Sunday, December 28, 2014

"Pray about it"

We pray in all circumstances, situations, and decisions. God does not want us to act as people filled with worry, fret, and fear over the impending decisions of life. When we worry we take the focus off God and place it on ourselves. Because we fear that we will make the wrong decision, the situation will turn out horrible, or the circumstance will take a turn for the worse. But prayer places our trust back in the hands of God knowing the whatever the outcome of the circumstance, situation, or decision God will receive the glory. 

We pray before we do anything because we are not seeking to do our will but seeking the Will of the Father (Matthew 6:10). Every decision should start with prayer because we are waiting for God's Spirit to give us guidance on what we are to do. He will direct us on how to handle a particular situation in a way that will bring God Glory. He will keep us content in Christ regardless of our current circumstances.

Prayer should lead us to give thanks to the Lord for His Goodness, Kindness, and Mercy towards us. Thanksgiving acknowledges that regardless of the outcome our God will get the glory. Thanksgiving replaces our complaints with praise and changes our despair to hope.

When we go to the Lord in prayer and give Him the praise we are overcome with an unshakable peace. God's Peace captivates our hearts and causes our worries to end. Even if our circumstances have not changed, our situation continues to persists, and we still do not know what to do God's Peace is His Spirit giving us the assurance that we are not forgotten or forsaken. But if do not go to Lord in prayer we will never experience His unfathomable peace. So whatever decision you must make, whatever your circumstance are, and whatever situation you are in take to the Lord in prayer and give Him the praise.

Philippians 4:6-7

"In His JOY!"

Read the Word, Share the Gospel, Be Accountable.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

"Loser's Always Win"

We have to be willing to lose all things for the sake of Christ instead of holding on to them for the sake of ourselves. There should be nothing that we are not willing to lose for the sake of Christ. We try so desperately to hold on to to people, places, and things for our sake that we can are unable to receive the blessings that God has in-store for us when we walk in obedience to His Word.

We hold onto the bitterness of a ruined relationship for our sake but if we let go for the sake of Christ we will see how Christ can restore what was lost (Luke 15:11-32). We hold on to a toxic relationship (because we love how it makes us feel) for our sake but if we let it go for the sake a Christ He will fill the void with a relationship that brings Him glory for our good(Proverbs 27:17, Hebrews 10:24-25). We hold on to the guilt of past failures for our sake but if we let it go for Christ sake we will find that as Christians we walk in freedom and not condemnation (Romans 8:1-2). We hold on to the lies of the world keep us in bondage but if we let it go for Christ sake we will experience freedom (John 8:31-32). We hold on to worry and fear but if we let go for Christ sake we will enjoy His Peace in all circumstances (Philippians 4:6-7, 1 Peter 5:6-7). We hold onto our wisdom or the advice of others (which leads to our shame) for our sake but if we let go for Christ sake we will find that His Wisdom always leads to His Glory (Proverbs 3:5-8, James 1:8-5). We hold on to the pain a trial brings for our sake but if we let go for the sake of Christ we will learn to count it all JOY! and see how God is building us up and not tearing us apart (James 1:1-4). We hold on to a 10 year feud for our sake but if we are willing to let go for the sake of Christ we will find that there is more victory in mercy then there is in vindication (Romans 12:17-21). We hold onto trying to find an intimate relationship for our sake but if we are willing to let go for the sake of Christ, He will show us why He is the Ultimate Matchmaker (Proverbs 18:22, 19:14). We hold onto the "American Dream" for our sake but if we are willing to let go for the sake of Christ we find that "God's Dream" satisfies completely (Matthew 6:19-34).

The longer we hold on to our life the longer the more of it we lose. But when we let go of our lives and give Christ complete autonomy to do as He Wills in our lives we will find out that Christians losers always win because God completely satisfies. Stay focused you can do this!

Matthew 16:24-26

"In His JOY!"

Read the Word, Share the Gospel, Be Accountable.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

"You TOOL!"

Some of us are waiting for our "season" or our "breakthrough" but consider this, you could be the tool God wants to use to give someone else a "breakthrough" in their lives. Instead of looking to where you want God to take you ask God how He can use you to get some else to where they need to be. Be a "tool" in God Hands.
#Itsnotallaboutyou #blessed2bless

Jeremiah 29:7, Philippians 2:4
"In His JOY!"

Read the Word, Share the Gospel, Be accountable.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

"Ballad of a Stingy Christian"

