Think for a moment about the professions that are considered to be honorable.
Think for a moment the professions that earn the most money.
Now, think which professionals and workers you would miss the most if they went on strike.
For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many found themselves missing professional sports but…
Who do you think would be missed first a person’s favorite team collecting wins, or someone collecting their garbage?
Sanitation workers are the most essential of essential workers, but are often forgotten and not given the respect they deserve, and definitely not the pay they deserve.
The bible tells us to give honor to whom honor is due…
Romans 13:7 (NKJV)
7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.
Those whose profession is the very fabric of maintaining civilization itself deserve honor. In fact, it was on behalf of sanitation professionals that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was visiting Memphis when he was taken away.
The next time you take out garbage and don’t have to think about it anymore, thank God for your sanitation workers.
And, the next time you see them doing their job, give them some love, honor and respect.
On April 29, 1970, Jewel Records recording artist Lonnie Black got a birthday gift to last a lifetime, a beautiful baby girl.
He went on to become a Pastor, one of his members, a recently widowed woman named Dorothy Dorothy Johnson took it upon herself to cook dinner for him and his family every SONday afternoon after church. She had a grandson who lived with her, Aldtric Johnson.
Fast forward to 1987, Aldtric and Mechelle were married, and have been together ever since.
Today, my wife turns 50 years old, and she is still more beautiful than ever! She absolutely does not look her age.
Maybe it’s because her maiden name is Black, you know they say, “Black don’t crack”.
It’s interesting the many ways the enemy can provoke us to sin. Paul even reminds us to keep our eyes wide open to the many tricks of the devil….
2 Corinthians 2:11(NKJV)
lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.
Have you ever noticed how many times the Old Testament references “the sins of Jeroboam”? In 1Kings Chapter 12 (please read the entire chapter for context), Jeroboam, King of the northern kingdom of Israel became fearful that the people’s loyalty would return to Rehoboam, King of the southern kingdom of Judah and son of Solomon. He thought the people would kill him, so in an effort to prevent this he…
Sought and took bad advice (provoked by his fears).
Built two golden calves (provoking and facilitating the people to worship idol Gods).
Set them up in cities other than Jerusalem, provoking the people to travel to those cities to worship (one in Bethel and one in Dan).
Made shrines on high places (provoking the people to idolatry).
Set up his own priests who were not the sons of Levi (provoking the people and false priests to sin).
Chose his own day to ordain a feast for the children of Israel (provoking the children of Israel to worship in a manner other than what God had commanded for them at this particular time in history).
In short, the decisions Jeroboam made for the nation of Israel provoked and facilitated a culture of sin that God just didn’t only hold Jeraboam accountable for, but the ENTIRE NATION.
Be careful who you choose to follow.
Be careful who you choose to lead.
And, watch very closely those leaders whom you did not choose.
When leaders make unrighteous decrees, God will hold the entire nation accountable for following them.
Isaiah 10:1-6 (NKJV)
10 “Woe to those who decree unrighteous decrees,
Who write misfortune, Which they have prescribed 2 To rob the needy of justice,
And to take what is right from the poor of My people,
That widows may be their prey,
And that they may rob the fatherless. 3 What will you do in the day of punishment,
And in the desolation which will come from afar?
To whom will you flee for help?
And where will you leave your glory? 4 Without Me they shall bow down among the prisoners,
And they shall fall among the slain.”
For all this His anger is not turned away,
But His hand is stretched out still.
Arrogant Assyria Also Judged
5 “Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger
And the staff in whose hand is My indignation. 6 I will send him against an ungodly nation,
And against the people of My wrath
I will give him charge,
To seize the spoil, to take the prey,
And to tread them down like the mire of the streets.
Even though all leaders are ordained by God, that doesn’t mean that they always make Godly decisions. Sometimes nations are given ‘bad’ leaders because of their disobedience and sin.
Take the 44th and 45th presidential administrations for example. Even though there are good aspects of both…The enemy cleverly found ways to provoke well-meaning Christians to compromise what God said in His word and their own personal Christian values to either support the man or satisfy their own flesh….
44th President of the United States championed rights for lifestyles (LBGT) that God clearly said are sinful. Yes, the decisions that people make are between themselves and God, but you can’t legitimize sin with legislation. Championing this cause promoted a culture that even uses the bible against itself. Many people now say, ‘That’s not what God really meant”. It also led to people attacking Christians for standing on the word of God.
