Just because someone auditions you for their drama…it doesn’t mean you have to accept the role.
No drama today!
3 It is to one’s honor to avoid strife,
but every fool is quick to quarrel.
3 It is to one’s honor to avoid strife,
but every fool is quick to quarrel.
“Blessed be the Lord my Rock,
Who trains my hands for war,
And my fingers to do battle”
Men and women of God, TODAY IS TRAINING DAY FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIVES! God is training you for spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:12). Today is another opportunity to get familiar with and get better at using your weapons (Ephesians 6:10-18).
You will be confronted with situations and challenges that will determine not only your future, but the future of those you love and the future of your fruit, you know, those who God assigns to you along the way.
Just like in the movie starring Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke, the new detective (Ethan Hawke) was assigned to a veteran detective (Denzel Washington) for training. The new detective had a good heart, but he was confronted with and partnered with the devil (Denzel) on his first day. The entire day was a string of situations that required Ethan Hawke’s character to make the right decision, and the decision wasn’t always easy. At the end of the day, the decisions made by both determined their future, and the devil tried to sabotage the new detective’s future. Ethan Hawke’s character’s decisions saved his lost, while Denzel Washington’s character’s decisions cost him his life.
Who will you be at the end of the day? Ethan Hawke or Denzel Washington? The devil is trying to sabotage your day. Just as He did Jesus in the wilderness in Matthew 4:1-11. He is trying to get you to make decisions in one day to high-jack your future. He goes about as roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). He is trying to steal, kill and destroy your testimony, your fruit and your future. Jesus, Yeshua, the Living Word, has come that you can live an abundant life (John 10:10). But, that abundant life shouldn’t be just thought of carnally. God had called us to be abundant in fruit for the Kingdom, in making disciples and Kingdom building. He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).
So be encouraged, you are guaranteed the victory if you walk in the Spirit and are led to make the right decisions throughout the day (Galatians 5:16-18). Remember, that one bad decision at the end of the day can negate all the good decisions made earlier that day.
God is your training officer. He is preparing you for battle (Psalm 144:1). TODAY is your TRAINING DAY. Be strong in the Lord, fight the enemy with the word of God, just as Jesus did in Matthew 4:1-11, and the enemy will flee…but just as he left Jesus until another opportune time, he will be back….Tomorrow will be TRAINING DAY too.
It’s interesting to me how we sometimes expect more of one another than God expects of us.
Those who are against athletes kneeling during the National anthem complain they are disrespecting the American flag and service men and women who have fought for it.
Those who support kneeling contend it’s a peaceful protest to bring attention to police brutality against African-Americans.
The protest escalated when the President of the United States used his podium and position of authority to call athletes who choose to kneel sons of b*****s. This is not only insulting them but their mothers. It amazes me that so many ‘Christians’ (especially Christian leaders) are not offended at that.
My question is this. Why is kneeling considered disrespectful?
God allows us to approach Him kneeling, standing, or sitting.
Do you always stand to honor God when you pray?
Do you always stand before God when you read His word?
Jesus did when He read the scripture publicly in the synagogue…do you ALWAYS do likewise?
Luke 4:16 (NKJV)
16 So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.
Respecting a flag and the ideal behind is fine, but I will honor NOTHING more than I honor God.
Many of our traditions and expectations aren’t necessarily ordained by God…but merely traditions.
Remember how Jesus constantly rebuked the Pharisees for expecting more from the people than God did. How he rebuked them for being more passionate about traditions than devotion to God and His expectations.
Matthew 15:3 (NKJV)
3 He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?
In many ways, our country has set traditions that contradict what God commanded.
Think about it…
People are expected to put their hand on a bible and swear an oath to tell the truth when God forbids swearing in that same bible. That makes little since anyway since swearing on a bible means nothing to an unbeliever.
People are expected to take ‘an oath of office’ when God forbids it.
Matthew 5:33-37 (NKJV)
33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.
We must be careful that we don’t have the spirit of the Pharisees. It’s not fair for one base someone else’s patriotism on their expectations, perspective or traditions.
I’m thankful that God allowed me to live to see my 49th birthday today. Wow! Forty-nine years! Seven times seven!
I can feel a sense of transition in my life. Do you know what I mean? Have you ever felt that? Have you ever noticed what some people call coincidences, but believers call confirmations? There are some areas I’ve been moving, but there are some other areas I’ve been stagnate.
There are some things that I have placed before God’s purpose for my life. Have you?
Even though I’m thankful for all I’ve accomplished in life thus far, I still acknowledge…
I’ve wasted some time on foolishness…
I’ve wasted some time neglecting the calling on my life…
I’ve made some bad decisions…
I’ve messed up more than I’ve mastered, but I will make the most of all of it.
