Thursday, January 29, 2009

"Closer than Brothers"

This is me and my big brother Tone. I love my brother more than I could begin to express in this post, but I want you to know that my brother was there for me when we were growing up. Of course, we got into the normal scrapes that brother's get into and acted as though we didn't care for one another.

But, when it came down to my needing him to come to my aide for whatever the reason, my brother was there. My brother's strong willed but very sensitive when it comes to being the big brother.

I'm sure there are a lot of you out there that may have brother's that were just as concerned for you as mine was for me, and I think that's great.

The scriptures reveal a lot as it pertains to brother's, but there's this one verse that stuck out to me, Proverbs 18:24.

No matter how close our brother's are whether they are our natural brother's, fraternity or spiritual brother's. They will never be as close to us as the Friend we have made in the Lord Jesus. Saints, we have a life that's full, even if you don't have a natural brother. The day we accept the Lord we are adopted into a family full of brothers but the best part is Jesus, our Friend, is yet even closer than they are. Be Blessed.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"Ramen Noodles and The Word"

It is my estimation that the person that invented Ramen Noodles should be given the Nobel Peace Prize for Satisfying Quick Foods. I know there's apples, oranges, grapes, celery sticks and carrots that are good little snacky type foods. However there is nothing quite like heating up some water and dropping in a packet of reconstituted noodles and watch them expand into a plate of oodely-delite, and once the seasoning pack is added the rest they say is history. I could very well eat Ramen Noodles every single day and not have a problem with it.

How does is this relative to The Word?

The Word is much like Ramen Noodles and much more, it's quite filling to the soul and spirit of an individual. Unlike the Ramen Noodles though; The Word can be eaten slowly and over a period of years, and yet will be just as fresh as the first day you started to dine on it. Ramen Noodles need to be eaten right then or they won't be any good. The Word unlike Ramen Noodles don't need for us to add any type of seasoning, because the seasoning The Word has is relative to your spiritual state as an individual.

Don't wait for Sunday or whatever day your Bible Studies are scheduled. Go ahead and crack open a few chapters during your lunch break at work, or while in transit on a bus or plane. I promise, you will be quite satisfied with those quick meals just as much as you are on Sundays.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

"How do you see this"

Romans 12:1-2

How do you see this scripture?

How are you seen in this scripture?

Most importantly, Are we willing to live this scripture?

Monday, January 26, 2009

"Yeah, Them too"

I was reading again the story of Zacchaeus and how this man was determined to see who this Jesus was that everyone was talking about, and had the streets all jammed up for like it was a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The story goes on about how Zaachaeus ran ahead of the crowd and climbed up a tree to get a look at this man named Jesus. How many of us can say that we have gone out our way to get to see Jesus even in a figurative sense of the word? We need to ask ourselves, when was the last time I pushed past my daily routine that has so many times obstructed my view of the Lord?

So, as the story goes Jesus gets to the place where Zaachaeus has climbed and stops to tell him that he will be eating at his house tonight. Point, when we put forth the effort to see Jesus for ourselves it is then that He will stop and come dine with us. Now, if we were honest with ourselves then we will say honestly that we aren't worthy for Him to come to dine with us, but this is why He stops.

Yeah we know several people that we feel are beyond the reach of the Lord, but that isn't for us to make the determination on whose worthy and whose not. The so-called church people were beside themselves; they couldn't believe that Jesus was even dealing with this known sinner that worked for the government, but the answer Jesus gave then is the same answer He's giving yet today. He is come to seek and to save that which was lost; the drug dealer, the liar, the homeless person and the politician; yeah them too.

Friday, January 23, 2009

"Blow wind blow"

Don't you just love the days when it's nice and sunny outside, and heat is warming your face as you stand outside enjoying the day. There isn't a cloud in sight that would even suggest the presence of rain or for that matter a storm. However, living in Atlanta you come to realize rather quickly that the weather is subject to change at a moments notice.

