Today I turn 49 years old. It is hard to believe that when I was 16 years old I did not think I would make it to age 30. It was because there were gangs in Detroit and Black males between the ages of 18 and 34 were killing each other or going to jail.
So, I made it…and some. I have learned so much between the ages of 16 and 32 and now 32 to 49 I believe that I have arrived in a few areas and I would like to share.
First, I am thoroughly convinced that I am overall a good person and I love me unconditionally. I make mistakes, I am flawed, I still carry a level of inmaturity and I’m OK with all of that. I love being me and I would not trade that for the world.
Second, I do not have or own anything that I am not willing to part with. Understand what I am saying, all material things serve as my enjoyment, but I can give them up in a heartbeat. Furthermore, my “status” in life does not define me. I am a pastor, author, business owner, psychotherapist and family man and if it all ended today it would be well with my soul. The reason is because I understand that all of these things came with an expiration date. If my bible study is correct, my real treasure is in heaven.
The last thing I will share is that I am most proud of this truth: I am my own man. I am free to do as I please and I chose to serve Jesus the Christ. I understand that whatever I set my mind to do, I can do it. I am not loyal to any earthly group and my belief and ideas are not shared or pressured with a common interest. I am a driver. I make things happen and I fix things. I have many items available to help in my tool belt and I am an agent of change. I am a healer.
So as I celebrate the day of my birth, I thank all who thought to give me a shout or post something on social media. I am praying for continued growth, health and strength but most importantly that I can always live with the person I see in the mirror. Thank you God that I am not a sellout and I understand that I have been purchased already and my soul is not for sale. More on this in 364 days!
It seems as though God should get praise and glory for the things he has given us and done for us. No one would argue that we serve an awesome God who can do everything and has everything.
Well, he has definitely blessed his people, but sometimes his people will not tell the tale about what he has done in their lives. It’s like some of us are ashamed to be blessed.
We want to help out in secret. We want to keep quiet the excitement in our hearts when God has shown up and showed out.
Nicodemus was not without reason when he had Jesus over in the evening. You see he was a Pharisee and they refused to believe who he was. Nicodemus saw Jesus do enough things that he wanted to get to know him, but not at the expense of his relationship with the religious sect.
Today we don’t have such a dilemma because it is actually fashionable to claim Jesus.
The other issue that I have is that some of us are living a struggle every day of our Christian lives. We are living that struggle so much that it now seems like the norm. If we followed the scriptures, particular the psalms and proverbs we would live better than most people. There is advice in there about finances, folly and females. There is info for personal growth and development, but we must not be reading. So then, to pray to God for something he already granted is vain.
Not to sound like a complainer, but my only point is that God deserves credit for the things he has done in our life. When you have overcome, it needs to be shared with others who are struggling in the faith. This is something that our fellowship demands and our posterity depends on.
So don’t hold back, share God’s blessing, give your testemony and honor our Father in heaven for he is more than worthy! Amen!
So we know that the church is the body of Christ and Christ’s kingdom here on earth.
He reigns supreme in this gathering of believers. Some might call it cultish due to the unfeigned faith each member has for the king.
Throughout the New Testament one can find many examples of how the body of Christ functions and relates to head of the body. And from here its even easier to see how the relationship with the head effects the horizontal relationships throughout the membership.
So, things like service, forgiveness, unconditional love, faithfulness, compassion, truth and longsuffering should abound in such places. There is a definite togetherness and sense of having all things in common among the believers. Judgement has no place here, only encouragement to be the best you can be and assistance when you stumble.
A placebo is a measure designed merely to calm, please or pacify another. It is more for a psychological benefit than for any spiritual effect. A placebo church only exists as a method to control. It is only a form of godliness, but it denies the power there of.
The largest problem with this type of church is there is no spiritual growth, there is no support, there is no fellowship and there is no forgiveness. When trouble comes you are on your own. When Satan attacks you are judged instead of helped.
You stay in this system because it looks right, but it is far from righteousness. So I ask you this day: Is your church a placebo and more importantly why are you still there?
We are consciously aware of the spiritual warfare going on inside of us. The physical world that we live in is a manifestation of that war.
When we see the darkness of this world, it sometimes looks like we are losing the spiritual battle. We see sin reign, hatred in abundance and ego elevated beyond the heights of selfishness.
Somehow we lost sight of God’s plan…or did we ever know it?
Here’s the plan: God wanted to show his goodness to us so he gave us grace and mercy. We were to show our gratitude through imitation of his son and obedience. The model he gave us was the burning bush. If we are doing it correctly then we would be surrounded by the fires of this world, but never consumed. We would remain in this state until he sent his son back to get us.
