God bless you! I'm a husband, father and ordained Minister since 1996. I serve as an Associate Minister at Oak Spring Church Arlington TN, a suburb of Memphis. I'm a professional Copywriter for a Fortune 500 company, published Gospel songwriter and owner of an independent label, Al-Go-Rhythm Music. My main spiritual gift is Exhortation...I'm a natural encourager. I love the word of God and sharing it from a "Wow, I never thought of it like that before" perspective. There's so much fresh revelation in God's word that is just as relevant today as it was as it unfolded. I hope my daily devotionals enhance your walk with God, taking you beyond BLESSED to BLESSTIFIED.
Has anyone ever embarrassed, hurt or insulted you openly in public?
Have you ever done so?
Have you ever made public some information about someone later to find out that information was wrong?
Have you ever defamed or slandered someone?
For whatever reason, we all openly hurt one another from time to time. Sometimes we do it on purpose, and sometimes it’s unintentional. These ‘public displays of ‘non-affection’ can leave bad impressions and potentially ruin reputations of all parties involved.
Many times when we realize what we’ve done, truly feel sorry and want to apologize. We’ll pull the person or persons to the side and tell them, “I’m sorry… I was wrong”. This is good but not good enough…
Acts 16:37 (NKJV)
37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us openly, uncondemned Romans, and have thrown us into prison. And now do they put us out secretly? No indeed! Let them come themselves and get us out.”
Those who heard or witnessed the embarrassment may still think you were right. Those who heard or witnessed the insult may still be influenced by what you did or said…that public embarrassment deserves a public apology.
I remember growing up in church that sometimes in testimonies, people would stand before the church and proclaim, “If I’ve ever done anything to hurt anyone here today, I’m sorry”…if you know who you hurt and what you did, this also is not good enough.
If you know that you slapped someone in the face, simply saying, “I’m sorry IF I hurt you” isn’t enough.
If you slandered someone, making a blanket statement to a group that, “If I hurt SOMEONE, I’m sorry” is just not enough.
If you know what you did and who you did it to, then you need to show enough respect to call out their name.
It’s good to apologize, but if we aren’t careful, we can take the easy way out and not fully respect the person or persons that we have injured.
Matthew 5:23-24 (NKJV)
23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Everyone wants to look good. Men want to be handsome. Women want to be beautiful. Do you know anyone who doesn’t?
Many people work towards looking good and being healthy – and yes there is a difference. That’s why when you see or hear advertisements for gyms and diet plans, very rarely is it that they promote good health. Think about it. Most of the time it’s about…
Getting into shape…
Buns and abs…
We groom. We work out. We watch our diets. We purchase clothes. We do what it takes to look and feel our best. We do what it takes to maintain our health and a good quality of life.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look good as long as we don’t become obsessed. Consider what the word of God says…
When you stop and take look, you can see God’s wisdom in everything…and I mean EVERYTHING!
God’s first institution established in His Kingdom was the family. He put man and woman together with a plan. He told us to be fruitful and multiply because God wasn’t going to continue creating men from dust or women from men’s ribs.
God gave us the gift of physical intimacy (sex) to bring children into the world, and to enhance our marriages. God wants us to enjoy one another just as much as he wants us to enjoy Him, and that’s very clear in the bible.
Proverbs 5:19 (NKJV)
As a loving deer and a graceful doe,
Let her breasts satisfy you at all times;
And always be enraptured with her love.
Hebrews 13:4 (NKJV)
4 Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
He even told husbands and wives to ‘take care of each other’ intimately so neither is tempted…
1 Corinthians 7: 1-5
Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me:
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. 3 Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
God made sex a physical crescendo that builds to a climactic, brief culmination of intense pleasure sought after by both those who are married and unfortunately, unmarried….We will use the euphemism ‘THE BIG O’. Everything God did has a holy purpose. It’s not God’s fault that we misuse His gift…and what a perfect gift!
Here’s where God’s wisdom comes in.
If we were going to ‘be fruitful and multiply’…
If we were going to have long, healthy marriages…
Our gift would need to be something we look forward to…something we crave and not something we dread.
Few people want the physical crescendo without the ‘BIG O’…
And, few people want the ‘BIG O’ to come too soon…
But, dig this!
As much as we enjoy…
As much we anticipate the ‘BIG O’.
As much as we enjoy reaching that brief moment of euphoria…God was wise enough to make it brief.
It’s brief enough for us to look forward to it, but it’s short enough for us to enjoy it.
Think about it…no one would be able to withstand 5, 10, 15 uninterrupted minutes of the ‘BIG O’. I don’t even know if our bodies could take it.
