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, Achievement, Change, Confidence, Discipleship, Faith, God, Jesus Christ, Progress, Self, Success, Truth

Happy birthday to me

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Today I turn 49 years old. It is hard to believe that when I was 16 years old I did not think I would make it to age 30. It was because there were gangs in Detroit and Black males between the ages of 18 and 34 were killing each other or going to jail.

So, I made it…and some. I have learned so much between the ages of 16 and 32 and now 32 to 49 I believe that I have arrived in a few areas and I would like to share.

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First, I am thoroughly convinced that I am overall a good person and I love me unconditionally. I make mistakes, I am flawed, I still carry a level of inmaturity and I’m OK with all of that. I love being me and I would not trade that for the world.

Second, I do not have or own anything that I am not willing to part with. Understand what I am saying, all material things serve as my enjoyment, but I can give them up in a heartbeat. Furthermore, my “status” in life does not define me. I am a pastor, author, business owner, psychotherapist and family man and if it all ended today it would be well with my soul. The reason is because I understand that all of these things came with an expiration date. If my bible study is correct, my real treasure is in heaven.

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The last thing I will share is that I am most proud of this truth: I am my own man. I am free to do as I please and I chose to serve Jesus the Christ. I understand that whatever I set my mind to do, I can do it. I am not loyal to any earthly group and my belief and ideas are not shared or pressured with a common interest. I am a driver. I make things happen and I fix things. I have many items available to help in my tool belt and I am an agent of change. I am a healer.

So as I celebrate the day of my birth, I thank all who thought to give me a shout or post something on social media. I am praying for continued growth, health and strength but most importantly that I can always live with the person I see in the mirror. Thank you God that I am not a sellout and I understand that I have been purchased already and my soul is not for sale. More on this in 364 days!

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 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, 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, 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.