To my Father in heaven,
It is with love and gratitude that I write this blog in dedication of your devotion to me. You have gone far above the call of duty in being my God. I am in awe of you.
I make horrible decisions at times. Some of my infractions are purposed and I still struggle with negotiating right and wrong. There are people who I have such an issue with that they consume my thoughts. There are people I need to forgive.
And in spite of my stupidity you do amazing things in my life. You make me want to be a better person. You make me want to seek after the higher parts of me. I want to do the right thing, Father, but I am weak.
What I really want to say to you Father is thank you. Thank you for loving me when I didn’t want to love myself. Thank you for showing me the way to the light when I was lost in darkness. Thank you for forgiving me when I am weak. Father, thank you for your grace and mercy. Thank you for saving my soul and for being long suffering with me.
Thank you for another day to praise your name. Thank you that I’m healthy and in my right mind. Thank you most of all for Jesus who made me a partaker of his cleansing power.
I actually don’t want to ask you for anything. I just wanted to express my love for you and say thanks.
Sincerely your servant,
I don’t know about you, but I keep running into people who say that they are not “religious”, but instead they are spiritual. That really doesn’t make much sense.
Normally the statement is made to justify why the person who said it doesn’t attend bible study or worship often. They have been hurt by some religious nut trying to control them under the authority of religion. They may have even been given a list of do’s and don’ts to follow.
I want to try and set the record straight.
Everyone was created by God. That means Genesis 2:7 would apply to all of us: God formed man from the dust and breathed his spirit into that dust and created a living soul.
So we all have his spirit in a connected or disconnected way (depending on if you believe) and religion should be the manifestation of our spirit. What I mean is that it shows how well we understand God and apply his teaching.
Religion can be summed up in four concepts: Love, unity, fellowship and reconciliation. If your religion is doing anymore than that, you’re doing too much.
Nothing else matters after these four things. Your practice of these four elements show your application of what God has done in your life.
Because I have been reconciled I seek to reconcile others to God. Because I enjoy a fellowship with Christ I seek to build a similar fellowship with my fellow brothers and sisters. Because Christ has unified me I seek to unify others to him and oh what wondrous love I see! I want to love like Jesus. And when I do these things, I make my religion pure.
Children are so easy to please. As my children progress into their late teens I reflect back on how easy it has been to care for them. All things considered, I’ve been able to provide their needs and most of their wants. I can say to them do not worry about this or that because I would take care of whatever they feared. They live under the safe covering of dad. There are things and situations that they could not even imagine having to experience. In fact many of the horrors are locked away forever in the make believe section of their minds because they would swear today that it could not happen to them in “real life”.
I know and have counseled kids who came home from school and all of their favorite things were laying in the yard being picked over by their neighbors. I have listened to children lament about being caught in the middle of a boxing match between their parents and me trying to explain fear away from them because they witnessed such anger. A daughter now believing her father is capable of such rage that if he could beat her mom unconscious, it’s only a matter of time before she has her turn.
From jail to drugs to violence and sex, kids of all ages have had to deal with this things far too soon. As men we have the responsibility when raising a family to make sure certain evils are kept out of the house and God’s goodness is freely flowing within. There is a sacred trust we hold as dads to be the guarantor of good things.
This role should not be taken lightly because you see when we do it correctly we imitate a character of God that the rest of the family will believe and trust in for the rest of their lives. If I am the guarantor of good things for my family, and they know and understand that the source of my guarantee is the Almighty himself, then when it is time to turn them over to our father in heaven, that task is simple. They will already have a love and fondness for the heavenly father because they are very comfortable with the works of the earthly father.
God among other things is my guarantor. All of his promises are backed by his personal guarantee that nothing is too difficult, too powerful or too challenging for him. And God loves spending time demonstrating this fact to his followers. As feeble little children we reach up to the father with all of our fears and anxiety and he reaches down smiling and picks us up.
Praises be to our God and father who is also the guarantor for all of his children!
There are some people in this world who learn from other people’s mistakes. This is great if you are one of these people because it means you will avoid a lot of your own hardship because you could learn from the lessons of others.
It seems there are not many people with this gift. For the rest of us, we just have to learn the hard way: By using every last one of our senses to experience our struggles. Is it really important that we touch trouble? Yes! And we really have to see calamity up close? Definitely!
Well, it seems as though the prodigal son had many children because his seed is all around today. Many of us keep getting caught up in trials and temptations without having or experiencing a learning curve. And true to our heritage we go way out into foreign territory to do our “stuff” and when we get into trouble we always go to the wrong source for help. Then we stay out there until we land in the pit.
The question of the day is: Why do we stay out there so long when we know that God is looking and waiting for us to return?
I bet you know someone out there right now. You may be the one out there. It’s not cool to stay out there. Don’t you want to come home? Stop letting your senses dictate what you do and start using the intellect God gave you. His call to all of is this: It’s better back at the palace! Please, come home today!
He is arguably the greatest fighter to put on a pair of boxing gloves. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmaHGY7BEog&feature=youtube_gdata_player
When I was growing up in the 70s I remember watching the wide world of sports on ABC with my brothers and my dad and we watched all of the great heavyweight fights from that era. I remember watching sports reporter Howard Cosell go back and forth with the champ and I remember hearing folks say that they argue like an old married couple.
Ali would shout about how great he was and how attractive he was. He would boast about his accomplishments and what he planned to do next. And he would do most of this in the form of a rhyme!
I didn’t understand the psychology behind his actions until I was much older. When I ask myself how many images were on TV that depicted African Americans in a positive light, my answer was not many. Other than James Brown proclaiming that he was Black and proud, how many shows on TV in the 70s brought this before America? None.
You see, if Ali was great and he matched the color of my skin, then subconsciously I had the potential to be great too because we were the same color.
The point is clear: Ali made greatness possible for every minority. The path he lit stayed bright for me and my pursuits. He saved me from a lifetime of hang ups regarding my appearance, my intelligence, inferiority and my possibilities.
I can because Ali could. And I’m glad he took the time to send the future generations a message. A message that I got loud and clear!
Thanks Ali! For me, you will always be the greatest of all time!
So there is this story about I guy who could teach people how to spin grass into gold. The people could not believe that he had such a skill. The man he taught reacted pretty much like you thought he would. With dollar signs in his eye he spun all of his grass, his families grass and his neighbors grass into gold. He made tons of people rich with his new gift. And everyone was happy.
What does this story have to do with faith you ask?
We are encouraged by the Apostle Paul in Colossians 2:6-7 to walk in Christ. And the way Paul says to do it is remember and apply what you have been taught with all thanksgiving.
Do you think that the man in the story was joyous about what he had learned? Do you think he thought any about the person who taught him? What do you think was his attitude about doing the work?
The point is that when something is a benefit to you, no one has to make or force you to do it. You do it because it brings you joy.
Our faith in Christ Jesus is based on the gift God gave and the effects of that gift in our lives. As a result, we love and honor the work done by God and imitate it.
This means that the joy and understanding I have on the inside of me will manifest itself in what I do. And by looking at that you see my faith.
So I ask again. Are you really faithful?