If the ‘BIG O’ was too big or too long…we would dread it.
If the ‘BIG O’ was too big we would avoid it.
There would be no ‘be fruitful and multiply’.
There would be a strain on marriages due to lack of intimacy.
Even the most holy person can admit that a well-timed ‘BIG O’ is just the pressure release valve needed sometime to relieve us of the stresses of life.
God knew just how good to make it…Just how strong to make it…and just how long to make it.
I told you when you stop and look at it, you can see God’s wisdom in EVERYTHING.
It’s easy to see why the apostle Paul proclaimed…
Romans 11:33 (NKJV)
33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!
The older I get the more I realize that in so many ways, some of us never really grow up. This is especially proven every day in politics and on social media.
We all have our ‘immature’ moments.
But, when you think about it, it’s not difficult to see how we all sometimes have trouble acting our age.
Even though we have role models, some better than others, we can still have trouble progressively moving on to our next role in life.
One reason is that ‘Western’ culture not only values youth, but doesn’t value the blessing of getting older. Aging and maturing is looked upon with dread. People hate being told that they are acting like an ‘old man’ or an ‘old woman’.
However, I feel the main reason that people have trouble acting their age is simple…
As you get older, you’ve never been that age before.
Young adults have never been an adult before. Unless you were forced to ‘grow up’ through difficulties of life, we have all still been a ‘child’ for most our lives until we’re in our early 30’s.
As you approach middle age, you’ve never been 40 or 50 years old before.
As you become a ‘senior citizen’, you’ve never been 60 years old before.
And, many people who consider themselves ‘elderly’ will tell you that they don’t ‘feel’ as old as they are. Even with more aches and pains their minds don’t feel ‘old’.
As you get older, that age never seems to be what you though it would be. You don’t suddenly feel older.
That’s why so many middle-aged and older people get injured during physical activity because they still feel as though they can still be just as athletic as they used to be. They still feel they can work as hard. They still feel they can lift just as much, but sometimes our bodies will let us know that we must make some adjustments. This happened to me when I was 42 years old while playing flag football with several people in their teens, 20’s and 30’s. I was ‘hanging with them’ really well, but after a couple of hours, even though I still felt great, fatigue had set in and I completely ruptured my Achilles tendon.
I learned a valuable lesson. We aren’t always able to do what we feel like doing. Our bodies can remind us how old we really are. Yes, we can maintain a great quality of life through taking care of ourselves, but we still must be realistic.
As we get older, we must mature mentally, physically and most of all spiritually. But, let us learn to be patient with ourselves and one another through the transition.
Corinthians 13:11 (NKJV)
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
Would it reveal a dirty mind? Or, a mind meditating on what is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report and praiseworthy?
Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
Would it reveal the works of the flesh or the Fruit of the Spirit?
Would it reveal malice or good intent?
How would you smell at work? At school? While sitting in your home? While looking at your smartphone?
How would you smell while sitting in church?
How often would you smell good? How often would you stink?
Sex in marriage between a man and a woman is a beautiful blessing from the LORD, but it can also be the source of frustration.
One of greatest frustrations is when couples aren’t ‘on the same page’…when they aren’t in the mood at the same time. If this goes on and isn’t handled in the right way it can cause a huge strain on the relationship.
Now, I know there are many reasons why couples clash sexually, but God has revealed something amazing to me through 30 plus years of marriage.
There is a hidden blessing in when they aren’t on the same page that can actually enhance a marriage and sex life.
One of the things that makes dating so fun is the mystery. Some people even step outside their marriage to relive that excitement and mystery…
Having you ever noticed a child throwing a temper tantrum when it doesn’t get something that it wants? This is a natural reaction that must be overcome as the child matures. The reaction is natural…innate…the child was born with it. The truth is that we are all born with innate desires, feelings and proclivities that […]
When things got tough, uncomfortable or uneasy you acted like you didn’t know Him. Have you comforted yourself in the company of His enemy? Have you ever followed Him from a distance?
Have you denied Him?
Mark 14:54 (NKJV)
54 But Peter followed Him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. And he sat with the servants and warmed himself at the fire.
John 18:25 (NKJV)
25 Now Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. Therefore they said to him, “You are not also one of His disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not!”
Are you more like Judas?
Have you ever turned your back on Jesus for money? For influence? To satisfy your flesh? Have you gotten discouraged because things didn’t turn out as you thought they would. Have you ever put your motives above God’s motives? Have you ever put Him to open shame?
Have you betrayed Him?
John 12:4-6 (NKJV)
4 But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, 5 “Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii[a] and given to the poor?” 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.
