Strength in Our Cry

Tonight I  saw the movie Courageous at church, Ebenezer Baptist Church,  http://www.ebenezerhampton.org/. Oh my, what a powerful movie. After the movie we discussed the characters and their backgrounds, situations and points in their life that transformed them.

In one scene, Javier, who was recently laid off and had become behind on his bills was calling out to God as he just lost another employment opportunity. He is asking God why this is happening to him, discussing how he has been trusting the Lord, living right and questioning what God wants him to do.

I know there are varying opinions on if we should ever question God and if that displays a lack of faith. Well, tonight, I saw Javier’s faith in his cry. When times got tough and he lacked understanding he asked. He discussed why he was asking and called out to God for help. I did not see weakness. I saw someone going to his source for understanding. I saw a display of faith. Faith in knowing who to go to and who can help. God always welcomes our call.

The Truth Is:

I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills [his purpose] for me. Psalm 57:2

If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. Exodus 22:23

 

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Gatorade Guidance

While watching Denver and New England tonight my spirit was moved. Not by the game but by a commercial. In short the commercial aligns with the fact that success is not rooted in the “external” but in the “internal”.  As we navigate through life we have to be able to tap into the strength of our spirit person. If we start to believe that success is all tied up in outward and external things, we will not be able to stand long term. The flesh’s strength is temporary, we have to be motivated from within.

Mark 14:38  Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”

 

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Do you really mean Amen?

We here it all the time in church. The Pastor makes a comment, we like what was said and to show agreement we say “Amen”.  After certain songs we say “Amen”. After scripture is read, we end with “Amen”.

But do you really mean Amen? Do you know what you are saying when you say “Amen”?

Dictionary.com indicates:

1. As an interjection it means it is so; so be it (used after a prayer, creed, or other formal statement to express solemn ratification or agreement).

2. As an adverb it means verily, truly

In short when you say “Amen” you are indicating that you agree. If you agree than an outcome of that agreement should be an action that aligns with what you agree to. If you agree to accept a job than one should expect you to show up on time and work as required. If you agree that as a parent you should be involved in your child’s education, then assisting with homework and attending PTA meetings displays your agreement.

But here is what our Pastor expressed today. Agreement and logical actions that align with Agreement should be the same with the Word of God. We read the scriptures, we say we agree but is our agreement visible?

The bible says: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”  Mark 12:31 .  Do you love your neighbor as yourself? Do you treat your neighbor the way you want to be treated?

The bible says:” Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”. Proverbs 3:5. Do you trust the Lord with every aspect of your life? Do you trust God for direction or do you place your knowledge, skills, abilities and desire above what you know God is directing you to do?

The bible says: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6. When your bills equal more than your money, when your children are not behaving, when you were informed that you lost your job, when the doctor requests x-rays….is your first position one of worry or do you pray? Do you exclaim to God that you trust him but continue to worry?

If we say “Amen”, then we agree and we should be careful to make sure that our actions show that we agree. Do you really mean “Amen” when you read the word of God? Take a look at your actions and you’ll get the answer.

 

 

 

 

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2012 Resolution-A Do Over

For 2011, I made a resolution but I was not successful, so I’m going to stick with it until I get it right.http://walkinthetruth.com/http:/walkintruth.com/2011-here-i-come.  Essentially, I’m giving myself a do-over.

I’m keeping my word choice for 2011 as my word choice for 2012.  My word is…..THRIVE!

My declaration, right here, right now, is that in 2012, I don’t just want to live, to do, to go, to be… I want to THRIVE in all areas of my life. I want to reach new heights, have effective and new impacts on God’s Kingdom, be a light in this world, a solid encourager to people that I meet, be all that I can be, be the best me! Whether it is carrying out obligations related to work, home, church, children, family, friends, ministry…whatever, I want do to it in a spirit of Excellence and Victory. I’m tired of just getting by, going through motions and ending up at the same place, a few steps ahead or a few steps behind. This year, I’m going to THRIVE! And I know I can because I know the truth.

