Pastor E.A. Deckard
by Pastor E. A. Deckard
Special to the NNPA from the Houston Forward Times

“When things go wrong as they sometimes will; When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill;
When the funds are low, and the debts are high And you want to smile, but have to sigh;
When care is pressing you down a bit- Rest if you must, but do not quit.
Success is failure turned inside out; The silver tint of the clouds of doubt;
And you can never tell how close you are It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit- It’s when things go wrong that you must not quit.”

– “Don’t Quit,” Author Unknown

Forward Thinkers, today I will encourage you with the conclusion of my latest sermon series at the Green House International Church entitled “Sudden Shift”. Forward Thinkers, I closed out the Sudden Shift series with three sudden shift stories. Two of the stories came from the bible and one of the stories came from the pages of American history.

Forward Thinkers you’ve often heard me declare, “it’s not where you start but it’s where you finish” that matters the most. Forward Thinkers, one of my favorite poets Maya Angelou stated it best, “I wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now”.

Forward Thinkers, at the age of eight years old, Maya Angelou was raped by her mother’s boyfriend and somehow he spent only one day in jail. Forward Thinkers, four days after his release he was killed, supposedly he was killed by Maya Angelou uncles. Over the next five years she lost her ability to speak, thinking her voice had caused a man to be murdered.

Forward Thinkers, I believe this demonstrates the power of a thought. The bible says so as a man thinks so is he. Forward Thinkers, we must be very careful what we allow ourselves to think because our thoughts will ultimately frame our world.

Forward Thinkers, during the time of Maya Angelou’s silence she fell in love with literature and daily read Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare, and Edgar Allan Poe. Forward Thinkers, this reminds me of a previous article in Forward Thinking entitled “From Pain To Purpose”. Maya Angelou is another example of how God can use our pain to reveal to us our purpose. Mark Twain said it best when he declared, “the two most important dates of a person’s life are the day he was born and the day he discovered why he was born”.

1 Samuel 25:3 The man’s name was Nabal and his wife’s name was Abigail. The woman was intelligent and beautiful, while the man was harsh and wicked in his dealings.

Forward Thinkers, Abigail is described as being intelligent, beautiful, and a woman of good understanding but her husband Nabal was described as being mean, harsh, foolish, and evil.

Forward Thinkers, Abigail is connected to a dysfunctional situation. I wonder how many reading this article today can relate to Abigail being connected to a dysfunctional situation? Many are connected to dysfunctional situations in their families, careers, relationships, and some are even connected to dysfunctional situations at their place of worship.

Forward Thinkers, Abigail also means ‘joy to her father’ but how ironic is it that her father would release her to a man who would abuse the joy out of her. Forward Thinkers, let’s also take note that Nabal was a wealthy man proving dysfunction is not just for poor people to experience.

2 Samuel 4:4 (Jonathan son of Saul had a son who was lame in both feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled, but as she hurried to leave, he fell and became disabled. His name was Mephibosheth.)

Forward Thinkers, Mephibosheth is in a negative situation and a negative location Lo Debar. Sometimes life will deal us a negative hand but, we must maintain the faith to play it all the way through. Forward Thinkers, we must continue to trust God even under unfair situations and circumstances. Mephibosheth had done nothing wrong to cause himself to become crippled but as mature believers we understand sometimes bad things happen to good people.

Forward Thinkers, I noticed something similar in the beginning of all three situations. The person responsible for committing irresponsible acts. Forward Thinkers, even when we are hurt by others we must resist the urge to become victims and continue to walk in the spirit of victory.

Forward Thinkers, Abigail’s husband, Nabal, made unwise decisions putting her family at risk. We must be careful who we are connected to because an irresponsible act of someone else can cause us to experience a series of negative consequences.

Forward Thinkers, Mephibosheth was dropped by his nurse at an early age crippling him in both feet. Forward Thinkers, there was nothing Mephibosheth could have done to prevent this hardship from occurring in his life but he had a choice of remaining positive or being overcome with a victim mentality.