45th President of the United States has provoked people who call themselves Christians to promote a man who clearly has not and does not display ONE Fruit of the Spirit. Who is clearly unforgiving, unrepentant, unapologetic, proud, disrespectful, insulting with no filter. This is not judging him, it’s stating facts. But, they excuse this because they felt he would be good for the economy, and national security.
His Press Secretary made this statement in defense of his ‘strong words’ in 2017, “They elected someone to be strong and when he get’s hit he’s going to hit back.” This statement is in direct conflict with God’s word…
Matthew 5:39 (NKJV)
39 But I tell you not to resist an evil person.But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.
He called NFL athletes SOB’s and consistently hurls out insults to his enemies and promotes and legitimizes a culture of doing so, in direct conflict with the word of God…
1 Peter 3:9 (NKJV)
9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.
Those who claim to be religious leaders who support him have not spoken out against or rebuked his behavior just a the Prophet Nathan did David, but rather make excuses for it.
When confronted with an issue, study everything the word of God says on the issue in context and proper perspective without ‘cherry picking’ the verses that best suit what you want.
Make your decision about what you support in your heart. God will honor and protect you and your family when you don’t consent to what is clearly displeasing to God.
Joshua 24:15 (NKJV)
15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Today, thousands of years later, leaders all over the world are still ‘committing the sins of Jeroboam’…provoking the nation to sin.
Body of Christ, no matter what your party may be, we must be very careful not to allow our politics TRUMP our faith.
The rich young ruler in the books of Matthew 19 and Mark 10 told Jesus that he kept all of the commandments from his youth up, but the Lord quickly reminded him that he was lacking something.
That’s true for all of us. No matter how much we may try to live upright, we will always remain lacking in some area.
You may not be a fornicator, an adulterer, a drunk, a murderer…you may go to church every time the doors open. You may be very generous in your giving …
BUT DO YOU COMPLAIN?
God HATES complaining. He doesn’t hate complainers, but He does hate it when we complain. One of Israel’s greatest, most consistent sins while in the wilderness was that of complaining and murmuring. In fact, it was their complaining that made an 11-day trip last 40 years.
God hates complaining so much he allowed His own children to suffer death to serve as an example of the level of judgment that complaining deserves…
1 Corinthians 10:10 (NKJV)
10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.
But, don’t we have a right to complain sometimes? Especially when some things are beyond our control? Why does God hate complaining so much?
HERE ARE 7 REASONS WHY GOD HATES COMPLAINING SO MUCH…
1.COMPLAINING IS THE OPPOSITE OF THANKSGIVING
It doesn’t get more clear than this…
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NKJV)
18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Plain and simple…God expects us to be thankful and content in all things (Philippians 4:11-13). There is not one situation when one is complaining that they could not instead find a reason to give thanks or praise. In all of the Psalms where the psalmist was questioning God about troubles did the Psalm not end with praise and thanks giving. (Psalm 6, Psalm 13, Psalm 35, Psalm 94 are just a few). There is a difference in a humble lamentation and an arrogant complaint.
2. COMPLAINING POISONS YOUR ATTITUDE
If we’re honest with ourselves, complaining never makes us feel better. To the contrary if we’re angry it makes us more angry. If we’re frustrated it makes us more frustrated, if we’re discontent it makes us more discontent. Whatever our negative attitude, complaining just makes it more negative. Most of the time we even wear it on our expressions. We look angry and unsatisfied. It takes us from beyond a bad mood to a bad attitude. When we have a bad attitude long enough, it becomes our character…more on that in a moment.
3. COMPLAINING INFECTS THE ATTITUDES OF OTHERS
How many times have you felt perfectly fine and content about something or someone until someone complained? Complaining is contagious. When we share our negative discontent it can have the same negative affect on someone else’s attitude as well, especially if they are spiritually or emotionally weak.
When we spread discontent, animosity or just a negative attitude we become a stumbling block, and we must always remember that is something that the Lord hates too…
Matthew 18:6 (NKJV)
6 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
4. COMPLAINING IMPLIES WE DON’T TRUST GOD
This is huge! God had led Israel and promised them ‘a land flowing with mild and honey’. However, when things got tough, they continually complained and lamented that they wished they had never left Egypt.
Exodus 14:12 (NKJV)
12 Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, ‘Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.”
