Posted in Accountability, Change, Death, Determination, Fear, Free Will, freedom, friend, Generosity, Giving, Happiness, Health, helping, History, judgment, Life, Progress, Relationships, Self, Sharing, significance, society, Success, Time, Truth

We were robbed!

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Happy New Year!

This is the time for reflection and change in our lives and hopefully life’s lessons have taught us well enough that we are heeding the call and understanding what we must do to be better. By heeding the call I mean you are actually listening to your inner reflections on your past and adjusting accordingly.

It seems that for some of us our inner voice is “spot on” with reality and helps us out greatly in our decision making. Then there are others who’s inner voice is wounded and we need a little help to make sure what is said is correct and not detrimental to us.

This is all important because we live among thieves. Thieves are all over the place and we all have a little thievery in us. We all don’t loot or rob people at gunpoint, but what I mean is we steal another persons time, energy and space. We rob people of their joy and happiness and we steal ideas and concepts, friends and lovers and items of clothing like there is no tomorrow. It’s hard to be angry with someone when at some level you are doing the same thing. However, as we mature our thievery should subside. We should not be as taxing on our friends and families and we should be more giving with our own resources.

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So when you evaluate the people in your life, this tends to be a common denominator when deciding who should stay and who should go. As we get older it becomes more difficult to deal with theft. So we excomunicate them from our lives.

To help you with this task of elimination, I submit four categories of thieves. The first is called commensalism and these are the thieves that are like suckerfish who ride along with the shark to grab his leftovers. These fish do not bother the Shark, but they exist and thrive because of the shark. These would be your family, particularly your kids (17 and under) and older parents. There is such an obligation to help this bunch that this really becomes a labor of love. In addtion, you may have brothers or sisters in Christ who you have helped them get out of foolishness in the past and since they continue to get better, you continue to help them progress in anyway you can. This group will burn a lot of your energy but the results are priceless.

The next group is parasitism and these are the folks are flat out selfish. Family is not excluded from this category. These folks do almost everything at your expense. It is their consistent selfish behavior that makes them so toxic that you have to decide how much more you can take. With this group, over 90 percent is them taking from you. It is even possible for you to be in denial of this and allow them to continue.

The next group I refer to as spitefulism. I may have invented this word but the meaning is real. This is when two people are together and their brain’s pleasure center allows them to be so taxing on eachother that both are suffering from the interaction. I have seen these couples in counseling. They have come to me and neither party wants to give up anything. This proves that some people should have never hooked up. How do you stay in a relationship where both people are miserable and neither wants to get help. This behavior leds to eventual self-distruction.

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The final group is mutualism and this is exactly what it sounds like: Both parties benefit from eachother. In this relation you don’t mind giving so that there is no thievery. This can be with a spouse, sibling or friend.

So now you have been blessed to see another year. The longer we live, the better life should get. If life is not getting better, this is the first indicator that something is wrong. Choose this day who will be in your life. Part of our free will is having the choice to chose our circles. Choose wisely my friend. Because although there is not a precise measure of your stress to life ratio, what is certain is that stress is killing you. Not only is stress killing you, but there are already people plotting for your stuff.

Posted in Accepted, Accountability, Adam and Eve, Change, Death, Faith, Fear, Free Will, freedom, Garden of Eden, God, Guarantor, Happiness, Jesus Christ, judgment, Justice, Love, Opinions, repentance, Resurrection, society, The Family, Truth

The Truth about death

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Death gets a really bad rap I suppose because it can be so sneaky. Death doesn’t always come timely and it sucks if it happens too soon.

There are much older folks wondering why they are still here and some young folks wasting their life away and it seems that there could be a better use for that life.

From the very beginning we were introduced to death in the negative for God told our first parents that death was the result of disobedience. Since then, mankind has been running from the death sentence. As if death was the sheriff carrying bounties for us all, we attempt to cheat death.

There is another way of looking at our friend — yes I said friend.

Without death, how can we measure life? What actually makes life precious is the fact that it doesn’t last. Further, death was not just given to us as a result of disobedience, but a reminder that this world is temporary and that we should make good use of our time while we’re here.

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Moreover, our God will transport us to himself in a vehicle called death. You cannot get to God without it. With that said, death can be a beautiful thing, like a flower with a prickly stem. The prickly stem does not take away from the beauty of the flower. Likewise, untimeliness cannot lessen the true effect of death.

