Archives for the month of: February, 2014

Have you ever noticed how some people always seem to have an opinion that is far from encouraging?  Not only are these people opinionated, they are seldom shy about expressing their views.  Well today, I want to express some views of my own, and I hope they encourage you.  So here goes:

Today, I want you to know that God is NOT mad at you.  In your life, so many people will try to lead you to believe that your misfortunes are directly correlated to your disloyalty to God.

Before I move any further, let’s just get one thing straight, none of us are faithful to God.  We are all adulterous people.  The good news is that we are saved by Jesus’ righteousness, not our “good deeds.” Just know that if God was in the business of punishing us based on our actions, we would all be goners.  Thank God for grace.  However, with that said, know that we can be within God’s will and still face turmoil.  Doubt it?  Look at Job.  He was right smack in the will of God, yet he faced the fight of his life.

I don’t know where you are right now.  Maybe you made some bad decisions along the way.  Maybe you haven’t.  The truth is, it doesn’t matter.  Thankfully, God has never been a God that dwelled in the past.  He has always existed in the present.  The current condition of our heart is all that matters.  God will guide us through the rest.

In order to be encouraged, we need to know that there will always be people who judge us and say that our circumstances are due to our lack of faith, prayer, or action.  Know that their opinions are irrelevant.  God is the only one who truly knows our heart, and only He can judge.

Maybe, we are exactly where He wants us.  Maybe God is using our trials, not a punishment, but to develop our character and better prepare us for our future blessings.  Job’s friend had erroneously thought that his adversities were the result of dishonoring God.  They couldn’t have been more wrong.  Maybe our friends are wrong about us too.

When it comes to life, there are no experts.  The “expertise” of man can only take us so far.  The problem is, even the most scholastic theologians have based some of their theories on hypotheses and suppositions.  At some point, each and every one of us will have to embrace our Spirit and the Word of God in order to determine our right course of action.  The closer we get to God, the more we will be convicted about whether or not our actions are in line with His will.  The take home message is this: Don’t let others cast doubt into your relationship and your walk with God.  Find out who He is and who you are in Him so that you will be better equipped to ward off the attacks and commentaries of the enemy.

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Integrity—It’s who you are when no one is watching.  In today’s world, it can often appear as if honor is a forgotten virtue.

2 Timothy 3:1-5 says, “ Don’t be naive. There are difficult times ahead. As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They’ll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they’re animals. Stay clear of these people,” (The Message).

Wow! Those words are prophetic.  We ARE living in days where people are indeed lovers of themselves.  Many people are “self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God.”  I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more people allergic to God than to penicillin.  In fact, just the mention of God on the airways seem to send some people into anaphylactic shock.  Some of you reading this blog might even be turned off merely because the content is about God.  We are living in a culture where many have built up a disdain for God and the things of God.  Even many “believers” has succumbed to the customs of the world.  Many of us are self-absorbed, money-hungry and cynical.  When confronted with the state of affairs of the world, there are Christians who respond with “it is what it is,” “people are who they are,” and “what can we do to change it?”  We have become cynical about whether God’s good can triumph over bad.  Many of us have embraced injustice as the new normal.  I am here to tell you that such thinking is contrary to the word of God.  2 Timothy 3:14-17 says,

14 But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. 15 You have been taught the Holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work, (NLT).

Yes, in order to receive victory against all forms of evil in today’s world, we must remain faithful.  We must trust that the Holy Spirit will give us the wisdom, courage and strength we need.  We should not accept or succumb to the practices of the world.  One person CAN make a difference.  If we would realize and understand that while we might not be able to directly change the people around us, we can change ourselves.  When we begin with a change in ourselves, that very change can and will inspire others to take a stand, which could cause us to see a marked difference in the world around us.  We don’t have to just accept things the way they are.  We can make a difference!  Sometimes, we have to simply decide who we will be.  #Integrity!

One of the signs that we are getting older is that we are no longer as cool as we think we are.  Nothing reminds us of that more that working with teenagers.

During the past few months, I have been volunteering with a group of youngster who remind me that my limited arsenal of “slang” words might no longer be cool.  With that said, I am going to resuscitate my 1990’s colloquial vernacular.  The title of today’s blog is, “I Am No Spiritual Punk.”  In the 90s, a punk was someone who would be considered a softie.  It was someone who shied away from conflict because of fear.  A punk could also be defined as a coward—someone who would be determined to be weaker  (spiritually, physically and/or mentally) than the average person.   Once someone was labeled a punk, they would most likely be subjected to conflict and possibly bullying.  Why do I say all of this?  As Christians, if we are not careful, the world could view us as “spiritual punks,” therefore, subjecting us to bullying and unnecessary conflict.

Let’s go off on a tangent.  Isn’t it easy to look out into the world and marvel at all the wonderful things that are happening to everyone else?  It is so easy to challenge God and ask, “Why not me?”  At first glance, the Christian life could be seen as a life riddled with failure and hardship.  Even many Christians have perpetuated the negative image of Christian life by inappropriate referencing Scriptures such as, “take up your cross daily, and follow me,” (Luke 9:23) along with many other Scriptures that when cited incorrectly and exclusively paint a hopeless Christian existence.  While Jesus did make it clear that the Christian life would be no bed of roses, the Bible also does depict a clear picture of hope, joy and prosperity.  Unfortunately, pastors who preach messages of hope such as the promise found in Proverbs 10:22 (The blessings of the Lord brings wealth, without painful toil for it, NIV) are often stereotyped as prosperity pastors, and their messages are frequently erroneous titled as motivational speaking.

