FOR THOSE WHO CRITICIZED STEVE HARVEY FOR MEETING WITH DONALD TRUMP…(a spiritual perspective)

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Months ago comedian, actor, host Steve Harvey was severely criticized for meeting with President Donald Trump at the request of former President Barack Obama.

This post is not to judge or examine his relationship with God, or his motives for meeting with him, but solely to make comment on something I think Christians (Black Christians in particular) should consider.

This post is not about Donald Trump or his controversial predicency. I did write an article addressing Christians and politics called DON’T LET YOUR POLITICS ‘TRUMP’ YOUR FAITH… that you can read by clicking the highlighted link.

Many people were critical and angry saying Mr. Harvey, met with ‘the devil’, ‘the enemy’, a ‘racist’…and feel that he should not have even entertained the invitation.

Mr. Harvey’s meeting with and willingness to work with the President reminded me of two accounts in the bible…Joseph of Genesis and the three Hebrew young men exiled in Babylon with Daniel…Hannaniah, Azariah, and MISHAEL. (Commonly known by the Babylonian names given to them, Schadrach, Mescach and Abednego.


JOSEPH OF GENESIS…

Beginning with Genesis Chapter 37, Joseph was sold away into slavery in Egypt by his own brothers. While in Egypt after serving in the house of a prominent Egyptian citizen named Potiphar and being falsely accused of sexually assaulting his wife, he was thrown into prison, but God blessed Joseph with favor that allowed Him to serve as second in command to the Egyptian Pharaoh , and to rescue his family from starvation…

Pharaoh was a pagan leader that did not worship the God of Israel. The Egyptians also thought themselves to be superior to the Israelites. Had that been today, would HIS people have said?

Don’t serve in Pharaoh’s ‘administration’…

Don’t work for ‘the devil’….

Don’t work for ‘the enemy’…

Don’t work for ‘a racist’…

Reject the offer to serve under him.

However, had Joseph not accepted that ‘invitation’, he would not have been in position to save His people.


HANANIAH, AZARIAH and MISHAEL

The book of Daniel Chapter 1 gives us an account of when the Hebrews were taken captive into Babylon, among them, Daniel, Hananiah, Azariah and Mishelle.

They were ‘hand picked’ by Nebuchadnezzar to ‘be in his service’. So they were selected to be ‘apprentices’ and learn the Babylonian culture and customs. While in the king’s house, they refused the eat the ‘kings meat’ to sanctify themselves for God and chose to only consume vegetables and water. They excelled above all others who were chosen to the Glory of God and went into ‘the kings service’.

Daniel 1:5 (NIV)

 The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service.

The fact that they were captives would not have prevented people from being critical. The Babylonians thought themselves to be superior to the Jews. Nebuchadnezzar did not serve the one and only true living God. Even though they were captives they still could have refused this ‘invitation’, even if it meant death. Had that been today, would THEIR people have said?

Don’t serve in Nebuchadnezzar’s ‘administration’…

Don’t work for ‘the devil’…

Don’t work for ‘the enemy’…

Don’t work for ‘a racist’…

Reject the offer to serve under him.

It’s not our place to say whom God is or is not choosing to be used in certain positions of influence. Many people harshly villified ‘Steve Harvey’s’, including many of his peers in the industry.

We must be careful of how we judge situations. Christians readily spit out the cliché, “God works in mysterious ways”, but sometimes are the very ones who criticize how or who He chooses to do it.

I know this is old news now, but I like to give the air time to cool, give people time to reflect, so we can have a productive conversation. Plus…I didn’t get this viewpoint until well after the meeting had occurred.

I’m not saying that Steve Harvey is Joseph…or one of the Hebrew young men, but simply instead of being critical, why not just ask God to make the meeting fruitful?

BE BLESSTIFIED!

HUSBAND OF A GOOD TEACHER: TEACHERS ARE PARENTS TOO…

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My wife is a seasoned, dedicated teacher of almost 20 years. She has won awards, consistently received praise from parents, and administration. Her evaluations are always at the highest level. She has nothing to prove…at school.

But, she has felt guilty about has she given enough attention to her own children. THIS IS because of the evolving accessibility and expectation to and of teachers these days.

When I was in school during the 70s and 80s, parents had to request a meeting with teachers or wait for parent teacher conferences. Now…through email, parents have more and more 24-access to teachers through emails, and many are pressured by administration to be responsive. Even if they don’t respond, once you get an email, it’s on your mind. This takes away from her home experience with her own children.

Teachers have more duties beyond the classroom than ever before…

They’re expected to be parents, analysts, administrators, coaches, trainers, babysitters both in the evenings and through the summer.

All this while remaining on the bottom of the pay scale in their school systems.

If they complain, they’re frowned upon…not fair!

Being a dedicated teacher should never mean putting your job before your own family…and should not be expected.

I just want everyone to remember that teachers are parents too. That space should be respected and protected.

Teaching is a ministry!

Romans 12:6-7(NKJV)

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching;

BE BLESSTIFIED!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY “GOOD THING”! (My BAYBEEE!!!)

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Proverbs 18:22 (NKJV)

He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the Lord.

22

If anyone deserves a special day, it’s my beautiful wife!

We’ve been sharing life together for over 30 years! Our 30th anniversary is this September.

She keeps the air filled with her joyous laughter…the perfect audience for my silliness.

She’s been an awesome mother to our three children, often sacrificing her happiness for theirs.

This woman of God is not must my wife, but my best friend and partner in ministry.

But, God wasn’t so selfish as to just give her to us…she’s a phenomenal Gospel Jazz artist with a smooth, crystal clear voice that is anointed to bless YOU. She’s my partner in ministry as she sings the songs God has placed on my heart to write…my partner in taking God’s message beyond the four walls of the traditional church to meet people where they are.

You can help me celebrate by ‘Baby Girl’ on her birthday an beyond while you bless yourself…

Search her online and download, stream and share her smooth, inspirational jazzy singles…

“Urgent” (a soulful charge of the Great Commission)

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/urgent-single/id976589931

“Thanks for Loving Me Too” (a beautiful ballad about God’s love)

https://www.amazon.com/Thanks-Loving-Too-Full-Version/dp/B0159JXRJ2

“Walk with Me (Never Alone)” ( A fresh, upbeat jazzy arrangement of an old favorite)

Her music is on iTunes, Amazon, Apple Music, Spotify, iHeart Radio, YouTube…just search Mechelle Johnson spelled with an (e).

Y’all know I have to represent her if no one else does!!!!!

I’m not ashamed to say I love this woman and pray God let’s her bless my life many more years!