Exodus 16:3 (NKJV)
3 And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
Complaining in difficult circumstances said to God then and still does today, that we don’t trust Him. Remember that through everything that Job went through did he never BLAME God of charge Him foolishly (Job 1:22).
Even if our circumstances are beyond our control, we must remember that God is sovereign to do what He pleases with His creation for however it suits His divine purpose, and we must trust Him in that.
5. GOD TAKES IT PERSONAL WHEN WE COMPLAIN AGAINST HIS ANOINTED
It’s God’s prerogative to choose whom He pleases to lead His people. Even though these leaders are mere men and women, He still expects us to submit to them. Notice God’s level of anger when the people murmured against Moses and Aaron…
41 On the next day all the congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, saying, “You have killed the people of the Lord.” 42 Now it happened,when the congregation had gathered against Moses and Aaron, that they turned toward the tabernacle of meeting; and suddenly the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord appeared. 43 Then Moses and Aaron came before the tabernacle of meeting. 44 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 45 “Get away from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.” And they fell on their faces. 46 So Moses said to Aaron, “Take a censer and put fire in it from the altar, put incense on it, and take it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them; for wrath has gone out from the Lord. The plague has begun.” 47 Then Aaron took it as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the assembly; and already the plague had begun among the people. So he put in the incense and made atonement for the people.
We must be very careful of what we say about a man or woman of God, even when they make a mistake or have a human moment. Notice that God did not tell David that he could no longer be king even after he slept with Uriah’s wife and then had him killed (2 Samuel 12). David suffered the consequences, but that did not disqualify his anointing.
6. COMPLAINING SHIFTS RESPONSIBILITY FROM OURSELVES
When I’m honest with myself. Much of what I complain about is the consequences of my own mistakes and actions. Yes, there are things that happen beyond our control. Misfortunes, storms, sicknesses etc. But, many times we will find ourselves complaining about relationships, jobs, purchases, situations and circumstances that either we prayed for or God gave us to benefit us.
As early as in the garden of Eden, rather than accept his responsibility for choosing to eat the fruit himself, Adam blamed his wife…
Genesis 3:12 (NKJV)
12 Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.
7. COMPLAINING LEAVES A BAD TESTIMONY
As I mentioned earlier, when we express our dissatisfaction through complaining, and a negative mood and attitude, it can become our character. This is very important…
God expects us to set the standard of how to handle difficult circumstances.
When we react with negativity we have allowed that to become our testimony in that situation. When we allow our complaints to become go beyond moods to attitudes, we can allow that to become or come across as our character, especially in the limited context of other people’s exposure to us, or what they hear about us. Our character or perceived character can become our testimony.
Once we have mishandled a negative situation, our reputation may never recover. We don’t want that to become our testimony.
So, what to you do when you have a legitimate ‘complaint’?
Remember this. It’s not necessarily the fact that you disagree that makes it a complaint. It’s the fact that you disagree negatively. That you express your discontent or lament in a spirit of HUMILITY AND POSITIVITY.
There’s a difference in negative discontent and positive discontent.
Pray to God for the wisdom to handle your negative circumstances with grace and in a positive manner, and don’t get caught up in the sometimes overlooked sin of complaining.
How many times have you had an argument with _______________, and it was not resolved?
You still don’t agree?
They are still very much angry at you?
You still feel they are wrong?
Or, You may know that YOU are wrong?
Now is the time that you may want to buckle down in your anger. It is the foundation to a grudge and a wall in this ONE area of your relationship with _________________.
You may decide you aren’t going to speak to them. You may decide you aren’t going to listen to them. You may decide you are going to ignore them when they speak to you. You may decide to have a negative attitude towards them or be mean to them. You may decide to withhold affection and kindness from them….
There is a reason that God tells us…
Ephesians 4:26-27 (NKJV)
26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil.
Proverbs 29:11 (NKJV)
11 A fool vents all his feelings,[a] But a wise man holds them back.
James 1:20 (NKJV)
20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
SO, BEFORE YOU BUCKLE DOWN IN YOUR ANGER, PLEASE STOP AND THINK ABOUT THIS…
Have you done something to make God angry?
Have you neglected doing something that God wants you to do?
Do you want God to buckle down in His anger towards you?
