Posted in Accountability, Achievement, Career, Change, Children, Divorce, Faith, Fear, Forgiveness, friend, God, guilt, Happiness, helping, judgment, kindness, Life, Light, Love, Marriage, Mind Power, Penalties, Perseverance, Progress, repentance, Self, significance, slave, society, Success, Taking Responsibility, The Family, Trust, Truth

Is it really yours?

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You know the old saying that if you let something go and if it comes back to you, then it truly belongs to you? I just wonder how practical the application of this saying would be today. I mean, I think that some of us may have taken for granted the people in our lives. Sometimes it’s easy to forget the importance of people under our jursidiction and we really need a wake up call.

So imagine if you are the boss over a company or you are managing several employees, do you think that if they were released and given another job making the same money, they would stay with you? In the business world we believe sometimes that people get trapped and they don’t have choices. Are we taking advantage of them and treating them horribly because we can? As a leader are you making the environment your employees work in beneficial to them so that they can do the best job possible? Or have you made the place so in your favor that your colleagues hate the company and you? It should not take an episode of “Undercover Bosses” to make you do the right thing. The highest boss is watching and you will have to answer to him.
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Let’s take this a step further and look at the family because I wonder how many children would stay with their same parents. For those of you with children, do you believe that your offspring would gladly stay with you if they had another opportunity. I’m not talking about riches or a bigger house, I’m speaking pound for pound, comparing apples to apples, given a choice would your children stay with you? That’s a hard question for some and not meant to ruin anyone’s week, but we need to take a step back sometimes and see if what we think we are accomplishing is good and for the betterment of the people God has placed us over.

Now for the finale, when you look at your marriage do you believe your spouse would come back to you if he or she had the option to leave with no strings attached? Think before you answer. Do you make your spouse feel that he or she is the perfect match for you? Do they feel God’s full blessing being with you or would they rather be single? Is this even something you can talk about? Has chasing after success in life or bitterness or past failures turned you into an asshole? Don’t look at me, I didn’t say it your spouse may have! I just want you to take an honest look at your situation.
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Life is too short to spend the rest of it with someone who repels you. So before they sneak and talk to an attorney about their options, wouldn’t it be more cost effective for you to have that “come to Jesus talk” with them and say you’re sorry and you want to be better? If you really and truly love the person you are with, you owe it too yourself and your spouse a true confession and a heartfelt apology. Then you would spend your life prioritizing things in order of importance and you would begin with your relationship.

Don’t listen to the voice in your head that says this task is too much. It is just what your relationship needs. Be the leader you claim you are and lead in this effort to make your life better.

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, Faith, Fear, Free Will, freedom, friend, God, Happiness, Health, helping, Honor, Justice, kindness, Life, Love, Mind Power, Pain, Relationships, slave, Taking Responsibility, Time, Truth

I’m not the Wolverine

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One of the heroes from Marvel comics Xmen series is a character called the Wolverine. This character has the ability to heal himself at an accelerated rate, making it nearly impossible to destroy him.

Imagine that. With every hurt comes almost instantaneous healing. No scratches. No scars. No fuss. You cut him one minute and in less than 30 seconds he’s healed.

This is not a point where art imitates life. It’s the contrary.

Sometimes we say things to each other that really hurt. The whole “sticks and stones” saying is a lie: Words cut! And the problem is that we are not the Wolverine. We take time to heal and depending on how deep the cut, it could take years.

Now imagine being in a relationship with someone who constantly cuts you with their words and you do not have a chance to heal before the next cut. And this person does not give you any assistance in the healing. They just cut away at their leisure.

And then you tell them it hurts and to please stop. You become vulnerable with them and because of the close relationship you thought you had established, you pointed out the areas that would hurt the most. And instead of honoring and protecting those areas, they come at you like Freddy Krueger and continue to stab.

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To subject yourself to years of that is sick. To think that it will get better is psychotic. And to allow it to continue exposes just how much you love yourself. You enter into a relationship with another person to make each other better, not worse. There are people who bring out the worst in us and there are people, praise God, who bring out the best.

Life is too short and you are not the Wolverine. You have been taking cuts for far too long. It’s time for you to make some cuts and empty your life of all those carrying knives. This will be the best Independence Day of all!

Posted in Accountability, Bigotry, Change, Death, Fear, guilt, History, judgment, Justice, Politics, Racism, Religion, Religious Freedom, Self, slave, Truth, Worship

Our hypocrisy

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I struggle with the evils of this world. But I’m struggling more with the hypocrisy of America.

Only in America does it matter how you were killed and the circumstances around your death play a factor in who even gets involved.

Yesterday’s shooting was a huge tragedy and I can relate in so many ways. I can relate as a member and as a pastor. I have thought about what I would have done as the pastor. I attempt to change shoes with the deceased. I’m thankful that no one ran background checks on the victims or attempted to somehow blame them for what happen.

Think I’m crazy? Is this going too far?!?

I watched the press conference at noon today and heard how many government agencies came together to assist in this tragedy. I watched as Charleston’s Mayor, police chief and the Governor of the state got choked up over what happened. They spoke of bringing everyone together to heal.

Then I thought about Walter “Lamar” Scott who was gunned down by a police officer in the same city. Someone please tell me what is the difference in these two incidents?

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Are we to believe that it matters who pulls the trigger? In each shooting, those who died won’t come home. Are my feelings supposed to understand the difference?

I can relate to Mr. Scott as a Black man who has been pulled over by police. I share his same fear whether or not I will survive the encounter. I have to consider if I have fostered enough respect, credentials and support in my life to withstand the criticism left for my family to hear. The criticism that argues what I may have done wrong to justify my murder or how it could somehow be my fault that I was gunned down.

There were lots of prayer vigils tonight and not nearly the amount for Mr. Scott. I’m  saddened that this is our reality. My heart goes out to ALL who have suffered loss. I repent for my part in the hypocrisy and I pray that God heals our land.

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 Change, Death, Discipleship, Fear, Forgiveness, God, helping, Honor, Life, Obey, Pain, Prayer, Racism, Religion, repentance, Trust, Truth

Another letter to God

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Dear God,

It now makes sense to me why people don’t like to examine themselves: Our image is broken!

I feel bad sometimes when I realize that I live in a country that treats animals (primarily dogs and cats) better than poor people. I live in a country that does not forgive or forget.

I live in a country that is racist, bias and hypocritical. And I am sadly a part of this country. I represent those who point fingers both ways. I represent those who realize that they are the things they hate.

Father, l need you to search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Teach me a better way Lord that I might let your light shine through me.

I am not worthy of your light. I am not fit for your use. I need you, Father, to cleanse me enough to say amen. Give me your words that I may never thirst.

Heal my heart. Make me an instrument of righteousness that I may serve you with gladness. Help me not judge those who are not where I am. And please let me not covet those in the place where I want to be.

Forgive me O God for I have sinned. Make me invisible so that those who see my good only see you and not me. Save all of my credit for heaven father. Don’t allow people to ever praise me here.
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Thank you father for my gifts and I vow to do your name good with them.

Heal the hurt I have caused and turn my negative to positive. In the name of the one who chose the cross for me!

Amen.

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!