Posted in Accountability, Achievement, Confidence, Discipleship, Faith, freedom, God, Happiness, Honor, Life, Prayer, Progress, Relationships, Religious Freedom, Self, society, Success, Taking Responsibility, Worship

We owe him praise

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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.

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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!

Posted in Accountability, Achievement, Change, Free Will, freedom, God, judgment, Justice, Marriage, Politics, Relationships, Religion, Religious Freedom, repentance, society, Truth

Let’s get serious about this marriage thing

The outpouring of emotion and anger surrounding the Supreme Court decision has prompted me to write this post.

There are some things that never change. Same-sex relationships have been around for centuries. The struggles with sin have been around just as long and the word of God has been around longer. For those who were outraged by the decision, I hope this is a new beginning for you.

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I hope that this decision forces you to study to show yourself approved of God. I hope that this decision makes you hold your spiritual leaders to a higher standard and I hope it encourages you to be the best you can be for Christ.

Satan has allowed this to become a religious fight and it is not. This is about civil rights and that is supposed to be as important to the Constitution as salvation is to the bible. In our preamble it says we are to, “…secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity…” although this country does not always do this, the decision today was a strong attempt….and rightfully so.

Our Constitution and our bibles are two different things. But what they agree on is free will. Our God offers us a choice and holds us accountable to that choice. I do not ever want the government to attempt to control my choice. But insurance companies were controlling the choice of who your spouse could be and whether or not they would pay benefits based on who you chose as your spouse.

So if the insurance companies allowed for their customers to define who gets the benefits they are paying for, then there would have been no need to incorporate marriage into this situation. Civil marriage has taken a hit, but holy matrimony has not. I would rather same-sex couples simply refer to their relationships as civil unions and the same benefits given to married couples be extended to them as well. That way everyone would satisfied. But I’m not the president.

Furthermore, we have never had a righteous president in the history of America. Every single president has innocent blood they must give an account for, whether what they did was direct or indirect. So why are we looking for righteousness in unrighteous places??

What every child of God needs to do is not react to what has happened with emotion. And definitely don’t try to be the bible scholar you are not. Instead place all of your blame and expectation on yourself — first for joining this fight so late and second for not having any influence in the matter what so ever.

What you can do right now is make sure that your own household is in order. Make sure that you are leading in the education of your family and not relying on Congress to guide your moral compass.

Allow the world to be the world and allow the word of Christ to dwell in you richly. Where most see chaos and turmoil in this decision, I see opportunity — to God be the glory!

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, Discipleship, Faith, Relationships, Religion, Religious Freedom

Is your religion pure?

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I don’t know about you, but I keep running into people who say that they are not “religious”, but instead they are spiritual. That really doesn’t make much sense.

Normally the statement is made to justify why the person who said it doesn’t attend bible study or worship often. They have been hurt by some religious nut trying to control them under the authority of religion. They may have even been given a list of do’s and don’ts to follow.

I want to try and set the record straight.

Everyone was created by God. That means Genesis 2:7 would apply to all of us: God formed man from the dust and breathed his spirit into that dust and created a living soul.

So we all have his spirit in a connected or disconnected way (depending on if you believe) and religion should be the manifestation of our spirit. What I mean is that it shows how well we understand  God and apply his teaching.

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Religion can be summed up in four concepts: Love, unity, fellowship and reconciliation. If your religion is doing anymore than that, you’re doing too much.

Nothing else matters after these four things. Your practice of these four elements show your application of what God has done in your life.

Because I have been reconciled I seek to reconcile others to God. Because I enjoy a fellowship with Christ I seek to build a similar fellowship with my fellow brothers and sisters. Because Christ has unified me I seek to unify others to him and oh what wondrous love I see! I want to love like Jesus. And when I do these things, I make my religion pure.

Posted in Achievement, Change, Confidence, Discipleship, Faith, Fear, Free Will, freedom, God, Happiness, Love, Opinions, Progress, Relationships, Religious Freedom, Sharing, Success, Taking Responsibility, Trust, Truth, Uncategorized, Willpower

Maturity in Christ

I often hear Christians and non-Christians painting a picture of Christianity in a very primitive state based on their understanding. What I mean is that they are still looking at scriptures and saying what they see instead of what they understand. The problem: When you take what you see in scripture and never look beyond it, all you get is a form of godliness. When you study and gain an understanding you get the form and function.