Do you want God to stop speaking to you? Do you want God to stop listening to you? Do you want God to start ignoring you? Do you want God to have a negative attitude towards you or be mean to you…
DO YOU WANT GOD TO WITHHOLD AFFECTION AND KINDNESS FROM YOU…FOR EVEN A BRIEF MOMENT?
NO! OF COURSE NOT!
So, the next time your anger burns hotter, cool it off with an act of kindness and love, especially if you don’t feel like it. That’s what makes it kindness and love!
Give them a hug. Do something small but kind for them, even if they don’t want you to. Let them have the last word.
Remember, giving someone the last word isn’t loosing an argument, it’s ending the argument.
Make it clear to them that you aren’t going to let your anger rule the situation. Make it clear to the devil that he cannot get a foothold through the situation.
Remember how long God remains angry at us…
Psalm 30:5 (NKJV)
5 For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But [a]joy comes in the morning.
To sum it up, make sure you have a forgiving heart quickly and let it go.
Ephesians 4:32 (NKJV)
32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
Luke 11:4 (NLT)
4 and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation.”
Remember, you never really hold a grudge, the grudge always holds you.
Enjoy this video…combining years of corporate, radio and music industry experience, this discussion is about how indie artists can position themselves as national artists in an ever-changing industry. Especially those who want to create more revenue streams and what the Memphis Music Banq, a repository to showcase music for licensing, calls MAIL BOX MONEY.
Many of the men I’ve known, both as a child and as an adult, are full of advice. I have to admit that I have to catch myself sometimes.
“I’ll tell you what you should do…”
“I tell people all the time…”
“What people don’t understand is…”
What our some of those sentence stems that you’ve heard that are followed by ‘words of wisdom’ from someone who is sometimes sincere, but many times feeding their own egos by impressing you or an audience with their words of advice?
I Love How James 1:19 begins…
James 1:19 (NKJV)
19 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;
“Be quick to LISTEN!”
We should always be praying for God to help us love through listening. There are a number of reasons why we don’t effectively listen sometimes…
We may be processing what someone just said.
We may be already thinking of how we will respond to what they just said, while missing what they are saying.
Or, we may be focused on giving advice…even if unsolicited.
So, let me remind you that sometimes you can love the loudest by just listening.
Sometimes all someone else needs is an ear to hear.
Remember the words LISTEN and SILENT are both spelled with the same letters.
Picture this. You’re sleeping comfortably in your bed and are awaken by a rattling at your window. You quietly get out of bed and notice that someone is trying to break into your home.
Or, You’re relaxing watching television and you’re shocked out of your show as your burglar alarm suddenly goes off.
In either situation do you go and let them into your house?
Of course not! You…
Call for help… you dial 911 if available.
You prepare to defend yourself with your weapons if available.
Our bodies are temples for the LORD to live inside of us, and it’s our responsiblity to protect them…
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NKJV)
19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body [a]and in your spirit, which are God’s.
John 14:23 (NKJV)
Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, He will keep my word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
In as much as God desires to live inside us, so does the enemy. The fact is that demons are real. Those fallen angels/unclean spirits are always looking for opportunities to come and try to occupy your spiritual house…
Matthew 12:43-45 (NKJV)
43 “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. 44 Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.”
God’s presence, His Spirits is what makes those unclean spirits leave us.
It’s our responsibility to protect our spiritual houses. But, how does the devil get in? We make our ‘temple’s a comfortable dwelling place’ for unclean spirits through sin. Not just sin, but complacency towards sin. Giving in to sin is what allows them to return, get comfortable and invite more…
Revelation 18:2 (NKJV)
2 And he cried [a]mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!
Sin makes our bodies and spirits comfortable places for demons. So, what keeps them out? What makes us comfortable dwelling places for God?
Being obedient to God’s word (1 Corinthians 6:20), being obedient to His word, and walking in His Spirit…
Galatians 5:16-23 (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. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: [a]adultery, [b]fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, [c]murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 [d]gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
But, here’s the good news! God never allows us to be taken by surprise. He has given us a built-in security system to let us know when the enemy is trying to get into our house through sin. It’s called TEMPTATION.
James 1:13-14 (NKJV)
13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.
Giving in to temptation is letting the enemy into our spiritual house.
Don’t ignore your alarm! God lets us know that the enemy is trying to enter us through temptation. Not just sexual temptation. I mean the temptation to hate, or harm someone. The temptation to speak evil of someone behind their backs. The temptation to complain… Think about it. You can always tell when the enemy is trying to ‘draw you away’ and convince you to sin.
