DON’T GET DISTRAC(K)TED…

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2 Corinthians 6:12
“You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections.”

Children can have very short attention spans. You can tell a child what to do, and if you leave the room and come back, you can find them doing something totally different. Why? Because they are easily DISTRACTED. God’s adult children can be the same way…What has God told us to do?

Matthew 28:19 “Go ye therefore and make disciples of all nations…”

Matthew 9:38, “Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest”

John 15:16 “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide…”
God has called us to make disciples. God has given each of us a purpose according to our abilities (parable of the talents Matthew 25:14-30). Unfortunately, sometimes we get DISTRACTED.

Scriptures make it very clear God has given us the responsibility to build the Kingdom by making disciples and bearing good fruit. He has given us gifts and talents to do so, and has established families and the church to give us fellowship, strength and support to do so. So, why aren’t we more effective? Because we get easily DISTRACTED. We sometimes allow ourselves and the enemy to DISTRACT us from what God called us to do. Sometimes we’re DISTRACTED by the very gifts he gave us for His purpose.

DISTRACTED by what the Parable of the sower calls ‘the cares of this world and deceitfulness of riches…

DISTRACTED by the pleasures of the flesh and the pursuit of these pleasures…

We can’t build the Kingdom of God when we’re DISTRACTED and busy…

fighting for our families, fighting for our churches, caught up in church culture, using the best of our strength and abilities trying to achieve wealth, putting all of our effort into our career, using our anointing with selfish motives, struggling with lust, adultery, fornication, greed, strife, arguments, divisions, narcissism, laziness, foolishness, apathy, racism, politics, anger, malice, jealousy, depression, boredom…the list goes on and on. All of these things just keep us busy, keep us chasing wind (Ecclesiastes 1:14, 2:11). Sometimes we even get too DISTRACTED to study God’s word…we claim we don’t have time, but the fact that you’re reading this post  right now proves that’s not true. I think you get the point.

God wants us to enjoy our lives. Every moment isn’t about Kingdom work, but everything we do, even in our leisure should be from a Kingdom mindset, because we are to acknowledge God in all our ways (Proverbs 3:6), and ministry moments arise when you least expect it.

Make the most of every moment (Ephesians 5:16), don’t get DISTRACTED to the point we are almost useless to God….take a few moments and think of the subtle ways you’ve been or are DISTRACTED. Just as the apostle Paul told the 2 Corinthians in Chapter 6:12, “you are restricting yourselves by your own affections”, he went on to tell them how to get rid of these ‘restrictions’…don’t be unequally yoked with unbelievers (1 Corinthians 6:14…cleanse ourselves of all filthiness of flesh and spirit and perfect holiness( 1 Corinthians 7:1).

Let’s commit together to renewed FOCUS and just as Jesus said about Mary, find the “good part” that will not be taken away from us.
Luke 10:38-42
38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’[k] feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” 41 And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.


BE BLESSTIFIED!

 

FROM FICKLE TO FAITHFUL

“Hosanna!” is the praise the crowds shouted as Jesus triumphantly entered Jerusalem, but by the end of the week the crowds were shouting “Crucify Him!”

That’s why the Gospel of John reminds us…

John 2:23-25 23 “Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. 24 But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, 25 and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.”
Jesus knew (and knows) that we as people are fickle. We care about what you can do for us. People want to know, “What have you done for me lately?”

People believed because of the signs, because of the miracles, because they were fed, but when Jesus told the people that we had to ‘eat His flesh and drink His blood many left him to follow Him no more (John 6:22-66). This happened right after miraculously fed over 5000 people.

Fickle people will leave when the going gets tough.

Fickle people will leave when the money is gone.

Fickle people will leave when the relationship isn’t fun anymore.

Fickle people will leave when they are given the truth about themselves that they don’t want to accept.

Fickle people will lay you off work when they feel someone they see as smarter, or younger, or quicker, or more talented comes along.

People can be fickle with God when He seems to be moving too slow, or not moving at all. You get the picture. All that being said, we need to remember…

  1. We need to strive to please God and not man.

  2. We need to be thankful for, and nurture our closest relationships (Even Jesus had an inner circle that He leaned on more…Peter, James and John)

  3. We will be sometimes be fickle with those closest to us… (Peter denied Jesus and they all scattered)

  4. In our relationships with God and one another we must move from being FICKLE to FAITHFUL. (Eventhough they sometimes doubted Jesus, Eventhough their faith was sometimes weak, Even though Peter denied Him, Eventhough they scattered when Jesus was crucified…the disciples went on to suffer for and spread the Gospel!

The disciples went from FICKLE to FAITHFUL! Have you?

BE BLESSTIFIED!!!

