HOW GOD KEEPS ME HUMBLE AS A BLOGGER & MINISTER…

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When God gives you a gift for His glory, it’s not only good…it’s excellent!

James 1:17  (NKJV)

17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

I enjoy writing and sharing what God has placed in my heart. I love teaching and preaching as I have opportunity. It makes me feel so alive! And, God gives me inspiration EVERYWHERE! In good and in evil. In joy and in pain. At work and at home. In the profound and profane. God has fresh revelation to His unchanging word everywhere…and I have to write and share.

I must admit that most of the time, when I finish writing or saying what God has placed in my heart in my own style, I sometimes say WOW! That’s pretty awesome, but not because of me, but because of my awesome God!


I guess we are all spiritual plagiarists, because nothing anyone writes or says is original, it all comes from God.


But, here’s my point. No matter how good I may feel about what I have shared. No matter how many ‘attaboys’ and pats-on-the-back I get…


I ALWAYS read, hear or watch something that someone else has shared that is even MORE awesome and powerful that what I have written.


Someone is always revealing something that I never knew. Someone is always, in their own style, sharing something that makes me stop and say WOW! Someone is always confirming something that God has placed in my heart.


It humbles me to see how powerfully God speaks through and uses others.


When I’m reminded daily of how God uses so many anointed, talented, gifted people, it keeps me humble, as I realize that even though He is using me in a powerful way…His Kingdom work can go on just fine without me.

Let me encourage you to never diminish the power of what God has placed inside you, but at the same time never let your gift, your talent, your ability, your education, your popularity, your accolades, or awards to allow you to become arrogant, proud or vain.


Unfortunately, there are too many spiritually arrogant preachers, teachers, ministers, pastors, authors, writers, bloggers, artists, singers, musicians…


Our challenge is to not allow the power of what God has placed in us to provoke us to glory in ourselves. Let us never forget that if anything good comes from us, all glory goes to God.

Here are just a few scriptural reminders…

1 Corinthians 1:30-31  (NKJV)

30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— 31 that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”[a]

2 Corinthians 10:17  (NKJV)

17 But “he who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”[a]

 Psalm 115:1 (NKJV)

Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us,
But to Your name give glory,
Because of Your mercy,
Because of Your truth.

 BE BLESSTIFIED!

 

 

 

WHY I WILL NEVER HAVE AN US AGAINST THEM ATTITUDE…

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I know there are other races and other racial issues, but in America, the biggest race conversation has always been Black and White. It’s a shame that racial division is still prevalent. The devil finds a way to raise up a whole new generation of racists of all races.  It’s a tool he uses that quite frankly will never go away.  I’m blessed to have friends in all races and cultures.

However, I’m a Black man, and naturally I have concerns specific to those a Black man. I would be foolish if I didn’t. However, that doesn’t mean that I will agree with ALL Black people on how to address all ‘Black’ issues. Some will even disagree with me on using the term ‘Black’ instead of ‘African American’. All Black people don’t have to and will not agree on everything. Black people should be able to feel the way they feel…to have their own opinion without being labeled a ‘sell out’ or not ‘woke’, ‘down’ or aware. All Black people didn’t agree during the Civil Rights Movement. There’s no race that agrees on everything. That’s a myth. Some cultures may facilitate collaboration differently, but NO race is totally united. Accomplishments and progression are achieved through unified groups within each race.

The truth is that in my life, I have been equally helped and hindered by both Blacks and Whites. There are times when both Black and White people could have acted in my behalf and chose not to do so…and so have I.


I will never have an us against them attitude!


It’s God’s will that we are all one in Christ…

Galatians 3:28 (NKJV)

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus

…which by the way wasn’t White or Black (that’s another conversation), Christ was born Jewish but existed before there were Jews or any other ‘race’ (John 1:1-14). And, the world was given the ‘oracles’ of God (Romans 3:2) through the Jewish culture and context.

But, even the Jews aren’t a race. Notice that through Abraham God didn’t raise up a race. He raised a faith. Read more about that in my article, FAITH, NOT RACE…


I will never have an us against them attitude.


I love people…all people! I love everyone, but my first allegiance is to God. Because of that…

Sometimes I may piss off Black people…

Sometimes I may piss off White people…

Sometimes I may piss off Asians, Latinos etc.

Sometimes I may piss off Buddhists, Muslims, Jews and, yes Christians.

But, that’s okay as long as I DON’T piss off the God of my salvation.

I’m a disciple of Christ first, then Black…but I love everyone.

I will stand for you equally as long as you are in harmony with God’s truth.

I will never have an us against them attitude!

BE BLESSTIFIED!

 

IF YOU EVER UNCONSCIOUSLY LICK YOUR LIPS, PLEASE READ THIS…

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You don’t have to humiliate yourself to be humble.

Remember this…


I respect you. But, I lick my lips too many times a day to kiss your behind.


You don’t have to surrender your self-respect to validate someone else’s.


It’s not a sin to assert yourself.


Job 12:3 (NKJV)

But I have understanding as well as you;
I am not inferior to you.
Indeed, who does not know such things as these?

BE BLESSTIFED!

QUESTION: DOES GOD GIVE US THE AUTHORITY TO SAY, “THE DEVIL IS A LIAR”…

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I’m petitioning your thoughts based on scripture concerning something that quite honestly has me a little puzzled.

One of the greatest benefits that we have through our relationship with God through our Lord and Savior, Yeshua, Christ Jesus is power over the enemy. But, we must remember to stay in our ‘spiritual lane’. We only have that power through the authority of Jesus.


So here’s my question. Does God give us the authority to call the devil a liar?


I’ve said it. I’ve heard it preached. I’ve heard it proclaimed. I’ve heard it sung in songs, the popular phrase…

“The devil is a liar!”

But, does God give us the authority to say it on our own? In worship? When we feel confronted? When we preach? When we sing?

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Yes He is a liar. In fact, Jesus called Him the father of lies (John 8:44), but that was Jesus who said that and no one else, not even angels…

Jude 6-9 (NKJV)

6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; 7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
8 Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries. 9 Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

And, also consider this verse in 2 Peter…

2 Peter 2:4-11 (NKJV)

4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; 5 and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; 6 and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; 7 and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked 8 (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing theirlawless deeds)— 9 then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries, 11 whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reviling accusation against them before the Lord.

Now, look at what happened to men who confronted demons without the authority of Christ…

Acts 19:13-16  (NKJV)

13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “We[a] exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” 14 Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. 15 And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” 16 Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them,[c] so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.


Considering these scriptures, especially Jude 8-9. Even the powerful archangel Michael didn’t ‘accuse the devil but reserved that power for our Lord, by saying, “The Lord rebuke you!”


So, again that’s my question for you. Does God give us the authority to say, the popular phrase “The devil is a liar”, or are we overstepping our authority in the Lord by doing so? Should we only do as the angel Michael did and say, “The Lord rebuke you in the name of Jesus”.