So, help me celebrate my GOOD THING!

BE BLESSTIFIED!

 

 

WARNING: SPIRITUAL NUDITY INSIDE…

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Most of us clean up really well. We put on our public faces. We play the role. Some people go about their daily tasks with such a level of confidence, professionalism and excellence that you would think they are close to faultless.

They are always perfectly groomed…

Their credit score is 800,000,000…

They always know the right thing to say…

Their focus is surgical…

Their anointing is nearly biblical.

They are never shaken by anything.

Do you know someone like that?

Watching these people can make you feel…

Unqualified…

Inadequate…

Ugly…

Weak…

Unproductive…

Unfocused…

Insecure…

Naked.

But God sees ALL of us as we really are.

We all stand NAKED before God.

Even the most fit person has some physical imperfections that they don’t want anyone to see when they’re naked.


God sees us all spiritually NAKED.

Jeremiah 17:10 (NKJV)

10 I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings


He sees our heart and our motives of WHY we do what we do.

He sees our secret anxieties and insecurities.

He knows when we’re second-guessing ourselves.

He knows those thoughts that make us most ashamed.

He knows our secrets that we hope are never revealed.

He sees us as we REALLY are when we aren’t ‘cleaned up.

He sees us NAKED.

That’s why we should NEVER take the fact that God sent the Living Word as His Son to serve as PROPITIATION for our sins for granted.

1 John 2:2 (NKJV)

2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

Propitiation means that Jesus covered our guilt and our sin. It means that Jesus served as a substitute, appeasing the wrath of God for all of our sins.

God knows on our best day we mess up and stand NAKED before Him.

Stop right now and thank the Lord Jesus Christ for covering your spiritual nakedness.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

DON’T BLINK OR YOU’LL MISS THE LITTLE THINGS!

From the archives…

BE BLESSTIFIED!

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Please do me a favor. Do your best to AVOID BLINKING AS YOU READ THIS POST. I will make this short and sweet.

Many times we classify blessings as LITTLE and BIG. God has blessed us so abundantly with our wants, that sometimes we get our WANTS and NEEDS confused.

So, I encourage you to stop right now and thank God for the LITTLE THINGS in life that we sometimes overlook, look past or just don’t see…those things we sometimes take for granted. Many are right before our eyes.

If you’re having trouble thinking of any LITTLE THINGS…go ahead and blink your eyes now if you already haven’t.

Doesn’t that feel better?

Looks like the little things aren’t that little after all:-)

Psalm 103:1-2 NKJV

Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
2Bless the Lord, O my soul,

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NO DRAMA TODAY!

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EVENING EPIPHANY…
Remember this…

Just because someone auditions you for their drama…it doesn’t mean you have to accept the role.

No drama today!


Proverbs 20:3 (NIV)

It is to one’s honor to avoid strife,
    but every fool is quick to quarrel.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

YOU MISSED IT…

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Out of everything you experienced today…there’s much more that you’ve missed.

Out of all you saw, you missed what was behind you.

Out of all the sounds you heard, there were many more that didn’t enter your ears.

Out of everything you touched, there was more beyond your reach.

Out of all you smelled, most didn’t make it to your nose.

Out of all you tasted, there’s a world of flavors you didn’t savor.

Out of all our senses, none of us have enough SENSE to grasp everything.

No matter how much reading you did, there were still more words left to read.

No matter where you went, there were still more places left to go.

Out of all your thoughts, there can only be one on your mind at a time.

No one can know it all…

There will always be something you MISS…

Something that goes over your head…

Something you NEVER experience.

We’re too carnal…

Selfish…

Arrogant…

Impulsive…

Careless…

Proud…

Too human to handle IT ALL.

Even the genius DOESN’T know more than he or she knows…

Even the most anointed ALWAYS misses something.

Out of everything we understand, God has enough wisdom to make us MISS much more.

1 Corinthians 13:9 (NKJV)

 For we know in part and we prophesy in part.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

 

FREE YOURSELF NOW…

A BEBLESSTIFIED.COM EVENING EPIPHANY…
Remember this…


No matter what anyone has done to you. You can STOP being upset as soon as YOU get ready.

Free yourself NOW!


Ephesians 4:31-32(NKJV)

31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

BE BLESSTIFIED

STAYING ENCOURAGED CAN BE HARD WORK…

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Have you ever been tired and didn’t know why?

You’re not sad. You’re not depressed. You trust God. You even laugh and smile though everything isn’t ideal in your life.

You’re tired, yet still lie awake at night.

Are you stressed? No, not really because you trust God.

When someone tells you, “Be encouraged!” You say, “You know what? When I think about it…i really am encouraged.”

So why are you tired? Why do you feel drained?

That’s why…because you ARE encouraged.

Sometimes, it takes great effort to stay encouraged.


Being encouraged in difficult circumstances takes more than just ‘mustard seed faith’.

Staying encouraged can be spiritual, mental and psychological HEAVY LIFTING.


Especially when you’re not only carrying the weight of your own burdens, but you’re also encouraging those around you.

How many times have you been down and either no one else knew, or you knew there was nothing that no one else could do? So, you encouraged yourself in the Lord.

If you’re both tired but encouraged today, I pray that God renews your strength and refreshes  your mind body and spirit in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)

31 But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

 

FOR THOSE WHO FEEL IT’S TAKING TOO LONG FOR THINGS TO ‘TAKE OFF’ FOR THEM…

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You finally did it. You have begun fulfilling the purpose that God has for your life.

You’ve birthed your vision. You’ve pushed it out. You’ve planted the seeds and you’re anxious to see the results, to see the fruit and yes, to even reap some of the harvest.

But, you’re discouraged because it’s taking so long. You’re disappointed because the masses aren’t seeing what you see. People aren’t buying into your vision. In fact, some are rejecting it.

It begins to make you doubt…did I hear God right? Is this my purpose? Is this what He’s called me to do? If so…wouldn’t it be easier than this?


Let me give you a quick word of encouragement.


The fact that it’s taking so long. The fact that you’re being met with so much resistance could be your CONFIRMATION that it’s from God.

Think about it…anything that is BIRTHED has to first go through it’s infancy stage. Babies don’t walk or run when they’re first born. Toddlers aren’t able to take care of themselves. They have to be fed…nurtured. Yes, they’re full of potential but they really don’t even yet resemble what they will be when they mature.

Any seed that’s planted doesn’t sprout up immediately. It has to be fertilized and watered. It has to be nourished. It then breaks through the ground and grows ONLY by the light of the SUN. Neither the seed, nor the small plant resembles what it will one day be.