PEACEMAKERS AIN’T PUNKS (YES, I SAID AIN’T)

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In today’s American culture it seems people value so-called ‘strong words’ and confrontation rather than the controlled strength of meekness and making peace.

Do you know someone who has a passion for peace? Is it you?

Some people have an innate passion for conflict resolution. They are the uncelebrated heroes that hold, relationships, families, teams, organizations, causes, churches, and nations together. People celebrate soldiers…but not peacemakers. Jesus came to earth looking for a fight with the enemy….He came to establish peace between God and man.

1 Timothy 2:5 (ESV)
 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man[a] Christ Jesus,

Ephesians 2:14 (ESV)
For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility

Colossians 1:20 (ESV)
and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

This peace didn’t come easily. Peace is overtaken in chaos…

Mark 4:39 (ESV)
And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

Jesus commanded that “Peace Be Still!” in the midst of a storm. That’s God’s perfect example of what takes place in the spiritual realm when a peacemaker goes into action. Everyone knows one of the best ways to get hurt is to attempt to break up a fight. In fact, most people advise that one doesn’t get involved.

When I was growing up in rural West Tennessee, we had a phrase we would say to prove we weren’t afraid…I AIN’T NO PUNK! The incorrect grammar was intentional for affect. “AREN’T PUNKS,” just didn’t seem as convincing to us.

Real peacemakers ain’t punks!

Real peacemakers ain’t afraid of fights…

Some real peacemakers look for fights.

Jesus confronted and was confronted by His family (John 7:5), the establishment/religious leaders (Matthew 25), his hometown (Mark 6:4), the government (John 19:11) and Satan himself (Matthew 4:1-11) to establish peace between God and us. Clearly, Jesus was (is) no PUNK.

Jesus left His peace, and His power for us…

John 14:27 (ESV)
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

And, Jesus promised a special blessing for peacemakers.

Matthew 5:9 (ESV)

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

There’s a special anointing on those who are able to help others find common ground and resolve conflict. Those who can keep a cool head in the midst of chaos, conflict and crisis, and can maintain they’re composure when the parties who are fighting both, or all, turn on the peacemaker. But, did you catch that? If they ALL turn on the peacemaker…then he or she has gotten them to AGREE on something.

If you have a passion for peace, embrace it. If you’re the moral compass be strong. And, if that’s not you, be sensitive to those who are. They are the unsung heroes that God uses to command, Peace be still! Pray for them. Encourage them. And remember…they ain’t punks!

Remember…

MEEKNESS ISN’T WEAKNESS…

BE BLESSTIFIED!

THE PURPOSE OF OFFENSE(S)

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Matthew 18:7
7 Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!
Jesus warned in Matthew 18:7 that offenses are a part of this life. People will offend one another…sometimes intentionally…sometimes unintentionally. 
In the context of the bible context, the definition of OFFENSE according to Strong’s Concordance is the Greek word SKANDALON: a stick for bait, a snare, a trap, a stumbling block. Strong goes on to say that figuratively the word means putting a negative cause-and-effect relationship into motion.
Merriam-Webster defines offense as:

  1. 1 a obsolete :  an act of stumbling b archaic :  a cause or occasion of sin : 
    stumbling block
  2. 2 :  something that outrages the moral or physical senses
  3. 3 a :  the act of attacking :  assault b :  the means or method of attacking or of attempting to score c :  the offensive team or members of a team playing offensive positions d :  scoring ability
  4. 4 a :  the act of displeasing or affronting b :  the state of being insulted or morally outraged <takes offense at the slightest criticism>
  5. 5 a :  a breach of a moral or social code :  sin, misdeed b :  an infraction of law; especiallymisdemeanor

Whether intentional or unintentional, offenses do just as the definitions describe, they are a snare, a trap and stumbling block to a person’s progress – an attack.  In sports, war or any competition, in context of the biblical and contemporary definition, I define OFFENSE as…AN AGGRESSIVE ATTACK IN PURSUIT OF A GOAL.

OFFENSES are the devil’s offense. He uses them to make you stumble, distracted, weaker, off-course and provoke you to respond negatively with your emotions.
We must be careful even when we have a right to be offended. Even when someone intentionally tries to offend you…even when you have a right to be upset, you must be careful that it doesn’t make you lose focus. Offenses are either make you retaliate (defense) or quit. They either make you give up or seek revenge, both of which God has commanded that we don’t do.

We are not to give up (2 Chronicles 15:7, Isaiah 41:10, Galatians 6:9, Joshua 1:9).

We are not to seek revenge (Romans 12:19, 1 Peter 3:9, 1 Thessalonians 5:15, 2 Thessalonians 1:8, 2 Corinthians 13:11).

