WHY ARE THE PEOPLE WHO ARE DRAWN TO YOU…DRAWN TO YOU?

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Jesus was often criticized for His close association with sinners, and yes, sometimes that can be spiritually dangerous for us…

1 Corinthians 15:33 (NKJV)

33 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”

But, notice why the tax collectors and sinners were drawn to Jesus in Luke Chapter 15

Luke 15  (NKJV)

Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.” So He spoke this parable to them, saying:

There were many occasions when Jesus attracted crowds of people for what He could do for them…

John 6:26  (NKJV)

26 Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.

But, in Luke Chapter 15 they were drawn to Jesus to hear Him. The sinners were seeking the word of God. Not food. Not healing. Not things…but the word. Either way, it was God doing the drawing…

John 6:44  (NKJV)

44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.

This prompted me to ask myself a question. Why are the people who are drawn to me…drawn to me? What is it about me that attracts people? Here’s the real question. Is it what is holy about me, or what is unholy about me?

So I challenge you to examine and ask yourself…


WHAT IS IT ABOUT ME THAT ATTRACTS THOSE WHO ARE DRAWN TO ME? IS IT WHAT IS HOLY, OR UNHOLY?


You can also flip this question and ask ourselves, “Why am I drawn to those to whom I’m drawn?” What is it about them that attracts me? Is it what’s holy or unholy.

Remember this…peoples’ perception of you is their reality. The reasons that people are drawn to you speaks to how and why they value you. It speaks to what value you can add to their lives.


And the value that you are to others, can be the value that you are to God…


John 15:16  (NKJV)

16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.

Matthew 5:16 (NKJV)

16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

 Matthew 7:18-20  (NKJV)

18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

 Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV)

10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

It is critical that we continue to refine our walk with God and our usefulness to Him in His Kingdom, especially before we take the Lord’s Supper.

1 Corinthians 11:28 New King James Version (NKJV)

28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

We always want to make sure that it’s the God in us that draws people and not the enemy.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

 

 

 

 

 

THE MORNING I LET GOD DOWN BY GOING TO CHURCH INSTEAD OF THE JAIL…

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One morning back in 1999 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…

Galatians 6:1

 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. 

 And also,

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 religion…

For duty…

For tradition…

For ‘a form of Godliness’…

I missed the entire purpose 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 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.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

HISTORY DIDN’T TAKE PLACE IN BLACK & WHITE…

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History didn’t take place in black and white…

It wasn’t experienced in 8mm…

A lifetime wasn’t lived out in a chapter that records it.

The past can’t be contained in a book or scroll…


The past was it’s past’s future.


Those before us days and nights were just as long as ours.

They had hopes and dreams just as we do.

History was influenced by names we will never know, and countless others whose lived and died in anonymity, but were still important to those in their lives.

Today, you’re younger than you will ever be again….enjoy it.

Psalm 118:24 (NKJV)

This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it.

BEBLESSTIFIED!

WHY WE SHOULD STOP SAYING, “FORGIVENESS ISN’T FOR THEM, IT’S FOR YOU…”

How many times have you heard someone say…“Forgiveness isn’t for them, it’s for you”? How many times have you said it?

It sounds good in sermons. It makes us sound deep and profound in conversations. It looks good on social media…

But, it’s simply not true and not biblical. It reduces forgiveness to a selfish act.

Think about it. What does God get out of forgiving us? What’s in it for Him. He’s still God. He’s still Holy. He still has all power. He even still has the fellowship of the angels whether He forgives us or not. So, why does He forgive us?


Because when God forgives us, He does it for US and not HIMSELF.


Granting forgiveness is a SELFLESS act that God commands us to do for one another as He does for us. It’s another way we conform to His character and His image.

It’s mutually beneficial…


It releases the FORGIVEN from the guilt of the offense and releases the FORGIVER from the burden of holding on to what leads to bitterness and wrath.


It is the most powerful tool available to us to maintain good relationships because that’s how God maintains His relationship with us…by continually forgiving us.


Don’t make forgiveness a SELFISH act by approaching it carnally as many well-meaning people do by saying it’s for YOU and not the offender.


That perverts the Holy intent of the GIFT of forgiveness. It’s an extension of His grace towards those in relationship with Him. That’s why the enemy tries to trick you into ‘throwing what’s holy to the dogs’.

And yes, forgiveness is a priceless gift. God doesn’t have to forgive us. Think of how good it feels to be truly sorry and have someone not only tell you that you are forgiven, but you can tell in their actions that they mean it. Forgiveness blesses both parties equally…please don’t approach it selfishly or teach others to do so.

Ephesians 4:32 (NKJV)

And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

Yes, granting forgiveness is for you too, but it’s for them first.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

DOES YOUR JOB PROVOKE YOU TO SIN?

Some jobs are tough…really tough.

Tough environments…

Tough circumstances…

Tough cultures…

Tough situations…

Challenging fields and occupations…

They force interactions with…

Tough and sometimes dangerous people…

People whose goal is money rather than morality.