I pray that God anoints me to make the most of every day He gives me going forward.
One thing we all share is this generation. Let’s leave behind a strong heritage for our LORD.
Acts 13:36 (NKJV)
36 “For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption;
There was a time when God’s name was referenced more. We need to be careful how we refer to God casually and not in reverence…how we let what is meant to be praise be reduced to idle words. Look at what Jesus said about idle words…
36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
We must make sure that we never play with His praise. Many movies, plays and songs, have turned what is meant to be sincere praise into a joke, or cliché…
7 “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.
For more on this please read…IS ‘OMG’ TAKING GOD’S NAME IN VAIN?
God has blessed us with 30 years together. They all haven’t been glorious, but they have all been blessed. Our faith in God through our Lord and Savior, Yeshua, Jesus Christ is the ONLY reason we are still together.
We absolutely LOVE being together. We share a love for God and old school music that both give us an ‘escape’ right where we are…together.
Now more than ever, we feel it’s important that every marriage inspire other strong marriages. It’s our responsibility to glorify, strong, joyful, life-long godly marriages between a man and woman just as God ordained.
Matthew 19:4-5 (NKJV)
4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made[a]them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’[b] 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?[c]
It doesn’t get more plain than that. So, let God be real in your relationships every day…
Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NKJV)
12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Happy Anniversary to us!!!
If you feel God is placing it on your heart to move, to act, to do something. Test it by the Word of God, pray for wisdom, guidance and protection…then move!
I learned this lesson the hard way several years ago…
One SONday morning while getting ready to go to church I received a phone call from a young friend of mine from jail…
He said, “Brother Al, I need to talk to you brother! I can’t do this! This is my third time being locked up, and I know that I will be away from my family for a very long time. I really need to talk to you!”
I responded, “Okay, I will stop by to talk to you as soon as I get out of church”.
I had ministered to this brother by phone and letters while he was in prison before. My phone would ring and I’d hear… “You have a call from ____________ at the ____________ Center for Corrections.” I would quickly respond, “Yes”.
He was very sincere, and He told me that he had been brought back to Christ while in prison. Not only that, He felt God had called Him to be a minister.
After being released he, came to church and was given the opportunity to preach his first sermon, “Are You Lame” from Acts Chapter 3. His sermon was very good. He then told me he was anxious to go and witness to the people he used to ‘run with’. Those who were his ‘partners in crime’…both figuratively and literally.
I told him, “I admire your passion to reach back and grab them, but PLEASE don’t do it until you’re strong enough, so you aren’t drawn back in. I then reminded him of the warning in the bible…
Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.
1 Corinthians 15:33 (NKJV)
Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”
He did in fact try to reach back, and unfortunately, he got drawn back in. That’s why he was calling me from jail.
Well, as I said…He asked me to come and talk to him that morning, and I told him that I would as soon as I got out of church.
While I was in church, he hung himself and died.
My church should have been at the jail that morning.
I let him down…
I let God down…
For ‘a form of Godliness’…
I missed the entire puropse of what church equips us to do. (Ephesians 4:12)
I missed an opportunity to save a life.
This is one of the reasons Jesus said…
Matthew 9:13 (NKJV)
But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’[a] For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”[
This is one of the reasons the bible says…
James 2:15-17 (NKJV)
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.
This is one of the reasons the bible 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?
And most definitely why Jesus said…
Matthew 25: 31-40 (NKJV)
31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy[c] angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
God told me to move that morning and I ignored Him, because I felt I was doing the right thing. But, had I looked closer at the word of God…I would have quickly gone to the jail.
If you feel God is placing it on your heart to move, to do something, to bless someone, to pray for someone…test it by His word…pray for wisdom, guidance and protection…and do it.
Stand up for RIGHT even if you’re the only one LEFT…
God will ALWAYS be RIGHT there with you.
1 Kings 18:22 (NKJV)
Then Elijah said to the people, “I alone am left a prophet of the Lord; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men.
Luke 8:24-25 (NKJV)
24 And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm. 25 But He said to them, “Where is your faith?”
As the winds blew and the boat began to take on water, the disciples were terrified and Jesus slept peacefully. We can easily be critical of His disciples, but if you are like me, you’ve been shaken by less…much less.
He didn’t ask did they have faith. He did rebuke them of having ‘little’ faith as He did on other occasions. He asked, “WHERE is your faith?”