I look forward to your thoughts.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

 

HOW I WENT FROM WORSHIPING MYSELF EACH MORNING BACK TO WORSHIPING GOD…

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Allow me to be a bit transparent in this one…

This can easily and subtly slip into the day-to-day life a mature disciple of Christ if we aren’t careful. Worshiping myself, a form of idolatry of which many of us may be guilty, but don’t realize it.

Yes, you can be saved, love God, not caught up in what we like to call the ‘big sins’ and still worship yourself either along with or instead of God. See, the enemy knows he isn’t going to convince you to erect a ‘golden calf’ in your home, so he cleverly manipulates us to commit idolatry in other ways.

Here is how it happened to me…

I’ve always enjoyed trying to eat well and exercising, you know – working out. I’ve enjoyed lifting weights and different forms of cardio for years. As I entered my early forties a few years ago, I was also more cognizant of my overall health. I wanted to be proactive about as many health issues as I could. I wanted my physical quality of life to remain high as long as possible. I wanted my wife to still find me attractive, and honestly, I wanted my size to be somewhat intimidating to anyone who may be looking for a ‘weak’ target.

Even though I have had a regular exercise regime off and on for years, I intensified my efforts to twice per day. I had a gym membership, so I would get up…pray and head to the gym before I went to work. We also have a gym at my office building, so I would also work out during my lunch break as well.

I was pleased to hear the compliments as my body changed more and more. Of course it was cool to have my wife notice, but it was also nice to have other people notice as my body changed. Come on now, I know you strive to be holy, but we we all like complements. Even the preacher loves it when the congregation says, “Great job!” It’s a part of being made in the image of our Heavenly Father, who loves our praise. We all love complements…but the enemy tries to leverage those complements to his advantage.

Here was my problem…some mornings I would wake up a ‘little’ later than others, and yes I would pray, but my prayer would be shorter, but my workouts would be just as long. I would work out anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour each morning.

I began to feel ‘guilty’ or uneasy if I woke and and didn’t work out, or if I missed my lunchtime workout. I think the word for that I was avoiding at the time is obsessed. This was moving beyond what was necessary for good health and into ritual…religion…self-worship. I remembered what the bible teaches…

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.

Well, I was invited one day to be a part of a flag football league, at 43 years old. Most of the other players were either in their late teens, twenties and thirties. During our first practice I hung right in there with them playing wide receiver, and I was ‘proud’ of myself. We ere out there for about an hour and a half when I felt someone kick me on the back of my ankle and heard a loud pop and I fell down. It didn’t hurt, so as I tried to get up I fell right back down.

No one kicked me. I felt the back of my ankle where my Achilles tendon was supposed to be. It snapped! It was a complete rupture that of course required surgery.

I was in a cast for two months and a boot for two more months…required physical therapy and my recovery took about a year.

Afterward I adjusted my workout regime, bought a bike for my cardio so I wouldn’t stress my injury and even though I kept working out, it was nothing like before.

But, most importantly, instead of working out,  I began going out on my front porch each morning and spending quality time with God – looking at the stars and taking in the beauty of His creation. I began spending up to 30 minutes out there on the porch praying, reading His word and just fellowshipping with Him. I noticed how peaceful it was. I noticed how my morning didn’t feel complete if by chance I didn’t do it. I noticed I close it makes me feel to God and how in His presence is the fullness of joy and peace…

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.

I noticed that when I lay awake troubled about something, I couldn’t wait to get out on my porch to be ‘with God’. It is my personal alter. I absolutely love it.

It suddenly hit me….I went from getting up first thing in the morning and worshiping myself to getting up and worshiping God. Not just praying, but spending real quality time.

I still exercise, but I thank God for allowing me to ‘come to myself’ and put my priorities back in place as they were before this brief ‘midlife crisis’.

So, I encourage you to examine yourself. You may not be worshiping yourself through exercise, but if you aren’t careful your devotion to your appearance, your desires, your pleasures, your possessions, your job, your career, your home… can the enemy tricking you into worshiping yourself.

Don’t allow ‘you’ to become your own god.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

You may enjoy this article too…THERE’S A THIN LINE BETWEEN GOOD HEALTH AND NARCISSISM…

 

 

 

 

MONDAY ENCOURAGEMENT: DON’T LET YOUR MONDAY BE ‘MOURNDAY’…

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Okay, I admit that I have to remind myself of this quite often. If we aren’t careful, we can let Monday, or whatever day we return to work, to become oppressive. So, I just want to give you the short reminder that the 2nd day of the week is a blessing.

Remember to let the joy of the LORD be your strength, no matter what your Monday challenges may be.

Nehemiah 8:10  (NKJV)

10 Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Remember that we represent God’s image, His presence, His glory and His character in every environment we enter.

Colossians 3:17 (NKJV)

17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Remember that no matter how challenging or dysfunctional the culture, we have the power to make the ground on which we step…Holy Ground.

So, make sure you don’t allow your Monday to become Mournday!

Breathe life into every room, every interaction today. Just as complaining is contagious, so is joy.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

 

HAVE YOU SIGNED UP FOR GOD’S UNLIMITED PLAN? (In case you missed it)

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One buzz word in marketing these days is UNLIMITED.

In order to be competitive, more and more companies are offering ‘UNLIMITED’ to attract loyal customers.

Unlimited minutes…

Unlimited texts…

Unlimited data…

Unlimited miles…

Unlimited streaming…

Unlimited doctor’s visits…

Unlimited legal advice…

What’s interesting is that people get spoiled by ‘unlimited’ quickly and easily. When unlimited becomes the norm…it doesn’t seem special anymore, but expected.


Well, God has an UNLIMITED plan through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!


Unlimited forgiveness…

Unlimited peace…

Unlimited joy…

Unlimited grace…

Unlimited mercy…

Unlimited prayers…

Unlimited protection…

Unlimited access…

Unlimited comfort…

Unlimited love…

Unlimited salvation…


LIFE UNLIMITED…ETERNAL!


His plan was finalized on the cross of Calvary.

His plan is absolutely FREE…at least to us.

His plan was paid for with the blood of Jesus.

Unfortunately, too many of us have gotten spoiled by God’s UNLIMITED plan. They’ve enjoyed all of God’s UNLIMITED benefits so long, that they don’t seem special anymore.

Take a moment right now to thank God for all of His UNLIMITED benefits.

And, just as you would recommend unlimited data to someone who constantly going over their data plan…tell someone about the UNLIMITED life available to them through Jesus Christ!

Have you signed up?

Psalm 103:1-17 (NKJV)

Bless the Lord, O my soul;

And all that is within me, bless His holy name!

2

Bless the Lord, O my soul,

And forget not all His benefits:

3

Who forgives all your iniquities,

Who heals all your diseases,

4

Who redeems your life from destruction,

Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,

5

Who satisfies your mouth with goodthings,

So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

6

The Lord executes righteousness

And justice for all who are oppressed.