Although it seems everyone wants nice sunny days, the reality is if it never rained or the wind never blew it would be next to impossible for plants, trees etc. to do what is necessary for them to flourish. The wind is needed for the seeds to be spread and the rain is necessary for those same seeds to begin to grow and so on.

This is what we as believers seem to take for granted, and that is when we come into the Body of Christ we expect, for the most part, our days to filled with sunshine and blue skies everyday of the week and that all the hardships we had will all be gone and done away with. This is the furthest thing from the truth. The scriptures tell us that we aren't to think it strange or out of the norm when we have fiery trials that come to us.

These are what I like to characterize as the wind storms, but the scriptures continue to let us know to rejoice when these things happen. The Early Church had those the storms come to them not long after the Holy Spirit was given, and the amazing thing about the persecution that was taking place then worked in the same fashion as the wind does today.

The wind i.e. the persecution caused the scattering of the saints throughout all the world; which caused the Seed of the Word to be planted in the hearts and the minds of people everywhere. So, enjoy the sun when it shines and absorb all it has to give because the time will come and the winds will begin to blow. Just know that the Word that is in you will begin to be shaken and you, in turn, will release those seeds to those areas of peoples lives and once the winds and the rain subside; the Son will shine upon those seeds causing them to spring forth and bringing new life with it.

So, blow wind blow.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

"Working Out and Getting Buffed"

I remember coming through high school and the different sports I was involved in all had one thing in common. They all had a time during practices where you had to go into the weight room and workout. There were competitions that the guys would have with one another over who could bench the most weight or who could curl the most. I never got into those types of competitions, because to be honest I never really cared for lifting weights or doing the whole "getting buff" thing.

Now, mind you I'm no string bean either; I just had my own ideas of working out and though I was considered slim I was very strong for my size and as they say "cut". I chose to do a lot of running and jumping as opposed to lifting. I went to school with guys that could bench press a Volkswagen but couldn't put together a cohesive sentence to save their life.

Paul said, "Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important, for it promises a reward in both this life and the next." 1Ti 4:8 Paul's letting us know that there is nothing wrong with getting in shape by working out and getting buffed as some would call it. He is just bringing our attention to the fact that in the overall scheme of things it really doesn't mean much.

So, by all means get yourself in shape and if you're a weight lifter, keep on lifting those weights; but we must keep in the forefront of our minds that the exercising of our spiritual lives as Paul puts it, is not only going to benefit us now, but most importantly in the world to come.

What's getting stronger? Your flesh or your spirit?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"Disobedience has a ripple effect"

The story of Jonah is perhaps one the most cited stories in the Bible. We hear sermons about Jonah and the whale, or as the Bible puts it in the book of Jonah a great fish. There are debates about whether it was a fish or a whale, arguing that it had to be a fish because they don't digest their food like mammals do; which is what a whale is. They go on and on how Jonah didn't go to Ninevah when God told him to, and that after he was in the belly of the fish/whale for three days he repented and the God had the fish/whale throw him up on land.

I have yet to hear a sermon speaking to the effects of Jonah's disobedience. Have you ever stop to think of the individuals that were on the ship that Jonah boarded to Tarshish. How they had no clue as to what was about to happen to them, and I have no doubt that the captain of the ship knew that the weather was supposed to be favorable to sail.

What about the Ninevahites? Had Jonah not repented and ran to deliver the message to Ninevah once the fish/whale threw him up, would they have had the presence of mind to repent themselves and seek God for mercy?

Do we now see that when the lord speaks to us and we don't obey Him; that we are in fact affecting the lives of others? So, I beg all of us to become the obedient children He wants us to be, because the alternative brings chastening to us and unsolicited hardship to others.

How many do you think you have hindered because of your disobedience?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

"First things first..."

You all should know that I don't particularly care for writing politically motivated posts for the simple fact that this site is not designed for that purpose. However, even with that I understand the importance of being civic minded and being aware of the many changes that take place in our communities based on the political climate of the day. Today, January 20, 2009 will be the swearing in of the 44th President of the United States of America, and regardless of anyone personal opinion there is one thing we all as believers must remember first.