But, God will not allow the enemy to do so without giving you the strength to withstand him…
1 Corinthians 10:13 (NKJV)
13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to [a]bear it.
Now there are many who now try to say that we weren’t strong enough to bear it, that’s why we gave in. But, I contend that we were strong enough, and we just gave up. That doesn’t mean the strength wasn’t avaialable.
So, the next time that you feel yourself tempted, stop and be reminded that’s the devil rattling on the windows of your spiritual house trying to get in. That’s your spiritual alarm system letting you know to, just as if someone were breaking into your physical house…
Call for help…Pray for a fresh anointing of His Holy Spirit and for protection from the enemy.
Defend your house….reject those evil thoughts and walk in the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 10:4 (NKJV)
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not [a]carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,
Remember, temptation lets you know that the devil is trying to get inside of your house!. Don’t ignore your alarm!
We all have ‘night seasons’ in our lives. Seasons of struggles, trials, storms and pain. These seasons can seem to go on forever.
As we pray for God to change things in our lives, and walk and work in faith, we can sometimes sense a transition. We can sense that God is gradually changing things.
I have a quick word of encouragement for you.
I want to remind you that no matter how subtle, gradual or slow the transition change may seem that change is always sudden.
Think about the longest, darkest, stormiest night you’ve endured. I’m not using a metaphor here, I’m talking about a literal, long, dark stormy night. No matter how long that night was, when the morning light broke through…it was sudden.
Psalm 30:5 (NKJV)
5 For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But [a]joy comes in the morning.
Think about a gradual 180 degree turn. No matter how gradual the change, when you finally begin to go straight is always sudden.
In fact, the action of even gradually changing direction is still sudden. No matter how subtle the turn…you aren’t going straight any more.
I know we often hear the cliché, ‘a change is coming’. If you think about it, your change may not be coming, you may be in your season of change right now. And, though your transition may be slow the change is always sudden.
Prince’s music is definitely a huge part of the soundtrack of my life, especially my younger days. I enjoy the genius of his artistry..He wasn’t just a singer, but a singer/performer/entertainer/entrepreneur/activist/philanthropist. His influence on music, fashion and culture is undeniable.
It’s also very evident that Prince, as we all do, had a strong spiritual side and a strong carnal side. He wrote songs that were sexually explicit as well as songs that were beautiful and spiritual, such as “God”, which was the B-Side to “Purple Rain” (for younger readers who may not know, a B-Side was another song on the opposite side of the single of a vinyl record). In fact, sometimes Prince was a spiritual paradox…again, as we all have been.
The purpose of this post isn’t to judge Prince’s spirituality or his carnality, but how both inspire me.
Many of you may be thinking, how can a man of God be inspired by carnality? Well, remember Luke 16: 1-12, “The Parable of the Unjust Steward”?
Luke 16 (NKJV)
He also said to His disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and an accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. 2 So he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’
3 “Then the steward said within himself, ‘What shall I do? For my master is taking the stewardship away from me. I cannot dig; I am ashamed to beg. 4 I have resolved what to do, that when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.’
5 “So he called every one of his master’s debtors to him, and said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ So he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ 7 Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ So he said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ 8 So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light.
9 “And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home. 10 He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?
Notice that the rich man (representing God in this parable) commended the unjust steward or manager. The steward acted very shrewdly in regard to the rich man’s money. Jesus proclaimed that “the children of this world are more shrewd (wiser in some translations) in THEIR GENERATION than the sons of light”. In other words, Jesus was saying that there are some lessons that Christians can learn from ‘the world’…that’s another post that’s coming soon.
When I look at the life of Prince and the way he pursued and released what was inside of him…the way he made the most of his talents and gifts… I’m inspired in my pursuit of ministry and releasing what God has placed inside of me.
Prince’s Gifts and Talents
Prince was one of the most gifted individuals of our time, THAT WE KNOW OF. I say “that we know of” because there are probably scores of other gifted individuals out there that will let their talents and abilities die with them. Gifts and talents are no good if we allow them to remain dormant…or keep them to ourselves. God gives us gifts and talents so we can use them to reveal His glory to the world, and as tools to build His Kingdom. Prince didn’t allow his gifts to remain dormant or to himself. He didn’t come from ‘money’. He wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He didn’t allow circumstances or excuses to negate his gifts. He FOUND WAYS to make it happen…
That inspires me to do the same for God.
