God knows that it isn’t easy to walk by faith although that is what pleases Him most (Hebrew 11:6), that’s why He made faith the size of a mustard seed so powerful. (Matthew 17:20) A little goes a long way with God.
Category: Theology and Biblical Studies
Don’t Be Generic
When you go to the grocery story, how often do you pick up the box of great value or member’s mark of cereal, juice or cookies? Most often the generic brand is cheaper but is it usually better than the name brand grocery item? (My vote is no.) Sometimes without us recognizing, we say generic prayers and give generic praise to God. Generic by definition means general. To have a general relationship with God is to almost have nothing because He cares about you so much so that He sent Jesus to die for your sins, which was personal, because that was His only son. For Him to do something so significant and personal for you and I, we owe it to Him to have a personal relationship. When I think of what God has done for me, He didn’t generally deliver me, as if he only has one way of fixing everyone. When God delivered me it was specific to my struggles and needs (see Just Can’t tell it All). God doesn’t work like Chemotherapy where it just goes and kill cells because they don’t know which ones are good or bad, He gets rid of precisely what you don’t need at that moment and replaces it with good. So then in our thanksgiving to God, we have to recognize that specific work He did and give Him a praise worthy of His work.
If you think about a human friendship, maybe a best friend, your favorite cousin or your mate, what is it based on? How do you know that what you all have is different compared to other relationships? I use that as an example to say that there should be something about your relationship with God that reminds you why He plays such a major role in your life. We sing songs in church all the time like “Can’t Nobody Do Me Like Jesus” and “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”. Those are lyrics from someone that looked over their life and realized how God has impacted their life. It was probably their personal testimony and they shared it, which we as fellow believers are able to relate to.
God can be anything you need if you believe that He is. Never underestimate the power God has. Matthew 19:26 say “Jesus looked at them and said “With man this is impossible but with God all things are possible.” So when you see God’s power working in your life, you should share it and make sure its a personal story. God works in so many different ways and His works are too diverse for us all to tell the same story. “He’s been good.” “He made a way out of no way”. There is nothing wrong with those statements at all however, those are very general statements. When you go to say that, tap into that relationship you have with God and tell that person HOW He made a way and HOW He’s been good to you. Your testimony is powerful and you never know who needs to hear it (or read it). : )
Where am I supposed to Go?
Lately I’ve been pondering the prevalent issue of church hurt and acceptance, or lack thereof. There are so many people who come to church looking for healing or restoration in some areas, but end up leaving worse off. Although they may come in not looking like you or living the best lifestyle, why is it so hard to accept them into the body of Christ? The thing is that church is not about membership or the mortgage or anything that comes to take the attention away. It is merely a venue for God’s vessels to facilitate the works of God. The church is becoming like a country club or organization. There are certain criteria you must meet to be accepted, and we also want to know what you can do for us if you do join. Really, it should be that the requirement is to be flawed and imperfect, but striving and you bring your best servitude to the Lord.
My question then is if we continue to have this checklist of acceptance, where do the misfits go until they are “ready” and meet the requirements? I don’t think many people consider the actual person they are marginalizing and their needs. Rather they are forgetting the true purpose of the church itself. God said “If I be lifted up from the earth, I’ll will draw all men unto me”. The Holy Spirit moves on hearts, and the born again saints have some work to do as well. When Jesus ascended into heaven He told the 12 to go forth and make disciples. We should be building people up so that they can do the same and it be a recurring process. If God is so good to us why don’t we want to see Him do a work in someone else? That’s what would happen if we didn’t leave certain people out. Bring that homeless guy in even though he may not have an offering to give. If you enrich his life and help him restore his life, eventually he will have something to give and he’ll be happy to do so because he will want that ministry to be able to go forth and help others.
God’s love is not partial or conditional. He loves us in our mess, on our way out and beyond. No matter where we are in life He’s waiting for us to let him in and help us. Some people really want to change but don’t have the courage or strength to do it on their own. They need some people to cheer them on and hold them accountable for their actions. They need to be accepted for who they are so that they can become who they should be.