We as believers have a mandate to do one thing first, and that is to Pray. We are to pray for those that are in authority regardless if we agree with their politics or not.
1Ti 2:1
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks, be made for all men;
1Ti 2:2
For kings, and [for] all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
1Ti 2:3
For this [is] good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;

Have a difference of opinion, great. Prefer one party over another, no problem. Involvement with the political process, absolutely.

Just remember first things first, Pray.

Monday, January 19, 2009

"Hybrid Lifestyles"

Hybrid-An organism that is the offspring of two parents that differ in one or more inheritable characteristics, especially the offspring of two different varieties of the same species or the offspring of two parents belonging to different species. In agriculture and animal husbandry, hybrids of different varieties and species are bred in order to combine the favorable characteristics of the parents. Hybrids often display hybrid vigor. The mule, which is the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse, is an example of a hybrid. It is strong for its size and has better endurance and a longer useful lifespan than its parents. However, mules are sterile, as are many animals that are hybrids between two species.

This seems to be the type of church person we are intent on producing these days; with the message of inclusion and tolerance that has been turned into the catch phrases of the day for all those that choose to have quantity at the detriment of quality.

Saints we have to understand that sometimes we aren't going to able to have our cake and it too. We have to make a choice as to which way we are intent on going. The very definition of hybrid shows us a very compelling truth, and that is hybrids aren't producers. They are merely something to use for a moment or looked at, but have no lasting value whatsoever.

Let's remember that we are to be producers in the body as well as in the kingdom, and this comes through having pure thoughts and actions. The only way to be the type of producer the Lord is looking for is to born of pure blood; which is through Jesus Christ.

Are you living a hybrid lifestyle or are you living a pure one?

Friday, January 16, 2009

"Three Little Pigs"

The Three Little Pigs one of the more popular fairy tales that was told to children all over this country and around the world. The story is about three pigs that reached an age to leave home and their mother gave them some words of advice before they left to go in search of their fortunes. She said, "Whatever you do , do it the best that you can because that's the way to get along in the world." This is or should I say "was" what mother's have told their children down through the ages, but it seems that those talks have faded into the fabric of "whatever".

Though fairy tales for the most part can be viewed through the lenses of the world; I think we as believers can also borrow from them to teach our children that which the Lord requires of all of us including our children. The three little pigs fairy tale can help us to show the children of the importance of building our lives and relationships off the foundation that Jesus laid for us.

Let's continue to teach our children through the guidance of the Word how to build and not only how to build but what we should be building with.

"...But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon." 1Cr 3:10

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

"You can lead a horse to water......"

"You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink." I have heard this saying so many times as a child that if I were given a penny for the number of times I heard it I probably wouldn't have to work another day in my life. I later understood the saying to mean that you can present something to a person, but it doesn't mean they will accept what it is you're presenting.

Does this mean you stop presenting certain things to certain people? Are there people out there we can say aren't worth the time nor the energy to be bothered with? I would say if that were a yes; then I would have been and perhaps in the eyes of some would still be deemed as one of those individuals.

What is our goal? Is it to only deal with those that meet our standards of worthiness? Maybe only those that are black like me, or if you are white; white like you? Or Asian, etc. When did it become a part of our job description as believers to measure the worthiness of individuals? I recall in the scriptures these words...
Pro 28:21
To have respect of persons [is] not good: for for a piece of bread [that] man will transgress.

Yes, we can lead people to the Water of Life, and no we can't make them drink of it but that should never deter us from the call that is placed within our hearts; which is to go into all the earth and make disciples.

I promise as we continue to be the vessels that He uses to lead others to Himself, we will see with our own eyes that our leading won't be in vain.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

"Testimony Service?"

I remember, when I joined what a lot of people called the sanctified church, there was at the beginning of the service this part called testimony service, and some places called it devotional service. This was the time when those in the congregation could get up and sing a song that they loved and then after singing two verses and the chorus they would then start telling everyone in the church how good the Lord has been to them.