God gives all of us a measure of faith…
Romans 12:3 (NKJV)
3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
Sometimes it only shows up in small measure…
Matthew 6:30 (NKJV)
Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
And, sometimes it doesn’t show up at all…
Luke 8:25 (NKJV)
But He said to them, “Where is your faith?”
If you think about it, this happens in the physical world quite often.
You get ready to pay for your groceries. You reach in your pocket or purse and realize you left your money at home. “Where is your money?” You didn’t ‘bring it along’ so you don’t have access to it.
Or, you have been working in your yard all day long. A friend calls and asks if you can help them move some furniture. You tell them, “I would but I’m just too tired.” You are strong enough, but right now, you’re just too tired to help. Where is your strength? Just because you’re too tired doesn’t mean you aren’t strong enough.
Or, you know you put your car keys on the kitchen counter, but you can’t find them. Someone placed a dish towel over them, blocking your view. Where are your keys? Just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t there, but at the time you don’t have access to them.
Sometimes we go into situations ‘without our faith…
Sometimes we have gone through so much, our faith can be weaker…
Or sometimes we can let the storms of life (like the disciples) hide or overpower our faith.
None of these situations mean we don’t have faith, we are just denying ourselves access to its power.
Be encouraged. God knows we have weak moments. Don’t let your failures allow the devil to manipulate you into thinking you have no faith.
But, at the same time don’t be satisfied with little faith either. Remember what God has already done for you. Tell others of what God has done for you and remind them of what He’s already done for them. And, do what it takes to grow your faith…Jesus said it very plainly in Matthew 17…
20 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief;[a] for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. 21 However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”[b]
If you’re going through a trial of your faith right now, hang in there or encourage someone else going through…
James 1:2-4 (NKJV)
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
The same God who brought you through past situations can bring you through this one. Just make sure to let the faith you do have….show up.
In case you missed it…
Is your family dysfunctional?
Is there dysfunction on your job?
Is there dysfunction in your church?
Is dysfunction in churches your excuse for not joining and attending?
Dysfunction is an unfortunate ‘norm’ of our imperfect world.
Jesus told His disciples in…
Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?
The disciples were constantly bickering about which of them would be greater (Luke 9:46, Luke 22:44).
Peter denied Christ…
Judas betrayed Him…
Many other disciples left Him when they felt His words and expectations were too difficult John 6:60-66.
In the early days of His earthy ministry, even Jesus’ brothers didn’t believe He was the Christ (John 7:5)…
Even Jesus’ group and family had dysfunction.
Eve was the first one to allow an ‘outside influence’ come between her marriage.
Adam and Eve’s son killed his brother.
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When your GOOD isn’t GOOD enough for some doesn’t mean your GOOD isn’t GOOD enough!
GOD’S GOOD isn’t GOOD enough for some too.
14 And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet.
2 Thessalonians 3:13
But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good.
A hero’s greatest power isn’t in his or her ability to save, rescue, or protect, because even if they ‘fail’ they are still a hero.
Their greatest power is their ability to inspire others through their sincere effort, determination, unselfishness and courage.
In the eyes of many, Jesus failed on the cross that day over 2,000 years ago, but to those of us who believe…He is our hero.
Be someone’s hero today!
2 Corinthians 13:4 (NKJV)
For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you.
Proverbs 11:30 (NKJV)
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,
And he who wins souls is wise.
I have 3 children adult children, who of course, don’t always get along perfectly. Siblings disagree and the bible confirms that. Joseph of Genesis brothers disliked him. Jacob and Esau were rivals over the family blessing and birthright. Even David, a man after God’s own heart, had children who were not only rivals, but extremely dysfunctional.
My children and I’m quite certain your children or you and your siblings, if you have them, are no different.
There have been times that my children have claimed that my wife and I were not being fair toward one of them relative to one of them, or the other two. They have each compared what we do or don’t do for each of them to one another.
I can’t explain why one person has a terminal illness, and another rarely ever has a sick day. I can’t complain why everything one person touches turns to gold, while there are other devout Christians live in a country with no clean water or infrastructure for things to get better anytime soon. However, many times this type of poverty is an opportunity for those who are blessed more materially to be obedient and do good to ‘the least of them’ (Matthew 25).
But, look at what Jesus said in a sense about ‘fairness’ in the bible…
24 Then He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country. 25 But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land; 26 but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath,[a] in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27 And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.”
God used the prophet Elijah to help the widow in Zarephath, however there were many others who didn’t receive help. There were many with leprosy in those days, but Jesus declares only Naaman was healed. Were either of these situations ‘fair’?
Have you ever looked at t he lives of others and felt that God wasn’t being fair to you? It may seem others are being blessed, some who you feel may not ‘deserve’ blessing as much as you. It may seem that others are being healed. It may seem that others who are a lot less sincere are doing a lot better than you.