Offenses all too often provoke a negative emotional response: anger, rage, sadness, stress, jealousy, envy, confusion, disgust  discouragement, shame, fear, discontent etc…etc…etc…

These negative emotions usually lead to negative moods, attitudes and behavior.

So, even when they offend or insult your integrity, family, friends, intentions, faith, religion, accomplishments, education, team, profession, heritage, neighborhood, history, background, church, beliefs, leaders….whatever. Stop and think of the many various ways you’ve been offended throughout your life. How did you react?

Think of how, even political campaigns, which should display integrity result to offending….sometimes the OFFENSE is to OFFEND.

Think of how in sports it’s common to TRASH talk….the OFFENSE is to OFFEND.

Think of how many times coaches insult or degrade athletes in an effort to get them to do better…the OFFENSE is to OFFEND.

Think of how many times law enforcement officers resort to ‘getting on their level’ in language and behavior to get through…the OFFENSE is to OFFEND.

Think of how Satan comes to STEAL, KILL and DESTROY (John 10:10) . How he goes around as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8)…his OFFENSE is to OFFEND.

Even Jesus offended the Pharisees by His sharp rebukes (Matthew 15:12, Matthew 23). Jesus’ intent however was Holy. The Pharisees were offended because their hearts were dark and Jesus’ light offended them. Jesus was offending the devil.  We must be careful when we find ourselves offended at the truth…offended at light. When the right thing offends us, that should lead to repentance (2 Corinthians 7:8-12).

Just as Jesus said, offenses are sure to come. Don’t let them make you trip, fall, stumble, throw you off course, make you lose focus or quit. Don’t let them provoke you to a negative response or bad moods, attitudes and behavior.

Let us make sure that we are not maliciously offending others…

And, if we do offend, let us make sure we’re not doing so maliciously

BE BLESSTIFIED!!!

Jesus offended the Pharisees.
The fault comes where it comes from in the heart

KINGDOM CANDIDATE…

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Philippians 3:14

If you were running for office in God’s Kingdom could you get enough votes to win?

Would you vote for yourself?

Would you have the love and passion for the Kingdom to do what’s best for the Kingdom first?

Would you have a platform? (Vision)

Would you have the experience? (Testimony)

Would you have the character? (Integrity)

What could derail your campaign? (Past)

News Flash!
You’ve already been elected by God…

2 Peter 1:10-11
Therefore brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fail..
11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord answered Savior Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:20
You’re an appointed Ambassador for Christ
2 Corinthians 5:20
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

People are watching your campaign…

1 Peter 2:12
Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

God is depending on you to run a good campaign; you were born to run and born to win.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

YOUR FEAR VS YOUR FUTURE

Sometimes we can be more afraid of the challenges and responsibilities of success than the disappointments or shame of failure.

I’ve had a fear of flying. I used to fly as a child regularly, but not in my adult life. I told everyone that flying made me feel sick, but the fact was that I was afraid. I was more afraid of what might happen. That fear kept me from destinations and opportunities that were just a flight away.

When I think of the disciples in the boat, it reminds me of being nervous on a plane. There were no planes in biblical days, but the potentials for fear were the same. The boat represents opportunities on the other side, but in that day someone could have been afraid to sail because the threat of sinking. That fear then could be equal to the threat of a plane crashing today.

There are many opportunities that can be accessed much more efficiently by flying, but fear can keep one from those opportunities. FEAR FIGHTS YOUR FAITH, and your faith is the key to your future. What are your fears keeping you from?

Fear of new relationships?

Fear of being alone?

Fear of embarrassment?

Fear of going back to school?

Fear of relocating?

Fear of your past being exposed?

Fear of the unknown?

FEAR OF FAILURE?

FEAR OF SUCCESS!

Think about how your fears have limited your life…

2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV)

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Fear is a sure sign of lack of faith. I’m not speaking of a healthy respect that we are commanded to have for God, or respect of genuine threats to our safety. I’m speaking of timidity, and anxiety that results from lack of faith that God can provide for, protect and guide us when we are stepping out on faith in wisdom to fulfill His purpose. The enemy wants to intimidate you to the point of fear because he knows it fights your faith. The enemy knows the potential on your life. The enemy knows what God has placed inside of you. He wants your fear to prevent you from stepping out on faith to fulfill your purpose. Think about it. God promised that all things will work for YOUR good when you are called according to HIS purpose. Arm yourself with the word of God first thing every morning ((Ephesians 6:16) FUEL YOUR FAITH, SO YOU CAN QUENCH THE FIERY DARTS OF THE devil. So, when FEAR FIGHTS YOUR FAITH…YOUR FAITH WILL WIN.