The more and more I try to hold on the more I lose my grip. The more I try to hold on the more strength I lose and the more rest escapes. The tighter I hold on, the more I compromise to strengthen my grip. The more I tell myself "If you let go of this thing it will fall apart, no one will be able to fix it!" the more I watch it fall apart. Tears burst out my eyes like a failed damn, my sanity leaves me, sweat pours over me like a shower because I am losing my grip. I cry out to God,"How can you let this happen don't you see what's going on!? My world is shredding at the seams. Why won't you help?". God simply replies,"Let go, I can handle it". I yell,"No you can't, only I can. Only I can fix this broken family, only I can save this horrid world, only I can heal the pain I feel, end the addictions I face, and save the marriage that's lost." God says,"Any solution you find will only be temporary. You are here on this Earth for a moment and then you disappear like the snow of winters past, gone and soon to be replaced by another. The more you try to save it the more you will lose it. But I AM, the Eternal One, First and Last, Beginning and End. There is none like me nor will there ever be. What I decree will stand forever. What I build will never fall. I do not weaken or falter in strength. But as long as you hold on to it the more of it you will lose. But when you give it to me I will never lose it. Do you trust me?" I said, "Yes I do, but...." God stopped me and said,"No buts, if you desire to save your life you will lose it but if you're willing to lose it for my sake and give me control you will find something far better. You will find My JOY, My Peace, My Gift of Life, My Comfort, and My Strength. I will give you all of this in place of what you lose.". I said, "Lord how much of my life do you want?" The Lord said,"I want it all! I want your worry over your marriage, your future fears for your children, your plans, your money woes, your will, your addictions and hang ups, I want all of you, let me have it all." I relented and said,"Take it Lord, take all of me and leave only you!" As I let go of my grip my tears were replaced with His JOY! My agony was overcome by His Unfathomable Peace, My weakened body was renewed with His Strength. My worries were replaced by trust in Him. My focus shifted from my problems to His Will. The person who I was no longer existed, I was made new. I saw as He saw, I loved as He loved, and all I wanted was to please Him. I wondered what took me so long to let go. Why did waste so much time? But I understood, my stingy pride lies to me. It beckons me to never let go because when I humble myself to God I kill my pride. I can see my pride for the liar it is and I now see how my adversary has used it against me. Now I know that fight I my must face daily. But this is I fight I will win through humility because I choose to lose my life knowing God has already won mine!
Matthew 16:24-25, 1 Peter 5:6-11, Isaiah 40:28-31, 61:1-3

"In His JOY!"

Read the Word, Share the Gospel, Be accountable.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

He runs it, we are just running in it

Christ does not belong to your church, you belong to His Church. He has already established truth, so let's not exchange God's Truth for our comfortable lies.
John 17:17, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Colossians 1:18, Romans 1:18-32

"In His JOY!"

Read the Word, Share the Gospel, Be accountable.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Verdict

The verdict in the Micheal Brown case rocked me to the depths of my heart. I will not lie it hurt and it will hurt for sometime. It may be because I have personalized Ferguson because I am from St. Louis, it may be because I am African American, or it may be because I have a son never the less I feel pain. But I know and trust that God was not surprised or shocked about the outcome of the trial He knew what the verdict would be. So I trust He has prepared His Grace and Strength for all those involved who are hurt by this unfortunate turn of events if they would accept it and turn to Him.
We have a choice right now, we can continue to look at the news or social media and allow it to incite our raw emotions, bicker with another whether justice was served or not, or we can turn to God and His Word. We can call out to Him for insight and wisdom too deal with this our we can trust everything that has been reported. We can grieve with the Brown Family and do what we can to aid them in this time of pain or we can go against their wishes of peace and resort to violence. We can act like Christians and put God's Word in action by being gracious and merciful towards Darren Wilson if we view him as the enemy. Because loving someone like Christ loves us is TRULY HARD and difficult at times but this is not to say it cannot be done. This is why the Bible says love is patient, kind, long suffering, etc., in ourselves we or ill equipped to do this but in Christ there is nothing we can't do (1 Corinthians 13, Philippians 2:13) We can do a lot right now and make the proper choices if we are willing to let God have His Way in us right now.
I am not trying to make anyone feel better, worse, or take away what you feel right now but I see the need for African American Christian Men to step up and set an example right now of what it means to follow and obey Jesus in the most difficult of circumstances. I see the great urgency to share the Gospel because death comes for us all and it does not show favoritism. Whether we die in peace or violence eventually we all die, now we can sit and protest against one another after someone dies or we can stand and fight the enemy who is trying to send everyone regardless of the color of their skin to hell. He does not care about the method he only looks to get the same result. This encourages me to share the Gospel with the awareness death is the end result of everyone who walks this Earth. But after we die where we end up is totally up to us if we make the choice to accept Jesus and follow Him or reject Him and do what we want. From all the reports I heard Micheal Brown accepted Christ and I prayed that he followed Jesus even if he (not that he did) made some poor choices in life (like we all have done, it's just ours was not put on the national news), so by all accounts he was ready for eternity. Or you ready today for eternity?
So I implore you Christian to pray to God for the healing of our land that is in such desperate need to be restored from this brokenness, I implore you Christian Father's to raise up Godly Men like my father raised me and my brothers, I implore you young African American Christian Men to follow the example of Christ and not try to fit the mold society, yourself, your family, your friends, and the entertainment industry is telling you that you need to be. And times I see some trying to make us the next president while others try to make us the next Grammy Award Wining Rapper, but I would rather my son bypass all of that and be who God has called him to be regardless of what it may be.
I pray for you Ferguson because I know you are hurting, I know you are perplexed, and wandering what to do next. Look to hills from which your help comes from, look to Jesus and allow Him to guide you through this. An education can not fix a spiritual problem, laws cannot change our hearts, for to long we have relayed on men to fix what can only be repaired by God. Stay strong everyone because right now the country needs you to be the example...stay focused you can do this!
2 Chronicles 7:14, Proverbs 3:5-7
Read the Word, Share the Gospel, Be Accountable

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Working on me

Our Salvation is instant but the process of changing our heart and mind to be more Christ-like is a daily process we all must work on daily without exception.
Philippians 2:12-13, Romans 12:2

"In His JOY!"

Read the Word, Share the Gospel, Be Accountable.

Sunday, November 16, 2014


For every situation and circumstance remember this...GOD IS ENOUGH.  Nothing more needs to be said.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10

"In His JOY!"