God drives home the importance of vision inHabakkuk 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.
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 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.
How many times have you heard someone say something like this, “In this day and time, you have to have…
A cell phone…
A nice suit…
God has blessed many of us to live in an abundant society. If
we aren’t careful, we can begin to look at many of our luxuries as necessities.
The age of children
with smart devices is getting younger and younger because many parents say, “We
have to be able to get in touch with them”.
All across America people wake up in the morning and take
for granted the blessing of being able to do the first thing we have to do when
we all get up…use the bathroom.
Years ago, no one had indoor plumbing. Even the wealthy had
an ‘out house’. Then, with the innovation of indoor plumbing it was a blessing
for the everyday person to have a bathroom in the house. Today, many people won’t
consider buying a home unless it has an
en suite, master bathroom, or whatever they are calling it
But, there many others waking up across America and the world
waking up on the street, under freeway overpasses, in parks and alleys who not
only didn’t have the bed, but they then have the challenge of trying to find
someplace to use the bathroom.
To them, what most of us call a necessity is a luxury!
How many luxuries to you consider necessities?
Many times people will be ‘super spiritual’ and claim, “ I
want to be JUST like Jesus!” Well, be careful what you ask for. Remember what
He told a certain scribe…
19 Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You
wherever You go.”
20 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the
air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
Jesus isn’t saying that poverty is a requirement for following
Him, but is reminding us of at least two things…
Count the cost of discipleship
Be thankful for what you have.
Don’t let the abundance of our society and time in which we
live prevent you from being thankful and content.
1 Timothy 6:8 (NKJV)
8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.
There’s nothing wrong with having possessions and long as we
don’t allow them to possess us and get our wants confused with our needs.
It is clear what the bible says about adultery and fornication, it is strictly forbidden. God expects those who are married to forsake all others and be intimate only with one another…
1 Corinthians 7:1-2 (NKJV)
It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.
Most of us also enjoy a good movie, television show or play, and appreciate a great performance from a talented actor or actress. Some of the movies, shows or plays have love scenes. It could range from a kiss…to partially clothed making out…to fully nude, erotic love scenes. I’m not talking about porn, I’m talking about the movies that are accepted and even awarded by the mainstream population.
Sometimes these actors and actresses are not only married, but profess to be Christians…
Please do me a favor. Do your best to AVOID BLINKING AS YOU READ THIS POST. I will make this short and sweet.
Many times we classify blessings as LITTLE and BIG. God has blessed us so abundantly with our wants, that sometimes we get our WANTS and NEEDS confused.
So, I encourage you to stop right now and thank God for the LITTLE THINGS in life that we sometimes overlook, look past or just don’t see…those things we sometimes take for granted. Many are right before our eyes.
If you’re having trouble thinking of any LITTLE THINGS…go ahead and blink your eyes now if you already haven’t.
Doesn’t that feel better?
Looks like the little things aren’t that little after all:-)
Psalm 103:1-2 NKJV
Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! 2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:
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)
8 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.
From civil rights to confederate statues. From protecting the environment to climate change. From the most extreme liberal to the most staunch conservative. From sexual misconduct in the workplace to being falsely accused… I’ve noticed, especially on social media how quick people are to accuse others of whining and being too sensitive when others that what displeases them. The same people who criticize others for being too sensitive has their own sensitivities…what makes one think his or hers is more valid than another’s?
It’s funny when it’s whining until it’s something that’s important to you…
It’s a shame when people can’t disagree without insults and sometimes aggression. How much more productive would our debates, dialogues and monologues be if we could respect, not only how one another feels, but the reasons why those who oppose us disagree.
We could get so much more accomplished if we found common ground.
I love the way the Apostle Paul debated with the philosophers at Athens and how he addressed those who were ‘religious’, but didn’t necessarily believe in the LORD God of Israel through our Lord and Savior, Yeshua Christ Jesus. He didn’t insult or belittle them. He acknowledged the fact that not only they were religious, but were sincere in what they believed. He then shared his faith without disrespecting theirs (Read Acts 17:33). It goes on to say that yes, some mocked Paul, but some believed, and others wanted to hear more.
My point is that Paul had respect for those who disagreed with Him, and with whom he disagreed with.
Yes, people will complain and express their displeasure over issues that either we could care less about or we think they are 100% wrong.