There is always an exception to the rule and everyone that comes will not change right away or some none at all. Once again, the Holy Spirit moves on hearts but our task is to get them in and surround them with the love of God so that they may know that there is more than the life they are currently living. Let them know that God wants to prosper them and see great things happen in their lifetime. But they also should know about the redeeming love of Jesus who gives us eternal life in heaven after our bodies pass away. They need to know that your past doesn’t affect your future if only you confess your sins and believe that Jesus is Lord. We need to share with others the grace God gives us over our situations. We have to remember that just because their sin doesn’t look like ours, God loves us and is still able to deliver them no matter how long they did it, how many times they did it, how many people they did it too, and to what extent it was done. We have to remember our situation and the daily struggle against our fleshly desires and know that there are others who are struggling too. So instead of looking at them as if they are less than or not including them in the functions or activities, make them feel at home so that you can facilitate the work of God in them.
They just go together!
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12
As I read and reflected on this scripture today, I realized how much this verse makes sense. At first glance, it just seems like three different attitudes you should have in three different situations. The attitudes being joyful, patient, and faithful and the situations are hope, affliction, and prayer. After I read it a few times I realized these three situations are connected, maybe just in a different order.
Be Patient in Affliction:
Affliction is a painful situation whether it be physical, emotional, or because of a loss. Most often when someone is afflicted they call it a storm of life. If you can just imagine a storm in its real sense, when its raining, thundering and lightening, it’s a very scary moment. If you’re driving, you can’t really see, the wind may shake your car, etc. So as an analogy, a storm of life is much like that. The situation may have come out of nowhere, you don’t know whats going to happen next, you feel unstable and helpless in the middle of all these problems. But this verse says to be patient in your affliction. I know you’re thinking who in their right mind would or even could be patient in the midst of an uncomfortable situation? While this is what we are commanded to do, we have some tools to help us make it.
Be Faithful in Prayer:
Prayer is our way of communicating with God. So in the midst of this situation, be careful to stay in contact with God. Not to make sure He knows what you’re going through, but more so to ask Him for deliverance or even peace while you are struggling. We should always be praying, but it seems to be an instinct to pray in the midst of a situation when we need help. Jesus always prayed to God as he walked the earth, so if he even needed to pray, how much more do you think we need to pray? A lot of times I ask God to sustain me while I’m struggling, to give me strength to keep going. That prayer is your private conversation with God and no matter what you ask God for or to do, just continue to do it, faithfully. You should be just as faithful or more to prayer as you are to your favorite t.v. show or your work out plan. Once you’ve prayed your next step is to be joyful.
Be joyful in hope
Hope is what keeps many people going. Sometimes that’s all we have in certain situations. It keeps you looking forward to better days, which helps you not to give up on God in your situation. So trusting God gives you hope and somehow helps you to know that you won’t be in your situation forever. Your hope should give you joy as well. It doesn’t mean you have to act peachy when you know you are hurting inside, but it should cause you to be content with what you have. Joy allows you to take account for what you do have and not focus on what has been taken away or what you’ve lost. Joy and hope work together so that you can smile even though things may not be the best at the moment. It helps you to have a positive attitude and to not stress even when you are in a situation where you don’t know what will happen next.
So you see, being joyful and faithful will help you to be patient in your affliction. Whatever the situation, if you pray, be hopeful and patient, God will bring you through it. It’s hard but like anything else, it takes practice. And as crazy as it sounds, you have to go through something to understand this process. As much as we don’t like to hurt or suffer, those are the times we grow closer to God and understand His ability to take control of the situation and fix it for us.
Watch Your Mouth
James 3:10 “Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.”
Disclaimer: This post is not meant to pass judgement but rather to help. We all have our downfalls and although this may not be mine, I would like to help someone understand their wrong and help them make it right.
Growing up I’m sure some elder of yours at some point has said “Watch your mouth”, “Don’t say that again”. In our younger years bad words were ‘shut up’ ‘stupid’ and ‘liar’ (at least for me) but as we grew up, the adults became a bit more lenient and words we couldn’t say (around them) became curse words: The words that were bleeped out on television and USED to be edited out of music on the radio. This day and age not only have parents become lenient but so have the media regulations and bad words are more likely to be heard with out a problem. As Christians though, we find in the Bible that although everyone else may be saying these words, it is unfitting for us to follow suit. As I said earlier, I know many people struggle with this for many years and there are several reasons for that. Cursing is a bad habit and is super hard to defeat (kind of like my bad habit of biting my nails). Some people curse because they grew up around adults that cursed around them or even when speaking to them. To tell the truth, it’s almost impossible to expect a child not to curse when you curse at them regularly while communicating with them and it is unfair to expect anything different. On the other hand some of us curse because of what we listen to. Believe it or not, the music that we listen to has a big effect on what we say and think. You may think that Waka Flocka’s lyrics don’t affect your thoughts but they do. Although you may not carry out the action that crosses your mind, it isn’t a good thing for that thought to cross your mind.
