Friday, September 19, 2014

Joy Comes In the Morning

We hope, in continuing with this journey, doing as we are called to do, that in Christ there are no pitfalls or rough sides of the mountain that we have to climb (Mark 11:23 AMP). Yet as long as there are people being influenced by each other, there will be error for us all to drudge through. Now I know that doesn't sound like a happy place to be in nor does it give a reason for anyone to continue on reading, but I promise you, the latter will always be greater than the former (Haggai 2:9 AMP).

My mother graduated from this life and has passed on to be with the Lord the beginning of this year. I miss her though I was angry for a little while thinking that she should have been stronger to get through it. I thought the same thing at the passing of my father 10 years ago. Its because we think are parents can get through anything. They always have. But they are both in better places and I had to come to terms with that rather than wallowing in resentment for them leaving me. It would be childish to continue thinking that way which could only be justified by dealing with grief and mourning (Matthew 5:4, Romans 12:15 AMP). These two emotions are allowed but only briefly. We still have tasks to do. People are still watching and expect us to do what we have been doing all along. It is how the body of Christ functions. Its like when you close your eyes, you can hear better. Its not that you don't need your eyes but one (or more) of the senses takes over even for a little while. But this is when there is action going on. If you choose not to do anything, then eventually the body ceases to function. People will stop believing you are the responsible one, the go-to-guy, and look for someone else to fit the bill. Not doing anything at all moves from grief and mourning right into depression. This is not the place to be nor is it acceptable by any stretch of translation in God's Word (Psalm 30:5 AMP).

In the ministry I used to attend, there was a sermon that I have not since forgot even when it was taught over 20 years ago. The pastor was on vacation with his family and he believed that he left the church in capable hands with his assistant pastors. All that week, one of the pastors had the opportunity to teach a lesson which they believed they received from the Lord in their time of study. We missed our pastor but knew that the entire week was going to be such a treat. Each day the congregation was full, nevertheless, something happened because the messages were tainted. Not to go through each of them but one that serves as fodder for this particular blog. All of the speakers brought a bible with him/her to the podium, but not all of the speakers used the Word when they spoke. That's how I knew some of the messages were tainted. This particular assistant pastor was no different. He spoke on depression and that it was alright to be depressed. He testified about his own personal experience and as horrible as it was, he could not make me believe that God gave him permission to wallow in that mire. He repeated himself as if he was allowing for anyone going through a tough time in their life, that they too can be where he decided not to leave. At the time, I was very young in the Lord and had no idea why he would tell a group of people something that was so very wrong to do. If I had not been that young and didn't need the spiritual nourishment so much, I would have prayed for him and those around me so that those words wouldn't send anyone in a direction that was not paved for them to be in.

While in college and still a babe in Christ, I happened to come upon a website for those that are
grieving. It promoted the site to be one of Christian origin and I was intrigued to see what it was they were doing to help Christians in their time of grief. There were categories for those that lost members of their family, pets, jobs and the like. People were asking questions and the host of the site would take the time and counsel by way of an email. I read through some of the questions and answers, Not once did the host mention anything having to do with healing. So I posed the question. She answered me immediately. Writers have a voice whether they know it or not. As I read the email she sent to me, she appeared as someone with an abundance of compassion and sympathy. I suppose being called to do what she does, she would have to be. Initially, its how I wrote to her. When I asked about the scripture she was using to justify what she was saying, the voice of this writer changed. She approached my question as a challenge to her character. To give credibility to her means, she never answered my question about scripture, but testified about a death in her family. For a moment, I was ashamed that she felt attacked by me. Then I continued reading and found her grief was a pet that she lost over ten years ago, I felt that it was all a scam and she was using people in order to maintain her site. She never answered a simple question. When was she ever going to get to the healing portion or did she expect for all of her members to continue functioning in depression? She deleted my question and then blocked me from the site. The internet was pretty new back then. All I had to do was open a new account to pursue the answer...but to what end? It is what she chose to do with her life and has grabbed a few unsuspecting viewers along the way. It was like she found an open wound and kept picking at the scab just to watch it bleed. Its been quite a few years since that happened, yet every once in awhile when I think of her, I pray.

The bible is clear when it comes to mourning. Its not hard to do and it is for our benefit. I read the different personalities that have been through the same emotions and how they dealt with the matter. Because we are not all the same, these men also made decisions with this emotion that affected them all differently. Still we are to to choose the better portion and that is the portion that sustains life. As you continue to study these references, you choose the one that best fits your needs.

David lost his firstborn son. (2 Samuel 12:14-31 AMP)
Solomon lost his reign as king. (1 Kings 11 AMP)
Job lost all of his children. (Job 1:13-22 AMP)
Jesus lost His cousin, John the Baptist (Matthew 14:1-23 AMP)

Notice in your studies how all of these losses were devastating to the one going through. There was only one who had the understanding as to what would be happening. Whether he was going to maintain what he was called to do or not, what God planned was going to be done. Would it be better to do nothing or complete what God has called you to do? The best choice and place we need to be in is for God to be pleased. What other purpose is there?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire!

Picture it being the holiday season and you aren't cooking. You are an invited guest to someone else's house where you know the meal is going to be delicious. You have anticipated the evening the moment you received the invite. As you enter the home, being greeted by the host, the house is beautifully decorated but it pales in comparison to the wonderful smells wafting from the kitchen and embracing the pangs of your stomach. It smells so good, you have to ask what's on the menu. The host tells you all of the things you were hoping for and so many of them are your favorites. You skipped lunch for this meal and she tells you, it won't be long now. The other guests have some mindless chatter that you try to be gracious mingling into but your mind is on one thing and finally she comes back to the room to tell everyone - dinner is served.

