Working to Be Heavenly Minded & Earthly Good…

By Larrell L. Wilkinson

Photo by Ric Rodrigues on Pexels.com

Many have heard the Bible verse, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33, NIV). So being real for a moment, many of us do become distracted and/or challenged in the action of first seeking His kingdom and righteousness. We are challenged in making Him the priority over things of the world. So often our troubles in and of the world take precedent in our daily lives. Whether personal or social, a person may wake up thinking about their troubles or literally “yell angry expressions through typing” on Twitter to express their opinion about a particular topic that irks them. Let’s not forget our instinctive reaction to people who cut us off on the freeway! These first thoughts, instinctive reactions and/or expressions on social media may occur before we have once prayed to God about the problem or meditated on the “trouble” given God’s instruction to us from His Word.

Let me be clear, there are many serious trials and tribulations that we may encounter in life. For James wrote, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4, NIV). Consider it “pure joy…”, REALLY? It tough dealing with challenges like hate through racism. Lord, I really rather not have to deal with the stresses of racism or concern myself with how racism may impact my children. And what about other hardships? What if a couple is going through a rough patch in their marriage; a person is battling with serious illness; and/or coping with other inequities within society…I mean who really desires to be faced with these other difficult life circumstances.

Still, I want to encourage us to press into God (& His kingdom) more! Practicing patience, finding joy in hope, and being consistent in prayer (Romans 12:12) may help us to resolve our personal troubles. The book of Isaiah suggest that we do right; seek (require or demand) justice; defend the oppressed; take up the cause of the fatherless; and plead the case of the widow (Isaiah 1:17) within society. This is how we can work to address some major issues impacting our local communities. For the last part of Matthew 6:33 says, “…and all these things will be given to you as well.” Thus, God is telling us that racial reconciliation, health and recovery, a flourishing society, a better marriage, overcoming our personal challenges…can occur when we seek His kingdom and His righteousness.

No one is saying it will be easy, at least I’m not. As a matter of fact, or my opinion, I believe it may be extremely difficult to address challenging areas in our personal lives and socially. Plus, we must consider God’s timing and that His ideas may be different than our expectations. Still, working to seek God and His kingdom FIRST, is our FIRST step to addressing problems in our lives. Second, I believe it is important to change our own attitudes positively about the challenges that we experience. This is why James says, “consider it pure joy” and I am sharing with you that I am a “work in progress.” To help me, I am intentional about keeping positive and healthy family/friends/mentors around me from whom I can seek good advice and social-emotional-mental-physical-financial support. A church can be helpful in this endeavor as well. Finally, I also work to accomplish small tasks around me, challenging myself to take on bigger issues as I build momentum (confidence) with smaller successes.

So what about you? How do you address challenges in your life? What concerns can PHAME-US Life help to encourage you through from the “test” to the “testimony” for others to see? Feel free to share in the comments section or join us on social media. May God Bless You and Yours.

This Little Light of Mine, I’m Going to Let it Shine: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2021

I can remember hot Sundays and weekdays sitting in the pews of hot Mississippi churches listening to my grandmothers sing:

“This little light of mine,

I’m gonna let it shine, (Ohhh!)

I’m gonna let it shine

This little light of mine

I’m gonna let it shine

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine…”

If you have never heard a deep, southern gospel group of adults or even children sing this song, well, run to YouTube quickly and find some videos or download the music at Apple, Amazon, Google, etc. The song can be an uplift, whenever you need it most. I can still hear both of my grandmother’s voices in my inner ear, singing this song among the other church choir members. At one of my home churches in Mississippi, I can hear the choir singing under the direction of my aunt playing the piano and keying up the verses. I am telling you; the church was hot with the bright sun beams coming down on both of my family churches (in different parts of the State of Mississippi), but the song was “SANG” the same. I can still hear the passion in the voices of the choir, most of them older women: mothers, grandmothers, aunties, cousins, sisters, family…instructing us in the audience to let our light shine.

Most of the church was much older than me. My grandparents’ generation lived through World War II, Jim Crow Laws of the South, and the Civil Rights struggle and gains of the 20th Century. They combatted the ugliness of racism: burned down African American owned stores, fire bombed churches, challenges to perform the guaranteed civic duty of voting, discrimination, and racial bias in the Armed Services while fighting for the United States of America, inability to get farm loans, etc. because of the color of their skin. But through it all, they “let their light shine.” By law, it was determined that they would live as second-class citizens in the South, segregated as “separate and unequal” and through it all they “let their light shine.”

It didn’t matter if you were an older adult, adult, teenager, or child…in the church, listeners were told:

“Everywhere I go

I’m gonna let it shine

Everywhere I go

I’m gonna let it shine

Everywhere I go

I’m gonna let it shine

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.”