You may not say it out loud, you may feel God is being unfair.
You may not say it out loud, you may even be jealous of your Christian brother and sisters…
You may even to begin to consider them your rival, placing yourself in some unspoken competition with them. This can cause great dysfunction in the Body of Christ.
Remember, that just as a parent loves all their children, God loves all of His. But, also remember that just as each of your children are not the same, neither are all of God’s.
Sometimes God lets us see how He feels through our relationships. We can compare our frustration with our children with His frustration with us. After all, we were all made in His image.
So, the next time you think that God is being unfair to you. The next time you find yourself complaining about how He is treating one of your ‘siblings’… stop and thank Him for how good He is to you. Thank Him for what He IS doing in your life. Thank Him for what He is protecting you from. Thanks
It’s sometimes easy to tell when we have abused, neglected, or not taken very good care of our bodies. We can do some serious damage to the bodies that God has given us as temples for His Spirit, and sometimes it’s very easy to see. We’ll run into someone we haven’t seen in years, and we may think to ourselves, “They sure have let themselves go!” Have you ever said or thought that? We can wear down our bodies with what we put into them, riotous living, lack of exercise, worry and stress, not getting proper medical care and the list goes on. You can see it in our skin, teeth, eyes, our physique…
But WHAT IF YOU COULD SEE YOUR SOUL?
We can defile and harm our SPIRITS just as we can defile our BODIES.
2 Corinthians 7:1 tells us to cleanse ourselves of all filthiness of flesh and spirit. 1 Peter 2:11 begs us to abstain from fleshly lusts that war against our soul.
Think of all the things you have put your soul through…according to 2 Corinthians 7:1, sin defiles our spirit…think of all the sinful things you have done, and the effect it has had on your spirit.
When it comes to your body, you are what you eat…and it’s the same with your soul.
Unfortunately, the souls of many Christians are either malnourished from lack of spiritual food (reading the word)… or in poor health because of too much junk food (allowing the wrong things through our eye and ear gates).
What do you watch?
What do you listen to?
What types of conversations do you have?
What kind of relationships are you involved in?
Remember that 1 Corinthians 15:33 reminds us that “bad company corrupts good character ”.
Just as stress and worry wear down the body, the spirit man of many people are worn by ungodly attitudes and character, damaged by hatred, anger, racism, jealousy, wrath, malice etc. Many people’s spirits are weak because they don’t exercise their faith through studying God’s word, prayer and fasting as Jesus explained in Matthew 17 Matthew 19-21 (KJV) and 1 Peter 2:2. That’s why right after 2 Corinthians 7:1, the word of God tells us to cleanse ourselves of the things that defile our bodies and spirits. When we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior our spirits are renewed (2:Corinthians 5:17). From that day forward the enemy tries to tempt us to defile our spirit man with the works of the flesh. Keep your spirit clean because even though we can’t see it…God can.
Sometimes the issue isn’t whether or not we trust God, but whether or not we trust ourselves…
We know He will lead and guide us, but are we making the right decisions?
We know He provides perfectly, but are we being the best stewards of what He provides?
When things don’t work out…
Is it punishment?
Or part of the process?
How do we know?
What should I do next?
Sometimes I need a victory to know I can trust myself AS I trust God.
I need a victory so OTHERS can trust me as I trust God and be encouraged.
I need confirmation that what I’ve done is right, rather than people telling me what I should have done.
I know my family loves me, but I want to know that they they’re of proud of me and respect me too.
I need to know that they feel they can depend on me…but can I depend on myself?
I need some victories before I give up, not on God, but…
I know God is able…but am I?
Can He depend on me?
But, THEN God reminds me of Abraham…
6 And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.
GOD HONORS OUR FAITH….God told Abram (Abraham) that his descendants would be as the sand of the sea. Abram couldn’t see how it would come to pass. Abram saw his physical limitations, but still believed God. The promise didn’t come over night…as a matter of fact it took many years. Abraham and Sarah HAD to many have human moments during that long wait where they questioned if they were doing the right things. This can be concluded by the fact that they got impatient… when Sarai thought she could bear no children and convinced Abram to lay with her handmaid Hagar…which led to the conception of Ishmael. Even though he wasn’t the son with the promise, when Abraham sent Ishmael away, God assured him He would honor His promise through Ishmael too…
“The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son. 12 But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your slave woman. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring[a] will be reckoned. 13 I will make the son of the slave into a nation also, because he is your offspring.”
After Isaac was born, God continued to fulfill His promise to Abraham.