So for instance John 13:23-24, “34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.  This is a very “easy” verse to understand, but what you walk away with will depend on your level of maturity. Some people see the fact that there is a “commandment” in the first verse. This same person that sees the commandment will tell you that Christ commands us to do things. They will then begin to process their relationship with God based on a slave/master relationship.

Maturity doesn’t even see the word commandment. Maturity emphasizes the function of this verse and only sees the love. The mature person does not feel “forced” to love. They don’t think that there is a negative consequence waiting on them if they don’t love. The mature person, based on their understanding, has a heart so soft toward God that the willingness to “do” comes from an inner desire to please God and not a fearful expectation of being punished by God.

Spiritual maturity compels us to forgive, not because someone asked us to, but because God has forgiven us. We love, not because the object of our love makes it easy, it’s because God first loved us. We help one another, comfort one another and pray for one another, not because of a command, but because of what we understand.

Hebrews 5:12-14 says, “12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

There is a serious need for Christians to move on to maturity and stop debating the gospel and start sharing it; to stop scaring people to be obedient and start encouraging people to be.

Posted in Accountability, Change, Discipleship, Faith, freedom, God, Happiness, History, Jesus Christ, Life, Love, Obey, Relationships, Religious Freedom, Sharing, significance, society, Taking Responsibility, Worship

Why do you worship God?

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Worshipping is woven into the fabric of our very being. Without instruction we will worship anything. Some are worshipping people, animals and things.

It’s not hard to understand exactly why we were given the intellect and the ability to worship. Worship is paying homage to a worthy object of affection. It is an expression of the gratitude we feel for that object based on our understanding.

God, then, would be worshipped because of what we understand about him. Our father’s grace, mercy, longsuffering, love, faithfulness and forgiveness are just a few things in a long list of attributes that should stimulate our desire to show our gratitude and worship him.

True worship, then, would be worshipping God in spirit (that’s your spirit) and in truth (the revealed understanding of who he is). I can attempt to worship God in my flesh. This is when I respond to God based on my senses. So if it stimulates me, I will use it to worship him. Worship before Christ was done this way. There were things to touch, taste, smell, hear and see in worship. The burnt offerings, use of incense and the shewbread were all a part of the ceremonial worship. I can also attempt to worship him mentally which would be based on my own understanding — it will appear zealous, but not according to knowledge. I can attempt to worship him based on my emotions. The philosophy is that it makes me feel good so it should make God feel good.
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Today, God calls us to a much higher worship. One that requires the use of my intellect and understanding of who he is. It requires the submission of the heart of the person worshipping and the sole use of things God created and nothing we created with our own hands.

God now wants the sacrifice of praise, which the bible defines as the fruit of our lips praising him. Christ left us a feast to participate in and unconditional love is to be shared throughout. God wants us to have a consuming worship that pays homage to him and stimulates his love between us. It is also the start of a week that should be filled with the true worshippers offering themselves as a living sacrifice for him all week until we are united again together on the first day of the week. We are the lively stones that come together to form a spiritual house where he joins us.

Simple, natural and authorized. God should dictate how you worship if your worship is about honoring him. The father is seeking such to worship him — now what about your worship?

Posted in Faith, Free Will, God, God's Promises, Happiness, Jesus Christ, Life, Love, Mind Power, Religious Freedom, society

Jesus — The Light of the World

Jesus made what was then a very controversial statement in ear shot of the Pharisees when he said, “I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

This was viewed as arrogant by the establishment for how can this Nazarene be the light of the world? They understood Jesus as saying he was perfect and that all should follow after him. The disgust of Jesus’ “I AM” declaration was not about spirituality for those who opposed it. It was about how much would this effect the livelihood of the establishment.

You see, if people took heed to what he said and believed he was in fact “the light of the world” well then that would lead to discipleship. Jesus would then be able to accumulate more followers and more followers would mean more power and more power would mean more control.

Jesus’ statement should have been glad tidings to the people who understood that he was not only stating a fact in John 8:12, but he was giving them an invitation. That invitation, if they chose to accept it, would change their lives forever.

The only people who kick against change are those who feel they stand to lose something if the current condition are altered. This is played out on many levels from religious sects to politics to the workplace — everyone is leveraging to control.

What I hear Jesus saying is this: What you seek is within me and if you stay in me you’ll never be wanting. Outside of me are the things stacked against you. Inside of me is love, understanding, prosperity and hope. The choice is yours.

Surrender to him. It’s cool inside!