And why? Why did (do) we have to shine the light? It is true that the Bible reads, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16, NIV). But I tell you more practically, my grandmothers and the leaders of their generation were singing more practically. They were teaching and encouraging, saying to combat White Citizen’s Council policies, redlining, Jim Crow Laws, lynching, unlawful arrests, racial profiling, and other violations of African Americans (& People of Color) civil rights, we must let our light shine. They did GOOD when faced with EVIL, demonstrated LOVE when given HATE, and offered FORGIVENESS (not forgetfulness) when presented MEANNESS, OPPRESSION, and OFFENSE. The choir knew what the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” Let’s choose to love today and every day, loving our neighbor (others) as we do ourselves (Mark 12:31, NIV). Love to all of you and thank you for your leadership Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. May we continue to let our light shine!

A Note of Love to My Wife Khalia: Thank You Sweetheart

My dearest Khalia,

Thank you for your love.

Thank you for being patient with me. Sometimes my ways are not your ways and your ways are not mine, but you choose to love me through the tension.

Thank you for being kind to me. I realize there are times I am unpleasant to be around, but you choose to love me with your gentleness.

Thank you for being generous with me. I realize there are times between us that inspire resentment, but you choose to pursue goodwill in our relationship.

Thank you for diminishing my faults, remaining down-to-earth, and being civil and polite. I realize there are times I come off rude or high-and-mighty, but you choose to not be irritable with me and forgive my wrongs.

Thank you for being fair with me. I realize there are times where your sacrifice or compromise is not celebrated, but you choose to exercise truth in a respectful manner.

Thank you for not giving up on me, not losing faith in me, remaining hopeful with me, and enduring life’s circumstances with me! Thank you for being a loving wife to me!

Your Husband,

Larrell L. Wilkinson

A Prayer for Our Country on January 6, 2021

Father God,

As we watch the turmoil in Washington, D.C. right now, we turn to you and pray for our nation. We pray for peace, calm, & demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ. We pray for the safety of the Capitol Police protecting Congress; the safety of Senators and Representatives; and the safety of peaceful protestors. We pray protection from those who divide, sow discord, & perform acts of violence. We pray the leaders of our government, leaders of the United States of America do the serious work to form a more perfect Union…working toward Justice, Tranquility, the Common Defense, promoting the general Welfare, and continuing to secure the Blessings of Liberty for ourselves and Posterity. Amen. #capitolhill#democracy#StrongerTogether

Reflecting on 2020: The @Home Haircut while in Quarantine


No doubt, 2020 was a hard year! There were many tragic circumstances (I won’t list them in this lighthearted post) that transpired through the year. Life changed for many of us. As I type this reflection, it is hard for me to remain cheerful because the year was filled with many challenges for the nation, there were many struggles in local communities, and many hardships for individuals close to me (myself included). Still, in this posting, I will choose to reflect on a lighter side of life. So here it goes, among the many reflections I have about 2020, at least one of those is the Quarantine Haircut. Now, it may not be what you think…I don’t have a horror story. I am bald, so I am good! And, I know that we are to “not worry…about your body, what you will wear…is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” (Matthew 6:25, NIV). So, we shouldn’t worry about haircuts? Right? Well, I do want my son to look good, but…$15 – $20 per haircut. I mean real talk; he is 3 years old. He doesn’t like to sit still and sometimes he cries when I cut his hair, especially when he was younger. Plus, that is low end $180 to high end $480 a year. We’re on a budget, so yes, I have and will continue to cut his hair (at least in the short term)!

The reason why I can appreciate 2020 is because so many other parents did the same thing. Many parents (& adults) got their haircut at home, imperfections or haircut fails and all! I won’t comment about the stress that the women in my family experienced. That is another post for another day…or never! For me, I didn’t feel that fatherly guilt knowing my son didn’t have the “tightest fade” or the coolest new design! Everybody did what they had to do, and the world kept on spinning! So, parents, are you going back to taking your son to the barbershop? Or, are you pocketing the haircut money and putting the money away in savings account, using the money to invest, or placing the money for your vacation fund?

At least for the time being, there will be no strong tape ups (fades) for my son [although I will start to practice] and sometimes his hair line is a little crooked (I know, but it grows out). But there is also, no 20 – 30-minute drive to the “shop” and then another 20 – 30 minutes back home; no appointments or wait times for the “chair” (the wait can be so long); and we continue to place the cost savings into other budget areas for the family. Plus, we still aren’t going much of anywhere…anyways! And although we aren’t supposed to worry about how we look so much , my son is still very handsome!

Working to Reduce Our Racial Biases in 2021


But the Lord said to Samuel, “…The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7, NIV).” A recent incident going viral through social media portrays a European American woman accusing an African American teenager of being in possession of her iPhone in a hotel lobby. The story has gone viral due to the unfortunate escalation of this situation, eventually involving the Arlo Hotel staff and local police. According to video posted online, the European American woman works to tackle the young man who she believes is in possession of her phone. Soon after this ill-fated incident, an Uber driver return the woman’s iPhone to her at the hotel.