Quick Story: I used to be a huge fan of Lil Wayne and knew (and still do know) lyrics to many of his songs. But when I realized how easily it was for me to slip and say a curse word in casual conversation I made a decision not to listen to his music as much. It isn’t easy to just stop listening to your favorite artist cold turkey but when you have a bigger goal in mind such as wanting to please God more, things like this will become a priority and help you to accomplish both goals.
The scripture above makes it clearer than clear. It is not favorable for us to praise God and a few minutes, hours or days later curse like it’s nobody’s business. Many of our flaws are hard to change but the reality is we have to hold ourselves accountable for our actions and begin to be proactive in changing our ways if we really want God to be pleased with our lives. Matthew 12:36-37 say “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” If we want to make in into heaven, we have got to control our mouths. It’s hard, but remember one of our favorite verses “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” He will give you power over your tongue and guide your thoughts. All you have to do is ask Him.
I encourage you in your spare time to read James 3 (Its really short ; ) ) But it will definitely put this into perspective for you and I pray that you are able to see the importance and that your words will be positive from that point forward.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things” Philippians 4:4
Your words are largely what you think. Positive thoughts will birth positive speech.
What’s Your Point?
“Whats your point?”
This is something I am going to attempt to ask myself before I do or say something. Many times, people do and say things either with bad intent or no justifiable intent at all. A lot of times we do stuff in order to “get someone back”. But In this world, it is not our job to seek revenge. I will agree that it is so easy to react based on emotion. Many times we say things out of anger wanting that other person to feel as bad as we do for what they have done to us. Romans 12:17-19 clearly tells us that God will handle wrong that has been done to us. Verse 19 reads “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay” says the Lord.” (NIV) So next time someone upsets or hurts your feelings, don’t respond out of anger. Ephesians 4:26 also reminds us that in our anger we should not sin. Sinning is anything opposite of showing love toward our neighbor.
What I have learned is that the revenge that we try to get most often makes things worse and even leaves us with the same hurt feelings or rage we had before. For instance, in the song “Bust your Windows” by Jasmine Sullivan, at the end of the song she says “Why can’t I stop crying, why am I the one who’s still crying?”. So after all that window busting trying to make her ex feel like he made her feel, in the end she remains heart broken.
So when you say you’re going to “tell somebody about themselves” or do something to get back at them. Your mission should be to let them know how they hurt you so that they won’t do it again. Not so that you can have the satisfaction of hurting their feelings as well, because that then puts you in the wrong and it becomes a game of “tit for tat”.
Matthew 18:15 summarized basically says to talk to the person that has wronged you, one on one and if they hear you then you have restored the relationship. Of course every situation will not go that smooth and everyone is not that understanding. Verses 16-20 tell you the other steps to resolving the issue if that is the case. Whatever you do though, make sure you don’t do it out of anger. Seek God to fix your disposition first before you go to someone else and tell them to fix theirs. Never forget to consult God’s word FIRST and not just the word of your friends. Its all in the good book!
Love God, Love people
Matthew 6:33 Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.
Psalms 37:4 Delight thyself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Lately these two verses have been on my mind and I’ve just come to realize they are the keys to success as it related to being a Christian. They are basically saying that if you continue to seek God and His will for your life, you won’t have to continue to beg and pray for the blessings He has for you. In church, it just bothers me when people relate praising God to the blessings God has for you. First of all, we should Praise God in spirit and in truth. So if you are dancing and singing just to get a reaction (blessings) out of God, you may have the wrong idea about how He works. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m in the choir and I absolutely love singing for God. But understand that we don’t come to church to sing our hearts out and “cut a step” just so God will continue to bless us. He desires our praises so really these things are a part of the job description.
