A word or two to get you through the day.

A word or two to get you through the day.

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Big Comeback Part V

Welcome back.
This will be the last of this series of blogs and I really want to bring closure to it so let’s see what comes out. As always if you have not read parts I-IV I invite you to do so prior to reading this or you might be a little lost.
With that being said lets chop some wood.
We ended that previous blog with the words that it is a proven fact that children who are disciplined more feel more—and not less loved. It’s a fact. So we wrote that at times when life seems so hard for us it’s not that God is punishing us—but allowing hardships to come so he can show us just how much he loves us. I mean think of it. We could at times get sick because God is trying to show us how important it is to take care of the bodies he has given us thus not getting a disease we could prevent with a proper diet and exercise. So while we get upset with the sniffles—possibly the sniffles are a little valentine from God.
You see, what we fail to understand and conceptualize is the fact that there is a difference between a father’s love… and a mother’s love. Your mother is supposed to kiss your boo boos. You mother is supposed to give you motherly advise and correction but a fathers love is different. It smells different. It taste different and God knows we know it sound different. That's a father’s love. We call a father’s love what? ”Tough love.” Isn't Gods love for us akin to that of a fathers love? A love that is designed to protect you from you even if it hurts you in the process. THAT'S how much God loves you.
In the New Testament Paul was talking to people who were in many ways worse than we are today as a whole. They were having affairs and saying it was a part of their religious experience. Okay well I guess in writing that they were” as bad” as we are now days. But Paul was giving them rules not to make their lives worst but to make the quality of their lives—better. Paul is trying to tell them how to not cross the line of demarcation. How to stay in the safe zone. And to do this… Paul gives an example.
In Ephesians 5:15 the Greek word for live means “walk.” So Paul is telling them to be CAREFUL how they should walk through life. But to walk “circumspectly” as the passage reads  is a little deeper than to just walk. See when we think of the word walk… we think of it as a person moving forward. A person… moving forward. But to walk circumspectly is deeper. It means to walk… “circum”—which means turning around and “spectly”.. to watch. So when you put it together Paul is saying… okay I want you to move forward… turning around and seeing everything around you. Now he says specifically “not as fools.” In other words fools walk without being aware what might attack them. Fools walk without being on guard for the enemy so walk as the wise would walk. Never be so heavenly minded—that you are no earthly good.
Walk circum—spectly.
Walk with God—while watching the attacks of the enemy. Walk with God while watching the enemy. Walk with God—whole watching the enemy.
So often we focus so much on watching the enemy we start to walk with—the enemy.

Walk with God, circumspectly while watching the enemy. We have to be careful who we walk with. Spend time with. Break bread with. Walk with God. Even Jesus when he was here on earth came to Lazarus grave and did what? Called him out. Even Jesus was not about to waste his time in a dead place… talking to dead people. Walk with God while watching the enemy.
See in America we love choices. We love the fact that we have 500 channels on our TVs although we may watch no more than ten. We love going to malls with hundreds of stores although we may only frequent 5 or 6 regularly. Some men love having several cars and many woman love collecting shoes. Why? We love choices. We were made like that.
But when it comes to how we govern our lives—how can you make the right choice—if you are walking in the dark. How can you see the line of demarcation if there is no light? My friends I am on assignment in this blog to tell you one thing. When faced with a tough moral or ethical decision in life always choose light. Choose light. I have taken FIVE blogs and countless words to give you one simple message. Choose light. You cannot make your big come back in life if you toil in darkness. Choose light.
Now if you remember nothing else rom any of the other blogs remember this. To make the big come back in your life. The big come back from drugs. From molestation. From homelessness. To make the big come back from being locked up in jail. From cancer from Aides. To make the big come back from homosexuality from addiction and bankruptcy I have one simple answer for you. Choose light. Choose light. Choose light.
You see, in our society we love great leaders. We want someone to follow and we follow them why? Because they can lead. It’s not a common quality to have. Not to be a leader but to be a great leader. Great leaders have magnetism in them. Something that will make you follow them and you have no idea why you are following them, but there is something in them that leads you to following them. And with that being said the ultimate leader of all leaders is God. How you may ask? Because God gave us a plan for our lives that is detailed in every way—before we understood the very concept of our lives. That's how good God is.
But sometimes when we call God good I think we are selling him short although he is good. When we call God righteous I think we are selling him short—although he is righteous. When we call God Holy I think we are selling him a little short—although he is holy. But the quality we often neglect to rain upon him is that your God is intelligent.
He is intelligent.