God knows we’re flesh. He made us all and, He knows our weaknesses better than we do.
13 As a father pities his children,
So the Lord pities those who fear Him.
14 For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.
He knows we won’t always make the right decisions, even when we trust Him and are trying to be led by Him.
He honors our faith, that’s why He promises…
All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.
As we trust God, we can’t allow the enemy to undermine our purpose by convincing us to not trust ourselves.
Don’t listen to the enemies lies about yourself…
Be encouraged by Philippians 1:6…
Being CONFIDENT of this, that he who began a good work in YOU will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Trust yourself while you’re trusting God.
When I learned to drive years ago (in the early 80’s) I wasn’t in the habit of wearing a seat belt. It thought it to be…
Unnecessary for my security…
In fact, I thought that I couldn’t enjoy my ride as much while wearing a seat belt.
Then a law was passed making it mandatory to wear a seat belt, or you would be fined.
I reluctantly began wearing my seat belt…regularly. The more I put it on, the more I got used to wearing it. The more I got used to wearing it, the more I got comfortable wearing it. It was not burdensome anymore.
It now feels unnatural to NOT wear my seatbelt. I now feel uncomfortable and unsecure without it on.
Look at what the bible teaches about being obedient to God’s word…
1 John 5:3(NKJV)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.
Many times people are reluctant to submit to God because they feel submitting to His word is…
Unnecessary for my security…
In fact, they think they can’t enjoy their ‘ride’ through life as much while submitting to God’s word.
The more you submit to God, and the more your love for God grows…the more you value and treasure His word and His expectations.
Just like me wearing a seat belt, being obedient not only becomes easier, it feels more natural. At the same time…old sinful behaviors, even those that haven’t gone away completely seem more unnatural.
So open your bible and BUCKLE UP!
In case you missed it…
REACH TOWARDS THE ‘SON’!
Proverbs 24:3 (NKJV)
“Through wisdom a house IS BUILT,
And by understanding it is established;”
One sign that a city is growing and vibrant are cranes in the sky…not birds, but machines that move heavy objects to erect new buildings reaching the SUN. A city without cranes may be stagnant in growth. It may be going down, or even just holding it’s own, but to be competitive, cities must grow.
Are than cranes in your spiritual life?
Are you moving heavy objects (burdens) in your life?
Are you reaching for the ‘SON’?
Are there clear signs of your growth?
What are the signs?
More passion for God, His word, His Kingdom and His fellowship. Fruit…good fruit is a sign of growth. Are you planting good seeds in good soil. Are people either coming to Christ or growing in their relationship with Christ because you?
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We all know people or encounter people who just aren’t nice. We all have our days, but no one wants to be around someone who is negative, mean or overly critical most if not all of the time.
But think about this…
Why are they like that?
Have you ever considered the story behind their bad attitude? God doesn’t want us to just throw them away. He loves them too. He wants them to made whole. He wants them to stop sowing bad seeds.
Here’s where real love comes in. Not just for those close to you, but for those who hate you. Those who can’t stand you. Those who have hurt you.
Were they hurt? Were they betrayed? Were they taught or conditioned to be negative, hateful or overly critical?
You won’t always know it. They won’t always tell you. But, there’s always a story behind their bad attitude.
You don’t have to know their story. You don’t have to understand them.
We were all made in God’s image. He gave us all a measure of faith. He has given us all the ability to love like Him. It’s up to us to bring that out of one another. But, too many times encountering in negative people brings out negativity in us.
God expects us to meet bad attitudes and negativity with the positivity of His love. It’s not always easy, but it’s what He expects of us.
1 Peter 3:9 (NLT)
Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing.
Okay, I’m 48 years old. When I was in school parents could request a meeting with their child’s teacher if necessary, but for the most part, you expected a one-on-one session to discuss your child during parent teacher conferences.
There were just too many students to address every parents’ concern by meeting or by phone every day.
It still is.
Boundaries must be established.
Fast forward to the age of online accessibility!
Parents! You may buy your electronics, clothes, shoes or groceries online. You may stream your music online. You may find out your ancestry online. You may be able to order goods and services 24-hours a day online – but you can’t have access to my wife!
My wife is a dedicated teacher of almost 20 years. Her record speaks for itself. But, I’m disturbed with how much she and other teachers are being pressured to interact with parents and students 24-hours a day via email.
Students are less obligated to get all necessary information in class because they or their parents can just email the teacher with their concerns, complaints, criticisms and questions. At 7pm. At 2am. On Saturday morning. Sunday afternoon. Each teacher touches dozens of students, so these emails can become quite overwhelming.
How fair is that?
Why should anyone feel that’s a reasonable job expectation?