Look at our Lord Jesus Christ. He used twelve men to birth His church. It started small. It met great resistance. It took years and persecution for the church to become what it is today. And, even today, God’s church isn’t totally what He would have it to be.

Seedtime and Harvest…

Genesis 8:22 (KJV)

While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

Even though many have perverted this scripture to reduce the Gospel to prosperity…there is a time and a season for everything…

Ecclesiastes 3:1 (KJV)

 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven

God didn’t even send His Son until it was time…

Galatians 4:4-7 (KJV)

 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

When’s your time? Your time is now…it just hasn’t reached it’s fullness. What did Jesus tell Mary at the wedding…

John 2:4 (NKJV)

Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.”

Now look at what He told His disciples…

John 7:6 (NKJV)

Then Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready.

So, if you feel it’s taking too long for your vision to manifest…don’t give up. Keep nurturing it. Keep feeding it. Keep watering it. Even when no one else understands. Some days you will be the only one who can see it…that’s why God gave it to you.

Celebrate the small victories and confirmations that God gives you. You will need them to get through the difficult days…to keep you encouraged when confronted with doubters.

Of course as humans, there are moments when we want our doubters to see that God is the source of our vision…we want to share some of the Lord’s glory when it manifests.

So…


Be ready not to just wait ON the Lord, but wait LIKE the Lord.


Jesus went to the cross over 2,000 years ago, and some of those present that day left thinking they had won. He allowed them to go home thinking they had defeated Him.

If you think things are taking too long to take off for you, think about this…

If Jesus can wait for His glory, so can you.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

THERE’S A THIN LINE BETWEEN GOOD HEALTH AND NARCISSISM…

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There’s thin line between narcissism and good health…between being healthy and vanity.

Between discipline and self worship…

Between keeping your temple healthy for God and provoking others to lust or envy…

Between putting in hard work and eating right and being lazy by wanting a ‘magic’ pill to do all the work.

There’s nothing wrong with exercise and eating right in an effort to be healthy and even look good, but we must be honest with ourselves about our motives.

What are you thinking about while you’re running…lifting weights…at the gym…taking that ‘weight loss’ pill? Are your thinking about how HEALTHY you will be or how SEXY you will be?

Do we put as much effort into making sure our spirit looks good to God as we put into making sure our bodies looks good in our clothes (or out of them)?

Yes, there’s a thin line between narcissism and good health.

Here’s Proof!

Think about the commercials and ads that you see and hear…

Companies spend millions of dollars on research to gain insights advertise on what’s important to consumers. What drives people? What provokes them to make a buying decision.

How many gyms, spas, fitness centers, diet plans, diet pills etc. do you hear advertising about BEING HEALTHY?


Most of the time their pitch is…

Look good!

Be sexy!

Look younger!

Sexy abs.

Sexy bun.

Sculpted arms.


You rarely if ever hear or see ads that say…

Get your blood pressure under control!

Reduce your cholesterol!

Surprise your doctor!

How about this one? How many times have you heard them simply say…

“Feel better!”

Most of the time they are trying to appeal to our sense of vanity.

God wants us to be healthy, as well as look healthy, but we must be very careful that we don’t let our society’s obsession with youth, looking good and being sexy pervert our motives.

We can’t let our workout routines and habits turn into our personal rituals of worshipping ourselves.

Remember what the bible says…

1 Timothy 4:8 (NKJV)

 For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

 

 

YOUR MOST PEACEFUL PLACE IS PORTABLE..

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Do you have a place where you feel more at peace? Your home? Your room? The beach? Fishing on the lake? Your church? The gym?

Somedays, if you can just get to your ‘peaceful place’, you’ll be okay. But, unfortunately we don’t always have access to our sanctuary when we need it…

That’s why God gave us the priceless benefit of access to Him through prayer.

I think one of the reasons that God allows trouble is to encourage us to come to Him…

Psalm 50:15 (NKJV)

15 Call upon Me in the day of trouble;

I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.”

When we praye, we’re supposed to shut out the world and focus on an intimate conversation with our Heavenly Father(Matthew 6:6).

When we learn to to this, there is an unspeakable peace that comes from that conversation.

We discover that in His presence there truly is the fullness of joy…

Psalm 16:11 (NKJV)

11 You will show me the path of life;

In Your presence is fullness of joy;

At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore

In His presence is the fullness of joy.

The awesome thing is you can pray anywhere, anytime…

Working at your desk…

While driving with your eyes open…

In the middle of a meeting…

While getting a speeding ticket…

You don’t have to get on your knees. You don’t have to talk out loud. You just have to reach out to God. It doesn’t have to be a deep conversation full of complicated theological terms…just a sincere conversation. Even a simple, “Lord have mercy on me” can speak peace into your chaotic day.

Think about all of the unhealthy ways some people  ‘escape’ reality…

Drugs…

Alcohol…

Sex…

Food…

Shopping…

The beautiful thing about prayer is that it is the only ‘escape’ from reality that can either…

Solve your problems…

Give you the strength to deal with your problems…

Or, give you peace in your problems…

So no matter where you are…at work, in a stressful meeting, school, running errands, stuck in traffic – it doesn’t matter…

You always have access to your ‘peaceful place’.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

WHY DOES GOD ‘TEST’ US WHEN HE ALREADY KNOWS…

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Why does God test us when He already knows what we will do?

He doesn’t have to ‘find out’ how strong we are…He already knows.

He doesn’t have to see what we will choose…He already knows.

Yes, God tests us so WE can see how strong we are…or aren’t. Just like any other assessment, tests let us know where we stand, and where we need to grow.

Tests allow others to benefit from witnessing our strength, and to learn from our mistakes…

However, there is one more reason God tests us that is so obvious in scripture, but we if we aren’t careful we’ll miss it…


God somtimes wants to prove a point to the enemy.

God knows the outcome beforehand, but the enemy doesn’t.


The enemy thinks he can tempt you to do anything he wants and put God to open shame.

God loves it when we prove the enemy wrong ‘to his face’. Much like if an attractive rival tempts your spouse. This rival taunts you and tells you he or she can have your spouse any time they wish. You know for yourself that your spouse is attracted to the rival, but they still don’t give in. You didn’t have to make prevent your spouse from giving in…they willingly rejected the rival.

This happened ‘in a sense’ with Job…

Job 1:8-12

8 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”

9 So Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? 10 Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!”

12 And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.

Next time you’re tested, put your name in Job’s place…

“Consider my servant ________.”

Show the enemy that he doesn’t know you better than God does.

Let God prove to the enemy, that you’re stronger than he thinks.