See if you don’t understand that he is wise and intelligent and just see him as powerful you will be prone to fearing him. If you don’t see him as wise and intelligent and only righteous you might be intimidated by his goodness. If you don’t see him as wise and intelligent and only see him as holy you will feel you are not worthy but your God is an intelligent God. He is a God who laid out a plan before was even was. Before there was a concept for time. Before Adam kissed Eve. He laid out a plan before Noah cut his first piece of wood and before David found a rock. Your God laid out a plan before Jeremiah started to weep or Isaiah saw the Messiah. He laid out a plan. Before the disciples sat in the upper room and before Paul was locked in jail. Your intelligent God laid out a plan before the bible was canonized and before Columbus discovered a new world. He laid out a plan before slaves were brought to America and before little black girls cried after being raped in the corners of slave quarters. He laid out a plan before the great awakening and before the great depressions. He laid out a plan before you grandmother saw your grandfather or your mother and father first held hands your God laid out a plan for your life and that plan… was the plan of salvation. You want to avoid the line of demarcation? Tired of making the same mistakes over and over again? Tired of life biting you with the unexpected surprised and not understanding what is going on? Are you in the words of Fannie Lou Hammer sick and tired of being sick and tired? If you are I offer you Christ. Why? Because the only way to see the line of demarcation in your life is to use the light of the world.
Why? Let me run it to you this way. Let’s say you have a dog and the dog lives in the back yard. And let’s say the grass is tall… and the dog is living in the back yard. You have not moved the grass for a while… and the dog is living in the back yard. And you walk in the yard.
Can I ask you a question? Can you walk the way you have always walked in the back yard—just because you have walked that way before? Of course not. Because you never know where trouble might be. You cannot walk—the way you have always walked… because you never know “what” you might accidently step in.
So if you have an unsaved friend and you have had certain conversation with them and they did not convince you to sin one time… does not mean they will not convince you to sin the next time. Walk circumspectly. You know you got an issue with weed but you allow someone who just stopped smoking to get in your car and the scent of their clothes is giving you a buzz. Now you have done this before but just because you did not fall then—does not mean you will not stumble and fall next time. Walk… circumspectly.
The passage says—not as the UN WISE but as the WISE. Why does the bible say this? We are always worried about our time. We live by the clock and the bible is saying to make the most of an opportunity. Or to redeem your time. To be very intentional when it comes to protecting your time. Why? V. 16 he says it. Because the days are evil. If you are not careful you will get aides. Why? My friends the days… are evil. You will roll your car and kill yourself or some other family. Why? Because the days are evil. You will fall into debt and end up not only compromising your integrity but sinning and sending your soul to hell. Why? Because the days are evil.

Now let me say something to you that you must read not with your natural eyes—but with the eyes of your heart. If you are tired of making a mess with your life—try allowing Christ to be a part of your life. As you read this blog, if you are not saved—please say these words aloud and your life can be changed immediately.
Shall we pray?
"Dear God I know I'm a sinner, I know I am not where I want to be, and I want your forgiveness! I believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for my sins.
Please wash me clean from all sin, shame, and guilt, come into my life Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. I ask this in your name Jesus. Amen!"
If you repeated that prayer with us I welcome you into the body of Christ. Today is the first day of the rest of your life! Happy birthday!
In the event I don't write a blog tomorrow have a very HAPPY New Year!
P.S. Remember today--this day, is the first day of the rest of your life.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Big Comeback Part IV

As I was writing this blog I was listening to a song I would like to share with you that will set the tone for these thoughts. 

"At night please dont you worry
about the things that you're going through...

Sometimes they are there on purpose
just to show you He can bring you through."


Well, I am back from Christmas vacation and excited about jumping into part IV of the blog so let’s get started and as always if you have not read the proceeding parts of this series please do so first.

We ended the previous blog with a word about transplants and how we should have the mind of Christ. But what I would like to open this blog with is a question. Is Christianity the ONLY way to achive lasting chnage in life? Through having the mind of Christ as was noted in the previous blog? At the risk of some of my super saved readers getting upset. No. Yes; you can change without without going through Christ. People do it every day.
Now with that being said, allow me to add the following. It is also within Gods divine plan for you to change at times without supernatural assistance. Why? Because He at times will allow evil to come into your life, just to convince you that doing it by yourself is not enough. Why do you think we were given our greatest gift? Free will? By giving us free will we discover that maybe—just maybe sleeping around more does not equate to more gratification. That the answers you thought you would get from drugs—are not the answers you thought you would get. So in order to correct you, God will at times give the green light to Satan and allow him to come into your world in order for you to avoid going over the guardrail of life tomorrow. How do I know?

I have not written about this in any of the blogs but less than three months ago I almost died.
The reason I have not written about it is because it was just too soon and it seems while I am writing this God has released me to share a little of what happened to me—in hopes that it will help you.