7

He made known His ways to Moses,

His acts to the children of Israel.

8

The Lord is merciful and gracious,

Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.

9

He will not always strive with us,

Nor will He keep His anger forever.

10

He has not dealt with us according to our sins,

Nor punished us according to our iniquities.

11

For as the heavens are high above the earth,

So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;

12

As far as the east is from the west,

So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

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.

15

As for man, his days are like grass;

As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.

16

For the wind passes over it, and it is gone,

And its place remembers it no more.[a]

17

But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting

On those who fear Him,

And His righteousness to children’s children,

BE BLESSTIFIED!

YOU DON’T HAVE TO HATE SOMEONE TO NOT LOVE THEM…

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They say there’s a thin line between love and hate. It may not be that the line is so thin, but that people should be totally honest with themselves, because God knows the heart. The fact is…YOU DON’T HAVE TO HATE SOMEONE TO NOT LOVE THEM.

The enemy knows that God commanded us to love everyone….

EVERYONE means EVERYONE.

That’s why the enemy manipulates situations and circumstances to provoke us to NOT LOVE someone who mistreats us, or even someone is close to us. He convinces people to engage in behavior to where what we feel for them may not be HATE, but it’s definitely not LOVE.

He then he manipulates you to lie to yourself and say “I love everybody” because it’s the right thing to say, but your feelings and behavior don’t reflect love.

God didn’t tell us to LIKE everyone…but to LOVE everyone.

Just as Jesus says in Matthew 5:46, even evil people love those who love them.

So, we must be very careful to be honest with ourselves and WATCH THE LOVE LINE! Make sure that what you feel doesn’t CROSS the line from LOVE to NOT LOVE to HATE. The bible says it is impossible to truly love God who we can’t see and hate one another who we can see…

1 John 4:20

“If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?”

Examine yourself, and be honest about your feelings. Give yourself the TEST FOR LOVE. It’s easy to find in…

1 Corinthians 13:4-7
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

If what you feel and your behavior towards everyone doesn’t measure up to the criteria in 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7…then it’s not love. And, if it’s not love, in God’s eyes, it’s not enough.

And, remember, if you have trouble loving those who may seem they don’t deserve our love, ask yourself, what have you done to deserve God’s love?

BE BLESSTIFIED!

HOW PRINCE INSPIRES ME AS A CHRISTIAN (In case you missed it)…

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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

Many people are talented, but few are ‘special’. Prince’s talents definitely took him from beyond talented to special. 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!

WHEN SOMEONE TELLS YOU, “YOU AIN’T WORTH S**T”, YOU TELL THEM THIS…

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Don’t worry, I’m not going rated ‘R’ on you but, I really think this is going to bless someone.

This is a much too common insult in our culture, and yes, the bad grammar is always intentional…

“You ain’t worth s**t! Of course, implying that someone doesn’t have the value of feces, crap, refuse, doo-doo, dung, ‘ish’.

It can be very hurtful if you allow it, especially if you are insecure or struggle with self-esteem. Or, if it’s told to a child by a parent, authority figure or peer. It’s damage can last well into adulthood.

So, let me give you a little ammunition with biblical support in case someone ever tells you, “You ain’t worth shiggity!”

God created everything with value. Everything! Even doo-doo! We all know that there’s an industry built around the use of animal dung to make mulch and fertilizer.

Why?

Because God put purpose and power, even in poop. Not only does it have value, but great value.


People pay good money for a sack of s**t at Home Depot and Lowe’s.


God, in His wisdom gave waste the power to make things grow…so even waste doesn’t have to be wasted.

But, let’s look at the bible. There, we find the ‘S’-word was used for two ‘F’-words…both FERTILIZER and FUEL. Not only did they use it to grow their food, but they used it as fuel/coal to heat their food too.

Luke 13:7-8 (NKJV)

7 Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’ 8 But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it.

Ezekiel 4:15 (NKJV)

15 Then He said to me, “See, I am giving you cow dung instead of human waste, and you shall prepare your bread over it.”

So, don’t get it twisted. God has value for dung. He has a purpose for poo, and He has a purpose for you.


So, if anybody ever tells you that “You aren’t worth s**t,” tell them thank you! Tell them of it’s value. And then, remind them that if they ‘ain’t’ working God’s purpose for their life, tell them “S**t is worth more than you!”

BE BLESSTIFIED!

FOR EVERYONE WHO EVER SAID, “HOW COULD THEY DO/SAY THAT TO ME”…

It’s one thing when people who aren’t close to us hurt us, but it cuts deep when we’re hurt by those we love.

“How could they do that to me?!”

“How could they say that to me?!”

I think we’ve all said it, and we’ve all done it.

How could you say that? How could you do that? I thought you loved me!

They do but…

One important thing to remember, as I often say, is that our love for one another is not perfect. God’s love is perfect, but ours isn’t.

We are all sometimes selfish, resentful, jealous, spiteful…we are all carnal sometimes….we all sometimes respond from our flesh first. And, quite frankly, we can’t help it if we aren’t walking in His Spirit…

Galatians 5:16-17(NKJV)

16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.

Sometimes we even recognize it and resist humbling ourselves to God’s will.

Have you ever gone to bed angry knowing what God says and still went to sleep without resolving?

Most of all, I think God allows situations to happen to let us see ‘what’s inside one another’ so we won’t allow our love for one another to come between our love for God.

I believe He puts ‘checks and balances’ in place to prevent us from worshiping those closest to us…our spouse’s, our children, our parents, our friends…our pastors.

Our arguments, disagreements…even betrayals don’t necessarily mean we don’t love one another, again, they just mean our love isn’t perfect.

That’s what makes it love…our ability to sustain strong relationships through these challeges.

God wants our love for one another to be strong enough to overcome moments of ‘not being able to stand one another’, as He does us…

Isaiah 64:6 (NKJV)

6 But we are all like an unclean thing,

And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;
We all fade as a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind,
Have taken us away.

Remember the Apostle Paul said, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” ( 1 Corinthians 11:1) But, even Paul wasnt ALWAYS imitating Christ, and neither are we…no matter how anointed we may be.

The enemy even tries to use against one another, even when we don’t mean any harm. Look at what Jesus told Peter when he said Jesus should not be killed…

Matthew 16:23 (NKJV)

23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of men”

It’s obvious that Peter meant well.

There are times when we can mean well, but come between our loved ones and God. For example, I was told by a loved one that my blog would do better if I didn’t speak out against controversial topics like gay marriage, but I’m not going to compromise God for more readers. They meant well, but the enemy was trying to use them to influence me…and we’ve all done it.

So, the next time someone you really close to you says or does something so horrible that it makes you question their love, remember our love and relationships are far from perfect. Remember that we all are sometimes led by our flesh, and remember that sometimes God reminds us to always love and trust Him above all others.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

THE REASON YOU CAN’T GIVE UP TODAY…

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Genesis 50:20 (NKJV)

20 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.