Certainly, an apology is in order and it is likely that civil and probably even criminal charges will be pursued. Although there are many sides to a story and more will come to light related to this situation; many African Americans specifically, and “people of color” generally are physically weary, emotionally drained, and socially tired of living with and pushing through these circumstances caused by bias. All kinds of biases exist regarding sex, age, race/ethnicity, socio-economic status, disability, sexual orientation, height, etc. Focusing on race, this unnecessary circumstance experienced by this young man due to his African American ethnicity (there are millions of iPhones made and distributed annually and he has one) is the result of a woman acting on her biases (how many other iPhones might there have been in the hotel lobby).

After a year like 2020, let’s work to be kinder to one another. Let’s work to be intentional in reducing our racial biases. We can all become aware of racial biases (implicit or otherwise) that we may have. If you are a parent, and if you can imagine a stranger accosting your child, then we can all be concerned about the consequences of acting on our biases without just cause. Even if you are not a parent, you have family, friends, and others in your network that can be made to experience unfortunate moments, penalized for no other reason than due to their race/ethnicity. But most importantly, I encourage all of us to work to substitute our biased reactions to racial situations with non-biased reactions related to our Christian values. Let us work to identify people as God would, looking at the heart! Even if we believe that someone has our phone, I am sure that there are dozens of different ways that this circumstance could have ended better.

Fatherhood: Black Men are Challenging Negative “Daddy” Stereotypes

Watching TV, the other morning, I came across an interview of leaders of “The Dad Gang.” According to their website, thedadgang.com, the mission of the Dad Gang initiative is partly to “shatter myths and celebrate black fatherhood everyday.” Started by Sean Williams in November 2016, The Dad Gang started as an Instagram page focused exclusively on reflecting positive images of active black dads. In learning more about this organization, I am reminded a little about what active dads do. Deuteronomy 11:19-21 (NLT) instructs leaders of their households (men) to “Teach them (decrees from God) to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, so that as long as the sky remains above the earth, you and your children may flourish in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors.”

Active dads are leaders of their children. Active dads are ministers to their children. Active dads are protectors of their children. Active dads are providers to their children. Active dads are teachers to their children. Active dads have fun with their children. Active dads are involved with their children. Active dads train their children (in the way they should go) [Proverbs 22:6]. Active dads develop the character and talent of their children. Active dads serve their children. Active dads love their children. I appreciate the men of The Dad Gang Initiative and encourage US to work to promote a positive and healthier fatherhood for all to see and witness. Let’s do it, together!

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Reflection on the Killing of Mr. Ahmaud Arbery

I walk/jog/run most days of the week. I walk/jog/run for my health & well-being. I encourage other men who look like me to walk/jog/run for their health & well-being. I encourage ALL people to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” & “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30-31, NIV).

I cannot explain the tragic circumstances of #AhmaudArbery. My hope is WE can ALL work towards LOVING our God and LOVING our fellow MAN. Perhaps when we treat each other the way we would want to be treated, then these tragic events will decrease and end. Heavenly Father, I pray for peace, love, strength, encouragement and comfort for the family of Ahmaud Arbery. I pray the same for all the many families who have lost loved ones due to violence. God, grant us the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Lord, please embolden men and women in solidarity with each other, in You, to champion the causes of the just, the good, the defenseless, and those experiencing unfortunate circumstances. May we speak up and judge righteously. Amen.

Reflection on the Killing of Mr. George Floyd

To all my Brothers | Sisters | Those I Have Yet to Meet: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’…’Love others as WELL as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them” [Matthew 22: 37-40, MSG].

No matter one’s skin color or social standing, I encourage ALL to at least value the lives of others while working toward loving others. If you find it challenging to value the life of another and/or LOVE others, then my prayer is that you will open your heart to God and allow Him to “transform your heart & mind.” Let us work to not believe all the negative stereotypes about people we don’t know. Instead let us challenge our thinking, be intentional about overcoming biases, and work to do “life” with one another. In the process, we will learn to love one another. Strength, Encouragement, & Comfort to the family of Mr. George Floyd. #georgefloyd #racisimisasin

Appreciation for the New Dove Commercial: Showing many types of Women

Shout out to Dove, the soap brand, for one of the latest additions to its commercial campaign. This moment of praise is not to endorse the Dove soap product. Instead, we want to encourage Dove, a product of Unilever, to continue airing commercials that include diverse women, embrace women of all different body types, and beautifully depicts the stories of women. Their advertisement “Our Skin Tells a Story” shows an array of women, allowing them to depict their story, positively! The ad was placed on the Dove US YouTube channel on February 20, 2020.


Although companies have missteps in advertisement time-to-time, we at PHAME-US Life & Style see it as our mission to support advancement of what is positive and healthy, while encouraging uplift and solidarity. Thank you Dove, keep up the good work!