And, sometimes they actually are whining, but it’s easy to call it whining when it doesn’t concern you. When you are expressing what concerns you, how many people say you are whining?
Can you think of an issue, that when you hear it, you think or say, “Oh no, here they go whining about that again?
Let us learn to listen or even ignore with respect. Oh, yeah and when you can help it…don’t whine.
In His darkest moment, those closest to Him abandoned Him…
Then Jesus said to them,“All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written:
‘I will strike the Shepherd,
And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’
But, I think that Jesus was cool with that. I know He wasn’t surprised. It was prophesied and He knew they would all scatter.
He knew Peter would follow, but far away. He knew he would deny Him three times to the point of cursing…
Then he began to curse and swear,saying,“I do not know the Man!”
Many times, in the comfort and conveniences of our 21st Century lifestyles, we will read about or hear in a sermon about the disciples scattering and deserting Jesus just before He went to the cross. We may even think to ourselves…
Do you ever have days that you truly feel like giving up? Not necessarily suicidal, but just giving up on everything and everyone.
Do you have days or seasons when it seems that nothing you do works out?
When no one understands you or what you’re doing?
Days when your feel you’re fighting for your physical, emotional and psychological health?
You’re not just trying to hold it together. You’re fighting for your very life.
Seasons when you truly wonder if God has forsaken you?
Think about Jesus hanging on the cross.
Those closest to Him had all scattered…
Matthew 26:31 (NKJV)
31 Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be [a]made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written:
‘I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’
Even His own brothers did not believe in Him at the time…
John 7:5 (NKJV)
5 For even His brothers did not believe in Him.
He had one last human moment expressing that His Father had forsaken Him…
Matthew 27:46 (NKJV)
46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
But, Yeshua suffered that shame and disgrace for us. And, it’s only fair that sometimes we share in His suffering…
Philippians 1:29 (NKJV)
29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,
Not just suffering FOR Christ, but suffering WITH Christ is a part of our calling.
1 Peter 4:12-13 (NKJV)
12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
The truth is that we will sometimes unfairly suffer. Sometimes it comes straight out of nowhere! On those days and in those seasons remember this…
SOMETIMES WE ALL HAVE TO TAKE OUR TURN ON THE CROSS
In the words of the old hymnal written by Thomas Shepherd, “Must Jesus Bear the Cross Alone”: “Must Jesus bear the cross alone, and all the world go free? There’s a cross for everyone, and there’s a cross for me.”
We all make them sometimes…bad decisions. Some of those decisions are sin, but some aren’t.
We make bad decisions in our…
Choices with our education…
Raising our children…
Diets, health and how we manage our bodies…
How we take care of what God has given us…
…Which way to turn at a crossroads in our lives.
What’s a bad decision that you have made, that may not necessarily be a sin, but you can clearly see that you and possibly the one’s you love are living out the consequences of that decision?
Yes, you’ve learned the lesson, and now you’re just trying to navigate your way through the ditch you have dug for yourself until you can find a place to crawl out.
Well, God told us that we can ask whatever we desire in His name and He will answer according to His will… 1 John 5:14 (NKJV) 14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
John 15:7-8 (NKJV)
7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you[a] will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
We also know that God is a deliverer, with a bible full of examples of Him delivering, and snatching His people out from the consequences of their sin and bad decisions…
Psalm 34:17 (NKJV)
17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles.
The fact is that some of our bad decisions are made out of our own human weaknesses. God made us all, which means He gave us both our strengths and our weaknesses.
We sometimes make mistakes and choose unwisely, even after we pray for guidance, and there are always lessons to be learned.
So, this short prayer is for those times you find yourself living out the consequences of a bad decision, and you have learned your lesson.
It’s a short prayer for two of God’s greatest benefits…mercy and deliverance.
“Our heavenly Father as I present myself to you right now please accept me in the name of our Risen Savior, Yeshua, the anointed One, Jesus Christ.
Thank you for your unfailing love and faithfulness, even when my love fails and I’m unfaithful.
I also thank you for the abundant blessing of more than enough for today.
Now, I come to you with a specific request…
Please have mercy on me and forgive me from all my sins, blot out all my transgressions, and cleanse me from all my unrighteousness. I’m so sorry for hurting you, and sometimes putting you to open shame.
Please Father, grant me wisdom from my mistakes, and please deliver me from the consequences of my bad decisions, if it be your holy will.