What’s unfortunate is that because of social media, namely parent Facebook pages dedicated to schools, grades and even individual teachers some administrators are pressuring teachers to respond because of the criticism, whining and complaining on these pages.
Teachers are being pressured to work more and more outside the classroom, bordering on parenting responsibilities.
If you’re a parent, teach your child to pay attention in class. To report to you and bring home all of the important information. To be a responsible student. And, please remember that your child’s teacher has a family too.
Please share if you are, or love a good teacher too.
Nothing deep here, just four things I think we should consider before we open our mouths…
1. They come to church looking for something and it doesn’t happen fast enough, so they leave.
2. They come to church looking for something and it happens quickly, then they leave.
3. We, who should be mature in the faith, run them away because we forget they are weaker, OR we aren’t nurturing enough, OR we’re too self-righteous.
4. They came seeking something other than God. This is usually the reason for 1 & 2. (That will be discussed in tomorrow’s post.)
Romans 14:1 (NKJV)
Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things.
Romans 15:1 (NKJV)
We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the week, and not to please ourselves.
Your strengths should cover and supplement your spouse’s weaknesses…and vice versa.
Things that are EXACTLY alike aren’t always compatible.
Remember, God created man and woman so our differences make us fit together perfectly.
Genesis 2:24 (NKJV)
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Don’t let your differences come between you…let them connect you.
Have you ever heard a father brag about paying the bills? Putting food on the table? He may even say, “I deserve to run around with the fellas or hang our because he’s holding it down for his family. Have you ever heard a mother brag about taking care of her family? About being at home for her children? Have you heard a father or mother brag about not ‘running the streets’, about dealing with the difficulties of life without turning to drugs or alcohol?
How about this one? ” I’m faithful to my spouse!”
Have you ever heard a child brag about doing their homework and staying out of trouble?
Have you every heard a Christian brag about regularly attending church, being faithful in giving or studying their bible?
This is all good, but it is absolutely nothing to brag about.
Because they are all doing what they are supposed to do. They are all doing what’s expected of them.
What’s unfortunate that we live in a society where so many people are not doing what they supposed to do, that those who are may seem beyond the norm, or even special…feel they deserve a pat on the back.
One of my favorite movie scenes is in the movie, “Guess Whose Coming To Dinner” when Roy Glenn’s character who played Sidney Poitier’s character’s father was lecturing his adult son about how hard he worked to make sure he had everything he needed, as he objected to his son dating a white woman. He told him this as if his son owed him something for providing for him. Sidney Poitier’s character quickly rebuked his father for making him feel obligated for doing what he was supposed to do. He then lovingly acknowledged his love and respect for him.
In an age absent and distracted parents and rebellious children, those doing their duty can begin to feel special…when they actually aren’t.
Notice what Jesus had to say about simply doing our duty…
Luke 17:7-10 (NKJV)
7 And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? 8 But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’? 9 Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not.[a] 10 So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’”
Be thankful if God has blessed you with a mind and the discipline to hold down your role as father, mother, son, daughter, employee, citizen, disciple, Pastor as expected. Yes, we all make mistakes, but you haven’t gotten ‘caught up’ or distracted to the level of some others…but we should never think we deserve a pat on the back, are ‘special’, or ‘owed something’ for doing our duty as God expects.
Exodus 20:3 (NKJV)
3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.
Let me first say this is NOT a condemnation of football. I enjoy football. I enjoy playing and I enjoy watching. But, the purpose of this article is for my fellow Christians who enjoy football to give themselves a self-examination…
2 Corinthians 13:5 (NKJV)
5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.
I’m talking about going beyond enjoying football to loving it. I’m talking about going beyond loving it to allowing it to become your God.
How? At what point?
You put regularly going to or watching games before going to worship (whether you worship on Saturday (College) or SONday (Professional)…
Hebrews 10:25 (NKJV)
25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
You know all the players on the roster of your team – all their stats from high school, college and professional, but you can’t name the 12 disciples…
When you do more evangelism and witnessing for your team than you do for Christ…
When you talk more about the game on Saturday or SONday and say absolutely nothing about the sermon, worship or spiritual seed that was sown in you over the weekend.
When you become more offended when someone disrespects your team or favorite player than when they disrespect God…
When you lift up your hands and shout, cheer and celebrate your team but are ashamed to or claim ‘it doesn’t take all of that’ for God…
Psalm 134:2 (NKJV)
2 Lift up your hands in the sanctuary,
And bless the Lord.