Read the Word, Share the Gospel, Be Accountable.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

If you build it they will come

How do we build a church for the Glory of God? It's simple: 1) keep a thriving relationship with Christ, 2) fellowship with other believers, 3) share the gospel in your community.

To answer this let's dive into the Word and look at the 2nd chapter of Acts. Just to set the backdrop the disciples (now called Apostles because they physically saw Jesus) were waiting in Jerusalem on the promise of God's Holy Spirit. Christ told them to tarry in Jerusalem until God poured out His Spirit upon them (Acts 1:1-11). At the beginning of Acts 2:1-13 we find the Apostles praying to Lord and later being filled with God's Spirit, as the Lord pours His Spirit out, the Apostles begin to speak in foreign Languages. The first thing we notice is this rag-tag group of men and women devoted themselves to Christ. These just weren't people who were meeting for brunch or a social gathering. They were actually meeting out of obedience to what Jesus had told them to do. This shows me how devoted these men and women were. It tells me that they loved Jesus because they were walking in obedience. The Word tells us if we love God we will keep His Commandments (John 14:15). These were the disciples who walked with Jesus, broke bread with Him, listened to His teachings, and watched Him ascend into Heaven. This group of Galileans had a personal relationship with Jesus. This relationship enabled them to receive God's Spirit and declare the Gospel. Without a personal relationship with Christ we cannot build a church. It sounds funny and almost silly but it is the truth; think about it, can anyone build a church without Christ as there foundation? If our lives are not devoted to Christ, if we are not submitting to His Lordship, and if God is just close to our lips but far from our hearts how can we build a church. At best we would be considered hypocritical. Would you attend a church if you knew ever member denied Christ Monday thru Saturday but proclaimed Him for 1 ½ hours on Sunday? Probably not, God only builds His Church on a solid foundations because He is a wise builder (Matthew 16:18, Luke 6:46-49). As Christians we have to live a life that lines up with God's Word. We must deny daily ourselves so we can follow Christ (Luke 9:23). We must change the way we think and act all for the name of Christ (Romans 12:1-2). We must live as Christians and not as sinners (Ephesians 5:8). Because this is the kind of lifestyle God has called us to live, He called us to live as His disciples (people who do God's Will [Matthew 28:19-20]). But it is impossible to serve Christ alone, just like one person is not the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:26-27).

This brings us to the second point, we need each other. Christ builds His church in unified places. This does not mean that we will not have disagreements or even arguments. It also doesn't mean we not offend each other from time to time but it does mean we will work to reconcile with one another (Matthew 18:15-20). Look how in Acts 2:1-13 they were together but even look at Acts 2:42-47 how the church enjoyed fellowship with each other. They ensured that no one was in need; they sold their possessions to meet any need that came up, studied the Word together, and prayed together. How did they now someone was in need? Simple they communicated with each other; they showed true concern for one another. This 1st Church understood how important Godly relationship were. They understood that we grow together in the bond of love (Colossians 3:7-14). They studied God's Word together; when we study God's Word together we begin to hold each other accountable. Because we become aware of the truth and are responsible to live that truth out. Accountability helps us grow closer to Christ in our life. When a brother or sister in the Lord holds us accountable it is to our benefit. Because that brother or sister is not sitting in judgment against us, they are standing there to aid us, restore us, and bear the load to help see us through (Galatians 6:1-3). This is why the Word tells us not forsake the fellowship of believers (Hebrews 10:23-26). Because fellowship encourages us to do good and it unties us. Notice how the first church grew in number (Acts 2:47). God can add to a church that is loving towards another, seeking out Godly fellowship, and growing in the Word and Prayer together. Think about it like this, would you rather be a part of a family that has division, constantly bickers, does not spend any time together, and is devoid of love. Or would you rather join a family that cares about one another, spends times together, communicates, and reconcile.

This brings us to the finally point, we build a church by investing in the lives of the community around us. There is no greater love we can show an unbeliever than by sharing the Gospel. Notice how Peter shared the Gospel and three thousand where saved (Acts 2:14-41). He did not promote his awesome speaking skills, give a relative message, or have to compromise his beliefs. He just simply shared the Gospel message of Christ and let God's Spirit do the rest. A lot of times we think we have talk a certain way, have a certain swagger, or even compromise our beliefs to bring someone to Christ. But this is not the case; we build a church by meeting unbelievers where they are and sharing the truth of the Gospel. Jesus tells us all to go out and make disciples of all men (Matthew 28:18-20) by teaching them the truths of God's Word. We do not need gimmicks or compromise to reach someone for Christ; all we need is God's Truth, nothing more and nothing less. We are here to act as ministers of reconciliation to the world so they may come to experience the Love of God. We implore people to turn their hurts towards as their Savior and submit to Him as their Lord ( 2 Corinthians 5:18-20). I love how the scriptures describe Christ in John 1:14, "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us" in other words, God became man and lived us." He came among men and shared the Gospel. Here is a question, where did Jesus preach, teach, and do His Miracles? The answer is wherever He was. He fed 5,000 in their home town (Matthew 14:13-21), talked to a woman by a well she frequented (John 4:1-45), and even healed a demon possessed man in a grave yard (Matthew 8:28-34). We are to do the same, we meet people where they are, share truth, and let God do the rest. We build a church by sharing God's truth with our family first and our community second. If we cannot share God's truth with our family, how will we share it with our community? We do not run from our community or hide from them. You can build a church by investing in a community but if you neglect a community you will not build a church.