Matthew 26:14-17 (NKJV)
14 Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and said, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?” And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver. 16 So from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him. 17 Now on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying to Him, “Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?”
Before we point a self-righteous finger at Peter or Judas, let us thank God for His grace and mercy because we have all been both of them.
Every time we yielded to our pride…our lust…temptation…
Every time we put others or ourselves before Him…
Every time we willingly lived contrary to His word…
Every time we influenced someone else to sin…
We have both denied and betrayed Him.
When we read about Peter denying Christ or Judas betraying Him, we are looking into a spiritual mirror.
Both were sorry for what they had done, but they both handled it differently.
Who are you more like?
Judas tried to return the money and was so grieved in His Spirit that he hung himself. He could have gotten on His knees and prayed for forgiveness. He could have rejoined the other eleven, admitted his mistake, and tell them he tried to return the money and been there when Jesus arose and ministered to them. They couldn’t have condemned him too much because they all scattered. Don’t you know that Jesus not only would have forgiven him, but commanded that his brother forgive him also? But, no. He hung himself in shame. If you have betrayed Him and not repented – you’re like Judas.
Matthew 27:3-10 (NKJV)
3 Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.”
And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!”
5 Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.
6 But the chief priests took the silver pieces and said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, because they are the price of blood.” 7 And they consulted together and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. 8 Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day.
9 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced, 10 and gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me.”[a]
After Peter denied Jesus, he rejoined the other eleven. He ran to the grave to find that Jesus wasn’t there. He saw Thomas put his fingers in the wounds. He ate a seaside breakfast with the risen savior. And, Jesus restored Him to become one of His most powerful apostles. Judas could have done the same thing. If you have messed up, repented and been restored – you’re like Peter.
John 21:15-17 (NKJV)
15 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah,[a] do you love Me more than these?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”
16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah,[b] do you love Me?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”
17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah,[c] do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”
And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.
Judas’ story ended in disgrace – Peters ended in grace.
So, even though we have all been like both, our stories don’t have to end like both.
The bible teaches us that it’s God that gives us the power, ability, knowledge and strength to get ‘wealth’, and that is very true…
Deuteronomy 8:18 (NKJV)
18 “And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may [a]establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
But, how many times have you heard someone say, or said yourself, “I deserved everything that I have because I worked hard for it!”
You’ve worked hard…
You’ve made good decisions.
You even had great faith.
Let me give you a quick reminder in humility and God’s grace and mercy…
Yes, you definitely ‘earned’ it, but be very careful before you say you deserve it.
Before you say that you deserve your success and influence because of your hard work and effort, think about all of the people who also planned, worked hard, sacrificed, made good decisions, and had great faith…and for whatever reason, things just didn’t work out.
Think about all of the businesses that fail every day.
Think about all of the relationships that fall apart every day.
There are plenty of people who have planned and worked…
Just as hard or harder…
Just as smart or smarter…
Sacrificed just as much and more…
Made decisions that were just as good or better…
And, things just didn’t work out in their favor.
From the macro-economic environment, to social conditions, unforeseen sicknesses and circumstances, there are innumerable reasons why sometimes hard work is not rewarded with success.
And let us not forget about those people who want to work but can’t because of a disability they can’t help.
All in all, it’s only by God’s grace and mercy and His plan for our lives that things, work out as we hope and plan.
Proverbs 16:9 (NKJV)
9 A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.
Psalm 128:1-4 (NKJV)
Blessed is every one who fears the Lord,
Who walks in His ways.
2 When you eat the [a]labor of your hands, You shall be happy, and it shall be well with you. 3 Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine In the very heart of your house, Your children like olive plants All around your table. 4 Behold, thus shall the man be blessed Who fears the Lord.
It’s God’s will for you to enjoy the fruit of your labor, but never forget that any ‘success’ is only through His grace and mercy.
Don’t let the enemy to allow arrogance into your testimony.
If you have ever worked hard, planned well, sacrificed, made great decisions and had great faith, only to have things not work out in your favor, please respond to this post as a testimony. Be humble in your success, and never steal God’s glory, grace and mercy for yourself.
We all used to say it about our friends growing up, when our parents told us we couldn’t do something we saw everyone else doing….“So and So’s mama said they could!!” And what was always the rebuttal? “Well I’m not So and So’s mama!” I always wondered why it seemed as though people around me got away with so much more, or was able to just do so much more than I could.
I got teased quite a bit during my years in school, so even though I had a handful of friends, I spent the majority of my time with my cousins. I loved being around them because it seemed like they were invincible. Like seriously yall, they literally could do no wrong in my eyes, and they did whatever they wanted. This one time in particular, I begged my parents to let me go with them one night to…