This was the general format: " first giving honor to God; who is the head of my life and to his Son Jesus. I honor the pastor of this church, to all the elders and ministers, to the deacons and to the mothers of the church and the missionaries, members, saints and friends. I thank God that I'm saved from my sins, sanctified and filled with the precious gift of the Holy Ghost..." They would then proceed to expound on an incident where had it not been for the sovereignty of God something bad would have happened or something bad happened but God turned for their good.

This was a time when the saints would encourage one another to continue to move forward with God as their Lord and Saviour. The testimonies that were given at times would directly speak to another individual in the congregation and that they would see and hear that if God did for that person then surely He would do it for me too. However, a lot of churches no longer have that time in the services anymore, and I've heard some pastor's say the reason being was the people began to glorify what the enemy was doing as opposed to God and it also became a place for some people to tell off others.

Whether the church you attend has testimony service or not; I believe in my heart that we as believers must continue to "testify" to one another all that the Lord has done and is doing in our lives. It's a normal thing for me to call home to my parents, and while I'm on the phone with my dad or my mama Al the conversation never ends before we have expressed to one another what God has been up to in our lives and this carries us until the next time we speak.

So, I implore all believers to get back to "testifying" to one another and watch God strengthen you even more.

"What about what He desires?"

The sayings are, "name it and claim it", "blab it and grab it" what ever you desire from the Lord and you have acknowledged Him; then you can ask what ever you want or desire and He will give it to you. This is the mantra of a lot of churches today, and they are packed with people that believe they can have "everything their heart desires because that's what the preacher told them and the bible says it too.

I do believe the bible and what it says concerning blessings that are received from the ones that call themselves believers. However, I also believe that we have made these core beliefs of blessings a slippery slope. Meaning, we have moved from the whole understanding that the Lord is the one we should be desiring and not the stuff He can give to us. Yes, our hearts desires are and will be met as long as those desires remain inside the confines of His will.

A good friend of mine delivered a sermon this past Sunday, and he dealt with the idea of what God desires from the Saints. He went on to discuss that were somethings that the Lord desired from us, His servants. The scriptural text he pulled from was Psa51:6a, and I think my friend was on point with his sermon as he challenged us to look to given God what he desires from us.

So, as saints let's stop looking just for our desires to met by God, but instead let's begin to really posture ourselves to giving God what He desires. We were given four areas to begin with which were: 1. Loving Him 2. Listening to Him 3. Learning Him 4. Living for Him

Have you given God what he desires?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

"You have what problem?"

There seems to be more and more people; who say they are christian and I wouldn't dare say they aren't, but they are constantly complaining about something. They have given lectures on how bad things are for them and they don't know how their going to make it through.

Christians that complain about how their life is going must have missed the part in the Word of God that speaks about having hardships in this life. They missed 1Pe 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

I want us to know, no matter how bad we think we have it, there is always someone else dealing with something a little more difficult and going through it the way a Christian should. I want you all to watch this video and then think about this video every time we get ready to complain to the Lord about whatever. video

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

"Too Shallow"

Matthew 13:20,21

Jesus was explaining to his disciples concerning the parable of the sower. This particular example of the person that received the word into stony ground has, in this preacher's opinion, been perhaps the person that has come and joined our churches after hearing the word. They start out in what one would describe as sprinting their way to heaven, because of the joy they are now experiencing.

We find them practically joining every department possible in the church and going out with the evangelistic teams to tell all who will listen about the Word that changed their life. It is this same person that Jesus describes as, "...when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended." This is when we begin to see less and less of the excited convert that was a whirlwind servant hood just days, weeks or months earlier.

These individuals are easily offended because they hadn't allowed the Word to really take root in deep enough soil in their heart. The lack of depth in the time of tribulation and persecution doesn't allow the seed to pull from the soil an adequate amount of nourishment, and it is the lack of nourishment that causes the seed to perish in the heart of the hearer.

So, it is our (seasoned believers) responsibility, as the new converts come and receive the word with joy, to help the seed to take proper root in the heart of the individual by allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us in the tilling of the soil. We must always take care how we till, and allow the Master Gardner guide our hands in the caring of His vineyard.