Personal relationships with Christ grow through fellowship and knowing the love of being in the family of Christ should compel us to bring others in. And in the end a church has been built.

"In His JOY!"

Read the Word, Share the Gospel, Be Accountable.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Look up!

Always look up to God in prayer when you are unsure of what to do down here, we must be people of prayer.

Philippians 4:6-7, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

"In His JOY!"

Read the Word, Share the Gospel, Be Accountable. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

He is our peace

We have peace about the situation not because we are hopeful about the outcome but because we trust God will work it out for His Glory.
Philippians 4:6-7

"In His JOY!"

Read the Word, Share the Gospel, Be Accountable.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Shake it don't let it shake you

We can allow ourselves to shaken by the situation or we can shake the situation through a prayer of faith that God will do what He Wills in the situation even if it seems impossible.
Matthew 17:15-20

"In His JOY!"

Read the Word, Share the Gospel, Be Accountable.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

"We become beautiful when finally deal with our ugly"

We can only hide who we are for so long. There will always come a time when what we are secretly dealing with will come out and we will have to either face it or deny it. But one day we will have to make that choice, until that time we tend to mask it with our outward actions. We tell someone who hurt us "I forgive you and I love you" but inwardly we say "How could you, I hate you with all my being." We go to church faithfully and never miss a service all the while our marriage is falling apart because of the affair we have had for the past 5 years. We smile and tell everyone that we are "Blessed and Highly Favored" even though secretly we are struggling with depression, anxiety, and fear. We quote scripture like a champ but fail to live up to those very same scriptures we confess. We have done everything by the book from birth till now, but we are struggling not to walk in pride. We hide our jealousy of the success of others in false support. We claim to have it all together but we really are discombobulated do to the current circumstances of our lives. Take your pick or insert whatever you will right here, but all of us in some part of our lives (no matter how big or small) are dealing with some issue whether we care to admit or not.

But the truth is God sees it all. The affair and the child that was conceived in it, our marital problems due to our spouses being more tentative to work/church as opposed to us, addiction to drugs/alcohol, our late night obsessions with sexual sin, lying on our taxes, falsely accusing others to hide what we have done, night terrors/post traumatic stress from past events, etc. He sees it all and is well aware it and yet despite the ugly beast that we keep hidden deep inside of us God stands faithfully by our side imploring us to turn towards Him so He can remove the pain of sin, the hurt of our struggles, and the fear that says "I can't let go of this because I don't know what will happen next"

Understand this God wants our ashes so He can give us His Beauty. He takes His Word and cuts us to the core by revealing to us who we really are. His Word shades light on our dark secrets. His Word makes it very clear that we cannot hide from God no matter what we try (Psalm 139:1-8). We cannot hide what we are dealing with from our Lord. In His presence we often find ourselves like The Prophet Isaiah who realized he was a man of unclean lips (Isaiah 6:1-5) but when He accepted God's Grace and chose to walk in His way, Isaiah became whole (Isaiah 6:6-9).

Even against this some of us rebel, we seek God's Word to make us feel good about our hidden struggles as opposed to seeking it out to change our hearts to a heart that seeks after God. Some of us would rather stay as we are because we are to afraid of what we would have to give up if allowed God to change us. We cry out how much we love Him but we cry even louder inwardly to hold on to pain, sin, pride, etc.

Masking our ugliness with accumulation of wealth, things, or people will never satisfy us. High church attendance will not make us a better person. Following religious doctrine will not bring us one step closer to God. But allowing God's Word (through the power of His Spirit) to transform your heart will. Accepting Him as Savior is great but following Him as Lord is grand. When our heart changes and is more like Him our actions will always follow suit. But we willing to admit our fault in God's presence as we read His Word.

This means we are not reading God's Word to prove our actions are just, we are reading His Word to change our hearts. God's Word is not meant to be used as a sword to kill our brethren, it is a tool used to restore or save a life (you can tweet that!). It also means when other confront us about an issue we are dealing with you do not yell back "Don't Judge me you hypocrite" nor do we say "Well you are just as sinful because you....." No we accept Godly accountability with thanksgiving but we reject worldly judgement with grace.

I pray this lengthy post was a blessing you. Stay focused you can do this!

Hebrews 4:12-16, Psalm 139:1-8, Isaiah 61:1-3

"In His JOY!"

Read the Word, Share the Gospel, Be accountable.

Everybody plays the fool...except God!

Actions speak louder then words but our hearts reveal the true intent behind our actions. We can fool others but we cannot fool God.
Proverbs 21:2, Luke 18:9-14

"In His JOY!"

Read the Word, Share the Gospel, Be Accountable.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

You are loved!

Even in your lowest sin, you were still worth the sacrifice of Christ Life. Yeah, He loves you that much!
John 3:16, Romans 5:6-11
#RealLove #YouWereWorthIt

"In His JOY!"

Read the Word, Share the Gospel, Be Accountable.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

"Jesus is more than just my homeboy"

Philippians 1:12

Lazarus was Jesus friend. We do not know how close they were but the Word makes it clear that Jesus loved Lazarus as well his sisters Martha and Mary (John 11:5). Lazarus seemed to live a good life and his relationship with Jesus did not cause a stir among the Jews. The Pharisees seemed to have no quarrel with Lazarus. Because if they did, the professional mourners would not have shown up for the funereal. Instead the mockers would have attended and celebrated Lazarus' death with laughter.