Joseph ( Genesis 37-50) had plenty of days that he most likely felt like giving up…

His brothers plotted to kill him and sold him as a slave…

He was accused of sexual harassment…

He was thrown in prison for something he didn’t do…

But, he didn’t give up.

He kept his faith in the only living God.

And, through his troubles, he was strategically placed by God to save his entire family.

No matter how intense the opposition you may face…

No matter how it may seem that EVERYTHING is working against you…

Please don’t give up today…

Even if you feel ‘your life doesn’t matter anymore’…

Even if you don’t care about yourself…

Even if it seems all hope is gone…

You can’t give up today.

Because…

Your life…

Your trouble…

Your pain…

Your struggle…

AND,

Your victory…

Aren’t ONLY about you.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

LINKS TO ALL MY BEBLESSTIFIED ARTICLES ON FORGIVENESS…

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When we’re struggling with forgiveness, there’s nothing more powerful than a word of encouragement that reminds of God’s expectation to forgive, without diminishing how difficult it can be. We need to know that forgiveness and being forgiven is possible and given tools to work through the difficult process.

If you’re struggling with forgiveness or being forgiven, for your convenience, here are links to my most powerful BEBLESSTIFED articles on the many aspects of forgiveness.

I pray that one or all of my topics meet you at your point of need. To God be the glory!


LINKS TO MY BEBLESSTIFED ARTICLES ON FORGIVENESS…

ADMITTING TO YOURSELF THAT YOU ARE STILL BITTER, BUT BETTER…

WHEN GOD EXPECTS US TO FORGIVE ADULTERY (CHEATING ON GOD)…

YES, EVEN GOD SOMETIMES BROUGHT UP THE PAST AFTER HE FORGAVE…

NO MATTER WHAT THEY DID, GOD DOESN’T ALLOW YOU TO HATE THEM…

ASKING GOD FOR FORGIVENESS ISN’T REPENTANCE (QUICK DEFINITION)…

IF YOU’RE STILL GLAD YOU DID IT, THEN GOD HASN’T FORGIVEN YOU…YET.

BE EASY TO APOLOGIZE TO…

DON’T BE SELFISH WHEN YOU FORGIVE…

YOU CAN FORGIVE ANYTHING…TODAY! #FORGIVENESS

WHEN WE TRY TO MANIPULATE GOD INTO BLESSING US (in case you missed it)

It’s interesting how we sometimes try to manipulate blessings out of God.

Sometimes intentionally.

Sometimes unintentionally.

Think about it. When we…

Make promises in our prayers…
Fast, but with our own selfish, personal agenda…

Isaiah 58:3 (NKJV)

‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and You have not seen?

Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?’

“In fact, in the day of your fast you find pleasure…”

Give only so we can be blessed…

Go to church as if God owes us something for going…

Serve to be seen or only to be rewarded for our service.

Even when we do all of the ‘spiritual’ things God told us to do.

God knows our hearts…

He knows the true motivation of why we do what we do…

James 4:3 (NKJV)

3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.

This may not be you, and if not…great.

But, if it is remember that we can’t trick or manipulate God into blessing us.

And, the beautiful thing is that we don’t have to.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

WHY WE NEED MORE ‘SOUL’ MODELS THAN ‘ROLE’ MODELS…

wp-1487529517136.jpgHave you ever had God deposit something in your spirit that just made you say, “Wow!” Something that’s so simple, yet so profound? That’s how I felt when He dropped this in my spirit…

We need SOUL MODELS rather than ROLE MODELS.

Role models show you how to live.

Soul models show you how to live, but prepare you to die.

Role models show you how to live now.

Souls models show you how to live forever.

Role models give you tools to live by.

Soul models give you tools to live and die by.

Role models show you how to look on the outside.

Soul models show you how to look on the inside.

Role models teach us how to be a man or woman.

Soul models teach us to be GREATER than man or woman.

Which do you want to be?

1 Peter 2:12 (NKJV)

12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.

Titus 2:7-8 (NKJV)

7 in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, 8 sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

GET PISSED OFF ‘JUST’ ENOUGH TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE…

Don’t get angry AND sin; Get angry AT sin…

Matthew 21:12-13 (NKJV)

12 Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 13 And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’”

As Jesus walked in and saw the building dedicated to God’s worship being used for commerce, He was filled with anger.

He wasn’t consumed with anger…

He wasn’t ‘mad’…

He wasn’t pissed off…

It was a controlled, righteous anger.

God’s righteous anger is noted throughout the bible, but God doesn’t angry AND sin;

He gets angry AT sin.

God tells us to get angry and sin not…


Ephesians 4:26 (NIV)

“In your anger do not sin” Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry…”


God doesn’t expect us to get angry and stay angry.

God doesn’t expect us to get angry and lose control.

God DOES expect us to get angry sometimes though…

He just expects us to get angry at the right things.

We are to get angry enough at…

Evil…

Injustice…

Disobedience…

Poverty…

Hunger…

Racism…

Corruption…

Bullying…

Abuse…

Drugs…

Crime…

War…

Abuse…

Oppression…

Homelessness…

Hunger…

Favoritism…

Cronyism…

Atheism…

False teaching…

False prophets…

Ignorance….

We’re supposed get angry enough to do something!

Our anger should turn into PASSION that fuels ACTION.

Think about what makes you angry. And pray for wisdom to do something about it with a level head, yet walking in the Fruit of the Spirit.

Just as Christ did, we are to get angry AT sin, not angry AND sin.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

 

REMINDER: PREACHERS HAVEN’T PERFECTED EVERYTHING THEY PREACH…

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Let me first say that this article is in no way excusing the sin, shortcomings of weaknesses of any preacher, but rather acknowledging them. I know that God expects us as ministers and teachers to set the standard of behavior and holds us to a higher degree of accountability.

1 Peter 5:2 (NKJV)

Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly,[a] not for dishonest gain but eagerly;

1 Corinthians 11:1 (NKJV)

11 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.

1 Timothy 3:2-12 (NKJV)

A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money,[a] but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

 James 3:1 (NKJV)

My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.

1 Timothy 5:19-20 (NKJV)

19 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses. 20 Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.

But, I do ask you to remember and consider this…

Police officers sometimes speed while off duty…

Doctors don’t always eat healthy…


And, preachers haven’t always perfected what they preach.


The Word of God cuts preachers as He gives them inspiration, revelation and the anointing to share it. It convicts preachers of their sins as God reveals it to them.

Even the apostles were caught in and admitted to human moments…

Galatians 2:11-13 (NKJV)

11 Now when Peter[a] had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; 12 for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. 13 And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.

 The Apostle Paul…

 Romans 7:19-25 (NKJV)

19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.

Sometimes preachers may even be transparent about what they are dealing with in their lives in their sermons or what they may write.