Don’t let your fears keep your from the blessings, opportunities and destiny that awaits you at your destination.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

WATCH OUT FOR ‘NICE’ PEOPLE…

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Galatians 5:22-23  (NKJV)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, KINDNESS, goodness, faithfulness, 23 [a]gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

One of my favorite groups is The O’Jays! Their smooth soulful music is definitely a part of the soundtrack of my life. Their 1972 single, “Back Stabbers” written by Leon Huff, Gene McFadden and John Whitehead, (I was only 3-years old when it was released) is one of my all time favorites and just as most of their other songs – the lyrics are very profound…

“(They smile in your face) All the time they want to take your place (Back Stabbers)”


There’s a reason that KINDNESS (from Greek word Crestotes in Galatians 5:22) is a Fruit of the Spirit and not NICENESS.


According to Strong’s Concordance KINDNESS denotes ones disposition and doesn’t necessarily refer to acts of goodness. Strong’s Concordance goes on to say KINDNESS refers to meeting real needs. Being KIND is acting for the good of people no matter what they do, how they treat you or how they react. KINDNESS is uprightness and goodness in action. It’s goodness provoked by the spirit of God. KINDNESS is acting for the welfare of those who challenge your love and stretch your patience.

1 Corinthians 13:4  (NKJV)

Love suffers long and is KIND; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not [a]puffed up;

Acts of KINDNESS may not always feel good or be timely, but they are always best for the individual or group’s overall well being…thus goes the old saying, “God may not come when you want Him, but He’s always right on time!”

The enemy can use NICENESS as a tool to deceive and mask true motives and intentions. People can be nice to get in position to stab you in the back


“What they do? BACK STABBERS!” 


Have YOU ever been nice to someone just to get what you wanted out of them? 

We must always examine our motives to make sure we’re being KIND and NICE…and always watch out when people SMILE IN YOUR FACE.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

THE BLESSING IN YOUR DARK PAST…

20160922_140012Galatians 1:23

23 They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they glorified God because of me.

Saul/Paul was well-known for persecuting the church.He was well-known and ruthless at it. He was there when they killed the Stephen and gave his full approval (Acts 8:1). Those who were in the church at the time feared him Acts, (9:26) however, among the Jews he was respected, prosperous, and successful…

Galatians 13-14

13 For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it. 14 And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.

…until his encounter with Jesus on his way to Damascus to further persecute the church (Acts 9)

Jesus changed his heart and his mission. God gave Him the gospel…A man who killed Christians! God gave him a special mission only he could accomplish. His name was changed from Saul to Paul and his passion against the church was redirected. There were people who NEEDED to see HIM work for Christ, needed to hear it from him. Not Peter James or John, but Paul. Be sensitive to where and who God sends you. There are people strategically placed in your path who need to hear YOU speak for Christ…see YOU work for Christ and share His love. Not me…Not your Pastor…Not Bishop TD Jakes, but YOU. They knew who you were. They knew how you were. They know what you used to do. They heard how you were. Even if they don’t know you, they may be able to connect with you because of your past…That’s ministry!

So, no matter how DARK your past, God can use it for His glory if you let Him

Galatians 1:15-17

15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, 16 to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.

There’s someone who needs to see the change that God made in your life, and your love and passion for Him, and just as they did Paul, they will glorify God in you (Galatians 1:24).

BE BLESSTIFIED!

OCCUPATION VS PURPOSE

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DON’T BE LIKE JONAH!

Jonah 1:1-3

The Lord spoke his word to Jonah son of Amittai: “Get up, go to the great city of Nineveh, and preach against it, because I see the evil things they do.” But Jonah got up to run away from the Lord by going to Tarshish.

Some jobs are also ministries…teaching, medicine, even law enforcement. Some jobs, in order to do them effectively you must have passion and a heart for people. You’re using your God-given abilities to earn your living. But, most jobs are occupations. They are what we do to sustain our lives, but they can change.

My job is my occupation, but my FAMILY  and my MINISTRIES are my PURPOSE.

Occupations can change, but your PURPOSE is the reason you’re still here. You choose your job…but God chooses your PURPOSE, so work it relentlessly.

The apostles had occupations. They were fishermen(Matthew 4:18-22), tent makers (Acts 18:1-4) and even tax collector (Matthew 9:9-13), but we didn’t get the Gospel because of their occupations. It was because of their purpose.

REMEMBER, Jesus had an occupation. He was a carpenter…WE DIDN’T GET SAVED BECAUSE JESUS WAS A CARPENTER! 

Jonah ran from his purpose and found himself in the belly on a great fish (Jonah 1:17) to get him on task. The men on the ship on which Johah boarded to flee even asked him, “What is your occupation?” (Johah 1:8). Don’t get so occupied with your occupation, that you neglect your purpose. 

Relentlessly pursue your purpose and be ALL God created you to be.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

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