Forward Thinkers, like Maya Angelou, they are put in harm’s way by the person responsible for protecting and providing for them. Forward Thinkers, we must realize that even when we are disappointed by others that God is still in control.

Forward Thinkers, at this point of their lives things look HOPELESS for Maya Angelou, Abigail, and Mephibosheth but today we can thank God for a “sudden shift” that took place in their situations; because He is the same God we serve. Forward Thinkers, therefore; no matter what things look like today I still believe in a sudden shift kind of God.

Henry Ward Beecher, a white preacher during the Civil War period who would buy slaves for the purpose of setting them free said, “We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have traveled from the point where they started.”

Forward Thinkers, we must not make the mistake of pre-judging people because we never know how far they had to travel just to get to this point of life. Many have had to overcome the problems and pain of their past but today we can praise God that they never quit or gave up in the face of pain.

Let’s Trace Their Sudden Shift Journey

Forward Thinkers, we can trace Abigail in – 1 Samuel 25:32-35. 32 David said to Abigail, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. 33 May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands. 34 Otherwise, as surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, who has kept me from harming you, if you had not come quickly to meet me, not one male belonging to Nabal would have been left alive by daybreak.”35 Then David accepted from her hand what she had brought him and said, “Go home in peace. I have heard your words and granted your request.”

Forward Thinkers all of Abigail’s family was about to be killed by King David because of a foolish decision made by Nabal but God saves them. Forward Thinkers Abigail arrives home to find a drunken husband and Nabal will get so drunk his heart fails. Ten days after heart failure he dies and King David marries Abigail moving her from the house of a fool to the King’s house.

Forward Thinkers, “sudden shift” happens here and somebody is going from a foolish dysfunctional place to a royal place.

Forward Thinkers we can trace Mephibosheth in – 2 Samuel 9:1-13 David asked, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”

2 Now there was a servant of Saul’s household named Ziba. They summoned him to appear before David, and the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?” “At your service,” he replied.

3 The king asked, “Is there no one still alive from the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?” Ziba answered the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is lame in both feet.”

4 “Where is he?” the king asked. Ziba answered, “He is at the house of Makir son of Ammiel in Lo Debar.” So King David had him brought from Lo Debar, from the house of Makir son of Ammiel. When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed down to pay him honor. David said, “Mephibosheth!” “At your service,” he replied. 7“Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.” Mephibosheth bowed down and said, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?” Then the king summoned Ziba, Saul’s steward, and said to him, “I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. 10 You and your sons and your servants are to farm the land for him and bring in the crops, so that your master’s grandson may be provided for. And Mephibosheth, grandson of your master, will always eat at my table.” (Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.) 11 Then Ziba said to the king, “Your servant will do whatever my lord the king commands his servant to do.” So Mephibosheth ate at David’s[a] table like one of the king’s sons. 12 Mephibosheth had a young son named Mika, and all the members of Ziba’s household were servants of Mephibosheth. 13 And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the king’s table; he was lame in both feet.

Forward Thinkers King David restores Mephibosheth and moves him into the Kings house and for the rest of his life he will eat at the King’s table.

Forward Thinkers Mephibosheth went from Lo Debar, a low place of poverty, to the King’s place of prosperity.

Forward Thinkers sudden shift happens here and someone is going to go from the bottom to the top in this place.

Forward Thinkers in 1993 Maya Angelou stood tall at the White House reading her poem ‘On the Pulse of Morning’ for President Bill Clinton.

My final thought “I would not change anything I’ve been through because everything that occurred in my life good and bad got me to this place in life and the same Sudden Shift God I serve is waiting for you today.” Pastor E.A. Deckard

Pastor E. A. Deckard is the Senior Pastor/Founder of the Green House International Church located, 16711 Ella Blvd. Houston, Texas, 77090. To contact Pastor Deckard for speaking engagements contact him at or the church website

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