Make God shine in the face of the enemy.

2 Timothy 2:3-5 (NKJV)

You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

WE PROVE WE WOULD DIE FOR CHRIST BY LIVING FOR HIM…

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We all make claims sometimes. We all make promises…

Unfortunately, there are times when we prove our claims are just words…and our promises, though not necessarily empty, went unfulfilled.

We all know about how Peter ‘claimed’ he was ready to die with Jesus, but the Lord quickly told Peter that he would deny Him three times before morning…

Matthew 26:33-35 (NKJV)

33 Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.” 34 Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” 35 Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” And so said all the disciples.

But, God expects that of us sometimes because we are human, and though we may mean well, we often fall short.

Matthew 26:41 (NIV)

41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”


For example, one claim that we as Christians often proclaim is that if put in the position…we would die for Christ.

However, most of us never get the ‘opportunity’ to prove it…or do we?


How much do you sacrifice for the Lord…daily? (1 Corinthians 15:31)

How much do you deny yourself in following Him…daily? (Luke 9:23)

How much of YOU do you give up for Him…daily? (Matthew 19:21)

How much do you do for ‘the least of them’ (who are Him)…daily? (Matthew 25:31-46)

How many unbelievers do you reach out to, or believers do you encourage…daily? (Matthew 28:19)

You don’t have to die to lay down your life for Christ or your ‘brother’. (John 15:13) Click here to read… YOU DON’T HAVE DIE TO LAY DOWN YOUR LIFE FOR SOMEONE…

Going back to my example of Peter…his denial of Jesus wasn’t the end of the story. He went on to live His life for Christ, putting it on the line to spread the Gospel.

Remember this…

YOU PROVE YOU WOULD DIE FOR CHRIST…BY LIVING FOR HIM!

BE BLESSTIFIED!

 

WHEN NO ONE SEES YOU CRY…

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How many tears have you shed that no one saw but you?

You may have been…

Hurt…

Troubled…

Betrayed…

Ignored…

Misunderstood…

Mistreated…

Belittled…

Embarrassed…

Left Out…

Ridiculed…

Broke…

Sick…

You were ‘in your feelings’ DEEPLY…in your feelings.

You may have hoped that someone walked up…stopped by…called…or saw you just in time to let you know that they cared.

But,

No one came…

No one stopped…

No one called…

No one saw…

You cried alone. You got yourself together. You moved on.

How we handle those silent tears proves how real God really is to us.

God see’s our tears…all of them. Is it good enough for you to know that He saw your tears and He cares?

Do you really get comfort from knowing that God saw you and heard you?

Too many times we claim that God is real to us, but how often have you not felt truly comforted until you talked to a ‘real’ person?

There are some moments that are meant to be just between you and God. That’s when He’s most real in your life.

God sees every tear you cry. The next time that you’re shed tears all by yourself, remember…you’re not alone.

1 Peter 5:7 (NKJV)

casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REMEMBER: ‘GOING THROUGH’ IS STILL…GOING!

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Are you GOING THROUGH something?

Have you ever had days that you just wanted to give up?

Give up on your dreams? Your vision?

Give up on your hopes? Your goals?

Have you ever wanted to give up on your marriage? Your children?

Have you ever just wanted to drop everything and walk off your job?

Are there days when you feel your money will never be right?

Have you ever wanted to give up on your health?

Do you have a weakness that are soooo strong that sometimes you tell yourself…

Why try?

Just a quick word of encouragement…please don’t give up!

Look at what God told Joshua after the death of Moses as Israel was poised to enter their promise.

Joshua 1:5-9 (NKJV)

 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Even though they were about to enter their promise, God told them that they would still GO THROUGH some things. But, the same divine encouragement God gave them holds true for us today.

Slow and steady is still moving forward!

It always takes energy to MOVE UP than to fall!

If you’re struggling, it means you still have some fight left in you.

No matter how tough it seems, keep your faith in God…Faith your way forward!

REMEMBER…

GOING THROUGH IS STILL…GOING!

 

BE BLESSTIFIED!

BE READY FOR THE DAYS YOU WON’T WANT TO HEAR FROM GOD…

If you haven’t already had them they’re coming…those days you DON’T want to hear or read the Word of God.
Do you love God? Yes!
Do you love His word? Yes!
Do you trust Him? Yes!
Are you turning away? No!
But, some days you feel…

So heavy…

So dark…

So busy…

So distracted…

So discouraged…

So apathetic…

So numb…

So upset with God…

That you know you need to read…need to pray…need to hear a word from God, but when you’re honest with yourself…You just don’t feel like it. You just don’t want to.
Someone may come to you with an encouraging word, and you just aren’t in the mood to hear it.

It’s time to go to church, but you just don’t want to go.

Were you always in the mood for a pep talk from your parents? Of course not, but that doesn’t mean you don’t love and respect them.

Psalm 119 and verse 11 is short, powerful and true.

Psalm 119:11(NIV)

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

When you regularly read, study and live by God’s word, you’re consuming it. It becomes a part of you…hidden in your heart.

Not only does it help you avoid sin when you’re strong, but it sustains you and keeps you when you’re weak.

Will you make mistakes? Yes.
Will you have moments when quite frankly, don’t want to hear it? Yes.


There will be days when you’re feelings and your faith don’t agree!


But, when God’s word is hidden in your heart, that longing for His word and presence will always rise back up.
Read Psalm 42…. In the midst of deep distress and discouragement, the psalmist remembers the joy of fellowship and intimacy with God.
So, don’t stop with this devotional…

Read and study your bible TODAY.

Pray and talk to your heavenly Father. Tell Him how much you love Him. Thank Him for His unfailing love and faithfulness…

Because the day will come when you will need today’s worship to sustain you.
Some of you who are willing to admit it already know what I mean.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

 

HOW PRINCE INSPIRES ME AS A CHRISTIAN…

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Prince’s music is definitely a huge part of the soundtrack of my life, especially my younger days. I enjoy the genius of his artistry..He wasn’t just a singer, but a singer/performer/entertainer/entrepreneur/activist/philanthropist. His influence on music, fashion and culture is undeniable.

It’s also very evident that Prince, as we all do, had a strong spiritual side and a strong carnal side. He wrote songs that were sexually explicit as well as songs that were beautiful and spiritual, such as “God”, which was the B-Side to “Purple Rain” (for younger readers who may not know, a B-Side was another song on the opposite side of the single of a vinyl record). In fact, sometimes Prince was a spiritual paradox…again, as we all have been.

The purpose of this post isn’t to judge Prince’s spirituality or his carnality, but how both inspire me.