Jesus loved Lazarus so much that He let Lazarus die....wait what? Jesus let His friend, who He loved die. And not only did He let Him die but He took His sweet precious time to go help (John 11:6). And His only reason was "It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it (John 11:4)". Is this how Jesus treats His friends? Yep, He uses His friends to bring God glory even if it costs them their lives.

But what was the purpose of the death and resurrection of Lazarus? It caused a division in the community. It also revealed everyone's heart. Some of the Jews became believers (John 11:45) while others saw it as a threat to their control over the people and resolved to kill Jesus (John 11:48,53).

It does not end there, more and more people began to believe on the account of Lazarus. And this lead to a plot to kill Lazarus (John 12:9-11).

This story is a parallel to the lives of disciples of Christ. When we are a friend of the Lord we are truly an enemy of the world. They consider us their enemy only because our lives help bring others to Christ and that is in direct opposition to the plan of the enemy. The enemy is here only to steal, kill, and destroy but we are here being used by God to lead the lost to Christ that they may live an abundant life in Jesus (John 10:10). The devil is so opposed to the message of the Gospel that he desires to take our life because he is a murder, he desires to spread lies to unbelievers because he is a liar and wants to suppress the truth (John 8:44, 2 Corinthians 4:3-4). But the message of the Gospel is so important that God is willing to let us die so others may believe, Lazarus is the perfect example.

We all need to understand that the goal of persecution is our death. But the Goal of God is for the lost to accept Him and believe in Him even if it means our death. But we rejoice because if we live die it is to our gain (we will be in Heaven) but if we live we have more opportunity to share the Gospel (Philippians 1:12,21). Regardless of the outcome we know that God will take care of those He loves and He is willing to let us experience loss of life it means that others will see it and come to know Him. Stay focused, you can do this.

Read The Word, Share The Gospel, Stay Accountable.

"In His JOY!"

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Who is Lord

Why do we confess Jesus as Lord with our mouth but live as if we lord by our lifestyles? If believe He is Lord than our actions should line up with His Word.
Luke 6:46, James 4:14-26

"In His JOY!"

Read the Word, Share the Gospel, Be Accountable.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

"Chasing the wind but finally catching it"

There are people in my life who have worked away from the Lord and want nothing to do with Him. When I talked with them they even to me "Christianity is dead, I'm never coming back so drop it." I have had others in my life who just got caught up in sin and lost their way. Who do I chase after? Who do I pursue with great diligence and pray for without ceasing?

The Word talks about the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32. The son demanded his father give him the inheritance that is his and left. The father did not chase after his son, the parable gives no mention that he spent countless nights looking for him. His father knew where his son was and what his intentions are. His son wanted to go far away from his father for whatever reason. The father must have known his son would "come to himself (Luke 15:17)" His father knew his son would return and he waited patiently for him. Looking forward to the day when his son would come back and his father would run to him, embracing him. Those who choose to walk away from Lord and show no care to come back, break off all contact, and say "Just leave me alone", we have to let them go. There are no words we can see and things we can offer that will bring them back. The must "come to themselves" and discover they are strangers in a strange land in need of Jesus. In other words we need to step back and allow God to bring them home. But our hope for their return never dies, our love from them will remain unwavering, and we stand ready to embrace.

The Word also talks of those who wander away in Luke 15:1-7. The lost sheep talks of those who are lost or aimlessly wandering. They really cannot tell how they have sunk so deep in their sin or even where it all began all they know is they are lost. They are looking for a way back, trying to find the road that leads to Christ, or just looking for a way out of their mess. The Good Shepard searches for them, pursue them, won't relent until He has them in His care, and rejoices with all when they are found. These are the people we pursue with all diligence. These are the people that we will not give up and will not surrender to the enemy. Because these people want to come to know Christ and crave direction. These are the people we spend endless nights and countless days showing and teaching Christ too.

What I enJOY! about both parables is how they have one theme in common. In each one someone heads in the wrong direction, they both return home, and all rejoice. I promise you this friend, whomever is the prodigal in your life trust that God will allow them to "come to themselves" and that they will return. Whomever is the lost sheep in your life trust that your effort to bring them to Jesus will meet a glorious end. And trust that whether you live to see them return or not, one day you will REJOICE!
Stay encouraged.

Luke 15:1-7, 11-32

Read the Word, Share the Gospel, Be Accountable

"In His JOY!"

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Skeletons in my closet

When the enemy shows you the skeletons hanging in your closet close the door and remind yourself of your Savior who hung on the cross for each everyone of those skeletons. You are new!
Philippians 3:14, 2 Corinthians 5:17
"In His JOY!"

Read the Word, Share the Gospel, Be accountable.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Lonely but not alone

John was imprisoned on the island of Patamos all by himself. But in the midst of it all Jesus was there with John showing him wondrous things. This reminds me that whether we alone or are physical alone, with Christ we are never truly alone. He neither leaves us or forsakes us.
Deuteronomy 3:16, Revelation 1:1-2,9-10, Matthew 28:20

"In His JOY!"

Read the Word, Share the Gospel, Be Accountable.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Trusting a quiet God

Silence does not mean God has not answered you. I often find when I pray for God to be glorified in a situation in my life I have no need for a sign or to hear audibly from God. Because I am confident that regardless the outcome, God's Will, will be done. And the method He chooses to do His Will is of no concern to me. I give God thanksgiving through praise and I feel an unfathomable peace that over takes me. When we seek God for an answer He is under obligation to answer us but when we seek to know God and bring glory to His Name, He responds with His Peace and directs us by His Spirit.
Philippians 4:6-7, 2 Chronicles 7:14, Psalm 46:10, 62:1-2,5-6

"In His JOY!"

