Archives for category: Who am I

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!

The final day of our prayer challenge has come upon us.  So, what do we do now? Now, we wait. Not quite the answer you were expecting, huh? Wait?  We just spent an entire week waiting and believing for God to move.  Surely, God is going to meet our faith now.  Surely our worlds are about to dramatically change.  The truth is, God’s army doesn’t always launch a frontal attack.  Sometimes, they take the path less traveled.  In other words, life doesn’t always happen according to plan.  It is quite possible that the blessings that God has in store for us could very well appear out of left field. None of us know what God has in store for us.  We just know that as believers, we have to stand firm on His Word.  Below are a few of the top lessons I have learned during this past season that will guide me, and hopefully, you, into the next chapter.  I hope they bless you too!

  1. God is still on the throne.

Isaiah 45:6-7

so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting people may know there is none besides me.  I am the Lord, and there is no other.I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things, (NIV).

Psalm 22:28

28  For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations (ESV).

  1. God has not forgotten about you.

Isaiah 49:15-16

15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!  16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.

  1. You are either going to believe/trust God or you are not.  There is no middle ground.

Matthew 19:26

26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible,” (NIV).

  1. Wait with expectations.

Philippians 1:20

20 For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die.

Habakkuk 2:2-3 NLT

Then the lord said to me, “Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others. This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.

  1. If you find yourself explaining too much, STOP!

2Timothy 2:23-26

23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will, (NIV).

  1. Don’t justify/explain your blessings.

1 Samuel 16:7

7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart,” (NIV).

  1. Worry less. Fear less.  Pray more.

Isaiah 41:10

10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.  Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you.  I will hold you up with my victorious right hand, (NLT).

  1.  Eliminate excuses.

2 Corinthians 5:10

10 For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body, (NLT).

  1. Love your enemy. Even pray for them.

Matthew 6:14-15

14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins, (NIV).

  1. Learn to say no. It’s okay to let your yes be yes and your no be no.

James 5:12

12 Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple “Yes” or “No.” Otherwise you will be condemned, (NIV).

 

  1. Be strong and courageous.    

Joshua 1:9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go,” (NIV).

 

  1. Embrace failure.

Romans 8:28

28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose (KJV).

  1. Know that you are stronger than you think.

Exodus 9:16

16 But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth, (NIV).

  1. Look in the mirror, and embrace God’s masterpiece.

Ephesians 2:10

10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago, (NLT).

  1. Know that the same God who closes doors holds the blueprints for every construction site, and He can place a window wherever He so desires.

Isaiah 55:8-11

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.  “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.  10 “The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. 11 It is the same with my word.  I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it, (NLT).

  1. LAUGH!

Job 8:21

21 He will once again fill your mouth with laughter, (NLT).

 

  1. LOVE!

John 3:16-17

16For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

  1. LET GO!

Ephesians 4:31

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you, (NLT).

Today, I pray that God will teach you how to laugh again and that you would not be jaded by the world’s shenanigans. I pray that you will love and live.  I pray that for each door that closes, God will increase your strength and wisdom in preparation for the next chapter.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen!!

If we were to ask most people to name the one thing they would like to be remembered for when they die, I would guess that most people would say that they would like to be known as someone who made a difference in their community/world.  The problem is, many of us have a distorted idea of what that looks like.  We tend to think that in order to make an impact, we have to reach the masses.  While there are those that are called to be global leaders, not everyone is called to be Mother Teresa or Oprah.  What if Jesus was to tell you that He was more concerned with the plight of one than the dilemma of the masses?  Would that change how you think?

I asked myself that very question this morning.  What if only one person were to every read my blog?  In the eyes of man, that might be considered an epic fail.  But what if that one person stumbled upon my page while searching for something else on the Internet?  And, what if, as a result of that serendipitous moment, that person developed or solidified his or her relationship with Christ?  Would that one fact redefine success?  It should.  For God, it does.  God is more concerned about saving the one rather than creating fanfare.  In Luke 15:7, Jesus said, “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent,” (NIV).

Living a purposeful life is not necessarily about reaching millions, it’s about impacting at least one.  In fact, the person that we inspire could be the one who goes on to influence millions.  One of the most influential people who ever lived was a poor, unknown, small-town Jewish girl.  She didn’t sell out stadiums.  She didn’t shut down traffic.  She was a wife, a mother and a homemaker.  However, her influence on one person has forever changed the world.  Her name is Mary, mother of Jesus.  Image how many times Mary must have spoken words of encouragement over her son Jesus.  Imagine how many times she must have cradled Him in her arms and told Him that she loved Him.  Before He was our inspiration, she was His.  Although Jesus was robed by His father’s perfect, divine love, she showered Him with her Earthly adoration.

Today, I encourage you to remember that walking in your purpose could very well mean that you simply change one life.  The heavens WILL rejoice if your act of kindness, obedience and service saves only one soul.  In whatever you do, be strong and courageous and know that your God goes before you (Joshua 1:9).  If you do so, you will live out the purpose for which He has called you.

I am who I am

And I don’t give a damn

Whether you understand

The plan of I AM

Because he says I can

Be the woman

Born from a man

To Fulfill the Plan

Of the one named I AM

And whose plan

Is Greater than

Any man

For He is the I AM

Who made me

Who I am.

“Who am I,” is a very difficult question for most people to answer.  However, the answer it so critical to where we are and where we want to be.  If we do not have a solid understanding of who we are, we could end up being who and what others want us to be.  The problem with that is, if we have no true foundation of who we are, we end up moving in circles instead of moving forward.  When we try to please everyone, we end up pleasing no one, including ourselves.  It is impossible to simultaneously satisfy everyone’s taste.  Some of the very same people who are trying to fix us are also trying to find themselves.

The Bible says let your yes be yes and your no be no (Matthew 5:37).  Malcolm X said, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”  There comes a point in our lives where we cannot straddle the fence.  We have to choose a side.  While there is always the risk of alienating some, we have to be true to ourselves.  We have to have a point of view.  Having a point of view does not mean that we are immune to correction or improvement, it simply means we have a solid foundation.  When our foundation is solid, we are less apt to sway with the wind and less inclined to be blown away.  We are less likely to be disappointed by other people’s actions, or lack thereof, because our worth is not based on someone else’s expectations.

So, how do we begin to discover who we are?  Simple!  We have to know whose we are and how we were made.

Knowledge of a product’s manufacture details is not a prerequisite for use.  Most of us probably do not know how the majority of our daily products are made.  In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t seem matter.  But, au contraire, mon frère!  Knowledge is power.  Knowing how a product is made does give some insight into the intricacies of the product.  Knowledge allows for better usage.  How differently would we act if we knew the following?

  • We are God’s masterpieces, created in the image of Jesus Christ (Ephesian 2:10).
  • As co-heirs with Christ, we are royalty—princes and princesses (Romans 8:17).
  • The story of our life was written before we were born (Psalm 139:16).
  • We don’t have to be afraid of anything or anyone because the same God who created heaven and earth goes before us (Joshua 1:9).

Would our knowledge of the above statements change how we perceive ourselves?  It should because when we don’t know who we are, we set the stage for others to define us.  When we allow others to define us, we cannot reach our potential because our potential was never established by anyone other than God.  We cannot expect people to guide us on a path that they did not create or have never seen.  If we rely on others to define who we are, we will always be limited by that person’s imperfection.  When we rely on God to define us, we are freed by perfection, which has no limits.  Therefore when we rely on God our possibilities are limitless.  Given my choices, I would rather be freed by an infinite God than limited by a finite mind.  Wouldn’t you?