Many of you may be thinking, how can a man of God be inspired by carnality? Well, remember Luke 16: 1-12, “The Parable of the Unjust Steward”?

Luke 16 (NKJV)

He also said to His disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and an accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. 2 So he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’

3 “Then the steward said within himself, ‘What shall I do? For my master is taking the stewardship away from me. I cannot dig; I am ashamed to beg. 4 I have resolved what to do, that when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.’

5 “So he called every one of his master’s debtors to him, and said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ So he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ 7 Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ So he said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ 8 So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light.

9 “And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home. 10 He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?

Notice that the rich man (representing God in this parable) commended the unjust steward or manager. The steward acted very shrewdly in regard to the rich man’s money. Jesus proclaimed that “the children of this world are more shrewd (wiser in some translations) in THEIR GENERATION than the sons of light”. In other words, Jesus was saying that there are some lessons that Christians can learn from ‘the world’…that’s another post that’s coming soon.

When I look at the life of Prince and the way he pursued and released what was inside of him…the way he made the most of his talents and gifts… I’m inspired in my pursuit of ministry and releasing what God has placed inside of me.

Prince’s Gifts and Talents

Prince was one of the most gifted individuals of our time, THAT WE KNOW OF. I say “that we know of” because there are probably scores of other gifted individuals out there that will let their talents and abilities die with them. Gifts and talents are no good if we allow them to remain dormant…or keep them to ourselves. God gives us gifts and talents so we can use them to reveal His glory to the world, and as tools to build His Kingdom. Prince didn’t allow his gifts to remain dormant or to himself. He didn’t come from ‘money’. He wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He didn’t allow circumstances or excuses to negate his gifts. He FOUND WAYS to make it happen…

That inspires me to do the same for God.

Prince’s Vision

God drives home the importance of vision in Habakkuk 2:1-3…

 Then the Lord answered me and said:

“Write the vision, And make it plain on tablets,
That he may run who reads it.

For the vision is yet for an appointed time;
But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie.
Though it tarries, wait for it;
Because it will surely come,
It will not tarry.

Prince had vision of where he wanted to go. He had a clear picture of where, what and who he wanted to be. Vision is a snapshot of how you see yourself in the future, and it is what drives you to reach the smaller goals along the way to get to your destination. No one can move with the trajectory and momentum of Prince, even through setbacks, without vision…

That also inspires me in ministry.

Princes Dedication to Perfection

In the bible, perfection in regard to man, isn’t flawless, but mature (Teleios, Strong’s Concordance). It means being ‘perfect’ for each level as you progress, as a 4th grader who is ready to be promoted to 5th grade…not yet ready for high school, but perfect for the current level. Prince honed his talents and the talents of those around him. He consistently got better, and he made those around him better. As an instrumentalist, song writer, producer, performer, entertainer, he was never satisfied. He always strove for perfection. This is what we should do as Christians. We should always be growing, maturing and perfecting the gifts and talents that God gives us…

This inspires me as a minister, songwriter, writer, husband, father, man of God.

Prince’s Boldness

It was clear that Prince had the boldness to do what he felt he needed to do to be seen and promote who and how he wanted to be perceived. Of course coming on stage almost naked, and using profanity was not good or Godly. In an interview with Tavis Smiley, Prince stated that he did a lot of things early in his career to be as “flashy” and as”noisey” as he could be to deal with and compensate for getting teased in school. He focused on getting better at what he did to deal with the pain of his past. His boldness to write what he felt, perform as he felt, dress as he felt is what gave him his platform. After signing with Warner Brothers, after being offered one of the hottest producers in the industry at the time, Maurice White, he insisted on producing himself….now that’s bold for a teenager…

This inspires me as a minister to be bold for Christ.

Prince’s Influence

Prince will always be remembered as one of the greatest influences on music, culture, fashion, expression, etc., of our time, and possibly all time. Not only did he set the standard, but he raised the bar. You can hear Prince’s influence in various genres of music. His audience is one of the most diverse of any artist. His influence extends beyond race, gender, culture and ethnicity. He has inspired artistry, professionalism, excellence and greatness in countless others that will continue to shape our world…

This inspires me as a minister, writer and man of God.

Again, this post is not to judge any aspect of his life.

Am I a fan of Prince…Yes.

Do I agree with everything that he did or the way he did it…No.

However,  we have to learn to make the most of the good and bad in all of our lives…and Prince Rogers Nelson is and will remain to be the one of the greatest influences in the life of Minister Aldtric Johnson and my ministry.

Is there someone or something that inspires you in your walk with Christ, that may make others say….”REALLY? Tell me how!” If so, please leave a reply, and tell me how. It may inspire others too.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

ARE YOU BRICKS OR MORTAR?

Sometimes we get discouraged because we aren’t noticed for what we do, even though it is as important as those who get noticed. Every beautiful building needs a strong foundation, but who notices the foundation? 

When we see a beautiful brick home, everyone notices the bricks, but no one notices the mortar holding it together. Who says, “wow look at that beautiful mortar”! No they say, “look at those beautiful bricks”! The cornerstone may have the glory of the names, but no one would see it if it weren’t for the bricks and mortar supporting and holding.

Some of us are bricks and some of us are mortar. Some of us are an architectural roof, and some of us are the foundation. We have been placed in some relationships to hold them up, and hold them together.

Rather than complain, we should recognize that it’s an anointing and an honor.

Christ is our foundation.

David couldn’t have been the mighty warrior that he was without his armor bearer.

There were many disciples and people martyred for the Gospel, and we don’t even know their names.

If you feel you bear the emotional, financial, physical, or spiritual WEIGHT in some of your relationships, then maybe that’s your PURPOSE in those relationships. Maybe that marriage, family, church or organization wouldn’t remain together if it wasn’t for your strength. Romans 15:1 says, We who are strong must bear the infirmities/failings of the weak and not please ourselves.

Let’s stop complaining if we aren’t noticed. Let’s stop complaining if we are bearing the weight in some our relationships, and always remember to thank God for those who are holding us up. If you get upset and fall apart…everything your holding together  and supporting may collapse.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

YOUR MOST PEACEFUL PLACE IS PORTABLE..

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Do you have a place where you feel more at peace? Your home? Your room? The beach? Fishing on the lake? Your church? The gym?

Somedays, if you can just get to your ‘peaceful place’, you’ll be okay. But, unfortunately we don’t always have access to our sanctuary when we need it…

That’s why God gave us the priceless benefit of access to Him through prayer.

