Posted in Accountability, Achievement, Beauty, Change, Confidence, Discipleship, Faith, Forgiveness, Giving, God, Jesus Christ, Justice, Light, Obey, Progress, Self, society, Truth

How bright is your light?

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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!

Posted in Accepted, Accountability, Bigotry, Change, Confidence, Fear, Forgiveness, Free Will, freedom, Garden of Eden, God, guilt, Life, Politics, Progress, Racism, Self, Success, Taking Responsibility, Truth

Accepted

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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!

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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.

Posted in Accountability, Change, Confidence, Determination, Discipleship, Faith, Fear, Free Will, helping, judgment, Justice, kindness, Love, Obey, Relationships, Self, society, Taking Responsibility, Truth

My anger belongs to me

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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.

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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.

Posted in Accountability, Achievement, Bigotry, Change, Confidence, Death, Determination, Discipleship, Faith, freedom, friend, Generosity, Giving, God, Greed, guilt, Happiness, Health, helping, Honor, judgment, Justice, kindness, Life, Love, Mind Power, Opinions, Pain, Progress, Racism, Religion, repentance, Self, Sharing, slave, society, Success, Truth

No middle ground

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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.

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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.

Posted in Accountability, Achievement, Change, Confidence, Determination, Free Will, freedom, History, judgment, Life, Opinions, Perseverance, Progress, Self, slave, Truth, Willpower

Life was meant to be led

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So God gave us all one life and that was for the purpose of us growing and developing into a state where we would function in our right minds, and make decisions for our well being.

There are so many things in this world to get us off this task. This world is all about influence and control. We fight each day to keep our righteous minds.

Look at your life and the forces around you. Your home life, your job, your friends, the products you buy, the services that you use, everywhere you turn someone is trying to get you to do something. Buy this thing, support that cause, help him out — there is no end.

From the time you wake up and even in your sleep, life is getting away from you. The status quo says eat, drink, buy, spend, take, push, struggle, force, aggression, die trying and too late. These words belong to the world and they are used far too often.

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So you my friend must take control. We don’t often consider it but for many the word sale means you need to buy. Did you need the item? It doesn’t matter because it’s on sale.

For some, hearing the words happy hour means it’s time to drink. Why, are you thirsty? No, it’s happy hour.

Look at the control these simple words have on us. Our words have the same effect as controlled substances — and we are hooked.

So how is this fixed? We must take control of our own lives. Life was meant to be led. You have to get out in front of yours and lead it. Guide it. Control it. Treat it as precious as it is. Critical thinking is paramount to your success.

In the words of the late great rapper Heavy D, “In this life I strive for improvement. Be your own guide, follow your own movement.”

Make no mistake: this isn’t about surviving, it’s all about flourishing.

Posted in Accountability, Beauty, Children, Confidence, Determination, Generosity, Happiness, helping, Honor, Love, The Family

Tribute to my mom

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One of my favorite songs we sang growing up in church was Home of the Soul. I never really understood this song beyond the melody which I liked.

But as I got older I started listening to the words and discovered this is a song describing the place that Jesus is preparing for us. I eventually matured to be able to put scriptural application with this song and in addition to seeing the place Jesus is preparing for me in the future, I saw another place. This place was prepared for my living in the past.

My mother, Annie Mayberry, is like no other. Pound for pound she’s the best mom you could have. (I know I’m bias but bare with me)

Looking back at what we had back in the day, I realize how hard it was to make that happen. We were not rich, but we lived in an extremely clean home that was comfortable and had nice stuff.

I looked forward to coming home from a hard day at school, hard time at basketball practice, frustrating day with friends and the reason I loved coming home was because it was prepared for me.

My mom in anticipation of us coming home made sure things were right. There was always more than enough food. All of my needs (and some wants) were taken care of and she did this despite how she felt on any given day.

My mom never wanted anyone to look down on us. She never wanted anyone to think we were not cared for and she never wanted us to feel cheated in life. She gave us a respect for the arts — from paintings to great music — she kept beautiful things around us.

She took our senses and used them to her advantage. We were surrounded by beauty, grew up on incredibly delicious soul food, clean clothes, warm bed and toys — what else could a child want.

But the greatest thing my mom gave me and my siblings was her love. Her love truly covered a multitude of sins — ours and hers. There was no doubt that she was in our corner and would not hesitate to whip our a$$ or kick somebody else’s a$$ in a New York minute.

So today I give honor to my first love. A woman who I admire and appreciate greatly! Thanks for everything Annie! Love you much!

Posted in Confidence, Faith, Fear, Guarantor, Happiness, Life, Love, Relationships

My God the great guarantor

 

 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!