People particularly get upset with ministers as they call out particular sins and warn of their consequences….accusing them of judging. However, they are simply practicing, and sometimes struggling with what they preach, as they teach, instruct, encourage, admonish/warn those whom they are charged with.

Many people either do one of two things, they are oh, too ready to acknowledge that preachers are only human and diminish the authority that God has given them in the word.

Or,

People put them on a pedestal and treat them like ‘man gods’, which is blasphemous and wrong.

I just want to give everyone a reminder that preachers are the same is everyone else, that just like police officers and doctors preachers are the same as everyone else. Police officers are subject to the same laws they have been charged to enforce. Doctors are vulnerable to the same sicknesses that they have been educated to treat. And, preachers are clothed in sinful flesh and working out their own salvation, while also being charged with watching over the souls of the Body of Christ.

The next time you see a preacher repenting after having a human moment, or even a moral failure, remember that God didn’t remove King David’s anointing or kingship after his acts of murder, deception and adultery…because He repented. Yes, there were consequences, but God still allowed Him to remain in authority.

Also, remember if you see a preacher somewhere that you think they should not be…you shouldn’t be there either.

You might also find this interesting…EVEN THE MOST EFFECTIVE LEADERS DON’T ‘HAVE IT ALL TOGETHER’…

BE BLESSTIFIED!

 

 

THE POWER OF A BEAUTIFUL MEMORY (MANAGE YOUR MEMORIES WISELY…)

Even though we should never LIVE in the past, a beautiful memory can be a powerful mental escape. Think of it as a mental vacation. We can’t live on vacation, but a well-timed getaway can be refreshing and help us when we return to everyday life.

A beautiful memory is a gift of God that should never be taken for granted.


Have you ever stopped and thought about the power or a beautiful memory?


It can sustain you on your darkest day…

Help you heal as you grieve over a lost loved one…

Help you deal with a child or loved one who doesn’t appreciate you…

Give you a mental break during the workday to help you refocus…

Provide ‘company’ during moments of extreme loneliness…

It can help you drift off to sleep on a sleepless night…

Give moments of freedom to someone in prison…

A pleasant memory can even relieve stress…

Get you through a tense moment…

Help you relive ‘the good ole days’.

Have you ever noticed how a favorite song from the past can make that memory seem so much more vivid. It can actually ‘take you back’?


Most importantly… a good memory is that it can help you replace a bad one. We can’t think of two different things at the same time.


Manage your memories wisely, and never take for granted the power of a beautiful memory.

Never take for granted the power of a beautiful memory.

Notice how a good memory of worshiping in the house of God sustains the Psalmist…

Psalm 42 (NKJV)

As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?[b]
My tears have been my food day and night,
While they continually say to me,
“Where is your God?”

When I remember these things,
I pour out my soul within me.
For I used to go with the multitude;
I went with them to the house of God,
With the voice of joy and praise,
With a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast.

Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?

Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him
For the help of His countenance.[c]

O my God,[d] my soul is cast down within me;
Therefore I will remember You from the land of the Jordan,
And from the heights of Hermon,
From the Hill Mizar.
Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls;
All Your waves and billows have gone over me.
The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime,
And in the night His song shall be with me—
A prayer to the God of my life.

I will say to God my Rock,
“Why have You forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”
10 As with a breaking of my bones,
My enemies reproach me,
While they say to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”

11 Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God;
For I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.

 

BE BLESSTIFIED!

WHEN GOD CAUSES DIVISION IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP (Yep, I said God)…

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What? What are you talking about Aldtric? When God causes division in your relationship?

Well check this out…

Matthew 10:34-36 (NKJV)

34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’[a]

Wow! Why would Jesus say this? I thought Jesus was all about peace…harmony…agreement. I have to admit that years ago I used to let this scripture trouble me.

Let’s read one more verse that brings it all home…

Matthew 10:37 (NKJV)

37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.

God demands that we love Him first and that we always put Him first, even when it comes to family. He knows how much we love our parents. He knows how much we love our spouses. He knows how much we love our children…especially our children.


God wants to make sure that we don’t allow our love for those closest to us to become worship…the idolatry of putting them first.


He knows that sometimes the love we have for those closest to us will cause a spiritual conflict and dilemma.

God knows sometimes we will have disagreements in our homes over spiritual things. Because of the verses above, I believe that sometimes God Himself presents these situations.

It could be over where to go to church, when to go to church, how much to give, what changes we will make in our household.

We all know that even when both people in the relationship are believers, they aren’t always on the same page. Couples don’t always mature spiritually in harmony. They don’t always  receive and respond to the word the same.


Have you ever had a disagreement in your family over something spiritual?


Sometimes, God will present to you an opportunity to choose between you and your loved one. He will give you the opportunity to assert to those closest to you that you will put Him first, and will not compromise…even then it comes to them. And, when you choose Him and His will, you then have to trust God to bring peace.

There are also some situations where there may be a married couple who does not believe in God. One of the two may come to believe before the other…here God did not bring peace, but division, just as the scripture said. This most likely happened very often in the early days of the church, and perfect provision was made for this situation in 1 Corinthians Chapter 7.

You may have a child who wants to participate in an activity that will prevent them from attending worship service. If do what we are supposed to do as parents and assert that nothing comes before worship, it will cause division.

How about this one, your child wants to listen to music that is inappropriate…this can cause division.

Sometimes the person who’s closest to you may want you to go somewhere, do something, read something or watch something that you feel may be displeasing to God… this will cause division.

But, when this takes place, God is still working it out for the good of everyone involved. When you find yourself being put in the position to put God’s desires before you loved one’s desires…

 

  1. Stand your ground based on the bible and not how you feel.
  2. Go and pray that God soften your loved one’s heart to submit to His will.
  3. This is a big one! Regularly pray for His spirit of agreement in your relationship, just as He is one with our Lord and Savior, Yeshua Christ Jesus. (Read John 17:20-23)
  4. Trust God to THEN bring peace into your relationship.

 

One more thing…

The next time you are frustrated with God, or feel He is being unfair to you. Be careful that you DO NOT share how you feel with your loved one. You don’t want their love your you to cause them to be upset with go too. Trust God! He will eventually resolve the situation that’s troubling you, and when He does, you don’t want to have been a stumbling block their relationship with Him.

Whether it’s a marriage, parent child relationship, close friends or whatever…

When God causes division in your relationship, it isn’t to tear you apart, it’s to bring both of you closer to Him.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

I THINK I’LL STUDY MY BIBLE OVER A GLASS OF WINE (MODERATION)…

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“I think I’ll relax and read my bible over A glass of wine”

“I think I’ll relax and study my bible over a glass of wine”. Uh oh! I’m quite certain that statement made many of my fellow Christians cringe. I’m sure it may push limits of some people’s personal theology…many of my fellow Christians will quickly tell you that you shouldn’t defile the temple of God (and we shouldn’t).