I think one of the reasons that God allows trouble is to encourage us to come to Him…

Psalm 50:15 (NKJV)

15 Call upon Me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.”

When we praye, we’re supposed to shut out the world and focus on an intimate conversation with our Heavenly Father(Matthew 6:6).

When we learn to to this, there is an unspeakable peace that comes from that conversation.

We discover that in His presence there truly is the fullness of joy…

Psalm 16:11 (NKJV)

11 You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore

In His presence is the fullness of joy.

The awesome thing is you can pray anywhere, anytime…

Working at your desk…

While driving with your eyes open…

In the middle of a meeting…

While getting a speeding ticket…

You don’t have to get on your knees. You don’t have to talk out loud. You just have to reach out to God. It doesn’t have to be a deep conversation full of complicated theological terms…just a sincere conversation. Even a simple, “Lord have mercy on me” can speak peace into your chaotic day.

Think about all of the unhealthy ways some people  ‘escape’ reality…

Drugs…

Alcohol…

Sex…

Food…

Shopping…

The beautiful thing about prayer is that it is the only ‘escape’ from reality that can either…

Solve your problems…

Give you the strength to deal with your problems…

Or, give you peace in your problems…

So no matter where you are…at work, in a stressful meeting, school, running errands, stuck in traffic – it doesn’t matter…

You always have access to your ‘peaceful place’.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

7 ‘CHURCHY’ CLICHES THAT WE SHOULD BE CAREFUL OF HOW WE SAY…

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If you’ve been in church or been around church people any amount of time, you’ve heard them…

You hear them in church, in songs and in everyday language.

‘Churchy’ clichés.

Those familiar sayings, sometimes one liners, that may not be the same in every church culture, but every church culture has them.

Of course there are many ‘churchy’ sayings that are biblical and encourage us, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But, some aren’t really biblical, and are even sometimes mistaken for scripture.

It’s those that we have to either avoid, or be VERY careful of how we say it, or of our attitude towards it.

Here are 7 ‘CHURCHY’ clichés that we need to be careful of how we say.

  1. GOD HAS NEVER FAILED ME YET (Avoid)…

This one is so NOT biblical, and it’s one word that messes it up…”YET”. It’s true that God has and will never fail us…but where did yet come from? “Yet” implies that God could possibly fail us in the future. It’s catchy, it helps make a song rhyme, but It’s not biblical.

Psalm 136:1 (NKJV)

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
    For His mercy endures forever.

The fact that God’s mercy endures forever means it can NEVER fail.

  1. PRAYER WORKS (BE CAREFUL)…

This one is true, but we’ve got to be careful of how we say it, or our attitude about it. God always answers prayer, and through prayer people are healed, restored, delivered, led to Christ…lives are changed. So what’s the problem? If we are careful, saying ‘prayer works’ in the wrong context or with the wrong frame of mind can reduce prayer to a gimmick…just something else you can try to make things right. This can lessen the true intimacy of conversation with God to be to mindless, superstitious, empty words that we hope changes things. It leads to an, “I’ve tried everything else, so now I’ll try this attitude”.

1 John 5:14(NKJV)

14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

When we pray to God, not only are we talking to Him, but He actually hears and responds. When you start a car, turn on a television, install software or successfully repair something…it WORKS…God RESPONDS. Be careful how you say it.

  1. THIS IS MY SEASON (BE CAREFUL)…

This one is also true, but be careful when you say it. Most of the time we are implying it is our season for Good things. But, the bible teaches us there’s a time and season for EVERYTHING. We have seasons of rest and peace, but we also have stormy seasons and trials. We have seasons of progress and celebration, as well as seasons of consequences and struggle. As one the lyrics to one popular Gospel song says, “This is my season for grace and favor”. This is my season to reap what I have sown.” We must remember that sometimes our ‘grace and favor is NOT reaping what we’ve sown. We must be very careful when proclaim, or sometimes brag, “This is my season!”

  1. WHAT GOD HAS FOR ME IS FOR ME (AVOID)…

This is a very popular cliché, and is even in songs. We’ve got to be VERY careful about approaching God actually and selfishly. Too much “ME”, “MY”, and “I’s” can mean we are leaning too close to covetousness, which is idolatry.

Colossians 3:5(NKJV)

Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

Yes, what God has ordained for you is for you, but too many time this is said from a selfish, I want what’s mine point of view. Plus, everything that, “God has for you” isn’t necessarily pleasant. Some trials, tests, challenges and struggles God has ‘for you and no one else’, but you don’t hear many people singing about that. God had Joseph of Genesis struggle, ‘Just for him. God had Job’s struggle, ‘Just for him’. This isn’t necessarily based on any scripture, and I think it’s best to leave it alone.

  1. I’M BLESSED AND HIGHLY FAVORED (BE CAREFUL)…

This one is true and based on scripture, but we must be careful of our attitude about the phrase and we say it around. Again, we must not say it with a covetous or arrogant attitude. God promised that all things work together for the good of those who love Him and are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). But, the contingency is, those who are called according to His purpose, but some boldly say this inferring their own purpose. The bible also tells us His favor is for life in the same context of His anger and weeping. And, don’t forget, God showed Joseph on Genesis favor while he was in prison for something he didn’t do…

Genesis 39:21(NKJV)

21 But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.

God’s favor is sometimes working things out for our good in very difficult, undesirable circumstances.

Plus, saying ‘blessed and highly favored’ around the spiritually immature can not only make them think God has respect of persons, but make us sound spiritually arrogant, I’ve seen it happen. We need to be careful with this one.

  1. I HAVEN’T ALWAYS BEEN SAVED (BE CAREFUL)…

If this is said with a humble attitude in an effort to encourage someone who is unsaved or weaker to let them know the dramatic change God made in your life…then cool. But, most of the time I’ve heard this said in pride or arrogance, with a threatening tone after they’ve been made angry. I’ve most often heard it said implying they will revert back to the ‘old them’, if prompted. I have more often heard it said with an attitude of they are proud of what they used to be, rather than ashamed, and we all know what God said about that…

James 4:6(NKJV)

But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”

  1. IF I’VE EVER DONE ANYTHING TO OFFEND YOU, PLEASE FORGIVE ME (BE CAREFUL)…

This is often used as an easy ‘way out’ to ask for forgiveness. Too many times people say this either to a group or an individual…the problem is that if it’s a group they fully know EXACTLY WHO IN THE GROUP they hurt, and if it’s an individual, they know EXACTLY WHAT THEY DID. Simply saying, “If” is not good enough…

Matthew 5:23-24(NKJV)

23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

God expects us to go to the person and make things right…and remember, a public embarrassment deserves a public apology.