When taking your seat, you see the formal table is set to have more then one course. That's fine by you because you came to chow down. Out of the kitchen comes a staff to serve. Man, she has really gone all out for this dinner party! The plates are all covered and placed in front of all of the guests. When the covers are lifted what is revealed are jars of warmed baby food. Each of the labels are the exact things the host said was on the menu. A little puzzled you look up to the host hoping this is all a joke but the guests are delighted and the host is telling the staff not to forget the bottles of milk making sure the nipple holes are big enough to enjoy the beverage. Feeling like you entered Bizarre-o World, do you act like its normal and enjoy the meal like everyone else? Do you ask your host off to the side, what is going on? Or do you stand and excuse yourself to leave because there is no way this meal is going to sustain you? Funny, why doesn't anyone think of these things while sitting in church service expecting a sermon that will make a difference in their lives.

I woke early this morning and instead of lying in bed, I went to the family room and turned on the t.v. to hear a Word from God. A few well known ministers were scheduled to speak and I was looking forward to hearing what I had missed. One of the messages I heard was absolutely on point and I had to take a little time to ponder on what she said. I took a few mental notes to make some changes in my life. Its what we expect when going to church every week. That was an excellent appetizer. Now for the full course. The other speaker was on a different channel. I quickly tuned in. The program began with him already into the message so I needed to really listen in order to see where he was going with it. He mentioned the fight of faith we all have to go through and must still endure especially when people who are close to you are acting like they don't have the good sense God gave them. Then he said something that took the first portion of the message and messed it all up. He said, "...but the devil is a lie."

He might have said something poignant to match up with that statement but my point is, why say that at all? Who cares? We all understand who and what the devil is (John 8:44 AMP). What purpose is it to keep bringing him up? Is it a filler? Does it take up time? What does it serve to use the devil in any message? Afterwards, the speaker directed the congregants to give God a crazy praise. This not only took more time but allowed for the speaker to run from one side of the altar to the other. Did he run out of words? Was there nothing left for him to say? Had he not noticed that these tactics no longer work? For the most part, the congregants were watching him but the crazy praise which used to be all of the people practically running around the church was more of a dismal wail and a wave of the hand.

Ministers, speakers, evangelists, prophets, pastors, teachers, and all else including themselves in administering God's Word, must realize that while God is the same yesterday, today, and forever - His people are not. We, as Christians, change to be more like Him. Unless you start doing that change too for the betterment of the bride, you will see where all of that devil talk will get you. Now while you gather all of your theological armor to dispute the purpose in talking about the devil so much, I invite you to open your concordance and gander at how many times the devil is mentioned in the Word (57X). Now see how many times Jesus is mentioned (983X). Compare how many times the words thief and Lord are mentioned in the bible. Compare how many times the words liar and savior are mentioned in the bible. With this information, look back at the sermons you have spoken and compare how many times you have mentioned those same words. On the average, are your sermons equivalent to the Word of God? Check yourself!!!

Jesus is the ultimate over comer. He conquered the flesh, death, and the devil. He defeated it all!!! He gave us the whole armor to do the same and guess what? It will never be as difficult as what He did for us! Yes, it will be hard, but only at first because we must understand what He did and why He did it. Once we have the understanding - we overcome too!!! The difficulty of it all is done...we are over comers too! We are more then conquerors through Christ Jesus!!! How hard is that to preach? Now that's good news and worthy of some RADICAL PRAISE!!!

We have not forgotten the 23rd Psalm. The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. Don't have me come to church services only to run out to another church for some fast food! He prepared a table before me in the presence of mine enemies. If the food is already prepared, then there doesn't need any remixing of any other recipes. Serve only what He has prepared and there will always be enough time to eat, to fellowship, and enjoy. Its time out for the stale excuse that the speaker has so much to say and not enough time to say it. You aren't fooling anyone! In God, there is more then enough. If you don't have enough time to minister what the Lord has prepared....maybe its not what the Lord prepared!

Now here is where the rubber meets the road: that table already prepared, its in the presence of mine enemies. I often wondered about that. Greater is He that is in me then he that is in the world (1 John 4:4 AMP). Those that love the world are an enemy to God (James 4:4 AMP). When you preach your message, do you make that separation from what the world wants as opposed what God has called you to serve? Is it really a difficult decision? But I thought that decision was already made when you chose life. Why are we still going over this same old stuff (Ezekiel 34 AMP)?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Finding Respect

The common phrase that has been said all while I was growing up is, respect isn't given its earned. Now this phrase was never taught to me by my parents or any of the ministries I was affiliated with; yet, I have heard Christians say this thing as well. Its sort of surprising seeing its no where in the bible (Proverbs 24:23, 28:21 AMP). If we were to listen to what we were saying, most of us would not say it. Living by such foolishness would put plenty of people in jeopardy. As crazy as some parents have acted when raising their children, its God's mercy that has kept them safe once those children have grown. Children don't automatically respect their parents because the parents don't respect themselves or their children. Respect, most definitely, needs to be taught (1 Peter 2:17 AMP).

