A Legend In God’s Divine Plan

1 Corinthians 13:13 | August 19, 2018

    I’m going to throw a little twist in the message for today… I’ve just felt led by God to share a different type of message with you today… A message that draws our attention to His Handiwork in the carrying out of His Divine Plan… A great messenger that God sent to  tell us about… LOVE

    In a time when … there seems to be more QUESTIONS than ANWERS in life’s journey for so many… I find myself and my total attention… drawn to the life and journey of an individual… that many have labeled as an ICON… a LEGEND… a HERO…

    She was born in Memphis, Tennessee 76 years ago… Seems like God had made it so that… by the time many of us needed her most… she would be at the right age to bless all of us with her anointed voice…  Her name was Aretha Louise Franklin… 

    She was the daughter of a Pastor ( Reverend C.L. Franklin) who not only delivered a powerful Word from God each Sunday… But he led the choir as well… He was already a great singer in the neighborhood…  

    God made it so that her daddy would be assigned to a church in Detroit Michigan… so they had to move… Her daddy thought it was about him… but…  Little did he know… It wasn’t about him at all… But… It was about an anointed voice that God had planted down in the soul of his knee baby … 

    Can I tell you that… GOD HAD A PLAN… By the time Aretha was 10 years old… her mother had passed … She often told the story of how she had to sing her way through her sorrow… She said that… While she would sing the songs of great singers that she heard on the record player… Somehow… God would speak to her heart… and He would give her words of her own to sing…

    It was in the singing of the words that God had given her… that she could totally loose herself in… and express them to the point of touching other people… How many know that… What God has for you… IS…for you?

    How many know that… the devil had a plan too… Being an attractive and energetic young girl… without a mother … and … who had a voice that could touch the heart of any man or woman… 

    This made her a prime target to fall victim to those who meant her no good…  By the time she was 14 years old… She was recording professionally with her father down at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit… By now she was traveling on revivals with her father and… God had placed her in front of great singers like Mahalia Jackson… Sam Cook … and Clara Ward… 

    She was on her way… And although… success was finding her… just as she was finding it…  while traveling in the company of adults at such an early age 

    She fell victim to bad adult behaviors… which resulted in her having her first son at the age of 14… Another son at the age of 16… And she eventually had 2 other sons… She had several failed marriages… Some of which were traumatic

    Aretha didn’t let this stop her from treading the path that God had planned for her voice… She kept working and working non-stop… Within 10 years after the birth of her first son… She had a string of hit records… 

    But her hiatus came between 1966 – 1967 when she recorded my favorite song… Do Right Woman - Do Right Man… 

    I say that was my favorite… because at the age of about 14… I had started thinking about my own life journey… I found myself having a barrage of QUESTIONS that were coming at me so fast until I didn’t think there were any ANSWERS to be found… 

    All I knew was that… My little heart seemed like it wanted to skip a beat when I was around a certain pretty girl… And all my little buddies that I wrestled and played ball with had become more of a nuisance when they came around…  

    I didn’t understand that I was coming of age where I was ready to form a new kind of relationship… 

    We were not allowed to listen to Jazz… Blues… or Soul music in our house… But when I was alone with my little pocket radio… I would hear this soothing voice sing the most beautiful song I had ever heard… And she sang it with such PASSION… It sounded like she was singing directly to me… 

    I grew up in a family where everybody could sing… I had heard beautiful singing at the church… I had heard beautiful singing at home… while I visited Aunts and Uncles… But… There was something different about this singer and this song… 

    It was not dirty… It was not immoral… It sure didn’t sound like sin… It was just soothing… And for the first time… I listened to every word until I memorized it… I usually liked music and played the guitar a little bit… But for the first time… Somebody was speaking directly to me in a musical tone … 

    The song was… Do Right Woman - Do Right Man… I listened as Aretha gave sensible advice on how a man was supposed to treat a woman…

    It made sense to me when she said… Take me to heart and I’ll always love you… And nobody can make me do wrong… I heard her when she said… Don’t take me for granted… leaving love unsure… It takes will power… because temptation is strong … 

    Aretha went on to remind us at a time when men seemed to control everything and everybody that… A woman is only human… You should understand… She’s not a play thing but… She’s flesh and blood… Just like a man… 

    And for those old Mommas Boys who thought they were men… just because their daddy told them that they could hang out all times of the night and they could treat a woman any kinda ol' way… She reminded them that… If you want a Do Right All Day Woman… You Gotta Be A Do Right All Night Man… 

    You can’t wander through this world treating people all kinds of ways … and expect to be showered with love…

    I believe that Aretha is right up there with the Bible character… Ruth … Just as the writers of the Bible thought it was important to tell the story of Ruth’s rise from being an unknown nobody… to one of the richest women in the Bible… 

    I believe God wants Aretha Franklin’s life journey told… Because she was able to express and put into words the mere essence of what many people suffer from day in and day out… They suffer from so many  Questions…  and their souls can’t find any Answers…  

    I believe that’s why God led her to write and sing this particular  song… I Gotta Find Me An Angel In My Life… For those people who feel like… “My heart doesn’t have a home … and I don’t want to be alone… Their greatest desire is to … Find Me An Angel In My Life”… 

    God challenges us to pray for each other each and every day… We often tell people that we love them… but… Do we pray for them like we should?… 

    I can hear Aretha talking to us right now… Singing us an example of really loving someone… In her hit song that says… I Say A Little Prayer For You… “Each morning I wakeup … Before I put on my makeup… I Say A Little Prayer For You… While combing my hair… And deciding which clothes to wear… I Say A Little Prayer For You… “

    Finally… As God would have us to show love for one another… He told Aretha to tell us to start RESPECTING one another … Maybe people don’t get along in the home because they forgot how to respect each other… That person that you think doesn’t like you… So you don’t like them… Have you ever thought… Maybe all they really want… is for you to… “ Show A Little Respect When You Get Home… “

      A person can’t even worship and give God their best praise if they are all bound up in not feeling respected for who they are … Aretha spoke this truth to the entire female gender in her hit single… “You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman”… It’s natural to want to be RESPECTED… 

    We are supposed to hold each other up in this world… That’s why God expressed His desire for a TEAM when he placed a woman here beside Adam in the Garden of Eden… Aretha drove this point home in her hit single… “You Need Me… Like I need You… As Long As We’re Together… There Ain’t Nothing We Can’t Do”… This is not a man’s world… But… This is God’s World!

IN MY CLOSING… 

    When I think of how God created each of us in His own image … Giving us the authority to call on His almighty power whenever we need it … 

    I believe that Sister Aretha would tell the devil and all his dark angels… “You Better Think… Think About What You’re Trying To Do To Me”… 

When you try to block my progress… You Better Think

When you try to stop me from doing God’s Will… You Better Think

When you decide to turn your back on those in need… You Better Think

When you talk about me and try to scandalize my name… You Better Think

When you won’t worship and try to hold your praise… You Better Think

SOMEBODY SAY… TALK ARETHA!

When you refuse to follow God’s plan in your life… You Better Think

When you keep putting off today for tomorrow … You Better Think

When you don’t take the time to spend with loved ones … You Better Think

When you refuse to go to weekly Bible Study… You Better Think

Your housework is more important than your Church work… You Better Think

When you put God on the back burner… and just call Him when it’s convenient… I believe that His answer would be  this afternoon… 

You Better… Think… Think… Think About What You’re Trying To Do To Me

You Better Think… Listen to me… and let your self be free… 

Will you do that today?… Because You Need Me… Like I Need You… Both Of Us Together… There Ain’t Nothing We Can’t Do… Think About It!