On October 26, 2011 I was headed home to prepare for bible study. In fact that night I was teaching part three of a series entitled, “Why Does God Allow Evil And Suffering In The World?” As I was coming home on I-20 here in Atlanta, someone pulled in front of me driving 40 miles an hour. Now keep in mind I was driving 70 so in a split second I had to make a decision. To run into them or to avoid running into them and drive off the road. I chose the latter. Unfortunately there was a steep ditch on one side of the road so to avoid driving off the cliff I over corrected my car which caused a roll over. And yes the above pictuers are of my car, and of my arm 3 weeks after the accident.
As a result of this action I endured four surgeries and was in the hospital three weeks. While there I had a lot of time to think about what happened. “What was God trying to tell me in this accident?” And it never occurred to me until tonight—why I had to go through what I went through. God was saying to me to always watch out.
See in the natural there were times when I drove a little fast. I depended on other people to do what they were supposed to do and at times when they did not I was let down. So God was telling me "I know you want to move through this thing called life at full speed, but I have something great for you to achieve and in order to get you to that—I must allow you to go through this."
Here's another question for you. Would an all loving God—who would send his son to die for you, allow you to go through pain because he loves you? Would God put you though “this,” just to get you to “that?” Interesting question. Turn your bibles to Numbers 21:4.
4. Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way. 5 And the people spoke against God and against Moses: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.” 6 So the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died.
The children of Israel were a group of people who at time acted just like children. They would have a famine, they would pray, God would bless them, they would thank God and before you know it they were out serving false Gods. In one such incidence God decided he had enough. As you can see in this passage they were traveling in the wilderness when they became discouraged. In fact the bible does not say they became discouraged but it goes a step further and says their SOULS became discouraged. Their SOULS became discouraged. Do you realize just how discouraged you must be for your SOUL to be discouraged?
It’s amazing what we will do when our souls become discouraged. When our souls become discouraged we sleep with people we have no business sleeping with because our souls are discouraged. When our souls become discouraged we get in cars and think I’ll take my chance tonight and why? Because our souls are discouraged. When our souls are discouraged we walk into schools and shoot innocent people. Why? Because our very souls are discouraged. What will a man do when his soul—is discouraged? What will a man say when his soul is discouraged. Sometimes people will say things to you that you must learn to ignore? Why? Because their souls are discouraged.
There are people who will insult you this week that I am begging you now not to hold it against them. They are upset about 2011, about how much they spent for the holidays, possibly because they were all alone and just want to be a part of a family that loves them. And they will fire off on you for little or nothing. Why? Because their souls are discouraged. People will hate you—like family members, not because they hate you, but because their souls are discouraged. Don't hate them—love them. Love them. Love them.
So the bible says when this happened God did not wipe out the Children of Israel. Why? Because he still saw the good within them as a whole. But what he did was to send fiery serpents.
What are these things the bible refers to as Fiery Serpents? These were serpents that were found in Europe and Africa that were very unique to that region and the reason why is because they had the ability to thrust themselves at people from nowhere. And when they bit them—it burned. Okay? It burned. Get it? “IT” burned.
Okay God sent something that was thirst at them from nowhere… and when it bit them it burned. God sent… (Okay let me just put it another way). God allowed the man to just pop up in your life from nowhere and when he bit your checking account and it was empty. God allowed, (You get the point) Let me move forward.
My point is this. Sometimes God will allow you to be hurt in this life—just to save you in this life. See when the fiery serpents came to attack them—it drew them closer to God. It humbled them. It’s amazing how pain from an unexpected place—will humble you. The snakes reminded them just how painful life can be when they walked outside the will of God. What has God ALLOWED to happen to you with the desired outcome to drive you closer to him? To humble you so that you realized that you could not do it on your own. To allow you to feel pain unlike you have ever felt before? Let me go grave digger deep on this. You remember Paul right? Could it be that God struck him blind—so that he could see?
It’s a scientific fact, kids who are told to come in at a certain hour, to do their choirs, kids who are made to do their homework and are not allowed to go out until a certain age feel more loved then kids who have no rules to live by. It’s a fact. So let me tell you just how much God loves you. Remember the guy who never called you back after having sex with you. Could it be God allowed that to happen so you could endure a little pain today to avoid a more serious pain tomorrow? After the kids. After the divorce. After the debt.
Maybe it was God that allowed you to be drunk that night and run your car into a wall because he was trying to save you from being drunk around your children and watching them grow up alcoholics as well. Maybe it was God.
Remember when you got the STD. The STD that no one knows you got even today. Maybe that was to prevent you from stepping over the line of demarcation and getting aides. Maybe God allowed that.
Wow. I went deeper than I anticipated but please return tomorrow for the conclusion of the series.

As always, remember today--this day, is the first day of the rest of your life.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The BIG Comeback PART III

Welcome back to day three of the journey. I have so much to share and only a few words to do so, so let’s get started!
In the previous blog we mentioned the how every day people do destructive things like drive drunk, or start smoking crack and in their heart they feel they will be the one to conquer it. That they can control it. That they can walk close to the line of danger, the guardrail or the line of demarcation without falling into utter and complete disaster.
Before I go further lets vacillate here for a moment. Tonight someone will try crack for the very first time and for them—yes in spite of everything they know and all the things they have seen, they will still crack—tonight for the very first time.
In spite of people they know who have destroyed their life they will pick up a crack pipe for the first time.
They will bring that fire to their lips for the first time and for the first time they will blaze up, they will get faded, they will get blitzed, they and for them yes… it is worth it because they feel in their heart they can get just… that... close to the line of demarcation and yet not fall over.
Why is that? Why do we as humans have this innate desire to walk the tightrope of life? Because we all have a “thing.” What I mean by that we all have a condition, that can easily knock us off our life journey. Don't believe me? Look at Paul in the bible. This was a man so powerful people were getting healed just being in his shadow and what did he says about this? These are his thoughts.
“Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.”
Think about that for a moment. The “thing” that he had to deal with he refers to it as a messenger from Satan. Therefore driving drunk, starting crack for the first time even committing adultery could be the same thing to you and I. A messenger from Satan.  And this brings us to today’s thoughts.
How can we change? How can we change when the abnormal (smoking crack, driving drung, committing adultery even cheating on our taxes) has become our new normal? When sleeping on the floor of life, and accepting the worst life has to offer; has becomes so normal you no longer even feel comfortable in a feathered; goose downed bed.
Allow me to digress for a moment. You know science is a wonderful thing. I've seen scientist do things I would have never guessed they could do in my life time. Why just this morning we were awaken by the news that two new planet’s have been discovered outside of our solar system. Now I need you to REALLY think about this for a moment. We live in an age where man can now see things that ONLY God could see before. WOW, right?
Right here on earth we live in an age where kidneys and livers and lungs can be transplanted. We live in such an age.
We live in an age where eyes hearts and even the entire face can be transplanted from one person to another. Yes we live in such an age. But isn’t it odd that in spite of all we have seen, in spite of all the advancements in science, in medicine—no one has successfully transplanted a—brain. Not one.
Now I am told that scientist have performed brain transplants on mice and they feel one scientist will be able to do it in man. I must say I am very skeptical of this. It may occur—but I doubt it because the brain holds your memories. The brain hold your identity. The brain is what makes you—you. With all your good and your bad, your brain is what makes you… you. So isn’t it interested that as of today science cannot do—what Paul said to the church at Phillipi, 2000 years ago when he said “Let this mind be in you that is in Christ Jesus.”
So what am I getting to? The only way to avoid crossing the line of demarcation is by letting this (His) mind be in you.
Join me for part 4 tomorrow.
And as always... remember today--this day, is the first day of the rest of your life.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The BIG Comeback PART II