Many of my fellow Christians will piously tell you, “Ohhh no! I don’t drink alcohol”, while at the same time many of the same people consume huge amounts of sugar, fat, sodium, artificial ingredients, smoke, over-the-counter and prescription drugs etc., etc., etc., that they know are harmful to their bodies, or temples of God (1 Corinthians 6:19).

Many Christians who’ve been diagnosed medical conditions knowingly eat foods and drink beverages that even though they aren’t wine, are harmful to their bodies and adversely affect their health…but, they would never be CAUGHT drinking a glass of wine.

Yes, the bible says that we are NOT to “get drunk with wine”…

Ephesians 5:18 (ESV)

18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,

…getting drunk is a sin and a work of the flesh…

Galatians 5:20-21 (ESV)

20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

HOWEVER, there is a huge difference in DRINKING a glass of wine and getting DRUNK with wine.

1 Timothy 5:23 admonishes us that there are health benefits to consuming a LITTLE wine in moderation.

1 Timothy 5:23 English Standard Version (ESV)

 23 (No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.)

Drinking wine is not a sin, but drinking too much is…

Drinking cola isn’t a sin, but if it’s detrimental to your health, drinking too much is…

Eating candy isn’t a sin, but if it’s detrimental to your health, eating too much is…

Eating is not a sin, but eating too much is…

Philippians 3:19 English Standard Version (ESV)

Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.

 Being at a gathering where there’s wine is not a sin. There was wine at the wedding Jesus attended in Cana recorded in John Chapter 2. It was real wine…not unfermented wine as some try to claim to justify their over zealousness. Wine was a staple in the bible. Jesus was observed consuming wine because they accused Him of being a ‘winebibber’, drunkard and a glutton. (However He did not get drunk)

Matthew 11:19 (ESV)

 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.”

Wine was consumed during the Passover Feast…the fact is that when the wine ran out during the wedding, Jesus ‘bought’ the drinks. Jesus didn’t say, they have wine at that wedding party, so I won’t attend, but that’s exactly what many Christians today would say.

Again, I’m not advocating getting drunk. Getting drunk IS a sin. But I am saying that wine, just like many other food and drinks is okay in moderation, and many Christians who ‘trip’ over drinking a glass of wine consume non-alcoholic foods and beverages into their bodies that are harmful or in quantities that are SINFUL.

Remember what the Apostle Paul said…

1 Corinthians 6:12

 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.

 1 Corinthians 10:23

“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.

I must be responsible and tell you that if you have a drinking problem, that it’s BEST THAT YOU CONSUME NO WINE, just as if you have an allergy to peanuts it’s best you CONSUME NO PEANUTS. Also, if your drinking wine makes someone in the faith weaker, it’s best that you don’t drink it in their presence. Read Romans 14:13-23 as Paul explains how we must consider those who are weaker in the faith in things that are permissible for us.

The most important thing for us to remember as Christians is MODERATION – ALL THINGS IN MODERATION.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

DON’T LET BEING BORED GET YOU IN TROUBLE…

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I sometimes think about the fact that times I used to call boring I now call relaxing. We need to be careful when we get bored. Boredom is an emotion that can get us in trouble if we aren’t careful. When people get bored, that’s when the devil can get busy.

Remember what happened in 2 Samuel 11 when the kings went out to battle, David sent Joab his servant and all of Israel out to battle, but he stayed behind? One evening while he was ‘relaxing’ on the rooftop, he saw Bathsheba bathing. Her husband, Uriah, was very devoted and loyal to David and he was among those in battle…and the rest is history.

The point is that David was relaxing when he should have been doing battle. Now, there’s nothing wrong with relaxing, but there’s a time and a season for for all things (Ecclesiastes 3). There can be some truth to the old saying, “The idle mind is the devil’s workshop”.


Boredom is an emotion that allows too much room in our minds for the enemy and temptation too much work.


How many of the sins that you have committed resulted from your boredom?

Some people get bored too easily and need something going on or changing all the time. They hate routine!

Be careful when you get bored too easily with…
Free time
Your job
Your marriage
Your family
Your church
Going to church
Studying God’s word
Your blessings
Etc., Etc., Etc…


If we are honest with ourselves, some of our troubles have come from the fact that we got bored. Boredom has led to loss of marriages, families, jobs, homes, cars, credit, friendships etc, BUT…


GOD HAS A CURE FOR BOREDOM.
1. Learn to be CONTENT and SATISFIED  in all situations. (Philippians 4:11-13)
2. Let your JOY and PEACE always be in the LORD. ( John14:27, Nehemiah 8:10)
3. If you’re bored, find ways to SERVE GOD BY SERVING OTHERS (Matthew 25:34-40).

There’s always someone who needs you. God gives us opportunities every day to serve Him by fulfilling the physical, emotional and especially spiritual needs of others. Being busy helping those in need as God commanded can be exciting, satisfying, and for thrill seekers, sometimes even dangerous (such as missionary work). There are those who are lonely, with no family who would love your companionship, especially elderly people. There’s plenty of real Kingdom business in our families, on our jobs, in politics, in our churches to cure our periods of boredom. The devil wants us to cure our boredom with foolishness and evil, but that only leads to more boredom and trouble.
There’s nothing wrong with relaxing, and good wholesome fun, but remember WHEN YOU GET BORED…GOD’S GOD A CURE.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

FAITH IN THE WRONG WEAPON…

It’s okay to arm yourself, but please remember this…

If your gun is polished, but you’re bible is dusty…You’re underarmed!

Psalm 44:6 (NKJV)

For I will not trust in my bow,
Nor shall my sword save me.

 

Psalm 33:16-18 (NKJV) (NKJV)

16 No king is saved by the multitude of an army;
A mighty man is not delivered by great strength. 17 A horse is a vain hope for safety; Neither shall it deliver any by its great strength.

18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, On those who hope in His mercy,

2 Corinthians 10:4 (NKJV)

4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,

Ephesians 6:17 (NKJV)

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;

BE BLESSTIFIED!

FOR THE UNAPPRECIATED: ARE YOU BRICKS OR MORTAR?

Sometimes we get discouraged because we do is not acknowledged, noticed or appreciated, even though it is as just as or more important as others who those who get noticed. But, think about this…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 or appreciates the mortar holding it together.


Who says, “Wow look at that beautiful mortar”!

No, we say, “Look at those beautiful bricks”! “Look at that beautiful building!” The cornerstone may have the glory of the names, and the bricks may be beautiful, but no one would see either if it weren’t for the 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 or appreciated. 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!

AREN’T YOU GLAD GOD ALLOWED SOME THINGS IN YOUR LIFE TO REMAIN SECRET?

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SHHHHHH

We know that Peter denied Christ, but that wasn’t the only sin he committed. Peter committed many other sins, but we don’t know what they were. God allowed them to remain secret.

We know that the Paul persecuted the church. We know that He said…

Romans 7:19 (NKJV)

19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.