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"Let Go!"

This past Sunday my wife and I were having a causal conversations with a pastor friend of ours about forgiveness. He said that a lot of people preach and teach on the topic of forgiveness but very rarely do they actually give practical steps on how to forgive. Then he mentioned that one of the ways he teaches people how to forgive is to go find a rock that they can carry around for an entire week. You write the name of the person you are struggling to forgive on the rock and at the end of the week you bury the rock and pray for the person who you need to forgive. He told us when people bury the rock there is a lot of deliverance.

After we finished talking I thought top myself "I wonder if that will work?", not that I was skeptical of my friend but this was something I just had to experience for myself. So I gave it the "old college try". The first couple of days were fine just somewhat awkward because I was not used to carrying rocks around with me (I had to rocks for two issues that seemed unsettled in my heart). But as the week progressed it became harder and harder to carry those rocks. Every morning that I woke up I the thought of carrying rocks for a day we burdensome. Even though the physical weight of the rocks never changed they became extremely burdensome. At the end I did not care anymore why I was carrying the rocks I just waned it to end. Every step I took reminded me of the rocks, I stopped walking up the steps and started taking the elevators, I was doing whatever I could to seek relief. But the rocks were not that big are even that heavy it's was just uncomfortable and made everything I did just a bit harder.

When the end of the week arrived I took the rocks to the top of a hill that I run on during the week and tossed them down the hill with all might. When I cast the rocks out I said in a loud voice, "I forgive you!". As I left the hill I could already feel the difference, my movements were faster, and I did not feel the burden anymore. As "corny" as it sounds, I felt free of the weight that not forgiving someone brings. Ironically enough later that day one of the people I was struggling to forgive offended me and I had to make a choice to carry the unnecessary weight of that comes with n forgiving him or walking in love through forgiveness.

In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus says, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Carrying the weight of unforgiveness, bitterness, or a grudge is labor and extremely heavy because it is the weight of sin. (Yes not forgiving someone is sinful (Matthew 18:21-35) Much like the rocks it slows you down and makes each new step more difficult. And just like I sought the elevator for relief we seek the easy way out. It is easier to hate someone and shut them out your life then it is to love them through difficult times. It is easier to avoid a problem then it is to give your attention to find a solution. It is easier to separate then it is to reconcile. It is easier to validate your feelings then it is to deal with the truth of God's Word. But Christ promises us that He will give us rest from all this if we exchange what have for what He gives. Our bitterness for His JOY!, our grudge for His Reconciliation, and our need for justice in exchange for His Mercy. His Yoke means we cast our "rocks" away so we can accept the weight and burden of living a life that pleases Him. When I cast my "rocks" away two hours later I had to deal with forgiveness. One of the person's I carried the rock to settle the matter in my heart that I am going to walk in forgiveness offended me again, The temptation to pick up the "rocks" returned but I thought of the burden it brings. I thought of how two rocks had altered my life for one week and I begin to imagine how walking with this unresolved issue in my life had negatively altered it after all these years. I begin to think of missed opportunities to bring God Glory in the situation, I thought of how many times I could have been a light but I let my emotions over rule God's Grace and acted a "fool" as opposed to acting Godly. I thought of all this and I determined in my heart that the "rocks" will stay on the ground! In doing this I learned more of what it means to love like God (1 Corinthians 13) and my soul found rest.

So I say to you today cast your rocks away and accept the light and easy burden of loving and forgiving like Jesus. At some point we have to get past our feelings and truly apply God's truth when it comes to forgiveness. Or you can continue to carry you "rocks" and be weighed down for the rest of your life. The choice is yours, stay focused you can do this!

"In His JOY!"

Read the Word, Share the Gospel, Be Accountable.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

"Our Arrows"

Psalm 127 is one of the most awesome chapters in the Bible that teaches us the importance of having God as the center of your family. Verse 1 says "Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain." It is plain and simple if we are not following the Lord's Direction for our family and we are doing it "our way" we are building on a foundation of sand as opposed to rock (Matthew 7:24-26). This means we must spend time in prayer and seek the Lord on how we are to lead our family because how the Lord tells me to lead my family may not be the way He tells you to lead your family. We can look to each other for encouragement but what works in my household may not work in yours. So as parents we must seek the Lord for the guidance to train our children according to His Word (Deuteronomy 6:6-7, Proverbs 22:6). 

Verse 2 says "It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep." True we should work hard to provide for our for our families but if we are more focused on providing a financially comfortable lifestyle for our family then we are on ensuring our family is spiritually sound, we are fighting a losing battle. Focusing solely on providing things will always rob us of sleep because we will never have enough or be content. But when we are focused on the spiritual growth of our families we can teach that it does not matter if we are in need or abounding in much our contentment is in Christ and our possessions (Philippians 4:10-13) and our sleep will be sweet.

Verses 3 states "Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. " Our children are a blessing not a curse, and they should be treated as such. It is easy to become annoyed by a child asking 5 million questions about the same thing, the child who struggles to listen, or the kid who just does not understand. But it is in these times we must try our best to quail our temper and not discourage them with a demeaning response because every moment is an opportunity to teach them something about Christ through our words and actions (Ephesians 6:4, Colossians 3:21).