Welcome to part II of this blog. As I alluded to earlier at times thoughts for the blog do not come to me in neat little packages which is why I am spacing these out over a few days.
If you have not read part one please do so or this may not make any sense whatsoever. Also follow this blog by clicking the button to the right=รจ J
Okay let’s get started!
When you look following the ordinances of our Lord and Saviors at times we tend to run into a problem. The problem is the flesh—our desires etc., compel us to do things we know in our heart we should not do. To say things we know we should not say. But this is nothing new. In fact it was Paul who said when referring to himself, “o’ wretched man.”
Think about it. As we slide into this election season it seems we are inundated with polls. Well I have one for you. In an unofficial poll I am sure 100% of people know in their heart they should not drink alcohol to excess and drive. They know this for sure. Not 95% but 100% of all living breathing human beings understand this to be true. Yet I dare say as you are reading this somewhere someone is getting in a car totally inebriated and regrettably before you finish someone will lose their life at the hands of a drunk driver. Why is that? Because the drunken driver decided that while they know it’s not right to do what they were about to do—they wanted to get as close to the line of demarcation as they can in hopes they can make it to their destination.
But it’s just not drunk or distracted driving. What about teenagers having sex. I feel rather safe to say “close” to 100% of adults who are sober minded would agree that teenaged sex is wrong. Yet while you are reading this—somewhere two kids, possibly even elementary school age (and yes that was tough to even type so I k now it’s hard to read) are having sex. And what's the danger? Some of them will get an STD. Others will get pregnant. But why do they do it? So they can get as close as they can to the line of demarcation—without going over the edge. They understand, by in large the danger involved but that’s not important. The important thing in the moment is to fulfill their desires, if only for the moment.
Lastly if you took a poll of adults and asked the question do you think adults should discuss drugs with their children what percentage would say they should? I am willing to guess pretty close to 100%. But I'm sure you know many will not. And although the child will know its wrong they will not have gotten the parental support from them and some will find themselves cascading into drug addiction. And why have they done it? Because they wanted to get as close to the line of demarcation as they could without going over the edge.
But here my friends in lies the problem. And at the end of the day that's why we sin. Because we want to get close to the line in order to fulfill our lustful desires. People don’t start shooting up on day one. I mean somebody may have but that's not normal. See it’s a process. It starts with their curiosity being piqued. Then that leads to a wine cooler. And that leads to maybe a little Kahlua and Cream and that leads to maybe a little vodka tonic and that leads to a little weed and possibly that leads to the chronic and that leads to crack and possibly that leads to a needle. See it don’t start with the needle but they arrived at the needle by slowly getting closer and closer to the line of demarcation. Getting closer and closer to the edge.
So here is a simple thought. If something will kill you… if something will wreck your present and destroy your future; why not decide that you will just not do it? I mean if having sex will kill you—if drinking and driving will kill you or paralyze you; if doing crack will only destroy your life then why do it? It’s easy to say that—if you don’t do it. Because you have well established boundaries. But for the millions of people who have issues in these areas they have arrived at this point in life—because they have continually erased and redrawn the line of demarcation for their life. That's why when you ask them, “Man is crack worth this? Losing your family? Going to jail?” They may tell you logically no because they know that's what you want to hear but in their heart if they were to be honest the answer is a resounding, “Yes. Yes it’s worth it! Without a doubt. It is definitely worth it.”
More to come tomorrow. PLEASE come back for part three of the Big Come Back!

As always remember today--this day, is the first day of the rest of your life.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The BIG Comeback PART I