‘CHURCHY’ clichés sound good, and help define church culture, but we must be very careful how we use them…and know which ones to leave alone.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

 

I DIDN’T SAY IT WAS AN EXCUSE, BUT IT’S THE REASON I DID IT…

Can you tell the difference between a REASON and an EXCUSE?
I was recently in a situation where I was at fault. I was angry, and said something hurtful that I shouldn’t have…

When asked, “How could you say that?” “Why did you say that?” I responded…

“I was angry, I got defensive and I lashed out.”

I was also in a situation in my office where I overlooked something very important, and was asked by my Director at the time, “Why did this happen?” I responded…

“I was really busy and just missed it”.

The above situations involved two different people, but I got the same response both times, a response that I have made myself. The response was…

“That’s not an EXCUSE!”

Again, my response was the same both times…

“ I didn’t say it was an EXCUSE, but it IS the REASON that I did it.”

God invites us in His word to come and reason with Him…

Isaiah 1:18 (NKJV)

 18 “Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.

If God is willing to reason with us, we should be willing to reason with one another, but that involves good communication and a willingness to accept what the other person has to say.

One tool in reasoning together is learning the difference between a REASON and an EXCUSE. It’s inevitable that we will hurt one another from time to time…especially those we love. But, one way to diffuse the disagreement is learning to EXPRESS and ACCEPT the REASONS we do or say things rather than EXCUSES.

My answers above were REASONS…

I was angry…

I was defensive…

I was careless…

I was foolish…

I was inconsiderate…

I felt rushed…

I was unprepared…

I was embarrassed…

I was immature…

I didn’t care enough…

These are all examples of REASONS we might make mistakes or hurt one another.

Here are some examples of EXCUSES…

I’m only human…

Everyone else did it…

I’m just a man (or woman)…

I couldn’t help myself…

You get the picture?

Sometimes people take our REASONS for EXCUSES. Sometimes we try to pass off EXCUSES as REASONS.

We’ll find ourselves on both sides of this discussion so…

Learning the difference between both can help diffuse our arguments, differences, disagreements and help us move on to resolution.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

 

 

 

 

DON’T BE BOLD ENOUGH TO BLAME GOD…

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Sometimes we may be…

Disappointed with God’s answer…

Hurt or confused by what He allows to happen…

Even, angry at His decision!

You might be upset that He did something for someone else that He didn’t do for you…

But,

We must ALWAYS still trust Him!

Job 13:15 (NKJV)

15 Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.

And,

We should NEVER blame Him or charge Him foolishly!

Job 1:22 (NKJV)

22 In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

 

ARE YOU THE SUBTLE LEADER?

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You don’t have the title…

You don’t have the salary…

You don’t have the connections…

You have THEE connection (God)!

You have the influence.

You’re the subtle leader.

Selfish leaders force people to follow…

Subtle leaders quietly influence.

Selfish leaders love to lead…

Subtle leaders lead to love…

Selfish leaders lead out loud.

Subtle leaders live out loud.

Selfish leaders believe in muscle…

Subtle leaders believe in meekness.

Selfish leaders SHOUT to get your attention…

Subtle leaders know a WHISPER forces you to listen.

Selfish leaders love for you to serve them…

Subtle leaders love to serve you…

Selfish leaders want people to look UP to them…

Subtle leaders direct people to look UP to God.

Matthew 23:11-12 (NKJV)

11 But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

3 THINGS THAT WE SHOULD NEVER EXPECT GOD TO DO…

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The Lord gives us the awesome privilege asking Him what we need or desire in His name and, He will answer according to His will.

Sometimes He says YES, and sometimes He says NO.

John 14:13-14 (NKJV)

13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask[a] anything in My name, I will do it.

Even though He said, “Whatever you ask”…there are SOME things that we should NEVER expect God to do. Sometimes we unintentionally ask God to contradict His holy word and His will.

That’s why the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray (Luke 11:1-13).

 This is far from exhaustive, but here are 3 things that we should NEVER expect God to do…


1. FOR GOD TO MAKE YOU STOP DOING WRONG…

I talk about this often. How many times have you heard someone caught up in sin…caught up in a weakness, say…

“Lord, please make me stop doing this!”

or

“Lord, please remove this temptation!”

God never promised to MAKE us stop sinning. He never promised to REMOVE temptations out of our way. Can He do it? Yes, of course, but Jesus died on the cross to GIVE US the power over sin and death. He expects us to make a choice to choose Him over sin. He tells us to put to death (Colossians 3:5)…put off (Colossians 3:8)…put away (Ephesians 4:25, 31)…cleanse ourselves (2 Corinthians 2:7)… lay aside (Hebrews 12:1) those behaviors and sins that displease God. He told us to, STOP ON YOUR OWN!

And, think about it. No one wants to have to force someone they love to choose them over a rival. No one wants to have to force their spouse to be faithful. We want it to be a choice…a personal choice out of love and respect.

When we ask God to make us stop doing wrong, we are saying that we can’t help ourselves.

When we ask God to remove a temptation…there is no commitment, faithfulness or strength in that…it’s taking the easy way out. The desire is still there, the temptation has only been that’s been removed.

There’s no growth or maturity in that!

God wants us to love Him enough to overcome the desire.

We should never ask God to do what He expects us to do what He has empowered us to do for ourselves.

If God has to FORCE you stop sinning…you may not like the way that He does it.


2. FOR GOD TO GIVE YOUR ENEMIES WHAT YOU FEEL THEY DESERVE…

We all have people in our lives who don’t like us, hate us, and sometimes work or even plot against us.

It could be someone who hurt you personally, or it could be someone who hates you because of your family, race, socio-economic status, faith…

It could be someone who abused you, murdered one of your loved ones…who attempted to kill you.

They may have betrayed your love by cheating on you with your best friend…They may have cheated you out of  your life savings…

They may owe you money and act as though they never borrowed it…

There are innumerable ways that we hurt one another, and God knew this when He commanded us to love our enemies.

Matthew 5:43-48 (NKJV)

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,[b] 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren[c] only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors[d] do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

So, we must be very careful to NEVER pray that God gives our enemies what WE feel they deserve. They are God’s child just as you are. He doesn’t love them any less than He loves you. When we hurt one another, we are hurting God. He wants them to submit to His will and commandment to love just as He does you.

Plus, we must admit to ourselves that we have all hurt, betrayed and let down one another. We all have people in our lives that we have given a good reason to ‘not like’ us (DON’T BE TOO HARD ON SOME OF YOUR ‘HATERS’…). This is the main reason why we should NEVER pray for God to give our enemies what we feel they deserve…because we are actually placing that same judgement on ourselves.