…but we don’t know exactly what that evil was.

Remember, we also know that Paul had a thorn in the flesh, but God allowed it to remain secret…

2 Corinthians 12:7-9
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

Every personality God used in the bible committed some sins that God allowed to remain secret. Yes, we are supposed to confess our faults to one another (James 5:16), but that doesn’t mean you have to tell ALL of your business in every detail. Some people will compel you to do so, not out of concern for you, but to satisfy their curiosity.

Yes, some people are just nosey.


WE HAVE ALL DONE THINGS WE ARE ASHAMED OF…


There are some things that you have done, and truly repented, that no one knows about. You may have squandered money or relationships in your past, but now you aren’t that person anymore. You may have struggled with depression to the point you considered suicide, but you’re far beyond that now. You may have made some poor choices with your body, but that’s not you anymore. You may have had a problem with porn, but that’s now the last thing on your mind. Aren’t you glad God allowed those things to remain secret? The next time a public figure is exposed for something shameful, before you jump on the bandwagon of pointing a self-righteous finger, think of how thankful you are that God allowed your shameful moment(s) to be secret.

And, if you’re presently involved in some shameful behavior… STOP IT NOW!

STOP IT NOW!

Stop it before God makes you stop it. One sure way to make some shameful behavior stop is to expose it. Stop and give God some specific praise today if He has allowed some of your SECRETS to remain SECRET. Because not only is He a PROMISE KEEPER….HE’S a SECRET KEEPER TOO.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

WHY PRAYER HAS NEVER BEEN TAKEN OUT OF SCHOOLS…

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STOP GIVING THE ENEMY A VICTORY HE NEVER WON!

Body of Christ, stop playing the victim! Stop giving the enemy a victory that he never won!

I often hear people lament that one of the reasons our public school systems have declined and are declining is because we have allowed prayer to be taken out of schools. I humbly submit to you today…

IF YOU’RE PRAYING AT HOME, PRAYER IS STILL IN SCHOOLS…

IF YOU PRAY OVER AND FOR YOUR CHILDREN, PRAYER IS STILL IN SCHOOLS…

IF YOU’VE TAUGHT YOUR CHILDREN TO PRAY, PRAYER IS STILL IN SCHOOLS…

I wonder how many of the people who complain about prayer being taken out of schools actually teach their children to pray, pray with their children or have family prayer at home.

God gave parents the responsibility to instill the appreciation for prayer in their children,  promote a culture of prayer in the home, and let them know they can talk to God anywhere.

Deuteronomy 6:7 (ESV)

You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

Proverbs 22:6 (ESV)

Train up a child in the way he should go;
    even when he is old he will not depart from it.

 

We must teach our children that God isn’t limited to where you pray! The church prayed for Peter in Acts 12 and God released him.

Acts 12:5-17 (NKJV)

Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant[a] prayer was offered to God for him by the church. And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison. Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, “Arise quickly!” And his chains fell off his hands. Then the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and tie on your sandals”; and so he did. And he said to him, “Put on your garment and follow me.” So he went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they were past the first and the second guard posts, they came to the iron gate that leads to the city, which opened to them of its own accord; and they went out and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him. 11 And when Peter had come to himself, he said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and fromall the expectation of the Jewish people.” 12 So, when he had considered this, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying. 13 And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 When she recognized Peter’s voice, because of her gladness she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter stood before the gate. 15 But they said to her, “You are beside yourself!” Yet she kept insisting that it was so. So they said, “It is his angel.” 16 Now Peter continued knocking; and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. 17 But motioning to them with his hand to keep silent, he declared to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Go, tell these things to James and to the brethren.” And he departed and went to another place.

 The church didn’t have to GO to the prison to pray for Peter. God is omnipresent, everywhere at the same time.

When you pray WITH your child and FOR your child, God is with him, her or them IN the school. Consider this…if you allow prayer in schools, you have to allow ALL prayer. What if your child’s teacher isn’t Christian, and your child is subjected to the prayers of another religion?

Dear friends, don’t just pray individually, but I encourage you to make sure you’re having family prayer at home.

Spouses begin your day together on prayer.

Pray as a family.

Continue to pray for schools in your churches.

Pray for schools even if you don’t have children in school because good schools affect all of us. There is much power in praying TOGETHER…

Matthew 18:19-20)

19 “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

 

MOST IMPORTANTLY…if your children know how to PRAY FOR THEMSELVES AT SCHOOL…prayer is still and will always be in schools.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

GOD’S ‘JUDGEMENT’ ISN’T ALWAYS PAINFUL…

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The judgement of God is often viewed as painful, uncomfortable or even negative.

But, sometimes His verdict is…

Innocent…

Righteous…

Aquitted…

Overturned…

Commuted…

Victorious…

Free…

Forgiven…

Saved!


Thank God that through Yeshua, Jesus Christ, our DEATH sentence has been COMMUTED to ETERNAL life…


1 John 5:11 (NIV)

And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

BE  BLESSTIFIED!

 

WHY YOU SHOULD BE CAREFUL WHEN YOU SAY, “I’M PROUD OF___________”

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It amazes me how many people who claim to be Christians either ignore or don’t know that pride is a sin. Not only is it a sin. It’s a sin that frustrates God more than others. Now, I know there are no big sins or little sins, but yes, there ARE some that upset God more.

That shouldn’t be hard to understand. It’s a sin for someone to lie on you, it’s also a sin for someone to try to kill you…which would upset you more?

It’s a sin for someone to lust after your spouse, it’s also a sin for someone to sleep with him or her…which would upset you more?

Well, the latter in both cases is just like pride to God relative to other sins. In fact, I think that’s a great way to help define abominations in practical, contemporary terms.

God makes it clear that pride is a sin…

Proverbs 6:16-19 (NKJV)

16 These six things the Lord hates,
Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
17 A proud look,
A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,
18 A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that are swift in running to evil,
19 A false witness who speaks lies,
And one who sows discord among brethren.

 

Proverbs 16:18 (NKJV)

18 Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before a fall.

1 John 2:16 (NKJV)

16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.

Unfortunately, too many Christians act as though there is some acceptable form of pride. Pride is the ultimate subtle form of idolatry…self worship, race worship, national worship. Pride is giving ourselves credit what God has accomplished.

How many times have you thought, heard, said or agreed with any of these statements?

“I’m a proud American!”

“I’m proud to be Black!”

“I’m proud to be White!”

“I’m proud of my heritage!”

“I’m proud of our traditions!”

“I’m proud of my child!”

‘I’m proud of my accomplishments!”

God does not excuse pride, no matter how we justify it.

I think justifying pride is one of the subtlest forms of blasphemy because we in essentially ‘think’ for God…

We decide that the ‘pride’ we’re feeling is different. We decide that God understands. We decide He knows what we mean…

“When I say I’m proud, God knows what I mean.”

