Posted in Change, Faith, Forgiveness, Giving, guilt, Happiness, Jesus Christ, Relationships, repentance, Resurrection, society, Success

Letter to God

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,

Clyde

Posted in Accountability, Change, Faith, Fear, Forgiveness, guilt, Jesus Christ, repentance

The prodigal son has many children

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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!

Posted in Forgiveness, God, Jesus Christ, Relationships, Truth

A new beginning?

Starting all over again is rough.

When you reach the stage of starting over, it is normally when you realize that you’ve made a mess of things and it’s time to regroup.

Reflection becomes your best friend during this time as you attempt to understand what brought you to this point and how to avoid it the next time.

You know that things can be replaced, but the people…it’s hard dealing with the people. It’s hard to expect someone not to respond with “I told you so” if they actually told you so.

It’s difficult to deal with people who choose not to forget your mistakes and maybe even want you to suffer.

I struggle dealing with this because I know we are supposed to be a Christian nation. A nation who claims to believe in Jesus Christ and accept him as the savior of the body.

But we have forgotten his teachings.

We who claim to be Christians live under a different creed than the rest of the world. We say that we are different, but when it comes to allowing, helping or accepting someone who is trying to change, we struggle.

Despite the fact that Jesus teaches love and forgiveness, to us a thief is always a thief, a murderer is always a murderer, a drug user or dealer stays the same, and a sex offender is just that.

Where did all the permanent categories come from? Why do we only understand forgiveness one way — God forgiving us? Why on earth do we expect a righteous God to be blind towards the way we treat one another?

Dear reader, I pray that you grant people in your life a shot at a new beginning. Shouldn’t we honor God by allowing our neighbors, family, friends, enemies and anyone else we’re not speaking to a chance at a new beginning?

Posted in Accountability, Achievement, Bigotry, Change, Children, Confidence, Determination, Discipleship, Faith, Forgiveness, freedom, Giving, God, Happiness, helping, Honor, Jesus Christ, Justice, kindness, Life, Love, Perseverance, Prayer, Progress, Relationships, Resurrection, Sharing, society, Taking Responsibility, The Family, Time, Trust, Worship

Some day at Christmas

Some day at Christmas we won’t be farmerry-christmas

from making friends no matter what color they are.

We will be color blind and our hearts will see

that God made you and me.

 

Some day at Christmas we won’t be rude

and pass out to everyone who has a need for food.

We will not covet all the things that we see

because we live for him who died on that tree.

 

3142505786_793baeb9a7Some day at Christmas all wars will cease.

Our heart’s desire will be to seek peace.

We’ll take responsibility for all that we do

and make this world better for me and you.

 

Some day at Christmas the deed will be done.

Our lives will be judged by God’s only son.

We lived our lives for Christ and stood in his Grace

and spread love thoughout the human race.

Posted in Discipleship, Forgiveness, God, Love, Relationships, Time

Covet the best gifts this year

While we are in the mist of shopping and making sure we  get that special gift for that special someone in our lives, it’s always good to reflect on the best gifts we can give.

After all,  this is the season for giving.  And while everyone is in a festive mood – and probably more receptive to hear things during this time of the year, I’d like to weigh in on the best gifts of the year.

Now, of course, there are experts in the retail business who can predict which toys will be top sellers and what line of clothing will make you the talk of the town. There are also specialists in the gadget department that can tell you about the best of the best in iPhones and Mp3 players, computers and Blu-ray brands and, of course, flat screen TVs.

I am interested in other types of gifts. The gifts that I’m talking about are more precious than silver or gold. These are the gifts that change lives. Wait for it … wait for it …

The first gift is love. There are many people living with anger, racism and hatred. These people hurt others because they have been hurt. And you know how misery loves company. If we would give these people unconditional love – for as long as it took – it would change their lives for the better. Only special people can do this. This gift requires you to love the un-loveable and allow your love to cover a multitude of sin. This requires you to love like Jesus.

Can you do that?

The second gift is that of forgiveness. How many people live guilty, waiting to hear those three words – I forgive you? How many of us are holding someone at bay, not forgiving them and making them feel really bad because they did something wrong?  And then we turn around and attempt to celebrate a holiday like Christmas. I wonder if I looked up the word hypocrite whose pick would I see by that word. Giving the gift of forgiveness requires us to forgive like Jesus.

Can you do that?

And finally, the last gift is the gift of your time. It’s always easier to write a check and let someone else to the work. The gift of your time requires you to actually stop living for yourself and give that time and energy to someone that needs it. People like kids that are growing up without a dad; single mothers who are having a hard time raising their kids alone; or a widow or widower. There are many people who are lonely, afraid to be alone and depressed. Image if the last person you knew or read about who committed suicide. Do you think they needed someone they could trust to talk too? Giving the gift of time requires us to give our time like Jesus.