When you don’t mind sitting through triple overtime for a game but complain if the preacher preaches ‘too long’…
When you teach your children that football (games, practices and discipline) is more important than worship by allowing them to miss church for it…
When you allow a coach to use profanity and unholy language to get the ‘best’ out of your child when the bible forbids use of this type of language…
Ephesians 4:29 (NKJV)
29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers
When people can tell that you’re a fan but can’t tell you’re a disciple…
When you regularly put it before your family…
When you’re more proud of your team than you are your Savior…
You get more angry at your quarterback getting sacked than you do about Jesus being nailed to the cross…
Be honest with yourself. Enjoy football, but God knows what comes first in your heart, and He refuses to come second.
Psalm 118:7 (NKJV)
The Lord is for me among those who help me; Therefore, I shall see my desire on those who hate me.
What’s the first thing you think about when you read, “I shall see my desire on those who hate me”?
How do you feel about those who hate you? Hurt you? Abused you? Mocked you? Embarrassed you? Who strives against you? Who works against you…right now! Today?
What is YOUR desire on those who hate you? Revenge? Hurt? Pain? Suffering? Death? Hell?
What did God say?
Pray for them…
Do good to them…
Romans 12:17-21 (NKJV)
17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”[a] says the Lord. 20 Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”[b] 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Matthew 5:44-45 (NKJV)
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,[a] 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.
When they hurt you they hurt God. He just wants them to submit to Him just as you have.
They were made in His image too.
He loves them too, and no less than He loves you.
He already knows what path they will take but you don’t.
God is trying to mature us and conform us into of the image of His son who, when being persecuted said…
Luke 23:34 (NKJV)
34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”[a] And they divided His garments and cast lots.
Look at Paul.
1 Timothy 1:15 (NKJV)
This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.
I’m constantly reminded that God restored all he lost after He prayed for his friends who contended against him.
Job 42:10 (NKJV)
And the Lord restored Job’s losses[a] when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.
2 Corinthians 5:20 (NKJV)
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.
What about what they did to you? How much they hurt you? How much they hurt your loved one? What about that?
Forgive them, and move on.
Sometimes a smile…
Sometimes a frown…
It’s expression depends on what it’s expressing…
Do you love your children? Do you smile at them when they misbehave? Do you still love them.
Do you love your spouse? How do you look at them when you argue? When you reconcile?
Do you love God? What’s your expression when He says, “No!”
Love isn’t always smiles, giggles and good smells.
Sometimes it’s a sexy bath with your spouse…
Sometimes it’s bathing them when they’re too sick to bathe themselves.
The look of love isn’t always good, but it’s always God.
Psalm 17:8 (NKJV)
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p style=”margin-right:0;margin-bottom:0;margin-left:0;font-family:"font-size:16px;”>8 Keep me as the apple of Your eye;
Hide me under the shadow of Your wings,
Hebrews 12:6New King James Version (NKJV)
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p style=”margin-right:0;margin-bottom:0;margin-left:0;font-family:"font-size:16px;”>6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.”
Question: “Why do you love me?”
Answer: “I just do.”
And, real love is unconditional. Real love is unfailing.
Psalm 90:14 (NIV)
Satisfy us in the morning with your UNFAILING love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
Ephesians 5:25 (NKJV)
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and GAVE HIMSELF for her,
Have you ever been in a dysfunctional meeting?
A meeting that seemed unproductive?
A meeting with several opinions, suggestions, but no viable solutions?
A meeting where tempers flared, and enemies and alliances were made?
A meeting where big egos were begging to be fed?
A meeting where everyone wanted their way?
A meeting where people behaved immaturely?
A meeting where no one would admit the wrong decision was made or the organization is on the wrong path?
All of these meetings are held by people just like you and me. Imperfect people. People with faults. People with egos. People who make mistakes…sometimes big mistakes.
Please pray that God leads our national leaders and local leaders.
1 Timothy 2:1-2 (NKJV)
2 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.
Don’t have blind faith that their experience, credentials and qualifications will make things all right.
The only differences in the meetings that you’ve attended and the high level meetings that determine the direction of…
Our national security…
are the job titles, personalities and influence. They’re all still just people.
Pray for our leaders and that God blesses their meetings. Pray for peace, cooperation, collaboration and most of all agreement with and submission to the will of God.
Just as the bible says, don’t put your trust in them…put it in God.
Psalm 118:8-9 (NKJV)
8 It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. 9 It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.
I’m not calling any names, but you’ve seen them on television or on social media…late in the middle of the night, or early in the morning.
People coming to them in wheel chairs…they open letters describing ailments, financial problems, and issues. People call-in in desperation.
As they lay hands on people they fall to the ground, or miraculous get out of their wheel chairs. I can’t find one bible example of how many of these ‘healings’ take place.