 Trust you are having an AMAZING day! Let me jump right into todays blog.
In one of the very first hip hop classics Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five announced to the world, “Don't Push Me Cause I'm close to the edge.” In this blog I would like to write about just that. The edge or the line of demarcation in our lives. What's it like to be pushed and to find yourself standing on the edge. To be standing on the line and on one side is life—and on the other side could mean death. Not just a spiritual death but a natural death.
First of all what is the edge? The edge can easily be defined as the point between complete safety and complete and utter disaster. Now in life this is the area for instance on the road where you may have a guard rail. The guard rail keeps you on the side of complete safety so you will not fall into utter disaster. The law keeps you on the side of complete safety with laws and prevents you from falling into utter disaster. Now just like a guard rail or the law we typically do not pay attention to it as we travel through life. Why? Because to be honest there is no need to focus on them unless we are getting close to the edge. And see even if we find ourselves getting close to the edge we know we are protected. We will not fall—as long as we stay on the right side of the guard rail. As long as we stay on the right side of the law. The right side of the line of demarcation.
For instance you are driving down the road. The speed limit is 75 and you are driving 75. Now you know you’ll not get stopped for speeding as long as you stay at 75 or less. You know this. You also know that if you sneezed and pushed the gas a fraction more you would be going over the limit. But while I am sure some people have gotten a ticket for going a mile over most of us understand that you get 15 miles over before you get points in most states. So what do we do—if its 75 we push it to the limit. We go 89 or 14 miles over. Why? We want to take it right to the absolute limit.
On the road there are things we call guardrails. They protect us from falling over the edge. Now the thing about guardrails is this. If you hit them at a fairly high speed they will do serious damage to your car. But the upside is this. They might save your life. See a guardrail will prevent you from killing yourself when you have pushed it to the absolute limit.
But let’s go deeper. You know you typically get 5 days you can be late on your light bill and then they call you. That's what you are thinking. So you wait through day one. Day two and day three. Day four and day five come and you know you are at the absolute limit. But you don’t get a call. So apart of you now wonders… have they changed the policy? So you push it one more day. One more day. One inch closer to that line of demarcation. In fact you are putting a toe over the line of demarcation and then boom, your lights are turned off.
You see this woman and you know you are unequally yoked. She is beautiful and smart and well educated. And you are thinking… maybe … just maybe she might be the one. She’s everything you have always looked for in a spouse but you are saved and she snorts a little something, something on occasions just to clear her nerves of course. Not a lot… but every now and then to take the edge off. So you propose to her and now you are married. And now coke has led to heron and now you with your saved self-realize that you have stepped over the line of demarcation as you wait for her in your car to come out of a drug treatment center.
Now many of you may have not made such a mistake with a spouse. You may have never had a speeding ticket and I applauded you for that. But you have made a mistake. It might have been cheating on a test. Possibly taking something that did not belong to you and getting caught. Maybe you told a lie and it ended up costing you a relationship. So think back on a mistake you made. Not a minor but a major mistake. The thing you did that makes you think you know if I had it to do over again, I would have never. What would that be?
“Had I never gone out that night I would have never have met that guy. And had I not met him I would not be a single mom with two kids and no father.”
“I would have never have accepted that job so I would not have been tempted to commit a felony.”
“If I would have never gotten in the car, I would have never have fallen asleep. And had I not fallen asleep, I would not have had that accident.”
What is that thing you look back and say “I would have never?” What's your “I would never?”
When you think about it—what was your line of demarcation? What was the line that you know you should not have crossed but knowingly and with full knowledge of the danger involved crossed anyway? I can assure you, there were caution signs. There were road blocks but you chose to ignore the sign and drive around the road block and once you land in the ditch what do we say? I should have listened. So what were your signs?
There were signs you should never have married her. Dating her was fine but marrying her? But you did it anyway and you crossed the line of demarcation. You know you should not have let those bills pile up and now you are in bankruptcy court. You crossed the line and you did it… knowingly. Your parents told you to take better care of your teeth. But you didn’t and you crossed the line of demarcation and as you sit in the dentist chair getting that root canal and you realize that you did it… knowingly.
Now what I am about to share with you is not just spiritual awareness… it’s just plain old good common sense for life awareness. People who succeed in life understand that they must clearly see the line of demarcation in their lives—and never cross it. Please write this one down because it can change your life. People who succeed in life clearly see where the line of demarcation is in their lives—and never cross it. Because when they do so their conscious is pricked to the point that next time they will force themselves to slow down.
Be it to slow down in a relationship, with their financial decisions or their health. Crossing the line will make you think twice and if you don’t stop you may spend the rest of your life saying once again I wish I had never.... I wish I never… I wish I never… I wish I had never. How many times in this life can you waste time saying “I wish I had never! I wish I had never! I wish I had never! I wish I had never! I wish I had never! I wish I had never!”
Now the title of the series of blogs (and I know already it will  be a series because it’s far too much for one sitting) will be The Big Comeback. My job in writing this blog is to share with you the way to avoid disaster from the beginning and the thing I want to share with you first and foremost is to listen to the Holy Spirit within you. Not just a cutesy listen. Sometimes I can ask my son to do something and he will listen—with courtesy and respect. But go deeper when you listen to the Holy Spirit. Listen to it with your heart. Why? Because when you listen with your heart you will obey the calling. And when you obey you are consciously determine that you will walk in obedience.
Okay that's all I can share tonight but there is so much more because as we move closer to 2012 its my prayer that you avoid the same mistakes of 2011, and this blog will help you toward that end.

Oh yeah... Remember today--this day, is the first day of the rest of your life.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

I'm Going Down. Part II

Before we open part two of this blog a friend of mine contacted me today via text. He asked me to deposit money into a checking account for church purposes. Now allow me to place this into context.
I have spoken to this friend, who I still love like a brother, maybe three times in the last 30 years. While I dont know for sure what type of life he is living today--he once battled drug addiction. And out the blue he asks for money? And he said “God told him this.” Well I like to think I have a fairly decent walk with God as well. So when he told me this, in a very incredulous and ungodly manner I questioned his walk because if God tells you to tell me something—I am of the opinion that there will be at least a hint of this word coming to me as well. In other words, if we are both serving the same God—and we are headed in the same direction then we should both in some way hear the voice of the shepherd. If we are both on a ship—with the same captain should we not understand what is going on if we are both in a storm?
This brings me back to the story of Jonah, and if this is the first time you have read my blog please part I of this blog and you will catch up to where we are with this utterly fascinating story.
When it comes to our friend Jonah, he felt the people he was sent to minister a word of hope to—were immoral. Therefore he has now placed himself into a Godlike position. (Note to reader. Be careful when you decided to tell God how to do His job.) These people living in sin and who could not hear from God needed a word of redemption and he held their eternal lives hostage because he had issues with things they had done as a people. So think about it—he has decided to judge men just like him as being immoral; but what he was doing was fine.
Jonah is cognizant that he is hearing the voice of God—and he is choosing to not follow the will of God… yet he is casting aspersions upon people who just like him, who are living outside the will of God. Sounds like many church people today right?
But let’s apply this passage to our lives. Sometimes when we are called into service, instead of asking God why or how we should just be bold enough to ask Him to send us anywhere, but go with us. Give us any burden but also to comfort us with the knowledge that he will sustain it for us. To sever any ties but the ties that binds us to him. Then the Words of God will come to us and direct us as to where we should be and where we should go.
Now in closing I am going to hit you with something qusi controverisal but it’s important to note that when life was going crazy for the men on the boat that carried Jonah into the storm, they came to him and he knew it was him. He knew things were out of order because his life was out of order. He had no right to be on the boat or headed in the same direction as these men. So when he is faced with the inevitable he could not and would not lie. He’d come face to face with his own truth. Sometimes things happen in our world because the thing that is designed to carry us through the storm, has someone, or something riding it that is out of order thus the boat, the family, the church is out of order. Once the entity stops trying to be like the world and retains its place as the family or the church, a lot of storms we go through will discontinue. We have to retain ourselves as a peculiar people and set apart from the world. We were never supposed to be of the world. We as well as the family or the church as a whole sometimes go through storms because we have walked outside the Word of God. We’ve clung to the world so much we have lost our flavor as Christians. So if we were sent to the world, but we are now of the world, then what good are we? We will ride the boat with them into destruction.
Yes, Jonah is a short little book I invite you to revisit but the thing that moves me most about it is this. We can find fault with the decision Jonah made but before you do so you must first ask yourself how have you answered the calling upon your life? To protect yourself from falling into a Jonah like situation, not only should you be mindful of where God would have you to go, but also be careful who you align yourself with. I am not saying do not date or associate with people with baggage or who may not have a Christian walk on the same level as yours. Just be mindful of the level of their walk and know what luggage they are bringing with them. And if you find them bringing you down—have the courage to either get off the boat or throw them overboard.
This brings me back to where we began.
I love my friend, even though we have been apart for many years. We have a history that cannot be replicated with another. But I had to throw him overboard. He will always be my friend but since we were not traveling in the same direction I could not allow him to bring me down. Why? Because I am answering the calling upon my life and I will echo the words Jesus said when he was just 12 years old. “I must be about my Fathers business who has sent me.”