Can you do that?

I’m thinking we would be a stronger nation if we coveted these three gifts. Now, I’m off to practice what I preach!

Posted in Faith, Forgiveness, Free Will, Giving, God, Jesus Christ, Life, Love, Relationships

I love because I know God

There is a goodness that is overwhelming about the love of God.

In a previous post, I wrote about the modern miracle of love and said that the basis of love was our knowledge of God.

I want to shed a little light on that topic now because I believe there are many who use love as a cover up because their actions say something totally different.

It is impossible to say that you really love, when you hate. You cannot follow Christ, but hate Muslims. You cannot say you have the love of Jesus in your heart and hold a grudge. And you cannot claim that you are a child of God and deliberately cause hurt to another human being.

God’s love is not limited to whether you are Black or White; Republican or Democrat; Christian or something entirely different. We are not the originators of love, God is. That means HE gets to define the concept and those who have experienced it, imitate it.

Did you catch what I said?

We love, because we’ve been loved. Not because we believe the object of the love deserves our love. We love, not because we expect something in return. We love because we know what it feels like and we are now constantly responding to God’s love toward us. We understand why we were the recipients of his love and we pay it forward.

I have a love for humanity because God does!

I love my enemies because God loves his enemies and he loved me when I was his enemy!

I love those who are less fortunate because I see and understand how God loves and takes care of them!

The only reason people don’t love is because they have taken for granted the love God has already shown to them.

The Apostle Paul explains it this way, “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly.”

It wasn’t the nails that held Jesus on that cross, it was love!

So how are you going to love?

Posted in Accountability, Change, Discipleship, Faith, Forgiveness, God, Jesus Christ, Love, Relationships, Truth

Problems with the church?

So, having problems at church, huh?

I mean, we know that Christ gave us all a mission which is to go into all the world and preach the gospel. But I’m talking about a church where everyone not only knows the direction they are going, but took a role in planning it and have been praying for it since the conception of the plan.

I bring this up because I have talked with many who feel that their congregation is going nowhere. They feel that “status quo” has been the plan for years and as a result the church is dying. This is a touchy subject because for some reason we believe that we’re not supposed to question the authority of the church for to do so is to question the almighty God. Yeah right!

The church is only going to be as good as its commitment to follow Christ. No one would argue that Christ is the head, but we can’t just measure success by the mere fact that people still show up on Sundays. And I’m not saying that we are all supposed to have a Megachurch. What I am saying is that Christ did not leave his church without direction. There are some clear things that we should be doing so that the world will see Christ in us.

It can’t just be that we say we are Christians, we have to prove it. The only way the bible talks about proving our discipleship is with love toward one another (John 13:34,35). In an age where church splits are more common than mergers; where letters of dis-fellowship circulate more than letters of encouragement; and where preachers are being fired at an alarming rate, it’s no wonder that the church is dying.

It’s like in hospice, we serve families who tell us not to mention hospice around dad cause he doesn’t know he’s dying. And then dad tells us not to mention dying in front of his family because they don’t know he’s dying. Everyone knows, but no one wants to address the issues.

In addition, fear makes it hard for us to respond the way we should. We have been conditioned not to go against the system or leadership even when we KNOW that the leadership or direction is wrong.

Now before you run off and kick in the church doors, understand that you need to be a source of help. It is possible that the folks in charge don’t know what to do. It’s probably the case that they need encouragement and to know that they will not be harshly judged if they make a mistake. It is equally true that they may be arrogant and need to step down from their roles. Whatever the case, the church needs to be moving in the direction to bring about GOD’s result and not man’s.

I suggest the following as a means to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace:

1) Get involved! Don’t be the type of person who comes every now and again criticizing. You want things to change? Let that change start with you.

2) Go to your leadership and tell them how you feel about the things that are going on and let them know that they can count on you to help make things better. Let them know of the high level of commitment you are ready to give.

3) Always speak in fact, not fiction. When things are not going well, Satan has a way of spreading gossip and getting false information out to the general public. Make sure what you are saying is a provable truth. DO NOT bring gossip and hearsay to the leadership.

4) It is never a good idea to have a meeting before the meeting. There should never be any secret meetings unless you are planning a surprise birthday party. People tend to get upset and defensive when they know that secret meetings are going on. Bring everything out at once. All things should be done open and honest before everyone.

5) Make sure that you have scriptural backing for everything you say and do. You need to know and explain truth that is aligned with God’s word. DO NOT go to the leadership with “I feel”, “I think” and “I believe” statements. You must stand on God’s word. Personality problems are not God problems. If there is something truly wrong, then it’s wrong because you have scripture that says it is. Prove all things and hold fast to that which is good!