They claim if you send them a monetary ‘seed of faith’, God will change your world. I can’t find one example in the bible where money was accepted for healing.
And I have to admit it makes me angry when they very seldom if ever mention salvation, the wages of sin, or doing real ministry.
They just ‘heal at will’.
I’m not going to judge them…God will do that, but if one of them should happen to read this, I have an awesome healing opportunity…
262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis TN 38105.
That’s the address to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
If you are legitimate…Bring your extra-ordinary anointing to Memphis, heal these children and shut this hospital down.
If not, please, please, please stop begging people to come to you. Stop giving real anointed men and women of God a bad name. Stop making Christians look foolish. Stop begging for money.
I pray that God gives everyone the gift of discernment.
Acts 8:9-25 (NKJV)
9 But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great, 10 to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the great power of God.” 11 And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time. 12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. 13 Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.
14 Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, 15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
18 And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
20 But Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! 21 You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. 22 Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. 23 For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.”
24 Then Simon answered and said, “Pray to the Lord for me, that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me.”
25 So when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.
One of my greatest disappointments in growing up was realizing how much we really don’t. As a kid, I thought adults had it all together.
I’ve found that one of the areas in which some of us refuse to grow up is insulting one another.
There will always be at LEAST two sides to every issue, but most of the time there are many more. And, most of the time people are passionate about their opinion or position.
The list goes on and on.
Of course, these opinions and positions will lead to disagreements. What’s important is that we learn to disagree without insults.
From social media, to demonstrations, to conference rooms, to private conversations…people allow their disagreement to be expressed with insults.
It’s natural to want to hurt someone back who’s hurt or insulted us, or someone we love, care about or respect.
“You’re a __________!”
“Well, you’re a __________!”
“President Trump is a __________!”
“President Obama is a __________!”
“Muslims are __________!”
“People who want a $15 minimum wage are __________!”
“Your momma is a __________!”
You get the idea.
God expects those of us in the Body of Christ to set the standard of behavior.
1 Peter 3:9(NIV)
9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
God expects us to follow the example of our Lord and Savior Yeshua, Jesus Christ…
1 Peter 2:21-23 (NIV)
21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example,that you should follow in his steps.
22 “He committed no sin,
and no deceit was found in his mouth.”[a]
23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.
We should never respond to someone’s expression of their opinion with an insult, even when they have insulted us.
Those of us who are mature in the faith must remember…
That some Christians may not be as mature,
That even the mature have weak moments,
And anyone who is being led by the enemy is behaving as expected.
Let’s set the standard. Be very sensitive to your opportunities to respond without insults.
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.’”
When God tells Moses who to say sent him when he goes into Egypt, He says tell them, “I AM”.
I AM is less about his name and what He’s called and more about His nature. Every time God says I AM, He let’s us know more about who He is…what He is…what He does.
Look what God says behind, “I am”…
“I am your shield…”
“I am the Lord…”
“I am God…”
“I am the Lord your God…”
“I am the Lord who sanctifies you…”
“I am giving…”
“I am holy…”
“I am with you…”
“I am He who blots out…”
“I am the First and the Last…”
“I am He who comforts you…”
“I am merciful…”
“I am Holy…”
“I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob…”
“I am the Christ…”
“I am able…”
“I am the Son of God…”
“I am One…
“I am from above…
“I am the bread of life…”
“I am the living bread…”
“I am from Him , and He sent Me…”
“I am the Light of the World…”
“Before Abraham Was, I AM…”
“I am the door…”
“I am the good shepherd…”
“I am the resurrection and he life…”
“I am the way, the truth and the life…”
“I am in My Father and the Father in Me…”
“I am the vine…”
“I am not of this world…”
“I am the King…”
“I am the Alpha and he Omega, the First and the Last…”
“I am He who lives…”
“I am alive forevermore…”
“I am He who searches the hearts and minds…
“I am coming quickly!”
BEHIND every “I AM” from the Lord…there is meaning, purpose…action!
BEHIND every “I AM”…He defines himself.
AND SO DO WE…
Remember what Jesus said…
45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. FOR OUT OF THE ABUNDANCE OF THE HEART HIS MOUTH SPEAKS.
SO, Be careful how you define yourself!
Be very careful what you say behind your “I am!”
I am defeated!
I am depressed!
I am weak!
I am ugly!
I am helpless!
I am hopeless!
I am lost!
I am cursed!
I am victorious!
I am joyous!
I am strong!
I am saved!
I am empowered
I am beautiful!
I am hopeful!
I am blessed!
I am a child of the King!
I am BLESSTIFIED!