A few years ago, I wrote about Christians being treated like punks while believing that it was all in the name of Jesus. Hoping that it would give the sinners a heads up for them to stop treating people in such a manner but it also made me realize that the biggest culprit taking advantage of believers aren't sinners. Oddly enough, its us! Or rather, those that profess being Christian and then abusing the title as if privileged to do so. I have written about ministry, ministers, and other clergy that have used the pulpit as a means for all sorts of things other then feeding the sheep. I have been distracted by the verse, "touch not mine anointed and do my prophets no harm (Psalm 105:15 AMP)." Having the utmost respect for God's Word, I have been watchful of the words I use and not to mention anyone's name unless its in a positive light. My purpose for using very popular messages is for the believer to see the path for him/herself and know what the Word actually says. Those who are anointed to do as God has called them to do, can see for themselves. They study. That's why they are anointed. You cannot receive an anointing without relationship. Prophets have also a relationship with God. They are not out for their own gain. That would be selfish and not indicative of what a prophet is because its not who God is. So in using the scripture, there is a tiny two letter word that distinguishes what sort of prophet not to do harm to. That word is MY. I recognize when God is speaking and with whom He is referring. If a man or woman of God has issue with what I write because I refer to a message that is tainted with anything else but the Word, I welcome the comment and/or email.

Nevertheless, in our everyday lives, there are so many things to be distracted from where we are all supposed to be. There can be temptation at every turn depending on what your weaknesses are. If you are doing your best from using profanity, get ready for your temper to be tested (Hebrews 2:18 AMP). If escaping stress with alcohol or drugs was your vice, know that stress is going to try to creep back your way. If road rage was your resident for a moment, understand that it is trying to get back in the house (Luke 11:20-26 AMP). So ready yourself with the armor provided. You are more then a conqueror and able to withstand the storm (Romans 8:37 AMP). It makes you stronger for battle and gives you the experience and desire to stand in the gap for someone else (intercession).

Personally, I have been tested this year like gang busters. With the job I have, I must also compensate my income with other means. I chose to use the talents God has given me. In order to do this, I had to study and practice. I still have a ways to go, but earned some income. When this happens you become respected in the artist world and you begin to have a name for yourself. Little pieces of wisdom come your way to improve your craft. The reason for this is that well established artists see that you respect yourself and price your work accordingly (Zazzle). Then you have those that see what you are doing. They have their own comments which aren't always glowing. An elderly woman came up to me and made fun of me as if I was coloring in a child's coloring book. I smiled and said nothing. She then asked where she could get such a coloring book for her grand daughter. I gave her the name to an art store. She said she didn't have the means to go out there and if I could pick one of those books up when I am out there again. I said I had one right here for her. I gave her a brand new sketch pad. She opened it and saw all of the blank pages. She was so disappointed and asked what it was that I gave her. I closed the book I was working on to show her it was the same book. She asked where did I get all of the pictures. Then she knew. That look on her face after all of this time - priceless!

A young woman saw the work I was doing as well. All of the positive things she said of my art work, it seemed as if she was interested in buying something. She was. She asked for me to design a cougar pattern for her so she can get it tattooed on her back. She then told me how much she was going to pay me to do it. I never agreed to the pittance she suggested and she expected me to finish it in the few hours she had in the building. I chuckled to myself not making any sort of an attempt in what she asked for. It reminded me of when I used to sew for people. They asked for the work and then minimized the work that was put into the garment. If I did a wedding dress, there are many layers to a dress and many different fabrics that have to be used in order for the dress to lay and fall well. This is also true when drawing. The hours it has taken to study a craft to get to the point where people enjoy the work, the supplies aren't cheap nor is it cheap to sit in one place to complete the piece. Respect the craft as you would a doctor, lawyer, plumber, mechanic, or anyone else who have done the same thing.

As a young woman going to college straight from high school, I needed extra income to purchase books and supplies. How convenient it was for me to find a job so close to my home and a position for my sister as well. It was a candy company and we were so eager to be one of the first employees to a fledgling business. The owner also had parts of his family working for him. He made mention of all of the ideas he had and asked for us to grow with him. I understood he was saying all of this to keep morale at it highest but never did I think it meant that he wasn't going to pay us for all of the work we did for him. He said it would take time and there had to be a certain number of sales before he would get a profit. Three months in, I started proceedings to have him sued. He had the state, the Better Business Bureau, and some other legal mess knocking at his door when I was finished with him. I knew I no longer had a job with him but he also knew that he would never treat people like his own personal property to do with as he pleased. During this time, I had a family member discouraging me with the procedure. She kept saying that I should let God handle it. I did. I prayed and then I sued him for what he owed me. The other workers could have done the same. If they didn't, they missed out on the pay they deserved. After he lost the small claims dispute, that man still went out of his way to speak to me. I still don't have too much to say to him.

There was this young man that received a much deserved promotion. He was a valued employee and the upper management wished to show their appreciation. When he got word of the promotion, he shared the news with his co-workers who immediately congratulated him. He also shared that with the promotion, he would need to travel a little farther for the new site of his destined workplace. It was something he needed to consider but after speaking it over with his family, he was ready to make that transition. So he waited. A week or two passed and he waited some more still doing the job he had before the promotion. Upper management contacted him and asked why he wasn't at the new site. The young man was a little befuddled and said, "while you did offer the promotion and I thanked you, you also told me where the new position would be and I went out there to see if it was doable. You never discussed what my increased duties would be nor my increased salary. I figured when you were ready to do that, we could get this thing going." The managing team were taken aback never thinking of their due diligence, they assumed he would be too happy to even notice.

My point in showing these examples is that people will do what ever they need to, to get over. They might say they are Christians when the moment warrants it, but their behavior when push comes to shove shows something completely different. How will you handle it? Can you be calm across the board even when you are being taken advantage of? Do you have enough respect for yourself to speak up or do you think if you remain quiet that it would be the best thing? Do you ask God or are you assuming what the best thing is? In that assumption, where did you learn that? Is there a verse in the bible you are standing on that strengthens your position?