Now, I know some people will say I’m over thinking this. There are some who will say I’m making a big deal out of nothing. There are some who will say I’m being too nitpicky. But, sometimes that’s our problem. God will make His expectations clear and we quickly make excuses or try to justify what we want to do. We’re quick to say, “That’s not what He meant by that”.

God said what He said, means what He means…He’s absolute.

Self-esteem and pride are two different things. Self-esteem is loving yourself and valuing the God in you. God wants us to love ourselves through Him (Matthew 22:39). Pride is valuing ourselves more than God and what we’ve done or accomplished more than God.

God does not allow us to be proud of anything.

Here’s a suggestion that I have to constantly remind myself of…


Whenever and however, you use the word PRIDE, try substituting it with the words THANKS or THANKFUL.


Try it in the sentences above. Still works doesn’t it? And, it’s not a sin. It’s obedience…

1 Thessalonians 5:18  (NKJV)

18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

 

HOW GOD EXPECTS YOU TO MAKE LEMONADE WITHOUT SUGAR…

wp-1472302013866.jpgPeople love clichés.

A well-placed cliché makes conversations, speeches and even sermons more interesting. One very popular cliché used when people have misfortune is or difficulty is, “When life gives you lemons make lemonade”.


BUT WHAT IF YOU DON’T HAVE ANY SUGAR?

What if you have a health condition that doesn’t allow you to have sugar?

Sometimes in life we have to faith our way through some difficult days…

Sometimes we have to take some medicine that just doesn’t taste good…

Sometimes you have to swallow a really big pill that’s hard to get down…

Some people can’t have sugar in their diet…

Sometimes your healing comes from something bitter.


AREN’T YOU GLAD THAT JESUS DIDN’T MAKE LEMONADE ON THE CROSS?

2 Timothy 2:3 tells us to endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 12:2 teaches us to look to Jesus, who endured the cross for the joy that was set before Him.

People love quoting Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me” when they are trying to make their dreams come true, but this verse is most powerful when we are enduring life’s most difficult situations.

God wants us to always be able to make something good out of difficult situations, and to always see His will in them. As good soldiers of Jesus Christ, sometimes there’s nothing to make some situations feel ‘or taste’ better.

We just have to faith our way through and learn to sometimes drink lemonade without sugar.

 Psalm 3:19 (ESV)

19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
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BE BLESSTIFIED!

Edwin Hawkins & My Favorite Gospel Album of All Time…

Gospel music lost an icon today, and a legend was created…Edwin Hawkins.

I can close my eyes right now and smell yeast rolls coming from the kitchen as, “Let Us Go Into The House Of The Lord” plays on the record player. I would move the needle back to the beginning when the album finished.

This was most of my Saturday afternoons growing up, and this album, with, “Oh Happy Day” defined recorded Gospel music to me. My personal favorite song was my grandmother Dorothy Johnson’s…”Joy, Joy”.

This is by far my favorite Gospel album of all time. I encourage you to download it, stream it, listen to it, play the video over and over and let it bless you.

I pray God’s strength for the Edwin Hawkins family and may His legacy of music live on…in the spirit of the great Psalmist David.

Ephesians 5:19 (NKJV)

“Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord…”

THE MISTAKE OF TEACHING TO GIVE SELFISHLY, ONLY GIVING TO GET (in case you missed it)…

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God uses imperfect people to carry out His perfect will. That being said, we know that the church is made up of those imperfect people. It’s unavoidable that the church has historically made some mistakes. What’s important is that we continue to learn from those mistakes…and change.

I feel that one of the most damaging mistakes that’s been made in many churches is about GIVING. I’m not talking about HOW MUCH. I’m talking about WHY?

Too many people have been taught to GIVE SELFISHLY. Too many people have been taught and are being taught to approach God and give carnally. The ‘prosperity’ movement has reduced giving to a selfless act, based on our culture of greed, as a ‘tool’ to get what you want out of life from God. This allows the idolatry (Colossians 3:5) of worshiping oneself to pervert faith. They believe God can do it, but the motivation is wrong.

This actually comes from a biblical truth in the concept of giving when the bible says…

Malachi 3:10-12 (NKJV)

Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,

That there may be food in My house,

And try Me now in this,”

Says the Lord of hosts,

“If I will not open for you the windows of heaven

And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. 11 “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes,

So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground,

Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,”

Says the Lord of hosts; 12 “And all nations will call you blessed,

For you will be a delightful land,”

Says the Lord of hosts.

Again, this post isn’t about the AMOUNT, but about the WHY. Of course God can and will bless you for giving from the heart, but when they’re honest with themselves…too many people give so they can release the blessings of verses 10 through 12 into THEIR OWN LIVES, “open the windows of heaven”…”pour out a blessing that there will not be room to receive it”, “rebuke the devourer for your sakes”, “all the nations of the world will call you blessed”.

When they’re honest with themselves, many Christians only give so they can get. It is their BLE$$ING bill, their BLE$$ING note…no different than their utility bill, cell phone bill, mortgage, rent, car payment…that if they DON’T give God will cut off their blessings.

They prove this in their behavior. These same people who won’t get caught missing an opportunity to give don’t seem to have a problem with not reading regularly, not praying regularly, not sharing their faith with unbelievers, not being generous beyond what they think is the minimum, not helping those in need, and not even having a regular prayer life.

When we’re honest with ourselves, even when we help others sometimes, we aren’t doing it to be a blessing, but so we can feel good about ourselves, or so others can see what we’ve done. A good example…so many people rush to feed those in need in shelters during Thanksgiving, as if these people don’t need to eat 365 days per year. Jesus clearly tells us that when we do things for our own glory, that we have already received our reward…

Matthew 6:1-2 (NKJV)

“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.

Does that mean that it’s always wrong to share when you’ve blessed someone? No, because we are told to let our light shine…however God also knows the reason why we shared it.

We must always be honest with ourselves of even why we do good.

God wants us to give unselfishly, wishing for nothing in return. He wants us to give to fund the growth of His Kingdom in the earth. He wants us to give to simply plant seeds of His love. He wants us to give to be A BLESSING and not ONLY TO BE BLESSED.

Look at some of the verses concerning unselfish giving, and think of how infrequently you hear some of them or all of them…

Luke 6:34-35 (NKJV)

34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.

 2 Corinthians 9:5-15 (NKJV)

 Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren to go to you ahead of time, and prepare your generous gift beforehand, which you had previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation. But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God I sable to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written:

“He has dispersed abroad,

He has given to the poor;

His righteousness endures forever.”[b]

10 Now may[c] He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 11 while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. 12 For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, 13 while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, 14 and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you. 15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

 Ephesians 4:28 (NKJV)

 28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.

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?

There are many more verses where God makes it clear that we should give unselfishly.

Yes, we should always be obedient and give as God told us to do. We should be generous as God told us to be.

But, we must always be honest with ourselves as to why we’re giving or being generous…because He already knows.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

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