Some organizations have corrupt  cultures…

I’m by no means diminishing the demands…challenges or dangers of any occupation, especially those that I don’t fully understand…

But, I don’t have to understand to know that God expects HIS people to always remain in His character and integrity.

Psalm 25:21 (NKJV)

Let integrity and uprightness preserve me,
For I wait for You.

The apostles were sent by God to spread the Gospel of our Lord, Jesus Christ and start His church.

It was an extremely dangerous occupation. They were put in the path of violent and ungodly people on a regular basis.

The apostle Paul requested prayer knowing he was going to encounter people at their worst…but God still expected them to remain in His spirit of excellence.

2 Thessalonians 3:1-2 (NKJV)

Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you, 2 and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith.


I sometimes hear people on certain jobs excuse profanity…obscenity…and disrespectful behavior by saying…

“Sometimes you have to get down to their level”…

Or

“That’s what it takes to get the best out of people”…

Or even

“I’m trying keep him, her or them from being soft”.

If you feel that your job regularly or sometimes forces you to…
Curse…

Cheat…

Lie..

Steal…

Manipulate…

Deceive…

Disrespect…

Demean…

Fornicate…

Commit adultery…

Facilitate or encourage the sin of others…

Or…

Regularly miss worship…

If you’re a Christian, then maybe it’s not the job for you.


I understand there are jobs that may put someone in the position to take a life to protect others…that’s not sin.

Think about your job…career…occupation.

Think about your tasks…responsibilities…expectations.

Think about what you have to do to be successful.

I hear so many people in my office use profanity, as if it makes them sound strong or confident.

I hear so many people use harsh words and behavior as if it were a necessary part of their job.

Can you think of a profession where profanity and disrespect are expected and even honored?

No matter what your occupation, God expects His people to set the standard of behavior…especially in difficult circumstances.

Colossians 3:23(NKJV)

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,

BE BLESSTIFIED!

BEE ALL GOD CREATED YOU TO BEE! (BEEBLESSTIFIED…)

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If you like flowers…

Or plants…

Or fruit…

Or breathing…

Then you should thank God for BEES.

God uses them to pollinate plants so the plants can reproduce. As you probably already know, God uses plants to produce the oxygen that we need to breathe.

So, God uses BEES to multiply.

To make more plants…to make more fruit…to make more oxygen, so we can live.

God uses bees to fill the earth.


In the beginning one of the first things God told man to do is multiply

Genesis 1:28(NKJV)

28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”


God also told us to bear fruit

John 15:8 (NKJV)

8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.


When we bring others to Christ…

When we make disciples…

We’re bearing fruit for God’s Kingdom.

Fruit isn’t WHAT you obtain, but WHO you obtain.

When we plant the seed of God’s word, we’re pollinating God’s Kingdom.

When we’re doing what God told us to do, we’re BEEING what He created us to BEE.

BEE BLESSTIFIED!

 

EVEN ATHEISTS ACKNOWLEDGE GOD WHEN…

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You may not be able to see viruses or bacteria with the naked eye, but when you catch a cold or get sick you acknowledge their existence.

You may not be tech savvy, you may not have a computer or smart phone, and you may renounce the internet, but YOUR information is not only on the internet, but it affects your life daily.

There are many who claim that there is no God. They don’t believe in Him, and they make every effort to provide empirical ‘proof’ He’s not there, but…


Even the atheist acknowledges God’s is real when…


He or she takes shelter from storms, heat or cold.
Jonah 1:4-5 (NKJV)
4 But the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up.
5 Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god, and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load.[a] But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the ship, had lain down, and was fast asleep.

He or she enjoys His creation…
Matthew 5:45 (NKJV)

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.

Romans 1:20 (NKJV)

20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,

He or she adjusts their lives, attire, behavior for the seasons…
Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NKJV)

To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:

He or she needs a light to pierce through the darkness of night…
Matthew 5:15 (NKJV)
15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.

Our science, our medicine and our knowledge can’t heal us or save our lives…
Luke 8:43 (NKJV)
43 Now a woman, having a flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any,


But the greatest evidence of God’s existence and His love is His mercy, and giving those who don’t believe in Him time to do so.
2 Peter 3:9 (NKJV)
9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is long suffering toward us,[a] not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

Our science, our medicine and our knowledge can’t heal us or save our lives…
Luke 8:43 (NKJV)
43 Now a woman, having a flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any,


But the greatest evidence of God’s existence and His love is His mercy, and giving those who don’t believe in Him time to do so.
2 Peter 3:9 (NKJV)
9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is long suffering toward us,[a] not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

WHY SOMEONE IS FANTASIZING ABOUT YOU…

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You are the object of someone’s fantasy. Someone’s watching you, and they want what you have. Yes, they want your body…

Your cancer-free body…

Your disease-free body…

Your two working legs and arms…

They want your ability to walk and run.

They want your ability to go to work every day.

They want your strength. Not you super strength, but your strength to take care of yourself.


They want ‘What you’ve got!’ Not the opportunity to fulfill their lust, but the opportunity to fulfill their life.


They want your freedom.

They want a family like yours.

They want to be just like you.