People believe all sorts of things and if they don't make waves then they believe Jesus is at the helm guiding the deceit because they are trying to keep the peace. How convoluted is that? A woman worked for a company that she thoroughly enjoyed. Management changed and her supervisor was promoted to a new position. The woman had to answer to someone else. She was looking forward to meeting her new supervisor until she did. The new supervisor was cantankerous all of the time. There wasn't one thing the woman could do to make it better. She never complained and internalized everything until it showed up in her skin as hives. She didn't know what the matter was believing that if she remains quiet then it would all clear up eventually. The woman continued with the matter for 12 years as her health deteriorated.

This is also true in ministry. How long will you allow for others to tell you what to do when you have a family and marriage to concern yourself with? God does not require that you sacrifice the time with your spouse for the sake of the ministry. He does require that you put things in perspective so that you can have success in your life (3 John 1:2 AMP). With respect, God shows us what the principle thing is (Proverbs 4:7 AMP). You must respect that He shows us these things. Him, being the greater one on the inside of you, you must have respect for you. People see how you carry yourself. They know what to and not to say because of that. Yet, if you don't have any respect for yourself, the behavior of the people around you will change. You see, respect is not something that is earned. Its something that is understood.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Are You Bored?

If I stood in a room of 100 people and asked over a loud speaker for those to raise their hand that considered themselves a Christian, how many of them would raise their hands? Is that too arbitrary? If I asked in a church gathering, wouldn't everyone's hand be raised? If I asked those same people in the church gathering, would a stranger know that you are a Christian because of the life you live, the way you speak, or because you tell him that you are? What would be the census then out of those 100 people (Luke 5:45 AMP)?

My son with an odd expression said to me one afternoon, "sometimes you can get bored." I asked, "with what?" He answered, "the relationship with God." After hearing and reading what other people say and do and then looking at my son being empathetic to wrong behavior, I stopped talking for a moment. I waited to hear what he had to say noticing that the strange look on his face didn't disappear. He stopped talking too and the silence bothered me. I asked, if told you to do 5 things in order for you to have everything that life has to offer - EVERYTHING ELSE, why be forlorn over those 5 things? It doesn't make sense to me. My son didn't answer. Give the tithe, keep yourself sexually pure, love your neighbor, think well of yourself, and pray are the 5 things to keep constant. No matter what, do these 5 things for the rest of your life - why would this be too boring to do if one was promised everything else?

When I was in my early 20's I worked at a steakhouse. My co-workers would go out every pay weekend and do whatever. They would return to work on Monday and talk about all they had done. Not one time did I ever wonder or ask if I could tag along because they seemed to be having so much fun and I wanted to have as good of a time. I laughed at their jokes and the antics they spoke of while they were out lounge hopping, clubbing, or whatever the flavor to do that week was. One pay Friday, I was asked to come along. I said, "no." I wasn't enticed. I just couldn't see what it was that they were considering to be the enjoyment that they believed I was missing out on. I saw what they looked like before the morning was over. I saw how they acted when they still had 6 hours to complete on their shift. Why would I want to do that to myself? After 2 pay weeks passed with them asking each time, I conceded for that evening after work. They were surprised as well as excited. Two of my co-workers were ready to take me shopping. They assumed that I didn't have the right attire for where they were going. What was decided upon to wear wasn't at all revealing and I was pleased that I could wear the outfit elsewhere.

It was late when I was picked up at my home. The three co-workers took me to a club outside the city limits. Why so far, I asked. I was told that they knew where the best clubs and lounges were. Fine. We went inside the first one. It was my first time. The lights were colorful. There were a few people at the bar. The music was extremely loud. We were seated at a table and my co-workers and I ordered drinks. Within minutes, I was bored and apparently so were they. The second one didn't look like a club from the outside. This one was closer to the city. When we went in, the lights were the same. The music was the same. The drinks were the same and if I am not mistaken, it looked like the same sort that was at the bar. Within 10 minutes of me sitting at a table, the bar tender came back and gave me another drink. He said the man on the other side of the club paid for it. Now I had two drinks and was suppose to signal to thank some strange man for giving me more drink then I needed. Ho-hum, I said to myself and looked as if my co-workers were saying the same thing. I believe we went to a third club and I still wasn't seeing the difference. It was about 3 hours in total when my co-workers packed it in and called it a night. They said it wasn't popping that night but tomorrow, it would be better. As much as I didn't wish to go, I had to prove to them as well as myself that I wasn't missing out on anything.

The very next night, my co-workers decided not to take the co-worker who happened to be a gay man with us. I suppose they thought that he was what knocked the buzz out of the evening. We went to a basement party first. It was dark, smokey, and a bunch of people I didn't know. The music was the same as the night before. The dancing was the same as the night before and if there was a bar, I do believe I would have recognized some of those people from the night before. We were there for an hour and then off to clubbing. Yay! This time we remained in the city. The first lounge had free bar-be-que ribs. Finally, a reason to go out to these clubs and they were good ribs too. We were even able to take some with us! There we were in the car en route to the next club eating our ribs. My co-worker was in the front with the driver. She was licking the sauce off of her lips and chin when a car pulled up next to us while on the freeway. The men in the car saw my co-worker licking her lips and misunderstood what she was doing. The chase was on. She didn't know what she had done and we were all pretty frantic on the freeway. When we lost them, calmed down, and told her to leave her food alone unless she knew how to eat right. I was so ready to go home, but wasn't the one driving. That was the second lesson for the night. While at the second place, I met someone. We exchanged phone numbers. The product of that exchange is a post all by itself. (I will link it here when I am finished with it.) At the third venue, we parked and stepped into the threshold of the lounge. The men were seated at the door. The moment we walked in they turned around and glared. We saw them grinning and salivating like hungry animals.  My co-workers and I didn't need to make a quick assessment of the place. We turned and left. Our fourth and final stop was close enough to my home that I could get a taxi but one of my co-workers met someone and left the venue to go in his car. I stayed for her safety. This place was dark. There were no colorful lights but the music was the same, the dances were the same, and the same sort of folk were draped at the bar. Every once in awhile we would go back out in the parking lot to see if she was still there and if she was alright. After about an hour or so, we called it a night...or a morning.