Verse 4 goes on to say "Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. " I love this verse because it reminds me that are children are tools that are meant to be used in God's Kingdom. And He uses us to direct them in the way the should go like an archer does with arrows (Proverbs 22:6). Like an arrow has purpose and direction are children have God given purpose but need Godly direction to get achieve it (this is why I cannot support abortion). So this means we must be actively praying for our children and actively involved in their life. Parents bare the primary responsibility to raise their children everyone else plays supportive roles. Some parents depend on the Pastor, Sunday School teachers, school teachers, grand parents, social workers, etc. to raise their children. God has not called the village to raise your children, He has called you. This does not mean you cannot seek out help and support but it does mean you should not put the sole responsibility on your support system and then fault them for children's flaws.

Verse 5 states ends the Psalm with "Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate." Simply put it is an honor to raise children in a Godly manner, and the more the merrier. We often look down on plus size families as if they are crazy. We call it abnormal, mock them, and judge them. But the Lord calls them blessed and has bestowed them with honor. It is an honor and a calling to raise Godly children. We should see the blessing in raising our children and take it serious because it is evident to me that God takes it serious. And what is important to Him should be important to me. When I raise my children in a Godly Manner my family will not be put to shame even if my child strays I have equipped them well enough to know how to get back (Proverbs 22:6). And like an arrow I discipline my child to keep them from going of course (Proverbs 29:15) because when it comes time for them to face the enemy as a mature Christians they will be ready for the fight of faith. Stay focused you can do this!

"In His JOY!"

Read the Word, Share the Gospel, Be Accountable.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Who are you looking at?

Worry takes the focus off of God and puts it on you, faith keeps your focus on God and takes it off of you.
Matthew 6:27-34

"In His JOY!"

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

"Who are we and what have we done with Jesus?"

He was called the Suffering Servant (Isaiah 53:10) but we complain at the slightest bit of discomfort. He died so all would be forgiven (John 3:16) but we keep alive the sins of others by constantly reminding them of their past transgressions every chance we get. He preached repentance of sin (Mark 1:14-15) but we teach tolerance of all sin. He said He is the way, truth, and life that leads to God (Jon 14:6) but we chose whatever religion best fits us, redefine truth, and head towards death. He stood for His convictions which caused many to believe (John 8:23-32) but we bow to compromise and cause many to fall away. He told us to seek after the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:25-34) but we seek to enlarge our bank account. He ate with sinners to influence them (Matthew 9:9-13), we eat with sinners and are influenced by them. He rose from the dead as our Lord (Romans 14:7-10) but we live as if He is still dead and not the Lord of our lives. He gave commandments (John 14:15) but we treat them as suggestions. He is the Savior of the world and wants all to know (2 Corinthians 5:18) but we act as if He only came to save us because we tell no one. He is the same, yesterday, today and forevermore (Hebrews 13:8) but we change because of political pressure, family customs, trends, and fads.

The world calls us hypocrites and refuses to accept Jesus because we do not look like the Jesus they have read about, are they wrong? But if we are willing to die to ourselves and live for Christ think of how many more people we can lead to Jesus. The way we live our lives either proves Jesus is real or it makes a mockery of the Gospel. Live for Jesus. Stay focused you can do this!

"In His JOY!"

Read the Word, Share the Gospel, Be Accountable.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

True Repentance

Repentance is more than just apologizing because you were caught sinning. It is admitting you have sinned and turning from it because you love God. It does not matter if you were caught sinning or not, we repent because we love God.
Jonah 3:6-10, 2 Chronicles 7:14, 1 John 1:5-10, John 14:15

"In His JOY!"

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Friday, July 4, 2014

Weak fear, Strong God

Our fear is defeated when we trust in God's faithfulness and love, be strong and press on.
1 John 4:18, Hebrews 10:23

"In His JOY!"

Read the Word, Share the Gospel, Be Accountable.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

"Dysfunctional Family Promises"

For the past two weeks I have read Genesis 37 over and over again. It is an awesome chapter in The Bible that covers a great deal of issues. I have often heard the story of Joseph being described from the pulpit as "Delayed but not denied", meaning that Joseph's blessings and/or purpose did meet some hindrance by others but it did not stop God's blessing. I grew up hearing that and I am not writing to speak out against it but this week I saw the ordeal of the life of Joseph, his father Jacob, and his eleven brothers totally differently.

Let me explain, Joseph was born to into the household of Jacob when Jacob was very old. Because the birth of Joseph occurred while Jacob was well in years, Jacob loved him more than his other children and made him a coat of many colors (Genesis 37:3). This act of love towards Joseph left his brothers feeling rejected by their father and fueled their hatred toward Joseph (Genesis 37:4). Joseph would always report his brothers mischief to his father and I am sure this fueled the fire (Genesis 37:2).

To make matters worse Joseph told his brothers of the dreams he had for the past two nights where Joseph was the center of attention and all of his brothers, father, and mother bowed to him as a servant does to his master. This angered Joseph's brother and led to Jacob publicly rebuking Joseph for even bring up the notion. The brothers became jealous of Joseph after this encounter but Jacob pondered on what Joseph had told them all ( Genesis 37:5-11).

Sometime later Joseph went out into the field to work with his brothers, but little did he know that his brothers were plotting to kill him. The only thing that prevented Joseph's murder was his eldest brother Reuben who convinced his brothers not to harm Joseph. Unfortunately this only lasted for so long because after Reuben left Joseph's brothers threw him into a well and sold him into slavery. When Reuben returned he found out that Joseph was now working a new job as a slave in Egypt and his brothers had dipped his coat in goat's blood to cover up their sin. When they all returned home they told Jacob a wolf killed Joseph and showed Jacob his favorite son's bloody robe as proof. Jacob cold not be consoled and decided he would mourn until his death over his son Joseph (Genesis 37:12-36).