He would take us from the burning bush to a new tabernacle not made with hands. We would then dwell with him forever. But in the mean time we are to simply let our lights shine bright in the mist of this dark world. We were never supposed to eliminate the darkness but create as much light as we could.
The light would be in the forms of love, justice, forgiveness, service and goodness. Despite the evils of this world, our God wants to see the flourishing beauty he created. He expects for this creation to not conform to the world, but be transformed by a renewed mind. This is creation is precious to him. He called this creation Christians!
This past week saw the taking down of the confederate flag in South Carolina and it was not without its controversies. Highlighted in that week was congressional sparring about the event and a much choosing of sides by political pundits.
There was also a huge buzz on social media where some felt South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley made a decision that would make or break her political career. There was talk about this event thrusting her into the national political scene and perhaps even a vice president bid. Others felt that she had ruined her career and she even received cowardly death threats.
I was not that vested into whether the flag stayed up or came down and I did not even watch it. What turned me off was this: Our country has an acceptance problem. Many of our troubles and struggles come from our inability to accept one another.
So, in our initial relationship with our heavenly Father, we were separated from the commonwealth of God by our sins. It is impossible for us to be accepted by God on our own. Despite many failed attempts over thousands of years, we only proved that we are sinners and lost forever in darkness.
Then, Jesus comes and dies for the sins of the world so that we have the opportunity to be “accepted in the Beloved.” Now, empowered by the Holy Spirit, we who believe live to bring this joyous occasion to others. Acceptance not only says that you belong, but it also says that you belong just the way you are. Acceptance is the bridge that allows the sinner in darkness to fellowship with the light. Without acceptance a connection cannot be made. And it’s in that fellowship that the magic happens. The apostle John wrote that if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus Christ his son cleanses us from all sin — that’s a pretty powerful fellowship! But if I am not accepting, it’s all for naught!
Have you ever felt like you did not belong? Have you ever been in a situation where others have made you to feel that way? It’s a horrible feeling, but do you know we do that whenever we decide that another person does not matter. I don’t have to conform to the way you think to accept you. You don’t have to look like me, live like me or eat the same things I do for me to accept you. I accept you because I have been accepted. And the thought of me cheapening my acceptance or taking it for granted because I don’t accept you, is not an option for me. My acceptance of you is my judgment of you and as for me and my house, we choose to accept.
If God only gave us 10 times during our life to lose our cool and then we would die, I wonder how many of us would still be here?
God, wanting us to do the right thing, knew that by giving us intellect that we would figure out what the right thing to do would be. He also, in his infinite wisdom, knew that we would need something to fuel our bodies to action for the right thing. We not only need to understand the right thing to do but he gave us something to energize that effort. He gave us anger.
Anger belongs to us. It is supposed to be the fuel that makes us move NOW. Consider this: We know the bible teaches us to be angry, but sin not. And to not allow the sun to go down on our wrath. Then the Apostle Paul gives the example of when Peter was to be blamed he withstood him to his face and he didn’t let an hour go by before doing it. We were never taught to allow wrongdoing, but to challenge it with truth.
Now, in our society we love to waste time talking about things and saying what we’re going to do without doing a thing. We love to share our stories with others to gain support and we love to make empty promises about what we’re going to do in retaliation — and it’s all talk for the most part.
This foolish effort runs on anger. God expects us to own our anger and let it be the fuel for resolution. Anger was supposed to compel us to do the right thing immediately. To respond to things that make us uncomfortable we need a little anger. Anger is not bad. Doing the wrong thing with anger is bad.
So the lesson here is easy: When something angers you, speak to it immediately. You owe your brothers and sisters that right in Christ. So don’t punk out! Own your anger and speak the truth in love.
We are a society of extremes — and it doesn’t have to be that way. The way things are going we will of course destroy our planet and ourselves.
There seems to be no middle ground that anyone wants to choose. Think about it? We live in a world where people actual starve to death. And then on the other side of the world there are people so obese that they struggle through their lives suffering from degenerative diseases until they die.
We have generations of people in poverty living in conditions that are deplorable and then just a few days journey away, there are people so wealthy that it would take 4 generations to spend it all.
This crazy world has Christians that practice hate, record keeping of wrongdoing and feel murder can be justified, while there are atheist seeking to live in peace and harmony.
There are workoholics who hold down two and three jobs at a time while others can’t seem to find one job.
The question today is what will it take to move us to the center? Get rid of the media? Seek Jesus for real? Eliminate big business? I want to raise our conscious level higher so that we are more sensitive to our fellow man.
Did it work? I would love to hear your feedback.