I didn't realize until I got home that the sun was peeking over the horizon. I looked at my watch and had just enough time to wash up, change clothes, and go to work. I was never so exhausted in my whole life. I had an 8 hour shift to complete that I knew of. If someone wasn't going to show up, it could have been longer. When I got to work, the co-workers I went out with were already there. They looked like they always do at any given day of the week. I felt horrid. They smiled at me as if we three had a secret that no one else knew about. I belonged? The co-worker that met someone and went to his car, told me that they hooked up. (believe me, something altogether different to write about in the singles blog) The two of them told the gay man that went out with us previously what we did last night. He started to smile too. I didn't know what that meant. Did they think I had the bug and would start asking them if I could go out with them more often? Did they think they turned me out? That was one weekend and no others came after that - not with me anyway. They actually made my point. I could have done a number of things that was more interesting, more profitable, and much more to my benefit in the long scheme of things then schlepping all over town to meet men I would have not normally met (or desire to have met) anywhere else. I never laughed along with them as they reminisced over the time they described as "fun". Were these the same people with me in the smoke filled basement party, or was it the scary lounge we didn't dare to enter because of the ratio of men to women? How bored does one get to describe events that just didn't happen?

When I told this to Christian acquaintances, I was surprised at their reaction, "you didn't go to the right clubs. There are some joints that are live all night long." Really? I thought. Clubs that had better music, more interesting dances then the ones I witnessed? The clubs they were referring to had livelier people at the bar that can hold a half way decent conversation and attractive without being drunk? Huh, why didn't my co-workers know about these clubs? We went all over the city and outside city limits. It would seem we touched bases with anything that was supposedly "popping". I couldn't imagine being more bored then I was that night. At one point, while my co-workers were trying to figure out which club to go to next, I was asleep in the back seat. They had to scream my name to wake me up. You can't be more bored then that!

A pastor asked for the congregation to get up and make a joyful noise (Psalm 95:1-2 AMP). A noise was made but I guess it wasn't sufficient for him. So he used the reference as to when we went to the clubs we made a joyful noise then. When we were at the ball games, we rejoiced then. When we use to drink and party hard, we made a joyful noise then. Why can't we make a joyful noise for the Lord now? It reminded me of my excursion with those co-workers. What was this pastor talking about? One has nothing to do with the other. My joyful noise is because of what my God has done, will do, and what is still to come. I rejoice because He loves me and answers my prayers. I rejoice because how He has revealed Himself to me and I have that relationship with Him through my Lord and Savior. Jesus gave me a life I could have never received without Him. In the club, I don't know what they're screaming about.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Russian Roulette

"We all make mistakes" has become a catch-phrase for everything done wrong to someone else that has been confronted. It is a phrase I have grown tired of hearing. It cannot be the excuse for everything a person ... a believer does when caught in a compromising position and he/she doesn't wish to apologize. Did you know there are those in Christ that never simply ask for forgiveness? How can that person be in Christ? It is the beginning of salvation. Salvation doesn't exist for the individual without asking for forgiveness first (Matthew 6:15 AMP). Saying, we all make mistakes is not an apology, it doesn't show remorse, and in a nutshell...its kind of arrogant.

This blog initially was created for the more mature Christian that seems to have done all that has been asked of him/her and is dissatisfied with the results. He/she then asks, "is this all there is?" Thinking that God was supposed to give them all that is asked on a platter with little to no effort on their part (2 Thessalonians 3:10, James 2:14-18 AMP) . To summarize, it is to show all who believe we have arrived in God, how much more growing we still have to do. What made me think I was qualified to write such a blog and continue to do so? Arrogance? Huh, as hard as that maybe for me to swallow, I think so. I had to ask forgiveness for that but still I keep the mission statement up because we have all been there. There is also another generation growing up and the direction I have seen some going isn't a place they need to be in.

Pastors and ministers of yester-year are going home to be with the Lord. Who is left teaching the next
generation have made some changes in their style of ministering God's word. The new pastor didn't wish to be known as one who is now walking in the shoes of the pastor that has transitioned. He desires to make his own mark. But was that what God told him to do or were these his own thoughts of fame and glory? It comes out in the preaching (Proverbs 18:20 AMP). A man with the ideas of doing what is on God's heart will have a prosperous ministry (Proverbs 13:2 AMP). He will draw more souls to Christ rather than trying to audition for a television pilot. This minister will see the direction the people are headed and avert them back to the narrow way (Matthew 7:13-14 AMP). This is what the pastor of sheep do....feed and watch over the flock. So what happens when the sheep aren't being watched over (Matthew 9:36 AMP)? What happens to sheep that are hungry? Shall we see this from a natural perspective and then bring the analogy where its supposed to be?