Truth:

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

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Layaway Angels-An Example of Giving

Not sure if you all have been paying attention to the Layaway Angels movement, but simply put people deemed “layaway angels” were paying off the balance of a person’s layaway that was at jeopardy of being put back due to non-payment.  My aunt actually experienced it herself when she got a call from Wal-Mart indicating that a layaway angel was offering to pay off her layaway balance this past week. She did not accept it but requested that they bless someone else; but I was just so excited to see the “layaway angels” in action.

To me this is a nice example of what this Season is about. God gave his son Jesus that we may have life. The focus was on US, or for purposes of this discussion, OTHERS. The layaway angels are expressing a concern and focus on OTHERS not themselves.  In order to impact the world we can’t just speak the word, read the word and give instructions, we have to DO.  Our actions must display love, kindness and forgiveness at all times.

While all of us are not in position to be layaway angels we can give. We can give of our time, we can give a kind word and we can give of our talents. As you prepare to start this new year, make “Giving to Others” a resolution. I’m confident that the fact of knowing that you helped someone will be more than enough to keep you giving all year long.

The Truth Is:

Deuteronomy 16:17
Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which he has given you.

 

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Quality vs Quantity For the Kingdom

Sometimes when we first make our commitment to live a life that will please God, one of the first things we began to do is to be “active” as it relates to church and taking parts in positive activities such as:

  • bible study
  • prayer meetings
  • sunday school
  • missionary events
  • retreats
  • visit nursing homes

On the surface all of this seems find and are necessary. But, what we can’t allow to happen is that all these things become routine, requirements and checklists; lacking substance. Once a month you visit the nursing homes and pass out food to the homeless. But how are you different?  Have those events become routine and fulfill your “acts of kindness” goal on your checklist. Do you feel blessed by participating in those events or do you just go and complete your rotation, your task, your time and move on the next one?

We have to be careful to not get so busy in “doing” that we are not focused on the quality of our activities. We have to be careful to leave a word of encouragement, share “Jesus”, be kind and not just perform acts of kindness. We have to make sure everything we do strengthens others and ourselves. Strengthens us in our faith, in the word of God and our ability to navigate through this world and live an upstanding life. Don’t worry about how much you do, focus on assuring that you do your part in helping someone else strengthen their knowledge and relationship with God. When you are not focused on yourself and things that you do, you can have QUALITY impact on God’s kingdom.

God’s Word Says:

Timothy 2: 2:15

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

Hebrews 13:18

Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things.

 

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What If We All Had The Same Fruit In Our Baskets?

I can only imagine how wonderful the world would be if every single person had the same fruit in their basket. If everyone’s behavior was based on the same fruits. Not the same personalities, not the same skin tone, not the same skills, not the same language, not the same hobbies but that we all “act” and “behave” based on the same Fruit Foundation.

Galatians 5:22: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

  • If each time we had a disagreement, we expressed our self in love.
  • If each time we made a business deal, we negotiated with kindness.
  • If each time that we entered social situations, we maintained self-control.
  • If each time we saw a broken heart or a hung down head, we spread joy.

I guess some would say that I’m just dreaming and maybe I am. But when I think about a company having a vision, girl and boy scout troops operating based on a set of guidelines, fraternities and sororities having a motto, creed or whatever the term is for how they should carry themselves, it really doesn’t feel impossible. It is a group of people coming together and making a commitment and a promise. So while it is not easy, it really is not impossible for all of our baskets to be the same.

So, let’s do it. Let’s all grab an orange (Kindness), green apple (Gentleness), peach (Love), banana (Self Control), pear (Forbearance), grapes (Goodness), kiwi (Joy), plums (Peace), red apple  (Faithfulness) and put them in our baskets. Put them in our way of thinking, our way of walking, our way of talking, our way of planning, our way of behaving, our way of dreaming, our way of working and our way of playing. If we all did this we could change the world.