We are supposed to praise God REGARDLESS of our situation simply because of who He is. I say that if we seek God and seek to live in the image of Him, everything else will fall into place. He promises us grace, mercy, and peace but it seems no one ever thinks these things are enough. Most of the time, the intangible things are more valuable anyway. God can bless you with the biggest house on the block with the most expensive car in the garage, but if you don’t have peace in your mind, those things won’t mean much because you won’t be able to enjoy them.
The thing with wanting material things is that you can never get enough of them. You always want more or the newest and it’s never ending. How about having something that is everlasting? God’s love is everlasting and life will be everlasting if you confess the Lord. You can never run out of grace and it will never need an upgrade or a newer version. God is the same today and forever more and anything He provides you with that will really benefit you is the same. You may need more of it but even that is free to obtain, all you have to do is ask and if it is in His will you will receive it. The Bible also says that His grace is sufficient. That’s really good news because we know we aren’t perfect so we continue to need grace. Even when we think we are doing things right and we aren’t, His grace is covering us.
We have got to get our priorities in order. This is an age old activity, but write down or even just list in your head your priorities, things or people that mean the most and take precedence in your life. Make sure God is number 1. If He hasn’t been, make a vow to keep Him number 1 and I assure you that everything else will be taken care of.
I’m Yours Lord
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
This is an interesting scripture and it can be interpreted many different ways. Being that I feel that I have a testimony of my own life, this post will show how I interpret it.
Church people say “Use me Lord” all the time but I often wonder if they know what they are really saying. To me, when you ask the Lord to use you, you are offering your life as a sacrifice to God and ALLOWING Him to use your life to have His will done. His will may be that you have to go through some very hard times and only depend on Him. Will you believe that struggling is in God’s will? Many people think all bad things come from the enemy. Many times though, God allows things to happen in your life and the reason is always different. But one thing we can be sure of is that whatever hard trial we go through, it will always come with a testimony.
One thing I’ve learned is that when you get your testimony you can’t be ashamed of it. Like I said in a prior blog, God won’t bring you through something you can’t share and that won’t have an impact on others. Just think, the testimony of Jesus Christ is that he was beaten and bruised for the iniquities of the world. He was spit on and mocked. Starting out, one would want to say that it is gruesome, however, there’s always an upside to the testimony like the fact that we are all saved by the blood that was shed by Christ. Its not all bad.
So whenever you get discouraged by the details of your trials, just know that the end will bring joy and God has a purpose for it all.
He’s waiting on you.
“But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.”
The more I think about this verse it makes me feel like God doesn’t intend on anyone going to hell. I interpret this verse as saying that at some point everyone is going to believe in God. With that being said, many people have tried to predict when Jesus is coming back for His people. But the Bible also says that no man knows the day or the hour when Heaven and earth with pass away in Matthew 24:35-36. Being that no one knows when Jesus is coming back I pose this question:
Could it be that God Is waiting for the body of Christ to do their job which is to spread the gospel and do “the drawing”? Is it possible that he is giving us time to really do what he has called his people to do?
One may think it’s the Pastors’ jobs to bring people to Christ. But I believe that they are more of leaders to those who are already in the body. Plus they are mostly only in the pulpit on Sunday. Who is going to reach those who don’t come to church? Those who don’t even believe in our God. That is why I feel we as Christians are responsible for living a spiritual life because we are the ones people are looking at on a daily basis. It is expected for a Pastor to be living the model life but those of us who have regular jobs for instance, have to always carry ourselves in such a manner that is reflective of the fact that we proclaim that we believe in Jesus and we go to church. Once you say that, people will be watching your every move and could possibly be making inferences about Christianity without even cracking open the Bible or going to church. We really have to be mindful of those who have not been converted yet and make it our business to guide them toward a better life and eternal life as well. You don’t want to be the reason someone chooses a different lifestyle or religion because that may lead to them being one of the people slated for hell.
I will say that it is rough and we don’t see ourselves as role models but the reality is we may be the only source of religion a person sees and if that is the case we have to always conduct ourselves with the ways of Christ. That isn’t to say that we won’t mess up, because we all know this is a growing process and no one is perfect but our Savior. But even in our errors or shortcomings, the way we fix them will or should say something about the lifestyle we have chosen. My prayer is that we as Christians begin to take our walk more seriously and not be so selfish when it comes to the things we say and do. We need to always be sharers of the good news so that all men will be drawn unto our Lord as his word says.