culture that has triumphed amid adversity. The displays simply accentuate that idea through stories that are tragic, critical, objective and, ultimately, celebratory. It is a museum about American possibility, as told through the story of a people whose American-ness too often has been denied and questioned. This museum should end such doubts.

What visitors will experience is best exemplified in a moment that occurred during one of many pre-opening receptions.

Speaking at an event hosted by Google, former Rep. Susan Molinari (R – New York), who is white, shared her experience at the museum. She fought through tears as she recalled one section that particularly resonated with her. The mostly black audience reacted politely. Many of them later said that, because of their own families’ legacies, they might have reacted differently to the same moment.

That may be what happens to everyone who passes through the museum’s doors. What one sees and experiences will be very different — depending on the history, knowledge and perspective that one carries through the entrance. That, in the end, is the true power of the place.

Riverside Line Pedley Station to Change Name to Jurupa Valley/Pedley Station

RIVERSIDE, CA- Effective October 3, Metrolink’s Pedley station on the Riverside Line will be renamed to the Jurupa Valley/Pedley station.          

The station’s name is being updated to reflect the city’s incorporation as Jurupa Valley.

When the Pedley station was created in 1993, it was located in an unincorporated area of Riverside County. In 2011, this 44-square mile region was incorporated as the City of Jurupa Valley, which encompasses the Metrolink Pedley station.

Due to the renaming of the station, ticket vending machines will require passengers to select “J” for Jurupa Valley/Pedley instead of “P” for fare media to and from the station formerly known as Pedley. 

Pedley station information seen in the Metrolink timetable, station signage, online, and other sources will be listed as Jurupa Valley/Pedley information as of October 3.