When we decide someone doesn’t deserve God’s mercy..

When we decide someone is worthy of punishment…That’s condemnation and judgment.

Remember what the Lord said…

Matthew 7:1 (NKJV)

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.

God told us to bear with one another…to have mercy on one another…to forgive one another and to have an attitude of forgiveness, just as He forgives us…

Colossians 3:13  (NKJV)

13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.

Be careful when you wish ill will on your enemies, and NEVER pray for it.


3. FOR GOD TO HELP PEOPLE YOU HAVE THE MEANS TO HELP YOURSELF…

How many times have you seen someone in need and prayed, “Lord, please help them”…and then went on about your business, while you had the means to help them?

Have you ever prayed or heard someone ask God bless the people in hospitals, nursing homes and prisons?

Have you ever told someone, ‘Just let me know if there is anything that I can do to help you, or if you need anything”, when you could clearly see they needed help?

Too many times we will pray for God to help people when we have the means to help them. Sometimes God put them in your path so you can be the answer to their prayer.

God expects us to give food, clothing and shelter to those in need. In fact, when we do so, He says we are doing it to Him (Matthew 25:31-45).

 Look at what the book of James says about helping others when addressing faith without works…

James 2:14-17 (NKJV)

 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

There’s nothing I can say to make it anymore clear than that. Now, look at what 1 John says…

1 John 3:17(NKJV)

17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?

We should NEVER pray expect God to miraculously help someone when we have the means to help them ourselves.

Yes, it’s good to pray, but we must always make sure that we are praying or, and not praying for the right things.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

IS ‘OMG’ TAKING GOD’S NAME IN VAIN?

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Just say WOW instead, it takes the same number of letters.

It’s one on the most common acronyms now…OMG! The texting world has infected our day-to-day speech.

Of course you know that OMG is an acronym for “Oh My God!

These days, people very casually say “OMG” to express surprise, astonishment, amazement, shock, disbelief, etc., without any thought they are referring to God.

But, OMG isn’t just referring to God…it proclaims to “MY” God! The one true and living God!

We all know that the bible commands that we don’t take the NAME of the Lord in vain…

Exodus 20:7 (NKJV)

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

 

…but does OMG do that? It’s not like using His name when cursing, as so many people do…is it?

Well, what is GOD’S name? God is referred to by names that convey His essence…Yahweh, Elohim, I AM.

And, what is taking His name in vain? It’s MISUSING it…reducing it…blaspheming it…

But, taking His name in vain goes beyond the misuse of the combination of consonants and vowels by which He is called… but His essence, His character, His personality… His authority.

When we call Him ‘God’, we are saying who and what He is…, and that is His name.

Exodus 3:14 (NKJV)

14 And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

 

We are only to make reference to Him in respect, honor and reverence….never casually…never flippantly.

When God commanded that He be referred to only in reverence provided a necessary boundary to protect the His honor due to His name and authority.

Some expressions should only be used when we are crying out to God, in humility or with an attitude of worship.

Be careful how you say, write, type or text…

“Oh my God!”

“Oh my Lord!”

“My God!”

“Lord have mercy!”

“OMG!”

“Good God!” should only be proclaimed when you REALLY mean ‘God is good’.

Even “Hallelujah!” …Jah (Yah) in Hallelujah is referring to God. (This is said much too casually in many popular secular songs)

Too many Christians are accepting as okay being down right silly when referring to the one true living God…

“Oh Lawd!”

“Oh Lort!”

“Lawd ham mercy!”…

Are all disrespectful and beneath God’s holiness.

Think of the when Jesus cried out, “My God!” on the cross…

Matthew 27:46 (NKJV)

46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?

Remember…you don’t have to say the horrible “GD” word to take God’s ‘name’ in vain.

Whenever you see or hear “OMG”…notice the context and ask yourself, “Did that honor God?” “Was that in humility?” “Was that necessary?”

Just say “Wow!” instead…it takes the same number of letters.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

 

LET’S BE REASONABLE…

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If God is willing to REASON with us, how dare we not reason with one another…

If God is willing to FORGIVE us, how dare we not forgive one another…

If God is PATIENT with us, how dare we be impatient with one another…

If God LOVES us unconditionally, how dare we place conditions on one another…

Because how we treat one another, is actually how we treat Him.

Isaiah 1:18 (ESV)

18 “Come now, let us reason[a] together, says the Lord:

though your sins are like scarlet,

    they shall be as white as snow;

though they are red like crimson,

    they shall become like wool.

Ephesians 4:32 (ESV)

32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Romans 5:8N (NKJV)

8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 2:4 (NKJV)

4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

Matthew 25: 40,45 (ESV)

40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[f] you did it to me.’

45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’

BE BLESSTIFIED!

THE UNAPPRECIATED SACRIFICE…

A son became estranged to his single father. The father worked many hours to take care of his son and daughter and was either unable or too tired to spend the time with them that he would have liked to. The son resented his father and felt the he was never there, but the daughter understood. Both children went on to accomplish great things because of their father’s sacrifice.

 The son would often give credit to everyone along the way who helped him but never his father. The daughter not only honored their father, but would often plead with her brother to be reconciled him. The grandchildren also went on to accomplish great things. The grandfather would watch on television as his son and grandchildren were often recognized for all they did. The son nor his children ever visited the father, but he still had joy in his heart as he looked on all they had done.

One day the daughter told the dad she regretted how her brother treats him, and she wouldn’t give up until they were reconciled. She also asked him how he had such peace. He told her that he appreciates her, and that he gets enough joy from her love for the both of them. He then said just because his son doesn’t acknowledge my sacrifice or love doesn’t take away the fact that everything he’s accomplished was because of him. It doesn’t take away the fact that his son or his son’s children  all came from him. The father said,  “Would I love relationship and acknowledgment ? Of course! But I have peace that I did right by the responsibility God gave me, if my son chooses not to give me love, honor or acknowledgment, is between him and God…I’m at peace.”

Jesus shows His love to those who don’t appreciate His sacrifice, acknowledge Him, love Him or honor Him. He allows the sun to shine on the just and unjust. That’s why the bible says, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!”(Psalm 107:2)

It’s our responsibility and should be our joy to tell the world how much we appreciate the Lord Jesus, and let the everyone know what He’s done for us and them. Just as the daughter made it her mission to make sure her brother was reconciled with their father, that’s what God expects us to do with His children who don’t acknowledge Him…

2 Corinthians 5:20

“Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.”

BE BLESSTIFIED!

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