Oh yeah--Remember today--this day, is the first day of the rest of your life.

Friday, December 16, 2011

I'm Going Down.

You know I was leafing through the bible and came across an amazing story I have read 100 times but it hit me in a new and a different way. Don't you just love it when that happens?
Have you ever been called to do something in life? Possibly something you were not exactly crazy about doing? If your answer is yes—then trust me, I know the feeling. But so did a guy named Jonah.
When I read this passage again—it felt like I was reading it for the first time because it occurred to me that Jonah would have been excited about going to Nineveh if he was in some way promised to kill these people (The Ninevites) that he hated. In other words if God killed his enemies then he would have gone to this town to deliver their destruction like a UPS man. If God had told him He was sending locus to destroy their crops he would have gotten to that city faster than bad news.
In the passage Jonah poses an interesting question. He asks God why he is so gracious. So he understands that God is gracious yet he goes on to say “God I would rather die than do what you have asked me to do!” Now keep in mind that he is cognizant that God is good and he adds that he would rather die than to follow His will.
But when you read this passage a little further we notice that he asks God to kill him more than once—yet the only time we see him at peace… is when he is sitting in the shade. Now this is like a lot of people I know, even today. They seem to only find contentment when they are doing absolutely nothing at all. But when times get, tough we find them complaining.
Can you be happy when you are not in the shade?
When the times are not as good?
When the burning heat of problems and frustrations bear down upon you like the dessert sun?
God poses a question to Jonah—but I think he is also talking to us as well. “Do you really have a reason to be upset because the vine died?” Okay let me put it this way. “Do you really have a reason to be upset because the car was repossessed?” “…because your son got caught selling drugs?” “Do you really have a reason to be upset with me?”
In 1941 Forrest Mars, Sr., & Bruce Murrie  had a little candy named after them. The name… M&Ms. Now if your name was Joe Mars or Sue Murrie and you were now he president of Mars Inc., would you really cry if you dropped one of the colored chocolate filled goodies? Of course not. Would you have to take the day off from work to pull yourself together? Absolutely not. Would you call your friends to tell them how you were walking and the little red treat fell out of your hand and down into a drain? Well, you just happen to serve the supplier not to M&M Inc., but the very supplier to all that is and shall be. Why should we ever feel lost or without out hope?
So God comes at him with this one. “You mad about a vine that you did not plant a seed for, water, prop up, prune or fertilize? When I got a 100k people waiting to be fed the Word of God? You mad about something you can’t control and refusing to do something you can control?” Dig the logic and apply it to your life. You mad about a relationship—that was outside my will and refusing to do what I have called you to do?
But let’s take out the shovel and dig deeper.
The amazing thing is that Jonah was not acting on a basic level—in a “selfish” manner. It would be like a Black person in the 20’s going to a Mississippi Klan rally. “Seriously God? You want me to go to Biloxi, take the microphone from the Grand Wizard and say, “God wants you all to repent or you going to hell?” Yes you would fear for your own safety but once you get past that you would not want to walk through the Pearly Gates with them. “Come on God… Let them just go to hell!” You’d want to walk them to the gates of hell, make them open the doors, kick them in the middle of their back and spit on them as they fell to eternal damnation. Let’s face it—we are human and that what humans do! We’re pretty darn good at ate and revenge. Two things no one has to go to a Community College to learn how to excel at.
So let’s go back to this story and see what Jonah does.
Instead of going 500 miles north east to Nineveh, he goes 200 miles in a south westerly direction, opposite of where he was supposed to go. But even more important, just like Sampson earlier in the bible, he goes down to a city by the name of Tarshish not because it was what God wanted him to do—but because it’s what he wanted to do. And please note that the bible says he “goes down,” to Tarshish. Whenever you walk away from the call of the Lord and go down, you are truly headed for destruction. When you are attracted to something beneath you and it specifically against the will of God, you’re headed for destruction.
You know when a man, a woman, a job or something you want is beneath you because something within you will tell you, “I ain’t got no business in the bed with this man.” “Why am I even clocking in on this job?” When you feel that in your heart and the feeling sinks deep inside your gut, you too my friend are going down.
So we watch this prophet with the call of God on his life by the name of Jonah and not only go down, but the bible says, he “goes down” and gets on a boat and “goes down” again into the belly of the boat and once he does that, it’s not enough. He goes into a “deep” sleep.
Question? How far can you afford to go down in life before you answer your calling?
In Romans we see that man’s problem is not the “absence of evidence but the suppression of evidence.” So when Jonah notices the storm why didn’t he just say from the beginning that it was because of him and jump overboard? Why did he “ask” them to throw him off the boat? Jonah knows full well why they have gone through what they are going through yet he gives them this moral dilemma. Decency would have caused him to throw himself off the boat. To me it seems as if a part of Jonah hoped that someone would have stood up and defended him. To keep him on the boat. To ride through the storm with him. How many people know they have no right being in your life—know they are taking you through storms you don't need to or deserve to go through? Yet they refuse to just jump off the emotional boat of your life. And on top of that you know she has no business in your car, so let’s not even discuss the fact that you are shopping for rings… yet you find it hard to toss her off the emotional boat of your life.
But with that being said I want you to hold your nose and go deeper with me.
The bible says “there was a storm.” Get it... a storm. We read past that as if it’s just an event but it’s more than that. Nothing in the bible beneath the surface is what it would appear to be. What causes a storm? When I was a kid we would say it’s the Devil beating his wife. (Who knows where that originated?) But in actuality we now know what causes natural storms. In simple terms, storms are caused by the meeting of very cold air with extremely warm air. Think about it. A storm originates when a low pressure system (cold air) is surrounded by a high pressure system (warm air). Small areas of low pressure can form from hot air rising off hot ground. Hot air will rise, and when the hot air collides with cold air, the hot air is forced up over the colder, drier air.
Sometimes when the higher calling of an all mighty God comes into contact with the lower desires of a sinful man—a storm will occur and it will often occur on three levels.
The storm we are in: This is the physical storm. The bankruptcy. The unfaithful spouse. Failing in school. The aspect of the storm we can feel.
The storm inside of us: This is the mental storm i.e. the thing that brings us fear. The fear of getting caught. The fear of being homeless. The fear of getting HIV.
And the storm within our souls: This is the part of the conflict that bothers us on a core level. A level so deep even we don’t understand.  You know it’s just a late car payment but now you are crying. Why? The storm inside your soul. He just looked at the woman as she passed by. Now you can’t sleep at night. The storm is brewing inside your soul.
I have so much more to share with you on this topic tomorrow so please stay tuned.