For some of us, death will have a sting. For those that are in Christ, there is no sting. The worst part of death is the sting, but if you have been born of the water and the spirit into the family of God, the sting is gone. And death only hurts on the time-side of life, not the eternal side. Therefore, as a great songstress once said, “…living in Christ we know that death is our friend. It will take us home.”

Make death your friend today. Believe that Jesus died according to the scriptures and he was buried and rose again the third day according to the scriptures. You don’t need a degree in biblical studies to understand the facts of the gospel and the fact that the savior himself said he that believes and is baptized shall be saved.

Death is coming. Will it be your friend or foe?

Questions or comments welcomed!

Posted in Change, Death, Discipleship, Faith, Forgiveness, Free Will, Giving, God, guilt, Happiness, Jesus Christ, Life, Light, Love, Obey, Relationships, repentance, Resurrection, Trust, Truth

It’s time for a Crusade for Christ

resurrection-website-imageFor more than 2000 years the gospel of Jesus Christ has been preached to this dying world.

Unfortunately we have preached more of the facts of the gospel, than the application of that gospel. I mean, Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection is very important to know but if it is given without context, where is the power?

We are saved by grace through faith and the bible calls this a gift that no man can take credit. (Eph. 2:8). Moreover, the fact that it is Jesus’ blood that reconciles me to the father and his life that actually saves me (Rom. 5:10) is just the beginning. How this all works together is the crux of the matter and ultimately redefines who I am and my purpose.

To make his gospel come alive, you must believe that it was an act of love on your behalf. Does it matter that Jesus died for you? Does it matter enough for you to die (crucify the old me) for him?

Further, if I say I know and believe in Jesus, does the life I live say the same thing? This is why we need a crusade. We need to be reminded of the facts of his gospel. We need a call back to the original commission to share the gospel with the rest of the world. It’s time to reveal the hope of our calling and surrender God’s truth without apology.

If you are anywhere near San Antonio, TX over the next 6 days, stop by the Hyatt Regency Hotel downtown and experience God’s love toward us. Come and hear the story of Jesus presented in a bold and loving way. Come and hear that in the midst of our struggle is when Christ died for us! Come and sing praise to his name because he made it easy for souls in danger. All these souls have to do is look above because Jesus completely saves!

Posted in Accountability, Achievement, Change, Discipleship, Free Will, Giving, Guarantor, History, Jesus Christ, Life, Love, Mind Power, Relationships, Religion, society, Truth

The Culture of Christ

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I recently attended a symposium and a question came up about culture to which some answered that the “scriptures transcend culture” and that when it comes to Christ “there is no culture.”

Many arguments were made using scripture and culture was not taken into consideration. Imagine something as important as culture being taken out of the interpretation of scriptures…say it ain’t so.

For the culturally challenged I offer this discord: Jesus gave a great commission to go into all the world and preach the gospel. We would never be effective or even clear in our learning if we attempt to disect cultural understanding from scripture.

Culture is simply defined as the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively. There is a pop culture in America that is demonstrated collectively in music, fashion, food and arts. We have culture in religion as the Nation of Islam has several distinctive characteristics that have become their culture.

In the Lord’s church there are many things that have become the cultural norm for the body. These, like other elements of culture, have been intellectual achievements by the masses.

Christ dictates the culture of his people. He said that love would be a definitive way that people will know his people. Unconditional love is an intellectual achievement regarded collectively. We learned the principle of love from the love that God showed toward us. We understand this love and we immulate it to eachother. Forgiveness is another cultural item that defines God’s people. The world has their own reasons for forgiveness and God’s people only have one: We forgive because we are forgiven.

Serving one another, peace keeping, what we eat, how we treat our bodies, or collective feelings about salvation and sin are all the collective achievements as exercised by our intellectual capacity to understand.

I thank God for the culture of the church. Because of it I feel so comfortable with the collective true brotherhood who elevate Christ more than mankind.

I am thankful of the many brothers and sisters in Christ I have who have loved me unconditional, even when I made it difficult to do. I am grateful for all the mature members of the church who treated me like a grandchild and corrected me in love when I was wrong. I am indebted to the teachers of the word who have instructed me in righteousness and taught me the very doctrine of Christ I stand on today.

Culture is where doctrine and application harmonize for the world to see and for God to be glorified.

Comments are welcomed!

Posted in Change, Confidence, Faith, Forgiveness, Free Will, freedom, God, guilt, Happiness, Health, helping, Jesus Christ, judgment, Justice, Life, Love, Obey, Opinions, Progress, Relationships, Religion, significance, Taking Responsibility, Truth

Is your church a placebo?

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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.

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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?

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!