According to farmers of sheep, they know that sheep feel protected when they are in groups of 5 or more. Sheep are highly stressed when separated from their pack. Rams or mature male sheep can lead a flock if there is no shepherd doing his job. Rams are very aggressive. If petted on the head, the ram will see this as an act of assertion and will react to it. There is an article about a ram leading a flock of sheep into a ravine. Because it is the nature of sheep to follow; 1500 sheep were jumped that day. No shepherd was around. Is it necessary to put this in terms of what can happen to a congregation if not taught well?

I have been to the ravines and was practically dancing on the edge of it along with others. If it wasn't for the Lord, I could be a statistic right now. Was the placement of my own doing? Definitely. Would I have been there had I not been told/taught to be there? Definitely not? Understand, I have the responsibility to read the Word for myself. I cannot count on men, ministers, or pastors to do that for me. I don't know what they have been through or going through. I don't know if they prayed that week or studied or if he is angry with the Lord for not doing what he desired. It is why the congregants have the responsibility to pray for their pastors. Responsibility is a big word for children. It is why sons of God are expected to accept the task and move onto promotion.

In Russian Roulette, sinners take a gun and place a bullet in the chamber. The chamber is then spun before closed. Each person takes the gun, places the barrel on his/her temple and then pulls the trigger. If the person gets a click rather then the blast of the bullet, the gun is passed to the next person. As each one lives to pass the gun, the odds for the next person gets worse and worse. The barrel continues to move with each click. It isn't spun again. Those that have decided to participate in such foolishness have essentially chosen death. In Christ, does this happen within the church and if so, how?

As I have written in this blog over and over again, when we know better therefore, we do better. God has not changed. He is the same God that told Jonah to go and preach at Nineva and when he didn't wish to, he got swallowed up by the whale (Jonah 3:2 AMP). He is the same God that allowed Sampson because his anger caused him to be rebellious. (Judges 15:1-4 AMP). He is the same God that caused Samuel to choose Saul as king, direct Saul what to do and not to do; but when Saul was disobedient, He told him that he would lose his reign (1 Samuel 13:1-14 AMP). There are more accounts of God doing what He said He would do if we choose not to be obedient; especially when we have chosen life. We are His children. He is a good Father. He will not tolerate acts unbecoming of righteousness.

So why play the foolish game of Russian Roulette? Why dance on the side of death when God has provided all you need? All you are required to do is ask. When you don't ask, its as if you began spinning the barrel of the gun. Why smoke when you know it will cause physical illness?Another day passes and the Lord hasn't returned yet (click). Why drink strong drink when He has told you to stay away from it? Another day passes and the Lord hasn't returned yet (click). Why have sex with whomever when the Lord said to flee fornication? Another day passes and  the Lord hasn't returned yet (click). Why teach a message that didn't come from the Word when you are angry because you didn't get what you wanted? Another day passes and the Lord hasn't returned yet (click). Why treat another believer with disdain because you think he/she is more blessed then you? Another day passes and the Lord hasn't returned yet (click). Why choose to live any sort of way thinking this isn't the day of the Lord's return anyway? The day is coming. Not knowing when isn't the excitement you think if you are caught on the wrong side. Its His grace and mercy that has allowed for the clicks instead of the final bang; however, remember that God is not mocked. In that day when you see Him, He will have a question for you. When He asks you why, saying, "we all make mistakes" just won't cut it.

Monday, July 21, 2014

There Is This Tidal Wave

What is the difference between a tidal wave and a tsunami? Answer: the language that each of those words
come from. Both are large waves from the ocean caused by a sea quake or a hurricane that comes toward the land causing destruction in its path.

I recall the tsunami in Haiti. What I didn't understand was when the people saw the animals moving toward higher ground, why didn't they move too? Why was it more important to still do what it was on their minds to do, then to see what was going on or to pay any attention to that gut feeling to get out of harm's way? Was death speaking louder then life? How? Why didn't more hear the warning signs? How could the animals hear more then the people?

For this year, I pray that we can be the hearers that God calls for us to be (John 10:27 AMP). For those who are young in the faith, we can reach and grab onto them for redirection, correction, and exhortation in Jesus' name (Hebrews 12:1-8 AMP). You see there is this natural occurrence that we can see. We know that the outcome of this natural occurrence isn't favorable especially if we did not have the ears to hear His voice. But then there is the tidal wave that we cannot see. Something that comes over believers whether it be for a test, trial, or tribulation, we must be ready and equipped to weather the wave. We have to be deeply rooted in His Word so that when the destruction passes, we still stand (Luke 6:47-49 AMP).

Why would such a thing come over believers and where is this written in the Word?

Its lengthy to explain. You will have to study the passages closely to see the truth. You will also have to act on the truth to be truly set free (John 8:32 KJV). I will take this issue, that I have never heard taught in any church, slowly and step by step. I invite you to email me if you note anything in error or have any concerns.

One of the first passages that come to mind is Job. He was afraid that his children would sin. Having no proof, he decided to sacrifice to atone for their sin that was never confessed (Job 1:5 AMP). Not only was his fear distasteful to God for we know we cannot please Him without faith, but that Job being a priest knew what was expected of him. Because of these acts, he had a wave come over his house. One that destroyed his family, his home, his wealth, his health, and his faith (Job 1:13-22 AMP).