Oh yeah... Remember today--this day, is the first day of the rest of your life.

I.S.O. (In Search Of) Truth

Okay I completed the previous blog late yesterday with my midnight snack and I was so excited about finishing the thought here I am wrapping it up with my morning coffee.
One way to see truth is through divine revelation and that's not often discussed. The reason in part is because we have a tendency to fear that which we cannot completely understand and or control thus since its divine revelation—it fits in said category.
Divine revelation is reserved for those who depend on faith because they know truth will come from above and like a life guard peering at the waves, they will look to God with their inner eye as they wait for not only an answer—but a divine answer. Divine revelation. And this is where for some it gets a little sticky. The reason why is because your revelation is just that. It’s yours. We live in a world where truth is sometimes looked upon as a pair of stretch pants. One size fits all. This mindset was given to us by some of our great thinkers which I will allude to later but we feel if it’s true for you—it should be true for your neighbor. In fact the artist Erykah Badu addressed this in her ultra-controversial video when she ended it with the words, “death to group think.” But when truth comes from above, often it does not fit snuggly into the confines of group think. Divine truth may not necessarily transfer to everyone on your Facebook friends list and apply to their lives as well. So what do you do—when your truth is just that?
Have you ever been sitting next to someone in church and they just start weeping for no apparent reason? Or for some reason they stand up and start to shout? Even though they may not be able to articulate why and they may simply say they felt good and did it, if its divine it’s deeper than a feeling. They are moved to tears or to making an outburst because God has given them a sneak preview of their future. Think of it as a trailer for a movie. A coming attraction. Sometimes the attraction can be so embedded in our hearts we don't see it in our minds—but we can feel it oozing from our center so the only thing we can do is cry or say something like, “Oh my God.” And when you do this in unfamiliar surroundings i.e. people who don't understand the move of God they will call you crazy or say you are over the top or it “Don't take all that” and that's okay. See they just have not been privileged to see your coming attractions.
While this is not a direct quote, the great philosopher Aristotle once said that “truth could be found in majority rule.” If this is the case then what has such a mindset wrought? “Truth can be found in majority rule?” Seriously?
Could this be in part why our society has a values cancer?
Why men are no longer men and women are no longer women?
Is it because we are following what everyone else is doing—even if they are doing it blindly?
Keep in mind what majority rule has given us. The crowd overwhelmingly said, “Crucify him!”  With apologies to Aristotle, just because everyone is doing does not make it truth.
Let me leave you with this. In the bible (John 14:1-2) Jesus is saying to his disciples, “Listen when I leave don't get too nervous about the chapters in life. Okay? Why? Because I am going to tell you in advance just how the story ends. You see, this earth is not your home. In fact I’m preparing your home.” But when you read this passage it goes deeper than this because I am of the belief that he is also saying to us “while you are in this world don't worry about today because I have already mapped out tomorrow.” In other words while you are thinking about Friday he's finished work on your January, February and March. While you are worrying about a lie today he’s looking at your future and looking forward to it being revealed to you. In short Jesus is saying “Listen I am the truth and light so if you carry me in your heart you will never be in the dark when it comes to relationships, decisions about your job or what tomorrow holds for you.”
So before I end this allow me to ask you this question? What is your truth? Are you ugly?
What is your truth? Are you broke?
Are you a criminal? What is your truth?
Are you from the wrong side of the tracks?
Are you sick?
Are you old? Let’s find it. What is your truth?
Are you a victim of rape? What's your truth?
Can I share something with you? If you do not have Jesus in your heart, not only are you not living your best life—you are living a life in darkness. As hard as it is for me to even write this I must. You are not just in darkness… you are darkness. A place void of light. A place void of truth.
In a great movie Jack Nicholson shouted the immortal words, “Can you handle the truth!” I ask you that same question. Can you handle having Jesus in your heart? Trust me you should think before answering. See, today in Atlanta its 70 degrees and we are in the middle of December. But I cannot be confused by the temperature and not think the year is running out. It’s winter. No matter what the temperature of the day may tell me—there are only a few days left in this year. Specifically 15 days left and this year will be over. That is truth. But guess what? Our lives are coming to an end as well. Unfortunatly no matter if you are six or 60 we don't know if you are in your winter, spring, summer or fall but what we do know is this. That eventually this life will be over and you will have to face truth.
Okay this time I’m closing for real but as I was finishing this blog I was watching the Today Show and they announced that this morning Christopher Hitchens died. If the name does not ring a bell he wrote the book “God Is NOT Great.” He was an devout atheist and even with cancer said he believed there was no God. The bible says only a fool believes there is no God and my friends Mr. Hitchens who received his dash today now comes face to face—with truth. Christopher Hitchens (1949 – 2011).
He is no longer in search of truth.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Inaugural Blog