Where am I going with all of this?  My point is, the world, including some Christians, is waiting to see whether God is going to show up as the Bible promises He would and like many of us Christians are believing that He would.  Many are waiting to see whether Christians are going to “punk” out before the watching world in the face of disappointment.  In response to that, my question is this: Are we as Christians going to put up our “spiritual dukes” and show the world that despite our perceived setbacks and/or shortcomings, our God is greater?  Are we going to live a life that exemplifies that greater is He who is in us than he that is in the world?  The truth is, it is NOT our reputation that is on the line.  It’s God’s.  If everything that we do is supposed to give glory and honor to God, then when we cry out to Him in faithful obedience, He MUST show up.  A non-responsive God depicts a powerless, unfaithful, dishonoring, uncaring and dishonest God. However, as Christians, we have to believe that is not the case. We have to know that if God is not a man that He should not lie (Numbers 23:19), then we must also know that His very nature dictates that He MUST fulfill His promises.  Psalms 31:19 says, “Your goodness is so great! You have stored up great blessings for those who honor you. You have done so much for those who come to you for protection, blessing them before the watching world,” (NLT).  As Christians, we have to stop behaving as though our blessings are from man, because, they are not.  Oftentimes, we fear man more than we fear our Creator.  We, as Christians, have to get into a place in our Spirit where we know that our blessings and promotions come from God ALONE.  Man does not have the ability to fire us, hire us, promote us, increase us, or define us.  We have to get out of that “Spiritual Punk” mentality and embrace the fact that we are heirs of the throne of God.  As heirs, we are entitled to our Father’s blessing and we should know that what God has blessed, no man can curse!

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God Bless You!

For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means yes) ascends to God for His glory. It is God who enables us along with you, to stand firm on Christ. He has commissioned us, and he has identify us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us.
2 Corinthians 1:20- 22

During my morning devotional, I was reading a passage from a book where the author stated that regardless of what we are going through, God has the ability to change our situations in a fraction of time.  That one assertion made me start to think about God’s nature and who God is.  It begged the questions, “Is God good,” and “What does it mean when we say God is good?”

For centuries, people have asked the question: “If God is so good, then why does He allow bad things to happen?”  This was the same question that I pondered this morning.   After asking myself that question, I thought about God’s greatness.  I thought about the fact that all that is, all that was and all that will be has been created by God.  From big to small, He created it all.  God is so all-powerful that if He so decided, He could instantaneously change any situation that He wanted.  If you are poor (in finance, health, or spirit), He could breathe on you and you would instantaneously become rich.  But a lot of times, it seems as though He doesn’t.  In fact, many people over the course of time have spend the majority of their lives battling hunger, poverty, and illness.  Some people have even met ghastly deaths at the hands of other.  While we are speaking of the nature of God, what about this notion of faith?  When you think about it, the act of faith can sometimes feel more torturous than it does rewarding.   Phrases such as “stretching our faith” or “refining our character” conjure up more than just thoughts of discomfort.  The experiences can sometimes be uncomfortable, and might even be painful.  To this, there are some that might even asked the question, “If God is so great, then why couldn’t He just make us exactly the way we should be?  Why should we have to go through ‘torture?’”

If you have ever asked yourself any of these questions, I have found the answer that will resolve your concerns once and for all.  The answer to all of these questions, and those like it, is that our rationale does not matter.  The truth is, God created the world for His purpose, and what He does with it is really His prerogative.  I know that for our entitlement generation, this is a hard pill to swallow.  We have conditioned ourselves to think that everything should be for us and about us, but it isn’t.  Here are the hard, cold facts.  God created Earth for His pleasure.  God created us for His pleasure.  Please understand this.  If God had chosen to create us solely for the purpose of seeing what would happen to the human soul as their flesh burned painfully and eternally in the fire, it would be well within His right to do so. Hmmm!!!  I could just see many of your faces as you just read that last sentence.  Many of you might be resisting even imaging that scenario.  But let me put it in terms that we could all relate to.  Most of us live in dwellings of some sort (apartments, homes, houses, huts, etc.).  There, we tend to be the king or queen of our castles.  Many, if not all of us, have household rules that those who enter our homes must abide by (e.g. taking off shoes upon entry or only dining in a certain area of the house).  Well, consider this, the entire universe is God’s dwelling, and He makes the rules for His home.  Not only are we His guest, we are also His property, unlike the give scenario above where our guest are simply that—guests.

Here is the good news.  Even though God is well within His right to treat us with contempt, His nature disallows Him from doing so.  In fact, God ensured that He would never treat us with contempt when He sacrifice His one and only Son, Jesus, as a reminder of just how much He loves us.

Here is the problem that many of us run into.  We try to understand God though systems and rationales that we have designed.  Unfortunately, or should I say fortunately, our definition of justice, fairness and desert are based on our limited reasoning capacities.  In order to determine fairness and/or justice, all side of an argument/situation must be known, just ask any lawyer.  In God’s world, it is IMPOSSIBLE for us to determine what is fair or just because there is so much that we do not know or understand. There is a universe of knowledge and information that we are not privy to.  Not matter how we try to navigate the world in with we were created, all road lead us back to that infamous five-letter word: F-A-I-T-H.  Faith is simply this: we have to trust that God is good.  Faith means that regardless of what we see with our natural eyes we have to know with our heart and soul that God is in control and that His plan is to prosper us and not to harm us (Jeremiah 29:11).

Here is the thought of the day: If God were truly bad—not good—how do you think our world would look today?  Imagine this:  Think of the devastation that is caused when certain communities have fallen prey to lawlessness and anarchy.  Now image that anarchy being spread worldwide.  I can’t!  Can you?

You ARE the light of the world!

Even when you don’t feel your best, even when you don’t feel like you can make a difference; remember, Jesus said that you are the light of the world. So, go into the world and shed your light. Let your light shine!