With Job being the foundation of this entry, look at the responsibility of the pastor. God uses him to be the shepherd of the sheep. He is a servant of the Lord to feed the flock. He hears the message from the Lord, prays about what he has heard, then he studies. Once getting these aspects into place, he readies himself for service. His tongue is used as God's mouth piece to do as God says for him to do for the good of the bride (the church) readying herself for the coming of the groom (Jesus, our Lord). If the pastor deviates from what the Lord has given for the flock to eat, its as if the pastor has led the sheep down a wrong path. He taught them in error and what can happen is the flock can be scattered, the children of God can be offended, and the Word of God will do what God says it will do. For it is written, it is better that he have a millstone put around his neck and thrown into the sea then to offend one of the little ones (Matthew 18:6 AMP). Jesus said this when he was surrounded with children so we assume and treat this verse with how we behave when speaking or teaching children. Nevertheless, we walk in the Spirit and children can be full grown adults with child like faith. If a Christian new in the faith is willing to listen and heed to whatever his/her pastor says without question, then the pastor must realize this and adhere to the Word of the Lord or the tsunami that hits will be devastating.  

It is for this reason that we pray for our pastors. He has many means to be tempted if he is not mature in the Lord himself. The purpose for this portion of the entry is because there are too many men that think that he can pastor a church without proper training and doesn't spend the time being under authority to prove himself to be a good leader. Whether it is because of ego, pride, or just being a zealot, none of these things are good qualities in being a good pastor. All of the warning signs are there. If this sort of pastor does not hear, then the wave that comes across him will also affect his family and the ministry (Ephesians 4:1-3 AMP).

As congregants, our prayers are necessary. We are like the men holding up the arms of the pastor while the battle continues. We pray that the flesh is crucified daily not only in our own lives but the lives of the pastor, his family and our brothers and sisters in Christ. This is iron sharpening iron (Proverbs 27:17 AMP). 

With this knowledge, you cannot neglect your own relationship with the Lord. Have you ever asked yourself, about the peace or lack thereof after a message. The Lord does speak to us and with Him being the definition of peace, when we sense anything but peace in our lives and having no answers as to why, it is not the time to ignore that warning sign. Prayer not only will give you answers but will change matters. I use to attend a small ministry for years. One day I noticed upon entering the building that I felt queasy. I had no idea what it was and disregarded the feeling as a bug going around. By the time service ended, I had a headache and a need to lie down. Once I got home, all of the nauseated feelings dissipated. The following service, it happened again. I prayed but also found much later that my overall health returned once I left that ministry altogether. Later it was discovered scandal was laced throughout the clergy. Having been a baby in the Lord back then, this would have affected my faith greatly. God saw it all and protected me.

Over the years, many of the ministries have changed. We all go through changes when we grow; however, we aren't unrecognizable to each other. Ministries shouldn't have such a radical change that the congregants have to get use to their surroundings, unless the ministry was way out in left field instead of the Word in the first place. There are certain things that must be removed from the ministry and its the pastor's job to make sure this is done when it is found. There is a procedure when a believer becomes oppositional. Even when the offender goes through the process, there is a time of rest to see if the understanding of the truth has taken place (Matthew 18:15-17 AMP). We are not set free unless there is an understanding (Proverbs 4:7 KJV). This is true in every aspect of the ministry and again the pastor's job to make sure this is done. A job that is not difficult for him because he has already done this and has maintained this order in his own home. If a man cannot maintain order in his home, he has no business trying to manage a ministry (1 Timothy 3:1-5 AMP). As a congregant, we have the responsibility to see these things for ourselves to guard our own hearts. Is the pastor's wife loving or does she scowl and is angry? Are the pastor's children respectful of their parents or do they act differently towards adults when away from authority? These are all warning signs telling what is being taught in the ministry. Take heed (1 Timothy 3:6-13 AMP).

There is a passage in Psalms that describes the direction of the anointing (Psalm 133:1-2 AMP). The analogy shows that the oil comes down the head, to the beard, and the rest of the skirts. It has been taught that this is the flow of blessings as received in the ministry. Would that also be true for punishment? Again I refer to Job. Though him being a priest, it was his action that caused the punishment. His children's death was because of Job's action. The grief his wife endured for the loss of her family was because of Job's actions. His friends were trying to make sense of Job's bad fortune was because of the acts of Job. This is also reminiscent of the act of Adam. Because of his actions, man was cursed. It took the action of Jesus to redeem us all for past, present, and future stupid actions that have nothing to do with righteousness (Hebrews 5:1-14 AMP). This passage of Psalms also shows that the anointing flows. Therefore, in ministry, there is nothing that is stagnant. When ministry isn't doing anything, its because God has not been accepted there or has been disregarded. Waves of destruction are destined for such a ministry as that.

How are you living? It seems like a standard question and maybe something that would be obvious to those that profess Christianity; however, there are some that have incorporated worldly practices and have minimized the importance of living a holy life . For it is written, be thou holy for I am holy (1 Peter 1-16 AMP). It is God that is doing the talking in that passage. If He is the greater one living on the inside of each everyone one of us that believes, why would it be such a difficult thing to do to live a holy life? Have you not been taught to live holy? You cannot do what you have never been taught. Who is it that is doing the teaching? Your pastor. Does he live a holy life? This does not mean for you to stalk the man or his family. It calls for you to watch and pray (Ephesians 6:18 AMP). Many men speak profound truths and when  they incorporate testimony, they give a wealth of information about themselves. I have written many excerpts in this blog about such testimonials I have heard and wondered if the minister knew what he/she just said. From confessions of being a control freak to being verbally abusive to their spouse, I find it amazing how God will show you where you need to be and why.

You might be the very reason why the tidal wave didn't hit that ministry. Remember what Abram asked when God told him to leave Sodom and Gomorrah? He would saved the city if there were 10 righteous people in it (Genesis 18:23-33 AMP). Are you one of the people that should be there for the ministry to be saved? You are created for a time such as this. Know exactly what it is you are created for. Selah.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Are You A Lightweight?