Please snatch me out of this painful place, bring glory to your name through my life, and anoint me to walk in the anointing, authority, influence and victory You’ve ordained for my life as a testimony of my love for You and trust in You.
I ask this specific prayer in the Name and Authority of Your Son and My Saviour, the Lamb of God, Yeshua, Christ Jesus.
Yes, sometimes we must live out the consequences and lie in the bed we’ve made. But, sometimes God will come and snatch us out of that bed, if we ask.
Psalm 130 (NKJV)
Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord; 2 Lord, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive To the voice of my supplications.
3 If You, Lord, should [a]mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? 4 But there is forgiveness with You, That You may be feared.
5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, And in His word I do hope. 6 My soul waits for the Lord More than those who watch for the morning— Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.
7 O Israel, hope in the Lord; For with the Lord there is mercy, And with Him is abundant redemption. 8 And He shall redeem Israel From all his iniquities.
I wrote this song with my wife, GospelJazz recording artist Mechelle Johnson waayyyyyy back in 2001, (we’re a ministry team:-), but we didn’t record it until 2015. From 2001, to 2015, to today, the message is timeless!
It’s a beautiful walk through the bible revisiting how God’s love is demonstrated to His people, and celebrating that He loves us with that SAME love.
The song is for everyone, but my wife really wants women to identify with it’s message.
Listen to the in the video above, and please listen carefully to the lyrics. Listen as she proclaims,
“Even at times when I get caught up in the world, He let’s me know I’m still His girl!”
We pray God’s gift of exhortation is perfected in this song and it blesses you. Here are the links if you’re interested in adding it to your personal playlist. I’ve provided the lyrics below in case you want sing it in your worship service, or perform it yourself. And, if this song blesses you, please share it with someone – and check out Mechelle’s other music and our SONday Blessing videos celebrating Godly marriage on her FB page @Mechelle Johnson Music 🙂
There was a time when God’s name was referenced more. We need to be careful how we refer to God casually and not in reverence…how we let what is meant to be praise be reduced to idle words. Look at what Jesus said about idle words…
36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
We must make sure that we never play with His praise. Many movies, plays and songs, have turned what is meant to be sincere praise into a joke, or cliché…
Please don’t say HALLELUJAH unless you’re really praising Him.
And, don’t play with it.
Please stop saying “HALLELUYER!”
JAH (YAH) is the part of the word that’s His name. You don’t have to say GD to take His name in vain.
Exodus 20:7 (NKJV)
7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
Let me say first that I’m not excusing adultery, fornication or any other sexual sin. These sins also result from an innate, natural desire that we don’t ask for, and people make a choice to commit these sins based on that desire.
However, there are many people who are now trying to defend homosexuality by saying that Jesus never addressed it, or forbade it. They say only the Apostle Paul addressed it, and some even try to contend that he wasn’t really talking about homosexuality.
I’m going to keep this short and sweet.
We all know there are several sins that Jesus never directly addressed…
To name a few.
Jesus didn’t even say directly that getting drunk is a sin. It was indirect.
He did address marriage, fornication adultery and divorce.
And, no one disputes that the LORD only permits sex within marriage.
In Matthew Chapter 19, Jesus repeated what He Himself said as The Living Word in Genesis 5:2 , yes He was there in the beginning (Elohim, the name for God in Genesis is a plural noun)… Matthew 19:4-5(NKJV)
4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made[a] them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’[b]5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?[c]
The context of the conversation here is marriage and divorce. Jesus specifically calls out MALE and FEMALE in the context of marriage. This is not a cherry picked scripture. It is Jesus in perfect harmony with what God established in the beginning.
Jesus clearly says let HIM (male) be joined to his WIFE (female), because some try to contend, ‘who says that a wife has to be a woman’.
This undeniably defines marriage as between a man and woman.
These verses (Genesis and Matthew) define marriage as between a man and woman. And, since God only permits sex within marriage, sex with any partner, heterosexual or homosexual is sin.
So yes, without saying the word ‘homosexuality’, Yeshua, Christ Jesus addressed it. Any other conclusion is conjecture…reaching…trying to fit a square peg into a triangular slot.
How man 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.
If my blog blesses you, I gladly accept donations of $2 or less. 1 Corinthians 9:14 (CJB) 14 In the same way, the Lord directed that those who proclaim the Good News should get their living from the Good News.