I’m pretty confident that we’re all familiar with these fruits, the key is that we put them in our baskets and that we don’t forget our baskets!

 

 

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Are you in Position to Be Restored?

The promise and examples of restoration are all throughout the Bible.  My definition of “restore” which is most certainly close to others is (1) to be given back something that you once had that was either lost or taken from you (2)to be placed back in a position that you once held or in a position that you may not have desired but by being there you are fruitful and positively impact others (3) to be in a right spirit, a right frame of mind, the right way of understanding and handling situations.

Today there is a lot of discussion of #1, restoring of physical and material things and that is fine. God is wonderful like that! But I think all elements of restoration are connected.  It may not be correct mathematically, but if #2 and #3 then #1 is a sure thing.  A concept sometimes referred to as being “in the right place at the right time”.  While God is “the restorer” don’t forget the object of his affection, YOU.  If you’re not in #2 and #3 then #1 is sometimes delayed, not received fully or not received at all. We can’t just sing and pray for restoration we have to be in position. In a position of humility, desiring the word of God, giving to the less fortunate, witnessing to the brother or sister that has not received God’s salvation, comprising, tithing, honesty, visiting the sick, praying for the broken hearted, forgiving and encouraging the bereaved and the hurt. If you are in a position that is not about you, restoration comes without your asking.

Jeremiah 30: 17   For I will restore health to you and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord…

Job 33: 26  He prays to God, and He is favorable to him, so that he sees His face with joy; for [God] restores to him his righteousness (his uprightness and right standing with God–with its joys).

Job 42: 10 After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before.

Isaiah 61:7   Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy.

Galatians 6:1  Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.

Jeremiah 30:1-3  THE WORD that came to Jeremiah from the Lord:  Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Write all the words that I have spoken to you in a book.  For, note well, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will release from captivity My people Israel and Judah, says the Lord, and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they will possess it.

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My Prayer

William McDowell says it clearly. I would like to see what God desires for me. Not what I desire, not what others desire of me, but what God has planned for me.

[Chorus:]
I give myself away
I give myself away
So You can use me
I give myself away
I give myself away
So You can use me

Here I am
Here I stand
Lord, my life is in your hands
Lord, I’m longing to see
Your desires revealed in me
I give myself away

Take my heart
Take my life
As a living sacrifice
All my dreams all my plans
Lord I place them in your hands

[Chorus:]
I give myself away
I give myself away
So You can use me
I give myself away
I give myself away
So You can use me

[Chorus:]
I give myself away
I give myself away
So You can use me
I give myself away
I give myself away
So You can use me

[Bridge: x7]
My life is not my own
To you I belong
I give myself, I give myself

The truth is:

Jeremiah 29: 11   For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

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Grace and Mercy Is For Everyone

Today I just begin to think about how wonderful God’s Grace and Mercy is.  I believe it is extra wonderful because it is a concept that can be translated to the walking believer, the non-walking believer and the unbeliever.

  • Walking Believer-someone who believes in Christ and desires/places focus and effort on living a life that represents Christ
  • Non Walking Believer-someone who believes in Christ but is not making any effort to have a life that is reflective of Christ
  • Non-Believer-does not believe in Christ

I took a few minutes tonight to google definitions of Grace and Mercy so that I could be a bit more formal than normal. But some of the info I found was very complex and contrary; just a trick of the enemy to confuse. So I’m going to use the following because it is simple and true. Now the non-believer will not refer to this as Grace and Mercy but it is.

Grace-given something for which we have done nothing to earn and in some cases we don’t even deserve

Examples are a job opportunity, protection from a storm, protection from a car accident

Mercy-not given something that we deserve

Examples are we did something wrong but did not receive punishment, we know we were in the wrong place at the wrong time but we walked away unharmed

It is not luck or chance..it is God’s Grace and Mercy

Can you think about the times when God’s Grace and Mercy was extended to you?

The truth is:

Hebrews  4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

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