Back in the day, it was said lightweights couldn't handle their liquor. By the middle of the second drink, that person was already slurring and looking kind of crazy. Laughing about nothing and venturing forth to start something violent was the mode of operation. It didn't take long before the lightweight's reputation was out there and no one was rushing back to go anywhere with that person again (Proverbs 20:1 AMP).

In boxing, lightweights are paired with each other. While the on lookers or casual enthusiasts don't think a few extra pounds wouldn't make that much of a difference, the professionals know otherwise. It takes an experienced coach to make the opponent not think of those extra pounds in order to win the fight. Did the tactics work? It would depend on how the fighters were thinking.

With David and Goliath, who was the lightweight there? The baby Christian would more then likely say what a sinner would because he/she doesn't know any better. They walk by sight until they are taught a better way to walk. If they are around more Christians rather then sinners, the ability to walk in the faith would be quicker. Nevertheless, back to the question. If we look as the children of Israel, were they afraid for David? Being smaller, having no weapons that could be seen, and a mere child - by sight, David seemed as if he didn't have a chance. Goliath's reputation proceeded him. He didn't have to do anything. The Philistines used their human billboard to market their fierceness. They conquered what they planned to obtained by allowing their human advertisement to speak for itself. They dressed him in the armor, hired someone to carry his shield and someone else to carry his sword (1 Samuel 17: 4-7 AMP). His face was contorted and the script he memorized was chilling to all that could hear. The Philistines had nothing to do but to wait for the opposing army to admit defeat and allow themselves up to be slaves. Its what has happened and what they have been used to. Everyone has heard about it and believed. Everyone but David. Recall David was out in the field caring for the sheep. The news didn't travel where he was and no one ever thought he would be interested. Remember, David asked who Goliath was and why was he speaking to the children of Israel like that (1 Samuel 17: 26 AMP)?

Understand babies have an identity crisis. They need to be told what to do and when to do it. Babies don't know who they are until someone gives them the knowledge for them to retain and reiterate for it to be a habit for them. It used to be that adults would cover the ears of the younger so they would not incorporate wrong information. Why? Because they are lightweights...babies are lightweights. They could not be in a storm or they would be killed. They aren't seen in a battle because it would be ridiculous. Babies don't know enough to make a quality decision. Choose life? A baby's question would be, what are my other choices or what's death? It is why babies are protected, guided, and shown specific passages in the bible to begin the new (2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV).

David wasn't a lightweight. He is described as a man after God's heart (Acts 13:22 KJV). He was left alone in the field with the sheep and studied. He praised God. He wrote songs and poetry. He was a blessed man and had no problem coming against anyone who opposed the righteousness of God. The king, Saul, hid with the rest of the people (1 Samuel 17:11 KJV). They bought the advertisement. They were chronologically older then David but lightweights in God.

When a fighter gets into the ring, he does so after he has trained. After he has the right equipment and has tested what is a good fit for him with his gloves, shoes, and trunks. He doesn't just put on anything, or decides to get in the ring and fight on a whim. He has trained physically, emotionally, mentally, and psychologically to win. If any one of those categories had not been touched upon in his training sessions, he has already lost the battle. God expects for us to be trained as well. It is why when David was offered the king's armor, he turned it down. He never wore that garment before. He had what God gave him that assisted him in killing a lion and a bear. He had skills and was already prepared to do battle. No one else was.

When you have all that God has given you, you are more then a conqueror (Romans 8:37 AMP). Who is stronger then you (Luke 11:21-26 AMP)? Could there be anyone who could come against you and win? Only you can answer that...well, God knows too. It is why there are tests. Can you withstand the test or will you be fighting temptation? Answering that will also let you know if there is anyone stronger then you. You must consider your ways. You must know what is your weakness, find the verse in the scriptures and say it everyday. Its a apart of your weaponry. Neglect in using your whole armor, expect defeat - for it is written.

In the news last night, there was a homicide. It was reported that the victim was struck once at the hand of an assailant, fell over and died. The speculation was that he must have been hit in the throat or on the temple of his head. I wondered had he been hit for awhile and the lethal blow was all he could stand. For instance, cheating on your spouse was a means that made him a little weaker. Then using rumors against the righteousness of God took something else from him (1 Chronicles 16:22, Psalm 105:15 KJV) . Refusing to support his children was another hard hit that he barely recovered from (1 Timothy 5:8 AMP). Stealing office supplies from his job where people usually find it the norm but God sees it as stealing was another sock in the gut. In all of that time throughout his life he might have attended church services a handful of times and asked for the Lord's help when he could SEE things were getting bad. But what about the things he couldn't see? Job didn't see his acts of fear  as the reason for the demise of his family, his wife's crazy talk, or the destruction of his property. That doesn't mean it didn't happen.

Have you prepared? Did you ever go to training? Do you have the right equipment? Does it fit? Have you come against opposition? Can you? We cannot be tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:12-15 AMP). We cannot listen to one sermon, run around the church thinking because we did what someone else did, we would be blessed as well only to be tested on the outside and curse like a drunken sailor. We no longer ask why bad things happen to good people and then cheat on our taxes thinking it isn't hurting anyone. We no longer dress up lies as little and white for self preservation. Because of faith, mercy, and grace we are heavy weights. Because of the salvation Jesus has freely given to us, we can fight with conviction. Because of that whole armor, we stand on the throat of the enemy and he better not budge (Ephesians 6:11-18 AMP)! Because of the Greater One living on the inside of those that believe, we know who we are in Christ! Now, who is it that DARES to come against you?!!!