They want a roof over their heads…Food to eat…Clothes to wear.


They fantasize about going to the grocery store and filling a shopping cart rather than carrying everything they own in one.


They fantasize about buying a pair of shoes…About going where they want, when they want, in a car.


They fantasize about going to the doctor for check-ups and not treatments.


Someone would trade their good credit for your health…their riches for your peace. They’re watching you.

Please don’t allow our prosperous society to spoil you to the point of covetousness and being ungrateful.


Don’t allow the ‘blessings of abundance’ to become ‘burdens’ to make you feel God is mistreating you if you don’t have everything you want. If you don’ have perfect health. If you don’t have ideal circumstances.


The bible teaches us to be content with food and clothes…

1 Timothy 6:8  (NKJV)

And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.

God teaches us to not worry about our needs…

Matthew 6:31-34 (NKJV)

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

And, He teaches us to be thankful in all things.

1 Thessalonians 5:18  (NKJV)

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

Don’t get your wants confused with your needs. And remember, there is always someone ‘less fortunate’ than you…fantasizing to have what you may be taking for granted.

BE BLESSTIFIED

 

WARNING: WHY THE DEVIL MAY NOT BE TRYING TO KILL YOU…

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There are many in the Body of Christ who love quoting John 10:10

John 10:10  (NKJV)

10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

But, we must remember that this verse applies to those of us who are being led by the Good Shepherd (John 10:1-17). Those who are ‘walking in the Spirit’ (Galatians 5:16-26). Those who not only believe, but are responding to being the ‘called according to His purpose’ (Romans 8:28). To those who are laboring for His Harvest (Matthew 9:37-38). And especially those who  are connected to the vine and bearing good fruit (John 15:1-8).

It is God’s will that we add to His Kingdom…that we make disciples (Matthew 28:19), and that every interaction brings glory and honor to His name, that’s bearing good fruit.

So by default, if we aren’t bearing good fruit we are either bearing no fruit or bearing bad fruit. God’s word addresses how He feels about those of us who are being nurtured by His love, grace, mercy, provision and protection and bear no fruit (. Many of us only use the resources that God gives us, not just money, but our anointing, gifts and talents on ourselves. It’s like a fruit tree with all leaves but no fruit (Luke 13:6-9),(John 15:1-8), and dig this one…

Isaiah 5:1-7  (NKJV)

 Now let me sing to my Well-beloved
A song of my Beloved regarding His vineyard:

My Well-beloved has a vineyard
On a very fruitful hill.
He dug it up and cleared out its stones,
And planted it with the choicest vine.
He built a tower in its midst,
And also made a winepress in it;
So He expected it to bring forth good grapes,
But it brought forth wild grapes.

“And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah,
Judge, please, between Me and My vineyard.
What more could have been done to My vineyard
That I have not done in it?
Why then, when I expected it to bring forth good grapes,
Did it bring forth wild grapes?
And now, please let Me tell you what I will do to My vineyard:
I will take away its hedge, and it shall be burned;
And break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down.
I will lay it waste;
It shall not be pruned or dug,
But there shall come up briers and thorns.
I will also command the clouds
That they rain no rain on it.”

For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel,
And the men of Judah are His pleasant plant.
He looked for justice, but behold, oppression;
For righteousness, but behold, a cry for help.

 So, I think the word of God establishes it well that it is very possible to believe but to be of no use to Him in the Kingdom. Even to the point to tell us that if we have faith, but are always sitting on it, that our faith is dead (James 2:14-26).

By deductive reasoning, we can also conclude that if we are not benefiting God’s Kingdom that we are…


NO THREAT TO THE DEVIL


That being established, and so-called believer who is no threat to the devil IS a threat to the Kingdom. They justify being an inactive, apathetic believer.

There are those also who claim to believe but have allowed the devil to manipulate them into pursuing his agenda, for example the scribes and Pharisees claimed to be God’s representatives but were actually working for the enemy, they sought to kill Jesus unknowingly fulfilling scripture (Matthew 12:14, John 5:18, John 7:1, John 11:53, John 16:2).

The Ku Klux Klan claimed and claims to be a Christian organization, but they are actually pursued and are pursuing the enemy’s agenda.


SO IF YOU ARE OF NO USE TO GOD’S KINGDOM OR EVEN HELPING THE ENEMY WHY SHOULD HE TRY TO STEAL FROM YOU, KILL YOU OR DESTROY YOU? WHY SHOULD THE ENEMY TRY TO HARM YOU IF YOU ARE BENEFITING HIM?


Do you have a genuine concern for those who are lost? Are you acting on it? Are you letting your light shine? Can people really tell you’re a Christian by how you live daily?

Remember the words of the 12-year old Jesus, “…I must be about my Father’s business.”(Luke 2:49).

Are you about your Father’s business? If not why should the devil fight against you?  In fact, if we aren’t about our Father’s business, then again by default who’s business are we about?

John 8:44-45  (NKJV)

44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources,for he is a liar and the father of it. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me.

If your life seems to be too easy…it may be for a reason.

BE BLESSTIFIED!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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