But what is the purpose of knowing information and how can it help us? Think about it like this, if Jacob had stopped for a moment and recalled Joseph's dream, things may have gone differently when his sons told him Joseph was dead. Jacob was relaying on the word of (men) his sons and not the vision that God had given his son Joseph (God's Word). If Jacob had realized that his entire family had not yet bowed to Joseph, he would have said "My son lives!" instead of mourning over the word of liars.

How often have we all been in this predicament. God tells us something but we put more trust in the words of men, this leads us to wail and complain to God about broken promises. But if we kept our hope and faith in God we would realize it is a matter of faith for the people of God and not a matter their of circumstance.

This leads me to the second thing I learned, How many of us grew up in families just like Joseph, you know dysfunctional. Who would you blame for what happened in Jacob's family? Jacob because he was the father who showed favoritism? Joseph because he may have had a "smart mouth" and boasted about his dreams? The brothers because they did not correctly deal with their anger? We all can easily point fingers at everyone in this story because we are on the outside looking in. But what about your family? Some of us have not spoken with our children in years. Some of us blame our parents for our poor choices and the consequences we have suffered because of them. Some of us cannot stand our siblings whether are our biological, step siblings, or adopted. And some of us hate our in-laws and blame them for how our spouses act, we think our spouses parents did a poor job raising them. Never the less, we are all just like Jacob's family, dysfunctional. But this brings me back to the question, whose fault is it for all the family's woes? I blame everyone, no one has clean hands in this mess, no one is guiltless, all I have sinned in some form towards one another. But the lack of communication in the family added fuel to the fire, created strife, misconstrued words, and lead to sinful actions. Much like if we were honest about the problems in our families we would all see that everyone has played apart in the mess we are currently in.

But God knew what He was doing, He knew how to bring a family together and restore what was loss. He had to bring a "somewhat prideful" Joseph to a place of humility and forgiveness. In the beginning Joseph's brother spoke harshly with him and hated him (Genesis 37:4) but in the end Joseph had great compassion for them and spoke kindly to him (Genesis 50:19-21). God had to humble Joseph's brother and show to them His plan. The vision was not about Joseph, Joseph was just the chosen tool God used to save them. So their jealousy was without merit (it is funny how we hate who God chooses to use but we love the blessing we receive because of His choice). The boy they had cast out because of hate had become the man who would welcome them with love. The guilt that they carried for all though years would be wiped away with grace, mercy, and forgiveness (Genesis 45:4-10). God gave Jacob beauty for ashes, joy for his mourning, and praise for his despair (Genesis 37:32-35, 45:26-28, Isaiah 61:3).

God proved that His Word will never fail but it will accomplish the mission for which it was sent (Isaiah 55:10,11). Ever promise spoken out of the mouth of God will never be broken and will always come to pass this is why we walk by faith and not by sight because God's Word is more real than our reality. Listen this is also why we pray before we act and we wait to hear God's clear guidance in ever circumstance (Proverbs 3:5-6). Because His way his higher and better than our way (Isaiah 55:8-9) and we have a tendency of acting out of emotions (like Joseph, Jacob,and his brothers) as opposed to acting out of faith. This is why we read the Word to build our faith and show us what path to take (Psalm 119:105). And this is why we fellowship with believers because we need someone to remind us of what God has said and not we others are saying (Proverbs 27:17, 1 Thessalonians 5:11).

For you parents with wayward adult children, I say to you trust in God and stay steadfast in your faith because God knows what He is doing. God often uses the trials of life as sand paper to smooth our rough out our immaturity (James 1:2-4). So even if you hate to see your child suffer, count it all joy because God is doing something great, just stand back and let God do His Job. You siblings who have quarreled for years, stop! Be like Joseph and see how God has changed you and your brother/sister. Appreciate the time you have now, like Joseph did with his brothers. See the bigger picture, it is not just about you and your opinions/feelings. It's about God accomplishing His Will (Genesis 50:15-21). Honor one another's unique gifts and encourage one another in the Lord. For you adult children who are dealing with feelings of rejection, bitterness, and issues that stem from your upbringing, stop blaming your parents! Instead of complaining take accountability for your reactions and stop allowing the past actions of others to decide your future. If we all look back hard enough we could blame our parents for everything. But God tells us to forget what is behind and press towards Christ (Philippians 3:14). At some point you have to move on and give grace. Joseph lost of over twenty years he could have spent with his father due to ignorance. His brothers lost over twenty they could have spent with Joseph because of hurt feelings. Don't rob yourself of the years you could now be spending with your parents or your siblings for that matter. And to all I say, do not worry but give your entire family over to God. Listen for His direction and trust His Word. Hold onto His Word despite the current circumstances and frustrations. Though you may cry now you will rejoice in the end. Please understand there are some pains only God can heal and some wounds only God can mend. Trust me He has a way of making dysfunctional families who live in their emotions into functional families who abide in Christ. Stay focused, you can do this!

"In His JOY!"

Read the Word, Share the Gospel, Be accountable.

World's Worst Selfie

Hearing the Word but not applying it to your life is like taking a selfie and forgetting who took the picture and who is in the picture.
James 1:22-25

"In His JOY!"

Read the Word, Share the Gospel, Be Accountable.