You are reading the very first sentence of my blog and on this 365 day journey. I have given it its name because I sent a letter to someone today and they replied how good it made them feel. And in reading those words it reminded me about the sheer POWER of words. Let me restate that. This person thought about what I wrote—and it changed the way they felt. (If you missed the depth of that sentence it will make sense later). So it is my prayer that this blog reminds you not only of what words can do—but to remember that no matter what has happened to you in life, no matter how bad your life has been or what cards you may have been dealt; this day can be the very first day of the rest of your life.
Welcome to my inaugural blog.
I decided to focus my first blog on truth. Most notably what is truth? It is said that truth is simply the state of being in harmony with facts. As a side bar I wish someone could tell these politicians that but I digress. What we find in the search for truth (and often we hear the phrase “ultimate truth” but there is no such thing. In fact that is an oxymoron) is that we must deal with public norms which may not harmonize with being truthful. So when you are trying to sync truth with societal norms; while it takes a village to raise a child, what happens when the village is nuts?
See—we look at tradition in our search for truth. But just because it's traditional to do something, it does not make it truthful. It was a tradition to be slaves. A tradition to not educate women. Today regrettably it’s tradition to get a divorce when times are hard or to have a baby out of wed lock. Tradition is another word for habit. But one of the things that has always been a cancer in our society is the fact that our habits are sometimes wrong.
Time is a way some people are often able to judge truth. Because it has always worked they deem it as truthful. Unfortunately the devil will use time against you because he will put your past in your face and you will then determine that it is your truth. This is what happens when your destiny is disrupted by your history. The devil will make you think you are running out of time. That's how strong a determinant time is when you are trying to establish truth. Don't believe me? Allow me to cast a light on two women. Mary and Martha. Sometimes God will take his sweet time, just as Jesus did with these ladies. But we sever a God that is not regulated by time and can in fact stop time as he did for Joshua.

You see when Jesus showed up Mary said thanks but no thanks because… he’s dead. But God was not looking at the watch; he was looking at what's next. Think about your last defeat in life. Did it occur because you were looking at the watch—or were you able to focus on what's next? Today you can’t watch a sports program or even stand next to a water cooler without someone mentioning Tim Tebow. Having watched him in High School, College and Pros I can tell you what his secret to success is. Based on his spiritual beliefs he is able to focus like a laser beam not on the watch (the scoreboard) but on what's next (winning). See in life the greatest miracles come when the eviction notice is on the door. When the doctor says “you only have 3 weeks to live.” When your husband screams it’s over. When we are out of time based on the watch—is when it’s Gods time to refocus us on what's next in our lives.

But not only do we base truth on the watch, we also derive truth on what we feel. So we operate based on E.Q and not I.Q. While we are familiar with the I.Q. we far too often make decisions based on E.Q. or emotional intelligence. But sometimes intelligence based on emotions can lead us astray. Think about it. We will walk out of a church disappointed because we did not “feel” anything after church because we have intrinsically linked “truth” to what we “feel.” But this form of thinking is at best—misguided. That's why the song says when “I THINK not FEEL the goodness of Jesus.” When you THINK about Jesus you are on the road to finding truth. See the feelings are subjective. That's why I was propted to blog because a person “thought” about what I read and it made them feel good. Why? Because if there was not thought and just feelings it would be regulated based on what they were going through—in the moment they read the letter. We have feeling churches that shout for an hour and you walk out sweaty—but intellectually empty. Do you think Jesus ever left anyone intellectually unmoved? Unchallenged? Did they leave the Sermon on the Mound sweaty—and intellectually unchallenged or where they most likely thinking on those words long after their echoes left the air?
Why is this important? Because an unchallenged heart on Sunday—will never get you through a trail on Wednesday.
Now tomorrow I will write a little more on this topic so please stay tuned but in the meantime if you take nothing from this blog take this. Always in every situation, seek truth, not emotions. Seek truth not what has happened to you in the past. Seek truth and God will bring you answers.
Now that you are reading the last sentence of my blog I pray you will join my blog and thus be follow me as I follow Christ.