Monday, January 5, 2009

"Holiness...It's a Lifestyle"

I remember as a child growing up in the church that the one thing to do when you were old enough; which was in the area of twelve years old or some where's there about you joined the church. Now, joining the church consisted of an individual walking down the aisle and sitting in a chair that was set out by the deacons of the church as the pastor opened up the doors of the church.

Now, I first couldn't quite understand how after the pastor delivered his message that he had to "open up the doors of the church". I mean, the doors were opened when we got to church that morning, so I didn't know why they closed them after we got in service. Anyway, as I was saying, the pastor opened the doors of the church which was your opportunity to come down and become a member of the church.

You were then set up with a date when you were to be baptized, because no one could be a member without ever being baptized in water unless you were baptized at another church before you joined at this new one. Later you were instructed what was expected of you as a member of the church and the responsibility that came with it.

So, I joined the church when I was twelve and was baptized in the pool they had in the basement of the church and I went to Sunday School and VBS and all the other things they had for us to do, but I never changed from the type person I was. I never stopped fighting in school and I was still cussing people out. There was never any real change that took place after I "joined the church" and no one ever challenged me to take a look at what it meant to be a christian. So, as long as I continued to go to church and sang in the choir and went to VBS and all the other formalities that went along with going to church I was fine.

Then one day I was really introduced to Jesus and everything about being a member of the church became something totally different. I was expected from God to live a particular lifestyle before Him and not just before people. God expected me, above anything else, to live a holy and righteous life. This was a tall order to fulfill seeing that I wasn't equipped in and of myself to live up to what His standards are, but I found out that I didn't have to do it on my own and that He would through the Holy Spirit help me to live the life that would be pleasing to Him.

So, if God told Israel to live holy, and then again the saints were instructed in 1Peter 1: 15,16, then I would suggest we live holy. I don't advocate not being a member of a congregation but I do know a person can live a holy life without being one, but don't fall into the same mindset as some people who think that holiness is the type of church you attend.

Holiness has never been a denomination; it's always been a lifestyle.

Friday, January 2, 2009

"Day Two, February"

The church where I formerly was a member had a tradition at the beginning of the year, and I believe they still do, that they would come together every evening, starting on January the 1st and going through to the 12th.

The idea was to come together in prayer and to worship in song, and there would a designated person for each evening to deliver the Word of the Lord to the saints. The significance of the 12 nights were to represent each month of the year, so in essence the idea was to come and to pray and worship God for the entire year.

So, with that in mind and today being the second day of the year thus representing the month of February. Let us look to February which in times past has been the month of love and romance, ie Feb.14th. This month is when husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends go out and purchase flowers, perfume, jewelry and chocolates for one another to show their ending love and desire for one another. However, the gifts are in reciprocation of the things that have been given or in anticipation of the things that will be received.

The love that is shown from our spouses and significant others for the most have been conditional expressions of our affections. The way we love one another has sadly been based off the premise of how we first have been shown love by the other person. If we are truly honest with ourselves, we will admit that in times past if we didn't receive a valentine's gift we began to question if the person really loved us or not.

So, let's in the month of February show the type of love for one another that God shows and has shown toward us from the beginning with this. We've done nothing to deserve it and can give nothing to repay it.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

"Happy New Year"

I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year, and pray that is the most prosperous of years for all of you. When I say prosperous; I'm referring to more than just monetary prosperity, I also mean the prosperity that comes from deeper understanding of the will of the Lord for you life and the lives of those around you.

This being a new year and what some would consider to being another new beginning, I'm praying that all believers strengthen their bonds of faith as the new year will bring about new challenges. Don't allow the way things appear to be a distraction to you as you move forward throughout this year..

The one thing that seems to be a constant is the attack on what we as believers have taken to ourselves as truth, and that fundamental truth is that Jesus is the Son of God and came being born of a virgin named Mary, and as a man died for our sins on the cross of Calvary.

Maintaining this truth will continue to allow us to flourish in the things of God.

Read 1John 4:1,2